Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Sicilianization of Mexican drug cartels: an analysis of the extortion industry

"Redlogarythm" and "MX" for Borderland Beat
Extortion is one of the most lucrative activities conducted by cartels in Mexico
Extortion can be defined as the action through which one individual obtains a resource from another through intimidation or threat of violence. This criminal activity has been used by organized crime groups since early modern human civilization. In fact, it has been the most common and reliable practice for criminals since it involves few risks and low costs, and can provide significant revenue if applied to the correct segment of the population. Mexico has not been an exception.

In fact, extortion has formed part of the daily Mexican life since the second half of the 20th century. The rampant political, administrative and police/armed forces corruption has created a system of thousands of individuals who make a living out of obtaining money from others by threatening them with the use of force if they refuse to make the payment. Nowadays, extortion in Mexico is manifested in many forms, including derecho/cobro de piso ("user rights"), where the business owners are asked to pay criminals periodically in order to be able to work.

In this report, Borderland Beat will analyze derecho/cobro de piso and its effect on Mexico's private sector, ranging from the humble street vendor in Mexico City to the transnational avocado industry in Michoacán. This is a very vast topic which cannot be addressed purely on the basis of economic theory. Thus, Borderland Beat developed our own field research. We interviewed several business owners in Tamaulipas and Nuevo León for this report, and asked them a range of questions about their experience. We designed this report according to their answers.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Sonora: Video clip of El H's funeral, sicario chief of Los Salazar

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat  TY Gus

On July 17th “El H” sicario chief of Los Salazar was gunned down while sitting in a barber’s chair in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora.

This video clip allegedly of his funeral reveals a couple of 50 caliber weapons sitting at attention near the coffin.

He replaced El Napoleón who was executed inside a restaurant at the end of 2019.

320 federal prisoners from the Altiplano prison arrive in Coahuila after "making room" for El Marro

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat 

José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, El Marro is now an inmate in  Altiplano, Mexico’s only supermax prison.

First authorities had to do a little housecleaning.

320 inmates had to be transferred out before the arrival of El Marro.

In two groups, the inmates, confirmed of not being members of Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, were transferred to Coahuila, specifically to the Cefereso number 18 Mesillas in Ramos Arizpe.

Official explanation: the transfer was made in consideration that "the inmates are not in suitable conditions for an effective coexistence" with the Huachicolero leader.

Virtual and Private...El Marro's first hearing is held

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat  Reforma

"My brother was abducted, tortured, even marked as an animal, so I ask that the process be private and without spectators."

The detention control hearing against José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, "El Marro", was held virtually and privately in Guanajuato, at the request of his defense.

Initially, the process was carried out in front of the media in the Orality Court located next to Cereso Mil in Valle de Santiago.

However, the lawyer for "El Marro" and the other detainees asked that the hearing be private.

The defender argued that in other judicial processes, in which he has also represented relatives of "El Marro", attorneys were put at risk by the information disclosed, adding that his own family has suffered attacks by a criminal group of Jalisco, without directly mentioning the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación.

Álvaro Uribe Vélez, ex-President of Colombia, arrested for bribing ex-paramilitary witnesses

"redlogarythm" for Borderland Beat; Reuters
Álvaro Uribe Vélez in 2020

Former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez said on Tuesday the Supreme Court had ordered his detention amid an investigation into alleged witness tampering and fraud. Uribe, a mentor of President Ivan Duque who now serves as a senator, has repeatedly declared his innocence and questioned the court’s independence.

The court has not yet released its ruling and it was unclear whether Uribe, a divisive political figure, would be held under house arrest or possibly behind bars. “The privation of my liberty causes me profound sadness for my wife, for my family, and for Colombians who still believe that I have done something good for the country,” Uribe wrote on Twitter.

The Supreme Court ruling would mark the first ever in Colombia ordering the detention of a former president. Duque has repeatedly backed Uribe and said he should be allowed to defend himself while free. The case stems from a long-running feud between the right-wing Uribe and leftist Senator Ivan Cepeda.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

This is how Things are in Sonora

By Buggs for Borderland Beat

The murders in Sonora increased by 60% in 2020, after the bloody war that this northern state is experiencing. 

Just this last month of July in Ciudad Obregon reached up to 21 executions in just 5 days after the end of the month, it was a quiet month relatively speaking but it adds to the hundreds of executions in the city. Obregon joins Caborca, Hermosillo, Empalme, Guaymas, Etchojoa, Huatabampo and Navojoa in the wave of homicides related to criminal cartel activities.

In Obregon this weekend the businessman and owner of the restaurant "La Palapa del Bucanero" was executed. Sergio Meraz Reyes was shot to death inside his vehicle. He was known in the business and social circles in the local community.

Commander of the police in Hermosillo Jesús Martín Miranda Martínez

In Hermosillo, municipal police commander Jesus Martin Miranda Martinez was executed, and his partner, also a municipal officer, was abducted by an armed commando.

One of the U.S. "Most Wanted", Rubén Velázquez Aceves "El Ingeniero"quietly arrested, CJNG command

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat Source Reforma

Rubén Velázquez Aceves "El Ingeniero", command of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and one of the most wanted men by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

In the most absolute secrecy, the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) arrested in Zapopan for extradition purposes Rubén Velázquez Aceves "El Ingeniero", command of the Cartel Jalisco New Generation CJNG) and one of the most wanted men by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

On July 18th three weeks after the attack on Omar García Harfuch, Velázquez Aceves, the alleged drug trafficker from Guadalajara, was arrested by agents of the Federal Ministerial Police when he descended from a KIA vehicle on Calle Azahares, in Colonia Bugambilias.

For security, he was transferred to the Colegio del Aire Military Air Base in Zapopan, where he boarded a flight that took him to Tapachula, Chiapas, to finally be admitted to the Federal Center for Social Readaptation Number 15, in the Villa de Comaltitlán Municipality.

Velázquez Aceves is a veteran of drug trafficking in Jalisco, he was born on October 17, 1954 in Guadalajara, he studied until high school and his legal occupation was that of "merchant".
The authorities knew of an address of the alleged trafficker in Paseo de los Naranjos, in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, but apparently,  he never appeared at that location.

Unlike other operators in this criminal group, Velázquez Aceves is one of the most interesting to Americans.

The DEA identified since 2013 "El Ingeniero" as one of the main lieutenants of Rubén or Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes "El Mencho", since together with José Alcalá Gaytán "El Actitud" he directed the CJNG drug distribution network in California, Illinois and New York.

Video: La Teniente captured, right arm of CDN leader El Huevo

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat La Silla Rota, Frontera Al Rojo Vivo

Guadalupe Villareal, alias "La Teniente'', the former policewoman is one of the people closest to Juan Gerardo Treviño," "El Huevo" leader of the Northeast cartel

This morning Guadalupe Villareal, alias "La Teniente", an alleged leader of the Northeast Cartel was arrested,  after an operation carried out by elements of the Ministry of National Defense and the National Guard, in Tamaulipas.

The 41-year-old " Lieutenant " was detained along with her romantic partner, Edna "N", in the Sandia neighborhood of Nuevo Laredo.

"La Teniente" has an arrest warrant for the crimes of  homicide, criminal association, and crimes committed against public servants; She is indicated as responsible for the informants or hawks, as well as for the bars and nightclubs in the area where they carry out illicit activities such as human trafficking, extortion, kidnapping, torture, and murder.

La Teniente is considered one of the most violent criminals in the area,  she planned and executed armed aggressions against public servants.

Drugs accumulate on the border: in desperation the Sinaloa Cartel improvises

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat  TY Gus  Infobae
The health emergency due to COVID-19 has caused a decrease in traffic between Mexico and the United States.

A container of  fentanyl disguised as alcohol

The drug trafficking business is experiencing difficult times: the coronavirus has redoubled controls at border points. It has also reduced air traffic to a minimum.
For this reason, drug traffickers have had to find alternatives that alleviate the pressure that the pandemic has produced. In Mexico, despair has prompted the Sinaloa Cartel - one of the most powerful structures in Mexico - to hire "mules” or American smugglers.

A drug dealer who operates for people from Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada revealed to the Rio Doce journalist, Miguel Ángel Vega, that due to the temporary closure of the San Ysidro or Calexico sentry box, only US citizens can enter and leave the country.

"As gringos cross the merchandise, they charge more, and now that less (drug) is crossed and there is a shortage, the price increased, because it is more expensive to send the drug, and because the second immigration inspection in Indio has become tougher," he said.

Faced with the difficulties of drug trafficking, the Sinaloa organization has encountered increased police surveillance on the border. “No one is crossing anything right now."

                                                                          Mota above

Some, for example, mota we are going to have to throw away because it has been drying for almost three months and it is stored there, and if it is not sold soon it will spoil. The case of Chiva (very low-quality heroin) is different because it can last a long time and nothing happens, but mota does not,” said the narco.

Patty Hartman, a DEA spokeswoman in Washington, said that trafficking has not stopped, but has hampered the ability of cartels to move drugs to the United States, causing accumulation of illicit drugs on both sides of the border.

Last March, it was reported that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply chain became complex. This vulnerability caused the Sinaloa Cartel to increase methamphetamine prices. On the orders of Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, the crystal went from 2,500 to 15,000 pesos.

A "cook" allied with the criminal group told Río Doce that the instructions were received through a WhatsApp message that read "If you don't obey, pay attention to the consequences."

Although chefs typically have a one-month supply of chemicals on hand, they had difficulty replenishing stocks in those days.

"Prices are very high right now. Due to the coronavirus, there is very little distribution or import from China to Mexico City. It is difficult to obtain chemicals. You can get them, but the prices are going up for everyone,” explained one cook.
Before the world crisis, a kilogram of fentanyl was sold wholesale to 870,000 pesos. Currently, it costs up to 1,000,000 pesos.

Drug cooks speculated that the methamphetamine price ordered by "El Mayo" had more to do with opportunism than with chemical shortages. They claimed that as methamphetamine production has increased, competition from rivals has increased and profit margins have decreased.

Mexican cartels have dominated the crystalline methamphetamine trade, especially since the mid-2010s, when the United States began restricting the sale of cold medications, used to make methamphetamine in local laboratories.

This has also stimulated Mexican drug traffickers to decrease heroin production. Cartels have found it much more lucrative to manufacture synthetic drugs as it can be produced year-round with chemicals that, until recently, were cheap and readily available.

Heroin, by contrast, requires huge poppy fields, which can only be seasonally harvested by farmers.

Justice in Mexico releases 2020 Organized Crime and Violence in Mexico Report

"MX" for Borderland Beat; Justice in Mexico

Justice in Mexico has released the second edition of Organized Crime and Violence in Mexico, coordinated by Laura Y. Calderón, Kimberly Heinle, Rita E. Kuckertz, Octavio Rodríguez Ferreira, and David A. Shirk. Initially titled Drug Violence in Mexico, the report was reissued under a new name beginning last year with the tenth edition.

The switch reflects recent shifts in the nature of organized crime, including the diversification of criminal activities. In an ever-changing world, Organized Crime and Violence in Mexico works to compile important statistics regarding key trends while providing insight to help understand an uncertain future.

The report cites two factors that have contributed to recent patterns in crime: infighting amongst splinter groups and diversification of revenue sources. As larger criminal organizations disband, smaller groups are left in their wake. These small enterprises often lack the logistical capacity to form trans-national criminal partnerships, and instead turn to predatory crimes to maintain revenue. Robberies, kidnappings, and territorial violence can all be linked to the actions of low-level criminal organizations as they fight to increase their market share.

2 Plus Tons of Cocaine Decommissioned near Acapulco, Guerrero

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Televisa / msn/ 24horas
Navy seizes more than two tons of cocaine and fuel in Guerrero
The smaller boat, cocaine and fuel were secured and made available to the Agent of the Public Ministry of the Federation of Acapulco, Guerrero.

The Secretary of the Navy-Navy of Mexico ( SEMNAR) seized 2,240 kilograms of alleged cocaine, 500 liters of fuel, as well, from a smaller vessel, on the coastline of Guerrero.

The cargo was transported in packages and drums on board a smaller “Imemsa” type vessel manned by four people. Imemsa is a type of panga.

According to the Navy, personnel from an Ocean Patrol ship sighted the smaller vessel with two outboard engines moving at high speed southeast of the port of Acapulco, Guerrero, for which reason they established an operation with surface units, aircraft units and personnel of the Marine

Monday, August 3, 2020

Previously unpublished photos of Emma Coronel's brother, accused of supervising the construction of Chapo's escape tunnel

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat  TY Gus  Infobae

For a change of pace, from Chivis’ tabloid news gutter; Newly surfaced photos of Emma brother who allegedly was the architect of El Chapo’s tunnel escape (what is this 3rd architect?  Or fourth?) Also included are new photos of Emma and her sisters..

Édgar Coronel Aispuro is one of the important men in the life of Emma Coronel, the common-law wife of the founder of the Sinaloa Cartel (CDS), Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera. The youngest of her brothers has suffered the same fate as her husband, father and another brother: 

He is in prison

The youngest of the men in the family was accused of organizing and supervising the construction of the tunnel through which El Chapo escaped in 2014 from the Maximum Security prison of the Altiplano, in the State of Mexico.

He was detained on October 28, 2015 in Sinaloa while, in the company of another person, as they were transferring a changuito called “Botas”, a pet of El Chapo's daughters, who was used to track the whereabouts of the founder of the Sinaloa Cartel in his second capture.

Iguala, Guerrero: Journalist Pablo Morrugares and his Escort Assassinated

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Infobae / unotv

Pablo Morrugares Parraguirre, a journalist from Iguala, Guerrero, was murdered along with his escort, early this Sunday morning.

The director of the Iguala PM News digital portal was in the “Los Búfalos” bar when  several armed individuals arrived at the scene and shot the journalist and his companion.

Supposedly, since 2016 he had death threats from criminals, so he suffered an attack together with his wife, both of whom were unhurt and since then he had precautionary measures by the Protection mechanism of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists of the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

Quadratín Guerrero reported that when he suffered that first attack, he was accused of having advised José Luis Abarca Velázquez when he was mayor of Iguala , and of initiating a media defense through marches, print media and social networks, after the arrest of the ex-mayor for the case of the 43 disappeared Normalistas from Ayotzinapa. 

The Caro Quintero Factor in Sonora

By Buggs for Borderland Beat
Rafael Caro Quintero
The deep-seated roots of influence of the Caro Quintero in Sonora demonstrate how powerful the surnames can be in a territory marked by drug trafficking. Today we will not write about Rafael Caro Quintero and his extensive history within drug trafficking in the Sonoran region, but we will talk about some characters that drive a new movement that maintains confrontations in the state of Sonora.

We are talking about relatives of Rafael, characters who grew up in the mafia environment and today maintain the hierarchical inheritance of the illegal operations that once made this family grow. We are talking about the powerful promoters and operators that maintain the war for Sonora against the Sinaloa cartel, especially with the children of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera "Los Chapitos" and his army of La Gente Nueva.

Cocaine kingpin with Mexican cartel connections sentenced to 20 years

"MX" for Borderland Beat; DEA
Adrian "AD" Lemons
ST. LOUIS – Adrian “AD” Lemons, 42, of St. Louis, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for cocaine conspiracy. Lemons appeared on 31 July 2020 before U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Autrey. According to court documents, between 2012 and 2016, Lemons worked with representatives of the Mexican cartel to receive and distribute vast kilogram quantities of cocaine within the City of St. Louis. 

Lemons also supplied large quantities of cocaine to large-scale, mid-level, and street-level drug dealers who also sold cocaine and cocaine base (crack) within the Saint Louis area and beyond. Virgil Sims was one such dealer who distributed cocaine supplied to him directly by Lemons in St. Louis as well as the southeast Missouri region. Sims also undertook efforts to maintain Lemons’ drug trafficking organization once Lemons was federally indicted in January 2016.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration St. Louis Division; Homeland Security Investigations; St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department; the Kennett, Missouri, Police Department; the United States Marshals Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the FBI.

The cartel of Santa Rosa de Lima just before and after the fall 'El Marro'

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat   TY Gus

Note: On March 3, 2019, the Governor of Guanajuato announced the operation "Golpe de Timón". The strategy which promised the prompt capture of José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, El Marro and, to end the theft of fuel in the entity.  516 days later. Time in which El Marro was captured. State and federal authorities say they "constantly" had been following him right on his heels. The huachicolero was lucky. On 5 occasions he escaped from the police forces when they "almost" had him. Prior to the capture, the Financial Intelligence Unit blocked  the accounts of 11 people related to the legal defense of' 'El Marro'.

In an operation of no more than 15 minutes, El Marro was apprehended by state and federal authorities.  The capture was recorded early this Sunday morning, around 4:00. On a ranch in Juventino Rosas. El Marro and his assassins tried to defend themselves. They returned light, sporadic fire.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

El Cebollo, Marro's security chief was arrested with El Marro, U.S. Ambassador tweets his congratulations

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat EFE ElSolDelBajio

Guanajuato (Mexico), Aug 2 (EFE) .- During this Sunday's operation in which the leader of the powerful Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, José Antonio Yépez Ortiz "El Marro", was arrested, eight collaborators were also arreste., the Mexican Defense Secretariat reported.

The operation carried out between federal and state forces in the central state of Guanajuato included two buildings located in the small municipality of Santa Cruz de Juventino Rosas, with 80,000 inhabitants and located just 15 kilometers from Villagrán, the city where the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel emerged.

In one of them was located El Marro, who turned 40 on July 23 and was one of the most wanted drug lords by the Mexican authorities for being the head of a criminal organization dedicated to oil theft, drug transfer, extortion and kidnapping.

El Marro arrested, leader of CSRL in Apaseo El Alto

José Antonio Yépez Ortiz alias El Marro leader of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel (CSRL ) was arrested after a dawn operation by the Federal and State  Forces.  He was arrested along with five other people.

A kidnapped businesswoman was rescued and released in the operation.

The Mexican army raided a compound alongside 5 in Apaseo El Alto, Guanajuato where El Marro was found.

In the war against CJNG and its leader Mencho, for control of Guanajuato, January, and June of this year, 2,293 victims of intentional homicide were registered in the State.

An average of 12.5 people murdered every day in Guanajuato so far this year, making it the most violent region in Mexico.

The Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel was mainly dedicated to the theft of hydrocarbons, by milking pipelines at the "Antonio M. Amor" refinery in Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), located in Salamanca.

In 2019, military reports indicated that the "El Marro" area of operation had extended to Hidalgo, Querétaro and an area of Jalisco.

Washington State: $19M worth of fentanyl seized in Lynnwood, largest amount in Snohomish County history

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat  TY Gus  KIRO7

LYNNWOOD, Wash. — Officials with the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force on Saturday seized 1,400 grams of fentanyl, the largest amount ever seized in county history.

A 38-year-old Lynnwood man and a 36-year-old Lynnwood woman were taken into custody during a traffic stop in Arlington.
Detectives received a search warrant for the car and said they found 13 grams of heroin in the center console and a pistol under the passenger seat floorboard.

A search warrant was then served on the suspect’s house located in the 15900 block of 35th Place West in Lynnwood.

Inside the home, detectives said they found:
Approximately 1,400 grams of fentanyl powder.Approximately 808 grams of heroin.Approximately 12 grams of methamphetamine.Several blenders with copious amounts of suspected drug residue in them.Several digital scales with suspected drug residue on the weigh plates.Copious amounts of various types of drug packaging materials, including vacuum-sealable bags and a vacuum sealer.Copious amounts of cutting agents for the manufacturing of illicit narcotics for sale.

Mexico: The Navy is booting two San Diego-based sailors found guilty in separate human smuggling cases

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat  TY GUS  Task and Purpose

The Navy will discharge two San Diego-based sailors found guilty last month of smuggling immigrants who had illegally crossed the southern U.S. border with Mexico in exchange for cash.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jaiale J. Alvarado, an information systems technician assigned to the USS Bonhomme Richard, pleaded guilty on June 9 to charges that he transported "aliens within the United States" for private financial gain on two separate occasions near Jacumba Springs, Calif. in Sept. 2019, according to a copy of the charge sheet provided by the Navy.

He was sentenced to 45 days confinement, demotion to seaman recruit, and a bad-conduct discharge.

On June 30, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ralph Joseph T. Carolino pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy and was sentenced to 45 days confinement, demotion to seaman apprentice, and a bad conduct discharge.

Carolino, a boatswain's mate assigned to Naval Base San Diego, had conspired with a person he knew as "Ryan" to pick up and transport "individuals traveling on foot" near the border town of Tecate, Calif. on two separate occasions in June and July 2019 for private financial gain, according to the charge sheet, which was also provided by the Navy.