Biden border crisis bringing invasion of gang members and ‘cartel affiliates’

By Peter LaBarbera

People hide in a truck bed uncovered by Operation Lone Star Task Force in Kinney County, Texas. (Kinney County Sheriff's Office)
People hide in a truck bed uncovered by Operation Lone Star Task Force in Kinney County, Texas. (Kinney County Sheriff’s Office)

The unprecedented southern border crisis created by President Biden’s lax policies on illegal immigration is causing a “silent invasion of military age men” working with Mexican cartels, says the sheriff of Kinney County, Texas, which abuts the U.S.-Mexico border.

Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe told the online news site Center Square that the “silent invasion” is an act of war against the United States by the drug- and human-smuggling cartels. In September, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared the cartels terrorist organizations, and is now urging the Biden administration and other state governors to do the same.

“Cartels are terrorists, and it’s time we treated them that way. In fact, more Americans died from fentanyl poisoning in the past year than all terrorist attacks across the globe in the past 100 years,” Abbott said. “In order to save our country, particularly our next generation, we must do more to get fentanyl off our streets.”

A series on the border crisis by Center Square highlights the beefed-up campaign by Texas law enforcement agencies to stop the flow of illegals and along the border.

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The “silent invasion,” Coe told the news site, is being committed primarily by single, military age men between the ages of 17 and 45 who are illegally entering the U.S. They’re wearing camouflage and carrying backpacks, according to video captured by cameras placed throughout the county. Many are armed and dangerous, committing robberies and engaging in shootouts with law enforcement, Coe said.

Center Square reports the men are believed to be “working or associated with Mexican cartels. Once they arrive in major U.S. cities, they are embedded with gangs and or cartel affiliates acting like a ‘Trojan horse,'” Coe said. “They set up in our cities, take over through voting and or crime, and scare the local people who move out. It’s happening in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio,” he said, where crime has also exponentially increased over the last few years.

A Center Square journalist accompanied Coe and law enforcement officers from 20 other agencies after the sheriff sent out an SOS asking for help to pursue human smugglers, saying that the illegals are “wreaking havoc in our county.”

A smuggled 5-year-old girl stuffed in a car trunk was saved by Kinney County Sheriff’s deputies. (Kinney County Sheriff’s Officer)

In the coordinated, multi-day operation, they discovered a five-year-old girl lying in the trunk of a car smuggling other humans, and saved her life. Center Square describes the confrontation:

“In one pursuit, officers apprehended a driver and passenger with criminal records who’d previously been apprehended by DPS a few months earlier and were released, before coming back to try another smuggling attempt, authorities said. They were caught by Kinney County Chief Deputy Armando Garcia, who pulled the driver over for probable cause and discovered that five people were crammed in the back seat of the car laying flat on top of each other, including a 4-year-old underneath everyone else. When the officers opened the trunk, they said they discovered a 5-year-old girl was hidden inside.

“She was unresponsive at first but Garcia and his two deputies revived her and saved her life. The alleged smugglers were attempting to reach Houston. If the child had been in the trunk the whole way, she’d have likely died, law enforcement officers told The Center Square. The driver and passenger were arrested. They later confessed and officers discovered they had pictures of stacks of cash they’d taken stored in their phones to show how much they’d profited from smuggling people from the border to other major cities in Texas, law enforcement officers told The Center Square.”

There is big money in helping the Mexican cartels bring illegals to major American cities. The article, quoting Sheriff Coe, reports the “overwhelming majority of alleged smugglers they’re arresting are U.S. citizens responding to social media ads hoping to make several thousand dollars per load.”

Coe, a retired U.S. Border Patrol agent who has been sheriff since 2017, said he’s never seen anything like this. The fact that Kinney County has a reported 2020 population of only 3,129 — and shares only 16 miles of border with Mexico — makes these troubling statistics from the sheriff’s data even more astounding:

  • In 2022, Coe’s deputies made 877 arrests, filing 3,057 felony charges. Of all the criminal cases filed that year, 927 were immigration-related involving illegal foreign nationals or smugglers;
  • In 2022, Kinney County Sheriff’s deputies apprehended 3,192 illegal foreign nationals compared to the 1,124 they apprehended in 2021;
  • In 2022, they apprehended 741 smugglers compared to 169 in 2021, Coe said;
  • His deputies engaged in 139 pursuits and 136 bailouts in 2022 compared to 61 pursuits and 56 bailouts in 2021;
  • In 2022, they impounded 580 vehicles compared to 179 in 2021.
  • In 2022, deputies also seized 89 firearms carried by alleged smugglers, including some that were stolen, up from 29 in 2021.

Coe said that while the numbers of illegals, many from Honduras, caught on outdoor cameras are unprecedented, “the number of people who got away are even greater. Detected on cameras making their way through the county on foot, nearly 21,500 foreign nationals were detected but weren’t apprehended last year. That’s at least seven times the size of the county’s population. Their whereabouts are currently unknown.”

“The other unknown,” he told the Center Square, “is what’s not on camera. You might see two or three are on camera but shadows are also visible indicating there are more people behind them. The camera only shows the 2 to 3 people.”

Another Center Square article covered a successful bust of a fentanyl lab in Houston in what was advertised as a car rental agency. The bad news, however, is that four days later, the lab’s four suspects were released on bond.

“Inside the warehouse, DPS CID special agents found three pill press machines to make fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl, 17 pounds of fentanyl precursors and a kilo of counterfeit Xanax pills with suspected fentanyl. Two milligrams of fentanyl is considered a lethal dose. One fake prescription pill can kill,” the news site reported. “They also uncovered two kilos of cocaine, 44 pounds of marijuana, several stolen guns and a stolen car.”

Many Americans may be unaware of the vast scope of  Gov. Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, or OLS, which he began in March 2021 in response to Biden’s de facto surrender on the border.

“Since Abbott launched OLS, Texas law enforcement officers have apprehended more than 350,000 illegal foreign nationals and made over 24,000 criminal arrests, with more than 22,000 felony charges reported, according to state data. They’ve also seized over 362 million lethal doses of fentanyl, enough to kill more than everyone in the U.S.,” the Center Square reported.

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