Two Ranches Near Laredo, Texas

Kimberly Dvorak at The Examiner:

In what could be deemed an act of war against the sovereign borders of the United States, Mexican drug cartels have seized control of at least two American ranches inside the U.S. territory near Laredo, Texas.

Two sources inside the Laredo Police Department confirmed the incident is unfolding and they would continue to coordinate with U.S. Border Patrol today. “We consider this an act of war,” said one police officer on the ground near the scene. There is a news blackout of this incident at this time and the sources inside Laredo PD spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Word broke late last night that Laredo police have requested help from the federal government regarding the incursion by the Los Zetas. It appears that the ranch owners have escaped without incident but their ranches remain in the hands of the blood thirsty cartels.

The Cypress Times:

Anonymous sources in law enforcement in the Laredo area tonight have passed on word that US law enforcement agencies are in the area and are weighing their options regarding the ranches. The media has been silent on this incident and some law enforcement in the area says that they are furious that the media is not reporting the whole story of the continued violence along the border. Their frustrations are understandable because keeping the truth suppressed continues to hamper law enforcement from receiving the true support they need along the border.

The ranch assaults come on the heels of attacks in Nuevo Laredo that shut the city down as a gun-battle raged in the streets. Los Zetas blocked off intersections with vehicles and used fragmentation grenades to attack Mexican law enforcement. In the end 12 were killed and 21 injured in the assaults. Citizens in the area were told to stay in their homes and bullets whizzed all around.

Michelle Malkin:

There’s a new outbreak of disorder at the southern border this weekend.

The AP reports on gun battles plaguing the region across from Laredo, Texas:

Late-night gunbattles with gangs who forced citizens from their cars and used the vehicles to block streets paralyzed a border city, sound of gunfire alarmed Texans on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande.

The Nuevo Laredo city government posted messages on Facebook warning citizens to stay indoors as the battles erupted at several intersections in the city across from Laredo, Texas.

Frightened people on the U.S. side of the border called emergency dispatchers after hearing the gunfire, Laredo police spokesman Joe Baeza said Thursday. But he said there was no spillover violence.

“We were getting reports from people who live on the river’s edge that they could hear gunfire and explosions from the Mexico side,” Baeza said.

“We didn’t have any incidents on the American side. It’s hard for people to understand who don’t live here,” he added. “They’re not Vikings, they’re not going to invade us, it doesn’t work that way.”

Nuevo Laredo city officials said they could not immediately confirm witness reports that several gunmen were killed.

Despite those denials, rumors are swirling of a Zetas-led invasion into Texas ranches. Digger’s Realm, a veteran immigration blogger, has the story:

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.

(Update 2 story is now 100% confirmed by second source within the Laredo Police Department)

Founder of the San Diego Minutemen Jeff Schwilk tipped me off to this story and passes along the following information on the location. The ranches are said to be “near Mines Rd. and Minerales Annex Rd about 10 miles NW of I-35″.

Update 1 (Statement from Mr. Schwilk)

I can personally vouch that this info came in late last night from a reliable police source inside the Laredo PD. There is currently a standoff between the unknown size Zeta forces and U.S. Border Patrol and local law enforcement on two ranches on our side of the Rio Grande. The source tells us he considers this an “act of war” and that the military is needed on the border now!

Dan Riehl:

This can’t actually be happening, can it? What, do they figure the numb-nuts in the WH is so weak they can get away with a move like this? Okay, on second thought, maybe they have a point. But still. Hell, the right configuration of Texans could end this nonsense. Retired special forces, anyone?

Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee:

Twitter exploded a while ago about this story, which claims that heavily-armed Los Zetas gunmen of the Gulf Cartel have taken over ranches on the U.S. side of the border.

My curiosity got the better of me, and so I called the Laredo Police Department, and had a delightful chat with the acting watch commander, Sgt. Perez.

Sgt. Perez informed me that I was her seventh caller about this claim since she came on duty this afternoon. She stipulated two things that blows holes in the invasion claim.

  1. The location of the alleged invasion is outside of their city-limits jurisdiction, so they would not be involved, and;
  2. while they would not be involved in any law enforcement response outside of their jurisdiction, they work closely with the county sheriff’s office and would know if such an event is occurring.

She also provided me the number of the Webb County Sheriff’s Department. The deputy that answered the phone there was less amused, having also dealt with this rumor multiple times in a short amount of time. She also told me that there was no invasion and no law enforcement siege, and that deputies were continuing normal operations.

Don’t believe the hype.

Tom Maguire:

However, if I were to believe the hype, this sort of story would be the reason – just a couple of days ago Nuevo Laredo, on the Mexican side of the border, was out of control:

Several intersections in the City of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico were shut down as gun battles erupted between the Mexican military and heavily armed “hit men” from a Mexican drug cartel. The gunfire could be heard across the U.S. border in Laredo, Texas leading citizens there to call 911.

The Latin American Herald Tribune reports, ““Nine criminals, two civilians and a soldier were killed in the three clashes between elements of the National Defense Secretariat and members of organized crime, and 21 people were wounded.” That information is attributed to the Government Secretariat from Mexico.

The U.S. Consulate in Nuevo Laredo had posted warnings on its website hours before the gunfire was reported by Texas citizens, “We have received credible reports of widespread violence occurring now between narcotics-trafficking organizations and the Mexican army in Nuevo Laredo.”

Here is a US travel advisory from July 16 warning visitors to Mexico that, however bad the situation was, it’s gotten worse.

So – is it possible that a group of outnumbered and outgunned cartel members crossed the border figuring it would be better to be captured by the American government than shot by the Mexican federales?  That strikes me as not-impossible.

The story saying that the cartels are coming adds this detail:

There is a news blackout of this incident at this time and the sources inside Laredo PD spoke on the condition of anonymity.

A news blackout makes sense while the diplomats sort this out (and certainly Team Obama wouldn’t want this publicized while they are suing Arizona) but then again, any conspiracy theorist would know to include that.

I would say, stay tuned and stay skeptical.

James Joyner:

Reports from The Examiner and The Cypress Times that thugs from the Los Zetas drug cartel have seized two Laredo, Texas ranches are spreading through the blogosphere.  Is this the first wave of the Reconquista?

Well, Confederate Yankee’s Bob Owens called the Laredo Police Department and the Webb County Sheriff’s Department and told that no such thing was happening.

The Laredo Times could also find no information to support the claim. There’s are registration-only stories on the front page with headlines “Stores close due to cartels” and “Cartel loses chopper,” so they do seem to be reporting aggressively on the cartels.

Pat Dollard:

Kimberly is adamantly standing by her story, and gave me the name of one of her three sources inside both the Laredo Police and Webb County Sheriff’s Departments. She says two of those sources not only confirmed the story of the ranches being seized, but elaborated in great detail on what was happening. She also has other sources on the ground, non-law enforcement. She is mid-stream in developing and further reporting the whole story, and has reason reason to believe that law enforcement is in mid-operation on the ranches, and do not want that operation interrupted with publicity before they are finished.

Given the shootout that occurred on the 22nd, it would also make some sense that the ranches were simply occupied as safe havens by retreating Zeta gunman.

Kimberly has a record as a credible journalist, with established sources inside the Mexican cartels themselves.

I have no idea what quite is or isn’t going on here, but I say let’s give ol’ Kim the hours ahead to track all of this, and flesh it out, one way or the other. She’s asked for the rope, and I’m giving it to her.

As someone else likes to say:

Developing…

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1 Comment

Filed under Foreign Affairs, War On Drugs

One response to “Two Ranches Near Laredo, Texas

  1. Fiftyeast

    What a bunch of crap! You really this naive?

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