UPDATE: SUSPECT APPREHENDED (6/5/11) WITH NO APPARENT CARTEL INVOLVEMENT. Motive TBD.
On Saturday morning, May 28, Bexar County Sheriff Sergeant Kenneth Vann was ambushed at a local intersection in San Antonio responding to a (disturbance) call in the area. From the outset, the very telling part was what wasn't being written. But the words "multi-agency task force" was a signal (including FBI and US Marshals).
Over the past many months there have been debates and politically correct banter regarding whether the drug violence was crossing the border, and even whether Mexico was or was not a failed or failing state. Well, to most people familiar with things, there never was much question, even though public discussions were pretty hushed.
So the big question is why on May 25th, was a Lieutenant in the Bexar County Sheriff's narcotics office interviewed on the late local news and quoted as saying that she was "expecting drug violence anytime." Was a public statement like that needed (was it necessary to "throw down the gauntlet")?
The first reports identified the suspect vehicle as a small white car. But later, authorities changed that initial report to looking for a Ford F-150. Perhaps coincidentally, south of town there have been a number of modified pick-up trucks found abandoned that were connected to the cartels (modified with compartments either ripped out or created to allow secreting contraband).
With the "multi-agency" task force investigating the murder/assassination, an answer is certain to come. While other motives such as a random act of violence, a gang initiation killing or some personal vendetta against Sgt. Vann have been raised as alternates and need to remain on the table, was his killing sort of a "warning" that "yes, drug violence could happen anytime."
At this point, it should be left to law enforcement to investigate the crime, and for others to postulate about what happened. But I have been writing about the narco-terrorism south of the border for more than 6 years and probably longer. The long hot South Texas summer still lies ahead.
The reward has risen to $127,000. Sgt. Vann's funeral will be on Friday, June 3rd.