9 months ago

AG Marshall on border security: Sinaloa Cartel responsible for ‘almost all’ imported drugs in Alabama

MONTGOMERY — While speaking to the Montgomery Rotary Club Monday, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall shared more insight into his White House visit last week when he briefed President Donald Trump on the impact of drug trafficking at and between points of entry at the nation’s southern border.

“It was really kind of an interesting week last week because I got a call about 2:00 Tuesday that asked if I could meet with the president at 1:00 the next day,” Marshall explained. “We made plans and were able to go up to Washington, but it was really about this issue – and I appreciate them reaching out – for me to be able to share with the president the link between border security and drug trafficking.”

He continued, “I firmly believe that, although we are not a border state, we are impacted by what crosses our border. If you look at Alabama’s drug problem, almost all the drugs that come into this country are imported by the Sinaloa Cartel — whether it be our cocaine, whether it be our methamphetamine, whether it be our heroin, and now the cartel is, along with the Chinese, allowing fentanyl to enter across our borders.”

“So, what I not only had a chance to do was share with the president some of the data I was aware of involving our drug trafficking cases and those who’ve entered this country unlawfully, but also to be able to share with him some very personal stories,” Marshall advised.

In his words, these examples included “a 13-year-old girl up in Madison County who was autistic, lost her grandmother – stabbed to death – and then she was beheaded by two members of the cartel because they were exacting revenge.”

“Or a juvenile in Shelby County who was raped by a gentleman who was previously convicted of drug trafficking,” Marshall added.

He outlined that this illegal immigrant “was deported, came back simply a few months after he left this country to the same place and committed a rape involving a young girl.”

Marshall also shared with the president a very recent story from the attorney general’s home county, Marshall County.

A guy that was deported three different occasions came back to the same community and now is charged with the rape of a juvenile,” he explained.

“Those are stories that [the president] needs to hear,” Marshall said. “And that needs to be a little bit of a discussion when we’re talking nationally about the security of our border, recognizing that it’s not just simply an issue for California or for Texas or for Arizona. It’s also an issue for the people of Alabama.”

He then transitioned into talking about how his and Congressman Mo Brooks’ (AL-5) lawsuit against the U.S. Census Bureau focuses on illegal immigration pitfalls of a different kind.

“If you’re not here legally, you can’t vote in a federal election,” Marshall emphasized. “So I don’t understand why it is [illegal immigrants] oughta be counted in the census data for determining how many members of Congress a state has.”

He concluded, “Our experts say that if in fact those who are in this country unlawfully are counted, then Alabama’s going to lose a congressional seat… and a vote in the electoral college. One of the states that’s going to benefit from that is the state of California. And y’all, I don’t feel really good about giving California your vote for president. So, we’re going to continue to push that litigation, because we feel our constitutional basis for that argument is righteous but also that it is a matter of common sense.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

21 mins ago

Watch: Alabamians line up with American flags to welcome slain Naval ensign home

As seen in a video posted on Twitter, people lined the streets of Enterprise on Friday to welcome home Navy Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson.

Watson, a 23-year-old Coffee County native who also spent many of his formative years in Blount County, was killed in last week’s shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

The hero’s body arrived at Dothan Regional Airport on Friday and then a procession took him to Searcy Funeral Home in Enterprise.

Considering Fort Rucker’s presence, the area has a high percentage of military families, making Watson’s murder that much harder on the Wiregrass community. People lined the procession route with American flags, honoring his service, sacrifice and life.

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A public memorial service for Watson will take place at the Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center at 11:00 a.m. next Saturday, December 21.

Burial will be the following day at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo. Governor Kay Ivey has ordered flags to half-staff on that day of internment: Sunday, December 22.

RELATED: How the hometown of a NAS Pensacola shooting hero is paying tribute to one of their own

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

46 mins ago

‘God loves you. Jesus paid the price’: Secret Santa pays off all layaways at Alabama Walmart

Christmas came a little early for several shoppers with layaway purchases at the Walmart in Anniston.

As reported first by ABC 33/40, an anonymous Alabama man came into the store recently and paid off the entire layaway balance at the time. The total value of the items he paid off was reportedly $65,000.

All the Secret Santa requested in return?

That each customer with a layaway item he paid off received a note, each with just the same seven words:

“God loves you. Jesus paid the price.”

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While the man’s tremendous act of generosity was greatly appreciated by customers ABC 33/40 interviewed, that seven-word message seemed to touch people powerfully in and of itself as well.

“That really topped it off,” Kandy Ward explained. “I really loved the message that he put out there and I think that’s what he wanted to do.”

Another shopper, Hannah Haynes, agreed.

“Everyday I wish I could thank the anonymous person for being so obedient (in his faith),” she said.

Haynes added that she stuck the note on her refrigerator and plans to keep it there, letting it serve as a motivator.

“Everyday I’m gonna wake up like, ‘How can I bless someone?'” Haynes remarked. “How can I show someone that type of love?”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Byrne introduces bill allowing cartels to be treated as terrorist organizations under federal law

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) is leading the charge in the U.S. House of Representatives to be able to officially treat international drug cartels as terrorist organizations under federal law, something that President Donald Trump has recently expressed as a priority of his.

Byrne announced on Friday that he, along with Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI), has introduced the Significant Transnational Criminal Organization Designation Act.

This legislation would create a new federal designation, “Significant Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs),” which has more stringent sanctions than the existing transnational criminal organization designation. The penalties for Significant TCOs would mirror many of the penalties for entities currently designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), including sanctions on organization members and their families, travel restrictions and increased penalties for American citizens who grant them material assistance.

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In a statement, Byrne said, “We should not have to tolerate transnational criminal organizations exporting drugs and violence into our country.”

“This bill will enhance our ability to come after these groups and keep our communities and citizens safe at home and abroad. Congress should rally behind this effort and show these groups that there are severe consequences for their actions,” he advised.

This comes after nine dual U.S.-Mexico citizens were viciously slain by cartel members in northern Mexico on November 4.

Sanctions the federal government would be able to impose on Significant TCOs under Byrne’s legislation include:

  • Barring organization members and their immediate families from admission into the United States
  • Freezing assets
  • Seeking civil and criminal penalties against individuals providing material assistance or resources to the organization.

The bill also would require the president to submit a report to Congress detailing the government’s findings from the November 4 attack, including whether the cartel responsible should be designated as a Significant TCO.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) has introduced the Senate version of Byrne’s bill.

Alabama has also had its problems with cartel-related violence and crime.

Attorney General Steve Marshall (R-AL) has advised that the Sinaloa Cartel is responsible for “almost all” drugs imported into the Yellowhammer State. That cartel is headquartered in Culiacán, Mexico.

Just two weeks ago, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office took down two suspected Mexican cartel members in a major firearms and drug bust in the Birmingham metropolitan area.

Then, of course, there are the more shocking examples from the recent past, such as when cartel members in Alabama stabbed a grandmother to death and then beheaded her 13-year-old Huntsville granddaughter.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

Ivey orders flags to half-staff honoring slain Navy ensign

Governor Kay Ivey announced Friday that she is ordering all flags on government grounds to be flown at half staff on Sunday, December 22 to honor the life of Navy Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson.

Watson, an Enterprise native who spent many of his formative years in Blount County, was killed in the shooting at Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL, on December 6.

“Let us remember the life and service of Ensign Watson, who died as a hero trying to protect his fellow service members. We offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers to his family, friends and community,” the governor said in her directive.

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According to reports relayed to the media by his family, the 23-year-old Watson saved many lives with his actions on the day of the shooting. His heroic actions drew praise from many of Alabama’s political leaders.

“After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable,” Adam Watson, the victim’s brother, told the Pensacola News Journal (PNJ).

Watson’s father, Benjamin, said of his son, “His mission was to confront evil, to bring the fight to them, wherever it took him. He was willing to risk his life for his country. We never thought he would die in Florida.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

You’re invited!

The biggest birthday party in Alabama’s history is taking place on December 14, and you are invited! Join us in Montgomery for the grand finale celebration of our state’s 200th birthday.

Watch the parade, listen to concerts and performances, visit open houses and much more.

This is sure to be a day you don’t want to miss. The event is free to the public and lasts all day starting with an elaborate parade at 10:00 a.m. The parade will travel from Court Square Fountain in downtown Montgomery up Dexter Avenue to the State Capitol. There will be marching bands, city floats and unique displays of Alabama history on wheels, such as the USS Alabama and U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

The parade is a great opportunity for families to enjoy the celebration together – and it’s only the beginning of a packed day. Following the parade, Governor Kay Ivey will dedicate Bicentennial Park. The afternoon will offer performances, exhibitions and open houses throughout downtown Montgomery. The day will conclude with a concert featuring popular musicians from Alabama and the history of Alabama presented in a never-before-seen way.

Visit Alabama 200 Finale for a complete rundown of the day’s events.

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