Cartel Billboards: A Sign of the Times?

Michael Cutler is a retired Senior Special Agent of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) whose career spanned some 30 years. He served as an Immigration Inspector, Immigration Adjudications Officer and spent 26 years as an agent who rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch. For half of his career he was assigned to the Drug Task Force. He has testified before well over a dozen congressional hearings, provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission as well as state legislative hearings around the United States and at trials where immigration is at issue. He hosts his radio show, “The Michael Cutler Hour,” on Friday evenings on BlogTalk Radio. His personal website is http://michaelcutler.net/.


613-drug-cartel-message-billboard-610The title of the May 23, 2014 “The Daily Mail” article sounded a clear warning:

“A chilling message from the cartels: Billboards with hanging mannequins warning cops to choose ‘silver over lead’ appear in Texas”

The sub-title of the article provides context for the title and the article:

Two billboards along highways in El Paso, Texas were vandalized and had mannequins hanging off of them

  • One reads ‘silver or lead’ in Spanish which is taken to mean that police and business owners can either take drug cartels’ bribes or die

  • Worries spreading that cartels that have ruled Mexican border towns with violence may be headed north

To provide a bit of background, many similar signs have, for years, been posted in Mexico warning the public and especially police, judges and prosecutors that they will either submit to bribery (silver) by the cartels or be shot dead (lead) by the cartels.  In Mexico mutilated bodies of those who were brutally tortured, killed and dismembered by the cartels for non-compliance are often hung off of bridges or billboards.  

In El Paso, next to one of the billboards, was a mannequin attired in a black suit hanging from a noose — chillingly similar to the way that actual bodies are often displayed south of the U.S./Mexican border.

The news report noted that there are concerns that the violence is heading north.  Indeed, the violence has already headed north — although, thus far, not to the extent we have seen in Mexico.  However, when talking about the violence “heading north” it may well be that for the Mexican cartels “north” may include states located far from the U.S./Mexican border such as New York.

On May 20, 2014 the New York City Council conducted a hearing focused on the skyrocketing increase of heroin inundating New York City.

CBS News reported on that hearing in an article: “Special Narcotics Prosecutor Addresses Heroin Epidemic At City Council Hearing.”

Here is how the CBS report began:

That’s the warning from the city’s special narcotics prosecutor, Bridget Brennan, who told a City Council hearing Tuesday that the amount of heroin sold by New York City-based drug traffickers is skyrocketing.

“So far we’ve seized 288 pounds (in 2014), and that’s in four and a half months — compared to last year, when during the entire year we seized about 177 pounds,” Brennan said. ” … Obviously, we’re going to surpass last year.”

This year’s heroin seizures have already exceeded those in every year dating back to 1991, WCBS 880′s Irene Cornell reported.

The report went on to note:

Roughly 35 percent of heroin seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration nationwide since October was confiscated in New York state, according to the Times.

Mexican cartels apparently smuggle the drug up north in tractor-trailers. At rest stops near New York City, the heroin is off-loaded to cars and taken to mills in the Bronx and upper Manhattan, where it is processed and packaged, the Times reported.

On October 12, 2012, an extensive New York Times article,  “Roosevelt Avenue, a Corridor of Vice,” focused on Jackson Heights, a neighborhood in New York City where narcotics trafficking and illegal immigration are inextricably linked along with prostitution, identity theft and the creation of fraud identity documents.

Inasmuch as many of those who commit many of these crimes are aliens, it would make sense for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to work cooperatively with other law enforcement agencies to combat these crimes.  However, ICE lacks adequate resources and the administration has demonstrated an unwillingness to effectively enforce the immigration laws.

Further complicating matters are the sanctuary policies of the City of New York.  Police officers are prohibited from notifying ICE when they encounter suspected illegal aliens.

For the second half of my 30-year career with the former INS, I was assigned to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.  I spent an inordinate amount of time conducting investigations and making arrests in Jackson Heights.  Bad as things were back then, today’s situation eclipses what I personally encountered when I was an INS Senior Special Agent.

On September 3, 2013 I joined Congressman Lou Barletta on the campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida to participate in a town hall meeting on immigration sponsored by Radio Station WNDB.  C-SPAN covered of our discussion and posted it under the title:“Immigration Policy & Homeland Security.”

During our discussion I made the point that the best metric for determining border security was the price and availability of cocaine and heroin.

I also raised that point when I was was interviewed by Brian Kilmeade on Fox & Friends on May 22nd to discuss the arrest of an American Marine who was arrested by Mexican law enforcement officials.

As a rule, transnational criminal organizations, especially narcotics trafficking organizations, put thugs from their home countries in charge of operations in cities across the United States to maintain control over the drugs and the proceeds from the sale of those drugs.  Criminal organizations want to work with those they are most familiar with.  They also know that if they use individuals from their home countries, the criminal organizations can easily take reprisals against the family members of those they send to the United States.  Reprisals are often swift and incredibly brutal.  This helps keep the “employees” of these organizations obedient.

Because New York State is currently the recipient of such a high percentage of the Mexican heroin it is likely that the violence perpetrated by the cartels may well become highest in New York.  The most likely victims of that violence are likely to be members of the ethnic Latino communities where cartel members live and operate.

It is hardly “anti-immigrant” for law enforcement elements being brought to bear against aliens who violate our laws.  Yet this is the fatuous claim often made by the immigration anarchists who are eager for a massive amnesty program for unknown millions of illegal aliens. 

Shortly after taking office, New York City’s Mayor De Blasio made the astonishing statement that he would provide illegal aliens with identity documents.  I addressed this ill-conceived proposal in an article for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), “NYC Mayor Determined to Give Illegal Aliens ID Cards.”

Suspects who are arrested are always fingerprinted and photographed to document the arrest and to attempt to determine the true identity of those taken into custody.  Criminals and terrorists use multiple aliases as camouflage to conceal their true identities.

Aliens who claims to not have identity documents may truly not have identity documents or may seek to create a new false identity because their true names are on criminal or terrorist watch lists.  It is bizarre that politicians often herald the arrest of those who create false identity documents, describing such documents as dangerous to public safety and national security, while declaring their cities and states to be “sanctuaries” for illegal aliens and may offer to provide driver’s licenses to such illegal aliens whose identities cannot be verified.

On May 2, 2013 I was interviewed by Megyn Kelly of Fox News about the immigration component to the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing. 

On November 21, 2013 the Washington Times published a report, Mexican drug cartels exploit asylum system by claiming ‘credible fear.’

That article served as predication for a House Judiciary Committee hearing on December 12, 2013 on the topic, Asylum Abuse: Is it Overwhelming our Borders?

Advocates for “comprehensive immigration reform” or other such programs, attempt to minimize the significance of America’s borders and immigration laws by referring to aliens who evade the inspections process as simply being “undocumented.”  In reality, aliens who evade the inspections process are un-inspected.

In fact, when I was an INS agent, my colleagues and I referred to the method of entry of aliens who evaded the inspections process as being EWI (Entry Without Inspection).

That inspections process is mandated by our immigration laws and by commonsense.  It is the equivalent of a homeowner looking through the peephole on the front door before admitting a stranger into his home.  It was identified as a critical issue by the 9/11 Commission that focused on how to enhance that process to prevent the entry of terrorists.

No reasonable person would willingly board an airliner if he (she) saw fellow passengers who had evaded the TSA inspections process boarding the plane they were about to travel on. (No one wants a window seat on a cruise missile!)  Yet today we are unwittingly forced to live among unknown millions of illegal aliens who evaded the inspection process conducted at ports of entry.  That inspections process is designed to prevent the entry of aliens whose presence poses a threat to national security, public safety or in other ways, the wellbeing of our citizens, our communities and our country. 

Among the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act is Title 8, United States Code, Section 1182. It contains a list of the categories of aliens who are to be prevented from entering the United States.  It has nothing to do with race, religion or ethnicity but everything to do with the safety and well-being of America and Americans.

America’s borders and immigration laws are supposed to represent our first line of defense and last line of defense against international terrorists and transnational criminals shielding, our nation and our citizens.  Of course this can only happen if our borders are made secure and our immigration laws are effectively enforced and administered.

If ever there was a time for our nation’s leaders to order, “Shields up” this is it.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

Subscribe to Frontpage’s TV show, The Glazov Gang, and LIKE it on Facebook.

  • UCSPanther

    These will come to California in due time too. Just wait…

    • Hard Little Machine

      The Eastern half of Long Island, NY is pretty much Spanish speaking only and is now the Heroin capital of America.

      • UCSPanther

        I also hear that heroin is big in the rest of the Northeast (especially Vermont), and has been plaguing the Appalachians as well…

        It is a safe bet that the vast majority of it is proudly imported by the Mexican-based cartels…

  • DogmaelJones1

    Obama is so drone happy, why doesn’t he order drone strikes against the cartels? I’m sure the DEA and FBI know where they’re headquartered.

  • nomoretraitors

    “safety and well-being of America and Americans”
    Precisely what the “progressives” want to destroy

  • nomoretraitors

    “Shortly after taking office, New York City’s Mayor De Blasio made the astonishing statement that he would provide illegal aliens with identity documents”
    It is still mind-boggling NYC was stupid enough to elect him

    • glpage

      You were expecting common sense from lefties???

      • nomoretraitors

        I did hold out a glimmer of hope. Then again, considering the results of the past 2 presidential elections……

      • nomoretraitors

        I did hold out a glimmer of hope. Then again, considering the results of the past 2 presidential elections……

  • kilfincelt

    What Cutler is discussing is common sense; yet, liberals are so enamored with their beliefs that they can not see the truth. Furthermore, with Obama designating an area next to the Mexican border a monument, he has given the cartels and all other illegals carte blanche to enter this country illegally.

    All these liberals should be jailed for criminal negligence and the illegals shipped back to Mexico immediately. Demand should also be made for the Marine currently being held in the Mexican jail or will get him back by force. (Sorry for the take back by force comment, but I am very angry with our government and the stupidity of those at the top.)

    • r3VOLution is not republican

      THANK the 25 years “better” evil republican votes.

  • bigjulie

    We can all do something effective in November. VOTE OUT EVERY DEMOCRAT RUNNING!! They are all a part of the mess we are currently facing through their blind and ignorant aiding and abetting of all the crimes outlined in the article.

    • r3VOLution is not republican

      … just like the republican party.

      America FINALLY seems to be ready for THIRD PARTY COMPETITION!

      • John E Coleman

        Your Name says it all !!
        Maybe you are a third party ? One that Sucks !!!

  • 1nativetex

    If we can’t get rid of obvious RINOS like *itch McConnel what hope have we???
    He and Reid and his ilk historically enjoy over a 90% re-election success rate….so all this empty rhetoric is just that…empty like our POTUS…sorry fellas but so far the results are pitiful

  • GSR

    A sign of a nation that no longer is proud of itself.

  • kevinstroup

    Americans think that the problems that plague the rest of humanity will never affect them. How clueless can you be? We really are a stupid, overly proud people in need of a serious reality check.

  • VHG1

    Maybe Obama and the dems are being paid off? Is that why DeBlasio’s Mayor?

  • SoCalMike

    Republicans are such cowards.
    Mr. Krauthammer needs to read this along with Paul Ryan and every other popularity seeking squish who claims to speak for us against the malignant left and big illegal labor-craving business.

    • John E Coleman

      O Damn ! another Nut Bag !!!

  • r3VOLution is not republican

    It’s a sign of the republican/democrat (same thing) times.

    And it’s the DIRECT RESULT of “low info” voters and “better evil” voters.

  • fpm

    We don’t want their silver, we want their gold, and we will give them lead in exchange and lots of it. Again law is for law abiding people, the more gun laws pushed by leftists/liberals will only limit law abiding people’s ability to defend their freedom and lives. And criminal and crazies will have a lot of “free to kill zone”, which is also called “gun free zone” by the leftists and liberals.

  • trapper

    Biden tells Boehner: The primaries are over, pass amnesty. The Dems and their treasonous allies are on the move to allow millions of untrained, uneducated, aliens, many of whom are diseased or violent, into America. The Dems believe that by limiting illegal immigration the American people are “racist” and should be ignored. We do not have the right to decide the nature of our country–Leftist scum do.

  • USARetired

    This is but one of the reasons why we must have a , ‘CLOSED & SECURE’ Border, no exceptions!

  • JayWye

    this sounds like the character “Chano Aldana” in Under Siege by Stephen Coonts.
    in that book,the Columbia drug leader Chano is captured and brought to the US for trial,and he causes gangs of cartel criminals to infiltrate into the US and shoot up malls,courthouses,many public places,and also sends a professional killer to assassinate a list of top gov’t officials. All this causes massive chaos in DC,and the declaration of martial law and the restriction of citizens rights. it is a good read.

    • John E Coleman

      There are MANY ways to impose Martial Law , however we will see it before OBUMBER is finished !