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Texas Matters: The History Of Smuggling On The Texas-Mexico Border

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Photograph of U.S. Border Patrol Agents with Mexican men who were caught smuggling sotol across the border. Sotol is a liquor similar to tequila.

The historic corrido "Los Tequileros" is a ballad that tells the true story of tequila smugglers on the Texas Mexico border during Prohibition and a deadly gun fight with the Texas Rangers.

The song is a classic on the border and reminds listeners that smuggling contraband in South Texas isn’t a new development – it’s as old as the border itself. Smuggling on the border is a multi-generation phenomena and part of the culture on the frontier which is a reality that lawmakers in Washington D.C. and Mexico City should realize.

Sam Houston State University History professor George Diaz writes about it in his new book – Border Contraband – a history of smuggling across the Rio Grande. Its published by the University of Texas Press.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi