SAN JUAN, Texas — Human smugglers working for Mexican drug cartels continue to operate in Texas, said one police chief who has been targeting their operations.
“It has not stopped,” said San Juan Police Chief Juan Gonzalez during an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas about the ongoing operations targeting human stash houses. “They have evolved, they are more coordinates and are moving them (illegal immigrants) a lot quicker.”
As Breitbart Texas reported, the area known as Texas’ Rio Grande Valley has been a prime human smuggling area for Mexico’s Gulf Cartel with the criminal organization moving record numbers of illegal immigrants through the region.
Information obtained from intelligence officials within Mexico’s Federal Police revealed that all human smuggling from the areas immediately south of the border from Starr County to the Gulf of Mexico is controlled by the Gulf Cartel.
The criminal organization divides the illegal immigrants by their country of origin and whether they have been previously deported. The immigrants who come from countries other than Mexico and have not been previously deported are pushed through certain well-known areas with a heavy presence of law enforcement. The move is aimed at not only tying down law enforcement resources but also taking advantage of the perceived lack of enforcement by the current administration.
According to the intelligence officials from Mexico, the immigrants are coached into requesting refugee status or told that once they are arrested they will be processed and given a “permiso”, the name misleadingly used by smugglers to refer to court documents setting their next immigration hearing. The immigrants who are from Mexico or have been previously deported are moved West to areas where cartel smugglers are able to get across the Rio Grande in a clandestine fashion.
Once illegal immigrants are in Texas, human smugglers take them to stash houses where they hold them in large numbers until they are able to prepare the next leg of the trip. In San Juan, Gonzalez’s officers have been targeting human stash house within the city. With the help of an awareness campaign, Gonzalez and his team have created a tip-line for citizens to report possible stash houses.
In recent weeks, Gonzalez has noted a new trend where human smugglers have begun to have smaller groups in their houses in order to keep a lower profile. In an effort to not draw attention smugglers have also been improving the condition of the illegal immigrants they keep in the stash houses that San Juan officers have come across.
“In one of the houses we hit the caretakers were even cooking hot meals for them, they were comfortable,” Gonzalez said. “They (cartel smugglers) see it as a business, they are protecting their investment … their tactics have changed but they have not stopped. ”