The Center for Investigative Reporting explores the financial impact to local criminal justice of a remote U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Hudspeth County, Texas, just off Interstate 10 an hour southeast of El Paso. The local sheriff’s office is overwhelmed with marijuana stored from seizures there, and on a recent morning 40 of 51 cases in county court came from the checkpoint.
The financial strain is a consequences of America's massive expansion of border security and the government's strategy for curbing the nation's supply of drugs and illegal immigration. Hudspeth County (pop. 3,337) is dependent on the federal dollars it receives to jail and prosecute those busted at the border. But county officials estimate that for every dollar that comes to the county from handling federal border crimes and seized assets, it costs about $2 to detain, prosecute and process offenders.