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Marion, Volusia sheriffs join GOP congresswoman on trip to Mexican border

The Volusia and Marion County sheriffs are among several joining U.S Rep. Kat Cammack on a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border this week.

U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack. Photo: U.S. House

The group which also includes the Ocala police chief and sheriffs from Putnam, Bradford and Flagler counties, left Wednesday morning and will return Friday.

Cammack — a Republican who represents part of Marion County, including Ocala — organized the trip to South Texas.

Her purpose is to show people the “heartwrenching tragedy of our porous borders.”

Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood has a couple of reasons for going, his office says.

First, Texas has asked other states to send law enforcement. And in case Volusia County gets a request, Chitwood wants to see what the deputies would be doing.

Second, he is concerned about illegal drugs from Mexico.

As for the cost, his hotel and airfare add up to $800.

Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken reports the same cost in taxpayer dollars.

Balken is especially concerned about heroin and fentanyl coming across the border and making its way to Ocala. Every U.S. city, he says, “has become a border town.”

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has few details but says Sheriff Billy Woods joined Cammack to gather information.


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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.