Biden Admin Claims Cartel-Utilized Border Island Seized by Texas is Federal Land

Fronton Island, Texas.(Texas Department of Public Safety)
Texas Department of Public Safety

The Biden administration claims that the Texas border island that was utilized by Mexican drug cartels for drug and human smuggling operations is owned by the federal government. The State of Texas recently secured the island from the Mexican drug cartels and cleared it of underbrush.

In a letter from the Biden administration’s International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC), Principal Engineer Ramon Macias wrote, “USIBWC asserts that Fronton Island is federal property and is under the jurisdiction of the IWBC. We respectfully request that the Texas General Land Office remove the obstructions.”

Macias referenced two sediment bridges the Texas National Guard put in place after Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham certified Fronton Island to be state-owned property.

“The Biden Administration has had nearly four years to secure the southern border, but they have chosen to neglect the safety of Texas citizens,” Commissioner Buckingham told Breitbart Texas. “Fronton Island and the cartel operations that persisted there demonstrated a clear and present danger to our communities; bombs, weaponry, and the smuggling of humans and drugs have plagued this area of south Texas for too long.”

Mexican cartels lost a major tactical advantage along the Texas border as state military units completed the clearing of the 215-acre Fronton Island located along the Rio Grande in Starr County, Breitbart Texas reported in November 2023. The cartels have used the formerly brush-covered island for years as a staging area for human and drug smuggling.

Fronton Island Aerial View (USIBWC)

Fronton Island Aerial View (USIBWC)

“For decades, Fronton Island has been utilized by the Mexican Drug Cartels as a refuge when fleeing from rival cartels and the Mexican Military,” Texas DPS spokesman Lieutenant Chris Olivarez told Breitbart Texas at that time. “Still, it has primarily been used to facilitate transnational criminal activity involving human and drug smuggling.”

“With the authorization through Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, the State of Texas has taken over the island by clearing and fortifying it, allowing DPS and the National Guard to gain operational control in preventing cross-border crime,” Olivarez stated.

The USIBWC disputed Texas’ claim to the land in the letter sent to the Texas General Land Office on April 30. Macias wrote:

Our respective Survey Office discussed ownership of this island between August 2023 and September 2023. In our review of the Texas General Land Office’s submitted documentation, we cannot confirm when or how the State of Texas formally acquired Fronton Island. The USIBWC assets [sic] that Fronton Island became federal property between 1970 and 1978 pursuant to the 1970 Treaty (with Mexico). If you have documentation that demonstrates otherwise, we respectfully request that you submit such documentation to USIBWC within 30 days of the date of this letter.

Macias went on to accuse the State of Texas of trespassing onto federal land when it conducted the clearing operation that successfully ended the cartel’s ability to utilize this strategic drug and human smuggling staging area.

In response, Commissioner Buckingham told Breitbart, “Texas has stepped up, and we have no intention of relinquishing our claim of ownership of Fronton Island. As long as the people in that far away U.S. Capitol continue to ignore the people who sent them there, Texas and the General Land Office, under my direction, will continue to do everything in its power to keep our families and communities safe.”

Bob Price is the Breitbart Texas-Border team’s associate editor and senior news contributor. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday morning talk show. He also serves as president of Blue Wonder Gun Care Products 


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