Nightly News | October 11, 2012
>>> we're back now with an nbc investigation, part of our ongoing series of reports on the violent drug war next door, along the mexican border . the recent friendly-fire death of a u.s. border patrol agent in arizona has once again put security in the spotlight, and some are now asking whether the obama administration is trying to downplay what is really happening. our report tonight from nbc 's mark potter .
>> reporter: arizona rancher, john lad, whose land includes eight miles of mexican border fence, says that while fewer cross his fence now he is overrun by the drug runners.
>> they have no regard for laws or anything, and if they want to cause us harm they're going to do it.
>> reporter: this video shot by a hidden camera on his land shows a group of smugglers carrying bales of marijuana, which lad says he sees regularly, also they cut holes like this in the fence, and they drive trucking through it, headed with drugs, he believes, headed for the ranchland.
>> the problem is, our government at the highest level doesn't want to admit what the reality is, is that we have been invaded.
>> reporter: in surrounding cochise county , arizona , they fear the drug smugglers , especially after the deaths of two agents.
>> we have chunks of this country that we've given control to, to armed thugs.
>> reporter: this retired official says that washington has ordered fuel supervisors to downplay the threats in rural counties.
>> they don't want this story to be told because it is not convenient for a political election for this story to be told.
>> reporter: this general, a former u.s. drug czar , and analyst, agrees.
>> the border is increasingly lawless in rural areas , and the customs and border protection people, the senior people are being told not to support that message.
>> reporter: but a flat denial of that comes from the u.s. customs and border protection official, david aguilar .
>> there is no way we would downplay the seriousness of protecting the borders.
>> reporter: in recent years, they have substantially increased the border surveillance technology .
>> overall, the border is much saver today than it has ever been.
>> reporter: he says with the area safe, they're working to shore up the rural areas .
>> are there pockets that we should look at and continue to look at? absolutely, are we going to give up? absolutely not.
>> reporter: concerns over border security , what has been done and what is still needed. mark potter , nbc news, bisbee, arizona .