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Recently, while doing stream surveys in the East County, we came upon a roadblock set up on Sunrise Highway, near Mt. Laguna. Homeland Security (Border Patrol) agents scrutinized all vehicles coming through.

We were stopped next to a white pickup truck with two agents seated on the tailgate, rifles in hand. The agents wore bulletproof vests and military-style clothing.

The agents warned us of smuggling activity in the area we were about to survey; they came across as seriously concerned for our safety. We were warned about gun, drug, and human smuggling. The agents advised us to approach and unlock access gates with extreme care, as they might be "booby trapped" with hypodermic needles or other dangerous devices.

Our hiking trails show signs of a massive amount of foot traffic and trash and empty water bottles litter the ground. Hikers and other recreational users of our state parks now seem to be on the front line of border enforcement.

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