Cartels Continue Using Legal Aliens and Minors for Smuggling Operations

Facebook photograph posted by Hector Manuel Bernal Ramirez. This is the same truck that authorities seized following the failed smuggling attempt.
Facebook/ Hector Manuel Bernal Ramirez

Breitbart Texas traveled to the Mexican border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros to recruit citizen journalists willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities.  The writers would face certain death at the hands of the Gulf Cartel if a pseudonym were not used. Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and in their original Spanish. This article was written by Matamoros’s “JA Espinoza.”

MATAMOROS, Tamaulipas — Smuggling operations along the border between the U.S. and Mexico continues to be one of the most active drug corridors where everyday Mexican drug cartels use Mexican nationals with crossing cards and Legal residents to cross vehicles loaded with drugs.

To a Mexican criminal syndicate like the Gulf Cartel or Los Zetas gender and age make little difference. These drug cartels routinely recruit underage teenagers to carry out drug trafficking and human smuggling operations since their age allows them to avoid federal drug charges in the U.S.

As Breitbart Texas has reported in the past, the underage smugglers are often tied to other crimes in connection with the criminal enterprise including kidnapping, murder and extortion.

While the teenagers avoid criminal prosecution in federal court and usually get a light sentence in state juvenile court, they grow up living a life of crime and become full cartel members.

Hector Manuel Bernal Ramirez, 19 year-old from Matamoros is part of a long list of Mexican nationals who end up in Texas prisons on drug charges.

A search at an international bridge by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers resulted in the discovery of a drug load hidden in the white Dodge Durango that Bernal drove. The drugs were found after a police dog tipped officers to the more than 70 pound of marijuana hidden in the vehicle’s tires.

After his arrest, Bernal was turned over to the San Benito municipal jail where he was booked on state drug charges. The quantity of drugs seized did not meet the threshold needed for federal prosecution hence the state charge for which a judge set his bond a t $50,000.

Since Bernal is a Mexican citizen, local authorities contacted the Mexican consulate who alerted his family. The relatives have since been scrambling to find the funds needed to pay the bond for his release.

However following his arrest on a drug felony charge, Bernal has lost his legal status to be in the country. If he is able to pay the bond, Bernal would then face deportation proceedings. Breitbart Texas has reported in the past about how criminal aliens with a legal status in the U.S. are able to get around the court system by bonding out and getting deported before going to trial.

If he is not able to pay off the bond, Bernal would then be held at the Cameron County Jail until his trial. According to statistics kept by me Mexican Consulate in Brownsville, Texas criminal aliens rarely ask for help after getting caught by authorities in trafficking offenses.

So far this year there have been 20 individuals who had requested aid from the consular office which is just a small fraction of the criminal aliens facing charges in the United States.