Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Are Mexico Cartels Targeting US Border Officials?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 |


Reports suggest that assaults on U.S. officials on the Mexico border are increasing, as desperate traffickers are increasingly prepared to confront law enforcement agents head on. However, a look at these “attacks” shows that the danger may be exaggerated.

Written by Geoffrey Ramsey
In Sight

According to an article in Mexico’s El Universal, the Border Patrol and other U.S. law enforcement agencies that work along the border have seen an increase in the number of attacks by Mexican drug cartels in recent months. This claim is bolstered by a 2010 Congressional Research Service report on border violence, which indicates that such attacks have increased from 773 recorded incidents in 2005 to 1,073 in 2009.

The Mexican paper cites Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), who provides even more dramatic statistics. McCraw says there were only 356 attacks in 2004, meaning that their frequency may have increased by more than 300 percent in a five year period.

According to McCraw, this is partly due to the fact that cartels are under increased pressure to limit the amount of their product that is seized by authorities. At one time, members of drug cartels threw out their drug shipments or abandoned their vehicles when confronted by U.S. agents, according to McCraw. But today, drug cartels have less tolerance for failure. The DPS official claimed that shipments of drugs and undocumented migrants are now vigorously protected, with gangs using high-speed automobiles and being prepared for direct confrontations with the authorities.

As evidence, McCraw referred El Universal an incident that occurred on June 9, in which Border Patrol officers in Texas came upon several men unloading more than 1,200 pounds of marijuana on the Mexican side of the border who began to throw rocks and sticks at the agents. The officials said that, after they heard “at least six” gunshots, they opened fire on the men. As the Houston Chronicle noted, the American agents allegedly shot around 300 rounds in the incident.

Since the incident, U.S. officials have identified the men as members of the Gulf Cartel. If true, this would fit with a Drug Enforcement Administration bulletin obtained by Homeland Security Today in early June, which claimed that “the Gulf Cartel has directed [that] no more ‘drug loads’ in the US will be lost (to law enforcement).”

However, the vast majority of these “clashes" are instances of unarmed civilians throwing rocks, sticks and bottles at border agents, who frequently fire their weapons in retaliation. In fact, this has long been a vexing diplomatic issue between the U.S. and Mexico, and the latter country has repeatedly accused U.S. agents of using excessive force.

The most recent such incident occurred in Tijuana on June 21, when three men attempted to jump the border fence which separates the city from San Diego. When U.S. law enforcement officials captured one of them, his associates began to throw rocks and other projectiles at them, according to the agents. In response, a Border Patrol agent shot one of the men in the head. As CNN reports, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has condemned the killing, and asked the United States to punish the officer responsible.

Although McCraw’s remarks are sure to fuel fears of “spillover violence” and trigger more calls for increased security at the border, it’s worth pointing out that the incidence of attacks is still relatively low, considering the number of Border Patrol agents along the border. As an internal Customs and Border Protection study obtained by the Associated Press last year revealed, only three percent of Border Patrol officers were assaulted in 2009, compared with 11 percent of police officers and sheriff's deputies assaulted nationwide during the same period.

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27 Borderland Beat Comments:

Kari A said...

When someone attempts to 'jump the fence' they are trespassing and if law enforcement are provoked they should (by right and law) be able to retaliate against that force.

Anonymous said...

Hey Calderon maybe you should condemn all the sicarios/cops that kill innocent people ever day in Mexico.

Anonymous said...

So called violence against these border agents is overrated.

If you are smuggling drugs you don't want to attract attention to yourself, it's counter productive.

Unless you count teenage kids throwing rocks at border officials , violence.

'lito'brito said...

hey there anon...how about i throw a rock at you and hit you in the head...what would you call that?...ice cream?

Aleric said...

Anyone that feels they have the right to throw deadly projectiles, yes a rock can kill someone, deservs to be shot. Border Agents already take their lives in their hands dealing with criminals crossing the border every day they dont need to be penalized for defending themselves. If Calderon is so worried about this how about he do something to stop the illegal immigration that only we in America try to control.

Anonymous said...

cartels smugglers and others continue their shit the US will delcare war and tear through mexico leaving no survivers. keep the violence in mexico dont bring that shit over here its bad for business

Anonymous said...

A shot in the head IS just too much, shoot the guy in the leg no need to end someones life just for throwing rocks and shit. Lito, SUCK IT, infact all of you suck it. 6:13 has it right its a business the last thin they want is more attention. Texans can suck it as well they complain to much and blow shit things up out of the water. A Bolder ends up be a small rock, 100 mexicans ends up being only 5, and a 3hour gun fight is really a couple shots. Go fuck your selves. This country would be lost with out ANY ilegals from anywhere. White ppl are not going to go out and top onions all day in 100+ weather.

Anonymous said...

a rock to the head is much different then a bullet right between the eyes!!! they should have the right to defend themselves but shooting someone in the head is wrong. if that happened any where in the states, that officer would lose his or hers job and/or go to jail. just because someone throws a rock at u from a distance u dont have the right to kill them.

Anonymous said...

Re: dangers of kids throwing rocks

I did 2 tours in OIF and we had that all the time. One of our guys suffered a pretty serious concussion (he was sporting his Boonie that day b/c of the sun) and though I was never personally struck I can testify as to the life-threatening danger rocks pose. We're not talking abt pebbles or gravel here - we're talking fist-sized up to softball sized stones. the ROI prohibited us from firing on anybody throwing rocks no matter how big the projectiles were. However, we sot at plenty of kids - hell some as young as 5 yrs old - not intending to kill we usually shot over their heads in open country or into the ground near them in urban environments when we could. The shots always scared them away not to return any time soon. In highly populated areas we usually just threw things back at them - the best were pissed-filled water bottles w/their caps off. Not sure if we were ever successful preventing return rock throwing offenders but we did manage to stay unharmed (except for SGT Dumbass). I miss it all now that I think about it. Suburban life sux.

Anonymous said...

@11:43

You are an idiot. When a group of people is throwing big rocks at your face, you can't just shoot them in the leg like some video game. It's a nasty, frightening situation with no clear lines of movement or way to defend yourself.

I don't feel sorry for anyone who is stupid enough to throw rocks at an armed agent of another country while committing a crime. What the fuck do you expect to happen?

xyz said...

So here is a bright idea. CBP should let there guys carry paintball guns and shoot the guys on the other side. Its not deadly but it will stop them from throwing rocks and sticks to them. I'm just saying this is a good solution and getting hit with several painballs is more painful than a rock and dealing with less crap for firing your gun.

Anonymous said...

All you Homo-ass vatos crying about agents defending themselves should try to patrol the border day and night. Let's see how you take your buddy falling down all descalabrado, leaking all types of chunky Ragu and shit. For reals, yall some softy-ass vatos, some Oil of Olay hand-lotion washin vatos, walking on Dr. Schol's-type vatos, give me a marshmellow in my coffee drinkin vatos, for real, yall be smellin like Lavander riding on a baby unicorn-type eses. Shit, if I was a border patrol agent you know I be bussin my gun every fuckin chance I get, them aliens know I buss my gun, aint no waiting game on my part. This is the big dog talkin reppin for my side unlike you furry cute-ass pandas on this joint, yall need to recognize when real mens speaking and go put on that fresh outta the dryer Polo shirt, cuz me and my mans we gone blast these aliens and eat they moms too if they try to cross nahmeans? Fuck, yall need to wash with Lava soap, ya mud-face pearly skin vatos for realz. Stop embarrassing the King with yalls femenine-self or I'm a pay your broad a visit and show her what a real mans all about, show her you nothing but a baby-ass softee vato who can't rep for his own country, can't drink straight without pinky in the air-type vatos, hey, for realz yo, yall should feel honored this site's sup for us tru-blood vatos, this shit runs through our veins yo since the days of the ancients so yall better step the fuck off and recognize when we say we coming after ya with the heat and melt ya I can't believe it's not butter-soft ass vatos.

---EntiendesMendez

Anonymous said...

Hey 11:43
1. If you do not like anyone here, shut up and go away.
2. Perhaps you might like Lito to hurl a large rock at you. He has quite an arm!
4. "Yourselves" is one word, and fucking oneself is not that much fun, so no thanks.
3. You can mess with Lito, you can mess with me, but leave Texas alone. Texas IS the greatest state in the Union. I know this because I am from Texas, so do not bother arguing. It will do you no good. I am biased, although correct, and your opinion is wrong, as many who disagree with me frequently are.
After all,
Imjustagirl

'lito'brito said...

jajjaja..you go there justagirl...

11:43..smacked ..tapped and down....

i wrote an answer and it was fine ..but never got printed

and i do like Texas..one of my grandpas was a Texas ranger for a while ..long ago

Anonymous said...

I reas all the coments and cant believe the dumb shit in some of the coment. I patrol the line and know the dangers any dumbass that a rock in the face dont hurt can call me so i can chunk one at them better yet they can throw one at me so i can blow their head off. Fucken pansys love to talk of what they should and shouldnt do with not even experiencing it. They need to shut up and let real men take care of our country bunch of vagisil using cowards.

Anonymous said...

You douche I am a BP officer and have worked the border for over 15 years. A head shot was bullshit. Iv had everything from rocks to shit thrown at mebut it still doesnt give me the right to end some humans life. Its because of hot headed rednecks like you that give BP a bad name. This last hiring boost let alot of trash in and I Bet your one of them so go fuck your sister since thats the only thing your good at. Have someone in ur family throw a rock at me so I can shoot there head off see how you like it. Just because they are illegals doesnt mean you can kill them. So your the real vagisil using POS

Neto said...

To a certain extent, you never know some of these people's true intentions. Does, still, seem cold blooded blasting a 15 yr old out for throwing rocks at you. For all we know, that cat had his whole life ahead of him trying to make a living in the US or meeting other family.

With that said (and taken into consideration), que pinche pena me da that some of you fools would be so heartless to people like this... and writing and explaining that hostility in Spanish. Muy pinche "Uh-mer-ee-kahn See-tee-suhn" ustedes gueyes. Part of appreciating being in this country is understanding how you got here and the struggles people before you went through to do so.

Anonymous said...

Güey, la neta que Texas es más chido que Arizona y Nuevo México. Allá bailó Berta

Anonymous said...

(Part of appreciating being in this country is understanding how you got here and the struggles people before you went through to do so.)

So you telling us we have to pretty much allow anybody who makes it across illegaly to stay? Dude, don't you understand? This is a country with laws. It is illegal, it is a crime to come in here without proper documentation. Get it in your fuckin thick skull. What part of ILLEGAL don't you understand? The cartels run the rampant illegal immigration we're seeing and you think it's alright to support them? Remember, they're the ones killing themselves over there like a bunch of idiots. They're the ones who don't know how to behave like decent human beings, they're the ones who can't govern themselves, they're the ones who do not cherish education, rule of law, and morality. It's not about hating on anybody else, it's about stopping them from fuckin up OUR counrty. We've fought hard to keep our communities safe, we've fought to keep our kids safe, we've fought hard to protect our interests, our businesses, our lands, whether we are hispanic, black, chinese, or white...and nobody should be bowing down to anybody who's trying to get a free pass or who's willing to destroy what little we have. We'd like for Mexico to pick up its pants and start behaving like normal people. We're not perfect either but FUCK!, what is wrong with Mexico? They've been around longer than any other country in the Americas and they still don't know what it is to have a backbone.

Anonymous said...

12:22am you said perfect!

"L"B said...

anon July 2, 2011 4:29 PM

good rant..

even though i am very sympathetic to the plight of the illegal person..until we get off our ass and make a change ..reform our laws to make it simpler to get a visa..but until that time..respect our laws ..we do have the right to defend our sovereign territory and our way of life

also too..you make a real good point about the narcos deriving a lot of dinero from the coyote business...we enable that shit by not guarding our borders and by our tolerant attitude..and once again by our hard assed attitude about the visa

and the third thing..yeah Mexico is ancient..and even though the pendejos robbed it and destroyed the social fabric...that was long long ago...time to advance..also look at Mexico's immigration policy...you can get up to two years and a fine for being in Mexico illegally...unless you get sold to Zetas and are forced to kill each other even after your family has paid a ransom...

all this said ..purposely shooting some body in the head for throwing a rock is extreme...but for real it ain't smart to fuck with the bull

this is a hard subject...compassion versus reality

Anonymous said...

Never bring a rock to a gunfight and never let a rock win a gunfight. When a rock finds its mark the gun becomes vulnerable and we all know what comes next – another law enforcement official added to a memorial. To all you liberals out there, I dare you to patrol our peaceful borders with a love and understanding. I am sure the cartels and their underlings will appreciate your generous sympathy.
R.I.P

Neto said...

@Anon July 2, 2011 4:29 PM

If you had any idea of our current immigration system, you'd understand that some paisas will simply NOT wait for their legal passing into the states. Patience is a luxury that doesn’t stand for the impoverished.

And that, my friends, is not compassion-- its reality.

It’s also very easy for you to criticize Mexico, but at least give credit to Calderon for “picking up his pants” and attacking these cartels head on, which, by the way, our administration has praised. The reason why Mexico is swimming in blood is partly because Calderon was the first motherfucker to put his foot down.

This spillover violence is bullshit and goes against the interest of the cartels. Plain and simple. It’s the reason why border towns are some of the safest cities in the US. El Paso ranked #1 a few months back, and that fucker’s right across Cd. Juarez! Even though it is a hotbed for criminal activity, point is, there is no violence and the cartels would be foolish to attract attention. After all, the customer is always right.

Anonymous said...

Well shit, seeing as how my father came here the right way by paying the fees and waiting the time, learning some english, and America's history, with the money he saved up was the wrong way according to the liberals here. So he just got suckered into a residency card instead of where he could of just crossed the border illegally, not pay taxes, apply to wic in cali and pretty much live life in luxury from the tax payer, is basically how the liberals think is the right way. Well shit guess we're all suckers for abiding the rules and not taking advantage of the American Tax payer.

Neto said...

And apparently, you conservatives think this shit is all easier done than said. And that the average illegal comes here to suck off America's tit as if they lack any hope to prosper. Don't forget that they come here in search of labor, which probably your average, hypocritical Neo Con will gladly provide *COUGH COUGH* Jan Brewer's housemaid. Lord forbid SB 1070 strike her house first.

And another thing, most illegals travel in packs with other family, or if alone, have fam waiting for them in the states. Regardless, they'll have plenty of help and need not look towards the "luxurious" WIC.

Anonymous said...

To July 3, 2011 10:35 PM

Yes cause we all know liberal are not hypocrites right? With the Pro Choice BS, yet it's always pick my choice cause your choice is illegal.

Anonymous said...

Americans need to stop being crackheads..your giving your money and power to this cartels, but people are just so hard headed and keep consuming drugs.

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