Marfa Sector Adds More Border Patrol Agents Along the Border

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

MARFA- Officials say a push to add agents started more than two years ago but the increase in staff comes at a good time.

"The violence has increased a great deal on the Mexican side but one of the reasons you aren't seeing a lot of spill over is because the Border Patrol has invested a lot of money into personnel and equipment," Chief Deputy Patrol Agent for the Marfa Sector, Benjamine "Carry" Huffman, said.

The Marfa sector stretches 510 miles along the Rio Grande and includes 77 counties in West Texas and all of Oklahoma. Even though the area consists of 25 percent of the Southwest Border with Mexico, the terrain may be another reason violence isn't spilling over.

"That works to our advantage because it is difficult to cross in this area," Huffman said.

25 new border patrol interns were sworn in on Monday at the Marfa Headquarters. On Wednesday, the members will go to Artesia, New Mexico for the Border Patrol Training Academy.

"It's not going to be safe and you have to have a lot of heart to say 'I want to be a border patrol agent and I want to be good at it,'" New Recruit Samuel Lopez said.

Lopez says he's ready to take on the challenges.

Others from all over the country are too. Pay starts at over $35,000 dollars a year and layoffs aren't likely.

"I was stationed overseas for the last year and half and it was hard for me to transition into a civilian job," Navy Veteran, Kelly Smiecinski, said.

Smiecinski served for 20 years but left the service to find a slumping economy.

"I love being outdoors, I love helping people and this is just another avenue to help protect the nation," he said it's a perfect fit.

Officials say more women are joining the ranks. The agency will add another hundred people by the end of the fiscal year to the Marfa sector.