Monitor, The _McAllen, TX_ 1/1/1997 - 31/12/2018
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1 US TX: Some Cartel Bosses Are Born in the U.S., but Work inSun, 23 Jun 2013
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Ortiz, Ildefonso Area:Texas Lines:150 Added:06/24/2013

McALLEN -- The ongoing debate regarding immigration reform has once again brought the topic of border security to the forefront.

In South Texas, the area that has seen a sharp increase in drug trafficking runs from treacherous waters of the Rio Grande to the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints in Falfurrias and Sarita, the last law enforcement waypoint along the roads leading from the Texas-Mexico border to inland metropolitan areas.

In those areas, drug smugglers tied to Mexican drug cartels work ingenious ways of moving their drugs to their destinations without detection by law enforcement.

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2 US TX: Group Targets Drug Prohibition, Wants 'DifferentThu, 23 Aug 2012
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Lopez, Delcia Area:Texas Lines:119 Added:08/24/2012

ALAMO - Tears came down the face of Alma Estrada as she recalled the call she received two years ago telling her that gunmen had kidnapped her brother.

His fate remains a mystery.

Estrada, a lifelong Alamo resident, shared the story of her brother, Roberto Banda, 40, who worked as a road builder in Soto La Marina, Tamps., before his disappearance.

Tales of desperation like Estrada's were shared by the various members of the Caravan for Peace movement, which made a stop Thursday afternoon in the Rio Grande Valley along its way to Washington, D.C.

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3 US TX: Caravan For Peace, March Against Drug War, To Visit RGVSat, 18 Aug 2012
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Ortiz, Ildefonso Area:Texas Lines:62 Added:08/22/2012

ALAMO - A movement looking to end Mexico's drug war is set to arrive here in an effort to raise awareness to that country's rising death toll.

On Thursday, Javier Sicilia's Caravan for Peace is scheduled to make a pit stop in Alamo for a day of events and personal testimonies related to Mexico's ongoing cartel violence, which has produced more than 60,000 deaths and 10,000 disappearances.

Group organizers claim that drug prohibition has failed.

The war on drugs has produced painful consequences in both Mexico and the United States, leaving a trail of death, pain and corruption in its path, the group's news release states.

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4 US TX: Laredo Businessman's Conviction A Window Into DrugSun, 13 Nov 2011
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Aguilar, Julian Area:Texas Lines:192 Added:11/15/2011

The high walls of Alexander Estates, an affluent development nestled near this border city's country club and golf course, were supposed to keep the narcotics world at bay. But when federal agents raided the stately home of a downtown perfume salesman in January, it reinforced a notion that is feared by Texas leaders: The drug war spillover from Mexico is much broader than shootouts and kidnappings -- it is cloaked in the seemingly routine business transactions of the border economy.

Neighbors stood, mouths agape, as federal agents seized loads of cash from the home of Vikram Datta, a polite family man who acquaintances said was so concerned with the quality of Laredo schools that he moved his teenage daughters back to their native New York. Federal agents leveled an accusation that shocked other residents: that Datta, 51, was a major player in the Black Market Peso Exchange, a decades-old system of laundering drug money and reinvesting it back into the economy.

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5 US CA: Former Sheriff's Deputy Indicted On Federal Drug ChargesMon, 18 Jul 2011
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Taylor, Jared Area:California Lines:60 Added:07/18/2011

McALLEN - A former Hidalgo County sheriff's deputy faces federal charges that he conspired to possess and distribute pot bundles while on the job.

Heriberto Diaz, a former burglary investigator, was indicted by grand jurors last week in U.S. District Court in McAllen. Documents detailing the charges were filed Friday in federal court.

Diaz's former partner, Omar Salazar, pleaded guilty last month in federal court to the conspiracy charge. Both men also face state charges in the corruption case.

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6 US TX: Investigators Question Rising Numbers Of Drug SmugglersSat, 21 May 2011
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Taylor, Jared Area:Texas Lines:165 Added:05/22/2011

NEAR DONNA -- A U.S. Border Patrol agent spotted the men as they approached the floodway levee under the moonlight early Friday morning.

She focused an infrared telescope on the figures, tracking seven men as they marched north near Farm-to-Market Road 493 about 2:15 a.m. Friday, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in McAllen.

Each person carried a large bundle with about 35 pounds of marijuana strapped to their backs. The agent quietly kept the LORIS scope focused on the figures for nearly two hours.

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7 Mexico: 12 Suspected Zetas, Mexican Marine, Killed in ShootoutMon, 09 May 2011
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Taylor, Jared Area:Mexico Lines:100 Added:05/09/2011

A dozen suspected Zetas drug cartel members and a Mexican marine died in a battle Sunday on an island surrounded by Falcon Lake, within sight of the U.S.-Mexico border, officials said.

The Mexican naval secretariat confirmed the shootout at a Zeta encampment on an island on the reservoir used by the Zetas to stage marijuana loads to be transported by boat into the United States. The island is located less than two miles northeast of Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, Tamps., across the border from Falcon Dam.

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8 Mexico: Mexican Residents Fear Cartel Violence at Independence CelebrationsSun, 12 Sep 2010
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Hernandez, Martha L. Area:Mexico Lines:155 Added:09/14/2010

Many Expected to Stay Home on Sept. 16

REYNOSA - The latest casualty of Mexico's drug violence isn't a cartel hit man, an elected official, a cop, a soldier or even an innocent bystander.

No, that body being carted away on a stretcher is the freedom and festivity one would typically expect as a nation celebrates the bicentennial of its independence from its erstwhile colonial master.

After several months of escalating drug violence, some Mexican cities have moved their bicentennial celebrations to earlier, ostensibly safer, times or have beefed up security - even in the absence of any specific threat. Other cities have cancelled independence celebrations altogether.

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9 US TX: Local Officials Question Drug War, Emphasize Need ToFri, 21 May 2010
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Taylor, Jared Area:Texas Lines:192 Added:05/22/2010

McALLEN -- Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino got his start fighting the drug war in 1974, buying street-level heroin as an undercover police investigator in Austin.

The war on drugs was young then. Just four years before, President Richard Nixon launched a new battle against drug abuse in the United States.

Throughout his career, Trevino worked with various local, state and federal drug task forces before he took the helm as Hidalgo County's top cop in 2005.

* Drug war stories on

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10 US TX: Mexico's Drug War Impacts All Sectors, Witnesses TellThu, 29 Apr 2010
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Roebuck, Jeremy Area:Texas Lines:123 Added:04/30/2010

McALLEN -- An exhaustive 10-hour day of testimony provided no clear agreement on whether drug violence had "spilled," "bled" or otherwise seeped across the Texas-Mexico border.

But as one Pharr resident told a joint panel of state lawmakers Thursday: No matter what words are used to describe it, the ongoing drug war in Mexico is having daily impact on those living in the Rio Grande Valley.

Patricia Martinez, a licensed drug counselor, beseeched legislators during a hearing at the McAllen Convention Center to help her efforts to locate her 20-year-old son, a U.S. citizen who was kidnapped from a Reynosa restaurant last year.

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11 US TX: Border Members of Congress Call for Funds to Fight Cartel ViolenceWed, 21 Apr 2010
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Jones, Jared Area:Texas Lines:107 Added:04/24/2010

Members of Congress representing areas along the border with Mexico are asking for an emergency disbursement of at least $500 million in federal funds to fight narcotics and organized crime along the frontier.

Nine U.S. representatives from border states - a group that includes the entire Rio Grande Valley delegation - sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging her to include immediate funding for border security in an emergency supplemental spending package.

The letter asks for an Appropriations Committee bill to include money for improving communications capabilities in remote areas of the border, supplementing a program that aids local law enforcement's efforts to prevent spillover violence and putting more federal agents along the border and at the nation's land ports.

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12 US TX: After Home Invasion, Mission Police Chief Terms 'Bleed-Over of Violence'Wed, 21 Apr 2010
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Taylor, Jared Area:Texas Lines:123 Added:04/23/2010

MISSION - Police Chief Leo Longoria said his city and the surrounding area has experienced a "bleed-over of violence" coming from Mexico.

His community remains secure, he said, but he still would welcome National Guard troops to the city, as Gov. Rick Perry has requested from the federal government for communities along the border.

Above all, Longoria said residents should remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings.

"I don't believe we have a uncontrollable spillover," he said. "What we have is a bleed-over of violence."

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13 US TX: BP: Frequency, Size of Marijuana Seizures Keep ClimbingTue, 26 May 2009
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Ley, Ana Area:Texas Lines:57 Added:05/26/2009

McALLEN -- The frequency and size of marijuana seizures in the Rio Grande Valley continues to grow significantly compared to last year, the U.S. Border Patrol announced this week.

During the week of May 11 to May 17, for example, the agency's Rio Grande Valley sector confiscated more than nine tons of marijuana compared to 3.8 tons during the same time period in 2008.

Agents conducted 60 seizures that week, according to a Border Patrol news release.

Officials attributed the 71 percent increase in narcotics seizures to increased manpower and a better infrastructure to prevent drug smuggling.

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14 US TX: Column: What If Mexico Really Did Implode?Sun, 18 Jan 2009
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Comer, Andy Area:Texas Lines:104 Added:01/20/2009

I remember being worried about living so close to Mexico when I first moved to the Rio Grande Valley. Mexico seemed like an untamed, violent and dangerous place to a guy from Ohio who considered Taco Bell to be Mexican food.

In the northern part of the United States, it always seemed to me like anything made in Mexico or even associated with Mexico was looked down upon. There were maybe one or two Latino families among the sea of white faces in my suburban Ohio town, and no one spoke fluent Spanish outside of Spanish class. Needless to say, my exposure to anything Hispanic before I moved to the Valley was extremely limited.

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15 US TX: Juvenile Jackpot?Sun, 04 Jan 2009
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Ley, Ana Area:Texas Lines:99 Added:01/05/2009

Teen Smugglers May Provide Loophole For Criminals

The two boys tried to smuggle 44 pounds of marijuana into the United States. Soon after the authorities caught them, they were released - free of any criminal charges - to reunite with their families and return to their home country.

On Dec. 9, officers at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge stopped a northbound 2000 Ford Explorer driven by one of the two boys - both 16 years old and Mexican nationals - and found five packages stuffed with pot inside one of the SUV's tires.

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16 US TX: Border Patrol Pot Seizures Up Significantly First WeekSat, 13 Dec 2008
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Ley, Ana Area:Texas Lines:47 Added:12/14/2008

McALLEN -- U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley seized 188 percent more marijuana the first week of December this year compared to the same period last year, according to figures from the agency.

Agents seized more than 20,600 pounds of marijuana throughout the Valley from Dec. 1 to Dec. 8.

The largest seizure was more than 3,600 pounds and had an estimated street value of $16.5 million. The drugs were found inside a trailer at the checkpoint near Falfurrias.

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17 US TX: The Price Of JusticeSun, 07 Dec 2008
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Roebuck, Jeremy Area:Texas Lines:190 Added:12/07/2008

Temptation Of Corruption Also Lurks Within Legal Profession

Joel Carcano Jr. stands apart from his 12 co-defendants in an ongoing federal case against one of Texas' most violent prison gangs.

A college-educated paralegal for a McAllen law firm, he appears out of place when lined up with the tattooed gang members, convicted felons and other associates named in the same nine-count indictment.

The others stand accused of a slew of murders, drug smuggling attempts and kidnappings over the past eight years - all undertaken to protect the Texas Syndicate's criminal interests in the Rio Grande Valley.

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18 US TX: Red Ribbon Week Celebrates Drug-Free LifeWed, 29 Oct 2008
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Garza, Nora N. Area:Texas Lines:61 Added:10/31/2008

Local schools have been displaying banners and red ribbons in observance of Red Ribbon Week. The National Family Partnership organized the first nationwide Red Ribbon Campaign in honor of DEA agent Enrique Camarena, who was tortured and killed in 1985 while investigating drug trafficking in Mexico.

To honor his memory and his fight against illegal drugs, his friends and family wore red badges made of red satin. From there, coalitions of caring parents adopted red ribbons as their symbol to reduce the demand for drugs in their communities.

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19 US TX: FBI: Zetas Arming for Confrontation With U.S.Tue, 28 Oct 2008
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Roebuck, Jeremy Area:Texas Lines:141 Added:10/30/2008

Recent U.S. efforts to disrupt drug smuggling routes through the Rio Grande Valley have prompted threats of retaliation against authorities on this side of the river, according to an FBI intelligence report.

Vowing to maintain control over valuable trafficking corridors such as those in Reynosa, Matamoros and Miguel Aleman, the Gulf Cartel and its paramilitary enforcement wing, Los Zetas, have begun stockpiling weapons, reaching out to Texas gangs and issuing orders to "confront U.S. law enforcement agencies to zealously protect their criminal interests," the report states.

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20 US TX: Peyote PityMon, 30 Jun 2008
Source:Monitor, The (McAllen, TX) Author:Roebuck, Jeremy Area:Texas Lines:174 Added:07/01/2008

For South Texas Vendors of the Ceremonial Drug, Business Is Dwindling

A sign in front of Mauro Morales' Rio Grande City home announces his business for everyone to see. "Peyote Dealer," it proclaims in large block letters.

Each day, drivers passing by slow down for double takes and some even pull over, get out and snap photos.

Who can blame them?, Morales asks with a mischievous grin.

He is, after all, part of a dwindling fraternity.

The slight, 65-year-old Rio Grande City man is one of only three people in the United States - all in Starr and Webb counties - -authorized to harvest and sell the psychedelic cactus.

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