Saturday, March 31, 2012

Feds: CDG Drug Ring Made Central Florida Marijuana Distribution Hub

I found the 82 page indictment and added the link at bottom.  It is an intriguing read and a great birdseye view of the operations of drug trafficking.  Massive amounts of money buried, 1000 pounds per shipment, using "black guys" as drivers and if caught and they cooperate with the law "kill him", and the Bentley and Ferrari under tarps unable to be seen.....Paz, Chivis

For the past three years, federal agents say, associates of the Gulf Cartel trucked in thousands of pounds of marijuana to Apopka and other Orlando communities — establishing the area as a distribution hub.
They buried millions of dollars on properties in Central Florida.
 They stashed assault rifles and ballistic vests in Apopka. They stored their drugs in open areas such as garden nurseries.
All the while, their drug trade brought in millions of dollars.
Photo: Omar Martinez
Nine suspected members of the Central Florida ring were recently charged by federal prosecutors in Orlando as part of a complex investigation that spanned to Texas and involved multiple federal and local law-enforcement agencies.
Investigators executed search warrants throughout Florida and in Texas, and seized more than 6,000 pounds of marijuana, more than 90 firearms and cash.
An 81-page criminal complaint filed in the case details much of the group's suspected activities, including previous interactions with law enforcement.
Photo: Jose Franco
The case, in some ways, is a textbook example of what's happening in the American drug trade, said Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of "The Fire Next Door: Mexico's Drug Violence and the Danger to America," which will be published in October.
"I wouldn't find this incident unusual at all," Carpenter said. "The Mexican cartels have connections with domestic trafficking gangs.
"Their tentacles are quite extensive in the United States."
In the Central Florida ring, agents say, marijuana was shipped in bulk from a trafficker in McAllen, Texas, to Panama City  then picked up and brought to Central Florida or Jacksonville for distribution.
Photo: Alvan Alvarado
After the marijuana was sold locally, the cash was picked up and taken back on the same route, to Panama City and then to Texas.Once the cash made it to Panama City in the Florida Panhandle, a new load of marijuana was picked up for distribution, and the cycle continued.
Court documents detail the roles of each of the suspected Central Florida ring members. Some were organizers, some were drivers, and others were involved with offloading and delivery.
Sources told agents each shipment of marijuana produced $800,000 to $1 million in proceeds.
The group buried the cash on various properties until it was ready to be shipped back to Texas.
It may seem a risky way to store millions, but Carpenter said it's not surprising.
Unlike legal businesses, drug traffickers can't simply deposit their revenue into a bank account.
"You can't just walk into a Bank of America … and deposit $80,000 in cash," Carpenter said. "That would ring alarm bells all over the place."

 Source: Orlando Sentinel
(Photos of 3 of the homes, value of each around 50K)
 
 

Added information:
Text and map unedited; all photos added

Department of Justice RELEASE HERE

82 Page Indictment HERE

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez Not World’s Deadliest, Mayor Says

The mayor of this Mexican border metropolis rejected a U.S. official’s suggestion that Ciudad Juarez is the world’s most dangerous large city.

“We’re not the world’s most dangerous city by a long way, nor Mexico’s, and we can prove it,” Hector Murguia said at a press conference.

Ciudad Juarez, home to approximately 1.3 million people, “is today the most dangerous city in Mexico and I think it’s the most dangerous city in the hemisphere, if not the world,” William Brownfield, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, told a U.S. congressional panel on Thursday.

His comment came in response to a question from a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs concerning the shooting deaths of five police officers Wednesday in Juarez.

Murguia said his administration’s records indicate that 116 homicides were committed in the city in January of this year, 69 in February and 69 in March, down from 269, 173 and 268 murders, respectively, in those same three months of 2011.

The mayor said the U.S. official’s remarks were “irresponsible” because they “drive away tourism and (adversely) affect the advances achieved to date in terms of security.”

He also invited Brownfield to visit Ciudad Juarez “so he can see for himself that this is a community that’s trying to move forward, in spite of his comments.”

On Thursday night, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico issued a statement applauding and expressing support for the efforts of President Felipe Calderon’s administration, the state government of Chihuahua and Murguia’s administration to tackle drug-related violence.

“The impact of these efforts can be seen in (Juarez’s) crime statistics, which show a significant reduction in homicides,” the embassy said.

“U.S. assistance, in coordination with our Mexican counterparts, has focused on training and equipping police to give them greater capacity to combat the threat posed by transnational criminal organizations to local communities,” the statement said.
The embassy said that as bilateral efforts under the Merida Initiative – a U.S.-funded regional plan to battle drug cartels and organized crime – “shift in focus from federal to state police forces, Chihuahua state and the city of Juarez have become key priorities.”

“We will continue to provide support, particularly in areas most affected by crime and violence, in partnership with the government of Mexico, its security agencies and its citizens.”

Ciudad Juarez remained Mexico’s deadliest major city in 2011 with nearly 2,000 homicides, or roughly 148 murders for every 100,000 residents, although that figure was down from the previous year, when 3,100 people were murdered.

Authorities attribute most of the violence in the gritty metropolis just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, to a territorial conflict between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels.

According to a recent report from the Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice, a non-governmental organization, the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula has surpassed Ciudad Juarez as the world’s most violent metropolis.

Mexico’s government said 12,903 people died in drug-related violence between January and September 2011, bringing the drug war death toll since December 2006, when Calderon took office, to 47,515.

The country’s murder total has grown every year of the federal government’s military offensive against the well-funded, heavily armed drug gangs.

Unofficial tallies published late last year by independent daily La Jornada put the drug-war death toll at more than 50,000.

Source: EFE

Group Fears More Violence Against Mexican Media as Elections Near


Reporters Without Borders said Thursday after an attack on the offices of a national television network that violence against the Mexican media could increase in the lead-up to general elections this summer.

Last weekend’s bomb attack on Televisa’s offices in the northeastern border city of Matamoros “has raised fears of a resumption of the threats that were aimed against the organization in the same place in 2010,” the Paris-based press freedom watchdog, known by the French initials RSF, said.

The group said Televisa’s offices were damaged in Sunday’s blast but no injuries were reported.

The attack in that city of Tamaulipas state, one of the hardest hit in recent years by drug cartel turf wars, “occurred in the wake of two other attacks in the same part of northern Mexico, which has a history of violence.”

“Violence against the media appears likely to escalate as the July 1 federal election approaches,” RSF said.

Efforts to silence the media “play into the hands of the drug cartels and their accomplices among the authorities” ahead of the elections, in which the country’s severe problems of violent crime once again will be a major issue.

“After a six-year federal offensive against drug trafficking during which more than 50,000 people have been killed and human rights and basic freedoms seriously undermined, how do the presidential candidates propose to restore the rule of law?” RSF asked.

The attack on Televisa occurred six days after a car bomb exploded on March 19 at the offices of the Expreso daily in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, also causing damage but no injuries.

RSF also expressed concern over a shooting attack on March 24 on the home of journalist Victor Montenegro, editor of the weekly El Contralor and a contributor to the Contralineas and Lobo Times magazines.

Montenegro’s mother was inside the home, located in the northern state of Durango, at the time but was not injured in the attack.

Mexico ranked just 149th out of 179 countries in RSF’s latest world press freedom index, the group said, adding that 80 journalists have been killed and 14 others have gone missing nationwide over the past decade.

Source: EFE, Al Jazeera.

Army Finds Large Arsenal in Coahuila


Army troops found 50 assault rifles, ammunition and other weapons in an abandoned vehicle in northern Mexico, the Defense Secretariat said.

Soldiers seized 40 AK-47 assault rifles, nine AR-15 assault rifles and an M-16 assault rifle, as well as a grenade launcher and more than 11,000 rounds of ammunition, the secretariat said.

The arms and ammunition were found Tuesday in San Juan de Sabinas, a city in the border state of Coahuila, inside an abandoned gas tanker, the secretariat said.

Coahuila is one of the areas where Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent drug cartel, operates.

Los Zetas was founded in 1999 by Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as “El Lazca,” and three other army deserters, all members of an elite special operations unit.

The criminal organization started out as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, but the two gangs later had a falling out.

After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.

President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico’s drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.

Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.

Mexico’s drug war death toll stood at 47,515 from December 2006 to Sept. 30.

The murder total has grown every year of Calderon’s military offensive against the well-funded, heavily armed drug cartels.

Unofficial tallies published in December by independent daily La Jornada put the death toll from Mexico’s drug war at more than 50,000.

Source: EFE

How The Mexican Police Bungled The Manhunt for El Chapo

This is an exclusive from Jamie Dettmer's Blog of Celleno
Earlier this month, Mexican officials leaked to AP an exclusive on the hunt for the world’s most powerful drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, the elusive head of the Sinaloa cartel.

They boasted that they had come close to capturing him in late February in Baja California at a resort in Los Cabos where a day earlier U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton held meetings with foreign ministers from the G20.

Jose Cuitláhuac Salinas Martinez, Mexico’s assistant attorney general in charge of organized crime investigations, said it was a near miss in the government’s efforts to arrest the man who has become one of the world’s top fugitives since he escaped from a Mexican prison in a laundry truck in 2001.

The official angled his comments to fuel speculation that authorities are near to capturing Guzmán, something President Felipe Calderón would dearly love to accomplish before he leaves office at the end of the year. “When asked if authorities are close, he just smiled,” according to the AP dispatch.

But AP was told only half the story by Jose Cuitláhuac Salinas Martinez. Mexican and US security sources tell me that the interview was an attempt to muddy the waters and to obscure the reasons why Mexican police failed to get El Chapo in Los Cabos.

They say it was a preemptive strike to head off any potential bad press from the near miss.

And since that March 12 AP story Mexican officials – notably the Secretary for Public Security, Genaro Luna Garcia – have continued to do their best to mislead by leaking, for example, a claim to Reforma newspaper and Univision that a prostitute’s period saved the drug boss from being arrested.

According to that story one of Guzmán’s men hired the prostitute for the billionaire drug lord. The Mexican daily Reforma said the prostitute was blindfolded and taken to a rented home in Los Cabos without being told who her client would be.

And Cuitláhuac Salinas Martinez, told the paper that when El Chapo arrived the hooker couldn’t “perform the services she was hired for because she was menstruating.” El Chapo left the house with the intention of returning, and it was while he was away Mexican authorities raided the house.

According to Univision, “Salinas Martinez suggested that had it not been for the postponed encounter, authorities might have finally arrested Guzmán.”

This isn’t what Mexican security sources tell me. The operation, they say, was bungled from the start and the fault rests with the federal police.

AP speculated in the original dispatch that El Chapo’s narrow escape raises the suspicion that he was tipped off. He was, U.S. and Mexican security sources told me, but not by some corrupt official or paid off cop. The federal police alerted El Chapo inadvertently, to the fury of the Americans, by making two major mistakes.

Mexican police chiefs bungled the opportunity handed them by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, who through cell phone monitoring by the National Security Agency provided the electronic intelligence that for the first time in years pinpointed El Chapo’s exact whereabouts — in this case Los Cabos.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

3.30.12UPDATE: TJ Kidnap Victim Kills 4, Escapes, Then Gunned Down by Police

3.30.12  UPDATE:El Chapo’s Man: Kidnap “Victim” Identified by "wife"..at bottom

Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat
Events unfolded yesterday in Tijuana that rivaled a movie made in Hollywood, adding to the strange scenario is the secrecy that has encased details from the public.  What is known is and the end of the drama five people were dead; a kidnapped person, two kidnappers, two men who were guarding a vehicle, one of the men was a retired Army officer the other a former Mexican policeman. The guards were the bodyguard and driver of an entrepreneur.
Photo/Noah Chavez El Mex


Reported by AFN, the incident began at 10:00 when the “victim” was taken to a safe house.  This is where things become incredible, the victim somehow managed to become free, was then able to grab a weapon, the weapon was an AK47.  He then killed the two kidnappers at the safe house and escaped.. 
After leaving the safe house, the seminude, handcuffed and now armed man, spotted a SUV a short distance away and eventually stole the vehicle after killing the two body guards who were guarding the SUV.  The two guards are not believed to be involved in the incident.
The State Attorney’s version is the victim then drove a short distance before confronting municipal police, at which time he began firing at them causing a shootout which ended in the victim’s death.
video

Four of the now deceased were identified formally by the Deputy Attorney General in Tijuana,  Ricardo Salas Bravo, as David Edgar Vargas and Javier Lopez Ortega Paredes suspected kidnappers,  Luis Enrique González Sifuentes, 41 years old retired Army lieutenant sub and Roberto Fernandez Uribe, 45, a former  police.
At the press conference called by the State Attorney, a statement was read and no questions were allowed.  Speculations have arisen from the strange case intensified by the lack of facts and answers from authorities.
What information was disclosed is the vehicle had been struck by several bullets and the man - said to be around 36 - was found  handcuffed by police handcuffs and holding the “Kalashnikov", AK-47 assault rifle.

The bodies of two people were discovered in the safe house, and in one of the rooms police discovered a 9MM handgun and another AK-47, 43 packets of marijuana, tactical gear, a marijuana press and a scale.
In the house where the bodies were found (alleged kidnappers), located were three shell casings, 7.62 x 39, known as "Kalashnikov", one at the foot of one of the deceased, two additional casings in the garage of the home and one on the street at the same address.
An inspection of the safe house revealed clothes saturated with blood in the laundry room.  That and other indicators not disclosed, left the detectives to conclude the room was used to torture people.
Not explained is why the victim fired on Municipal Police Elements, one version could be that the victim was a criminal who was kidnapped to be exchanged as part of a criminal negotiation with rival groups.
Comments on the AFN Blog:
Moreover, in comments left on AFN blog, one reader identifies the “kidnapped" who committed the murders, as "The Javy or G", however does not provide further details or whether he belonged to an organized crime group.
Another reader claims to have seen it all stating; as he walked towards an Oxxo  he heard noises "like rockets" when he ran into a man he calculated as 30 years, with a "Kalashnikov" in hand and shirtless.  He claims to have remained calm and pleasant greeting thee man with “good afternoon” and ran back to his home.  Later he learned the man ended up dead killed by police.
Unofficial Reports:
 AFN  has learned that the man, who  paid with his life after opening fire on local police, was "someone heavy", apparently linked to organized crime "and an expert weapons operator," this was proven with the way he handled a "Kalashnikov", although he was wearing police-type handcuffs.
Another report is he apparently  was deprived of his freedom to "get even" or  exchange him for something or someone not defined, with a rival group.
Sources used : AFN, El Mex
                                                          _____________
UPDATE 3.30.12
El Chapo’s Man: Kidnap “Victim”  Identified by "wife"

A woman identifying herself as the wife of the kidnapped victim identified and claimed the body.  The woman identified him as Ramon Olivas, 52 years old from Sinaloa .  This is similar to the blog comments on AFN however those comments identified him as Genaro  Olivas, and others said he was known as “G”.
 
The age of 52 is far away from the statement from the authorities that claimed he was 36.  The woman was questioned by the state attorney. TJ media is reporting the 36 year old wife called him to TJ.  When he arrived in the city he was kidnapped by individuals who took him to the safe house, the same safe house in which he killed his captors.   His captors are presumed  to have been sleeping when he made his escape. 
 
Both captors were in the army and at least one was a deserter.  Olivas is linked to El Chapo, and is said to have been an  important figure in the Sinaloa Cartel described as a “heavy”.  Initially he was sent to TJ from Sinaloa by Chapo.
 
People in TJ are expressing fear that heavy violence will again erupt, if in fact Olivas was a heavy there may be retribution, especially since this event appears to be a set up that included many players, including the army and police.
If more information becomes available I will be sure to post it…Paz, Chivis

March 29th Badanov's Buzzkill Bulletin


By Chris Covert
Rantburg.com

Between March 15th and March 25th Mexican Amry and Naval Infantry units seized in ongoing counternarcotics operations throughout Mexico 2,622.493 kilograms of marijuana, 4.78 kilograms of cocaine, .254 kilograms of glass methamphetamine, 770 liters of liquid methamphetamine, 326.25 kilograms of solid methamphetamine, MP $7.703 (USD $596.82) and USD $164.00 (MP $2102.60) in cash.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

5 Juarez cops die in shooting -- UPDATED

Updated with new information including identities of the victims and other new information

By Chris Covert
Rantburg.com

Five  Juarez municipal police agents were shot to death and another three were wounded in an assault at a residence in Juarez Wednesday night, according to Mexican news accounts.

El Diario de Juarez news daily identified four of the dead as Juan Rodriguez, Maria Romero, Blas Barrera and Brenda Ulloa.  The fifth victim was identified only as Ceballos.  The police agents were all from Cuauhtemoc and Babicora police stations

The attack took place at about 2030 hrs near the intersection of calles Oasis de Lisboa and Rafael Murguia in the Praderas de los Oasis subdivision.

The officers were attending a cookout at the residence when they were shot.  Uncredited reports say as many as 20 shooters entered the residence and fired on their victims.

 El Diario de Juarez also said none of the five officers would be buried with honors since they were off duty when the shootings occurred.


According to La Polaka news daily, the killings were preceded by several narcomensajes or narco-messages against Juarez's controversial mayor, Hector Murguia Lardizabal, and his police chief Julian Leyzaola Perez, both civic functionaries with a hard nosed reputation in the city.

According to La Polaka, a total of 18 municipal police agents have been shot since the start of the year.

Juarez has been in the thrall of a deadly competition between local operatives with the Sinaloa cartel and the Juarez cartel,and their enforcement wing, La Linea.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com

March 28th Badanov's Buzzkill Bulletin

Marines seize precursors in Manzanillo, Colima

By Chris Covert
Rantburg.com

Mexican Army and Naval Infantry units have between March 13 and March 23rd in ongoing counternarcotics operations throughout Mexican, have seized a total of 7,791.35 kilograms of marijuana, 13 kilograms of methamphetamine, 22.255 kilograms of glass methamphetamine and MP $6,470.00 (USD $507.07) in cash.


José Guillermo Morales Castillo, deputy director of he Municipal police in the town of Zamora, Michoacán, was found shot dead by a heavy caliber type weapon on Tuesday morning said officials of the Ministry of Public Security of the state.

According to sources the body of Jose Guillermo Morales was located in the side of a dirt road leading from the ranch San Cristobal al Pochote, near the institute "El Cochofo." He was found underneath his police vehicle, he had his hands cuffed and had sustained several gunshots to his body.

Guillermo Morales was appointed to lead the municipal police of Zamora by mayor Rosa Hilda Abascal Rodríguez after the death of Public Safety Director Gerardo Martinez, who after two weeks of fighting his illness, finally lost the battle against the influenza A/H1N1.

Edgar Celso Rojas López was named to replace Morales Castillo on March 18 as the new head of the police department.

Source: Milenio



10 Die in Shootout in Temosachi, Chihuahua


At least 10 suspected drug traffickers died in a shootout in the mountains of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, state prosecutors said.

The shootout happened Monday in Temosachi, a town located about 226 kilometers (140 miles) southwest of Chihuahua city, the state capital, the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office said.

The gunfight started Sunday night and ended in the early morning hours of Monday, said the AG’s office spokesman Carlos Gonzalez.

Some of the “criminals managed to get away” by opening fire on a group of police officers who went to the town after receiving an anonymous tip, Gonzalez said.

Army troops were deployed in the town to “ensure the peace of the residents,” the AG’s office spokesman said.

The 10 bodies were taken to the morgue in Cuauhtemoc, a city about 540 kilometers (335 miles) from Temosachi, for identification, Gonzalez said.

Chihuahua has been one of the states most affected by drug-related violence, accounting for about 25 percent of the nearly 50,000 murders registered in Mexico since 2006.

Chihuahua is home to Ciudad Juarez, which gained the dubious distinction in recent years of being Mexico’s murder capital.

Juarez, located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, has been the scene in the past few years of a turf war between the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels.

Source: EFE

Z40 Answers Chapo by Leaving His Own Butchery and Message

Translated by Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat

Culiacán, Sinaloa; The dismembered bodies of five men who were found in the  colonia 10 de abril.
The discovery occurred early Wednesday morning.

The victims were without heads, arms and legs, limbs were located adjacent to the back side of the torsos.

The murderers left a manta (banner/blanket) on the fence perimeter of the primary school Roberto Hernández Rodríguez, it contained a message that reads as follows:
Translated:

"Look (you) fucking filthy Chapo if you can not even control your own state, how are you gonna be able to control another state,  fucking  informant of the DEA traitor (,) who has turned in hundreds of your own smelly people, you ain't shit ATTE : Z 40."
orginal text form:
“Mira pinche Chapo jediondo no controlas ni tu estado de donde eres menos vas a controlar otro estado pinche informante del DEA traidor que as entregado a cientos de tus gentes jediondo me la pelas atentamente el Z 40″
Photo Credit-Manuel Inzunza



The state attorney general office is conducting the investigation, a representative of the office reported the human remains were transferred to the forensic medical service facilities and that so far the victims have not been identified.
Source: Linea Directa
Note:  I had difficulty translating the last 4 words into English...any suggestions are appreciated.
Chapos Carnage post link HERE

Graphic: El Chapo Challenges Lazcano and Z 40 in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas

Chivis Martinez with translations of Mantas by Texcoco of Borderland Beat Forum

The leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Joaquin Guzman, AKA “ El Chapo”, openly challenged Los Zetas, especially their leaders, Heriberto Lazcano, the Lazca, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, Z 40, and his brother Omar Trevino, after raiding Tamaulipas and dismembering several members of the Zetas organization.

The dismembered bodies of the Zetas were accompanied by  narcomensajes, directed at their leaders,  in which El Chapo  challenges the cartel in their own territory.  One message complains that they do not honor or comply with the established truce and called them traitors.


Text:
"Look you fucking 40 and L 42 I left these hands here for you because you are a bunch of assholes and a bunch of cowards, many times you have made a truce and you always break it, the dumps are all full from gathering all your garbage and rats ...
Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas is mine ... Atte. El Chapo "

Text:
"To be a cartel leader you need to use your head, you're an idiot and a disgusting lousy bastard, you are Lazcano's nut hugger and you will always be a car washer to me ... Atte. El Chapo


Text:
"This is how you have to finish this assholes, by dismembering their bodies, all those rats who steal from people, kidnapping and kill innocent people, I'll teach you how I manage my cartel that has been working for 30 years, I didn't got here like you shining shoes, washing cars and betraying people .... Atte El Chapo "  

With this action, El Chapo Guzman has launched a "clean" criminal group Los Zetas, their leaders and who serve this criminal organization.

Written with information from MetroNotcias de Tamaulipas

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 27th Badanov's Buzzkill Bulletin




By Chris Covert
Rantburg.com

Between March 13th and March 20th Mexican Army units throughout Mexico have seized 4,654.52 kilograms of marijuana, 10.993 kilograms of methamphetamine, 40 liters of methamphetamine, 1.98 kilograms of glass methamphetamine and 2 kilograms of opium gum.

Agents Posed as Los Zetas as US Soldiers Busted in Murder-for-Hire Plot

A former Fort Carson officer allegedly offered to steal weapons from the post and organize a murder-for-hire plot with another soldier as part of a nationwide drug-trafficking ring they tried to run, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Monday.
CORLEY
1st Lt. Kevin Corley, 29, who was discharged from the Army earlier this month, was arrested Saturday in Laredo, Texas, while finalizing details with undercover agents for the contract killing, according to a criminal complaint filed in a U.S. District Court in Texas.
Corley later admitted to federal agents that he organized a four-person kill team to raid a ranch in Texas and steal 20 kilograms of cocaine, the complaint said.
Two of those alleged team members — including a sergeant at Fort Carson — were arrested Saturday in the sting, the complaint said.
The final alleged member — Corley’s cousin, Jerome Corley — was shot to death while federal agents moved in to arrest the men.
Federal prosecutors did not immediately release details of how Jerome Corley died or who shot him.
Kevin Corley, Sgt. Samuel Walker, 28 — both of Colorado Springs — and Shavar Davis, 29, of Denver, are scheduled to appear Thursday in a Texas courtroom for a detention hearing.
WALKER
Walker is assigned the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, a unit that Kevin Corley served with before his discharge.
Undercover agents first talked to Corley on Sept. 26 after discovering a picture of a grenade that was believed to be smuggled off of a military  post, the complaint said.
Over several months, prosecutors allege that Corley offered tactical training to agents posing as drug cartel members, such as “room clearing, security and convoy security.”
He also boasted of provide weapons, which “could easily be stolen from military posts,” the complaint said.
And he repeatedly offered to conduct “wet work,” which agents took to mean contract killings, according to the complaint.
The whole plot spawned from a plan to ship 500 pounds of marijuana to Columbia, S.C., prosecutors said.
DAVIS
Two men, Marcus Mickle and Calvin Epps, first tried to organize the shipment with federal agents posing as Los Zetas cartel members, the complaint said.
The men brought Kevin Corley into the plan after undercover agents noticed the grenade picture.
In the months that followed, Corley allegedly told the agents he could assemble two teams — one that could train 40 cartel members in two weeks and another to carry out contract killings. Corley's military experience would have paid off on the job -- the brigade on its last Afghanistan mission trained Afghan troops in combat and counter-insurgency operations.
In early December, agents received an Army Tactics Battle Book in the mail from Corley, according to the complaint.
A month later, Corley offered to assemble a team to steal 20 kilograms of cocaine from a rival cartel, the complaint said. The agents posing as cartel members agreed, offering $50,000 and five kilograms of cocaine for the job.
Corley also said he would provide security for the 500-pound shipment of marijuana slated to be trucked from Texas to South Carolina, according to the complaint.
The truck was pulled over and seized by federal agents in mid-January. Kevin Corley, Jerome Corley and Epps were driving in the vehicle ahead of the shipment and were not pulled over.
Despite the seizure, the complaint alleges that Kevin Corley continued trying to arrange for marijuana shipments in February and March to Mario Corley in South Carolina.
Federal agents also alleged that Kevin Corley continued planning the murder-for-hire plot.
On Saturday, Kevin Corley, Jerome Corley, Walker and Davis allegedly met with federal agents to carry out the killing, the complaint said.
After confirming their plans, federal agents moved in. During the arrest, Jerome Corley was fatally shot. The other three men were arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Mickle and Epps and Mario Corley were arrested in South Carolina, prosecutors said.

Source: Colorado Gazette
                                                                 ___________
A copy of the indictment is below, it is an interesting read and depicts the depth of criminal activity these suspects were willing to go read this pullout:


READ FULL INDICTMENT AND COMPLAINT HERE
Read More: HERE

Obama Administration Gives U.S. Forfeited Funds to Mexico

The Sigue forfeiture resulted from a case investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service, not by Mexico’s PGR….Paz, Chivis

WASHINGTON – United States Attorney General Eric Holder and Mexican Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibáñez today signed a letter of intent for the United States to share approximately $6 million in forfeited funds with the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic of Mexico (PGR) to support Mexican efforts to combat the financial infrastructure of organized criminal groups and to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in forfeiture matters.

The letter of intent and anticipated fund sharing recognizes the PGR’s valuable cooperation in the investigation and resolution of the United States government’s case against Sigue Corporation for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. In January 2008, Sigue entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice on charges of failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program. As a result, Sigue forfeited $15 million to the United States and agreed to commit an additional $9.7 million to improving its anti-money laundering program.


“The Department of Justice and the Mexican PGR have built strong and collaborative working relationships in order to combat transnational organized criminal groups,” said Attorney General Holder. “Our intention to share approximately $6 million in forfeited assets with our Mexican counterparts reflects another step forward in our successful crime prevention and public safety efforts. In an era where crime is not limited by physical boundaries, our international partnerships are more critical than ever in the work of bringing criminals to justice.”


As outlined in the letter of intent, the PGR and the Department of Justice, through the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section (AFMLS), will negotiate the specific terms of the Sigue case sharing agreement and establish respective Executive Sharing Committees designed to negotiate and oversee the sharing, delivery, transfer and disbursement of the forfeited funds.


The shared assets will be used to strengthen and support the PGR’s capacity to investigate and prosecute domestic and bilateral money laundering crimes, as well as Mexico’s ability to forfeit the proceeds of crime. This initiative is designed to complement ongoing bilateral efforts to increase pressure on the economic resources of the criminal organizations that operate in Mexico and along the United States/Mexico border.


The case, filed in the Eastern District of Missouri, arose out of transactions conducted by Sigue and its authorized agents from November 2003 through March 2005. During this time, more than $24.7 million in suspicious transactions were conducted through registered agents of Sigue, including transactions conducted by undercover United States law enforcement agents using funds represented to be proceeds of drug trafficking. Sigue did not identify broader patterns of money laundering activity, failed to prevent the unlawful activity from continuing and did not create systems and procedures to identify suspicious financial transactions being conducted by related senders and beneficiaries.


The Sigue forfeiture resulted from a case prosecuted by AFMLS and was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service.


Source: USDOJ Website

Monday, March 26, 2012

11 dead following intergang shootout in Chihuahua state -- UPDATED

 Updating the story for new facts including the dead count, identity of eight of the dead and arms seized.

By Chris Covert
Rantburg.com

Eleven unidentified individuals were found dead in the Sierras of western Chihuahua state Monday, the aftermath of a gunfight between rival criminal groups, according to Mexican news accounts.

The gunfight which killed the ten took place between Sunday night and Monday morning.


A group of Chihuahua state police and ministerial agents Monday had been dispatched to an area called La Guitarra in  Temosachi municipality, when it came under small arms fire from an armed group of unknown size waiting in the hills. 

The group which fired on the police apparently withdrew when the agents returned fire. Neither the police nor their attackers had been wounded by gunfire in the incident.  Police agents were unable to initiate pursuit of their attackers.

In the location agents found 11 dead, all apparently members of a criminal group.

The dead were identified as Hermes Yañez Gamezm 39, AKA El Choco, Jose Olivas Gamez, 35, Jose Juan Bojorquez Soto, 22, Ruelas Moncerrat Castle, 29, Arturo Tello Salinas 36 all from Cuauhtemoc municipality.

Also identified were Gil Noe Varela Gonzalez, 39, Efrain Marquez Perez, 53, Jesus Tello Mendoza, 25, all from Temosachi.

Security forces also seized one .22 caliber rifle, one AR-15 rifle, one grenade and nine ballistic vests.

A Mexican Army unit has been subsequently dispatched to the area to provide additional security.

Temosachi municipality is between Madera municipality and Ciudad Cuauhtemoc, and is about 200 kilometers west of Chihuahua city.

Temosachi is also in the area of Mexico known as the Tarahumara Sierras, which is populated by indigenous Indians, some of whom are direct ascendants of the Aztecs.  Criminal groups have in the past forced indigenous communities in Chihuahua and Durango state to grow drugs for sale, acting as feudal lords when those communities refused by torching residences.

The area is also undergoing a food crisis termed as a structural famine due to drought and extreme low temperatures, and due to the fact many Indian farmers in the region are subsistence farmers.

Last month Catholic Bishop of the Tarahumara diocese, Rafael Sandoval Sandoval told a religious group in Puebla, that Tarahumara Indians are forced to grow drug to survive because of the drought conditions.


Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com

1 wounded in three grenade attacks in Tamaulipas

By Chris Covert
Rantburg.com

One unidentified individuals was wounded three in separate grenade attacks in Matamoros and Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas Sunday night and Monday morning, according to Mexican news and Twitter reports.

Originally, those reports said five had been hurt, but an announcement by the Tamaulipas state Procuraduria General de Justicia or attorney general posted on the state website Monday night said only one had been wounded.

Sunday night's attack took place near the Televisa television studios in Matamoros.  That attack took place around 2200 hrs EDT near the intersection of avenidas Manuel Cavazos Lerma and Fresnos in Paseo Residencial colony.  The detonation caused no injuries or damage.

In Ciudad Victoria, one grenade was detonated in a vacant lot near the intersection of calles 9th and Coahuila in San José colony at around 0950 hrs.  No damage or persons wounded were reported in that attack.

A second grenade attack took place at a car dealership near the intersection of calles 9th and Berriozabal, presumably near Zona Centro.  One individual was wounded in that attack.  Some unspecified damage has been reported.

The attack took place at about 1020 hrs EDT.  The attorney general report said that explosions accompanied the detonation of the grenade, which usually means small arms fire.

Several attacks using grenades and small arms fire were initiated over the last two weeks in Ciudad Victoria.  The most serious, on March 14th took the lives of four individuals. 

News reports say the Tamaulipas state Secretaria de Seguridad Publica and Procuraduria General de Justicia revealed those March 14th attacks were part of an intergang gunfight between rival criminal groups.

At least seven grenade and small arms attacks have been made in Ciudad Victoria alone since March 14th, nearly all of them between rival criminal groups.  At least five have been killed and many more have been wounded in these encounters.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Central America Wants US Compensation for Every Drug Seizure & Drug Raid

Mike McDonald Reuters

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina and Honduras' Vice President Samuel Reyes speak during         an anti-drugs summit at the Santo Domingo Hotel in Antigua (Reuters)
Guatemalan President Otto Perez on Saturday set out a raft of proposals to tackle rampant drug-fuelled violence in Central America, including decriminalization of narcotics or establishing a regional court to try traffickers.

"The proposal is decriminalization," Perez said at a regional summit to address security throughout the region. "We are talking about creating a legal framework to regulate the production, transit and consumption of drugs."
The discussion reflects growing concern in Central America about the cost of the war on drugs, which is prompting leaders to take an increasingly independent line from the United States, where officials have repeatedly rejected legalizing narcotics.

A retired general, Perez won election in November 2011 promising to crack down on organized crime. But he shifted from his hard-line message shortly after taking office in January, calling for a more open debate on drug policy.

"It's important this is on the discussion table as an alternative to what we've been doing for 40 years without getting the desired results," he said, noting that decriminalization would erode drug cartels' profits. (Chivis says;  "erode drug cartels profits"? He ought to ask his pal Calderon how decriminalization ,enacted in Mexico in 2009, is working for Mexico! more info here)


The president added that Central American leaders are considering requiring the United States, the biggest consumer of South American cocaine, to pay the region for drug raids.

"We're talking about economic compensation for every seizure undertaken and also the destruction of marijuana and cocaine plantations," said Perez, a 61-year-old conservative.

Guatemala's murder rate has nearly doubled since 2000 due in part to brutal Mexican drug cartels extending their reach south.

In May 2011, the feared Zetas gang beheaded 27 farm workers in northern Guatemala in a dispute with the farm's owner over cocaine moving from South America to the United States.

Another alternative Central American leaders are mulling is setting up a court with jurisdiction for the region that would hear crimes related to the drug trade like kidnapping, contract killing, and trafficking of people and arms, Perez added.

"This would give breathing space to the justice system because it would relieve pressure on our courts," he said, adding that the court would have its own penal system.

CAUGHT IN THE SANDWICH

Regional leaders in countries affected by drug violence have called for more open debate on other solutions to the problem.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon, to whom Perez has turned for advice on confronting the cartels, has called on Washington to take more responsibility for reducing demand for drugs, and has said he is open to debates about legalization.

Calderon has been mired in a costly struggle since he launched an army-led crackdown on the drug gangs shortly after taking office in late 2006. Drug violence has spiked since then, claiming some 50,000 lives in Mexico.

Colombian President Juan Santos, whose country produces much of the cocaine shipped north, has also demanded a new approach.

Washington has defended the war on drugs and in recent visits to the region U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano rejected Perez's legalization pitch, citing a fall in Colombia's murder rate.

Perez, the founder of Guatemala's right-wing Patriot Party, said Central America was paying too heavy a price for the war.

"Our countries are not producers or consumers of drugs," he said. "We are in the middle of the sandwich."

In the past two months alone, Guatemala has confiscated more than 1,000 kilos (2,200 pounds) of cocaine valued at roughly $10,000 per kilo, and destroyed nearly $1 billion worth of poppy plants.
To read further information on the Central American drugwar see the post of March 23 HERE

LA Times has an article today of the Central American Presidential Summit 2 of the 5 invited presidents were a no-show see full article HERE

2 dead, 1 wounded in firefight in Veracruz state

By Chris Covert
Rantburg.com

One armed suspect was killed and another was found dead in a joint Mexican security forces operation in southeastern Veracruz state Thursday, according to news releases posted on the Mexican Army and Mexican Navy websites.


Elements from the Mexican 26th Military Zone, an unidentified Naval Infantry unit and Veracruz state police agents had been dispatched to a location near Poblacion de Pacho Viejo along the Xalapa-Coetepec highway where an anonymous compliant said armed men were.  One air force, two navy and one Veracruz state police helicopters supported the operation as well.

Security forces came under small arms fire from an undetermined number of armed suspects.  Return fire killed one  unidentified Los Zetas operative.  At the location security forces also found one dead body in a vehicle, and another individual who had been severely beaten, but who was still alive.  The survivor was evacuated from the location for medical attention.

Security forces also found two stolen vehicles, two AR-15 rifles, one 14 gauge shotgun and weapons magazines and ammunition.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com