Gun-toting Texas Rangers invade drug cartel island overrun with killer bees

Texas Rangers have invaded an island on the Rio Grande that has been used to smuggle drugs into the US and guns back into Mexico.

The 170-acre uninhabited Fronton Island sits next to the Texan village of Fronton, home to just 180 people.

Authorities say the isolated river crossing has fallen into the hands of Mexican cartels, namely the Gulf Cartel and the Northeast Cartel. According to a report from the Centre for Immigration Studies, authorities reckon the two gangs have fought each other for access to the island.

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And that's not all they've been fighting with American cops, Border Patrol boats and even local farmers apparently taking fire. Consequently, this month Texas Rangers and state police were ordered to retake Fronton Island by force, and hold it.

Those who went in were warned of bullet-ridden structures on the Mexican side of the river, believed to be cartel bluffs overlooking the island. "We have not seen people in there this morning, but we know that that’s what they’re used for," Texas Gov Greg Abbott told the men before the mission was launched.

Last month an improvised explosive device was found on the island in a stash of semi-automatic rifles and ammunition, and trail camera footage appears to show armed cartel members making the journey across. The men were also warned of the possibility of booby-traps.

Another problem they faced was the island's wildlife. A Texas Rangers captain spoke of "aggressive" Africanized bees known colloquially as "killer bees" at the invasion pep talk. There are some 1,000 reports of Africanized bees killing humans worldwide.

Heavily armed troops took the island using ATVs, with police drones sent ahead to scout the brush for cartel gunmen. The plan is for Texas National Guard engineers to now remove all the vegetation, making the illegal island crossing essentially unviable.

Jaeson Jones, a retired captain in the Texas Department of Public Safety's intelligence division, said: "It's an island of death. It’s dangerous, man. It really is."

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