Gang Expert Backs Tancredo Charges

Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily, June 27, 2006

Washington—Rep. Tom Tancredo’s charge that Mexican drug cartels are buying up legitimate businesses in U.S. cities to launder money and using some of the proceeds to win local mayoral and city council seats for politicians who can shape the policies and personnel decisions of their police forces, has been backed up by a veteran gang investigator.

Richard Valdemar, a retired sergeant with the L.A. County sheriff’s department and a longtime member of a federal task force investigating gang activity, went beyond the charges made by Tancredo, the chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus who has led the fight to secure America’s southern border.

In fact, he cited first-hand experience in investigating attempts to take over seven cities in Los Angeles County—Southgate, Lynwood, Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Hawaiian Gardens and Huntington Park.

He also told WND in an exclusive interview that he has since become aware of similar efforts by Mexican drug cartels throughout the Southwest—in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.

The stunning disclosures substantiate claims made by Tancredo in his new book, “In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America’s Border and Security,” in which he exposes what he has learned from meetings with law enforcement authorities regarding a concerted effort by the Mexican mafia and drug cartels to extend its corruptive influence in urban areas dominated by illegal alien populations.

Tancredo says some of these small cities have become hostile and dangerous places for legitimate law enforcement officials. Valdemar agrees, saying the sophisticated technique being employed in the U.S. was “invented in Mexico.”

Valdemar, the grandson of legal Mexican immigrants and now a consultant to law enforcement agencies across the country on gang activity, explains how the operations work.

“In the typical scenario, a wealthy Mexican immigrant opens a business in a small town,” he says. “It could be a very nice Mexican restaurant. He’s well-dressed, speaks English, seemingly a real gentleman. He gets involved in the community. His business welcomes police officers with discounts. He makes friends with city officials and other businessmen. No one has any idea where his money comes from—the Mexican drug cartels.”

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Tancredo, who blew the whistle on the growing power of the Mexican drug cartels and Mexican mafia in his book, “In Mortal Danger,” explains who is behind the plot.

“The Tijuana-based Felix drug cartel and the Juarez-based Fuentes cartel began buying legitimate business in small towns in Los Angeles County in the early 1990s,” he writes. “They purchased restaurants, used-car lots, auto-body shops and other small businesses. One of their purposes was to use these businesses for money-laundering operations. Once established in their community, these cartel-financed business owners ran for city council and other local offices. Over time, they were able to buy votes and influence in an effort to take over the management of the town. They wanted to create a comfort zone from which they could operate without interference from local law enforcement.”

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Tancredo warns that the country is on a course to the dustbin of history. Like the great and mighty empires of the past, he writes, superpowers that once stretched from horizon to horizon, America is heading down the road to ruin.

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