DHS memo outlines plans of drug cartels sending assassins into Arizona; Update I: Washington Times story provides more details; Update II: DHS now claims information was inaccurate but never contacted Sheriff’s office

Posted on October 15, 2010


Time’s up. We need to completely seal our southern border.  It’s not about people coming here for work, it’s about keeping our citizens safe.  We need to know exactly who is coming here and what business they have in our country. 

Having miles and miles of insufficiently patrolled border has been an open invitation for the Mexican drug cartels to smuggle copious amounts of their wares into our country.  It also has apparently led to bandits stealing from the smugglers working for the cartels.  The result? The drug cartels are planning on sending hired assassins into our country to hunt down and kill the bandits stealing from them.

From KPHO Channel 5:

 Mexican drug cartels have plotted to send assassins into Arizona to murder bandits who are stealing drugs from the cartels, according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by CBS 5. (emphasis mine)

 A CBS 5 law enforcement source said the memo was sent to several law enforcement agencies in May.

 The memo said, “We just received information from a proven credible confidential source who reported that a meeting was held in Puerto Penasco in which every smuggling organization who utilizes the Vekol Valley was told to attend. This included rival groups within the Guzman cartel.”

 The cartel is one of the most powerful and dangerous cartels in Mexico.

 The Vekol Valley is a known drug smuggling corridor in Pinal County.

 The memo says, “It was decided to send a group of 15, very well equipped and armed sicarios (hired assassins)complete with bullet proof vests, into the Vekol Valley.” (emphasis mine)

 The cartels would then “send groups of ‘simulated backpackers’ carrying empty boxes covered with burlap into the Vekol Valley to draw out the bandits.” Once identified, according to the memo, “the sicarios will take out the bandits.” (emphasis mine)

After CBS 5 informed Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu it knew about the memo, Babeau confirmed his agency was one of several Arizona law enforcement agencies that was sent the memo in May. 

“We need to be plain and clear with the American people about this information. You’ve already confirmed it. I’m not going to lie about it,” said Babeu during an interview Thursday afternoon. “This is no longer a law enforcement matter. This is literally a national security threat to our country,” said Babeu. “These drug cartels are working in tandem to now bring this violence here to America. And this is alarming because to this point, we haven’t seen this, a coordinated response from drug cartels who nearly have toppled the Mexican government.” (emphasis mine)

 Babeu did not give details, but said he has received several similar memos from federal law enforcement agencies about Mexican cartel activity taking place within Arizona’s borders.

 “All of these things are proof and evidence that we need help here. That it’s not just local law enforcement that needs to fight this. That we do need armed soldiers to the border to stop this. This threat is real,” said Babeu.

But when contacted by 9 On Your Side reporter Jessica Chapin, a DHS spokesman discredited that e-mail.  Matthew Chandler, a spokesman with DHS’s Media Relations office in Washington, admitted that DHS sent out the advisory in May.  But in an e-mail to Chapin, he wrote, “This particular information proved to be inaccurate.  At this time, DHS does not have any specific, credible information on intra-cartel violence taking place in Arizona.”

When Chapin relayed that response to Babeu’s public information officer, Tim Gaffney, Gaffney was incensed.   The fact that the Pinal County Sheriff’s office had to hear about DHS’s disavowal third hand, through KGUN9 News, clearly did not sit well with him.

In response, Gaffney fired off a challenge to Chandler by e-mail.  It read in part, “Can you please explain to me how the Department of Homeland Security can say that the information was ‘proved to be inaccurate?’  The intelligence information disseminated by your office was correct regarding the Deputy Puroll shooting and four weeks later we had two illegal immigrants murdered in this same area described in the email where they said it would take place.  One of the illegal immigrants was armed with an assault rifle.” 

Gaffney also pointed out to Chandler that over the past several weeks, officers have found several spotters, as also predicted in DHS’s May advisory.  As Friday evening, Gaffney still had not received a response.

The federal government’s first and foremost duty is to protect its citizens.  Sheriff Babeu is right. The fact that the drug cartels are actively planning and perhaps have even started to send hired killers into our country is a threat to our citizens and our national security.  These killers could possibly be walking the streets of our cities already.  Maybe the “undocumented immigrant” arrested in Chandler over the weekend in a stabbing and beheading of another immigrant is related to this?  Who knows? But beheadings sure seem to fit the modus operandi of the drug cartels these days.

Sheriff Babeu says that his office received the memo in May.  What have we seen from the Obama administration in response to the border and illegal immigration issue since then?  A paltry 1200 National Guard troops assigned to the entire southern border with NO detention or arrest authorization.  They are only to observe and report.  Just how will that help?

I ask AGAIN: when will our federal government take border security seriously?

UPDATE I:

The Washington Times has picked up the story and added a few more details.  Read it here.

UPDATE II:

A local Arizona news station is now reporting that after contacting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), they were told  the information in the May memo detailing assassins coming into Arizona was inaccurate:

But when contacted by 9 On Your Side reporter Jessica Chapin, a DHS spokesman discredited that e-mail.  Matthew Chandler, a spokesman with DHS’s Media Relations office in Washington, admitted that DHS sent out the advisory in May.  But in an e-mail to Chapin, he wrote, “This particular information proved to be inaccurate.  At this time, DHS does not have any specific, credible information on intra-cartel violence taking place in Arizona.” (emphasis mine)

This apparently came as a huge surprise to the Pinal County Sheriff’s office who had heard no such thing from DHS.  In fact, the Sheriff’s office was irate that they had gotten the information from a news outlet instead of being contacted by DHS directly:

When Chapin relayed that response to Babeu’s public information officer, Tim Gaffney, Gaffney was incensed.   The fact that the Pinal County Sheriff’s office had to hear about DHS’s disavowal third hand, through KGUN9 News, clearly did not sit well with him.

In response, Gaffney fired off a challenge to Chandler by e-mail.  It read in part, “Can you please explain to me how the Department of Homeland Security can say that the information was ‘proved to be inaccurate?’  The intelligence information disseminated by your office was correct regarding the Deputy Puroll shooting and four weeks later we had two illegal immigrants murdered in this same area described in the email where they said it would take place.  One of the illegal immigrants was armed with an assault rifle.” 

Gaffney also pointed out to Chandler that over the past several weeks, officers have found several spotters, as also predicted in DHS’s May advisory.  As Friday evening, Gaffney still had not received a response.

  If, as the Department of Homeland Security claims, the information had proven to be inaccurate, why wouldn’t DHS have notified the Sheriff’s office?  Does DHS normally send out memos and not bother to correct them when they are found to be unsubstantiated?  If so, doesn’t failing to notify local law enforcement of a change in assessment lead to a waste of time and resources by officers, in essence sending them on a “wild goose chase?”   Or, was it just incompetence that someone forgot to let local officials know of the inaccuracy?

Given that the Sheriff’s office has reported activity in the areas predicted, it seems more likely the May memo is right on target.  So, why would DHS now claim the information was unfounded?  Perhaps, since the media has gotten a copy of the memo, the feds are trying to tamp down any potential backlash from the public.  Knowing that drug cartels have sent paid killers across the border and into our country certainly doesn’t make DHS  look the least bit competent in its efforts of trying to secure the border.  The same border that they claim they’ve spent more money on than any other administration, and made much safer by deploying National Guards troops to aid the Border Patrol in their duties.

So here, at the end, we’re left with three choices: 1 – the memo was inaccurate as DHS claims and they didn’t bother to notify local law enforcement =  waste of resources; 2 – the memo was inaccurate and they forgot to notify local law enforcement = government incompetence; or 3 – the memo is totally accurate and they’re covering their butts so as not to look like they either are uncaring about drug cartels sending killers across the border, or they’re incompetent to do anything to stop the cartels from carrying out their plans.

What will it be? 1, 2, or 3 ?

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