In the first public incident of its kind, cartels are making direct death threats to U.S. law enforcement officials in Nogales, Arizona, the police chief there told CNN Monday.
Speculation about death threats by cartels towards U.S. law enforcement has been widespread for some time, but this is the first time U.S. officials along the border confirmed a case.
The threats began less than two weeks ago, after off-duty police officers from the Nogales police department seized several hundred pounds of marijuana from a drug smuggling operation they stumbled upon while horseback riding in the eastern fringes of Nogales, the chief said.
The smugglers in the incident managed to flee into Mexico before they could be detained, Nogales Police Chief Jeffrey Kirkham told CNN.
"We are taking the threats very seriously," Kirkham told CNN. "We have received information from informants who work in Mexico that the drug cartel running that operation was unhappy about our seizure. They told our informant that they understand uniformed police officers have a job to do, but anyone out of uniform who gets involved in their operation will be targeted."
"America is based on freedom. We're not going to be intimidated by the threats, but we are taking them seriously. I've told my officers if they venture into that area off duty to be armed," Kirkham said.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection sent an increased presence to the area where the bust happened, Kirkham said.
It was unclear which cartel was making the threats against the Nogales police department, but Kirkham said there is a turf war on the other side of the border in Nogales Sonora, Mexico, between the Sinaloa cartel and the Juarez cartel.
Kirkham said he was unaware of cartels trying to bribe or extort his police officers, but he did say cartels are using the same tactics on U.S. law enforcement that they do on local law enforcement in Mexico.
In May, a former sheriff's deputy in nearby Santa Cruz County - 29-year-old former deputy Jesus R. Contreras - and another man were arrested on federal drug-smuggling and gun charges. Local reports said Contreras was wearing a police uniform when he tried smuggling five kilograms of cocaine through a checkpoint on March 2.
Haven't we learned anything from alcohol prohibition? It didn't work and it cost a boat load of money. Marijuana prohibition isn't working either, and it is costing boat loads of money as well as many unnecessary lives. When is someone going to wake up and legalize marijuana. It is less harmful than alcohol.
I don't want any of those pot smokers driving my kid to school as a bus driver. I don't want them to teach school high school or college or many other jobs. The legalize it crowd just wants this so they can have real jobs they won't have to worry about being drug tested to get. Where are the protests against drug users in the U.S.??? They are causing the border problem. If people in the U.S. get some brains instead of letting them go to POT and if we quit offering jobs because the labor is cheap then you would not have to build a wall or have troops or a border patrol. Use some of that prohibition sense and apply it to reality. Winners Don't Use Drugs ! Find something real to do in life that won't kill you or anyone else. Watch MSNBC's special on a certain county in the U.S. Would you want the house next door to you growing pot with no one living there? As it burns down it accidentally takes your house too?? Idiots.
Send 50,000 troops to stop Mexico from invading our nation with their criminals, drugs and humane trafficking.
Enforce our immigration laws and remove the things that invite illegals to come to the United States.
Welcome to the NEW WORLD ORDER, America no longer has a border with Mexic,why have they stopped building the wall along the border?and reduced the army and police in the area?welcome to corparate America! Money before people!
All the states should be protecting our borders as AZ does. Bring in The National Guard and just shoot to kill. The is OUR COUNTRY, NOT mexico. If you don't like it here....MOVE
KEEP UP THE PRESSURE ON THESE CARTELS....
I HAVE 2 COUSINS THAT ARE ON THE LOCAL,PD., AND 1 DEP. SHERIFF,AND THESE GUYS PUT THEIR LIVES OUT ,EVERY DAY...
AND FOR THOSE THAT SAY OTHERWISE, I BET, YOUR ONE OF THE FIRST TO CALL THE SWAT TEAM, OR ,REG. POLICE WHEN TROUBLE IS HAPPENING.
I PRAY FOR ALL THAT WEAR THE BADGE.
Open season on them with no bag limit. I'm sick to death of seeing these nasty people standing on corners and in shopping centers! They bring nothing but crime and lower our standard of living and collect welfare and abuse everything else our system offers to Amercans. 72 hours to leave our country then we shoot to kill. Oh and someone please include Pelosi in your crosshairs and do us all a big favor!