Last year a new Superintendent of the Monument lobbied for more security, more patrols and improved signage and the Monument has now reopened all the territory that was previously closed. They have an active relationship with the Border Patrol which we speak to and see daily in the park along the roads and trails.
Some of the new safety measures include signage and brochures that give folks tips on remaining safe in the Monument, cameras along trails and on high towers, Border Patrol agents with surveillance gear at strategic points such as water sources, a 30 MILE-long 12 foot high fence that separates the Monument from Mexico, a 40 MILE-long vehicle barrier fence (shown above with posts of varying heights), nightly drones patrolling near the border, planes and helicopters (just saw one this morning) and a traffic checkpoint on the main road into the Monument.
This is an all-out battle to stem the flow of people and drugs across the border. Border Patrol has eyes everywhere in the air and on the ground and here's what it netted them in 2013: 4,000 arrests and 100,000 pounds of marijuana, plus a bunch of other stuff that they haven't mentioned. It makes one wonder what they didn't catch....
Having said that it is common to find black, one gallon water bottles along trails. Why black? The people crossing believe they are harder to see by Border Patrol, but we've been told that no matter what color the bottles are, the people and bottles are very visible, even at night. I found several bottles on a trail along with a rock cairn which may have pointed to a water cache.