Drug cartels, media blackouts and more are commonplace along border

A virtual media blackout is taking place along Mexico’s borders, and nowhere is the need to get the stories out more important than the U.S./Mexican border- a place where more than 25,000 have lost their lives because of cartel violence.

“After years of relative calm, the gangland nightmare is back-and yet, barely a single mention of the clashes here has been made by local radio and television or newspapers. The city’s journalists, having lost some of their own and seen their colleagues across the country killed or kidnapped, have been silenced for fear of their lives,” according to the Houston Chronicle report. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/world/7131506.html

One brave Mexican reporter spoke out about the virtual warzone that is his country is embroiled in.

“Nowhere is the media controlled more than it is here,” said the journalist who says he would face serious danger if identified. “There is total control.”

American Thinker, an online news website goes on to say that, “In border towns like Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Reynosa and numerous others, gun battles between the military and the powerful Zetas and the Gulf Cartel have been fought around the clock during the past week. Officials at all levels of the government have offered little if any information to a frightened citizenry amid the media blackout. One local businessman remarked that ‘before the news was alarmist; now there’s no information at all.’”

Journalists in Mexico have no choice but to comply with the drug cartels or face the murderous consequences.

Last week four journalists were kidnapped in Gomez Palacios, a northern border city ravaged by gang violence. “Gangsters demanded that television stations broadcast videos favorable to them in exchange for the journalists’ lives. The station complied, and the men were released,” according to American Thinker.

The uptick of violence along the U.S./Mexico border is directly related to the Zetas and the Gulf Cartels who are fighting for control of smuggling routes into the U.S. The tightening of the border by authorities and as many as six major cartels have pushed the violence to barbaric levels in order to control routes and snag the top spot in the world of organized crime in Mexico.

Meanwhile on the American side of the border, the Obama administration and a subservient main stream media appear to control the border violence news leaving anyone not living in the region uninformed about the dangerous living conditions along both sides of the border.

More evidence of this comes from a story by the BBC about the small border town of Ft. Hancock, Texas; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-10825403 “On a tour of Ft Hancock’s streets, most of which are unpaved, Jose Sierra points to two smarter homes, one sporting security cameras, another with a shiny 18-wheeler truck parked outside. ‘The element moves freely in the community, but they’re keeping it low key,’” says Jose Sierra, Ft Hancock’s law enforcement officer.

The border crossing in Ft. Hancock is outfitted with a brand new customs and border post containing a new Border Patrol headquarters complete with state-of-the-art fencing. But like most border outposts the stretch of the fence runs a few miles east and west of the border office before it ends leaving miles and miles of open desert for cartels to operate freely east and west of Ft Hancock.

“As if to emphasize its absurdity, a metal footbridge, narrow but unguarded spans the Rio Grande River a few miles to the west. Local farmers do not tend to speak of personal danger, despite being warned to “arm yourselves” by Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West, at a meeting earlier this year,” the BBC reports.
However, Officer Sierra worries the violence will spread to Ft Hancock sooner rather than later. “It’s just a matter of time,” he says.

As for other border towns the violence is very real

Fighting was especially heavy in Nuevo Laredo on the U.S. border 120 miles north of Monterrey on Friday and early Saturday morning the last weekend in July, according to Border Land Beat http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2010/08/urban-combat.html.

“A massive firefight lasting almost an hour was reported in southern Nuevo Laredo Friday afternoon in the Colonia Concordia area close to the Wal-Mart and Home Depot stores on Avenida Reforma between army troops supported by a helicopter and a group of gunmen. Civilians rushed out of the area, fleeing into stores for safety from the intense gunfire. Grenade detonations were reported on the Avenida Reforma,” the report read.

The fighting continued and the gunmen were pursued by soldiers. However, there were no deaths or arrests reported.

There was also a grenade attack reported on Friday night that hit a local Televisa network building. Residents said the attack happened before the nightly newscast. According to witnesses the grenade was thrown from a vehicle and exploded outside the television studios.

More incursions into the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Defense said it was looking into a second helicopter sighting in the past three weeks by a Mexican military helicopter crossing into U.S. airspace near rural Zapata County, Texas.

According to a Houston Chronicle story, “The incident did occur and it’s still under investigation,” department spokeswoman Maj. Tanya Bradsher said, confirming that the copter, believed to belong to the Mexican navy, was seen Sunday.

Rick Pauza, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman, earlier in March confirmed a Mexican military helicopter hovered as long as 20 minutes on March 9 (2009) over a residential area near Falcon Lake, a reservoir on the Rio Grande. He said CBP officials who lived in the neighborhood were among those who saw it.

Pauza said the helicopter crossed back without incident and that once the sighting was reported up the chain of the command “that was the extent of it.”

Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez said Sunday’s sighting was the second one confirmed, but several others were reported to him during the past two weeks that he couldn’t be sure enough about to forward to the federal government.

Gonzalez said the unconfirmed incursions occurred on March 20 and on Monday and Tuesday and were reported to him by a deputy, a local news reporter, and a federal officer who the sheriff said has since been muzzled by higher-ups.

“I don’t want to get him involved because it sounds like they’re going to fire him for saying the truth,” Gonzalez said of the officer.

According to Gonzalez, he was “initially rebuffed” by federal officials at the Joint Operations Intelligence Center until Gonzalez showed them photos from witnesses and that Gonzalez had a “pretty good idea they were Mexican military operations.”

According to Gonzalez, when he produced the photos, federal officials blamed “faulty radars”. What’s important to note, local authorities being “muzzled by higher-ups” which might be occurring today, in South Texas,” the Texas newspaper said.

It’s not the first time

This reporter wrote a story in December of last year about the Mexican military blurring the international border lines. The Story titled “Screw up move up in play again in Customs and Border Protections,” http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner~y2009m12d16-Screw-up-move-up-in-play-again-in-Customs-and-Border-Protection. The story details military incursions under the section “Aguilar Denies Military Incursions by Mexico’s Soldiers.”

“Another problem plaguing the Border States is the increased border incursions,” the story reads.

According to Ramirez, “Over the past 10 years (through Spring 2006), the Border Patrol has reported more than 250 incursions by Mexican military and police units into the U.S., including incidents where U.S. civilians, Border Patrol agents, and other law enforcement came under fire from the uniformed Mexicans.

While Sheriff’s in Hudspeth County continue to fight on the front lines along the U.S./Mexico border region, aggressive incidents have continually been downplayed by Aguilar and Congressman Reyes; even when these incursions are documented with video.

In 2006 the Hudspeth County Texas Sheriff’s deputies and Texas state troopers ran into a convoy of Mexican vehicles transporting drugs on the U.S. side of the border. “As you know, our law enforcement chased them back to the border where they were met by heavily-armed Mexican military units in Humvees, with machine guns, who escorted the drug smugglers back into Mexico. Again, our government covers up for Mexico’s involvement and plays down the incident,” Ramirez said.

In Congressional testimony, Congressman Reyes stated there were no Mexican military incursions and the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s deputy was mistaken. Reyes concluded that because he served in the U.S. military and resided in the border region most his life there was no Mexican military crossing the international border. This echoed the statements by the Mexican government later parroted by representatives of the Bush Administration including Aguilar.

However, in sworn testimony from Kelly Legarreta, Deputy Sheriff in Hudspeth County and first on the scene when the alleged incursion took place stated, he too had served in the U.S. Marines and he knew what he saw –Mexican military illegally crossing the U.S. border assisting two vehicles loaded with contraband back into Mexico.”

Drug cartels place a million dollar price tag on Sheriff Joe Arpaio

According to a news report filed by a local Fox affiliate in Phoenix when Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070, went into effect, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was targeted by the Mexican drug cartels: they allegedly put a million dollar price on his head.

In an audio message in Spanish the cartel sends a garbled message, but the text was crystal clear. “It’s offering a million dollars for Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s head and offering a thousand dollars for anyone who wants to join the Mexican cartel.”

An Arizona man who wants to remain anonymous says it was his wife who received the text message on Tuesday evening. The text message included an international phone number and instructions to pass the message along.

The Maricopa County Sheriff Department is taking the latest death threat very seriously and Lisa Allen of the Sheriff’s office says the message originated somewhere in Mexico.

From January to June this year, more than 7,000 people have been killed, according to Mexican Attorney General Arturo Chavez. About 50,000 troops and federal police are actively involved in Mexico’s war on drugs and the government says record amounts of drugs have been seized. Mexican authorities said they have either arrested or killed many cartel leaders this year.

A little more

The Los Zetas story that was written over a week ago is still being investigated and will be updated as details and facts are released. Stay tuned…

I want to give the troops at Death by a 1000 Papercuts a shout out for sticking with the story and continuing their research, you can find them at; http://deathby1000papercuts.com/ and I can’t leave out the guys at Diggers Realm; http://www.diggersrealm.com/mt/ powering through the blogosphere one story at a time.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner

About thekdreport

Investigative journalist

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