I read in yesterday’s Seattle Times a full page story on the U.S. ATF’s gun-running sting dubbed “Fast and Furious” which has come under criticism.    The ultimate goal of the operation based in Phoenix was to identify the higher-ups in the Sinaloa (Mexico) drug cartel.  I was surprised to see a big photo of the border crossing from Hidalgo, Texas to Reynosa, Mexico.  Why was I surprised?   I’m going to be there in October!

The cartel is based out of Sinaloa, Mexico.  I know where Sinaloa is because I lived there.  It’s on the Baja side (west coast) of Mexico.  Hidalgo and Reynosa are on the Gulf of Mexico side and I’m going there–at least to Mercedes, Texas which is in Hidalgo county.  Mercedes is about 30 miles from Reynosa across the river.

The photograph suggests that the gun runners cross into Mexico with the guns they purchased in the U.S. at Hidalgo and then head west across the entire breadth of Mexico with the guns.  That would be quite a trip!  There are many pipelines into Mexico and this may be one of them.

My dad grew up on a ranch in the Rio Grande valley and went to grade school in Mercedes!  Reading this story makes me ponder the changes in one hundred years since my dad was a school child in Mercedes.  He would be startled and saddened to learn about the carnage which takes place in Mexico over drugs, money, and power.  He always spoke warmly of the Mexican cowboys who worked on the ranch.  My time in Sinaloa made me equally fond of Mexicans and I’m sorry that many Americans have negative impressions of our neighbors.  I wonder if most Mexicans view us with equal distain.

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