Fort Bliss Headlines
- Soldiers learn sexual assault prevention during
- Fort Bliss officials, soldiers react to Fort Hood shooting
- Fort Hood Shooter recently left Fort Bliss
- Hagel proposes big cuts in Army in 2015 budget
- Former German Club manager plans to open new spot, organize another Oktoberfest
- Pilot program on Fort Bliss geared to help military kids work through unique challenges facing them
- Borderland trauma patients could help save lives thousands of miles away
- Financial protection for Fort Bliss soldiers starts with prevention
- Army makes alterations after budget cuts
- Report: Closing commissary a possible cost-saving measure
- Army colonel wants to put unattractive women on Army advertisements
- KFOX14 goes undercover: Marriage for hire, soldiers seeking brides
- Fort Bliss family named 'National Volunteer Family of the Year'
- El Paso families will not be able to Adopt-A-Soldier for Thanksgiving
- Fort Bliss ranks 2nd on 'America's Top 10 Military Boom Towns' list
- El Paso veterans: Give our cemetery its grass back
- Local furloughed workers speak out against government shutdown, Congress
- Fort Bliss feeling effects of government shutdown
- Fort Bliss couple at the heart of changing military
- Fort Bliss Responds to Navy Yard Shooting
- Report: Radiation in bunker 7 times above normal
- Cartels recruiting soldiers
- Fort Bliss soldier accused of participating in immigrant smuggling ring
- APNewsBreak: Defense furloughs cut from 11 to 6
- Fort Bliss' commanding general talks about what plagues the city, post
- Fort Bliss wants El Paso to better market itself
- Fort Bliss: Preliminary test results show no immediate threat from contaminated bunker
- Radiation experts: No immediate danger at Fort Bliss
- Fort Bliss investigating possible radioactive materials on post
Cartels recruiting soldiers
Updated: Wednesday, September 4 2013, 09:09 PM MDT
By: Gina Benitez
Fort Bliss, TEXAS -- Many experts said drug cartels are hiring soldiers for contract killings.
KFOX 14 found out the numbers on Fort Bliss and whether post officials feel it's a problem installation-wide.
"Clearly, we have a very unique situation in the Army because we're on a border," said Maj. Joe Buccino, Fort Bliss spokesman.
But despite that, Buccino said there is no indication of contract killings being an issue on Fort Bliss.
"Our criminal investigation division and our military police investigators work very closely on-post and off-post with local law enforcement and we've seen no indicators that there is an increase in gang activity or an increase in recruitment on behalf of the cartel," Buccino said.
Numbers KFOX 14 obtained show investigators on Bliss were tracking six possible soldier recruitment cases in the last two years .
Only one of them turned out to be a legitimate situation where a soldier was actively being recruited by a cartel; the other five turned out to be nothing.
And then there's a case from three years ago.
"This Michael Apodaca case in an anomaly. That's what we think," Buccino said.
Pfc. Michael Apodaca was a former Fort Bliss soldier.
In 2009, he was recruited by the Juarez Cartel and paid $5,000 to shoot and kill a cartel member-turned ICE informant.
Apodaca was handed down a life sentence in July 2013 here in an El Paso district court.
"In the case of Pfc. Apodaca, the motivation was financial. So that may be an indicator, a sign, certainly financial troubles are an indicator of a high risk soldier," Buccino said.
But Buccino said there are a number of other things that indicate a high-risk soldier, like alcohol problems or marriage issues.
"Our leaders are constantly scanning, they've got their antenna up, they're aware of what's going on within their formations and those indicators that I mentioned, they're constantly looking out for those," Buccino said.