166: Jason Piccolo is a former US Border Patrol, Narco Agent and Army vet who also served in Iraq. Listen to his amazing and Jack Ryan type stories of cloak and dagger trying to capture drugs, drug lords and human smuggling. Quite a life of intrigue..

August 28, 2020

Jason Piccolo

Jason Piccolo was completely shocked after following his friend Chris’ advice to become a U.S. Border Patrol agent: “It is absolutely ‘cat and mouse.’ That is the southern border, and I always tell people, it is like the wild west. It really is. It is so lawless. It is bloody, and by bloody I mean, when I first started out as a border patrol agent in January 2000, so over 20 years ago now. So, when I first got to the border, I was like, ‘this is really the United States?’ 

On this episode of Finding Your Summit Podcast, we talk with Jason Piccolo, Former U.S. Border Patrol Agent, Author, and Host of The Protectors, explains the danger that was involved when he started working for the U.S. Border Patrol: “It felt like I was in some weird quasi-movie, where these banditos are down in valleys raping and pillaging people that are trying to cross the border. When you figure out that it is a reality and you have to live this day in and day out, you are kind of like, ‘wow, what did I get myself into? I’m a kid from New Jersey. The closest I got to California was spring break once.”

What You Will Learn:

What is the path that someone would have to take if they wanted to become a border agent? “It is a really weird time for me right now because I got into because of my best friend that I had met. I was in the Army in the 1990s, you know? My goal was always to be a soldier and then become a police officer. Then one of my best friends became a border patrol agent when I was living out in Texas. I was like,m what is a border patrol agent? He said, ‘you should apply bro, it is a federal job.’ They will take your military (experience) and it will all tack onto your retirement. So the years I did in service will go into my retirement. So I figured, hey, I could do 20 years in law enforcement, tack on my military time, and boom, great for retirement.”

Jason shares what it was like having a mentor like his friend Chris. “I get out of the Army, I go to college, get a degree in law enforcement. I get stationed at the same exact station as my best friend Chris and he taught me the ropes and that is how I got into it. But the reason why I bring up Chris is because Chris died in the line of duty two years ago, after he had his 20+ years in. Kind of having that mentor and having someone who did that job and got me into law enforcement and actually know that you could die in the line of duty is crazy man.” 

What is the border patrol up against at the San Diego/Mexico border? “There is so much narcotics and illicit goods coming through that Southwest border that you can’t quite possibly measure it. Because look at it this way, each week we would seize, just in San Diego alone, my 20,000-30,00 pounds of weed, marijuna, and if we were lucky we were getting 200-300 kilos of cocaine. If we were lucky, and that is throughout the whole San Diego sector. Now think about that. That is one of the busiest ports in the United States, one of the busiest ports in the world” 

Are smugglers just sending as much narcotics over the border as they can, knowing that it won’t all make it across? “K9s hit on odor. Marijuana has a ton of odor to it. So, if you only have a finite amount of K9s at the border and a cartel organization just flushes a whole bunch of cars with 40 or 60 kilos marijuana in them, and you end up putting your resources to seize them and investigate them. What is coming behind those cars? So your first wave is going to be marijuana. They know they are going to be picked up.Those people are going to go to jail. The cars behind them have anywhere between 8-20 kilos of cocaine in them and those are the ones that it is really tough to find out unless you have human sources.”                                                                                                                                              

What has blown Jason Piccolo’s mind about drug smuggling. “I have been through rudimentary tunnels and I actually had to crawl through them myself to document it. One funny story was they wanted someone to crawl through one of these tunnels to the other side and take pictures. Now we were working with the Mexican federales and I ended up crawling through and I popped up on the other side and there were all of these federales there, and I’m like, ‘Hold up!’ I held my camera up and they started taking pictures of me in the tunnel.” 

El Paso vs. San Diego

Jason Piccolo explains why it is more violent at the El Paso/Mexican border than the San Diego/Mexico border? “My theory is that you have something like a Warez in order to keep control, in order to keep those traffic portals open. Anything that comes over the border is a commodity, whether that is a human, narcotics, whether it is money going back down something. Because that is the other thing that you have to look at too, all these proceeds don’t go through legitimate channels. You have actual paper cash that is flowing back down south.”

Narcotics and Human Trafficking

During this episode of Finding Your Summit Podcast, Jason Piccolo talks about moving on from being an agent and into becoming an author. “I love finding out who is involved. I love putting together the puzzle, and I love going after complex organizations, Now a days, I like the human trafficking. Granted, I am outside of HomeLand Security now. But my writing, I like to shine a light on human trafficking, because it is a human we are dealing with now. But working, adventure, adrenaline is definitely in narcotics.”                                                                                                                                                           

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