A Spanish-speaking Facebook group used to alert its 29,753 members about law enforcement checkpoints has been taken down after exposure by Breitbart Texas.
The Facebook page claimed it was alerting those “who don’t have a driver license and [to] report accidents,” but a law enforcement officer and an immigration expert said the social media group page could be used to avoid law enforcement for any criminal activity, including human, drug, and sex trafficking.
The “Checkpoint” page targets traffic control points in California but members on the Facebook page also discuss traveling across state lines. The page, accessible to anyone in the public with a Facebook account, contained photos and warnings about law enforcement and border patrol locations and checkpoints. Group members were also very interactive with the page and some of the posts had up to 175 shares and over 250 “Likes” or reactions.
Sheriff-elect Benny Martinez, a deputy with the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office told Breitbart Texas he believes the Facebook page is being used to “detour criminals from highways and byways where there is a law enforcement presence.” Brooks County is just one county from the Texas-Mexico border and Martinez deals with illegal immigration issues on a daily basis.
The border area deputy added, “If I were in the criminal element in California, I would use the Facebook page if I were involved in narcotics or human trafficking. I would ask where is law enforcement today, and I would look for the coordination of federal and local law enforcement authorities.” He noted that criminals can now use their GPS to go around checkpoints and use back roads to avoid law enforcement officers and border patrol agents.
Jon Feere, who serves as the Legal Policy Analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) told Breitbart Texas, “It seems the purpose of this Facebook page is to help illegal aliens and Spanish-speaking U.S. citizens who are unable to obtain a driver’s license to avoid law enforcement.” He added, “A Facebook page like this is undoubtedly beneficial to foreign nationals who have sneaked across the border and are smuggling people or drugs. It’s notable that many of the checkpoint notices are specific to southern California.”
Sheriff Aj (Andy) Louderback from Jackson County, Texas, told Breitbart Texas, “Mere notification of police presence is not a crime, unfortunately it has been going on for years.” He added, “I guess folks are now using social media like radar detectors have been used in years past.”