Ildefonso Ortiz reports that, according to Mexico’s Federal Police, the Gulf Cartel controls all human smuggling in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, from the areas immediately south of the border from Starr County to the Gulf of Mexico,
The criminal organization divides the illegal immigrants by their country of origin and whether they have been previously deported. The immigrants who come from countries other than Mexico and have not been previously deported are pushed through certain well-known areas with a heavy presence of law enforcement. The move is aimed at not only tying down law enforcement resources but also taking advantage of the perceived lack of enforcement by the current administration.
According to the intelligence officials from Mexico, the immigrants are coached into requesting refugee status or told that once they are arrested they will be processed and given a “permiso”, the name misleadingly used by smugglers to refer to court documents setting their next immigration hearing. The immigrants who are from Mexico or have been previously deported are moved West to areas where cartel smugglers are able to get across the Rio Grande in a clandestine fashion.
Once illegal immigrants are in Texas, human smugglers take them to stash houses where they hold them in large numbers until they are able to prepare the next leg of the trip. In San Juan, Gonzalez’s officers have been targeting human stash house within the city. With the help of an awareness campaign, Gonzalez and his team have created a tip-line for citizens to report possible stash houses.
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