Our political system has been paralyzed over the past year with the incessant news cycle on Russian influence in our elections. Anything and everything related to Mueller’s Russia probe has forced our border crisis to take a back seat to the implied threat of “the Russians are coming.” Well, according to border experts who’ve spoken with CR, Russians are showing up on our southern border. Will the broader media and the politicians now take an interest in the border?
Jaeson Jones, a retired captain from the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division, warns that the cartels in charge of the plazas at the border are now helping to smuggle Russians into south Texas. “In the last few weeks in south Texas, Border Patrol agents have apprehended several Russians being smuggled between the ports of entry by the Gulf Cartel,” said Jones in an exclusive interview with CR.
Although Jones is retired from his counter-cartel work for Texas law enforcement, he is in regular contact with border officials and cartel informants and continues to train local, federal, and state law enforcement on the latest trends, tradecraft, and capabilities of the cartels. Jones is hearing that the smugglers are strategically using the masses of Central Americans showing up in the Rio Grande Valley, often up to 2,000 per day, to carefully bring over Russians in small, unassuming numbers.
“The Gulf Cartel is currently staging small groups of two and three Russians throughout the Reynosa plaza to be smuggled into the country illegally,” said Jones, who used to manage the daily operations of the Texas Rangers’ Border Security Operations Center (BSOC). “This type of smuggling activity is utilized to move what the cartel deems high-value people. We see this activity often when smuggling special interest aliens (SIAs). Those are people who come from a country with a terrorism nexus. This is due to their ability to pay more money to be crossed illegally.”
Current government officials working on border issues have confirmed a similar trend of aliens coming from countries of terrorism concern or threats of espionage. Last week, I interviewed Jack Staton, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) El Paso division. He observed that there is nothing unique about Central Americans using the loopholes and lapse in coverage at the border. He noted that because we're not able to detain these people, they're incentivized to come from all over the world, including Russia.