Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Without Autodefensas: Fear Returns to Yurécuaro say Residents

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 |

Borderland Beat

 "We enjoyed two months of freedom, then the government came to remove it"
The meeting is closed because fear has returned to Yurécuaro. Of the self-defense members who were here, there are now only empty barricades and a house with traces of gunfire from The Knights Templar.

After a torrent of testimonies about abuse--at the hands of both the authorities and the criminals--members of the citizen council, who had backed the short-lived self-defense movement in this town bordering on Jalisco, concluded:
''We enjoyed two months of freedom, and the federal government came to remove it.'' 
The brief summary goes like this: 
  • January 28: A self-defense group emerged in this remote Tierra Caliente town (Guadalajara is an hour and a quarter away).
  • Within two weeks: The Templars, who had ''terrorized'' the region for five years, had left the area.
  • March 22: Gustavo Garibay, PAN [National Action Party] Mayor of Tanuato--Municipality to which Yurécuaro belongs--was killed; Garibay had been the victim of an attack that occurred in 2012; he was also a victim of official neglect whose escort [bodyguards] took off [when he was attacked].
  • Monday, March 31: Alfredo Castillo Cervantes, Federal Commissioner for Michoacán, solved the crime in a press conference, where he announced that the perpetrators were three members of the Yurécuaro self-defense group, and that Enrique Hernández Salcedo, founder of the group, was the mastermind.  The supposed motive: Mayor Garibay had refused to support the self-defense group.

Hernández Salcido had been detained the previous Friday [March 28] by agents of the State Prosecutor [Public Ministry, made up of prosecutors and ministerial/investigative police], after they had come to believe that Hernández Salcido was participating in the investigations to capture Garibay's murderers.

For long days his family was not able to see him. When they were finally able to visit, they found him broken. Enrique had been tortured. Ministerial agents, say family members, wanted to force him to ''deliver'' three of his men and to sign a document where he incriminated them. When he refused, they covered his head with a plastic bag, poured water over him and beat him on the ears with their open palms.

April 9: In a radio interview, Lorenzo Corro, an official of the State Commission of Human Rights in Michoacán (CEDH), confirmed that the CEDH's medical staff had ''found that the injuries are consistent with the features of torture alluded to.''
The CEDH documented injuries to Hernández's neck, respiratory system and inner ear. The torture occurred, the CEDH official added, while Hernández was being transferred to prison.

April 14: The Attorney General's Office (PGR) reported that Yurécuaro self-defense members were being held on charges of organized crime in the form of terrorism


Mayor
Dr. José Manuel Mireles says:
''They set a trap for Enrique. It [government] brought three guys who were thugs. He [Enrique] sacked them. They [government] gave him some weapons. Then those are the ones that [tested] positive in Garibay's murder.''
Yanqui's Trap

After Garibay's assassination, the political pressures were strong. The PAN raised the volume of their criticism.

Commissioner Castillo personally came to this municipality to ask Enrique Hernández Salcedo to help get to the bottom of Garibay's murder. He knew Enrique's brother, Jesús, an employee of the City of Tanhuato first-hand, because they ordered him to call the helicopter that the Commissioner was never seen to get off.
''There was my brother with him, and they asked me for facts. I told them that Gustavo himself (the murdered mayor) had officially declared who the people were with whom he had had problems.''
Enrique trusted the Commissioner and agreed to coordinate with the official that they pointed out. The man asked to be called Yanqui, but his business cards carried the name of Adolfo Eloy Peralta. His position: Under Secretary of State for Public Security.

Last Thursday [April 17] in prison, Enrique gave his daughter a testimony in his own handwriting. It is the summary of what is related to this newspaper in a meeting by a group made up of shopkeepers, successful farmers, doctors, teachers, public employees.

Hernández relates that Yanqui and Commander Arturo of the Ministerial [Investigative] Police, ''showed me an investigation with photos and legal proof,'' in which Ernesto Sánchez, alias Pons, was identified as the mastermind. Ernesto Sánchez
''was the PRI council member. Commander Arturo said that they had recorded evidence of plans and death threats.''
According to city council members, the Pons was reported by Garibay himself as the person who ordered the 2012 attack against him.

According to Hernández, he reached an agreement with Yanqui and Commander Arturo in which he would help look for the guns and the pickup truck that had been used in the crime.
''We spent several days touring villages and asking people known [trusted], who gave us clues about the people from Jalisco.''
In the same testimony, Hernández states that they finally found two guns, which were delivered by a person named Enrique Morando, El Makinga. Enrique Morando is one of those reported by Castillo as a perpetrator.

Once in possession of the weapons, Yanqui himself arrested Enrique and his men.

A Map for the Commissioner

In February, Michoacán Deputy [to Congress] Selene Vázquez met with Commissioner Castillo to bring several cases to his attention. One of them refers to the self-defense members from Aquila, who are imprisoned.
''He didn't even know where the town was. We had to bring him a map.''
To deal with the case of Yurécuaro, the Deputy was accompanied by Mayor Rigoberto López: they argued that Hernández's self-defense group was weak, and that the town is far from the area of influence of the self-defense groups. On the border between Jalisco and Michoacán, Yurécuaro is in an area where the territory is disputed between The Templars and the Jalisco cartel.

The municipal mayor asked Castillo that the municipal police might be sent to ''training,'' as has happened in other districts with the presence of self-defense groups, and that the security of the district remain in the hands of the Federal Police.

Members of the city council say that the request was motivated by the fact that the mayor feared that the municipal police--infiltrated by the mafia--might act against the self-defense groups. Castillo delegated the case to one of his associates, named Mildred. Weeks passed. Deputy Vázquez says:
"He did nothing.''
El Mapache [The Raccoon] and the Men of Courage

Among the achievements of Yurécuaro's short-lived self-defense group is having caught a Templar lieutenant nicknamed El Mapache, who not only gave details about their leaders, but also about the structure of official support that linked municipal police, and it was videotaped.

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R.I.P. (NEVER) ; SETTLING ACCOUNTS

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 |

by Javier Valdez Cárdenas (RÍODOCE)
Journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas is the founding editor of RíoDoce, an online news outlet based in Culiacán, Sinalo, This article was originally published there under the title “Celebration”. 

He’d pissed them off and he owed them. The thing is that when push came to shove in the end they charged everybody. And since then they hadn’t stopped charging. It all began with his end: his multiplied, extended, interminable death, all beginning with no epilogue: an annual party held among the graves.

They tricked him into coming. He arrived in jeans, Stetson, and gun bulging at his front, Chalino Sánchez style. He said a half hello to some guys along the way, steering himself towards the people he had come to see.

But before he arrived they peppered his body with bullets and left it, lying there, smoldering, reddened.
His corpse slumped on the steering wheel. A mix of blood and glass, bits of organic matter strewn around. His killers still got down from their vehicle, checking the corpse. Nothing inside the vehicle was intact. To make sure, they blasted him once with a forty-five to the head, then three more times.

The police showed up a day later, when agents confirmed nobody else was around. They did some investigating, took notes and ordered the corpse carried to the funeral parlor. Then in his relatives’ house, flanked by thick, burning candles, cries punctuated the prayers and people threw themselves to the ground: armed, hooden men got to the coffin, readied their chambers, and blasted him again.

Kids wailed. So did relatives and neighbors. They asked why shoot him again if he was already dead.

Hysteria and fear.

Those already at the funeral home didn’t return and those who were thinking of going thought better of it. Next day, they went to the cemetery. Few cars in a cavalcade led by a white hearse.

They were lowering the body. Pulleys, rope, the undertakers four forearms and the ritual lowering. The ropes and pulleys whined. From a distance the dust cloud warned of another approaching cortege but this time of black trucks at high-speed. They got to the graveyard and parked close. Again people scattered, shouting, loose muscles straining and skin trembling.

Two men got out of the back of one of the trucks. They aimed and fired at the half-lowered coffin. Bullets embedded in the casket and the graveside. The rite of squaring off accounts repeated each and every year: armed men went to the cemetery to shoot the grave up, upholding the grisly celebration of multiplying the murder, burnishing the flame of the first execution.

Curious visitors to the dead man’s tomb asked why they kept killing him on every anniversary of his death?:
"They just didn’t want the guy to rest in peace."
 
Translator Patrick Timmons is a human rights investigator and journalist. He edits the Mexican Journalism Translation Project (MxJTP).

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Huetamo: 4 Dozen Arrested Posing as Autodefensas

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Chivís Martínez for Borderland Beat


Michoacán State Security commissioner, Alfredo Castillo confirmed that federal  forces arrested  4 dozen people in the newly autodefensas liberated city of Huetamo.

The commissioner reported the detainees were “Pseudo –autodefensas”, members of organized crime posing as autodefensas.  A tactic becoming more commonly used by criminals to confuse the public and federal forces.

As federal forces entered the city they came under attack and called for support.   The clash lasted for more than an hour.

The commissioner did not report the number of injured or dead resulting from the melee but reported the situation under control.

There was no word on the role of the autodefensas in the action, but typically they have called on federal forces when help was needed in a  situations of risk, the commissioner did report the city of Huetamo is an autodefensas city.

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Kike Plancarte's Singer Daughter Reports She Attended her Father's Funeral

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Chivís Martínez for Borderland Beat

The daughter of slain Caballeros leader Kike Plancarte, revealed she attended the funeral of her father in the Michoacán city of Nueva Italia. (at her fathers home in photo above)

Singer Melissa Plancarte is still holding on to the fallacy she has perpetrated that she had not seen her father for six years.

Known as "La Barbie Grupera"  (Grupera is a type of Mexican folk music)  was in the United States on March 30th when her father was killed by federal forces in the state of Querétaro.

"It is very painful about my father, we knew it would happen at any time, but we were not prepared," the singer told journalist Ciro Gómez.

Over the years she has attempted to distance herself from her father criminal activities, presumably so that it would not have a negative effect on her career.  However, multiple videos have surfaced indicating otherwise.

After the funeral, the singer, in her early twenties, returned to the U.S. to continue her promotional tour in the cites of California, Dallas, Chicago and New York

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Mexican Army counterambush: 1 dead

Sunday, April 20, 2014 |

One armed suspect was killed and two others were detained when an armed group in the northern border state Tamaulipas attempted to ambush a Mexican Army road patrol Friday, according to official news accounts.

A news released published on the website of Tamaulipas said that the encounter took place at about 1600 hrs in Mier municipality.  The site of the incident was said to be near the water pumps of the  Comision Municipal de Agua Potable near a break called Las Crucitas.

The armed suspect killed at the scene was said to be in his 20s.  Two other suspects were detained at the scene as well, along with  six rifles, 1,172 rounds of ammunition, 45weapons magazines and tactical gear.

In the same report, a Mexican Army unit was dispatched to Las Torres colony in Reynosa municipality based on a citizen's complaint, where soldiers seized four rifles, 840 rounds of ammunition, 29 weapons magazines and one vehicle.

The report did not mention the date or time of the incident.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com and BorderlandBeat.com. He can be reached at grurkka@gmail.com

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Mexico's lost daughters: how young women are sold into the sex trade by drug gangs

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By  Jennifer Clement.   The Observer,


When armed men arrive in Mexico's remote villages, mothers hide their daughters – especially the pretty ones.

Lupita is in her 30s and works as a laundry maid in several houses in Mexico City. She can still remember the first time she saw a girl taken from her home village. "She was very pretty," says Lupita. "She had freckles. She was 11 years old."

Lupita was 20 when five men drove into the small community near Dos Bocas, outside the port of Veracruz. "When they got out of the van all we could see were the machine guns in their hands.

They wanted to know where the pretty one was, the girl with freckles. We all knew who that was. They took her and she was still holding her doll under her arm when they lifted her into the van like a bag of apples. This was more than 12 years ago. We never heard from her again."

The girl's name was Ruth, Lupita tells me. "She was the first one they stole. Then we heard it had happened in other villages." The men who visited the villages worked for the local drug cartels, snatching girls to be trafficked for sex.

Ther ere was nowhere in our village to hide," explains Lupita. "Where do you hide? So we dug holes in the ground and if we heard there were narcos around, we'd tell the girls to go to their holes and be very quiet for an hour or so until the men left."


She remembers how one mother would leave paper and a crayon in the hole for her daughter. "This worked for a while until even the narcos began to know about the holes." Two years later, Lupita left the village and came to Mexico City looking for work.

The lists compiled by government agencies and NGOs for missing girls in Mexico read like this:
Karen Juarez Fuentes, 10. Female. Disappeared going to school in Acapulco. Brown skin. Brown hair. Brown eyes.
Ixel Rivas Morena, 13. Female. Lost in Xalapa. 1.5 metres tall. 50 kilos. Light brown hair. Light brown skin. Oval face. Thin. Left ear lobe torn.
Rosa Mendoza Jiménez, 14. Female. Disappeared. Thin. Brown skin. Dark brown hair. Long. No more data.
Making a stand: a mother protests in front of a picture of her daughter, murdered by gangsters in Veracruz. Photograph: Sergio Hernandez Vega/La Jornada
They go on and on. According to government figures, kidnapping in the country increased by 31% last year. Those statistics tend to refer to victims who have been kidnapped for ransom, as people are more likely to report the crime when money is demanded.

But there is another kind of kidnapping that goes unreported. When a girl is robada – which literally means stolen – she is taken off the street, on her way to school, leaving the movies, or even stolen out of her own house. No ransom is asked for. Her body is all the criminals want. The drug cartels know they can sell a bag of drugs only once, but they can prostitute a young woman many times in a single day.

To avoid the traffickers, families are now taking to extreme measures. Some women hide in secret shelters and homes, the buildings disguised from the outside to look like shopfronts. Many poor farming families have secret places in their shacks where they can hide their sisters and daughters from the constant raids from drug traffickers.

A woman who sells beaded necklaces on a beach in Acapulco tells me how her parents created a small crawl space between the wall and the refrigerator where she would be sent to hide if they heard that there were drug traffickers roaming around in their SUVs or on motorcycles.

"There were shootings and kidnappings all the time," she tells me. "We don't live there any more. Nobody lives in that village any more."

Another way to avoid the narcos' attention is by being unattractive. Over and over again I hear mothers explain that they don't let their daughters dress up or wear make-up and perfume. Some mothers from rural areas, who I meet at marches and protests in Mexico City, even make their daughters "ugly" by cutting their hair and making them dress like boys.

"I told my daughter to keep in the shade," Sarita from Chilpancingo, a large town in the state of Guerrero, tells me. "She never listened to me." Sarita's tears roll down her cheeks and she wipes upward, as if to put them back in her eyes. "We would fight all the time because I did not want her to wear lipstick. And I don't know if she willingly ran away with a man, she was wanting to be loved, or was stolen, robada. I don't know. She went to school in the morning and never came home."

In one town in the south of the country I visit a 17th-century convent that has been established by one of the few groups in the country that secretly works to help women leave dangerous situations. Here, the nuns, all over the age of 75, have 20 women and their children hiding in a basement to escape their husbands and boyfriends. I ask the nuns what would happen if one of the women's husbands or boyfriends should appear on their doorstep with their gang, carrying AK-47s under their arms. The nuns tell me, without hesitation, that they would stand together and create a wall with their bodies and die for the women and children they protect.

At the convent there is a slim, brown-haired woman who is 18 years old. Maria has been living with the nuns for more than a year. Her husband first saw her at a party. "He looked at me and I knew I was trapped," says Maria. "I hid in the bathroom for the rest of the night and he stood outside the door for hours. If you turn these men down, then they steal you. There is no saying no. A woman cannot say no. I finally left the bathroom and there he was. He raped me for days."

Maria explains how, after a few days, she managed to crawl through a window while the man was asleep and make it back to her family home. "When my mother saw me walk in the door I thought she was going to hug me, but instead she picked up the telephone to call that man to tell him where I was," she says.

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3 die in Matamoros

Saturday, April 19, 2014 |

Three unidentified armed suspects were shot to death after firing on a Mexican Navy helicopter in the border municipality of Matamoros Friday afternoon, according to Mexican news accounts.

According to an official news report posted on the website of Tamaulipas state government, the incident began Friday at 15:25 hrs, when a Mexican naval helicopter observed several armed suspects traveling aboard two vehicles in ejido Francisco I. Madero.  Some of the suspects fired on the bird, causing naval personnel to return fire.

Naval return fire killed three.  Others in the convoy escaped the scene.  Mexican security forces seized a Chevrolet Equinox SUV and an AK-47 rifle.  The dead were all men in their 20s.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com and BorderlandBeat.com. He can be reached at grurkka@gmail.com

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Tamaulipas News and CDG Information

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Borderland Beat

The following information was compiled by Borderland Beat forum poster Itzli.  We have many Tamaulipas readers who request Tamps material so I thought this would be appreciated and I am sure corrections and additions will be sent in. 

Unfortunately, there has been a narco news blackout in Tamps since 2010, typically sources on the ground and social media have been used to glean information of situations, events that occurred and SDR’s.  Unfortunately, social media is also a breeding ground for baseless rumors that spread and become “fact”.  It is an extremely difficult situation for reporting, in an explosive region. 

Tamaulipas Most Wanted List 
LOS ZETAS
Omar  Treviño Morales "Z42" (is headquartered in Coahuila)
Sergio Ricardo Basurto Peña " El Grande” (Nuevo Laredo)
Maxiley Nadales Barahona "El Max/Z-19" ( works in Veracruz, Chiapas and Tabasco)
CARTEL DEL GOLFO (CDG)
José Antonio  Romo López" La Hamburguesa" - Ciudad Mier
Juan Carlos  de la Cruz Moctezuma "El Chuma" - Miguel Alemán
José Ismael  Mendoza Falcón"Polimenso" - Frontera Chica
"El Comandante Paquito"- Reynosa
Juan Manuel  Rodríguez García"Juan Perros" - Río Bravo.
Carlos  González Escobar"Carlitos Whiskies"- Nuevo Progreso
Eduardo Ismael  Flores Borrego"El Negro" - Valle Hermoso.
Juan Francisco  Saenz Tamez"El Metro 103" - head of sicarios.
"El Orejón/Ciclón 7"- Matamoros

By Itzli April 7th
I begin by providing a brief recap and summary of information found elsewhere in other threads. The general consensus late last year was that the Gulf Cartel was divided into three major factions. Based out of Reynosa, the Metro faction was headed by X20. Based out of Matamoros, the Ciclones faction was headed by Homero Cardenas. Based out of Tampico, the CDG Sur faction was headed by K14. There was tension and outright conflict between Los Metros and Los Ciclones, while CDG Sur was aligned with Matamoros.

Within Los Metros there were conflicts between competing cells. X20 conducted a purge of those aligned with El Gringo, though X20 himself would later be arrested. Afterwards, conflict was predicted as a number of individuals seemed poised to compete for the leadership, yet things seemed to remain calm. Last week saw the arrest of El Simple, who was a member of Los Metros, though his power within the group is debated.

Within Los Ciclones, it was speculated that Homero was gradually consolidating power within the Gulf Cartel as a whole. Yet recent reports indicate that he suffered a medical setback last November which led to him being hospitalized. Rumors of his death have surfaced, as well as reports that Los Ciclones have been investigating if Los Metros had a hand in it.

Within CDG Sur, reports of extortion and kidnappings increased in Tampico and K14 was directly blamed. He would eventually be arrested as a result of betrayal by his own faction. A number of potential replacements were heard, but it appeared El Wuasa, a native of Matamoros took over, only to be executed by his followers and members of his family were killed and kidnapped at his funeral.

The Emerging Conflict
Over the weekend, a number of shootouts and killings occurred in Tampico. On the surface it would appear that it is the fallout of the death of El Wuasa as members seek revenge or to gain power. Yet there seems to be more going on and it appears that those acting in the conflict are pawns of an increasing conflict between Los Metros and Los Ciclones.

As best I can piece together based upon information on Valor por Tamaulipas, the struggle in Tampico on the surface the axis of power is shifting from the urban zone to the rural zone.

In Tampico there is a group called Los Jimmy, founded by Comandante Jimmy who was executed or killed in Reynosa some time ago. Members of the group have a call sign using the initial J followed by a number. After Comandante Jimmy's death, El Chive, also known as J2, took control of the group along with his brother, El Tony, also known as J3.
They have been in charge of stealing from pipelines in the area and have gained power since the fall of K14 and the death of La Wuasa. They have put in place another member of their group; some say El Guason, also known as J16, has been put in charge of Tampico, while others say it is El Chema. Regardless, it seems that  Los Jimmy's are receiving support from Comandante Cortez, reportedly a high ranking member of Los Metros. Other CDG Sur groups are aligned with Los Jimmy: Grupo Escorpion of Lazaro and Grupo Michelin of "Gordo May".

Los Jimmy are fighting to wipe out Arturo "El Sheyla/Sheila" Garza Treviño, provoking conflicts in Tampico and Ciudad Madero. "El Sheyla" was trained in Sinaloa by former soldiers and had previously worked under "El Coss" and "El Sierra" before working under "K14". He has been in charge of the war, alongside Los K, against Los Zetas in Tampico since 2010 and was the creator of Grupo Dragon. He currently is backed by Los Ciclones of Matamoros.

It appears that Tampico is now a proxy fight between Los Metros and Los Ciclones.

Most wanted list is from 24 Horas

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Zetas Cartel Smuggled L.A. Dodger Yasiel Puig Out of Cuba

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Borderland Beat
Strange story with the victim shying away from giving clarity or details, it now becomes a bit clearer. Use this hyperlink to  read the original full length article written by Jesse Katz for Los Angeles Magazine 
Dormir es cuando te toca a morir.”
One of the baseball’s biggest mysteries may have been uncovered this week: How did MLB star Yasiel Puig manage to escape from Cuba and wind up signing a 7-year, $42 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers?

Puig, who tends to be cautious in what he says to reporters, has never publicly discussed the matter. But articles in Los Angeles magazine, which broke the story, and a five-month ESPN The Magazine investigation published online Thursday, claim one of baseball’s hottest rookies arrived in the U.S. under shady circumstances that had connections to a powerful Mexican drug cartel.


Here are the bare bones of the articles:

In Cuba, Puig always had an eye out for the possibility of escape, but he was understandably wary of the shady people who would come up to him with offers of help. After a couple of attempts that went nowhere—one stalled out when the ship failed to show, another time the boat he was on got stopped by the U.S. Coast Guard—in June 2012, Puig got on board a vessel with a crew of five, all of whom allegedly had connections to the Zetas drug cartel.

Puig wasn’t alone. He was with a woman who was his girlfriend at the time, a Santeria priest, and a boxer named Yunior Despaigne, who knew Puig from youth sports academies they attended.

According to the article, Despaigne had approached Puig with an offer from a Miami-area air conditioning repairman and convicted thief named Raul Pacheco. Pacheco would arrange for the boat and pay $250,000 for Puig’s passage. In exchange, once Puig was free, he would sign a contract turning over 20 percent of all his future MLB earnings to Pacheco.

The escape was successful—the smugglers docked on a small island off the coast of Yucatan, which is when the problems started. Pacheco wouldn’t cough up the money.

For at least three weeks, the Zetas-backed gangsters held Puig, Despaigne and the others at a seedy boarding house while they tried to negotiate with Pacheco and others for payment. If they didn’t get it, they told their captives, they would hack off one of the outfielder’s arms with a machete.

According to ESPN, Pacheco and a group of Florida businessman hired “fixers” who entered the boarding house and rescued Puig and the other captives. They were whisked away to Mexico City where Puig was put on display for baseball scouts.

Most of this information comes for court papers filed for a case in the U.S. District Court of South Florida. The plaintiff is a prisoner in Cuba who is suing Puig and his mother, Maritza, for $12 million on the grounds that information the Puigs gave the Cuban government led to his arrest and torture. As part of the case, the prisoner’s lawyer asked Despaigne to provide an affidavit detailing the circumstances of their departure from Cuba.
According to ESPN, Despaigne was frustrated that Pacheco hadn’t paid him money he felt was owed to him for convincing Puig to defect.

In Despaigne’s affidavit, he says that since signing with the Dodgers, Puig has paid $300,000 to Pacheco, more than $400,000 to an associate of Pacheco’s and $600,000 to a Miami lawyer, Marcos
Gonzalez.

As for the people who held Puig captive in Mexico—the body of the leader, a man they called “Leo,” was found in Cancún with 13 bullets in it. And there are still death threats being made against all the men involved in the smuggling operation, including Puig.

On Wednesday, Puig issued a statement through his agent about the articles.

“I’m aware of the recent articles and news accounts,” the statement read. “I understand that people are curious and have questions, but I will have no comment on this subject.  I’m represented on this matter, and I’m only focused on being a productive teammate and helping the Dodgers win games.”

There are other, similar stories about the trafficking of Cuban ballplayers. In December 2013, the U.S. Attorney’s office in South Florida issued an indictment involving dozens of people alleging a human smuggling ring that had gotten Texas Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin and his family out of Cuba and held them captive in Mexico.

The experience may be close to universal for Cuban ballplayers escaping the island, although few speak about it. Last summer, for instance, Chicago White Sox first baseman José Dariel Abreu was said to have disappeared from Cuba, but there was no official word about where he was for a few weeks. There were reports he eventually turned up in either Dominican Republic or Haiti.
Nobody is sure what happened in between.
Near his home in Cuba
Source: Fox  and Los Angeles Magazine

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