Accused Gulf Cartel Member Arrested in Port Isabel
October 26, 2011 KRGV.com
CHANNEL 5 NEWS (KRGV, 2010) BROWNSVILLE - An up-and-coming member of Mexico's Gulf Cartel is in federal custody in the Valley. Rafael Cardenas Vela will head to federal court later today. Cardenas is the nephew of cartel kingpin Osiel Cardenas-Guillen, who is now locked up in a supermax prison in Colorado.
Port Isabel police arrested Rafael Cardenas Vela last Thursday after they got a tip. Officers say Cardenas Vela was taken into custody as he was being driven to South Padre Island by two bodyguards. Officers also arrested the bodyguards.
An affidavit shows Cardenas Vela admitted to entering the country illegally by using another man's passport. He also allegedly confessed to smuggling tons of marijuana and cocaine into the U.S. Cardenas is facing charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics and misuse of a visa.
Today he's expected to go before a federal judge in Brownsville for a detention and preliminary hearing. CHANNEL 5 NEWS has learned Cardenas has hired a lawyer from McAllen to represent him.
By Stephanie Zepelin October 25, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A group of former Border Patrol agents say routine checks at commercial transportation hubs are changing. This means the daily presence of Border Patrol agents at bus stations, train stations and airports is over...
“We are refining the way we operate by managing risk,” says Bill Brooks, southwest border field branch chief for Customs and Border Protection in Washington, D.C.
Brooks says agents will be at commercial transportation hubs if there is intelligence that indicates they need to be there.
Kent Lundgren, a former Border Patrol agent in El Paso, Miami and Puerto Rico and chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, says based on information from current agents and his experience in the agency, this is a change of policy.
“It is a change in policy with respect to transportation checks, yes,” says Lundgren.
Lundgren says this change takes away an important tool for Border Patrol officers. When we told him officials in Washington, D.C. say it's not a change in policy, Lundgren says, “Well, let's just say they're being less than candid because it is.”