Nightly News | November 29, 2011
>>> back now with the latest in our series of reports, the war next door, about the escalating fight against mexican drug traffickers who have crossed deeply into this country along our southern border. tonight we have a rare look from the sky over an area that's seen record drug seizures this year with some of the americans who fly day and night spotting smugglers and protecting u.s. law enforcement down on the ground. our report tonight from nbc's mark potter .
>> reporter: near the mexican border , another day of air patrol, for the texas department of public safety .
>> try looking on this side.
>> reporter: on a day we fly with them along the rio grande , pilots quickly spot a team of mexican traffickers, with a load of drugs bound for the united states .
>> there's going to be about six or seven guys. at least five bundles, and a blue raft.
>> reporter: veteran officers here who spend every day in the sky, say drug trafficking in this area has increased dramatically in just the last couple of years, and they see no end in sight. what they do see is vehicles loaded with mexican drugs racing dangerously through busy streets on the u.s. side of the border.
>> near two school buses , southbound.
>> i've seen the level of aggression increase exponentially. the sheer volume of narcotics that's being pumped into our border has risen.
>> reporter: what texas pilots also see are mexican tar tell smuggling vehicles running from u.s. law enforcement , then driving into the rio grafrnde to avoid capture.
>> we have a splashdown.
>> reporter: in south texas , it happens routinely.
>> we have a bunch of people on the u.s. side.
>> reporter: teams of mexican smugglers come brazenly to the riverbank to retrieve their drug packages, and then move quickly to the mexican side where agents cannot arrest them.
>> we've had a lot of guns on the river. obviously, the threat is there.
>> reporter: pilots say that threat to officers and the public is rising.
>> i think it's important that our citizens not only in the state, but in the united states are aware of how porous our border is, and what the threats are and could be.
>> reporter: threats that officers in the sky see every day. mark potter , nbc news edinburgh, texas.