‘Over 1,000’ drone incursions per month at southern border — smugglers are ‘trying to find gaps’: Air Force general

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Air Force General Gregory Guillot told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that there are “over 1,000” drone incursions per month at the southern border, the New York Post reported.

Guillot, the commander of North American Defense Command, called the uptick in drone encounters “alarming.”

“The number of incursions was something that was alarming to me as I took command last month,” he told senators on Thursday.

When asked how many drones are flying into United States airspace near the southern border, he replied that no one knows precisely.

“I don’t know the actual number. I don’t think anybody does, but it’s in the thousands,” Guillot continued.

He claimed that the United States Customs and Border Protection would “put the number at thousands” over approximately a one-month period.

“Probably have over 1,000 a month,” he declared.

Senators asked Guillot whether the incursions over the southern border presented a defense threat, and he responded, “They alarm me.”

“I haven’t seen any of them manifest in a threat to the level of national defense, but I see the potential only growing,” he said.

According to Guillot, most of the unmanned drones flying near the southern border are operated by “spotters” who are “trying to find gaps” to sneak past law enforcement agents.

“There’s a smaller number [of drones] that are probably moving narcotics across the border,” Guillot remarked.

He also noted that some of the drone activity at the southern border is the federal government attempting to monitor illegal activity.

During the hearing, Guillot addressed the influx of Chinese nationals illegally crossing into the United States, stating that it is “a big concern” of his.

“What concerns me most about specifically the Chinese migrants is, one, that they’re so centralized and in one location across on the border. And, two, is — while many may be political refugees and other explanations — the ability for counter intelligence to hide in plain sight in those numbers,” Guillot told the committee.

He also explained that he is concerned that the waves of migrants coming over the border “seem to be coordinated and command and controlled using social media.” Mexican cartels are using social media to “drive the migrants to areas where [Border Patrol agents] might not be,” he added.

CBP officials have noted that the cartels are using small drones to track the locations of Border Patrol agents in an effort to sneak their smuggling operations past law enforcement, the Post reported.

Last year, Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez informed the House Oversight Committee that more than 10,000 drone incursions and 25,000 drone sightings were reported over one year.

“We have made great progress in countering the threat of small, unmanned platforms,” Chavez stated. “However, the adversaries have 17 times the number of drones, twice the amount of flight hours, and unlimited funding to grow their operations.”

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CBP seizes $11.9 million of meth, largest bust at port of entry in Texas

Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the largest methamphetamine bust at the Del Rio port of entry. Officers seized $11.9 million of narcotics found inside a semi-trailer truck.

\u201c#ICYMI, see below:\u201d
— CBP South Texas (@CBP South Texas) 1662937956

On Labor Day at the Del Rio International Bridge, a Customs and Border Protection officer requested a second inspection for a truck hauling diesel tank reservoir containers. Authorities conducted a non-intrusive inspection of the vehicle using a sniffer dog to detect any potential drugs.

The secondary inspection uncovered 320 packages containing 1,337 pounds of alleged methamphetamine. Customs and Border Protection estimated a street value of $11.9 million for the drugs.

“This is a massive seizure of methamphetamine, it is largest in the history of the port, and it reflects the steadfast commitment of our officers to the CBP border security mission and their effective application of technology, training, and experience,” said port director Liliana Flores.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations special agents are currently examining the narcotics and looking into the seizure.

Last week’s recording-breaking bust far surpassed all methamphetamine seizures at the port of entry in the 2021 fiscal year. From October 2020 to September 2021, the Del Rio sector reported conducting 79 searches that resulted in the confiscation of 255 pounds of meth.

On Thursday, Customs and Border Protection announced the search for five criminals operating in the Del Rio area as part of the "Se Busca Información" campaign. The campaign was launched in 2016 by the U.S. Border Patrol and the government of Mexico to crack down on human smugglers and drug traffickers. CBP reported that photographs of the five individuals had been placed on billboards and posters in the area.

“Human smugglers work for opportunistic criminal organizations who have no regard for human life,” said chief patrol agent Jason Owens of the Del Rio Sector. “Through this initiative, community members on both sides of the border provide us information about those who put at risk the lives of vulnerable families and children.”

The Del Rio Sector covers 53,063 square miles of Texas and primarily includes farm and ranch land. CBP referred to the sector as a “major staging area” for narcotics and human smuggling operations.

Horowitz: Border state officials dealing with violent incursions deep into US territory

What would you call a situation where tens of thousands of young males pour over our border, orchestrated by the most violent cartels and smugglers in the world? How would you refer to high-speed car chases and bailouts across our border continuing on for at least 200 miles beyond the border? It sure looks like an invasion to ordinary Americans. But what do you call it when our own Department of Homeland Security is orchestrating such chaos, lawlessness, and trans-national travel during a pandemic at the same time officials are entreating Americans to obey COVID fascism? A sadistic undermining of the very foundation of this country, indeed.

"Illegal immigrants from 59 different countries have crossed the border illegally in our area – the Del Rio Sector," warned Uvalde, Texas, Mayor Don McLaughlin in an exclusive interview with TheBlaze. "These illegal immigrants are from China, South America, Venezuela, Cuba, and the Middle East and Africa, just to name a few."

Uvalde is a small town of 17,000 inhabitants, and it is now overrun by illegal immigrants and an international cartel smuggling operation. Uvalde is 40-60 miles from the border, but it might as well be right at the border given how the smuggling corridors come right up to this town.

"In our city and county, we are averaging 6-8 car chases a week," said McLaughlin in describing how the border crisis strains the area's small law enforcement operation, which is already stressed from the logistics of the pandemic and the recent weather-driven energy crisis.

"These human smugglers have no regard from human life – they have led our officers on chases through our town at speeds exceeding 100 mph. In two instances, our local law enforcement officers have been shot at. It's not unusual to find weapons in these cars when they are caught. In Kinney County, which borders us, the chases are exceeding 20 a week. In these chases they are finding illegal immigrants that have previously been deported and have criminal records for sexual assault, murder, and drug trafficking."

The Biden administration has ended Trump's pandemic response policy, which, pursuant to Title 42, required Customs and Border Protection to immediately turn away illegal aliens who show up at the border. The new policy openly invites illegal aliens to come in, which has created an entire cottage industry for the smugglers and the drug cartels. While the smugglers can present illegal aliens who don't have criminal records openly at the border, they still have to sneak in those with criminal records through gaps in the border wall, which leads to dangerous high-speed chases that result in what are known to border officials as "bailouts." Often the smuggler will drive off the road and crash, with the occupants bailing out and running in every direction.

The more agents have to deal with those coming in directly, the less manpower they have to apprehend the dangerous "runners" who usually have criminal records. This is particularly a problem during the pandemic, when more personnel are now required to deal with the social distancing logistics of the mass flow across the border.

The fact that the border wall was stopped midway through construction has actually been a boon to the smugglers, because they are able to use the newly created access roads to gain entry into the interior but are not completely blocked because of the gaps, as reported by the Washington Times from Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels. This has enabled the high-speed chases and bailouts to penetrate deep into Texas, as far as Jackson County on the eastern coast, which is some 200 miles from the border.

"We're on the travel corridor," said Jackson County Sheriff A.J. Louderback in an interview with TheBlaze. "We've had an uptick in stolen three-ton pickups; we're having the bailouts coming through."

Louderback placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Biden administration. "This is a comprehensive, multi-pronged strategy to disable and dismantle every facet of our immigration system," said the veteran rural sheriff. "This is a concerted effort to alter all of immigration laws through policy change. It's an absolute nightmare. I don't think there is a single place in the INA that has not been violated. It's obvious to me that they've been working on this for quite some time. We went from a secure border to an unsecure border in a matter of days."

Sheriff Dannels told me that in southeast Arizona, in some of the most rugged terrain at the border, the cartels now have roads they can use to navigate an area that was previously extremely hard to traverse. "By ending the wall construction with the roads exposed, they have become nothing but cartel roads," said Dannels to me. Here is a picture of the access roads built behind the wall in Cochise County.

Cochise County Sheriff's Department

According to Dannels, apprehensions in his remote county went from 300-500 a year ago to 2,500 in December. The suspension of the border wall mid-construction in his county has been a boon for the cartels. "We went 24 months without illicit drugs, and now we're catching more than 500 pounds," said Sheriff Dannels. "12 people were injured in car crashes, and there have been two deaths. Some of the coyotes [human smugglers] are now shooting at my deputies. It's insane how nobody sat down with local law enforcement to discuss the ramifications of not completing the construction that was already under way."

The bailouts are often risky for the migrants as well. In California earlier this week, 13 of them were killed when their car caught fire during a high-speed incursion at a breach in the border fence, which the Biden administration refuses to repair.

Mark Lamb, sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona, is seeing the same problem on the western side of the border. "We're 60 miles off the border, and we've had 45 pursuits and have assisted in another 80 with other agencies," the Arizona sheriff told TheBlaze. "We had one bailout where they had 11 people who bailed into the desert and left us with a 16-year-old Guatemalan girl in the car. ICE doesn't even have space for these people, and they are let go right into our communities. Talk about a kick in the teeth. When you do this, it sends a message to criminals that they can do whatever they want because we are no longer for the rule of law."

Not only is Lamb prohibited from holding these people, he wouldn't even have the jail space anyway. "We get 20-30 a day right now. I could fill my entire jail within a week."

The cartels are sending 2,000 children over the border each week this month, and there are now at least 8,000 minors in custody, approaching a record. The Biden administration is openly bragging about estimates of 117,000 minors on the way. With that comes a massive pipeline of transnational gang recruitments inside our country and in every major city.

It's a lose-lose for everyone. Americans are stuck with the expenses and social effects, as well as the narcotics and increased gang activity. At a time when the lockdowns are tempting so many Americans to turn to drugs, the Biden border invitation is creating a lucrative market for the drug cartels in human smuggling as well as drug smuggling. And in the irony of all ironies, the COVID lockdown policies that are inducing the circuitous drug cycle exacerbated by the border policies are suddenly being relaxed when it comes to illegal aliens.

As for the illegal aliens themselves, Mayor McLaughlin observes that there is nothing humanitarian about chaotic open borders.

"We as a country act as though we are helping these illegal immigrants as we release them into our country. We talk about slave labor and sex trafficking all the time, but these illegal immigrants end up working day jobs where they are picked up in neighborhood street corners where they stand around waiting for work, are paid subpar wages, and if hurt, are dropped off back without getting taken care of. The women are forced into the sex trade to survive and take care of their families. We are not helping these people or our country. We are only setting them up to fail."