The Houston Chronicle is reporting that a plot by the influential Los Zetas drug traffickers to blow up a dam on the border between Texas and Tamaulipas, Mexico has been disrupted by state and federal law-enforcement on both sides of the border.
While the plot may sound over the top and cartoonish, Los Zetas- which are largely comprised of former police and Special Forces commandos from across Mexico and Central America- do have access to large quantities of explosives and some members do have demolition training as well. The Zetas reportedly hatched the plot to blow up the Falcon Dam, approximately 200 miles south of San Antonio, as a means of getting back at their former allies and employers in the Gulf Cartel by flooding the area and depriving them of a lucrative smuggling route and possibly redirecting drug smuggling through areas controlled by the Zetas according to Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez. The plot was thought to be disrupted by an increased presence by the Mexican army immediately south of the Dam while local, state and federal agencies on the Texas side were on high alert as well.
Now granted eco-terrorism and large-scale sabotage might not seem like the domain of drug traffickers or even the most sensible course of action for them to take, but neither does the high profile and gruesome slayings of sympathetic musicians who glorify the narco trafficker lifestyle in their music. Residents on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande downstream of Falcon Reservoir say that the Zetas reportedly distributed handbills warning residents to evacuate.
While not confirming or denying evidence of a narcoinsurgent plot, a spokesman for the US Border Patrol and US Customs said the agencies have been on an elevated state of alert since the rapid escalation of cartel violence in Mexico.
Even if there is nothing substantive to the reported plot against the Falcon Dam, there still has been a series of disturbing events recently in Zapata County, not the least of which is freshwater piracy on the Falcon Reservoir. Armed men in low slung fishing boats accosted fishermen on the Reservoir, demanding money, guns and drugs in at least three reported incidents since the end of April this year.
Even more troublesome was the incursion into US airspace of a helicopter bearing the insignia of the Mexican Navy back in March. The aircraft was flying low enough so that the uniformed and armed personnel inside were visible to witnesses on the ground. The incursion in Falcon Heights, TX also took place during daylight hours with the chopper hoovering over a residential neighborhood populated by many Customs and Border Patrol agents. While many Mexicans in the troubled northern region consider the Mexican military more trustworthy than local police, there is also the ongoing attempts by the various cartels to infiltrate the various branches of Mexico's military.
[hat tip: The Sea of Syrah; Friends of Ours]