Agents patrolling the Rio Grande River near Fronton, Texas, came under fire by unknown attackers early this morning, according to a press release issued by Rio Grande Valley Sector’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office.
“Early this morning, agents assigned to the Rio Grande City Station Marine Unit patrolling near Fronton, Texas, reported they were fired upon from the Mexican riverbank. Agents saw four subjects with automatic weapons who shot over 50 rounds at them. The boat was hit several times but no one on board was injured.”
Thankfully, no agents were hurt, but this lays bare that the border crisis is much bigger than a domestic immigration policy issue. There is a national security threat from the cartels, requiring military strategy and rules of engagement to counter it.
Prior to the press release, two agents working in the Rio Grande Valley, who must remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak to the media, confirmed with CR that CBP issued internal information that the incident occurred during the early hours of the morning and that the gunfire came from across the large island in the river south of Fronton.
That island, which is one of the biggest in the river, is owned by Mexico, which means it’s a prime spot for the cartels to use as staging ground for smuggling dangerous criminals, cartel leaders, and contraband.
According to a CBP spokesman in the RGV, the boat that sustained enemy fire is a 21 Foot RSDV Riverine Shallow Draft Vessel.
I reached out to Jaeson Jones, who used to direct counter-cartel missions in this very area as a captain with Texas’ Department of Public Safety, for comment. He told me that “if agents found bullet holes in the actual boat, it tells me they were definitely being deliberately fired upon.”
“One of two things is responsible,” Jones said in an interview with CR this morning. “The cartel was smuggling a boss into the United States, which is not uncommon, and they were ensuring he was not captured, or they were moving a large narcotics shipment of controlled substances that belonged to a high-ranking member. No cartel member could fire upon U.S. law enforcement without permission because they will be killed, as it brings so much heat from U.S. law enforcement upon the cartel.”
This incident shows the constant danger agents face, especially when patrolling at night. While Congress continues to focus only on the “babysitting patrol” of the agents at the processing centers, it continues to ignore the core mission of border security and the need for more resources to counter the cartels. At present, agents can receive overtime pay for humanitarian work, but not for the sort of patrol that these boat crews are doing, which involves inherent risk.
These areas are particularly vulnerable because there are bends in the river and islands for staging grounds, while the town of Fronton is right on the river. Unlike in Arizona, where there are large buffer areas of deserts, cartel smugglers can disappear into these towns undetected within minutes because of their proximity to the river. These areas are where border walls would be the most effective in slowing down dangerous criminals and cartel networks. There are no walls in this part of the Texas border. While everyone is focusing on seemingly harmless children coming over the border, remember that flow is being orchestrated by the worst narco-terrorists.
“The Fronton area sits at the dividing line between areas controlled by two very powerful Mexican Cartels. Cartel del Golfo [CDG] and Cartel del Noreste [CDN],” said Jones. “The current environment in this area is extremely volatile, as CDG is battling several of its own factions, including the normal clashes with its rival CDN. Every night this week, Texas citizens who reside near this area have heard gunfire and explosions due to the ongoing fighting in Mexico.”
While other areas of the border have seen a sharp drop in apprehensions over the past two months, the Rio Grande Valley sector is still experiencing a massive amount of smuggling.
Congress has not made it a priority to deal with the border wall, more enforcement resources, more ICE detention space, designating the cartels as terrorists, and using the military more aggressively at the river. As one agent who confirmed information of this incident to CR noted, “As members of Congress enjoy their trips around the world this August, agents will be left to confront the cartels outgunned, outmanned, and outmaneuvered.”
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.