LAREDO—At the same time that Mexican cartels appear to be gearing up for war, Homeland Security officials are making a public plea for information on suspicious cross-border activity.
Article by Charlotte Cuthbertson from our partners at The Epoch Times.
“Obviously, arms going to Mexico is a big part of that—that building up between the cartels,” said Timothy Tubbs, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations (HSI) in San Antonio. HSI is the investigative arm of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and is responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats.
“We’re hoping by stopping these weapons going to Mexico we can not only reduce the violence in Mexico, but allow the government of Mexico to do their job in combating the cartels,” Tubbs said at a press conference in Laredo on July 2.
“By reducing the violence in Mexico, we will also keep the violence from crossing over to the U.S. and keep that from rising up in the U.S.”
Skirmishes between cartels have ramped up in recent months. Jaeson Jones, former captain in the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the United States should brace for a full-scale cartel war in the coming months that will likely spill across the border.
Jones said Cartel del Noreste (formerly known as Los Zetas) is currently fracturing, while the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Gulf Cartel are joining forces to increase their territory. Control of any portion of the Mexican side of the U.S.–Mexico border is worth billions of dollars to cartels as they smuggle illicit goods and persons.
“The war is coming. And that’s why you saw some of this violence and skirmishes, both in Reynosa and in Miguel Alemán, this week,” Jones told The Epoch Times on July 2. “That’s nothing compared to what we’re going to be seeing.”
On June 19, gunmen in vehicles opened fire in the Mexican border city of Reynosa, killing 14 people, including taxi drivers, workers, and a nursing student. Security forces responded with operations that left four suspects dead.
Reynosa sits across the border from McAllen, Texas, the busiest illegal crossing area along the almost 2,000-mile U.S.–Mexico border.
Meanwhile, cartels are stocking up on firepower. Cartel purchases of military-grade weapons from Central and South American countries, especially Guatemala, are most concerning, Jones said.
Operation Without a Trace
Joseph Lestrange, acting deputy assistant director of HSI’s transnational organized crime division, said weapons being smuggled from the United States to Mexico often begin as legal purchases that are then illegally transferred to others and often financed with cash from drug trafficking proceeds.
HSI has arrested U.S. citizens and Mexican nationals smuggling weapons into Mexico. The Laredo area accounts for 30 percent of HSI’s arms smuggling arrests along the border, according to Tubbs.
“In this area, just recently, we had a seizure of nine handguns, one hand gun barrel, 242 rounds of ammunition, 11 magazines, and almost $100,000,” he said. A U.S. citizen was arrested.
“We had a seizure of 31 firearms, 6,500 rounds of ammunition, and arrested a Mexican national who’s being prosecuted for smuggling.”
Lestrange said anyone who violates U.S. or Mexican firearms laws could be sentenced to 30 years in prison.
“Smuggling firearms in Mexico is a federal crime. Purchasing a firearm or providing a firearm to someone else knowing they intend to smuggle it to Mexico is a federal crime,” he said.
Operation Without a Trace was launched in November 2018.
So far this fiscal year, the operation has resulted in 147 investigations opened, 87 search warrants, and 133 arrests; and the seizure of 583 firearms, 1,644 magazines, 187,738 rounds of ammunition, and $11,695,004, according to HSI.
Report a Tip
Lestrange said HSI is looking for information on “the who, the what, the where, the when.”
“It could be a live tip where, ‘Hey, I know somebody that’s in a car right now, driving to the southwest border, this is the license plate,’” he said. Homeland Security can then try to intercept the car on its way to the border.
Other tips, for example, Lestrange said, could include information on someone who has straw buyers all over the country to make firearms purchases, then consolidates the firearms in a particular location and arranges to smuggle them to Mexico.
New Conservative Network Seeks Crowdfunding Help
They say we have to go big or go home. We’re trying to go big and bring the patriotic truth the the nation, but we need help.
Readers may or may not realize that over the past year, we’ve been bringing more conservative news and opinion outlets under our wing. Don’t take our expansion as a sign of riches; all of the “acquisitions” have been through sweat and promises of greater things to come for all involved. As a result, we’ve been able to bring together several independent media sites under a unified vision of preventing America from succumbing to the progressive, “woke,” Neo-Marxist ideologies that are spreading like wildfire across America.
The slow and steady reopening of America is revealing there was a lot more economic hardship brought about from the Covd-19 lockdowns than most realize. While we continue to hope advertising dollars on the sites go up, it’s simply not enough to do things the right way. We are currently experiencing a gap between revenue and expenses that cannot be overcome by click-ads and MyPillow promos alone (promo code “NOQ” by the way).
To overcome our revenue gap and keep these sites running, our needs fluctuate between $3000-$7000 per month. In other words, we’re in the red and hemorrhaging.
The best way you can help us grow and continue to bring the truth to the people is by donating. We appreciate everything, whether a dollar or $10,000. Anything brings us closer to a point of stability when we can hire writers, editors, and support staff to make the America First message louder. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well.
As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report and the other sites in the network going.
Thank you and God Bless,
All ORIGINAL content on this site is © 2021 NOQ Report. All REPUBLISHED content has received direct or implied permission for reproduction.
With that said, our content may be reproduced and distributed as long as it has a link to the original source and the author is credited prominently. We don’t mind you using our content as long as you help out by giving us credit with a prominent link. If you feel like giving us a tip for the content, we will not object!
JD Rucker – EIC