Sara A. Carter and Mason Stockstill, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, Cal.), Jan. 10, 2006
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Mexican alien smugglers plan to pay violent gang members and smuggle them into the United States to murder Border Patrol agents, according to a confidential Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by the Daily Bulletin.
The Officer Safety Alert, dated Dec. 21, warns agents that the smugglers intend to bring members of the international Mara Salvatrucha street gang also known as MS-13 into the country for the deadly mission.
“Unidentified Mexican alien smugglers are angry about the increased security along the U.S./Mexico border and have agreed that the best way to deal with U.S. Border Patrol agents is to hire a group of contract killers,” the alert states.
MS-13, which has a strong base in El Salvador, is considered by the FBI to be one of the most dangerous gangs in the United States, with more than 20,000 members.
Last week, agents in Texas reported two separate incidents in which someone fired on them from the Mexican side of the border. Officers in Arizona were issued pocket-sized cards last year with suggested maneuvers in case they encounter Mexican military troops while on patrol.
Some anti-illegal immigrant organizations blame the Bush administration for what they say is a lackadaisical attitude about border security.
“The president still acts like Mexico is a friendly neighbor, when in reality it’s the complete opposite,” said Andy Ramirez, chairman of Friends of the Border Patrol, a Chino organization that supports border agents. “Border Patrol agents’ lives are in extremely high danger, and yet the public isn’t notified. When are they going to realize that threats against our law-enforcement officers are threats against this nation?”
More than two dozen shots were fired at Border Patrol agents from across the Rio Grande on Friday and Wednesday, marking a large increase in such shootings in this sector of the border, an agency official said.
In fiscal year 2005, there were a total of six shootings, said Julio Salinas, spokesman for the Rio Grande Valley sector Border Patrol.
The shootings reported Friday and Wednesday are the sixth and seventh shootings since fiscal year began Oct. 1, officials said.
On Wednesday about 7:30 p.m., about 10 shots were fired at the Border Patrol from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande near Veteran’s International Bridge at Los Tomates, said Roy Cervantes, a spokesman for the Rio Grande Valley Sector of the Border Patrol.
A Border Patrol vehicle was hit, but no one was injured, he said.
At about 7 p.m. on Friday, two Border Patrol boats carrying four agents were patrolling upriver from the Veteran’s bridge when 20 to 25 shots were fired at them from the Mexican side of the river, Salinas said.
The agents did not return fire during the shooting which was about a 1½ miles from Wednesday’s incident, and none of the four agents were hurt, he said. One of the boats was hit five times, he said.