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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Secret Government Study Exposes Infiltration Attempts by Mexican Drug Cartels

bordeland beat

The Examiner

A government study kept under wraps for more than a year describes at least 15 attempts by Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.

An internal study for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security describes 15 incidents in which known associates of Mexican drug cartels tried to inflitrate the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.
The same study detailed "turf battles, internal dysfunction and other troubles" that have hobbled the agency in its efforts "to get a handle on corruption and other misconduct within its ranks," CIR said.

The internal study was conducted by the Homeland Securities and Analysis Institute, which is an internal think tank for DHS. The study has been kept under wraps for more than a year, according to CIR. The study's authors said there may have been many more attempts by drug cartels to infiltrate the U.S. government in addition to the 15 discussed in their document.

"As part of lie detector tests, prospective hires have admitted to drug trafficking, human smuggling and other illegal activity, according to examples the agency previously provided to the Center for Investigative Reporting," CIR said.

"One applicant told examiners that he smuggled 230 people across the border and shuttled drug dealers around border towns so they could conduct their business," CIR said. "Another admitted to various crimes, including transporting $700,000 in drug money and 50 kilograms of cocaine across the Southwest border."

A total of 146 agency officers and agents have been charged with or convicted of corruption-related offenses since Oct. 1, 2004. Among the offenses charged were accepting bribes to allow drugs to enter the U.S. and stealing tax money.

Go here for CIR's complete report on the study.

Miami therapist headed to prison for Medicare fraud
A 35-year-old Miama-area therapist is going to federal prison for four years for her role in a $205 million Medicare fraud scheme exposed by the Inspector-General of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Nickole Eckert was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz in the Southern District of Florida. Seitz also ordered Eckert to pay more than $72 million in restitution to the government (jointly and severally with her co-defendants), and to serve three years of supervised release. Eckert was convicted Nov. 15, 2012, on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud following a 16-day trial.

"Evidence at trial demonstrated that the defendant and her co-conspirators caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare through ATC, a Florida corporation headquartered in Miami that operated purported partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) in seven different locations throughout South Florida and Orlando," according to the Department of Justice.

A PHP is a form of intensive treatment for severe mental illness. The defendant and her co-conspirators also used a related company, American Sleep Institute, to submit fraudulent Medicare claims, DOJ said.

"Evidence at trial revealed that Eckert fabricated therapist notes and other documents for patient files and submissions, and taught others to fabricate them, to make it appear both that ATC patients were qualified for PHP treatment and that they were receiving the intensive, individualized treatment PHP is supposed to be," the department said.

Eckert's conviction is the latest of hundreds resulting from creation of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force in 2009. To date, 1,480 individuals and corporations have been charged with fraudulent billings worth more than $4.8 billion. The MFSF includes elements from DOJ, HHS, the HHS-IG and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid in HHS.

First Gendarmaria Nacional forces deploy to western Chihuahua

By Chris Covert

A new security operation set to begin in 30 days in western Chihuahua will include elements of the new Gendarmaria Nacional police, according to Mexican news accounts.
Foto: Twitter

According to a news story posted on the website of El Mexicano news daily Chihuahua governor Cesar Duarte Jacquez announced Thursday that a large security operation would begin in the sierras of western Chihuahua state centered around Guachochi municipality

According to the account the security operation would include federal, state and local security forces, including the new Gendarmaria Nacional.  The Gendarmaria Nacional is the centerpiece of Mexico's latest security strategy. The new operation was discussed during what was termed in the article as a security roundtable attended by several northern Mexico state governors and federal security officials.

The announcement, made by Governor Durate in Guachochi municipality, probably refers to the security meeting held last Saturday in an Chihuahua, Chihuahua airport hangar.  That meeting was attended by Procuraduria General la Republica (PGR) or attorney general, Jesus Murillo Karam, Secretaria de Defensa Nacional (SEDENA) General Cepeda Salvador Cienfuegos, Secretaria de Marina (SEMAR) Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberon Sanz, undersecretary of the interior for Security Manuel Mondragon y Kalb, as well as governors of Sinaloa, Baja California, Baja California Sur and Sonora states.

What was specifically discussed in that meeting was not disclosed to the press, although the governors in attendance were placed on notice that things have changed with the newly elected government of President Enrique Pena Nieto.

President Enrique Pena

According to a separate news report which appeared on the website of Sin Embargo news, part of the operation will include conducting checkpoints at specific locations in the region, which is already established practice in some Mexican Army commands.

The area around Guachochi municipality is included in the command area of the Mexican 42nd Military Zone, which maintains at least one infantry company sized base in the region.

It should be noted that last May, during the Choix, Sinaloa shootouts, it was reported in Mexican news agencies that drug gang  shooters from Sinaloa had exfiltrated from Choix municipality into western Chihuahua to escape Mexican Army and naval infantry counter operations in the area.  By this writer's count, a total of 56 individuals were killed in May in northern Sinaloa state that month, making it one of the bloodiest battles in Mexican Drug War history.

Gangs rob at least five buses in Durango

By Chris Covert

At least five buses have been robbed at gunpoint near a northeast Durango municipality near La Laguna since last Sunday, according to Mexican enws accounts.

A news report which appeared last Monday on the website of El Mexicano news daily said that a group of athletes from Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez (UACJ) were stopped by armed suspects in Cuencame de Ceniceros municipality, and stripped of cell phones and cash.

Cuencame de Ceniceros is on Mexico Federal Highway 40 40 kilometers south west of La Laguna.  In the Sunday attack, one of the bus drivers were reported hurt. Armed suspects riding aboard a truck forced the three buses carrying the students to stop.

A news report which appeared on Yancuic news website by Richard Ibarra, said that the attacks began last Tuesday which do not line up with the El Mexicano account, which said one attack took place on Sunday

In the Yancuic account, the office of the Durango Fiscalia General del Estado (FGE) or state attorney general said one of the attacks took place near the village of Chocolate early Tuesday morning.

When Mexican federal security forces arrived at the Chocolate location, they found five vehicles, an abandoned truck, passengers and a driver.  The Yancuic account also said another two public buses were robbed as well. 

Additionally, a truck was attacked with small arms in Gomez Palacio Thursday, but no one was reported hurt in that attack.

Meanwhile in Torreon, Coahuila four more dead were found bringing the total murdered in Torreon to 42.

According to several news reports posted on the website of El Diario de Coahuila news daily, three individuals were found shot to death near the intersection of Calle Joaquin Moreno and Avenida Juarez in Torreon.  The dead were identified as Jesus Humberto Martinez Escarcega, 25, Alexis, 17, and Claudia Berenice Guzman Reyes, 30.

In other news, in perhaps the most stark statement to date of the security situation, the Durango FGE was forced to admit that security operations ion the Durango side of La Laguna are no longer under the control of her office.

A press report brief which appeared on the website of El Siglo de Torreon news daily reported the remarks of Lt. Adelaido Flores Diaz, director of Torreon Direccion de Seguridad Publica Municipal, as saying Seguro Laguna was now in operation. 

Seguro Laguna was the name of the now cancelled security program which operated in the region between October 2011 and November 30th 2012.  The then Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB) or interior minister Alejandro Poire cancelled the operation when violent crime fell in the area.

The decision to cancel Seguro Laguna left Durango governor Jorge Herrera Caldera practically screaming in the press for federal security assistance.  The only federal response since last December was to close Centro de Readaptcion Social Numero 2 in Gomez Palacio, before a decision was made to reintroduce federal security forces, such as army, naval infantry and Policia Federal units to the region.  The decision to close the CERESO, made by new SEGOB Miguel Osorio Chong, has complicated state security efforts, now that detainees must be taken to the Durango state capital 150 kilometers away.

In a brief statement to the press Durango FGE Sonia Yadira Garza Fragoso said that Seguro Laguna was no longer in operation and that the Mexican Army now solely controls security operations in the region.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Police on the Run in Mexico

borderland beat

For more than 48 hours armed men held the entire town of Marcos Castellanos hostage, killing two people and kidnapping a police officer. After the attack most of the police force resigned - poorly paid police throughout the country are often victims of the violence they themselves try to battle. Lack of training and equipment means they are no match for criminal gangs.

Al Jazeera's Rachel Levin reports from Castellanos, Mexico.

Durango governor claims La Laguna violent crime down 40 percent

By Chris Covert

Less than 10 days after most of their police force were eliminated, the municipalities of the Durango side of La Laguna are beginning to restart their security programs, even as political concerns about security in Durango and Coahuila states are being aired, according to Mexican news accounts.

A news report posted on the website of El Siglo de Durango news daily said that 40 police trainees from Durango state and four police agents from the Durango state Direccion Municipal de Seguridad Publica have volunteered to go to La Laguna to begin assisting in security operations.

The 40 volunteers represent more than half the class of 75 students from the Durango city based Academia de Policia, said Comision de Seguridad Publica, Lidia Hernandez.

Concerns about security in La Laguna from Durango state legislators have increased in recent days, enough so that a meeting has been scheduled with Durango state Fiscalia General del Estado (FGE) or state attorney general Sonia Yadira De la Garza Rosso Antonio Fragoso and the state Chamber of Deputies Comision de Seguridad Publica del Congreso del Estado to address those concerns.
Gob. Herrera Caldera

For his part Durango governor Jorge Herrera Caldera was quoted in another El Siglo de Durango news report posted Wednesday that the levels of violence which increased by 40 percent in December, 2012, have fallen back to pre December levels, this even with a near total lack of police protection in Ciudad Lerdo.

Governor Herrera said that the reduction of crime rates have taken place in the last ten days with the assistance of federal and state security forces in the area.

Meanwhile in Torreon, Coahuila a business group, Consejo Lagunero de la Iniciativa Privada (CLIP), has criticized Governor Herrera that Mexican Army forces from the 10th Military Zone are covering only the five municipalities of La Laguna, requested that the governor accept patrols from the VI Military Region, which patrol responsibilities include the 12 other municipalities comprising the Coahuila side of La Laguna.

According to a news report posted on the website of news website, the group's leader, Eduardo Castañeda, said the request would place all of La Laguna under a single military command.

In previous iterations of security programs in La Laguna the VI Military Region was assigned command of all security operations in the region before the security program, dubbed Seguro Laguna, was cancelled November 30th, 2012.

Castañeda charged that Governor Herrera has prevented army units from the 10 Military Zone from expanding its patrol area of responsibility to include municipalities on the Coahuila side of the area.

Castañeda also said it was impractical to deal with an army command hundred of miles away, in this case the III Military Region in the port city of Mazatlan in Sinaloa, when the VI Military Region, based in Torreon,  just across the border, could assume patrol duties in the region.

Coahuila PAN state senator Guillermo Anaya Llamas criticized Castañeda's concern about the desirability of a single security command in La Laguna, and he charged that Castañeda was not interested in the problem of insecurity in La Laguna.  He  also characterized the security problem in la Laguna as "complicated".

According to the translation, Anaya Llamas was quoted as saying, "We see that the president does not have the slightest interest to solve the problem of insecurity in La Laguna."

Meanwhile the Durango Vice Fiscalia based in Ciudad Lerdo reported that a firefight between a combined security patrol  and armed suspects  took place on a road between Ciudad Lerdo and Tlahualilo Saturday afternoon, killed one armed suspect and forced a second suspect to surrender.

According to a news item posted on the website of El Contexto de Durango news daily, the patrol comprising Mexican Army, Polica Estatal Acreditable (PEA) and Direccion Estatal de Investigacion (DEI) units was passing near ejido Santa Cruz de Luján when the patrol was fired on.  Security elements dismounted their vehicles in response and then returned fire killing one.

The dead suspect was identified as Manuel Arturo Meraz Gaytan, 23.  Lucio Gonzalez Villa, 36 was detained at the scene.  One .45 caliber pistol was seized and several packages of marijuana divided for retail sale were also secured.

The unit continued on its way to ejido Jauja where it came upon a vehicle with two unidentified dead men inside.  Both men had been shot to death.

The report notes that combined patrols such as the one which fought the two armed suspects are now standard in La Laguna.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for

Kombo Kolombia: Possible Link to Zetas, CDG Accused of the Killings

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat

The video below for Reporte Indigo, was released yesterday.  The video is in Spanish so I have pulled facts from the video to create an overview in English.  If you are English only I would recommend you view the video anyway as it contains an influx of video and still footage.

The second video is an interview by  María Julia Fountain in Milenio Radio,  of Maria Cristina Saenz Villanueva, mother of Saul Reynoso Saenz, whose body was identified yesterday.  Anguish is detected in her voice as she describes her loss, her son, and her dismay of her treatment by authorities. 

Note that this interview was before the body of her son was identified so hope remained in her heart that he was not with the group and still alive.  He was identified yesterday as one of the bodies.  He was 30 years old
Reporte Indigo:
Authorities of Nuevo Leon have investigated as a probable motive of the kidnapping and execution of the members of the group Kombo Kolombia, a possible connection with drug trafficking.  While the cartel CDG, aka Cartel del Gulfo is suspected of the mass killing.
One of the lines of investigation of the PGJE is pointing to a possible connection to the cartel known as Los Zetas.
Sources claim the disappearance of the 16 musicians and 4 helpers could be part of the war between the zetas and the CDG in Nuevo Leon, but the mass execution mainly subscribe to  the dispute that these two drug cartels maintain for the route of the road 'Monterrey – Monclova' that connect the states of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila.
The bodies that have been taken out one by one were found half naked, and presented signs of torture and coup de grace in the head. Authorities surmise they were executed by their kidnappers shortly after being taken. (the witness reported they were beaten, shot and thrown into the well by 2s)
The band is said to have played at Topo Chico penitentiary, arranged by Zetas
The Governor Rodrigo Medina revealed that the that the bodies found, 17 as of today, belong to the musicians. (there are rumors that the well was possibly used for disposing victims of other killings) 
Kombo Kolombia performed live in dance halls and night clubs found in Monterrey and the metropolitan area that form part of the drug distribution net of the zetas. Among these places,  stand out night clubs as El Sabino Gordo, Internacional and Dorado Saloon, have been the location of previous  attacks by hit men of the Gulf Cartel, as the locations are considered as a financial net of the zetas.
A high caliber  official  reports that the zetas in Monterrey supported the musicians by booking them performances and gained  contracts with the bars that paid protection fees to the  criminal group
Also being investigated are the performances  of Kombo Kolombia in private parties that members of the zetas organize in Monterrey and even performances in the penitentiary of Topo Chico in Monterrey.
Most of the members of the kombo Kolombia are inhabitants of the colonia Independencia, home of the movement of Colombian music or ‘Vallenato’ in Monterrey, but it is also a neighborhood where drug trafficking has put down roots and has become a source of hit men of organized crime, mainly for the zetas cartel.
The death of the members of the Kombo Kolombia adds to the number of murders of other musicians and singers that have been executed for possible nexus with organized crime in Mexico.
On this list are “Sergio Vega”, “el shaka”, and “Sergio Gomez”, of the band Kpaz de la Sierra.
Last year in Nuevo Leon, 5 members of the rap group Mente in Blanco were executed in the municipality of San Nicolas by hit men linked to CDG, today is the turn of the musicians of Kombo Kolombia.

“My son has fear, he said that this was his last gig”

Mother of Saul Piña Reynoso Saenz (Maria Cristina Saenz Villanueva) via telephone:
Question: Did your son told you about who had hired them for the performance last Thursday on the municipality of Hidalgo on the bar la Carreta?
The boss of the group with alias Vallenato, was who received the call and was arranged to meet at one place,  but then they were taken to this place, La Carreta. I went to that place and saw the things, the instruments, the trucks were with the doors wide open, the truck/bus that carried the instruments was also there, open. It was painful to see the place.

I am tired of this situation; I have lost faith; I don’t know what to do, my son was a good person, he wasn’t involved in anything bad.
Question: Had your son tell you about any problem or threat that they had received or that he wanted to retire from the music world?....... -continues on next page-

Police Agencies in La Laguna support El Chapo

Proceso (1-29-2013)

Patricia Davila

Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat

A "diagnostic" (sic) report prepared by the coordinators of the Secure Laguna Operation (Operativo Laguna Segura) details the modus operandi of the criminal group led by Daniel Garcia Avila in the Lagunera Region, and the way the Cabreras -- Chapo Guzman's allies in the area -- have been driving them into a corner with the suspected complicity of the local police agencies. When questioned about this matter, the Durango State Prosecutor, Sonia Yadira de la Garza, asserted that it's "impossible."

MEXICO, D.F. (Proceso).-- An analysis prepared by the coordinators of the Secure Laguna Operation (OLS: Operativo Laguna Segura), provided to Proceso by a military commander who asked that his name not be used, holds that Chapo's people have concentrated on creating a security perimeter around the cities of Gomez Palacio and Lerdo to prevent Daniel Garcia Avila's, "El Danny",  people from getting outside the "fence" and "contaminating" the rest of Durango.

And, even as his organization -- which at other times controlled the sale of drugs, robberies, kidnappings, vehicle theft and murders in Gomez Palacio, Lerdo and Torreon-- was forced to retreat, El Danny was complaining because, he says, the police agencies are purging the territory so the Sinaloa Cartel can take over the area.

Interviewed on this matter, Sonia Yadira de la Garza, Attorney General of the State of Durango, asserts: It's "impossible" that the police agencies that are participating in OLS are supporting Guzman Loera's people. Nevertheless, she admits that El Danny, originally from Gomez Palacio, exercised control over the municipal police agencies and the local prison in Gomez Palacio, which closed its doors this past December 20 (2012).

--How do you describe the situation that exists in La Laguna de Durango? --she's asked.

--Compared to the situation that existed a year ago, or to 2010, when inmates would leave the jail at night to murder people, the situation has improved. What has taken place in the Lagunera region of Durango, more than attacks on the citizenry or on businessmen, is the rivalry between groups, especially the attacks against personnel in the Attorney General's office and the Federal Police.

De la Garza explains that on December 17, with support from federal agents, members of the Army and the State Police, 163 inmates were transferred from the Gomez Palacio Corrections Facility (Cereso). 137 of them were inmates convicted of federal crimes and 26 had been convicted under state law. The first group was incarcerated in the Guadalupe Victoria and Sonora prisons; the second group went into the Durango Cereso 1 prison.

The following day, some of the prison guards didn't show up to work, leading relatives of some of the transferred inmates to stage a protest; a prison guard and a civilian set fire to two State Police vehicles and a truck loaded with materials in the parking lot of the prison.

The inmates, in turn, staged a riot to escape and, they said, avoid being sent to another prison. They took several guards hostage and, in the fighting, killed nine of them. Sixteen inmates were also killed. The authorities decided to close down the prison and transfer the rest of the inmates to other prisons.

Purges and riots

Several of the transferred inmates provided the authorities more elements of proof on the suspected participation of municipal police agencies and the commanders of those agencies. This is why, says Prosecutor  De la Garza, the uniformed officers were disarmed and were sent for training to the military installations in El Salto Pueblo Nuevo.

Subsequently "arrest orders were issued against 155 of them. On Tuesday, the 22nd, 64 were issued orders of preventative incarceration (arraigo); the rest were released.

--Were they working for the criminal organization known as "Los Dannys"?

--That's a criminal group led by two individuals who operate in the Lagunera region, in Lerdo as well as in Gomez Palacio, as in a part of Torreon. One of them is Daniel Garcia Avila, who is called 'El Danny"; the other one is Arturo Bardales Diaz, "El Alfa".  The police who have been arrested say they belong to the Pacific Cartel. That's how we have it documented in the criminal investigation.

According to these documents, almost 30 inmates belonging to the Los Dannys group operated inside the Gomez Palacio prison. They controlled the sale of liquor and drugs, and the night excursions by sicarios to kill and extort (outside the jail). One of the leaders was a brother of El Danny, nicknamed "El Junior", and his nephews Gabriel and Jacobo Ovalle Zuniga, who, after leaving the prison, continued to exert control from outside.

"We are aware that El Danny and El Alfa led a small gang of criminals that operated in the region between 2007 and 2008. As their power grew, their actions got more violent. During that period, they were active in the Torreon neighborhoods of La Duranguena and La Polvareda. However, they began to challenge the Zetas for the city. That's what triggered the violence."

--To what extent have the Zetas been pushed out of Torreon?

--Federal authorities have made important gains, to the extent of making them retreat to Matamoros. The real advance, I don't know; that's the responsibility of the Coahuila authorities.

--It's said that the Cabreras, from the Sinaloa Cartel, who control the rest of the state of Durango, do not like Los Dannys. 

--That's what they have let us, the authorities, know through different messages.

--In these messages, do they also accuse authorities of protecting the Cabreras while attacking them (the Dannys)?

--Yes, but it would be incredible that those Cabrera men could control even the military. The work that is being conducted in La Laguna is a joint effort. It would be almost impossible to control all of the authorities.

With respect to the possibility that Los Dannys will not position themselves in the rest of Durango, the prosecutor points out: "The important thing is for no criminal group to operate in the state. We work jointly so that this will not happen." Although she admits that after 2010, when the Nunez's get out of Durango, the Cabreras remained.

"We make arrests for drug dealing on a daily basis. With the work we've been doing, these types of crimes will decrease. In Lerdo and Gomez Palacio more than 100 locations have been identified  where that group maintains a presence."

In the first one, she points out, the gang operates in the neighborhoods that are in back of and in front of the regional attorney general's offices; in the second location, they have established themselves in "San Pancho's little hill" or " the hill with the monument to Pancho Villa",  and in the Colonia Lazaro Cardenas.

On he Torreon side, they operate in La Polvareda and La Duranguena,where they retreated when they were harassed by the Durango law enforcement agencies.

The OLS diagnostic

The criminal diagnostic (analysis) provided by the OLS military commander points out that, "until 2010, La Laguna de Coahuila was controlled by 'Los Zetas,' while Gomez Palacio and Lerdo were under the control of El Danny, who was at that time identified with the Sinaloa Cartel. When Margarita Rojas Rodriguez was the warden (of the Cereso), (El Danny) maintained control over the Cereso 2 (prison) in Gomez Palacio.

"Also, on instructions from this person, an armed group of inmates would go out from the prison at night to carry out executions, using official vehicles and weapons assigned to prison guards. And when the warden was arrested, he retained control of the prison."

According to the document, after the arrest of Sergio Villarreal Barragan, "El Grande", in September, 2010, there was a vacuum in La Laguna, which facilitated El Danny's move to Torreon, where he gradually took control, even though he belonged to a local gang.

In a short time, El Danny controlled everything: drug sales, extortion, protection rackets, auto theft, kidnappings, but above all, he took control over the Gomez Palacio and Lerdo police agencies.

According to the OLS, the leader of the Cartel in Gomez Palacio and Lerdo is led by El Danny, who is also known as "El Tio" (the Uncle). Directly under him are Gabriel Zuniga Ovalle, El Delta and El Alfa.

El Delta in turn has under his command Jacobo Ovalle Zuniga, "El Rambo": Oscar Centeno Vela, "El Negro" or "El Grillo"; Marco Antonio Ordonez Jaramillo, "El Taliban"; Ignacio Quinonez Ramirez, "El Nacho", and Carlos Alejandro Chaires Marrufo, "El Mow."

El Alfa, originally from Lerdo, has Luis Horacio Graciano Espino, "El Chivo"; Jesus Eduardo Ale Chavero, "El Guero Blas"; Rafael Graciano Espino, "El Cabezon"; and another man they call "La Cuita."

The document obtained by Proceso mentions various points for drug sales in Gomez Palacio: one is located in Abastos Blvd and Rebollo Acosta Street, in front of the Central de Abasto (Supply Center). It's a shop with a sign on the front that reads "brakes, tune-ups and suspension" in red paint. It has two entrances, the front entrance is off of Rebollo Acosta (Street) and the other is in the back.

The owner's name is Luis and he's a friend of Rafael Graciano Espino, who drives a beige Stratus. According to the report, the business manufactures trailers that are used to transport drugs, weapons and money.  

The gang sometimes uses the facilities at the Gomez Palacio fairgrounds. They organize meetings there and secure their vehicles. The Municipal Police provides them with protection, says the diagnostic report. Gunmen (sicarios) who work for El Danny sometimes gather in a seafood place located on the corner of Jose Rebollo and Periferico, especially when it involves decisions to take action against some police agency.

In Lerdo, El Danny's home is located in Gladiolas Street. The house has an electronic gate and is painted white on front. On that same street, he has a hamburger stand and a grocery store.

In addition, according to the report,  he's got a business on Guadalupe Victoria Boulevard where he takes stolen vehicles to be dismantled.

"In Lerdo, there are several points where cocaine and capsules are sold. One is on Argentina Street, near Francisco I. Madero Blvd; another is on East Aldama, corner of Juan E. Garcia...At the same time,  El Danny has two distribution points on Violeta and Alcatraz Streets that his brothers control," reads the document.

"...In the Colonia San Fernando, in front of Nuevo Leon Street -- on a corner --, there is a house with two gates: one yellow and the other one red. It's property of Arturo Bardales Diaz, "El Alfa", the Lerdo plaza boss. This place is used (by members of the gang) as a safe house; that's where they take the people they kidnap."

It also points out that El Chiquis, one of El Danny's collaborators, has a yard at the entrance to Lerdo, about where the company called Cibisa is located. (El Chiquis) is light skinned, cuts his hair military style  and rides a black Yamaha motorcycle. He's in charge of El Guarache, Alvaro Obregon, San Carlos, Centauro, Villa Juarez, Las Cuevas and Las Piedras neighborhoods.

In Torreon, one of the locations for the sale of rock, marijuana and pills -- products that the gang controls --is located on the corner known as La Rinco, in Colonia Industria. At the spot where a virgin is located, "you stop and the drug pushers approach all by themselves", the document points out.

Another one is on Gustavo A. Madero and 7th Street, in Colonia La Polvareda; drug pushers usually hide out in that area when there's a police operation. El Rambo uses this place occasionally to pay off gunmen, who get between 4,000 and 5,000 pesos (approximately $315 to $390) every week.

A third location is in the same neighborhood, on Second St., between Centeno and Fourth; another one in La Esperanza, where a sicario  known as "El Joaquin" or "El Pompas", close to "El Rambo", operates, and another (person) known as "El Pato", who pushes drugs on Durango St. and Escuadron 201.

The OLS analysis includes the Torreon sales locations; one in Colonia La Victoria and another in (Colonia) Luis Echeverria, on Eulalio Gutierrez Street. (The report) also gives the location of a house where El Danny occasionally takes cover.

More Mantas Appear in Acuña and Piedras Negras

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat
Manta in Acuña photo credit TexPatNMex
 Three mantas were discovered today in the municipality of Acuña, the Coahuila state that is adjacent to Del Rio Texas.
The issue as stated in the mnatas surround the appointment by the governor, Rueben Moreira, of Jose Antonio Camp Arredondo to head a newly formed agency yet to be named that will work separately from the municipal police, to police cities such as Piedras Negras. 
On its face it sounds an effective move to counter the well-known corruption in narco controlled  municipalities, however if the mantas displayed in the early hours of today are to be believed it is as though the fox will be guarding the hen house.
The mantas were placed on 3 bridges, across from a school on Mateos Boulevard, the name of the school is Guadalupe Victoria, and on the Hidalgo bridge as well as the bridge on Emilio Mendoza Cisneros highway.
Mantas bearing the same text appeared in Piedras Negras.
This manta is difficult to translate as phrasing includes sayings that make no sense to English speakers.  The lead in sentence means “This person with the innocent face, is far from innocent, and he is the man the governor wants sent to Piedras Negras”, the manta contends the man to lead the new police agency  has a corrupt history of wrongdoings.
“This is the person with a face of : I didn’t break the dish, but he breaks more,  he is whom GOVERNOR MOREIRA wants to send to Piedras Negras to create  leaders of the new police he wants to establish.  which has neither a defined name, but one name is this man:
called Jose Antonio Campa Arredondo, alias 'El Campanita'; He was Director of the Municipal preventive police in Cuernavaca, Morelos. "On October 2 last year was fired for links with drug trafficking, because he was subjected to a few tests  of confidence in Cuernavaca and he failed”.  (usually a polygraph)

I think this is the text or close in Spanish (from TexPat)

MOREIRA kiere mandar para piedras negras para que sea el lider fundador o pionero de la POLICIA nueva que kiere hacer, ke ni tiene nombre definido. pero el ke si tiene nombre es este er se llama jose antonio campa arredondo alias "campanita" fue director policia municipal preventiva de cuernavaca morelos. el 2 de octubre del año pasado fue dado de baja k nexos con el narcotrafico, y por causa de eso fue sometido a unos examenes de confianza en cuernavaca. mismos que no aprobo. MOREIRA SOLO KIERE UN RATERO MAS PARA SU GABINETE.....
Sources: friends in Acuña and TexPatNMex

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Proposal advances in Mexico to limit preventative detentions to 8 days

By Chris Covert

A new law is advancing in the Mexican national legislature which could limit preventative detentions to eight days, according to Mexican news accounts.

A news report which appeared on the website of El Sol de Mexico news daily last Saturday said that Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) deputy coordinator of the senate, Arturo Zamora Jimenez, Mexican senators are discussing limiting the prosecutorial maneuver of arriago, or preventative detentions to just eight days.
Arturo Zamora Jimenez

Current law permits Mexico's Procuraduria General de la Republica (PGR) or national attorney general to detain suspected criminals for up to 40 days without charge or trial.  The maneuver is colloquially known in Mexico as "rooting", and is typically used against suspected drug traffickers and corrupt government officials.

Arraigo can only be imposed with the consent of a Mexican federal judge and can be extended under certain conditions for up to 80 days.

According to a news report which appeared on the website of Animal Politico news website Saturday, Zamora Jimenez said that the law violates Article 17 of the Mexican Constitution which limits detentions by the PGR to just 48 hours.  The procedure, according to the senator violates criminal defendants right to a speedy trial.

Mexico has a Napoleonic law which means that criminal defendants who are detained begin serving time for their crime immediately, but may be released if they can prove their innocence.

According to the article, Zamora Jimenez wants to limit use of arraigo to only drug traffickers and organized crime defendants.

During the term of President Felipe Calderon, drug traffickers could and were routinely  be held incommunicado on military bases until the investigation of the prosecutor was complete.  Arraigo has been used against government officials as well. In the case of the massacres in La Laguna during 2010, prison officials in Durango's Centro de Readaptacion Social Numero 2 prison in Gomez Palacio, Durango, were detained for 20 days after it was learned that they had spent months permitting prisoners passes at night in order to attack Los Zetas facilities in La Laguna.  Those series of massacres cost the lives of more than 30 individuals in 2010.

Prison director Margarita Rojas Rodriguez was ordered detained for 20 days, and then was sentenced three months later to serve time in a prison in Nayarit.  Ten other officials were eventually sentenced for their tole in the massacres as well.

Another example of the use of arraigo is Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, AKA Diego, one of the bloodiest capos in Mexican Drug War history, who was ordered detained for 40 days for his role in more than 1,500 murders during his reign of terror between 2007 and 2011 in Chihuahua state.

Arraigo is part of the Mexican Article 139 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the State, and not part of the Mexican Constitution.  Part of the law, according to an article entitled El Arraigo es Opesto al Principio de Presuncion de Inocencia, or Rooting is opposed to the principle of presumption of Innocense, found on the website of  by Laura Patricia Ramirez Molina, only freedom of movement of the detainee may be constricted.  The government is not allowed to seize property, but is only allowed to detain the suspects for the time period to enable prosecutors to complete their investigation.  In practice, prosecutors also limit detainees contact with the outside during the term of their detention.

In the article Ramirez Molina proposed the use of electronic means of tracking criminal suspects detained under arraigo.

The article can be found here (PDF download).

According to the article, Ramirez Molina said that arraigo violates Articles 14, 16 and 19 of the Mexican Constitution.  It should be noted that Mexican criminal procedure in practice doesn't allow the presumption of innocence in that criminal defendants must prove their innocence.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for

The end of the Coronel clan

Rio Doce (January 28, 2013)

Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat

On Saturday, January 19, Jose Angel Carrasco Coronel was arrested by the Army, and his detention dims the Canelas, Durango, lineage that, under the leadership of Ignacio Coronel Villareal, at one time controlled large swaths of drug trafficking in Mexico.

He was on the run. Pursued by the federal government since the death of Ignacio Coronel Villareal, he had to take refuge in his native land, Durango, and operate from there for his new mafia boss, Joaquin Guzman Loera.

Jose Angel Carrasco Coronel, also known as "El Changel" and "El Cero Cinco" ("0-5"), was born in El Potrerito de Carrasco, Canelas, Durango, on November 3, 1969, and joined the ranks of Nacho Coronel from a very early age, for whom he worked first in his home territory and then in Jalisco.

According to information from Sedena, from Jalisco, Carrasco Coronel directed the transport of drugs in Michoacan, Oaxaca and Chiapas, and through connections with drug traffickers in Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Nicaragua, Belice, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

He held management positions in Jalisco, but the pressure pushed him towards his home territory. Upon the death of Coronel Villareal and that of his brother Mario Carrasco Coronel the next day, he was left in charge of his uncle's organization. He created the criminal organization "Nueva Generacion" (New Generation) and fought the war against the Zetas who, allied with the "Cartel del Milenio" (Millennium Cartel), were harassing the area.

But he ran out of luck. The night of the 18th, a convoy in which Jose Angel Carrasco was traveling ran into an Army patrol in the vicinity of El Espinal, Sanalona township.

They couldn't avoid the military patrol and chose to confront them. "El Changel" fell with a bullet wound to the head, along with another one of his companions, last name Meza. They took them to the ISSSTE clinic (social security clinic), where the soldiers installed a fortress. Carrasco Coronel was identified immediately, hence the security measures.

The other wall was the silence. Officially, nothing was known until days later, when General Moises Melo Garcia, commander of the Third Military Region, confirmed the name Carrasco Coronel for the press. Both men were turned over to the PGR (Attorney General).

That suspicious release...

They had already detained him in Atlajomulco de Zuniga, Jalisco, on March 14, 2009, during a confrontation between cells belonging to Nacho Coronel and state police and Mexican Army forces. Six other individuals were picked up along with him.

The detentions took place when elements of the State Police and the 15th Military Zone arrived at a casino where someone had reported that several armed men were firing weapons. It was the "Durangos", as they were known in the narco language. A man by the name of Alejandro Chaidez Garcia died in the confrontation and five weapons were secured.

But the six individuals were released hours later. So strong were the connections between the Coronels and the State Police that the police argued that they had not found any weapons on them when they arrested them. Thus, there was no crime to prosecute. They set them free "because of legal reservations."  

The federal Deputy Secretary of Public Security at the time, Francisco Niembro, was already bragging that "El Changel" had been captured when they told him that he had been released "for lack of evidence." Arrested with "El Changel" on that occasion were  Javier Carrasco Meza, 43 years old , Valentin Leon Rodriguez, 30, Jose Manuel Garcia, 43,  Ranulfo Beltran Rosales, 24, Israel Lopez Vizcarra, 32, and a minor whose name was not released.
Six months earlier, in September of 2008, two police officers who claimed to represent one hundred active members of municipal and state police agencies delivered to the journal Proceso a copy of a letter they had sent to the President of Mexico in which they accused the head of the Jalisco Public Security (agency), Luis Carlos Najera Gutierrez, and his principal collaborators of being involved with organized crime.
In the letter, they stated that the government official attended a party in San Juan de Ocotan, Zapopan, accompanied by the directors of the State and Preventive police departments, Alejandro Solorio Arechiga and Fernando Andrade Vicencio, respectively. There, the letter claims, the public officials met with crime leaders such as Juan Jose Esparragoza, "El Azul", "El Matriz" and Nacho Coronel. ...continues on next page

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mexican government reduces violence by not reporting it

Foto: Wikipedia
Thanks to Jennifer Sawiki of for translation help
By Chris Covert

Unreported until last Saturday is the unwritten agreement between the newly elected Mexican federal government and the states that part of President Enrique Pena Nieto's new security strategy will be to reduce the number of reports on violent incidents, according to Mexican press accounts.

According to a news account posted Saturday on the website of Diario de Colima news daily, agreements have been made between the federal government and some state attorneys general that violent incidents will only be reported when "necessary".

Colima governor Mario Anguiano Moreno

Colima governor Mario Anguiano Moreno told the press that studies conducted by the federal government showed that reporting on violence in Mexico's drug war had a "prejudicial effect" on the impact of such events.

According to the translation, Governor Anguiano Moreno said: "I was shown studies showing that at the federal level, to the extent that we as a government are putting the issue of security, we report every time you stop a criminal, rather than contributing to the achievement tranquility, were on the contrary encouraging unrest."

Governor Anguiano Moreno goes on:  "There was an agreement (between the Federation and the states) which will only be reporting of detainees when strictly necessary," he added.

It is unclear how the agreements are affected by federal transparency laws.

To abide by the new federal guidelines Colima Governor Anguiano Moreno will suspend weekly meetings of the Gabinete de Seguridad del Estado, and will report on detentions "only when necessary".

The governor added that while security is important and reports of detentions and deaths will still will be reported, the information may not be as readily available.

Five days ago in a Washington Post opinion piece, director of Human Rights Watch's Americas division,  José Miguel Vivanco, amidst the hysterical language of the human right industry revealed that part of President Pena's security strategy included changing the subject to the economy and away from security matters.

President Pena's government functions under transparency rules passed in the previous 12 years under Partido Accion National (PAN) government, and new rules imposed since the start of his administration.

When the proposed reorganization of the cabinet level Secretaria de Seguridad Publica, moving the agency to under the Secretaria de Gobierno (SEGOB), or interior ministry as a sub agency was put into effect, national legislators put SEGOB on a short leash requiring monthly reports on its activities.

Its first report, however, was a summary detailing detentions and drugs and contraband seized during the previous month,including summaries by the Mexican Army and Navy.  Its second report is likely to like the first and so on.

And while the federal government is under those transparency rules, it does rely on states for its data, and so President Pena's security strategy may be aiming at getting around those rules by ordering state attorneys general to slow walk or obscure information on crimes, or in the case of states which do not have as constrictive transparency laws, not releasing any information at all.

What the new focus on information could do is to create a situation where states that do have transparency laws will be reporting crime and appear to have a crime problem, while those that do not will appear to have less crime.

It is worth noting that this writer has noticed that reported detentions and shootings have declined since the start of President Pena's administration.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for

The Death of M4 Shrouded in Secrecy

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat
The Peña administration makes changes in policy of reporting on the narco war, making it difficult to know what is fact and what is fiction.  M4 is a case in point......
On January 14th rumors were inundating social networks on the pages of Mexican drug war reporting, that Hector Delgado aka “M4” was dead.  On the 15th I posted the story with a disclaimer that concrete facts and confirmation were nonexistent regarding the reports of Delgado’s death.
The reports from citizens were blurred by another firefight that occurred coinciding with the rumors of M4 death.
In the second incident, also involving CDG,  a narco of rank was injured and taken to the hospital for lifesaving measures that failed.  It was rumored to be M4.
It was not.   M4 was killed on January 14, and his body is said to have been retrieved on the 15th and quickly buried.  It was reported to me that it was a Metro on Metro hit.
Aside from the newsworthy fact that a powerful leader of one faction of the ongoing infighting cartel, the fact that his death went without notice in mainstream media was newsworthy in of its self.
One could feel a huge shift in the government’s approach to high profile narco deaths, and it was perplexing and frustrating while attempting to search for information and confirmation.
Then on January 20th came the announcement by Edward Sanchez, the undersecretary to Peña.  He gave a news conference to  announce  the change in federal reporting of narco event, citing that to not instill the new practices “hurts society”, and is “unacceptable”.
No longer will there be:

v  Perp walks and presentations

v  Most Wanted Lists

v  Media will not be allowed to cover events such as raids

v  Will refrain from using monikers when referring to narcos

The undersecretary explained that by using monikers, such as Chapo, glorifies organized crime to impressionable children they may look upon drug trafficking as desirable goal .

I say monikers make little or no difference in the glorification of cartels. My sense is Peña's administration is using excuses for actions that harm society, and in doing so they are betting on people  welcoming and accepting rather than recognizing it is, as a matter of fact, censorship and lack of transparency.

If the Peña administration wishes to make a sincere impact on the lives of children affected by the glorification of 'narcoism',  they would better serve its society by providing  impoverished and marginalized children an education and opportunities whereby they have life choices other rather than joining cartels. 

In a nation with the majority of its people live in poverty, Mexico will not heal until its leaders come in with innovative thinking instead of back to the future of PRI corruption, secrecy, and looking upon impoverished children as just so much acceptable  attrition.

The new policy is not applicable to states which initiate policy for their individual state.  Evidence of ignoring the new federal policy by states has been evident by their continuing "perp" presentations and use of monikers.  The problem arises from the control cartels have over some states and all municipalities that are big players in the war of organized crime groups.  
Below is an excellent article posted in The Monitor written by Ildefonso Ortiz.  It is republished here in its complete text. 
(click on image to enlarge)
Few Details Known in The Quiet Fall of a Feared Gulf Cartel Kingpin
In a world of betrayals and violence, where the fall of a kingpin is typically lauded by Mexican media, the death of a feared drug lord flew under the radar much like his legendary operations. 
The name Hector Delgado sounds unremarkable; the nickname Metro-4 or M4 inspired fear on both sides of the border.
Described as tall, slim, dark and coldblooded, Delgado was known in Mexico as a ruthless enforcer, while law enforcement officials in the U.S. side were well aware of the man’s reputation and his disregard for borders when scores needed to be settled. 
The body of Delgado was found Jan. 15, just days after he had disappeared, said a Tamaulipas law enforcement official who asked not to be identified, citing security concerns. He was believed to have reached his late 30s upon his death. 
“There was some confusion because on that day there had been a firefight and another member of rank in that criminal organization was wounded and died at the hospital,” the official said in Spanish.
A U.S. intelligence official unauthorized to speak to the media confirmed the death of Delgado, adding that he has since been buried beside his brother in Matamoros.
Mexican authorities have not released any information relating to the death of Delgado.
The nickname for Delgado stemmed from his origins in the Gulf Cartel, where at the beginning he was part of the Matamoros enforcement wing known as the Metros — a radio signal which was assigned based on the city they worked in, the Tamaulipas official said.
“In the beginning, that’s how you knew where they were from, Metros were from Matamoros, Rojos were from Reynosa, Lobos were from Laredo and so forth,” the official said. “As things changed, the names stayed but they were all over the place.”
Delgado was born and raised in Matamoros and as time went by his position in the organization grew.
But unlike some of his fellow Metros, like Metro-2 (Gregorio Sauceda) or Metro -3 (Samuel Flores Borrego), who became famous plaza bosses,
Delgado always remained in the shadows working the enforcement side while staying below the radar of authorities.
-continues on next page-

Bodies of Kombo Kolombia Band Found, a Captive Escaped

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat
16 Members and 4 others went missing Thursday at least 8 bodies found
Authorities of Nuevo Leon state performed an intense mobilization in the municipality of Mina on Sunday afternoon after an anonymous call alerted  the whereabouts of the members of the musical group Kombo Kolombia. The group was kidnapped by an armed group last Friday morning.
The police officers received the mysterious call and headed to the location given to them.  At kilometer 92 of the highway to Monclova, a water well (other reports say "mine")  was located and several bodies inside.
      -click to enlarge-
Troopers of the Civil Force, the Mexican Army, and Federal Police secured the area to allow staff of the State Agency of Investigations to perform their work.
The clandestine grave was found near a road to El Espinazo community.
Credible reports indicate that the l bodies have been found in that location. The anonymous call to the authorities also mentioned the bodies were from members of the Kombo Kolombia band.
Other reports mention that the members of the Kombo Kolombia band were tortured and executed. The bodies were dismembered and buried in the clandestine grave.
It was after a private performance on Thursday night that the band disappeared from the city of Hidalgo about 80 miles north of Monterrey and 40 miles south of the US border.  On Friday at 4 AM citizens in the area where the bodies were found hear a series of gunshots and vehicles speeding away.

One unidentified member managed to escape and alert the army.  He reports that they were loaded onto a truck at the La Carreta and taken in front of a well/mine at which time he managed to run and jump into a hole and hide.
Most of the band members lived in Monterrey and at least one is a citizen of Colombia.
It is not known why the group would be targeted, unlike other bands they did not sing narco corridos, songs that glorify drug traffickers.  They stayed away from that genre of music.
Authorities are keep quiet and not sharing details but unofficial reports say at least 8 bodies were found at the site.  Keep in mind authorities have only confirmed that 8 bodies were retrieved so far, other details have been from other sources.
The Band's notebook

La Carreta the site of the private performance

The town of "Mina" where the bodies were found


Jorge Zambrano Domene , government security spokesman for Nuevo Leon confirmed reports on social networks that indeed one victim  managed to escape,  his captors and certain death, as I reported below. Though he had been beaten, as all the victims have been, he was in good condition and led authorities to the clandestine mass grave. 

4 of the bodies were retrieved Sunday when the search for more stopped, for safety reasons, then resumed today.  More bodies were pulled up however reaching the remaining bodies are proving to be a difficult task due to the depth and structure of the well. 

The exact number of bodies remaining is unknown at this time.   Governor Medina stated that clothes were found that match what the band wore for the performance, he did not elaborate on the significance.  No one in authority has confirmed the bodies being dismembered.

El Norte issues this report in their 7AM report:
One of the musicians, the group Kolombia Kombo , got away from the ranch where his companions were executed and later helped the authorities  locate the bodies. The man reported that he escaped his kidnappers and received assistance  from a trucker , who gave him a ride to a gas station.
The musician, who saved his life by his escape, called his family from the gas station and reported the facts asking them to  contact the authorities, he said the kidnappers took the band  members in several trucks  to  kilometer 92 of the highway to Monclova.

The witness reported  that the victims  knelt as their lives were taken  with the "coup de grace "(shot in the head) . The man said he  escaped without the kidnappers realizing he was gone.  He managed to find  assistance with the truck driver, who he told the horrifying story of what occurred.
The musician returned to the crime scene, accompanied by members of the state police .
Federal Police have now joined the investigation and search.

From Billboard Magazine

El Poderoso Kombo Kolombia was a young band that over the past three years had made their name known around Monterrey, Mexico, and the surrounding state of Nuevo León. Possessing a seemingly endless wardrobe of band t-shirts, proclaiming themselves alternatively as El Vallenato y el Poderoso Kombo Kolombia, or just Kombo Kolombia, the group’s twelve members got their name out.
They played continuous live dates and also appeared on regional television programs. Teenage fans danced onstage with them during appearances on “El Club del Italiano,” a music and comedy show.
On a Youtube video with footage from “Futbol al Día,” a local soccer program, the musicians, in band shirts, jeans and white sneakers, groove through “Va Que Va,” one of their most requested songs, with accordion, congas, drums, a horn section, electric guitars, keyboards and scraper backing three vocalists.
 As they wrapped up, the show’s host, a white-haired commentator sitting behind a laptop, put his fists in the air and excitedly shouted “Long live youth!” full article and see videos HERE

12 Bodies Retrieve from Well
Jorge Domene , security spokesman for Nuevo Leon confirms 12 bodies have been retrieved and four have been identified by family members.
The bodies were taken to the Forensic Medical Service and four of them were identified as: Jose Antonio Villarreal, 39, a native of Monterrey,. Einer Ivan Cuellar Perez, a Colombian, keyboardist. Baudelio José Santos López, 38, a native of Monterrey, saxophonist . Santamaría Victor Angel Cruz, 43, a member of staff. He announced that the work continues, it is assumed that there could be more bodies.

Source: El Norte, Neglected War and Chivis