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AUSTIN — After a Hidalgo County Sheriff deputy was shot in an exchange with suspected cartel operatives this week and Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño told local media the encounter was spillover from drug cartels in Mexico, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wrote President Barack Obama urging him to dedicate more border security in the area.
“We cannot simply rely on good fortune to protect American lives from the ever-present threat of cartel violence on our southern border,” Abbott said in the letter sent to the White House on Wednesday.
On Oct. 30, a deputy was shot in an altercation east of Edinburg responding to a kidnapping attempt following a failed drug transaction, law enforcement officials said. One of the suspects was fatally shot in the incident. Six people suspected to have ties to the Gulf Cartel were arrested.
“(The) gun battle in Hidalgo County was not an isolated incident,” he told the president.
Abbott sited a January incident where highway workers repairing a road near a known drug-smuggling route were fired upon from the southern side of the border near Fort Hancock. In June, law enforcement officers near Abram exchanged fire with drug smugglers who attacked them from across the border. In May, U.S. Border Patrol agents near Mission also came under fire under similar circumstances. And in September, one man was killed when cartel operatives exchanged gunfire between vehicles driving down a highway in McAllen.
“Within just the last two weeks, three high-level cartel leaders have been arrested inside the United States,” he wrote. “Reports indicate they were hiding in Texas in an attempt to avoid violence in Mexico. But the violence is already starting to follow these criminals to the United States, as the increasing cartel activity in South Texas demonstrates. Their presence in our country is more evidence that the cartels increasingly view the porous border as no more than a line on a map.
“And if your administration continues to fail to secure the border against this threat, it is only a matter of time before American lives are lost. I implore you to aggressively confront this escalating threat.”
Abbott characterized Obama’s protection of the 1,254 miles along the Texas border “unacceptably porous.”
“We ask that you collaborate with us to accomplish that goal before more American blood is lost,” Abbott wrote.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.