Tucson, Ariz. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection Tucson Sector Border Patrol has adopted 10 horses from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) "Wild Horse and Burro Program." The program works in conjunction with Colorado Correctional Institute's Wild Horse Inmate Program (WHIP).
The Border Patrol initiated the Noble Mustang Program in the Spokane Sector in 2007 which purchases mustangs from WHIP. By purchasing horses through this program it eases BLM's burden of locating suitable homes for these wild mustangs. As part of their inmate rehabilitation program, the Colorado Correctional Institute provides preliminary training for the horses.
Prior to utilizing the Noble Mustang Program, the Tucson Sector purchased horses from vendors across the Nation at double the cost. The Noble Mustang Program is an economical means of increasing Tucson Sector's Horse Patrol Unit at half the cost. Mustangs are known to be tough, durable horses that have very solid hooves and strong bone structure, which makes them less prone to lameness, and better suited for the rocky mountainous terrain found in Southern Arizona.
WHIP provides mustangs with basic skill sets which Border Patrol agents enhance and build upon. Once they have been trained and have adapted to Border Patrol operations, they will be added to the Tucson Sector's Horse Patrol Unit.
The Noble Mustang program has received high recognition and was selected to participate in the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Parade. The Noble Mustang Program was nominated by the Obama Administration's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for the SAVE (Securing Americans' Value and Efficiency) Award in 2010.
"The Noble Mustang Program is a win-win situation for all parties involved, including these magnificent animals," said Chief Patrol Agent Victor M. Manjarrez, Jr. "The Tucson Sector is proud to implement the legacy of these mustangs into the traditions of our Horse Patrol Unit."
The Tucson Sector Horse Patrol Unit was responsible for more than 18,000 apprehensions and more than 93,000 pounds of marijuana seizures from Oct. 1, 2009 to Aug. 31, 2010. Horses have a very low impact on the natural environment and therefore do not disturb wildlife and the ecosystem.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.