The Gulf Cartel just threatened to wipe out a town in southern Mexico. Why should Americans care? That same cartel also controls Mexico’s northeast border with the U.S. and controls the busiest illegal alien smuggling routes into our country. They tie down Border Patrol and bring their assassins, financiers, drug runners, and general criminals over our border. They are every bit as terroristic as Islamic terrorist groups in the Middle East, and they’re in our own yard. Why won’t the State Department designate them as terrorists?
According to Borderland Beat, which monitors daily cartel activities, Gulf Cartel assassins entered the town of Asuncion Ixtaltepec in broad daylight with long guns to murder a resident on Wednesday. These types of assassinations happen every day. But lest people think this is limited to targeted cartel-on-cartel violence, the Gulf assassins left a “narco message” at the site of the assassination that read: “This is for El Burro, Pollito, and his people. And for all the town who covers for them. You will all die. Sincerely, Comandante Jaguar. CDG.”
This is the dictionary and statutory definition of terrorism that continues to be ignored by the State Department, which refuses to designate these cartels as such. These cartels seek to control territory through the use of terror! They are not simply crime syndicates that just want to earn money quietly.
The Mexican cartel culture is similar to the ideology of ISIS and al Qaeda in the sense that they seek “to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) or to effect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping,” which is the definition of international terrorism under 18 U.S.C. § 2331.
If anything, they now have more impact on our country than Islamic terrorists and certainly more than FARC, the Colombian drug cartel that is already designated by the State Department. Why is this administration not unleashing the Defense Department and the intelligence assets to be used against the cartels on both sides of our border?
Rather than lambast our government agencies for committing human rights violations against illegal aliens, Jaeson Jones, former captain in the Texas Department of Public Safety’s intel and counterterrorism division, believes we should be criticizing them for ignoring the human rights violations of the cartels, which affect both our security and the survival of the migrants.
“The weaponization of migration has masked a dark truth,” said the retired counter-cartel operative. “Massive human rights violations have been and are being committed in Mexico. All of the three-letter agencies of the United States government have become complicit for failing to do everything in their power to protect the American people and to secure our border. The State Department refuses to designate the Mexican cartels as foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs), and the FBI, DEA, and Department of Defense (DOD) refuse to support CBP and finally secure our border.”
Jones believes that these agencies are stuck in the past and just don’t have the stomach to reorient our threat assessments to focus on the border and the cartels as a national security issue. “I get it, it sucks that these agencies will have to change their current priorities, but good intel analysts don’t look at the evolving threat landscape the way they wish it was, they look at it for what it is and what most reasonable Americans believe. The threat to our southern border is substantial, and we must protect our country from the out-of-control violence plaguing Mexico and our nation.”
Jones noted how high-ranking Gulf leaders are living in the Rio Grande Valley – on our side of the border. “They often live lives of wealth and comfort and might pick their kids up from school on our side of the border before they travel back over to Tamaulipas and torture some people, then come right back over.”
Indeed, just last week, a Gulf Cartel leader was caught crossing over our border by Border Patrol in La Paloma, Texas, according to Breitbart Texas. How many more does Border Patrol miss because our political leaders prioritize care for illegals over national security, especially in these parts of the Rio Grande Valley where there is no border wall? Without a wall, the cartels use the bends in the river to easily cross undetected and disappear into the population because the populated towns are right on the border without any buffer of wall or desert.
Jones believes that designating the cartels as terrorists will open up many more investigative tools against those operators inside our country in addition to using DOD assets to combat them at the border itself.
This is happening all across our border, not just with the Gulf Cartel. Sinaloa, which is still the largest cartel, controls most of the territory on both sides of the Mexican border with California and Arizona. Last month, there was a Sinaloa shootout a half a block away from Arizona’s Cochise County. But that narco culture and all the violence that comes along with it is creeping into Arizona itself.
“Most Americans would be shocked to know how deeply entrenched the cartels are throughout this country,” warned Mark Lamb, sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona. “We fight against the cartels every day to uproot their scouts living in the mountains and to disrupt and dismantle their drug and human trafficking operations. Though we are 70 miles off the border, we are one of the last lines of defense, fighting to protect communities and families across this great country that will be negatively impacted, including the lives of those being exploited by the cartels.”
Even though Pinal County is not even on the border itself, Sheriff Lamb told me Sinaloa knows his county through and through and has a lot of operational control of the smuggling routes deep into U.S. territory.
Clearly, the root of the problem at the border is the national security problem of the actual people engaging in the smuggling of illegal immigrants. Were the State Department to finally designate the cartels and treat them the same way we would treat al Qaeda at our border, it would not only solve the security problem but would pre-empt the humanitarian problem.
This is exactly why Sergio Tinoco, a supervisor border agent in the Rio Grande Valley, believes that Border Patrol must be unshackled to actually deal with the mission at hand instead of serving as babysitters. “So long as we continue focusing solely on the needs of illegal immigrants and the humanitarian issue without dealing with the cartels and the security problem, we will continue playing into the hands of the cartels,” warned the exasperated agent on my podcast.
After holding numerous hearings about the needs and wants of illegal immigrants, Congress is on vacation until September. Meanwhile, agents like Tinoco are forced to deal with these brutal cartels alone, without backup, and with two hands tied behind their backs in 105-degree heat in dangerous territory. Decisions made in the air-conditioned halls of Congress and the State Department could change all of that.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.