Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Saturday, February 26, 2011

National guardsman arrested in U.S. drug cartel raid

National Guardsman Jose Padilla.

The Monitor

A drug smuggling ring accused of working with Mexico’s Gulf Cartel was dismantled Thursday after 11 people, including a U.S. National guardsman, were arrested in connection with the case Wednesday.

The bust was a joint effort by numerous law enforcement agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and the city’s police department, said Police Chief Victor Rodriguez. The sweep also is occurring in Central and Latin America, with law enforcement there leading the effort.

Officers seized more than 6 tons of marijuana, about 145 pounds of cocaine, 12 automatic and semi-automatic weapons, thousands of rounds of ammunition, grenades, body armor and camouflage netting during two raids in McAllen on Wednesday, Rodriguez said.

The first seizure happened about 5 p.m. in the 700 block of IJ Street and the second occurred in the 1100 block of West Gardenia Street, police said. Officers were at a third location as a news conference about the sweep took place Thursday afternoon, and investigators planned to move to a possible fourth location after that, Rodriguez added. Police did not disclose addresses for the additional raids.

Much of what officials seized allegedly was provided to the group, which claimed to be working with the Gulf Cartel in Reynosa, by Guardsman Jose Francisco Padilla, 20, of San Juan, police said.

“(Padilla) is a source of the flak equipment…30-caliber weapons and ammunition,” Rodriguez said. “We know he is an active national guardsman, but I don’t know what his assignment is.”

Padilla, however, might not be working alone, and officials continue to investigate, the chief said.

Police believe the guardsman worked closely with the ring’s alleged leader. 20-year-old Edgar Daniel Zapata, who also was arrested. Zapata allegedly reached out to family members and friends, also arrested, to traffic the seized items, police said.

The dismantling of the group was carried out partially in response to the death of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata, who was killed Feb. 15 in Mexico when a group of armed men, believed to be a part of the Zeta organization, attacked the vehicle he and his partner, Victor Avila, were traveling in along the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi.

Zapata’s death, considered one of the most high-profile cases since the 1985 kidnapping and killing of DEA Agent Enrique ‘Kiki” Camarena, brought national attention to the ongoing drug war in Mexico that has left more than 35,000 people dead since President Felipe Calderon launched an initiative against organized crime in 2006.

A nationwide sweep in the United States, targeting those who work with cartels, was launched Wednesday night and is meant to send a clear message to members of organized crime. It is expected to continue today.

“We are resolved to fight for the cause that Agent Zapata died for,” Rodriguez said. “We are resolved to make our community safer, and the one way this happens is through the members of our community who report suspicious activity to us.”

While the nationwide sweeps are a direct response to Zapata’s killing, the majority of suspects already were targets of other investigations, The Associated Press reported.

Wednesday’s bust was part of an ongoing investigation between the McAllen Police Department and ICE’s Border Enforcement Security Task Force, a series of multi-agency teams developed to identify, disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations posing significant threats to border security, said ICE Spokeswoman Nina Pruneda.

“The worst enemy that these guys have are citizens on the street that report suspicious activity to us,” Rodriguez said. “That’s how this case started, and that’s how other cases will start in the future.”

McAllen police will lead the investigation in regard to the arrests and seizures, but will turn it over to DEA, ICE and ATF for further investigation, Rodriguez said. ICE is expected to work on the weapons investigation, Pruneda added.

The 11 suspects who were arrested face a variety of different federal charges that will be determined at a later time, Rodriguez said.

“The family of law enforcement has grown stronger and more resolved,” he added. “We are working closer.”

The 11 people arrested were identified as:

Jose Francisco Padilla, 30;

Edgar Daniel Zapata, 30;

Francisco Ivan Zapata, 25;

Isidro De La Paz, 22;

J. Guadalupe Marti Reyes, 48;

Arturo Ortiz Zapata, 52;

Alma San Juana Pecina, 46;

Rene Alberto Loera, 38;

Jose Leonso Pecina, 30;

Jose Rafael Chavira, 34;

Jose Arturo Reyes, 28.

photos: Valley


  1. This is just the beginning of the truth.
    That Corruption is on both sides of the Border

  2. Yet another sign that corruption is a problem on both sides of the border.... Makes you wonder how many "Polizetas" are now operating within our own law enforcement departments on the U.S. side of the border.

  3. The fact that corruption exists in the US as well can't be a surprise to anyone can it?
    Unless you are not paying attention or are just a blind patriot you have to know this.

    The "war on drugs" started 40 years ago and there are more drugs available now in the US than ever. I quit somoking pot more than 10 years ago, but I guarantee if I wanted some today I could make some phone calls and get my hands on some in no time.

    All aspects of the US government are corrupt. And the private prison (slavery) industry is laughing all the way to the bank along with many others in high places.

  4. They are everywhere my man. Corruption is man's greed and it's a trait that we all have. Other just chose to follow a different path.

  5. "February 26, 2011 2:48 PM
    Anonymous said...
    if I wanted some today I could make some phone calls and get my hands on some in no time."

    Then stand up and report the dealers you know about!
    You are part of the problem or part of the solution.

  6. This should finally open up some eyes to those who keep claiming that cartels cant corrupt people on this side and that mexicans are just somwhow more suspect to corruption, hell there has been cases of our cops selling confiscated drugs without any cartel involvement.

  7. To work for a cartel do you have to look like a goblin?

  8. @February 26, 2011 4:01 PM

    How am I part of the problem guey? I don't use the shit anymore. It's not my job to find these guys. The US government knows who and where and when, as eveidenced by what has happened the last few days.

    I pay my taxes so these fuckers can do their jobs.
    They suck at their jobs.

  9. The hunderds of buses going to and from Mex every day are allowed to enter the Texas without search because the bus drivers take up a collection amounting to $200 and that is paid to cross into the who do you think is taking the collection money? It's on the US side! These are the same buses who drop off the illegals before the 30mi inland BP stop. Then they wait down the road at a roadside park and a new large store/deli/gas station where they sit and wait for hours for the people to emerge from trespassing through the ranches. Now, can you just imagine what is going back and forth on those buses? Most of the buses are licensed with Wyoming plates despite most of their activity taking place in Texas and the signage on the buses reading Houston,TX..anyone know why? I can't seem to find the answer.

  10. I actually have a story to tell. To make my story short I will say that my cousin who was a narco and worked for la linea and invited me to come with him to have a couple of beers shortly after arriving in Juarez in 08. Me being unaware he was working for la linea, of coarse said yes. I hadn't seen him in years. I wanted to catch up, so we went to this bar and there was this white guy I want to say in his fifties and seem like harden criminal. He didn't know Spanish and my cousin didn't know English but all of the sudden my cousin told me to translate for him some words and to tell him, he has a shipment of 10 tons of marijuana ready to be moved from Chihuahua, Chihuahua to Juarez, he just needed some people who had connections on the other side. The white guy said he could do the job and not to worry that he had "friends" working in Customs. That everything was going to be just fine. They negotiated the terms and payment. And that was that and we left. I felt so betrayed, used by my cousin and I didn't say no to translating because at the time, I was so scared. Just imagine having someone threaten you by saying if this leaves the room there will be blood to pay. Moral of the story is that day I finally realized how much corruption actually exists in Border Patrol and Customs. I was so naive to believe that mexican cops were the only corrupt ones but no, corruption exists everywhere. Everyone wants easy money, and money sure does talk.

  11. Strangers don't just meet at a bar and decide to negotiate 10 tons of grass.

  12. Mota isn't the problem at all, but rather the mass stupidity that has made it and other drugs illegal (for the poor) is.

    The negative things that drugs are supposed to do if abused by people is nothing compared to the negative things that making drugs illegal does to them. Besides,the rich always can do the illegal activities anyway.... since it is only the poor that pays the price generally.

    Take prostitution for example. How's that Berlusconi guy doing? OK? Running a country still? Meanwhile how are all the much poorer street prostitutes doing around the globe? Not so hot? It's the same with drugs.

  13. Call me heartless, but I'd torture the shit out of him to uncover who he's working for and with. The US government better wake up and wake up fast before criminals infiltrate our strong institutions.

  14. You have to love the anti America types that love to pounce on this story and point and say...see see..I told ya so. Of course we have corruption..Every society does, however our institutions for the most part are very strong and will root out these people. I think it's a matter of time before we see politicians and high ranking law enforcement gunned down like in Mexico, but on a smaller scale. I really think the US government better wake the EFF UP and wake up quickly before this cancer spreads. Us, tax payers who work our asses off, follow the law and pay top taxes deserve to live in complete security with out this crap. You can't compare though a few shit bags involved in illegal activity to the enormous corruption on the other side of the border...You are comparing apples and oranges.

  15. 7:33

    Thanks for the anecdote, very interesting.

  16. @ 6:26 You are classic. "It's no my yob man." You don't want to get involved and you haven't stopped smoking dope so you still need your dealer who is probably your friend. You don't want anything to change you just want to shoot your mouth off. You just want to be lazy and get high.

    You pay your taxes because if you don't you will go to jail so don't try to come off so righteous and noble. It's so much easier to criticize and blame somebody else. Yes you are a part of the problem. A small part - but a part.

  17. Did it ever occur to anybody pouncing on the opportunity to state that the U.S. is corrupt that these guys are of Mexican descent? There are many law abiding Mexican Americans, however, there are probably tens of thousands of narcos with family members on the other side of the border. Why do you think so many in the U.S. are paranoid about improving border security and stemming the flow of illegals?

    Also, the level of corruption in the U.S. is very low, whereas in Mexico it is just the opposite. Laws are upheld in the U.S. 99% of the time and citizens can always count on trusting and receiving help from law enforcement - can one do that in Mexico?

    The bottom line is that any reasonable individual cannot compare the level of corruption in the U.S. to that of Mexico.

  18. @February 27, 2011 8:58 AM
    @February 27, 2011 12:02 PM

    No one is pouncing at the opportunity to state that the U.S. corrupt. The only thing we do see is something every American should be worried about because Americans don't want to realize and our so naive to see how much corruption there really is. And to the stupid ignorant ASSHOLE who only thinks this is because they are of Mexican descent? There have been many white and black people arrested for corruption as well. Just GOOGLE. For example,

    In July 2008, for example, the FBI and DEA supported Canadian law enforcement in the arrest of eight people, including a customs agent, suspected of smuggling cocaine and marijuana, contraband cigarettes, and illegal immigrants over the Quebec-New York border. This underground network reportedly ferried hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from Colombia into Canada via the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle border crossing. This is one of many investigations along our northern border.

    In fact, in FY 2009 alone, FBI field offices along the nation’s Canadian border conducted nearly 300 public corruption investigations. A corrupt border official might think that a bribe is sufficient payment for allowing a carload of drugs through the nation’s borders. The ultimate cost, however, might be significantly higher if that carload includes members of a terrorist cell or ingredients for a weapon of mass destruction.

    -Yeah I don't think there are many Mexicans or Americans of Mexican decent living on the U.S. Canadian border right? And if you want I could provide you with the names of the officers arrested to prove it to you? But like I said google mofo!!

    Here are two articles I found that talks about corruption in the U.S. read and open your eyes, stop being blind. We are just people who are concerned that if corruption is not combated with more seriousness the corruption will be widespread one day, all it takes in one bad seed.

    @February 26, 2011 8:02 PM
    Yeah how would you know? Have you done it. Believe me if you want or not, I could care less. My cousin wanted someone to translate for him and met with him prior but couldn't speak english and vice versa, so he saw the perfect opportunity when I came.

    You are welcome, just thought I had to share my story with someone.

  19. Anybody who actually thinks that the US is not run on corruption, like you 12:02 Anonymous simply, doesn't understand where and what corruption actually is. OUr political system is founded in total corruption, where big money buys out our two OFFICIAL parties and tehir candidates, and then where big money continues to 'lobby' them for getting their votes.

    'Also, the level of corruption in the U.S. is very low, whereas in Mexico it is just the opposite.'

    That's just bull!

  20. Anonymous 11:19 ......I couldn't agree more with you. I recall reading an article about bus drivers complicit in drug trafficking that were US Citizens and they arrested a ring of around 20...Every single one had a Spanish last name......I appreciate that you pointed out similar, but also included that we are aware not every Mex American is a criminal, but at the same time we can't hide behind political correctness...this is the reality and our silly ACLU's along with other antagonistic liberal groups have fostered and pressured this country into shooting ourselves in the food, whether it be Chinese stealing top secret info or radical Islamists shooting up an army base etc etc.

  21. The real issue is that Mexico does not have the Lawyers yet to Make Corruption legal like it is here.Whenever we start seeing Lobyists run Election Campaigns, then we call all have a sigh of relief as we know we are progressing

  22. @February 27, 2011 11:19 AM

    You have no idea what you're talking about. I do not smoke dope, I quit. And now that I live on the Mexican/American border town I see what the dope trade has done to Mexico first hand. I do not have a dealer and IT IS NOT MY JOB to try and turn one in.
    My point is that the "war on drugs" is and has been a failure due to the corruption of government on BOTH sides of the border. Hell, I bet my mother could ask around her church and also find some dope if she really wanted to.
    It's everywhere, and it will not be stopped EVER. Too many people making too much money.
    Mexican Gov is corrupt. American Gov is corrupt. Wake up and stop being so blind. Do some research.

    P.S. I am about as white as they come. You don't have to be a minority to be anti American government.

  23. It is true there is some corruption within the ranks of some border town policeman, but to suppose it is as bad as Mexico is just not true. We don't have high ranking Generals in the Army or in the Federal Agencies involved in drug smuggling. Also, the US will punish Federal Agents involved in trafficking with solid sentences and there is no jails letting them go by the hundreds like in Mexico. Mexicans need to understand that they have a serious problem with curruption that is unparallel to developed nations like the US or Germany.

  24. Please people. Does the name Oliver North ring a bell? Do some reasearch and see what he and other top government officals were up to. ALL THE WAY UP TO THE President.
    Does anyone know how the crack cocaine epidemic started in LA, and who was responsible?

    Open your eyes folks.

  25. hand up ..hand up...let me answer ...

    the bush family used the puppet ronny raygun to set up operations to import the cocaine into the USA...

    so my answer is ...KING GEORGE BUSH THE 1ST

    am i right? ..tell me ..tell me

  26. Yes, corruption is on both sides of the border because Mexicans are on both sides of the border. You don't see many gringos working with the cartels ... all these "American" citizens have one thing in common - they're all Mexican.


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