Sunday, October 31, 2010

EL Mayo's Niece is rescued

TIJUANA BC October 31,2010 (AFN).- The Mexican Army confirmed this past Sunday that they liberated three women after a gun battle that started late on Saturday afternoon in the neighborhood of Real del Monte which left one man dead and two under arrest.
Information from elements of the military installation of Cuartel Morelos said concerned citizens reported suspicious activity in the area.

At this site located in the La Mesa was discovered 24 large assault rifles and one handgun, 42 clips and 3,122 rounds. a vehicle with blacked out windows. In addition to the weapons, 18 packets of marijuana containing 63 kilos and two plastic packages containing 1 kilo and 890 gras of crystal methamphetamine.
The arrested have not been officially identified, they are between 30-35 years old and one had obviously been beaten, It is presumed, although it hasn't been officially announced, that they belong to the criminal organization of Fernando Sánchez Arellano, alias El Ingeniero.

Also, information obtained through unofficial sources - not recognized by the Mexican Army - it has been indicated that the women liberated are the aunt, cousin and niece of the capo of the Sinaloa cartel , Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, who had been kidnapped after arriving at the international airport of the city.

The confrontation started around 4:30 on Saturday (local time) in a residential zone near a place called “Casa de la Cúpula” which has been the site of various gun battles over recent years that have lasted several hours. One this occasion the military and police managed to take control of the situation and arrest the suspects.
Source Article: AFNTijuana

Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law

Story By Laura Sullivan for NPR

October 28, 2010 -
Last year, two men showed up in Benson, Ariz., a small desert town 60 miles from the Mexico border, offering a deal.

Glenn Nichols, the Benson city manager, remembers the pitch.

"The gentleman that's the main thrust of this thing has a huge turquoise ring on his finger," Nichols said. "He's a great big huge guy and I equated him to a car salesman."

What he was selling was a prison for women and children who were illegal immigrants.
"They talk [about] how positive this was going to be for the community," Nichols said, "the amount of money that we would realize from each prisoner on a daily rate."

But Nichols wasn't buying. He asked them how would they possibly keep a prison full for years — decades even — with illegal immigrants?

"They talked like they didn't have any doubt they could fill it," Nichols said.

That's because prison companies like this one had a plan — a new business model to lock up illegal immigrants. And the plan became Arizona's immigration law.

Glenn Nichols, city manager of Benson, Ariz., says two men came to the city last year "talking about building a facility to hold women and children that were illegals.

Behind-The-Scenes Effort To Draft, Pass The Law

The law is being challenged in the courts. But if it's upheld, it requires police to lock up anyone they stop who cannot show proof they entered the country legally.

When it was passed in April, it ignited a fire storm. Protesters chanted about racial profiling. Businesses threatened to boycott the state.

Supporters were equally passionate, calling it a bold positive step to curb illegal immigration.
But while the debate raged, few people were aware of how the law came about.

NPR spent the past several months analyzing hundreds of pages of campaign finance reports, lobbying documents and corporate records. What they show is a quiet, behind-the-scenes effort to help draft and pass Arizona Senate Bill 1070 by an industry that stands to benefit from it: the private prison industry.

The law could send hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to prison in a way never done before. And it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in profits to private prison companies responsible for housing them.

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce says the bill was his idea. He says it's not about prisons. It's about what's best for the country.

"Enough is enough," Pearce said in his office, sitting under a banner reading "Let Freedom Reign." "People need to focus on the cost of not enforcing our laws and securing our border. It is the Trojan horse destroying our country and a republic cannot survive as a lawless nation."

But instead of taking his idea to the Arizona statehouse floor, Pearce first took it to a hotel conference room.
It was last December at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. Inside, there was a meeting of a secretive group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. Insiders call it ALEC.

It's a membership organization of state legislators and powerful corporations and associations, such as the tobacco company Reynolds American Inc., ExxonMobil and the National Rifle Association. Another member is the billion-dollar Corrections Corporation of America — the largest private prison company in the country.

It was there that Pearce's idea took shape.

"I did a presentation," Pearce said. "I went through the facts. I went through the impacts and they said, 'Yeah.'"

Drafting The Bill

The 50 or so people in the room included officials of the Corrections Corporation of America, according to two sources who were there.

Pearce and the Corrections Corporation of America have been coming to these meetings for years. Both have seats on one of several of ALEC's boards.

And this bill was an important one for the company. According to Corrections Corporation of America reports reviewed by NPR, executives believe immigrant detention is their next big market. Last year, they wrote that they expect to bring in "a significant portion of our revenues" from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that detains illegal immigrants.

In the conference room, the group decided they would turn the immigration idea into a model bill. They discussed and debated language. Then, they voted on it.

"There were no 'no' votes," Pearce said. "I never had one person speak up in objection to this model legislation."

Four months later, that model legislation became, almost word for word, Arizona's immigration law.
They even named it. They called it the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act."
"ALEC is the conservative, free-market orientated, limited-government group," said Michael Hough, who was staff director of the meeting.

Hough works for ALEC, but he's also running for state delegate in Maryland, and if elected says he plans to support a similar bill to Arizona's law.

Asked if the private companies usually get to write model bills for the legislators, Hough said, "Yeah, that's the way it's set up. It's a public-private partnership. We believe both sides, businesses and lawmakers should be at the same table, together."

Nothing about this is illegal. Pearce's immigration plan became a prospective bill and Pearce took it home to Arizona.

Sinaloa Cartel: responsible for 84% of "narco" homicides

The Sinaloa cartel, spearheaded by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, is behind 19,097 murders committed in the past four years, mainly because their attempts to expand into other regions has led to conflicts with four other criminal organizations.

A document prepared by the Mexican government and acquired by MILENIO (Report on the phenomenon of crime in Mexico) reveals that during the period from December 1, 2006 to July 31, 2010, there were 28,353 murders linked to organized crime.

Of this total, 22,701 “narco” homicides have their origin in seven regional disputes between drug gangs, while the rest (5,652) were not linked to any particular criminal organization.

The homicides are concentrated in 162 municipalities out of the 2,456 that make up the country.

According to the document the bloodiest fighting occurs in Chihuahua, Durango and parts of Sinaloa, where cells loyal to the Sinaloa cartel face off against cells loyal to the Juarez cartel, headed by Vicente “El Viceroy” Carrillo Fuentes.

The conflicts between the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels have led to 8,236 murders, mostly in Chihuahua, which account for 36 percent of executions in the country. These are the product of “old rivalries and family betrayals" as well as for control of Ciudad Juárez, a major port of departure for drugs into the U.S.

The wave of murders in that state broke out in the last months of 2007 and early 2008 with peaks of violence occurring in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the third quarter in 2009. 2010 has been marked "by the radicalization of aggression against authority, including the explosion of a car bomb targeting the Federal Police" and an increasing rate of homicides.

The second deadliest conflict being fought is between the Sinaloa cartel and the organization of the Beltran Leyva brothers, which has resulted in 5,864 deaths or 26 percent of the total.

The problem between these groups originated from the separation of the Beltran Leyva organization from the Sinaloa cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

In 2008, the imprisonment of Alfredo Beltran Leyva, “El Mochomo”, led to the split between “El Chapo” Joaquin Guzman and the Beltran Leyvas, generating a spiral of violence in Sinaloa, Nayarit, Sonora, Durango and parts of Jalisco and Guerrero.

The dispute between the Sinaloa cartel and the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas is the third major conflict and has resulted in the deaths of 3,199 people or 14 percent of homicides (since early 2010 the Sinaloa and Gulf cartels have entered into an alliance against Los Zetas).

The document states that the above are the largest criminal organizations in Mexico and have been in disputes over several “plazas” since before the start of the Calderon administration. These “plazas” include Durango, Coahuila, Sinaloa (where trafficking routes to the northern border are located) and Guerrero, Tabasco, Quintana Roo and southern Chiapas south (where drugs enter from South America).

The fourth conflict between drug organizations is between the Sinaloa cartel and the Arellano Felix organization.

The document says that following the arrest of the Arellano Felix brothers, leaders of the Tijuana cartel, the organization split into two factions, one allied with Joaquin "El Chapo” Guzman and other remaining loyal to the Arellano Felix cartel. This conflict has left 1,798 dead, representing 8 percent of the total.

Other Conflicts

Other conflicts include La Familia Michoacana against the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, which has resulted in 1,744 thousand killed or 8 percent.
(Since early 2010 the LFM has been part of the Sinaloa/Gulf cartel alliance against Los Zetas)

Less than 10 years ago criminal cells in Michoacan organization loyal to the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas split off and formed La Familia Michoacana and became independent. The war between these groups began in 2006 in Michoacan and has spread to Edomex (the state of Mexico), Guerrero and Guanajuato.

Meanwhile, the breakup of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas over differences for control of markets and routes in Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon has generated 1,328 deaths or 6 percent (violence in both states has been increasing since the report was published in July)

Conflicts between La Familia Michoacana, the Beltran Leyva group and cells loyal to “La Barbie” have led to 532 deaths, mainly in Guerrero and Morelos. (violence between these groups has also seen an increase since the report was published).

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mexico's drug wars: the end of an exceptionally bloody week

The Guardian
Jo Tuckman in Mexico City

Gunmen are turning innocent bystanders into targets in what appears to be a new phase to the violence

A police investigator and victim at the scene of the attack on a birthday party this week in Ciudad Juarez.

Fifteen people killed in a car wash, 14 massacred at a teenager's birthday party, 13 shot dead at a drug rehabilitation centre, seven mowed down in the street, four factory workers killed on a bus and nine police officers killed in an ambush.

Even by Mexican drug war standards, it has been a hellish week, crystallising the burgeoning sense that the violence has reached a new stage and fuelling dissatisfaction with the cost and efficacy of President Felipe Calderón's military-led offensive against the cartels.

The massacres have shocked Mexicans so deeply less because of the number of victims than the fact that most of the men, women and children killed were obviously unconnected to any of the cartels fighting each other around the country. None belonged to the federal forces involved in the government's offensive either.

The only obvious link between the different massacres, regardless of the specific motives prompting each attack, was the way the different groups of gunmen involved turned anybody who happened to be at the scene into their target.

Survivors of the birthday party bloodbath, which happened in a private home in the border city of Ciudad Juárez shortly after midnight last Saturday, said their assailants first demanded to know the whereabouts of a man nicknamed The Mouse. When they didn't get a satisfactory response they opened fire indiscriminately.

Juarez was also the site of Thursday's attack on a bus full of factory workers going home after a late-night shift. An armed commando reportedly started shooting after the driver didn't immediately stop when ordered.

Initial investigations into the assault on the El Camino rehabilitation centre in Tijuana pointed to a possible retaliation for the seizure of 134 tonnes of marijuana last week. The gunmen lined up the addicts face down on the floor then emptied their semi-automatic assault rifles over their victims.

Ten of those killed at the car wash in the western city of Tepic on Wednesday morning were also recovering addicts who were employed there, although witnesses suggested the more likely target was the owner. Either way, the attack was equally random, and in a city only recently drawn into the drug war's messy patchwork of overlapping conflicts that have killed more than 28,000 people since Calderón launched his crackdown nearly four years ago.

The murder of six young men in Mexico City's crime-ridden Tepito barrio was the only one of this week's massacres in which the victims might have been connected with drug trafficking. They also might not have been.

The week's violence was rounded off when unidentified gunmen ambushed a convoy of five police vehicles in the western state of Jalisco on Thursday, killing nine officers and leaving one missing. The 20 officers in the convoy were outnumbered by the attackers, who were riding in about 10 SUVs and used grenades and assault rifles.

The 10 officers who survived the attack fought an hours-long battle with the gunmen, and several were wounded.

Together with the more routine daily litany of lesser-scale gun fights and executions, the total drug wars death toll for October was estimated by the Milenio television channel at around 1,000.

"This kind of violence has a natural evolution," Edgardo Buscaglia, an international organised crime expert, said of the escalating violence and the wave of attacks against innocent people. He has argued from the start that the Calderón strategy is counter-productive unless the political elite purges itself of narco influence. If they don't do this soon, he warned, "Mexico is on the road to turning into a kind of Afghanistan".

Critics of the government strategy are planning protests to coincide with Monday's day of the dead celebrations. As well as a march through the capital dressed in black, they are preparing a version of the traditional altar for the souls of the departed dedicated to Mexico.

"I know that there is uncertainty and pain in our society," Calderón said midweek, intent on showing he was not indifferent to the malaise. "But I say to you, with absolute certainty, that it is possible to defeat the criminals."

Federal Police shoot Student during March against Violence in Juarez

captura de pantalla 2010 10 30 a las 084816

Federal police shot and injured a student after an exchange of insults with a group of university students who were marching and demonstrating for peace in front of the Ciudad Juárez Autonomous University (UACJ) Institute for Biomedical Sciences.

According to early reports, the students were holding a “March against Death” on their way to the International Forum against Militarization and Violence being held at the ICB. On the way they came across federal agents and insults were exchanged until the dispute intensified and soon shots were heard.


Photo by Twitter user morfeo007: the moment the student was shot by Federal Police:

"The students had just arrived at the entrance of ICB when a federal police patrol came through. As the patrol approached them, the protesters began to shout their demonstration slogans, such as "Leave Juarez", "Go back to your barracks", "We don't want you here" and "You are to blame for the extortions, rapes, and kidnappings". When the police heard what they were saying, they stopped in the middle of street and one of the agents fired two shots." -anonymous witness

One of the bullets hit 19 year old, first semester sociology student Darío Alvarez Orrantia. Although Alvarez Orrantia survived surgery, his future may be grim. The high caliber bullet entered his body in the upper part of his buttocks and exited through his gut, exposing his intestines. His intestines have been perforated in multiple places. Doctors are confident he will recover, but he will likely have permanent complications and may require dialysis for life due to the damage caused to his intestines and other internal organs.

Other witnesses confirm verbal confrontations did take place between protesters and police, but not until after Dario was shot.

Accounts by students accuse of patrol #12428 of firing the shots and agents of patrol #20401 of also taking aim at the students protesters.

Although the federal police involved told their superiors that “a shot accidently got away from” one of the policemen, an official statement released by the Secretary of Federal Public Security on Saturday, October 30, claims after detecting a group of young men, some with their faces covered, in front of ICB, agents fired two warning shots into the air to disperse the masked crowd.



Photos by Twitter user Renato

The 11th Walk Against Death was part of the International Forum Against Militarization and Violence, which is underway this weekend in Ciudad Juarez. Alvarez Orrantia was shot just before a scheduled roundtable discussion entitled "Youthicide."

Juarez has been a laboratory where government officials have experimented new tactics and strategies in the Mexico's increasingly violent drug war. The military occupied Juarez and relieved local police of their duties from March 2008 to April 2010, when Federal Police took over policing duties from the soldiers. Juarez's mayor and the governor of Chihuahua, where Juarez is located, have sought advice and training from Colombian mayors and police. Furthermore, a new phase of the US drug war aid package the Merida Initiative will focus on "institution building" and "rule of law" in Ciudad Juarez.



Sources: Kristin Bricker, El Universal, La Polaka, Milenio, Twitter, Youtube

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday's attacks: Ciudad Juarez, Mexico City, Jalisco.

Ciudad Juarez

Ciudad Juarez

Another attack against the innocent public occurred in the Valle de Juarez area just south of the city of Juarez during the early morning hours of Thursday.

This time the attack occurred at 1 AM against vulnerable, low wage maquiladora sector workers who were travelling in 3 buses to their homes in the municipality of Guadalupe after leaving the night shift at the Eagle Ottawa automobile leather upholstery plant.

Three female workers were killed in the attack and a wounded male worker was abducted by gunmen who had blocked the Juarez-Porvenir highway, forcing the buses to stop at an area known as Casetas. At least 15 other workers were wounded in the attack.

According to the public prosecutor Jorge Gonzalez Nicolas, survivors reported that at least two gunmen entered the buses and shot indiscriminately at the passengers. Gonzalez Nicolas stated that the abduction of the male worker was the motive behind the attack.

Survivors also reported to the local media that a Mexican army patrol were the only authorities that responded to aid the wounded and provide security to the survivors. Repeated calls to municipal, state and federal police and ambulance services were ignored.

After an hour of waiting for the police and ambulances and rendering aid, the soldiers loaded the injured onto one of the buses and transported them to a Juarez IMSS hospital. Two of the three fatalities occurred during the journey to the hospital as the victims died of their wounds en route.

There were unconfirmed reports that the owner of the bus line was abducted and murdered a week ago for being unable to pay the extorsion fee to operate his bus line.

The state Attorney General’s office reported that municipal and federal police authorities would soon begin to provide security for maquiladora operations, especially during the night shift.

Mexico City

What the Mexican Government has feared now appears to have begun as the bloody wars between rival criminal groups for control of the “narcomenudeo” in the nation’s capitol has now seen its first mass homicide.

Narcomenudeo is the term for local retail drug sales and control of the lucrative and growing domestic drug consumption, in particular cocaine and methamphetamine, is a primary cause of much of the violence in cities such as Monterrey, Torreon and Ciudad Juarez.

Now the relative peace that Mexico City has lived in comparison to other parts of the country may be ending as criminal gangs seem poised to battle for domination of the nation’s most lucrative domestic drug market.

Early Tuesday morning six youths were murdered and one seriously injured by gunmen in the notoriously crime-ridden area of the capitol known as Tepito. Authorities have stated that all 7 victims were known to be involved in street level sales of drugs.

The primary suspects in the slayings are a violent street gang known as “los Perros”, which deals in drugs, car theft, arms sales and contract hits. They are known to be allied with Los Zetas.

There are other street gangs allied to drug cartels and La Familia Michoacana has been known to have made inroads into Mexico City.

Much of the fighting between rival criminal groups such as the CPS (Beltran Leyva remnants), La Barbie’s group, Zetas and LFM in the states of Guerrero, Morelos and Hidalgo are for the control of the flow of drugs into the Mexico City market.

The population of the Mexico City metropolitan area is over 20 million inhabitants and has combined police forces of between 80,000 to 90,000 officers.


Thursday morning a large heavily armed group of gunmen ambushed a patrol of 20 Jalisco state police officers along a rural area in the municipality of Jilotlán, on the border with the state of Michoacán.

Nine police officers are reported dead and one missing. The other ten officers were injured but succeded in repelling the attackers.

The 20 officers of the Jalisco State Rural Police were on patrol in the southeastern region of the state in response to various reports of criminal cells operating in the area.

US-Trained Cartel Terrorizes Mexico

Founders of the Zetas drug gang learned special forces techniques at Ft. Bragg before waging a campaign of carnage.

It was a brutal massacre even by the gruesome standards of Mexico’s drug war: 72 migrant workers gunned down by the "Zetas" - arguably the country's most violent cartel - and left rotting in a pile outside a ranch in Tamaulipas state near the US border in late August.

The Zetas have a fearsome reputation, but the real surprise comes not in their ruthless use of violence, but in the origins of where they learned the tricks of their bloody trade.

Some of the cartel's initial members were elite Mexican troops, trained in the early 1990s by America’s 7th Special Forces Group or "snake eaters" at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, a former US special operations commander has told Al Jazeera.

“They were given map reading courses, communications, standard special forces training, light to heavy weapons, machine guns and automatic weapons,” says Craig Deare, the former special forces commander who is now a professor at the US National Defence University.

"I had some visibility on what was happening, because this [issue] was related to things I was doing in the Pentagon in the 1990s," Deare, who also served as country director in the office of the US Secretary of Defence, says.

The Mexican personnel who received US training and later formed the Zetas came from the Airmobile Special Forces Group (GAFE), which is considered an elite division of the Mexican military.

Their US training was designed to prepare them for counter-insurgency and, ironically, counter-narcotics operations, although Deare says they were not taught the most advanced commando techniques available at Ft. Bragg.

Military forces from around the world train at Ft. Bragg, so there is nothing unique about Mexican operatives learning counter-insurgency tactics at the facility. However, critics say the specific skills learned by the Zetas primed them for careers as contract killers and drug dealers.

“The Zetas definitely have the reputation of being the most dangerous, the most vicious, the most renegade of the cartels,” says Kristen Bricker, a Mexico-based research associate with the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA).

About 29,000 people have died since Felipe Calderon, Mexico’s president, declared war on the drug cartels in 2006.

Extreme violence

The group has mounted the severed heads of its victims on pikes in urban areas, posted torture and execution videos on the internet, forced poor migrants into prostitution and massacred college students during house parties.

"Other cartels have accused them of not following the 'gentlemen's code' of drug trafficking and causing undue violence," Bricker told Al Jazeera.

"At one time, it was considered bad form to kill pregnant women, but not any more." For safety concerns, Bricker didn’t want to say where she lives in Mexico.

Deare estimates "probably more than 500" GAFE personnel received special forces training. He is unsure exactly how long the programme lasted. The Zetas came to the attention of Mexico’s Attorney General’s office in 1999.

After US training, GAFE operatives defected from the Mexican military to become hired guns, providing security to the Gulf cartel, a well established trafficking organisation, according to Laura Carlsen, director of the Americas program of the International Relations Center.

"They split from the Gulf cartel and formed as a cartel in their own right," Carlsen, based in Mexico City, told Al Jazeera.

The Zetas' alleged current leaders, Heriberto Lazcano, known as Z-3 and Miguel Trevino, or Z-40, were first recruited by Osiel Cardenas, the now-jailed leader of the Gulf cartel. The name "Zetas" originates from the radio code "Z" used by top military commanders in Mexico.

But unlike Zorro, the Mexican outlaw hero who also used the "Z" alias, Los Zetas steal from everyone, not just the rich. And they certainly don’t give much back to the poor, except the corpses of their relatives. "They are just known for being a different kind of human being," says Bricker.

Frequent defections

The number of initial defectors from GAFE is thought to be somewhere between 30 and 200, but "the exact number is unclear", says Deare. However, the possibility of defections should not have come as a surprise to US trainers.

The Mexican state "does not pay soldiers enough" Deare says. "I am not saying they [the government] have to pay as much as the cartels, but they [security forces] must be paid decently if they aren’t going to be susceptible to corruption."

The GAFE’s desertion rate of an estimated 25 per cent is high, even by the low standards of Mexico’s security forces. Between 2000 and 2005 more than 1,300 of the elite troops defected, La Journada newspaper reported.

"The US really needs to examine their vetting procedures and manuals to see why so many people who they train do so many terrible things when they go back home," Bricker said.

But just blaming Uncle Sam for the rise of the Zetas and increasing drug violence is too simplistic, says Bricker.

"It wasn't just US training. The GAFE were also trained by the Kaibiles of Guatemala, a notoriously brutal special operations force from that country’s dirty war in the 1980s," said Bricker.

And even without special training for cartels, there is little trust that Mexican security forces can deal with the drug trade.

In May 2006, "La Barbie" a leader of the rival Sinaloa cartel, took out a full page advert in a Mexico City daily newspaper, to allege that Mexican police were protecting the Zetas.

For their part, the Zetas have long complained that the Sinaloa cartel enjoys police protection.

Despite debacles surrounding the Zetas and increasing violence, Deare - who physically resembles the tough but fair minded under-secretary of defence played by Harrison Ford in the fictional drug war thriller Patriot Games - thinks Mexico needs more, not less, US involvement.

America has pledged some $1.3bn to assist Mexico in the drug war through the 2007 Merida initiative, but much of that cash hasn’t been spent because it has been stalled in Congress, Deare says.

Alterior motives

Other analysts are critical of the initiative because it allows the US to "meddle" in Mexico’s affairs and has not garnered the desired results.

"For citizens here, Merida causes two great concerns: it raises questions of national sovereignty and there is a lot of fear that under the cover of the drug war there will be increasing attacks on grassroots movements," says Carlsen.

GAFE, for example, was established in 1994 to fight Zapatista rebels in southern Mexico, La Journada reported.

The Zapatistas, a poorly armed primarily indigenous militia, rose up against the Mexican government on January 1, 1994, the same day the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect between the US, Canada and Mexico.

The Zapatistas called NAFTA a "death sentence", in part, because the agreement would allow subsidised US crops to enter the Mexican market, pushing small farmers off the land.

After battling the insurgency, GAFE gained additional training and support from the US to fight the drug trade, a business which arguably benefited more than any other from NAFTA. Relaxed borders increased trade flows in many goods, illegal drugs in particular, and rural displacement swelled the ranks of unemployed young men eager to make quick cash by any means necessary.

Valued between $19bn and $40bn dollars on a yearly basis – exact figures aren’t available for obvious reasons- the drug trade has massive power as a corrupting influence.

And despite 50,000 Mexican troops fighting the cartels, despite the mangled bodies and US assurances of support, Bricker speaks for all three analysts from divergent political outlooks when she states: "No one has been able to present any evidence that the Mexican government is winning this war."

And, if winning the war on drugs is the goal, training the most violent cartel probably isn't a great start.

El Mayo's neice is interrogated

During the first week of October three females related to “El Mayo” were abducted as they were boarding a flight at the International Airport of Tijuana “Abelardo L. Rodríguez" (further details here on Borderland Beat).

Today, a video surfaced on YouTube showing two of the abducted females being interrogated by their captors. With desperation in her voice, María Isabel Gutiérrez Zambada begged her uncle Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada to save the life of her daughter, herself and her mother.

The 5 minute long video shows María Isabel Gutiérrez Zambada along with her daughter Sarita (who is still wearing her college uniform) with armed men in masks who are pointing large guns at them. There are several assault rifles displayed in the background.

The woman and her daughter appear to be at a safe house, they sit on the floor and seem depressed and desperate at the apparent lack of support they have received from the Zamabada family.

In the video they begin to break down and cry, begging "El Mayo" Zambada to save them and make sure that they leave the safe house alive.

María Isabel, confessed to being Zambada's niece and expresses the opinion that no innocent people should have to pay for her uncle's mistakes.

She kept repeating that her uncle had spoken with the kidnappers and she said that "El Mayo" had hung up the phone on her mother (his sister) when she had called him to open negotiations for their release.

“Uncle, if we are important to you as family, I beg you, please, for the life of my daughter, that you respond to the petitions of these people, who up until this moment have acted like gentlemen, something I haven't seen from my family. They (Zambada and his people) are responsible for the terrible things that have been done with or without my uncles' knowledge or consent, they have even cut communications with my mother," says the niece of El Mayo.

The demeanor of the women shows the very real fear they have at the possibility of ending up dead or worse, tortured like many other people who have become casualties of the war between the narcotraffickers.

The video suggests that the motives for the abduction were not monetary, although María Isabel is making these statements at gunpoint and there is no way to verify that the kidnappers haven't asked for money off camera.

“I don't think these people are asking for anything that you can't give them, only the release of several innocent women and children. From what these people have shown me, the people responsible for all the abuse and injustice are my uncle Mayo and his compadre "El Chapo" Guzman. I don't think the family is ever guilty of anything. Of all the terrible things they (Mayo and Chapo) do, this is the worst (kidnap family members)," said the woman, who was accompanied by her daughter Sarita.

"I am completely sure that these people have located all the wives and women of my uncle and his sons who are in and out of the country. These people have shown me proof that they have they ability to find them, and that they also have respected the family and that of his compadre, Chapo until now," said María Isabel. The voice off camera goes on to mention several women by name and she confirms that they have proved to her that they have solid intelligence on the whereabouts of these people related to the two capos.

“Work your problems out among yourselves, among men. Don't run away and respect the family,"

"Don't leave us by ourselves, the price they're asking is nothing unjust," she said through tears.

"Uncle, please I beg you for the lives of my mother and my daughter."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Silence Kills"

September 1, 2010

One day has passed since Rodolfo was abducted.

Rodolfo was kidnapped in broad daylight at an intersection as he made his way to his office yesterday. The ransom has been paid. We're praying that he is returned to his loved ones.

We are praying for his safe release.

This is an open letter to his kidnapper.

I wonder how it feels to live a paranoid existance?

I wonder how you feel that your family is eating from spoils bought with someone's blood?

What races through your mind each time you see someone in uniform?

What sort of anguish eats at the pit of your stomach when you see the PFP or the Army soldiers?

The nightmares you must have when you sleep, as the faces of all the innocent people you've killed come to pay you a visit.

The paranoia you must feel when you go to supermarket, the movies and even taking your children to their schools?

Surely you don't believe that bullets respect all of your fine clothes, trucks or your expensive 14K gold chains that you wear?

When you look in the mirror each day do you see a man or a beast that has their days numbered?

When you fall asleep do you wonder, if you will wake up in the same bed or on the cold gurney in a morgue?

How old are you? 40? 30? 20?

How long do you think you can continue to live like this?

How does it feel to live the life of a parasite, the ephemeral life of a microbe that lives only to take without giving anything in return?

To know that the only sign of life within is that you're still able to breathe.

To question whether there will come a day when your life has meaning.

To know deep inside that all you have or what you've worked at is not your own.

To know that you're working for your replacement, who is sure to be there to take your place soon.

I feel deep sorrow for you, your life has no semblance of living and no real meaning.

I should hate you or wish you a painful death but I can't because you are the walking dead.

You always are fighting amongst yourselves and with the authorities and in a bloody war over with the rightful owners of Mexico - the people.

Yet you must know that your fight is worthless, because the territories that you've fought over are already allocated to someone else.

So live and sleep in luxury tonight, enjoy for a moment all the fruits of your kidnappings, murders and the drugs you've sold.

But I am sure that you'll end up drowning in your own blood and defecating in your pants on some out of the way dirt road.

You will end up dying like a lone cornered animal, howling and groveling for the last few seconds of the life you have.

All that will be left is the sweat that gets in your eyes and sense of terror carved in your soul.

The overwhelming fear that gets caught in your throat and the agonizing screams as the piercing hot bullets begin to enter your putrid body.

With the only photograph that everyone sees being one of those final graphic ones.

And society will always says the same thing about you, that you died just like the animals that you were.

Suffocating between excruciating pain and tears.

I've heard that more than one of you remembers God and asks for forgiveness.

But as you lay there dying and gasping for the little bit of air that can squeeze through your gurgling blood you have an epiphany... but its too late.

There is only one place to go to next and that is to hell.

Forever forgotten into oblivion, your wife and family ends up worse than before for they too are now condemned to live in social exile.

Many of us in Mexico might have little to eat and no money for even the most basic of things, yet in comparison with you, we are all rich.

Because we continue to live with our loved ones, sleep and eat when and where we want.

We keep going to church, movie theaters, the supermarkets and the neighborhood parks without looking over our shoulders for the police or the soldiers... but more importantly we all continue to enjoy the company of our loved ones.

We are able to enjoy our birthdays and holidays and we are able to freely enjoy the food, the music, the dancing and the joy of celebrating with our loved ones.

I never, never thought I would thank you, but because of you every Mexican is increasingly coming together.

Joining a united front against this huge drug war and against each of you... and in record numbers

We will continue to defy you, to fight you, and we will report you, we will continue to call you on every barbaric situation.

We know where you live, where you eat, the cars and trucks that you drive, we know your friends and who you like to hang out with... we even know who your children, wives and families are.

You are incredibly ignorant to believe that you are somehow untouchable.

You, your falcons, regional commanders, territory chiefs, other sicarios and kidnappers and all of your entire organizations will one day face the ultimate justice.

That is the only thing that I can guarantee.


For our family the fate of our loved one Rodolfo Acosta Benavidez was imposed through a failed Mexican government and a deaf mute society.

Where its citizens no longer speak of or listen to each others supplications for help.

Minutes turn into hours and hours into days, each filled with confusion, silence, powerlessness, rage and more hell.

Painful emptiness that transforms itself into an abyss - where Faith seems to begin waning.

The ransom was paid!

The pact was broken.

A promise of a safe release and with it all credibility was vanquished.

So the streets remain filled with their walking dead.

Whose own reality is questionable... they too no longer believe what exists around them.

Perhaps we have all been guilty!

We close the window shut when we hear a neighbor arguing, but who might have needed our help.

We turn our backs to the brother who needs a hand up.

We look the other way without ever looking back.

We minimize the bad and allow it to happen.

We do nothing.

We work at forgeting by closing our eyes.

But what will happen when we finally open our eyes?

Will we recognize the colors of trust, peace, tranquility and justice?

How much of the positive will we remember?

How much will we recognize?

Will it be too late?

How much of the good will we have forgotten?

Will we ever be able to find meaning in this life again?

We must not allow this inept and corrupt government to remain unnaccountable.

We must not allow its citizens to remain silent.

We must not be that society, the one that does not hear the pleas.

We must not allow them to impose a death sentence on us.

We don't want their imposed destiny.

We DEMAND our own.

We have grown tired of living in the valley of the dead and the desperate.

A life of lost faith.

Where justice is deaf...

We must not allow the death of Roberto Urrea and now Rodolfo, like so many other innocents before them to go unpunished.

If we do, then they all will have died in vain.

We must demand justice, stop the hatred, drug crimes, corruption, kidnappings and the murdering of the innocent.

Never to allow any family to relive this nightmare and reside in this HELL.

We must have courage and conviction.

We must have faith, sow hope but demand justice.

Let's quit closing the windows, stop turning our backs and acting as if we do not see.



Our Mexico deserves a just government, a fair one, where citizens are heard, where its people can live safely and where families can thrive.

Where people do not keep silent or worse fear speaking up.

To keep quiet in front of an injustice is accepting all injustice.



This abduction happened in day light on a busy intersection, with aprox. 50 witnessess including several public works city employees that were just 15 feet away. With over 6500 soldiers and 4000 state and federal police patrolling the streets. The first police car arrived within minutes and gave chase only to have that patrol car run out of gasoline. No one saw anything. Fear paralyzes and blinds. Since January, Juárez has had 2,006 homicides that authorities said are connected to the cartel wars. Silence kills.

By Dr Tomas

Rodolfo Acosta Benavidez was abducted on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 as he drove to his job as Dean of the University Center of Ciudad Juarez.

According to police reports he was murdered soon after he was abducted. The authorities recovered his body Tuesday evening but failed to inform his family.

Meanwhile, Dean Acosta’s family was extorted by the alleged kidnappers of a ransom for his safe release.

After the ransom was paid his body was “recognized” by a state police official on Thursday, September 2, at the state forensic services morgue.

During the investigation, the state prosecutor’s office announced that one of the main lines of inquiry was that a friend or associate was probably responsible for the crime. Of course, no suspect was produced.

At the time of his murder Dean Acosta was working in conjunction with the Journalist’s Association of Ciudad Juarez to develop a course that would elevate the training and standards of journalists, particularly for those covering law enforcement in Juarez.

Zetas Now in The Crosshairs

New Federation unites criminal gangs to subdue maverick cartel

The Monitor

The cartel warfare crippling Mexico will continue until the Zetas, a powerful offshoot of the Gulf Cartel, are subdued by other drug gangs or Mexican authorities, according to a new report.

The report, by Austin-based “global intelligence” firm STRATFOR, details the bloody battle between the Zetas and their onetime allies. Increasingly outflanked by the Zetas, the Gulf Cartel has reached out to other criminal groups and formed the “New Federation,” a unified front against the Zetas, according to STRATFOR.

“Fearing the might of Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel reached out to their longtime enemies, the Sinaloa Federation, and asked for their assistance in dealing with Los Zetas” wrote Scott Stewart, a STRATFOR analyst. “The leader of the Sinaloa Federation, Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Loera, has no love for Los Zetas, who as the former military arm of the Gulf Cartel engaged in many brutal battles with Guzman’s forces. Together with another enemy of Los Zetas, La Familia Michoacana, Guzman joined forces with the Gulf Cartel to form an organization known as the New Federation.”

As the Zetas and other groups targeted by the New Federation come under increasing pressure from the government and rival cartels, the violence across Mexico’s northern border may increase.

STRATFOR maintains a network of sources, including members of the Mexican news media, that help the company gather information. The firm sells general and customized intelligence reports to both individual and corporate clients.

The New Federation aims to destroy the Zetas and the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Organization, also known as the Juarez Cartel, according to the report. If the New Federation succeeds, and manages to marginalize the Arellano Felix Organization, also known as the Tijuana Cartel, it could dominate Mexican drug smuggling routes into the United States, according to the report.

Less competition between warring cartels would reduce the violence, Stewart said. But during the short term, the aggressive move by the New Federation will likely increase the bloodshed, he said.

“These cartel capos are really businessmen, and they make more money when it is peaceful and the dope is flowing,” Stewart said.

Allowing U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and special operations units to operate inside Mexico would also put additional pressure on the cartels, but Mexico has limited U.S. involvement to protect its sovereignty, according to the report. STRATFOR’s analysis suggests powerful Mexicans tied to drugs have also helped limit U.S. involvement.

“We are talking … 40 billion dollars, and that is a lot of money,” Stewart said. “All that money is not being kept at El Chapo’s basement or under his bed.”

“Through financial institutions, it is being laundered in construction projects, resorts and all kinds of financial things, and a lot of people getting rich off the drug trade,” Stewart said.

Officials from the Procuraduría General de la República — the Mexican attorney general’s office — had no comment on the report. The Ministry of Public Safety, which contains an intelligence unit, didn’t return calls.

Last week, STRATFOR offered insight into the death of an American on Falcon Lake, which garnered widespread media attention.

The firm’s sources suggested David Hartley, 30, had been mistaken for Gulf Cartel spies by Zeta scouts. Hartley and his wife, Tiffany, drove from McAllen to Falcon Lake in a truck with Mexican license plates, and crossed into Mexican territory on Jet Skis.

While there, Tiffany told investigators, gunmen shot and killed her husband. She told investigators the gunmen approached in three boats, and that she was forced to flee.

STRATFOR blamed “Zetitas,” low-level Zetas, for Hartley’s death. The firm’s analysis suggested the perpetrators had been eliminated by higher-level Zetas, and that Hartley’s body has been destroyed.

Mexican authorities launched an extensive search, but found nothing.

STRATFOR also noted the beheading of State Police Comandante Rolando Armando Flores Villegas on Oct. 12 “was a specific message from Los Zetas to Mexican authorities to back off from the investigation.”

Mexican authorities have denied that report. To date, no suspects have been named for Flores Villegas’ murder.

15 Murdered in Tepic Carwash

In the third mass homicide to jolt Mexico in less than one week at least 15 people were killed in an attack by a group of assassins Wednesday morning in the west coast city of Tepic, Nayarit.

According to witnesses the heavily armed and masked gunmen arrived in 3 SUV’s and shot everyone inside the establishment. A fruit vendor at a kiosk outside of the establishment and a rider on a motorcycle were also shot and killed.

According to the Tepic chief of police, Secretario de Seguridad Publica Fernando Carvajal Cazola, there were three survivors of the attack that are currently hospitalized. The survivors were not identified. It is not uncommon for organized crime assassins to invade hospitals and finish off survivors of execution attempts.

Local news sources, however, identified one of the survivors as Heleodoro Rodriguez Vega, a top aide to the Nayarit State Attorney General, who was shot in both legs as he walked by the car wash.

The chief of police also reported that among the dead were eleven recovering addicts who were residents of a drug rehabilitation center, Centro de Rehabilitación "Alcance Victoria" (Victory Outreach).

Several of the victims wore t-shirts from the rehab center that read “fe y esperanza” (faith and hope).

The state Governor, Ney González, expressed condolences to the families of the eleven youths who were in drug rehabilitation and were employees of the car wash. He also announced that all available resources would be provided to the families of the 15 victims.

Although no motive for the attack has been reported by authorities there is speculation that it may be related to another organized crime style execution that occurred at another Gamboa car wash location the day before.

According to police reports Fernando Martín Reyes Sevilla, from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, was waiting with his 3-year-old son for his car to be washed when he was attacked by unknown gunmen on Tuesday.

He was shot and killed as he tried to flee the facility. Posts on citizen's forums speculate that Reyes Sevilla was associated with an organized crime group and that an employee may have informed a rival group of his location or that employees of the car wash may have recognized Reyes Sevilla's killers.

If either theory is true then the killers may have tragically attacked the wrong Gamboa car wash.

Descent into the abyss

Nayarit, a small, once peaceful state with a population of slightly under one million people, had until recently escaped most of the drug cartel related violence plaguing Mexico.

However, since the death of Arturo Beltran Leyva, the head of the once powerful Beltran Leyva cartel, in December 2009, drug cartel related homicides and insecurity have expanded dramatically as rival criminal groups clash in Nayarit, especially in the capitol of Tepic.

In June of this year Nayarit Governor Ney González Sánchez abruptly ended the school year 15 days early as the safety of students could not be guaranteed in the face of rapidly spiking violence.

There have been approximately 300 deaths associated with organized crime violence
and police actions in Nayarit since the beginning of 2010.

Sources used in this article:
El Sol de Nayarit:



Once Star-Studded, Acapulco Now Drug-Gang Infested

By Tim Johnson
McClatchy Newspapers

Rival criminal gangs have hijacked this glitzy-but-faded Pacific resort, where the Hollywood Rat Pack once sipped martinis, Elvis filmed a musical comedy, Elizabeth Taylor wed (again) and starlets danced the night away.

Acapulco's newest arrivals are drug lords, and residents now cower from shootouts and keep a watch out for severed heads. Some visitors to the city simply vanish. Gunmen seized 20 Mexican men in broad daylight on Sept. 30. They haven't been seen since.

Occupancy rates have plummeted along the ghostly boulevard of beachfront hotels. Restaurants sit empty — or shuttered.

The mayhem hasn't dulled the beauty of Acapulco, set on a semicircular bay flanked by mountains alive with bougainvillea, a stunning backdrop that made it the nation's oldest and best-known resort, "the pearl of the Pacific."

Violence has cast a dark cloud on many of the city's 800,000 residents, however.

"Everybody seems to be armed," said Areli Garcia Santana, a 22-year-old orthodontics student. "There are gunfights all over."

Even residents accustomed to the growing violence are spooked.

"Acapulco is on its back. People see the security situation as very bad. After 10 at night, there's fear," said Victor Diaz Juarez, a social scientist at the National Autonomous University of Guerrero.

During winter, cruise ships still call in Acapulco, arriving from San Francisco and beyond. In recent years, Acapulco has revived in March as a favored spring-break destination.
At other times of the year, though, foreign tourists keep their distance, wary of the deteriorating public safety.

Rather than blame drug-related violence for Acapulco's woes, hotel owners frequently accuse the media and citizenry of failing to protect the port's image, even denying that security is a problem.

"Why satanize a destination like Acapulco, where we live exclusively from tourism?" asked Javier Saldivar, the head of the National Chamber of Commerce in Acapulco. "If you walk along the Miguel Aleman Coastline (Boulevard) or along the beach, there are plenty of law enforcement officers."

Diaz, the university professor, said the presence of police only obscured the deepening corruption in Acapulco's social fabric. Many of the cops are on the take from the cartels, he said.

"You see a lot of police cruisers pass along, designed so that tourists don't get scared, but the truth is there is no control," Diaz said.

At least three narcotics bands dispute power over Acapulco's strategic port: remnants of the Beltran Leyva cartel, Los Zetas and the Familia Michoacana.

In a brazen broad-daylight shootout on April 14, gunmen killed six people and wounded five others along the landscaped main boulevard in the tourist district, shattering hotel windows and triggering a chain of auto accidents with the blaze of automatic weapons fire. Among the victims were a woman and her 8-year-old daughter, the apparent targets.

Drug gang henchmen frequently use police or military uniforms, heightening a sense of insecurity. On Sept. 25, drug enforcers dressed in camouflage uniforms typical of marines threw grenades at a safe house that belonged to a rival group, then entered and executed seven men.

The same week, henchmen killed two nephews of the deputy city transit director, severing their heads and displaying them on a street. A sign accused the city official of being in the pocket of the Beltran Leyva cartel.

It was the daylight abduction, though, of a group of 20 men near a church on Sept. 30 that truly laid bare some of the crosscurrents of violence that rack the city.

The men, ranging in age from 17 to 47, were from the state of Michoacan, where drug lords' influence is vast. Many locals dismissed the vehement claims of family members that the victims were tourists, suggesting instead that they were hit men deployed for the battles raging in the city. The underlying message: Good riddance.

"Acapulco society does not believe that they were tourists," Saldivar said.

While it may offer consolation that tourists aren't vanishing, the arrival of vehicles filled with cartel hit men can't help Acapulco burnish a faded image as the former glamour resort of Mexico.

It takes only a stroll around the walkways and lobbies of hotels such as Los Flamingos and Villa Vera to discern how far Acapulco has fallen.

If the sweet bungalows of the Villa Vera could whisper their secrets, Frank Sinatra probably would be singing in the background. After all, it was here that The Voice romanced Ava Gardner. Regular visitors included Gina Lollobrigida, Rita Hayworth and, of course, Elizabeth Taylor, who gazed into the eyes of producer Mike Todd, making him the third of her eight marital conquests.

John F. Kennedy brought Jacqueline to honeymoon in Acapulco in 1953, landing in a villa with a panoramic oceanfront view.

These days, the villa sits on the market with no takers. Asking price: $950,000. The owner, who lives in Florida, gave a hint of why he left the city.

"The biggest problem for me is that they were kidnapping people for any sum of money. It could be $2,000 or it could be millions. And they never make any arrests," he said, asking that his name not be used out of fears for his safety.

Around a bluff from which famous cliff divers plunge into the Pacific, Adolfo Santiago, the general manager of Los Flamingos Hotel, stood on the veranda, surveying the empty parking lot. Behind him, photos of Hollywood stars, including former owners Johnny Weissmuller and John Wayne, covered the walls. A ghostly quiet pervaded the hallways, restaurant and bar.

Asked how many, if any, guests were at the hotel, Santiago said: "Very few."

Ex-Chihuahua AG Seeks Help on Kidnapping Case

By Adriana Gómez Licón
El Paso Times

Former attorney general of Chihuahua state Patricia Gonzlez Rodrguez with Mexican army Gen. Felipe de Jess Espitia.

The former attorney general of Chihuahua said she would seek help outside Mexico to solve her brother's kidnapping after a video showed her abducted sibling accusing her of having narco ties.

In the video, Mario González Rodríguez, while held at gunpoint, said his sister Patricia González Rodríguez has protected the Juárez drug cartel. When questioned, he also said she ordered the murders of two journalists, as well as Mormon community members in the Colonia LeBaron in northwest Chihuahua.

Mario González, kidnapped last week, appears in the video seated and handcuffed, ringed by five gunmen in military uniforms. The video popped up on the Internet Monday. In 10 minutes, Mario González answers questions from a man off-camera about high-profile killings and kidnappings supposedly carried out by La Línea, or the Juárez drug cartel.

Patricia González appeared Tuesday on Milenio Television, a national network, and denied the claims her brother made. She said police officers working for the Sinaloa drug cartel, Juárez's rival organization, are behind the video. They were seeking revenge for the cracking down on some of their cartel members, she said.

Patricia González also said on TV that she is suspicious about the place where the video was filmed because it looks like a state government office she personally designed.

The Mexican attorney general and Chihuahua state attorney general's office are investigating the video to determine how much of what Mario González claims is true. They are both also investigating his kidnapping.
But Patricia González said she is looking for international help to get her brother back because she suspects the government is involved in the kidnapping.

Officials with the federal attorney general and state attorney general offices said they are not asking for help from American law enforcement agencies. But they said Patricia González could make the request.

González ended her term as attorney general in early October. She could not be reached by the El Paso Times for comment.

U.S. Embassy officials in Mexico said they could not confirm or deny whether Patricia González will receive help from law enforcement agencies. FBI spokesman Brian Weiss said the agency would consider providing assistance if it received official orders from the U.S. State Department.

Under the Merida Initiative, the two nations have expanded intelligence systems, placing agents along the border this year to help track down drug cartels. The U.S. Consulate has also responded to kidnappings in Juárez of U.S. citizens. Mario González is a Mexican citizen, U.S. Consulate officials said Tuesday.

In the video, the gunmen appeared to have professional training. Their AK-47s have two magazines taped together for quick reload. At the end of the video, one of the gunmen standing right behind Mario González approaches him, and it sounds as if he triggers his gun, but the rifle does not fire.

"I think those are very delicate accusations," said Alex LeBarón, a state lawmaker in Chihuahua and cousin of the two Mormon community members who were killed in 2009. "We can't completely ignore what he is saying. My family is very disturbed; our whole community is disturbed."

Carlos González, spokesman for the Chihuahua state attorney general, said the office make judgments based on the video.

"The victim is surrounded by gunmen," he said. "We can't determine if what he is saying is true."

González said authorities have not identified the men in the video or the place it was made.

He also said the government is helping Patricia González find her brother. Mario González was kidnapped Thursday afternoon at his law office near downtown Chihuahua City.

"We are doing everything to find him alive," he said.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Estemos Unidos Mexicanos"

On the morning of Sunday, October 24, ‘Estemos Unidos Mexicanos’, a national coalition of Mexican citizens dedicated to the struggle against violence, insecurity and corruption through the medium of non-violence, hung 30 mantas (or banners) in Mexico City and 2 in Monterrey with slogans aimed at raising awareness among the population.

The movement copied the method used by organized crime to communicate threats and spread fear against criminal rivals and society at large.

In Mexico City the authorities brought down the banners within a couple of hours to which the coalition responded with:

Pueden quitarnos las mantas, pero sólo gritaremos más fuerte. ¿A qué le tienen miedo?

(You can take the banners down, we will only roar louder. What is there to fear?)

In Monterrey the authorities, whether through decency or plain laziness, let the banners fly all day long.

Convert your neighbor into an ally

We are the majority. That makes us stronger. United against the violence

There are more good people than bad

It is time to do something and unite against the violence

Our apathy is the best weapon of any criminal

If crime is organized, why aren't we?


Estemos Unidos Mexicanos is a movement started by a group of citizens fed up with a small group of criminals and corrupt officials that have kidnapped the country. We are anonymous because the nature and effectiveness of our actions require it. Things can not continue as before. Violence, impunity and corruption are destroying our country. People are suffering atrocities and fear.

We in this organization have reached a decision: we will work to rescue our Mexico and have a plan that aims to restore the peace.

We call on our fellow citizens to make the decision to join our non-violent movement. We are more in number than the criminals and the fact that we do not use violence does not mean we lack resources and strategies to combat those who threaten Mexico.

Our organization has identified that the first enemy to overcome is the apathy of citizens and that is why we call on to stand up, organize and make the right decision.

Mexicans wake up!

There are only two choices: to continue witnessing the destruction of Mexico, or do something to organize and fight without violence but with determination, courage and effectiveness to recover our country from crime, impunity and corruption.

Our movement is not for or against political parties or ideology. Here is a place for all citizens who want to live in peace and are willing to fight for it. We recognize that there are authorities who are doing their job but there are those who help the criminals. We know how to identify them and they will get what they deserve.

So we are taking the first step. No more apathy, no more fear! Let's work together! Identify, among our neighbors and friends, women and men of good will, talk to them about it and identify who will help organize the security and peace. Let's do it without delay.

link to the Estemos Unidos Website:

If any reader doubts the courage and determination required to commit to a non-violent struggle against the criminal forces in Mexico or is unaware of the consequences of being identified by these forces, then read the following article that appeared Monday in the Mexican blogsite “Blog del Narco”

Zetas decapitate a woman for betraying them to the military Monday October 25, 2010

The decapitated body of a woman was found early Monday morning in the colonia La Concordia area of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. The location of the body was reported to authorities approximately 4:00 AM.

The body was found laying face up with the head between it’s legs and a dismembered finger from its right hand was inserted in the mouth, a symbol for a “snitch”.

The woman’s body remained unidentified as there were no documents or I.D. present and nobody came forward to identify her.

Behind the body was found a message which said. "We killed this fucking woman for being a snitch. She put the finger with the “mean ones” the day of the battle at La Concordia. This is going to happen to all the fucking snitches. Sincerely The Z".

(there was heavy fighting reported last week in Nuevo Laredo between gunmen and the military on at least 2 occasions. 5 gunmen were reported killed)

The content of the message are seen as a warning to all those who might have the initiative to report any events happening in the city.

The police forces also conducted a thorough review of the home where the woman’s body was found. It was unknown if any other people had been inside the house and were abducted at the time of the murder.

The public prosecutor at the scene authorized the removal of the body for an autopsy and to wait for a relative to identify the body.

Mexican Police Force Quits En Masse After Attack


Latin American Herald Tribune

The entire police force of a rural community in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon resigned after their headquarters was attacked with assault rifles and grenades, the town’s mayor said Tuesday.

Santos Salinas Garza made the announcement after a meeting with the 14 officers working in Los Ramones, a municipality of some 6,000 people 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of Monterrey, the state capital.


Members of the Nuevo Leon highway patrol will take over the responsibilities of the local police starting Wednesday, the mayor said.

Neither he nor any of the officers received any threats prior to Monday night’s assault on the police station, Salinas said.

Assailants traveling in several SUVs pelted the station – inaugurated just three days before – and patrol cars parked outside with grenades and fire from assault rifles.

No one was injured in the attack, as the six officers on duty sheltered inside an interior room at the station during the roughly 15-minute bombardment, authorities said.

The Sicario War and the Drugs of El Mayo

Original article by Zeta Tijuana

In Tijuana, family members of Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada have been kidnapped, in Toluca, the same has happened to the family members of the Arellano Felix cartel.

The Drugs of El Mayo
First, Alfredo Arteaga “El Aquiles” and José Soto “El Tigre” were fighting over the split of amount of drugs that Ismael Zambada had consigned to the two of them, then over the territory they used to retail drug sales in Baja California, then later, for the favor of the CAF and for the confidence that “El Mayo" had for each of them. Their internal conflict culminated with the major marijuana shipment found in México and the abduction of women with relationships with the Sinaloa and Arellano Félix cartels, which could lead to a bloody war.

ZETA investigates
The fight between criminals favored by Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, detonated a wave of executions these past two weeks in Tijuana and the discovery of 134 tons of marijuana by the Municipal Police, initial investigation by the State Public Security.

The protagonists of this bloody war (which concluded with the 400 million pesos of illicit drugs belonging to the Sinaloa cartel), are Alfredo Arteaga González “Aquiles” and José Soto Gastélum “El Tigre”. The latter had the support of the cells loyal to Héctor Eduardo Guajardo Hernández “El Güicho”, in addition to killers under the orders of Juan Miguel Valle Beltrán “El Bóxer”.

The elements to test this line of investigation, complied by the intelligence services of the advisory committee for state security in Baja California was the following three events:

1.- Reports have been confirmed, during the first week of October three females of the family of “El Mayo” Zambada were abducted as they were boarding a flight at the International Airport of Tijuana “Abelardo L. Rodríguez”.

2.- Rodolfo Campos Montoya “El Fito”, captured during the marijuana bust, declared himself a member of organized crime at the service of “El Güicho” and “El Tigre”, and gave details about an internal struggle that has cost dozens of lives in the past few weeks. But he assured authorities that his group weren't the ones who kidnapped Zambada's family members.

3.-He also confessed that part of the territorial dispute that occurred on Sunday night, 17 of October also resulted in the shots fired at the Municipal Police offices, and he had been sent to bodega in the Murúa district to steal only a few tons of marijuana from “El Aquiles.”

The Kidnapping.
The authorities from the three branches of government that have tried to calm the citizens of Tijuana. They received information about 15 days ago about a kidnapping that wasn't announced publicly of three women in the immediate family of “El Mayo;" an aunt, a niece and a cousin of Zambada's had disappeared at the beginning of October after they arrived at the airport.

The impact of this event could cause a destabilization of the security situation in the state, although an investigation has yet to be initiated as of the writing of this article. The Security Advisory Committee had been gathering intelligence on organized crime and its infiltrators in their ranks.

Three versions have been drawn from that information:

One.- The kidnappers were working for Fernando Sánchez Arellano “El Ingeniero” although it is not certain whether he would have had knowledge of this plan prior to its implementation.

Two.- The groups of Soto Gastélum vía “El Güicho”, were criminals that “did not obey orders” to cease the kidnappings and many of the cells continued to sustain themselves economically by continuing these type of abductions. They are the ones who perpetrated the abduction of the females

Three.- The version that surface on October 19th from the confessions of “El Fito”, who said that “Aquiles”, a trafficker in the service of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada was the person responsible for the abductions. "Aquiles" started his criminal career in Mexicali and since 2008 and practically all of 2009, had spent his time in the coastal zone where he was sent to conduct business and eventually he established agreements with the Arellano Felix cartel to sell Sinaloa product through their networks and also move that product through the major ports of entry the CAF controls into the United States.

According to the last version, when attempting to gain a foothold in Tijuana, Arteaga González had better luck trafficking drugs than getting rid of his competition, José Soto Gastélum “El Tigre” who was the self proclaimed leader of the group that controlled major smuggling corridors that were previously owned by Teodoro García Simental "El Teo."

“Aquiles” was initially in a supporting role in Tijuana, trafficking drugs in conjunction with “El Tigre,", it was after he established contact with the CAF and they allowed him to increase his circle of influence in the area by receiving and moving major quantities of drugs, that he really began to move up the food chain, which Soto did not like at all.

The two groups began to have confrontations and these are the two versions of the conflict:

On the side of Arteaga; he justified the killings (beheadings a few weeks ago covered here on Borderland Beat) because of disobedience by “El Güicho” and to put an end to the continued problem of kidnappings that have “heated up the plaza."

From the cells of “El Tigre"; the argument for attacking "los Aquiles” was “…they were passing information to the authorities and other groups (working for El Ingeniero)." This is how he (Aquiles) increased his power and the size of his organization. This is why "El Tigre" began to kill the informants working for his competitor.

According to “los Güichos”, in this context and “in order to stay in good graces with ‘El Sillas’ (Juan Sillas Rocha), which is the same as being in the favor of ‘El Ingeniero’”, Arteaga decided to kidnap the women in the family of his principal provider “El Mayo”, with the objective of framing Soto and Hernández Guajardo "El Güicho" .

Without a formal investigation into these conflicting versions full of obvious sentiment, the authorities have not identified those responsible for the violence, but according to unofficial information from the same authorities, they do not believe the violence was ordered by Zambada, even though he had recently approved a request by Arteaga to be his principal representative in Tijuana.

Unofficial reports say that the people of “El Mayo” kidnapped a woman in the family of Benjamín Arellano in Toluca, to exchange her for information. Sinaloa already knows who took the family members of Zambada, and that this was about an operator of the CAF, although the person responsible for this particular kidnapping did this “without permission."

The situation that was provoked by the conflict between Soto and Aquiles had already grown difficult and was further complicated by the events on Sunday October 17th when the criminal cell headed by “El Fito” was informed of the existence of a bodega of a rival group and according to the killer, he was ordered to assault it by his bosses.

Kidnapped Brother of Ex-Prosecutor Claims - at Gunpoint - that Sister was in Bed with the Juarez Cartel

Mexican authorities will investigate allegations that a former state attorney general worked for a drug cartel and was involved in ordering assassinations, the federal attorney general's office said.

The accusations against former Chihuahua state Attorney General Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez were made by her brother, who was abducted last week and is shown in a video surrounded by hooded armed men. An off-camera questioner interrogates kidnap victim Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez about whether he and his sister were involved with the Juarez cartel.

Mario Gonzalez identified himself as working for La Linea, a street gang affiliated with the Juarez cartel. He said he worked as a liaison between the cartel and the attorney general's office.

Patricia Gonzalez, who left her post this month, told the Milenio newspaper she is "convinced" that corrupt police and others are trying to exact revenge on her for sending some of them to jail.

The video was uploaded on YouTube but later taken down. However, it was reposted by other users.

In the the video, he blamed his sister for several notorious slayings, including the 2008 murder of El Diario crime reporter, Armando "El Choco" Rodriguez, and protecting gang members. At the prodding of his interrogator, Mario Gonzalez names several people he said are employed at the attorney general's office but work for the cartel.

The Chihuahua attorney general's office confirmed it was Mario Gonzalez who appeared on the video but offered no opinion on the content.

"I think you have to consider the circumstances under which he was questioned and gave this confession," said Carlos Gonzalez, spokesman for the attorney general's office. "There were men with heavy arms standing next to him, and it was under those circumstances he confessed these allegations against his sister."

The investigation will be carried out by the federal attorney general's office and prosecutors from Chihuahua state and will include other officials named in the video, authorities said late Monday.

"The local authority will act with objectivity and impartiality to apply all the rigor of the law to punish any crime and against whoever is responsible, without taking into account if it concerns former public functionaries, nor what post or function they had," said a statement from the federal attorney general's office.

The investigation into the abduction also continues, officials said.

The video caused a stir in Mexico, where it became a trending, or most popular, topic on social-networking site Twitter.

Meanwhile, the state government expressed its solidarity for the Gonzalez family, said Graciela Ortiz, the state's secretary general of government.

No one should form an opinion on the validity of the statements made on the video, Ortiz said.

The state of Chihuahua, which borders Texas, is the site of an ongoing turf war between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels. The groups are in a violent confrontation over lucrative smuggling routes into the United States, where demand for illegal drugs is strong.

More than 28,000 people have died in drug violence since December 2006 when Mexican President Felipe Calderon took office and intensified the battle against drug cartels and organized crime.