A chilling message from the cartels: Billboards with hanging mannequins warning cops to choose 'silver over lead' appear in Texas
Two billboards along highways in El Paso, Texas were vandalized and had mannequins hanging off of them One reads 'silver or lead' in Spanish which is taken to mean that police and business owners can either take drug cartels' bribes or die
Worries spreading that cartels that have ruled Mexican border towns with violence may be headed north Two frightening incidents of vandalism in El Paso near the Mexican border in Texas have been interpreted as warnings from drug cartels.
In both instances, a mannequin wearing a suit and tie was tied to a billboard with a noose and messages were scrawled over the placards.
Local station KHOU reports that one of the signs reads 'Plata o Plombo' which translates to 'silver or lead', a threat used commonly against police officers effectively warning that if they do not accept the cartel's bribes then they will be shot.
Threat: The translation of the painted vandalism means 'silver or lead' which is meant to mean that police officers and business owners should either accept bribes or expect gunshots... ...The message was different this (second) time, as the paint read: 'Dying for drugs' was written over a wanted poster calling for the capture of drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero. This second mannequin was dressed in jeans rather than the suit and tie from the other instance.
The mannequins were a particularly jarring image for many familiar with the drug war, as some of the most violent drug lords south of the border regularly hang offenders off highway overpasses. While a warning from drug lords seems like one of the most likely prospects, KHOU reports that prosecutors have another theory that the vandalism also could have been caused by activist groups working against the war on drugs.
In Mexico you can find open recruiting signs for police, offering them multiple times what they make as a cop. And opening threatening them and their families. But the border is secure as it's ever been, right Homeland Security.