"…Gang Sweep Shows How Mexican Drug Cartels Have Penetrated the United States"

Hi Gang:
The Washington Times published a news report on March 1st that detailed the result of nation-wide field operations of an ICE (Immigration and Customs)-led task force that were carried out throughout the United States.
The field investigations have been reportedly conducted under the case name, “Project Southern Tempest” since December of 2010 but, in the wake of the violent assault of two ICE agents in Mexico a couple of weeks ago that left one special agent, Jaime Zapata dead and his partner, Special Agent Victor Avila seriously wounded it must be presumed that far more resources have likely been poured into the effort to identify and arrest transnational gang members operating throughout the United States.
The report was written by one of the most experienced journalists who has been covering the immigration beat for many years, Jerry Seper, the Investigative Editor of the Washington Times.  I have known Jerry Seper for many years and have always been impressed by his skills as a journalist.
I have also provided you with a link to an ABC News report concerning the field investigations and also provides a bit more background information about th increasing violence our officials and civilians are being subjected to at the hands of Mexican criminals.
The ABC News report was entitled:

Hundreds of Mexican Drug Gang Members Caught in Crackdown

Gang Sweep Shows How Mexican Drug Cartels Have Penetrated the United States

Here is the link:
I want you to pay particular attention to the second half of the title of the ABC News report, “Gang Sweep Shows How Mexican Drug Cartels Have Penetrated the United States.”
This is the most important issue that we all need to focus on!
The tactic of pouring copious resources into the field when an American law enforcement officer is killed is not new.  The response to the attack on the two valiant agents should have been anticipated by the thugs who pumped numerous rounds in the agents’ government vehicle.  This is the strategy that is intended to send a clear message to anyone who would kill our law enforcement officers- if you kill one of ours, expect to reap the whirlwind!
I can assure you that the law enforcement officers who are conducting these field operations are as highly motivated as you might possibly imagine.  More than twenty years ago, one of my closest friends in the law enforcement profession, Everett Hatcher, was killed by an American mobster by the name of Gus Farace.  Everett Hatcher was a DEA special agent who I had known for more than a decade when he was killed when an undercover meeting with Farace, the target of the investigation, went awry and Faracci shot “Hatch” as I often referred to him, in the head.  Ironically, earlier that day, when I got off the elevator at the New York Field Office of the DEA and walked to my desk at the Unified Intelligence Division (UID) where I was assigned as the INS representative that that multiagency unit, I was greeted by the sight of Hatch sitting in my chair with his feet on my desk.  I asked him what he was doing and, ironically, he asked me if I wanted to trade jobs with him.  Neither of us had the slightest idea that just a few hours later he would be shot to death!
For roughly one year most other field operations were placed on a back burner and the focus was on getting Farace.  Anyone who was believed to have been associated with Farace was questioned and, if they were found to be in possession of weapons or drugs were immediately arrested.  Law enforcement turned up the “heat” with the goal of having the various members of organized crime deciding that they needed to turn Farace over to law enforcement.  Ultimately they did give him up, but not the way we had hoped- his dead body was found in a car in a Brooklyn neighborhood less than one year after Hatch’s lifeless body was discovered in his car in Staten Island.
Now the thugs responsible for the murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the wounding of his partner are, undoubtedly on the run.
Under such circumstances, these thugs will likely find that they have no friends or allies, only those who see really good reasons to kill them or hand them over to law enforcement.
The apparent stepped-up efforts being made by law enforcement will continue until all of those leading the investigation are convinced that they have squeezed the streets dry!
Law enforcement will seek to gain the cooperation of criminals who will have to decide if they would rather spend many years in jail for the crimes that they are found to have committed or cooperate with law enforcement and cut a deal.
The Washington Times news report on the field investigations lead me to ask some questions that were not addressed in Jerry Seper’s report but are of extreme importance:
With all of the controversy surrounding “Project Gunrunner” I would love to know if any of the guns that have been seized during these field operations have been linked back to guns that “walked” pursuant to Project Gunrunner- especially firearms believed to be associated with the assault on ICE Special Agents Zapata and Avila?
Another question that comes to my mind was how it came to be that so many of the criminals were “out there?”  
Had any of these criminal aliens been released from prison after serving jail sentences and not taken into custody by ICE?  If that was the case- were any of those that were released imprisoned in jails located in “Sanctuary Cities” or was there some other reason why they were not taken into ICE custody and removed from the United States?  
Where any of these criminal previously deported?  If they were able to easily run our borders it would be hard (impossible?) for Napolitano to say that the “Borders are secure!”
If any of these criminal aliens had been in custody of law enforcement agencies and were not remanded into ICE custody but were simply put back on the street and then committed other crimes- especially crimes of violence, then the victims of these crimes or their family members, need to consider suing the agencies who failed to notify ICE about these criminals.  If ICE was notified and refused to respond, then the federal government needs to be made accountable.
(Again I am forced to think about the lawsuit brought against the state of Arizona by the United States Department of Justice for its passage of SB 1070 a state immigration law that largely mirrors enforcement components of the Immigration and Nationality Act that is supposed to be the law of the United States.  (I use the term “supposed to be” because under the current circumstances, the federal immigration laws are all too often being ignored by the federal government that claims to have sole authority over the enforcement of the immigration laws!)
I guess the message being conveyed by the federal government to Arizona is, “We won’t enforce these laws and neither will you!”
Furthermore, I want you to pay attention to the fact that among the places were arrests were made was the Bronx- a borough in the City of New York, Atlanta, Georgia and Provo, Utah.  This should remind all of us that the immigration crisis confronts every single state of this nation and is not just limited to the traditional “Border States.”
This is why I like to say that “All states are border states!”
The report reflects some impressive box scores- consider this passage from the report:

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-led task force has arrested 678 gang members and their associates from 133 different gangs during a nationwide sweep in 168 U.S. cities targeting gangs affiliated with drug-trafficking cartels in Mexico.

ICE Director John Morton said “Project Southern Tempest” involved ICE agents working with 173 other federal, state and local law enforcement authorities to apprehend suspected gang members affiliated with drug-trafficking organizations in Mexico.

Mr. Morton said nearly half of those arrested were members or associates of gangs with ties to the Mexican cartels.

Yet, as impressive as those numbers may seem, this is just the tip of a truly huge iceberg!
This is the sort of “full court press” that our nation will need to mount on a routine basis if the cancer that these criminal organization represent are to be excised from communities across our nation.
I am gratified by the hard work of the law enforcement officers who are “out there” not doubt as I write this commentary and even as you read it.  Law enforcement is a 24/7 profession.  Crime does not take a vacation and hence law enforcement cannot either.
The men and women of the law enforcement agencies who have fanned out across our nation to participate in “Project Southern Tempest” are owed our gratitude and respect and our thoughts and prayers for their safety.  But this must not be an investigation to only seek to find those responsible for the attack on Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila.  Every day people are being killed in towns and cities throughout our country by members of transnational gangs.  This is why it is vital that our government not only focus on the borders of the United States but on all vulnerabilities that are to be found throughout the immigration system.
One of the individuals identified in the news report was identified as being Shawn Allison, 32, a Jamaican national and member of a Jamaican Posse gang.  It is likely that Mr. Allison, who was wanted for a number of crimes including attempted murder, did not run our border that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico but may have entered the United States with a visa and landed in an international airport.  He was arrested in New York City.
The ABC News report noted how other crimes were carried out in Georgia and in other cities.
The information about the far ranging impact of these criminal organizations make it clear that the impact of these transnational gangs are being felt across this nation.  Every time the discussion turns to the harm done to our nation by criminal aliens, Janet Napolitano often resorts to the tactic of discussing how many Border Patrol agents are assigned to the Mexican border.  She blithely ignores the damage being done throughout our country in cities and communities that are thousands of miles from the Mexican border by criminal aliens from virtually every country on the face of this planet.
Ms Napolitano is not alone in this tactic.  Incredibly, even Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senator from the State of New York and the Chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee who should certainly know better, keeps on talking about how secure our southern border is!  First of all, that border is as secure as a sieve is watertight.  Second- many of the illegal aliens who are operating in our country do not come from Mexico and did not run our nation’s southern border but entered the United States through ports of entry throughout the United States under the auspices of the Visa Waiver Program,  with nonimmigrant visas, with immigrant visas (green cards) or by stowing away on vessels.
The crimes committed by these transnational criminals impact the citizens of our nation and impact the immigrant communities.  People are being killed or terribly injured.  Narcotics are being sold in virtually every neighborhood and all too often, the customers are young people whose lives are irrevocably damaged and destroyed.
Our government has an absolute obligation to secure its borders and protect its citizens and, indeed, all who live within our borders, from the violence being perpetrated daily by transnational gang members and assorted criminals.
Our nation’s long standing failures to secure our borders and create an immigration system that has integrity our  threatens our nation’s security and leave our citizens exposed to serious threats.  
This must stop!  
Nothing less than the survival of our nation and our citizens hang in the balance!
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!


our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!

We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.  
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same.  We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”

The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.

The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!

The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians.  I implore you to resolve this year to get involved!
I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world.  However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!

If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation! 

All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!

We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.

This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!

You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!

-michael cutler- 

Please check out my website:


Nationwide gang sweep nets 678 in 168 cities
7:17 p.m., Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-led task force has arrested 678 gang members and their associates from 133 different gangs during a nationwide sweep in 168 U.S. cities targeting gangs affiliated with drug-trafficking cartels in Mexico.

ICE Director John Morton said “Project Southern Tempest” involved ICE agents working with 173 other federal, state and local law enforcement authorities to apprehend suspected gang members affiliated with drug-trafficking organizations in Mexico.

Mr. Morton said nearly half of those arrested were members or associates of gangs with ties to the Mexican cartels.

“Through gang-enforcement operations like Project Southern Tempest and Project Big Freeze last year, ICE will continue to disrupt and dismantle these transnational gangs and rid our streets not only of drug dealers, but the violence associated with the drug trade,” he said.

ICE agent Jaime Zapata, 32, was killed Feb. 15 when members of the Los Zetas drug cartel in Mexico forced his vehicle from a Mexican highway and opened fire. Mr. Zapata and his partner, Victor Avila, were driving from Monterrey to Mexico City, where they were assigned to ICE’s attache office.

Zapata was shot five times in the chest. Mr. Avila was shot twice in the leg, but survived. Neither of the agents was armed, as the Mexican government does not let U.S. law enforcement personnel carry weapons in that country.

The Mexican army arrested six Zetas in the shooting almost immediately and have since taken two others into custody. One of those arrested was Julian Zapata Espinoza, identified as a Zetas cell leader. U.S. authorities said the two agents identified themselves as Americans, and the vehicle they were driving had diplomatic plates.

U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents also arrested three men Tuesday as part of a suspected Texas arms-trafficking ring that bought guns recovered at the scene where Zapata was killed. Ranferi Osorio, 27, and his brother, Otilio Osorio, 22, were arrested at their home in Lancaster, Texas. Each is charged with possessing firearms with an obliterated serial number.

Kelvin Leon Morrison, 25, who lives next door to the brothers, was charged with knowingly making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms and dealing in firearms without a license

Of the 678 arrested in the ICE sweeps, 133 different gangs were represented; 447 persons were named on criminal charges; 231 faced immigration or civil violations; 322 had violent criminal histories; and 421 were foreign nationals.

In addition, 164 others were arrested for federal and state criminal violations, 78 of whom were foreign nationals.

In addition to the arrests, Mr. Morton said that during the operation, agents seized 86 firearms, eight pounds of methamphetamine, 30 pounds of marijuana, one pound of cocaine, more than $70,000 in U.S. currency and two vehicles.

Among those apprehended during Project Southern Tempest were Shawn Allison, 32, a Jamaican national and member of the Jamaican Posse gang, arrested in Bronx, N.Y., on attempted murder charges, and Rodimiro Burquez-Cortez, 34, a Mexican national and Surenos gang associate arrested in Provo, Utah, whose criminal convictions include carrying a concealed weapon, assault, illegal possession of controlled substance and possession of dangerous weapon.

Those arrested came from 24 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Since 2005, the task force has arrested 20,373 gang members and associates, including 249 gang leaders — 7,699 with violent criminal histories.

© Copyright 2011 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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