Texas law enforcement drones captured footage of a purported drug cartel squad patrolling the Mexican side of the Rio Grande directly across from Fronton Island.
Chris Olivarez, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), shared a video on social media showing the armed group of possibly cartel-connected individuals.
“While conducting saturation patrol on [Fronton Island], [Texas DPS] heard gunshots from Mexico,” Olivarez explained. “A DPS [drone] captured 4 heavily armed cartel operatives near the Rio Grande in Mexico directly across Fronton.”
“This type of intimidation tactic is commonly used to disrupt law enforcement operations,” he added. “DPS will maintain a proactive posture & deny illicit transnational criminal activity near the Texas-Mexico border.”
As reported by The Dallas Express, DPS began operations on Fronton Island, a 170-acre island in the Rio Grande, in an effort to stop it from being used as a hub for cartel activity like human trafficking and drug smuggling.
Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham responded to the video, saying, “Make no mistake, violent cartels are taking advantage of an empty Oval Office. The only thing standing between us and them is our brave [Texas DPS], [Customs and Border Control], [and the Texas Military Department].”
“Thank y’all for keeping Texans safe!” she said.
Buckingham was instrumental in allowing Texas forces to secure the island, designating it state-owned land so that counter-cartel operations could be authorized.
As the General Land Office (GLO) explained at the time, “Fronton Island has served as a hot spot for drug and human trafficking and dangerous cartel activity in the past couple of months. This more than 170-acre island is the latest state-owned island the GLO has allowed DPS to police and patrol in order to stem the flow of illegal immigration and various unlawful, dangerous cartel activities.”
In response to the cartel activity observed by authorities, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered a special operations group from DPS to secure the island and plant the Texas flag, as reported by The Dallas Express.
The border crisis has led to increased tensions between Texas and the federal government. At a recent event in Irving, Abbott said, “We literally are at war with the White House, fighting to secure our own border.”
Federal border patrol agents have been observed cutting concertina wire placed by Texas at the border. The Department of Justice has also sued Abbott for deploying non-lethal water buoys in the river to deter unlawful crossings.
For its part, the Biden administration has been blaming Congress for the border crisis, with a recent Department of Homeland Security memo saying, “President Biden has called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform since his first day in office.”
“As a result of Congress’ failure to enact the reform, the Administration has been using the limited tools it has available to secure the border and build a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system while leading the largest expansion of lawful pathways for immigration in decades,” DHS concluded.