Border Patrol Chiefs Testify About Cartels Increasing Violence With Border Crossers

Vic Hinterlang /
Vic Hinterlang /

Even before President Joe Biden removed the protections of Title 42, illegal immigrants were still flooding the southern border. Often working with cartel members along the way, they often bring guns, money, or drugs over the border. It’s one of the fastest ways to help (almost) guarantee safe passage and to ensure that they are moved along as quickly as possible.

As several US Border Patrol (USBP) sector chiefs have testified to Congress recently, those who buck the option of going with human smugglers are then targeted for retaliation by the cartels. In one instance, a man was shot between the eyes for refusing to go along; another had half of his head taken off with a shotgun. With over 2.2 million encounters recorded in the 2022 calendar year and 2 million so far in FY 2023, USBP has its work cut out for them.

Border Patrol chief of the Laredo sector, Joel Martinez, gave testimony in June to the House Homeland Security Committee about these shootings and other evidence. “For starters, if you go down the river without their permission—every section of the river has a boss that owns that particular part of the river. If you go down there without their permission, they can either beat you or hit you with, like, a paddle, and they’ve been known to shoot people, you name it. That’s how they—they rule through intimidation, so that’s a very common practice.”

Stories like this are all too common along the border. From San Diego, CA, through the rural deserts of Arizona, and on through El Paso, TX, and eastwards to the Gulf, different cartels control the border. In one mountain pass an arm of one major cartel has the control, with another running things just 5 miles away. There is no “total pass” program, or just one payoff for secure passage either.

In response to the outcries for relief on the border, House Homeland Committee Chairman Mark Green has put Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas squarely in his crosshairs. The lack of action by the DHS has effectively crippled the USBP, and budget restrictions are making it impossible for them to keep up with advances in the tech the cartel develops. Especially when it comes to surveillance and counter-intel.

The Daily Caller received a statement from Green about Mayorkas and the horrific corner he has painted the American public into.

“Thanks to Secretary Mayorkas’ policies, criminal cartels now exercise unprecedented control of the Southwest border…It’s no wonder that the former chief of the Border Patrol told Congress earlier this year that the cartels ‘control the border today’ because of illegal immigration ‘to a level that they’ve never had.’ And let’s not lose sight of the fact that the consequences have been disastrous not just for American citizens suffering from fentanyl poisonings and families shattered by illegal alien crime—the migrants themselves are suffering and dying in record numbers.”

Other chiefs have testified to their knowledge of how these cartels are running specific lanes of people across the border and how horrific the crime that comes as a result is. Keeping tabs on any and everything that enters their area, nobody is immune from needing to pay for safe passage. In essence, the cartels have turned these border areas into the lawlessness that ruled the high seas back in the early spice trading days.

As Chief Patrol Agent for the El Paso Sector Anthony “Scott” Good testified back in June, those who refuse to tip off the cartel about their crossing are attacked when they settle. They aren’t taking it lightly when they don’t get a piece of the action, no matter who it is or where they are moving. As far as they are concerned, you are in their territory, and you need to pay a toll to be safe. Dragging that debt across the border, good Americans are stuck living in constant fear of being caught in the crossfire.