Friday, November 29, 2013

Update or "re-Wake up Call" on Mexican Cartels and Mining in Mexico

Borderland Beat

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican drug cartels looking to diversify their businesses long ago moved into oil theft, pirated goods, extortion and kidnapping, consuming an ever larger swath of the country's economy. 

Mexican drug cartels have muscled in to the country's lucrative mining industry during a mafia-style takeover of great swathes of the economy, officials warned. 

This month, federal officials confirmed the cartels have even entered the country's lucrative mining industry, exporting iron ore to Chinese mills.

Los Zetas enter Coal Business

Such large-scale illegal mining operations were long thought to be mostly wild rumor, but federal officials confirmed they had known about the cartels' involvement in mining since 2010, and that the Nov. 4 military takeover of Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico's second-largest port, was aimed at cutting off the cartels' export trade.

That news served as a wake-up call to Mexicans that drug traffickers have penetrated the country's economy at unheard-of levels, becoming true Mafia-style organizations, ready to defend their mines at gun point.

Three Michoacan state detectives were wounded in an ambush earlier this week when they were traveling to investigate a mine taken over by criminals. 


When reinforcements arrived, those officers were also ambushed, part of a string of attacks on police in Michoacan on Wednesday and Thursday that left two officers dead and about a dozen wounded.

The Knights Templar cartel and its predecessor, the La Familia Michoacan, have been stealing or extorting shipments of iron ore, or illegally extracting the mineral themselves and selling it through Pacific coast ports, said Michoacan residents, mining companies and current and former federal officials. The cartel had already imposed demands for "protection payments" on many in the state, including shopkeepers, ranchers and farmers.

But so deeply entrenched was the cartel connection to mines, mills, ports, export firms and land holders that it took authorities three years to confront the phenomenon head-on. Federal officials said they are looking to crack down on other ports where drug gangs are operating.

"This is the terrible thing about this process of (the cartel's) taking control of and reconfiguring the state," said Guillermo Valdes Castellanos, the former head of the country's top domestic intelligence agency. "They managed to impose a Mafia-style control of organized crime, and the different social groups like port authorities, transnational companies and local landowners, had to get in line."

Valdez Castellanos said that even back in 2010, the La Familia cartel would take ore from areas that were under concession to private mining companies, sometimes with the aid or complicity of local farmers and land owners, then sell the ore to processors, distributors and even, apparently, foreign firms.

Mexico's Economy Department said the problem was so severe that it prompted the government to quietly toughen rules on exporters in 2011 and 2012 and make them prove they received their ore from established, recognized sources.

Many exporters couldn't. In 2012, the department denied export applications from 13 companies, because they didn't meet the new rules. And the problem wasn't just limited to Michoacan, or the Knights Templar cartel.

"Since 2010, evidence surfaced of irregular mining of iron in the states of Jalisco, Michoacan and Colima," the department said in a statement to The Associated Press.

"That illegal activity was encouraged by the great demand for iron by countries such as China, to develop their industries," according to the department. "Many trading companies began to build up big stockpiles of legally and illegally obtained iron (ore), that was later shipped out for export."


A Mexican federal official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the cartels would use a combination of threats and outright theft to get the ore from mines. He said the nexus between the cartels and export companies was key.

"They extort the merchandise from mining companies and then export it through legal companies, or they rob trucks full (of ore) that later turn up in a legal manner, through a distributor, and export it," said the official. "The incredible thing is that they export it, these guys are exporting to South America and Asia."
Ofelia Alcala, a resident of the Michoacan mining village of Aquila, said that since 2012, the Knights Templar cartel demanded residents hand over part of the royalty payments from a local iron ore mine operated by Ternium, a Luxembourg-based consortium. Alcala, a member of a self-defense group that rose up in arms in Aquila this summer to kick the cartel out, said the cartel also had been hiring people to extract the ore without permits, and then exporting it through another Pacific coast port, Manzanillo.

"They weren't content with getting our money and robbing our trucks, so they began secretly extracting our minerals," Alcala said.

Ternium said in a statement that it has received reports of irregular mining near its operations in Aquila.

"Those have been passed on to the appropriate authorities," the company said in a statement.

Government figures show the amount of iron ore being exported to China quadrupled between 2008 and the first half of 2013, rising to 4.6 million tons per year, precisely during the period the La Familia cartel and later the Knights Templar cemented their control over Michoacan.

In 2008, Lazaro Cardenas handled only 1.5 per cent of Mexico's iron ore exports to China; by mid-2013, the seaport was shipping out nearly half.

In 2010, the attorney general's office estimated the cartels shipped 1.1 million tons of illegally extracted iron ore abroad that year.

Officials said the export scheme may have involved other sea ports, and that more military takeovers may be necessary.

Narco Goldmine-Coahuila Coal

The cartel mining issue also resurfaced last year in the coal-mining state of Coahuila bordering Texas. The former governor, Humberto Moreira, called a press conference to claim that Heriberto Lazcano, leader of the Zetas cartel, was running illegal coal mining ventures and partnering with legitimate ones. So far, none of the accusations have been proven.
The only known arrests related to cartel mining operations occurred in Michoacan in 2010, when Ignacio Lopez Medina, an alleged member of La Familia, was accused of selling ore illegally to China, the federal Attorney General's Office said at the time.

But the arrest apparently came to little; the Attorney General's Office could not say whether Lopez Medina had been tried or convicted of that crime, nor could The Associated Press determine if he is represented by a lawyer or is still in custody.

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce did not immediately respond to requests for information on companies that have been involved in buying ore from cartels, knowingly or otherwise.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry declined to comment on whether China had any measures in place to ensure the legal provenance of such imports.

The iron ore, meanwhile, has both swelled the cartels' bankrolls, giving them more money to buy guns and bribe officials, and fed the hunger of Asian steel mills.
And it may be a two-way trade: Precursor chemicals the cartel uses to make methamphetamines often arrive from China at both the Lazaro Cardenas and Manzanillo ports.



Sources:  CTV, CNBC

34 comments:

  1. Who ever said that felipe calderon did great in this situation. Your wronge. His strategy on the drug war wasnt great. I thought that taking down druglords or any drug skinnies will calm down the situation but no. Who thought that his fighting way was good? He didnt see or do really good. I know that before pan was in power. The pri was and it did a fucking favor to those fucking skinnies. What was vicente fox fighting ways to those sorry ass bad aiming skinnies? Anybody knows?

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  2. Is there anything in Mexico that the Templarios aren't robbing or extorting. Is there anythinh left for the people of Mexico. It is just so disgusting. Mexican have no chance! It is shamefully sickening. Does the government/cartel realize there is more to the country than just the criminal cartels in partnership with corrupt officials and enforcers. Look at what greedy corruption has brought to a wonderful country! Violence and Vergüenza.

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  3. Mexican corruption combined with Chinese corruption: a perfect storm.

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  4. Dig deeply into Durango and the new Mazatlan / Durango Highway and all the mining in between. Legend has it bad guys control all mining security in the Durango/ Sierra Madre Mountain mining areas.

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  5. They could sqeeze money from the church, non-profits, maybe even babies - selling adoptees - you don't hear much about black market organs yet in Mexico unless they ship them over the border. Maybe it is on the qt still.

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    1. Yeh you know, that has crossed my mind- 7:56 pm -maybe it is an asian thing-it is only on tv as far as I can see and Asian countries. In Celaya there was a refridgerated truck found with dead bodies that looked like organs had been harvested like four years ago but we never heard a peep again. So it may have been a rumor to start. Interesting? Anyone know anything?

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  6. El lazca was in mining. The location where he was killed gives it away. Also the people of that town said lazca would mine himself

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    1. Mexico expropriated the mining industry, like pemex,comision federal of electricidad, and others,then I witnessed the wholesale stealing of the mining products,leading to unprofitability so bad that the government had to sell the people's properties at firesale prices,private concerns still were allowed to own minority stakes on nationalized enterprises,but owning everything is better I guess,by any means necessary of course.
      I saw with my own eyes the big rooms full of gold and silver in the real del Monte mine in pachuca hidalgo, and I wonder who owns that mine now,like other government enterprises that the neo-carrancistas se han carranceado (CARRANCEAR= Stealing like a carrancista,a politician during president Venustiano Carranza,whose main social carachteristic was stealing and shaking down from anybody and from anything...
      Those were muggers! Governor Carranza was from coahuila state,but he was not the main mugger,unlike Humberto moreira,the last and biggest godmother of the zetas!!!

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    2. Good tip on the Mexican/ Spanish word of the day Carrancear and the added info. Appreciated. :) you should do that- Many of us our learning Spanish- or improving on our rudimentary Mexican Spanish.

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    3. Cool! Actually it is carranzear. With Z. As in Carranza, right?

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    4. 3:44 the carrancistas,under Carranza, carranceaban,the z changes in many words to c,but no problem,it does not change the spirit of the word,it is corruption and the derivates mean stealing and stealing and stealing.
      In our modern times it could mean salinismo, moreirismo etc,all referring to champion politicians robbing/privatizing the Mexican patrimony,wholesale...

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    5. Thank you @3:44

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  7. @7:56 that's probably coming too . Right now there's extortion, rights of right of way, Corn holing farmers daughters and sons (Rape), extorting businesses , induviduals , you freakin name it its happening in Mexico. Oh, no you will not see it in Cozumel or Cancun. But, That's the whole MAGIC of the DECEPTION . Its the beauty of of camouflage in Mexico. For example : Acapulco once Mexico's Riviera playground of 1950's Hollywood . Now 800 Taxi drivers slaughtered in approx. 2+ years with no end in sight.
    This whole drug war thing has evolved into lawlessness and disrespect for authority and basic rights / law of humanity/ and abuse against women, children, and elderly . Tell all your friends , family , about BB and whats happening in Mexico . If you feel you need to write to human rights organizations DO IT !!! Peace.

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    1. Right on- it is infuriating to see a country so big with so many natural resources ruined bt corruption slowly circling the drain.

      On the other hand- I say thank you for the post BB. I wouldn't have known a little part of this intrinsic corruption and patronization of dishonesty in other words complicity. Shameless complicity.

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  8. Mexican cartels run Mexico and next Mexico controls the world economy doing nothing for the people of Mexico as usual. Nothing new.

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  9. Yup the cartels arwe also cuting down all the trees of the forest. In michoacan I read years ago that the loggers wich was la familia cchoppedmore than 50% of the forest in michoacan thats why the indigenous started there own self defence groups and planted more trees in the area where it was left with just trunks of trees. Its a big mess what these idiots are doing. Respeto para los que estan en esta lucha!

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  10. Wow get all of chapos mines are safe!! Lol I wanna hear what sinola is doing I bet chapo has all types of shit going down

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  11. Zetas and tempolarios chose the wrong side didn't pay the governement off enough lol chapo got the gov and army that's how he took Juarez plaza and Tijuana plaza whoever got the miliatary doesn't have to hide in the hills and shit like bandits chapo hides in the open

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    1. What? Please read everything you wrote about chapo in your statement and then go to the corner. Come back when you make sense.

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    2. Nemisis-they didn't print what I wrote before but 12:42 pm is something like a nutty uninvited little brother to a party who french kisses the dog while everyone else is looking at the ceiling. Best to ignore him or he gets a little obsessive.

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  12. I hope the self defense groups start killing cartel members one by one. They dont have enough bullets to stop all the citizens.

    IF the citizens band together and rise up they can defeat anything even the mexican government. Shut it down mexican people.

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  13. What the report doesn't say is that Ternium itself has been extracting material from the mines and owes millions to the indigenous peoples of the communidads of Ostulla and Aquila.Until recently you could read of the ongoing litigations ,violence upon these communities sponsored by the international mining giant through the local templarios in La Placita.The site's name was Quadratin Colima.Though other Quadratin news agencys are functioning the Quadratin Colima site was purchased by Ternium when the reports of longtime local rumors were confirmed and reported on by the news agency.Go to the Quadratin Colima site now and all you see is a big Ternium ad stating that the page is being rebuilt.All archives are no longer available.There was an innocent looking website called Backpacking the Michoacan Coast,or A backpackers guide to Michoacan that had an incredible amount of local history and details and names of all local players and it can no longer be found on the internet either.

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    1. I read of and heard first hand accounts of the conflict between the residents of La Placita and the indians of Ostulla. For awhile, the costal highway was shutdown by the Indians. The army came in to quell the tension. Driving through La Placita always gives me an uneasy feeling with all the local thugs watching you pass by. Anybody have recent info on the area? I quit going when it got heated I heard La Familia smoked several Zetas when the tried to push their way in several years ago. Such a beatiful area of Mexico that I will probably not see again.

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  14. You take over a mine anywhere else in the world you will get a visit from the army, only in mexico, they cant even fight the cartel in the mountain, taking over the marijuana and poppy fields should the army #1 mission

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    1. They need to build incorruptible armed forces but as of yet that is as far away as the moon. Seems hard to fathom this reality in Mexico that gets further and farther away from being saved from its own greedy negativity

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  15. Chapos greatest asset or the federation's is the ability to relay on their government deal with their network of immunity and protection trafficking drugs from the PF and higher politicos. That is what El Chapo brought to the table from his negotiations with gov. officials from his time in jail and dealing with protection from the Fox and his administration which still stands today. It has just gotten so much bigger-huge corruption just so deeply rooted. Does no one any good except when narcos throws a community a little bone and builds a little school, or brings electricity an area or thros a Christmas party with toys etc.

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  16. Can't help but marvel how bright and informed many people are on this site.

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  17. Does anyone know of a blog or website that keeps track of the Mexican politicians, officials in a chart etc. that shows corrupt politicians like the governor on down affiliated ( allegedly) like w/ say El Mayo etc. With anedotes, links and state by state. A big fill in the corrupt official puzzle. Including big administrative big wigs Gen. Garcia Luna that Calderon reemployed who is thoroughly linked to Sinaloa narcos.

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    1. Yes linked through the AFI- Chapo's Army. Wish I knew a political corruption site of Mexican officials. Good idea! It would be fun to anonymously track

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    2. 3:06 Carlos slim helu,that billionaire Mexican that don't believe in charity,got Garcia Luna hired on recommendations of his chief of sicarios,and his own brother working with la policia federal.
      fucking carlos slim is in everything,and profits from everything...including communications,mining,oil,foods,electricalccorps,drugs,and all through political corruption...

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  18. Want more discussion on this please, Chibas

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  19. This is getting just demoralizing. I used to think all the countries took advantage of Mexico's riches. Now I'm beginning to think their own countrymen are the worst enemies of late. No one will be able to save them from themselves. It is exasperating that a country that should know right wrong, justice from injustice can do so little to control their destiny!

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  20. Here it is too http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/11/30/mexican-drug-cartels-exporting-iron-ore/ Source: dailyfinance.com



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  21. A member of my wife's family had a good producing silver mine hear Batopilas, Mexico. A great and hard working person that put a lot of effort and time into his mine. The Narco's asked him to sign over the deed to his mine. He rejected them. So they just killed him and took it. No one doe's anything about it, even though it was reported. These criminals can do anything they want, and face zero consequences from the law. It is just so easy for them to take what they want.

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