Friday, November 30, 2012

"El Pozolero's" First Dissolved Victims Found and more

Borderland Beat
Calderon's Last Week
During this last week of Felipe Calderon's presidency, each day on average, 21 people were killed in the country. This figure is comparable only to 2010, when every 24 hours when gunmen killed 28 people.

Most of these crimes occurred in Chihuahua, Coahuila and Morelos, places where clashes and confrontation with the armed forces was on going and permanent, making these entities  the most tainted with violence in Mexico.
Billboards of arrests of alleged major kingpins have slowed the past week, the most relevant was Luis Alberto Cisneros, "El 18" who controlled Uruapan, for the Knights Templar and EL TJ, the long sought drug trafficker and sicario for La Mano con Ojos. One more capture of note is Comandante Sapo a NL Police Chief who operated three municipalities allegedly for los Zetas was arrested with seven others.

It is paradoxical that six months ago the authorities claimed that the violence in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua generally had decreased considerably. However, in the last four and a half days, four people were killed per day not to mention the unveiling of narcofosas in the Valle de Juarez..The Whole Valley Smells of Death

But the face of crime was more virulent in Coahuila. Murder scenes outside a temple, the remains of scattered through the streets, and depicting the last days of violence in Torreon, which killed 11 people,  so far this week. It is clearly a disputed territory between factions of the organization of Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel.

In Sinaloa an armed group of Sinaloa Cartel members  fighting Beltran Leyva Organization burned down the  village of Tatemas..Also there was the sad death of a crowned beauty queen who died in a shootout with the military, and a recently-fired AK-47 on the ground near her body. Susana Gamez was winner of the beauty competitions, among many, Model of the Year and Sinaloa Woman.  Dead at 22

Morelos, is another of the trenches of this war with violence linked to the Beltran Leyva cartel, remains.During this period eight people have been killed, seven in one day.  And Guerrero, where the government recognized the presence of paramilitary groups who have murdered leaders, particularly related to environmental issues.
In Tijuana, they concentrated on uncovering remains of victims of El Pozolero's.

El Pozolero's First Dissolved Victims found- As you'd think not much left
Tijuana- Authorities Attorney Specialized Investigation of Organized Crime (SEIDO) located the first human remains, bones and blood of the 75 bodies they were seeking on a property used by Santiago Meza Lopez, alias "El Pozolero" in Baja California. Elements the SEIDO arrived in the city of Tijuana, Baja California, to begin the search for the missing and offer new hope to their families. The place has high walls of brick and a  concrete pit in the middle of the lot. It was covered with a slab of the same material, which was removed by the authorities.
The first human remains found were located in piece of land in the area Maclovio Rojas Farms, located east of Tijuana.This site was designated by the López Meza, as the place where more than 300 bodies were dissolved with caustic soda. Fernando Ocegueda Flores, president of the United Association for the Disappeared of Baja, California confirmed the discovery of the remains, admitting it was in some ways satisfying to know that this is the location of so many people, adding that since this is the first "El Pozoero" narcofosa found since his arrest in 2009, we'll continue looking for more, as it is presumed that there are 300 disintegrated bodies. Findings will be transferred to the Mexico City for analysis with the ultimate possibly to determine identity.

Smurfs Post on a previous "El Pozolero" excavation

EL TJ-Sicario to El Compayito Detained

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The whole valley smells of death

El Diario November 28, 2012

Locals:'We would see lots of military and police at that place'

Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat

For the inhabitants of the Ejido Jesus Carranza, the discovery of 20 skeletal remains buried in clandestine graves on private property came as no surprise. Years back, they witnessed suspicious activities, but for them denunciation (reporting to authorities) was never an option because they feared retaliation.

"Here, we would see new cars...we also saw a lot of military and police in that place," said several neighbors when they were interviewed, asking for their identities not to be revealed and for them not to be photographed.

From the start, the ejidatarios (local communal landowners) dismiss the idea that there are  any townspeople among the victims; they affirm that there are no disappeared persons. At least, not there.

"We don't have anybody missing here. We were born here and we've known each other all our lives. Up there (he points towards the ranch) is where people from the outside bought (properties),"  said one of the ejidatarios.

All the structures adjacent to the clandestine cemetery are abandoned. It was quiet last week for the residents of the Ejido Jesus Carranza.

"Everything was very peaceful, nothing ever happens here, the truth is that the the village had been peaceful for several months," they assured us, although they did not dismiss the idea that the relative tranquility was due to the fact that the people who were using at least two properties for safe houses and illegal graveyards had left the town.

"The military also left. We only see them on the highway," they said.

It was only last weekend that a helicopter flying over and dozens of municipal prosecutor's vehicles arriving broke the peace and told them something bad was happening.

"Then (the investigators) told us that they were looking for bodies," they stated.

The official report from state authorities states that "investigation and intelligence (work) developed during the past year" led to the discovery of the skeletal remains, all belonging to males.

Prosecutor Jorge Gonzalez Nicolas specified in a press conference that it was thanks to support of U.S. authorities that the exact location where the cadavers were buried.

Unofficial sources say that the support came from the anti-narcotics section of the U.S. Consulate General in Mexico, the same (unit) that provided information on the exact location of Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, "El Diego", which allowed them to make a "clean" arrest.

The information from U.S. authorities led the investigators to Ejido Jesus Carranza. On the Juarez-Porvenir highway, at kilometer marker 35, you take a right turn on an unpaved street that goes to the ranch.

Two kilometers (1.2 miles) ahead, one can see several uninhabited structures on the desert terrain. And there, among the sand dunes and the brush, can be seen the open pits dug by personnel from the office of the medical examiner (SEMEFO; Servicio Medico Forense).

A foul odor is everywhere, and also enormous piles of trash left behind by employees from the State Attorney General's Office during their three-day stay, which is how long the search and the excavations took. 

This ranch, located east of Ciudad Juarez and adjacent to the San Agustin Ejido, also part of the municipality, is less than three miles from the metal fence that divides Mexico and the United States.

The excavations were conducted in a 100 yard radius, and there were graves side by side. The closest one was less than 30 yards from the swimming pool built in front of the main house.

As of yesterday, the investigating authorities had not yet fully identified the owner of the ranch.

Arturo Sandoval, spokesman for State Prosecutor's Office (FGE; Fiscalia General del Estado) , explains that they were working on identifying the owner through the Public Property Register.

The house was still under construction. There's broken ceiling material and insulation on the floor, and also a bar that takes up a large part of the room.
-Continues on 2nd page-

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Extradition Update and Letter from La Barbie

Borderland Beat

Extradition Imminent

Edgar Valdez Villarreal was accused in U.S. – his native country- of drug trafficking since he was 20 years of age. Today, at his 39 years old, he has become in a sad drugwar legend.
After the Federal Police arrested him on August 30, 2010 in an operation troubled with irregularities and whose versions are contradictory and implausible, the government of Mexico expressed their intentions that Barbie would not remain long in the country. Within months, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs granted his extradition.

Barbie’s attorneys defended him by declaring that he was not the person that the U.S. government was seeking. In early 2012, the Second District Judge of Protections in Criminal Matters of Federal District (DF) resolved that the decision of the chancery met the requirements of law.
Sources that have access to the criminal file of the drug trafficker affirm that his extradition is imminent and it may be settled before the administration of Felipe Calderon ends. But it is said that extradition does not  concern La Barbie, even though to the majority of  drug traffickers, extradition is their worst night mare.

Proceso had access to the first criminal record filed against him in 1998 in the Federal Court of East Texas District, in the city of Laredo, where La Barbie is native. He was named Mike at the time, and his criminal potential was promising.
In that record, Valdez is accused of criminal involvement  since 1993, at the age of 20, when he worked for Adelmiro Ramirez, who controlled a transportation network and the distribution and selling of marijuana from Laredo to San Antonio, Texas, and from San Antonio, a  major US drug hub, on to Indiana, Missouri and Massachusetts.
That network had trafficked  between 1993 and 1998 at least one ton of marijuana until things began to get complicated. In 1996 his accomplices discover that “Miro” cooperated with the U.S. government in a federal investigation, so they orchestrated a plan to kidnap him.
The file makes it clear that the organization had informers in the service of the U.S. Government.
Because of those charges, Valdez Villarreal could have been sentenced to five years to life. But an arrest warrant against him was never issued. The criminal record remained sealed for over 10 years and in August 31, 2010, a day after the arrest of La Barbie, the prosecutor asked they be released because the suspect had just been arrested in Mexico.

 No Rush to Claim Valdez

A glaring fact is  that the Texas Court has not initiated a claim in Mexico for his extradition, instead the District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana  requested it, where Valdez Villarreal has an open criminal file for minor charges, minor compared to what the Attorney General of the Republic in Mexico is charging him of.
In the case of Louisiana, Valdez is accused as well as Cesar Antonio Peña Giron and Gabriel Benavides, of distribution,  in that state, since 2001 of  more than five kilos of cocaine and has only two minor charges against him.
In 2003 his co-accused Peña Giron was sentenced by Judge Ivan Lemelle to 10 years in prison and five years on parole. However, since 2010 he enjoys complete freedom. In August of that year he was valet parking at a hotel in San Antonio, Texas, and thanks to a request from the prosecution of West Texas, where the case was transferred to fulfill his sentence; he is not on parole anymore because of good behavior.
The other co-accused, Benavides, ran with even better luck. He was sentenced to 70 months in prison and now enjoys total freedom. Since they are the same charges for La Barbie, it is predictable that he will have the same outcome.

Genaro Garcia Luna
Edgar Sends Letter
Edgar Valdez Villarreal, “La Barbie”  claims that top level officials of the Federal SSP, have been paid and included as part of the criminal organizational structure. 
In a letter delivered to Reforma, Valdez Villarreal,  who is accused of working for the Beltran Leyva cartel aka "BLO",  said that besides the Federal SSP receiving drug money, officials take confiscated goods from seizures.

The letter delivered by his attorney  accuses Genaro Garcia Luna, head of the SSP, of receiving  drug money since 2002, as well as  his top aides, and the Witness Protection Program.

-Spanish Text Translated to English*
 "First I would like to express that I was not eligible for the witness protection program. Likewise, I categorically deny the accusations and declarations that are related by the apprehending elements regarding my detention, and the the truth of the matter is as follows:

My detention was the result of a political persecution on the part of C. Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, who set up a harassment against my person for the reason that the undersigned [La Barbie] refused to be a part of the agreement that Mr. Calderon Hinojosa desired to have with all the organized crime groups for which he personally held numerous meetings in order to have talks with organized crime.

Subsequently, different meetings were carried out through General Mario Arturo Chaparro who met under the orders of the President and Juan Camilo Mouriño, with two of the bosses from La Familia Michoacana. Subsequently, the general had an interview in Matamoros with Heriberto Lazcano and Arturo Beltran Leyva, "El Barbas", and also with "El Chapo" Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.

-Continues on page two-

Army finds Evidence that Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, "El Chayo," May Be Alive

Borderland Beat

Based on documentary evidence found by the Mexican army from a recent raid of a ranch allegedly owned by Enrique Plancarte a leader of Knights of Templar, the Attorney General's Office (PGR) is examines the evidence trying to determine if Nazario Moreno "El Chayo" or "El Loco" is still alive.
The Mystery of the Knights TemplarNazario Moreno Gonzalez: A Brief History

Apatzingan, Michoacan. - The Military Zone 43, located in Apatzingan, Michoacan, gave the Attorney Specializing in Organized Crime Research (SEIDO)  evidence indicating that Moreno Nazario "El Chayo"  ex- leader of La Familia Michoacana could be alive and could be the new leader of "The Knights Templar."

Evidence provided from various documents that were found on a ranch called Los Caballos, where elements of the Mexican military conducted an operation to identify through various patrols on the 27th of October the location of a property situated in a spot known as El Refugio, in the town Los Cuniques, near Apatzingan where they secured the ranch allegedly owned by Enrique Plancarte, leader and principal financial brain of the organization.

They also confiscated high-powered weapons, including more than 100 grenades, money, jewelry, watches. There was much documentation of payrolls, expenses, and distribution of illicit money from the organization on behalf of employees and other physical evidence.  The documentation was  found in a truck which was destined to move to another safe house of Enrique Plancarte, but it didn't make it out of the encirled fence of Mexican military, forcing criminals to flee on foot, leaving everything behind to avoid capture.

As stated in the ministerial declaration after the start of a preliminary investigation, as the leader of the Knights Templar was being surrounded by soldiers, he sent his first circle of security out to face the soldiers, but managed to escape after the confrontation where one of his escorts died, but left on the property, not only  heavy weapons and even some diamond-handled pistols with the written the name of Kiki. He also left his wife and children who were found in a state of nervous from the sound of gunfire.

The evidence found by the Mexican army reveal that some of the letters are addressed to one who presumably died in December 2010 after a clash with federal police, so it seeks to confirm if Nazario Moreno El Chayo is still alive, since his body was never found, nor is there any physical evidence to prove that this is its condition.

The investigations  the PGR established that days after the members of the Mexican Army managed the important seizure, a lawyer representing Enrique Plancarte had not requested the return of all seized, but only requested one object: a Versace ring that meant a lot to sentimentally his employer.

Government declared  "El Chayo"dead in 2010
In December 2010, Michoacán lived through several days of intense violence unleashed by the strategic operations against the leaders of La Familia Michoacana, just four years after since the start of the war against organized crime by President Felipe Calderon in this precise entity.

On December 9 there was a  reported wave of shootings, blockades of roads in 12 municipalities of the state,  leaving three federal agents, two alleged gunmen and three innocent civilians dead.

Violent confrontations continued between members of organized crime and federal police for 24 hours hours, primarily in Apatzingan and Morelia. The fighting left 50 vehicles torched.

Clashes began at 19:00  on Wednesday, when federal police were ambushed in Apatzingan. In this municipality, Morelia and Patzcuaro, families lived through moments of psychosis. Schools, government offices and businesses closed their doors.

The next day, the federal government confirmed the death of Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, alias El Chayo, leader and founder of La Familia Michoacana, who was killed during the clashes in Michoacan between federal agents and assassins.

Alejandro Poire, spokesman for security federal government, was the one who gave the information. He said the balance of the fighting killed five police elements,  three criminals and three civilians.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Piedras Negras: CDG sends Narco Message to Zs and Citizens

Borderland Beat

Alleged members of the Gulf Cartel (CDG) through hand out  flyers alert citizens of Piedras Negras against their rivals “Los Zetas”.
In the message, CDG warns the citizens about the defamation the “Zetas” are doing in narco banners directed to the federal authorities accusing them of being accomplices of the criminal organization and they accusing them of forcing teenagers in making them into sicarios.
They assure in the message that the only purpose is to deliver the end to their rivals, ,  for “tranquility of our people” eliminating “The Zetas” headed by “Z-40” and “Z-42” and another individual who they nickname “El Henano” (the shorty or dwarf).
On the same message he warns those that work for “the Zetas” as “Focas”  and the ones in charge of “tienditas” (dealer shops) to step aside  “while they have time”.
The narco banners and now this message have been placed and delivered in plain sight, even though the city is one of the most guarded in the country and the three level authorities of the government are present there, for which it seems that the zetas keep “playing hide and seek”.
Attention: Notice to all the citizens of Piedras Negras…

The Zetas want to defame federal authorities to exile them and keep going like they are used to, kidnapping, killing and stealing like they stole the safe box of the factory LEAR and picking up young students to force them to become hit men and with no salary. We are here to clean out  the filth of Piedras Negras. Do not fear, we don`t mess with innocent people. We just want peace and tranquility for our people and our family. We are CDG and we have a purpose of eliminating all the zetas leaded by X Z40-Z42 and the cock sucker El Henano (dwarf)…
Note: to all the Focas and tienderos move aside or quit now that you have time
Atte: CDG
Source: Estado Mayor, Twitter & TexPatNMex

Beauty Queen Died With Gun in Hand

Borderland Beat
Died with gun in hand
CULIACAN, Mexico — A Mexican beauty queen killed over the weekend in a shootout between suspected drug traffickers and soldiers likely was being used as a human shield, a federal official said Tuesday.

Maria Susana Flores Gamez, crowned 2012 Woman of Sinaloa in February, came out of the car first with a gun in her hands during the confrontation, with the other gunmen hiding behind her, according to the official from the attorney general's office.
He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.
The official said he read the military report of Saturday's shootout in Flores Gamez's hometown of Guamuchil in western Sinaloa state, home to Mexico's most powerful cartel of the same name. The attorney general's investigators are still trying to determine if the 20-year-old fired the gun she was holding.
The report said she went down in a hail of gunfire. She was found dead near an assault rifle along with two others.
"They used the woman as a human shield," the official said.
The slender, 5-foot-7-inch brunette had competed with seven other contestants for the more prestigious state beauty contest, Miss Sinaloa, but didn't win. Miss Sinaloa state winners compete for the Miss Mexico title, whose holder represents the country in the international Miss Universe pageant.
  Video is of the conflict this as occurred at a safe house
Mexico's Ximena Navarrete was crowned Miss Universe in 2010.
Local media outlets continue to misidentify Flores Gamez on Tuesday as Miss Sinaloa.
The organizers of the Miss Sinaloa pageant issued a statement on the pageant's Facebook page, seeking to make clear Flores Gamez was not their queen.
The misidentification "damages the image and tranquility of our queens, their families and friends," the statement said.
Neither the state nor national pageants responded to requests for comment on Flores Gamez's death.
It was at least the fourth documented case of a beauty queen or pageant contestant becoming involved with Mexican drug traffickers, the theme of the critically acclaimed 2011 movie "Miss Bala," or "Miss Bullet," Mexico's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of Academy Awards.
(videos top of Maria in life, the shootout and aftermath)
 (bottom video is Maria in life)
The film tells the story of a young woman competing for Miss Baja California who becomes an unwilling participant in a drug-running ring, finally getting arrested for deeds she was forced into performing.
In real life, top Sinaloa cartel drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman married local beauty queen Emma Coronel, who later crossed into the United States to give birth to twin girls in 2011.
In 2008, former Miss Sinaloa Laura Zuniga was stripped of her crown in the Hispanoamerican Queen pageant after she was detained that year on suspicion of drug and weapons violations. She was later released without charges.
In 2011, a Colombian former model and pageant contestant was detained along with Jose Jorge Balderas, an accused drug trafficker and suspect in the 2010 bar shooting of Salvador Cabanas, a former star for Paraguay's national football team and Mexico's Club America. She was also later released.
"A lot of young women are attracted by the false riches of the drug gangs. They offer the fantasy of a life of riches without much work," said Judith del Rincon, a women's rights activist and former Sinaloa legislator. "A lot of beauty queens wind up as girlfriends of some narco."
Del Rincon added that the involvement of drug lords with beauty queens dates back at least to the heyday of the Tijuana-based Arellano Felix drug gang in the 1990s.
Sinaloa state prosecutor Marco Antonio Higuera said Flores Gamez was traveling in one of several vehicles that engaged soldiers in an hours-long chase and gun battle. He said two other members of the drug gang were detained.
The shootout began when the gunmen opened fire on a Mexican army patrol. Soldiers gave chase and cornered the gang at a safe house in the town of Mocorito. Some men escaped, and the gun battle continued along a nearby roadway, where the gang's vehicles were eventually stopped. Six vehicles, drugs and weapons were seized following the confrontation.
Higuera said Flores Gamez's body has been turned over to relatives for burial.
Source EFE

Monday, November 26, 2012

Body Count Reaches 20 in Valley of Juárez

By Lorena Figueroa
El Paso Times

Borderland Beat
The bodies were discovered sometime between Friday and Saturday in a deserted area in "La Colorada" ranch, located in Ejido Jesús Carranza, near the U.S. border about 25 miles southeast of Ciudad Juarez.

The number of bodies found over the weekend in 15 clandestine graves in a ranch in the Valley of Juárez is now at 20, with a search for more bodies continuing, officials said Monday.

The victims were asphyxiated, shot or beaten and their ages ranged from 18 to 40 years old, said Jorge Enrique González Nicolás, the regional state prosecutor.

"The next step is to begin the process of identifying the bodies," he said during a Monday press conference.

The bodies were discovered sometime between Friday and Saturday in a deserted area in "La Colorada" ranch, located in Ejido Jesús Carranza, near the U.S. border about 25 miles southeast of Juárez.

González Nicolás said that there were 20 clandestine graves in the property. The bodies were found in 15 of them.

More than 100 state agents, investigators, K-9 units, anthropology forensic scientists and forensics experts participated in locating the human remains, according to the state prosecutor's office.

González Nicolás added that U.S. agents collaborated with Mexican authorities on Friday. He did not elaborate from what U.S. agency was involved, but said that they worked at the U.S. Consulate in Juárez.

Consulate officials said in a statement that it "always maintains open communication with our Mexican counterparts" and directed questions to federal law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, DEA, and ICE.Ê

"They (U.S. agents) complemented the investigation with intelligence work," González Nicolás emphasized. "México is leading the investigation."

The bodies were discovered sometime between Friday and Saturday in a deserted area in "La Colorada" ranch, located in Ejido Jesús Carranza, near the U.S. border about 25 miles southeast of Ciudad Juarez.

When asked if U.S. citizens can be among the victims, the regional state's prosecutor did not discard that possibility.

"Up to now, we do not have any information, but we cannot be sure until we identify the bodies," he said.

González Nicolás said that the bodies have been taken to the medical examiner's office in Juárez. There, authorities will take dental and DNA samples from the victims and make an inventory of the victims' clothes to compare it with the reports of those who have disappeared.

Although he estimated that the identification of all the bodies could take months, he said "it will depend on how much we have on hand."

He said some of the bodies had certain characteristics that make the identification easier. One of the bodies, for example, had a piercing in his mouth, he added.

According to the state prosecutor's office, the bodies apparently were buried two years ago at the height of battles between drug gangs seeking to control smuggling routes across the border. Federal statistics show more than 3,000 people were killed in 2010 in Juárez.

González Nicolás could not confirm reports from Mexican media that the discovery of the bodies was based on the information given to U.S. authorities by José Antonio Acosta Hernández, alias "El Diego," who was the leader of the Juárez drug cartel's La Línea, which is linked to 1,500 homicides in Mexico, including the slaying of three people tied to the U.S. Consulate in Juárez.

Acosta Hernández is currently serving 10 life terms in a maximum security prison in the United States. He was extradited last year from México, where he was arrested.

However, González Nicolás would only say that U.S. authorities and information given by people that already are in custody for a variety of crimes, including homicide, led Mexican authorities to the ranch.

González Nicolás said the search for human remains will continue in the same area and other properties near La Colorada ranch this week.

Fed Wiretap Leak Linked to Gun Smugglers

By Mike Gallagher
Journal Investigative Reporter
Albuquerque Journal

Bordeland Beat

The husband of a federal prosecutor, charged with leaking wiretap information about a federal probe into a smuggling operation that provided guns, ammunition and body armor to the Juárez Cartel, was a longtime friend of one of the key players in the ring, the Journal has learned.

Former Police Chief Angelo Vega

Danny Burnett, who retired as superintendent of the Los Lunas School District in 2003, and former Columbus, N.M., Police Chief Angelo Vega were friends from their days in Lincoln County, where Vega was a deputy sheriff and Burnett an educator in the 1990s.

Vega was charged with providing security for the gun smuggling operation, earning $20,000 in a two-month period while running interference for Columbus Town Trustee Blas “Woody” Gutierrez. Both Vega and Gutierrez have pleaded guilty.

Vega was helping Gutierrez by buying police equipment, including bulletproof vests, identifying law enforcement undercover vehicles and generally running interference with federal and state law enforcement agencies.

Burnett, who is married to veteran Assistant U.S. Attorney Paula Burnett, has pleaded innocent. His attorney, Jacquelyn Robins, says she expects her client to be “exonerated.”

Paula Burnett resigned as chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Criminal Division and resumed her duties as a prosecutor. She has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
In court records, Burnett is accused of telling “John Doe Number One” about a wiretap investigation. That person, in turn, allegedly passed the information on to “John Doe Number Two.”

People familiar with the Columbus gun smuggling ring investigation have confirmed that Vega is John Doe Number One and Gutierrez is John Doe Number Two.

The U. S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, which is handling the case, declined to comment beyond what is in Burnett’s indictment.

Prosecutors out of El Paso are handling the case because Burnett is married to a prosecutor in the Albuquerque U.S. Attorney’s office.

U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan of the Northern District of Oklahoma agreed to preside over the case at the request of then chief U.S. District Judge Bruce Black.
Eagan’s initial rulings in the case provide some indication as to how Danny Burnett might have found out about the wiretap, concluding that the case will present “unique” discovery issues because some of the documents involved are emails to or from federal prosecutor Paula Burnett.

“It is not always clear what emails are related to the criminal charges against defendant or if the e-mails are privileged,” Eagan wrote.

At the time of the alleged leak by her husband to Vega, Paula Burnett was head of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque overseeing all criminal prosecutions, including the Columbus investigation.

Federal wiretap orders used in criminal investigations have to be approved by the local U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice in Washington before being presented to a federal judge for approval.

Vega’s career
According to federal court documents, during February 2011 The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives wiretapped the telephones of Gutierrez, owner of the Poncho Villa Saloon, as part of an investigation into a gun running operation shipping weapons to Mexico.

Several of the weapons the group smuggled were found at murder scenes in Palomas and Juárez.

According to several people familiar with the Columbus investigation, Burnett became a friend and mentor to Vega when the two men lived in Lincoln County. Vega’s law enforcement career is checkered by two criminal charges.

In 1996, he was indicted by a Lincoln County grand jury on two counts of extortion and one count of intimidation of a witness. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge as part of a plea agreement.

In 1998, he was appointed police chief of Carrizozo and was arrested in 2001 on stalking and harassment charges, which were later dropped. He left Carrizozo in 2005 and took a job with the state as director of the J. Paul Taylor Juvenile Justice Center in Las Cruces.

In 2007, Vega became a marshal for the town of Mesilla, and left in 2009 to become chief of police in Columbus.

Sinaloa Beauty Queen Dies in Shootout with the Military

Caitime, Salvador Alvarado
A clash between soldiers and an armed group that began at in the communities of El Palmar Leal and El Progresso, Mocorito and spread to Caitime, Salvador Alvarado left a balance of four dead, one being Susana Gámez Flores.

Sinaloa • María Susana Gámez Flores, 2012 Sinaloa Woman beauty pageant winner, and her boyfriend were killed amid a military confrontation against the armed group.

State Ministerial Police authorities confirmed that the 22-year-old allegedly accompanied the group of attackers who confronted the soldiers at a safe house in the town of Caitime, in the municipality of Salvador Alvarado.

Flores Gámez was crowned Sinaloa Woman in February 2012. In 2009 she was named Model of the Year.

María Susana was selected from over 50 applicants as Miss Tourism East Mexico, so in May, she represented  Mexico at the Miss International Oriental, in China.

Though authorities have not submitted an official statement about this death, the organizers of the beauty contest posted on her Facebook page: "The coordination of Nuestra Belleza Sinaloa expresses its deepest condolences on the death of the beautiful Maria Susana Flores, participant Nuestra Belleza Sinaloa 2012. "We are dismayed by the news, a beautiful young woman, happy and with a great future ahead, rest in peace and God Susy have in your holy glory, our deepest sympathy to her mother and brothers, "concludes the text. Who was the Miss Sinaloa? 

The model was originally from Gramuchil and was working towards a degree in communication sciences.

The scuffle occurred last Saturday and lasted from Caitime to El Palmar de Los Leal in  Mocorito. Two soldiers also died, two more subjects (one victim of the armed group), along with the young model.
According to information from the Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA), a military convoy was traveling on the streets of Caitime when they were attacked by gunmen who later took refuge in a safe house Mocorito.

Soldiers repelled the aggression, killing one guy. After that first attack, the command made it out of the home and took flight.

However, they were chased by the military towards El Palmar Los Leal, where Maria Susana was killed.

The El Progreso, neighbor was identified as Rosario Mendez Rios, 54, who was killed when gunmen seized his vehicle to escape. There are reports his wife also died in the fray, but it is unconfirmed. Authorities said the gunmen shot him several times trying to steal his truck.

The armed group is allegedly linked to Orso Iván Gastélum Cruz, El Cholo Iván o El Cholo Vago,  who serves as head of the Sinaloa cartel hitmen in the region of Évora.

Orso Iván Gastélum  escaped from Aguaruto prison in August 2009  after a party held at the module five to say goodbye of his friends. He provide his friends with entertainment from norteño conjunto band and a singer Harley Pérez.

According to information from the Army, after the confrontation they arrested three alleged gunmen, who were identified as Gabino Ramírez López, 23; Álvaro Cázares Uribe, 22, y Óscar Yovani Rodríguez Beltrán,  22.

The other deceased was identified as Eleazar López Bernal and belonged to the armed group that attacked the military.

In the confrontation five soldiers were injured. They were taken to the military hospital in Mazatlan, where one died, Francisco Guadalupe Gutierrez  Aguilar, 35, who was a sergeant. The other soldier died at the scene, but his identity was not provided.

In the safe house, they found seven AK-47s, a grenade launcher, two grenades, a .40 mm caliber rifle and a thousand rounds, and six vehicle (one armored).

When Beauty Walks Hand In Hand with Narcos

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sinaloa product seized in Tijuana

Sinaloa product seized in Tijuana

Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, significant seizures  of Sinaloa cartel work were seized in Tijuana, by the PEP, State Preventative Police, familiar names whenever there are large drugs shipments seized, or mid level organized crime figures.  

The official story, which often seems to  be a little abstract, and vague, is arresting officers intercepted a 2005 white jeep Cherokee, and observed a .380 caliber pistol, prompting a more intensive search of the rest of the vehicle.  Three wraps and two packages of heroin were found under the drivers seat, which was only the beginning of a poly drug discovery.  In one modified gas tank, agents found approximately 24 kilos of crystal, and in another, adjoining tank, 18 kilos, and 100 grams of cocaine.  

The amount of heroin was five kilos, plus 500 grams, roughly 5 and a half kilos altogether.  Two kilos of opium was also discovered.  These discoveries beg the question, what was going on, with the 2005 white jeep cherokee, that day?  The detainees, of course, confessed to being 'members' of the Sinaloa Cartel, and serving it's leader, whose name, need not be mentioned here.

The detainees, Jesus Alberto Gaxiola, and Leobardo Gonzalez Garcia, are from smaller cities in Sinaloa, Angustura, and Mocrito.  It is doubtful they are US citizens, and likely weren't planning on crossing the border themselves, with the product.  Perhaps, they were delivering the vehicle, along with a few spare kilos of heroin, to another location, where a driver who would cross the car into the United States.  Or, maybe the car was coming up from Sinaloa, but that is probably less likely. 

The upturn in cocaine seizures, both in Tijuana, and at the US Ports of entry, are evident of a returning consistent stream of product crossing into the US, which had all but halted in the summer months, where cocaine seizures, all but slowed to a halt, indicating a decrease in supply and availability.  Several recent arrests along the line, including almost 60 kilos seized in early October, are more consistent with the seizures of winter 2011.  

The Sinaloa Cartel, is believed to work in coordination with Arellano Felix's remaining network, combining product, money, smuggling routes, corrupt officials, and safe houses, in an effort to by pass increasingly tight border security at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa point of entry.  

Other things of note in Tijuana, is several executions, including bodies found entombed, in barrels of cement, and several daylight executions along Sanchez Tadoba.  Stories are also emerging, of prominent Tijuana society members, opera singers, and architects, who have been arrested, and sentenced for drug trafficking, multiple kilos of cocaine and crystal.  The reports are that these men, unlikely traffickers and mules, were coerced under threat of violence, as the traffickers grow more desperate to find a line across the border.

 The catch is, many captured smugglers claim this, but more and more information leads credence to these claims.  Narcos find a person, find their family, and pose a scenario, one that is not hypothetical.  The way of thinking is, once they get your information, anything is possible.  This would be a new elevation from the 'blind mules'.  

Murders in Tijuana continue, but are likely to end with lower final numbers then last year, continuing a de escalation in violence, since the bloody final months of 2008. 

Sources: AFN Tijuana, Zeta Tijuana. 


November 25th Badanov's Buzzkill Bulletin

By Chris Covert

Mexican Army units since November 14th have seized 2,082.8 kilograms of marijuana, 5.8 kilograms of poppy seed and 2.1 kilograms of opium gum, according to official Mexican government news sources.
  • An army unit with the Mexican 7th Military Zone rescued a kidnapping victim in Nuevo Leon state November 14th.  The military unit was on patrol in Juarez municipality when the rescee took place.  Three unidentified suspects were detained at the scene.  Soldiers also secured one rifle, 19 weapons magazines, 446 rounds of ammunition and one vehicle.
  • Mexican Army units with the 22nd Military Zone dismantled a number of communications nodes in Guerrero and Mexico state November 14th.  Communication nodes were located in Tlatlaya municipality in Mexico state  and Arcelia municipality in Guerrero state.  Soldiers seized 17 radios, five RF amplifiers, two radio frequency detection equipment, one transmission console, six antennas, two solar panels, one electrical generator, computer equipment and documents.
  • An army unit with the Mexican 26th Military Zone secured weapons in a raid in Veracruz state November 14th.  The unit was on patrol in Misantla municipality when soldiers detained one unidentified individual.  Seized contraband included six rifles, 42 weapons magazines, 700 rounds of ammunition and one motorcycle.
  • A Mexican Army unit with the 26th Military Zone exchanged gunfire with armed suspects  in Veracruz state November 15th.  The military unit was on patrol in Xalapa city when it came under small arms fire.  Three armed suspects died when soldiers returned fire.  Soldiers also secured three rifles, weapons and ammunition, four grenades and one vehicle.
  • An army unit with the Mexican 10th Military Zone seized quantities of drugs in Durango state November 15th.  The military unit was on patrol when soldiers discovered and secured 5.8 kilograms of poppy seed, 2.1 kilograms of opium gum, two handguns, three weapons chargers, six rounds of ammunition and an ATV.
  • A Mexican Army unit with the 2nd Military Zone seized a quantity of marijuana in Baja California state November 15th.  The unit was on patrol in Santa Catarina municipality when it rolled upon an abandoned vehicles with 437.7 kilograms of marijuana in 49 packages. Soldiers also found an road nearby which could be used as a landing strip for fixed wing aircraft.  The landing strip was destroyed by soldiers.
  • An army unit with the 2nd Military Zone secured a quantity of marijuana in Baja California state November 15th.  The drug find was made in Santa Catarina municipality near ejido Benito Juarez where soldiers seized 44 packages of marijuana totalling 370 kilograms.  Separately, a Mexican Army unit destroyed a landing strip for fixed wing aircraft in Ejido Heroes de la Independencia.
  • A Mexican Army unit with the 7th Military Zone exchanged gunfire with armed suspects in Tamaulipas state November 15th.  The shootout took place in Prados de Oriente residential division in Reynosa municipality where armed suspects fired on the military unit. Army return fire killed three suspects.  Soldiers also secured in the aftermath three rifles, weapons magazines and ammunition and one armor plated vehicle.
  • An army unit with the 25th Military Zone seized a quantity of illegally obtained fuel in Puebla state Novmber 14th.  The seizure took place incident to a traffic stop which took place near the village of San Marcos in Tehuacan municipality.  Soldiers secured 7,000 liters of gasoline.  One unidentified individual was detained at the scene.
  • A Mexican Army unit with the 13th Military Zone seized a quantity of marijuana in Nayarit state November 17th.  The unit was on patrol near the village of  Miravalles in Compostela municipality when it rolled upon two abandoned  vehicles with the drugs inside.  Soldiers seized 5.5 kilograms of marijuana, an undisclosed quantity of marijuana divided for personal use and retail sale, one rifle, two weapons magazines and 35 rounds of ammunition.
  •  An army unit with the 14th Military Zone seized more than one metric tons of marijuana in Aguascaliente state November 16th.  Soldiers of the unit were conducting searches at an army checkpoint in Cosio municipality, when they searched a tractor trailer truck coming from Tecoman, Colima and bound for Reynosa, Tamaulipas, and found the drugs.  A total 1,255.6 kilograms of marijuana were secured.One unidentified individual was detained at the scene.
  • A Mexican Army unit with the 15th Military Zone exchanged gunfire with armed suspects in Jalisco state November 17th.  The military was on patrol when it came under small arms fire in Arandas municipality.  Army return gunfire killed three armed suspects. Soldiers also secured seven rifles, four handguns, 4,761 rounds of ammunition, 75  weapons magazines, 14 kilograms of marijuana and four vehicles.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for

2 Grim Discoveries in Chihuahua -19 Dead Bodies

Borderland Beat
Eight bodies were found Saturday morning.  The discovery was made in a field approximately 100 meters off the highway between the towns of Delicias and Satevó, in Chihuahua.
It is believed that some of bodies may be those who were kidnapped Friday night by armed gunmen who abducted three from the towns of Jimenez Parral and two from Valle de Allende.
Gunman arriving with a convoy of eight trucks executed five men Friday night at different locations in the space of half an hour in Meoqui... After seven in the evening, three men were shot inside a vehicle in the plaza of Guadalupe Victoria and minutes later a 17 old year was killed near community  El Torreon, in the same municipality. Another man was later assassinated  at his home, located in the neighborhood of Genaro Vazquez, and according to early reports, the five murders were allegedly committed by the same armed group who allegedly called themselves "Death Commando."
The spokesman for the state attorney general, Carlos Gonzalez Estrada, confirmed the incidents and also confirmed that the eight victims were found half naked, having been killed  from shot to the head in another location, then transported and discarded in this manner near kilometer 46, near the turn off  to Rancho San Miguel in Chihuahua.. 
He clarified that they were investigating whether the victims are some of the same subjects kidnapped by gunmen on Friday in the towns Jiménez and Valle de Allende.

There are reports of a message being left with the bodies but no details have been indicated.

The forensic medical examiner  transported the bodies for autopsy and identification. (Semefo)

Hit read more for list of those identified: