By JOLANIE MARTINEZ, KGBT
ESCOBARES, Texas (CIRCA via KGBT) — As the United States government continues to negotiate funding for border security, one Texas landowner said he's willing to give up some of his property if it means keeping smugglers from crossing over.
Ruperto Escobar, 75, lives in the small town of Escobares, just outside of Rio Grande City, and remembers taking the cattle to the Rio Grande River growing up.
Escobar recalled hearing gunshots from the other side.
“When the cartels started going and fighting against each other,” Escobar said, “you can hear gunshots from the other side, you could hear their battles.”
He’s seen it all, from illegal crossings to drug smuggling on land that has been passed down for generations. But as the years passed, Escobar said things have only gotten worse.
"I’m not afraid of the immigrants, I’m afraid of the drug carriers,” Escobar said. “They are really armed to their teeth."
The landowner said it's quite peaceful at the river during the day. But even if it's his own land, he tries to avoid going to the area at night.
"That's one of my biggest fears is having to come in the middle of the night at 10 o'clock to shut that (water pump) engine down,” Escobar said. “I do it as quickly as I can and get out of here as quickly as I can because you never know."
He recalled one night where his farmers were on their way to shut off the engine at the water pump and were threatened by armed men.
"There were two men with long rifles, and they told them, 'You guys cannot come over here,'" Escobar said. “You need to leave this place, it’s ours tonight, do not come back."
According to Border Patrol, the proposed wall would be built on a portion of Escobar's land, a sacrifice he is willing to make to put an end to a crime that has hit his home.
"My wife and I hurt real bad when our children got hooked up with drugs,” Escobar said. “Because of the easy access, and that's one very strong reason why I say, let's build that wall."
According to Border Patrol, more than $190 million has been allocated to construct 12 miles of the wall in Starr County.
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