On the Border
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Nov 01, 2012
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
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.