EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Authorities are investigating a possible threat against the U.S. Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies in Juarez.
The threat came in the form of a large white canvas sign hung from a pedestrian bridge over Viaducto Diaz Ordaz in Juarez early on Wednesday. The sign was meant to face the United States along El Paso’s Paisano Drive. It read:
“Warning. This is for the municipal [police], state, National Guard and for the (expletive deleted) gringos of La Migra [U.S. Border Patrol]. Stop (expletive deleted) with the polleros [human smugglers] or we will kill you. Bullets also can cross the river and the [border] wall, so stop (expletive deleted) around.”
Juarez municipal police officers took down the sign Wednesday morning.
Federal officials in El Paso said the threat will be investigated.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is aware of the threat and the matter has been referred to the appropriate investigative entities. As with any threat made against CBP personnel, it will be handled accordingly and not taken lightly,” the agency said in an email.
The agency said threats or the actual harming of U.S. law enforcement will be investigated with those found responsible being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“The referenced threat is a reminder that members of transnational criminal organizations will stop at nothing to further their exploitation of those being smuggled into the United States, to include not only harming their victims, but threatening U.S. federal law enforcement officers when their illicit activities are threatened,” the agency said.
The sign follows recent threats against two television journalists covering human smuggling in the Anapra/Cristo Rey area of northwestern Juarez, a source said. The threats allegedly involved a rifle being pointed at a female reporter in one instance, and a male reporter being told to “stop heating up the plaza” and that his reports were being monitored, the source said.
Juarez police in the past two months have come across an increasing number of migrant stash houses in the area. The most prominent case involved 140 Central Americans being kept in cramped conditions in a wooden shed and the rooms of a house.
A total of 431 migrants were found in stash houses in Juarez in June and more than 250 others have been rescued from such “inhumane” environments so far in July, Juarez Police Chief Raul Avila Ibarra told Border Report this week.
The smugglers in some cases told neighbors they were running a legitimate migrant shelter. As a result of this, Chihuahua state officials are in the process of registering all privately-run social services shelters for migrants in Juarez.
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