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Mexican official says chopper didn’t cross border, fire at U.S. agents

by Daniel Gonzalez and Mariana Dale

A top Mexican official Friday denied a report by Customs and Border Protection that a Mexican helicopter crossed the border into Arizona and fired shots near U.S. agents Thursday.

Tomas Zeron de Lucio, senior director of the Criminal Investigation Agency of the Mexican Attorney General’s Office, said in a statement that the helicopter was taking part in a raid on a ranch near the border being used by a criminal organization to smuggle drugs and illegal immigrants across the border into the United States

As helicopters from the Mexican Attorney General’s Office and the Secretary of National Defense approached the ranch, they were fired upon by the traffickers, Zeron de Lucio said. He said those were the only shots fired.

The incident happened a little over 100 yards from the border, he said.

“I don’t believe we crossed the border, because we had our (navigation devices), but it was exactly 100 meters from the border,” he said, according to a transcript of a conference he held with reporters in Mexico City.

He also said the operation was coordinated beforehand with the CBP.

He said Mexican authorities believe the ranch was being used to smuggle 400 migrants per day into the U.S during the summer season.

Mexican authorities apprehended 27 migrants from Mexico and 13 from Central America. The manager of the ranch was also arrested, he said.

“With the seizure of the La Sierrita ranch, the flow of a large quantity of migrants and drugs crossing from Mexico to the United States has been stopped,” Zeron de Lucio said. “These actions by the Mexican government reaffirm our commitment to combating organized crime.”

Earlier Friday, the CBP issued a statement saying that two shots had been fired at its agents.

The CBP report said the Mexican agents were conducting a mission on the southern side of the border Thursday morning when they crossed 100 yards into Arizona on the Tohono O’odham Reservation.

There were no injuries, and Border Patrol officials are investigating the incident, the statement said..

There have been more than 300 border incursions by Mexican military and law-enforcement authorities in the past decade, according to figures released recently by U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.

Hunter said in a news release last week that the figures were provided by the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS did not respond to a request for confirmation.

Hunter’s data indicated that 152 of the incidents involved armed subjects. Of those, 81 incidents involved physical or verbal contact.

In January, two Mexican soldiers crossed into the U.S. near Sasabe and drew weapons on Border Patrol agents. The soldiers claimed they were in pursuit of three suspects, according to an incident report from the CBP. They lowered their weapons after speaking with U.S. agents and returned to Mexico about 45 minutes after the incident began.

The CBP declined to comment beyond its statement. Here’s a full statement:

“At approximately 5:45 a.m. Thursday morning, a Mexican law-enforcement helicopter crossed approximately 100 yards north into Arizona nearly 8 miles southwest of the Village of San Miguel on the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation while on a law- enforcement operation near the border. Two shots were fired from the helicopter, but no injuries or damage to U.S. property were reported. The incident is currently under investigation.”

See video here.

Mexican Helicopter Crosses Into US, Opens Fire

By John Johnson

It looks like Mexico came uncomfortably close to setting off what surely would have been an international mess. A helicopter believed to belong to the Mexican army strayed across the border into Arizona in apparent pursuit of drug smugglers and fired shots in the vicinity of US Border Patrol agents in a marked car, reports Reuters. Nobody was injured, and the chopper returned to Mexico without incident. The Mexican government later acknowledged that the helicopter did indeed cross the border but said it did so accidentally, reports CNN.

It’s still not clear exactly what happened, but the Arizona Republic notes that another close call occurred in January when a pair of Mexican soldiers in pursuit of drug suspects crossed the border and drew their weapons on Border Patrol agents. The incident ended without shots fired when the US agents explained who they were. Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter of California said last week that Homeland Security knew of 300 incursions into the US by Mexico’s police or army since 2004.

Texas Tea Party Group Warns of ‘Pending Public School Crisis’ from Border Influx

by Bob Price

Texas—The Clear Lake Tea Party (CLTP) is calling on Texas Governor Rick Perry to call a special session of the state legislature to deal with a possible public school health and security crisis due to the massive influx of illegal immigrant children in recent months. The group calls the surge of illegal immigrants “an unprecedented security, public health, and humanitarian crisis for all Texans.”

As estimated 90,000 minors are expected to illegally cross into Texas this year according to the CLTP press release. Because of this, CLTP is asking for a determination by public officials of the impact of the massive numbers of children who will likely remain in Texas and in our school systems across the state.

CLTP asks the Governor to call a special session of the legislature to answer and deal with the following questions and issues:

  • Is your local ISD adequately funded to deal with the influx of so many illegal alien minors, at the cost of $9,064 per student?
  • Do the schools in your ISD have adequate security measures and staffs to manage a large influx of non-English speaking illegal alien students that have grown up in violent countries of origins, been brutalized by traffickers and cartel members, or traumatized by the experience of getting to the United States?  Do your schools have the capability of managing youths that are members of or affiliated with criminal gangs?
  • Are the schools in your ISD prepared to accept illegal alien students from Central American countries that do not have the quality of health care as in the United States?   Are health protocols in place to protect our children from common diseases endemic to the Third World?

Breitbart Texas reported on June 26 that a unaccompanied minor infected with the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) had been confirmed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at their human warehousing facility at Lackland AFB near San Antonio. Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) confirmed this with Breitbart Texas and said, “Having spent the weekend on our border, I can tell you that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is not taking charge of the undocumented children in any kind of reasonable time frame as they are absolutely required to do.”

“It is becoming more and more apparent that the Obama administration’s reckless disregard for enforcing this nation’s laws at the border has become a reckless disregard for human health and life,” Gohmert stated. “Even when they spend a hundred times more than necessary, they can’t even build a website.”

The CLTP press release states that according to the Office of Border Health, the list of communicable diseases crossing the border is staggering; including but not limited to Chagas, Scabies, TB, Leishmaniasis, Dengue Fever, Valley Fever, Measles, Pertussis, Polio, Pinworms and Hepatitis.

“Our communities, and certainly our schools, are not prepared to deal with this. The politicians in Austin should be concerned for our children,” says Mary Huls, President, CLTP.

The group is calling for action by our state’s lawmakers and school district officials who must be prepared to deal with this potential crisis. “All Texas ISD’s should immediately begin planning to accommodate this surge and begin discussions with Texas state and federal legislators,” the CLTP states in its press release. “We must begin the crisis planning immediately to address the catastrophic wave of minor school age children that could be enrolled in Texas schools this coming September.”

“Therefore,” the group concludes, “the CLTP implores Governor Perry to call a Special Session so that the Texas Legislature can uphold their responsibility to the citizens of Texas and deal with all of the peripheral issues as a result of the influx of persons crossing our southern border illegally. We believe that waiting until the January session is not a cost effective or civically responsible maneuver to deal with these urgent issues.”

Patriots Hotline Founder: We’re Forming a Human Chain to Stop Illegals

by Sean Piccoli

Militia members and other concerned U.S. citizens are converging on the border town of Laredo, Texas, on Friday to create a blockade against illegal immigrants crossing into the United States, the organizer of the human chain and protest said on Newsmax TV‘s “MidPoint.”

“This will continue for days and weeks to come” and spread “to other points” along the U.S.-Mexico frontier, Barbie Rogers, founder of the Patriots Information Hotline, said in a telephone interview.

Rogers declined to give an exact head count beyond “more than 50 people” or reveal whether participants are armed, citing worries about their security.

But she said blockaders will follow the same rules of engagement as protesters in an April standoff between federal officials and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.

“Just like at the Bundy ranch, there will be no patriot out there on that line that will fire first,” Rogers said.
Her website on Wednesday posted a “call to ACTION for all Militia, III%ers, Oathkeepers, and Patriotic support personnel.”
“We are trying to contact every person and every patriot in the United States to go down and help do something the government should have done a long time ago,” Rogers said.

As for whether blockaders are carrying firearms, she said, “The situation these men are walking into — they have a very good possibility of being shot by the drug cartels down there, the gang members down there, and also by our own government down there.”

A surge of migrants from Central America, many of them unaccompanied children, has caught border officials off guard and left federal and state authorities in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico scrambling to respond.

Rogers said her organization is stepping into the fray with a message: “We’re trying to say that we the people are fed up.”
“The government promised us a wall down there years ago,” Rogers said. “The money … was supposedly given to put this wall up, and it’s not there. Where is it at? Where’s the money at? The government needs to start having accountability to the people.”
Two political analysts appearing on “MidPoint” criticized the blockade as ineffectual and potentially dangerous.

“There really is nobody who I believe rationally … could think that about 50 or so people could really stop the influx of immigration via just a simple human chain,” said liberal commentator Justin Duckham, senior Washington correspondent for Talk Radio News Service.

“Plus, you also have a situation where, if there are any bad actors and somebody gets hurt, this is going to end up to be a disaster,” he said.

“It’s not a good idea,” said conservative commentator and political strategist Erica Holloway, “and probably not as wise as making sure the people that are supposed to be doing their jobs [in immigration enforcement] are doing their jobs.”

See video here.

Vultures Find Four Dead Illegal Immigrants in Rural Texas County

by Bob Price

Four more bodies of immigrants left to die by human smugglers in South Texas have been found in the past two days. The bodies were found in Brooks County near the small town of Falfurrias, Texas approximately 75 miles from the Texas-Mexico border.

A spokesperson for the beleaguered Brooks County Sheriff’s Office, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Breitbart Texas the four bodies have been found in four separate locations. One of the bodies found today, a skull and some bones of a female, was found south of town on a ranch located off Highway 281. The second, a full body of a man from El Salvador, was found west of Falfurrias on a ranch near Highway 285.

The two bodies found yesterday fell into the same pattern—one south of town and one west of town. The female was found without identification. The male was from Guatemala.

This brings this month’s total bodies found in this one county in Texas to 12. The Salvadorian man found was the 37th body found this year. He was found sitting under a mesquite tree where he had succumbed to the heat and lack of water and had just been left to die.

The county has very limited resources to deal with these bodies. The costs of the burials alone has caused the county to cut the pay of deputies and cut their health insurance benefits. On most shifts there is only one patrol deputy on duty at any given time.

While the on-duty deputy was processing today’s first body, the report of the second body came in. Brooks County Chief Deputy Benny Martinez had to respond to the second call to process the crime scene.

Because all of the county’s resources were tied up, two important calls were put on hold. The first was a report by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents of an alleged smuggling operation and the second was an ICE report of an alleged rape outcry from a minor female.

“We are only finding the bodies because of the buzzards,” Chief Martinez said. “As we move into July’s heat, this is only going to get worse.”

Martinez told Breitbart Texas that in June 2013 only seven bodies had been found for the entire month. “We are at twelve already for this month.”

Deputies: Park ranger beaten with pipe when he interrupts sexual assault

by Phil Archer

Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office deputies say a Houston park employee put his life on the line to stop a rape.

It happened at Cullinan Park on Highway 6 near the Sugar Land Airport. The park is owned and operated by the city of Houston, but is located in Fort Bend County.

The park is closed at 9 p.m. every night, but it was well after that when a city park ranger on patrol spotted the suspect sexually assaulting a woman and intervened. He stopped the attack but ended up in the hospital as a result.

It was about 3 a.m. Monday when park ranger Conrad Wilturner drove through on patrol and immediately spotted a car in the parking lot. Inside that car, police say, a man was sexually assaulting a woman.

The victim was too injured to talk to Local 2 on camera, but a family spokesperson said she was forced into the back seat of a car and sexually assaulted for hours. Her face and body are bruised and battered.

She knew her attacker, they said.

Sheriff’s deputies identify the man as 25-year-old Miguel Velasquez. When Wilturner stepped in to stop the attack, they say Velazquez attacked him with a steel pipe, beating him on his face and head.

Velasquez fled, leaving the woman behind. Both she and Wilturner were hospitalized.

Velasquez was arrested a few hours after the incident in the 7200 block of Clarewood. He’s been charged with sexual assault and aggravated assault of a public servant. He is being held on a total bond of $750,000.

The park ranger is still hospitalized at Memorial Hermann Hospital. He’ll have to undergo a series of reconstructive surgeries.

The victim’s spokesperson said if it wasn’t for the park ranger who intervened she may not have survived. They are thankful and hope to meet him in person one day.

See video here.

Possible suicide in tea party figure’s death

By Paul Steinhauser

Mark Mayfield, a tea party leader, who was one of three men charged with conspiring to photograph Sen. Thad Cochran’s wife in her nursing home, was found dead on Friday from a gunshot wound in a possible suicide, police said.

“We found him at his home with a gunshot wound in his head. We found him deceased there. We are working this currently as a suicide because all of the indications, it appears to be suicide, but we still got some things to look into,” Ridgeland, Mississippi, Police Chief Jimmy Houston told CNN.

“He left a suicide note and we are verifying its validity,” Houston said.

Last month’s incident of alleged political “dirty tricks” escalated tensions in what was already an ugly Republican primary fight between Cochran and conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

Cochran’s wife in nursing home for years

Mayfield was charged a week after a conservative blogger and supporter of McDaniel’s primary challenge was arrested for obtaining an image of Cochran’s wife, who suffers from dementia and has lived in a nursing home for 14 years.

McDaniel’s campaign denied any connection to the incident.

Mayfield’s attorney, Merrida Coxwell, said in a statement e-mailed to CNN that he was a client “but more importantly, he was a friend for almost 34 years. My heart is completely broken. This is beyond tragic and the people of this community and state have lost a good man and citizen.”

In a phone call with CNN, Coxwell added, “It’s not important to me how it happened. It happened today. Mark’s wife called and texted me that Mark was deceased.”

Coxwell also said Mayfield is survived by his wife and two children.

Tough primary

McDaniel narrowly edged out Cochran in the June 3 primary, but with neither man cracking 50%, the contest moved to Tuesday’s runoff, which Cochran won by fewer than 7,000 votes.

Cochran’s victory was aided by votes from African-American Democrats, who were actively courted during the runoff campaign by pro-Cochran forces.

According to Mississippi law, voters are not required to register with a political party, and anyone who doesn’t vote in a primary election can cast a ballot in either party’s runoff.

McDaniel repeated his vow to use every legal maneuver available to fight the runoff results.

Ex-Marine Freed From Mexico Prison at Last, Back in U.S. With His Family

by Jason Howerton

A Marine veteran jailed for months in Mexico after trying to carry a family heirloom shotgun across the border has been freed, U.S. officials and his lawyer said late Friday.

The attorney for 27-year-old Jon Hammar tweeted Friday night that his client had been released from a detention center in Matamoros, Mexico.

“Jon is out, going home!” Eddie Varon Levy tweeted.

Patrick Ventrell, the acting deputy spokesman for the State Department, confirmed Hammer’s release and return to the U.S. in a statement Friday night.

“Officials from the U.S. Consulate General in Matamoros met him at the prison and escorted him to the U.S. border, where he was reunited with members of his family,” the statement said. “We sincerely appreciate the efforts on the part of Mexican authorities to ensure that an appropriate resolution was made in accordance with Mexican law, and that Mr. Hammar will be free to spend the holidays with his loved ones.”

An aide to a legal representative of the Mexican attorney general’s office had told U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s staff about the pending release after the Florida Democrat’s office got word from Hammar’s mother, according to a press release from Nelson’s office.

“No American should be in a Mexican jail for five months without being able to have his case in front of a judge,” Nelson said in that statement. “We’re grateful; this is a good Christmas present.”

Earlier Friday, Varon Levy said he was flying from Mexico City to Matamoros to pick up his client. After that, the attorney said, they intended to cross the border at Brownsville, Texas. “I’m very happy. I feel that the Mexican legal system came out the way it should have,” he said.

A defense lawyer said Mexican authorities determined there was no intent to commit a crime, Nelson’s office said. The senator was among a handful of elected officials who urged the State Department to help get Hammar out of Mexico. His family had said he was being held in isolation after threats to his safety were received.

“These past few months have been an absolute nightmare for Jon and his family, and I am so relieved that this whole ordeal will soon be over,” said U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., in a statement. ” I am overcome with joy knowing that Jon will be spending Christmas with his parents, family and friends.”

The attorney, Varon Levy, said the path for Hammar’s return was cleared when Mexican officials decided not to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Civilian gun ownership is illegal under Mexican law unless the owner purchases the weapon from a special shop run by the country’s Department of Defense.

“The Department of State warns all U.S. citizens against taking any type of firearm or ammunition into Mexico,” the U.S. Embassy in Mexico writes on its website. “Entering Mexico with a firearm, certain types of knives, or even a single round of ammunition is illegal, even if the weapon or ammunition is taken into Mexico unintentionally.”

Mexican law also bans shotguns with barrels of less than 25 inches. The family said Hammar’s shotgun has a barrel of 24 inches.

Tourists are allowed to bring guns for hunting on rare occasions, but Mexican officials said all visitors must receive a special permit before entering the country. Mexican customs agents do not issue gun permits. As a result, anyone crossing the border with a firearm or ammunition without a previously issued government permit is in instant violation of Mexican law, which stipulates long jail terms for breaking weapons laws.

Hammar and his friend were on their way to Costa Rica in August and planned to drive across the Mexican border near Matamoros in a Winnebago filled with surfboards and camping gear. Hammar asked U.S. border agents what to do with the unloaded shotgun. His family said agents told them to fill out a form for the gun, which belonged to Hammar’s great-grandfather.

But when the pair crossed the border and handed the paperwork to Mexican officials, they impounded the RV and jailed the men, saying it was illegal to carry that type of gun. Hammar’s friend was later released because the gun did not belong to him.

Before Hammar’s release, Varon Levy said he was not sure of his client’s immediate plans upon being freed. “Probably some down time,” he said.

U.S. family jailed for Holder’s gun crimes

by Jeff Knox

Eighteen months after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered in Arizona by Mexican bandits using guns purchased through a U.S. government program called Fast and Furious, we still don’t know who within the Department of Justice knew about the program, much less who authorized it.

Certainly there has been no serious talk about prosecuting any of the people responsible for assisting in the illegal sales of over 2,000 guns to Mexican arms traffickers – guns that were subsequently involved in the murders of BPA Terry and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata, as well as possibly hundreds of Mexican citizens.

But while that investigation has dragged on, with Attorney General Eric Holder denying knowledge of the program, denying knowledge of who was involved and denying congressional investigators access to tens of thousands of documents that might answer those questions, New Mexico gun dealer Rick Reese and his two sons Ryin and Remington have sat rotting in separate detention centers, jails and prisons around the state accused of a similar crime involving some 30 guns.

The Reese family, including Rick’s wife Terri, ran a gun shop in Deming, N.M., and was arrested in late August of 2011 on charges of knowingly selling guns to Mexican smugglers and various other related charges.

After spending 6 months in jail, Terri Reese was finally granted bail in March of this year, but Rick and the boys have been repeatedly denied bail on the pretext that they are flight risks or might try to engage in a Ruby Ridge-type standoff.

The rationale for denying the Reeses’ constitutional rights is that Rick knows some people in Mexico, his home has a well and solar power and there were guns and ammunition in their homes and businesses when they were arrested. That’s right: Guns and ammo in the home and business of a federally licensed firearms dealer (all of which were seized a year ago and have never been returned) is being offered as evidence that they can’t be trusted – and a judge bought it.

Well, there’s also the fact that Rick and Terri were involved with a local tea-party group. That’s probably reason enough right there.

The Reeses are scheduled to finally get their day in court in late July, almost a full year after they were arrested and incarcerated. The first of several pre-trial motion hearings was held last week in which the judge heard arguments as to whether the charge of criminal conspiracy should be dropped. The prosecution contends that the Reese family members were all in cahoots in a conspiracy to sell guns to illegal buyers, falsify purchase paperwork, smuggle guns to Mexico and launder the illegal proceeds. The defense contends that the family operated a business buying and selling firearms, ammunition and accessories, and that they made every effort to ensure that every sale they made was legal and properly documented.

During this first hearing, we learned several things about the prosecution’s case. For instance, we learned that prosecutors acknowledge that every gun the Reeses sold was properly logged into and out of their store inventory, and that FBI background checks were conducted, and approvals received, for each purchaser. They also agree that all taxes were paid and no money was exchanged “under the table,” nor did any of the family members receive compensation above their normal company paycheck.

We learned that Rick Reese also employed retired and off-duty law enforcement officers as part-time help in the shop, and that a substantial portion of the company’s business came from law enforcement officers and agencies.  Continue reading here.

Feds Jail New Mexico Family, Seize Everything They Own for Being Honest Legal Firearms Dealers

by da Tagliare

This has got to be one of the grossest miscarriages of law enforcement that I’ve read about lately.

Rick and Terri Reese, along with their two sons Ryin and Remington ran a federally licensed gun shop in Deming, New Mexico.  They kept meticulous records of all the firearms and ammunition they purchased and which were purchased by customers.  They performed the required FBI background checks when necessary.  Basically, they ran their gun shop by the letter of the law for 17 years.

Even much of their hired help was legal as the Reeses often hired law enforcement officers who were either retired or off duty, to work in the gun shop.  This brought in a substantial amount of business with the law enforcement community and agencies.

In 2011, Terri noticed a customer that had purchased seven AK-47 pistols in one day.  The customer, Penny Torres, told Terri that they were having a family reunion at a ranch in the area and that they all liked to shoot.  Terri was suspicious of Torres story and being the law abiding gun dealer she is, she reported her suspicions to one of her friends that worked with the Luna County Sheriff’s Department.  Terri told him that she suspected Torres might be a ‘straw buyer’ (someone who purchased guns for illegal purposes such as going over the Mexican border to the drug cartels, kind of like what the US government did with Operation Fast and Furious).

The Luna County Sheriff’s Department officer Terri reported to was someone she trusted and who she always turned to if they had any need for law enforcement.  He told her that he would promptly report it to ATF and would let her know what happened with the case.

Torres was subsequently arrested, but ended up making a deal with the feds for leniency by implicating the Reese family as knowingly selling guns that were to illegally cross the border into Mexico.  This launched an investigation by a recently formed federal agency known as Homeland Security Investigators (HSI), who set up a sting operation to entrap the Reeses.

HSI hired a confidential informant called Roman, who was seeking a reduced sentence for human trafficking and drugs smuggling.  Roman agreed to go to the Reese’ gun shop, purchase weapons and drop hints that they would be heading across the border into Mexico but to do so in such a way as not to alarm them and cause them to refuse the sale.  Roman was fitted with a wire to record everything that was said.  HSI figured that if the Reeses sold the guns to Roman, that they could then arrest them on gun walking charges.

Shortly after Roman made his gun purchases, the feds swooped in to arrest all four members of the family.  HSI and local law enforcement raided the gun store and the Reese home.  They came in helicopters, armored vehicles and too many heavily protected and armed law enforcement officers to count.  Not only were the four members of the Reese family arrested, but the feds confiscated every gun, all ammunition from both their store and their home, then they confiscated the home, cars, bank accounts, coin collections and virtually everything the family owned.

Each member of the family was eventually taken to a different jail or prison facility to be held without bail until their trials.  The prosecution argued that they were flight risks or might even stage a Ruby Ridge type stand off because their home had a well and solar panels and they had found guns on the premises.  Can you imagine that?  They actually found guns and ammunition in the house and place of business of federally licensed gun dealers.  It was also noted by the prosecution that Rick and Terry Reese were part of the local Tea Party, which must have made them look violent in the eyes of the prosecutor.

Six months after being arrested, Terri Reese was allowed to post bail, but the courts continued to withhold bail for the father and two sons.  Continue reading here.