Chapter 4 Summary
“Three guides led the Wellton 26 into the desert: one will forever remain anonymous, one is only known by a code name, and one became infamous in the borderland.” Guides (guìas) are generally paid a hundred dollars per person to lead people across the border and never reveal their names so they cannot be identified.
The guides for the Wellton 26 did very few things right; one of them is that they did not give their walkers cocaine or other drugs to help them walk faster and longer.
The leader is a nineteen-year-old Guadalajaran boy. If his clients had not died, he would have earned three hundred dollars for this job. It is the largest group he has ever guided. He wears his hair in an easily identifiable “punk rock style” that both the survivors and the Border Patrol agents distinctly remember.
The Unites States agents refer to him as “Rooster Boy,” and he has been deported at least once. He lives with his girlfriend in a run-down house in Sonoita with his girlfriend, Celia Lomas Mendez. They sleep on a mattress on the floor. He and his friends have nothing, not even modern plumbing, although they all have pagers and cell phones.
“Every week, walkers are left to die by their guias.” It is a standard practice by Coyotes. Border Patrol agents as well as the Mexican consular corps have plenty of horrific tales to tell. One driver’s van breaks down thirty miles from the interstate. He tells his passengers it is an easy five-mile walk and sends them off before setting the van on fire. He says he will be back to get them with another van, but of course he never returns. Many walkers in that group die, including a nineteen-year-old pregnant woman.
In 2002, a pollero driver has twenty-three passengers in his van when he drives the wrong way on the interstate; he...
(The entire section is 480 words.)