Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Friday, August 31, 2012

CAF: Eduardo Arellano Felix Extradicted to the US

Borderland Beat

 (AFN). - Eduardo Arellano Felix, the last of the kingpins of that family who was arrested in Tijuana  in 2008, was extradited to the U.S. and, as confirmed by the prosecutor Laura E. Duffy, head of the Southwest District of California. Arellano Felix will face charges of racketeering money laundering and drug trafficking among other crimes.
 55 years old and known as "The Doctor", Arellano Felix was handed over by the government of Mexico that he, like his brothers and other members of this organization, will face accountability  for their criminal actions, which cost many lives.
In announcing this action Duffy recalled that Arellano Felix was arrested by Mexican authorities in Tijuana, on October 25, 2008. As reported at the time by AFN, the drug dealer was finally arrested after an intense firefight.  He was hiding in a residential area called Lomas del Pedregal, next to the Buena Vista ramp. The luxury residence still shows signs of that battle. 
Duffy said that in 2010 the U.S. government obtained a final order of extradition of drug lord, however spent two years fighting the appeals by the defense.
She said the first hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday, September 4, in the District Court of the United States in San Diego, before Judge Barbara Lynn Major.
Duffy thanked the Mexican government and said that extradition achieved, is an important step in the efforts of the U.S. government "to bring another key figure in the Arellano Felix organization (to) justice  in an U.S. court on these charges ".
 Lanny A. Breuer, of the Justice Division of the Department of State also considered this extradition as a "milestone" in the fight against Mexican drug cartels and took the opportunity to thank the Criminal Division's Office of International Affairs "for their tireless work to help ensure that Eduardo Arellano Felix and many of his co-conspirators in the United States, face justice.”
Meanwhile, William R. Sherman, special agent in charge of the DEA, said that the extradition of Eduardo Arellano Felix the day "marks the end of 20 years of investigation" by the counternarcotics agency against this drug cartel. He also said that this action shows that the DEA and law enforcement colleagues, will relentlessly pursue these traffickers until they are brought to justice.
 Another intercession of the authorities, who helped to make this event successful, was the result of Daphne Hearn, FBI Special Agent in San Diego, who said that agency was pleased with Mexico's efforts to bring to justice the leader "of one of the most violent criminal organizations in our history." He stressed the spirit of cooperation between the two countries, as a powerful force to disrupt the criminal activities of these groups that spread fear and threat to the security of citizens in the border regions of the United States.
 The U.S. attorney's office noted that the Arellano Felix, has been one of the most notorious multinational drug organizations that controlled the flow of cocaine, marijuana and other drugs into the United States through the Mexican border cities Tijuana and Mexicali from Colombia and Southern Mexico.
 In its indictment against the brothers, the U.S. government said Eduardo Arellano was doing business with an illegal enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity (RICO), conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine and marijuana and money laundering.
 It is noted that the leaders of this organization negotiated directly with Colombian cocaine traffickers to purchase several tons of cocaine, receiving shipments by sea and air in Mexico.
The cartel then  organized cocaine smuggling to the United States and subsequent distribution throughout the United States.
His brothers, Benjamin and Francisco Javier, serving sentences in the United States after having been found guilty of charges of racketeering, drug trafficking and money laundering. Benjamin received a deal negotiated with U.S. prosecutor’s office exchange for his guilty plea.
The case of Eduardo Arellano Felix was investigated by agents of the DEA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Criminal Investigation Service of the IRS.  The case now is transferred to  the Special Prosecutor Southwest District of California and other authorities.
Source: AFN-Tijuana
Siskiyou_Kid of BB Forum has a different post of the same subject LINK HERE

Ciudad Juarez: Toughest Place to be a Nurse

Borderland Beat

The Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez was labeled Mexico's deadliest city, at the center of a war on drug cartels. While murder rates have slowed, death is still a daily fact of life for nurses there, who have also found themselves to be targets.
Maria speaks with her patient, an Azteca gang member treated for stab wounds.
Previously on two other occasions he had been shot..
British emergency nurse Maria Connolly leaves the A&E department of the Royal Preston Hospital to work in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico - the center of a violent drug war. In Preston, Maria has never seen a murder victim or anyone with a gunshot injury, but Juarez is the murder capital of the world and the nurses in the General Hospital deal with the victims of shootings, stabbings and torture on a daily basis.
For Maria this is a journey into the lives of a dedicated team of nurses who are themselves targets for kidnappers and killers, often having to conceal their identities and change their routes to work. In recent years Ciudad Juarez has had more violent deaths than Baghdad - since 2008 more than 10,000 people have died on the streets, victims of a vicious turf war between the drug cartels battling to control the lucrative marijuana and cocaine trade over the border into America.
Maria's host for her stay is local nurse Pablo Vasquez who has witnessed gun battles in the hospital itself. Now heavily-armed guards patrol the corridors. She also meets one of Pablo's neighbours, whose daughter is one of the hundreds of young women who have simply disappeared from the streets of the city.
During her stay Maria treats patients with a terrifying variety of violent injuries. She sees gunshot injuries, stabbings, beatings and even a father and son who were put through a mock execution. But the nurses of Juarez General work through the mayhem with dedication and humour, in the face of the world's most notorious drug war.
Entire neighborhoods are rendered ghost towns as people, including many medical personnel, flee the violence
"Every day I change my route to avoid unwanted attention. If they see us in our uniforms it make us targets of violence and kidnapping."
Auxiliary nurse Pablo Vasquez has been working the night shift in A&E at Juarez General for six years.
Working nights means leaving the house in darkness, the most dangerous time in the city. "A year and a half ago a fellow nurse was kidnapped so now I'm always extra careful," he says.
"When we park at the hospital we have to check all around before we leave the car."
Doctors and nurses are seen as wealthy and are a prime target for kidnappers in Juarez. Many have been held for ransom and even murdered.
Since the war on the drug cartels was launched by President Calderon in 2006, hundreds of medical staff have fled the city, leaving more than a third of the clinics and hospitals abandoned.
Thousands of troops and Federal police have attempted to crush the cartels, but violence erupted along the border and in Juarez it led to a three-way war between rival cartels and the authorities.
 More than 8,000 men, women, and children have been killed in drug-related violence since the crackdown began.
Pablo admits it is not just his own safety he has to worry about - he lives in constant fear for his children. A family picnic means constantly monitoring who is around them.
And he is particularly worried about his daughters.
Over the past two decades, hundreds of women have gone missing in the city - some murdered, others never found.
"Almost everyone is touched by this situation," says Pablo. "Maybe not in your own family but your neighbours or someone you know has been affected."
A daughter of his neighbour went out to find work and never came back.
"They're women who work - students, prostitutes, factory workers, shop workers. Anybody," he says.
 They say they are investigating - but how come no one is ever arrested?"
It is estimated that 96% of all murders in Juarez go unsolved.
Head Sister Trine De La Cruz, who works with Vasquez, was so concerned about her family's safety that she moved them to the US where they have dual nationality.
They made the decision when their upmarket neighbourhood was taken over by gangs and they were caught in a gunfight.
Trine's husband, son and daughter now live with relatives just over the border on the outskirts of El Paso, one of the safest places to live in the US. In 2010 there were five murders in El Paso - and 3,075 in Juarez.But Trine admits she feels guilty about staying behind to work.
"I have thought about leaving but this is my job. I've been a nurse for 21 years and to leave my job because of what is happening here, I don't think that's the right thing to do."
She also protects her identity at work, wearing a mask and covering her name badge when she treats patients brought in by police to their prison ward.
Medical transport is no garantee against violence. 
Gumen attacked this abulance and killed everyone inside
The hospital is patrolled 24 hours a day by heavily armed guards, after violence spilled over into the wards.
"When the violence started, some gunmen came in to take a patient away," says Pablo. "There were six of them, with pistols and rifles. I just ran away, I hid under the desk."
British emergency nurse Maria Connolly was astounded when he told her this story. She visited the hospital for a BBC documentary, spending two weeks experiencing life as a nurse.
It seemed like another world to Maria and the A&E department of the Royal Preston Hospital where she works.
"I think we'd be offered counselling if someone shouted in our face, but that? We'd shut the department you know, people wouldn't come back to work."
The first patient she helped treat was typical of many - he had no identification and had been found on the street unconscious. They were unable to save him, but with the hospital morgue full and another emergency arriving, the dead man had to be moved out of the hospital's only resuscitation bed.
In her two weeks in the hospital, she encountered patients with a range of violent injuries.
One teenage girl was shot through the neck for refusing to join a gang. Her friend was killed.
Pablo and Maria
Maria spoke to one man who was kidnapped with his son and set on fire - all due to mistaken identity. "If that happened in our department it would have been news - it would have been the first thing someone had said... this is normal I guess, it's crazy.
"I've been shocked by what I've seen. The numbers of people coming in who have been involved in violent attacks and there are so many that don't come to A&E as well - the people who are killed every night."
But after returning to the UK, it was the dedication of the nurses that stayed with her the most.
"When I was in Juarez if someone said 'would you stay or would you want to move out?' I remember thinking there's no way I'd stay. And since I've come home, I've just reflected on how dedicated they are.
"It renewed my belief in nursing and how important it is - I'd forgotten a bit of that."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mayhem in Monterrey: 17 die

By Chris Covert

A total of 17 individuals were murdered in ongoing drug and gang related violence in and around Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, according to several news items posted on the website of Milenio news daily.
  • Three young men were shot and wounded at a soccer field in Monterrey Tuesday evening.  The shooting took place near the intersection of calles Pino and Cedro where armed suspects travelling aboard a Jeep Cherokee SUV fired on the victims and seven others.  The wounded were identified as Adam Ramirez Mendoza, 15, Victor Garcia Maldonado, 18 and Miguel Garcia Moreno, 21.
  • Three young men were shot to death Monday evening in Guadalupe municipality.  The victims were drinking beer at a residence near the intersection of Avenida Guadalupe Avenue and Calle Luis M. Farias in  Provivienda La Esperanza colony.  According to the news item, armed suspects travelling aboard a taxi stopped and fired on the victims, presumably using assault rifles.  The victims were identified as Brayan Andrés Reyes García, 18, Gabriel Esteban Salazar, 23 and Diego Alejandro Dimas Rincón.
  • Two men were found shot to death in Montemorelos municipality Wednesday evening.  The victims were aboard a Jeep Liberty SUV when they were found just off the National Highway at Kilometer 193.  A third unidentified female victim was also apparently wounded in the incident, but had fled the scene, later receiving medical attention.  The victims were identified as Carlos Fabian de la Cruz Vazquez, 28, and Jorge Luis Morales Manrique, 38.  Morales Manrique was formerly a police chief in Galeana municipality.
  • An unidentified man was found mutilated in Pesquería municipality Wednesday morning.  The victim was found near the intersection of  calles Miguel Alemán and Francisco Javier Mina in Zacatequitas colony, which is between Apodaca and Pesquería municipal limits.
  • One unidentified man was found shot to death and another wounded in Apodaca municipality Wednesday morning.  The two victims had been reported kidnapped Tuesday night.  The victim was found on Calle Rio Santiago in Pueblo Nuevo colony.  The deceased was identified as Carlos Humberto Gonzalez Carranza, 21, while the other victim was identified as Eleazar Aguilar Vazquez, 29.
  • Three 18 year old men were kidnapped and then shot to death in Santa Catarina municipality Wednesday.  The victims were kidnapped by four armed suspects travelling aboard a sedan near the intersection of Calle Solidaridad and a private road in Las Palmas colony.  Assault rifles were used in the shootings.
  • Two unidentified men were found murdered in a van in Juarez municipality Tuesday night.  The victims were aboard a Ford Aerostar minivan parked near the Apodaca-Juarez highway.  Both victims had been tortured and shot to death.  A message was left at the scene but its  contents were not disclosed.
  • The warden for the Topo Chico Centro de Readaptacion Social (CERESO) was shot to death in Monterrey Wednesday.  The victim was identified as Melani Azeneth Castro Barbosa, who was shot at her home on Avendia Joaquin A. Mora in Felipe Carrillo colony.  Reports say two unidentified men shot the victim.
  • Four unidentified individuals including one female were shot to death in Monterrey Wednesday afternoon.  The victims were near the intersection of Avenida Rodrigo Gomez and Calle Rio Danubio in Alfonso Reyes colony when armed suspects shot them. The area is a known drug retail sale point in Monterrey.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for

MEXICO CITY: 2 Ambushed in Mexico City Are CIA Agents

Borderland Beat
The SUV's Level Seven Armour Saved the lives of the Three Wounded Men
Reforma reports that officials close to the case reported the shooting of a an SUV with diplomatic plates and U.S. officials by Mexican federal police agents have confirmed that the two Americans shot were, in fact, CIA agents. They were apparently on their way to give shooting lessons to members of the Mexican military. They were also, apparently, initially attacked by civilians in a Dodge Van…12 Mexican officers were ordered held for at least 40 days while investigators sort out what the embassy called an “ambush.”
American agents who were shot last Friday, along with a Captain of the Marina of Mexico, as they headed to the shooting range and  Marines Infantry  training field located Xalatlaco area, belong to the Central Intelligence Agency ( CIA, for its acronym in English), confirmed official sources close to the investigation, which added that the attack took place after the attackers were in close view of the diplomatic vehicle occupants.
According to the obtained information by this newspaper, the aggression against the American agents and of the marine was direct and the fact that there were no fatal victims, it was because the Toyota SUV they were travelling in was amour  grade 7 ( highest level).
The reports given the same day of the incident, which occurred near Tres Marias, Morelos, the U.S. embassy reported that it had been an ambush , while the Federal Police said it had been a confusion .
The information from the Attorney General's Office (PGR) said that the CIA agents who were to  conduct follow up shooting courses at the Marine Corps Training Field. As they traveled in the stretch of dirt known as El Capulin, in Xalatlaco, Mexico State, they encountered  a Dodge Van with several heavily armed civilians who, at gunpoint, forced them to stop.
While not aiming their weapons, two of them approached the Toyota. , Suddenly, the driver of the U.S. embassy vehicle abruptly threw the vehicle in reverse while turning it around then sped to the federal highway with the gunmen shooting at the vehicle in full pursuit.  
The pursuit grows
During the pursuit a second vehicle, a Sentra,  appeared attempting to block the embassy vehicle, while four gumen in the Sentra opened fire  with heavy artillery.
During the chase, and with two vehicles in pursuit, they passed through a village near a junction, where eight plainclothes men in two vehicles, joined the Toyota aggression and also began firing weapons.
Now chased  by four cars, and U.S. agents tried to signal Marines at a gas station,  but after failing the pursuit continued.  When reaching the junction there awaited a fifth vehicle, that joined the chase and also began shooting.
Once in the federal highway, because of the impact damage,  the Toyota was immobilized and yet still sustaining  shots of high-caliber weapons.  One of the assailants with an  AK-47  (cuerno de chivo/goat horn) blasted the armored diplomatic vehicle.  It was during the attack with the AK47  when U.S. agents were injured,  they were in the front seats and the Marina officer in the rear.
The informant added that directly after the shooting ceased  three Federal Police vehicles arrived at the scene.
Federal agents got out of their patrol cars with weapons drawn. One of them approached the Toyota and was when officers identified themselves as U.S. diplomats.
Fourteen federal officers involved in the attack have been detained and transfered to a Mexico City prison for a 40 day hold, until the investigation can clarify exactly what occurred.  In the photo above families of the officers involved are protesting this action.

Sources: La Jornada & Reforma 

I was sent the link to a blog that had this story including additional info and various links.  Thank you W.L. for the link to read the post LINK HERE

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

6 die in shootouts in Tamaulipas state

By Chris Covert

A total of six unidentified armed suspects were killed by Mexican security forces in two separate shootouts in Tamaulipas state Tuesday, according to Mexican news accounts.

A news item posted on the website of El Sol de Zacatecas news daily reported a joint news release by the Procuraduria General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE) and the Secretaria de Seguridad Publica (SSP), stating the two incidents.  All the incidents involved units of the Mexican Army.

The first took place, according to the news item, in Ciudad Victoria, the state capitol of Tamaulipas near the intersection of calles Paseo de los Olmos and Olmo Siberiano in Los Olivos colony, where federal security forces killed an unidentified man in his late 30s who was driving a Honda Accord sedan.   Several rifles were found aboard the vehicle.

In the trunk of the car an unidentified 18 year old man was found who had apparently been kidnapped.  The victim also suffered minor 
wounds from the shootout, but is expected to survive.

The second incident took place at around 1130 hrs on the Ciudad Victoria-Llera road at Kilometer 199 near a ranch four kilometers away where five unidentified civilians were killed, presumably by Mexican federal security forces. 

Seized in the aftermath were four rifles and four vehicles, two of which were stolen.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for

Poor farmers, rich narcos: Marijuana, the only safe investment

Rio Doce. 8-27-12.

Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat.

Note from translator: This article appeared yesterday in Rio Doce. The original Spanish version is posted on the Forum, but I thought it deserved wider exposure because it helps describe the social and economic reality in the Golden Triangle. --un vato.

A trip to Chapo Guzman country.

Close to 6:00 p.m. in the afternoon on Tuesday, August 21,  a young mountain resident about 20 years old, came in on an ATV,  with more style than if he had arrived mounted on an alazan (chestnut sorrel horse). He stopped under a thick live oak tree, turned off the motor, climbed off and slowly walked towards the house. He had an AK-47 rifle hanging on his shoulder, a two-way radio on his chest and a .38 Super pistol tucked into his waist.  

A dog came out to greet him. He was almost walking into the portal of the house when he bumped into the journalist, whom he regarded with mistrust. His skin tanned by the sun, the young man gripped the rifle with his right hand, slowed down and, not knowing what to do in the presence of a stranger, he seemed to hesitate while he looked all around him. This is when the guide who had taken the journalist into the bowels of the Sierra Madre Occidental (West Sierra Madre Mountain Range) returned with a glass of water in his hand and, with surprising intimacy, greeted him:

"How's it going, Lupe, what do you say?" he exclaimed as he came forward to greet him.

The tension lessened, but not the mistrust.

"He's a journalist who came to do some work about the weed... Jose already knows, so you can tell him all about this business out here," explained the guide.

"Ah!," murmured "Lupe", who still not quite convinced  stared at the journalist, although he finally shook his hand; more out of inertia than out of conviction.

A little later another 15 mountain farmers arrived, also riding ATVs and also carrying AK-47 rifles. One by one, they climbed off their ATVs like a death squad in the mountains and, curious, surrounded the journalist.

The guide, with greetings and jokes, began to reassure the newly-arrived farmers, until three more ATVs arrived. One of them, the tallest, wearing a bulletproof vest, a cuerno de chivo (AK 47 rifle) on each shoulder and two radios, walked towards the journalist, with what appeared to be his security people by his side. The guide, with surprising familiarity, went to meet him halfway.

"Jose ... this is the journalist I was telling you about; he came up to the mountains to do some work...well, the  reality about the farmers who plant marijuana: how they live, what they eat, what they hope for and how things are not what people believe," he told him. 

Jose looked at the journalist with a certain mistrust, but he extended his hand to greet him, but not before warning the guide:

"Well, he can't use names or say where we are, and he can't take pictures, because you're the first one we'll come looking for."

"He knows that if he pisses outside the hole, he'll never see the end of it...and, well, I know that I won't see the end of it," said the guide, half joking and half seriously.

Everybody laughed with amusement at the guide's comment. The ice was broken.

You have to make a living

To live in the mountains is to live in total abandonment, and to be always "at the mercy of God." If you don't kill a jackrabbit, a deer, a cochi jabali (peccary), you rarely eat meat, unless you take something up from Culiacan. But in addition to food, you also have to pay for electricity, oil, clothing, shoes, school supplies for the children, and although one can plant beans, squash and tomatoes, money is indispensable, at least for the basics.

But there is no work, not a single industry to create jobs, so it's difficult to get ahead. That's why people have not stopped planting marijuana-- despite the signs of civilization that are coming closer, like pavement and electricity-- (it's) the only product they can be sure will sell.

And, there's no "right" age for planting marijuana; it can be (done by) an eight year old child as well as a 60-year old adult,  and growing it is not easy.

Every day, farmers of all ages get up at 6:00 in the morning, have a breakfast of eggs, beans or "whatever there may be," and start a hard, eight hour work day under the sun. 

In a place that can only be reached by air, or after a five hour trip-- starting from Culiacan, the municipal seat-- on roads, gullies and paths that run on the edges of curves and steep cliffs, the farmers get ready to go up to the most inhospitable part in that area, where they have their plots.

Right at dawn, they get up, eat, take their weapons, machetes, knives, lunch, and climb on their ATVs, beginning a journey of several miles of uphill trails, crumbling roads, rocks and pine trees. In the old days, they say, they went on horseback,  but they had to feed the animal, now they get there faster on ATVs, and they only need gasoline and the tires changed every six months.

"Tires don't last long because there's so many rocks," one of them explains. 

At the top, the farmers lay down their weapons, the lunch, and they go into the marijuana plants which were planted in June, and so begins caring for the crop.


The "desmachadero"

As with any other crop, marijuana requires a lot of care and dedication. From August to September, the farmers undertake the process known as the "desmachadero", which consists of identifying the male ("macho") marijuana plants and cut them down to prevent  pollination of the female marijuana plants, otherwise the crop is ruined.

"Because, if you leave the male plants, it produces little balls, and these little balls release a dust that gets into the "colitas" (tails, the flowering part of the female plant). If that happens, instead of  harvesting marijuana "colitas", you harvest seed, and that's where the crop is ruined," explains "Pancho", a farmer that has a plot of more than 50 square yards (4,500 square feet).

Like him, every farmer plants his own little plot,  from a 14 year old boy to a 70 year old man. They help each other, and if one of them falls behind on the "desmachadero", the rest of the farmers get together to help. 

The search for male plants can last up to three weeks, and it's done row by row. As it grows, the plant starts to show what will be the marijuana "colita", which is what people smoke, or whether it will develop the little balls of pollen. But even after the male plants have been eliminated, the farmer has to keep taking care of the plots, not just because a male plant may appear or because a female plant may turn male, that is to say, it will start to produce balls of pollen,  but to pull up weeds that grow among the plants and to eliminate insects. In addition, cows and deer go into the plots and eat the marijuana plants.

"The cows and the deer that eat the marijuana get all crazy, but they also ruin the product," explains a farmer that has been coming from Culiacan for eight years to plant the drug. 

From the city to the mountains

Many people from Culiacan go into the mountains to plant "mota" (marijuana). According to them, "there are no jobs in the city." Up in the mountains, they go to relatives, or through a trusted person who recommended them.

If they work hard like the rest of the farmers, they come back and after some time, they are given access to land so they can grow their own marijuana.  In cases like these, once he harvests the marijuana, the deal is 50/50, that is, the owner of the land provides the plot, the seed, fertilizer, room and board, in exchange for him taking care of the crop. Once it is harvested, they split the profit (50/50).

"If we get 150 kilos (330 lbs) we get 75 and 75," explained a young farmer, while he was spraying his land, a plot of about 200 meters square (about 1,800 square ft.) Like "Lico", many other city dwellers go to the mountains and up there, in the most inhospitable part, where there is no cell phone service, they remain out of touch, hoping the cultivation of marijuana works out and leaves them a little cash.

The man.

Once the marijuana is harvested, in mid-October, and hoping the Army doesn't hit them and destroys their fields, the farmers can only deal with one man. This person, they said, buys all the marijuana grown in the mountains from everybody, (paying) up to 800 pesos per kilo (about $62.00), if the weed is good, but if it contains a lot of seeds, the most they get is about 200 (pesos per kilo, about $15.00).

"The thing is, nobody else can buy marijuana around here, just this man," says a farmer.

"This man, is he Chapo Guzman?" he's asked.

The farmer hesitates before he answers. He looks all around, and finally explains that the mountain belongs to El Chapo, but he's not the one who deals with them, but somebody who surely knows him and who probably sells everything to El Chapo Guzman. This man is the one who takes the weed with him, only he knows where he takes it. We only grow it, and if we lose it or the Army destroys it, well, there's no money.

Armed to the teeth.

The farmers in the mountains always go around armed. It's de rigueur. And although they may lay down their AK-47 in the shade of a pine tree while they're working, under no circumstances will  they take their pistol off their waist. They sleep with it, they wake up with it, they die with it if necessary, but they don't take it off.  They say it's to defend themselves from mountain lions, cats, snakes and any other animal that they run into, or in case they bump into a deer or a "cochi jabali" (peccary). In that case, the shots are quick.

--Why do you carry the pistol inside the house?
--In case something comes up, explained an old farmer who's lived all  his life in the mountains.

As was explained (to this journalist), fights in the mountains are not with fists, but with gunfire. People joke, and all of a sudden somebody doesn't like a comment, and they get their irons out and start shooting.

When somebody kills another person, the victim's family wants satisfaction and comes and kills the murderer. The (murderer's) family also wants satisfaction, and goes looking for the person who killed their relative. Entire families are eliminated in that manner, and the feuds and the killing goes on  from generation to generation.

"It's just that there can be no fix because there's blood involved," explained the farmer, giving his reason why everybody goes around armed with weapons.

The hope.

Resting their bodies and the sun, the farmers get together every night to joke a little and forget the day's hardship. After almost three months of labor, fatigue begins to weaken them, but their hopes of getting a little money and going to see their families begin to grow. The only thing they hope for is that soldiers won't come and destroy their crops.

"If you get about 200 kilos (440 lbs) of "mota", well, you're doing well, but it's money that's got to last until we plant again, because the truth is, mister, life is hard around here," explained the oldest farmer as he snugged his cuerno de chivo on his shoulder. It was time to rest; tomorrow, another day in the sun awaited him.  

Notes on marijuana

-- The marijuana cultivation cycle is 125 days, the first stage being germination, the next 15 days its sprouting stage -- when it comes out of the ground--, and the next 70 (days) the vegetative (growing) stage, and the final 35 days, the reproductive stage, explains the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

--According to SEDENA (Mexican National Defense Secretariat), just this past July alone, the Army located 494 plots of marijuana in Sinaloa and Durango, which amounted to 59.48 hectares (about 147 acres). Likewise, 3,053 kilograms (6,716 lbs) of unprocessed marijuana,  176 kilos (387 lbs) of packaged marijuana and 227.6 kilos (455 lbs) of cannabis seed were seized.

--According to Sylvia Longmire, former officer and special investigator in the U.S. Air Force, trafficking and sales of marijuana makes up 60% of Mexican cartel profits.

--From the World Drugs Report:  in 2006 --the year that President Felipe Calderon's war on drugs began-- Mexico was the largest cannabis producer in the world, producing up to 7,400 tons.

--For several decades, the United States has been the world's principal cannabis consumer.

Marisela Moreles: Violence Surge is From Zetas Split

Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat
Yesterday, on the Sinaloa narco mantas I included a short paragraph about the Morales statement as I had no time to create a post.  I will expand  that story in this post…Chivis.
At a national conference yesterday, the Federal Attorney General Marisela Morales casually dropped a bombshell when was asked about the surge of violence, she stated it was due to the split in the Los Zetas between Miguel Trevino (Z40) and Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano the two leaders.  This was not an announcement made of any official status, simply answering the question in an interview.  She credited the arrests of top cartel members who shared inside information as one of the sources of information. Possibly one would be Jorge Luis Martinez Rodriguez, known as “El Taz” of the Zetas arrested on August 9th..
One would think if the government knew this as fact they would have made an official announcement about the split and it being the cause of the new surge in violence.  It brings to mind the warning Alejandro Hope, formerly of the CISEN agency, he said that reports of infighting could be a government PSYOPS campaign to inject paranoia into the cartel.
There have been signs and rumors of a split since 2011, however the split scenario most spoken of is a potential infighting between Z40 and The Taliban. 
On August 6, 2012:
Narco banners  appeared in multiple states that rejected the notion that there was trouble or a division.  The English text read:
The Zetas are not dividing.
We are more united than ever against the blowhard informants
The division is just a cheap campaign of the informants.
United Zeta
more united than ever
"Real Democracy, No Reelection" B9223601*
 A BB reader had offered this about the text:
What they mean by democracy and no re election is that they have a good leadership structure and that the main boss is lazcano and he is the one that runs them, "B-9223601 that is similar to Lazcanos signature that number is the number that was assigned to Lazcano while being a GAFE".
On August 9, 2012:
In the capital city San Luis Potosi, in the state bearing the same name, within an abandoned van, 14 bodies were discovered There would have been 15 but one would be executed man survived by playing dead and escaping when his captors stopped for fuel.
The State Attorney General,  Miguel Garcia and the SSP agency announced there was a survivor that had escaped and gave a witness account of what had occurred. 
The victim stated that when he realized what was happening, he pretended to be dead, allowing the sicarios to throw him into the van with the other bodies. When he determined there was an opportunity to escape as the gunmen stopped for fuel, he fled to the mountains where he was subsequently helped by elements of the State Police.
It was through the witness account it was learned that there was a Zetas conflict between another Zetas boss, Ivan Velazquez aka Z50 or El Taliban and Trevino.  He reported the 14 bodies were Zetas killed by Zetas. Specifically Trevino’s sicarios had killed the men in the van and the executed were men loyal to Taliban.
The issue was said to have begun from a personal conflict and that there would be intense violence during the struggle and the stakes were leadership in the states of Coahuila (Laguna Region) Zacatecas, and SLP among others.  The "Taliban" is boss of the Zetas in Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi and part of Guanajuato, it was expected that a war struggle for control of drug trafficking turf would unleash as it had in SLP.
August 22, 2012
The cartel The Knights Templar, themselves a group formed by the result of infighting in the cartel La Familia Michoacán (LFM)  The KTs are former members of LFM and now its bitter enemies.  The fighting commenced after their leader Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, aka El Chayo was killed in a shootout with police in December 10, 2010.  The specific reason for the conflict is not known but mentioned often as a possible reason it the alliance formed by LFM with the Zetas.
On the 22nd a video was released narrated by KTs leader, Servando Gomez Martinez aka “La Tuta”. He emphasized Trevino being enemy number one to Mexico because of his brutal style of leadership and harming of innocents, and called on other cartels to help in the mission to find and destroy Trevino.

August 24, 2012:

It was reported that Miguel Trevino had sucessfuly gained leadership of the Zetas.
August 27, 2012:    
Marisela Morales in the interview at the national conference (kidnapping and extortion prevention) states that the Zetas have split in a conflict between Lazcano and Trevino.  It is known that the business structure of the Zetas is split, 50% of the business is drug trafficking, the other 50% is diversifications.  Supposedly Trevino handles the drug trafficking and Lazca diversifications.  It would seem there would be a pragmatic solution in a split since in essence it has always functioned with a split of business between the two leaders.
The statement was an unusual declaration seemingly out of the air and not attached to any big event or arrest.  Why give away your intelligence?  What would be the point? And what will the government do with this information, clearly if this is the case it would explain any large deployments into the areas expected to be ground zero as the war between the Zetas capos continues.
If there is a conflict between Trevino and Lazca, where does that leave EL Taliban, and the rival cartels?  For one the Knights Templar have the all-out campaign to destroy Trevino.  Not to mention the CDG the cartel formally allied with the Zetas. And then of course El Chapo and his Sinaloa Cartel (CDS).
 Incase this is not confusing enough, yesterday narco banners appeared denouncing any notion that CDS was in any way connected to CJNG (Jalisco New Generation Gang).  This took everyone by surprise and though the banners were signed “Sinaloa” it is yet to determine if or if not they are authentic, and what is said is true.
Just like everything else.


Guadalajara: Sinaloa Signed Narco Mantas Deny Connection to CJNG

Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat
I have received many emails and comments sent in about this story.  "777" of Borderland Beat posted the translation in comments on Ajulio's post. so I decided to go ahead and post it, but I am not convinced they are authentically from CDS.  The Narco banners were displayed throughout Guadalajara and signed by Sinaloa. The "El Mencho" mentioned is the leader of The Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion or CJNG.

"What were you waiting for Mencho, You and the Alvarez are finished with
Jalisco Scum kidnappers you know that we Sinaloans do not like that"
Sincerely, Sinaloa People
Additionally,  a letter was issued to  all  that are responsible for the acts that harm innocents committed in the state of Jalisco; namely  Los Zetas, the chief of SSP and the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) the text is directly below:

"This letter is addressed to Nemesio Oceguera Cervantes, El Mencho, leader of Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación. What did you expect Mencho that only by saying you were associated with us you were?
Going to  save yourself from paying for all the injustices you were committing in Jalisco? Now that you finished,  what are you and the other 2 rats gonna do?
To the general public we (Cartel de Sinaloa) would like you to know that we do not associate with people like Mencho and the Alvarez's (Ramon Alvarez Ayala (R-1) and Rafael Alvarez (R2).
They dedicate themselves to kidnapping, robbing, extortion, charging quotas and killing innocent people (the majority businessmen who don't pay the quotas) they try to live an honest life. That is why we want to clarify that we don't approve of the way this trash operates and never will approve of it. And that is why just like they don't forgive innocent people that they kidnap and collect big ransoms and still kill them, they will not be forgiven.

And you Luis Carlos Nájera Gutiérrez, secretary of public safety in the state of Jalisco.
What are you going to do now??? Don't try to deny your good friend Mencho. Or have you
forgotten that recently you would move him around in helicopters from your office. Not only would you move him away from places where he was in danger but also take him to reunions and dinners made by the filthy Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion.
Remember that not too long ago you would brag about being close to Mencho and you would put up to a third of your officers to serve an protect him at the meetings he would assist. Don't forget that everything falls by it's own weight."

In a separate story, the Federal Attorney General, Marisela Morales stated from a national conference that the violence was from infighting and other cartels attempting to seize control of territories where there are disputes.  Further the intelligence services of the country revealed the Los Zetas cartel has been divided and there is now a struggle for control of the territories and between and Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, El Lazca, Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, the Z-40.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Conflicting reports emerge over Mexico state intergang gun fight

By Chris Covert

Less than 24 hours after several Mexican news organizations reported a large intergang gunfight in central Mexico conflicting stories have emerged as to whether the gun battle even took place.

Sunday night late several credible Mexican news agencies and news outlets, including Organizacion Editorial Mexicana, Televisa and Informador reported a gun battle between elements of Los Zetas and Los Caballeros Templarios took place in Luvianos municipality in western Mexico state claiming the lives of at least 30 shooters.

Now 24 hours later, respite a confirmation from unnamed Policia Federal officials, and military officials in the Mexican 22nd Military Zone, the Mexico state Secretaria Seguridad Publica (SSP) denied in a Tweet Monday afternoon the confrontation ever took place.

According to several news agencies, Mexico state SSP head Salvador Neme Sastre denied the battle ever took palace, saying, according to a report posted on the website of SDP Noticias news agency,  "I deny that there has been fighting between criminal groups in Edo Mex  (Mexico state) Luvianos. Much less 30 dead."

Despite that denial by a top Mexico state government official, according to the  article other unnamed government officials in Mexico state now state that the confrontation did occur but between Los Caballero Templarios operatives and local civilians after elements of the Los Caballeros Templarios demanded paid tribute from several far western Mexico state municipalities including Luvianos, Amatepec and Tejupilco.

The report also said that the the ensuing gunfight lasted three hours until 1800 hrs local time Sunday.

Mexican news agencies and federal and state government agencies  have an arrangement.  Government agencies report and news agencies transmit the reports.  Given the nature of reporting on the drug war, Mexican news agencies seem to be fine with the arrangement, even as they augment that information with their own people on the ground.

What made Sunday's report report unusual is that in as little as a few minutes after such an incident, social media such as Twitter would have photos transmitted from the scene,and would have included photos of shot out pickup trucks or buildings, spent cartridges and other debris of armed confrontation.  None of that information has been released to date by any agency of individual.

A separate report by Radio Formula news agency said that the remote area that include  Luvianos is used for cultivating marijuana and is desirable because of its remoteness.

The SDP Noticias report added that it is impossible to independently verify the report because of how remote the area is, and because of security forces cordons and checkpoints.

Erroneous reports are not rare in Mexico. For example, at the start of last April's gun battle between gunmen with the Sinaloa Cartel and an amalgamation of rival cartel shooters in northern Sinaloa state, a report released by El Debate claimed 40 died in the initial encounter.  Although the death toll turned out to be much lower, more than 50 ended up dead and possible more over the next several weeks as security forces filtered into the area.

That initial report relied on a single government source,  Eleazar Rubio, mayor of El Fuerte municipality.  And while no one ever found the 40 bodies claimed killed, it is possible many of those dead were retrieved by shooters as a security measure.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for

Knights Templar: Dump 11 Bodies on Guerrero Highway Leaves Message

Borderland Beat

Chilpancingo, Mexico. - On Sunday, "The bodies of 11 people were found in three different points of the highway between km 291-297. At one point the perpetrators left four bodies, in another three, and the last four, "reported  AFP deputy of Guerrero, Fernando Monreal.
The bodies, which were abandoned at a point on the road connecting Guerrero with the neighboring state of Michoacan (west) near the boundary between the two, showed signs of torture and each had a bullet wound to the head..
Furthermore,  narco messages were found signed by the criminal organization The Knights Templar, who have their base in Michoacán, in which  threats were issued against a  rival organization.

"Especialmente para ti Caballo alias el 11 para que te quede claro que nosotros jamas vamos a traicionar a nuestro escudo de los Caballeros Templarios, nosotros no somos unos pnches desertores como tu pinche puto”.
  “No perdemos las esperanzas de acabar contigo como hemos acabado con cada uno de ustedes, pinches putos, atentamente La Pelona

 “Ahi les va putos de Jalisco directamente para ti puto Cerebro para que sigas enganando a pendejos así como te los estoy tirando, no pierdo la esperanza de despedazarte a ti tambien, arriba los Caballeros Templarios, nunca podran con nosotros, ahi les va putos de Jalisco para todos los que pasen informacion Atentamente La Pelona”.
Translated to English:
"Especially for you Caballo(horse) aka the 11. So it is clear to you that we are never going to betray our coat of arms of the Caballeros templarios ( Templar Knights). We are not fucking desserters like you, fucking asshole".
"We don't loose hope of finishing you like we have finished each and everyone of you*, fucking assholes, Sincerely La pelona ( The bald one)".
"Here we go whores of Jalisco directly to you fucking Cerebro (brain) so you can keep cheating assholes as I am throwing them to you, I don't loose hope of also tearing you apart, Cheers for the Caballeros Templarios, nobody can beat us, This is for you whores of Jalisco, for those who give out information.
Sincerely La Pelona."
The identifications have not been determined  but "unofficially" they had been informed that "two of the 11 people executed are taxi drivers".
* this is an awkward phrase, could mean "we will finish each and everyone of you"
Guerrero, and particularly the resort of Acapulco, is one of the state hardest hit by the violence generated by drug trafficking affecting the country, as it brings together several criminal organizations vying for control.
According to official data, which do not distinguish between homicides that are attributable to organized crime and that the number of homicides in this district, which is on the Pacific coast, last year totaled more than 2,400, three times that recorded in 2006. (AFP)
Translation by Chivis
Source: El Debate-Narco Mexico Drugs Gangs

Sunday, August 26, 2012

30 reportedly die in Mexico state

By Chris Covert

As many as 30 armed suspects have been killed in an apparent intergang gun battle in western Mexico state Sunday, according to several Mexican news accounts.

A news account published on the website of El Economista late Sunday say that gunfights between armed gangs associated with Los Zetas and Michoacan state based Los Caballeros Templarios ended in an area known as El Cerro de la Culebra, which is adjacent to Michoacan state.

News reports also indicate elements of the Mexican Army may have also been involved in the fighting.  Reports say many of the dead have been removed from the scene, which a common practice with Los Zetas.

A report published on the website of El Sol de Zacatecas news daily said that fighting began at around 1500 hrs Sunday afternoon in Luvianos municipality.  As of publication no security forces have entered into the battle area which also includes Cerro de la Campana and Caja de Agua.

South central and western Mexico have been undergoing a number of security incidents, such as in Jalisco, Michoacan and Guerrero states.  Uncredited news reports have indicated that Los Zetas are undergoing a internal struggle for power, which may leave the criminal gang vulnerable to attack from their rivals.

This latest bloody incident has not yet been confirmed by local authorities, but if it is confirmed it will be one of the bloodiest confrontations since last spring's intergang war in northern Sinaloa state which claimed by this writer's count,  the lives of 57 over 10 days.  That gun battle included a number of drug cartels including Los Zetas, Beltran-Leyva and Juarez cartels against the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for

August 26th Badanov's Buzzkill Bulletin

By Chris Covert

Since August 10th Mexican Army and naval personnel have seized 31 kilograms of cocaine, 4,119 kilograms of marijuana, 5.1 kilograms of marijuana seeds, .89 kilograms of  crystal methamphetamine and MX $52,700.00 (USD $3,995.94) in cash, according to official information.
  • A unit with the Mexican 12th Military Zone encountered and killed five armed suspects in San Luis Potosi state August 12th.  The unit was on patrol in Cedral municipality along Mexican Federal Highway 57 when it came under small arms fire.  Army return fire killed the five armed suspects.  Three rifles, 22 weapons magazines, 550 rounds of ammunition and one vehicle were seized.
  • On August 10th an army unit with the Mexican 13th Military Zone in Nayarit state detained two suspects and seized a quantity of drugs, including quantities of crystal methamphetamine and cocaine.  One vehicle was seized.  The arrests took place near the intersection of calles Plutarco Elias and Emilio M. Gonzalez in Santa Teresita municipality.
  • A Mexican Army unit with the 26th Military Zone encountered an unknown number of armed suspects in Veracruz state killing four August 12th.  The unit was on patrol in Cordoba municipality when it came under small arms fire.  Army return fire ended the encounter with the four dead.  Also seized were four rifles and undisclosed quantities of ammunition and weapons magazines.
  • An army unit with the 13th Military Zone seized marijuana seeds in Jala municipality August 11th in Nayarit state.  Soldiers located an abandoned van with 5.1 kilograms of marijuana seeds, two weapons magazines and two rounds of ammunition.
  • On August 13th in Ruiz municipality in Nayarit state, a Mexican Army unit with the 13th Military Zone located a vehicle, one handgun, one weapons magazine, two rounds of ammunition and a quantity of marijuana.
  • An army unit with the Mexican 8th Military Zone detained two unidentified individuals and seized a large quantity of marijuana in Tamaulipas August 13th.  The soldiers found a tractor trailer rig carrying fruits and vegetables, as well as 2,044.6 kilograms of marijuana wrapped in 75 packages.  The stop took place in Reynosa municipality along the Reynosa-Monterrey highway at around 2330 hrs.
  • A Mexican Amy unit with the 45th Military Zone destroyed five plots used to grow marijuana in Sonora state August 13th.  The plots were located in Cucurpe municipality where soldiers found plots of land totalling 160 square meters with marijuana plants and another 16.6 square meter plot with marijuana seedling.  All plants were destroyed at the site.
  • An unidentified female kidnapping victim was rescued by Mexican Army personnel with the 7th Military Zone in Nuevo Leon state August 15th.  The unit was on patrol when it attempted to stop a suspicious vehicle travelling in Bosques de la Huasteca colony in Santa Catarina municipality.  A pursuit ensued and ended about four kilometers away where one unidentified armed suspect was killed, one was detained and a third had escaped.  Soldiers located a female victim at a building and also seized four rifles, 30 weapons magazines, 815 rounds of ammunition, four vehicles, one motorcycle, tactical gear, eight head of livestock and the property.
  • An army unit with the 29th Military Zone seized a quantity of cocaine in Veracruz state August 16th.  The seizure took place incident to a traffic stop in Tropico de la Rivera colony in Coatzacoalcos municipality where soldiers found 31 kilograms of cocaine and a vehicle.  Two unidentified suspects were also detained.
  • An army unit with the Mexican 13th Military Zone located and dismantled a laboratory used to manufacture synthetic drugs in Mayarit state August 18th.  The unit was on patrol near the village of La Noriega in Compostela municipality when it located the lab. Among items seized were 12 200 liter drums containing an undisclosed liquid substance, 13 bags of an undisclosed chemical, four plastic containers, six metal containers, 11 gallon containers with an undisclosed liquid substance, four washers and seven metal tubes.
  • Mexican Army units with the 2nd Military Zone seized 1,209 kilograms of marijuana in 110 packages in the village of Loma Linda in Ensendada municipality in Baja California state August 18th.
  • Army units with the Mexican 2nd Military Zone detained one unidentified suspect at a traffic stop in Villas del Real colony in La Presa delegation in Tijuana municipality August 18th in Baja California state.  Soldiers seized 85.3 kilograms of marijuana, one handgun, one weapons magazine and one vehicle.
  • In San Jose colony of Mexicali municipality in Baja California state, an army unit with the 2nd Military Zone seized .89 kilograms of  crystal methamphetamine.
  • Soldiers with the Mexican 2nd Military Zone destroyed 21 marijuana plants in Ensenada municipality in Baja California state, seven near Ejido Leyes de Reforma and 18 near Ensenada proper.
  • Army units with the Mexican 19th Military Zone rescued six kidnapping victims  in Veracruz state in two separate incidents August 19th.  The operations took place in Ciudad Cuauhtemoc and Panuco where soldiers also detained seven unidentified suspects and seized five rifles, two handguns, 582 rounds ammunition, 21 weapons magazines, one inert hand grenade and four vehicles.
  • A Mexican Army unit with the 5th Military Zone encountered several armed suspects in Chihuahua state killing one August 22nd.  The incident took place in Ojinaga municipality where soldiers came under small arms fire.  Army return fire killed one and forced the detention of six other armed suspects. Soldiers also seized one  handgun, two weapons magazines, 40 rounds of ammunition, three vehicles; two of them stolen, personal quantities of cocaine, radio equipment, and 10 phones.
  • An army unit with the 9th Military Zone detained one unidentified individual and seized quantities of munitions and drugs in Sinaloa state August 21st.  The detetion took place near the village of San Pedro Rosales in Navolato municipality.  Seized contraband included five rifles, two grenades, 29 weapons magazines, 782 rounds of ammunition, personal quantities of cocaine and marijuana, four vehicles, one motorcycle, three kevlar helmets and radio equipment
  • Two suspects were detained by Mexican naval infantry personnel in Veracruz state August 8th and 10th.  Isaias Flores Penda AKA El Cronos was detained August 8th at a traffic stop.  Acting on information provided by the suspect, a marine unit located and detained Juan Carlos Hernandez Pulido AKA Bertha two days later at the  Centro de Integracion Familiar in Veracruz state.  Mexican Navy official information has that Hernandez Pulido was operations chief for Jalisco Nueva Generación drug cartel in Veracruz state.  Seized contraband in the August 10th operation included two hand grenades, 68 bags of cocaine presumably divided for retail sale, 62 bags of crack cocaine, 52 bags of marijuana and communications gear.
  • A Mexican naval infantry unit detained one individual and seized quantities of drugs and guns inn Coahuila state August 15th.   Esteban Cardenas Vaselis AKA Leon was detained by Mexican marines in Saltillo, Coahuila along with  Ever Didier Candelario Ramíerez. Naval official information has it that Cardenas Vaselis was a southeastern Mexico regional leader for Los Zetas criminal group.  Contraband seized included MX $52,700.00 (USD $3,995.94), two rifles, one handgun, three fragmentation grenades, eight weapons magazines, 239 rounds of ammunition, 200 packages of marijuana and two radios.
  • A Mexican naval infantry unit seized a large quantity of marijuana at a traffic stop in Michoacan sate August 15th.  The traffic stop took place in the village of Vazquez Pallares in Coalcomán municipality where a Mexican marine patrol ordered the driver of a box van to stop.  Inside marines found 777.1 kilograms of marijuana in 176 packages.  The driver identified as Angel Yoair Rodriguez Anaya, 22, was detained at the scene.
  • Mexican Naval infantry personnel detained four individuals and seized quantities of drugs and guns in Nuevo Leon state August 20th.  One of the detainees was identified as turf leader for the Gulf Cartel in General bravo municipality, Lauro Tijerina Murrieta AKA El M-33 in a presumed traffic stop.  Lauro Tijerina García AKA El Laurito, Abel Guerra Hernández AKA El Flaco and Jhosep Solís González AKA Jhosep were also detained.  Contraband seized included one vehicle, one rifle, three handguns, 16 weapons magazines, three hand grenades,  nine radios, 15 handsets, personal quantities of cocaine, 350 rounds of ammunition and one military-style uniform.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for