Ruthless Mexican cartels are exploiting Joe Biden’s relaxed immigration stance to turn people trafficking into a billion-dollar racket ‘worth more than dope’, a DailyMail.com investigation can reveal.
The president tore up hardline Trump policies after taking office but denies sparking a crisis along the southern border where authorities are struggling to deal with a surge in migrant families and unaccompanied kids crossing illegally.
A slew of experts and well-placed law enforcement sources have told DailyMail.com, however, that notorious drug gangs including the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas are seizing upon the reforms to ratchet up human trafficking operations.
As one source told us: ‘The cartels have realized that under Biden there is serious money to be made from people trafficking without any of the distribution issues you face with narcotics. People are the new dope.’
DailyMail.com visited a handful of border towns this week along the Rio Grande Valley, the southernmost tip of Texas and the frontline in what Biden officials insist is an immigration challenge rather than a full-blown crisis.
US authorities are struggling to deal with a surge in migrant families attempting to enter the country at the Mexican border after President Biden relaxed immigration policies. Pictured: A large group of Central American migrants are apprehended by US Border Patrol Agents in Penitas, Texas on March 12
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the number of migrant apprehensions reached 78,323 in January 2021 – double the amount from January 2020. The migrants are classified, their property is checked and depending on their situation either transported to a processing center or returned to Mexico
Sources tell DailyMail.com Mexican cartels are exploiting Biden’s lax policies now that they realize there is serious money to be made from human trafficking without any of the distribution issues faced with narcotics
A CBP source explained to DailyMail.com that the massive influx of migrants – particularly children – offers a two-fold benefit to the cartels, which are now able to access short staffed areas when agents are tied up with migrants for hours
Yesterday we described how our reporters caught a team of smugglers red-handed as they ferried nearly 100 immigrants from the Mexican city of Ciudad Miguel Aleman to Roma, Texas where the Rio Grande is barely 100 yards wide.
But as Jaeson Jones, a retired captain from the Texas Department of Public Safety chillingly reveals, it’s almost certain the cartels had spies – known as ‘halcones’ (hawks) – watching our every move from both sides of the river.
Jaeson Jones, a retired captain from the Texas Department of Public Safety, revealed Mexican cartels essentially control everything on both sides of the Rio Grande and communicate back and forth daily on encrypted radios
‘I’m going to be very frank with you: when you’re down there the cartel knows you are there. They are watching you as soon as you leave the highway, feeding information back to Mexico,’ he warns.
‘They control everything on both sides of that river and communicate back and forth daily on encrypted radios.’
Jones, whose Omni Intelligence firm briefs government agencies on the threat of transnational crime, said many of the lookouts are American citizens.
Last week Republican lawmakers shared a shocking video that Jones obtained of masked cartel smugglers ferrying a line of immigrants across the Rio Grande.
‘Remember that every Mexican citizen that you see crossing the river is worth 2,500 bucks. If they’re Venezuelan, Guatemalan or Honduran they paid $3,000.
‘If they’re Chinese they paid $5,000. If they’re Middle Eastern or Russian they paid $9,000. If you’re a higher value commodity they make sure you get over at a quieter spot.’
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the number of migrant apprehensions reached 78,323 in January 2021 – double the amount from January 2020.
Mexican citizens crossing the river are said to be worth $2,500; Venezuelans, Guatemalans or Hondurans, $3,000; Chinese migrants are $5,000; and if they’re Middle Eastern or Russian, they paid $9,000, according to Jones
Married couple Jordi Marin and Marcela Glaica from Guatemala and her son crossed the border illegally in Penitas, Texas on Friday, March 12. She said they were on their way to New York City
DailyMail.com also found scores of discarded plastic bracelets close to known landing sites all stamped with the words ‘llegadas’ (arrivals) or ‘entregas’ (deliveries)
The wristbands, which are similar to those distributed for admissions at carnivals or festivals, come in an array of colors that border agents suspect is a way to organize and classify different migrant groups
In February, CBP encountered 100,441 migrants attempting to enter the U.S. along the Southwest border – up 28 per cent from the previous month.
Under former President Donald Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ crackdown, the majority of detainees were expelled at the nearest port of entry and had to apply for asylum from outside the country.
But now that Biden has scrapped the policy, migrants with young children are being routinely released in the US with an I-862 form – a notice to appear before an immigration court at a later date.
Unoccupied minors, meanwhile, are being housed at CBP facilities operating at 700 per cent of their intended capacity until they can be placed in the care of US-based relations.
The problem is sufficiently bad that on Saturday the Department of Homeland Security ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – an agency more accustomed to battling natural disasters – to ‘help receive, shelter and transport children’ for the next 90 days.
In February, CBP encountered 100,441 migrants attempting to enter the U.S. along the Southwest border – up 28 per cent from the previous month
Sources say cartels are using large migrant groups who get stopped as ‘decoys’, so the single adults, the criminals, the drugs can come over elsewhere
The problem has become so dire that on Saturday the Department of Homeland Security ordered FEMA)- an agency more accustomed to battling natural disasters – to ‘help receive, shelter and transport children’ for the next 90 days
On Thursday night, 600 migrants had been taken into custody at a Border Patrol station during an eight-hour shift. A typical figure was about 40
A CBP source explained to DailyMail.com that the massive influx of migrants – particularly children – offers a two-fold benefit to the cartels.
As well as charging them thousands of dollars in transport fees and ‘taxes’, every convoy of migrants caught entering the US ties up agents for potentially hours at a time.
And as they document, transport and tend to the needs of the hundreds of migrants they encounter each day, a process further complicated by social distancing and COVID protocols, different areas of the border become short-staffed.
‘They know for a fact the big groups will get stopped but they use them as decoys so the single adults, the criminals, the drugs can come over elsewhere,’ the source said.
‘There have been rumors out of Mexico that some of the gangs even stashed migrants away until Biden took office as they knew it would be easier to milk the system.’
The smugglers encountered by DailyMail.com Saturday night made no attempt to hide or halt their operation as we photographed and filmed their flotilla.
Democrats have claimed they inherited a ‘broken system’ while Republicans say the Biden administration sparked chaos at the southern border by ripping up Trump’s hardline policies
Elsa and her son Anderson, from Honduras, are allowed to stay at the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley shelter in McAllen, Texas. They crossed the border near Hidalgo, Texas
Under President Trump, the majority of detainees were expelled at the nearest port of entry and had to apply for asylum from outside the country. But now, migrants with young children are being routinely released in the US with an I-862 form – a notice to appear before an immigration court at a later date. Pictured: A mother who crossed with her son received a Notice To Appear (NTA) from the Department of Homeland Security after being apprehended by U.S Border Patrol
That’s because Cartel bosses use low level operatives – often teenagers or men in their early 20s – as their coyotes, or smugglers.
The punishment for disobeying orders or failing to meet a quota of crossings would likely outweigh the fear of getting caught, sources said.
Border Patrol agents told us they frequently found signs posted near the waterfront guiding migrants toward the nearest road or town.
DailyMail.com visited the U.S. – Mexico border in Roma, Texas where boatloads of migrants were seen crossing into the U.S.
As the night drew on, this brief, chaotic encounter was repeated again and again as scores of migrants crossed one of the narrowest sections of the Rio Grande with virtual impunity
Over a two-hour period a three-man trafficking crew made five drop-offs, cramming as many as ten people into a boat designed for four
The children sobbed loudly as a menacing figure sat at the back of the raft barking at them to hurry up so he could head back to Mexico
DailyMail.com also found scores of discarded plastic bracelets close to known landing sites all stamped with the words ‘llegadas’ (arrivals) or ‘entregas’ (deliveries).
Similar to the sort of thing that might be handed out at a carnival or a pool party, they come in an array of colors that border agents suspect is a way to organize and classify different migrant groups.
It seems like a mundane detail but it’s typical of the sort of painstaking planning that makes the Mexican cartels some of the most feared criminal organizations on earth.
‘We can talk about illegal immigration but that’s merely a symptom along with the drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, the money laundering and so on,’ Jones adds.
‘The core problem is the cartels – and the obscene amount of money they stand to make.’