BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Federal agents arrested a group of suspected drug smugglers who were carrying drug bundles across the Rio Grande and were being escorted by armed Gulf Cartel gunmen.
While drug smuggling is a very common practice throughout the South Texas border, what raised the eyebrows of U.S. Border Patrol agents was the fact that the drug mules claimed to have been escorted by armed Gulf Cartel gunmen who were providing security for the group but fled to Mexico when authorities arrived, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas reveal.
Agents patrolling the Rio Grande River just south of Pharr, Texas on Thursday afternoon spotted a group of men carrying marijuana bundles. As agents moved to arrest them, a short foot pursuit ensued. The agents caught four men and an underage teen, but were unable to capture the armed escort.
On Friday, agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spoke with the group and learned that 36-year-old Saul Carrizales, 38-year-old Angel Hernandez and 25-year-old Jose Domingo Ecuario had been in Reynosa when Gulf Cartel members took them to the edges of the river and forced them to smuggle the drugs in exchange for allowing them to stay in the U.S. with their relatives, court records show. The agents learned that the other man and the teenager had not smuggled drugs but had only been immigrants trying to get to the U.S., all of the captured group members told the agents that their guide was able to get away and had been carrying firearms.
The city of Reynosa has been under the control of the Gulf Cartel, a crime syndicate that has been involved in drug smuggling, human trafficking, extortion, kidnapping. The criminal organization has been behind a series of kidnappings and executions in South Texas. As previously reported by Breitbart Texas, federal prosecutors are preparing to try a team of hitmen that during 2011 operated hit squad that in May of that year kidnapped a U.S. citizen, tortured him and took him to Mexico where he was executed; the man they killed was an innocent victim since court records show they had taken the wrong man.