Abbott Gives Pass in Order to Cartel
Linked to Border Governor Partners

Capitol Inside
September 22, 2022

Governor Greg Abbott made it look like he's playing favorites in the drug war in Mexico on Wednesday when he designated two cartels that are based there as foreign terrorist organizations in an executive order that put the Department of Public Safety on their path with the goal of shutting down their operations in Texas.

Abbott issued an executive order that singled out the Sinaloa Cartel and the New Generation Cartel as the targets of an unprecedented state crackdown on the Mexican narcotics industry's operations in the Lone Star State. But the Republican governor failed to include the Gulf Cartel or other major Mexican drug smuggling syndicates in the decree, which he justified based on a surge in fentanyl seizures and deaths in Texas and other states as well.

The omission was more than conspicuous in light of the fact that Abbott forged partnerships during the spring with a pair of Mexican border governors who have ties to the Gulf Cartel that are more than incidental or tenuous. Governors Francisco Javier García Cabeza de Vaca of Tamaulipas and Samuel Alejandro García Sepúlveda of Nuevo Leon were among a quarter of Mexican counterparts who signed agreements that Abbott drafted with promises to enforce border security on the side of the Rio Grande.

Garcia the governor of Tamaulipas has long been associated with the Gulf Cartel in federal investigations and court cases in Mexico. The Gulf Cartel is anchored in Matamoros across the Rio Grande from Brownsville. The Garcia who leads Nuevo Leon has an uncle who's former Gulf Cartel boss known as El June. Garcia's father was suspected of serving the Gulf Cartel as a major player in its financial operations.  

Abbott also excluded the Juarez Cartel from the directive as a major organization that is still in business even though it's weakened in recent years since the arrest of chief leader Vicente Carrillo Fuentes. Ciudad Juarez is located across the river from El Paso in the state of Chihuahua.

The Texas governor's partners in the joint law enforcement operations included Chihuahua Governor María Eugenia Campos Galván. The Juarez Cartel's future has been in limbo with factions from the two groups that Abbott named competing for the valuable turf as the major entrance point for drugs in the western U.S.

Abbott persuaded the Mexican governors to ink the deals in exchange for an end a paralyzing hold that he had on border cities for more than a week in early April with DPS truck inspections at international bridges that brought traffic, trade and local economies to a halt. Abbott had all four travel to Austin for photo ops at the Texas Capitol. The president of Mexico accused Abbott of extortion as a consequence of the epic power play.

Abbott trumpeted the accords with the Mexican governors for weeks as historic achievements that made it possible for Texas to secure the border in another victory for the state police and military mission Operation Lone Star. The Texas Military Department and the DPS tweeted videos and photos of training exercises with police in Mexico - jazzing it up at one point with pictures of officers facing each other on the north and south banks complete with a hashtag Operation Mirror Image.

"Operation Mirror Image demonstrates the shared solidarity across the border in the Operation Lone Star mission to stop would-be illegal immigrants from ever crossing the Rio Grande," the TMD said on Facebook in May. The post included a photo that showed the backs of two Texas troops glaring across the Rio Grande at what appears to be a Mexican police vehicle with a pair of officers standing beside it.

Abbott ended the promotional campaign for the historic agreements with fellow governors abruptly in the early stage of summer - and he hasn't mention them since. The pacts with the Mexican partners became a source for jokes on both sides of the river about Texas enlisting the cartels to secure the border for the state.

While the deals were successful as a short-lived publicity gimmick for a governor who aspires to be the president, they were toothless from the start much like the new executive order that takes aim at two specific drug organizations while giving rivals a pass.

The Abbot decree left the door open to the foreign terrorist designations for "any similarly situated Mexican drug cartels who may be identified in subsequent proclamations."

Abbott could have kept the targets of the edict generic by applying it to Mexican drug dealing organizations. The decision to narrow it to only two raises eyebrows.

more to come ...






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