EXCLUSIVE: Cartel Violence, Cheaper Smuggling Rates Drive Caribbean Migrants to West Texas Border

Gulf Cartel Gunman
Breitbart Border / Cartel Chronicles

Violence from Gulf Cartel members and cheaper smuggling rates than their rivals are two main factors pushing thousands of Caribbean migrants to Del Rio instead of the Rio Grande Valley, which is considerably closer in terms of travel distance.

More than 12,000 migrants, primarily from Haiti, are being held by U.S. authorities under an international bridge awaiting processing. The migrants crossed from Ciudad Acuna in Coahuila into Del Rio, Texas, and instead of avoiding authorities, they are requesting asylum once they encounter U.S. Border Patrol.

Breitbart Texas spoke with Mexican federal law enforcement officials who contend that Coahuila border cities are preferred among migrants because human smugglers there are less likely to extort or kidnap them before reaching the Rio Grande.

Breitbart Texas also consulted with U.S. law enforcement sources operating in Mexico who say that other criminal organizations such as the Cartel Del Noreste faction of Los Zetas, which operates in Nuevo Laredo and northern Coahuila, have been luring independent human smugglers with safer routes and lower rates to cross through their territory.

Those same smuggling groups appear to be helping guide the caravans of Caribbean migrants towards the Coahuila border. On Thursday, citizen journalists reported large groups of migrants at the bus station of Poza Rica in the state of Veracruz. Those groups were planning on reaching Ciudad Acuna, the citizen journalists reported.

Authorities in Coahuila are escorting buses with migrants from the border city of Piedras Negras to Ciudad Acuna, where they are crossing into Texas by the thousands.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com

Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at bdarby@breitbart.com.     

Gerald “Tony” Aranda is an international journalist with more than 20 years of experience working in high-risk areas for print and broadcast news outlets investigating organized crime, corruption, and drug trafficking in the U.S. and Mexico.  In 2016, Gerald took up the pseudonym of “Tony” when he joined Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project. Since then, he has come out of the shadows and become a contributing writer for Breitbart Texas.

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