Mexico's Drug Cartel Violence is This...

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#372 Mar 27, 2010
Counterfeit Inspection Stickers Seized

MISSION - Customs officers arrested three Mexican citizens for having phony car inspection stickers.

Two 62-year-old men and a 61-year-old woman were caught while driving at the Anzalduas International Bridge.

Investigators say one of the men was carrying more than 500 bogus inspection stickers. All three people and the decals were handed over to Mission police.

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#374 Mar 28, 2010
2 cops, 2 others shot to death in western Mexico.

News from Mexico

MORELIA, Mexico (AP)— Two police officers and two other men have been found shot to death at a gas station in western Mexico.

Prosecutors in the state of Michoacan say the two officers reportedly had gone to the gas station to buy beer early Saturday. Neither officer was working. One had been suspended from his job and the other was not on duty.

The bodies of the other two victims were found in another car at the station.

Elsewhere, police in Mexico’s Pacific coast state of Guerrero say a man was found tied up and fatally shot in a car in the resort of Acapulco.

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#375 Mar 28, 2010
I know this is in Honduras, but it's the same kind of violance as in Mexico

2 journalists killed in Honduras, 5 this month

The Associated Press
Posted: 03/27/2010

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras—Two journalists have been shot to death in eastern Honduras, bringing to five the number of media workers killed in the Central American country this month.
Radio journalists Jose Bayardo, 52, and Manuel de Jesus Juarez, 55, were riddled with bullets late Friday as they drove on a highway in the rural province of Olancho, prosecutor Wendy Caballero said Saturday.

Investigators have not yet identified a possible motive, Caballero said.

The two were killed after leaving the Excelsior radio station, where they had just broadcast a news show.

Three other journalists have been killed in March in Honduras, which is wracked by political divisions relating to a 2009 coup and common crime fueled by street gangs.

Nahum Palacios, director of a television station in Tocoa near the Caribbean coast, was intercepted by two other vehicles and shot to death March 14 as he drove home.

Three days earlier, popular radio journalist David Meza was ambushed and killed in the nearby northern city of La Ceiba.

Joseph Ochoa of Canal 51 television in the capital, Tegucigalpa, was killed March 1 in an attack on another journalist, Karol Cabrera, who was wounded. A previous attack on Cabrera in December killed her pregnant 16-year-old daughter.

None of the killings has been solved.

Alejandro Aguirre, president of the Inter American Press Association, has said the group is "worried about the very unfortunate, radical increase in violence against journalists" in the region.

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#376 Mar 28, 2010
Some question US training of Mexican forces

By Ramon Bracamontes
El Paso Times
Posted: 03/28/2010

EL PASO -- In the mid-1990s, the United States began training Mexico's soldiers in hopes of stopping the flow of drugs through Mexico and ending corruption.

Some of those trained by U.S. forces formed the Zetas, a criminal organization that works as assassins for one of the drug cartels fighting in Juárez, Mexican law enforcement officials said.

Today, the United States is again trying to help Mexico with its drug-cartel problem, and part of the solution could include training Mexico's military and law enforcement officers.

Money for training Mexican soldiers is in the $1.4 billion Merida Initiative that was approved by Congress in 2008. The second phase of the initiative, which is being formed right now, will also include money for training Mexican soldiers and police, according to two public-policy groups that monitor U.S.-Mexico relations.

Given the history of the program, some question the effectiveness of that policy.

"You can train someone, but that still doesn't affect their morals," said Richard Newton, a former federal customs agent in El Paso, now a member of the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which favors legalization of some drugs.

"I don't care how good the training is. The problem is that these people can be bribed and they may go to work for the cartels."

Others agree, and as a prime example of training gone wrong, they point to the Zetas. The group was founded by Mexican army deserters, including officers trained by the United States at the
military School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga. The Zetas, according to the Chihuahua attorney general's office, are thought to be behind some of the brutal killings in Juárez, which have surpassed 4,700 in two years.

An international human- rights organization that monitors the former U.S. military School of the Americas, which is now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, says that training foreign soldiers has worked against the United States in the past, so it may in the future. The human-rights group is called School of the Americas Watch, and its mission is to stop the training of international soldiers and law enforcement at the former School of the Americas.

U.S. officials counter by saying that this time they would be doing more than just training soldiers. According to the latest proposals of phase two of the Merida Initiative, the United States would vet the Mexican soldiers who are to be trained. Previously, in the 1990s, the Mexican army chose those who came to the United States to train.
(continued,and please vote on the poll)

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#377 Mar 28, 2010
Chihuahua state agent slain in Juárez

By Aileen Flores
El Paso Times
Posted: 03/28/2010

A Chihuahua Attorney General's Office agent was killed Friday inside his vehicle in the Jardines de San José neighborhood of Juárez.

Mario Rodríguez Ferreiro, 46, was shot multiple times at Plutarco Elías Calles Avenue and Aguirre Laredo Street. Rodríguez Ferreiro participated in a recent investigation to fire corrupt state police officers, Chihuahua state police officials said.

Also in Juárez, federal police said they arrested four "sicarios," or hit men, on Friday. The men are accused of extorting money from businessmen and distributing drugs.

Officials said the men are members of the Juárez drug cartel known as La Linea, which has been involved in a bloody war with the Sinaloa cartel for control of the drug trade.

During the arrest, authorities confiscated several items including a Chevrolet Suburban, heroin and AK-47 rifles.

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#378 Mar 28, 2010
Three Suspects Involved in Fatal Crash Face a Judge
Reported by: Camaron Abundes

Last Update: 3/27/2010

MCALLEN - Jose Antonio Mendez, 31, is charged with murder, two counts of criminal attempted murder and aggravated robbery. Police say he was driving the truck that was chasing and shooting at an F-250 involved in the fatal accident. He faces life in prison if convicted of murder. His was set at more than $2 million. He told investigators they believed the driver had money and drugs.

Another suspect, Erik Salinas, said he thought he was going to get paid and make a quick hundred. Police say he was going to get paid to transport the truck to another location. He ended up getting chased and shot at by the other suspects. During the chase, his vehicle ended up striking the F-250 carrying the teacher and her family. Salinas has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault and another 20 for manslaughter. His bond was set at $1.5 million.

The third person charged was 23-year-old Marcos Villalobos. Police say he was the person shooting at Salinas through the streets of McAllen. He is charged with murder and two counts of criminal attempted murder as well as aggravated robbery. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of murder. His bond was set at more than $2 million.

McAllen police say they're still searching for a fourth suspect and an additional vehicle involved in the fatal accident.

As for the daughter and husband of the teacher who was killed in the accident; they're still in the hospital in critical condition.

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#379 Mar 28, 2010
Border Patrol agent Robert Rosas receives high honor posthumously

By Staff report, City News Service
Friday, March 26, 2010

A U.S. Border Patrol agent killed in the line of duty in East County last year will posthumously receive the highest honor awarded an agent for acts of bravery or heroism.

Robert Rosas, a 30-year-old father of two, was killed eight months ago while patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border near Campo.

His widow and two small children were given the Newton-Azrak Award at a ceremony at the agency’s Washington headquarters this morning. It was awarded by the acting chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, Michael J. Fisher, and acting assistant commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, David Aguilar.

Christian Daniel Castro-Alvarez, 17, admitted he lured Rosas from his vehicle with the intention of robbing him and wound up shooting the agent multiple times during a struggle. Castro-Alvarez pleaded guilty to murdering the agent in November.

“Without a shred of doubt, Agent Rosas answered the call of duty by selflessly dedicating his life to protect out nation. His courageous sacrifice is clearly reflected by this tremendous honor,” said Acting Chief Patrol Agent Richard Barlow of the U.S. Border Patrol’s San Diego sector.

The Newton-Azrak Award is named after Border Patrol Inspectors Theodore L. Newton Jr. and George G. Azrak. The two men were killed by a group of drug smugglers in June 1967 in Oak Grove, Calif.

Mark Gomes, a San Diego native, was also honored Friday with an Excellence in Mission Support Award.

Gomes, an area service manager, helped implement a system to identify people, called e3 Processing, which was described as the agency’s newest and most advanced law enforcement system. Gomes graduated from Mount Carmel High School in 1981, and San Diego State in 1987.

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#380 Mar 28, 2010
WH Drug Czar: U.S. Shares the Blame

March 27, 2010
by: Lauren Torlone

White House Drug Czar Chief Gil Kerlikowske said on Saturday that the U.S. has a responsibility to bear when it comes to the ongoing drug war in Mexico.

Speaking on Fox News, Kerlikowske admitted that the U.S. is “a large consumer nation” of drugs and that the Obama Administration is working hard to combat the problem and “reduce the amount of drugs that we consume.”‪

Kerlikowske’s comments come as violence in Mexico has continued to escalate in recent days, notably in the border city of Juarez. He says the U.S. is working to seize money that fuels Mexican drug cartels and to ”stop the flow of guns” between the two countries.

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led a high level White House delegation to Mexico. Secretary Clinton told the Mexican government the two countries will work “together to solve the problems posed by the criminal cartels that stock the streets on your cities and ours.”‪

Following up on a promise to support Mexico, the United States has provided the Mexican government with a gun tracking system called “E-Trace” that will allow Mexican authorities to trace firearms from their point of sale, including within the United States.

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#381 Mar 29, 2010
6 found slain in Valley of Juárez

By Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times
Posted: 03/29/2010

Four men and a woman were found shot to death Sunday near the village of Placitas in the violent Valley of Juárez.

The bodies were found about 11 a.m. on a dirt road off the Juárez-Porvenir highway, said Enrique Torres, spokesman for Coordinated Operation Chihuahua.

Torres said one of the victims had been identified as 18-year-old Cesar Mares Chavez, but the other four had not been named. Investigators found 11 bullet casings at the scene.

At 9 a.m. Sunday, the body of an unidentified man was found stabbed to death on a soccer field in El Sauzal, also in the valley located east of Juárez. Chihuahua state police said the man had been stabbed multiple times.

The Valley of Juárez, located across the border in the area from San Elizario to Fort Hancock, is a prime smuggling corridor that is a battleground in the war between the Sinaloa and Juárez drug cartels.

Many residents of the small agricultural towns in the valley have fled as the warfare has persisted for more than two years.

On Saturday, there were at least five homicides in Juárez -- the murder capital of Mexico.

On Friday night, a Mexican federal police officer was killed and three others were wounded during an attack outside a Juárez hotel housing federal police deployed to the city, Torres said. The officers were exiting the Santa Fe hotel when they were fired upon by gunmen in a sport utility vehicle and two compact cars.

It is unknown if the assault was retaliation for the capture of four suspected hit men of La Linea, or Juárez drug cartel, following a vehicle pursuit and shootout earlier that day in the streets of Juárez.

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#382 Mar 29, 2010
Bodies of 4 men, 1 woman found in town near Juárez

Associated Press
Posted: 03/28/2010

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP)- Mexican police say the bodies of four men and a woman have been found on a rural road in a town not far from the violent border city of Ciudad Juarez.
Enrique Torres, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state police, says the victims had been lined up and shot to death. He says they were found early Sunday near a dirt road in the town of Placitas, about 25 miles southeast of Ciudad Juarez. That city across from El Paso, Texas, is one of the world's most dangerous cities.

Torres says the victims have not been identified and a motive for the killings is not yet determined.

Torres says the police station in Placitas had been attacked by gunmen earlier Sunday.

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#383 Mar 29, 2010
In Texas, fear follows Mexicans who flee drug war

March 29, 2010

When black SUVs trail school buses around here, no one dismisses it as routine traffic. And when three tough-looking Mexican men pace around the high school gym during a basketball game, no one assumes they're just fans.

Fear has settled over this border town of 1,700, about 50 miles southeast of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, epicenter of that country's bloody drug war. Mexican families fleeing the violence have moved here or just sent their children, and authorities and residents say gangsters have followed them across the Rio Grande to apply terrifying, though so far subtle, intimidation.

The message: We know where you are.

At schools in Fort Hancock and nearby Texas towns, new security measures and counseling for young children of murdered parents have become a troubling part of the day.

"I have friends with fathers who've been annihilated," said Israel Morales, a junior at Fort Hancock High School. "They just hug you and start crying. It just traumatizes you."

He said school doesn't always feel safe.

"I try to be stoic," Morales said. "But it still worries the heck out of me."

Mexican drug gangs have not fired a single shot in Fort Hancock, and no one has disappeared. But as drug violence continues unabated in and around Ciudad Juarez, residents of Texas border towns fear it will spread their way.

"There's been incidents of school buses followed, and threats to some of the students and threats to some of the staff," Hudspeth County Sheriff's Lt. Robert Wilson said. "It's caused us to really go on high alert."

Three mysterious men walked into the Fort Hancock High School gymnasium last month during a basketball game, setting off worries that they were drug cartel members sent to deliver a message. Parent Maria Aguilar said "a panic" swept through the gym and only subsided when they left.

"They walked in and they were laughing," Aguilar said. "They were probably like,'We'll just scare everybody.'"

Wilson said a suspicious car was noticed following a packed school bus earlier this year. Rumors that the car belonged to cartel members were never validated, but after other suspicious cars were spotted, the department began following buses as a precaution.

"We don't know if it was to find out where a student of a certain person he was looking for gets off, or to find out where he was living," Wilson said. "We're not sure what the motivation was. But the rumor and concern was great enough."

Schools have installed security cameras and hired an armed off-duty sheriff's deputy to patrol its three campuses for the first time.

Fort Hancock is an impoverished town of rundown homes and a single diner. Fathers of many students work as farmhands in the surrounding alfalfa and cotton fields, but most are jobless.

Aguilar said her fourth-grade daughter shares playground stories of "how so-and-so got killed in Mexico this weekend," and once asked whether a classmate's mother would be next.

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#384 Mar 29, 2010
Suspect Detailed for Murder of Two Americans

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP)- Mexican soldiers have arrested a suspect in the killings of three people linked to the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state police said Monday.

Police spokesman Enrique Torres said the Mexican army arrested the suspect, whose name was not released, on Friday. Consulate employee Lesley A. Enriquez and her husband, Arthur H. Redelfs, were killed March 13 in Juarez when gunmen opened fire on their sport utility vehicle after they left a birthday party.

Their 7-month-old daughter was found wailing in the back of the vehicle. Jorge Alberto Salcido, the husband of a Mexican employee of the consulate, also was killed by gunmen after leaving the same event in a separate vehicle.

Torres said the suspect is a leader of the Barrio Azteca gang, but gave no other details. He said the suspect would be presented to the media later Monday.

U.S. and Mexican authorities say the Barrio Azteca gang works for the Juarez drug cartel and operates on both sides of the border.

Initially a Texas prison gang, Barrio Azteca expanded across the Rio Grande into Juarez in the late 1990s, U.S. authorities have said. Last week, El Paso police and Texas state troopers arrested 25 people in a sweep of suspected gang members.

Ciudad Juarez, located across from El Paso, is one of the world's deadliest places. More than 2,600 people were killed last year, and another 500 so far this year in the city of 1.3 million.

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#385 Mar 29, 2010
Gang Members Arrested

NORTHERN HIDALGO COUNTY - Police raided the site of the Edinburg Massacre and arrested three known gang members.

A Crimestoppers tip said suspicious activity was happening at the ranch located off Doolittle and Monte Cristo.

Deputies found 629 pounds of pot. They arrested Michael Solis, Javier Gutierrez, and Roy Hidalgo. Investigators also seized six weapons.

We're told the suspects are part of the Texas Chicano Brotherhood. They were charged with drug possession.

The ranch was the site where six gang members were executed in 2003.

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#386 Mar 30, 2010
Rancher warns of growing danger on border.

By Bill Hess

John Ladd, who ranches on the east side of the San Pedro River and south of Highway 92, with his property along the border, said he was in Douglas on Sunday, meeting with other ranchers about the shooting death of friend Robert Krentz a day earlier.

Saying the word of the death got around quickly in the tight-knit Cochise County ranching community, Ladd said it was some civilians who began tracking the suspected shooter and had him almost cornered before he fled back into Mexico.

Saying Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever did a great job in handling the situation, Ladd said there are many unknowns which still need answering. He believes those answers will come out as the investigation

Ladd’s property is along the border, so he faces a slightly different situation from the ranchers who are in the eastern part of the county. Illegal immigrants constantly are crossing onto his property, but with the fence up, it has somewhat stemmed the flow, he said.

Recently, he has seen more drugs coming onto his ranch and earlier this year his father, Jack, also a rancher, came across six illegal immigrants carrying drugs in backpacks, Ladd said.

The Border Patrol responded quickly, which was important because his father could see armed men on the Mexican side of the border, the son said.

On the other hand, in eastern Cochise County ranches are being used as a corridor by armed drug smugglers, the rancher said.

Ranchers are upset by the death of Krentz “but there’s no loose cannons among them,” Ladd said.

Many county ranchers have gone to Washington, D.C., to talk with federal authorities without any meaningful action being taken at the national level, he added.

No political party has reached out to really solve the problem, which includes Democratic and Republican administrations and at the time when Congress was in the hands of either Republicans or Democrats, Ladd said.

The bottom line is ranchers are wary of promises of help, he said.

“Ranchers are fearful for their lives and fearful for the safety of their families, and they will protect their property within the letter of American laws,” Ladd said.

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#387 Mar 30, 2010
Brewer wants increase in soldiers on border.


PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday called for immediate action by the federal government to increase safety at Arizona’s border through the addition of National Guard soldiers and airmen.

Brewer says she made her initial request for additional troops to U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on March 11, 2009, followed by a joint letter from four border governors to congressional leaders on April 22, 2009. Since then, federal officials have neither denied the request, nor fulfilled it.

In the wake of the violent killing of highly regarded Cochise County rancher Robert Krentz on Saturday, Arizonans were once again reminded of the continued concerns about public safety along our national border with Mexico.“My thoughts and prayers are with the Krentz family during this horrible and unnecessary tragedy,” said Gov. Brewer.“For over a year, I have demanded that the federal government fulfill my request, joined by the governors of Texas, New Mexico and California to uphold its responsibilities and increase security along the border through the deployment of additional National Guard troops.“Our citizens must be protected from border violence. Additional soldiers can provide critical support to law enforcement agency operations, and a surge in troops at the Arizona border has been proven in the past to be effective.”

Brewer’s request for 250 additional National Guard soldiers would fall under the well-tested Joint Counter Narco-Terrorism Task Force, also referred to as the National Guard Counter-Drug Program. Arizona’s border with Mexico is roughly 350 miles in length. The governor’s request would bring the existing JCNTF personnel total to approximately 400 Army and Air National Guard soldiers and airmen.“I spoke this morning with Sheriff Larry Dever in Cochise County to offer any additional state law enforcement assistance that might be helpful.” Brewer said.

“State public safety officials, including the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Arizona Department of Corrections, are already coordinating and assisting local law enforcement in the search for the criminals behind this horrific act.

“We must continue and increase our efforts to hold the federal government accountable, as well as consider any other options necessary to provide public safety for all Arizonans.”

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#388 Mar 30, 2010
Auto thefts linked to smugglers.


CHANDLER — Police in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler say they’ve been fighting the theft of large trucks and sport-utility vehicles from big parking lots along Interstate 10 — thefts they link to smugglers.

Detectives say the process usually begins with a cartel boss in Mexico who calls local thieves and gives them an order for vehicles. The thieves take the trucks and leave them at designated drop points along the interstate. Then, cartel workers pick them up and drive them across the border to be loaded with drugs or people and taken back to the United States.

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#389 Mar 30, 2010
Smugglers' barbed wire traps target US agents

By Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times
Posted: 03/30/2010

EL PASO -- Drug smugglers have apparently set "booby traps" for U.S. Border Patrol agents on roads along the border near Deming, agency officials said Monday.

The devices consist of barbed wire stretched like clotheslines across trails used by agents on all-terrain vehicles. The lines, which are difficult to spot, are about four feet off the ground and appear to be intended to knock a rider off the ATV.

There have been no known injuries.

It isn't the first time such a tactic has been used by smugglers in the desolate desert south of Deming and west of El Paso.

Two years ago, a rancher informed the Border Patrol of two wires found stretched along a dirt road in a similar fashion. At that time, officials said it appeared the lines were targeting agents who frequently patrolled on ATVs.

Officials said the added danger will not stop them from going after smugglers.

During the weekend, agents using an infrared camera arrested six people carrying 320 pounds of marijuana as they walked from the border toward Interstate 10 near Deming, officials said.

The New Mexico border remains busy.

U.S. Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, along with Rep. Harry Teague, all of New Mexico, on Monday asked the Department of Homeland Security to increase the number of Border Patrol agents in the area and set up a Forward Operating Base in the New Mexico bootheel. Agents in the area are currently based in Lordsburg.

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#390 Mar 30, 2010
FBI still seeks alleged Barrio Azteca leader
By Maggie Ybarra \ El Paso Times
Posted: 03/30/2010 12:00:00 AM MDT

EL PASO -- The FBI is still trying to pump people with Barrio Azteca gang ties for information about Eduardo "Tablas" Ravelo, the gang's reputed leader who has a spot on the agency's most-wanted list.

The agency has been working with other federal and law enforcement organizations during Operation Knockdown to generate information about the people responsible for the March 13 shooting deaths of three people connected to the U.S. consulate in Juárez.

But they are also still looking for Ravelo, who has been on their Top 10 Most Wanted list since October 2009, FBI Special Agent Andrea Simmons said.

"At this time it's believed that he's in Mexico ... probably in the Juárez general border area, but we don't know that for sure," she said.

Ravelo is wanted for criminal enterprise; conspiracy to possess heroin, cocaine and marijuana with the intent to distribute; conspiracy to launder money; and racketeering. The FBI suspects he has been engaged in these criminal activities since 2003, Simmons said.

They also suspect that Ravelo and the Barrio Azteca members have acted as "hit men" for the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes drug cartel and are responsible for multiple murders.

Ravelo and 26 other Barrio Azteca gang members were indicted in 2008 as part of a 5-year Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization investigation that led to 30 federal indictments, 61 federal and local arrests, and 23 convictions of gang members.

He has been on the run since he was indicted.

His name is next to Osama bin Laden's on the most-wanted list and he will remain at the top of the list until he is captured or is found dead, Simmons said.

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#391 Mar 30, 2010
Illegal Immigrants Flee From Police

Reported by: Polo Sandoval
Last Update: 3/29/2010

LA JOYA – A recent traffic stop by a La Joya police officer leads to a foot pursuit for dozens of suspected illegal immigrants.

The dash camera video from the officer’s patrol car shows the Suburban driver pulling over for the officer.

As the SUV was rolling to a complete stop, the door swings open and dozens of people inside come out running towards a nearby wooded area.

A police dispatcher who lives nearby and another resident rushed to the scene to help the officer.

We’re told most however most of the illegal immigrants managed to get away, including the suspected human smuggler.

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#392 Mar 30, 2010
Residents Say Chases Are Becoming More Common Place

Reported by: Lisa Cortez

LA JOYA - Residents say they are sharing the roads with illegal traffic more than ever now.

The most recent was on Sunday when a group of suspected illegal immigrants made a run for it through a neighborhood.

People who live along Mesquite Avenue say the chase ended at a brushy dead end.

Dozens of illegals tried to run through the wooded area.

Two men were caught. The area has become what police call a human trafficking hot spot.

Residents say it's happening more often now.

"It's not only in the morning, it's not only at night. We've seen them during the daylight," says Nora Gonzalez.

Police say the neighbors have valid concerns.

"It had slowed down for a while. But now it seems like it picked up again. Just last week we had two pursuits with human trafficking," says Lt. Julian Gutierrez.

The people living in the area say they will work to make sure their homes are safe, and hope the police can protect them from the increased activity.

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