U.S. law enforcement discovered a two million dollar marijuana field in Texas linked the Mexican Los Zetas cartel. The field was discovered in Webb County, near the border city of Laredo, Texas. The cartel link was confirmed by Border Patrol agent Hector Garza, speaking to Breitbart Texas in his role as president of National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Local 2455. Agent Garza declined to name the specific Mexican transnational criminal organization involved in this case, though he did acknowledge that both the Nuevo Laredo, Mexico and the Laredo, Texas regions are controlled by the Los Zetas cartel and that they ruthlessly deny competition in their territory.
Agent Garza stated, “This seizure is indicative of cartel drug production operations moving into Texas and the United States as a whole. It is just a matter of time before more of these production operations start popping up in and around our communities.” He continued, “Local law enforcement is hesitant to acknowledge cartel connections in these types of cases, largely due to the economic damage to border communities when Americans realize that cartel activity is spilling over. Regardless, the truth must be spoken.”
Agent Garza was presumably referring to a recent report from local television station KGNS where Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar offered a personal opinion to media that the Los Zetas were not involved. The sheriff made clear in his statement that he was expressing a personal opinion. Sheriff Martin Cuellar is also the brother of Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar, who represents the district.
The existence of the marijuana fields was first reported by the Laredo Morning Times, though they did not have the Los Zetas connection provided by Agent Garza. The paper also identified the suspect as Alberto Juan Quintana. They wrote:
At about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, DPS and Border Patrol raided a ranch off U.S. 59 in northeast Webb County. They discovered two large fields of marijuana plants, which appeared to be well maintained. Some measured up to 5 feet tall.
Following the raid, the Sheriff’s Office said 1,072 plants were seized. Six weapons were also confiscated, including an AK-47 and a .223-caliber assault rifle.
“It is a matter of business for the cartels. It’s about the bottom line. We have seen several large drug production operations in Texas at this point. This one is just another to add to the list. These cartels are here and they are becoming more brazen in what they are willing to do on U.S. soil,” said Agent Garza. He continued, “Border Patrol agents in the Laredo Sector played a vital role in this bust and their service, along with the service of local law enforcement, was crucial in delivering a strong blow to transnational criminal groups who dare violate U.S. laws in such a brazen manner.”
Texas is not the only state in the U.S. to see Mexican cartel drug production operations in their territory. Though it is widely understood that much of the elicit narcotic supply in the U.S. either belongs or belonged to a Mexican cartel at some point, few realize that the transnational criminal organizations attempt to actually produce their product on U.S. soil.
In a previous report from June 2013, this reporter covered a case in the Pacific Northwest where a Mexican national operated a meth operation for the Sinaloa Federation on U.S. soil. In that case, the man actually oversaw domestic production of methamphetamine for the cartel.
In addition to the Washington state case, in May 2013 several Mexican nationals were sentenced for distribution and manufacture in an Idaho methamphetamine ring. In that case, the transnational criminal organization involved was believed to be the Sinaloa Federation and precursor chemicals for the manufacture of methamphetamine were purchased in the state of California by the group.