Borderland Beat republished this article from My San Antonio
The signs abound that the war on drugs has been reeling in more than the usual suspects, and that the battle requires some rethinking.
In Hidalgo County, nine former lawmen were recently sentenced on federal drug charges, much of this involving a police drug unit ripping off drugs and escorting cars carrying drugs. The former Hidalgo County Sheriff was just sentenced to five years for taking money from a drug trafficker.
In Balcones Heights, investigators have been trying to piece together the facts in the slaying of police officer Julian Pesina. Among the angles they are pursuing is the possibility he was affiliated with the Texas Mexican Mafia. The Balcones Heights police chief was recently removed, partly for failing to heed warnings that Pesina had this involvement. Investigators also are looking into the possibility that such recruitment isn't an isolated event, according to a recent Express-News article recently by Guillermo Contreras and Drew Joseph.
Reporting in 2013 revealed that the FBI believed the Mexican drug cartel, Los Zetas, had a deal with the Texas gang to collect debts, execute hits and traffic drugs in and through Laredo.
The possibility of even a single corrupt cop is troubling — broad recruitment by a gang affiliated with any of the powerful and rich Mexican cartels is doubly so.
Most Texas police officers are honest. But the amount of money involved in the drug trade provides an explosive variable, something Border Patrol watchdogs have long known.
A Government Accountability Office report last year revealed that 144 officers and agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had been arrested or indicted on corruption charges in the previous seven years on charges of smuggling undocumented immigrants and drugs and bribery.
The vast amount of money available to corrupt law enforcement is directly attributable to Americans' insatiable appetite for the product.
Local, state and federal authorities should be vigilant against such infiltration.
But we wonder, given the boodles of cash available, whether this also won't be a variation of the well-known exercise in this drug war of whack-a-mole.
This influx of children from Central America is fueled, in part, by drug cartel-influenced violence in their countries. One way to curtail the amount of money available is to take away the gangs' profit motive; treating drug abuse more as a public health issue, with the treatment resources to match.