WASHINGTON –  Mexican drug cartels are “killing each other” with .50-caliber machine guns and grenades just across the U.S. border with Mexico, sources have told WND.

The gun battles are occurring near Fort Huachuca, Ariz., which is the location of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and school.

The Army center is 15 miles from the Mexican border, but the installation runs up against the border.

A source associated with the center said that only a “three-strand barbwire fence” is keeping any spillover of heavily armed cartel members out of the compound.

Students at the post have had only basic training and haven’t handled weapons beyond the M-16, which shoots a 5.56 mm round, roughly equivalent to a .223 caliber, which is less than half the size of the .50 caliber.

The episode is the latest flare-up in what American ranchers living along Arizona’s southern border say is a virtual war zone.

Mexican drug lords rule in the U.S. border regions and “we’re living by the law of the cartels,” one American rancher said.

The ranchers recently blasted the federal government for failing them, warning that the chaos spilling from Mexico is “putting U.S. national security at risk.”

Mark J. Dannels, sheriff of Cochise County in Arizona, said border security “should be a primary issue even before we talk about immigration reform.”

Dannels has spent 25 years in law enforcement along the border.

In a Facebook report on the latest incident, Dannels said the violence is occurring in Agua Prieta Sonora, Mexico.

He said his office was contacted by the Douglas Port of Entry just after midnight Saturday over what sounded like a gun battle with automatic weapons and “possibly hand grenades south of the United States-Mexico border.”

He said the shooting activity lasted an hour, but there were no requests for medical personnel or ambulances to respond to the port.

“Information which was received throughout the day indicates that a gun/weapons fight did occur in Agua Prieta Sonora south (of) the U.S.-Mexico border where several fatalities occurred in two separate incidents,” Dannels said.

“All information received indicates that this is probably cartel related with massive amounts of munitions used to include automatic weapons, .50 caliber weapons and hand grenades,” Dannels said. “Reports of the death toll range from 8-13 people, none of whom are listed as U.S. citizens.”

Dannels said that as a “proactive and precautionary measure,” his office has placed personnel on a heightened state of alert, “which will allow for the deployment of additional personnel and the augmentation of existing personnel should it be determined that this violence may potentially spill over into the United States via Cochise County’s international boundaries.”

“Our information indicates that this is an internal fight within the confines of the country of Mexico and will most likely stay there; however, we remain vigilant in our duty to protect our citizens at all costs,” Dannels said.

“If in fact there are criminal factions that intend to bring their issues to the United States, we want to assure them that we are working closely with local, state and federal agencies to be prepared as necessary and be successful in our mission to stop any violence from occurring in our county,” he said.




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