USBP History, Part 1
In the beginning, “Mounted Inspectors” were assigned
by the Commissioner-General of Immigration to patrol our southern
border. It was 1904 and Teddy Roosevelt was president of the United
States. The Panama Canal had yet to be built. Only seventy five
“Mounted Inspectors” were hired to guard all of America's borders.
And these men had to provide their own horses. They were
given little supervision or orders — except an order that there
would be no "swashbuckling".
Two events would forever change the mission and
number of men guarding our borders: Pancho Villa and to a much
lesser degree, Prohibition.
A civil war raged in Mexico from 1910 to 1920.
More than a million Mexicans (about ten percent of the population)
were killed during that civil war. Most of these deaths
were at the hands of other peasants with farm implements, not
What few know is that Wells Fargo Express played
a major role in funding the marauding bandits who gave their bands
such names as "Army Division of the North". Pancho Villa had a
habit of robbing trains. One of the trains he robbed had over
a ton of silver bars that belonged to a Wells Fargo subsidiary.
The problem for Pancho Villa was that stealing a ton of silver
bars was one thing, spending them was quite another. The Wells
Fargo's subsidiary, Compańia Mexicana de Express, S.A., worked
a deal and traded $50,000 worth of Mexican pesos for the silver
bars. Wells Fargo refused to publicly acknowledge this payment
because it did not want to be accused of "aiding and abetting"
which was -- even then -- a serious federal crime. The reference
pages are here:
In early 1915, and after more than five years of
brutal fighting, Francisco "Pancho" Villa paused his banditry
and began rebuilding his forces. With 26 wives, Villa had
a spirit seldom seen today. Villa wrote a letter to Emilio
Zapata — another bandit pillaging Mexico at that time — and said: