A loaded M4 carbine was found unattended in a vehicle this week and is thought to belong to Texas Military Department (TMD) soldiers.
But an unattended weapon is the least of border security activist Kelly Perry’s worries.
Perry lives in Kinney County where the southwest Mexico-Texas border spans 13 miles.
“I’m more concerned about the drugs, and the kids, and the humans, and the state of Texas just being destroyed here where I am,” she said.
“We can only catch so many [illegal] migrants. All the rest of them are coming through. Border patrol is outnumbered.”
Perry made the comments in response to reports that Marianna Wright, director of the National Butterfly Center, recovered an unsecured firearm from an unlocked vehicle on the side of a road near Mission, Texas.
“It should have never been left,” Perry told The Epoch Times. “I see it’s not a safe thing, but so many of the illegals have guns anyway.”
The TMD confirmed Wright’s report in an email.
“A weapon was left unsecured in a vehicle during the apprehension of illegal migrants,” TMD public affairs staff told The Epoch Times.
“This incident remains under investigation. The Texas Military Department remains committed to providing safety and security along our southern border.”
Wright did not respond to requests for comment.
Instead, she posted critical comments and photos of the weapon on Twitter on June 27.
“In the name of public safety, I removed the weapon from the abandoned, unlocked vehicle on the side of the road and secured it where Texas National Guard was able to reclaim it,” she wrote.
She said they “didn’t even realize it was missing when they returned to the truck.”
Mission is a border town located in the Rio Grande Valley, one of the busiest sectors for illegal border crossings. During May, border officials apprehended more than 239,416 illegal immigrants along the southern border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.
Reached by phone, Sen. Bob Hall (R-Texas) was reluctant to blast TMD soldiers.
“I know those soldiers are trying their best down there with all the limitations that’s on them,” Hall told The Epoch Times. “They are armed but they cannot return fire. That’s an absolute last resort.”
Hall is a member of the Texas Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Border Security.
“The last two weeks have just been a total nightmare,” Perry added. “We were inundated with illegals destroying the fields of crops.
“They walked through the watermelon patches. They ate the watermelons. They broke them. They did everything.”
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) did not respond to requests for comment.
“They probably saw somebody, or a couple of migrants, take off in the brush and pulled over,” Hall said.
“They jumped out and went after them. They were doing their job. Try hauling a weapon while running through the brush and all it’s going to do is slow you down.”
Wright’s discovery coincided with the tragedy this week of more than 50 illegal immigrants who died trapped in a scorching hot tractor trailer in San Antonio.
“It’s just total chaos with anybody coming across and my biggest concern is what few of the folks that are non-Hispanic that we’ve caught.
“Among them are a huge number of Middle Eastern men coming across—between [the ages of] 18 and 35 and very fit,” Hall added.
“That probably worries me more than anything else.”