What’s Happening With Los Zetas in Laredo
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:
Mexican Drug Cartel HAVE NOT Seized Texas Ranches – Tea Bagger extremists move to incite more fear and hatred of Mexicans.
*Update 7/25/10 10:05pm*
Numerous independent verification that nothing happened:
I found this ALIPAC notice re-posted on TexasFred‘s site:
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”.
I am the author of the post you linked back to and you have my thanks for doing so.
You and I are apparently on the same page. I am a little “left” of your position and you slightly “right:” of mine.
This malicious attack came from the right wing extremists mentioned in my post, people with no credibility who like many on the extreme sides of the immigration debate, are making loads of money over the issue and it is to their benefit not to let the cash cow run dry.
What was done here goes beyond despicable. This report has the so called “militias” fired up and ready to attack Mexico and you know where that would lead.
People need to understand that what the media is reporting and what is actually happening down here are as different as night and day. This is not the lawless wild west that they would have you believe.
It’s really no different from the Mafia wars in the first half of the 20th Century are the cocaine wars in Miami in the 70’s. Only a different time and different methods.
The articles were not solely based on the comment of Jeff Schwilk. There were credible people with contacts inside Law Enforcement who established the story was confirmed.
To bring up the mudslinging between Jeff and Jim does not add to your story.
Currently, it is speculation on the part of all sides.
I would LOVE to see some citation to the LEO confirmed part of this story… From somewhere other than the Examiner or The Cypress News…
I traced every lead I could find in Ms. Dvorak’s story, the one on Digger, and everything else I could find. At no time has there been a named source. With absolutely no one demonstrating that they had any basis for the stories (pictures, first-hand accounts, named sources, etc), the story lost its credibility. Jeff Schwik was the only thing in the story that seemed like it was real, so I did some digging. Imagine if Jeff didn’t have all that baggage and was posting first hand pics or videos from his sources.. that would have given it credibility. Instead, all I found was a history that even the original Minuteman project wanted to distance itself from.
It’s all about credibility and Kimberly Dvorak and Jeff lost some here. If they turn out to be right, they’ll get that credibility back and then some, but I wouldn’t bet the farm (or ranch) on anonymous law enforcement sources.
It is not just about Dvorak & Schwilk – although neither has been stand up enough to elaborate on the current status of this. There have been others who have been in contact with LEO – but it is not my place to speak for them. Right now – I am more of a bystander observing and occasionally commenting.
I do not want to encourage conspiracy theories either – I just want to see accuracy and facts.
Which right now I am not seeing – not from this site or any site for that matter. Lack of comment/information does not mean the event did or did not occur.
*IF* the LEOs/BP encountered a situation as described over the past few days – they would stand good reason to NOT want media, et al involved and potentially could be a bit peeved at leaks.
Either way – the fact that many are willing to believe this story, is scary. It indicates a complete lack of faith in LEOs/BP and this Administration in general.
I think many of us would love to see facts. That was the point of the article. I went looking for facts and instead found none. I went looking at the sources.. again, no substance and some real credibility issues. I shared what I learned in an effort to keep good Conservatives from being sucked into a liberal’s wet dream – Conservatives ranting about an invasion that never happened.
I appreciate and understand your criticism, but if I helped prevent any over-reaction by my fellow Conservatives – I’ll take the heat for it. What I posted wasn’t irresponsible, as was Dvorak’s piece, it just wasn’t what you were looking for.
Thanks again for your comment.
I tell you Dana. Being on the ground here in Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, having a good friend that owns a large trucking company within a 1/4 mile of this location and reporting nothing out of the ordinary and personally knowing LE personnel on both sides of the border, and seeing absolutely nothing out of the ordinary first hand, seems to take the speculation out of the equation.
You rock Rev. May I quote you? If so, I’d love to interview you. IM, phone, cell, email, you name it.
I will return the favor. I know we don’t always agree.
Sure, why not Mitchell. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you like and we’ll talk.
Have to be online for now as this morning, I’m in Monterrey for a few days
I would certainly WHY someone thought that posting a HOAX like this was a good idea…
The Conservative blogs and forums that picked it up and ran with it, without any REAL verification, did more to hurt the RIGHT than can be measured at this time…
That may have been the plan all along…
Should read: I would certainly like to know WHY…
Too many thoughts in the works I guess…
I’m beginning to wonder if the current spate of “rumors” and the Wikileaks document dump is the precursor to Cass Sunstein’s calling for more control over the Internet- this just seems too coincidental- a new executive order coming to a computer near you, perhaps?
One of many possibilities and a good feel for why a few of us were urging patience, forethought, and investigation until the truth could be unearthed.
Action without verification would do irreparable harm to the Conservative movement.
Do not give them ammo, they already have the gun and are just waiting for us to load it, aim it and pull the trigger for them.
Jeff Schwilk, Dan *Digger* Amato, Kimberly Dvorak and the guy at The Cypress News that keeps standing behind these moonbats with his *wait and see* might have all gotten certain body parts hung in the wringer or slammed in the door…
I can’t fathom WHY someone would want to FAKE a story like this, not a serious blogger or journalist anyway, other than to promote there 15 minutes of fame or to deliberately undermine the AZ SB1070 movement that is currently under review.
The Cypress Times and the above named *so-called* journalists have done a disservice to ALL bloggers and now look just like the little boy that cried WOLF!!
My friends, a whole lot of Republican friends from up north are making our Southern Border like a war zone with Mexico, ABSOLUTELY Not true. Our Borde Guard are doing their Job, we have a few immitators at least in Laredo, but their time is short we put them all away, and a bunch of them are starting to count up to 30 years before they see freedom.