Mexican drug cartels appear to be taking a page right out of the terrorist playbook in realizing that the easiest way to discredit your enemies is to impersonate them.
The revelation comes after Mexican marines found a secret workshop in the northern border city of Piedras, Negras, last week – just miles from Eagle Pass, Texas – stashed with hundreds of fake military uniforms as cartels are seemingly attempting to undermine the country's military force by carrying out false flag attacks and other crimes in the name of Mexican authorities.
It's a tactic that has long been used by radical, militant Islamist groups in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The ties between the cartels and violent terrorist groups like Hezbollah and al-Shabaab of Somalia are well-documented, and when put into context alongside other developing similarities between the two factions, it begs the question: are the cartels taking notes from terrorists?
Only two weeks ago, a man in an Afghan soldier's uniform shot and killed a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan, according to an Associated Press report. The Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack.
The shooting marked the 15th time in 2012 alone that Afghan soldiers or enemy combatants impersonating soldiers in military uniforms fired on foreign troops, according to a spokesman for the U.S.-led NATO coalition. Twenty have died as a result of these attacks.
And now it's becoming even more common to see drug cartels impersonating military personnel. A favorite tactic seems to be setting up road blocks to carry out kidnappings -- the victims of which are often killed. An internet search turned up only two video reports on the counterfeit uniform bust, one from KRGV, an ABC News affiliate, and another from teleSUR TV in Mexico:
However, it isn't just the fraudulent soldiers that Mexico has to worry about. A fourth high-ranking officer was detained by Mexico's army this week after authorities discovered possible military links to drug cartels, according to the AP.
And if you're wondering just how far up the hierarchy the corruption reaches, consider this: one of the generals detained, Gen. Thomas Angeles Dauahare, served as assistant defense secretary of Mexico from 2006 to 2008.
U.S. soldiers are also facing this dilemma overseas as insurgents are being encouraged to legitimately join the military to assist terrorist groups or later carry out attacks. In short, both America and Mexico have to be on alert for military impersonators as well as traitors that may be among them.
Do past events reveal terror ties?
But as if that information wasn't scary enough, consider some of the events we've reported on in the past.
In October, it was first reported that Iran allegedly hired a Mexican drug cartel hit-man to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. – on American soil. Obviously, with the cartels' ties to Hezbollah it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Iranian regime is also seemingly willing to cozy up to them given their close associations. This MSNBC report has the details:
Additionally, cartels have adopted new, more gruesome tactics that align with radical Islamic principals that may be cause for alarm.
Not previously a staple of the Mexican drug cartels, beheadings and body mutilation seemingly became commonplace for the gangs around the same time U.S. officials believe they hooked up with Hezbollah circa 2004.
Historically, beheadings have been a popular form of capital punishment under Islamic Sharia law, whether the offense is apostasy or something harder to pin down. For instance, a quick Google search will produce multiple cases in which "honor killings"resulted in beheadings in the modern era – some within the United States.
Sharia law also permits numerous forms of body mutilation like female genital mutilation and the cutting off of limbs in the case of theft. And consider that in 2010, BBC News reported that even children as young as age six were being instructed how to cut off the hands of thieves at local "weekend schools" for Muslim students in Britain.
And we can't forget the increased use of car bombs and IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device) by drug cartels. The style of attack is a favorite of Middle Eastern terror groups. Just last Thursday, cartel gunmen were suspected of detonating a car bomb outside a hotel being used as a police barracks in Nuevo Laredo, less than 4 miles from the U.S. border. There were no fatalities in the attack.
Unfortunately for America, the connections don't stop there. In 2011, Fox News' Adam Housley reported on the discovery of intricate drug tunnels along the U.S.-Mexico border that resemble those used by terrorist organizations to smuggle weapons throughout the Middle East:
Housley laid out some of his findings in a 2011 blog post on Fox News' website:
My military and Department of Homeland Security contacts are insistent…it’s not if Hezbollah operatives have been smuggled into the U.S….but how many?
They note that drug tunnels are becoming much more sophisticated and striking similar as tunnels being used by terror organizations to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip. My contacts also say they have real concern that bombing techniques used in the Middle East to promote terror are now also being used inside Mexico, as the cartels war with each other and anyone in their way.
This comes as Mexican authorities busted a senior Hezbollah operative who employed Mexicans nationals with family ties to Lebanon to set up the network, designed to target Israel and the West, according to multiple reports. The man’s name is Jameel Nasr and he was arrested after a Mexican surveillance operation revealed that he traveled frequently to Lebanon to receive information and instructions from Hezbollah commanders and he also spent several months in Venezuela working with the terror group and Hugo Chavez’s people.
American security contacts say the Mexican operation was impressive and they are seeing some increased pressure on the cartels from Mexican authorities and thus…their friends.
The Blaze previously reported on Muslim cleric Abdullah al-Nafisi who in 2009 talked about bringing 4 lbs of anthrax "through tunnels from Mexico into the U.S." He bragged that such an attack would kill 330,000 Americans. This clip was featured in the GBTV documentary "Rumors of War III" and YouTube still has the video posted:
After hearing those statements, keep in mind that over 180,000 illegal immigrants from countries other than Mexico were caught from 2007 to 2010, according to Department of Homeland Security documents, which seems to dampen the left's argument that the only people coming across our border's are hard working Mexican families in search of the American dream.
Do the media care?
When you look at the whole picture, it certainly appears that cartels are picking up some new tricks from some newfound allies. Meanwhile, as the merciless gangs continue to creep closer and closer to the U.S. border, the cartels' ties to terrorist organizations do not appear to be of much interest to the mainstream media -- a dangerous combination.
Then again, according to President Barack Obama, the U.S. border fence is "basically complete," anyway.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.