The Rio Grande's Drug Corridor

Smuggling is a growth industry in Starr County, Texas

On a chilly South Texas afternoon, 20 federal and state lawmen sporting flak jackets and semiautomatic rifles descended on a secluded bungalow near the Rio Grande in Starr County. They arrested three men who were darting out the back. Inside, the cops found giant trash bags of marijuana. Suddenly the ceiling gave way from the weight of other people hiding in the bungalow. All told, 14 Mexicans were charged with drug possession, and 2,000 lbs. of dope were confiscated.

The raid last February was one of a mounting number of armed encounters along the Texas border between lawmen and well-organized, well-financed...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!