Monday, October 31, 2011

Mexican Drug Cartels Operating in Colorado


The same drug cartels causing chaos on the U.S./Mexico border are also active in Colorado.

9Wants to Know examined a situation report from the US Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center, which says the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels are active in five Colorado cities.

Those cities are Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, and Longmont.

Sylvia Longmire, author of the book "Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico's Drug Wars," says the cartels mainly operate under the radar in Colorado, although they are believed to be responsible for much of the ongoing violence plaguing the border.

"What's happening along the border is crucial for folks in Denver to understand because the cartels have a physical presence in Denver and they are trafficking the majority of the drugs that are circulating throughout the city," Longmire said.

Longmire is a retired Air Force captain and former Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Longmire spent six years as a senior intelligence analyst in California who focused on Mexican drug trafficking organizations and border violence issues.

The cartels in the Denver metro area may not be directly involved in street-level drug sales, Longmire says, but they do control the distribution and management aspects of the drug trade in the city.

"They are providing drugs to local gang members, they are taking care of the distribution of drugs to warehouses, to stash houses throughout different communities in Denver, making sure that they are cut, re-packaged, then sent out to smaller communities outside of the Denver area," Longmire said.

Longmire says Denver is strategically located because of the highway system. Drugs are often smuggled up I-25 from El Paso, Texas, placed in stash houses throughout the metro area, and then distributed to other cities and states.

"It's just the way Denver is laid out that makes a perfect system for transporting drugs by private vehicles, commercial vehicles. It's one of the top 7 hubs for drug trafficking activity," Longmire said.

The Mexican city directly across from El Paso, Texas, Ciudad Juarez, has been hit especially hard by cartel violence in recent years, averaging 8 drug-related murders a day. Officials estimate since 2006, drug violence has killed more than 41-thousand people in Mexico, roughly the population of Littleton.

In March, an Aurora man became a victim of the violence when he was shot 80 times in front of his wife Tania and their young son. Jake, a US citizen, had moved his family to Mexico as his wife Tania applied for her green card. Tania and their son now live in Colorado, where Jake was buried.

In February, cartel members ambushed two US ICE agents on the highway between Mexico City and Monterrey. One of the agents was shot and killed. They were in Mexico helping deal with the violence.

"It's a vicious, vicious cycle but what is happening there and happening here is very interconnected, Longmire said.

Occasionally, drug violence does flare up in Colorado. In September, Westminster Police began searching for a suspected Mexican cartel member believed to be responsible for a murder at the Toscana Apartment Complex.
A man was found dead inside his apartment. Police say the man was in the US illegally and was believed to be a member of a drug trafficking organization.

Jose Manuel Martinez-Adame is wanted for first degree murder. Martinez-Adame was given the name "Vampie" because his teeth are sharpened to look like a vampire.
Martinez-Adame was also believed to be in the United States illegally after being recently deported. Westminster Police say he has been arrested in the US multiple times., and may have since fled back to Mexico.

Drug smuggling Semi-Submersible had more than 14,000 Pounds of Cocaine on Board

Coast Guard busted smugglers in the Caribbean

By: Brad Davis
ABC Action News

The Coast Guard Cutter Cypress docked at its port in St. Petersburg today and off-loaded more than seven tons of cocaine worth $180 million.

The Coast Guard Cutter Cypress eased into its St. Pete port with more than seven tons of illegal cargo.

Coast Guard District 7 Rear Adm. Bill Baumgartner explained the haul.

"They recovered over 14,000 pounds of cocaine," said Baumgartner.

The cocaine was aboard a self- propelled semi-submersible drug smuggling vessel that the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk located in the Caribbean on September 30th.

"When they stopped it, what they do with semi-submersibles is they sank it right away. So we were able to arrest the people that were operating it," said Baumgartner.

It's the smugglers, not the Coast Guard that quickly sink the vessel. The bust happened at night. Footage taken from a similar sinking just a few weeks before shows the smugglers jumping into the water moments before the vessel sinks.

"And then the Cypress came back, used sonar and went down with FBI divers," explained Baumgartner.

The divers recovered more than seven tons of cocaine. This bust is equal to one third of what all the law enforcement on the street in the United States catches in a year. A human chain of Coast Guard crewman off-loaded bale after bale. This is the third bust of a drug smuggling semi-submersible by the Coast Guard in the Caribbean since July.

"It's a new trend in the Caribbean because these are the first three that we've caught in the Caribbean. Out in the Pacific for the past four or five years there have been three or four dozen of them that we've caught out there. But it is a new trend in the Caribbean," said Baumgartner.

The street value of the cocaine is nearly $180 million. As massive as this bust is, the smugglers just keep coming.

"Unfortunately, a lot more goes through. So our job is to try and hit them hard enough so that it puts a bite on them. But we don't pretend that seizures like this are stopping all of their cocaine coming through," said Baumgartner.

Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office Confirms Shooting of Deputy Yesterday is Cartel-Related

By Buela Chivis from the Forum

Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office confirms shooting of deputy yesterday is cartel-related, spillover violence & Did El Cos assist in Take down?
just breaking...i will post as more is available, BTW the second story is funny on so many levels. wading the rio? because the visa expired? jajajaja...paz, B

EAST OF EDINBURG – Hidalgo County Sheriff’s deputies clutched their shotguns Sunday evening, standing— guard at an intersection north of Elsa where suspected kidnappers shot and wounded one of the deputies’ comrade-in-arms.

The Sheriff’s Office is not releasing the names of anyone involved out of concerns over retaliation, but sources have confirmed that Deputy Hugo Rodriguez was shot three times and is in stable condition at McAllen Medical Center.

Sheriff Lupe Treviño said his office received a call regarding a possible kidnapping about 5:21 p.m. Rodriguez, along with other deputies, were on their way to the scene near Val Verde and Farm-to-Market Road 2812 when they spotted a brown pickup that resembled the vehicle involved in the alleged kidnapping.

When they saw the pickup, which had three passengers as well as the driver inside, they pulled it over.

The sheriff said as deputies were interviewing the driver, one of the passengers got out and began shooting multiple rounds.

A bullet proof vest helped Rodriguez ward off two shots to the chest, Treviño said, adding that a third bullet punctured him in the lower right abdominal area. The deputies then opened fire and killed the shooter, the sheriff said.

“He’s going to be just fine,” Treviño said of Rodriguez. “The doctors are giving a real good prognosis.”

He said the deputy is scheduled for surgery on Monday.

The driver of the vehicle also was shot and is in the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, including one to the head.

“We’re still not sure who shot who,” Treviño said.

After the incident, search warrants were executed for a nearby mobile home and another home. Treviño said the third passenger in the car may have been the kidnapping victim. The fourth is cooperating with law enforcement.

The sheriff said they believe the incident was the result of a drug deal between two groups of people.

“We really don’t know the whole story yet,” he said. “We don’t know who might be behind this scenario.”

Treviño said drugs were recovered at the mobile home, but he couldn’t say what kind or how much just before press time.

“Our main concern, of course, was the health and well-being of our deputy,” he said.


Residents suggested the entire shootout might have been averted had the Sheriff’s Office committed more attention and resources to the area in the past.

“I’m not very happy with the Sheriff’s department whatsoever, at all,” said Alan Roy, a 51-year-old truck driver. “This has been an ongoing situation for years, and it’s only getting worse.”

He and his family recounted a series of robberies, drug-related crimes and at least one body found along the side of the road that they said received little follow-up from investigators.

Roy said neighborhood youths have robbed his property and was frustrated he must only rely on the county to resolve the “simple injustice.”

“Today is not that unusual,” he said. “Why does something big have to happen for them to get here this quick?

“They go (crazy) over catching a little bit of marijuana but truly never take another look at all the robberies and other problems.”

Treviño rejected that criticism

“Whether it’s deputies, state troopers, police departments, we cannot be everywhere all the time,” the sheriff said, but “in this particular area, we reduced violent crime by 43 percent.

“I really don’t know what the people are concerned about. I hope (they are) directed in our direction so we can get more specifics.”

Treviño said he will launch three investigations– one by a specialized team that deals with deputy-related shootings, a second by a homicide unit and the third by Internal Affairs, which will determine if any departmental rules were violated between the initial traffic stop and the fatal shooting.

Treviño said the three-pronged investigation is normal in an incident like this.

“That’s just par for the course,” he said.

And in the meantime, investigators will go door to door within one-quarter mile of the scene, hoping to find witnesses.

Treviño also has ordered a lockdown for the emergency room at McAllen Medical Center to prevent any sort of retaliation.

“This is by far not over,” he said. “We are in the very early stages of the investigation.”onitor


and this....

RIO GRANDE CITY - Another Gulf Cartel boss is in federal custody in the Valley.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS learned of the arrest in Rio Grande City Friday and we were awaiting confirmation.

Federal court documents show Eudoxio Ramos Garcia made a court appearance in front of a magistrate judge this morning. Immigration and Customs agents say they arrested Ramos Garcia at a house in Rio Grande City last Thursday.

ICE agents say Ramos Garcia was the Plaza boss in Miguel Aleman for the Gulf Cartel. Authorities say he admitted to agents he'd crossed illegally into the United States by wading through the river near Escobares. He said his visa had expired and he couldn't enter the United States legally. Ramos Garcia also admitted to agents he paid smugglers around $500 to move him across the river and to the house in Rio Grande City. He told agents the current Plaza boss is a man named Pepio and his nephews routinely smuggle drugs north to Houston.

Ramos Garcia is charged with conspiring to possess 120 kilos of marijuana. This is a significant arrest. In the last week, investigators arrested two others with cartel connections in Cameron County and the head of one of the factions of the Gulf Cartel, Rafael Cardenas Vela. Port Isabel police stopped him while he was on his way to his condo.

The intelligence-based firm STRATFOR said last week Cardenas Vela was talking to investigators about the Gulf Cartel's operations and turning on the other leader, Eduardo Costilla. STRATFOR said it was likely Costilla, or “El Cos,” gave law enforcement information to catch Cardenas Vela.

Anonymous Cancels Crackdown on Mexican Drug Cartel (ZETAS)

By Buela Chivis from the Forum.

UPDATE: Just tweeted:
anonopshispanoAnonymous Hispano
#OpCartel - The dice are already rolling. It's not possible -even for us- to stop them. The first strike will be made within the few hours.

before the great risks involved in leaking information and to safeguard the integrity of those hackers group decided to cancel all operation.... Someone did not think there would be danger??? Stupido! Paz, Buela

Anonymous Hispano #OpCartel Anonymous cancela operación contra cártel mexicano - No podemos arriesgar a nuestros compañeros. RT plz! viaHootSite

Mexico City • The Anonymous group canceled announced reprisals against the Zetas cartel for being a very risky operation, and was informed through a press and social networks for different users.

After the alleged disappearance of one of its members in Veracruz, one of the members announced reprisals against the drug cartel "Los Zetas" with "Operation Cartel."

However, because of the great risks involved in leaking information and to safeguard the integrity of persons adhering to the collective group of hackers decided to cancel the whole operation.

"Destroying # OpCartel because the lives of people who are not participating n can be at risk," was published in the first text of the cancellation of the transaction, through Twitter account @ Sm0k34n0n.

Before this action the company and strategic intelligence analysis, Stratfor published an article about the "serious risk" involving actions of leakage of information about members of Los Zetas.

"Last October 6 Anonymous posted that inform on those who are members of Los Zetas ... if Anonymous carries out its threat, it will almost certainly lead to death of the persons named as members of the cartel, whether or not the information published is accurate, "says the article by Stratfor.

In an interview with MILLENNIUM, two members of Anonymous, and Skill3r GlynissParoubek be contacted to explain the circumstances:

Why was decided to cancel the operation?

We can not be a reckless administrators to condemn to death those who participate, we have talked and discussed extensively by all and it was decided to remove it.

So why issue threats?

"It's very easy to make a video on behalf of Anonymous and launch air threats, but to think, plan and evaluate the pros and cons is another story," they said.

What's next?

"They continue other operations, but for now we hope to make clear that the cartel operation is false."

Anonymous released a statement which is bounded on pages published names of officials involved in the cartel Los Zetas.

"Dear followers and supporters of this page (Anonymous). I hereby disclaims Mexico Anonymous entirely the responsibility of the news of hacking a page that is linked to alleged cartel zest ", is detailed in the text circulated.

"Our struggle is not of this type and our ideals do not go with that operation. The article published by various electronic means is completely false. We ask for your support to spread this news "ending means denying others published the page.

Finally hacktivists expressed what their official media to avoid rumors speaking:

"All our operations out through twitter @ IberoAnon AnonymousMexi @ and @ @ anonopshispano mexicanh; on Youtube have no official count this time" detailed.

The mission continues to Anglophone members

One of the representative members of Anonymous on Twitter, @ anonymouSabu, reported that the operation would continue:

"# OpCartel is more alive than ever and as I told others in private, the war against corruption is on both sides of the spectrum. We are going to WAR!" published.

Given this fact and other Twitterers @ Sm0k34n0n erased their tweets about the operation canceled and that the operation would continue to circulate:

"Stop # OpCartel with such enthusiasm is to be in complicity with the Zetas," said @ Sm0k34n0n hours later.

Ricardo Davila / @ Tweetrrorist

The Narco-Killer's Tale: Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Posted in the Forum by Texcoco

By Ioan Grillo
A corpse is decorated by gangsters in Sinaloa, Mexico. Since 2006, Mexico has seen tens of thousands of drug-related murders Fernando Brito.

In his comprehensive and compelling new book, El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency, British correspondent Ioan Grillo, who also reports for TIME, narrates the Mexican underworld's "radical transformation from drug smugglers into paramilitary death squads ... a criminal insurgency that poses the biggest armed threat to Mexico since its 1910 revolution." Grillo outlines both the Mexican and American policy failures that fostered the crisis, which has produced 40,000 murders south of the border since 2006. More important, he offers a rare and unsettling look into the lives of ordinary Mexicans and other Latin Americans "sucked into [the drug war] or victimized by it." An excerpt:

It all seemed like a bad dream.

It may have been vivid and raw. But it felt somehow surreal, like Gonzalo was watching these terrible acts from above. Like it was someone else who had firefights with ski-masked federal police in broad daylight. Someone else who stormed into homes and dragged away men from crying wives and mothers. Someone else who duct-taped victims to chairs and starved and beat them for days. Someone else who clasped a machete and began to hack off their craniums while they were still living.

But it was all real.

He was a different man when he did those things, Gonzalo tells me. He had smoked crack cocaine and drunk whisky every day, had enjoyed power in a country where the poor are so powerless, had a latest model truck and could pay for houses in cash, had four wives and children scattered all over ... had no God.

"In those days, I had no fear. I felt nothing. I had no compassion for anybody," he says, speaking slowly, swallowing some words.

His voice is high and nasal after police smashed his teeth out until he confessed. His face betrays little emotion. I can't really take in the gravity of what he is saying — until I play back a video of the interview later and transcribe his words. And then as I wallow over the things he told me, I have to pause and shudder inside.

I talk to Gonzalo in a prison cell he shares with eight others on a sunny Tuesday morning in Ciudad Juárez, the most murderous city on the planet. We are less than seven miles from the U.S. and the Rio Grande that slices through North America like a line dividing a palm. Gonzalo sits on his bed in the corner clasping his hands together on his lap. He wears a simple white T-shirt that reveals a protruding belly under broad shoulders and bulging muscles that he built as a teenage American football star and are still in shape at his 38 years. Standing 6 ft. 2 in., he cuts an imposing figure and exhibits an air of authority over his cellmates. But as he talks to me, he is modest and forthcoming. He bears a goatee, divided between a curved black moustache and gray hairs on his chin. His eyes are focused and intense, looking ruthless and intimidating but also revealing an inner pain.

Gonzalo spent 17 years working as a soldier, kidnapper and murderer for Mexican drug gangs. In that time he took the lives of many, many more people than he can count. In most countries, he would be viewed as a dangerous serial killer and locked up in a top security prison. But Mexico today has thousands of serial murderers. Overwhelmed jails have themselves become scenes of bloody massacres: 20 slain in one riot; 21 murdered in another; 23 in yet another: all in penitentiaries close to this same cursed border.

Within these sanguine pens, we are in a kind of sanctuary — an entire wing of born-again Christians. This is the realm of Jesus, they tell me, a place where they abide by laws of their own "ecclesiastical government." Other wings in this jail are segregated between gangs: one controlled by the Barrio Azteca, which works for the Juárez Cartel; another controlled by their sworn enemies the Artist Assassins, who murder for the Sinaloa Cartel.

The 300 Christians try to live outside of this war. Baptized Libres en Cristo, or "Free Through Christ," the sect founded in the prison borrows some of the radical and rowdy elements of Southern U.S. Evangelicalism to save these souls. I visit a jail-block mass before I sit down with Gonzalo. The pastor, a convicted drug trafficker, mixes stories of ancient Jerusalem with his hard-core street experiences, using slang and addressing the flock as the "homies from the barrio." A live band blends rock, rap and norteño music into their hymns. And the sinners let it all out, slam-dancing wildly to the chorus, praying with eyes closed tight, teeth gritted, sweat pouring from foreheads, hands raised to the heavens — using all their spiritual power to exorcise their heinous demons.

Gonzalo has more demons than most. He was incarcerated in the prison a year before I met him, and bought his way into the Christian wing hoping it was a quiet place where he could escape the war. But when I listen carefully to his interview, he sounds like he really has given his heart to Christ, really does pray for redemption. And when he talks to me — a nosy British journalist prying into his past — he is really confessing to Jesus.

"You meet Christ and it is a totally different thing. You feel horror, and start thinking about the things you have done. Because it was bad. You think about the people. It could have been a brother of mine I was doing these things to. I did bad things to a lot of people. A lot of parents suffered."

"When you belong to organized crime you have to change. You could be the best person in the world, but the people you live with change you completely. You become somebody else. And then the drugs and liquor change you."

I have watched too many videos of the pain caused by killers like Gonzalo. I have seen a sobbing teenager tortured on a tape sent to his family; a bloodied old man confessing that he had talked to a rival cartel; a line of kneeling victims with bags over their heads being shot in the brain one by one. Does someone who has committed such crimes deserve redemption? Do they deserve a place in heaven?

FBI Paints Picture of Supply Chain Between Mexican and US Gangs

Posted on the Forum by Texcoco

The FBI government has released its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, which undermines scaremongering by those who warn of an "invasion" of Mexican criminal gangs in U.S. cities.

Written by Patrick Corcoran
As might be expected, the multinational gangs that figure the most in the U.S. government's description are Mexico drug traffickers syndicates, from the Sinaloa Cartel to the Zetas, and their American allies. Somewhat surprisingly, Colombian groups don’t appear in the report at all, an indication of the degree to which Mexicans have supplanted Colombians as the primary source of drug-related concern for American policy-makers.

As the report indicates, “US-based gangs and MDTOs [Mexican drug trafficking organizations] are establishing wide-reaching drug networks; assisting in the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and illegal immigrants along the Southwest Border; and serving as enforcers for MDTO interests on the US side of the border.”

Furthermore, the assessment suggests that gangs from Mexico and Central America could grow even more influential in U.S. cities. According to the report’s authors, the violence in northern Mexico could spur increased immigration flows into the U.S., thus increasing the ranks of disaffected and disenfranchised youths north of the border. This could provide fertile recruiting ground both for local gangs and transnational Mexican groups.

However, there is little evidence to support such a worry. Immigration to the U.S. has slowed to a mere trickle in the past few years, even as the drug-related violence near the border has grown far worse. While growing, the number of Mexican asylum-seekers remains quite small; a few thousand "narco-refugees" each year are unlikely to generate a surge of gangland youth bent on taking Mexico’s drug wars into U.S. territory.

The report is also noteworthy for what it doesn’t say. For the past several years, U.S. authorities have highlighted the role of Mexican criminal groups in the U.S., painting the picture of a situation that is growing ever-more precarious. In 2008, the National Drug Intelligence Center published a report that named 195 U.S. cities in which Mexican traffickers “operate,” including remote locales like Decatur, Alabama and Kalamazoo, Michagan.

That number continued to rise. “Mexican drug cartels are in well over 200 cities here in the United States,” Gil Kerlikowske, the head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, told The Daily earlier this year. In the same report, an ICE agent told The Daily that the activities of Mexican gangs in cities “all over America” was “the stuff of nightmares.” Despite the fact that law enforcement officials gave little context or qualification for their concerns, voices like Rep. Michael McCaul and Lou Dobbs used such comments to stir up fears of an invasion in progress by Mexican criminal groups.

The most recent assessment, in contrast, offers a much more nuanced picture of the relationship between the most notorious Mexican gangs and crime in U.S. cities. Rather than a Mexican hegemon pulling criminal strings on U.S. streets from thousands of miles away, what we see is evidence of a supply chain. The Mexican groups all have local partners charged with retail distribution of their merchandise: the Sinaloa Cartel works with, for instance, the Latin Kings and the Mexican Mafia, while the Zetas work with the U.S.-based branches of MS-13 to market their drugs.

This is not fundamentally different from the relationship other foreign drug traffickers -- Vietnamese opium producers, Colombian cocaine manufacturers -- have set up to import drugs into the U.S. Indeed, foreign producers of any good, illegal or otherwise, will by necessity have a similar relationship with domestic retailers. Rather than the ominous incursion of the world’s nastiest gangs into the U.S., this is merely the working of a global supply chain.

The report is also interesting in that it describes the Sinaloa Cartel, widely considered Mexico’s most powerful, as closely linked to the Mexican Mafia, which is one of the most powerful street gangs in the American West. As a recent report from David Skarbek explains, the Mexican Mafia uses their control over the prison system in California -- where their enemies are subject to easy retribution -- to multiply their influence over other gangs in the state.

In that sense, the alliance between the Mexican Mafia and the Sinaloa Cartel pairs the most powerful criminal group in Mexico with the strongest group in California, the U.S. state with the biggest drug market.

'Massive' smuggling ring dismantled in Arizona

by Dennis Wagner - Oct. 31, 2011 12:43 PM
The Arizona Republic

A deputy's routine traffic stop last year helped authorities penetrate what they say is one of the biggest smuggling operations ever identified in Arizona, a network that allegedly has moved $2 billion of narcotics across the border in just five years.

At a news conference Monday, investigators announced the seizure of more than 30 tons of marijuana and arrests of 76 people who are suspected of affiliation with Mexico's notorious Sinaloa Cartel.
Matt Allen, special agent in charge for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Arizona, said the criminal network is "one of the most prolific drug smuggling organizations ever uncovered in the state."

"This is a historic drug bust," added Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. "...We have to stand up and bring the fight to the cartels and say, 'This is America. You're not coming here.'"

Babeu said the investigation, known as Operation Pipeline Express, began in June 2010 when one of his deputies pulled over a vehicle near Stanfield that was loaded with 1,500 pounds of marijuana. Intelligence gathered during that stop led to a massive criminal investigation involving about two dozen law enforcement agencies.

Allen said the group moved an estimated $33 million in marijuana, cocaine and heroin into the United States monthly. He said those arrested came from all levels of the organization - from drug-carrying mules to scouts and commanders who organized the trafficking.

Authorities said the ring, built around cells based in Chandler, Stanfield and Maricopa, used backpacker and vehicles to run narcotics across the border and through the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation, a notorious smuggling route. Investigators seized 108 semi-automatic rifles and other weapons during the probe, which Babeu said was completed without an exchange of gunfire.

"We in Arizona continue to stand and fight against the Mexican drug cartels, who think they own this place," he said. "...While this is a historic drug bust, sadly, this represents only a fraction of what my deputies face every day."

Another Border Patrol Agent convicted...for detaining Mexican drug smuggler

By Diana Washington Valdez \ El Paso Times
El Paso native Jesus "Chito" E. Diaz Jr. lost his career with the U.S. Border Patrol and ended up with a felony conviction after an encounter three years ago with a Mexican teenage drug smuggler on the South Texas border.

On Oct. 20, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses Ludham sentenced Diaz to 24 months in prison for depriving a 15-year-old Mexican citizen of his constitutional rights under color of law. Diaz was accused of pulling off the handcuffs on the boy, an admitted drug smuggler, slamming him to the ground, and pressing the youth's back with his knee. Diaz pleaded not guilty in his trial in February to one count of excessive force and five counts of lying to internal affairs officers.

The National Border Patrol Council, which represents more than 17,000 Border Patrol agents, and the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council, an advocacy group, contend that Diaz was unfairly targeted for prosecution and that his case's outcome sets a bad precedent for other agents who serve on the front lines.

"This case continues the tradition of bias against Border Patrol agents in the Western District of Texas," the National Border Patrol said in a statement Thursday. "Diaz's actions did not rise to the level of a crime ... While the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Texas has a job to do, one that includes prosecuting the criminals who commit crimes, it has shown a distinctly quick trigger in going after Border Patrol agents."

Diaz, 33, who is in custody, could not be reached for comment. His wife, Diana Diaz, a Border Patrol supervisor in Del Rio, Texas, said her husband should not be in prison. "I am speaking only as his wife when I say that 'Chito' does not belong in jail," she said. Diaz Jr. attended El Paso Community College and also has a brother who serves in the Border Patrol and other relatives in El Paso. He and his wife have six children.

The Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Professional Responsibility cleared Diaz of any wrongdoing in the 2008 incident. However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Attorney's Office proceeded against Diaz.

Andy Ramirez, president of the LEOAC, said he believes the U.S. government went forward with the charges against Diaz to appease the Mexican government. The Mexican consulate in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, where the juvenile lived, submitted a complaint alleging that Diaz had mistreated the boy while in the agent's custody.

Rarmirez said GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, a congresswoman from Minnesota, and U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., have offered to help Diaz. Gov. Rick Perry, also a presidential nominee hopeful for the Republican Party, declined to get involved.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Hunter complained about the Diaz prosecution, and compared it to the 2006 case against former El Paso Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and José Alonso Compeán.

"It was the same office, under U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, that unapologetically led the prosecution against Agents Ramos and Compeán, going as far as providing the smuggler with full immunity and border-crossing documentation," Hunter's letter said. "In the case of Agent Diaz, the smuggler was also given immunity for reasons that are not at all clear.

Ramos and Compeán were sentenced to more than 10 years in prison each in connection with the shooting of a drug smuggler who was fleeing back to Mexico. After a national campaign of support for the two agents, then-President George W. Bush commuted their sentences and they were released.

Diaz Jr. was starting his shift when Border Patrol agents were sent to check on a report of possible drug smuggling near the Rio Grande just outside of Eagle Pass, which is across the border from Piedras Negras.

Diaz and the other agents arrived at a pecan orchard known as the Rosetta Farm at about 2 a.m. on Oct. 16, 2008. Witnesses at Diaz's trial said the suspects were hiding among the high grass and a fallen tree in the area. Border Patrol agents and a canine unit eventually encountered the 15-year-old and an adult suspect.

According to court documents, the suspects crossed the Rio Grande illegally on a boat, and were supposed to transport backpacks filled with marijuana to the U.S. side of the border.

They did not have the backpacks on them when they were apprehended, but showed strap marks on their shoulders. Authorities identified the adult suspect as a Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang member with a rap sheet. Neither the adult nor the juvenile was charged with drug smuggling.

According to U.S. drug investigators, some MS-13 members are affiliated with the Sinaloa cartel, which is active in the Piedras Negras-Eagle Pass smuggling corridor. The cartel is led by Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman.

At one point during the 2008 incident, Diaz took custody of the teenager, who had been handcuffed by another Border Patrol agent, and asked the boy "donde esta la mota?" ("Where is the pot?").

The boy testified that he was handcuffed from behind and Diaz lifted his arms with the cuffs, causing him pain, slammed him on the ground and pressed his knee against the boy's back. The encounter between Diaz and the boy lasted about 10 minutes, according to testimony.

Agents found the backpacks with marijuana near where they apprehended the suspects. The Border Patrol turned over the marijuana to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The boy was transported by vehicle to the Border Patrol station for processing, and did not mention the mistreatment until after he met the next day with Mexican consulate officials.

The teenager agreed to testify against Diaz, and received immunity against any charges related to the drugs, illegal entry or of initially lying to federal officials about the marijuana. He also received a U.S. visa.

The LEOAC's Ramirez said two of the Border Patrol trainee agents who testified against Diaz were fired later, one for sleeping on the job and the other for refusing to submit to a drug urinalysis test.

Ramirez also contends that Diaz received unfair treatment, especially compared with the U.S. Attorney's case against Alex Moses Jr. of Eagle Pass. Moses was a U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspector who received five years' probation after being convicted of smuggling 6 ounces of cocaine from Mexico in 2008.

Ramirez said Moses is a cousin of Federal Judge Alia Moses Ludham, who presided over the Diaz trial. She was the chief federal prosecutor for the U.S. Western District of Texas in Del Rio before Bush nominated her to the judgeship.

"The common denominator was Johnny Sutton, the U.S. Attorney of the Western District of Texas who ordered the prosecution of Ramos and Compeán, and who began the investigation against Diaz before he retired," Ramirez said.

Earlier this year, in another case pending in the Western District of Texas, a U.S. district judge dismissed a lawsuit against the U.S. government in connection with the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy on the Rio Grande near the Paso del Norte Bridge.

The Border Patrol agent involved in the shooting, Jesus Mesa Jr., has not been charged with anything. His lawyer, Randolph Ortega, has said that Mesa was defending himself against rock throwing.

Relatives and friends of Diaz are circulating a petition for the former agent to receive a presidential pardon. The National Border Patrol Council indicated that it probably will assist with an appeal of Diaz's conviction.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cabo San Lucas heats up

A confusing situation continues to unfold in Cabo San Lucas after the Plaza Sendero retail mall in this resort city was the scene of a confrontation between gunmen and authorities during the afternoon hours of Saturday.

This Saturday evening the Milenio news agency reported that 12 gunmen armed with assault weapons had barricaded themselves in the Soriana big box store located in the mall.

The gunmen were being pursued by municipal police at the time and had entered the mall to avoid capture.

According to Milenio there were approximately 600 shoppers inside the store at the time and that up to 200 remained hostage after 6 of the gunmen had been captured.

In a later report Sedena, Mexico's Defense Ministry, denied that any hostages were being held and that no injuries or deaths had occurred at the Plaza Sendero.

Sedena reported that at 3:00pm a detachment of troops had surrounded the mall and that a search was underway for the gunmen, with an undetermined number found and arrested.

The State Attorney General's office reported no hostages taken and 3 gunmen arrested.

The incident at Plaza Sendero in this usually quiet tourist resort city followed a gunbattle in the colonia Brisas del Pacifico that stretched from 11:00pm Friday to early Saturday morning.

Automatic gunfire and grenade blasts shook the city when state police and the military raided a home in the search for the killers of police commander Martín Márquez Ruíz, who was murdered earlier in the week.

One Marine and a gunman were killed, 3 state ministerial police were wounded and 2 gunmen were captured during the raid in Brisas del Pacifico.

It was not known if the clashes in Brisas del Pacifico and the Plaza Sendero mall were related.


Attorney General in Mexico: 200 Murders Result of Operation Fast and Furious

By Texcoco
From the Forum
In a conference call this morning with Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, reporters were told the Attorney General in Mexico has confirmed at least 200 murders south of the border happened as a result of Operation Fast and Furious.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, as the Attorney General in Mexico is so concerned, she’s made the point that at least 200 Mexicans have been killed with these weapons and probably countless more,” Issa said.

Eleven crimes in the United States have been linked to Operation Fast and Furious up to this point. Issa said he expects as the investigation in the operation continues, more crimes connected to Fast and Furious will come to light and be exposed. This is not surprising, considering out of 2500 weapons the Obama Justice Department allowed to “walk,” and that only 600 have been recovered, the rest are lost until they show up at violent crime scenes. The damage from Operation Fast and Furious has only started to be seen. Remember, the Mexican Government and ATF agents working in Mexico were left completely in the dark about the operation.

July 26, 2011
A new report released by Issa’s office shows ATF agents working in Mexico were left in the dark about the details of Operation Fast and Furious. The report shows that in late 2009, ATF officials in Mexico began to see increasing amounts of guns traced to the Phoenix ATF Field Division office showing up at violent crime scenes.

Former ATF Attaché to Mexico Darren Gil and ATF Acting Attaché to Mexico Carlos Canino expressed their concerns to officials in the Phoenix Field Office and in Washington D.C. but were ignored. The report shows ATF and DOJ “failed to share crucial details of the of Operation Fast and Furious with either their own employees stationed in Mexico or representatives of the Government of Mexico.” Specifically, personnel in Arizona denied ATF agents working in Mexico information directly related to their jobs and everyday operations.

Issa submitted a request to the White House for information surrounding the operation nearly two weeks ago and that request has not yet been filled. White House Officials have until the end of this week to submit documents requested before Issa takes the next step.

Documentation about what the White House knew about the operation was requested after Special ATF Agent in Charge William Newell admitted in Congressional testimony that he was in contact with White House national security advisers about the operation and after emails surfaced showing at least three White House officials were in contact with the Justice Department about the operation.

Since this scandal came to light in March 2011, the Obama Justice Department has continually stonewalled the investigation from the House Oversight Committee, and not much has changed. Issa said there is an ongoing cover-up of a pattern of ongoing mistakes and that the Justice Department continues to use petty prosecutions to limit information given to the Oversight Committee.

“People are picking their words very carefully," Issa said.

When asked what the consequences would be for DOJ or ATF officials involved in the operation, Issa said prosecutions may come at the end of this scandal to those who knowingly trafficked weapons across the border and could be held accountable for the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

“This was dumb, it was useless and it was lethal,” Issa said.

Lazcano Told to Watch his Back from Z-40

They told Lazcano to watch his back from Miguel Angel Trevino Morales aka "The Z40."

By Texcoco
From the Forum

A Zetas boss member testified that "Z40" has given information to the police about people of his own organization in order for them to get arrested.

Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales

When Zeta boss Enrique Rejon Aguilar, “El Mamito” was arrested on July 5, he told the authorities that those who betray once, will betray twice.

He gave this response when he was asked why he did not helped Jose de Jesus Mendez Vargas, alias "El Chango" Mendez, the boss of La Familia, who sought an alliance with Los Zetas. This means that Los Zetas never had the intentions of Alligning with "El Chango" as he was not trusted, once the enemy, always the enemy.

But the words of “El Mamito” also seemed to be a message sent directly to his own organization.

Because just last August, the Zetas uploaded a video on YouTube in which they accuse Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, "The Z-40," of being a traitor.

But not only do they accuse the second in command of Los Zetas as a traitor who has delivered several powerful Zeta bosses, but they also accuse "Z-40" of attempting to move up further the hierarchy and the only one above him is Heriberto Lazcano, "El Lazca".

Therefore, bosses of Zeta cells think that Treviño Morales will eventually seek to kill or deliver "El Lazca" to authorities, making him the top capo.

They think of Miguel Angel Trevino Morales as a "Judas".

In the video, they ask its leader, "El Lazca" to ask himself why so many high-ranking Zetas have been apprehended by the federal Public Security Secretariat without firing a single shot.

On the Youtube video they allege that many, from "El Hummer" to "El Mamito" have been delivered to authorities by Treviño Morales, "El Z-40."

They also say that Z-40 turned over those Zeta bosses because they were in his way to continue moving up the power in the organization.

The Zetas have said that he has order everyone to have a cell phone for private communication, but in reality is a form of locating them trough satellite.

Even in the video it indicates that it was Treviño Morales, the second in command of Los Zetas, who received the nod to approach Jose de Jesus Mendez Vargas, alias "El Chango Méndez", leader of the Familia Michoacana.

But once the Michoacan drug trafficker traveled from the town of Cosio, in Aguascalientes, "Z-40" betrayed him by giving out his location to the Federal Public Security Secretariat.

In fact, they said Treviño Morales is a faithful friend of "Los Smurfs" a name givent to the federal police.

People have rumored that since 2010 "El Z-40" has been a traitor responsible for the death of Efraín Teodoro Torres, "El Z-14", a powerful hit man and the last of the 14 former soldiers and founders of Los Zetas.

This is the corrido supposedly made by members of the Zetas organized crime:

Hacking Grp Anon IRC-Gives 1st Zeta Name

Hacking Grp Anon IRC-Gives 1st Zeta Name + Promises Names of Zeta supporters & announces OP CARTEL

Posted by Buela Chivis
From the Forums
(note: article of zeta first name at bottom; today Gustavo's website was hacked and a photo inserted from ANONYMOUS MEXICO)

Unless you have been in a coma, if you follow narco news you must have heard the story of AnonymousIRC group and the Los Zetas.

If not see Buggs post here:

I follow the group and their offshoots such a; YourAnonNews, AnonKitsu etc. but I was really taken by surprise as the posts are for the most part OWS activity on Wallstreet and other “occupations” by this group of protestors. I scrolled thru the twitter thread and saw not one mention of anything narco let alone Zetas. Their work includes hacking into pedophile sites and exposing names (yay) war against the 1% and the like.
BUT…OWS vs Zetas? I could not entertain that notion, but kept on seeking info. And about an hour ago hit paydirt. AnonKitsu posted this:

These were from within the hour:

@Sm0k34n0nStarting today #OpCartel begins. Heads up #Zetas! Love, @Sm0k34n0n @anonkitsu @AnonSyndiv cc @AnonymousIRC @YourAnonNews @MotormouthNews

@AnonKitsuCountless people live in fear everyday because they fear #Zetas. There was no kidnapped #anonymous member but this one still has targets set

@Sm0k34n0nLos #Zetas are the most dangerous drug cartel in Mexico. We dont take kindly to this is my crew #OpCartel

You can see they intend to hack into Zetas data for exposure, but that means they must have a mole or two and they do have members throughout Latin America, or the world as far as that goes. I am not sure how this will be possible, but they have made good on their promises so just maybe…..sometimes truth is much more bizarre than fiction. Also in the above tweet you see they discount the kidnapping but embrace the attack on the last letter.

BTW this is their decription on the page profile:

We are Anonymous. We are Legion.We do not forgive. We do not forget. We love you. Expect us. Bitcoins to: 18NHixaoQekQJ3y52aBGJJwgBWX9X3myYR http://the.internet

Now to what is described as their first featured Zeta: Paz, Buela

Anonymous gives first name hacking Gustavo Rosario Torres’ site ex-attorney general in Tabasco State

This is the site of Gustavo Rosario, ex-Attorney General for the State of Tabasco.
Gustavo Rosario published the site to “clean his name”.

Previous posts related to this:

As reported previously, the hacker group Anonymous, launched a second warning against drug cartels that restrict freedom of expression, specifically against “The Zetas”. Today the site of former attorney general of Tabasco, Gustavo Rosario Torres: was hacked.

Anonymous Mexico placed a sign that reads: “Gustavo Rosario is Zeta.”

The former attorney of Tabasco, from August 2008, has been mentioned in Los Angeles Times, Report Indigo, El Universal, Radio Formula, for alleged involvement and protection to members of organized crime. The Mexican Department of Justice has not since released any resolution on the matter, while the former official, now serve as “assessor” for the actual gobernor of Tabasco State

Neglected War
Houston Chron

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mexican Drug Gangs Take War to the Streets

Residents in the towns of Huejucar, Florencia and Bolanas are getting caught up in the crossfire.

By: Aljazeera

Rival Mexican drug cartel groups are taking their turf wars to the streets of northern Mexico.

Residents in the towns of Huejucar, Florencia and Bolanas are getting caught up in the crossfire during street battles between the Zetas and Sinolas gangs.

Adam Raney reports from Jalisco.

Nephew of Gulf Cartel Boss Arrested in Texas, Facing Drug and Immigration Charges

From the Archives,

By Associated Press
A man arrested on federal drug and immigration charges in South Texas is believed to be the nephew of the former boss of Mexico’s Gulf cartel and was a rising player in the drug trafficking network, a U.S. law enforcement official said Wednesday.

Rafael Cardenas Vela was arrested last week following a traffic stop in Port Isabel, a Gulf coast town that sits across the causeway from South Padre Island. He is charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute drugs and using a fraudulent passport, according to federal court records.

The law enforcement official familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Wednesday that authorities believe Cardenas Vela is the nephew of Osiel Cardenas Guillen and was a rising player in the cartel’s operations. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the case.

Cardenas Guillen was extradited to the U.S. in 2006 from Mexico and sentenced to 25 years in prison last year.

Angela Dodge, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Houston, said in an email that “we understand there is a familial relationship,” but declined to comment beyond that.

A message seeking comment was left for Cardenas Vela’s attorney.

The Gulf cartel is based in Matamoros, Mexico, across the border from Brownsville, Texas. Its territory is not what it once was, but it holds on to major drug smuggling corridors between Reynosa and Matamoros. Under Cardenas Guillen’s leadership, the Gulf cartel spawned the Zetas, which started as the cartel’s paramilitary muscle and evolved into a ruthless rival in their own right.

Port Isabel police said in a statement about Cardenas Vela’s arrest that officers pulled over a silver Ford F-150 pickup with temporary Texas tags for speeding just after 6:30 p.m. Oct. 20. The truck was eastbound and just a short distance from the causeway that crosses to South Padre Island.

The driver was German Alejandro Huizar Marroquin, 31, of Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, who presented a Mexican driver’s license. The front-seat passenger was Cardenas Vela, though he presented a Mexican passport for 37-year-old Pedro Gonzalez Garcia, of Tomatlan, Jalisco.

Francisco Javier Escalante Jimenez of Matamoros and another man from Brownsville were in the backseat.

The officer found discrepancies in the identification for three of the four and called U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for assistance. The men were taken to the Port Isabel police station and turned over to ICE custody.

ICE confirmed Cardenas Vela’s arrest and said the investigation was ongoing but offered no other details Wednesday.

According to court records unsealed this week, special agents from Homeland Security Investigations, a branch of ICE, interviewed Cardenas Vela after the traffic stop.

Cardenas Vela presented a valid Mexican passport and U.S. visa under the name Pedro Garcia Gonzalez, but the agents determined that was not his true identity. He then admitted he has been involved in the transportation and importation of marijuana and cocaine into the U.S. for several years, records state. He told agents that two years ago he sold about five tons of marijuana to people he knew would import it into the U.S.

Huizar Marroquin and Escalante Jimenez were charged with making false statements about Cardenas Vela’s true identity and remain in federal custody. Messages seeking comment were left for their attorneys Wednesday.

In a Friday, Feb. 9, 2007 file photo, accused Mexican drug kingpin Osiel Cardenas-Guillen, 39, leaves the federal courthouse in Houston after pleading not guilty to charges connected to running a cartel that at its height smuggled four to six tons of cocaine per month into the country. A U.S. law enforcement official said Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011 that Rafael Cardenas Vela, who was arrested recently on federal drug and immigration charges in Texas, is believed to be the nephew of Osiel Cardenas-Guillen, the former boss of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel, and was a rising player in the drug trafficking network.

Online Hackers Threaten to Expose Cartel's Secrets

Group called Anonymous demands release of one of their own who was kidnapped

By Dane Schiller
Houston Chronicle
An international group of online hackers is warning a Mexican drug cartel to release one of its members, kidnapped from a street protest, or it will publish the identities and addresses of the syndicate's associates, from corrupt police to taxi drivers, as well as reveal the syndicates' businesses.

The vow is a bizarre cyber twist to Mexico's ongoing drug war, as a group that has no guns is squaring off against the Zetas, a cartel blamed for thousands of deaths as well as introducing beheadings and other frightening brutality.

"You made a huge mistake by taking one of us. Release him," says a masked man in a video posted online on behalf of the group, Anonymous.

"We cannot defend ourselves with a weapon … but we can do this with their cars, homes, bars, brothels and everything else in their possession," says the man, who is wearing a suit and tie.

"It won't be difficult; we all know who they are and where they are located," says the man, who underlines the group's international ties by speaking Spanish with the accent of a Spaniard while using Mexican slang.

He also implies that the group will expose mainstream journalists who are somehow in cahoots with the Zetas by writing negative articles about the military, the country's biggest fist in the drug war.

"We demand his release," says the Anonymous spokesman, who is wearing a mask like the one worn by the shadowy revolutionary character in the movie V for Vendetta, which came out in 2006. "If anything happens to him, you sons of (expletive) will always remember this upcoming November 5."

The person reportedly kidnapped is not named, and the video does not share information about the kidnapping other than that it occurred in the Mexican state of Veracruz during a street protest.

Anonymous draws its roots from an online forum dedicated to bringing sensitive government documents and other material to light.

If Anonymous can make good on its threats to publish names, it will "most certainly" lead to more deaths and could leave bloggers and others open to reprisal attacks by the cartel, contends Stratfor, an Austin-based global intelligence company.

"In this viral world on the Internet, it shows how much damage could be done with just one statement on the Web," said Fred Burton of Stratfor, which published a report Friday that probes the implications of the cartel drawing the activists' ire.

Mike Vigil, the retired head of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration, said the Zetas must take Anonymous seriously.

"It is a gutsy move," Vigil said. "By publishing the names, they identify them to rivals, and trust me, they will go after them."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Smugglers in Texas Using "Cloned" Vehicles to Move Drugs

By: AztecWarrior13
From the Forums

Texas law enforcement agencies report drug smugglers have resorted to "cloning" company and government vehicles to try to avoid detection and protect their illegal cargo.

"It's making our job a lot harder," said Michael O'Connor, Victoria County sheriff. "We're up against a matrix of deceptive transportation."

O'Connor said his officers have undergone additional training on how to spot the nearly perfect look-alikes.
Photographs provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety show 18-wheelers with duplicate logos of major companies, crammed with bales of marijuana.

Others closely resemble government vehicles, even a school bus that had marijuana bales set up inside so they looked like passenger seats.

Another shows a truck with a Texas Department of Transportation logo spotted in Gonzales County, except it was stuffed with marijuana.

"At one time, you could say there was a certain type of vehicle used. Now, it's everything, everything imaginable," O'Connor said.

He said some have "window-dressing" such as oilfield equipment or soldiers in uniform and a patient in the back of an ambulance, but they were all imposters.

CHAPO: Lord of the Mountains, Grows Stronger in Mexico’s Sierra Madre

Buela Chivis
From the Forums
He was the barefoot son of a peasant who became one of the richest moguls in the world, a billionaire entrepreneur with a third-grade education. He controls a vast drug distribution empire that spans six continents, but he still carries his own AK-47. He is generous and feared, a mass murderer and a folk hero. He is a ghost who has become a legend.

In the fifth year of a terrible war in Mexico that has exhausted the military, consumed the presidency of Felipe Calderon and left more than 43,000 dead in drug violence, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the founder of the Sinaloa cartel, reigns supreme.

His pursuers compare him to Al Capone, Butch Cassidy or Osama bin Laden. But none of these gets it quite right. Guzman is the single largest supplier of illegal drugs to the United States, and though he is in hiding, he is not on the run.

Ten years after he escaped from prison in a laundry basket on the eve of his extradition to the United States, Chapo is more powerful than ever: His networks are deeper, his territory is expanding, and his supplies of cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine are essentially undiminished, according to U.S. and Mexican agents and officials, who were grinding their teeth at the news that Guzman’s 22-year-old beauty queen wife was able to travel in August to a Los Angeles County hospital, where she gave birth to healthy twins.

Calderon, reportedly desperate to nail his nemesis and prove himself a winning commander in chief in an increasingly unpopular war that might cost his party the presidency, has raised the stakes to demand that Chapo be taken down before he leaves office next year.

As a sign of the intensified effort, Mexico now operates at least three full-time capture-kill units solely dedicated to ending the reign of Guzman, said officials with direct knowledge of the groups. These special operations teams — one each in the Mexican army, navy and federal police — have been vetted to work alongside agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, who have supplied detailed intelligence about Guzman’s possible locations.

Calderon and his top law enforcement officials say they have come close to getting Guzman — within an hour or two — several times in the past two years.

Despite such assertions, Calderon has been dogged by perceptions among many Mexicans that his administration, especially his military, has gone easy on Guzman’s cartel, or even that it’s helping him, while it goes after his biggest rival, Los Zetas, a rising criminal power in the country.

“He’s protected by the government,” said Javier Valdez, a top editor of the Sinaloa-based journal Rio Doce, adding that he doesn’t think any urgent effort is underway to find Chapo.

Elusive mountain ‘lord’

Guzman, one of the most wanted criminals in North America, has proven impossible to catch — even as U.S. drones penetrate Mexican airspace, and Mexican security forces, supplied with sophisticated U.S. eavesdropping equipment, scan the ether for the sound of his encrypted voice. His pursuers suspect he is most likely in a mountain stronghold here in the Sierra Madre range of northwest Mexico, a hardscrabble backwater of Mexican hillbillies that gives new meaning to the words “poor” and “remote.”

The Messenger

One wonders even now whether showing her picture could cause more harm, put more people in danger, spread the poison.

Her offense? She was an online chat room moderator in Mexico, using the Internet to crusade against her city's organized crime. On September 24, she became the first confirmed social media correspondent to be executed by criminal interests, as they sought to keep new media silent.

When she was found dead--with horrific embellishments--it was noted that she was from Mexico's area of “silent war,” at the border city of Nuevo Laredo. Though Nuevo Laredo is the busiest commercial port on the border, astride the Pan-American Highway, it suffers a special isolation. Its local news reporting has been so severely suppressed by criminal intimidation, for so long, that the outside world sees little of the city's gang conflicts. In the news, the half million people trapped at Nuevo Laredo can seem eerily quiet. Or simply absent.

The silence showed even as word went around the world about the social media killing--because half the world got her name wrong. Was she really Maria Elizabeth Macias Castro–or was she Marisol Macias Castaneda? In many global media she was one, but in many more she was the other, with no final word on which was right. Then the story vanished, for no further information was coming from the scene. Her personal details lay concealed in a half-million-strong citadel where even giving out a name could tumble you into the pit.

Online, she was known by a pseudonym, NenaDLaredo (GirlFromLaredo), keeping her identity veiled as she tackled issues the old-style media were avoiding. Notably, she denounced the Zetas, Nuevo Laredo’s dominant underworld cartel. Like a masked avatar, she urged fellow citizens to contact government tip lines with information about Zeta movements--though the dragons were closing in.

On September 14, ten days before she met her fate, Nuevo Laredo had produced two other corpses, of a young man and a young woman, who were pie-sliced and suspended from a pedestrian bridge, with a hand-lettered poster mounted beside the ropes. This gave first notice, saying that "Internet relajes (jerks, clowns)" should not disturb organized crime..


However, the two victims left as examples with the poster could not be verified as social media activists, for a dismal reason: They were never publicly identified at all. In Nuevo Laredo’s atmosphere of mystery, the two remained ghastly ciphers, their names and backgrounds unrevealed. Conceivably, their double murder could have been one more garden-variety underworld hit, dressed up post-mortem with a poster so the killers could use them as stage props for threats against the Web. In this vein, the male victim’s fingers were missing, as if fingerprints might reveal an identity unsuited to an anti-Internet message.

At every turn, the details of this story wreck the telling, overpowering with their horror--as the most primal savagery reacts against the quantum leap of electronic horizons.

Nuevo Laredo had come early to cartel violence, baptized in the Nuevo Laredo War of 2003 to 2007, well before Mexico's official "drug war" kicked off in late 2006. The city's traditional media were long accustomed to staying discreetly dark on cartel crimes, as they faced cartel threats: “get aligned” with what the gang wants, take the envelope from the spying paymaster right in the newsroom, parrot back the caricatured gang “press releases”–or suffer the beatings, and then worse. The information vacuum was partially filled by improvisers in social media--tweeting alerts on firefights, using chat-room bulletins to finger gang lookouts, venting the general frustration.

When the September 24 killing arrived, the killers left no doubt about the victim's identity. There was a new poster now, propped beside the obsessively assaulted remains. Sneeringly, it used her chat-room code name--though the atmosphere of mystery still won some points. Her Web work was a sideline, and on the matter of her day job the obituary again blurred. Was she really a newspaper editor (as many of the worldwide conduits announced), or was she a less dramatic ad vendor at a local newspaper, as in others?

Either way, the killers didn’t seem much interested in her old-media activities. The crude poster, this time propped against a cement flower planter next to a Columbus statue on a public square, cited not only her Internet handle but the name of the Web site where she had kept up the heat on the Zetas. For good measure, the poster addressed its warning to “Redes Sociales”—“Social Networks.”

The signature “ZZZZ” was a common Zetas tag, though naturally it could have been faked by some rival gang (some of the wording reminded vaguely of an old effort by the Sinaloa Cartel). Yet the Zetas never denied the killing, or sent indignant counter-messages claiming the message wasn't really theirs, as sometimes done elsewhere. The rules of murder-messaging left the boast to stand: We did do this. We are saying it: We own the Web.

So now it was confirmed. The killers were reaching through the glowing screen, to crush the messenger.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Islamic Plot to Bomb U.S. Embassy Reported in Mexico

From the Archives
More on the bomb plot that has been covered by Borderland Beat;
Is U.S. a target from Islamic Extremists via Mexico?

Reporter: Tom Ramstack
Source: (AHN)
An Islamic terrorist tried to detonate explosives to destroy the American embassy in Mexico City last year, according to Mexican media reports this week.

The reports drew denials from Mexico’s secretary of the navy.

Nevertheless, at least two Mexican media organizations published allegedly leaked government documents giving details of how the navy thwarted the attack.

The American media outlet CNN is quoting an unnamed State Department source saying Mexican police arrested a Somali citizen suspected of planning a terrorist attack in June 2010.

He was investigated for hiding explosives but was released because evidence against him was inconclusive.

The Mexican news media reports gave much more detail.

They said an internal Mexican navy document dated June 10, 2010, gave a list of incriminating items found in a hotel in Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood.

The items included a cardboard cylindrical container that held 22.7 kilograms of high explosives. It was sealed in paraffin wax along with two kinds of copper wrapped in plastic.

Navy agents also found four multi-channel radios, a frequency analyzer, a liter of nitric acid, six liters of pure glycerin, a plastic bag containing detonating cords and a kilogram of aluminum. Nearby was a copy of the Koran and a Muslim prayer rug.

The report quoted by the news media said police seized identification papers from a Somali man called Ahmed who was using the name Arturo Hernandez Hernandez.

Papers he carried bore the logo of the Islamic extremist group Al Shabaab, the news reports said. He entered Mexico from Guatemala.

The tip that alerted police to Ahmed’s presence originated with the Israeli embassy in Mexico City, according to the document quoted by the media.

“U.S. authorities informed us that intelligence officers assigned to the Embassy of Israel in Mexico are the ones who have followed the trail of the alleged terrorist of Somali nationality, named Ahmed, who allegedly belongs to an international armed Islamic extremist organization and of whom we attached a photograph and fake identification,” the document says.

“There is also information about the explosives that would be used to attack the Embassy of the United States of America in Mexico, among other targets, such as consulates,” the document says.

Ahmed’s presence at the Puebla Hotel in Mexico City beginning on June 7, 2010, was verified by surveillance cameras, the document says.

The document was marked “confidential” and carried the stamp of the Mexican government and the navy, the media reports said.

However, the Mexican secretary of the navy said the documents were “fake.”

He released a statement saying the navy “categorically rejects the authorship of the alleged report in possession of some media outlets.”

The statement also said, “The print seals and watermarks that appear on the document, as well as its format, do not correspond to the ones utilized by this federal government agency.”

U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials in Washington said they were unaware of any plot to blow up the American embassy in Mexico City.

If the media reports are true, they appear to verify recent statements at congressional hearings by Homeland Security Department officials who said Islamic terrorists might be using Mexico as a back door for attacks against the United States.

The media report comes only days after the Obama administration announced the arrest of an American Muslim accused of trying to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

The Justice Department says he was captured after trying to hire members of a Mexican drug cartel to kill the ambassador with a bomb at a Washington restaurant.

President Barack Obama blamed the Iranian government for sponsoring the planned bombing. He said the plot continued a pattern of “dangerous and reckless behavior” by the Iranians.

The Iranian government denies any involvement.

The lack of security and other little problems

Pa Que Sepas/Carlos
De (falta de) seguridad y otros problemitas

These past weeks I've been thinking how in Mexico, the problem of insecurity has grown from a  problem in some localities to become a national problem with serious negative consequences for the economy and society.

How did the country became a paradise for drug trafficking? What failed? Where did we go wrong?  

Certainly the fact that our neighbor to the north is the main consumer of drugs in the world is excellent motivation for drug trafficking. Not only is the U.S. the greatest drug user, but it also fails to help us with the arms trade and its border is as corrupt as any Mexican political party.

Yes, the gringos in charge of policing the border are equally, if not more, corrupt than our politicians, but of course, they are much more expensive.

However, I do not think the fault lies with the Americans.  

Let your imagination soar (try real hard) and assume that the institutions in Mexico have very little corruption and impunity is almost nonexistent. 

In this utopian scenario the problem of drug trafficking would never have grown to today's level. Yes, there would be a drug problem, but it would never have become the problem it is now.  

Why? Because the authorities would not have allowed drug traffickers to infiltrate the country's institutions,  and would have attacked the problem before it began capturing drug lords that would not be as powerful as they could not grow their influences quite simply because the authorities would not cooperate.

So the ingredients of corruption and impunity are essential for this "cauldron of drug trafficking" and as we all know, it was not yesterday that Mexican politicians suddenly became corrupt. That began several decades ago. 

Unfortunately we could say that this is the nature of Mexican politicians (certainly not all, but at the very least most of the important ones are corrupt). Therefore we could say we're talking about a cultural problem and such problems are not solved with a change in Presidents. 

For people who are hoping that the next president will end the problems of insecurity, its best you come down from the clouds. This is not a problem that is solved with a change of "sexenio". (sexenios are the 6 year term of office that Mexican Presidents and Governors serve, with no re-election.)

We can say that "since Calderon took office the problem of insecurity has become more serious," Yes and no. Drug trafficking has always existed, only now it manifests itself in a violent way. Why? Because Calderón decided to fight it, and he was right. 

The real failure is not in addressing the problem but HOW it is being addressed. It is not being addressed intelligently and strategically. No, it is only being attacked with more violence.  

Why doesn't the government act against those companies that lend themselves to money laundering, for example? This will be attacking one of the main financial sources of the "narcos" (drug traffickers). How is it possible that in many cities of the country it is an open secret who the narcos are, or who launders money, and the police fail to act?

If after the start of the next sexenio the violence disappears from one day to the next it is not because the new president has been able to do what Calderón failed to accomplish in 6 years.

No. It will happen because the new president will have made a pact with the drug cartels in which the government does not "bother" them, and they "will not disturb the government or the people." And the consequences of this pact will bring the situation back to what it was in the administrations before Calderon's; ie, the drug cartels will continue to grow and continue to increase their power, but we will not see much blood on the news.  

This will eventually turn Mexico into a true "narco state." In reality, many northern cities are now literally narco states. They decide who will govern, and how. The police work for them. People either work for them or leave the city or are killed.   

What to do? In my very humble opinion I think it would be a huge mistake if the next president stops fighting the drug cartels, and it would also be a huge mistake to continue fighting them using the same methods. 

So I think you have to change strategy. As I mentioned and as many journalists have commented, this problem has to be attacked intelligently. Dismantling the drug cartels financial systems must be a priority because it is the money, and not the weapons, that gives them such power. Without money they can not buy influence, they can not buy weapons or recruit henchmen. 

The current war in which the strategy against drug cartels is to attack with violence only is a war that will never end.

If we fight the drug cartels with intelligence we will win, but this will not happen in a single sexenio.

We must also fight the other big problem that led us to this: corruption and impunity. This is the problem that can sink the country in the long-term