LAREDO—Unidentified men thought to be drug cartel operatives threatened the safety of the Hudspeth County deputies who thwarted a smuggling operation east of El Paso on Jan. 23, along with their families.
Hudspeth County Chief Deputy Mike Doyal said three men inside a black and red Ford Bronco approached the wife of one of the deputies last Thursday and made a threat before driving across the Rio Grande into Mexico.
“They told her that her husband and the other officers needed to stay off the river down there,” Doyal said.
On Friday, a Hudspeth deputy in the Fort Hancock area received information a cartel was talking about putting together a “death squad” to target the deputies, Doyal said.
The three deputies who were targeted were the same who witnessed the failed Jan. 23 marijuana smuggling operation that set off diplomatic volleys between the United States and Mexico because men dressed in military uniform provided the drug smugglers protection during the standoff.
The Mexican government denied its army was involved in the incursion, blaming drug traffickers in pseudo-army gear.
Sheriff’s deputies that day gave chase to a convoy of SUVs that fled toward the Rio Grande, where a military-style Humvee awaited to protect them.