The “safest city in America” doesn’t appear to be so safe these days.
According to KHOU, two billboards in El Paso, Texas have been vandalized. While this in itself isn’t big news, the manner in which they were vandalized may be.
One had “Plata o Plamo” written in large black letters. That translates to “silver or lead.” As noted in the report, that’s usually a warning to police or government officials in Mexico to work with the cartel and take a bribe or get shot.
Accompanying the billboard was a hanging mannequin wearing a suit and tie.
“This symbol has historically been used by Mexican drug cartels to threaten or intimidate Mexican citizens, business owners and government officials; however, we have never experienced this in El Paso,” police said.
A second mannequin was found hanging from a different billboard in the area. This one was dressed in jeans. The billboard, which offered a reward for the capture of drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, was painted to say “Dying for drugs.”
Investigators reportedly suspect this is the work of activists questioning the war on drugs. Similar mannequins were hanged in Las Vegas in 2012, one of which read “Dying for work.”
But as the report notes, the mannequins mimic drug violence in Mexico. Real bodies have been found hanging from overpasses across the border in Ciudad Juarez.
“Maybe the problems in Juarez are coming over here,” El Paso resident Javier Padilla told KHOU.
“Oh, that’s horrible,” said his wife, Maria Ramos.
Two of her relatives were reportedly murdered in that city in 2009.
What do you think? Is this the work of activists? Are Mexican cartels making threats on US soil? If this continues, do you think it will impact the border security debate?