U.S. Military has Special Ops "Boots on the Ground" in Mexico

Task Force is Embedded with Mexican Troops, CIA Operative Claims

A special operations task force under the command of the Pentagon is currently in place south of the border providing advice and training to the Mexican Army in gathering intelligence, infiltrating and, as needed, taking direct action against narco-trafficking organizations, claims a former CIA asset who has a long history in the covert operations theater.

The U.S. unit, dubbed Task Force 7, since early 2009, according to the CIA operative, has helped to uncover a warehouse in Juarez packed with U.S. munitions and under the control of drug traffickers; provide critical intelligence that led to the raid of a Juarez sweatshop that was manufacturing phony Mexican military uniforms; worked with the Mexican military in uncovering a mass grave near Palomas, Mexico, just south of Columbus, New Mexico; and, behind the scenes, cooperated with the Mexican Navy in hunting down a major narco-trafficker, Arturo Beltran Leyva -- who was killed by Mexican Navy special forces last December during a raid on a luxury apartment complex in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

“This task force [one of several in place in Mexico] is pretty heavily armed and is embedded with the Mexican military,” says William Robert "Tosh" Plumlee, a former CIA contract pilot who flew numerous missions delivering arms to Latin America and returning drugs to the United States as part of the covert Iran/Contra operations in the 1980s. “These are boots on the ground ... seven to eight of them [in Task Force 7], working in a civilian capacity, meaning they are not in uniform.”

Plumlee stresses that the task force’s presence in Mexico pre-dates the Barack Obama administration, but that it remains active today. For obvious reasons, information on the unit’s precise location in Mexico now was not made available, though Plumlee says in the past the group has operated along Mexico’s northern border, including in Juarez — a border city south of El Paso, Texas.

Plumlee still has deep contacts in the U.S. intelligence world. His efforts to expose past CIA complicity in the drug trade are documented in a letter he sent in 1991 to then U.S. Sen. Gary Hart; in testimony he provided that same year to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and are spelled out in an exclusive story he provided to the San Diego Reader in 1990.

In addition, Narco News sources, including former DEA undercover agent Mike Levine, host of Pacifica Radio’s Expert Witness Radio Show, contend Plumlee is the real thing.

“Before I invited Tosh to come on the air,” Levine told Narco News previously, “because his story was so incredible, I vetted him through government agents, all of whom said he is the real thing. I have a copy of the air map he turned over to a San Diego weekly newspaper, bearing notations of all his drug flights, which first sold me on the guy.”

As evidence of his claims about the U.S. special operations task force operating in Mexico, Plumlee in early April last year provided Narco News with information he said he obtained from that task force detailing the Mexican Army’s investigation of a mass grave site located outside of Palomas, Mexico. About a month later, in early May 2009, the first press reports appeared in Mexican newspapers indicating that a mass grave containing at least seven bodies had been discovered at the same site identified by Plumlee.

At the time of the unearthing of the Palomas mass grave, Narco News chose not to release specific information about the U.S. task force for fear that it might compromise lives.

Since that time, however, Plumlee says task force members have become convinced, due to corruption and leaks within the Mexican government, that their presence in Mexico is now known to narco-trafficking organizations. In addition, in recent weeks, there have been a series of reports in mainstream newspapers, such as the Washington Post and The Nation magazine, indicating that U.S. special forces teams are operating in numerous foreign countries.

From a June 4 story in The Nation:

The Nation has learned from well-placed special operations sources that among the countries where elite special forces teams working for the Joint Special Operations Command have been deployed under the Obama administration are: Iran, Georgia, Ukraine, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru, Yemen, Pakistan (including in Balochistan) and the Philippines. These teams have also at times deployed in Turkey, Belgium, France and Spain. JSOC has also supported US Drug Enforcement Agency operations in Colombia and Mexico. [Emphasis added.]

Since the task force operations have already been exposed, at least to the extent that narco-trafficking organizations are surely aware of their presence in Mexico, Plumlee says making known in the U.S. the information about Task Force 7 may actually help to protect its members, via that public sunshine, despite the diplomatic embarrassment it might prompt – given the U.S. State Department and Mexican government’s sensitivity to admitting to any type of joint operations on Mexico soil.

In any event, it is not a particularly closely guarded national security secret that the U.S. Department of Defense is working cooperatively with the Mexican military. A statement put out by the White House back in March 2009 states the following:

DoD has been and is continuing to work with its Mexican counterparts to increase information sharing, interoperability, and training and equipping of counternarcotics forces.

In addition, a former U.S. government official who has experience dealing with covert operations and who also asked not to be named, says the presence of special operations forces in Mexico “is really nothing new in terms of how we have dealt with Mexico in the past.”

“Black operations have been going on forever,” the official says. “The recent [mainstream] media reports about those operations under the Obama administration make it sound like it’s a big scoop, but it’s nothing new for those who understand how things really work.”

In fact, U.S. special forces teams, including Delta Force and Navy Seals, worked with a Colombian task force known as the Search Bloc, and also, according to some reports, helped to train a paramilitary death squad known as Los Pepes, as part of the effort to hunt down and ultimately kill the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar in the early 1990s.

Plumlee says he has no information or evidence that Task Force 7, or other similar units he claims are now embedded in Mexico as part of a drug-trafficking interdiction mission, are involved in training or assisting Mexican military units to carry out assassinations of narco-traffickers.

However, the former government official who spoke with Narco News says it would not be surprising if “assassinations [targeting high-profile narco-traffickers] were part of the mission.”

“It wouldn’t be the first time,” the official says.

Stay tuned ….




I have no proof

but the story goes that "off duty" ATF agents of the United States have in fact carried out hits south of the border.

I'd say the person I heard this from is a credible source.

Narco News on Pacifica Radio


Pacifica Radio's Expert Witness Radio Show, featuring host Mike Levine and co-host Mark Marshall, is now airing a segment on the story "U.S. Military has Special Ops 'Boots on the Ground' in Mexico." The show also touches on several other recent Narco News stories related to the drug war.

As importantly, if you go to the link where the radio show can be heard via podcast, you also can get access to some five hours of prior interviews with Tosh Plumlee, the former CIA contract pilot during the Iran/Contra era who is a major source for the recent Narco News story about U.S. military special operations troops in Mexico.

Take a listen. I suspect you'll agree Plumlee's the real deal.

Again, here's the link to the show. Enjoy


Targets of special forces

While it is difficult, sometimes, to know who the US wants dead, it seems a good guess that the real targets are likely to be Mexican citizens working for justice or a more effective democracy as opposed to "drug trafficars.."

it's easier to know who they don't want dead...

it's easier to know who they don't want dead, that would be Joaquin Guzman Loera aka Chapo, and Ismael Zambada Garcia aka Mayo, and for the rest of the drug lords and their henchmen, it's full season for their heads, Zetas, La familia Michoacana, The Beltran Leyva Organization, The Gulf Cartel, The Valencia Cartel, The Juarez Cartel, all of them, and some of the being partners with Ismael and Joaquin, they also are expendable, the Mexican government (Felipe Calderon Hinojosa) is using the U.S aid (Merida Plan) to help his two compadres out.

fort bliss

fort bliss is the new' school of the americas. not to sound crass, but this is really no big deal. the news about special forces teams of sicarios in mexico is only astonishing in the fact that these activity's have been going on for generations. there are plenty of active narco sicarios operating in juarez that have been trained right here in the good ole u.s. of a. the school of the americas at fort benning, goergia, has been steadily graduating dictators and spycho killers for operations in south and central america. we know that their charges have done the dirty work anmd the u.s. has assisted these graduates of the school of the assasins. if they were there to help mexico rid itself of the rampant corruption that threatens to turn it into a failed state, then it would be welcome news, but they are there to destabilyze the country because all they know is war and the stakes are too high. the united states is terrified of drugs being legalized becuase they are afraid that they will somehow lose out and not benifit form any deals that the mexicans might work out amongst themselves. remember, the more unstable the environment, the more that the special forces people thrive. the zetas are poster boys for the school of the americas, the top echelon anyway. now they can train there own perfect killers. they can afford to be sloppy because this how they were tuaght to terorize their enemies. the zetas are the mexican equivalent of the u.s. strategy of shock and awe. anywhere that they have operated it is the innocent that bear the brunt of their mission. mass graves in guatemala and all points north and south. i grew up there on both sides of the border, i'm just saying

Add comment

Our Policy on Comment Submissions: Co-publishers of Narco News (which includes The Narcosphere and The Field) may post comments without moderation. A ll co-publishers comment under their real name, have contributed resources or volunteer labor to this project, have filled out this application and agreed to some simple guidelines about commenting.

Narco News has recently opened its comments section for submissions to moderated comments (that’s this box, here) by everybody else. More than 95 percent of all submitted comments are typically approved, because they are on-topic, coherent, don’t spread false claims or rumors, don’t gratuitously insult other commenters, and don’t engage in commerce, spam or otherwise hijack the thread. Narco News reserves the right to reject any comment for any reason, so, especially if you choose to comment anonymously, the burden is on you to make your comment interesting and relev ant. That said, as you can see, hundreds of comments are approved each week here. Good luck in your comment submission!

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

User login


Reporters' Notebooks

name) { $notebooks[] = l($row->name, 'blog/' . $row->uid); } } print theme('item_list', $notebooks); ?>

About Bill Conroy