Some of the information provided came from Borderland Beat reporter Chivis Martinez
By Chris Covert
A man detained by a Mexican naval infantry special forces unit in Zapopan, Jalisco Wednesday was not Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar AKA El Gordo, the son of Sinaloa drug cartel boss Joaquin Guzman Loera AKA El Chapo, but a hapless used car dealer from Guadalajara caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, according to various Spanish and English language news reports.
The counternarcotics operation took place in Jardines de la Patria colony where the misidentified detainee now identified as Felix Beltran Leon, a used car dealer by trade with family in Los Angeles California.
According to a statement, Mexican marines found two rifles, two handguns, four grenades and USD $135,000 (MX $1,867,454.96) and MX $295,000 (USD $21,325.81) in cash. Kevin Daniel Beltran Rios, 19, was also detained at the scene and identified in Secretaria de Marina (SEMAR) news release as a Sinaloa cartel operative.
An attorney for the family sent out several emails Friday to various Mexican media outlets and had released an oral statement on MVS Radio saying the detainee was not Guzman Salazar.
The attorney. Jesus Alfredo Guzman, had scheduled a news conference for 1100 hrs CDT Friday in Guadalajara, but to date the media event has not taken place.
A juicio de amparo suit has already been filed in Mexican federal court challenging the extradition of Beltran Leon to the United States. Under Mexican jurisprudence, amparo suits must be adjudicated before prosecutors can move forward on any criminal case, even in a high profile extradition such as the putative Alfredo Guzman Salazar detention.
Juicio de amparo suits are procedural appeals meant to slow down legal procedures and to ensure an individuals' rights under the law.
Despite the amparo suit Beltran Leon will likely serve prison time for possession of illegal guns and cash.
The errors likely committed in this case are of epic proportions. Loera Guzman himself was detained by Mexican authorities in 1993 but escaped in 2001. That means that the Mexican Subprocuraduría de Investigación Especializada en Delincuencia Organizada (SIEDO) the organized crime unit of the Procuraduria General de la Republica or attorney general probably had a DNA profile on Loera Guzman. A report could have easily been prepared in advance of the marine operation that could have compared DNA profiles taken immediately following the raid.
Word on the narco blogs is that the operation was a DEA operation from the very start, which if true means the raid and subsequent news of the capture was from its basis a political operation by an American administration in deep political trouble at home trying to score cheap points by using a foreign counternarcotics operation.
For example, the administration of US president Barak Obama has been milking the 2011 assassination of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden for months using questionable leaks to reliable news outlets such as the New York Times.
The US DEA has played politics with Mexican politics and politicians in the past. A good example is the 1998 Pulitzer Prize winning series of articles in the New York Times which smeared, among others, then Sonora governor Fabio Beltrones as having connections with organized crime. Nearly every source in that series were unnamed or were from the DEA itself. None of the rumors and allegations against now Senator Beltrones has ever been proved.
Most dismaying to all concerned with legal reforms about to be imposed on Mexico is Marisela Morales, Mexico's current PGR who took over that post two years ago. Her elevation to the top legal job in Mexico has been praised by US news outlets such as the Los Angeles Times as exemplary of how far Mexico has come in jurisprudence. SIEDO was Morales' job prior to becoming attorney general.
Far more revealing is the current US administration that is under intense pressure because of its refusal to provide Congress with documents pertaining to the failed gun running monitoring operation dubbed Fast and Furious. That operation has allegedly cost the lives of 300 Mexican citizens and three US Federal agents from weapons illegally purchased in the US and permitted to cross the border into Mexico.
It is hard to imagine the DEA not trying to score points for its boss as well as itself by rushing a questionable bust. It is equally hard not to imagine no fallout coming from such as sloppy attempt.
The current Mexican national administration under President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa is on the way out as its longtime political rival the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) is about to retake the Mexican presidency as well a substantial portion of the Chamber of Deputies in next week elections.
It is therefore very likely the Mexican government did nothing more than react to a set of facts provided by the US DEA.
SEMAR, Admiral Mariano Francisco Saynez Mendoza must be furious as a tremendous waste of his best counternarcotics forces.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
© Copyright 2012 by Chris Covert
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