Saturday, June 14, 2014



Sheriff: Gunmen used tactical clothing torched car in Weslaco slaying
Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014 9:31 pm
Ildefonso Ortiz | The Monitor

Posted on Jun 13, 2014by Ildefonso Ortiz

EDINBURG — Sheriff's investigators on Friday were still trying to identify at least four men who participated in the fatal shooting of two brothers and three other men near Weslaco late Wednesday night.
Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies responded to the shooting about 11 p.m. Wednesday outside of a house on the 2400 block of Melissa Drive, north of Weslaco, where they found two men who killed by multiple gunshots Sheriff Eddie Guerra said Friday.
Guerra identified the two fatal victims as 34-year-old Michael Zamorano and 21-year-old David Zamorano, who had been at the house with several others for a fish fry when the gunfire erupted.

"The suspects were wearing tactical type gear, camouflage clothing and ski masks," Guerra said. "At the scene we recovered multiple shell casings from various calibers including .223, 7.62 x 36 and buckshot."
The two calibers described by the sheriff are used in the sporting rifles commonly known as AR-15 and AK-47, while the buckshot is a term used to describe a type of shotgun shell.

The gunmen arrived at the residence in a maroon Cadillac with paper license plates and a red Ford Mustang without license plates.
"That same evening, we found a burned out vehicle matching the description of the maroon Cadillac about two miles north of the crime scene," Guerra said. "We believe that to be the suspect vehicle. The VIN numbers were burned out but we have been able to recover them."
Authorities tracked the vehicle to a Dallas address.

"At this point we are not ready to single out the motive. We are looking at the various motives that could be behind this homicide," the sheriff said.
When asked if the tactical gear, the weapons used and the disposing of the vehicles could be a sign that the homicide was a Mexican cartel- or gang-related hit, Guerra replied "you could make that deduction but that is not the only lead we are following."

Agents with the Texas Rangers, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service are assisting the investigation.


Border agents in Rio Grande Valley warned not to talk to media
A hike with U.S Border Patrol agents through an illegal immigrant trail
Gabriel Hernandez
Former Monitor reporter Naxi Lopez talks to Border Patrol Agent Rosie Huey during a Border Patrol tour in 2011.
Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014 8:55 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The surge in immigrant children caught crossing the southern border in Texas that has dominated headlines and risks becoming a political crisis for President Barack Obama and Congress includes a new threat facing Border Patrol agents: reporters.
An assistant chief patrol agent, Eligio "Lee" Pena, warned more than 3,000 Border Patrol agents that journalists looking for information about what Obama has described as a humanitarian crisis are likely to ask for information and "may try to disguise themselves." The email, obtained by The Associated Press, said agents should not speak to reporters, on or off duty, without advanced permission and warned that anyone who does could be charged with a crime or disciplined administratively.
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske told the AP on Friday he was not aware of Pena's email warnings but said generally, "I am not a fan of telling people not to talk." Kerlikowske, who has pledged greater transparency since taking over the agency earlier this year, did not formally disavow the directive but added that Border Patrol agents should be focused on their jobs while on duty.
Pena's email was issued as national news organizations descended on the border to cover the immigration surge, especially children crossing the border alone from Central America. The problem has overwhelmed the Border Patrol. More than 47,000 children traveling alone have been found at the border since the start of the budget year in October.
Pena did not describe what sorts of disguises could be employed by reporters.
The issue has fueled the political debate in Washington about U.S. immigration policies, which contributed to this week's stunning election defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. Cantor's opponent had said the Republican leader supported "amnesty" for immigrants in the U.S. illegally, and said the surprise election outcome effectively dooms any prospects for legal changes to American immigration laws. Obama has disputed this and urged Congress to act this summer.
Agents in the Rio Grande Valley have made more than 173,000 arrests so far this budget year. Like the child border crossers, most of the immigrants trying to cross illegally are from Central America. The crush of children traveling alone and would-be immigrants traveling as families has prompted the Homeland Security Department to move both children and families to other Border Patrol sectors for processing. The children are later handed off to the Health and Human Services Department, where officials typically try to reunite them with parents or other relatives already in the United States. DHS has released an unspecified number of families with notices to appear at Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices near their final destinations within the United States.
The Obama administration has declined to say how many people have been released and how many have reported as ordered. Kerlikowske said Friday he did not know those figures.
The latest instruction to border agents in South Texas is not the first time the Border Patrol has directed officials not to speak with reporters.
Last year, the then-head of the Border Patrols' Southwest border media division told public affairs officials that the agency would "no longer provide interviews, ride alongs, visits, etc., about the border, the state of the border and what have you." In his Feb. 1, 2013, email, Bill Brooks advised that border officials should tell reporters that "you will have to see what you can do to get back to them" and then notify him.
The most recent information lockdown has made the local representatives of the Border Patrol agents' union the agency's de facto spokesmen on conditions inside overcrowded stations and the logistical challenges of processing so many immigrants.
Sherman reported from McAllen.

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