BP agents patrol atop their mustangs (Andy Cross-Denver Post)
From the Kirk Mitchell -Denver Post
It is, to say the least, an unlikely alliance. The horses arrive without names or manners. They are taught to behave by Colorado inmates serving time for robbery, burglary and other crimes. The horses are then deployed along the nation's borders to stop crime — helping catch 500 illegal immigrants in one stretch of the Mexican border alone.
So far, this combination of the untamed and confined has worked well for law enforcement. The horses are well- trained by inmates who learn a trade in the process, and the horses' unique skills allow Border Patrol agents to visit rugged stretches with few provisions. The wild horses are prized for their toughness. Rocks? Not a problem. No pastures? Anything green or brown will do. Frozen lakes and rivers? They'll eat snow.
Ramon Gonzales, a city boy from Denver, sat comfortably high atop Silver Bullet, a blue roan with deep blue eyes. He leaned over and patted Silver Bullet on the neck. "Just getting close enough to touch them can take weeks," said Gonzales, a convicted burglar from Jefferson County. "They pretty much think we're going to eat them." After Gonzales and other inmates train the horses, they go to the border, where Border Patrol agents train them not to get spooked when they hear gunfire.
The mustang program worked so well along the Canadian border that it was replicated from Texas to California, where agents now use the prison-trained mustangs to catch illegal immigrants every day.
Rafael V. Garza, horse patrol commander for the Border Patrol in the Laredo, Texas, sector, said in the first year of service, his nine mounted agents caught 500 illegal immigrants.