RCF gets border patrol stories

Ted Francisco broke his leg a couple of weeks ago in a fishing mishap.

But on the subject of breaking, this special agent with the Department of Homeland Security Investigations Knoxville office has helped break up his share of illegal immigrant penetration into this country from Mexico.

Francisco, a criminal investigator in the Knoxville office “the past seven-and-a-half years,” was featured speaker during The Rotary Club of Farragut’s weekly Wednesday meeting June 21 in Fox Den Country Club.

A six-year U.S. Army veteran who spent five-and-a-half more years in the National Guard, Francisco had two careers overlap while beginning a 29-year law enforcement career in Asheville, North Carolina.

“I was stationed at Fort Bragg, so I was able to continue on Reserve status with the police department,” he said. “I’ve been with the federal government for almost 17 years.”

With Homeland Security, Francisco was an “undercover truck driver” who would pretend to help “human smuggling operators” bring illegal immigrants into the United States at the Texas-Mexico border.

“We had a pretty good system. We had a warehouse, we’d bring the illegals in, we’d take down all their information and we’d say ‘when you get where you’re going, once you’ve been there for about two months give us a call and then we’ll meet you and give you all your ‘legitimate’ documents,” Francisco said. “That gave us two months to finish the case. They’d call us, we’d say ‘meet us at this location.’ So they’d come and we’d arrest them and deport them.

“We got about 85 percent of those that we brought in that we were still able to deport,” he added.

That was a feature role for Francisco while based in Laredo, Texas, for four of his first six years with Homeland Security Investigations.

“We were actually targeting the violent coyotes. … Basically the coyotes are the persons who the immigrants will hire to get them across the border and pass the checkpoints,” Francisco said.

Also a teacher while in Texas, Francisco said about coming to Knoxville, I thought I was going to get to take it easy being in an inland office off the border. We had five agents. I thought I’d be able to kick back and relax and prop my feet up.

“Anything but that is the truth,” he added. “We work all sorts of different cases. … We investigate any federal criminal violations that have anything to do with the borders.

“I also hold a seat over at

the FBI in the joint Terrorism Task Force,” he added. “I’ve been with them now for four years.”