News From the Border

Providing the news from a different front but from a war that we must win as well! I recognize the poverty and desperate conditions that many Latinos live in. We, as the USA, have a responsibility to do as much as we can to reach out to aid and assist spiritually with the Gospel and naturally with training, technology and resources. But poverty gives no one the right to break the laws of another sovereign nation.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Border cops find coke and pot, arrest 7

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested seven people over the weekend in connection with the separate seizures of 185 pounds of cocaine and more than 2,700 pounds of marijuana, officials said.

The largest seizure was made Friday at an Interstate 19 check-point south of Tucson, according to a press release.

A tractor-trailer rig was stopped at the checkpoint at about 6 p.m. Border Patrol agents inspecting the vehicle found 124 bundles of marijuana, totalling 2,598 pounds.

The driver, who was detained, is a resident alien in the United States from Mexico, the press release said. His name is not being released because the incident is still under investigation.

"A seizure of this magnitude is an example of why checkpoints are so essential to the overall operations of the Border Patrol," spokesman Jose L. Maheda said in a press release.

The other six arrests and seizures were made in incidents at the Douglas, San Luis and Nogales ports of entry, officials said.

The drugs have a total street value of more than $3.5 million, officials said.


Mexican police arrest four illegal Iraqis

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexican federal agents have arrested four Iraqis trying to sneak into the United States without proper documents, the government said Monday.

Wasim Francis Schamoun and Ivan Yalda, both 23, and Refon Chlil Oraha and Thaer Salem Yelda, both 27, were found on a bus in the northern city of Navajoa after police received an anonymous tip, the attorney general's office said in a statement.

The Iraqis were in Mexico illegally, the statement said.


Penalties for hiring illegally on hold

The Associated Press

PHOENIX - A proposal for Arizona to punish employers who hire illegal immigrants was put on hold yesterday at the Legislature after the leader of a state agency said he didn't have enough staffers to investigate what could be a lot of complaints.

Under the bill, employers who get caught hiring illegal immigrants could be sued or their business licenses could be revoked.


Drug-resistant TB worries officials

The Monitor

REYNOSA — Pharmacy saleswoman Manuela Escobar Muñez quickly found at least three small cartons of antibiotics used to treat tuberculosis at the Farmacia Benavides on Avenida Miguel Alemán.

“This is the strongest,” she said, tapping the box labeled Ketek. “It’s very popular.”

In Mexico, anyone can pick up the antibiotic telithromycin — sold under the Ketek brand — or other potent antibacterial drugs such as rifampin to treat TB. Yet, Ketek is not specifically designated to treat the illness.

Easy dispensation of it and other drugs frustrates health officials, who say short-term and inconsistent medication use creates a drug-resistant variety of the life-threatening illness.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Mexican immigration official arrested
Associated Press Writer

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- The U.S. Border Patrol arrested a Mexican immigration official who was allegedly trying to help a group of undocumented migrants sneak into the United States, the Mexican government said Sunday.

Immigration agent Francisco Javier Gutierrez was arrested at a checkpoint near Alamogordo, N.M., about 100 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, the Mexican Interior Department said in a news release.

Gutierrez had been fired on corruption allegations last year but returned to his job after winning a court case in which he claimed he had been unfairly dismissed, according to the National Immigration Institute.


Mexican man arrested in border tunnel case

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A Mexican citizen was arrested on drug charges in the investigation into the longest cross-border tunnel ever found along the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. officials said Monday.

The suspect, whose identity was not immediately released, was taken into custody during the weekend by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

He was expected to be arraigned Monday on charges of conspiracy to import a controlled substance.

The 2,400-foot-long tunnel ran from an area near the airport in Tijuana to a warehouse in San Diego. It was unclear how long the tunnel had been in operation, but more than 2 tons of marijuana were found inside.


Good comments from the Instapundit on Immigration.


Arresting a Crime Wave
Southern California cops take on the illegal-alien problem.

Imagine the following: While out on patrol in one of L.A.'s less fashionable neighborhoods, I spot a man I recognize as someone I have previously arrested. I have personal knowledge that this man was convicted of an offense against the people of California, for which he was bundled off to serve a stretch in the penitentiary. I also have personal knowledge that this man is an illegal alien, and that following his prison sentence he was turned over to federal authorities and deported to his country of origin. Yet, to my surprise, there he is enjoying the blessings of America as he strolls down the avenue just as boldly as you please. And now the question: What am I to do next?

Well, it depends whom you ask. Even within the Los Angeles Police Department there is a difference of opinion as to whether I should — or even can — detain the man unless I have reasonable suspicion of current criminal behavior. Mere suspicion that he has illegally reentered the country is not, some would argue, sufficient cause for me, a local police officer, to detain him and inquire as to his business here in el norte.

Since 1979, when the LAPD enacted Special Order 40, police officers in Los Angeles have been prohibited from taking any action "with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person," and from detaining or arresting anyone based solely on the suspicion that he has illegally entered the country. "Undocumented alien status in itself is not a matter for police action," the policy states. "It is, therefore, incumbent on all employees of [the LAPD] to make a personal commitment to equal enforcement of the law and service to the public, regardless of alien status."

Much has changed in Los Angeles since 1979. Among the more notable of these changes has been what Manhattan Institute Fellow Heather Mac Donald describes as an "illegal alien crime wave." Testifying last April before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims, Mac Donald cited some troubling figures:

  • The L.A. County Sheriff reported in 2000 that 23 percent of inmates in county jails were deportable, according to the New York Times.
  • In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide in the first half of 2004 (which totaled 1,200 to 1,500) targeted illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) were for illegal aliens.
  • The Los Angeles Police Department arrests about 2500 criminally convicted deportees annually, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Cocaine ring in Houston is linked to land deals here
By Peter Shinkle

The Garcia family of Houston has worked hard for decades, building a small empire consisting of a business that imported food from Mexico, two restaurants, a meat market and even a ranch for raising race horses.

It seemed a classic tale of immigrant success, and an example of the booming cross-border trade with Mexico.

Then, in 2004, family member Francisco Serna-Garcia was charged with being part of a conspiracy that imported something from Mexico besides food - cocaine.

It marked the unraveling of what Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Delworth called one of the biggest cocaine trafficking operations ever uncovered here. Prosecutors say that now, 33 guilty pleas later, it is about down to its loose ends.


Smuggling tunnel details come to light
Door, on wheels, only was opened from below
By Tony Manolatos

The floor is layered concrete and ceramic tile 2 inches thick. You can't tell there's anything different with the four large tan tiles in the corner.

But it's a secret door, one that could be opened only from below.

It's this passageway that federal authorities said was the exit point for drug smugglers who built a massive underground tunnel to bring tons of marijuana into the United States from Tijuana.

Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement discovered the tunnel last week. It runs 2,400 feet, or the length of about eight football fields, and is equipped with lighting, ventilation and groundwater drainage.

When asked yesterday whether any arrests have been made, Special Agent Michael Unzueta only would say the investigation is “moving swiftly.”


Mexican authorities using new database to identify dead, missing migrants
By Olga R. Rodriguez

In the last decade, more than 3,000 migrants have died trying to sneak into the United States. Of those, at least 1,000 remain unidentified and many are buried in pauper graves in cemeteries along the border, Mexican officials say.

Other migrants disappear into new lives, using false names and leaving behind relatives in Mexico who may not have phones or may be difficult to contact.

The government's new program, known as the System for Identifying Remains and Locating Idividuals, links the Foreign Relations Department's 35 offices in Mexico and 45 consulates in the United States to an Internet database.

The offices will be able to feed the database with photos and information, including tattoos and birthmarks, that might help officials find those missing or identify the dead, said Marco Antonio Fraire, a spokesman for the program.


This is not your typical smuggling story! -mm

Four men arrested for immigrant smuggling

Four Mexican men were arrested Wednesday and are being held in federal detention on suspicion of transporting illegal immigrants.

Detention and preliminary hearings are set Monday for Pablo Rodriguez, Siad Contreras-Corral, Felipe Torres-Beltran and Javier Cota-Palafox, said Sandy Raynor, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona.

A complaint filed in U.S. District Court offers the following account:

Rodriguez was driving an SUV stopped by Border Patrol Agents on Interstate 10 near Picacho. A passenger said Contreras-Corral was armed and a pistol and ammunition were found in the vehicle.

The passenger said he and others had crossed the border when they were taken at gunpoint and that two other vehicles with armed men and kidnapped immigrants were involved.

Minutes later, an SUV matching a description the passenger had given drove by the agents.

That SUV was stopped near the Interstate 8 junction. Torres-Beltran was driving with Cota-Palafox in the front passenger seat. Agents found two assault-type rifles between the front seats and a pistol in the glove box.

The four men allegedly drove from Phoenix to Duval Mine Road to pick up the illegal immigrants. Torres-Beltran said they drove to Tucson to rob or steal from illegal immigrants and that he and Cota-Palafox stole the second SUV at gunpoint.

One passenger said the illegal immigrants were to be taken to Phoenix, where the kidnappers would demand money from their families to release them.

Mexicans doing this to other Mexicans! - mm


The Plan of San Diego—Then…And Now?

By Steve Sailer

The Mainstream Media has finally noticed what has been reporting for years: the constant incursions by Mexican military units into American territory, typically while guarding drug and immigrant smugglers. By one estimate, the Mexican military has violated our largely unfenced border 231 times in the last decade. [Reports Cite Incursions on U.S. Border, By Richard Marosi, Robert J. Lopez and Rich Connell, LA Times, January 26, 2006]

This has reminded Americans with good memories of Pancho Villa's murderous raid on Columbus, New Mexico in 1916 and of the Zimmerman Telegram of 1917, in which Imperial Germany offered to help Mexico retake Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona (reserving California for Japan).

Mexican President Venustiano Carranza rejected the Zimmerman proposal – but only after studying the feasibility of a reconquista for several months.

Yet, almost nobody in America other than radical Aztlan separatists has heard of the sinister Plan of San Diego of 1915.

It's not a pretty story, so it's not surprising that few want to remember it.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Tennessee's driver certificates lure immigrants from other states

Associated Press Writer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee's driving certificate for illegal immigrants isn't valid as a form of ID, but people are paying hundreds of dollars on the black market and traveling hundreds of miles to get one.

Tennessee has issued more than 51,000 certificates since it became the first state to offer them in July 2004, but not every certificate has gone to someone living there.

Two major federal arrests in recent months exposed shuttles bringing South and Central American immigrants from as far away as New Jersey to state licensing centers in Knoxville, where the immigrants got certificates using fake residency papers.

Last week, a third sweep revealed an alleged conspiracy in which prosecutors say state license examiners in Murfreesboro, outside Nashville, accepted bribes to provide illegal immigrants with driver's licenses and certificates without testing.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Colombia Busts Ring Linked to al-Qaida

Associated Press Writer

BOGOTA, Colombia

Colombia has dismantled a false passport ring with links to al-Qaida and Hamas militants, the acting attorney general said Thursday after authorities led dozens of simultaneous raids across five cities.

The gang allegedly supplied an unknown number of citizens from Pakistan, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and other countries with false passports and Colombian nationality without them ever stepping foot in the country, the attorney general's office said in a written statement.

The counterfeited passports were then used to facilitate their entry into the United States and Europe.

Nineteen people were arrested in Thursday's raids, carried out in collaboration with U.S. authorities, the attorney general's office said. Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota were not immediately available for contact.

An undisclosed number of those arrested are wanted for working with al-Qaida, the international terrorist organization headed by Osama Bin Laden, and the militant Palestinian group Hamas, said acting Attorney General Jorge Armando Otalora.


Drop house bust reveals 'wretched' conditions

Yuma County officials may be taking legal action against a Foothills man after U.S. Border Patrol agents raided an alien drop house at an apartment complex the man owns.

Yuma sector Border Patrol agents Friday morning, acting on a tip, raided an alien drop house at 702 S. Riebe Ave. and arrested 25 illegal immigrants there.

During the bust, the agents detected a foul odor and discovered a 30-yard-long trench filled with raw sewage running along the back of some of the apartments, said Rick Stacks, county environmental health manager.


Rollover spills pot across I-8

A vehicle being pursued by the U.S. Border Patrol rolled over Friday morning, spilling 940 pounds of marijuana across Interstate 8.

California Highway Patrol Officer Eric Price said El Centro sector U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to deploy a spike strip 3.2 miles east of Gordon's Well Road to stop the 2003 red Jeep Wrangler.

The driver, a 19-year-old man from Los Algodones, Baja Calif., took actions to avoid the spike strip by going into the median but overcorrected and crashed, spilling the load of marijuana over the area. The accident occurred at 6:59 a.m. PST.


Builders of drug tunnel get warning

SAN DIEGO — Those associated with the longest and one of the most sophisticated tunnels ever discovered along the U.S.-Mexican border may be in grave danger, U.S. officials said Friday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had received intelligence that the Mexican drug cartel behind the tunnel had threatened the lives of people who had used it or were involved in the passageway's design or construction.

The agency appealed to those whose lives were at risk to seek out U.S. officials at Mexican border crossings and pledged to do everything possible to protect them.

More than 2 tons of marijuana were found inside the tunnel discovered this week, which ran about 2,400 feet from a warehouse near the airport in Tijuana, Mexico, to a warehouse in San Diego's Otay Mesa industrial district.

As deep as 90 feet below the surface, authorities found a tunnel floor lined with cement, lights that ran down one of the hard soil walls, a groundwater pump and pipes that circulated air, he said. An adult could stand in the 5-foot-high shaft.

"Given the sophistication of this tunnel, it's clear that the people responsible have significant resources at their disposal," said Michael Unzueta, special agent in charge of the agency's investigations in San Diego. "There is no doubt that an organization like this will take whatever steps necessary to protect their interests, including taking human lives."

It remained unclear how long the tunnel had been in operation, but Lauren Mack, a Customs spokeswoman, said the agency was bringing in a team of professional miners to analyze the soil and determine the passageway's age.


Week of incidents strains U.S.-Mexican relations
By Mark Stevenson

MEXICO CITY — It has been a trying week for Mexican-U.S. relations, with a tense border confrontation between U.S. agents and apparent drug traffickers, a Mexican group's offer to print maps of the Arizona desert for illegal migrants and an exchange of terse diplomatic notes.

The administration of Mexican President Vicente Fox has its share of quarrels with other countries, but this promised to be one of the trickiest — involving the country's northern neighbor and largest trading partner at a time when the U.S. Congress is debating immigration reform.

For Mexico, migration to the United States is a mainstay of the economy. U.S. officials, on the other hand, see the issue in terms of national security and border safety.

"The situation is very sensitive, because the points of tension are very sensitive," said political scientist Oscar Aguilar Ascencio.

Not coincidentally, those issues have come to loggerheads just as Mexico enters the campaign season for its July 2 presidential election.


Linking U.S. soldiers to border fray 'ridiculous'
Jake Rollow
El Paso Times

U.S. law enforcement officials scoffed Thursday at suggestions made by a Mexican diplomat that U.S. soldiers disguised as Mexican troops helped drug traffickers during a border standoff Monday near Sierra Blanca.

Mexico's foreign relations secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez's suggestion of U.S. military involvement came the day after U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza issued a strongly worded statement asking the Mexican government to "fully investigate" Monday's border incident.


Border chief: Mexican army likely involved
Louie Gilot
El Paso Times

The national head of the Border Patrol, Chief David V. Aguilar, said that despite denials from Mexican authorities, the men in uniforms in a border standoff Monday near Sierra Blanca might very well be Mexican soldiers.

"They were wearing military-style uniforms, driving military-style vehicles, carrying military-style weapons, but we didn't apprehend them. We don't know what they are. Sheriff (Leo) Samaniego feels they were (Mexican soldiers). I would have a tendency to agree with him," Aguilar said.

The standoff, between state troopers and armed and uniformed men in a Humvee, occurred in the Neely's Crossing area in Hudspeth County. The men on the Mexican side of the river were protecting a drug load in SUVs fleeing back to Mexico. No shots were fire.


Border Patrol chief draws attention to violence against agents
By Louie Gilot
El Paso Times

The national head of the Border Patrol, Chief David Aguilar, said he wanted the American public to be aware of the violent reality his agents live in.

"I want to make sure that the American public understands what is happening on the Southern border," he said during a press stop in El Paso Friday.

Agents have been shot at, hit by rocks and recently victimized by "flaming rocks," Aguilar said. The rocks are wrapped in cloth, dipped in gasoline, lit and hurled over the border at agents. One agent in San Diego was hit by a flaming rock and the rocks have ignited brush fires, also near San Diego.

Aguilar said that "When the time comes for our officers to take action," he wanted the American public to understand what the agents are up against.


Night of patrol shows holiday lull ending for border agents
Associated Press Writer

LAREDO, Texas (AP) -- Brian Fredregill cranks up a heat-sensor scope mounted outside his Border Patrol pickup, eases into the cab and stares at the monitor.

It's a chilly night in late January. A two-thirds moon beams overhead. Only about an hour into his shift, the only thing to emerge is a lone, grazing deer.

But when six white dots move like a centipede across the screen, he focuses the camera and the forms take shape. "Bodies! Bodies!" he announces on the radio.

The chase begins.

And with it, the gradual end to the yearly lull in arrests of illegal immigrants at this common crossing point along the Texas-Mexico border. It's a scene played out across the 2,000-mile border each year around this time, as tens of thousands of immigrants attempt to return illegally after spending the holidays with family and friends.


Drug tunnel's on hot-potato property

Otay Mesa lot has had many tenants, owners
By Leslie Berestein
Photo - JOHN R. MCCUTCHEN / Union-Tribune

The warehouse on Siempre Viva Road in Otay Mesa never had much luck attracting long-term interest, until recently.

The building where federal agents discovered a long and highly sophisticated cross-border drug tunnel this week has had a long history of short-term tenants, according to its developer. The property on which it sits also has changed ownership several times in recent years, property records show.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Border Patrol chief won't rule out Mexican army role in standoff

EL PASO, Texas -- U.S. Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar said Friday he cannot rule out Mexican military involvement in a standoff this week that involved men in Mexican army-style uniforms helping drug runners flee U.S. law enforcement in Texas.

He told reporters he was unsure whether the suspected drug smugglers were Mexican soldiers but knew they were dressed in "military-style uniforms, driving military-style vehicles, and carrying military-style weapons."Aguilar, who was in El Paso as part of a brief tour of the southwestern border, said it doesn't really matter who the men were _ drug smugglers or soldiers _ because they were criminals who needed to be stopped.The chief said he has spoken with his Mexican counterparts and been assured that an intense investigation is proceeding in Mexico.Aguilar added that allegations by Mexican officials this week that the men involved in the standoff Monday may have been U.S. soldiers "didn't make any sense."

Agents studying massive US-Mexico tunnel
By Marty Graham

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Federal authorities were trying to determine on Thursday what was smuggled through a sophisticated tunnel into the United States from Mexico they call one of the longest ever found.

"Whether the tunnel was used for smuggling aliens, smuggling narcotics or a worst case scenario, some sort of weapon, we don't know," Michael Unzueta, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in San Diego, said at a news conference.

Federal authorities, who uncovered the 2,400-foot (731 meter) tunnel on Wednesday, brought in a forensic team to look for fingerprints and DNA, and to sample the air and walls, so they can determine how long the tunnel has been in use and what it was used for, Unzueta said.

The tunnel has cement walls and supporting planks, is no less than five feet (1.2 meter) tall and wide, and runs as far as 60 feet underground, Unzueta said. It has lighting and ventilation, and a pumping system to drain groundwater.


Mexico Calls Uniformed Men in Border Standoff Imposters

MEXICO CITY — What looked like a Mexican military patrol aiding drug traffickers on the border shocked Texas police.

It was hardly a relief to the U.S. when Mexico announced Wednesday that the men were imposters: It meant that gangs feel free to drive around the border area with military-style vehicles and uniforms

Mexico has become accustomed to traffickers disguised as cops or soldiers.


Agency drops plans to pass out border maps

A Mexican government commission said concerns about civilian border watch groups have prompted it to suspend plans to distribute maps to migrants planning to cross the border illegally.

But the co-founder of one such group in Yuma says it was good idea to drop those plans for a different reason — the maps would make the aliens more vulnerable to border bandits.

Miguel Angel Paredes, the spokesman for Mexico's federal Human Rights Commission, denied Thursday that the map idea was being dropped in response to U.S. criticism.

‘‘This would be practically like telling the Minutemen where the migrants are going to be,’’ Paredes said. ‘‘We are going to rethink this, so that we wouldn’t almost be handing them over to groups that attack migrants.’’


What our porous border costs you
Feds loath to repay front-line states

One cost of illegal immigration is showing up in your house payment or property tax bill - about $30 a year for the owner of a typical home.

Autopsies for illegal immigrants, extra jail room for those who commit crimes and other border-related expenses have put the county's six-year tab for border-related spending at $62.5 million.

"This amount equals 153 fully equipped sheriff's deputies that Pima County had to forgo during that period," County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said recently. During that period, the county's force of deputies was well below the per-person average of comparable jurisdictions, he said.

But while covering essential border-related services is stretching the county thin, federal reimbursement for costs related to inadequate border security amounts to pennies on the dollar, local officials say.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Border Patrol Arrests MS Gang Members
In less than a week, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents have arrested five Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang members in five separate incidents across South Texas.

The first arrest occurred on Saturday when agents arrested seven people trying to cross into the U.S. west of the Brownsville International Bridge.

One of those detained was a 20-year-old man from El Salvador who had tattoos similar to those used by MS-13 gang members. The man had previously been deported and had a criminal record in Los Angeles.

On Sunday, Kingsville Border Patrol agents arrested 17 illegal immigrants near Rivera. Among those arrested was an MS-13 gang member from El Salvador with an extensive criminal record for weapons violations, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

On the same day agents in Harlingen arrested a group in Combes which included an MS013 gang member.

The fourth arrest happened Monday near Rio Grande City and the final arrest of an MS-13 member happened north of Corpus Christi.


Mexican Army Threatens US Border Patrol

By Sher Zieve – Members of the Mexican Army, in a Monday afternoon “standoff” at the US-Mexico Border, engaged in what Texas police and the FBI said was an attempt to tow thousands of pounds of marijuana into the US. Mexican soldiers joined with civilian smugglers in their attempts to transport the illegal drugs, via Humvees, across the border.

Maps to safeguard migrants might endanger them

A plan to give illegal aliens maps to keep them alive in the deserts of Yuma County and Arizona could do the opposite, say Yuma's Mexican consul and the organizer of a local border watch group.

Consul Hugo Oliva said the maps the National Human Rights Commission plans to distribute may actually steer aliens and smugglers away from desert water tanks for fear of being caught by the Border Patrol.

Meanwhile, Flash Sharrar, head of the Yuma Patriots border-watch organization, says if bandits get the maps, they will know where to go to rob illegal immigrants.

The commission, a Mexican government-funded agency with independent powers, said Tuesday the purpose of the maps was to help to curb the death toll among illegal border crossers.

They said they plan to distribute 70,000 of these maps in border towns.


Yuman, Mexican cop indicted in gun smuggling

A Mexican police officer and a Yuma man have been federally indicted for allegedly attempting to cross the border with three weapons purchased at a Yuma gun show.

Omar Ignacio Alvarez, 20, of Yuma assisted Pedro Rios-Perez, 41, an officer for the Baja California State Police, in buying two handguns and an assault rifle Jan. 7 at a gun show at the Yuma County Fairgrounds, according to the indictment and a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix. The two allegedly attempted to drive the guns into Mexico in a police vehicle.

The arrests are part of an overall increase in enforcement by the federal government in cooperation with local agencies to curb weapons trafficking in this area, according to Tom Mangan, special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).


Border tunnel's U.S. exit found


SAN DIEGO — Authorities on Wednesday located the U.S. exit to a long cross-border tunnel that began near the Tijuana, Mexico, airport and was apparently used for smuggling people or drugs, a U.S. official said Wednesday night.

The discovery of the exit prompted a criminal probe by the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego, said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Mack declined to provide the location of the exit and would only describe the passageway as longer than most of the 21 cross-border tunnels discovered since authorities began keeping track after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


Two tons of pot found inside Mexico-U.S. border tunnel
By Onell R. Soto and Leslie Berestein

Investigators discovered a sophisticated cross-border tunnel yesterday extending about a half-mile and found about 2 tons of marijuana on the Mexican end.

The tunnel begins about 85 feet below a small warehouse about 175 yards south of the U.S. border. The other end is in an apparently vacant industrial building in Otay Mesa.

Late last night, authorities were still pulling marijuana out of the tunnel, which is outfitted with electricity and a ventilation system. The building is in an industrial neighborhood near Tijuana's airport.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Texas-Mexico Border Standoff Reported

Associated Press Writer


Texas law enforcement officers faced off with men dressed as Mexican Army soldiers and apparent drug suspects near the U.S.-Mexican border Tuesday, after three SUVs attempted to flee state authorities, officials said.

Andrea Simmons, an agency spokeswoman in El Paso, told The Associated Press that Texas Department of Public Safety troopers chased three SUVs, believing they were carrying drugs, to the banks of the Rio Grande during Monday's incident.

Men dressed in Mexican military uniforms or camouflage were on the U.S. side of the border in Texas, she said.


Mexican migrants to get US maps

A Mexican government agency is to issue some 70,000 maps marking main roads and water tanks for people wanting to cross illegally into the US.

The National Human Rights Commission says the maps will be aimed at cutting the death toll among migrants.

US advocates of tougher border controls have criticised the move, saying it will encourage illegal immigration.

Relations between the US and Mexico have cooled recently over US plans to build a fence on parts of the border.

The map plan is backed by Humane Borders, a US-based organisation which operates about 70 emergency water stations near the 3,200-km (2,000-mile) border.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Across the country, many mobilize against illegal immigration

By Brad Knickerbocker | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor|photo Ed Betz/AP

Immigration has become an increasingly contentious political and social issue around the country.

Organizations patterned after the controversial "Minuteman Project" along the US-Mexico border have sprung up in New England, the Midwest, the South, and the Pacific Northwest. This has led to demonstrations and shouting matches with those opposed to what they call "vigilantes."

State and local officials are working to limit government services to illegal immigrants and their children (such as college tuition and worker's compensation), requiring proof of citizenship to get a driver's license and cracking down on day labor sites where men - many in the country illegally - gather to seek work.

Concerns over terrorism, identity theft, and the national methamphetamine epidemic (which is fueled by Mexican drug cartels and Hispanic gangs operating far from the border) are part of the picture. But some observers warn of an upsurge in "nativism" - the kind of anti-immigrant feeling that has swelled at other times in US history.

Along the border, a land held hostage

Bandits roaming the Arizona-Mexico frontier threaten immigrants, patrolmen, workers
By Stephen Kiehl
Sun Reporter

NOGALES, Mexico // They had made it across the border, 20 of them, through a hole in the barbed-wire fence in the dark Arizona desert. Juan Carlos Reyes Hernandez, 25, with two children at home and a third on the way, was among them. He planned to work in construction and send his earnings back home.

He had promised to pay the "coyote," or smuggler, two months' wages to lead him safely to Tucson. Instead, he walked into a trap. The group was less than a mile into the United States when three men with pistols set upon them. Hernandez believes the coyote and the gunmen were working together.


Latino homicides on sharp increase
Gangs in Oakland, San Francisco cited as reason for growth

- Jim Herron Zamora, Chronicle Staff Writer

Changing demographics and rising gang violence have brought a dramatic increase in the number of homicides among Latinos in Oakland and San Francisco, even as the number of African American victims has fallen, police and community leaders say.

Oakland saw twice as many Latinos slain last year as in 2004, while San Francisco saw an increase of 50 percent during the same period. Authorities in both cities say the problem largely sneaked up on them because they were focused on the larger -- and still more prevalent -- problem of African Americans killing others of their own race.


America Versus Mexico’s Ponzi Pyramid Scheme
By Justin Darr (01/22/06)

If there is anything people hate more than buying a used car, filling out tax forms, or visiting their attorney’s office it is meeting the glassy eyed enthusiasm of some acquaintance who wants to recruit you into a multi-level-marketing scheme. You know the ones. If you can make a list of everyone you know, and they can make a list of everyone they know, and each of you spend a few hundred dollars a month on some assorted widget or another, in three to five years you could be living on your own Caribbean island.

Fortunately, in the United States, the worse of these Ponzi pyramid schemes are illegal. But, imagine for a moment if they were not. Imagine also if, rather than toothpaste, insurance, and Saint John’s Wort, the product you were purchasing was the right to build a shed in your back yard, open a business, or avoid police harassment? And, what if this extortion was institutionalized to the point that it became the price of trying to live a normal life?

This is the case of the average citizen of Mexico. In 2005, a survey conducted by Transparency International showed that between 31 and 45% of Mexicans had someone in their family forced to pay a bribe to a public official in the past year.

Corruption is an endemic aspect of Mexican government. Extending from the local police who routinely shake down people who commit minor infractions for cash all the way to top government officials who habitually cut deals with political cronies and drug traffickers to shape Mexican law.


'Osama's People' Smuggled Into U.S.?

Court documents in a Brownsville, Texas drug-smuggling case cite a wiretapped telephone conversation by one of the smugglers who said that "Osama's people" are ready to be transported across the Mexican border into the U.S.

The Brownsville Herald reported earlier this week:

"[Paperwork in the case] contains details of a December 2004 incident in which [one smuggler] tried to secure transportation for 20 Middle Eastern 'terrorists' waiting to enter the United States from Monterrey, Chiapas and Puebla in Mexico.

"Recorded telephone conversations authorized under the U.S. Patriot Act and a court order captured the [suspect] referring to the 20 men as 'gente de Osama.'”

According to these same court documents - the phrase translates into "Osama’s people.”


Area Police Try to Combat a Proliferation of Brothels
2 Dozen Probed in Recent Years in Montgomery

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writer

On one of the coldest nights this winter, an informant walked toward two suspected brothels operating out of garden-style apartments in Wheaton.

In what has become an increasingly common routine, two Montgomery County vice detectives waited in unmarked police vehicles outside the apartment complex near Wheaton Regional Park for the informant to tell them what he saw inside.

"One doorman, one girl," Detective Thomas Stack told his partner, Leland Wiley, on the radio after being briefed by the informant, a recent immigrant from El Salvador who has helped them obtain search warrants for similar brothels. "Thirty dollars for 15 minutes."

Such brothels, law enforcement officials and authorities in human trafficking said, have proliferated quietly in recent years in Washington and other metropolitan areas with large pockets of Hispanic immigrants, many of whom left their spouses in their home countries. They operate in an underworld invisible to most -- a subculture that local and federal authorities have started to unravel only in recent years.

The brothels, which have surfaced in several recent federal indictments, cater exclusively to immigrants from Latin America and charge about $30 for 15 minutes of sex.


Operation Linebacker finds 25 immigrants
Michael D. Hernandez
El Paso Times

El Paso County sheriff's deputies found 25 undocumented immigrants in Tornillo Sunday during an Operation Linebacker patrol.

At about 9:50 a.m., 21 immigrants were discovered in an abandoned house in the 19000 block of Cobb; then, two hours later, four more immigrants were found along Oil Mill Drive in the rural town southeast of El Paso, sheriff's officials said.

All 25 immigrants were turned over to the Border Patrol and no arrests were reported during the incidents.


Ice Removes More Than 2,000 Illegal Aliens From The South Texas Region During December
Southwest Border Initiative aims to quickly return illegal aliens to their home countries

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today that the office here deported 2445 non-criminal aliens during the month of December under the new Secure Border Initiative (SBI).

SBI is a two-month-old program announced by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff during his recent visit to Texas. One SBI aspect allows ICE to quickly remove “other than Mexican” (OTM) illegal aliens to their home countries under an “expedited removal” process. Those OTMs removed from the South Texas Region had been arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) - which includes the Border Patrol - and ICE along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.


Illegal alien held in twin slayings, kidnap
Brothers, 14 & 7, beaten to death in family basement
Associated Press

STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, N.J. - A family who took in an illegal immigrant as a boarder paid for it with the lives of their two children, whose skulls he bludgeoned with a hammer before kidnapping their mother, authorities said yesterday.

Shivering and soaking-wet after hiding in a drainage ditch near a Garden State Parkway rest area overnight, a coatless Richard Toledo, who also may be known as Richard Toledo Gonzalez, surrendered meekly to authorities yesterday morning after a Spanish-speaking state trooper convinced him to give up.

It was a far cry from the violence authorities say he perpetrated the night before at the home he shared with the woman who took him in and her sons, ages 14 and 7. The boys' bloodied, battered bodies were found in the basement Thursday night by their father after he got a call from his wife saying she had been kidnapped.


Study Gives Snapshot of Day Laborers
Associated Press Writer

The immigrant day laborers who wait for work on street corners across the United States have families and attend church regularly, and the people who hire them are more likely to be individual homeowners than construction contractors.

The first nationwide study of day laborers also found that one in five has been injured on the job and nearly half have been cheated out of pay.

Among the other findings based on the interviews conducted in July and August 2004:

_Three-fourths were illegal immigrants and most were Hispanic: 59 percent were from Mexico and 28 percent from other Central American countries.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

FBI says attacks on Border Patrol agents are connected

The FBI and it’s Mexican equivalent, the PGR, are working together to solve an increasingly violent problem

BROWNSVILLE – The FBI has determined the two recent attacks on Border Patrol agents are connected.

Two separate attacks occurred on two separate nights. One boat patrol near Brownsville was shot at, and days later agents driving along the river banks were attacked.

The shots came from across the Rio Grande River. The FBI says it’s all about drug and human trafficking. The Border Patrol is making headway toward shutting down these types of operations by cutting off the routine routes for smugglers.

Border Patrol spokesman Salvador Zamora said, "It's a direct result of our gaining operation patrol in those areas where human traffickers and drug smugglers have been confident and comfortable operating in those areas."


Lupita Murillo Reports
Minutemen say video shows Mexican army crossing into US
Startling new video from the Minutemen tonight. They claim the video shows members of the Mexican military sneaking over the border.

Eyewitness News 4 has obtained the video from the Minutemen, showing what they say is an infiltration of the Mexican Army.

There is no audio and there are no signs indicating where the video was taken.

Earlier this week, the Border Patrol issued a report saying the Mexican military has crossed into the U.S. over two hundred times in ten years.

Chris Simcox and a group of Minutemen volunteers say they shot this video in 2004 along the Arizona/Mexico border.


Marijuana among border seizures
Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times

Cockfighting spurs, parakeets and 1,232 pounds of marijuana were among items seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in the El Paso area this week, an agency spokesman said.

The law prohibits the importation of live birds. Agents also seized 30 Valium tablets, caught 27 fugitives wanted for a variety of crimes and used a gamma ray inspection system to discover a stowaway in a rail car coming from Mexico.


Illegal tunnel found under U.S.-Mexico border

SAN DIEGO – Authorities on Friday found a partially-completed illegal tunnel under the U.S.-Mexican border.

Acting on a tip received by U.S. authorities, Mexican federal police located the tunnel entrance on Mexican soil three-quarters of a mile west of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego.


Mexico City offers new computers for old guns

MEXICO CITY – Mexicans are being invited to exchange their weapons for computers under a quirky new idea to curb rampant crime in Mexico City.

Authorities in one of the city's 16 districts are offering a new computer, out of 150 donated by a charitable foundation, for each gun handed in.

"People often have a gun at home, which could perhaps be for self-defense, but sadly it becomes a family tragedy when it is not used properly " Guadalupe Lopez, local government head for the central district of Alvaro Obregon, told Reuters.

Shootings are a daily occurrence in Mexico City, a sprawling megalopolis of 18 million people where muggings, carjackings and kidnappings are common.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Two charged with forgery

Two Mexican nationals, both illegal aliens, were each charged with a single felony each Thursday in Yuma Justice Court.

Florencio Mendez-Santiago and Isaac Merino-Ortiz were both charged with one count of forgery for allegedly carrying false identification at the time of their arrest.

According to court documents, Yuma police responded to a report that a vacant house in the 1200 block of Arena Drive was possibly being used as a drop house for illegal aliens.

Once at the vacant home, police knocked on the front door and Santiago answered, court records indicated. At that point, according to court records, approximately 15 males ran for the back door of the home, where other officers were waiting.


Fines will target Americans who smuggle humans
By Leslie Berestein

The lure of quick cash has drawn ever-larger numbers of U.S. citizens into human smuggling in recent years, but those who get caught at border crossings may soon find themselves quickly parted from their ill-gained funds.

Yesterday, customs officials at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry became the first in the nation to implement a program of civil fines for citizens and legal residents caught smuggling people into the country. A first offense is punishable by a fine of $5,000. Second-time offenders will be fined twice as much.


War on drugs sparks incursions, officials say
By Anna Cearley and Leslie Berestein

An increased Mexican military presence along the border over the past decade could be making it more likely that Mexican and U.S. authorities are crossing paths, according to several border law enforcement experts.

"The military in recent years is being drawn into the war on drugs," said David Shirk, director of the Trans-Border Institute, based at the University of San Diego.

Victor Clark, a Tijuana-based human rights activist who follows drug trends, said "there is more militarization along the border because the U.S. is pressuring to have more there."


Drug gang plan to smuggle in Osama's guys

UPI Homeland and National Security Editor

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- A drug-trafficker who admitted importing a quarter-ton of cocaine from Mexico also plotted to smuggle 20 men he said were Iraqi terrorists into the United States, charging them $8000 a head.

In December 2004, Noel Exinia told associates in wiretapped and consensually recorded conversations that the men were "gente de Osama" -- Osama's guys -- and that they were "really bad people," who were armed and made the smugglers working with them afraid, according to papers filed last week by the U.S. Justice Department with the federal court in Brownsville, Texas.

In the papers, prosecutors say that Exinia was asked to move the men in by his boss in the notorious Gulf Cartel, a Mexican drug smuggling and organized crime network.


Border Patrol warned: Brace for violence
Feds say smugglers likely to retaliate over new enforcement push
By Jon Dougherty
© 2006

Federal officials say Border Patrol and other federal agents working chronic drug-smuggling routes along the U.S. boundary with Mexico could be targets for retaliation by well-armed cartels from south of the Rio Grande, after a new enforcement push has dramatically curbed the importation of contraband.

"I do think we have to be prepared for the fact that as we press hard on these criminal organizations, some of them will want to fight back," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told reporters earlier this week.

Admitting there had already been an "uptick in violence" against federal officers in recent months because of increased anti-smuggling operations, Chertoff said agents were not only targeting drug rings but also human smugglers as well. Despite the threats of retaliation, however, Chertoff insisted: "We want to make it very clear that ... will not cause us to back off" the current enforcement push.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Migrant bills put pressure on hirers

Dems' measures require employers to check IDs
Mary Jo Pitzl and Amanda J. Crawford
The Arizona Republic

Jumping into a debate they have largely avoided, top Arizona Democrats are proposing legislation that would penalize employers if they knowingly hired undocumented immigrants.

The bill drew immediate opposition from business lobbyists and some immigrant rights groups as well as a firm denunciation from a key Republican who has pushed unsuccessfully for similar sanctions.


Chertoff: Mexico troop reports overblown
Associated Press Writer

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Reports of Mexican soldiers frequently crossing onto U.S. soil are overblown, and many of the incidents are just mistakes, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said.

Chertoff's remarks followed a newspaper report that Mexican military units had crossed into the United States 216 times since 1996. The report by the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin of Ontario on Sunday was based on a Homeland Security Department report.

Chertoff estimated there were only about 20 crossings a year, and said "a significant number of those are innocent things" in which police or military from Mexico step across the border because they're not aware of exactly where the line is.

"I think to create the image that somehow there is a deliberate effort by the Mexican military to cross the border would be to traffic in scare tactics," he said Wednesday.

The head of a labor union that represents about 10,500 U.S. Border Patrol agents dismissed Chertoff's remarks as a "diplomatic response" to a long-running problem on the U.S.-Mexico border.


Illegal migration to U.S. dominates Mexico presidential campaign

By Will Weissert

MEXICO CITYMexico's presidential campaign is focusing on the millions who leave for better-paying jobs in the United States, with candidates promising to create better opportunities at home while railing against American immigration policies.

Illegal migration should again seize the spotlight Thursday, when the three major presidential hopefuls begin official campaigning after a Christmas break mandated by the country's electoral body.


U.S. bracing for smuggling rings to retaliate
Star-Telegram Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government is bracing for increased violence against Border Patrol agents as Mexican smuggling rings retaliate against a high-profile crackdown by federal law enforcement, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday.

While declining to elaborate on reports that smugglers may be planning contract-style hits on Border Patrol agents, Chertoff acknowledged "an uptick in violence" against the federal officers after months of intensified enforcement aimed at crushing immigrant- and drug-smuggling rings.


Alpine Border Patrol agents grab $2.3 million in cocaine

Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Agents of Marfa Sector's Alpine Station seized $2.312 million in cocaine from three men carrying the drugs in backpacks late Friday night, Jan. 6.

Two of the men were captured and arrested. One left his backpack behind but was able to escape.

Agents discovered the men about 18 miles south of the Border Patrol's Hwy. 385 checkpoint in Brewster County. The cocaine weighed 72.25 lbs. and was distributed in three backpacks. When agents approached the men, they all dropped their backpacks and ran. Agents were able to capture two of them. The men captured are aged 18 and 35, and are citizens of Mexico.


M-13 Gang Member Arrested For Smuggling

A routine traffic stop uncovers 13 illegal immigrants traveling along IH-35, and now investigators say one of them is could be to be part of a notorious gang.

The U.S. Border Patrol picked up the suburban Wednesday morning after being tipped off by D.P.S. Agents say the 13 included a Honduran along with a member of the violent M-13 gang.

11 others, including one female and a 17-year old boy were from Mexico. They will be deported back to that country.


Driver in fatal accident one of thousands who crossed border illegally
By Tom Dalton
Staff writer

SALEM — Magno DaCosta, the Peabody man charged in last weekend's fatal pedestrian accident on Canal Street, is one of thousands of Brazilians who entered the United States illegally last year by crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico.

He also is one of thousands of Brazilians who were stopped by the U.S. Border Patrol and then let go under a catch-and-release policy that has been harshly criticized. Under that rule, Mexicans caught entering illegally are sent back home, while illegal immigrants from other countries are given court dates and released.

A Matter of Numbers

Experts say it's only a matter of time before an animal disease disaster strikes the unsecured U.S.-Mexico border


For the last 10 years, John Ladd's Southern Arizona ranch has been the scene of an open-air stage play about illegal immigration. Haven't heard of it? It's quite a show, a dark farce that lays bare all the nonsense and hypocrisy that mark this ongoing domestic nightmare.

Broadway can't produce plays this affecting, and Ladd, much to his regret, has had a front-row look at the performance that never ends on his 14,000-acre San Jose Ranch, located right on the international line west of Naco.

He has seen it all: federal bureaucratic bungling, finger-pointing and waste; the political pantomime that most of Arizona's elected leaders continue to perform; and of course, the stars of the show, the illegal immigrants and drug runners who keep busting the line with relative impunity.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Open borders, closed minds
By Tony Blankley
Jan 18, 2006

It's not that I expect an orderly, predictable world. I have read enough of history to understand that the dynamics of the human personality in a world of constant change will yield radical, often chaotic upheavals.

But still and all, a chap doesn't expect to find a full-grown rhinoceros in his desk drawer, or a man-eating sparrow on his window ledge.

So you can imagine my astonishment when I picked up Tuesday's Washington Times and read on the front page the headline: "Mexican military incursions reported: U.S. Border Patrol alerts Arizona agents."


Two illegal aliens held on suspicion of forgery

Two Mexican nationals who were in the country illegally and carrying false identification were arrested early Tuesday morning at a vacant house in Yuma, according to court records.

Later the same afternoon, Florencio Mendez-Santiago and Isaac Merino-Ortiz, both made their initial appearances in Yuma Justice Court before Justice of the Peace David Cooper, who informed them of the allegations against them and set their bonds at $7,259.

Cooper told Santiago and Ortiz that police were asking prosecutors to file one felony charge of forgery against each of them.


Aliens say helicopter saved them from bandits

Two illegal immigrants are crediting a Border Patrol helicopter with saving them from four gunmen who had tied them up and planned to kill them during a holdup near Yuma on Monday night.

The helicopter's arrival at the scene of holdup prompted the four robbers to flee, allowing the two aliens to untie themselves and run to a nearby road, where they were found by Border Patrol agents shortly before midnight, the patrol said.

The aliens told agents that after the crossing Colorado River from Mexico, they were confronted by four people brandishing rifles near County 14th Street. The robbers robbed the aliens of $80, tied them up, forced them to the ground, beat them with sticks and kicked them, the aliens told agents.

Just as the robbers told the aliens they going to kill them, the helicopter appeared, causing the robbers to flee into Mexico, the aliens said.


Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
Marty Lich

Words are powerful. So when I hear another country’s foreign secretary state that his country is not going to “permit or allow” a stupid thing like our proposed border fence I have to repeat these words; “Won’t allow or permit?” Who has the right to tell our country what she will and will not do on her own soil? Mexico? Guatemala? They think so.

These two countries are seeking illegal alien’s rights in America. They say a border fence is discriminatory and against freedom for their citizens. In part, this is true. By preventing unlawful entry into our country the ‘freedom’ of disregarding our laws will halt. Discrimination is against only those who break our laws. All who illegally enter the U.S. today receive free public school enrollment, tax-funded emergency and preventative health care, and a large range of taxpayer welfare services with no questions asked. We do not arm our borders with our military and we do not send our police out on impromptu raids, targeting neighborhoods known for harboring illegal alien residents. We do not allow illegal aliens to be deported overnight even if they were originally arrested for committing other crimes. When ICE decides certain illegal aliens are going to be deported from our country, they are released first on their own recognizance here until such time that an U.S. immigration court hearing can be provided for them.

Americans are a kind-hearted people. We find a border fence preferable, an act of prevention rather than an act of apprehension, believing that an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”


Yuma Area Smugglers Continue to Endanger Lives
CBP Border Patrol Agents Arrest 13 Illegal Aliens after Stolen Jeep Rolls Over

Yuma, Arizona – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol Agents encountered a sport utility vehicle containing 13 illegal aliens from Mexico after it crashed into a civilian vehicle in Yuma.

Just after 7 a.m., a Remote Video Surveillance (RVS) camera observed a Jeep Liberty illegally cross from Mexico into the U.S. approximately 7 miles east of the San Luis, Arizona Port of Entry. Yuma Sector Border Patrol Agents attempted to catch up to the vehicle as it drove into the Yuma City limits. When agents arrived at 32nd Street and 4th Avenue, they discovered that the Jeep had collided with a minivan.


Four Alleged Marijuana Smugglers Arrested by CBP Agents
Suspects were in a Stolen Truck Containing Almost 1000 Pounds of Marijuana

Yuma, Arizona – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol Agents intercepted a stolen SUV filled with bundles of marijuana after it illegally drove from Mexico into the United States.

Shortly after dark, Yuma Sector Border Patrol Agents observed a 2000 GMC Yukon driving from the international boundary with Mexico at a high rate of speed. The vehicle was driving northbound without its headlights on just south of Sentinel, Arizona. Border Patrol Agents deployed a Controlled Tire Deflation Device (CTDD) to disable the vehicle and later discovered it abandoned with flat tires. The vehicle contained 638 pounds of marijuana worth just over $510,000.


'' Website Shut Down 'Due to Threats'
By Jeff Johnson

( - The Hispanic lobbying group that launched a website labeling opponents of illegal immigration "racists, cowards" and "domestic terrorists" claims to have disabled the site "Due to the threats" from "anti-immigrant" individuals.

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) launched to criticize opponents of illegal immigration who are members or affiliates of the Minuteman Project. Local chapters of the Minutemen have been photographing and videotaping contractors hiring workers at day laborer centers in Herndon, Va., and other locations and using the information to pursue violations of licensing and labor laws. The Minutemen believe many of the men hired are illegal aliens.

LULAC created on Dec. 13, 2005, and the next day. Both domain names pointed to the same site, which featured photographs of the Minutemen who participated in the contractor surveillance and identified them as, "racists, cowards, un-Americans (sic), vigilantes, [and] domestic terrorists."


DHS Press Release
Fact Sheet: Secure Borders and Open Doors in the Information Age

Since 9/11, the Bush Administration has set many changes in motion to improve border security while still welcoming visitors to the United States. There have been two great challenges: to harmonize all these changes for maximum effect while maintaining the right balance between stronger security and facilitating travel.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff have been working together to manage these challenges. The result is a three part vision to guide the current and future development of solutions that ensure the best use of new technologies and the most efficient processes—all of which will ensure that our joint facilitation and security objectives are met.


New ID card for crossing into Mexico is proposed
Louie Gilot
El Paso Times

Border crossers will need new secure identification cards, not passports, to enter the United States by the end of the year, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced Tuesday.

"We're talking about, essentially, the kind of driver's license or other simple card identification that almost all of us carry in our wallets day in and day out," Chertoff said in a speech in Washington, D.C.

The cards, called People Access Security Service, or PASS, would cost people around $50, or half the fee for a passport.


Jury selection to begin in Texas smuggling deaths case
Associated Press Writer

HOUSTON (AP) -- Three people accused of operating smuggling cells were part of a ring responsible for the nation's deadliest human smuggling attempt, according to federal prosecutors.

Jury selection was to begin Wednesday afternoon in the trial of Victor Sanchez Rodriguez; his wife, Emma Sapata Rodriguez, and Rosa Sarrata Gonzalez, Sapata's half-sister.

The three are charged with harboring and transporting illegal immigrants in connection with a May 2003 smuggling attempt that killed 19 illegal immigrants. If convicted, all three could face up to life in prison.

More than 70 people were being transported in an airtight tractor-trailer from South Texas to Houston when they began to succumb to the deadly heat inside. Seventeen people died of dehydration, overheating and suffocation. Two died later.


Mexican national had produced fraudulent documents, and used 10 different aliases

DETROIT - A career criminal alien from Mexico was sentenced here today to 115 months in federal prison and deportation for manufacturing fraudulent documents and re-entering the U.S. after having been previously deported. Today's sentence was announced by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Special Agent-in-Charge Brian M. Moskowitz, and Social Security Administration (SSA), Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Resident Agent-in-Charge John Keenan.

Felipe Molina-Marquez, 45, a citizen of Mexico, was apprehended by ICE special agents at his residence on an Outstanding Warrant of Arrest for Gerardo Hernandez in February 2005. ICE agents conducted database checks and determined that Hernandez was in fact Felipe Molina-Marquez, who was first deported to Mexico in December 1995. At the time of his arrest, Marquez possessed fraudulent Social Security and Alien Registration cards.


Video (requires Real Player)
Mexico's Government Believes Mexicans Are Entitled to Enter U.S. (01/16/06)


Tijuana business leaders seek crime crackdown
By Anna Cearley

TIJUANA – The city's business leaders, who have recently expressed concerns about kidnappings, announced a series of proposals yesterday that they hope can reduce the city's crime problem.

"This was started because we have a problem, a problem of insecurity," said Daniel Romero, president of a coalition of business groups that includes the Chamber of Commerce and industry associations.


National Data, By Edwin S. Rubenstein

Immigration Implies Higher Health Care Costs

They come in uninsured and often with infectious diseases But, because new immigrants are generally younger than natives, on a per capita basis they utilize 55 percent less health care ($1,139 vs. $2,546 per capita.) This was the conclusion of Dr. Sarita A. Mohanty of USC [send her email] in a study she did for the express purpose of making immigrant health care costs look good.

However, thereafter things get worse, not for the first time in the immigration debate. Long-term exposure to U.S. culture appears to be dangerous to immigrant health, and to the health of their U.S.-born children. Result: Immigration-imported health care costs are a ticking time bomb.