Here is an excerpt from this Associated Press story, published in The Houston Chronicle:
"A shooting that injured a sheriff's deputy was the first indisputable case of spillover violence from the Mexican drug wars in Hidalgo County, the local sheriff said Monday. Sheriff Lupe Trevino, who previously said there was no direct spillover violence in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, said the Sunday shootout erupted while one of his deputies investigated a reported kidnapping and drug deal. 'I have to say that with this particular incident, the way the witnesses and the information that we have gotten particularly in the federal system, this is the first recorded spillover violence event that we have experienced — and unfortunately got one of our deputies shot,' Trevino said. One suspect was killed and two were wounded. In all, six people were taken into custody, including the alleged kidnapping victim, and are awaiting charges, the sheriff said... Trevino said the reported kidnapping was a bid to recover marijuana stolen when the Gulf cartel's reputed second-in-command, Samuel Flores Borrego, was killed in September...'Now, there are more cartel members living in Texas, in the Valley, in the United States. I'll guarantee you there's a ton of them,' he said." Link to Full Story
Analysis: That something like this has happened along the Texas-Mexico border should come as a surprise to no one. But this is what I really don't understand. Why isn't this story getting more national attention? I did a search of news stories on this particular incident, and just about everything was local in the RGV or Texas - KRGV, KGBT, The Monitor, The Houston Chronicle, etc. Although I will say, The Boston Herald did print a story on it. But why aren't the "big guys" like CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC splattering this report all over the screen?
This really shouldn't surprise me too much, either. Just last year, the first drug war-related beheading occurred in the US, specifically in Chandler, Arizona. Yep, a beheading on US soil in an apartment complex. When I tell people about that story, they look at me in awe, as if to say, why haven't I heard about this before? Then there are the five men who were electrocuted, tortured, and had their throats slit in a northern Alabama safe house in 2009. Again, only local coverage about that.
But this story in Hidalgo County is different. Most reports about possible spillover violence almost always involve bad guys killing bad guys - like the Gulf cartel members who got into a firefight on a McAllen highway a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps that's why people are disinterested; criminals killing criminals makes the work easier for law enforcement, right? But these were TCO members who shot and severely wounded an American law enforcement officer on US soil. The activities they were engaged in before the confrontation were directly related to the drug war in Mexico. Why is it that only news outlets in Texas are noticing?
The cynic in me tells me that these types of incidents are very bad PR for DHS. Everyone along the border - and particularly in south Texas - knows that cartel members are everywhere down there, but generally keep to themselves. But many border residents also knew it was a matter of time before something like this happened. This is the main reason for the subtitle of my book: The Coming Invasion of Mexico's Drug Wars. The TCOs are getting squeezed tighter and tighter by authorities on both sides of the border. However, they still need to keep the drug profits coming in. That means taking on more risk, i.e. engaging with US law enforcement and engaging in violent behavior in public on US soil.
This is not the first time that TCO members or armed drug smugglers have fired shots at US law enforcement (e.g. USBP Agent Brian Terry), and it certainly won't be the last. My question is, how many of these incidents have to happen before the US government starts rethinking its statement that the border is the safest it's ever been? And what's it going to take to move border security up the totem pole of national concerns? Hopefully, not another injured sheriff's deputy.