Desert Invasion - U.S.

Mexican Soldiers Freelancing for Drug Cartels on US Soil

By Kevin Mooney,

Gun-toting members of the Mexican military are crossing regularly into U.S. territory, where they are partnering with drug cartels and criminal gangs to protect sophisticated smuggling operations, according to Texas sheriffs and lawmakers.

Some of the Mexican infiltrators are suspected to have been trained by the U.S. military.

U.S. Border Patrol agents and local law enforcement officials operating along the southwestern border have come under attack from the Mexican side in recent months, with automatic gunfire frequently erupting, Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) told Cybercast News Service.

Mexican military units and drug cartels have access to weaponry and communications equipment far more advanced than resources made available to U.S. officials on the state and federal level, Culberson said.

"The U.S. Border Patrol is telling its agents to just lay low and report on what they see," he said. "They are instructed to determine the size of the [Mexican military] unit, the number of personnel, the direction of travel."

The U.S. ambassador to Mexico has sent diplomatic notes to the Mexican government complaining about incursions into U.S. territory by "individuals dressed in military uniforms," according to a congressional report.

Culberson plans to meet with the Mexican ambassador to discuss border issues early in the new year.

More than 200 incursions by the Mexican military of the U.S. southern border have been documented since the late 1990s, Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) said in an interview.

"Our federal government denied it occurred until the Texas sheriffs took photos," he said. "There is no nation in the world that would allow this invasion to occur except for the United States."

Mexican military personnel have been observed crossing the Rio Grande into Hudspeth County, Texas, in an apparent effort to safeguard drug shipments.

On one occasion early this year, deputies in pursuit of suspected drug dealers encountered "heavily armed soldiers in a Humvee," while trying to apprehend individuals driving "load vehicles" for drug shipments, Hudspeth Sheriff Arvin West told a congressional hearing subsequently....

Sheriffs in neighboring parts of Texas are also familiar with the techniques used to protect drug shipments in Hudspeth.

According to Sheriff Leo Samaniego of El Paso County, Mexican soldiers perform "flanking maneuvers," forcing deputies into defensive positions.

"They are very involved in safeguarding these drug shipments," he said of the Mexican troops....

Samaniego recalled another Mexican military incursion he said had taken place in Santa Teresa, N.M., located across the state line from El Paso. Mexican soldiers in two Humvees "chased after" a U.S. Border Patrol agent until backup arrived while another U.S. agent also came under gunfire, Samaniego told Cybercast News Serviceguns....

Some of the Mexican soldiers collaborating with drug cartels were trained at one time at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga., said Sheriff Rick Flores of Webb County....

"Our drug enforcement taskforce came across soldiers dressed in black clad uniforms near Highway 83. They were marching in cadence and pretty much scared the hell out of our people. They had fully automatic AK 47s wrapped around their arms and they were carrying duffle bags with their free arms. It was pretty freaky," Flores said.

A report on security threats to the southwestern border, provided by the House Homeland Security Committee's subcommittee on investigations, refers to a growing nexus between drug cartels, criminal gangs and Mexican military personnel....

Rick Glancey, the interim executive director of the Southwestern Border Sheriff's Coalition, says drug cartels have diversified operations and are now smuggling both narcotics and humans.

According to the congressional committee report, the Texas-Mexico border includes 18 points of entry into the U.S. that are attractive to drug cartels and other criminal enterprises.

Further complicating security concerns, Gonzales pointed out that an extensive train system, with trains ranging from 90 to 160 cars, also travels from Guatemala, through Mexico and ending adjacent to the Texas border....

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