Suspected members of a Mexican cartel were caught on video firing multiple rounds of bullets across the border into Texas on Thursday.
The footage was captured by a reporter amid reports that Texas National Guard members in Starr County have seen cartel gunfights increase near the border recently.
Fox’s Bill Melugin, who claimed to have seen everything, added that the National Guardsmen were not certain whether this was a shootout or just meant to intimidate.
Soldiers told Melugin that they have been taunted in recent days by the cartel members, who are armed, while standing across the Rio Grande.
‘The National Guard here has soldiers all over the place, as well as observation posts all over the place,’ Melugin said of the scene. ‘They’re keeping an eye out for runners and human smugglers.’
Roma, Texas may be one of the busiest hubs of America’s immigration crisis at the shared border with Mexico in terms of illegal crossings and cartels.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said Wednesday there have been multiple instances this past week of suspected cartel gunmen spotted.
The gunmen were photographed wearing tactical vests and armed with assault rifles as they examined the border.
Officials believe the men to be involved in human smuggling operations, Fox News reports.
‘As we work closely with the Texas Military Department, any potential threats toward law enforcement and the Texas Military Department will be fully investigated, and those responsible will be arrested and charged to the fullest extent of the law,’ the Texas DPS said in a statement.
‘The Texas Department of Public Safety is committed to securing our southern border,’ the statement said.
The Texas Military Department has begun bolstering its efforts to monitor the border, building fencing, repel transnational criminal activity and countering smuggling and human trafficking.
Melugin claimed to have seen multiple rafts carrying immigrants across the river into Texas. The National Guard told Melugin they were able to turn it back but they remain on high alert.
‘In the later night hours, we started seeing a constant stream of these rafts and these human smugglers, and they were bringing across hundreds of family units,’ he said.
‘You’ll see the smugglers — they weren’t afraid. One guy was shirtless. He was laughing, making jokes to us,’ Melugin added.
One claimed he spent $12,000 to have himself, his wife and his child brought into the country.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland are traveling to Mexico to discuss the crisis at the border.
National Guard soldiers say they have been unable to arrest the human smugglers when they reach the shoreline for fear of retaliation.
The unsettling activity at the border comes days after Border Patrol agents announced the arrests of a number of people last week who crossed the border illegally, including previously convicted sex offenders and an MS-13 gang member.
In a statement, the US Customs and Border Protection agency said Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector arrested eight migrants crossing the border, including a Guatemalan man who had been convicted of sexual abuse in 2009.
Along with the Guatemalan man, agents arrested a Mexican man in Welasco, Texas, who had been convicted of sex offenses in California, Fox reports.
Then on Saturday, officials arrested a man in Sarita who had been in prison for more than 10 years for sexual abuse charges against a child in North Carolina.
Later in McAllen, agents apprehended four migrants, including a 28-year-old MS-13 gang member. It was followed by the arrest of a Gulf Cartel member near Progresso.
Last month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot launched the Operation Lone Star Grant Program, which allocated $100 million to strengthen the Texas border and deter criminal activity and smuggling through the US-Mexico border.
‘The grant funding available through this program will strengthen our response to the crisis at the border and help keep our communities safe,’ said Governor Abbott. ‘I encourage local governments to apply for these funds to enhance our ongoing collaborative efforts to deter illegal immigration and prevent the smuggling of people, drugs, weapons, and other contraband into our state.’
The move comes as more than 15,000 immigrants, mostly from Haiti, have made their way into Texas and are camping on the outskirts of the city of Del Rio in makeshift tents.
In recent weeks, shocking scenes of human misery emerged from the squalid migrant camp near Del Rio, as the unprepared Border Patrol scrambled to stem the flow of illegal crossings.
Migrants at the camp have suffered from lack of water, food and shelter and their only protection at times against the extreme Texan heat is the shade provided by the bridge.
Despite the warning and conditions at the camp, even more Haitian migrants are expected to make a journey into the US as Panama’s foreign minister warns of another caravan of 60,000 Haitians headed to to America.