News from the Border

On the border

On the Border: U.S. Brings Mexican Corruptocrat to Trial. A Mexican governor charged in a string of multi-million dollar border bribery, racketeering and money-laundering schemes faces U.S. justice this week – represented by a court-appointed attorney. Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba, former fugitive governor of the border state of Tamaulipas, was captured in Italy and extradited to the United States this month.

Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba, former fugitive governor of the border state of Tamaulipas, was captured in Italy and extradited to the United States this month. A sweeping federal indictment accuses him of stashing more than $7 million in U.S. accounts. On Monday in Brownsville, Yarrington told federal Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan he is penniless.

In an ironic twist, the disgraced governor, who presided over a notorious corridor for illegal border crossing, was carrying a faked visa when he was picked up in Florence. Agents from Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement brought Yarrington in.

With American taxpayers footing the cost of his defense, Yarrington faces a lifetime in prison. Multiple racketeering and money-laundering charges each carry sentences of up to 20 years, while conspiracy to commit bank fraud nets as much as 30 years. Drug conspiracy charges bring a minimum 10-year term.

Such criminal enterprises make our southern border dangerous and dysfunctional. Mexican businesses fail, or never open, because they cannot or will not meet government officials’ extortion demands. This reduces job opportunities, pushing desperate Mexicans to enter the United States any way they can.

Endemic corruption in Mexico is a major contributing factor to illegal immigration. Weak border-security policies in the U.S. exacerbate the problem, as Washington’s long-term tolerance for illegal immigration enables the corruption to persist.

If Yarrington, 61, finishes out his days in Club Fed, justice may be luxuriously served. The disgraced governor fought extradition to his homeland, citing political persecution there. The Italian courts, noting chronic human-rights violations in Mexican prisons, punched his ticket to the U.S.

Yarrington was mayor of the border town of Matamoros from 1993 to 1995. From 1999 to 2004 he was governor of Tamaulipas. Both are hotbeds for drug-running and criminal gang activity that includes human smuggling. Despite reports that he was living in Mexico, Yarrington remained a fugitive after his 2012 indictment.

Tamaulipas’s current governor, Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, cited Yarrington’s impending trial as evidence of his state’s “unwavering commitment to continue fighting corruption.” Pardon our skepticism, but Yarrington’s tenure in office – and years on the lam – indicates otherwise.

Corrupt government officials are no better than drug thugs like Joaquin Archivaldo “El Chapo” Guzman Loera. In fact, these corruptocrats facilitate and profit from the criminal activities that fuel the ongoing border crisis.

As such, any assets seized from Yarrington should be directed to building the wall, as proposed in the El Chapo Act, legislation sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pending in Congress.

Indian Tribe Has Reservation About Border Control

So much for white privilege. Or secure borders for all. An Indian tribe situated along one of the most dangerous sections of the Mexican border is blocking U.S. Border Patrol officers and National Guard troops from entering its land, giving continued cover to smugglers.

“They told us they don’t want white man on their land,” a Border Patrol official told Judicial Watch this month.

The Tohono O’odham reservation in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert lies within a designated High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), a hotbed of production, manufacturing, importation and distribution of illegal drugs. The reservation is a primary transshipment zone for methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin and marijuana, according to congressional testimony from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Nearly six years after the DEA warning, Tohono O’odham property remains open for business, with 75 miles of unprotected badlands along the Mexican border.

The tribe says nine communities on its 2.8-million-acre reservation are in Mexico. “In fact, the U.S.-Mexico border has become an artificial barrier to the freedom of the Tohono O’odham,” the tribe argues.

“Freedom” that waves contraband and unknown hordes of illegal aliens across the border isn’t much to brag about. Tribal members are complicit in criminal narcotics enterprises, with hundreds convicted (in federal courts) of drug running for the Sinaloa Cartel.

Tohono O’odham says it spends $3 million annually on border security. But the wide-open drug corridor points to a lack of resources or a lack of will to conduct effective law enforcement.

It’s past time for Washington to push back.

Tohono O’odham gets millions of dollars in federal funds each year, including “noncompetitive” grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Congress should put a hold on those payouts until the U.S. Border Patrol is permitted to do the job that the tribal police cannot or will not do.

These two articles were authored by Kenric Ward, a freelance journalist based in San Antonio. Ward is a veteran journalist whose work has appeared at Fox News, Houston Chronicle, Washington Times, Washington Examiner, TownHall, Roll Call, and Human Events. An editor and reporter at three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, Ward was Virginia bureau chief for before relocating to Texas.