The mammoth globe on the World Trade Bridge spins in the glow of the Texas moon, welcoming hundreds of cargo trucks from Mexico to the United States’ largest inland port. Nighttime is the slowest time for the bridge. During the day, literally thousands of trucks cross the span into the U.S., headed for destinations scattered throughout the Midwest and East and north into Canada.
The World Trade Bridge spans the Rio Grande River and connects Laredo, Texas, with Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. The latter is a battlefield, examined in aching detail in a series of stories by Carter, Dec. 27-29.
The gunfire was deafening. Street corners all over the city were darkened by smoke from grenades and light artillery. The dead lay in pools of blood flowing into the gutters that drain into the Rio Grande. Men with automatic assault rifles stood stoic after the carnage. Then, one by one, they picked up the bodies of their victims, threw them into the back of pickup trucks and headed out of downtown.
Thousands of trucks make their way over the World Trade Bridge into the U.S. each day, carrying everything from piñatas to pants — and marijuana to meth. Carter, who has been a staff writer at the Daily Bulletin since 2003, connected the dots between expanded trade and truck traffic, the drug cartels, illegal immigration and terrorism concerns. In the process, she revealed a trade agreement with Texas that would triple the amount of truck traffic over the World Trade Bridge, and create new concerns about drug and human trafficking.
Judges commended Carter for “her commitment to truth-telling under treacherous conditions.” Carter’s editors said, “Reporters are open game in Nuevo Laredo, and Carter — showing the kind of fearlessness, grit and perseverance that is her trademark — sneaked in under cover of dark for much of her research.”