Sixteen indicted in Houston-area drug, alien smuggling organization

Published on November 5th, 2012

On October 17, 2012, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) posted a news release on its website that bore the headline that serves as the title for this commentary.

Here is a quote from the news release that provides an overview of the successful investigation:

The two-year investigation resulted in the return of two sealed indictments Sept. 20, which were unsealed following the execution of arrest warrants Oct. 16 and 17.

The first indictment outlines a long-term smuggling operation dating back to July 2011. According to the indictment, illegal aliens were smuggled across the United States-Mexico border and were either required to pay a fee or transport narcotics into the country to satisfy their smuggling debt. The indictment outlines how this group allegedly used conference calls during their smuggling venture as they tried to locate and avoid law enforcement.

Aliens and drugs were transported through the South Texas area into and throughout the United States, according to the charges. Those operating the smuggling ring were allegedly paid large sums of money for their involvement.

Certainly those who participated in the investigation, arrests and ultimately the prosecution of this pernicious alien and narcotics trafficking organization should be commended for their work.

This report, however can and should be viewed as a sort of “good news / bad news” story.  It is obviously good that 16 criminals have been taken off the streets.  A number of the criminals who were arrested are citizens of Mexico and El Salvador.  This will likely mean that once they complete their prison sentences, presuming that they are found guilty, either by trial or by entering into a plea bargain arrangement, will be deported from the United States.

The bad news is that, as the saying goes, there are many more where these thugs came from.

We know that there are hundreds of thousands of criminal aliens infesting towns and cities across the United States.

Furthermore, it is important to note the quote in the news release that is attributed to Sean McElroy the Special Agent in Charge of ICE:

"Transnational criminal organizations account for a growing amount of crime in our communities and across the country," said McElroy. “HSI is committed to working together with our local law enforcement partners to keep our communities safe."

Transnational criminal organizations do pose a threat to communities clear across the United States.  This is yet another reason why it is myopic, or worse, to think about the immigration issue as simply a problem for the “four border states” as we have heard noted by so many politicians over the years.  The issue of immigration and border security impacts every one of America's 50 states and, as I have often noted, any state that has a seaport or international airport must be added to the list of those states that lie along America's northern and southern borders.

It is worth considering that Mr. McElroy stated that “Transnational criminal organizations account for a growing amount of crime in our communities across the country.”

If this threat to community safety and national security is growing it is obvious that our borders are not secure.

Nevertheless, the administration has consistently claimed that our borders have never been more secure!

It is certainly impossible to forget how, on May 10, 2011, President Obama addressed a crowd in El Paso, Texas, a city that's located just north of what is arguably Mexico's most violent city, Ciudad Juarez, where he said in part:

"…We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement. All the stuff they asked for, we've done. But even though we've answered these concerns, I suspect there will be some who will try to move the goal posts one more time (someone in the crowd yells "racists!")."

"They said we need to triple the border patrol. Or now they’ll say we need to quadruple the border patrol. Or they’ll want a higher fence. Maybe they'll need a moat. Maybe they want alligators in the moat! They'll never be satisfied, and I understand that. That's politics. But the truth is the measures we've put in place are getting results."

That event and the President's remarks were noted in a news report posted by Fox News and included a video of that speech.  The article was entitled: "Obama: Republicans Want a 'Moat' With 'Alligators' on the Border."

The first step in problem solving is to acknowledge that there is a problem in the first place.

It is also important to note that smugglers often employ the illegal aliens that they smuggle to smuggle narcotics and other contraband into the United States.  Again the point is that the illegal entry of aliens into our country impact crime and national security as much as it impacts America's economy and unemployment.  It may be claimed the illegal aliens do the jobs Americans won't do, but, in point of fact, there isn't a job an American won't do for a living wage and lawful working conditions.

It is also important to note the cooperation cited in the ICE news release that credited the Houston Police Department with working with ICE to achieve the successful conclusion of the investigation.  False claims are often made by those with an open borders agenda that community policing will be harmed if the police become involved with the enforcement of immigration laws.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I spent half of my thirty year career with the INS working with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies on narcotics investigations and even before that I worked closely with members of the NYPD and other police departments.  My authorities as an INS special agent often helped to facilitate investigations into criminal aliens and the criminal organizations they were involved with  and also helped to encourage members of immigrant communities to come forward and become cooperators and informants in criminal investigations.

Those who argue against the enforcement of immigration laws are unwilling to acknowledge the primary two-fold purpose of America's immigration laws, to save American lives and the jobs of American workers.

As for the claim our borders are secure:  if illegal drugs and illegal aliens are able to be smuggled into the United States, our borders are not secure; period!

A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!

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