They look like a cross between a cheap Halloween costume and a shorn teddy bear, but these cartel carpet shoes are not for play. Our correspondent Heath Hansen spotted a set of “Special Forces” slippers recently along a remote region of the U.S.-Mexico border, where he monitored cartel activity – and instantly knew what the footwear was for.
The cartels operate in a sector along the frontier, where their mules move back and forth across the fence line with ease. The mules are careful with their movements, and how they conceal their tracks.
READ MORE from Heath Hansen on drug mules and gunfire on the border.
When hiking across soft or sandy ground, the mules wear soft carpet shoes that don’t leave deep impressions. When in rocky areas, they don’t use the soft shoes. They often discard them, along with any used water bottles. Heath recently spotted a set of discarded carpet shoes, bearing – improbably -the partial shoulder sleeve insignia of U.S. Special Forces.
Did the mules want to make it seem as if Green Berets were prowling no-man’s land? Not likely. Still, the image is jarring. We’re curious to see what the SF community thinks of it. More to come soon from Heath on the border.