Texas wants everyone to know that they have one of those tracker experts who can trail a fugitive anywhere they go. The skills take a lifetime to learn and those who practice them are few and far between. Sergeant James Morris is one of them. He just followed a set of footsteps through the badlands to 300 pounds of stashed buds.
Tracker trails secret stash
Expert tracker James Morris is a Sergeant with the DPS and credited with going the extra mile to make a major bust. An extra four miles, actually. Because the federal government goes out of the way to encourage border jumping criminals, Governor Greg Abbott tasked the Texas Department of Public Safety with Operation Lone Star.
Smuggling as a booming business along the border. With more states making pot legal, the incentive to smuggle grass is a lot less. That means the next stash will probably be meth, heroin, or fentanyl instead.
After noticing a set of interesting footprints, the tracker followed them “for four miles in a desolate section of Big Bend National Park.” They led straight to “five bundles of marijuana.”
Set up with convenient carry straps for backpacking, each “bundle weighed about 60 pounds and were in compressed sacks spray-painted to blend in with the terrain.” They were covered with rocks but not covered well enough.
Lieutenant Chris Olivarez notes that the Big Bend area is a favorite of the smugglers because the terrain is so difficult.
The tracker didn’t note where the footsteps went after the stash point but his Lieutenant noted that it typically takes the mules “three days to a week after they enter the country to get to a highway.”
Perfect weather for smuggling
Along the Mexico border where it stretches across Arizona and Texas, summer temperatures climb well over 110 degrees and stay there. Now, this “treacherous and desolate area of Texas averages in the mid-to-upper 80s.”
That means the tracker and his fellow Operation Lone Star officers will have a lot more footprints to follow.
When expert tracker Morris set out to follow those footprints he was expecting to find the migrant who made them. They typically do find stashes of drugs like this one but usually tracks lead them to illegal immigrants.
The lucky ones who make it through the desert alive have help to get into the heartland of America.
For instance, on November 2, one Texas trooper pulled over a vehicle for basic speeding near Brackettville. After noticing the rear passenger seats folded down, the amateur tracker located six undocumented individuals packed face down in the back like sardines.
Driver Latvia Jenkins of Camden, Arkansas and Kajsean Gude of Little Rock were both charged with human smuggling. They expected to play taxi to “drive undocumented immigrants relatively short distances for a few thousand dollars.“