Friday, August 05, 2005

Party continues

August 5, 2005

The party continues.

Over the weekend, as we've done repeatedly since the beginning, we sent all our people to Jacumba again.
Every time our convoy rolls over the hill into town, the only thing missing is a loudspeaker blaring the theme from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." People pull their kids inside and close doors. Those working with the drug cartels give us long, hard stares as we drive through town.
And last weekend, the San Diego Sheriff's Dept. had "good intelligence" that gang members were coming out from L.A. to blow us away. Usually in Jacumba, the deputies are hiding their eyes behind their hands as dozens of drug transfers take place at the border fence, or they're off getting donuts -- twenty miles away. But this time, there were ELEVEN sheriff's vehicles scattered throughout a town of about 200 people, along with another ten or so Border Patrol vehicles. (For reference, in 3 trips to Jacumba, I've seen the deputies a total of two times, total. If the Border Patrol wasn't patrolling it actively, the residents on both sides would dismantle the "fence" to make it easier to drive the drugs across.) Consequently, no drugs were being tossed over the fence, and the local drug lord's minions were severely perturbed. How sad.
The crowning moment of this trip came when we went to put three cars along the runway of the Jacumba airfield. It's a small dirt strip on the east end of town, unused by ANY aircraft the entire time we've been coming here. It's also flat, easily defensible, and the expanse of gravel makes it nigh impossible for the bad guys to sneak up on us, "rock" our vehicles, or worse. It also offers an excellent view of the drug smuggling activity on the hill at the west end of town, and lies right ON the border for its entire length, less than 50 yards south. It's also the property of the County of San Diego.
So this weekend, there were several brand new signs saying "Aircraft Area: Vehicles Prohibited". Apparently if someone lands there, they have to walk to the road too. Along with the hastily erected signage was a deputy who was only too happy to deny us access to the vacant field to observe and report the usual nightly illegal drug smuggling. We pointed out that we'd been there for two weeks to no avail. We pointed at the Border Patrol vehicles merrily crossing the space. We were told since they were federal, they were special. But the best part of the rationale? From the lips of one of San Diego County's Finest:
"Look, you guys are stopping the flow of drugs. You need to pull back to the highway on the north. We have to make it fair for both sides."

Sleep tight, San Diego. The Sheriff's Office is there to belatedly enforce petty County regulations in order to ensure that Mexican drug cartels have a sporting chance of exporting their poison to the kids in your neighborhood. After THAT reality check, you could have knocked us down with a feather. We were speechless.

Our vehicles set up along the main road, blinkers on, and proceeded to watch and wait. Several of Jacumba's leading citizens took the opportunity to let us know how much they appreciated what we were doing.
"Why don't you Minutemen get the f--- out of town? Everyone in town has made deals with the Mexican cartels. You guys are screwing up business for everyone!"

So for the record, both the law and the citizens in Jacumba have been given the standard "Plata o Plomo" (Take the drug dealers' silver, or else their lead, in the form of bullets.) And they've apparently decided to make good money by either looking the other way, or working for the franchise.

Since they couldn't ship any product, the druggies found other ways to amuse themselves. There's currently a turf battle going on among several groups to monopolize all the drug and human smuggling along the border. Tonight we got to watch it from the front row. Just across the border on the Mexican side is a fortified hacienda. It positively screams "drug lord mansion." Maybe it's the fact that it's got a ten foot wall, sits on a hill, and is the only house in Jacumba (on either side of the border) to have a swimming pool. I know because I've looked at satellite photos of it.
Late that night, two groups started exchanging automatic weapons fire, including the sound, unmistakable to anyone familiar with it, of a .50 caliber heavy machinegun. Given the huge law enforcement presence on the U.S. side, and the pyrotechnics on the other side, we called it an early night. With any luck, they drug smugglers all killed each other. At least I can hope.

The next couple of nights were spent back along the Campo line, south of town to the east and west. The "protesters" (all four of them) are generally too stoned on whatever they've been smoking to even come out and harass us "racist vigilantes" anymore. But at least on their trips to harass us in Jacumba they must've done some killer shopping!

A couple of our newer recruits were looking over the hulk of a car that had been crashed into the border fence, and cemented in place subsequently, half in the U.S., half in Mexico, and the wall right over it. As one of our guys (who stands about 6'2") climbed up on a rock on our side, he noticed two guys right on the other side of the wall. With mutual shouts of "Aaaah!", he immediately lit them up with the 10 million candlepower floodlight we all carry. The two startled would-be crossers were last seen fleeing deeper back into Mexico, leaving nothing but laughter from our guys, and probably a brown stain in their underwear. Oh, and they left a pack hanging on the fence.

Consequently, one of our guys retrieved it. Inside, along with water bottles, etc., were the identification documents for a soldier in the Mexican Army. We photocopied everything, then turned everything over to BP. At last update, the FBI was involved. They can't decide whether we were being scouted by soldiers trying to bag one or more of us for the $25,000 bounty offered in Mexico for any Minuteman or BP agent, or if they were just in the pay of a drug/smuggling cartel, trying to see if they could find a hole for smugglers to sneak past us.

At any rate, the pure coincidence that they were trying to sneak over at the precise spot some of our guys were standing on probably has them convinced that we're everywhere. Later in the week, three heavily armed men claiming to be military showed up on the Mexican side, searching the ground near the same spot looking for "la bolsa", the bag that was left behind. They were all sporting badges, but no uniforms, and driving a civilian vehicle. When our guys watching them let them know that "la bolsa" was in the hands of the American FBI, the left with decidedly sour looks on their faces.

That night and the next, we shut down 2-3 miles of the border. The residents of Campo have remarked that there are a lot fewer illegals passing through, and the Border Patrol was scooping up several groups far to the east and west of our positions.

Wednesday night, under tight group security, we convoyed right through Jacumba, and set up to the east about 4 miles. Enter another group of clowns: "Angeles de Desierto". Possessed of a Suzuki 4x4 and an ambulance, both bright red, these guys supposedly only want to "rescue" those poor unfortunate economic refugees overcome by heat exhaustion in the desert during summer's heat. However, they've apparently had enough spare time to use their ambulance on their nightly harassment runs along our lines. I guess that means the poor migrants are on their own.

Tonight, the 4x4 happened to spot us after we'd left early and eluded all the other "protesters". They cruised our lines, then left, and about an hour later, they'd brought the bullhorn screamers. These idiots then proceeded to announce on a bullhorn to anyone in Mexico:
"Attention! Do not cross the border here! The Minutemen are in this location, and it is very dangerous! Go to another location, or the Border Patrol will catch you!"
This they repeated several times, between sets of some really snazzy salsa club mixes.
So apparently they don't only save the injured, they also want to help them sneak into America. Of course, between their sound, lights, and what they were saying, they were doing a far better job of shutting down the border than all of us combined. We wanted to make them all Honorary Minutemen. When they couldn't get a rise out of us, and their jukebox broke, they left.

Just about then, our leader called from Jacumba:
"Pull out and get over to town now! They're tossing drugs across the fence!"
So 10 vehicle teams pulled out fast, flew around the bend, and spread out at every road leading from the border fence to the main highway. Just about the time we were set up, three BP vehicles came flying into town, including a scope truck (with cameras and night vision), and once again Jacumba's open-air drug superhighway was closed for business. We must be their worst nightmare. The bigger wonder is why such a crooked town could thrive unrestrained and unreported on for as long as it has. It's less than 200 miles from L.A. City Hall, and with the machinegun fights, it's a cross between Bosnia and Dodge City. But you can't get a news crew to come out and film it. Incredible.

We pulled out late, and the next night was spent back at Campo. This time we had enough people to cover both directions for quite a ways, and we turned back several coyotes at the fence. We could see them signaling to groups in the trees back in Mexico, so we called the Border Patrol, told them the areas where they were waiting to cross over, and called it an early night. Tomorrow they're scheduled to go out for an all-day watch, something we haven't done much to this point. Mainly it's to keep the opposition (on both sides of the fence) off balance about what we're up to.

As of now, they're scheduled to officially end Sunday night, but several people will be there for a few extra days, and we're almost certainly going back in late September/early October. I guarantee we'll have not only more people, but better-equipped and more savvy folks the next time around. It's just starting to get fun.

In addition, another group is going to start a watch September 16th. Appropriately, last April in Arizona was reminiscent of Lexington and Concord. This month in California was more like Bunker Hill. Everyone here said basically the same thing. "We aren't stopping this until they replace us with either 1000 Border Patrol agents or the military."

Hoo-ahh!

On paper, we only helped apprehend 3 illegals. We got fired at 5 times, and never so much as drew a weapon, let alone fired a round. So much for being Nazi assassins.

But we were able to shut the drug spigot off at will in Jacumba with less than a dozen cars, and we've forced the illegals into the waiting arms of the Border Patrol and completely shut them down at Campo. If we had 500 _____________ (fill in the blank: retirees, Girl Scouts, school crossing guards) let alone military or additional BP agents, the California border would be impenetrable.

Word to Arnie and Dubbya: It's amazing what can be accomplished if you just SHOW UP!