No Tacos Today
The Dallas Morning News is running an article titled 26 Indicted On Drug, Money Laundering Charges in tomorrow's print edition. Those indicted all have ties to the Gulf Cartel. This Cartel is hard core. And I write this because the only time I ever feared for my life while covering a story, was when I was asking questions about the Cartel's leader, Oziel Cardenas Guillen.
From June 2001 until December 2001 I was a t.v. reporter for the ABC Affilate in the Valley. When I first arrived at the station, I started doing research on the Cartel and began talking to a local professor about his own research. In small markets like this one, not many people do research, so this automatically made me the resident expert. So, there I go. The story broke in Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, that the Police Chief had been assasinated. The Chief, and two other men had been gunned down in plain daylight. Inside the car, next to the bloody bodies, there was a duffel bag with thousands and thousands of dollars. I don't exactly remember how much.
I jumped at the chance to do the story and even though I wasn't the repoter closest to that city, I got sent out there. I arrived to the Matamoros police station, to find most of the police department out of the office. Everyone was in shock and nobody wanted to say anything. On the street, in front of the station, was the car the 3 men were found in. The blood stains, the broken windown, and bullet casings, were all still there. A yellow tape was placed around the car, but since we were media, and since we were in Matamoros, we of course ignored that. While my photog did his thing, I walked around trying to talk to whoever would talk. I'm pretty good at small talk, so some cops, in a very hush-hush fashion, talked to me a bit - off camera of course. None of them were too exited I was asking questions. Then I bumped into a "reporter" from a local Mexican radio station. I had noticed him watching me for a little while, so I struck up a conversation. Then I asked him about Oziel Cardenas Guillen. He gave me a double take. I asked again and this time I added if he knew where Guillen had houses in the city, because I wanted to drive by and shoot some video. I was a cocky bastard. No one had ever intimidated me, not even when the Sheriff in Web County cursed me and called my station to fire me. This time, I was playing with the big boys though. The "reporter" looked at me straight in the eyes and said "If you want to come back tomorrow, you'll never say that name again." I just stared at him and he repeated "If you want to come back tomorrow, you'll never say that name again." I thanked him for his time, called my photog and told him we had to get the hell out of dodge. No tacos today I said. Let's get back to the U.S.
That night, my story came out pretty good, and in my closing tag, I said what the "reporter" told me. The station loved in, peopled called in to commend me on the story, and even cops later commented about it. That night though, as I walked out of the station, I made sure that I looked at every car that was parked next to my truck. Maybe I was being paranoid, but man, was I scared.