Archive for the 'Border War' Category



Closure Of Border Patrol Stations In Four States

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 8 months ago

From Fox News:

The Obama administration is moving to shut down nine Border Patrol stations across four states, triggering a backlash from local law enforcement, members of Congress and Border Patrol agents themselves.

Critics of the move warn the closures will undercut efforts to intercept drug and human traffickers in well-traveled corridors north of the U.S.-Mexico border. Though the affected stations are scattered throughout northern and central Texas, and three other states, the coverage areas still see plenty of illegal immigrant activity — one soon-to-be-shuttered station in Amarillo, Texas, is right in the middle of the I-40 corridor; another in Riverside, Calif., is outside Los Angeles.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it’s closing the stations in order to reassign agents to high-priority areas closer to the border.

“These deactivations are consistent with the strategic goal of securing America’s borders, and our objective of increasing and sustaining the certainty of arrest of those trying to enter our country illegally,” CBP spokesman Bill Brooks said in a statement. “By redeploying and reallocating resources at or near the border, CBP will maximize the effectiveness of its enforcement mandate and align our investments with our mission.”

The last paragraph has all of the right keywords, but I told you what this is really all about Changes in Mexican Border Strategy.  This aligns personnel with the objective of increasing transcontinental and cross-border traffic.  It’s all part of a larger nation and state level plan to make the border less significant, make it easier to cross, and raise cross-border shipments of goods and products, especially with Mexican truck drivers.

Mark Krikorian passed on a revelation that alone should have cost this administration the upcoming election.  In the initial fight with drug cartels fighters, Brian Terry and his team shot beanbags rather than bullets.  But the situation is really even worse than that.

First it was confirmed that Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and his elite tactical unit initially fired bean bags at heavily armed dope smugglers. Now comes news that a Border Patrol training video is instructing agents that, when confronted by a shooter. they should “run away” and “hide”. Only as a last resort, if they are cornered, should agents get “aggressive” and “throw things” at the perps. Throw things? Really; here’s the site of the largest local of the Border Patrol agents’ union describing the training they’re required to undergo. The site reports that the suits in D.C. have “offered to revise and clarify this training” — sure, only because it was exposed. It’s debatable whether Bill Clinton actually loathed the military, but this administration certainly loathes the Border Patrol.

This is sad but not surprising.  It dovetails with the overall administration policy for the border, that is, the last three administrations.  As I have observed, “The National Guard is bored, has little to do other than watch, isn’t under arming orders, and has sagging morale, while the administration is using the lack of security on the border as an opportunity to make political hay on so-called “assault weapons,” and study groups are more concerned about militarization of the border than they are border security.  Don’t look for a secure Southern border in this generation unless something catastrophic happens to the U.S. homeland.  By then it will be too late.”

Securing the border would look so different than what we currently have that it would be indiscernible to the average American, and we aren’t prepared to implement what’s necessary.  The border would have to come before trade and trucking deliveries, all traffic would be fully searched, the U.S. Marines would have to patrol the border, under arming orders, outside of the constraints of the Supreme Court ruling in Tennessee versus Garner, men with weapons would be shot by Scout snipers before they ever became a threat, and e-verify would be implemented on a national level.

Again, don’t look for this unless something catastrophic occurs, such as Hezbollah fighters crossing the border and perpetrating acts of terror.  Right now, trade and cheap labor on the backs of the American taxpayer are far too important to prevent “alignment of our assets with our strategic goals.”  Expect more border station closings and a more diminished Border Patrol.

Changes In Mexican Border Strategy

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

From Tucson Sentinel:

EL PASO – Border Patrol agents might soon switch from sitting in trucks along the U.S.-Mexico border to helping traffic move more efficiently on the international bridges in this Texas city.

This scenario comes from the idea of Border Patrol agents collaborating with other government agencies.

Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher in May announced a strategy to fight transnational crimes and drugs, support Homeland Security efforts and aid U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

One possible outcome might be reassigning Border Patrol agents to Customs border crossings to reduce the long wait.

“Currently Customs and Border Protection needs all of the staffing help that they can get – in particular at our ports of entry,” said El Paso City Representative Steve Ortega in an email.

As Border Patrol agents apprehend fewer undocumented people each year, its mission as an agency with resources focused on deterring and apprehending undocumented crossers is being reconsidered.

Currently, Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel in the El Paso area of responsibility are apprehending and removing more undocumented people through the Secure Communities Program, employment raids and by catching crossers at major ports of entry than the Border Patrol, according to Border Patrol and ICE enforcement and removal figures.

That is why the Border Patrol 2012-2016 Strategic Plan calls for redirecting its agents’ efforts toward relieving congestion and waits at the ports of entry, as well as combating terrorism and transnational crime.

By the close of fiscal year 2011, the typical Border Patrol agent working from Texas to California was apprehending 17.7 undocumented people a year, from a high of 352.2 “illegal alien apprehensions” per agent in 1993. In comparison, the numbers fell even more for agents in the El Paso Sector, from a high of 470 apprehensions per agent in 1993 to only 3.8 apprehensions by 2011.

More agents at entry checkpoints would be a relief for some people of El Paso.

“People would cross to go to work, or to go to restaurants and enjoy the nightlife.  They would cross to see family and they would cross to engage in trade. It used to be pretty easy to cross and it’s gotten more and more difficult,” said border journalist Louie Gilot.

Gilot is the publisher of Newspaper Tree, a nonprofit online news organization in El Paso. Previously, she covered immigration issues as a reporter for the El Paso Times.

For those who cross the border back and forth as part of their daily lives, long waits are too time consuming.

“There used to be no lines when you were going on foot and now there is. I have spent an hour on foot,” Gilot said.

Analysis & Commentary

The reason for the decrease in border apprehensions is more complex than simply painting a picture of success.  The story being peddled here is that border security is improved to the point that the border patrol can now focus on making cross border traffic even easier and more efficient.  The truth is that illegal border traffic is becoming more knowledgeable and efficient, the border patrol (and DHS) is under-reporting “got-aways,” and “soft metrics” are making things look better than they really are.

The U.S. has operational control over only 13% of the Mexican border, regardless of the stories peddled in the media.  This change in strategy has nothing whatsoever to do with being able to focus on efficiency because of improved border security.  It is part of a larger push for more trans-border traffic which has been in the works for some time.

U.S. and Mexican officials are meeting today as a first effort to decide where new border crossings and connecting roads may be necessary, reports HispanicBusiness.com.

At the first Border Master Plan meeting today at the University of Texas at El Paso, representatives will begin identifying future projects, along with project priorities and timelines.

Objectives will also include increasing understanding of the planning process and designing a process that ensures participation from everyone involved in the port of entry projects.

“All sorts of transportation projects and issues will be discussed,” Bob Kaufman, a spokesman for Texas Department of Transportation, told the website. “It will be a binational, multi-government agency meeting. There will be federal, state and local officials that have responsibilities for transportation. The end result will be a list of transportation infrastructure priorities.”

Representatives from the Metropolitan Planning Organization, City of El Paso, the Texas Department of Transportation and the New Mexico Department of Transportation will also be present at the meeting, in addition to U.S. and Mexican federal officials.

“The Border Master Plan is part of a national initiative,” said Roy Gilyard, El Paso’s MPO executive director. “California has a plan and so does Laredo.”

Just to make sure that you understand what is happening, read that last paragraph again: “The Border Master Plan is part of a national initiative.”  Nothing is happenstance or happening by accident.  It’s all part of a larger plan to make the border less significant, make it easier to cross, and raise cross-border shipments of goods and products, especially with Mexican truck drivers.

But take note that ignoring the border (or pretending that is is secure) has its consequences.  The Mexican cartels have the capability to seize control over large geographical areas with great ease.  There is the influence of cartel corruption in New Mexico, and Mexican drug gangs control parts of Arizona.  The cartels have become adept at extreme brutality, but these organizations [previously] “settled matters with a bullet in the head. Not anymore … Now there is a psychopathology at work. Some of these people obviously enjoy this, and they are teaching their surrogates, teenagers, to enjoy it.”

Due to the facts that there are no arming orders for the National Guard troops on the border (causing the troops simply to perform clerical duties), misapplication of the rule of law to these troops (i.e., Supreme Court decision in Tennessee versus Garner), and confusion about the Posse Comitatus Act (i.e., the belief that it applies to border security caused by foreign threats), the law enforcement battle (fought with law enforcement officers, and not enough of them doing the right things) has been substantially lost at the border.

This criminal insurgency crosses the border with as much ease as illegal immigrants, and the lack of border security is as much of a cause of the diminution of U.S. sovereignty and security as it is the increased cost of insurance, health care and other costs associated with illegal immigration and the influx of low skilled workers.

The new strategy at the border isn’t without planning and forethought.  It just isn’t the planning and forethought that one might have guessed would attend issues of national security.  It has more to do with trade, facilitating transcontinental traffic, and enforcing the idea that the United States is an idea rather than a place.

Prior:

Border Lies And What National Guard Troops Do

The Border Is Not Secure

Stability Operations In Mexico

The Texas Border Coalition On Border Security

Losing The Border War

Threat Assessment: Transnational Jihadists and Mexican Cartels

Legalization Of Drugs Won’t End The Border War

Border War

Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment

Stability Operations In Mexico

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 2 months ago

The Mexican military has retooled, adapted and retrained to conduct stability operations within its own borders.

Woe is the diplomat who uses the wrong word, no matter its veracity. Over the past year, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Undersecretary of the Army Joseph Westphal separately have used the word “insurgency” to describe the Mexican government’s fight against indigenous criminal cartels.

Maybe it comes too easily after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Mexico the word stirs cultural memories of heroic freedom fighters-not exactly the message that the government wants to convey-and drew cries of outrage from Mexico City, resulting in diplomatic retractions from U.S. officials.

I have called the cartel and gang violence both warlord-ism and an insurgency.  But of course, I have no romantic notion of insurgents as freedom fighters.  The insurgents in South America throughout the last quarter of the last century were mainly communists.  They weren’t fighting for anyone’s freedom from anything.  But since South and Central America is steeped in Marxist thinking, and thus conflates freedom with revolution, Mexico City became outraged.  Mexico City might prefer to think of them only as criminals, but at least they seem to be reacting to the problem with the correct tools.

Still, insurgency or no, one thing is for certain: The cartels present a serious, multifaceted, and increasingly well-trained and well-armed challenge to the state, but Mexico is reconfiguring its armed forces to meet the challenge.

Frequently outgunned and sometimes corrupted, entire police forces have been sacked and their duties assumed by the Mexican military in recent years. In December 2011, the entire Veracruz police force was fired, with the 800 officers replaced by 2,400 marines. The military has taken over policing in other places, such as Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Leon and the border state of Tamaulipas.

At the same time, according to analysts, there also has been a real shift in the training and equipping of the military to meet the cartel threat. The army’s training doctrine has been realigned to address stability operations, doing things like setting up checkpoints and working to implement law and order in towns that have been overrun by violence. “They’re conducting stability operations in areas the size of Belgium,” says Inigo Guevara, a consultant on Mexican security and defense issues based in Washington. In one effort to rebuild its presence in the north, the armed service recently spent about $100 million to buy battalion- and company-sized “mobile headquarters” that can be easily constructed and taken down, in preparation for longer-term domestic stability operations, he adds.

Yet, these operations occur against an increasingly sophisticated enemy, with heavily armored “infantry” carriers dubbed “Los Monstruos” (the Monsters) by the Mexican media, as well as more professional infantry tactics refined at training camps in the barren spaces of northern Guatemala and southern Mexico. Cartel gangs are armed with everything from assault rifles and crew-served weapons, to military-grade explosives, .50 caliber rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, as well as using insurgent weapons like car bombs.

As a result, the army and marines have started to look for alternatives to the older, thin-skinned Humvees-Mexico has produced several thousand in local plants in a deal with AM General-and toward a variety of new armored vehicles like Oshkosh’s SandCat, of which 250 have been delivered so far. The navy also has conducted operational testing of Renault’s Sherpa light scout vehicle, most notably in operations in Veracruz late last year, but has not made a final decision on whether to buy it.

This is reminiscent of the need for MRAPs due to the IED threat in Iraq.  Note that Mexico isn’t relying on the police to curb the violence.  Mexico City has enlisted the assistance of the military in a big way, and the military is purchasing weapons and equipment needed for fighting large scale, violent, and highly effective insurgencies.

Aviation Week continues into the weeds concerning equipment, organization of the Mexican military, and various problems they sustain due to inefficiency in structure.  But continuing with this theme of warlord-ism, and insurgents, if we’ve learned nothing else from the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, we understand the need to control the borders, even if we didn’t effect that control.

The Arizona legislature might just act in lieu of the federal government to control their own section of the border.

The Republican-led Arizona Legislature is considering a bill to fund an armed, volunteer state militia to respond to emergencies and patrol the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gov. Jan Brewer could deploy the volunteers using $1.9 million included in the bill making its way through the state Senate. The militia itself was created by a law signed by Brewer last year.

The Arizona Republic reports the bill has a hearing Tuesday before the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senate Bill 1083 has already passed one committee along mostly party lines. It would provide $500,000 in one-time funding and $1.4 million a year from a gang task force fund.

The state is expecting a budget surplus this year, but lawmakers must deal with long-term debt and the May 2013 expiration of the 1-cent-per-dollar sales-tax increase, so it is unclear how much support this bill will receive.

“Something has to be done about the situation at the border — people are being terrorized,” Sen. Sylvia Allen, a Republican from Snowflake who is sponsoring the bill, told The Republic. “There are plenty of ex-law-enforcement officers who could do this. I don’t have any illusion that we can solve our border problem, but this would help.”

Former LEOs or not, they would be operating under rules that apply to everyone, i.e., deadly force can only be used in the case of imminent danger to life or sexual assault.  It isn’t clear that they would even have arrest authority.

What I have recommended is that the rules for the use of force be amended to move away from the Supreme Court decision in Tennessee versus Garner.  This has also been termed “exempting the Border Patrol from the rule of law,” but I have recommended that the U.S. Marines be used to patrol the Southern border.

The rules of warfare are clear.

The law pertaining to the conduct of hostilities (jus in bello), which has developed since antiquity and includes certain provisions of the modern Geneva and Hague conventions, permits the sanctioned killing of an opponent in an armed conflict, regardless of whether he is armed at the moment he is engaged. So long as the opponent meets the minimum criteria to be regarded as a combatant (even an unlawful combatant), he may be engaged with deadly force, even if he is separated from his weapon. He may be killed while sleeping, eating, taking a shower, cleaning his weapon, meditating, or standing on his head. It is his status as an enemy combatant, not his activity at the moment of engagement, which is dispositive.

So the following situation is posed to help the reader understand how serious he or she is concerning security on the border.  You are a border patrol officer, or a U.S. Marine, and you have charge of border security in your area of operations.  A string of what appears to be several dozen illegal immigrants is heading across the border (and is now on the U.S. side of the border), as you have ascertained using night vision.

In the front and bringing up the rear are two individuals, each toting what appears to be an AK-47, but what is most surely a weapon.  No one has fired any shots towards you at this point.  Is it morally justified to shoot and kill the individuals holding the weapons?  This is a different question that is it currently legal.

The Texas Border Coalition On Border Security

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 2 months ago

The Texas Border Coalition recently issued its report entitled Without Strategy: America’s Border Security Blunders Facilitate and Empower Mexico’s Drug Cartels.  The report makes some interesting observations, albeit sprinkled with odd and out-of-place assertions that have nothing whatsoever to do with border security.  But the basic conclusions fall short of crafting the grand strategy they seek.  Portions of the report are reproduced below (with running commentary).

The United States government spent about $90 billion over the past decade to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. The results are mixed, with apprehension rates up to 90 percent for undocumented persons seeking to cross the frontier between designated U.S.-Mexico border crossings, yet the Mexican drug cartels continue to enjoy commercial success smuggling more drugs than ever into the country through the legal border crossings.

A significant part of the $90 billion government expense has been the deployment of U.S. military forces, including the National Guard, to supplement Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection forces on the Mexican border. A recent Government Accountability Office briefing on the costs and benefits of the Department of Defense role in securing the Southwest land border reported that DOD officials “are concerned that there is no comprehensive southwest border security strategy” and the National Guard’s role has been “ad hoc.”

The  military forces deployed to the border don’t “include” National Guard, it is comprised entirely by National Guard.  And as we have discussed before, the National Guard isn’t doing what the public thinks they are doing.

Unfortunately, I must report that “Armed does not always mean “armed” as most Americans would understand. There are various states of being “armed.” These are called “Arming Orders (AO)” which define where the weapon “is,” where the magazine “is,” where the bullets “are” and where the bayonet “is.” They start at Arming Order One which could best be described as a “show of force” or “window dressing” in the worse case.

After considerable searching, I was able to find a complete copy of the Memorundum of Understanding/Rules of Engagement pertaining to the National Guard Deployment (“Operation Jump Start”), which I could then review.

After reviewing the MOU/ROE, I contacted several senior “in the loop” National Guard Officers that I have previously served with, to determine how many soldiers would be “armed” and their Arming Order number. After confirming The El Paso Times article that “very few soldiers there would carry weapons,” I was advised that during the next 90 days, amongst the few soldiers that have weapons, no soldier will have an Arming Order greater than AO-1, which means that an M-16 will be on the shoulder, there will be no magazine in the weapon (thats where the bullets come from), and the magazines stored inside the “ammunition pouch” will in most cases have no ammunition, they will be empty.

It was also conveyed to myself that in the unlikely event that a soldier is ever harmed on the border, the Arming Order will not be raised. Every individual I spoke to envisions no circumstance where there will ever be soldiers at AO-3/4, where a magazine with ammunition would be immediately available. Instead the soldiers will simply be kept farther away from the border if needed. They will be deliberately kept out of harms way.

The National Guard has been “deployed” to the border to perform clerical functions and do overwatch and reporting.  The report does well to point out the high cost of deployment of these troops considering the very little that they have accomplished.  Returning to the report.

As the U.S. spent $90 billion seeking to secure the Southwest border, the Mexican cartels have continued to smuggle cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine through the legal border crossings in California and South Texas, and marijuana between border crossings in remote areas of Arizona. They generally smuggle smaller loads of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine in non-commercial vehicles (cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks) to blend in with cross-border traffic. As the Mexican drug cartels flourish in the face of $90 billion spent to secure the border through which they conduct their trade, the U.S. continues to focus on border security tactics grounded in operation that began in the 1990s when an anti-immigration backlash fueled crackdowns code-named “Operation Gatekeeper” and “Operation Hold-the-Line.” Debates in Congress focus on building more fences and walls and whether to snuff environmental protections for public lands on the Southwest and Northern borders.

As reported by the Department of Defense and the Government Accountability Office, America’s border security effort lacks strategic direction and operates on an ad hoc basis. Without a strategy, America will continue to lose the border security war to the better financed, equipped, more mobile and agile drug cartels. Our national success depends on defining and executing a strategy to defeat the cartels attacking our nation.

The legal border crossings on the U.S. southwestern border have become America’s weakest border security link. Since the cartels choose to smuggle most of their products through the border crossings, a sensible strategy would be to attack their trade where it occurs and anticipate where their smuggling operations might move in response. Yet, the Department of Homeland Security has chosen to ignore these developments and refused to develop a strategy to confront them.

Budget forecasts by Department of Homeland Security officials suggest no new funding for border security infrastructure at the official border crossings for many years and personnel accounts will essentially remain static during that time. While new equipment may become available, some cannot be utilized because the electrical facilities at the border crossings are outdated and inadequate to support the expensive new tools. Congress and the Administration confront a choice when considering strategic directions for securing the U.S-Mexican border. At a minimum, the Texas Border Coalition recommends that Congress and the President have a strategy rather than addressing this challenge ad hoc.

The strategic paths forward offer a choice between closing the gaps between the border
crossings, where criminals face a 90 percent likelihood of apprehension, or addressing the inadequate infrastructure, technology and law enforcement personnel at the southwest border crossings where criminals are less challenged by an apprehension rate of merely 28 percent.

The Texas Border Coalition suggests that the only reasonable path forward is to refocus our border security priorities where our nation is most vulnerable: at the legal border crossings. Spending additional billions of dollars on more Border Patrol agents, fencing-walls or exempting the Border Patrol from the rule of law should be lower priorities compared to making the official border crossings functional in securing our borders.

To choose the other path and continue to fight the border security war where it has been won (between the border crossings) and to continue to surrender the war where we are losing (at the border crossings) is to threaten our national and border security and resign our nation to defeat.

This document is focused on the security aspects of border strategy, especially as they related to Mexican drug cartels. There are additional benefits to improving the security at America’s border crossings, including facilitation of legitimate trade and travel with Mexico, providing a major benefit to the American economy and jobs.

U.S. manufacturers and consumers depend on ready access to Mexican markets and goods. U.S. exporters serve the Mexican market and profit from foreign sales. Border region businesses in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas tie their livelihoods to trade and create jobs for American workers. Mexico is America’s third largest trading partner behind only Canada and China.

U.S.-Mexico trade totals $400 billion, a nearly fivefold increase since the enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with most goods crossing via commercial truck. More than 13,000 trucks bring over $630 million worth of goods into the U.S. from Mexico every day. U.S. exports to Mexico total $163 billion.

As a matter of general strategy, America cannot solve our budgetary problems solely by cutting expenses. We must increase our revenues. Making our border crossings more efficient in conducting legal trade with both Canada and Mexico will increase our national revenues and give us the resources to fight the other problems we face in our borders.

Take careful note of the trade imbalance.  The report has turned the horrible loss to our economy into a supposed boon if we control the legal border crossings better than we currently do.  But a trade imbalance as large as this isn’t good for the economy.  Further facilitating this trade imbalance may be the raison d’être for the grand strategy they recommend, but it falls far short of being a compelling reason to implement any of their recommendations.

Also, the report seems to downplay the very real problem of border insecurity at locations other than official border crossings.  But the Arizona ranchers might not be so impressed by the coalition’s claim that the border war has been won except for the crossings.  There is still a very real problem, and any diminution of that problem of late has only to do with an ailing American economy rather than any success by U.S. law enforcement.  Finally, to state flatly that “America cannot solve our budgetary problems solely by cutting expenses. We must increase our revenues,” is out of place and irrelevant.  It is a value judgment rather than a statement of fact.  It detracts from the supposed seriousness of the report.

However, the coalition’s focus on the official border crossings does have merit, and the crossings played a role in our own previous recommendations.

  1. Searching every vehicle that crosses the border checkpoints.
  2. Increased sting and undercover operations by law enforcement to root out corruption.
  3. Sending the U.S. Marines to the border to (a) construct and occupy combat outposts and observations posts, (b) conduct regular foot patrols of the border, and (c) be allowed (by the U.S.) to cross the border if necessary to chase Mexican insurgents.
  4. Taking Congressional action to remove legal requirements such as the SCOTUS decision in Tennessee v. Garner, thus allowing the Marines to conduct combat operations at the border rather than law enforcement operations.
  5. U.S. Special Operations Forces raids against Mexican cartel high value targets inside of Mexico (with or without the permission of the Mexican government, unilaterally, and without Mexican involvement).

The coalition’s report has made the mistake of making this an “either-or” choice rather than what it needs to be, “both-and.”  While we’re engaging in debates about grand strategy, it’s important to note the state of affairs at the border again.

A federal grand jury in Laredo, TX, convicted a Zetas-linked “hitman” on a raft of conspiracy, racketeering and weapons charges on Jan. 25, after hearing testimony that outlined activities of the gang’s vicious assassination cells on both sides of the southern border.

Gerardo Castillo-Chavez, also called “Cachetes,” a native of Tamaulipas, Mexico, was convicted on all the counts against him, including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, interstate travel in aid of racketeering (ITAR), and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime or a crime of violence.

Castillo-Chavez’ trial began on Jan. 17 with jury selection and the verdicts were reached after four-and-a-half days of trial testimony and six hours of deliberation, said the FBI in a Jan. 25 statement.

Castillo-Chavez and 33 others  were charged in Feb. 2010 with 47 counts of conspiracy to kidnap and murder U.S. citizens in a foreign country, drug conspiracy, kidnapping conspiracy, firearms conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, use of juveniles to commit a violent crime, accessory after the fact, solicitation, as well as substantive money laundering, drug trafficking, and ITAR charges.

As to tactics, “Witnesses, including a federal informant and former Zetas operatives, offered a dramatic and sometimes gruesome peek into the inner workings of the cartel’s drug-smuggling operations in Mexico and the U.S.

Among the most grisly testimony: new cartel recruits were trained to kill at a camp near the small Mexican town of San Fernando, where the remains of 200 bodies were unearthed last year.

The informant testified that would-be hit men were ordered to kill people — sometimes with machetes and sledgehammers — as a way to test their mettle.”

In all, 34 killers (in this one instance) were released to the U.S. to conduct operations on the U.S. side of the border.  This is a stark reminder that there is little time left.

Prior:

Losing the Border War

Threat Assessment: Transnational Jihadists and Mexican Cartels

Legalization Of Drugs Won’t End The Border War

Border War

Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment

Losing The Border War

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 2 months ago

From The Fix:

An anonymous Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, speaking exclusively with The Fix, paints a stark picture of the drug war along the US-Mexico Border. The cartels’ traffickers are punching through our borders without fear, he confirms, supplying US streets with cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. But the administration seems more concerned with immigration than with drugs: “Border patrol is very adamant about stopping the illegal aliens,” he tells us. “But border patrol is not adamant about stopping the drugs and the cartels’ vehicles from coming across the border.”

Why does he believe this? He says the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t provide the border patrol with enough manpower to fight the drug war effectively. With around 2,000 miles of vast desert to protect and very little backup, agents find it nearly impossible to apprehend the traffickers. “Cartels transport their drugs across the desert in groups of two or three trucks,” he explains. “And they’re armed with automatic weapons.”

Cartel members know that even if one of the in-ground motion sensors picks up their movements, they still have the advantage. Each border patrol agent on the ground is responsible for a considerable area. And he is only one man with a gun. “Border patrol agents in the desert are often surrounded by the drug cartels or by Mexican military, who have been bribed to help the cartels,” he says, explaining that agents are frequently faced with a stark choice: they can fight the traffickers and die, or they can get out of the way and live. “At the end of the day, we all want to go home to our families alive.”

“We have cameras, and we have motion sensors in the ground,” summarizes our source. “We catch the cartels’ movements on camera. But do we have an agent out there close enough to respond? Do we have backup for that agent that can get out there quickly enough? If we don’t, guess what? We’re going to watch the drugs go through.”

So let’s divorce ourselves from the hotly contested issue of the so-called war on drugs for a moment.  A number of things jump out about this report.  First of all, the administration certainly isn’t serious about combating illegal immigration, any more than was the previous administration.

Second, while The Fix might be concerned about issues associated with illicit drugs, I’m not.  I am more concerned about the criminal insurgency and warlord-ism of the cartels (which only temporally uses drugs, and would and does use anything else to increase their power, such as human trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, gang violence and brutality, and so on).

But even more to the point, we are losing the war at the border.  We will lose the war at the border until we cease and desist treating it as a law enforcement endeavor, change the rules for the use of force (away from the SCOTUS decision in Tennessee versus Garner), and deploy the U.S. Marines to the border.

The National Guard isn’t the answer.  I have dealt with this many times before, considering whether training has been done, arming orders have been issued, and weapons and ammunition have been checked out of the armory.  But the National Guard isn’t doing anything at all to effect border security.

While I loath every word that comes out of the mouth of this president and cannot stand to listen to him, and would in fact blame the fire ants in my back yard on his administration if I could get away with it, removal of the National Guard from the border (as he has ordered) has nothing to do with anything.  We have a larger, societal problem.  We aren’t ready to fight the war at the border any more than we were or are ready to fight the campaign in Afghanistan.

Prior:

Threat Assessment: Transnational Jihadists and Mexican Cartels

Legalization of Drugs Won’t End The Border War

Border War

Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment

Legalization Of Drugs Won’t End The Border War

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 4 months ago

This is why.

While the Obama White House and some of his disciple politicians disagree that Texas border counties may be in a growing “war zone,” the impact of drug cartel violence and power in Mexico could be affecting American households in more direct means than generally believed.

For instance, avocados and lime costs imported into the U.S. from Mexico are subject to a drug cartel tax, or “la cota,“ said a former cartel member, who talked with the Examiner,  provided we did not reveal his real name.

Carlos is a 28-year-old Mexican national moved to the San Antonio area to escape cartel torture, death and “before they killed the only family I have left.”

“They charge those farmers and packers ‘la cota’ for each truck they send out,” Carlos explained. “And before the trucks make it to the distribution, they might get stopped three or four times for la cota.”

Carlos described what happens to anyone that doesn’t pay the tax.

“They call it Mexican insurance,” he said. “They tell you they know who your wife is, or your mother, or your daughters and you better pay or we will rape and kill them.”

“They pay the cartels what they want, like a toll road,” Carlos observed. “We charged about 600 or 700 pesos for each truck about five years ago, but I don’t know any more what it is. It’s a common thing.”

“Americans think the drug gangs just make their money from the drugs, but they make money off of your food and imports that come from Mexico too,” claimed Carlos.

“Sometimes those terminals in Mexico and even here in Texas wait for the trucks to get there, but if the drug gangs don’t get paid, those trucks will not get there,” Carlos observed.  “You ask any of them (distributors or terminals) and they will tell you this is more common than people think.”

I advocated against the war on poppy in battling the Taliban; the Taliban make their money by various means, including (but not limited to) precious metal mines, pomegranates, timber, and extortion.  I advocated against the war on poppy for the same reason that I advocate seeing the war against the cartels and other insurgents as a border war.  Drugs isn’t the defining characteristic of the warlords and insurgents in Mexico (and increasingly North of the border), just as the Taliban won’t cease to exist if we destroy all of the poppy crops in the Helmand Province.

I have little vested interest in the final disposition of a war on drugs or whether drugs are legal, except as follows.  Drug users have hitched me to their wagon, just like 48% of the balance of the (non-tax paying) American public.  If the pro-legalization forces would simply unhitch the rest of the tax- and rate-payers from their wagon, we might be persuaded to side with them.  To do this, ensure that I don’t have to pay one cent of welfare for lost work time or support of out of work drug users, or one cent of medical costs associated with drug use, or any other cost not being discussed here but associated with drug use.  After pro-legalization advocates do this, then – and only then – will I consider supporting their cause.  Until then, I have a right and vested interest in the behavior of anyone and everyone whom my tax monies support.  If you don’t approve of my meddling, neither do I.  Remove my support and I won’t meddle.  It’s a win-win proposition.  You make the first move.

I will consider supporting their cause (and delaying my support until such time as my preconditions obtain), because drug legalization, or lack thereof, won’t significantly affect the insurgency to the South.  I can’t possibly lose in this deal.

See also Border War.


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