This article is courtesy of Soldier of
Fortune, a military/adventure publication.
The magazine specializes in first-person reporting
from armed conflicts around the globe, with
emphasis on current military activities, developments,
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frequent Soldier of Fortune readers.
Illegals Face a Gauntlet of Doom: The
Border Patrol Faces Dopers, Terrorists,
and the Desperate Victims of Coyotes.
The 2,100 mile southern border of
the U.S., with its treacherous mountain
ranges, canyons, rivers and deserts, has
become an uncontrollable stretch of
violence, death, rape and exploitation.
Over a decade ago, SOF rode with Border Patrol Agents in Arizona when
the situation already seemed out of
hand. One of those agents, now retired,
recently contacted SOF with a disturbing
and frustrated update, reflecting the
deterioration of the Mexico-United
"In my career, spanning three
decades, many of my friends and partners
were killed on duty, enforcing
immigration laws, and are listed on our
honor rolls. Their deaths, and devotion
to duty, are beyond politicians' ability
to understand, it seems, and are without
meaning. This past year the Patrol
has arrested a million illegals, with
twelve to fourteen million in country,
home free. Mexican military incursions,
escorting narcotics, are commonplace.
Rival alien smuggling organizations
thrive in Arizona, and politicians
pander, and grovel to Mexico's
demands, in a time of war."
Vulture-like smugglers, drug gangs,
entrepreneurs, and corrupt officials
cash in on human smuggling into the
United States, which has become a
multi-billion dollar business.
Refugees from Mexico, and worldwide,
come by foot, across blistering
hot sand, and are then crammed into
trucks and trailers. They wade through
the New River, the most polluted river
in the United States, to avoid immigration
agents. They swim through raw
sewage, slaughterhouse remains,
and pesticide runoff. They are
stuffed in suitcases. Hundreds
have died in the Rio Grande.
The more fortunate ones take
the faster route, buying their
own tickets in Mexico for around
$200. Others are flown in by coyotes,
and trafficked throughout the United
States. Mexicana, the Mexican stateowned
airline, opened a direct flight
several years ago from Oaxaca to
Hermosillo, with a stop in Mexico
City. With three flights a day,
Mexicana station manager Jorge
Carrillos estimates that half of 290
daily passengers are heading for the
Three other airlines, originating
in Vera Cruz and Chiapas, fly illegal
immigrants (mojados) to the
United States. Migrants tell of
being assaulted, robbed or overcharged
because they are thought
to be carrying lots of money," says
the Arizona Daily Star.
CNN reports that in the year
2000, during one of many illegal
immigration crackdowns at Sky
Harbor Airport in Phoenix, and at
McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, within
just a few hours, one hundred INS
agents apprehended a hundred illegals
being smuggled to Chicago, Los
Angeles, Dallas and the East Coast.
The flood of humans includes many
other than Mexican (OTM).
Apprehensions of OTMs have increased
42 percent according to Border Patrol
spokesperson Rene' Noriega. Migrants
come from El Salvador, Cuba, Haiti, the
former Soviet Union, Asia, and the
Middle East. Most illegal aliens pay
their trafficker, from $1,500, up to
$50,000 for their journeys.
A Border Patrol agent confirmed, to
Warriors for the Truth, that nine
Yemenis attempting to enter the United
States after 9-11, "can't get a coyote to
transport them, and they are offering
$30,000 per person with no takers."
"The further the smuggling route, the
higher the fee. Smugglers often guarantee
success for the high prices they
charge, promising to give passage back
into the United States to those who are
apprehended in route and sent back.
Some keep that promise while other
smugglers let the customers die in a box
car or in the trunk or under the hood of
a car," says veteran Border Patrol
official J. William Carter.
Illegal immigration busts have
doubled this year in Arizona.
Two thousand and thirty-eight
are being apprehended daily.
Yuma agents have captured more
than 43,000 this year, a one-third
increase over last year.
Witnesses express their outrage
and disgust at the destruction left
behind by the endless parade of illegal
Take a border town in Arizona,
Whetstone, near the "epicenter of an
invasion of contraband and humanity
that is unrivaled throughout the western
world. Trails are worn into the
earth by tens of thousands of human
travelers. Landowner fences are
either cut by illegal migrants and
their smugglers, or bent over and torn
"So heavy is the illegal smuggling
traffic in some parts of Whetstone,
Arizona 'suburbs' that local residents
have constructed roadblocks made of
scrub brush and branches. The smell
in many areas is overwhelming, especially
in the heat of the summer. The
amount of refuse is astounding," says
Elsewhere, in the backcountry, "the
foot traffic is so heavy it has the ambience
of a garbage dump and smells
like an outdoor privy. In places, the
land is littered a foot deep with bottles,
cans, disposable diapers, sanitary
napkins, panties, clothes, backpacks,
human feces, used toilet paper, pharmacy
bottles and syringes," reports
Warriors for the Truth.
Silent Invasion, Deadly Consequences
"This is a sad, continuing story,
particularly in those states that
border on Mexico, where we witness
a steady, silent, pervasive
invasion of the United States by an
unarmed army carrying an assembly
line of diseases into the heart of
America," George Putnam reports
in Newsmax.com. He cites
"Immigration's Silent Invasion,
Deadly Consequences", researched
by a registered nurse and a former U.S.
Army Medical Service Corps officer.
The research presents a "frightening
study of how the hordes" of illegals
invading our nation have reintroduced
tuberculosis, leprosy, smallpox and
Chagas disease. Chagas, a parasite,
kills 50,000 annually and has infected
18 million people in Latin America. It
damages the heart and intestines and
may infect through blood transfusions.
"The most serious is multi-drugresistant
TB, spread through the air by
an infected person. Each TB patient is
said to infect ten to twenty others.
More than 7,000 new cases of leprosy
have been diagnosed in the U.S. in the
past three years. The Queens, NY
Health Department diagnosed eightyone
TB cases among illegals, and concluded
that foreigners have an eightfold
higher incidence of TB, and that
two-thirds of imported cases come from
Mexico, the Philippines and Vietnam,"
"The Dying Season" began in the
deserts in the spring of 2003, just as it
does every spring, when eighteen
Mexicans and Central Americans were
found by Native Americans of the
Tohono O'odham Nation on their reservation
in Southern Arizona," their
"The pilgrims begin their journeys,
or return to the United States, after holidays
in January, February and March,
when the Border Patrol prepares for the
"They drown, they die of the desert
heat, they die of hypothermia" Miguel
Reyes, a protection officer for Mexico's
foreign ministry in south Texas told
"There is a belief that if you cross in
the desert that the snakes will not cross
the railroad tracks" Reyes said.
Six Mexican immigrants who
believed that sleeping on railroad
tracks would protect them from poisonous
snakes were crushed by a freight
train near Norias TX in 1998. Their
mangled bodies, smashed with cans of
beans and tortillas, were unidentifiable.
The tales are endless.
Thirteen immigrants nearly suffocated
in a sweltering 140 degrees inside a
boxcar in San Antonio TX before they
could struggle out. The rotting bodies
of seven of them were found under a
tree a week later.
Smugglers hire truck drivers to smuggle
their human cargos over the border,
and from state to state. A passerby on
U.S. Highway 77, outside of Victoria TX,
called the police to report a hand, waving
a bandana out of a hole in the back
of a white 18-wheeler, in 2003. "A flood
of human beings" spilled out, said U.S.
Attorney Michael Shelby. Eighteen out
of 100 Mexicans, El Salvadorans,
Guatemalans and Hondurans were
asphyxiated in a trailer abandoned by
three traffickers. The trailer was registered
to Tyron Williams of Schenectady,
NY, who was later arrested.
Lone Coyotes and Syndicates
Felipe de Jesus Preciado Coronado, head of Mexico's
National Immigration Institute told the Washington Post that
the government has identified at least 57 organized smuggling
bands. Jim Chaparro, head of the anti-smuggling office
at U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, INS - abolished
in March, 2003 and incorporated into the Department
of Homeland Security - said that the small and informal
smuggling business has evolved into a powerful web of "literally
hundreds of syndicates, some at a low level and some
at the kingpin level… Gangs are ripping off aliens from other
smugglers and holding aliens captive until they sell them to
a buyer." Drug smugglers have turned to alien smuggling.
Prices for transport have increased dramatically,
partially to pay for high-tech
equipment. Encrypted radios, cell phones,
and the internet, used for warning of
patrolling U.S. agents have replaced the
flashlights that were once used to cross the
Those that charge the most offer computer
generated fake documents, or stolen
visas and passports. Migrants from Asia
and Europe pay far more than Mexicans --
upwards of $50,000 to get in U.S.
"The flow of illegals has become much
more organized, and that has opened the
opportunity for these groups to market
their services to non-Mexicans," Armand
Peschard Sverdrup, director of the Mexico
project at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies told the Post.
Arrests of coyotes have been publicized
for years. A cursory examination of the
records of Office of the United States
District of Arizona alone reveals numerous
arrests monthly this year.
Four Smugglers were arrested after a
four-month investigation of the Raul Green
and Jose Humberto Marquez human trafficking organization
in February 2004. Cesar Balderas-Grandos, a Mexican citizen
was convicted of trafficking after a U.S. Border Patrol
agent saw the knees and elbows of humans bouncing in the
bed of his truck.
Grandos refused to stop. He was arrested after a multi-
Border Patrol unit high-speed chase. Eleven undocumented
aliens were in the bed of the truck and fourteen in the cab of
the truck. The defendant had previously been deported from
the United States.
Jose Guadalupe Chairez-Jauragui was indicted in
February for smuggling 65 illegal aliens. A canine, conducting
a routine sniff around his trailer, made the alert. Border
Patrol agents had to remove pallets stacked in the back of the
trailer and found the smothering aliens. Also in February
Alonso Ruiz Avila was indicted in Arizona for transporting
50 aliens in a Freightliner tractor-trailer. The aliens were
stowed behind crates of citrus.
Maria Christina Baez and Laura Gastelum were arrested
for smuggling five children. The women were paid $50 for
each child and were to turn the children over to a stranger.
They did not even know who the children were.
In March, Breton Rodriguez, an illegal alien, attacked a
Border Patrol agent, and grabbed the agent's Beretta from his
holster. The gun discharged, striking the agent in the groin.
Push Here, Pop There
El Paso TX, and San Diego CA, were the two busiest gateways
in illegal immigration crossings. The crackdown began.
Operation Hold-the-Line was initiated in El Paso in 1992,
Operation Gatekeeper in San Diego in 1994, and Operation Rio
Grande was established in 1997 in the McAllen sector in South
Texas. In that program, agents at the border were tripled.
Operation Hold-the-Line strategy included installing
fences, and the use of sophisticated technology, including
monitoring devices. The San Diego border had become violent,
and Border Agents were struggling to control the
"chaos" and anarchy" in the nightly riots. Mexicans across
the border threw rocks at them and fired shots, then dash
across en masse in "banzai runs."
"The Border Patrol has absolutely no
jurisdiction over the Mexican side of the
border. The Mexicans can stand there and
taunt the Patrol, and there's nothing we can
do, until they cross into the United States,"
Operation Gatekeeper more than doubled
Border Patrol Agents and vehicles at
the fourteen-mile San Diego border,
installed lighting, infrared scopes, underground
sensors and Computer IDENT system
to track illegal immigrants.
"Due to efforts in the nineties, entries
into the United States decreased, The flow
of illegal aliens at those fortified borders
where additional agents were placed, such
as San Diego CA and El Paso TX, apprehensions
"During that time the Clinton
Administration, and Attorney General
Janet Reno, were very supportive of the
Border Patrol. They went to Congress with
the numbers, and asked to increase our
resources. They had no choice but to
approve. In 1972, there were 2,250 agents.
When I left two years ago there were over 10,000 agents,"
Carter told us.
"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out they will go
east or west of El Paso, and through the rougher routes and
rugged terrain, knowing they were taking a greater risk.
"Lots of things have to be considered to create an effective
barrier. There are the natural barriers. You have the Rio
Grande. In Del Rio, TX, you open up the dam and they can't
get across. Rugged mountain terrain makes it impossible to
cross. Big Ben country is very rugged country. Marfa, Alpine,
Presidio, the Rio Grande, and the high canyons are desolate,
hot and miserable. Natural barriers there slow down illegal
immigrants," Carter said.
"Most Americans are opposed to any kind of fence.
Remember, we knocked down the Berlin wall. The original
barriers in San Diego consisted of landing mats (pierced-steel
planking), metal that was welded together and buried a couple
of feet in the ground, leaning towards Mexico. It was
"Then the Mexicans started to butt holes in it. You can
drive down and see the three layers of fencing that were put
up in San Diego for border control.
"When the fence was built in San Diego, the border patrol
had to develop a strategy. Push the balloon here, it pops up
there. From San Diego to Tucson, all the way down the bor-
der, a strategy had to be developed in such a way that the
flow could be controlled." Carter continued.
Migrants were diverted into dangerous territories, many
The Border Patrol was forced to shift its efforts from
patrolling to rescuing victims," Patty Mancha, Border Patrol
spokesperson told visalaw.com. "They are spending as much
time searching for victims as they are doing their regular job."
For two days in May 2001, migrants were lost during
Arizona's hellish heat season. Helicopters and four-wheel-drive
vehicles, searching for survivors transported eleven injured to
local hospitals. Two others were found after an all-night
search, but footprints showed that three others were missing.
"We intend to work this until we've made sure there is no
one left out there," Border Patrol spokesman Maurice More
said. Coyotes who smuggled victims through the rugged terrain
of the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge promised
to return with water, and told the migrants to walk for "a couple
of hours" to a highway. The highway was fifty miles away.
Five were able to walk far enough to find agents in the
scorching 115-degree heat, reports the Washington Post.
The Border Patrol got lots of grief for their role in the
"What's causing it (the deaths of illegal immigrants) is the
deadly strategy of the Border Patrol that has forced people
into the most hazardous area of the desert," said the Rev.
John Fife, Tucson pastor who helped build a watering station
for immigrants in Arizona, the Post continues.
U.S. Rep. Tancredo (R-CO), supportive of the crackdowns,
reacted after an agent was shot at by Mexicans in a humvee,
five miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border in 2001. "I cannot
in good conscience stand by and watch another incursion
along our border take place.
"Unless we open our eyes and recognize that what's happening
along the U.S./ Mexico border is real, one of our guys
is going to get killed. "As far as I am concerned, that (incursion)
should be an act of war," reports the Sierra Times.
Dozens of Border Patrol Agents have died since the organization
of the Agency in 1924. Twenty-one have been killed
U.S. Border Control Chairman Edward Nelson, outraged
by Mexican consuls-general and Foreign Ministry officials'
criticism of Operation Rio Grande, responded angrily,
"America has become a favorite dumping ground for
Mexicans their own government cannot, or chooses not to,
care for. These diplomats are total hypocrites. Illegal migration
is not 'a natural phenomenon' as the Mexican government
would have us believe. It is, instead, a serious crime
and a clear violation of American sovereignty."
The Mexican government does nothing to stop illegal
migration because it is in their economic interests to have
millions of their citizens go to the United States, especially
those with no job skills and no money, or those with serious
long-term health care problems," reports Usbc.org.
"Mexico," Nelson said, "even refuses to take back
Mexican criminals that have been caught and convicted in
our country (see future parts of this series). These diplomats
are well aware of the fact that their citizens are being exploited,
robbed and even murdered by the coyotes. They are
aware that many are carrying drugs into America that will
wind up in the veins of American children.
"Our border patrol, which has suffered more than 200
cross border attacks recently, should worry less about being
'sensitive' and more about being bushwhacked by the drug
cartels killers who now control our southern border and
most immigrant traffic.
"We've been called racists, imperialists, and most recently,
murderers," the Usbc.org report continues.
In 2001, the Mexican Government announced its plan to
distribute 200,000 survival kits as part of a broader program
to instruct illegals in what to expect "tips on maintaining
self-esteem, and on Asian meditation techniques, to combat
depression, stress and anxiety in a country they have entered
illegally and without speaking the language," says the Orange
The survival kits include first aid kits, rehydration tablets,
dried foods, and snake bite antidotes. U.S. officials criticized
the plan as further risking the lives of the Mexicans and the
Border patrol. "It gives the perception to our U.S. public that
the Mexican government is encouraging people to break U.S.
laws by entering the country illegally," said Hipolito Scosta,
INS district director, to CNN.
Glenn Spencer, host of the popular talk show American
Patrol, and immigration expert, produced a video "Conquest
of Aztlan" in which he warns that a radical group, self-named
"America's Palestinians" declare the goal of reclaiming the
American Southwest, including California, Arizona, Nevada,
New Mexico, and parts of Colorado and Texas. The area is
named "Aztlan" by Hispanic activists, or the mythical place
of origin of the Aztec people, says Shop Net Daily.
H. Millard, in the Sierra Times, cites a Zogby poll, which
found that 58 percent of Mexicans in the Southwest believed
that the U.S. rightfully belongs to Mexico, and that 57 percent
of Mexicans believe they have the right to enter the U.S.
without permissions. He quotes Mario Obled, founder of the
Mexican American Legal and Defense Fund (MALDEF),
"California is going to be a Hispanic state, and anyone who
doesn't like it should leave. They should go back to Europe."
MALDEF, according to Frosty Wooldridge, teacher, author
and overpopulation specialist, reporting in the Washington
Dispatch, is one of the most anti-American advocacy groups
in the United States and is bent on returning Texas, New
Mexico, Arizona and California to Mexico as part of their
Three hundred more Border Patrol agents were deployed
by June 1.
In spite of all these efforts, and after a four-year decline,
illegal immigration from Mexico has spiked this year as several
thousand migrants a day rush the border. U.S. Border
Patrol told AP that detentions rose 25 percent, to 535,000, in
the six months prior to March 31 compared to the year previous.
Seventy-five percent are Mexican.
"And there's no way to determine 'got-aways,'" Carter told
us. "I have no idea where anybody's getting those numbers,
except in unsophisticated ways-border patrol agents in the
desert, working a trail of aliens, don't report 'got-aways'.
Then you have those areas and trails that are not worked and
no-one to detect the immigrants."
No telling how many 'got-aways' are running loose in the
United States, uncounted.
Then there are the many bodies that are never found.
Dr. Martin Brass is an International Lawyer and longtime
contributor to SOF.