In 1976, that was thirty four years ago, I was in Houston, Texas. I was a young fellow reporting some information I had received about Mexican drug traffickers up the chain to my bosses in Dallas and Washington, DC. The information had to do with a fellow in Mexico who owned a large business and had contracts with and contacts in the Mexican government and the Mexican Federal Judicial Police (MFJP).
He used those contacts to help him smuggle heroin into the US.
I also reported on information I had received that a number of rogue pilots in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi were flying into and out of Mexico and Belize with loads of heroin, cocaine and marihuana. While in those two places, they were receiving help and cooperation from government agents and agencies, using Mexican and Belizean sites and resources, some of it in Mexico supplied by this country specifically as an aid in heroin eradication programs. The long night had begun.
Another agent and I traveled to Mexico City, met with some traffickers and a member of the MFJP as part of a plan to have them deliver cocaine to us in Houston. That case ended in a shootout in the parking lot of a supermarket somewhere in North Houston, the place we called Little Mexico. I remember thinking at the time that there was a lot more violence associated with drug dealing from Mexico than there was when I worked in New York City investigating drug dealers who were not from Mexico. I also remember thinking, then, that this “war” had been won, and that I was not on the winning side. Not much that has happened since then has made me think otherwise. Law enforcement is fruitless in such a thing as this I thought, and “law” as a rule only works where the people decide for themselves it is something worth having.
I’ve just read the news that seventy two innocents have been massacred in some farmhouse in Mexico short of their goal of entering the United States illegally. Kidnapped along the way they were, held for ransom and murdered when none could be found; along the way from Brazil, Ecuador, and Central America. Some of them must have been traveling for months to their death who had thoughts of new life at the end of the journey; men and women who received the gift in an entirely different form than what they had expected.
We are all familiar with the recent news from Arizona, and the decision of a federal judge that the law passed in that state concerning illegal immigration cannot stand. Poor dead seventy two innocents. Arizona’s attempted solution to its own problem may have helped those people, and the thousands of others who will march through jungle heat and great difficulty north to the Promised Land and run the very real risk of a bullet in their brains at the end of their quest.
There is an essay in the September issue of Harper’s Magazine titled Los Malos (The Evil Ones) which identifies the killers and talks about their killings. They are former soldiers of the Mexican army who have been recruited by the drug cartels. Their name is Los Zetas, the “Z”s; the end of the alphabet, the end itself.
It is, I think, time to close and lock the door, put a bar across it, and “let the word be passed” to those who think of finding salvation in the Promised Land in the North. It is closed.
Unless some judge thinks the rule of law still applies and is stronger than terror. He may, God help him, get to test his theory soon enough.