by WorldTribune Staff, November 19, 2018
A Mexican drug cartel blames the migrant caravan for slowing its smuggling operations amid the U.S. military deployment to the U.S.-Mexico border, sources said.
Todd Bensman, of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), reported on Nov. 19 that the U.S. military presence at the border is curbing drug trafficking by the notorious Gulf Cartel.
“Intelligence friends told me the Mexican cartel across the river, CDG, was angered by the U.S. troop deployment because it slowed the pace of drug smuggling and that they blamed the caravan for this,” Bensman reported.
“The cartel, I was told, has threatened the migrants to pay steep fees to cross through their territory or go elsewhere, hence the initial moves to Tijuana. No telling whether this is true. I just heard it from sources with access to such information.”
President Donald Trump has pledged to bolster immigration enforcement at the southern border with 5,000 or more troops.
The Army has arrived at the border and is reportedly laying miles of razor wire in an effort to drive migrants to legal crossings where tent cities are being erected.
In his report from the border, Bensman also noted:
- New troops and equipment were still rolling into at least two main camps in South Texas the week before Thanksgiving, one at the Donna Port of Entry and the other at the busier Hidalgo Port of Entry. Tents were going up. Heavy construction equipment and large trucks had been brought in and parked, along with Humvees. Helicopters reconnoitered above the camps or flew past them.
- Although unconfirmed, in the town of Weslaco about 15 miles inland from the river, acres of land cleared, leveled and newly fenced, bore all the hallmarks of one of the “tent cities” of the sort DHS said would be used for extended detentions of caravanners seeking asylum. The compound was at least 25 acres. It was very freshly cleared and surrounded by fencing with “Warning: military installation” signs posted at intervals while a large abandoned former furniture store nearby was taken over by the army. No tents had been set up here but long rows of port-o-potties could be seen and large stationary CBP outdoor lighting banks had been set up throughout the largely empty interior. The space would be good to store heavy construction equipment and vehicles too.
- Troops began deploying from the Donna and Hidalgo camps further upriver to the Laredo, Texas area for various operations that CBP officials determined would be helpful.
- Most of the troops were not carrying arms, however plenty of Military Policemen carried sidearms.
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum has called the caravan’s arrival an “avalanche” that the city of 1.3 million is ill-prepared to handle. The mayor predicted the migrants would be in Tijuana for at least six months as they wait to file asylum claims.
The U.S. estimates that the number of migrants in Tijuana could soon swell to 10,000.
The Associated Press reported on Nov. 18 that “While many in Tijuana are sympathetic to the migrants’ plight and trying to assist, some locals have shouted insults, hurled rocks and even thrown punches at the migrants.”
U.S. border inspectors reportedly are processing about 100 asylum claims a day at Tijuana’s main crossing to San Diego.
Trump on Nov. 16 tweeted: “Isn’t it ironic that large Caravans of people are marching to our border wanting U.S.A. asylum because they are fearful of being in their country – yet they are proudly waving … their country’s flag. Can this be possible? Yes, because it is all a BIG CON, and the American taxpayer is paying for it.”