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Cartels Using Migrants as ‘Human Shields’ for Drug Smuggling: Ex-Border Patrol Chief

As historic numbers of illegal migrants at the U.S.–Mexico border continue to draw the attention of law enforcement and the nation as a whole, the drug cartels are taking advantage of that distraction, according to former U.S. Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott.

In a March 28 interview with Steve Lance of NTD News, The Epoch Times’ sister outlet, Scott noted that the people crossing the border serve as the perfect “cover” for the cartels’ other operations.

“The cartel uses these people as human shields to shape the border to completely overwhelm all law enforcement in areas very systematically, so that they can bring in other threats—people that are willing to pay more money to not meet a border patrol agent, or the narcotics, the fentanyl that we see poured into our cities all across this country,” he said. “Those are the threats that the illegal immigration is a cover or a mask for.”

And those migrants often pay a far bigger price than money to serve as the cartels’ shields, Scott added, citing recent incidents where groups of people had been found locked inside railcars, resulting in hospitalization and deaths.

Additionally, a fire engulfed a Mexican immigration detention facility on March 27, resulting in at least 39 deaths and dozens of injuries.

“These events get a lot of attention when the numbers are high, but the deaths associated with illegal migration and the cartels’ control on our southwest border happen every single day,” Scott said.

A Preventable Tragedy

“Any loss of life is tragic,” the ex-Border Patrol chief stated. “And the really horrible, sad thing is this is preventable. I mean, not every death, but a lot of them are preventable if we just reestablished law and order on our border and got rid of the chaos that this administration has created.”

Scott, who served under both the Trump and Biden administrations, contended that Biden’s return to the Obama-era “catch-and-release” policy of releasing illegal migrants into the United States pending their court date had effectively served as a “sales pitch” to those seeking to circumvent the legal immigration process.

“They [migrants] just see that as a win,” he said. “So, as long as that continues and people don’t see an immediate consequence for an illegal action, this flow of human beings is going to continue pouring across our border.”

A Toxic Relationship

Deadly drugs like fentanyl are also pouring across the border, Scott said, thanks to a partnership the Mexican cartels have entered with China.

“The threat we’re seeing today, more than ever before, is China systematically working with the cartels, sending precursor chemicals into Mexico,” he explained. “The cartels in Mexico are creating fentanyl, and the profit is so high and the commodity is such a small amount, it’s easier to smuggle.”

According to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials, the vast majority of the fentanyl entering the United States is produced by two Mexican cartels, the Sinaloa cartel and the Jalisco cartel, and they obtain the necessary chemicals to do so almost exclusively from China.

China’s primary benefit from that relationship is believed to be the poisoning of Americans with fentanyl—and the communist country would appear to be succeeding in that mission.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, fentanyl poisoning became the leading cause of death for American adults aged 18 to 45 in 2019 and killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2021 alone.

However, Scott stressed that the Mexican drug cartels still pose the biggest threat when it comes to illicit fentanyl as they are mass producing the drug and have established themselves as the “de facto government” in large areas of Mexico.

He noted that the cartels will be able to exploit that situation as long as U.S. Border Patrol remains overwhelmed by the continuous flood of illegal migrants at the border.

“We have no idea what’s coming into the country,” Scott said. “But what we do know is there is no shortage of fentanyl throughout the cities and towns of this country, and it is killing more people … than our wars did—than 9/11 did.

“It’s a national security threat, And we need to address it that way.”

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