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Tag: Mexico

Interior Department Dispatching Officers to Help Secure Border with Mexico

Border marker, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Interior Department is dispatching officers to help secure the border with Mexico.

Officers from the U.S. Park Police Planning Unit (USPP) and the National Park Service will help Homeland Security along the southwest border beginning May 13 as part of “Secretary [Ryan] Zinke’s offer of assistance to the Department of Homeland Security,” according to an internal email obtained by The Hill

The assignment is a dramatic departure from what USPP officers are traditionally tasked with doing – policing NPS property in Washington D.C., New York and San Francisco.

According to the email, officers will spend about three weeks stationed at two national parks and monument sites along the border – Amsted National Recreation Area in Texas and the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona.

Dispatching officers from the federal agencies is “the first of many steps Interior will take to secure the homeland.”

President Trump and I are 100 percent committed to keeping our border communities and the American people safe and secure, which is why I’m deploying some of Interior’s law enforcement officers to increase security on the southern border,” Zinke told the Hill in a statement. “Interior is ready, willing, and able to deploy a significant force to carry out the President’s mission.” 

Border Patrol Agent Acquitted in Shooting Death of Mexican Teen

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Prosecutors are mulling whether they should pursue a retrial in the case of a Border Patrol agent charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting a teenager after an Arizona jury deadlocked on the lesser accounts.

The jury found Agent Lonnie Swartz not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was with a group throwing rocks at agents from the Nogales, Mexico, side of the border.

U.S. District Judge Raner Collins declared a mistrial after the jury deadlocked on a lesser charge of manslaughter, NPR reports

In October 2012, Swartz responded to the rocks by firing 16 shots, striking Rodriguez eight times in the back and twice in the head.

Swartz’s attorneys said the agent was protecting himself and fellow agents when he opened fire. Prosectors said he pulled the trigger because he was frustrated with rock throwers.

Jurors Deliberates Today in Trial of Border Patrol Charged with Killing Mexican Teen

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Jurors in the trial of a Border Patrol agent charged in the shooting death of a teenager in Mexico are set to begin deliberations Tuesday morning.

In closing arguments, prosecutors told the jury that Agent Lonnie Swartz fired his across the border in Nogales, Mexico, because he was fed up with people throwing rocks, the Associated Press reports. 

Defense attorneys countered that Swartz, who is charged with second-degree murder, feared for his and his fellow agents’ safety after he began hearing rocks striking the fence.

Swartz fired 16 shots, striking 16-year-old Elena Rodriguez wight times in the back and twice in the head.

Last week, Swartz testified for more than two hours, telling the jury that he heard rocks striking the fence and that a fellow agent had been injured. He added that an alleged drug smuggler, whom the rock-throwers were said to be protecting, had a large knife in his pocket.

“I was scared, scared to be hit by a rock, (scared) for my partner,” Swartz said. “I had to act quickly. I only had seconds to stop the threat.”

But the fellow agent testified earlier that he was not injured and that a rock rolled onto his foot.

Other Stories of Interest

Border Patrol Agent Indicted for Allegedly Lying about Ties to Mexican Drug Traffickers

Border marker, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent accused of lying twice about his ties to two Mexican drug traffickers has been indicted by a San Diego federal grand jury.

The indictment alleges Agent Ramon Delgado lied about his relationships with drug traffickers during an interview and in his pre-employment background questionnaire, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Delgado, 44, faces up to five years in prison on a count of making false statements to the federal government.

The investigation began following suspicions that Delgado assisted a drug trafficking organization that smuggled heron, meth and cocaine into the U.S. According to prosecutors, Delgado maintained a close relationship with the two drug traffickers while working for Border Patrol.

Trump Denies Chief of Staff’s Claims That President Softened Plans for Border Wall

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump fired back at his chief of staff, John Kelly, on Thursday morning, saying his top aide misspoke a day earlier when he told a group of lawmakers that some of the president’s tough immigration policies were “uninformed” and would never result in a wall along the entire southern border with Mexico.

In a meeting with some Democratic lawmakers, Kelly insisted Mexico will never pay for a border wall.

President Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly .

Trump responded several hours later in three strongly worded tweets, saying plans for the wall have “never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived it.”

Trump also insisted Mexico would reimburse the U.S. for the costs to build the wall.

“We need the Wall for the safety and security of our country,” Trump tweeted. “We need the Wall to help stop the massive inflow of drugs from Mexico, now rated the number one most dangerous country in the world. If there is no Wall, there is no Deal!”

It’s unclear what prompted Kelly to contradict the president’s position on a security wall, but the statements to lawmakers come on the eve of a possible federal government shutdown.

The president has indicated he’s willing to compromise with Democrats on granting permanent legal protections for so-called Dreamers in exchange for providing border security funding that would help build a wall on the Mexican border.

Without a long-term budget deal by midnight Friday, the federal government faces a possible shutdown. 

Border Patrol Agents Tricked into Providing Protection for Convicted Drug Smuggler

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents are furious that they were tricked into providing “armed security for a cartel wedding” of a convicted drug smuggler who has been banned from Mexico.

The groom, Brian Houston, is awaiting sentencing after he was accused of smuggling large quantities of heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine in February.

“The agents are upset, feel like they were taken advantage of, feel like they were duped,” Joshua Wilson, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 1613, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Turns out we provided armed security for a cartel wedding.”

The wedding took place at steel border gate that enables people who cannot cross the border to meet for about three minutes each.

“It’s a statement that love has no borders,” Houston told the newspaper.

A Border Patrol screening did not show any criminal activity, so agents were unaware they were protecting a convicted drug smuggler.

Other Stories of Interest

Border Arrests Surge Amid Trump’s Pledge to Decrease Illegal Crossings

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s pledge to prevent undocumented immigrants from entering the U.S. has hit a major snag as arrests surge along the Southwest border.

According to a new federal government report, people being arrested or denied entry along the Mexican border has increased for the seventh straight month. 

Those cases reached 39,006 in November, marking a 12% increase over October. The cases have more than doubled since April.

While it’s unclear how many undocumented immigrants are slipping into the country undetected, the number of arrests and entry denials are a good indicator of the trends in people trying to enter the U.S. illegally.

Trump has trumpeted the decline in arrests during the early months of his presidency. What’s unclear is why the numbers are rising.

Most of Homeland Security’s Uniforms Are Bought Outside U.S., Including South of Border

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

So much for Made in America.

A report by the Government Accountability Office found that Homeland Security bought 46% of its uniforms from Mexico and Central America, compared to just 42% in the U.S., the Washington Times reports

Homeland Security spent nearly $75 million over the past three years on department uniforms from Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras.

Under Homeland Security rules, the agency is supposed to buy uniforms that originated in the U.S.

The GAO said Homeland Security was aware of the requirements but ignored them.

“As of June 2017, under the current uniforms contract, 58 percent of the value of ordered uniform items by DHS came from foreign sources,” the investigation found.

Other Stories of Interest