The Twitterscape was littered with rumors and hysteria yesterday regarding reports of ranches near Laredo, Texas being "invaded" and "taken over" by a violent Mexican drug gang. Further speculation was that the gang alleged to have conducted the operation was Los Zetas, which is allegedly a group of drug cartel thugs who were trained in the U.S. in military combat techniques.
With two phone calls, Confederate Yankee blew the hype apart:
Twitter exploded a while ago about this story, which claims that heavily-armed Los Zetas gunmen of the Gulf Cartel have taken over ranches on the U.S. side of the border.
My curiosity got the better of me, and so I called the Laredo Police Department, and had a delightful chat with the acting watch commander, Sgt. Perez.
Sgt. Perez informed me that I was her seventh caller about this claim since she came on duty this afternoon. She stipulated two things that blows holes in the invasion claim.
1. The location of the alleged invasion is outside of their city-limits jurisdiction, so they would not be involved, and;
2. while they would not be involved in any law enforcement response outside of their jurisdiction, they work closely with the county sheriff's office and would know if such an event is occurring.
She also provided me the number of the Webb County Sheriff's Department. The deputy that answered the phone there was less amused, having also dealt with this rumor multiple times in a short amount of time. She also told me that there was no invasion and no law enforcement siege, and that deputies were continuing normal operations.
Don't believe the hype.
Indeed. In early Spring of this year, another rumor was rampant on conspiracy nut sites and blogs, this one purporting to expose the imminent deployment of a special army unit in advance of the November elections. I did the same thing CY did--I called people and asked about it, and with two phone calls the "special army unit" story went from scary scenario to laughable hoax.
If you call yourself a conservative, please disown the idiots spreading conspiracy crap and unsubstantiated rumors like the Laredo Invasion. If you see a blog post or tweet alleging that a secret horror afoot in the U.S. is being covered up by the government or the military or law enforcement or some other vast evil organization, chances are that the story is the figment of a dangerously active imagination.
Snopes.com exists for a very good reason.
Update: Even Andrew Breitbart's new site, Big Peace, has been taken in by the hoax. Sad...
Gimme some feedback in the comments.