Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Ultra-Organized and Elaborate Tactics of Mexican Drug Cartels

Amazing article:

Low, anti-vehicle Normandy barriers, recently installed, ran along the border. Rodriguez said that traffickers use flatbed tow trucks to drop dope-filled vehicles over the barriers. They drive over higher vehicle barriers on portable, custom-built metal bridges. [...]

Cartel surveillance teams generally know how long it will take a law-enforcement unit to get from one point to another — they measure response times. They are familiar with the protocols of Border Patrol shift changes. They know that there are fewer agents in the field on weekends. They have mapped everything — all the forest lanes wavering away from the Lochiel gate, for example, as well as the dead-end spur roads. They know whether the Border Patrol has been using trackers in an area and how much lead time a group will need to outpace them.

If a vehicle crossing the border at Lochiel trips a sensor or is otherwise detected and law enforcement responds, scouts direct it onto a spur road, where its driver covers it with brush and a camouflage tarp. (Scouts may also note the potential presence of a new sensor.) Already provisioned for this eventuality, drivers will wait for minutes or hours or days, until the roads are clear.

Traffickers use decoy groups to walk across the border at known sensor locations. Or they may employ banzais, who simultaneously scale border fences and scatter, vacuuming up manpower. Jim Chilton told me that 12 men with assault rifles once marched across the border and straight at a National Guard surveillance post. The men paused while the alarm rippled through the system and then crossed back. As Border Patrol units and tactical teams and sheriff’s deputies and helicopters descended on the post, smugglers crossed en masse for miles on either side.

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