Originally published August 23 2015
Mexican drug cartel shoots down U.S. Border Patrol chopper; Obama still claims border is 'secure'
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Despite assurances to the contrary by the Obama administration, the U.S.-Mexico border remains a battle zone, as the downing of a Border Patrol helicopter last month proves beyond any reasonable doubt.
As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, the incident occurred near Laredo, Texas, and was the work of the Los Zetas drug cartel, Mexico-based drug-and-human traffickers who are becoming increasingly well-armed and dangerous.
U.S. officials familiar with the incident told the news website that the incident occurred June 5, when members of the cartel were crossing back into Mexico from the U.S. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) helicopter that was patrolling along the Rio Grande River near Laredo discovered the smugglers.
As further reported by the WFB:
The traffickers had finished delivering a shipment of drugs and were returning to Mexico when they were spotted by U.S. agents and opened fired with automatic weapons.
The helicopter, part of USCBP's Office of Air and Marine, was struck by gunfire on its side and on the rotor blade. The pilot was forced to make an emergency landing.
The law enforcement officers on the helicopter spotted the traffickers along the river during a routine flight around 5:00 P.M. local time June 5.
Violence along porous border only getting worse"The pilot was able to make a safe landing; there were no injuries," USCBP spokesman Daniel Hetlage told the news site, adding that U.S. and Mexican authorities are continuing to investigate.
As noted by the WFB, Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar told local media, "I understand that they were chasing some people with bundles of marijuana. People are getting desperate and crossing narcotics across the border."
Reports noted that the helicopter involved in the incident was an EC-120, a medium-range, turbine engine-powered craft.
Firing at a U.S. helicopter is not common but the attack was not unprecedented either, a U.S. official told the website.
At the time it occurred, the incident was not widely reported. But overall, the incident once again demonstrates the porous and dangerous nature of the U.S. Southwest border, where other types of violent incidents occur with more frequency. Much of that violence is linked to illegal immigration and drug smuggling, the U.S. official told the WFB.
Border security and violence are likely to become major topics during the 2016 presidential contest. One candidate, GOP contender and real estate mogul Donald Trump, has already made a high-profile visit to the border and has drawn fire from Democrats and Republicans alike for pointing out that some violent criminals from Mexico make their way north into the U.S., where they later commit offenses such as murder and rape.
Iran connectionAs for the Laredo region, that is a major drug transit route for Los Zetas smugglers.
The head of intelligence for the international association InterPort Police, Joel Vargas, said the recent escape from prison of Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo Guzman will only serve to reinvigorate drug cartel cells south of the border that are battling another major trafficker, the Sinaloa drug cartel.
"The partnership between the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, even with their own internal fighting going on, makes the border town of Laredo, Texas, a powder keg," Vargas told the WFB. "El Chapo will re-attempt to take back not only Laredo, Texas, but also consolidate control of El Paso, Texas."
There is more to the threat than just drug and human smuggling, however. As the WFB noted, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has attempted to recruit Los Zetas drug gang members to conduct terrorist attacks inside the U.S.
Iran's Quds force has also attempted to collaborate with the Zetas in a bid to utilize established smuggling routes to bring heroin from Afghanistan's poppy fields into the U.S.
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