Two border agents have been sentenced to hard time "for running a ring that smuggled hundreds of illegal immigrants into the United States" as reported by The Associated Press:
Judge John A. Houston of Federal District Court on Friday sentenced Raul Villarreal to 35 years for being the ringleader and ordered him to pay a $250,000 fine. Fidel Villarreal, his brother, was sentenced to 30 years for managing the illicit business.
American law enforcement finally has recognized that many U.S. border towns are little more than banana republics beholden to the Mexican drug cartels, and federal and state officials are dropping in to sweep up as reported by Jeri Clausing for The Associated Press: "state and federal agencies are cracking down on border town corruption as part of the larger effort to battle Mexican drug cartels."
Of course, it is axiomatic that organized crime cannot exist without public corruption.
The Mexican cartels move $50 billion in bulk product and bundled cash across the border each year, and have established supply lines, distribution networks and operational cells in hundreds of communties throughout the United States. There is no way that such a well-entrenched operation could be so successfully accomplished without a little help from well-placed friends.
Indeed, in recent years nine South Texas lawmen have been charged with "using their badges to sneak drugs or guns through the U.S.-Mexico border region from Laredo to Brownsville" as reported by Dane Schiller for the Houston Chronicle:
Interviews and court records and testimony show the South Texas cases often involve one officer at a time pulled to the dark side by friends, family or associates offering quick cash. "If you are a local person, you are going to have friends and relatives in the community and know people on both sides of the border," said Steve McCraw, head of the Texas Department of Public Safety. "They are going to know someone, who knows someone, and take a shot."
In March 2011 the mayor, police chief and a village trustee in Columbus, NM were charged with running guns into Mexico for the Juarez cartel's enforcement crew La Linea, and the case has raised a red flag about the extent to which the narco insurgents have corrupted U.S. cops and politicians in border communities as reported by Bob Reynolds for Al Jazeera.
Of particular concern is corruption within the U.S. Customs and Border Protection where 129 agents already have been charged in recent years and another 600 are under investigation.
Further reading that may be of interest: