Plata o Plomo?

Gumshoe is angry!  Some of you folks may have heard this adage:

“Once a Marine, always a Marine!”  

This mantra rings true to all of us former “Jarheads”. This saying was drilled into our brain housing groups (skulls) via our not-so-pleasant D.I.’s at Parris Island or at the San Diego Marine Recruit Depots. There is no such animal as an “X-Marine”!

We “leathernecks” joined the ranks of the “green machine” out of patriotism and also in order individually to test ourselves as our right of passage—body, mind, and spirit to earn that “buzzard, beach ball, and fish hook“. (The nickname for the USMC emblem depicting the eagle, globe, and anchor). We all wanted to do the right and honorable thing in protecting our great country even if it meant sacrificing our young lives. Urrah!  “Goodnight Chesty, wherever you are!”  (Look up famed Marine Corps General “Chesty” Puller for further reference).

Now back to Gumshoe’s righteous wrath.  All of you gentle readers know that after Gumshoe finished his four-year hitch in the Corps, he spent four decades plus in law enforcement including some time as a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Los Angeles, California. Gumshoe came up close and personal with the drug cartels and their extreme violence.

Gumshoe played a small part in the investigation of the kidnapping, torturing, and killing of DEA Special Agent  Enrique “Kiki” Camarena down in Mexico in February of 1985.  He was also a former Marine.  God bless his soul.

There is no shadow of doubt inside of Gumshoe’s brain housing group that Mexico is a “Narco State” run by the competing drug cartels who own the Mexican government as well as the law enforcement leadership. Period! The cartels have a saying when corrupting officials:

“Plato o Plomo?”

This means: silver or lead? Take the bribe or take the bullet.  Sadly, the majority of the officials take the silver in lieu of the bullet. What else is new you may ask?  Drug and human trafficking.  This is common knowledge among us “gringos” north of the border.

Recently, four innocent and possibly naive Americans crossed over the border and into a free-fire zone between rival cartel gunmen (sicarios).  The cartels continually fight over the control of the U.S. and Mexican border. Two Americans were murdered outright and the other two were kidnapped.  The dead Americans had their bodies dragged and dumped inside the bed of a pickup truck and the other two surviving Americans were also thrown into the truck bed by the killers. All four Americans were deposited into a guarded shack for over 24 hours. Two of the survivors were finally located and repatriated to the U.S.

  • Where is the justice for our murdered and kidnapped fellow Americans?

Our State Department is presently negotiating with Mexican officials just to get the bodies back of the murdered victims.

  • Why the delay?
  • Why aren’t these well-known notorious and ruthless Mexican drug cartels not identified by the U.S. as terrorist organizations?
  • Why are these “murder-incorporated” organizations allowed to exist and function at our southern border?

These cartels are definitely a “clear and present danger” to our country. Good must confront and destroy evil when it especially exists at our doorstep.

  • Where is the determined will to act?

Gumshoe says that ACTION is needed covertly as well as overtly NOW by the U.S.

  • Why is our government afraid to act?

These four Americans could have been any of us, our family members, or our friends.

Gumshoe thinks that the late American journalist, Henry Louis Menchen had it right (in this case) when he wrote:

“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats”.

Gumshoe says, THAT TIME IS NOW!  Damn the cartels and the corrupted Mexican authorities.  Damn our “do nothing” government officials.

Well, that’s how Gumshoe feels about this matter kind folks.

Coram Deo!

PS:  When Gumshoe worked as an undercover street Narc, the common phrase inside the drug and gang-infested barrio was:

“Vida es barrato”.

(Life is cheap). How commonplace and accepted was this pitiful saying by the victimized residents? The Devil laughed with delight!


Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco
RETIRED (as a Detective with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State), Danny has over forty years of law enforcement experience across city, county, state and federal levels of government, including service as a Special Agent for the DEA, US Department of Justice. He’s a decorated law enforcement veteran, and recipient of the "Detective of the Year" award for Snohomish County, Danny is a certified composite artist and has testified as an expert witness in the field of narcotics and modus operandi of particular crimes in state and federal courts in California, and has given testimony before federal grand juries. Danny served four years of active duty in the US Marine Corps and loves Jesus as his personal savior.

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  1. Another great article Gumshoe. We have had what about 5 million that have crossed illegally to our country from our Southern Border and now it appears we have a problem with our northern border. Our current administration continues with the current lie that our border is closed. They do not support our law enforcement who work tirelessly in an effort to apprehend those illegally crossing. The cartels control most of Mexico and that government appears to allow those cartels free rein. We have fentanyl flowing freely across the border no matter how much we seize. Law Enforcement can’t be every where at once.
    Not sure what those four Americans were thinking when they crossed into Mexico. Vanity surgery trumps common sense. BTW the Cartels did apologize and turned in some low level idiots who may or may not get prosecuted. I know Mexico would never allow the US to send military to their country as that would show as sign of weakness. I believe we have other options like Drone strikes and covert operations as well. China is also complicit with this problem and yet we continue to do business as usual. Hell our economy is in the toilet anyway so it can’t be any worse if we do not do business with China and penalize any corporation that does business with them including and not limited to LeBron James and the NBA. I will probably be labeled Racist for that statement.
    I would like to address the problem at our Northern Border. I used to live in Syracuse, NY. Every year we would head to Ogdensburg, NY a couple of hours just north of Syracuse and located on the Saint Lawrence river. We rented a cabin on the river and we could see Canada across the river from our back door. A very strong swimmer could make it across in short order. I always thought how easy it could be if someone with nefarious intensions crossed the river in a boat, in the dead of night to create mayhem. Well I guess the illegal crossings have increased. Again Law Enforcement can’t be everywhere at once.
    I am not sure if this country can afford to wait till 2024. We have a problem and an administration that has no desire to address the problem. Sooner or later the citizens of this country will address the problem and the administration be damned.
    Thanks again for another thought provoking article.
    Semper Fi

    • You made some excellent points to ponder my friend Tom. Law enforcement cannot be everywhere at once. It will take a sea change for our country to control its borders again. My fear is that terrorist cells have already infiltrated our country and that all of us will suffer and sacrifice for what is to come. God help us all! Semper Fi!

  2. Yes we have a do nothing government. Look at the hundreds of thousands illegals crossing our southern boarder every year. Why? Why don’t we stop it? Of course we have limits on what actions we can take in another country, at least openly. However, I have to wonder about the intelligence of Americans that go over the border in a known cartel controlled area to get non-essential medical treatment. That must be the same intellect that causes people to vote for our current leadership that promotes open borders.

    • You are absolutely correct my friend Ken. Judgement was apparently lacking when these Americans ventured across the border with the prior knowledge of the rival cartels battle for control. Our feckless leaders are HUA (head up ass) when it comes to providing solutions. God help us all Ken.

  3. Very interesting article, and it is a reminder that our country is succumbing to the evil of this world unless we have strong leadership to govern. I feel that it will get worst before it gets better, but maybe that is what needs to happen.