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by Michael Webster
Sunday, Feb. 03, 2008 at 8:42 PM
firstname.lastname@example.org 949 494-7121
In addition to Federal agents, State, sheriff, and local police dept's are expected to help patrol the border areas.
The federal government acknowledges that the United States-Mexican border region has been experiencing an alarming rise in the level of criminal cartel activity, including drug and human smuggling, which has placed significant additional burdens on Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies.
The U.S. border with Mexico extends nearly 2,000 miles along the southern borders of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. In most areas, the border is located in remote and sparsely populated areas of vast desert and rugged mountain terrain with vast open water of the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific oceans.
The U.S. government admits that the border’s vast length and varied terrain poses significant challenges to U.S. law enforcement efforts to control the entry of individuals and goods into the United States.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the federal agency with primary responsibility to detect and prevent illegal entry into the United States. The latest available data indicates that approximately 11,000 CBP agents patrol the nearly 6,000 miles of international border the United States shares with its neighbors Mexico and Canada.
In addition to Federal agents, State, sheriff, and local police dept's are expected to help patrol the border areas. In remote areas along the border, many sheriffs’ departments are called upon to address border-related criminal matters and serve as a backstop to CBP operations. In many cases, these local law enforcement agencies do not have the resources necessary to patrol the thousands of square miles of border territory under their respective jurisdiction, leaving the security of the U.S. border vulnerable.
While the Southwest border hosts robust legal commercial activity, the border also is the site of violent criminal enterprises. These enterprises are carried out by organized criminal syndicates of Mexican/American cartels, gangs and international terrorist which include the smuggling of WMD's, drugs, humans, weapons, and cash across the U.S.-Mexico border.
With the latest available government static's reporting that during 2005, Border Patrol apprehended approximately 1.2 million illegal aliens; of those 165,000 were from countries other than Mexico. Of the non-Mexican aliens, approximately 650 were from so called special interest countries. Special interest countries are those “designated by the intelligence community as countries that could export individuals that could bring harm to our country in the way of terrorism.” Global Terrorist And Drug Trafficking Cartels
A significant portion of illegal activity at the border relates to illegal drug smuggling. The triple plus threat of drug smuggling, illegal and unknown crossers, and rising violence are the reality facing communities. While it is true that many illegal aliens cross the border searching for employment, not all illegal aliens are crossing into the United States to find work. U.S. and Mexican law enforcement believe and in fact has stated that some individuals come across the border because they have been forced to leave their home countries due to their criminal activity. These dangerous criminals are fleeing the law in other countries and seeking refuge in the United States.
Along the border with Mexico, there are 43 Ports of Entry, 18 in Texas alone, connecting with major U.S. interstate highways leading to all parts of our nation. These Ports or Entry and highway systems are intended to facilitate lawful trade and commerce. However, the Mexican drug cartels have been able to use these highways for their own ends, seeing in them an efficient means to transport their drugs and illegal aliens (including terrorist) across the border.
The government reports that Mexican drug cartels and gangs operating along the Southwest border are more sophisticated and dangerous than any other organized criminal enterprise. The Mexican cartels, and the smuggling rings and gangs they leverage, wield substantial control over the routes into the United States and pose substantial challenges to U.S. law enforcement to secure the Southwest border. The cartels operate along the border with military grade weapons, technology and intelligence and their own respective paramilitary enforcers.
In addition, human smugglers coordinate with the drug cartels, paying a fee to use the cartels’ safe smuggling routes into the Unites States. There are also indications the cartels may be moving to diversify their criminal enterprises to include the increasingly lucrative human and terrorist smuggling trade. New Terrorist Bases South Of The Border
Moreover, global law enforcement has established that there is increasing coordination between Mexican drug cartels and middle eastern countries in drug and human smuggling networks which also involves U.S.-based gangs. The cartels use street and prison gangs located in the United States as their distribution networks. In the United States, the gang members operate as surrogates and enforcers for the cartels.
Murders and kidnappings on the both sides of the border have significantly increased in recent years. They're known as "Los Zetas The violence along the U.S.-Mexican border has increased so dramatically, the United States Ambassador to Mexico, Tony Garza, during his term issued an unprecedented number of diplomatic notes to the Mexican Government and threat advisories to U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico. During August 2005, the Ambassador had to temporally close the U.S. consulate in Nuevo Laredo in order to assess security.
This new generation of sophisticated and violent cartels, along the Southwest border, is presenting significant challenges to U.S. law enforcement. These criminal syndicates have unlimited money to buy the most advanced weapons and technology available. The cartels monitor the movements and communications of law enforcement and use that intelligence to enable the criminals to transport their assorted human and other cargo accordingly.
In addition to the criminal activities and violence already pointed about the cartels on our Southwest border, there is an ever-present threat of increased terrorist and WMD infiltration over the Southwest border. Data indicates that there are hundreds of illegal aliens apprehended entering the United States each year who are from countries known to support and sponsor terrorism.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations have revealed that aliens were smuggled from the Middle East to staging areas in Central and South America, before being smuggled illegally into the United States.
It is a fact that members of the terrorist group Hezbollah have already entered the United States across the Southwest border.
U.S. military and intelligence officials believe that Venezuela is emerging as a staging hub of terrorism in the Western Hemisphere. The Venezuelan government is believed to be issuing identity documents that are subsequently used to obtain a U.S. visa for terrorists to enter this country illegally.
In response to the increasing criminal activity and violence along the Texas-Mexico border, the State of Texas, in partnership with the Federal government, launched Operation Rio Grande, an initiative to increase border security. Under Operation Rio Grande, Texas has conducted targeted, short duration, and high intensity regional operations that integrate local, State and Federal law enforcement.
Border states want security strategy to include increasing patrols and law enforcement presence and insist on centralizing command, control and intelligence operations and increase federal and State funding and further deployment of State resources for border security and to make better use of technology to fight border crime. By focusing on these areas, border states feel they will be able to mount an aggressive defense which could significantly reduced crime in areas of operations; and substantially decreased transnational drug WMD and human smuggling enterprise activities between Ports of Entry.
As a cornerstone of this new strategy the use of Joint Operations Intelligence Centers (JOIC) and a Border Security Operations Center (BSOC) should be utilized.
The net effect of these efforts should curtail border-related criminal enterprises and help make the border areas safer.
El Paso Intelligence Center, National Seizure System
FBI's McAllen Intelligence Center
Violent Crime Impact Team (VCIT
National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS)
United States Customs Service (USCS)
Federal Bureau Of Investigation FBI
The Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Homeland Security
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