ADS-B Data Indicates GPS Jamming Occurring On Southern Border With Mexico
US/MEXICAN BORDER - Data from ADS-B Exchange indicates that there has been intermittent GPS level interference (GPS jamming) occurring on the U.S. southern border with Mexico, in the Piedras Negras area across the border from Texas.
Screenshots captured from gpsjam.org shows intermittent interference in that location (dates of the snapshot are in the upper left-hand corner of each screenshot). Interference of some kind is covering the entire area around Piedras Negras, including areas both in Mexico as well as over the border in Texas.
What is GPS signal jamming? It is a method of blocking or interfering with radio communications frequencies, including phones and phone calls, GPS systems, text messaging, and even Wifi networks. Jammers were originally developed by the military to confuse enemies about target locations but have since become widely used outside of the military in order to disrupt communications and internet coverage.
GPS signal jamming devices and "spoofers" are readily available to purchase online, but are illegal in the United States and Canada. A report by NBC news in August of 2016 stated that "illegal jamming devices are now commonly used in the drug trade, cargo theft and by scofflaw drivers," and asked if "spoofing" is next.
In 2016 Department of Homeland Security program manager Timothy Bennett said "The bad guys on the borders have lots of money, and what they’re putting money into is in spoofing and jamming of GPS [systems]".
In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security reported that "current-generation unmanned systems are vulnerable to spoofing, hacking, and jamming."
Dana Goward, president, and executive director of the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation said in 2016 that "We're highly dependent on (GPS) in pretty much every part of our economy and security, yet it's very easy to disrupt. I think the general consensus is that any outage of more than an hour or two would be pretty unpleasant."
David Last, professor emeritus at the University of Bangor in Wales and past president of the Royal Institute of Navigation, spoke to NBC News in 2016 and said, "Any respectable criminal involved in that kind of (cargo) hijacking is going to employ jammers as part of their armory. There is no reason why they shouldn't and every reason why they should".
In December of 2014, PBS reported that The Department of Homeland Security was experimenting with tracking "immigrant families" that were caught crossing the border illegally by installing electronic ankle GPS-enabled ankle monitors on parents caught crossing the border with their children through the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. They were reportedly given the devices "after being released from custody with notices to report back to immigration officials," according to a report by the Associated Press.
The 2014 PBS report went on to say that around 70% of the illegal immigrants traveling failed to report back to ICE as ordered: "after they were released at the border" prompting then-President Barack Obama to "open a temporary family jail" at the Border Patrol's training academy in New Mexico and to convert a men's jail in such a way that it could house entire families. The poor conditions of the jail, along with jailing mothers and young children had caused a backlash from immigration advocates at the time.
Piedras Negras, Mexico is on route to the Mexican/US border, where last month a Daily Caller reporter shared photos of Mexican officials pulling out multiple bodies from the Rio Grande River and indicated that they are likely to be "migrants" attempting to cross into the United States illegally using Eagle Pass, Texas.
Social media was abuzz in July with photos obtained by Reuters/Go Nakamura reportedly showing illegal immigrants crossing the Rio Grande river from Mexico into the United States around the Piedras Negras region.
The Reuters photos were posted on the news site on July 28th, 2022, and are labeled, "Asylum seeking migrants cross the Rio Grande river from Mexico into the U.S., as seen from Piedras Negras, Mexico, July 28, 2022." and show people wading through the Rio Grande river attempting to get to the other side into the United States.
On July 14th, the New York Post also put out a report on Piedras Negras, Mexico, and released photos that the paper alleged were taken of "waves of migrants crossing the Rio Grande", which they added were "en route to the US border".
The report also stated that a Mexican air force plane had landed near Mexico City Wednesday "carrying eight bodies of the 53 migrants found dead" the month before the report had come out. Many had reportedly died of heat exhaustion during their journey to the US border, which can be treacherous in the heat.
On June 28th, 2017 Los Zeta drug cartel Sicario and Piedras Negras Plaza boss 34-year-old Marciano Millan Vasquez was sentenced to seven consecutive life imprisonment sentences for "committing and aiding and abetting the commission of numerous murders and other acts of violence, drug trafficking and weapons trafficking in Northern Mexico," according to the United States attorney's office in the Western District of Texas.
The release by the Department of Justice said that "Without mercy or compunction he brutally murdered anyone and everyone as it suited him and his cartel, at times inflicting the cruelest of pain, forcing relatives to watch their loved ones murdered before he turned his blades on them."
Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, HSI San Antonio put out a statement on the sentencing saying, "The life sentence imposed on Vasquez should be a reminder to all criminals that violence and victimization of the public will not be tolerated and will be met with the full weight of the law. HSI and its law enforcement partners are committed to ensuring the safety and security of our communities in south Texas.”
Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Houston Field Division also said, "Marciano Millan Vasquez’s sentence to life in federal prison sends a message of our unending resolve to pursue drug traffickers who wreak havoc in our communities. It is another example of our success in the fight against major Mexican drug cartels operating in the United States."
The Department of Justice said that "The Los Zetas is a powerful drug trafficking organization operating out of Mexico, which funnels thousands of kilograms of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and other narcotics into the United States each year. Los Zetas are one of the largest drug cartels operating in Mexico today, with their influence stretching from Central America through Mexico and into cities throughout the United States. the organization is based in the city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and has control over several other Mexican cities located on the United States-Mexico border, including Ciudad Acuna and Piedras Negras—both located in Coahuila, Mexico. large-scale drug trafficking of this organization generates multi-million dollar revenues."
The statement continued on to say that "The Los Zetas were first established to be the lethal enforcers for another Mexican drug cartel: The Gulf Cartel. The leaders of the Gulf Cartel recruited former members of the Mexican Army Special Forces from the Groupo Aeromovil de Fuerza Especiales (GAFES) in the late 1990s. However, over time the Los Zetas broke away from the Gulf Cartel and began to operate independently."
"The Los Zetas is organized in a hierarchical structure with certain groups or cells operating in tiers of command. Its members purchase bulk quantities of narcotics and sell them abroad as well as to other non-Los Zetas drug traffickers operating in Mexico. In addition to those considered actual members of the Los Zetas, any large-scale narcotics trafficker operating in a region controlled by the Los Zetas must support and associate with the Los Zetas or risk execution. The Los Zetas not only supplies the drugs (marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, etc.) to the traffickers, they charge the traffickers a fee (called the “quota”) for the privilege of operating in Los Zetas territory. That fee includes cash payments as well as firearms and other munitions (ammunition, magazines, etc.). In addition to allowing these traffickers to operate in their territory, the Los Zetas had control of law enforcement entities and political subdivisions within the State of Coahuila, which allowed them to operate with impunity and to obtain real-time intelligence about the movement and location of the Mexican military and law enforcement within the State."
The Mexican Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), which Forbes says is suspected of controlling about a third of the illegal drugs entering the United States has been reported to be using drones to drop bombs on targets (usually against other gangs) and reportedly has the ability to evade jamming devices.
The New York Times reported on July 25th, 2022 that smuggling migrants through the Mexican border into the United States is now a "billion-dollar business", and with human smuggling on the rise, organized crime has increased along with it, according to the NYT report.
An Anti-Jammer Law was passed in Mexico on January 25th, 2020 that "prohibits the fabrication, sale, distribution, purchase, installation, possession, and use of any device that interferes with wireless communications," according to Sensitech, a provider of supply chain visibility solutions. They said "These devices, commonly known as jammers, are frequently used by cargo thieves to block GPS signals and cellphone communications, greatly decreasing the possibilities of recovering stolen cargo units. Any such offense will be punishable by 12 to 15 years in prison."
Mexican newspaper El Economista reported in January of 2020 that jammers had been used to block communications and wireless broadcasts in 85% of 3,400 of recorded cargo truck thefts in Mexico. The paper said that "In the case of robberies on national highways, the routes most subject to crimes with the input of the "jammers" are the San Martín Texmelucan-La Tinaja de Veracruz corridor; Querétaro-Celaya-Salamanca and Cuautitlán-Querétaro, Arco Norte and Circuito Exterior Mexiquense."
Not only have human smuggling and crime increased on the border, but the cartels are using the massive profits to upgrade their technological capabilities. According to Judicial Watch Mexican cartels flew about 9,000 drone flights into the United States in order to surveil law enforcement operations on the southern border. Judicial Watch said that federal officials spoke to them and said the cartels are using the UAV surveillance flights to "facilitate human smuggling and drug trafficking."
Brandon Judd, the president of the union representing the nation’s 20,000 Border Patrol agents reportedly told Judicial Watch that they are using drones to smuggle drugs into the United States. "They are dropping fentanyl. They fly into certain locations, drop them to the ground, and fentanyl is taken off of them and they take back off into Mexico.” he reportedly said.
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