Border Patrol finds weapons, rocket launcher near Rio Grande
Reuters US Online Report Domestic News
Sep 14, 2011 16:29 EDT
MCALLEN, Texas (Reuters) – U.S. Border Patrol agents have discovered a cache of several high-powered weapons along the Rio Grande river including a rocket launcher, assault rifles and plastic explosives, authorities said.
Agents found the weapons on Tuesday in a black bag along a quiet stretch of the Rio Grande near Fronton, a small community about 210 miles south of San Antonio. No arrests have been made.
“These deadly weapons could have had a devastating impact on communities on both sides of the border and to our agents and other law enforcement officers,” Rosendo Hinojosa, head of Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector, said in a statement.
Inside the bag were six assault rifles, a grenade launcher, a rocket launcher, 20 ammunition magazines for various-sized weapons and three packages of what appeared to be C-4 plastic explosives, a Border Patrol news release states.
Mexican drug gangs frequently rely on grenades and assault rifles in an escalating battle between rival drug smugglers and against law enforcement.
More than 42,000 people have died in Mexican drug wars since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon declared war on drug traffickers.
Border Patrol agents found the weapons about 120 miles west of the hometown of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata, a Brownsville native fatally shot in broad daylight by suspected members of the Zetas drug cartel in Mexico in February.
His partner, Victor Avila, was wounded in the leg.
The seizure was also about 10 miles southeast from where U.S. citizen David Hartley was fatally shot while riding a personal watercraft on Falcon Lake in September 2010.
The Zetas have battled its former Gulf Cartel allies for control of lucrative drug smuggling routes across from deep South Texas since early 2010, when the two gangs split. Heriberto “The Executioner” Lazcano heads the Zetas, and is said to hold a large arsenal of grenades, automatic weapons and rocket launchers.
(Edited by Karen Brooks and Cynthia Johnston)
Source: Reuters US Online Report Domestic News