It seems bizarre, but the fact is the Mexican cartels are offering big money to recruit hit men from the U.S. military. They contract highly trained soldiers to carry out murders and even share their expertise with gangs south of the border, according to law enforcement experts.
Fox News reports:
“We have seen examples over the past few years where American servicemen are becoming involved in this type of activity,” said Fred Burton, vice president for STRATFOR Global Intelligence. “It is quite worrisome to have individuals with specialized military training and combat experience being associated with the cartels.”
Michael Apodaca, 22, was a private first-class stationed at nearby Fort Bliss Army Base and was attached to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade when he was recruited and paid $5,000 by the Juarez Cartel to shoot and kill Jose Daniel Gonzalez-Galeana, a cartel member who had been outed as an informant for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Apodaca, who was the triggerman in the May 15, 2009, hit, was sentenced in El Paso District Court July 25.
Last September, Kevin Corley, 29, a former active-duty Army first lieutenant from Fort Carson in Colorado, pleaded guilty in federal court in Laredo, Texas, to conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire for the Los Zetas Cartel after being arrested in a sting operation. Ironically, that cartel was itself founded by Special Forces deserters from the Mexican Army.
Arrested with Corley in connection with the case was former Army Sgt. Samuel Walker, 28. He was convicted of committing a murder-for-hire in November 2012 and sentenced to 15 years in prison June 21.
Walker served in Afghanistan with Corley’s 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division platoon between 2010-2011. Shortly after their return, they made contact with the undercover DEA agent they thought was a member of Los Zetas.
Burton says that some soldiers become corrupted by gangs after joining, but also points out that others are actual gang members who enlist specifically for the training they receive.
“There has been a persistent gang problem in the military for the past six to eight years,” Burton said.
The growing ties between U.S. based gangs, including those which have infiltrated the US military and Mexican cartels could be opening soldiers up to being available to the cartels. The FBI National Gang Intelligence Center, as of April 2011, the NGIC has identified members of at least 53 gangs whose members have served in or are affiliated with U.S. military. They are concerned about gang members with military training because they present a unique threat to law enforcement personnel due to their weapons and combat training and their ability to train others with this skills.
Yeah, I’d say this is a pretty serious situation. The obvious question is when someone is found to be in the military with these ties or affiliations to Mexican cartels, are they not immediately arrested and tried for treason. Additionally, the men cited above aren’t even receiving justice for the murders they were convicted of. Seeing that we have and administration that arms the cartels anyway via Operation Fast and Furious, I don’t see why this wouldn’t have their fingerprints on some of what is taking place between US soldiers and the Mexican cartels.
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.