EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The head of the U.S. Border Patrol in Texas’ Big Bend Sector is moving a few miles downriver. Matthew J. Hudak will become chief patrol agent in the Laredo Sector after occupying a similar post in the Big Bend Sector for more than a year, the U.S. Border Patrol announced on Tuesday.
Hudak will be taking over for Chief Patrol Agent Felix Chavez, who will be retiring, according to Laredo news reports. Laredo is known as one of the busiest commercial ports of entry in the U.S.-Mexico border and sits across Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, which at the start of January was all but shut down due to drug cartel violence.
While in Big Bend, Hudak has been responsible for keeping watch over a 517-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border. The sector starts in Sierra Blanca, Texas, known for its commercial and passenger vehicle checkpoint along Interstate 10, and ends in Sanderson, Texas, founded in 1882 as a refueling and crew change station for Southern Pacific Railroad.
Hudak was appointed to lead the Big Bend Sector in March of 2019, at the height of last year’s Central American migrant crisis. Like most other Border Patrol sector chiefs, he had to manage an overflow of migrants at outposts on the Mexican border. The sector’s station in Presidio, Texas, for instance, saw its largest-ever increase in detentions in May of 2019. Presidio is across the border from Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico.
During the surge as well as the COVID-19 crisis, Hudak “further built upon the partnerships with local, county, and state stakeholders as well as establishing new relationships with many local community members,” the Border Patrol said in a news release.
The sector is also characterized by constant apprehensions and rescues of migrants traversing vast, empty expanses that include mountainous areas.
“I would like to thank our neighbors throughout the Big Bend region for their continued support of our agents and the work they do to keep our communities and country safe,” Hudak said. He added, “It has been an honor to serve alongside our agents and staff. Every day they have impressed me with their dedication and vigilance.”
Hudak joined the Border Patrol in 1997 serving in Harlingen, Texas. His 23-year career with the agency has taken him to various points in Texas, including Laredo, where he was acting deputy chief patrol agent. He has also served in Douglas, Ariz., and Washington, D.C., among others. He has also been acting deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security Joint Task Force Investigations.
He will assume command of the Laredo Sector on July 5.