Matthew Allen of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said this coordination “ensures that alien smugglers and their human cargo do not bring unwanted law enforcement attention” to their smuggling efforts.
An Arizona stretch of the fence along the southwest border.
“Gatekeepers” linked to Mexican drug cartels “are dictating when and where” alien smugglers are allowed to cross the southwest border into the U.S. territory, a federal immigration enforcement agent told House lawmakers at a hearing Monday held in Arizona.
The official, Matthew Allen of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), added that when human smugglers wishing to cross into the U.S. disregard “warnings” from drug cartels, they can be targets of violence including murder.
Allen, the special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations for ICE in Phoenix, provided both verbal and written testimony during a field hearing in Arizona hosted by the House Homeland Security Committee’ subcommittee on border and maritime security.
“Arizona is bordered by the State of Sonora to our south and the Sinaloa Cartel is the dominant criminal element in the State of Sonora. The border areas in Mexico that adjoin the United States are divided by the Sinaloa Cartel into ‘Plazas’ that are supervised by ‘Plaza Bosses’ or ‘Gatekeepers,” Allen told lawmakers.