Individuals believed to be cartel members wearing tac vests and carrying AK-47s have reportedly been taunting Texas National Guard troops near the U.S.-Mexico border in recent days, the Texas Department of Public Safety said this week.
The suspected cartel members are reportedly involved in the smuggling and trafficking of migrants who are seeking entry into the United States.
The news provides a snapshot into the danger and difficulty that both National Guardsmen and Border Patrol agents are facing as they try to manage the crisis at America's southern border, which continues to spiral out of control.
Last month, in response to the Biden administration's continued failure to defend the border, Texas law enforcement stepped up to proactively address the situation by deploying National Guardsmen and state law enforcement officials to the border region near Del Rio. Now it appears some of those deployed are under threat.
"In multiple instances over the past several days, Texas DPS tells me suspected cartel gunmen involved in human smuggling have stood in [and] near the Rio Grande in Starr County and taunted TX National Guard soldiers," Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin tweeted Wednesday.
In a subsequent statement to Fox News, the Texas DPS vowed to fully investigate any potential threats against law enforcement or military personnel at the border.
"The Texas Department of Public Safety is committed to securing our southern border under the direction of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott," the statement read. "We continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds in order to make real-time decisions and will adjust operations as necessary.
"As we work closely with the Texas Military Department, any potential threats toward law enforcement and the Texas Military Department will be fully investigated, and those responsible will be arrested and charged to the fullest extent of the law," it added.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has been fiercely critical of the Biden administration's handling of the migrant crisis, denouncing President Biden and his senior officials for drawing unprecedented numbers of migrants through open borders policies only to leave border states and towns to defend themselves.
"President Joe Biden has caused a humanitarian crisis and chaos on our border," Abbott said at a news event Wednesday, joined by 10 fellow Republican governors.
But criticism has not only come from Republicans. Democratic border Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas) warned earlier this year that Biden's lax illegal immigration enforcement measures could end up emboldening drug cartels.
"You just can't say, 'Yeah, yeah, let everybody in' — because then we're affected down there at the border," Cuellar said. "The bad guys know how to market this."