"This is the Coronado National Forest," he said, indicating a stretch of land. "You have a few ranches in the area, open cattle range," with steep mountains to the east and not much else.
But 10 to 15 times a year, the department is called to retrieve human remains.
"And that's only reported cases. Who knows how many are out there that no one has found," Rodriguez added. "It's unfortunate." About 20 percent of the time, he estimates, identification is never made. "Most of the people we've found as deceased are probably Mexican."
Rodriguez doesn't think a barrier will keep people from crossing the border.
"They continue coming and they climb the fence like it was nothing," he said. "We don't have the manpower to stop everything."
Meanwhile, the urge to sneak across remains strong in Mexico and in much of Central America, with scores of migrants coming up through the south of Mexico to make their way to the U.S.
"Nowadays it's really kids under 20 who are taking over the business," Pancho observed, just as he joined the trade at the age of 17. "They're all looking for the easiest way to get a gig because it's very difficult to make a living here."