New surge of undocumented families, possible cartel tactic

Cartel smuggling tactics

HIDALGO, Texas -- There's a new wave of undocumented immigrants arriving at the border. Many of whom claim they are escaping violence in their home countries.

However, these groups are also being used as a diversion by cartels.

South Texas border patrols are constant these days with agents scouting areas near the Rio Grande in search of illegal crossers.

RGV sector border agent, Isaac Villegas said his fellow agents have been busy. He showed the KENS 5 Border Team one of the hottest spots where undocumented immigrants have been caught after crossing the border in the city of Hidalgo, Texas, less than a mile away from the riverbank.

“This is going to be an area that is commonly traversed, from family units to persons trying to circumvent the fence,” Villegas said. “They try to deploy different types of tactics using [wooden] ladders, rope ladders; they’ll throw things over to pull themselves up.”

Villegas said smugglers working for the cartels are constantly trying to cheat security. Many times they will send families across in one area while trying to use devices like a homemade bazooka, recently seized by Mexican authorities, to shoot drug bundles across the border in another.

“They might want to try to use that tactic of ‘hey send 25 family units down this area and we’re now going to cross over there’, but of course, what are they going to run into? The large obstacle of a wall,” Villegas said.

Surrendering large groups of families to the Border Patrol is a method cartels have been using since before the humanitarian crisis two years ago. With August reporting the highest number of immigrant apprehensions during that same period since 2012.

Undocumented immigrants are flooding the border once again at the hand of criminal cartels, a tactic that Villegas said doesn’t always work.

“We’re always one step ahead of the game,” he said. “They have their tactics, we have ours. We have multiple units doing what they have to do, we have cameras, we have sensors, and we have things to make sure that they can’t accomplish their mission.”

As the cartels try to overwhelm the Border Patrol with undocumented immigrants, the Catholic Charities shelter said it is being overwhelmed and in dire need of more donations and volunteers. 

(© 2016 KENS)


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