OMG! Laredo invaded!!

August 8, 2011

This time (1), by a Mexican Army helicopter that got a wee bit lost:

A Mexican military helicopter landed Saturday afternoon at Laredo International Airport by mistake, said a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Mucia Dovalina, the uniform public affairs officer for the Laredo Port of Entry, said the helicopter landed about 3 p.m., but she couldn’t share details such as the number of occupants or whether they were armed.

Dovalina said that, following protocol, CBP officers checked out the helicopter’s occupants, then allowed them to return to Mexico in the aircraft.

“The only thing that I can tell you is that they did land here,” she said. “It was by mistake. They were processed and they were returned to Mexico.”

As the article points out, this isn’t the first time the Mexican Army has crossed the border. This time the incident seems far less suspicious; the Mexican government was concluding armed operations against the Zetas cartel in a region near the poorly demarcated border, and these chuckleheads just lost their bearings. No harm, no foul, and so CBP sent them home.

Besides, they should know that the only proper way is to sneak across at night, like everyone else does.

Footnote:
(1) Referring to last summer’s near-panic on the on Internet on reading  rumors that ranches near Laredo had been taken over by the Zetas, rumors fed by  shoddy journalism and bloggers who should have known better.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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Mexico: mass jail-break

December 19, 2010

No, I’m not talking about the numbers of people who cross our southern border illegally every day, but a genuine escape of over 150 prisoners in Nuevo Laredo:

Mexican security forces are scrambling to catch scores of inmates who broke out of a prison near the US border in a region plagued by drug gang violence.

A total of 151 prisoners escaped on Friday from the penitentiary in Nuevo Laredo, local public security spokesman Hector Walle said, amending earlier counts that said 141 prisoners had escaped.

Investigators have said the inmates left through a service entrance for vehicles and were helped by someone in the prison staff.

The prison warden has gone missing since the breakout, which went unnoticed until a routine head count late Thursday.

I’m not surprised the warden has gone missing; Mexican prison officials are often on the take or in fear of their lives. The choice officials are given is called “plomo o plata,” lead or silver, a bullet or a bribe. For example, the warden of the prison near Torreón was letting gang members come and go to conduct assassinations. In truth, the Sinaloa cartel ran her prison, not her, not the state. I imagine the situation was similar in Nuevo Laredo.

This isn’t just a problem for the Mexican authorities. One has to wonder how many of those 150 convicts fled north across the Rio Grande into Texas.

I’ll bet the residents of nearby Laredo feel real secure, right about now.

RELATED (Kind of): The “Laredo invasion” myth.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Laredo Invasion: final nail in a myth’s coffin?

August 12, 2010

Bob Price of Texas GOP Vote has done the legwork that “journalist” Kimberly Dvorak and various credulous bloggers have refused to do regarding the “news” that Los Zetas, a vicious Mexican drug cartel, had taken over some US ranches near the border city of Laredo, Texas. He went and talked to the people supposedly involved, both from law enforcement and the ranchers. It’s a long entry, well-worth your time to read, but here’s an excerpt in reference to the police blotter Dvorak produced in her “scoop:”

The author of that story would have you believe this is proof that a ranch was taken over by the Zetas. This prompted further investigation. I was able to verify the authenticity of this message from my sources within the Laredo Police Department. It verifies there was actually a call for service to a ranch outside Laredo.

But, my prior investigation had already revealed a call for service occurred. So, what is a “call for service”. Well, it is exactly what it sounds like. In law enforcement terms it means a law enforcement agency received a phone call requesting assistance from the police (or sheriff’s department in this case). Nothing more. It does not mean that anything really happened. Only that someone called.

In this case, the call itself appears to be a hoax. I have spoken with the rancher who allegedly made the call and he denies it ever happened. For several reasons detailed below, I believe him. It appears, the call actually came from a café/store located in the vicinity of the ranch. The Sheriff’s department reacted to the call and found nothing happening out of normal daily life. Perhaps the call was a hoax? Perhaps it was a diversion to draw law enforcement resources to one area while drugs or human cargo were smuggled across in another area.

So, why was this story so believable by readers across the nation? What I found was perhaps more interesting than the alleged story itself.

First, I found nothing but cooperation from all law enforcement agencies working that region. I spoke with the “originating source” of the story, the Laredo Police Department. They talked openly and honestly with me for quite some time. They even said if we want to visit they will “roll out the red carpet.” I talked with the rancher who allegedly was forced off his land. He told me the first he heard of this was Monday morning when the FBI called him to ask what was going on at his ranch. He told them, and me, everything was normal. I have also learned his ranch is really of no strategic value to a drug cartel. The ranch is situated above a high cliff facing the river which would make a border crossing extremely difficult, at best. Nothing had happened. We talked for over 30 minutes about several issues regarding this and life around Laredo.

Emphases added.

In other words, and once again, there is no evidence whatsoever that anything at all occurred outside of Laredo. Dvorak and the others’ “evidence” amounts to a case of “I can’t reveal my sources, so trust me.” They rely on an implied conspiracy (“Why is the media not covering this? They must be part of the government cover up!”) worthy of the tinfoil hat crowd, something Bob Owens rightfully calls “Laredo Trutherism.”

Price then reports on the real violence, across the border in Nuevo Laredo, something that was mentioned in a slightly misleading FOX video (see update at the end of the post) that I’ve suspected as a possible seed for this modern myth. It’s the cartel war in Mexico that is the real news and a potentially real threat to our own security, not some fantasy about US territory being invaded.

Meanwhile, as far as I’m concerned, any credibility Ms. Dvorak or her allied bloggers may have had is gone. Until they can provide credible, independent sources willing to go on the record with some sort of physical evidence -video, police radio recordings, whatever- I can only regard them as nothing more than people in desperate need of attention.

RELATED: Two earlier posts about the Laredo invasion fantasy.


Laredo “invasion” nonsense rides again

August 11, 2010

Oh, for Pete’s sake. Pseudo-journalist Kimberly Dvorak, one of the parties pushing the original Laredo invasion fairytale as real news, is at it again, claiming she has evidence that:

“proves the alleged incident did in fact happen and that multiple agencies responded to the scene of a seized U.S. ranch.”

Her “evidence” is supposedly a screen capture of a Laredo PD police blotter that reads as follows:

“On Friday 7-23-10 Laredo Webb informed that their county SWAT Team is conducting an operation in the Mines Rd. area. According to LT. Garcia with LSO (Laredo Sheriff Office) received a call from a ranch owner stating that the Zetas had taken over his ranch. As per the 17 (reporting person) he informed them that they stated La Compania (area name for Zetas) was taking the ranch and no one was permitted on the ranch without permission. SO (Sheriff Office) will have an unmarked green Ford Taurus with two officers stationed at Los Compadres and a white Chevy Tahoe with two officers stationed at Mineral Rd. The LSO (Laredo Sheriff Office) will maintain surveillance in the area and advise if action is taken. Susp (suspect) Veh (vehicle) are described as a gray or silver Audi, a BLK (black) Escalade or Navigator and a van truck with a logo of a car wash spot free on the side. Border Patrol also has their response team on scene. Also known info of BMW’s and Corvettes entering and leaving the area. Auth LT Lichtenberger if assistance is requested LPD (Laredo Police Department) will secure the outer perimeter. (07/24/10 07:42:10 NR1873)”

Bob  Owens of Confederate Yankee has been all over this garbage from the start, and he returns to poke large holes in this new “evidence:”

Digger’s Realm is now trumpeting this as absolution, as is Mondo Frazier from Death by an Thousand Papercuts and Big Journalism.

They choose to believe that a generic computer screen, obtained by unrevealed sources, that cites neither the name or address of the ranch or the person making the call to law enforcement, proves their case.

The want us to believe that the police officers and sheriffs units that weren’t ID’d were deployed, and that the lack of any report of contact or observation by these unknown LEOs is justification for the claims that the various law enforcement agencies and named officials cited in the story who said it didn’t happen, are lying.

We still don’t have an address. We still don’t have a victim. We still don’t have anyone with any eyewitness accounts, or physical evidence that such an event took place.

I’ll add that, if any of the calls regarding this ranch takeover went over a radio, then some police-radio enthusiast in the area must’ve heard it. Why hasn’t that person come forward? And do Dvorak and the other people pushing this “news” really expect us to believe that national news services and all the regional news agencies, such as the Laredo Sun-Times, would ignore or suppress the biggest story of the year, one that’s happening on their doorsteps? Really? They’re all in on it?

If I want conspiracy theories, I’ll watch Three Days of the Condor, thanks.

What I wrote before still applies:

“…spreading unchecked rumors and relying on anonymous sources with no independent confirmation will only give the pro-illegal immigration crowd a large stick with which to beat border-security advocates and conservatives, in general. The situation there is bad enough without propagating falsehoods. If you are helping to spread this fairy tale, knock it off. Don’t just read and link or tweet about it: think about sources, follow the links back.

Read critically.”

Dvorak and anyone else peddling this rumor have absolutely no credibility and should either produce hard, verifiable proof or admit they’ve got nothing except a need to feed their own egos.

In other words, Ms. Dvorak, put up or shut up.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


More about the Laredo “invasion” rumor

July 25, 2010

Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee is doing great work debunking this nonsense. Here’s an excerpt from today’s entry:

Tell Chuck Norris to stand down. Invasion USA never happened.

I contacted both the Laredo Police Department and the Webb County Sheriff yesterday and debunked claims that Los Zetas gunmen from the Gulf Cartel has crossed the border from Mexico and took over two ranches in Texas. The Laredo Morning News also refuted the claim. Pro 8 News, the NBC affiliate, didn’t think enough of the absurdity to even comment on it… they found the installation of a new traffic light more newsworthy.

Absurdly, the same trio of sites that cried wolf are still sticking by their story, utter lack of credible evidence aside.

Cypress News publisher John G. Winder is sticking with the story, not because any additional evidence has been produced, but because the two sources for his version of the story, blog Digger’s Realm and Examiner.com’s San Diego (CA) County Political Buzz Examiner blogger Kimberly Dvorak are standing by their militiamen and anonymous police sources.

The original Cypress Times story? A re-publication of the original Digger’s Realm story.

The Digger’s Realm story? Two anonymous Laredo police sources and a San Diego California Minuteman named Jeff Schwilk who claims he got his information from… an anonymous Laredo PD officer.

San Diego County Poltical Buzz Examiner Kimberly Dvorak? She claims her information also comes from two anonymous Laredo PD sources.

Are we noticing a pattern here? Every bit of of this claim, which has now scattered far and wide across the Internet, can be traced back to two anonymous police department sources of a police department that does not even have jurisdiction where the alleged invasion is taking place.

Be sure to read the rest, as well as Bob’s follow up. And if you want some thoughts on what’s behind this latest example of Internet hysteria, check out Conservative Daily News:

That lead me to ask the age old question, what’s in it for the parties involved.  For Los Zetas, not much.  They get their drugs into the U.S. just fine.  Taking over a few ranches in the U.S. brings the full brunt of the United States of America on them and will almost certainly (I say almost because of present leadership) lead to the absolute shut-down of the border.  The Zetas don’t want that because it would kill-off a huge distribution channel.  Keeping U.S. officials off of their back means they can concentrate on killing members of rival cartels.

What’s in it for Jeff [Schwilk, the Minuteman cited as the original source at Digger’s Realm -Phineas]?  Well, sudden recognition, media attention, perhaps interviews or a book deal.. maybe just some ego petting – unfortunately at the expense of America-loving Conservatives that might rush off to help defend our borders.

There is another portion of the population that would love to see this circus get out-of-hand – progressives.  They would love nothing more than to use someone like Schwilk as a broad brush with which to paint all pro-immigration enforcement Conservatives.  We should and will defend America if she truly comes under threat, but we can’t get taken down on a sham.

As I wrote yesterday, spreading unchecked rumors and relying on anonymous sources with no independent confirmation will only give the pro-illegal immigration crowd a large stick with which to beat border-security advocates and conservatives, in general. The situation there is bad enough without propagating falsehoods. If you are helping to spread this fairy tale, knock it off. Don’t just read and link or tweet about it: think about sources, follow the links back.

Read critically.

And, for Heaven’s sake, stop acting as if the sky is falling.

RELATED: A Fox video has been a source of confusion, as some people think it means Laredo, Texas, is under a lockdown. But watch the video: the city where Americans have been warned to stay indoors is Nuevo Laredo, across the border in Mexico.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


No, Texas has not been invaded

July 24, 2010

An Internet rumor has been spreading for hours now claiming that Los Zetas, a notorious and extremely violent Mexican drug gang, has crossed the border and taken over two ranches near Laredo. The source seems to be a blog called Diggers Realm. See also this breathless account at examiner.com:

In what could be deemed an act of war against the sovereign borders of the United States, Mexican drug cartels have seized control of at least two American ranches inside the U.S. territory near Laredo, Texas.

Two sources inside the Laredo Police Department confirmed the incident is unfolding and they would continue to coordinate with U.S. Border Patrol today. “We consider this an act of war,” said one police officer on the ground near the scene. There is a news blackout of this incident at this time and the sources inside Laredo PD spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Word broke late last night that Laredo police have requested help from the federal government regarding the incursion by the Los Zetas. It appears that the ranch owners have escaped without incident but their ranches remain in the hands of the blood thirsty cartels.

Laredo Border Patrol is conducting aerial surveillance over the ranches to determine the best way to regain control of the U.S. ranches, according to the Laredo Police department.

One problem: It’s not true. Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee took the unusual and daring step of actually calling the Laredo PD and the local sheriff’s office to get the true story. Here’s a part of what he learned:

[Laredo PD Sgt. Perez] also provided me the number of the Sheriff’s Department. The deputy that answered the phone there was less bemused, having also dealt with this rumor multiple times in a short amount of time. She also told me that there was no invasion and no law enforcement siege, and that deputies were continuing normal operations.

So where and how Digger and Examiner.com’s Kimberly Dvorak got their “confirmations, ” I have no idea. But a simple phone call to the relevant authorities showed this was just another Internet myth.

What I do know, however, is that the situation on our border is serious and the dangers faced there are real. Those of us concerned about border security -and on the Right in general- face a hostile mainstream media and political elite looking for anything they can use to dismiss us and smear us as racists and extremists in need of being controlled.

Let’s not give them any ammunition, okay?

UPDATE: The Laredo Morning Times hasn’t heard of any trouble, either. You’d think the local paper would know, wouldn’t you?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)