"Zacatecan migrants, lost souls who roam the banks of the Tijuana River."
The United States is on the other side of the yellow stripe painted on the concrete bed of the Tijuana River, a dry river. On the north of the line, United States Border Patrol Agents who patrol in dazzling white colored light trucks keep a permanent watch. To the south of the line, the lost souls spend the night in vigil, in front of the glare of the stadium lights which protect the American Dream.
On the Mexican side of the border fence, the principal Tijuana drainage canal collects a gallery of deportees and vagabonds, of smugglers and drug addicts removed from the opposite side. The majority are undocumented individuals who were returned to Mexico after serving jail sentences to the north. According to United States law, they are "criminal aliens." Within that group there are restaurant workers who were arrested for being drunk as well as seasoned criminals, freed after several years in jail.
"Most of us are here because they kicked us out of there" says Juan Saucedo, 29, who shares a Coco Krispies cereal box with other residents of the area. He is known as "Zacatecas", the name of the Mexican state which he abandoned at 14 years of age to head toward Long Beach, California.
"Zacatecas", who was deported seven years ago, cleans cars' windshields and makes barely enough to deal with the symptoms of heroin withdrawal. Other times, he gets more money from smugglers who pay him to distract the Border Patrol Agents while their clients climb over the security fence.
Tijuana Police round-ups have reduced this bunch recently, but some dozens of these subjects roam the dry river bed's no-man's land night after night.
The smugglers of illegal aliens offer each one of them, at discounted prices, the possibility of being reunited with their lovers, with their children, with the jobs they left on the other side of the fence....but without a guarantee of being able to keep their promise.
"Many of those persons have important links in the community, and that always has a strong impulse" says Virginia Kice, spokesperson of the Immigration and Customs security service (sic) in the Los Angeles area. "They may have relatives there. And if they are involved in criminal activities, that also is a potential incentive."
The magnetic attraction from south to north is so powerful that at times it engenders violence.
Last month, Border Patrol Agents faced a group of persons who were throwing rocks over the fence. That is a common distraction ploy orchestrated by the smugglers. The majority was dispersed with pepper gas. One man refused to run. Therefore, an agent took out his rifle and shot him in the back. The man was hospitalized for a short period. The agent, a 10 year veteran of the Border Patrol, was reassigned to administrative duties while an investigation is conducted, And life goes on in the zone, as before.
Barely a week after the shootout, "Zacatecas" is one of half a dozen subjects who spend the days at a place where a panoramic view of San Diego may be observed. There's a department store, a warehouse of the Salvation Army and a drive-thru restaurant. Someone begins to tell dirty jokes. Others shout sarcastic greetings at a Border Patrol Agent who watches them, seated in a Jeep less than a meter away, on the North American side.
The loudest laughter comes from Carlos, 23 years old, deported two months ago from Los Angeles. On his back, Carlos has a huge tattoo of The Most Holy Death, a Mexican cult figure which resembles the Grim Reaper.
Suddenly, the jokes cease and all heads turn towards a place on the fence, to the east of the river. The news rush out that a woman has just climbed the fence. A car located at a parking lot on the United States side of the fence suddenly leaves at full speed, carrying the woman inside. A reporter signals, trying to find the spot where the woman crossed, but no one wants to point with their finger in any direction, because the Border Patrol cameras record every movement and the smugglers do not wish to reveal their secrets.
Carlos, who asked that his surname not be disclosed to avoid problems with the United States immigration officials, admits that he received 200 dollars to coordinate the woman's crossing, the distraction maneuvers and the rest. Carlos returns to his favorite place and takes out a marihuana cigarette from one of his pockets. He lights it and smiles broadly as he lets out the smoke. He says "The only thing missing for the night to be a perfect one is a damn guitar."
La Jornada (Mexico City) 10/23/08
- "At least" forty subjects forcibly abducted and carried off "at least" ten other persons at El Madrono,, near Jimenez de Teul, Zacatecas. The abductors were wearing uniforms similar to those used by federal security forces. At that locale, they also entered the town's offices and carried off four more persons. This article then continues with reports of armed groups shooting and killing two individuals in the state of Mexico, another forcible abduction in Aguascalientes, four assassinations in Chihuahua, including that of a police officer, and another one in Rosarito, Baja Calif., this one a car-to-car gunfire assault.
- The recent arrest of Jesus Zambada, "El Rey", brother of Sinaloa Cartel boss "El Mayo" Zambada, turned up weaponry decorated with ivory, gold, silver and precious stones, as shown in the attachment photo. "El Rey" is also linked with the murder of Edgar Millan, top ranking member of Mexico's Federal Preventive Police, in May of 2008.
El Imparcial (Hermosillo, Sonora) 10/22/08
When a Mex. military patrol unit was on patrol in Agua Prieta, Sonora (just across from Douglas, AZ), they saw a p/u truck make a sudden evasive u-turn; minutes later they found the truck, now abandoned. Inside: a .50 cal. Barrett rifle, two AK47 assault rifles - one Romanian built, the other Egyptian built - plus a Russian 308 rifle and a Brazilian .38 Super pistol, 27 clips for these weapons and 624 rounds of ammo.
Noroeste (Culiacan, Sinaloa) 10/23/08
The cadavers of "at least" 19 persons were found near midnight at kilometer 42 of the Xochimilco-Cuautla highway (in the small state of Morelos, just south of Mexico City); all had been given a "coup de grace" shot. This takes place less than 48 hours after the arrest of Reynaldo Zambada, brother of Ismael, "El Mayo", Zambada, the Sinaloa Cartel boss.
This "mass execution" is the third one in less than two months. 24 subjects were executed at La Marquesa, state of Mexico, on Sep. 10th; that was followed by the 18 bodies, all also with "coup de grace" shots, in Tijuana on Sep. 29th.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FORMER BORDER PATROL OFFICERS
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Foreign News Report
The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) extracts and condenses the material that follows from Mexican and Central and South American on-line media sources on a daily basis.