Here is an excerpt from Kimberly Dvorak's article on Examiner.com:
"In what could be deemed an act of war against the sovereign borders of the United States, Mexican drug cartels have seized control of at least two American ranches inside the U.S. territory near Laredo, Texas. Two sources inside the Laredo Police Department confirmed the incident is unfolding and they would continue to coordinate with U.S. Border Patrol today. “We consider this an act of war,” said one police officer on the ground near the scene. There is a news blackout of this incident at this time and the sources inside Laredo PD spoke on the condition of anonymity. Word broke late last night that Laredo police have requested help from the federal government regarding the incursion by the Los Zetas. It appears that the ranch owners have escaped without incident but their ranches remain in the hands of the blood thirsty cartels. Laredo Border Patrol is conducting aerial surveillance over the ranches to determine the best way to regain control of the U.S. ranches, according to the Laredo Police department. The approximate location of the U.S. ranches are10 miles northwest of I-35 off Mines Road and Minerales Annex Road. Just off 1472 (Mines road) near Santa Isabel Creek north of the city of Laredo, Texas." Link to Full Article
Analysis: Normally I wouldn't dignify a story like this with a post, but it's making enough rounds across the Internet that I feel compelled to dispel the rumors and set Ms. Dvorak straight. First of all, the story is completely untrue. I've confirmed that through the Webb County Sheriff and US Northern Command. A US government spokesperson has also dismissed the story as false. It's unfortunate that Ms. Dvorak insists on sticking to her story, which is based on anonymous and circular information.
Since I used to be the South America Policy Examiner for Examiner.com (I've since stopped because it pays pennies for the work you have to do to make any worthwhile money), I know that your earnings are based on the number of hits your article page gets, and how long the reader stays on the page. I guarantee you Ms. Dvorak is seeing a spike in hits today, and I'm not crazy about the fact I'm contributing to that - and the further spread of her bad article - by linking to it above. But fair is fair, and I won't make an exception just because the story is "hogwash," to quote the Sheriff in Laredo.
Let's go beyond the fact the story has been discounted by several local and national law enforcement and government authorities for a minute. Why would Los Zetas try to seize two ranches in Laredo? They already have homes and properties and cars in various cities in the southwest border states, and with all the money they have to burn, they can just buy any ranch they want. Why expose themselves to US law enforcement with such reckless behavior? The story says the ranch owners escaped without incident; that in and of itself is odd. It throws the possibility of the seizure as DTO retribution against the owners out the window. It also implies that the ranch owners either had some kind of warning about the intrusion or were let go by the intruders. Neither of those theories fit with Los Zetas modus operandi; they're extremely stealthy, and generally don't let witnesses just wander off.
Either way, the important takeaway is that Los Zetas have NOT taken over two ranches in Laredo, and always remember to ask critical questions when you read a story like this that seems too sensational to be true. One of these days it might be, but chances are there's less to it.