Cartels taking advantage of Eagle Ford traffic to sneak their dope through
The rapid development of the Eagle Ford shale formation in South Texas is leading not just to a huge oil boom, but also to a boost for drug gangs in the area, according to federal officials.The cartels are largely responsible for the human trafficking through the area which is also on the increase. That is putting more pressure on the border enforcement. The cartels are aggressive in their bribes of those who might otherwise turn them in.
Customs and border protection agents told the National Journal that the vast array of new infrastructure in the area means drug cartels have a web of new smuggling routes open to them.
On top of that, gangs have the perfect cover, often stealing trucks bearing company logos so they can pose as workers and smuggle in drugs including marijuana, heroin and cocaine. Some also engage in human trafficking.
"(The situation) is definitely being taken advantage of by the cartels in Mexico," Charles Goslin, a retired CIA officer now with security firm Butchko, told the Houston Chronicle. "The Zetas control the (route) that comes up through Nuevo Laredo, it gives them access to the I-35 artery and on to the big retail markets in Chicago."
The Zetas have been called by the US Government, "the most technologically advanced, sophisticated and dangerous cartel operating in Mexico."
Goslin says the gold rush-like boom in Eagle Ford is perfect for them.
"It's a big, big area, about the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined... Eagle Ford is a modern day boom town America," said Goslin, "Border patrol are aware of it and they're trying to get their hands around it."
The new infrastructure available to cartels "has changed us and what we do," agent Ricardo Aguirre of Border Patrol told the National Journal. "We have increased traffic here and there's increased people traversing through here and trying to get through, but by the same token we also have an increased number of eyes out there to report any illicit activities."