Mexican authorities safely removed an explosive device found on the main bridge to Laredo, Texas. Is America’s largest inland port in terrorists’ crosshairs?
Across the Rio Grande River sits Nuevo Laredo, home of the violent Los Zetas cartel, which uses Laredo as one of its main drug- and human-trafficking corridors into the United States.
Discovery of the improvised explosive device (IED) came days after Mexican police found two anti-personnel mines in Camargo, 120 miles from Laredo and across the border from Rio Grande City, Texas. The Claymore mines were in underground storage facilities used by the Gulf Cartel to hide weapons and ammunition.
The Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas – both classified as Transnational Criminal Organizations – are embroiled in a series of internal fights linked to escalating violence along the Texas border.
Neither U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), nor U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) commented on the explosive discoveries by Mexican authorities.
While Congress dithers on President Trump’s border-security proposals, Laredo Mayor Mayor Pete Saenz says action is needed now.
“We want a secure border. We need it,” said Saenz, whose border town “is not and never has been a sanctuary city” for illegal aliens.
Cartel-related violence is prompting U.S. authorities to “push the border out,” says Elaine Duke, deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
“We have to have an ‘away game’ for national security. We must destroy the (cartels’) supply chain earlier,” said Duke, highlighting the necessity for ICE and CBP to strengthen ties with law-enforcement agencies far beyond our borders. Officials said Mexican narcotics cartels move terrorists through their drug corridors, some of which begin deep in Central America.
A new report from the Director of National Intelligence states that economic insecurity and lack of opportunity “likely will remain the principal drivers of (illegal) migration from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.”
Increasingly infiltrating the mix of northbound migrants are “special interest aliens” from Somalia, Syria and Afghanistan – all Muslim nations with terrorist ties.
Manuel Padilla, chief of the Border Patrol’s sprawling and largely unguarded Rio Grande Valley Sector, says Mexico is “doing a good job” of intercepting drugs and weapons – if not migrants — south of the border.
By defusing an armed IED on Laredo’s doorstep, Mexican authorities may be doing a more effective job of tracking terrorists, as well. Clearly, the clock is ticking.