Border Beat: Gunboats, a Billboard Plea, and Border-Straddling Parties

New gunboats patrolling the Rio Grande River, "No More Weapons" billboard placed at Mexico port of entry, and more.


"Gunboats" Patrolling the Rio Grande

The Texas Department of Public Safety recently added six new “gunboats” to patrol the Rio Grande River, which serves as an international boundary between the United States and Mexico. The boats will also patrol the inter-coastal waterway, which divides Texas from South Padre Island.

The purpose is to cut down on the crossings of undocumented immigrants, drugs and weapons, along with keeping violence from Mexico’s drug war from spilling over into the U.S.

"We're not turning over one inch of  Texas to the cartels, or transnational gangs that support them," said Steve McGraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

"We're operating on a river that is an ambush situation," said McGraw, adding that six high-caliber machine guns are on-board the boats.

40 troopers will operate the shallow gunboats. The first boat launched was named after a fallen trooper, J.D. Davis, who was killed in 1980.

Catapult Used to Fling Drugs Across Border

Mexico Billboard Plea

A Mexican billboard visible from El Paso, Texas reads "No More Weapons!" It was created from several smashed weapons that were seized by Mexican authorities. The billboard was put up last month by the request of Mexican president Felipe Calderón near a port of entry in Ciudad Juárez.

"Dear friends of the United States, Mexico needs your help to stop this terrible violence that we're suffering," Calderón said in English during the unveiling ceremony.

Calderón also requested that Americans stop transporting automatic weapons into Mexico. Since 2006, almost 50,000 people have been killed in Mexico due to drug-related violence.

'Narco Tank' and Armored Vehicles Added to Cartel Arsenal

Group Organizes Gatherings at San Diego/Tijuana border

The group Border Encuentro, previously known as Border Meet-Up, organizes activities to bring people from the United States and Mexico to events at the San Diego/Tijuana border fence.

Despite the structured divide, they make an effort to create relationships on both sides of the border fence. Organizer Daniel Watman said that since 2004 they have put on many events including concerts, salsa dances, and group yoga. They have even planted a bi-national garden divided by the fence. Up to 400 people have attended the events.

The gatherings take place along the border fence at Friendship Park or on the beach in San Diego.

Patrick Manning is a junior reporter for Fox News based out of El Paso, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @Manning_FoxNews. 

Follow us on
Like us at

Patrick Manning is part of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. Get more information on the program here.