Tagged: Texas

Trump administration preparing Texas wildlife refuge for first border wall segment

(TEXAS OBSERVER) — by Melissa del Bosque

For at least six months, private contractors and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have been quietly preparing to build the first piece of President Trump’s border wall through the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge in South Texas.

The federally owned 2,088-acre refuge, often called the “crown jewel of the national wildlife refuge system,” could see construction begin as early as January 2018, according to a federal official who has been involved in the planning but asked to remain anonymous.

“This should be public information,” the official told the Observer. “There shouldn’t be government officials meeting in secret just so they don’t have to deal with the backlash. The public has the right to know about these plans.”

CBP plans to construct an 18-foot levee wall that would stretch for almost three miles through the wildlife refuge, according to the official. The structure would consist of a concrete base, which would serve as a levee, and be topped with a fence made of steel bollards, similar to a levee wall built almost a decade ago near Hidalgo, Texas. A second federal official confirmed these details to the Observer.

The official said that the Department of Homeland Security picked the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge as the first site for a border wall segment because it’s owned by the federal government, avoiding legal entanglements with private landowners. At least 95 percent of the Texas border is privately owned. As the Observer’s June cover story, “Over the Wall,” detailed, at least one-third of the 320 condemnation suits filed against landowners in 2007 are still pending.

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Mexican cartel using armored trucks in war at Texas border

(BREITBART) — REYNOSA, Tamaulipas — Mexican cartel members are using armored trucks in their ongoing war for control of lucrative drug trafficking and human smuggling routes near the Texas border.

Recently, Tamaulipas State Police officers seized a large truck outfitted with thick armor plating for firefights. The vehicles are commonly called “Mounstros” or monsters.

According to information provided to Breitbart Texas by the Tamaulipas government, police officers were patrolling the rural areas near Camargo, Tamaulipas, when they came across an abandoned warehouse. Camargo is immediately south of Rio Grande City, Texas.

When authorities inspected the warehouse they found a truck covered in armor plating as a makeshift combat vehicle. The truck had Texas license plates. It remains unclear if the vehicle was previously stolen.

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Mexican mayor arrested after hundreds massacred and cooked in network of ovens, following Breitbart exposé

(BREITBART) — by Ildefonso Ortiz

Mexican authorities have arrested the former mayor of a rural community in the border state of Coahuila in connection with the kidnapping, murder and incineration of hundreds of victims through a network of ovens at the hands of the Los Zetas cartel. The arrest comes after Breitbart Texas exposed not only the horrors of the mass extermination, but also the cover-up and complicity of the Mexican government.

On Thursday morning, Coahuila state authorities arrested Sergio Alonzo Rodriguez, the former mayor of Allende, Coahuila, on the charge of aggravated kidnapping, information provided to Breitbart Texas by the Coahuila government revealed. Rodriguez was the mayor of Allende, Coahuila in March, 2011, when a commando of Los Zetas kidnapped dozens of people who were then murdered and incinerated.

Earlier this year, Breitbart Texas published the results of a three-month investigation into how Los Zetas were able to kidnap, torture, execute and incinerate approximately 300 victims–including women and children–between 2011 and 2013. Approximately 150 of the victims were taken to the Piedras Negras state prison where cartel members used 55-gallon drums to incinerate the human remains.

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Cartel gunmen ambush Mexican border police with armored trucks

BREITBART) — REYNOSA, Tamaulipas — Cartel gunmen riding in armored SUVs ambushed a state police convoy killing one of the officers and sparking a series of chases and gun battles over a period of hours.

The ambush against the state police officers comes after citizen journalists in the border region known as the Ribereña or riverine have reported on gun battles involving large convoys of gunmen. According to residents, the gun battles among cartel factions started early morning in the area immediately south of Roma, Texas and quickly spread to other rural communities. The Ribereña is immediately south of Starr County, Texas and is considered a major drug trafficking route due to the lack of border security in the area.

Law enforcement sources consulted by Breitbart Texas revealed that the ambush took place about four hours after the initial gun battles in the Rancherias rural community near the city of Camargo, which is immediately south of Rio Grande City, Texas. A convoy of armored cartel trucks attacked police forces, setting off a fierce gun battle where one of the officers died. At the end of the clash, two cartel vehicles were left behind. One of the vehicles was a standard SUV, while the other truck was armored. Both vehicles had extensive damage from collisions and gunshots.

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Los Zetas gunmen swim into Texas during firefight to escape

(BREITBART) — PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Coahuila — A group of five gunmen from the Los Zetas cartel crossed into Texas to escape from Mexican police after a firefight on the banks of the Rio Grande.

Members of Coahuila State Police followed information about an upcoming drug shipment to a rural area on the banks of the Rio Grande. They spotted five gunmen trying to cross drug bundles into Texas. As soon as the gunmen saw the police officers, they began to fire their weapons trying to keep them away. Mexican authorities fought off the attack forcing the gunmen to retreat. The gunmen left the drugs behind as they crossed the Rio Grande into Texas. Once on the U.S. side, they gunmen disappeared and have not been caught.

Breitbart Texas has confirmed with Mexican authorities that the firefight took place a little over two weeks ago just outside the El Moral rural community near the Mexican city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila. The scene of the shootout is not far from the Texas border city of Eagle Pass.

The gun battle on the edge of the river, was the result of an ongoing investigation into the current operational structure of the Cartel Del Noreste (CDN) faction of the Los Zetas cartel. Late last month, Coahuila police officers arrested the number two leader of the CDN in Piedras Negras. The arrest came after a fierce gun battle near the Rio Grande. According to authorities, the leader was only identified as 25-year-old Ernesto (last-name-unknown) who claimed to be the second in command for the cartel in the area.

In his statements to police, the man claimed that the criminal organization was preparing for possible efforts by their rivals to take over the “plaza” or territory from the CDN. The investigation led to the thwarted drug smuggling attempt that turned into a gun battle.

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The Zetas cartel turned a Mexican prison into a death camp

(VICE NEWS) — Members of the notorious Zetas drug cartel turned the prison where they were being held in northern Mexico into a death camp where they tortured and killed around 150 people, and then incinerated the bodies or dissolved them in acid, the authorities say.

José Ángel Herrera, the chief prosecutor for cases of disappeared people in the state of Coahuila, made the allegations on Wednesday while announcing warrants to arrest five of the prisoners allegedly involved — at least some of whom are still behind bars.

Herrera said that the investigation refers to the period between 2009 and 2012 when the Zetas had near complete control of the prison near the city of Piedras Negras, just over the border from Eagle Pass in Texas.

He said this week’s arrests for the atrocities allegedly committed in the prison relate to the cases of the first seven disappeared people who investigators believe they have confirmed were among the victims. That proof, however, relies primarily on information from dozens of interviews with imprisoned witnesses and some of those involved, rather than on physical evidence.

According to José Juan Morales, spokesman for the investigation, the Zetas were allowed to leave the Piedras Negras prison at night to kidnap their victims, sometimes wearing fake police and army uniforms.

The remains of those killed were then, the investigation found, dumped in the nearby San Rodrigo river and in the Rio Bravo estuary.

But while the authorities say they have found bones in the river, they add that these are in such a bad state that it has not been possible to identify whether they came from the prison, or belonged to any of those who might have died there.

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Los Zetas cartel civil war brings kidnappings and executions to Mexican state bordering Texas

(BREITBART) — CIUDAD VICTORIA — Cartel violence continues to rain down terror in this city as two rival factions of the Los Zetas cartel fight for territorial control. The violence continues to hold average citizens hostage as cartel gunmen carry out kidnappings, executions and other violence acts in public venues and in broad daylight.

As Breitbart Texas previously reported, two rival factions of the Los Zetas drug cartel have spend a little over seven months fighting over the Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the border state of Tamaulipas. One faction calling themselves Vieja Escuela Z (Old School Z) with the help of another group called Grupo Bravo, have made a push for the city and tried to remove the faction known as Cartel Del Noreste (CDN). The later faction picked that name in an effort to distance themselves from the cruel practices commonly associated with Los Zetas.

Tamaulipas authorities have focused on kidnapping cases since cartel linked groups have taken advantage of the raging violence to target innocent victims for profit. Despite the violence, high ranking government officials have largely ignored the events and as Breitbart Texas previously reported, have ordered the release of captured organized crime leaders, much to the displeasure of police forces on the ground.

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About Drug Lord, the Life and Death of a Mexican Kingpin

Donald Trump wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, and he vowed to do so if he became president of the United States. The wall, he argued, will stop the flow of drugs into the country as well as impede the illegal entry of people across the border. Whether Trump is right or wrong about the need for a wall is a matter of fierce debate that will only grow in intensity now that he is president.

What cannot be disputed, however, is that there is a huge amount of drugs coming across the border, no different than in the past. There is also a greater influx of people coming now from all parts of the world than ever before. Who are these people? What is their motive for entering the United States?

Another matter than is beyond dispute is that smuggling activities related to drugs and people are controlled by organized crime groups, and to some extent organized crime is controlled by agencies of the government of Mexico. Read more »

Introduction by the author

This book came about because of the kidnapping of an American newspaper photographer by a Juarez drug trafficker, a brutal and unprecedented event that caused an international scandal and brought about the downfall of one of the major drug traffickers of the time.

Until the kidnapping, I didn’t have much interest in the subject of drugs. Drug trafficking was part of the background noise of the El Paso-Juarez region where I worked as a reporter. It was low keyed even in its violence; it did not draw too much attention to itself. My journalistic work, which had begun for the El Paso Herald-Post in 1984, focused primarily on reporting on a political movement in northern Mexico that was challenging the entrenched one-party system that had ruled Mexico since 1929. Juarez, the largest city in the state of Chihuahua, was the scene of what today would be called a “color” revolution — a democratic movement that used tactics of non-violent resistance to achieve its goals. Such a revolution was unfolding only ten blocks south of the newspaper, just on the other side of the Rio Grande. Read more »