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Video: Suspected Mexican cartel member smuggles dozens of Mexican migrants across river into Texas

Migrants in Matamoros, Mexico. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
March 11, 2021

A suspected Mexican cartel member was seen masked while smuggling dozens of migrants across a river into Texas in a video shared Thursday by a retired captain from the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division.

Jaeson Jones, who is also the Director/CEO of Omni Intelligence, a company that works to raise awareness of the threats posed by unsecured borders, posted the video on the social media platform TikTok.

“What you are about to see are migrants who have just paid the Peso or the tax to the Cartel and an independent smuggling group working directly for [the Cartel],” Jones said ahead of the video. “Now they’re moving them into the United States.”

The original video without Jones’ commentary was later shared to Twitter.

Jones pointed out the masked smuggler’s body language and gear.

“You’re literally seeing a handoff from a criminal organization, that is responsible for thousands of murders in Mexico, handing these people off to a U.S. law enforcement officer,” Jones said.

Jones said U.S. law enforcement, specifically U.S. Customs and Border Protection, aren’t to blame because they were diverted from border security to migrant care and processing.

“Now we’ve talked about for some time and this is happening all along the Southern border in Texas right now,” Jones said. “Be safe.”

Also on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has expressed concerns about the situation on the southern border, but “many of those [concerns] have not been based in fact.”

“So let me go through a few of those because I know we’re all interested in facts around here,” Psaki said. “Governor Abbott has referred to what is happening at the border as ‘open borders’ as us having an ‘open borders’ policy. That is absolutely incorrect.”

The border is not open,” she continued. “The vast majority of individuals apprehended or encountered at the border continue to be denied entry.”

On Saturday, Abbott deployed the state’s National Guard troops and state law enforcement to help fight what he called a “crisis” at the southern U.S. border, and condemned President Joe Biden’s administration for “escalating” the crisis.

“The crisis at our southern border continues to escalate because of Biden Administration policies that refuse to secure the border and invite illegal immigration,” Abbott’s statement read, as KFOX14 reported. “Texas supports legal immigration but will not be an accomplice to the open border policies that cause, rather than prevent, a humanitarian crisis in our state and endanger the lives of Texans. We will surge the resources and law enforcement personnel needed to confront this crisis.”

Biden’s administration has repeatedly denied that a crisis exists on the border between the U.S. and Mexico, with the president himself refusing to characterize the overwhelming number of migrants at the border as such.

“Today Texas launched Operation Lone Star to respond to the border crisis,” Abbott tweeted over the weekend. “It deploys Nat’l Guard + DPS Officers + air, ground, marine, & tactical border security assets to deny Mexican Cartels & smugglers the ability to move drugs & people into Texas.”

Operation Lone Star is being executed through a partnership between the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to combat drug smuggling and human trafficking into Texas.

Additionally, over 3,200 migrant children were held in Border Patrol facilities on Monday and almost 1,400 have been held in Customs and Border Protection facilities beyond the 72-hour legal limit, according to documents obtained by the New York Times.

The number of unaccompanied children detained along the border between the United States and Mexico has tripled over the last two weeks, filling facilities “akin to jails” as President Joe Biden’s administration attempts to find room for the children in shelters, the documents said.