ANIMAS — Several hundred ranchers gathered at a small-town high school in the Bootheel on Thursday to rally against what they described as a broken border.
Also present were members and representatives of New Mexico’s congressional delegation and officials from public security agencies, including the Border Patrol, Army, National Guard and sheriffs. More than 600 people showed up at a school auditorium in Animas, population 237.
Ranchers here have been steaming over the reported kidnapping of a ranch hand in December, when drug runners allegedly hijacked the man’s vehicle, loaded it with narcotics and drove him to Arizona. He came home “roughed up,” his employer Tricia Elbrock said, but he survived the ordeal.
Concerns about border security have simmered for years for those who live among the region’s sprawling ranches and rugged mountain ranges. Sometimes, fears boil over, such as after the unsolved 2010 murder of southern Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, who was found shot dead on his property, or after the recent reported kidnapping.