New Mexico Border Patrol Checkpoints Get Tech Upgrades

LAS CRUCES, N.M. --

Border Patrol checkpoints just outside of Las Cruces will get upgrades the next few months.

And new technology is being used at the checkpoints that have some people wondering what it's all about.

Within the past six months, several cameras were set up at border patrol checkpoints. The Border Patrol said they belong to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The checkpoint on Interstate 25 was completed in 1989, but by mid-August it will be what planners hoped it would be years ago.

“On a daily basis, we can have anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 vehicles coming through for inspection,” said Joe Romero, Border Patrol Public Affairs agent.

And that traffic has led to the expansion of this checkpoint and the one on Interstate 10.

“Traffic patterns tend to increase and in the future we expect it to increase more. We're going to be able to separate commercial vehicles from regular commuter traffic,” Romero said.

Residents wanted to know about the cameras located an eighth of a mile before they get to that checkpoint.

“I had actually been wondering what they were for,” said Guillermo Recalde of Silver City.

“I guess it is facial recognition technology or they could just be anything like heat sensing to see if anyone else is in the vehicle. It could be another speeding camera because they are on both sides of the highway,” said Johnny Lopez of Las Cruces.

The DEA told KFOX the cameras have been placed at the checkpoints as an investigative tool, but would not elaborate. But they did however say the cameras have been useful so far.

“Regardless, it makes me more conscious of the speed I am going,” said Recalde.

The DEA said it likes that people are wondering about them, and said that if people don't know what they are looking for, the cameras can be more effective.

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