UTRGV Professor Explains Drug Cartels’ Control on Border
WESLACO - Border experts said the area near Fronton is a hotbed for narcotics and human smuggling.
Experts said transnational criminal organizations are controlling the area. They said local law enforcement also knows these groups control different segments.
Fronton is a small border community three miles west of Roma in Starr County.
UTRGV professor Guadalupe Correa Cabrera said the Gulf Cartel is running operations within the vicinity. Across the river, in Tamaulipas, sits Ciudad Miguel Aleman, a small town which carries a sordid reputation.
“It’s a smuggling municipality where a lot of safe houses are located,” she said. “(It’s) a plaza of the human smugglers connected with the Gulf Cartel.”
She said smugglers work on their own, but answer to cartels.
Correa Cabrera said the Gulf Cartel specializes in drug trafficking. She said their competing cartel, Los Zetas, grabbed for power in the last years.
The Gulf Cartel also had to make more money to fund the war after the Mexican military cracked down on cartels.
“They committed extortion. They got involved in other criminal businesses, such as stealing fuel, stealing hydrocarbons and smuggling and trafficking people,” she said.
Correa Cabrera said human trafficking is more dominant and organized nowadays.
“They have to pay piso in order to cross the river,” she said.
Piso is another word for a smuggling fee. She said everyone, smugglers and immigrants, has to pay something to the Gulf Cartel.
“When you see a boat or people trying to swim, usually they don’t do it for fun,” she said.