Agents find weapons, rocket launcher near Rio Grande

MCALLEN, Texas Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:07am IST

Related Topics

MCALLEN, Texas (Reuters) - U.S. Border Patrol agents found a rocket launcher, assault rifles and explosives near the Rio Grande river in Texas, the agency said on Wednesday, a discovery that suggests a link to Mexico's drug wars.

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/337 km south of San Antonio. No arrests have been made.

The weapons are similar to those reported used in the borderland drug wars and smuggled south from the United States into Mexico. They were found in an area of the river that is easily crossed and close to a Mexican cartel battleground.

Authorities stopped short of making any direct link between the guns and the drug cartels, saying only that they signaled a threat to public safety in both Texas and Mexico.

"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.

Officials theorized that the guns were waiting to be smuggled across the border into Mexico.

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 said.

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.

Violence has been common in the Texas border area. Border Patrol agents found the weapons about 120 miles/193 km west of the hometown of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata, a Brownsville native fatally shot by suspected members of the Zetas drug cartel in Mexico in February.

The seizure also was about 10 miles/16 km southeast from where U.S. citizen David Hartley was fatally shot while riding a personal watercraft on Falcon Lake that straddles the Texas-Mexico border in September 2010.

The Zetas have battled their former Gulf Cartel allies for control of lucrative drug smuggling routes across from deep South Texas since early 2010, when the two gangs split.

(Edited by Karen Brooks, Cynthia Johnston and Bill Trott) Keywords: USA MEXICO/WEAPONS

For Related News, Double Click on one of these codes:

[G] [PSC] [RNP] [PGE] [US] [MX] [POL] [DIP] [SECUR] [VIO] [CRIM] [CLJ] [TX1] [EMRG] [LATAM] [GEN] [PIL] [CWP] [DBT] [MUNI] [LEN] [RTRS]

Thursday, 15 September 2011 04:47:37

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
info_risk wrote:
Operation: Fast and Furious
Ring any bells what a coincidence!

Sep 15, 2011 11:19pm IST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Korean Boat Tragedy

Family members of a missing passenger onboard the South Korean ferry Sewol which capsized on Wednesday, look at the sea as they wait for news from a rescue team, at a port in Jindo April 19, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Sunken Korea ferry relatives give DNA swabs to help identify dead

Relatives of some of the more than 200 children missing in a sunken South Korean ferry offered DNA swabs on Saturday to help identify the dead as a rescue turned into a mission to recover the vessel and the bodies of those on board.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Everest Tragedy

Everest Tragedy

Death toll climbs in worst tragedy on Everest  Full Article 

Missing Plane

Missing Plane

Current underwater search for Malaysia plane could end within a week  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Putin welcomes new NATO head, says better ties with West possible  Full Article 

Japan Military

Japan Military

Japan expands army footprint for first time in 40 years, risks angering China  Full Article 

Journalists Released

Journalists Released

Kidnapped French journalists found on Turkey's Syrian border   Full Article 

Papal Message

Papal Message

Pope Good Friday service underscores plight of the suffering.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage