VILLA PANCHO, Texas — The actions of a group of volunteers looking to help secure the border appears to have angered the Gulf Cartel.
The letters CDG which stand for Cartel Del Golfo or Gulf Cartel were scrawled along various points on the border fence just yards from where the group of volunteers set up camp on occasion. While local media outlets have called the group a militia, group spokesman K.C. Massey was quick to say they were not a militia, they do not have a command structure, they do not have uniforms or insignias but they are simply volunteers.
The group set up their operations in the Brownsville area sometime in July patrolling private properties and ranches along the banks of the Rio Grande. During their regular patrols, the group moves around the edges of the river looking for human smugglers bringing immigrants across, Massey said. In addition to the patrols, the group collects the trash left behind by immigrants which serves the purpose of not only keeping the area clean but also to know if there is new trash in the area that smugglers are using the area again.
“Everything that crosses through this river is controlled by the Gulf Cartel so by use being here we have hurt their pockets,” he said. “We have seen them on the other side yelling obscenities at us but we are not going anywhere. When we encounter traffic we go towards them and for the most part our presence is enough to push them back to the river.”
By pushing back the immigrants the group claims to keep those individuals from entering the country, having to get processed and eventually becoming a burden on the taxpayers. In case of emergencies, the group carries first aid kits to help immigrants who may need help or a drink or water.
In recent days the group of volunteers, which does not have a name simply calling themselves border protectors, came under heavy criticism by local media outlets following a shooting incident where a U.S. Border Patrol agent fired four shots at one of the members.
Massey and John Forrester, the group member who came under fire, spoke with Breitbart Texas about the shooting where he was not injured.
The group members had been patrolling the Sabal Palms sanctuary when they encountered a border patrol agent on foot and offered to help, Massey said.
While the agent went into the brush to look for a group of immigrants that had fled, the group spread out along the river to watch the agent’s back without going into the brush, he said.
As he walked along the river, Forrester spotted an immigrant who ran back towards the river, the group member said.
“The guy stopped looked at me and jumped into the river,” Forrester said. “I ran to where he crossed and I heard a crashing around me. I had a weapon for my protection. I look out of the woods and see an agent and I relax but then I hear … DROP YOUR WEAPON!”
Forrester claimed to have never pointed the AK-47 rifle at anyone and that when told to drop the weapon he did.
“Hey, hey, hey, I’m here helping you,” the group member said. “And you need to work on your marksmanship.”
Investigators with the Cameron County Sheriff’s office initially looked into the shooting but did not file any charges against Forester who claimed he was legally carrying a weapon in private property.
Forrester came under fire from local media since he had been convicted of a felony count of burglary of a building 15 years ago. When asked about his past, Forrester said that he had indeed broken into a building when he was in his late teens to steal a bubble gum machine but after serving his prison term he has kept a clean criminal background. According to Texas law, a man that has been convicted of a felony is able to possess a weapon five years after completing his sentence.
“After five years he is legal to have a weapon in private property,” Massey said. “They want to villainize him who has changed his life and is doing something good.”
Despite the criticism that the group has gotten, local property owners have welcomed them with open arms. Pamela Taylor, a retired first generation immigrant from England who has lived most of her adult life in her property along the river, claims that the volunteers have kept out the constant waves of smugglers who come across her property and at times cause damage.
For more than 20 years, Taylor has kept track of the activity in her property, has installed cameras and even set up ice chests with water and ice for border patrol agents, cops and anyone who needs a drink of water. Since the group began patrolling by her property, the traffic has come to a standstill, she said.
“When they (Masseys’ group) first got here they came to introduce themselves and were very polite,” Taylor said. “Last week they even came to fill up the ice chests with water. I have nothing but praise for those young men.”