1. It is common for the bodies of dead migrants to be found after starvation and exposure to heat on U.S. soil.
After illegal immigrants get past the river or fence, they still have to clear a secondary checkpoint by U.S. Border Patrol. Those checkpoints are routinely set up between 60 and 80 miles north of the border. In places like Falfurrias, Texas, human smugglers force illegal immigrants to walk dozens of miles through harsh desert-like terrain in order to get around the checkpoints. That harsh trek in addition to the extreme weather in Texas and Arizona often leads to fatal consequences where human smugglers often leave behind those who are not able to keep up with the pace. Unfortunately, the remoteness of those areas often leaves families searching for answers since many of the heavily decomposed bodies found in those areas remain unidentified.
2. The entire border is broken down into regions or “turf” controlled by Mexican narco-cartels.
Mexican cartels fight for the lucrative corridors into the U.S. and the turf they win extends deep into both countries. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s maps give a general overview of which regions specific groups control and the U.S. can be seen broken up into Mexican cartel turf. From the Tijuana Cartel south of San Diego all the way to the Gulf Cartel south of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico, each region is controlled by organized crime group factions operating under the banner of a Mexican “cartel.”
3. One U.S. border sector, Tucson, has Mexican cartel scouts operating deep within U.S. territory.
The remote regions in the Tucson Sector of Arizona have Sinaloa Cartel scouts who enter the U.S. and use radios to report on law enforcement presence for the purposes of guiding illegal loads of humans and narcotics into the interior of the U.S. These scouts are sometimes U.S. These scouts often hide near the tops of mountains and can call cartel strike teams to go after anyone who uses the territory without permission from the cartel — even though it’s U.S. soil.
4. U.S. law enforcement along the border are often afraid to be targeted by Mexican cartels.
Despite living in the U.S., federal agents do not want to be singled out by the Mexican drug cartels that they are fighting. Once they are singled out, cartel members are able to exact their revenge through various means. In 2016, a woman was arrested for falsely claiming that a particular U.S. DEA agent was receiving cartel bribes; the later woman recanted her story. In a similar fashion, in 2014, Mexico’s Gulf Cartel burned down the house of an investigator with the Starr County High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, The Monitor reported at the time. According to statements made by the Starr County District Attorney, the arson was retribution for a series of drug busts made by the task force.
5. U.S. gangs act as enforcement and smugglers for Mexican cartels; this occurs along the border and as far north as Minnesota.
This fact is best proven by a news that broke in 2014 when a Sinaloa Cartel methamphetamine stash house was robbed in St. Paul Minnesota. The Mexican cartel hired gang members from California to fly to St. Paul and investigate the robbery. Two teenagers ended up kidnapped and tortured –one had his finger nearly severed from his hand — in the U.S. gang members effort to force the teens to reveal any information on the robbery.
6. Public corruption of both U.S. politicians and law enforcement officers is common along the border.
While corruption is present in every American city, federal authorities have noted a disproportionate increase of public corruption cases in U.S. border cities. Police officers, county sheriff’s, federal agents and other officials within the law enforcement community have fallen prey to the lure of cartel cash. One of the most famous cases in South Texas dealt with the Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño who was receiving funds from a Mexican cartel leader in exchange for favors. In addition to Treviño, his department’s street level narcotics unit and crime stoppers program were engaged in stealing drug loads and selling them on the side. The practice of using cops to steal drug loads continues to be in use by various cells operating along the border.
7. Mexican cartels are paid and fueled by illegal immigration; no one crosses the border without paying the cartels.
As Mexican cartels continue to exert control over their territories, their ruthless methods have since transferred to another of their money making enterprises; human smuggling. The presence of the criminal element has turned the “quest for the American Dream” into a nightmare. Illegal immigrants are constantly extorted, the women are often raped, and anyone who dares to cross without paying the cartel fee faces serious consequences. Mexican drug cartels also routinely used human smuggling groups as diversions in order to move large drug loads over the river; some of the illegal immigrants who are not able to cover their smuggling fees are forced to move drugs.
8. Some factions of the Gulf and Los Zetas cartels routinely make as much or more from illegal immigration than from narcotics.
According to a report by the Texas Department of Public Safety, during the summer surge of 2014, Mexico’s Gulf Cartel made $38 million from human smuggling alone. According to that report, “nearly all illegal aliens who have illegally entered the United States made use of alien smuggling organizations (ASOs), nearly all of which are associated with Mexican cartels.”
9. Illegal Immigrants are often kidnapped by the cartels they are paying for permission to cross the border into the U.S.
In addition to the smuggling fees, which run from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the immigrant’s country of origin, cartel members also make additional funds by kidnapping and holding illegal immigrants for ransom. Relatives are forced to wire funds to the cartel in Mexico to keep their relatives from being mutilated.