Tim Foley recently returned from a 10-day patrol mission through the cactus and bush-covered borderland that stretches between Mexico and the U.S. states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. He’s one of many Americans concerned about a porous border that sits just 400 yards from his home, but also among the few who has taken matters into his own hands.

The 56-year-old former construction worker nicknamed “Nailer” has led the Arizona Border Recon, a group of heavily armed volunteers, on expeditions to intercept undocumented border crossers and stem the flow of drugs coming through the desert for the last five years. His group, which is not sanctioned by the government, has detained hundreds of undocumented immigrants and narco-scouts and reported them to authorities, he said. Increasingly, however, he’s been concerned by the prospect of militants with the Islamic State group exploiting a weak border.

“You’ve got a war on drugs, and a war on terror, and they’re coming together — right here, right now,” said Foley, who calls Arizona home.

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