Posted: Jan 4, 2012 7:23 PM
Updated: Jan 5, 2012 10:58 AM
ZAPATA COUNTY - The battle against cartels in Zapata County is taking a different turn. Deputies say they're getting fewer threats. It may be because the cartels are changing the game.
"Sometimes you don't know if you're going to go back home or not," says Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez.
A fear we showed you months ago is changing.
"I think the threats have subsided quite a bit," says Gonzalez.
Threats are haunting echoes of what may soon come.
"Is the threat going down? I don't think so. It's just either the cartels are changing their operations or we are doing a very, very good job at preventing them from coming across," says Gonzalez.
A change in cartel operation could put many lives at risk. Deputies patrolling already worry about returning home injured. Fishermen in the county's lake are limited where they can cast.
"We just don't know when we are out at 2 in the morning at a ranch load close to the river bank and get accosted by individuals like it's happened before with machine guns," says Gonzalez.
Deputies have found two abandoned boats and an empty pickup on Zapata County's riverbanks. These were the warning signs: the cartel is in town.
"We patrol all the areas. Some areas we are more careful and have more backup readily available. We patrol all areas of Zapata County. No one is going to prevent us from patrolling what we are suppose to be at," says Gonzalez.
Gonzales says that won't change. He knows the threats may return as soon as the sheriff's department catches on to the cartels' new game.
Cartel men shot at the deputies twice last year. Gonzales says he wouldn't be surprised if the prison gangs start threatening. More local gangs are teaming up with the cartels.