Cartels thrive in New Mexico county after feds shut down checkpoints

Monday, May 6, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Isabel Vincent
NYPost.com
May 5, 2019

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. — In this sprawling desert city in the shadow of the Sacramento Mountains, local officials are fed up with the border crisis — and have gone rogue.

Otero County last month became the first border community to declare a state of emergency after the federal government shut down two local checkpoints in the area, which had traditionally provided a second line of defense against shipments of drugs and illegal immigrants who managed to sneak through the border at El Paso, about 90 miles to the south.

“It’s a green light for the cartels when border checkpoints are down,” Otero County Sheriff David Black, 56, told The Post.

Black, who has lived in this city of nearly 32,000 people his whole life, said he has 44 “gun toters” overseeing the county’s 6,628 square miles of lonely ranchland and pistachio orchards nestled among national parkland and Holloman Air Force Base.

Now the lawman said he has to deploy his own overworked forces to stop drugs such as methamphetamines, marijuana and fentanyl from coming through his territory, which is home to some 65,000 people.

Otero County is undefended because US Customs and Border Protection shut down two inspection facilities on US Routes 54 and 70, Black said. The Border Protection agents were sent south to El Paso to help with the massive influx of migrants. More than 800 have been arriving per day at the border near El Paso, according to Border Protection statistics.

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