El Paso, Texas – Dressed in baggy blue jeans and hoodies, the state’s elite undercover squad, looking scruffy and mischievous, are easily mistaken for the smugglers they’re trying to catch, or the migrants streaming across the southern border from Mexico. they can get lost.
The specially trained members of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s criminal investigation division are perhaps the most dangerous job on the border, acting as double agents and facing death if their cover is blown. .
They are tasked with intervening with immigrant gangs, identifying and apprehending cartel members, human traffickers, and drug dealers as part of DPS’ efforts to prevent criminal elements from entering the United States.
The department is so secretive that DPS officials refuse to release photos that reveal how many agents are in the department, where they work, or their identities out of concern for their safety.
“We really can’t say anything,” said Matthew Mull, major of DPS’s El Paso Criminal Investigation Division, during a tour of The Post with DPS earlier this week.
CID members along with DPS pilots provided coordinates to chase a group of smugglers carrying more than a dozen migrants in an overloaded Jeep on Wednesday.
A handful of CID agents sneaked into the house in jeans and hoodies and arrested two young smugglers.
A Post reporter who witnessed the raid said: “We couldn’t tell who were the migrants and who were the agents. I saw their badges only after they opened their coats. None of them spoke.”
The soldier who accompanied us said that it was an elite team.
“They were hardened, battered guys who seemed to have seen everything. Tough guys.”
Cartels typically hire teenage drivers on the US side of the border to drive them to and from hideouts.
CID agents are involved in many investigations and agencies on both sides of the border.
It says on their website its “personnel work with internal and external stakeholders at the state and international levels to identify, investigate, disrupt, and/or destroy drug trafficking, human trafficking, and criminal gang organizations.”
In addition to tracking organized crime, a separate branch of the CID handles special investigations, while another offers surveillance, forensics and other support.
CID agents stand in stark contrast to their DPS counterparts in tan uniforms and cowboy hats, along with shiny black boots.
“They like to dress like that,” Mull told The Post. “That’s usually how they do business.”
The CID branch was started during World War II and was later known as the Criminal Law Enforcement Agency. In 2009, when the DPS underwent a major overhaul, the unit was renamed to focus on intelligence gathering and a state that could choose to train with the unit. ‘includes a tire mentoring program that also checks vehicle theft, Mull said.