Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Editorial: Texas as combat zone in the narco-wars

Saturday, October 1, 2011 |


Jesus Alcazar/AP
Published: 30 September 2011
The Dallas Morning News


An alarming report circulated recently in Dimmit County, near the border with Mexico. Three pipeline workers, part of the oil boom in this sparsely populated area, had been killed on or near Ranch Road, not far from Catarina. One of the men had been beheaded.

It was frightening — and false.

In the open spaces on the U.S.-Mexico border, where the perception of lawlessness is real, unfounded reports like this feed the notion that murderous Mexican drug gangs are running rampant. For the ranchers who work and even police their own lands, knowing that a killing didn’t happen is no consolation. Many are rightfully convinced that being cautious, even fearful, is prudent.

There is good reason. Mexico’s narco-wars are fought just across the border. Drug gangs, who also profit from smuggling illegal aliens, use the border as a highway for their illicit activity. A man was killed in McAllen just last week in a gun battle apparently tied to a dispute within the Gulf cartel.

The extent to which Mexico’s violence is spilling over into the U.S. daily is difficult to establish, in part because the issue is mired in the debate over securing the border. You either believe that we are generally immune to narco-terror — this is the position of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, some business leaders and local elected officials in border towns — or you believe that the murderous drug war is here and that it is being lost every day in the lawless plains.

Now weighing in on the side of conspiracy and chaos is the Texas Department of Agriculture and its politically ambitious commissioner, Todd Staples. A report he commissioned to develop “a military-style strategy” for securing the border has concluded that residents there are living in a 24-hour “war zone.” One of the report’s authors, retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, raised eyebrows when he said hundreds have been killed.

This is nonsense. The alarmist and overtly militaristic tone of the report, which relies on anecdotes, does a great disservice to those who are rightly worried about violence in border counties and who have no way of separating fact from rumor. The report’s flaws make it easy to dismiss it as propaganda, which is what happened. Among the losers are taxpayers, who ended up paying $80,000, and Staples, who should resist the temptation to play general.

All that said, it is naive to think that we are untouched by Mexico’s narco-terror. When Colombia went through its drug war in the 1980s, battles were fought in New York and Miami. We know Mexican cartels have established operations in some Texas cities. That’s a real threat, not a borderline anecdote meant to incite partisan passions.

A case of overreach

“Living and conducting business in a Texas border county is tantamount to living in a war zone in which civil authorities, law enforcement agencies as well as citizens are under attack around the clock.”
—“Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment”

Actual violence in Texas attributed to Mexico’s drug cartels, January 2010-May 2011

22 murders
25 assaults
15 shootings
5 kidnappings

SOURCE: Texas Department of Public Safety

Share it:

29 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

I live in bordertown they are cartel members on all texas border cities that's a fact jack they move from the border easy one side to the other hit squads are in every bordertown I bet all murders in border cities are som how related to drug cartels!

Anonymous said...

Actual violence in Texas attributed to Mexico’s drug cartels, January 2010-May 2011

22 murders
25 assaults
15 shootings
5 kidnappings

What? Those numbers are too low for you to think we need to have our shit together? So they inflated the numbers. If there was zero murders, a few assaults, 2 shootings, and no kidnappings; I'd say your right. But this is the US, and this shit doesn't fly here. The norm for us is 0 murders, 0 asssaults, 0 shootings, and 0 kidnappings. This isn't Mexico where you see arms and legs hanging from bridges and assholes using sheets to make banners to post in every town. I live three miles from the border, and I will not take this shit lightly. I am armed, we have security, alarms, neighbors, plans, and A DESIRE TO KEEP THE SHIT ON THE MEXICO SIDE WHERE IT BELONGS! Am I paranoid? Hell Yes! My paranoia equals the love for my friends and family and being passive like the un-armed honest people of Mexico is not an option. And most people I know FEEL JUST LIKE MYSELF.

Maybe your article should have the tone that they fudged the numbers a bit and Mcaffery is still the giant pile of shit old fart that he has always been, and he couldn't fix anything. His greed for the billions of dollars his agency got to fight drugs is evident by same harsh laws for weed as they had in the 80's. But no way are we safe on our side as long as these fuckers keep INVADING our country. I understand why the masses are fleeing Mexico and I'm all for making it easier for the honest ones to come and work for a set time, go home, come back.. Why can't the US get the money the smugglers are charging? $5000 sounds like a good fee to come and work. Allow them to come for 18 months if they can pass a background check, give them a temp tax number that they have to pay into if they want to come back, we can offer them temp drivers license for work, we know where they are, and if they don't go home you floor the shit out of them. But if they want Mexico to change, they need to stay and arm themselves, and take them on like the civil war that it is becoming!

Anonymous said...

Tantamount to a warzone under attack 24/7 lol

Anonymous said...

They need to bring our troops back from Overseas and take care of our country here.

Anonymous said...

That is...

22 murders
25 assaults
15 shootings
5 kidnappings too many.

Imagine if this was the tally in Washington State resulting from criminal activity by Canadians. Keep lowering the bar.

Anonymous said...

5 kidnappings in all that time? You gor your numbers way, way off and REALLY seems as if you are slanting this story trying to minimize the factual truth! NOT GOOD!

Anonymous said...

Nice shot!(pic) It was taken when Barry came to El Paso for a something or rutn'other, as they let 2-3 cars down at time, obscuring the mass of humanity that travels across BoTA at high noon.

Anonymous said...

compare 22 murders to the number of killings in a single part of juarez in the same time, I'm not even talking about the whole city, never mind the whole state of chihuahua (which would make the comparison fair). This is not bad at all. The asshole above who goes on about zero being the only acceptable number is deluded and full of armchair warrior bullshit. 22 is not a good reason for militarization and shitloads more tax money down the toilet.

Even Texas or any other US state will inevitably have a certain number of drug murders on its territory per year, thats just life under the stupid drug wars and drug laws. But as long as the general peace is good and people can go out normally, regular law enforcement should be fine.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that this report is propaganda, but the threat still exists. Also, the ''shootout'' in McAllen was actually a shooting. One car pulled up next to another and killed the driver instantly.

Anonymous said...

Theres been more kidnappings than that!!

Anonymous said...

the following is false
22 murders
25 assaults
15 shootings
5 kidnappings

SOURCE: Texas Department of Public Safety

how can i begin to take anything that
Jesus Alcazar/AP
Published: 30 September 2011
The Dallas Morning News
has to say seriously when he is willing to falsify information to further his agenda?
jesus needs to spend an hour with each of the border victims families so he can develop a sense of the gravity of the situation.
not sure why BB posted this but I have come to accept that as a narco blog they post just about anything related and it is up to the readers to interpret the information properly.

Anonymous said...

I have relatives hours away from this and it seems the numbers dont look right based on factual reports of people close. The fact that the cartels thrive on fear should tell you that they probably wouldn't last real long here on this side of the border. especially in a state such as Texas where the NRA thrives. Still I'm sure there is plenty of incidents in which we have minimal security and situations happen. Our government should get a grip on this not our people. This is why we have military forces ...no?

Anonymous said...

these people could defend themselves they are not in mexico some bitch comes to my house talking cartel shit I will put a gun in their asshole texas justice

Anonymous said...

although we have the second amendment it is very likely that when 150 cartel trucks arrive at your house carrying 4 light armed cavalry each you will see the folly in singular bravado.
When our founding fathers were faced with the greatest military force in the world at the time
they mustered the militia
the Militia Act of 1792, that every able-bodied
white male citizen between the ages of eighteen and
forty-five be enrolled in his state's militia. It also re-quired that each militiaman equip himself with appro-priate arms.

Anonymous said...

The beautiful thing about Texas is we have gun permits and I always have my .40 very close to me because if someone does decide to try something stupid to harm me or my family it good night because I got 1 judge and 14 jurors and I'll hold court right there

OVEMEX said...

The Texas Public Safety director, Steven McCraw, says 6 of the 7 major Mexican cartels are operating in Texas..

http://www.elsiglodetorreon.com.mx/noticia/664272.html

http://www.elagora.com.mx/Tienen-6-carteles-mexicanos-redes.html

http://mx.noticias.yahoo.com/operan-texas-seis-c%C3%A1rteles-mexicanos-062005224.html

Buggs said...

I believe those numbers came from a report comission by the state of Texas and the assessment was conducted by retired four-star Army General Barry McCaffrey and retired Army Major-General Robert Scales titled "Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment." If anyone has better formal numbers post them up and the source, we would be interested to know.

http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2011/09/cartels-trying-to-move-pperations-to-us.html

Anonymous said...

I'm from Laredo & 6 Murders in 2011, in a City of over 350,000 people is way lower then the national average. You make the call!

Anonymous said...

Lol "150 cartel trucks carrying 4 people each" id be more worried about a lone gunman. Not only could the cartels never amass those kinds of numbers on this side, they wouldn't last 2 seconds. I imagine a trained and fully loaded squad of SWAT team members would decimate truck loads of sicarios. And don't even get me started on what our military would do. We should fight with our eyes closed

Anonymous said...

@ October 2, 2011 1:18 PM And don't even get me started on what our military would do. We should fight with our eyes closed.

Yes sure dream on brother U.S. with the best military in the world can not finish a war in Afghanistan against the worst military in the world, 10 years and counting.

Anonymous said...

October 2, 2011 1:18 PM And don't even get me started on what our military would do. We should fight with our eyes closed.

You are only good at blowing thing up, you are to much of a chicken to fight with out helicopters, tanks, and planes.

Anonymous said...

October 2, 2011 1:18 PM

fight with ur eyes closed?
a bunch of goat ropers in the middle east
gave the medical staff in the U.S allot of new guinea pigs, keep smoking your crack pipe,
without the drones and planes the U.S. Military gets its ass handed to it in Mexico.

Anonymous said...

@anon Oct. 2 11/11;56 PM
You said "But this is the US, and this shit doesn't fly here. The norm for us is 0 murders, 0 asssaults, 0 shootings, and 0 kidnappings."
Houston is projected to have 355 murders this year. What do you propose we do about that? Send troops, you and some of your buddies take your guns down there and wipe out the bad guys, or just build a fence around it to keep the violence from spreading?

Anonymous said...

WTF is the Texas Commissioner of Agriculture doing commissioning a study of border violence. TX is enduring the worst drought in a century and it is projected to last another 5 or 10 years, the agriculture industry is being destroyed because of it, and what is he doing== having a study done on violence in the border counties of his state. sounds like another Rick Perry is on the way.

Anonymous said...

Huh, I actually did work (surveyed) for a pipeline right there by Catarina in Dimmit County. I was down there from spring to fall of 2010, the beginning of the Eagle Ford's gas boom. It's not a war zone but there's certainly strange stuff going on there and it does feel a little like the wild west. After our pipeline was activated a dead woman and 7 backpacks full of blow were found on the right-of-way. Plus one of the property owners down did get shot (and lived) by smugglers. We ran into illegals using the utility right-of-ways several times as well. I suspect that many crimes aren't reported and also that rural areas near the border are more prone to craziness then the bigger cities (El Paso, Laredo) cause the crimes won't be as visible.
I'm not from there so it's hard for me to say what really goes on down there, but I'm from Houston and in all fairness there's plenty of murders and drug gang members here.

Anonymous said...

San Antonio is just like Compton; yeah there is Zetas here and CDG

Anonymous said...

Those numbers are so far off in the Texas study since people near the border are too scared to report much of it. The study can only be taken with a grain of salt. They should go talk to priests at more rural area border churches. Non-profit violence counselors, hospitals, clinics, and investigate referrals of rural border violence etc. Inclue Funeral homes, medical examiners etc. By investigating the obvious, you'll get skewed numbers.

Anonymous said...

San Antonio is bad as comptom mostly on the east side huge gang problems drug infested murders robberies , officials ignoring the ticking time bomb

Anonymous said...

are you serious?? do you want us to believe those numbers? someone needs a refresher in statistics.

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated, refer to policy for more information.
Envía fotos, vídeos, notas, enlaces o información
Todo 100% Anónimo;

borderlandbeat@gmail.com