It’s been a busy afternoon. There are numerous conflicting reports about the U.S. incursion by one of Mexico’s most-violent drug gangs, Los Zetas. I started out concerned, then confused, and finally .. well.. still kinda confused.
I was born and raised in Texas and still have a lot of family there (quite a bit in South Texas), so this story struck very close to home. At first, there was the tweet, “Los Zetas drug cartel seizes 2 U.S. Ranches in Texas..”. I caught my breath and started pulling up the stories like the one that seems to have started it on DiggersRealm.com:
The bloodbath continues along our southern border and now word is coming in that Los Zetas, the highly trained killers formerly with the Gulf Cartel, have crossed into the United States and taken over at least two ranches in the Laredo, Texas area. I am receiving word that the owners of the ranches have evacuated without being harmed. The source is law enforcement in the area.
It certainly was starting to sound serious – off to verify I went. I first called family and got a bunch of confused and unknowing responses. The local news in South Texas was oblivious and so was my family. Off to the papers I went to see if anyone else had the 411. The Laredo Morning Times had an article on just this subject that stated:
..officials with the Laredo Police Department, Webb County Sheriff’s Department and Border Patrol said they knew nothing about such an incident, while Erik Vasys, an FBI spokesman in San Antonio, said the agency does not comment on rumors.
Follow that with the an article in the Tuscon Citizen that says the whole thing was a disagreement between two ranchers.
..a disagreement happened between two ranch owners. It would be up to Sheriff Cuelar to elaborate or state with certainty that the disagreement between two ranchers was not in fact a conflict between possible narco-trafficers.
That put me a little at-ease and I started thinking that this was probably more a stunt by some right or left-leaning group to evoke a response. Evoke a response.. uh-oh .. not at ease anymore, I set off learning as much as I could about the originators of the story and the players involved.
The story seems to have first been published by Diggersrealm.com based on a tip by Jeff Schwilk, founder of the San Diego Minutemen. The San Diego Minutemen mission:
To demand maximum border security and immigration enforcement both locally and at the national level. We oppose illegal immigration in all parts of San Diego County with our political activism. We assist and support the U.S. Border Patrol in securing the U.S.-Mexican Border from terrorists, gang members, criminals, drugs, and illegal aliens entering the United States. We also assist ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) and local law enforcement in exposing law breaking employers and helping to return illegal aliens to their country of legal residence. We act on behalf of and in accordance with the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Nothing too outlandish there, but when I looked into Jeff Schwilk, things got weird fast. Apparently, the founder of The Minuteman Project, Jim Gilchrist, doesn’t want Jeff associated with the credible efforts of the Minutemen – at all. ImmigrationClearingHouse.org published an email from Mr. Gilchrist to Jeff and this conclusion says alot:
Make it easy on yourself and stop trying to pirate the SDMM. You are finished and no one wants you in this movement anymore…not Gheen, not Nightingale, nor any of their equally demented associates. There is no unity among criminals like yourselves…only mutual acrimony. Thank you for destroying yourselves. It makes my job a lot easier and more successful.
Jim Gilchrist, BAJ, BSBA, MBA, CPA(ret.) — Founder and President, Jim Gilchrist’s Minuteman Project, Inc. [dba The Minuteman Project, Inc.]
That lead me to ask the age old question, what’s in it for the parties involved. For Los Zetas, not much. They get their drugs into the U.S. just fine. Taking over a few ranches in the U.S. brings the full brunt of the United States of America on them and will almost certainly (I say almost because of present leadership) lead to the absolute shut-down of the border. The Zetas don’t want that because it would kill-off a huge distribution channel. Keeping U.S. officials off of their back means they can concentrate on killing members of rival cartels.
What’s in it for Jeff? Well, sudden recognition, media attention, perhaps interviews or a book deal.. maybe just some ego petting – unfortunately at the expense of America-loving Conservatives that might rush off to help defend our borders.
There is another portion of the population that would love to see this circus get out-of-hand – progressives. They would love nothing more than to use someone like Schwilk as a broad brush with which to paint all pro-immigration enforcement Conservatives. We should and will defend America if she truly comes under threat, but we can’t get taken down on a sham.
If Mexicans are taking over ranches in South Texas, I’ll be among the first group to volunteer for border duty. If two Texas ranchers had a dispute and shots were fired.. not the first time that’s happened. If this is instead a media hoax then the last thing I plan to do is allow someone like Jeff Schwilk take down the Conservative movement with idiotic stunts like this one. We all saw how reacting quickly to unsubstantiated stories got the White House in hot water over the Sherrod story, don’t get “Bretibarted” as the libs are calling it. Get the facts, act accordingly – this is just the kind of crap the left would love to color all of us with – we have bigger fish to fry.
*Update 7/25/10 10:54am*
The left is starting their attack. Don’t get pulled in. No named sources, no first-person verification, still looks like a hoax or at best an over-exaggeration of a rancher disagreement.
As if to make my point, here’s a link-back to my post:
*Update 7/25/10 10:05pm*
Numerous independent verification that nothing happened:
Friends of ALIPAC, bloggers, leaders, and members of the media, As the primary focal point of information flows regarding the borders and illegal immigration, ALIPAC has both released astounding information to the public that was verified and we have stopped stories that were fakes. Many of you will remember the fake Shawna Ford photos, and some other false stories and rumors that ALIPAC took steps to quell.
Today, we are issuing an advisory that the story being circulated on many blogs titled “Mexican Cartels Invade Texas” or “LOS ZETAS TAKES OVER TEXAS RANCHES” that was written by blogger Dan Amato aka Digger is unconfirmed. In fact, it is starting to look like it is completely false.
While we will hold the door open for the possibility there’s some fire with this smoke, the story claims that the paramilitary drug and alien importing gang Los Zetas had invaded our side of the border and taken over several ranches in the US thus sending the American occupants running for their lives.
As a last ditch effort, I went looking at NOTAMs, notices to pilots on restrictions or hazards, there are none for KLRD (Laredo airport) or surrounding area, nor have there been recently. If the government didn’t want anyone to know about what was going on … they could easily have put up a NOTAM restricting the air space due to military flight training, high tower construction, border patrol operations… I think I’m ready to call this one as “nothing to see here folks”.