The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) seized weapons, body armor, and ammunition in a recent human smuggling raid in El Paso. These arrests were made in connection with several Mexican cartels, a report from The Center Square reveals. The cartels, identified as the Nuevo Cartel De Juarez and La Linea Cartel, operate out of El Paso County and Sunland Park, New Mexico. The FBI has already issued warnings about the high levels of human smuggling and kidnapping in the region, deeming it a major destination for such criminal activities.
The Human Smuggling Ring
The bust, which was executed through Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security mission Operation Lone Star, led to the apprehension of several individuals tied to the cartel. Eli Smith, a spokesman for Texas DPS, confirmed the raid and provided additional details regarding the operation. In addition to the arrests, authorities also seized firearms and ammunition from the cartels.
In El Paso, DPS special agents, and Highway Patrol troopers have been working in collaboration with the U.S. Border Patrol agents to identify members involved with the human smuggling ring. Several individuals connected to the cartel were arrested after a traffic stop during which a short-barrel firearm was discovered in one of their possessions. This individual was believed to be providing security for the human smuggling operation. Law enforcement officers, particularly the DPS, were able to identify other individuals involved in the smuggling ring through social media posts that showed them heavily armed, wearing cartel attire, and espousing allegiance to the La Linea Cartel. The subsequent execution of a search warrant in El Paso led to the discovery and seizure of a cache of weapons and ammunition.
In New Mexico, State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents also conducted a series of search warrants and arrests, leading to the seizure of 10 firearms, body armor, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Mexican nationals Lorena Anyla Enrique Acosta, 28, and Edmundo Rodriguez Padilla, 24, were among those arrested, with Acosta previously being employed as a Mexican state police officer. Two New Mexican individuals, Adam Isaiah Ramirez, 27, and Gustavo Alexis Enriquez Acosta, 23, were also arrested in conjunction with the operation.
All four men were charged with several state and federal offenses, including possession of a prohibited weapon, human smuggling, alien in possession of a firearm, and conspiracy to transport and harbor. A comprehensive investigation is currently underway, and DPS officials expect to apprehend other individuals involved in the cartel as the investigation progresses.
The DPS officials have mentioned that this latest case and seizure underscores the need for collaboration between law enforcement agencies to tackle gun violence within the community, particularly the increased criminal activities perpetrated by the cartels. With the Biden administration’s refusal to take concrete steps toward border security, the task is becoming increasingly perilous for local businesses and residents, as highlighted by the case.
However, as the bust further unfolds, plans to bring these criminals to book and ensure the safety of communities remain at the top of Texas DPS’ agenda, Commander Juan Sanchez mentioned. This commitment to safety is underpinned by the recent passage of legislation to increase penalties for human smuggling and those operating stash houses.
DPS’ ASK FOR PUBLIC SUPPORT
The DPS has urged local residents to remain vigilant about their surroundings and report any suspicious activities to prevent future criminal activities. They have also asked the public to report any human smuggling activities by calling El Paso Crimestoppers at (915) 566-8477.ContentSize-heavy pieces continue to pose a challenge, and Texas DPS’ quest for collaboration led to the passing of legislation to increase penalties for pipe operators to $5,000, linked to transnational crime. These stash houses, often connected to criminal gangs or cartels, can be identified by large volumes of trash outside, sporadic vehicle movements, and frequent vehicle changes, all signs of a house being used for criminal activities. Ultimately, they’ve reiterated that operations can be dangerous, and for the sake of personal safety, it is advised to abstain from approaching any involved individuals or their property.
A Serious Collaborative Effort
The operation in El Paso and Sunland Park has been part of the broader strategy to counter transnational crime, with DPS West Texas Region Commander Juan Sanchez highlighting the successful identification of multiple stash houses. Historically, the stash houses held groups of 20-30 people, but numbers have surged in the wake of the Biden administration’s open-door policy. Now the houses hold groups of 50, 100, and even 150, posing a significant challenge to border security. Local enforcement partners quickly realized the need to join hands to tackle the transnational activities’ threats. Sanchez has reassured the people that with their help, the goal – bringing perpetrators to justice, smashing their criminal organizations to prevent subsequent criminal activities and keep communities safe – remains on course.
The governor’s office announced a $5,000 reward for anyone with actionable information leading to a stash house connected to transnational crime in a bid to further heightened security at the border. The increasing complexity of the situation has led to an increase in penalties and a broadening of what is considered an illegal activity.
The DPS has urged public engagement in its ongoing effort to secure communities and eliminate criminal activities. Enforcement agencies have outlined key steps to identifying possible locations. The importance of this collaboration became apparent as the DPS and local law enforcement detected multiple stash houses. This notable deterrent was brought to light as local businesses and the wider community continued to face an integrity threat due to the overburdened system.
The influx of individuals crossing the Texas border and looking for a place to stay has caused a surge in the number of stash houses. As a result, the authorities and local residents have raised concerns over the implementation of proper security measures and the management of transnational and criminal activities. This year the Texas legislature increased penalties for human smuggling, shifting the focus towards eliminating criminal activities across the state.
A Growing Threat
Sanchez is concerned about the far-reaching implications of the surges. While the numbers are increasing in the wake of the Biden administration, these multi-tenant houses become fertile ground on which transnational criminal enterprises proliferate. With the increased operational sphere and issues surrounding the implementation of basic security measures, the DPS and its partners have been hard at work trying to outsmart the perpetrators.
Chevron The border is now facing growing pressure from transnational criminals, endangering local businesses and communities in massive ways. It is this same concern that has seen enhanced efforts to clamp down on these activities through significant financial considerations, increased repercussions for violators, and broader intelligence support.
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The Way Forward
The governor, through Operation Lone Star, has been working tirelessly to rid the state of illegal and violent activities. The outreach and engagement with other enforcement agencies across the state continue to bear fruit and, in collaboration with the residents, they are determined to continue growing their resilience and vigilance to thwart illegal activities across the state.
The DPS has requested the public to remain attuned to their surroundings and report suspicious occurrences, and in doing so, remain an essential tool in stamping out transnational criminal activities. The agency has also emphasized the importance of continuous sharing and building alliances to ensure that such criminal activities are tackled with the utmost seriousness.
In conclusion, local authorities have made considerable strides in addressing transnational criminal activities, but maintaining security within the community remains an ongoing effort. All signs show that the Texas governor and enforcement agencies have upped their commitment with the latest legislation, and efforts to ensure overall safety seem robust. The continuous threats from criminal organizations underscore the need for a joint effort to eliminate and prevent criminal activities within and across the state.