Drudge banner: Predator drones to patrol Tex-Mex border

posted at 9:38 pm on April 27, 2010 by Allahpundit

Here’s the story from the San Antonio Express News. Not only does it get the banner treatment, it gets the all-too-rare exclamation point to boot. In the annals of Drudge-iana, only the red font and the dreaded red-font-with-siren are more esteemed, my friends.

One teensy quibble on my part, though. Isn’t this old news?

An unmanned aerial drone will soon fly over Texas skies as drug-cartel violence continues to escalate on the U.S.-Mexico border, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate hearing Tuesday.

Texas is the last border state to receive a Predator drone, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said that has hurt intelligence capabilities to federal, state and local law enforcement on the ground…

Napolitano said Texas was the last Southwest border state to receive a drone because “Texas airspace is more crowded.”…

In Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, some 700 people have died in shootouts and drug-related violence this year.

So the big news isn’t that drones will now be patrolling the border, it’s that they’ll now be patrolling the Texas border, which … really isn’t big news, especially since Arizona’s had four of these suckers in the air since 2006 and is still having major problems. In fact, the head of the Border Patrol warned back in 2005 that they’d be better off spending millions not on drones but on new agents and/or helicopters, which are far more agile. Henry Cuellar seems sold on them, though, but whether that’s because they’ll put a dent in drug trafficking or because they’re politically useful as security theater to reassure Texans, I leave for you to judge.

And before you ask, no, the drones aren’t armed. Blowing up convoys of bad guys is reserved for Al Qaeda, not drug cartels.


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One teensy quibble on my part, though. Isn’t this old news?

Before the drones were to watch the Mexicans. Now the drones are programmed to watch the Americans.

portlandon on April 27, 2010 at 9:41 PM

In the annals of Drudge-iana, only the red font and the dreaded red-font-with-siren are more esteemed, my friends

red font with siren….you know the shiite is hitting the fan if he uses that.

ted c on April 27, 2010 at 9:43 PM

And before you ask, no, the drones aren’t armed. Blowing up convoys of bad guys is reserved for Al Qaeda, not drug cartels.

Yep, that’s exactly what I was going to ask until I decided it would be in bad taste.

Colorado Anne on April 27, 2010 at 9:44 PM

Preemptive strikes by the Obama administration on American citizen ranch owners near the border.

Inanemergencydial on April 27, 2010 at 9:44 PM

Yep, they’ll be looking for Sheriff Arpaio and crew!

dmann on April 27, 2010 at 9:45 PM

Drone operator to buddy:

“Hey, you see them fellers there runnin’ north?”

“yep, sure do.”

“What should we do about ‘em?”

“Whatchu mean ‘do about ‘em?’ We ain’t paid to do nuttin’ about ‘em, we just paid to watch ‘em.”

ted c on April 27, 2010 at 9:45 PM

Um: Remember how we got all pizzy and stopped amnesty? Me friends, that was long, long before teapartiness. Y’all think they ain’t hearing our wee voices???? Keep the heat on them seats!

Chewy the Lab on April 27, 2010 at 9:46 PM

Will they be armed? If not what’s the point?

thomasaur on April 27, 2010 at 9:47 PM

Drones are today’s Maginot Line…

they’re high, they’re magic, they’re omnipotent, nothing gets past them and politicians of this administration love ‘em… If they get shot down, ain’t no funerals, no flags over coffins at Dover…and so on. They are today’s “Electronic Fence” on the Ho Chi Minh Trail—they’re a plan that briefs in spectacular fashion, but the reality is, they don’t do much for this mission.

ted c on April 27, 2010 at 9:50 PM

I like Drudge’s Big Sis pic much better than yours AP.

TheBigOldDog on April 27, 2010 at 9:51 PM

ted c on April 27, 2010 at 9:50 PM

Well, they are quite the platform when they have hellfires attached…

TheBigOldDog on April 27, 2010 at 9:52 PM

I like Drudge’s Big Sis pic much better than yours AP.

TheBigOldDog on April 27, 2010 at 9:51 PM

my favorite is the one he had up of Big Sisser when that airport full body scanner thingy came down and there was the scan pic of an obviously well built female that Nanny Janny was apparently ogling fondly.

ted c on April 27, 2010 at 9:53 PM

Ja-No looks like one of those lizards from the Budweiser commercials.

HornetSting on April 27, 2010 at 9:53 PM

And before you ask, no, the drones aren’t armed. Blowing up convoys of bad guys is reserved for Al Qaeda, not drug cartels.

Kill-joy.

irishspy on April 27, 2010 at 9:54 PM

Well, they are quite the platform when they have hellfires attached…

TheBigOldDog on April 27, 2010 at 9:52 PM

True, i’ve seen them at work, however, the American way is to say “whew, glad we got drones up there.” Rather than saying, “what the f@ck good are those drones doing up here when we have 1500 people daily crossing that border?”

ted c on April 27, 2010 at 9:54 PM

Ya,and I bet the names on the HellFires,
say,

Border Troopers,and ICE Officers!!
(snark).

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 9:56 PM

God Bless Texas…the thing is…the drones are fine, but I think Texans are about to get real tired of paying for welfare sucking illegal aliens.

HornetSting on April 27, 2010 at 9:56 PM

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 9:56 PM

“Sheriff Joe Arapaio”

ted c on April 27, 2010 at 9:57 PM

Captain Punctuation rides again!

Ronnie on April 27, 2010 at 9:57 PM

Ja-No looks like one of those lizards from the Budweiser commercials.

HornetSting on April 27, 2010 at 9:53 PM

HornetSting:No wonder she`s popular with the Liberal men,
sticky tongue and all,ahem!!:)

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 9:57 PM

Guard to protect the border with drones

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lV6n92EUC6s&feature=related

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 10:02 PM

speaking of techie military cool-guy gear, is there going to be an Iron Man 2 preview thread, AP?

ted c on April 27, 2010 at 10:03 PM

And before you ask, no, the drones aren’t armed. Blowing up convoys of bad guys is reserved for Al Qaeda, not drug cartels protecting Muslims living in degenerate countries, not for protecting Americans.

MB4 on April 27, 2010 at 10:05 PM

or because they’re politically useful as security theater to reassure Texans, I leave for you to judge.

We’re not buying it here.

Weight of Glory on April 27, 2010 at 10:05 PM

“Texas is the last border state to receive a Predator drone, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said that has hurt intelligence capabilities to federal, state and local law enforcement on the ground…”

Who is to say Obowma and Big Sis are actually going to share any intelligence gathered with federal, state, or local law enforcement…?

Seven Percent Solution on April 27, 2010 at 10:06 PM

And before you ask, no, the drones aren’t armed.

Damn.

amerpundit on April 27, 2010 at 10:06 PM

Hey, J-No. You’d better listen up.

Texans have guns.

Texans shoot at stuff, especially on or over their land.

God, I’m glad I was born in Texas!

madmonkphotog on April 27, 2010 at 10:07 PM

Predator Drones Used Against American Citizens!

http://www.scribd.com/doc/24819673/Predator-Drones-Used-Against-American-Citizens

==========================================
US Customs and Border Protection
———————————

http://www.cbp.gov/

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 10:08 PM

Isnt’ is strange that Napolitano as Governor of Arizona only 2 years was demanding the federal government send troops to the border, but now she ignores Gov. Perry’s request for troops and claims our borders are more secure than they have been in years.
How and when did the borders get secure?
Napolitano was Governer in Jan, 2009 and the border was not secure. No additional resources have been sent to the border, yet somehow our borders are magically secure. Whatever this woman is smoking. I want some.

lonestar1 on April 27, 2010 at 10:08 PM

DHS to send drones above border.http://tinyurl.com/2dmo49m Dems will try anything, as long as it doesn’t work. A physical fence would work.

http://twitter.com/kausmickey/status/12974012654

ninjapirate on April 27, 2010 at 10:09 PM

And before you ask, no, the drones aren’t armed. Blowing up convoys of bad guys is reserved for Al Qaeda, not drug cartels.

Drug cartels ?
On the tex-mex border ?
Whtchyatalkinabout ?
That border is used by mexicans who just want to cut our lawns, build our houses and cook our food in restaurants. As an added bonus, we anglo-nazis get to savor stuff like salsa and quesadillas, can you imagine our country without ALL that ? So what if some Salvadorans, Hondurans, Venezualans, Columbians, Brazilians, Arabs, Pakistanis and Chinese sneak in too ? Its no BFD..everyone likes Kungpao beef and chicken tikka masala and pupusas, get over it ….
Drug cartels using Tex-Mex border ….where does anyone get that idea from ?HAHA
BTW any news on how those 2 border agents ( Compean and Ramos) are doing ?

macncheez on April 27, 2010 at 10:09 PM

Isnt’ is strange that Napolitano as Governor of Arizona only 2 years was demanding the federal government send troops to the border, but now she ignores Gov. Perry’s request for troops and claims our borders are more secure than they have been in years.

lonestar1 on April 27, 2010 at 10:08 PM

lonestar1: The Hope and Change Affect!

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 10:10 PM

God Bless Texas…the thing is…the drones are fine, but I think Texans are about to get real tired of paying for welfare sucking illegal aliens.

HornetSting on April 27, 2010 at 9:56 PM

We got tired of them long ago. They also get FEMA funds (not loans) after floods and hurricanes because “they are low-income.”

lonestar1 on April 27, 2010 at 10:11 PM

Ta-da!

BREAKING NEWS: Major Arizona drug smuggling ring broken up.Cochise County prosecutor’s office employee arrested

Weight of Glory on April 27, 2010 at 10:12 PM

Whtchyatalkinabout ?

macncheez on April 27, 2010 at 10:09 PM

macncheez: HilRod nails it!!:)
================================

HILLARY Clinton MOCKS Obama

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzoiPnrCwSc

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 10:16 PM

Governor Perry shot and killed a coyote today. Sadly, it was a four legged one.

lonestar1 on April 27, 2010 at 10:17 PM

And before you ask, no, the drones aren’t armed. Blowing up convoys of bad guys is reserved for Al Qaeda, not drug cartels.

Talk about old news what is Al Qeada but a narco terrorist group? How does Al Qeada fund it’s self “Afghanistan Poppy Crops”

We fought drug cartels in Columbia so they moved their operations closer to their customers – The Mexican Border how easy was it to accomplish? Mexico had? a corrupt government for a very long time.

All anyone needs is to read Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden or Point Of Entry by Peter Schechter

When it comes down to it the war on terror looks a lot like the war on drugs…and that is old news. Even North Korea has been accused of trafficking in Narco Drugs.

Oh instead of pseudo religious movement like “The Taliban” Pablo Escobar used a pseudo socialist movement.

Dr Evil on April 27, 2010 at 10:20 PM

Senators are expected to question Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano about the ramifications of Arizona’s tough new immigration law when she appears for an oversight hearing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee already had planned the hearing for the Homeland Security Department. Last week Arizona’s governor signed a law requiring police to question people about their immigrant status if they suspect they are in the U.S. illegally

(from CNSnews)

I hope the Republican Senators on that committee are bold enough to ask how closely the new Arizona law follows federal laws on immigration, her views about the new immigration bill and the national biometric card and if she will support a national biometric card if police won’t be able to ask for it? Be bold Republican Senators, be bold.

journeyintothewhirlwind on April 27, 2010 at 10:20 PM

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a message for wily coyotes out there: Don’t mess with my dog.

Perry says he needed just one shot from his laser-sighted pistol to take down a coyote that was menacing his dog during an early morning jog in an undeveloped area near Austin.

Perry told The Associated Press he sometimes carries his pistol, loaded with hollow-pointed bullets, when he jogs on trails because he’s scared of snakes — and that he’d seen coyotes in that area.

When the coyote came out of the brush toward his daughter’s labrador retriever puppy on a February jog, he charged it and shot it with his .380 Ruger pistol.

“Don’t attack my dog or you might get shot … if you’re a coyote,” Perry said.

Daily Caller.

He’s a very busy man, or I’d suggest he patrol the border…

Wethal on April 27, 2010 at 10:23 PM

This would be new so the violence is escalating. What’s stopping the drug cartels from advancing and bringing the violence with them? Not our border security that’s for sure.

http://quispisyummy.newsvine.com/_news/2010/03/31/4096016-texas-town-on-high-alert-as-mexican-town-across-border-braces-for-cartel-gun-battle-mexican-citizens-crossing-us-border-asking-for-asylum

Dr Evil on April 27, 2010 at 10:23 PM

Let’s get serious. Patrol the borders with armed Preditors (Hellfire missiles) and with AC-130s.

Let’s get serious about this invasion and deal with it as an invasion.

BottomLine5 on April 27, 2010 at 10:24 PM

Ta-da!

BREAKING NEWS: Major Arizona drug smuggling ring broken up.Cochise County prosecutor’s office employee arrested

Weight of Glory on April 27, 2010 at 10:12 PM

Weight of Glory:Check out the picture of the marjauna in
the trucks floor boards they found!:)
===========================================
http://www.cbp.gov/

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 10:25 PM

REST MY CASE:

PHOENIX (AP) — Federal authorities say 69 suspected illegal immigrants, including two children and an infant, have been rescued from a drop house in Phoenix.

A neighbor called police Tuesday and said he’d seen a pickup dropping off about 30 people Monday evening. Police say responding officers found the people inside the house and turned the case over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Detectives believed those inside were undocumented immigrants at a stop on their way from Mexico. ICE spokesman Vincent Picard says there were no reports of mistreatment, and no coyotes or human smuggling operatives were arrested.

___

Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

andy85719 on April 27, 2010 at 10:27 PM

http://quispisyummy.newsvine.com/_news/2010/03/31/4096016-texas-town-on-high-alert-as-mexican-town-across-border-braces-for-cartel-gun-battle-mexican-citizens-crossing-us-border-asking-for-asylum

Dr Evil on April 27, 2010 at 10:23 PM

Dr.Evil: I hate to say it,but it sounds alot like the
Taliban!!:)

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 10:27 PM

People don’t know the cartels are blocking the borders, standing on the actual border bridges and shooting them up and kidnapping toll collectors.
Not getting reported too much, since the cowards who would usually report this stuff are scared they will be the cartel’s next victim.

lonestar1 on April 27, 2010 at 10:27 PM

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 10:25 PM

Dude! Resourceful people, aren’t they?

Weight of Glory on April 27, 2010 at 10:29 PM

Before the drones were to watch the Mexicans. Now the drones are programmed to watch the Americans.

portlandon on April 27, 2010 at 9:41 PM

Hey, some rancher might be mistreating drug smugglers or something. The government needs proof when it prosecutes the rancher for mistreating illegals.

bw222 on April 27, 2010 at 10:30 PM

You’ll get farther and faster on a horse in Arizona. And it’s a dammed sight less expensive. How many does it take to care for a horse? How many for a helicopter?

GarandFan on April 27, 2010 at 10:31 PM

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 9:56 PM
===========================

“Sheriff Joe Arapaio”

ted c on April 27, 2010 at 9:57 PM

ted c: Ya I forgot to add,prisoners will wear pink underoos
Sheriff Joe Arapaio!!haha:)

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 10:32 PM

You’ll get farther and faster on a horse in Arizona. And it’s a dammed sight less expensive. How many does it take to care for a horse? How many for a helicopter?

GarandFan on April 27, 2010 at 10:31 PM

there you go again, using that common sense….you forgot that it is the federal government we’re dealing with here ya’ know./

ted c on April 27, 2010 at 10:34 PM

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 10:25 PM
===========================
Dude! Resourceful people, aren’t they?

Weight of Glory on April 27, 2010 at 10:29 PM

Weight of Glory: Ya,and underground tunnel smuggling,like
the goons have done in Gaza as well!:)

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 10:35 PM

I say we all ought to plan an Arizona vacation to counter the libs boycott. In fact, if the libs can guarantee that they will not be there and the police will be arresting the criminal illegals, then I say it sounds like a great place to bring the family!

bloggless on April 27, 2010 at 10:35 PM

Blowing up convoys of bad guys is reserved for Al Qaeda, not drug cartels.

Not dissimilar enough in my opinion to make a difference.

Guardian on April 27, 2010 at 10:35 PM

QUESTION:

why does Drudge call Napalitano “Big Sis”?

picklesgap on April 27, 2010 at 10:39 PM

Dr.Evil: I hate to say it,but it sounds alot like the
Taliban!!:)

canopfor on April 27, 2010 at 10:27 PM

And the Obama Administration and all the Progressives in our Congress can’t legislate or regulate anything to stop them LOL!

They can wring their hands, and piss and moan though, beat their chest, and threaten to boycott a state that the recession has hit so hard, they wouldn’t notice the economic impact anyway.

The Progressives still think everything is about Perception and Narrative we are so far beyond “Appearances” Allah was alluding to it in this post “Hey Texas is getting a predator drone” I guess the response would be so what, now we can get real time pictures of all the invasion, and violence on the Tex Mex border?

Has anyone ever noticed that this country is constantly being invaded from the south but no one ever uses the word “Invasion”

Dr Evil on April 27, 2010 at 10:41 PM

Big Sis:
“There, you see? We’ve sent in a drone. We’re doing our part. Now let’s focus that heat back on those mean, nasty, racist Arizonans…”

ROCnPhilly on April 27, 2010 at 10:42 PM

OT: Tokyo now home to 13 million. Talk about crowded. Been bigger than a million since 1876.

andy85719 on April 27, 2010 at 10:42 PM

QUESTION:

why does Drudge call Napalitano “Big Sis”?

picklesgap on April 27, 2010 at 10:39 PM

Because she isn’t “Big Brother” but he alludes to that is her role as Secretary of Homeland Security. Have you ever taken a look at the power she can wield from her position? Check what the patriot act alone will let her do. As I recall the Democrats voted with everyone else to renew the Patriot Act. So I guess all that civil liberties concerns were only about if we had a Republican President:)

Dr Evil on April 27, 2010 at 10:45 PM

It’s the feminine version of “Big Brother”. Didn’t she want to spy on us or something?

bloggless on April 27, 2010 at 10:46 PM

For some reason, after seeing Big Sis’ picture on Drudge, I want a Jello pudding pop.

m0nkeyb0y on April 27, 2010 at 10:47 PM

Because she isn’t “Big Brother”

Dr Evil on April 27, 2010 at 10:45 PM

It’s the feminine version of “Big Brother”.

bloggless on April 27, 2010 at 10:46 PM

LOL. never made the connection. definitely big brother. didnt she pull some thing about how returning vets were the biggest security threat, just days before abdullahdullah the christmas bomber did his thing?

picklesgap on April 27, 2010 at 10:48 PM

This sounds like a virtual fence of an idea.

The drones capabilities are mobil I grant you, but how much ground do they cover?

How much $$ does it take to operate a drone in a 24 hour period?

Has a drone ever been responsible for an arrest by made on the ground. Do the border agents get a realtime feed as the drone passes over there area of patrol?

How many drones are up there flying within each 24 hour period?

What is the return on investment value as statistical pointer of a drone versus building a wall?

These drones may be a politically expedient band aid fix for now, but what is the reality if they’ve been in use for years and the illegal border crossings have not seen any reasonable effectiveness?

Redirect the some of the remaining money allocated in the stimulus bill and build that damn wall. Shovel ready jobs for out of work people. E-verify those employed and we’re ready to go. What say you?

Americannodash on April 27, 2010 at 10:57 PM

didnt she pull some thing about how returning vets were the biggest security threat, just days before abdullahdullah the christmas bomber did his thing?

picklesgap on April 27, 2010 at 10:48 PM

And just as that undiebomber’s ( training and shahidi )video comes out, she tries to divert our attention away from that….by coming up with this drone thingy

The system worked ladies and gentlemen!!

macncheez on April 27, 2010 at 10:58 PM

Drones are not made to patrol borders and don’t serve much of an enforcement function. What we need is a border fence.

OxyCon on April 27, 2010 at 11:02 PM

“what the f@ck good are those drones doing up here when we have 1500 people daily crossing that border?”

So the political class can say “hey we are trying very hard to protect you. You’re welcome.”

meMC on April 27, 2010 at 11:38 PM

Dr Evil on April 27, 2010 at 10:23 PM

This is what my family is affraid of. We watch the news. The Mexican Marines are landing in people’s backyards. Its drug cartel drive by vs military fly by. It’s not good.

meMC on April 27, 2010 at 11:55 PM

What good are they? What purpose do these unmanned and unarmed drones serve? This is ridiculous!!!!

ILUVTX on April 28, 2010 at 12:22 AM

Mr. Napolitano doesn’t have a clue.

Hummer53 on April 28, 2010 at 12:51 AM

It’s the feminine version of “Big Brother”.

bloggless on April 27, 2010 at 10:46 PM

He shouldn’t bother. With her distinction is indignant.

Schadenfreude on April 28, 2010 at 1:00 AM

Drones are not going to do much for Texas or any other state. They are best used when armed and use said armament against the bad guys. That will not happen here so how much do they contribute as opposed to a fence with more bodies on the ground?

bluemarlin on April 28, 2010 at 1:22 AM

Does this mean Obama hates Hispanics?

ButterflyDragon on April 28, 2010 at 1:35 AM

An agent in place to see the illegal immigrants with helicopter support minutes away is worth ten drones in the air that cover the entire border spending a whole thousand mile Texas border viewing a mile every 100 minutes. The 10 drones in the air would have maybe a 1% to 10% chance of spotting people crossing the border. Then the helicopters and agents that paid for the drones with their jobs would not be in place to intervene.

This is a way of doing something spectacular without doing anything useful at all.

{^_^}

herself on April 28, 2010 at 3:18 AM

This must be happening to make sure illegals can safely enter without the pesky interruption of law enforcement.

drjohn on April 28, 2010 at 6:51 AM

She’s just keeping an eye on the border patrol. Making sure they don’t harass any illegals crossing the line.

JellyToast on April 28, 2010 at 7:05 AM

What good are they? What purpose do these unmanned and unarmed drones serve? This is ridiculous!!!!

ILUVTX on April 28, 2010 at 12:22 AM

Big sis gets their picture; they can no longer be called undocumented.

PaCadle on April 28, 2010 at 9:51 AM

And before you ask, no, the drones aren’t armed. Blowing up convoys of bad guys is reserved for Al Qaeda, not drug cartels.

Is this a ‘wink wink’ attempt at proposing this? Many countries do exactly that. Egypt has killed many border breachers over the past few years, just for crossing their border illegally. Why can’t U.S. and A. do the same, especially when those illegal migrants peddle drugs to American youth, among other problems that their being in the US creates?

And what about Iranian IRGC-Qods agents who train in Venezuela coming to Mexico and penetrating the southern US border? Just sayin…

AlexB on April 28, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Might better rethink the unarmed part.

12:22 PM CDT on Friday, April 2, 2010
By ALFREDO CORCHADO / The Dallas Morning News >

EL PASO – Texas law enforcement officials are bracing for a bloody weekend along the border, advising farmers to arm themselves as signs across northern Mexico point to a new escalation of violence after coordinated drug cartel attacks against the military this week.

In the northern Mexican states of Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, both bordering Texas, drug cartel gunmen used trucks and buses Tuesday to block approaches to military bases in Reynosa and Matamoros, apparently in an attempt to trap the troops inside. In all, gunmen attacked military targets in a half-dozen towns in the two states.

At least 18 suspected attackers were reported killed. One soldier was reported wounded.

The unease across Mexico has analysts and political leaders questioning the Mexican government’s long-term strategy, with at least one leading expert saying the approach is flawed because some “government elements” unwittingly favor one cartel over the other.

The result has been a “feeding frenzy” of violence, said Phil Williams, an expert on global security who spoke this week at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, southwest of Fort Worth.

Across West Texas, worries abound of possible Easter weekend massacres in tiny Mexican communities butting up against Texas. In Hudspeth County, near El Paso, Chief Deputy Mike Doyal said Thursday that his “deputies are on high alert, 24-7,” for any sign of “a spillover of violence.”

The alerts were prompted by street banners and online messages from alleged members of the Sinaloa cartel warning residents of Mexican towns to leave by Easter Sunday or face death and burned homes.

The Sinaloa cartel is battling members of the Juárez cartel for control of distribution routes into Texas. Cartels are also known to use the banners and online messages to spread fear and intimidate residents without following through on threats.

In recent days, according to residents with relatives on the Mexican side of the border, at least six homes and businesses have been burned. Hundreds of residents reportedly have either fled to nearby Ciudad Juárez or sought refuge with relatives in Texas.

Doyal said tensions over the past few weeks have reached a “boiling point.”

“The word on the street is, ‘You have to leave or pay with your blood,’ ” Doyal said. “This is supposed to be the weekend of weekends. So, yeah, we’re on high alert.”

He said he has four of his 15 deputies on duty in Fort Hancock, up from the lone deputy who normally patrols the community.

Earlier in the week, the Sheriff’s Department held a community meeting in which authorities advised residents, “If you’re out on the fields, arm yourself,” Doyal said.

Border Patrol spokesman Doug Mosier issued a statement Thursday evening urging calm “amid unsubstantiated reports of violence, threats and intimidation.”

Mosier said the agency has increased the number of agents on duty and is “determined to prevent violence from spilling over into the U.S.”

Worries about IEDs

In Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, across the border from South Texas, the Gulf cartel is battling its former enforcers, the paramilitary group known as the Zetas.

In an alarming new development, the criminal groups are experimenting with improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, said Alex Posey, a Mexico security analyst with Austin-based Stratfor.

“The most worrisome thing about an IED is that it’s not as targeted as a rifle round,” Posey said. “There is a greater risk of collateral damage when IEDs are involved.”

At a news conference in Mexico City, Gen. Edgar Luís Villegas called the attacks in northern Mexico “desperate acts” in reaction to “the advances made by federal authorities.” Some residents and experts scoffed at the statement, saying that the situation is spiraling out of control.

A businessman in Reynosa, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation by criminal groups, said by telephone that the military “reacts like spectators at a bullring.”

“They sit around and watch while hit men kill each other, and then they come in and clean up the mess, even the blood of innocent people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the businessman said.

The U.S. Consulate office in Monterrey issued a warning Thursday for Easter weekend: “Americans planning to travel by road from Monterrey to Texas should be especially vigilant and carefully monitor local news reports.”

In Chihuahua state, across from El Paso, 4,500 federal agents were expected Thursday night to take over for the military, which will remain active but in a support role.

SoonerMarine on April 28, 2010 at 12:15 PM