We see many of these mobile surveillance towers in South Texas, so it was no surprise to see one at the edge of the Rio Grande River.

My photography goal for my feature photo was to catch both the surveillance tower and the border fence in the same photo in order to show both forms of security. Perfection would have been if a border patrol boat would have been passing by at that exact time.

We were told by our tour guide, that the coyotes smuggle illegal aliens, and the mules smuggle drugs across the river on small, inflatable rafts. We saw many of these deflated rafts at the river’s edge on both sides. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a clear photo of one.

Apparently, either a mule or a coyote will pretend to be fishing, and when the coast is clear, they’ll raft across the river with their cargo.

Some two story abandoned buildings are used by the cartel as lookout towers to watch for border patrol – not as high-tech as the police surveillance towers, but apparently they serve their purpose quite efficiently.

Drug smuggling to me doesn’t raise a lot of questions about the people who do it. What I have a hard time wrapping my brain around is the idea that people would be so desperate to leave their home country that they would pay large sums of money to the coyotes and then try to escape to America in such a dangerous way.

“ A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in … And how many want out.”

Winston Churchill