About the Guests
Sarah Cortez has been in law enforcement since 1993. She began her career as a full-time
police officer with the University of Houston Police Department and then went to work at Harris County, Precinct Four.
She is currently a reserve deputy with the Harris County, Precinct four. During her career she has worked as a patrol
officer, field training officer and sexual assault investigator. After her writing career began, she continued
in law enforcement as a reserve police officer and been assigned as a juvenile bailiff, worked undercover during alcohol stings
and assisted with the service civil processes. Sarah Cortez is the author of How to Undress
a Cop: Poems and Cold Blue Steel, and a coauthor/editor of Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery and You Don't Have a Clue:
Latino Mystery Stories for Teens and an editor/contributor to Our Lost Border: Life amid the Narco-Violence.
Hipolito Acosta “served with the United States Navy and then began a distinguished
career as a U.S. Border Patrol Agent in Marfa, Texas. During the next 29 years he served in a variety of
positions ranging from a criminal investigator in the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to Officer in Charge of
the U.S. Department of Justice in domestic and foreign postings. As the District Director assigned to the U.S. Embassy in
Mexico City, Hipolito Acosta was responsible for overseeing all law enforcement operations of the agency throughout Latin
America and the Caribbean, a jurisdiction covering forty-two countries.
Most recently, Hipolito Acosta served as District Director of the Office of U.S. Citizenship
& Immigration Services under the Department of Homeland Security in Houston, Texas. During this time,
Hipolito Acosta managed the reorganization of hundreds of employees of the legacy I&NS office into the new model established
under the Department of Homeland Security.
Hipolito Acosta is the recipient of many awards, including the Newton-Azrak Award, the
highest recognition given by the U.S. Border Patrol for bravery and heroism in the line of duty as well as recognition from
the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals, Secret Service, the Department of Justice, U.S. Customs and other federal
agencies. He was responsible for infiltrating and breaking up some of the most notorious alien smuggling,
drug trafficking and counterfeit document vending operations encountered by the U.S. government during his career.
His success in these endeavors have been featured on ABC News Nightline with Ted Koppel,
Fox News Latino, 48 Hours, Univision Television and other national news programs.” Hipolito Acosta
is the author of The Shadow Catcher: A U.S. Agent Infiltrates Mexico's Deadly Crime Cartels.
According to the book description of Our Lost Border: Essays on Life amid
the Narco-Violence, “In his essay lamenting the loss of the Tijuana of his youth, Richard Mora remembers
festive nights on Avenida Revolucion, where tourists mingled with locals at bars. Now, the tourists are gone, as are the indigenous
street vendors who sold handmade crafts along the wide boulevard. Instead, the streets are filled with army checkpoints and
soldiers armed with assault rifles. "Multiple truths abound and so I am left to craft my own truth from the media accounts
the hooded soldiers, like the little green plastic soldiers I once kept in a cardboard shoe box, are heroes or villains, victims
or victimizers, depending on the hour of the day," he writes.
With a foreword by renowned novelist Rolando Hinojosa-Smith and comprised of personal
essays about the impact of drug violence on life and culture along the U.S.-Mexico border, the anthology combines writings
by residents of both countries. Mexican authors Liliana Blum, Lolita Bosch, and Diego Osorno write riveting, first-hand accounts
about the clashes between the drug cartels and citizens' attempts to resist the criminals. American authors, including José
Antonio Rodríguez and José Skinner, focus on how the corruption and bloodshed have affected the bi-national
and bi-cultural existence of families and individuals. Celestino Fernandez and Jessie K. Finch write about the violence's
effect on musicians, and Maria Cristina Cigarroa shares her poignant memories of life in her grandparents' home now abandoned
in Nuevo Laredo.
In their introduction, editors Sarah Cortez and Sergio Troncoso write that this anthology
was "born of a vision to bear witness to how this violence has shattered life on the border, to remember the past, but
also to point to the possibilities of a better future." The personal essays in this collection humanize the news stories
and are a must-read for anyone interested in how this fragile way of life between two cultures, languages and countries has
been undermined by the drug trade and the crime that accompanies it, with ramifications far beyond the border region.