Local

Will Mexican violence spill over border?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

We take you back to the deadliest city in the world, Juarez, Mexico. Already this year, more than 1,900 people have been killed in drug violence. Eyewitness News Anchor Art Rascon talked with one of the admitted criminals and drug cartel members.

"If people want it, they're gonna get it. No matter what. Whether I'm here or I'm not here, there will always be a supply," said an admitted drug cartel henchman.

Tuesday on Eyewitness News you met this drug smuggler.

"It's a war, you've got innocent people who get caught in the middle of the crossfire of a war. They're casualties," he said.

He is cold, callous, unrepentant and the epitome of a thug, supplying the cartels, he says, with everything they need.

"Imminent war is fixing to break out. In order to fight a war you're always going to have to have weapons and supplies," he said.

So how did we come across this guy and why is he talking?

After several private, secret conversations over several weeks, we decided to meet in a very remote location, in the middle of nowhere, in a massive warehouse. It was the perfect location for a drug smuggler to divulge his deepest secrets.

"I predict that in the future the president of Mexico will be assassinated. You create too much of a wave and he'll be assassinated," said the smuggler.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has sent 8,000 troops to Juarez to try and gain control of the city, but so far it hasn't worked.

"The officials have never had control because they're as corrupt as the thugs on the street," said the smuggler.

When we asked him how you shut down a cartel, he replied, "You dismantle it. You kill the individuals, but all you're going to do, it's just like a tail on a lizard. You take it off and another one grows. You take that one off another grows."

We asked him if he will be replaced when he's taken out.

"There always will be," said the smuggler.

He's not afraid to die, and in fact, he readily admits that some day he will become a victim of his own deadly trade. But until he answers for his crimes, he'll continue to do what he does best, supply the cartels and care nothing for the thousands being killed.

"I didn't force a person to do anything they didn't want to do. Life goes on," he said.

But for so many, life doesn't go on. For two women, it was nearly put to an end.

Eighteen people were gunned down execution style right in front of an elderly woman's home. Her daughter, Houstonian Patricia Hilliard, rushed to Juarez to be with her mother.

"You see people driving and shooting everywhere, and you just get scared," said Hilliard.

Despite the enormous number of killings in this city, life, of course, must move forward. At the central park, people continue to gather right at the foot of the cathedral, where only days ago the cartel shot and killed two people and dumped their bodies here.

So will it spill further into Texas? Absolutely, says the drug smuggler.

"It will in the future. It will escalate, escalate and continue to escalate," he said.

What does he think about us reporting from Juarez?

"You might as well write your last will and testament," he said. "There is no guarantee you're coming back."

Despite the indirect threat, we clearly we did come back. The drug cartel henchman admits to smuggling weapons and bulletproof vests to cartel members. In fact, while speaking with him, he was interrupted as he arranged for more supplies to be shipped from Texas into Mexico.

We continue Thursday on Eyewitness News at 10pm with the story of that Houston woman who is trying to protect her mother. Hear her amazing story from Juarez, as 18 people were gunned down across the street from their home.

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