Texas DPS shares drone footage showing Mexican cartel operatives using explosives near border

October 26, 2023
Ben Marquis

Thanks to President Joe Biden's policies, the nation's southern border which was once considered relatively safe and secure under the prior administration is now a highly dangerous place left wide open for anybody to cross, including those who would harm America and the American people.

The Texas Department of Public Safety recently released drone footage that shows suspected Mexican drug cartel members using explosives as an intimidation tactic against U.S. law enforcement agencies and others near the Rio Grande River, according to Fox News.

This is but one of multiple incidents occurring with increasing frequency, according to Texas officials, in which the emboldened drug cartels, who are engaged in a turf war on the Mexican side of the border, are engaging in violence using firearms and explosives against each other and law enforcement on both sides of the border.

Cartel use of explosives caught by surveillance drone

On Wednesday, Texas DPS spokesman Lt. Chris Olivarez shared on X-Twitter a brief video of drone footage that captured suspected cartel operatives in both thermal and non-thermal view throwing explosives just south of a strategically placed island in the Rio Grande that was recently seized by the state.

In the thermal view, what appears to be four individuals grouped together throw an object off to their left that then explodes, followed a moment later by another object thrown to their south that also exploded just seconds later.

That same video clip captured in the pitch black of night was also replayed in non-thermal view, and while the four suspected cartel operatives were invisible in the thick darkness, spiraling sparks could be seen trailing the thrown objects as well as the resultant explosions, followed by what appeared to be green lasers, presumably attached to rifles, that pierced the darkness and exposed their position in the backwash of light.

Cartels engaged in "acts of violence" and "intimidation tactics"

In the social media post, Lt. Olivarez wrote, "Cartel Operatives continue to carry out their acts of violence & escalate their intimidation tactics directly across #FrontonIsland. @TxDPS captured cartel operatives near the Rio Grande throwing explosives."

"The Mexican Drug Cartels remain the cause of ongoing gun battles in Los Guerra, MX, as the battle over lucrative smuggling routes intensifies. This has a direct impact on border operations & the safety of residents in Fronton," he added along with an ironic "BorderSecurity" hashtag.

Texan efforts to reclaim control of cartel-occupied Fronton Island

It was just about two weeks prior to the posting of that video that the Center for Immigration Studies published an account of what was essentially a paramilitary operation involving Texas Rangers, Texan military personnel, and Texas State Police to seize control of what is known as Fronton Island, which is located in the Rio Grande River between the U.S. and Mexico.

That operation, reportedly ordered by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), had been deemed necessary due to the fact that the Mexican drug cartels had occupied the 170-acre, one-mile-long island as a particularly strategic outpost for financially lucrative smuggling routes as well as to stash drugs and weapons.

The island was also reportedly being used with "impunity" by the warring cartels -- predominately the Gulf Cartel and the Cartel del Noreste -- to fire shots into the U.S. at Border Patrol agents, Texas law enforcement and National Guard troops, and civilian American residents who lived in the area as a form of intimidation.

Texas prepared to keep fighting back against the cartels

Per the CIS report, the invasion to seize control of Fronton Island went off without a hitch -- similar efforts were made previously to occupy two other islands in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass that were being similarly used by the cartels -- and Texas officials now appear to be using it as a sort of forward operating base and observation post to keep tabs on the activities and movement of the cartels and smugglers.

Noting the unfortunate likelihood that the cartels would simply shift their focus to other small islands in the river to use as smuggling routes and outposts, Texas DPS Regional Director Victor Escalon signaled a prolonged campaign as he told CIS, "This is a lifelong mission, a lifelong operation. It never ends," and added of the cartels, "Theyโ€™re going to move, and if they move somewhere else, weโ€™ll identify it and just follow them everywhere up and down the river. The way we look at this is, this is forever."

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