Texas Sheriff Warns Residents Near Mexican Border: 'Arm Yourselves'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 16, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Some people in Texas and Arizona are terrified, and, frankly, for good reason. Just over the border there's the bloodiest violence you can imagine, drug cartels beheading their enemies, bloodshed every single day in the most violent ways imaginable. Even employees in American consulate gunned down in broad daylight.

Is the Mexican violence coming over the border at us? An ominous warning sign was Arizona rancher Robert Prince who was murdered last month. Police suspected illegal immigrant killed him.

So how should Americans living on the border protect themselves, or can they? Sheriff Arvin West just gave a warning to residents of the border town Fort Hancock, arm yourselves. Sheriff Arvin West joins us live. Good evening, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Sheriff, typically law enforcement protects citizens. You are telling citizens they need to arm themselves. Is that an admission that things have changed drastically?

WEST: Greta, what I'm telling my farmers and ranchers to arm themselves. They are out in the fields working doing an honest day's work trying to make a leaving. While they are out there, they are really vulnerable. People come up behind them, and like the rancher in Arizona. I don't know the details of what happened out there, but I don't want the same scenario taking place out here.

VAN SUSTEREN: I take it the border is absolutely porous there, is that correct?

WEST: Yes, ma'am, it sure is. It is wide open.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you recommend besides arming themselves? Let's back up a little bit. I realize the danger, but is there anything that the federal or state government could be doing and should be doing?

WEST: Well, the federal government, there again, we've had a few congressmen come down and we've had some congressmen that really are showing leadership on this. But the fact of the matter is we need to have boots on the ground. We need to have people up on the levees on the border protecting the border.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I shouldn't be so sarcastic, but you say they come down and show leadership. I think leadership also includes the ability to get the product. One thing to go down and say this is horrible, you really need this. But has anything improve in the last year for you?

WEST: It hasn't improved in the last four years. Border patrol has sent a bunch of agents down here. Unfortunately, they are dealing in growing pains. Normally where you would have one or two boys patrolling, you have five or six riding in the same unit because they are training and it's going to take a couple of years to get that training out of them.

But in the meantime the killing continues. The possibility of them crossing over here and killing somebody on this side is very real.

VAN SUSTEREN: How bad is the killing right over the border from your area?

WEST: They've estimated around 600 in the valley, --

VAN SUSTEREN: And 600 what?

WEST: Six-hundred people killed over there since --

VAN SUSTEREN: Is this all thought to be drug-related?

WEST: Well, it is drug-related. But some of the people that have gotten killed are innocent people. That's just a conservative number. You know, I really believe there is going to be a lot more since 600, and that's since January 1st of this year.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it spilling over into your area yet or is it still contained in Mexico?

WEST: The killing is still contained in Mexico. There's not any killing taking place on the American side other than the rancher that I know of and the incident in El Paso where they kidnapped a guy and took him into Mexico and killed him.

But the fact of the matter is citizens from Mexico have moved to our side of the river, whether it be El Paso, Fort Hancock, they've moved here for safety reasons to get away from that. And the fact that some of these people may be involved in the drug cartels, they may be trying to come here and get them.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think it hasn't crossed over our border, yet? Maybe it has with this Arizona rancher. But why haven't we seen more of it?

WEST: In Texas with the leadership of our governor we've stepped up. We've got the assistance of the state police. They are next to us. So we are showing a strong presence.

The only problem with what presence we are showing we don't have that kind of manpower. For example, I got 5,000 miles to cover with 17 deputies. There's a lot of country we have to cover.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's a lot. Sheriff, thank you, sir, and good luck, sir.

WEST: Thank you, ma'am.

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