Texas Land Commissioner shuts down cartel activity on island, cleared weapons and explosives

"Mexican drug cartels used the island as a jurisdictional no man's land," Buckingham said during a press conference.
Immigrants cross over an island in the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States on September 28, 2023 in Eagle Pass, Texas. A surge of asylum seeking migrants crossing the U.S. southern border has put pressure on U.S. immigration authorities, reaching record levels in recent weeks.

Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham had a recent victory against the Mexican cartels after the Lone Star state seized control of Fronton Island, a prominent area for illegal activity. 

"This island before it was claimed, was literally a law enforcement free zone for the cartels to do whatever they wanted," Buckingham said on the John Solomon Reports podcast.

"American law enforcement couldn't step on it. Mexican law enforcement couldn't step on it. It was a safe haven for the cartels to stash all kinds of weapons, all kinds of drugs, and run untold numbers of people across. It's also at literally the most dangerous point at the border."

Fronton Island is a census-designated place that is located in Starr County, Texas and borders Mexico. 

Last week, Buckingham held a press conference where she discussed the partnership between the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas General Land Office to shut down cartel activity that was occurring. 

"This task was named 'Operation Flat Top,'" she said during her opening remarks. "Before our determination and the actions of DPS and TMD [Texas Military Department], Mexican drug cartels used the island as a jurisdictional no man's land." 

As a border state, Texas has been highly impacted by the cartels' illegal activity, whether that be smuggling people into the U.S. or the trading of weapons and drugs. 

Reports from last year revealed that cartels had been using smartphones to facilitate their smuggling, making payments to drivers and manipulating the Customs and Border Protection app to get more people in.

Buckingham described Fronton Island as the "most dangerous point at the border."

"The town right across the river in Mexico had fully automatic weapon fire every single night and warring cartels," she told the podcast. "It is literally the bloodiest, most dangerous part of the border. That's why it was so important to take it. It's 170 acres. It's a pretty big island."

She added that after Texas seized control of the island, officials discovered "major caches of weapons, explosive devices [and] drugs."

"We put the wire all on the river facing part of it, and today there are zero people coming across from Mexico from that part of the border," Buckingham said.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Biden administration by temporarily vacating a Fifth Circuit injunction preventing federal agents from cutting the "concertina" razor wire fencing that Texas placed along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott wrote in a social media posting that "Biden has instructed his agencies to ignore federal statutes that mandate the detention of illegal immigrants" and that he had "enticed illegal immigrants away from the 28 legal entry points along the State's southern border." He also said that Texas would continue to "deploy this razor wire to repel illegal immigration."

The Homeland Security Department revealed last month that the backlog of tracking and vetting illegal aliens inside the U.S. has nearly doubled under Biden to over six million while arrests of suspected terrorists and violent offenders have also exploded.