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Tag: Mexico

New Details Emerge of Border Patrol Agent Accused of Helping Mexican Cartel

Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna

Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When authorities found a headless body floating near South Padre island in Texas, the investigation led them to a Border Patrol agent accused of helping a Mexican cartel smuggle drugs and weapons across the border.

Agent John Luna is accused of helping his brothers.

New details have emerged, including that investigators said they have found a “treasure trove” of evidence at Luna’s mother-in-law’s house, the Associated Press reports. 

Discovered in a safe at the home were nearly $90,000 in cash and a kilo of cocaine.

Luna, a 31-year-old Iraq War veteran, is accused of capital murder in the death of a mean that was considered a possible snitch.

His attorney, Carlos A. Garcia, claims Luna had nothing to do with the scheme.

“This is a clear-cut case of guilt by association,” Garcia said.

Prosecutors declined to discuss details of the case, but said the safe contained Luna’s Border Patrol badge.

“Drug use and abuse in America is fueling the Mexican cartels, and because of the money and the weapons that go south, we get all the violence,” Garza said. “This case represents that.”

Other Stories of Interest

Nearly Half of Illegal Immigrants Who Enter U.S. from Mexico Elude Capture

Border Fence along Mexico and the U.S.

Border Fence along Mexico and the U.S.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When it comes to catching to immigrants who illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico last year, only about half were caught, according to a Homeland Security report.

Homeland Security previously said about 81% of the people who entered the U.S. illegally were captured, Tribune news services report.  

But during the 2015 fiscal year, that number was 54%.

The 98-page report from May was not publicly released by Homeland Security, but the Associated Press obtained a copy.

The report found that 170,000 snuck in without being captured, compared to 210,000 in 2014 and 1.7 million in 2005.

The decline in illegal entries comes as the U.S. increased border security spending, which is now $14 billion a year.

“This is the first solid evidence we have that the border buildup of the last 20 years has indeed made some significant difference in deterring and reducing illegal entries across the southern border,” said Edward Alden, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Border Patrol Agent, Two Brothers Charged in Drug Cartel-Linked Murder Case

Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna

Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent who patrolled ranch land for smugglers of drugs and humans is accused of helping his brothers run a criminal family business responsible for a decapitated corpse found off the Texas coast during spring break.

Joel Luna, 31, has been charged with capital murder as part of a drug trafficking conspiracy, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Luna’s attorney said his client never killed anyone, and it was his brothers, Fernando and Eduardo, who are to blame for the slayings.

“There’s an argument to be made against my client that’s guilt by association. People get swept up with those who are really guilty. It’s family,” said Joel’s attorney, Carlos A. Garcia. “Associating or going to a quinceañera is not a crime. He was just a family man, a working man. Think about how many Border Patrol members who live on the border have relatives here without visas.”

While Joel was for in San Juan but raised south of the border, his brothers were born in Mexico.

At the time of his hiring by Border Patrol, Luna appeared to be a great hire: He was an Army combat veteran and a high school ROTC standout.

The Los Angeles Times wrote:

In 2013, Joel notified Border Patrol officials that Eduardo had been temporarily abducted by cartel leaders in Reynosa who knew Joel was an agent and had threatened his family there, according to Cameron County Assistant Dist. Atty. Gustavo “Gus” Garza.

Eduardo, Fernando and their families crossed into the U.S. illegally to live at Joel’s house. Luna gave his sister-in-law $42,000 and instructed her to buy a house in San Juan for his younger brother, according to an arrest affidavit. Fernando moved in across the street, Garza said.

Fernando had been laid off and used severance pay to buy Veteran’s Tire Shop, about 20 miles north in Edinburg, according to an affidavit. He hired Eduardo and kept three other employees. Investigators would later argue that the run-down shop, like other businesses in south Texas, was a front for money laundering and drug trafficking.

FBI: Can We Charge U.S. Couple with Dumping Baby’s Body in Mexico?

Tijuana, Mexico

Tijuana, Mexico

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is trying to determine whether it can bring charges against a San Diego couple accused of dumping the body of a baby in an empty lot in Tijuana.

Law enforcement officials believe the baby was killed and dumped in Mexico.

NBC7 said the FBI is reviewing a federal statute that makes it a crime in America for a U.S. citizen to kill another U.S. citizen on foreign soil.

The couple’s seven-month-old child was found dead on Sept. 2 in a Mexican neighborhood that is roughly 12 miles south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

The couple told authorities that baby Elliot fell and died, so they wrapped him up in blankets and discarded him in an empty lot in Tijuana.

Border Patrol Chief: Agents Are ‘Most Assaulted Law Enforcement Personnel’ in U.S.

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Mark Morgan, the Border Patrol’s new chief, said his agents are “the most assaulted law enforcement personnel in the country.”

“I’ve learned that the United States Border Patrol agents are among the most assaulted law enforcement personnel in the country,” Mark Morgan, the new chief of the Border Patrol, told a House Homeland Security subcommittee panel on Tuesday, the Washington Examiner reports. “There have been 7,542 assaults against agents since 2006 and 30 agents have died in the line of duty since 2003.” 

Morgan also said agents are distracted from their mission to keep the country safe because of unaccompanied minors crossing the border.

“What we’re being asked to do right now, I think you could phrase it a little bit, is a humanitarian mission,” Morgan said.

El Paso Times: Immigration Rhetoric Doesn’t Jive with Data

border patrol 3By Editorial Board
El Paso Times

A major state agency is proposing a massive increase in spending despite providing little if any evidence that its current spending is effective or needed. That scenario would normally bring accusations of bloated government from Texas’ conservative leadership.

But not when the subject is border security.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is proposing a 39 percent increase in border security spending for the next biennium. That comes on top of a doubling in border security spending approved in the 2015 legislative session.

If the Legislature approves the increase in spending next year – and history suggests that it will – state spending on border security will have grown from $120 million in 2010 to $1 billion.

And it’s entirely unclear what Texas is getting for all that money, other than a shift in where DPS troopers are writing traffic warnings and citations.

The idea of the border as a war zone has been popular in Republican circles for years, despite repeated evidence that illegal immigration is on the decline and border communities have much lower crime rates than comparable communities across the country.

To read more click here. 

Immigrants, Cartels Circumvent Border Walls by Digging Tunnels

Cross-border tunnel discovered by authorities this year.

Cross-border tunnel discovered by authorities this year.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents have found dozens of tunnels near the border of Mexico.

When agents locate the taste underground networks used by Mexican drug cartels, they dump concrete to seal the passageway and stamp them with a date, the New York Times reports. 

“The clock is ticking as soon as they complete a tunnel,” said Kevin Hecht, a Border Patrol tunneling expert. “They know that we will eventually find them. But if even one load gets through before we find it, they consider it a success.”

Many of the tunnels are used to circumvent large walls – like the one supported by Donald Trump.

“The Border Patrol has done an incredible job, given its resources,” said Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, the White House drug policy director in the Clinton administration. “But it would be a stretch to say that the border and border communities are secure when the agency lacks a high-confidence ability to detect cross-border tunnels. No wall is going to fix that.”

Trump has pledged to use sensor to  “find and dislocate tunnels and keep out criminal cartels,” but no such technology has proven successful.

Secret Service: Trump’s Last-Minute Trip to Mexico Endangered Himself, Agents

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s last-minute trip to Mexico endangered both himself and the Secret Service agents who protect him, The Daily Beast reports. 

“It definitely puts lives at risk,” said Jonathan Wackrow, a 14-year Secret Service veteran, who spent his last five years in the service on Obama’s detail. “The stress is unbelievable because you have to have a plan for every contingency… but the time to think of it has been reduced from two weeks to two days.

“These things are always a nightmare. I don’t mean to be hyperbolic… anything that can go wrong does go wrong on a trip with a short timeline,” said Dan Bongino, a retired Secret Service agent who coordinated President Obama’s visits to Prague, Jakarta and Afghanistan.

A 25-year veteran of the Secret Service added, “Everyone’s working hard on the campaign trail to keep everybody safe and prevent anyone from being embarrassed, but that’s difficult when you have these last-minute trips.”

While Trump said the trip was successful, Mexico’s president said that the Republican presidential candidate lied about not discussing whether Mexico would pay for the wall.

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