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Posted: 3/23/2006 7:16:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 7:19:48 PM EDT by fight4yourrights]
Damn, old news even.



Drug 'War Zone' Rattles U.S.-Mexico Border


NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico, Jan. 8, 2005 — A few weeks ago, five men were shot to death in a car repair shop in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

In any other city, it might be called a massacre. In Nuevo Laredo, it's called business as usual.

* Patrolling the Border
* Nuevo Laredo Showdown
* Violence in a Border Town


Across the river in Laredo, Texas, the sheriff called it something else.

"It's a war zone," said Webb County Sheriff Rick Flores. "We've got level three body armor. They've got level four. We've got cell phones. They've got satellite cell phones that we can't tap into.

"We're being outgunned," Flores added. "And that's the reason why we're concerned on this side."

The border cities of Laredo and Nuevo Laredo share four bridges across the Rio Grande, thousands of extended families and, now, the suffering caused by drug violence that, at least on the Mexico side, is out of control.

Last year in Nuevo Laredo, a city of about 500,000, the same size as Tucson, Ariz., more than 170 people were killed. Only a handful of those killings led to any arrests.

Among those slain were a city councilman, 13 police officers and the city's police chief, who had been in office seven hours when he was shot more than 50 times.

Now truckloads of federal police, similar to the U.S. National Guard, have been shipped in from across Mexico to restore some semblance of order. Last June most of the local police force was fired for being in the pockets of the drug cartels.

Drug Corridor

The federal show of force has calmed the city since a wave of particularly horrific violence last summer. But the cartels are so rich and local authorities so corrupt that no one is under any illusions that the Mexican government has them on the run. After all, they're fighting over the most lucrative drug corridor in North America, the border at Laredo, Texas.

"You have a number of the drug cartels that are in an all-out war to gain control of this area," said John Montoya of the U.S. Border Patrol. "The Laredo area is the key ingress into the United States. It's called a gateway city, not only into Mexico but into the United States as well. They use Interstate 35 to transport their illegal narcotics. They attempt to set up their infrastructure and their bases of operation not only on the Mexican side but on the U.S. side."

Each day it is estimated that more than 6,000 trucks carrying 40 percent of all Mexican exports come through Laredo. The cartels use the trucks, the warehouses and the interstate to move most of the cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine that reaches the United States. It's a booming business worth $10 million a day, according to a senior agent at the Drug Enforcement Agency.

"By latest estimates, 92 percent of the cocaine coming into the U.S. comes in through the Southwest border," said the DEA's Rick Saldana.

The sheer viciousness of the border drug trade was made clear in a video, presumably made by one of the cartels, showing captured members of a rival gang who describe how their hit men tortured and killed those who got in their way by pouring combustibles over them and burning them with gasoline.

Saldana sees more of the same, for now.

"I think the violence will go down when one or the other cartel gets control of the area or there's a truce between the two," he said.

The area has become so traumatized with fear that the drug cartels have become the dominant institutions. They have more money, better weapons and a stronger organization than any group but the Mexican army.

The organizations that might be expected to challenge the cartels have largely given up the fight — including the mellow new police chief of Nuevo Laredo. His predecessor, who promised to crack down, was the one who lasted just seven hours before he was killed. But Omar Pimentel, who listens to rock 'n' roll in an office painted a peaceful Caribbean blue, plans to concentrate on anything but the drug violence.

"The local police department's job is to prevent robberies," he said. "People think our job is to fight the drug cartel, but it's not."

The local newspaper, El Manana, once chased the story that so dominates its backyard. Then, one of its own reporters was gunned down. It has since backed off.

"There is no guarantee that we can do our job without getting hurt," said Anna Maria Prado of El Manana.

That leaves Raymundo Ramos, who runs a tiny human rights organization, to chronicle all the bullet-ridden bodies that turn up in taco stands, car trunks and trash barrels.

"There's a lot of fear," Ramos said. "People are more worried about personal safety than the institution."

No Tourists

Still, life goes on in Nuevo Laredo, which at first glance looks like any other border town. But then you notice so many of the shops are shuttered, the cafes and bars deserted, and the American tourists nowhere to be seen.

At a high-end gift shop that caters to visitors from across the border, sales are down 80 percent from the year before.

"This last year has been a devastating year for tourism for Nuevo Laredo," said Jack Suneson, a shop owner. "It's the worst we've had on record. And we've been here for 51 years. And I've never seen it this bad. We've been through floods and fires and whatnot. But this crime wave that we hit early in this part of the year has been devastating for tourism."

In fact, more residents are voting with their feet. Their homes say "vende," for sale, as they hope for a safer life across the river in the United States.

But the deadly violence from the drug wars along this border does not stop at the Texas end of the bridge.

Americans Missing

Yvette Martinez, 27, and her friend Brenda Cisneros, 23, are among nine Americans who the FBI says have simply disappeared along the border in the last two years.

In Laredo, Martinez's mother and stepfather still wait.

"When she didn't come back, our world has been turned upside down ever since," said her stepfather, William Slemaker, who is certain Martinez was kidnapped.

Martinez and Cisneros crossed the border in September 2004 to attend a concert in Nuevo Laredo — and never came back.

"My daughter made a phone call about 4:15 in the morning," Slemaker said. "The concert finished about 3:30, 3:40. She was about five blocks from the international bridge, coming to the U.S. to have breakfast on this side. And that's the last anybody ever heard."

"At this moment, we're just waiting for a miracle, because I'm still waiting for my daughter," said his wife, Maria Slemaker. "I want to know where she is. Even if she's not here, I have the right to know. I have the right to have her here in my hands, even if she's not alive anymore."

The unsolved disappearances have frustrated American authorities, who say they have no jurisdiction in Mexico but fear the drug cartels — and even local police on their payroll — are probably involved.

In the Laredo area of Texas, the crimes have even created a growing new market for kidnapping insurance.

'No Mercy'

So far, the city of Laredo has managed avoid the spectacular shoot-outs that have so devastated its sister city across the Rio Grande. But the cartels clearly don't respect national boundaries.

Just a few weeks ago, in broad daylight, a young man was gunned down in a Laredo parking lot as his pregnant wife looked on. The ambush had all the markings of a cartel hit.

What really concerns Sheriff Flores is the level of brutality that's accompanied the cartels as they move their merchandise across the border.

"What we're seeing now is that these people have no mercy for women and children," Flores said. "You know, they're just going to hose you down along with your wife and kids. We just don't know when, God forbid, we may run into some of these people. We need to be ready."

On the Texas side, inside the border patrol's Laredo station, federal agents scan the screens that monitor dozens of thermal imaging cameras along nearly 200 miles of the border. They track the ghostly images of immigrants sneaking across the shallow Rio Grande, and watch well-worn drug routes for signs of narcotics trafficking from Nuevo Laredo.

More than a thousand border patrol agents work the Laredo section, and they seize more narcotics than any other federal agency. Just outside Laredo, checkpoints along major highways, including Interstate 35, provide a second line of defense against drugs moving north from Mexico.

But the smugglers know how to slip through by using private property to circumvent some of the border patrol check stations, Flores said.

Finger Pointing and Fear

For all the beefed-up enforcement on the border, the drug cartels appear stronger and more violent than ever. Authorities on both sides of the river give lip service to better cooperation. But, in fact, they blame each other for failing to do enough to stem the drug trafficking and its deadly consequences.

Flores points to pervasive corruption on the Mexican side, where drug cartels approach poorly paid local police with offers that they dare not refuse.

"They approach you and they tell you, 'Plata or plomo?,' " Flores said. "It means, 'Money or lead? Which one do you want?' "

But in Nuevo Laredo, many Mexicans look across the river and see a never-ending American demand for illegal drugs and a willingness to spend tens of millions of dollars on the cartels that supply them.

"If I was in Laredo, Texas, I'd be embarrassed because the drug corridor is I-35 all the way to Dallas," Nuevo Laredo shop owner Suneson said. "So if this is an easy, a lucrative corridor, this means these drugs are getting across, and the United States is not doing its job. The demand in the United States, this insatiable demand that exists, is driving this frenzy over here, and that's really the problem.

The larger problem may be a combination of American demand, Mexican supply, and a culture of corruption. The unfortunate results along the Rio Grande are one city already paralyzed by fear and another deeply worried that the deadly drug violence is steadily making its way to the American side of the border.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:18:23 PM EDT
remember back in the day when acts of WAR were responded to?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:18:59 PM EDT
Advice:
Don't go to Nuevo Laredo

Save money--take my advice.

It's a drug war down there--anyone going across is putting their life at risk.

pato
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:22:40 PM EDT
Ross Perot was right, but few wanted to listen...
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:23:31 PM EDT
So, it's easier to rough up old people in the "war on drugs".

We have to put up with TSA feeling up our women at the airport.

Can't arrest illegal aliens, your city has just become a "sanctuary city".

Our politicians and other govt officials want to disarm us.

But don't say a word... it's all in the name of "Homeland Security."

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:25:41 PM EDT
Fuck Nuevo Laredo, this coming from a man that lives in laredo Texas.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:26:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pato:
Advice:
Don't go to Nuevo Laredo

Save money--take my advice.

It's a drug war down there--anyone going across is putting their life at risk.

pato

Shit.....don't go to mexico, period!!!!!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:28:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 7:29:22 PM EDT by fight4yourrights]

Originally Posted By Kid_Sampson:

Fuck Nuevo Laredo, this coming from a man that lives in laredo Texas.





In the Laredo area of Texas, the crimes have even created a growing new market for kidnapping insurance.

'No Mercy'

So far, the city of Laredo has managed avoid the spectacular shoot-outs that have so devastated its sister city across the Rio Grande. But the cartels clearly don't respect national boundaries.

Just a few weeks ago, in broad daylight, a young man was gunned down in a Laredo parking lot as his pregnant wife looked on. The ambush had all the markings of a cartel hit.

What really concerns Sheriff Flores is the level of brutality that's accompanied the cartels as they move their merchandise across the border.

"What we're seeing now is that these people have no mercy for women and children," Flores said. "You know, they're just going to hose you down along with your wife and kids. We just don't know when, God forbid, we may run into some of these people. We need to be ready."

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:30:57 PM EDT
If a market for Kidnap and Ransom insurance is developing down there, I'm sure I'm not the only one who can see a market for PSD and contractor work growing very soon.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:35:42 PM EDT
We are at war on a number of fronts, but we don't talk about it.

People that think Mexico isn't a problem are delusional.

HH
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:39:02 PM EDT
I already have kidnapping insurance, provided by the excellent insurance company Heckler and Koch.

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:43:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Kid_Sampson:
Fuck Nuevo Laredo, this coming from a man that lives in laredo Texas.



+1. This is coming from a man who just moved out of Laredo, Texas!
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:44:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 7:50:45 PM EDT by jj01]
I've got family in Harlingen tx, it really is that bad down there. It's a common occurrence to have people grabbed on this side of the boarder and taken across and held for ransom. Once the ransom is paid they cut you loose on the Mexican side - If you're lucky.

You really can't imagine what its like to live down there.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:03:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:
<Snip>
Americans Missing

Yvette Martinez, 27, and her friend Brenda Cisneros, 23, are among nine Americans who the FBI says have simply disappeared along the border in the last two years. <Snip>

<Snip>
"What we're seeing now is that these people have no mercy for women and children," Flores said. "You know, they're just going to hose you down along with your wife and kids.

<Snip>
For all the beefed-up enforcement on the border, the drug cartels appear stronger and more violent than ever.


Now, you boys know that there's nothing but "hate speech"!
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:11:47 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:14:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 8:16:35 PM EDT by CAR-10]
The border with Mexico needs to be sealed shut tighter than a mouse's ass. Anything gets through should be killed on the spot.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:24:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CAR-10:
The border with Mexico needs to be sealed shut tighter than a mouse's ass. Anything gets through should be killed on the spot.


Never fear! Those fellows in the other thread assured me that the Republican party is "taking the matter under advisement"!
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:28:07 PM EDT
This crap is absolutely unbelievable. What a clown we have for a President. Way to lead. Way to safeguard the homeland.

Amnesty for millions, coming very soon, from the Republicans. UFB.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:32:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Duh_Bear:
If a market for Kidnap and Ransom insurance is developing down there, I'm sure I'm not the only one who can see a market for PSD and contractor work growing very soon.



That is an interesting take on it. hmmmm.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:34:46 PM EDT
You'd think also if that border crossing was such a problem, they'd close it.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:54:59 PM EDT
Hey, there's a solution:

"One riot, one Ranger!"

We should recreate the Texas Rangers as a civilian Militia and man the borders to prevent this type of shit from turning what is left of America (after the Leftist Fucktards got ahold of it in '68) into a Turd World Country.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:10:52 PM EDT
A friend of mine is a Mexican national who is studying for his masters in engineering. He left his first job in Nuevo Laredo, even though it payed very well, because it was too dangerous. The mayor at the time was assassinated in the cafe that he liked to frequent

On another note, he told illegal jokes once when he was a guest lecturer. Damn racist
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:26:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CAR-10:
The border with Mexico needs to be sealed shut tighter than a mouse's ass. Anything gets through should be killed on the spot.



Thats the best thing I have heard in a while
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:41:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AROptics:
This crap is absolutely unbelievable. What a clown we have for a President. Way to lead. Way to safeguard the homeland.

Amnesty for millions, coming very soon, from the Republicans. UFB.



Probably won't get through the House. This time next year we will be stuck with the same laws and lack of enforcement. The House is the last thing saving this country from complete ruin at least.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:03:32 PM EDT
Id like to shoot across the river at random mexicans, show the cartels who the real terrorist is!
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:16:46 PM EDT
Tucson is closer to 1 million in size just to correct the article, but hey what do I know
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:41:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By samsong:
Hey, there's a solution:

"One riot, one Ranger!"

We should recreate the Texas Rangers as a civilian Militia and man the borders to prevent this type of shit from turning what is left of America (after the Leftist Fucktards got ahold of it in '68) into a Turd World Country.



Thats the only way we are going to stop the Mexicans from ignoring our borders. The feds are not going to do it- to much money is being made.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:43:04 PM EDT
they're just kidnapping americans that no one else wants to.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:14:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AROptics:
This crap is absolutely unbelievable. What a clown we have for a President. Way to lead. Way to safeguard the homeland.

Amnesty for millions, coming very soon, from the Republicans. UFB.



Yeah, because Algore or John F'ing Kerry (who served in Vietnam, by the way) would have been SO much better on homeland security than GWB.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:16:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By twonami:
they're just kidnapping americans that no one else wants to.



Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:27:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 11:28:46 PM EDT by AROptics]

Originally Posted By gmcem50:

Originally Posted By AROptics:
This crap is absolutely unbelievable. What a clown we have for a President. Way to lead. Way to safeguard the homeland.

Amnesty for millions, coming very soon, from the Republicans. UFB.



Yeah, because Algore or John F'ing Kerry (who served in Vietnam, by the way) would have been SO much better on homeland security than GWB.



Well, as far as securing the Mexican border, they could not have done less than absolutely nothing.
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