MCALLEN, Texas — The crew on board a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter successfully stopped a drug smuggling attempt by the a Mexican drug cartel on the banks of the Rio Grande.
The video provided to Breitbart Texas by Texas DPS, shows a group of cartel drug smugglers trying to move various marijuana bundles across the Rio Grande.
The video was taken on February 5th at approximately 6:30 p.m. near Rio Grande City when the aircrew of a DPS helicopter observed several people running on the Texas riverbank with what appeared to be bundles of marijuana, a statement provided by Texas DPS revealed. The crew also observed a raft in the Rio Grande.
According to information provided to this outlet by DPS, the helicopter descended so two crew members could get out to the banks of the river and arrest the smugglers on the U.S. side. Once the crew was lowered the helicopter moved to provide aerial support.
“According to a video apparently taken from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande by an unknown person, the helicopter hovered over the raft that was approaching the suspected smugglers (who by then had entered the water), which caused the raft to overturn,” Texas DPS said in a prepared statement.
The successful operation thwarted the smuggling attempt and resulted in a suspected Mexican cartel member identified by authorities as 17-year-old Juan Antonio Rico Valadez. Texas authorities charged Rico Valadez with one felony count of possession of marijuana and took him to the Starr County Jail. Since the arrest, Rico Valadez has bonded out.
The other cartel smugglers were able to swim to Mexico and escape capture but authorities did seize 96 pounds of marijuana. While the interdiction appears to have been successful, DPS stated that they are reviewing the incident “as it relates to compliance with department safety and security protocols”.
While DPS did not specify which drug cartel Rico Valadez works for, the area just south of Rio Grande City is known as La Riverena and is considered a prized crossing point for the Gulf Cartel.