The Border Patrol's Tucson sector has a new permanent chief. Southern Arizona native Manuel Padilla Jr. has been in the position as acting director since October, and has now been appointed to the position permanently.

PHOTO: U.S. Border Patrol
Manuel Padilla, Jr.

He replaces former Tucson sector chief Richard A. Barlow, who moved to Border Patrol's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Padilla started with the agency in Texas in 1986 and came to the Tucson sector in 2011, said spokesman Agent Brent Cagen.

"The initial position was actually in the Big Bend sector, known now as the Marfa sector in Texas," Cagen said. That includes parts of Texas and Oklahoma, and is the largest in area along the Southwestern border, according to the Border Patrol's website.

He worked with Central American police departments and served as chief patrol agent in the Border Patrol's New Orleans sector.

The Tucson sector stretches 262 miles from the Yuma County line to the New Mexico state line.

"The chief is basically responsible for oversight of the entire Tucson sector. The Tucson sector is made up of eight stations, more than 4,500 employees," Cagen said.

Padilla said in a statement that he is honored to take the Tucson sector top job.

“The Tucson sector remains committed to serving the communities and its stakeholders within our area. Our agents are dedicated to maintaining a safe and secure border environment,” he said.