EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Every Sunday trucks pulling ATVs start pouring into Red Sands in Far East El Paso. According to the Texas Rescue Patrol, Red Sands has been an El Paso Sunday tradition for years. However, recently, the crowd has changed from off-road enthusiasts and families to more of a party crowd.
“It’s been more of a tailgating party type of atmosphere where they have had DJ’s actually come out here and cater to a large group of people. So when you get a lot of youngsters out there, that are partying and drinking and things like that, well you know, fights ensue,” said Jamil Moutran with the Texas Rescue Patrol.
The Texas Rescue Patrol capturing videos of fights that have broken out after the sun goes down.
Moutran also said drinking and riding ATVs is another problem at Red Sands in addition to party-goers standing in the desert, making it a dangerous situation.
“Most recently, here over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had some serious injuries and even a fatality, unfortunately. We want to ensure that people are out there using common sense, not drinking and riding, using the proper safety equipment, and spreading out,” said Moutran.
Regular Red Sands goers said they have noticed the change in the crowd.
“They just come out to party, get out and have a good time,” said Ruben Robledo who comes to Red Sands regularly to off-road with his family.
At one of the entrances, a food truck can even be seen. The owner of the food truck telling KTSM he hopes to help people ‘sober up.’
“People want to go out, they’re tired of being in quarantine so this is their only outlet to be free. Unfortunately, I mean I think they overdo it sometimes with the drinking and driving fast and stuff like that,” said Miguel Gomez the Owner of Extreme Pizza.
While the Texas Rescue Patrol responds to accidents and emergencies at red sands, they do not patrol the area. Red Sands is under the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department. Ryan Urrutia the Commander of the Patrol Division for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department said Red Sands is difficult to patrol with a lot of areas that are inaccessible.
“We’ve got 4-wheel drive vehicles but it makes a challenge trying to get into some of those remote areas. The sizes of the crowds are also a problem,” said Ryan Urrutia the Commander of the Patrol Division for the El Paso County Sheriffs Department.
Urrutia said it takes a lot of Sheriff’s resources to keep those crowds under control and patrol the area. It is resources that Urrutia says are also needed in the community. Officials say they want to remind people that Red Sands is not a bar and they need to look out for their own safety.
“Bars have you know security, they have the door staff and there’s a level of safety when you are in those places. Here, that’s not there,” said Urrutia. There’s no bouncer, there’s no doorman watching, no security there’s no off duty officers working outside and you don’t have those things. There are inherent risks when you’re going out there because there’s no one to maintain some sort of security in those groups.”