Two former American soldiers are among a suspected mercenary crew brought down overseas in an undercover sting for their alleged roles in a plot to assassinate a DEA agent and an informant as reported by Larry Neumeister for The Associated Press. The killing team was assembled and headed by 20-year Army veteran Joseph "Rambo" Hunter who offered contract killings and protection services for drug cartels, and already had made several kills as a professional hitman according to the indictment.
The Mexican drug cartels long have infiltrated the United States military, and last month Army private Michael Apodaca was convicted as a paid hitman for the Juarez cartel in a 2009 murder in El Paso, TX as reported by Joseph J. Kolb for Fox News: "'we have seen examples over the past few years where American servicemen are becoming involved in this type of activity,' said Fred Burton, vice president for STRATFOR Global Intelligence." Apodaca was based at Fort Bliss in El Paso as a member of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, and was trained to launch Patriot missles.
Moreover, U.S. officials increasingly are murder targets on both sides of the border: last December the narco terrorists intentionally rammed their smuggling panga boat against an approaching Coast Guard inflatable which resulted in the death of Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III and the injury of another guardsman after they fell into the sea off the southern California coast; in August 2012 two CIA officials were injured in a shooting ambush against their U.S. diplomatic vehicle on a highway south of Mexico City; in December 2010 the Sinaloa cartel murdered U.S. border patrol agent Brian Terry in southern Arizona; in March 2010 the Juarez cartel whacked U.S. consulate employee Lesley Ann Enriquez and her husband El Paso sheriff's deputy Arthur Redelfs as they were returning home from a child's birthday party in Ciudad Juarez.
Meanwhile, an ongoing trial of a federal prosecutor's husband in New Mexico who is charged with "leaking information about a Department of Justice investigation into cartel activity along the U.S.-Mexico border" 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 Elaine Baumgartel for KRWG.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."
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 as reported by Bob Reynolds for Al Jazeera.
Forget terrorism from Muslim extremists. That's so last decade. The greatest threat to national security in the United States is from the Mexican cartels and their American enablers.
Further reading that may be of interest: