On the Border

The death of a border patrol agent takes security to a new level and is something all Americans should be seriously concerned about. If this doesn’t worry you, please consider the life and career of CBP Agent Nicholas J. Ivie.

Ivie, 30, was killed in a friendly-fire “accident” on Oct. 3. He and two associates were responding to a sensor-triggered alert on the U.S.-Mexican border. He is a friend of mine who grew up in Provo, Utah, and he leaves behind a widow and two young daughters. He is your friend because he was dedicated to his family and stalwart in his duty as a border patrol agent and a leader.

Agent Ivie loved his career and was dedicated to defending the lawlessness on a rampant course that, like many border communities, plagues the southern border, in this case in Arizona. His work was to protect U.S. citizens from a drug culture and porous southern border that is contaminated with evil.

There is little good that comes from an incident like this; the loss of a freedom-loving man, as Ivie was, who gave his all to protect our freedoms, is a loss for all of us. This is not about illegal immigration but about the import of narcotics and what should be the vigilance of U.S. law enforcement and laws over the narco-terrorism and the drug cartels.

“From all the information I’ve seen thus far, it looks like Ivie approached the sensor at roughly the same time as the pair of other agents, and they mistook each other for whomever or whatever set off the sensor,” said border expert Sylvia Longmire, who also is the author of Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico’s Drug Wars. “I’ve also read that there are many radio dead spots in that remote part of the sector, which would explain why there may have been uncertainties between the agents about each other’s locations.”

Mexican authorities took two people into custody soon after the shooting. The arrests were made in an operation involving Mexican military staff in the Agua Prieta municipality, along the U.S. border and just east of where the shooting occurred; however, it was discovered later that friendly fire was to blame.

“At this point, it looks like the cause of the shooting has been resolved, if tragically,” Longmire said. “However, there are still two unanswered questions: who or what set off the sensor? What has become of the two men detained in Mexico by Mexican authorities allegedly in connection with the shooting?”

Ivie is a casualty of war. His life taken is no different than those lost in the Middle East where lawlessness and rage mock the rule of law and freedom.

“Cochise Country investigators said they saw some footprints heading back towards the border, so it could have been migrants or smugglers; there hasn’t been much information released about evidence found in the area, so it’s anyone’s guess what tripped the sensor,” Longmire said. “As for the two detained men, it’s not unheard of for the Mexican authorities to quickly pony up suspects in a crime against Americans—regardless of whether or not they’re actually suspected of wrongdoing—just to appease U.S. officials. Sadly, we’ll likely never know what happened to those men, either.”

Three U.S. agents responded when sensors were triggered five miles north of the U.S. border, clearly on American soil, near Bisbee, Ariz. Another agent was injured, and a third was unharmed. Review of the incident showed that Ivie fired first from horseback; return fire from other U.S. border agents killed him.

Three U.S. border agents were in harm’s way, a risk they willingly took while fulfilling their duty.

Ranchers in the area have said there has been a significant increase in drug trafficking in the region. One of those ranchers, Richard Hodges, came forward to say the border fence is not effective, and that, perhaps, “the government should put some Constantine wire on top of the fence to prevent people from climbing over it.”

The Secure Fence Act of 2006 called for the construction of a double-layered fence along the entire stretch of border east and west of Naco, Ariz, the site of the shooting, yet today the fence just south of the incident is 20 years old and only 10 feet high. A border watch group located in the area said that some of the new fencing is so poorly designed that it can be cut through or climbed over with ease.

Security at the southern U.S. border is constantly being measured and quantified. A new analysis must come to the forefront.

It must include vigorous and ongoing condemnation of the situation in Mexico that has allowed drug syndicates to build so much power through terror tactics that affect the citizens of Mexico and many in U.S. border communities. Terror continues to cross the border as it did in early October, taking Ivie’s life and threatening thousands of other law enforcement officers assigned to protect North America against the culture of drugs and terrorism.

This article originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of Security Today.

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