After several years of planning accompanied by a few setbacks, El Centro Sector’s Horse Patrol Unit (HPU) has a place to finally call home for many years to come.
The Calexico Stable Facility is dedicated in honor of Border Patrol Agent Alejandro Flores Bañuelos who was struck by a vehicle and killed on March 15, 2021. BPA Bañuelos was responding to a vehicle accident on State Route 86, a four-lane divided highway north of Westmorland, California. The traffic accident occurred during a dust storm that caused low visibility in the area. Prior to his sudden death, BPA Bañuelos had recently just graduated for the Horse Patrol Unit Basic Horsemanship Course.
The family and friends of the late BPA Bañuelos, Chief of the United States Border Patrol Raul L. Ortiz as well as federal, state, and local leaders of the community were all in attendance of the ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate and dedicate the new facility in honor of him.
El Centro Sector’s HPU began in 2003 with four agents and five horses. This unit has now grown to a total of 13 riders and 17 horses. The primary responsibility of the unit is to patrol the Jacumba Wilderness region and Yuha Desert, areas where vehicles are unable to operate.
The new facility is located next to the Calexico Border Patrol Station. The facility is fully functioning with an 18-stall mare motel, a large and small arena, a 50-foot round pen, a one-acre turnout, multiple storage shelters, three wash racks with multiple hitching posts throughout the compound.
Leather gear and equipment are kept and maintained in climate-controlled storage units for the daily maintenance and healthcare of the horses. The facility also has an abundance of room to store trailers and equipment necessary for the operation of the HPU program.
The central location and the ability to store all of the HPU’s equipment on site will drastically reduce deployment times to the field within El Centro’s area of responsibility. It is also easily accessible when preparing for community events, presentations, and crowd control situations.