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Cartels Thrive In New Mexico County After Feds Forced To Shut Down Checkpoints

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The federal government has been forced to shut down Border Patrol checkpoints in order to send agents to help with the massive influx of illegal immigrants. Because of that, cartels have an almost free reign in some areas of the country. Law enforcement officials are saying that without a wall, this will spread across the U.S. unless something is done.

The New York Post is reporting:

“ALAMOGORDO, N.M. — In this sprawling desert city in the shadow of the Sacramento Mountains, local officials are fed up with the border crisis — and have gone rogue.

Otero County last month became the first border community to declare a state of emergency after the federal government shut down two local checkpoints in the area, which had traditionally provided a second line of defense against shipments of drugs and illegal immigrants who managed to sneak through the border at El Paso, about 90 miles to the south.

“It’s a green light for the cartels when border checkpoints are down,” Otero County Sheriff David Black, 56, told The Post.

Otero County Sheriff David Black – Angel Chevrestt

Black, who has lived in this city of nearly 32,000 people his whole life, said he has 44 “gun toters” overseeing the county’s 6,628 square miles of lonely ranchland and pistachio orchards nestled among national parkland and Holloman Air Force Base.

Now the lawman said he has to deploy his own overworked forces to stop drugs such as methamphetamines, marijuana and fentanyl from coming through his territory, which is home to some 65,000 people.

Otero County is undefended because US Customs and Border Protection shut down two inspection facilities on US Routes 54 and 70, Black said. The Border Protection agents were sent south to El Paso to help with the massive influx of migrants. More than 800 have been arriving per day at the border near El Paso, according to Border Protection statistics.

Last week, The Post visited a Border Protection checkpoint across from the White Sands National Monument, a national park of undulating sand dunes on Highway 70. Two white and green vans belonging to the federal agency were parked at the shuttered facility.

“I’ve had to redeploy my guys,” said Black. Reading from a report on his desk in the Otero County Sheriff’s Office, he told The Post that his deputies seized $60,000 worth of illicit drugs in April. The figure is markedly up from the $3,500 seized in January, when the Border Protection checkpoints were still working, he noted, adding, “We have always relied heavily on those border patrol checkpoints.”

Since last October, Border Protection agents have discovered 7 tons of marijuana and nearly half a ton of methamphetamine in the area, according to CBP statistics.

The unmanned checkpoints are also a headache for Kyle Williamson, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s special agent in charge of the El Paso Division, which includes all of New Mexico and west Texas. His office monitors 770 miles of the US-Mexico border and 11 international ports of entry.

“We’ve lost our second line of enforcement,” said Williamson, 52, a 30-year DEA veteran who did stints in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

For Williamson, the chaotic situation at the border with Mexico is helping drug traffickers smuggle their illicit cargo north.

“Are cartels capitalizing on the confusion at the border? Yes, they are!” Williamson told The Post. “They are using it as a cover to move drugs, which are coming through legal ports of entry. If your drugs are coming through legal ports of entry, you need lines of defense.”

Williamson said his team recently seized 44 pounds of fentanyl — “enough to wipe out all of New Mexico, Texas and the entire state of Chihuahua.”

Most of the drugs are being trafficked by a gang known as Barrio Aztecas, the enforcement arm of the Juarez Cartel, according to the agent.

“They are an incredibly violent gang,” he said, adding that they number between 2,000 and 2,200 members.

An additional 500 to 1,000 Barrio Aztecas are in prison, he said.

For Couy Griffin, chairman of Otero County’s Board of Commissioners, who spearheaded the move to declare a state of emergency last month, the situation is dire. In addition to drug traffickers and migrants, Griffin fears that terrorists may begin taking advantage of the abandoned checkpoints to sneak into the rest of the country.

“We have got to secure our border, period,” said Griffin, 45, who wears a black hat and scuffed cowboy boots, and leads a group called Cowboys for Trump.

Otero County, NM, Board of Commissioners chair Couy Griffin fears terrorists will exploit shuttered checkpoints 90 miles from the border. Angel Chevrestt

In February, members of that group set off on horseback for an eight-day journey from Maryland to Washington in support of the president, and to raise awareness of issues facing fellow businessmen in New Mexico.

Last week, the Otero County Board of Commissioners voted to pass a resolution that says, in part, that no county resources will be used to help migrants. The board “declares its opposition to any and all state and federal agencies dropping off illegal migrants.”

Griffin says he has spoken to elected representatives in other New Mexico counties who may soon join Otero in declaring local emergencies.

“You’ll see. There’s going to be a domino effect when other counties get fed up,” Griffin said. “We want other counties to follow suit. That’s the only way we’ll have a voice and be able to push back.”

In addition to the federal government’s shutdown of the checkpoints, New Mexico’s recently installed Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, withdrew 118 National Guard troops from the state’s southern boundary, in defiance of President Trump. Earlier this year, she called Trump’s policies at the Mexican border a “charade of border fear-mongering.”

In the wake of the Border Protection withdrawal, Griffin and Black want the governor to redeploy the National Guard, and they are determined to sue the state if the governor continues to refuse to cooperate, Griffin said.

“Unfortunately, we have a governor who is so interested in politics that she has lost touch with the people of this county,” Griffin told The Post. “We have a governor who continues to claim that there is no crisis at the border.”

Black believes the security issue in Otero County will soon affect the entire country as drugs and terrorists move north. He said he wants “an enhanced wall of border security that is integrated with steel slats,” equipped with state-of-the art monitoring equipment and more guards. If that doesn’t happen, he fears, there will be an increase in crime.

“We give it six months for the crime statistics to start rising here,” he said. “And believe me, all of this is coming to a town near you, all over the country.””

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Story compiled by Jeff Rainforth for We Build the Wall, Inc.

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Border City Across From El Paso Records Biggest One-Day Spike In COVID-19 Fatalities

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It’s a good thing President Trump has clamped down on green card holders entering the country. If the situation worsens in Mexico, he may need to cut off all legal migration for a while in order to keep Americans safe.

JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — Juarez recorded its largest one-day spike in COVID-19 fatalities with eight, health authorities reported Friday. That brings the total number of deaths to 42 in this Mexican border city where health officials say the worst is not over.

“We know there will be an increased number of cases in the next weeks,” said Dr. Arturo Valenzuela, head of the Chihuahua state Health Department in Juarez.

Most of the new fatalities are taking place inside clinic 66 of the IMSS (Mexican Social Security Institute), where a large number of the sick are hospitalized, some of them on ventilators.

In addition, the crisis is taking its toll on medical workers and hospital capacity. Eighteen doctors, nurses and other health care workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state, including 12 in Juarez, Valenzuela said.

Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, has struggled to get its residents to comply with a stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines issued last month. On Thursday, Border Report spotted a dozen people outside an ATM machine not observing social distancing and half not wearing face masks, which are now required.

El Paso health officials, who are dealing with a crisis of their own, say they are closely monitoring developments in Juarez due to cross-border interaction. A Paso del Norte Health Foundation survey found that more than 60 percent of the residents of one city have relatives living in the other, and that visiting relatives is the main reason for crossing the border in this region.

As of Friday morning, the state of Chihuahua was reporting 271 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 188 of those in Juarez. The state that borders both Texas and New Mexico had recorded 49 fatalities, 42 of those in Juarez.

On Thursday evening, the El Paso Department of Public Health reported 29 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 674, including 10 deaths. El Paso County had 33 patients hospitalized, and 21 of those were in intensive care, the department reported.

Residents in El Paso County will now be required to wear face masks or cloth coverings when out in public, El Paso’s mayor and county judge said Thursday afternoon.

Story compiled by Jeff Rainforth for We Build the Wall, Inc. Follow Jeff on Facebook for live border videos & coverage.

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Jennifer Lawrence – Communications Director
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Mexican Protesters Block American Border Traffic In AZ, Demand Virus Screening

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I’m pretty sure the irony of the situation isn’t lost on anyone.

“Protesters on the Mexican side of a border crossing with Arizona blocked southbound lanes Wednesday demanding the Mexican government require health screening for travelers entering from the United States to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

A group called the Sonorenses Por la Salud y la Vida (Sonorans for Health and Life) parked two trucks in the vehicle lanes leading away from the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry connecting the twin border cities of Ambo Nogales at around 1 p.m. Less than a dozen protesters, donning masks and gloves, held up signs that either read #QuedateEnCasa (#StayHome) or called on Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to up his response to the outbreak.

“There are no health screenings by the federal government to deal with this pandemic,” Jose Luis Hernandez, the leader of the protest, told the Arizona Republic. “That’s why we’re here in Nogales. We’ve taken this action to call on the Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to act now.

Last week, both the U.S. and Mexican governments banned all non-essential travel across the border, with some exceptions for medical emergencies, work and school. U.S. Customs and Border Control have ramped up medical screenings at U.S.-Mexico ports of entry, including the one admitting people into Ambos Nogales, Ariz.

Protesters said Mexican officials haven’t taken the same degree of precaution. The state of Sonora deployed health officials to several border crossings, including the DeConcini Port of Entry, but only has staff stationed at pedestrian lanes, USA Today reported.

Mexican Public Health Secretariat staff have also set up tables near the border crossing where they hand out literature about COVID-19, provide hand sanitizer and offer temperature screenings, Nogales International reported. It is not required to have your temperature taken to pass through a port of entry into Mexico.

The blockade shut down all southbound traffic at the DeConcini Port of Entry for hours until it was eventually reopened around 5:30 p.m., U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Nogales said. Officers with the Nogales Police Department redirected traffic to the Mariposa Port of Entry on the west side of the city.

“Nogales Police anticipates demonstrations may continue tomorrow. The closure of any Port of Entry will negatively impact commerce and the way of life in Nogales,” the city of Nogales, Ariz. said in a statement Wednesday night.

Border towns have been concerned about the transfer of infection across country lines. The number of confirmed cases in Arizona spiked to over 400 Wednesday, the state department of health services said, with new cases in Santa Cruz County, where Nogales is located. Sonora has recorded only 19 cases across the Mexican state.

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CHECK DONATIONS:
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The official wall fundraiser & construction site is at www.webuildthewall.us
Follow Brian Kolfage on Twitter HERE
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Contacts:
Jennifer Lawrence – Communications Director
media@webuildthewall.us
Cell: 845-800-1552

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