El Universal - The cartel wars over disputed territories are also beginning to reach the United States. Executions, kidnappings, confrontations between armed groups, and attacks on police and federal agents are becoming a common occurrence on towns located on the edge of the border.
This past May 13th, the National Security Agency (NSA) for the U.S. sent a memo to all police and security agencies around the country that they have received information "from credible and reliable sources" of a reunion between the leaders of criminal organizations who traffic drugs through Valle Vekol, Arizona. According to a criminal informant, he helped pick the location for this meeting, which was to take place in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora. There to assist the informant were “representatives from the rival cartel of El Chapo Guzmán”.
The document obtained by El Universal says that the purpose of the meeting was to agree on how to divide the plaza of Valle Vekol — specifically the control of the Pinal condos— was given to a group of 15 sicarios who are “very well armed”. It also mentions that the sicarios have established security by holding tactical positions around buildings and streets near the zone of Pinal condos.
The sheriff of Valle Vekol, Paul Babeu said in an interview with El Universal, that the Mexican cartels have recently been sending sicarios along with their drug shipments to protect their product from armed gangs who specialize in ripping off stash houses that are operating in the area .
Babeu also commented that sicarios identified as members of El Chapo Guzmán's organization, the Sinaloa cartel, are in the region and have attacked his police officers. Since April of this year, Babeu has been sending information to federal agencies about these sicarios' movements and their operations in his jurisdiction.
Sicarios plead for assistance
Also this past April - two members of the Sinaloa cartel were wounded during a gunfight in Valle Vekol. One of the called 911 for help on his cell phone.
According to the audio recording of the call —a copy of which was obtained by El Universal— a man who identifies himself as Omar pleads for help to the operator, saying he can only speak spanish.
In the recording of the call, the operator responds in spanish that she needs more details of his condition, specifically where he is located so she can send an ambulance.
"Listen...I've been shot, they shot us both and we had to run, I'm over here on 8th... Uh, over by where the sheriff got shot, by 8th...Uhmm, 8th... Next to the freeway there is a little store on 8th street... Please send an ambulance quick, we're hurt real bad," Omar says to the operator. With desperation in his voice he tells her he is near mile marker 150 and that he has lost a lot of blood. He says his compañero El Morro is also gravely injured.
Both men died before help could arrive but according to the report from U.S. agencies, the two were sicarios for the Sinaloa cartel.
Babeu confirmed the details. “When they found the two dead subjects they were holding AK47's. The scene of this mayhem was located in the area that was given to the sicarios at the meeting in Puerto Peñasco. I can tell you this much, we wont tolerate these sicarios in the U.S; we ain't gonna let them get in.”
In this sense, he agreed that the security situation that is adding to the instability in Mexico worries him: “There is the idea that this thing is expanding. For us this is indicative that things will not get better in the war against the cartels; actually we expect them to get a lot worse."
Alert in U.S. of "Danger Zone"
Sheriff Babeu explained the memo from the NSA uses the military jargon "23LPOL" which means "a place to observe and report," or a position from which to conduct surveillance against the lookouts, sicarios, and gang members associated with Mexican drug cartels.
Matthew Chandler, the press secretary for the department of Homeland Security, has confirmed to El Universal the existence of this memo and stated that “during the last 20 months, this administration has decided to add more innovative, technological approaches to the border security infrastructure in Arizona that thus far, have been unprecedented”.