Smugglers use cannon to hurl marijuana over U.S.- Mexico border
(Reuters) - Mexican smugglers used a new pneumatic-powered cannon to propel cans packed with 85 pounds (38kg) of marijuana into the air and over a fence at the Mexican border near San Luis, Arizona, authorities said on Wednesday.
"We haven't seen this before," said Kyle Estes, a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman. "We've seen catapults, but nothing like this before. That's for sure."
He estimated the marijuana's value to be at $42,500.
The plot was foiled when U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered the 33 pot-filled cans last week before they could be picked up by smugglers in an area about 500 feet from the border fence, on the United States side, Estes said
Agents searching the area about 200 miles southwest of Phoenix recovered a carbon dioxide tank used to propel objects from the cannon, he said.
Smugglers have become increasingly inventive in trying to move contraband into the U.S. in light of stepped up efforts to crack down on border smuggling, Estes said.
U.S. authorities have added more fencing, agents and technologies including unmanned surveillance drones to tighten security along Arizona's border with Mexico in recent years.
Drug traffickers have responded with a variety of ruses including strapping marijuana loads to low-flying microlight aircraft and hurling it over the border fence using medieval-style catapults. No one was arrested in connection with the latest.
Thirty Mexican Cartel members Charged in Major Drug Probe, Officials say
Thirty Mexican Cartel members Charged in Major Drug Probe, Officials say
Thirty members of a violent Mexican drug cartel active in bringing illegal narcotics to Southern California have been charged after a two-year undercover investigation, officials in San Diego announced Friday.
The 30 are members of the La Familia Michoacana cartel and an offshoot of the cartel known as the Knights Templar Cartel, officials said. The two rival groups, which engaged in a bloody turf battle, are responsible for smuggling large amounts of methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine into the United States.
Search warrants were served this week in San Diego, Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles counties, under the investigation dubbed Operation Knight Stalker. In San Diego County, 12 cases have been filed against 28 defendants, Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis said.
"This operation gives you a window into the continuing large-scale drug trafficking that continues to plague San Diego County across the U.S.-Mexico border," Dumanis said.
The structure of drug cartels is "constantly changing, but operations like this one cripple their ability to do business," Dumanis said.
The search warrants this week resulted in the seizure of more than 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine, 200 pounds of cocaine, 320 pounds of marijuana, 28 pounds of heroin and $200,000 in cash, officials said at a morning news conference.
Involved in serving the warrants were officers from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department task force, the U.S. Border Patrol and the San Diego County district attorney's office.
Fifteen of the 30 charged have been arrested, others are being sought, officials said. LATimes
Sinaloa Cartel Bought Narco Plane Via HSBC Bank
The Sinaloa Cartel reportedly used its HSBC bank accounts to transfer money for the purchase of a turboprop aircraft, painting a picture of the kind of financial transactions the cartel was able to carry out, thanks to lax international banking controls.
According to a report by Mexico's Attorney General's Office which is apparently based partly on Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) findings and was seen by national newspaper El Universal, the Sinaloa Cartel bought the Super King 200 aircraft in 2007. It was later seized by Mexican authorities in December 2007 in the capital of Morelos state, in central Mexico. At the time the security forces said it had been used to transport a nearly two ton cocaine shipment from Venezuela to Mexico.
The dollars used to purchase the plane were originally deposited by two front companies -- Grupo Rahero SC and Grupo ETPB -- in two HSBC accounts in the Cayman Islands. The cash was then transferred to another US-registered company, Insured Aircraft Title Service Inc., in Oklahoma City.
HSBC has faced an in-depth investigation into how its lax regulations allowed Mexican criminal groups like the Sinaloa Cartel to launder billions of dollars. According to El Universal, documents presented to the federal court in the Eastern District of New York, which is handling the lawsuit against the British bank, include a particularly damning affirmation by HSBC's Mexico CEO. The CEO reportedly says he has heard a recording of a drug trafficker calling HSBC Mexico "the best place to launder money."
The purchase of the aircraft later seized in Morelos is just one example of the transactions that the Sinaloa Cartel were likely able to carry out, thanks to the bank's weak enforcement of regulations. El Universal reports that the aircraft was one of 13 purchased by the Sinaloa Cartel, used to ship cocaine between South and Central America. The cartel ended up transferring close to $13 million to 14 aircraft companies based in the US.The HSBC lawsuit recently culminated with a $1.9 billion settlement.
EU presented charges against four financial operators
Mexico City (13 December 2012). - The cartel Los Zetas used bank accounts in the largest cities in theU.S. to transfer funds used in the purchase of racehorses. The Justice Department filed charges Dec. 4 against four additional accomplices the Treviño Morales brothers , alleged leaders of Los Zetas cartel as part of the process started last June by the money laundering operation by acquiring horses. Two of the new defendants are Jovan Erick Lozano Díaz, "El Chucho," financial operator of the Zetas arrested Nuevo Laredo in June, and Gerardo Garza Quintero, who in March and April 2012 used an account opened by the latter at the bank JP Morgan Chase to transfer $ 600,000 from Mexico.
JP Morgan Chase & Co. is the largest bank U.S., with assets estimated at 2 trillion 290 billion dollars. The 448 606 298 account was opened at JP Morgan by Gerardo Garza Quintero on the March 2, 2012, and immediately received $ 250,000 of Integra Logistics Customs, a front company controlled by Lozano Díaz, who was designated by the Navy as the manager of laundering funds obtained by Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, the Z-40. In late April, $ 400,000 was deposited in the same account, including 90,000 in cash and 213,000 transferred by Lozano Díaz's wife.
Upon receipt of funds, Garza issued company checks to Tremor Enterprises LLC, a facade of Treviño Morales in America. In these documents, Garza said that money was for the purchase of the horses Fly Corona, and Feature Honor.
The indictment was filed in the Western District Court of Texas in Austin, does not clarify the occupation of Garza Quintero but the name matches that of a broker in Nuevo Laredo, which operated in the patent office since 1994, and who died at age 51 in Laredo, Texas on July 31.
More accounts JP Morgan was not the only bank used for this operation. In the original indictment, filed in June, twelve accounts were secured and and detailed in the United States by Los Zetas as front companies, including six in Bank of America and five in Wells Fargo, which are the second and fourth largest financial institutions in the U.S.. The new indictment against Los Zetas also includes Alexandra Garcia Treviño, daughter of Joseph Treviño Morales, and brother of Miguel Angel as well as the Oklahoma ranch owner where in June nearly 400 horses were secured and Jesus Maldonado Huitrón, a trainer of Quarter Horses was arrested. Altogether, 19 people are on trial in this case, although the two most important, Michelangelo and Omar Trevino Morales, remain at large, while the ten detainees-some bail-including his brother Joseph, his wife Zuleima, businessman Francisco Colorado Cessa Veracruz and Carlos Miguel Nayen Borbolla.
Five Restaurant Workers Slain in Nuevo Laredo
A group of armed assassins killed five employees of a restaurant in Nuevo Laredo Thursday, including a woman eight months pregnant, officials said.
The attack occurred at the La Palma Restaurant, located on Alvaro Obregon in the center of the city.
An Army official said a group of armed men came specifically to attack the local restaurant employees.
This Thursday the mayor of Nuevo Laredo, Benjamin Galvan, gave his government report at the nearby Cultural Center of the city, which was heavily guarded by members of the police and army.
No one wanted to provide any details to help identify the group of assassins.