The brutally violent Zetas drug organization may be smuggling military-grade weapons through El Paso and Columbus, N.M., to feed its ongoing battles against other cartels and to possibly disrupt the 2012 elections in Mexico.
Phil Jordan, a former CIA operative and one-time leader of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Intelligence Center, claims that the Obama administration is running guns to the violent Zetas cartel through the direct commercial sale of military grade weapons:
Although a federal law enforcement agency in El Paso said it has no information on theses allegations; Jordan, said the Zetas have shipped large amounts of weapons through the El Paso area. “They are purchasing weapons in the Dallas area and are flying them to El Paso, and then they are taking them across the border into Juárez. What’s ironic is that the DEA also uses the Alliance Airport for some of its operations. The Zetas were working out of a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in the Dallas area to smuggle the weapons to the border.”
Robert “Tosh” Plumlee, a former CIA contract pilot, told the Times he supported Jordan’s allegations, adding that the Zetas have reportedly bought property in the Columbus, N.M., border region to stash weapons and other contraband. He added that purchasing property and setting up a weapons-smuggling network suggests that the Zetas were establishing a staging area for their operations.
Earlier this month, Plumlee had a debriefing with the Border Patrol in Las Cruces about the intelligence he gathered when he accompanied the U.S. military’s Task Force 7 along the border. The military, which assists civilian law enforcement in counter-drug operations, was looking into allegations of gun smuggling along the border.
“The military task force became concerned that its information about arms smuggling was being compromised. From the intel, it appears that a company was set up in Mexico to purchase weapons through the U.S. Direct Commercial Sales Program, and that the company may have had a direct link to the Zetas.”
The U.S. Direct Commercial Sales program is run from the U.S. State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. It regulates and licenses private U.S. companies’ overseas sales of weapons and other defense materials, defense services, and military training. Last year, according to U.S. statistics, the program was used to provide Mexico $416.5 million worth of weapons and equipment, including military-grade weaponry.
The program is different from the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, which operates on a government-to-government basis.
As reported in the El Paso Times,
Plumbee stated, “They’ve found anti-aircraft weapons and hand grenades from the Vietnam War era.” Other weapons found include grenade launchers, assault rifles, handguns and military gear including night-vision goggles and body armor.
“The information about the arms trafficking was provided to our U.S. authorities long before the ‘Columbus 11′ investigation began,” Plumlee, referring to recent indictments accusing several Columbus city officials of arms trafficking in conjunction with alleged accomplices in El Paso and Chaparral, N.M.
Jordan agreed with Plumlee’s allegations that the Zetas are operating in the Columbus-Palomas border.
Plumlee, who has testified before U.S. congressional committees about arms and drug trafficking, said the roads in Southern New Mexico provide smugglers easy access to Mexico’s highway networks.
Zetas have been reported in Juárez and other Chihuahua cities, but so far they have kept a low profile.
According to an FBI Investigation Intelligence Bulletin, “Los Zetas activities in the United States to date have largely been limited to the U.S./Mexico border area,” but have expanded their reach into the Southeast and Midwestern United States.
Authorities in Arizona previously reported that Zetas dressed up as SWAT officers were implicated in the 2008 murder of a man in Phoenix.
There is no direct link made as of yet between the Columbus, NM, officials case and the allegations of the Dallas-to-Columbus air smuggling route, but the possiblity exists.
If these allegations can be verified: what on Earth was the State Department thinking supplying the direct sale of military weapons to a cartel front company? Weapons that were then smuggled out of the very airport used by the Drug Enforcement Agency charged with bringing down the cartels?
The FBI said the Zetas emerged from an elite Mexican army unit known as Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales, or GAFE, that was created to fight drug-traffickers. Some GAFE members received special U.S. military training.
Jesús Rejón Aguilar, the number three man in the Zeta’s hierarchy, disclosed last week that the Zetas bought weapons in the United States and transported them across the Rio Grande.Mexican federal authorities captured Rejón on July 3 in the state of Mexico
In 2002, “an unknown number deserted and joined the Gulf cartel, serving as the hired guns for cartel leadership,” the FBI bulletin said.“Since that time Los Zetas has grown into a sizeable, semi-independent organization. The group is well-armed, highly trained, and reputed for their brutal tactics as cartel enforcers.”
The FBI said the organization has been tied to public corruption, immigrant smuggling, kidnapping, assault, murder, extortion and money laundering.
Plumlee stated that most of the military-grade weapons that made their way into Mexico are not showing up at crime scenes where drug violence is rampant. “Most of the military-type weapons have been found in stash houses, being stored up. This is getting into theory now, but I think the Zetas are saving them for the (2012) election season. They probably want to be included in a part of the government.”
Anthony Martin at the Examiner brings up one of the most damning and compelling questions that the State Department and Obama administration must answer if this story is true:
The program is set up so that the sale of U.S. guns to foreign entities involve direct negotiations with the governments of those countries purchasing the weapons. The description of the program specifically states that it regulates the sale of U.S. firearms to other countries or international organizations.
How, then, did a drug cartel purchase weapons through this program when it is neither an international organization nor a government?
Brad Kozak, at TheTruthAboutGuns.com had this to say:
The ATF was not the only ones running guns to Mexico. Apparently the State Department was playing, too. And then consider this angle — was the State Department competing with the ATF for the hearts and minds of the Mexican drug trade.
If the ATF is supplying the Sinaloas (with Calderón’s tacit approval and/or help) and State is playing for the Zetas, where does that leave the rest of America?
The American citizens are being setup by the Obama administration. We’re the ones being accused of arming the drug cartels through illegal gun purchases while the guilty ones, sit in Washington, D.C.
When injustice becomes law, then Rebellion becomes duty!
These weapons belonging to Los Zetas, a mexican drug cartel were found by border patrol near Texas and Mexico border.
Drug cartels in the U.S.