HIDALGO, Texas—This seemingly tranquil stretch of the Rio Grande is, in reality, controlled by drug cartels that exploit it for illicit activities.

The Daily Signal visited a water treatment facility nestled on the river’s edge in Hidalgo to speak with local stakeholders as well as the Border Patrol. We asked how they’ve been affected by the surge in illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and the increase in organized crime accompanying it.

Here’s what we found.

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