Photo: U.S.-Mexico Border
During a hearing this week, a Texas lawmaker disclosed information alleging Mexican drug cartels’ plot to shoot U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents as well as Texas Rangers who patrol the U.S.-Mexico border.
Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Managementm Michael McCaul (R-TX), shared information during Thursday’s hearing regarding DHS’s work to fight Mexican drug cartels.
McCaul noted a law enforcement bulletin from this month that “warned that cartels were overheard plotting to kill ICE agents and Texas Rangers guarding the border using AK-47s by shooting at them from across the border.”
Though U.S. officials were unable to determine the credibility of the threats, they still alerted border agents of the possible threat.
When asked about the bulletin, the DHS officials said, “Out of an abundance of caution, we routinely share information that could impact our frontline personnel in order to ensure that they are aware of any and all threats.”
Thursday, McCaul introduced legislation to officially name six of Mexico’s major drug cartels foreign terrorist organizations, which would allow for more harsh penalties and consequences against them. Such legislation would also strictly regulate their ability to travel as well as their finances.
“Cartels kidnap, kill and mutilate innocent civilians, elected officials and law enforcement, using gruesome tactics to intimidate government officials and citizens to abide by their rules. Torture, beheadings, dismembering and mutilation are common,” McCaul said, adding, “While not driven by religious ideology, Mexican drug cartels operate in the same manner as al Qaeda, the Taliban or Hezbollah. Each sharing a desire, and using similar tactics to gain political and economic influence.”
Just last month, two ICE agents were attacked, one killed, by cartel members. Special Agent Victor Avila was wounded, his partner, Special Agent Jaime Zapata was killed.
“The shooting of Special Agents Zapata and Avila is a game-changer,” said McCaul. “[It] alters the landscape of the United State’s involvement in Mexico’s war against the rug cartels.”