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

Monday, June 30, 2014

The mystery of El Azul deepens

Borderland Beat  from EL PAÍS Translation: Dyane Jean François Posted by Nuttz
El Azul worked in a business in which a typical boss wears gold chains, keeps a Lamborghini in the garage and a pet leopard by his side. But he always kept out of the limelight. Perhaps Juan José “El Azul” Esparragoza Moreno died just as discreetly as he lived. A high-ranking Mexican official told EL PAÍS that the government is trying to confirm whether the best-known of the great Sinaloa drug lords – a key member within the organization – really died of a heart attack last Friday. He was supposedly cremated on Saturday in a secret ceremony open only to family members.

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán made the Forbes list of the richest men in the world. The Mexican journalist Julio Scherer interviewed the legendary Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada. El Azul, the third pillar of the powerful Sinaloa mafia, has always kept a lower profile. His file at the United States Drug Enforcement Administration  (DEA) describes his activities as “unknown.”

El Azul’s nickname came from his appearance. His skin was so dark that his friends said he was blue. Despite being a wanted man in Mexico since 1998 and in the United States since 2003, Esparragoza Moreno has managed to outlive several generations of drug lords who ended up dead or in prison.

Unlike other capos, El Azul’s supposed death was nothing spectacular. Río Doce, a local newspaper, said he had an accident and suffered severe injury to his hip 15 days ago. On Friday, he had a heart attack as he tried to get up from his bed. His family informed the paper of his death, the article said. El Azul was 65 years old.

Mexican authorities have not confirmed the death. Although they say it is “a rumor,” they have opened a joint investigation with the DEA. “It’s not easy to ascertain whether the ashes belonged to El Azul. His relatives could be trying to trick us so we stop looking for him,” the Mexican official said.

Mexican authorities have not confirmed the death and have opened a joint investigation with the DEA

Esparragoza Moreno made it into the cartel history books long ago – when drug trafficking was almost nothing but a rural business controlled by village thugs. He and other top bosses, like El Chapo and Caro Quintero, were raised in Badiraguato (Sinaloa). El Azul opened a grocery store when he was a teenager and later proved himself to be a skilled livestock trader. At 22 years old, he joined Amado “Lord of the Skies” Carrillo Fuentes and his fleet of small aircraft in carrying large quantities of drugs to the United States. He showed that he was a skilled merchant early on as he handled Sinaloa deals with Colombian cartels, whom the Mexicans needed to deliver cocaine on the other side of the border. He became known as a man who sought consensus.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

What The Poor In Guatemala Have to Look Forward to: The Vultures Are Waiting

Vultures waiting atop the tombs stacked one on top of the other in the General Cemetery in Guatemala City

This story was written by a friend of Borderland Beat, K.Mennem,  who has been working in Central America for the last several months doing on the ground research about what is happening there.  Because the surge of migrants from Central America trying to get into the US (coming through Mexico and facing all the risks of that voyage) has caught the attention of main stream media and the public and has caused such a debate about “why do they come”, K wanted to share with BB readers one perspective from Guatemala City that illustrates the poverty, violence, and despair that these people live with.  Other stories by K. Mennem can be found at his blog, Hell on Earth.. 

By K. Mennem 
All photos by K. Mennem

The feeling of death in the air is undeniable when approaching the General Cemetery in Guatemala City, one of the largest in Central America. The feeling clearly not only from the cemetery, but what surrounds it, living on a thin string among it.

The sound of trucks hauling trash to the nearby city dump, where hundreds of people work and live among the waste piles, often muffle out the gun shots and screams for help that routinely ring out in the adjoining slums. Victims in the nearby neighborhoods do not have to travel far to be laid to rest, as most of the public are buried in the General Cemetery.

The General Cemetery in Guatemala City
Guatemala, as a nation, often falls into the shadows of neighboring Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador. International headlines rarely come out of Guatemala, despite its capital racking up more homicides than any cities in the region.

The bloody MS-13 and Barrio 18 gang rivalries in El Salvador and Honduras have astonished readers worldwide, as well as the cartel wars in Mexico, but the epidemic of violence from these gangs is just as brutal in Guatemala.

Making a living in the mundane economy of Guatemala City is tough, where the average citizen makes under $300 per month, but living a long life may be even tougher in a place like this.

Guatemala City had the fourth most homicides in the world in 2013 by official figures. According to the Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, a non-governmental agency based in Mexico, the city had 2,123 homicides in 2013. This topped 2,063 in 2012 and is slightly below 2011’s figure of 2,248.

The all so feared neighboring capital of El Salvador only registered 780 homicides during the year.

The only three cities in the world with more homicides in 2013 were Caracas (Venezuela), Fortaleza (Brazil), and Salvador (Brazil). In comparison, Chicago witnessed 415 and Ciudad Juarez had 505.

Riding through the city of over three million people can be uneasy, as taxi drivers lock doors and roll up windows in blistering heat. Antonio, an elderly man who has driven these streets for over two decades, suggests passengers stay off their cell phones and not make eye contact with those standing around on corners. When speaking of the city, Antonio has a hard time, from constantly repeating “Muchos problemas, muchas drogas”. Lifetime residents like Antonio recommend not being out after dark, as well to never walk alone, if at all possible.
nearly empty city square

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Human Rights of Dr Mireles being Investigated-Is Yet to speak to his Atty

Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat 
 Dr Mireles has been moved to the #11 maximum-security Prison 
in Hermosillo, Sonora. 
The human rights of Dr. José Manuel Mireles, and the detained group of autodefensas, are being violated because they are being denied  the right to an adequate defense, reported Talia Vazquez Alatorre, attorney for Dr. Mireles. 

Vazquez, who said that so far she has not been allowed to speak or see her client.  She was interviewed outside the premises of the Attorney General of the State (PGJE), where she said that as of yet, she has not been given any information regarding the basis for his arrest on Friday.  

He has been detained and questioned for more than  22 hours.  The attorney said she will file a motion of lack of communication and illegal detainment. Mireles attorney has had absolutely no contact with the autodefensas founder. 

Vazquez mentioned that she and the Mireles family are concerned about the doctor’s health.  Mireles is still healing from the critical injuries suffered in a plane crash.  He also is a diabetic, and must inject insulin three times a day.  The medication must be refrigerated; she has not even been permitted to give the medicine to agents

Human Rights Complaint Filed Investigation Initiated 
Vazquez has filed complaint with the State Commission of Human Rights (CEDH) which has already begun investigating the matter. In a telephone interview, Corro Lorenzo Diaz, director of Legal Complaints Guidance and the State Commission of Human Rights of Michoacán, noted that at this time the CEDH  guard is in the PGJE analyzing case. 
Corro Diaz said they are already digging into the case, and will make a recommendation to the agency. Finally he noted that it would be the responsibility of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), as Dr. Mireles was arrested by federal authorities.

Transferred to Hermosillo
Below is a video of the Maximum security prison Dr Mireles was taken to.  Mexico says it is the largest in the world, it is the newest max prison.  It is 1000 miles from Michoacan, making it very far away from his support, including his attorney.

Inmates are allowed 10 minutes visits thru glass booths, after application is approved (with three letters of recommendation)

 Mail Address:
CEFERESO no. 11, CPS Sonora, Carretera Hermosillo-Bahía de Kino, km 33+800, desviación a la derecha km 4, Hermosillo, Sonora, CP 83349

Tuta's Son Huber, Aquitted of Ties to Organzied Crime

A judge has determined PGR did not prove, with evidence, that Huber Gomez Patino, son of Servando Gómez Martínez, premier leader of  the Caballeros Templarios, is a  part of the operational and financial structure of the criminal group, so he has been acquitted  for this charge. 

He will remain at the federal maximum security prison of the Altiplano, State of Mexico, for the offense of possession of a firearm and possession of methamphetamine for purposes of trade. 

The 22-year-old, who allegedly threatened to kill the federal police who arrested him last week, is being held without bail at this time. 

On June 21, the son of La Tuta was captured by federal troops after months of intelligence work in Arteaga, Michoacan. The Interior Ministry reported at the time, "The detainee was carrying a leather bag, inside which hid a handgun, .45, stocked with eight rounds of ammunition, along with a plastic bag with approximately half a kilo of a grainy substance with the characteristics of the synthetic drug. 

Huber Patiño Gómez,  threatened the federal agents that they would be killed if they did not let him free.

There was no mention of charges pending for threatening to kill federal agents.  It is doubtful the other charges will stick. 

Huber in his younger years.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Dr. Mireles Arrested


Semeí Verdía, leader of the coastal autodefensas has stated that autodefensas have blocked Highway 200, located in the Michoacán coast, at various points, including Caleta de Campos and Huahua.

Update 2:
The Arrest of Mireles Was a Trap Set Up By the H3 Cartel

Autodefensas Besiege Caleta De Campos; Nobody Leaves If They Enter the Village

Update 3:

Armed Group Attacks Autodefensas of Caleta de Campos

During the afternoon, Dr. José Manuel Mireles Valverde was arrested in the town of Acalpican.  Those detained by Federal Forces include more than 100 armed men, who were also autodefensas.

It has been made known by military sources and Michoacán's PGJ Twitter page, that Mireles was arrested during an operation by the Mexican Army, Navy (SEMAR), and federal police who enforced the Law of Firearms and Explosives on them, since the autodefensas were carrying high-powered rifles and also apparently grenades.

This event occurs within 24 hours of the reappearance of José Manuel Mireles in the main square of Tenencia de La Mira, accompanied by over 600 armed autodefensas, with the objective of tackling organized crime and to provide security for the population; and also announcing that he and his men would search houses of criminals and would also carry out inspections in the sierra searching for narcofosas.  He also announced that they would soon liberate the port of Lázaro Cárdenas and Morelia.

The fate of those detained is still undetermined.   There were allegedly over 600 elements of State Police, Federal Police, SEMAR, and SEDENA that took part in the operation.  Other news agencies have reported up to 150 autodefensas among those detained.

The Arrest of Mireles Was a Trap Set Up By the H3 Cartel

During an exclusive interview with Colima 3.0, one of the family members of Dr. Mireles reported that the arrest in La Mira, a town near Lázaro Cárdenas, in Michoacán, was a trap set up by the new “H3” cartel.

During the afternoon on Friday, June 27, Mireles was detained while he was eating in the town of La Mira, Michoacán, while being with 600 people who were his autodefensas and people from the community who were looking to start a community organization for the defense of their territory.

Relatives reported that the detention by the commissioner Alfredo Castillo, better known as “El Virrey”, was because the new H3 Cartel announced that they would travel to the city of Morelia in order to organize self-defense groups under the name of Dr. Mireles, which prompted Castillo to order the arrest in order to prevent the group (Mireles’s autodefensas) from seeking entry to the Michoacán capital.

The relatives say that Mireles has never done this type of action, “to him, the same inhabitants of the town contact him and he only helps the people to organize, but the people must already want to rise up”; they also assured that Mireles personally never carries any type of firearm, therefore, it is a crime of which he cannot be charged with, they said.

The relatives ended the interview by saying that Mireles’s lawyer will travel to the port of Lázaro Cárdenas, where the doctor is currently at.

Autodefensas Besiege Caleta De Campos; Nobody Leaves If They Enter the Village

Armed autodefensas who operate in this area, practically besieged the tenure Caleta de Campos, where the majority of supporters of José Manuel Mireles live.  The autodefensas from neighboring communities, Huahua and Pichilinguillo, along with those from Caleta, maintain a stretch of road along the coast blocked; they have dozens of trucks blocking the road, carrying out their activism in the region.  There are no security forces in the area.

Armed Group Attacks Autodefensas of Caleta de Campos

During the early hours of Saturday, a large convoy of armed men fired at the autodefensas from the community of Caleta de Campos, who maintain a roadblock at kilometer 50 of the highway Lázaro-Manzanillo, in order to demand the release of Dr. Mireles.

According to early reports, it is known that heavily armed individuals with high powered rifles, shot at least 20 vehicles against the guards who are guarding the blockade, located at the entrance of the community.

Although authorities of the coastal region of the state have confirmed the violent event, they said they are unaware of the outcome of the attack.

So far there is no police mobilization; the confrontation occurred around
2:40 hours on Saturday.

Additional Photos:

Dr Mireles Irate at Soldiers for Refusing to Help Autodefensas in a Templarios Attack

Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat
[I translated the video using some paraphrasing that doesn't compromise the narrative meaning... ]

La Mira:
Wednesday at 9:00 PM, via radio, all the autodefensa were invited to a call because Templarios initiated a shooting against a family on  Estarzuela Ranch. 

In 5 minutes there were 40 armed trucks and ready to go, but the soldiers didn’t want to let us go, because we brought weapons, then I told them:
Go with us assholes, that is your job! They said that they didn't have permission to leave their position.
With all the violence that is occurring, what did those sons of a bitches do?
They photographed the plates of our trucks, and they stayed, they didn’t go with us.
When we got there, the engine of a friend’s car was running,  his daughter had a large wound from a grenade.
What did this 11 year old child do to them?  [to deserve that]
I know that I’m going to die against these assholes, but I will keep after them, until I can no longer do anything. I have been ambushed seven times, and suffered  a plane crash and I am still here.
And where were the fucking soldiers that were sent to protect us?
They didn’t want to go because they didn’t have permission, so their big task, was to take photos of our  trucks.
Now what are they going to do? [With the photos]
This is what we are demanding; a fair delivery of justice.
If they are not going to help us fighting the assholes, then don’t hinder us!

It’s really so simple.
If the government is not fulfilling their duties, the people have the right to remove  and replace them, that is what we are demanding. 
[Mexican National Autodefensas]
We are educating awareness at the universities, we have meetings with intellectual people of all the states, we don’t want what is occurring in Michoacán, we don’t want to have to arm ourselves,  to defend oneself from those assholes, we don’t want to do that, we want peace in all of Mexico.
And only we citizens can guarantee it ourselves because the government doesn’t.

NOTE:  When writing this post, I did not realize who the rancher was Jose Santiago Sandoval, a friend and autodefensa also from Tepalcatepec.  The entire family was massacred including the 11 year old and two other children.  This is the family featured in the Washington Post article, they were killed days after. Below four of the family of five at home, below in death.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Autodefensas led by Dr. Mireles advance to the town La Mira, Michoacán

Pepe and Chivis for Borderland Beat 

Autodefensas led by Dr. Mireles advance and take the town La Mira, Michoacán, about an hour outside of Lázaro Cárdenas.

Led  by Dr. Manuel Mireles,with 300 autodefensas [AD’s] from Aquila, Coahuayana and  Lázaro Cárdenas, they arrived  into La Mira,  at the request of the citizens. The group of AD's, in 50 vehicles, advanced and liberated the coastal town at 8:00 a.m. this morning.

Shimei Verdía,  commander of the indigenous Ostula autodefensas, said the group, which did not include any members of the Fuerza Rural headed by Papa Pitufo or any other state security forces, arrived due to citizens' pleas for justice and security. 

In response to concerns that these AD's are not legalized, the spokesman said, "that doesn't matter, we're going to do it anyway. “
When we started we weren't legal either." 

He then added that the group encountered no resistance in their advance on La Mira.

In April of this year,  there  was an incident in Caleta that broke the ties and trust between Smurf and Dr. Mireles.  Shimei Verdia was very vocal against Smurf, accusing smurf of setting up the coastal AD as they advanced to Lázaro Cárdenas then encountering the conflict in Caleta.

“Papa Smurf is just a spokesperson and is not someone who can run off someone else”. He also added: “It makes you wonder how they have liberated a lot of municipalities without even catching a fucking ‘hawk. Would there be a little business with the Templarios?"

The Coastal Autodefensas have always been considered the cleanest group of AD.
Below is a public letter from the people of La Mira following the Caleta incident.  
Translated by ValorXTruth

Mr. Estanislao Beltrán, you came to La Mira, Michoacán and its surrounding areas with your autodefensas, which were arrested by federal forces on Friday, May 9; the residents of the region ask a great question: Why did you come?  To deceive the people?  For vacation?  To eat seafood and swim in our beaches?  Many were confused, many feel used and many also say: “You see the autodefensas are a bunch of crooks”.

What is going to happen now?  You came with your commotion in you trucks, you gathered the people in the plaza of La Mira, you illusion them, you give them hope and worst of all, you expose them in front of people from different classes who were there, all of a sudden, you take your autodefensas in an operation, you create chaos, confusion, people fall back in fear and you, where are you?  You didn’t even leave dust.  The official version says that they were false autodefensas bla bla bla; but Mr. Papa Smurf, you brought them, you came with them, you patrolled with them, you went to the beach with them; the more the people try to understand what happened, it only creates more confusion.

Who is in charge of security in this region now?  The people are afraid ever since the day of the operation, in which a psychosis was created, no one knows who to care for; what’s going to happen to the people who shared their problems in the square?  Remember the people that said to you:

“Now that the match is lit don’t leave us on our own, because our life is in danger as of now”.

The people are angry because you honestly burned with the village, remember when the people also said:

“We want Mireles because we know you but we have more confidence in him, out there they say that you have a problem with him but we want you to bring him”

And you answered:

“Of course I’ll bring him, we don’t have any problems with each other, they are only rumors, we are friends”

And days later it was known that they overthrew Mireles as spokesperson and autodefensas; where was the great friendship you said you had?  Lies, you only brought lies.  There are many points to discuss, what I can tell you is that the streets are empty, the people don’t go out, there is no type of federal security, not even autodefensas, you only left your sandbags that are disturbing the movement in Acalpican de Morelos and a bunch of junk in La Mira.

And now what will happen to us?

You deceived and betrayed the people Papa Smurf, you armed your circus and used us.

Michoacán: Lázaro Cárdenas and Hidalgo Narco Fosas yield 23 Bodies

Posted by "Pepe" for Borderland Beat

The remains of at least 12 bodies were found in a mass grave in Guacamayas, Michoacán, just outside the port city of Lázaro Cárdenas, following several days of searching and digging by authorities.  Authorities had previously made a public request that persons with missing family members submit to DNA testing to aid in the identification of the bodies.

The bodies are currently being analyzed to see if they match any of the numerous missing persons reported in the area in the last few years.

The operation was carried out exclusively by the Mexican military, without the involvement of any state officials.  

A couple weeks ago, a large group of experts from the federal Attorney General's Office in Mexico City (AG) arrived in the area and began the search and excavation process, aided by a canine group and other criminal and forensics experts.

After performing various studies on the soil and subsoil in La Mira, Buenos Aires, and Guacamayas, all just outside Lázaro Cárdenas, the AG sent a special team of experts to process citizens' complaints of missing family members. 

Additionally, several weeks ago, the AG conducted excavations on a ranch in La Mira, where it's said bodies were found in a mass grave, but no official statement was made.

It was following these findings that the search and excavations began in Guacamayas.

In addition to the above, Hidalgo fosas may be the remains of Federal Police
Also, today in Michoacán two fosas clandestinas were also found in the east of the state, near Cuidad Hidalgo.  This story is entirely unrelated to the above story.

In the Cuidad Hidalgo fosas, the remains of eight were found in one and three in the other.

It is believed that the eight in the first fosa include seven Federal Police and a civilian who went missing in late 2009.

29 have been arrested associated with these findings in east Michoacán, including numerous local police.

Sources: Cambio de Michoacan-Lo de hoy en la Puerto

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sinaloa: Guasave Clash between Army and Chapito Isidro's Men

Borderland Beat Posted by Siskiyou_kid.
Three airplanes, two vehicles and firearms were seized by the Mexican army after an armed confrontation that transpired with  members of organized crime which left one guy dead and three others were detained.

Apparently those involved in these incidents were members of a cell of suspected narcotics trafficker "Chapito" Isidro.
The individual shot dead, Leonardo Germán Higuera, alias "Chichi", was the brother of "Macaco", which is what Carlos Jesús Salmón Higuera is known as, who is chief of assassins for Chapito Isidro.

The corpse of the dead man was picked up quite a few hours after the shootout, since the soldiers did not allow access to the local authorities.

The incident occurred in the vicinity of a runway in the receivership of El Burrión,  in the municipality of Guasave. 

After the confrontation, Jesus Gaspar Romero Bojorquez, 59 years old, caretaker of the airplane hangar; Usiel Concha Fong, 40, farmer and pilot, and José Orlando Avilés Higuera, cousin of the deceased , were all arrested. They all live in the community El Chino de los López.

The suspects were transferred directly to Mexico City at dawn on Sunday by the staff of the Seido, who arrived aboard a Navy helicopter, which also conducted surveillance flights over the city of Guasave.

The seizure made by the soldiers consisted of three planes, two cars (a Cadillac and a Nissan Altima), three handguns.

The body of the deceased was under the guard of federal authorities waiting for someone to claim it.

The Army also is known to have captured another individual during a subsequent operation, in addition to the seizure on Sunday.

Source: AltaVoz

U.S. Data Positively Identified Fernando Sanchez Arellano

Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat

The CIA published scientific studies for the identification of Fernando Sanchez Arellano aka  “El Ingeniero”, [The Engineer].  Sanchez Arellano is the leader of CAF, [ Tijuana based Cartel], and was arrested Monday by Mexican federal forces.

The AIC, under the Mexican PGR agency, unveiled the document which detailed  a comparative  DNA  study from  CODIS records (US)  from the arrested capo, that confirmed the genetic profile has biological kinship  with the Arellano Felix family.

Additionally, there was a physiognomy study performed, comparing facial feature landmarks,  which concluded that there is a dimensional and morphological map match,  between the alleged criminal and photography that bears his name on the DEA  "Most Wanted" website.

Caballeros Templarios: Broly Banderas sends a Message, "Ay, Ay, Ay!!!"

Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat
After a little silence, Broly Banderas, the social media loving, Caballeros Templarios sicario, sends a short, bizarre,  tongue in cheek, video message.  The video was posted by ValorPorMichoacan .

The video selfie goes something like this:

"Good afternoon!"

"Hello, oh look what beautiful hair, it looks great

Ay!  Ay, Ay!

I love it!

Throws a kiss

Greetings to  narco noticias

Ay!  Ay,Ay!

I am so scary [said sarcastically]

A kiss for everyone

There are thousands that want these delicious lips I am kidding

Ay!  Ay,Ay!

Like I'm serious

I'm so scary"  [end]

The comments posted on VXM are even more entertaining than the video, only a few can be posted:

"Give him a Emmy"

 "Hahahahahaha! Only that happens here, it looks like a joke in bad taste, a character in film chafa the Almada and sadly so many things in this country that  is backward!"

"Educate the children, Screwing and drugs  will result in the procreation of an asshole like this"

Some expressed themselves with cartoons:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fausto Vallejo: A governor of the narco and for the narco

El Diario de Coahuila/Proceso (6-21-14) By Jose Gil Olmos
Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat
With the pretext that his resignation was for health reasons, and under pressure from Los Pinos, PRI governor Fausto Vallejo left the governorship of Michoacan amidst evidence that he attained power with the help of organized crime, which then sent him a bill. A military intelligence document states that his son Rodrigo is a member of the "La Familia Michoacana" as well as a member of "Los Caballeros Templarios". His duties included collecting extortion payments, establishing contacts with politicians and businessmen and facilitate money laundering operations.

MEXICO, D.F. (Proceso).- The governor of Michoacan, Fausto Vallejo Figueroa, announced his resignation by Twitter on Wednesday, (June) 18, before the Office of the Mexican President made it official, and five days after a photograph was circulated of his son Rodrigo Vallejo Mora in a meeting with Servando Gomez, "La Tuta", leader of "Los Caballeros Templarios".

Although he tried to conceal the truth with the story that he was leaving his office for health reasons, the scandal may continue if there's a follow-up to the files that show that the politician's second-oldest son has worked for organized crime since 2008.

According to confidential military intelligence and public safety documents that this journal had access to, Vallejo Mora, "El Gerber", began to work for different criminal organizations in Michoacan since his early youth, but he became more important when his father won the governorship in 2011.

According to the report that the federal government has, Vallejo Mora "is and was being used because of his political ties to further the criminal organization's objectives in influence peddling as well as to get close to the political class that came into Michoacan's government led by Fausto Vallejo Figueroa". 

"El Gerber" appears in the organizational structure of criminal groups native to the area, such as "La Empresa" ("The Company"), "La Familia Michoacana" and "Los Caballeros Templarios", in which he played an important part in money laundering and as intermediary with businessmen, store owners and politicians.

More recently, the son of the governor had three main responsibilities with "Los Caballeros Templarios": One, "collecting extortion and protection money from bars and clubs in Morelia, getting owners together to provide them the protection services in an involuntary manner."

The second function was to peddle his influence to facilitate "the corresponding transactions for payments", as well as "grant new permits and modify debts to the municipality". The third function was the "verification and control of bars and restaurants for laundering money".

The reports mention that Fausto Vallejo's son was contacted at an early age by Hector Gerardo Guzman Muzquiz, who is identified as an "operator" for the collection of protection money and extortion in Morelia, as well as for money laundering.

The reports indicate that Guzman Muzquiz was involved in January, 2008, when members of "La Familia Michoacana" kidnapped Alfonso Reyes Hinojosa, cousin of then-President Felipe Calderon, for a few hours because -- relying on his relationship with the President-- he refused to pay 30 million pesos ($2,400,000.000) to businesses in the state.

Changeover was not PRI

The documents also contain information from 2009, when Fausto Vallejo was mayor of Morelia. In June of that year, the Federal Police detained Arnoldo Rueda Medina, "La Minsa" or "El Fresa", who was at that moment accompanied by Rodrigo Vallejo. Orders came down from the office of President Felipe Calderon to release him, although the other criminal was kept under arrest.

Interviewed on that matter, Jose Manuel Mireles, founder of the Tepalcatepec self defense forces (autodefensas), says that Rodrigo Vallejos' excesses and his close ties with "Los Caballeros Templarios" were well known throughout the state because he had become the plaza boss for the capital of Michoacan.

La Nacha: Before there were cartels there was a "Queen" of heroin in Juarez

Nacha First Premier Leader of a Cartel in Mexico

Ruben Salazar versus La Nacha

by Bob Chessey // May 27, 2014

In the summer of 1955, a burgeoning journalist from El Paso and a veteran drug dealer from Ciudad Juarez famously crossed paths in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

At the time, Ruben Salazar was earning a reputation as a driven investigative reporter for the El Paso Herald Post. On the opposite side of the Rio Grande, Ignacia “La Nacha” Gonzalez was established as Juarez’s most notorious narcotics trafficker—with opiates, not marihuana, as the major drug in transit from Juarez to El Paso.

La Nacha had been dealing and trafficking opiates for just over 30 years. During World War II, her reputation was such that the mayor of Juarez in 1942, Antonio Bermudez, called for a citywide manhunt, resulting in her arrest.

Following her arrest, Harry Anslinger, the head of the U. S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the legacy agency of the DEA, had the U. S. government file for La Nacha’s extradition to the U. S. in order to place her on trial for trafficking.

The request to the Mexican government failed but did result in La Nacha’s imprisonment for the duration of the war, part of her sentence spent in the penal colony of the Tres Marias islands off the coast of Mexico.

Ruben Salazar was a veteran of the U. S. Military and a recent graduate of Texas Western College (now UTEP). After failing to secure a job with the El Paso Times that year, he was offered a position as a reporter at the El Paso Herald Post.

In May of 1955 one of his first major stories was having himself arrested and reporting on the wretched conditions in the drunk tank of the El Paso City jail. An issue of concern raised in the article was the access to drugs by prisoners.

The following December, Salazar would say the availability of drugs in the El Paso City jail was the seed for his decision to personally visit and purchase drugs from La Nacha.

The more likely explanation can be found in the article Salazar wrote for page 15 of the August 10, 1955 El Paso Herald-Post: “Special Officer Joe Villa Protects Southeast El Paso With 24-Hour Patrol”.

Special Officer Joe Villa owned the Alameda Merchant Patrol, a private security service not attached to the El Paso Police Department. His company provided protection for businesses in the “south-east side” of El Paso, along Alameda Avenue. Having been raised in the area, Villa was a 45-year-old ex-boxer with an affinity for the neighborhood.

While discussing crime around the Alameda business area he patrols, Villa’s conversation turns to drugs.

Salazar writes:

“Special Officer Villa is convinced that Juarez’ notorious dope queen, La Nacha, has much to do with the border dope traffic problem.

“’Dope addicts have told me that they take stolen goods to her in exchange for a much needed shot,’ Villa said. ‘I myself have been at La Nacha’s and have seen addicts squirming on the floor in a narcotic frenzy. It is a sad thing’ Villa laments.”

Villa’s theory of the misery sown by La Nacha in El Paso, along with his informing Salazar he had personally visited what sounds to be one of La Nacha’s infamous shooting galleries, or “picaderos”, is what most likely ignited the fire in Salazar’s investigative curiosity.

Mexican soccer remains tainted by links to drug trafficking

Team-mates celebrate after Mexico's defender Rafael Marquez (not seen) scored his team's first goal during a Group A football match between Croatia and Mexico at the Pernambuco Arena in Recife. Photo: AFP
Football (soccer to us gringos) has been the most important single thing that has unified the Mexican people for at least the last decade and probably longer.  Nothing generates more national pride and captures the attention of the Mexican people than the success of their national team in the World Cup games.

During their tie game last week with World Cup favorite Brazil and even their victory yesterday
over lowly ranked Croatia riveted peope to their radios and televisions (even the extremely poor have television).

Thanks to Pepe on the Forum for photo
 In my little city there was barely a car on the streets during the games.   Even the maquiladoras let people off work so they could watch or listen to the games (of course they have to work an extra hour or two per day for the rest of the week to make up the time off). 

Immediately after the games, traffic was bumper to bumper, all of them honking their horns.  Nearly all of the cars and even the motorcycles and motorscooters had Mexican flags, ranging in size from the little handheld flags on a stick to 4 to 6 ft. flags jerryrigged on a flag pole to the bumbers.  Everyone was proud of their Mexico and proud to be a Mexican.

While football is a sport (from toddlers in the street trying to kick a ball to organized teams in every city and puebla), professional football is a business. 

Much has been written about narco money being invested and  permeating the Mexican economy, not much has been written about how cartels and drug money has spread its tenacles into the business of football.   The following article gives a glimpse into that darker side of Mexicos' national sport.

Thanks to Bjeff for a previous article on the Forum in Feb. about the arrest of one drug lord, Tirso Martinez Sanchez, to the sport (link below)

From the website "The Tequila Files"

 Mexico Soccer Remains Tainted By Links to Drug Trafficking

Former Irapuato FC owner Tirso Martinez was arrested at his home in Leon in February.

Tirso Martinez Sanchez’s neighbors were taken by surprise when he was arrested by federal police officers at his home in Leon, Guanajuato on Sunday, February 2, 2014.

“We knew the feds were searching and asking for someone around here, but we never imagined it was our neighbor,” a local businessman told Queretaro’s Quadratin newspaper.

Aged 47 and measuring just 5”7, Martinez cut an inauspicious figure. Having ditched the expensive jewelry he used to show off in the director’s box at the Club Irapuato soccer stadium, he now went by the name Luis Angel Aguilar, drove a gray Hyundai Atos and lived in a modest apartment in Leon’s Martinica neighborhood.

A keen gambler, Martinez had reportedly placed millions of pesos worth of bets on cockfights in the local fair just days before his arrest. But he had kept a largely low profile in recent years and the neighbors were shocked to learn that we was one of Mexico’s most wanted drug barons and the subject of a $5 million reward in the United States.

Mexican authorities say Martinez, also known as Jose Martinez, “El Tio” and “El Futbolista,” ran his own drug-trafficking organization and used used to rub shoulders with many of the country’s most notorious kingpins, including Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Amado Carrillo Fuentes and Arturo Beltran Leyva.

The U.S. State Department estimates that from 2000 to 2003, Martinez “imported, transported, and distributed approximately 76 metric tons of cocaine into the United States.”

As head of the Martinez Sanchez Organization, he used a network of fake businesses to transport large shipments of Colombian cocaine through Mexico and into the United States and Europe, the State Department said. The shipments were transported by road, rail and sea to a network of large warehouses in California and Texas, from which they were redistributed to other cities across the United States.

Martinez also acted as an independent importer, transporter, and distributor on behalf of the Juarez Cartel, members of the Sinaloa Federation, and Colombian traffickers Victor and Miguel Mejia Munera. He is thought to have lived in Leon for the last seven years, while also directing operations from safe houses in Tijuana and his native Guadalajara, and in 2004 he was indicted for cocaine trafficking by a federal court in New York.

Monday, June 23, 2014

SEGOB Confirm Capture of Fernando Sánchez Arellano "El Ingeniero"

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat
Tijuana Baja:  Late this evening, state and municipal authorities confirmed the capture  of   Fernando Sánchez Arellano "El Ingeniero", today in the afternoon.  Fernando is the presumed leader of the Arellano cartel, [CAF].   The capture transpired  without one shot being fired.  Sanchez had 100,000 USD on his person when arrested.

Sanchez Arellano, who will be 41 in October, was captured in the La Mesa area, at 100 Dolores Street  in the division "Ceseña" on the intersection  of Dolores and Alicia Maria.

At the time of his arrest, at 4:30, he was celebrating Mexico's World Cup victory over Croatia.  Some reports say, when arrested, he was wearing a Mexico team shirt and his face bore paint in Mexican team colors.

He was with a group at the time of the arrest, reports indicate those persons were also taken into custody.

The arrest was made by the  elements of the Mexican army stationed in the military zone II.

From 2009 the Government of Mexico through the Office of the Attorney-General, offered a reward of  30 million pesos for information leading to the capture of the leader.

In February 2010, it was the Government of the United States who exhibited the first image of   Sanchez Arellano, by publishing it in a wanted poster.  

The Arellano Felix cartel, once one of Mexico’s most powerful and ruthless drug organizations, first rose to power in Tijuana in the 1980s. The group’s longtime leader, Benjamin Arellano Felix, is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States.
A younger brother, Javier Arellano Felix is serving a life sentence in the United States and is in a special witness protection program. Brother Eduardo Arellano is serving a 15-year sentence in the United States. Brother Ramon Arellano Felix, said to be the cartel’s chief enforcer, was killed in a shootout in 2002 in Mexico.

Under the nephew, the group was further weakened by a challenge in 2008 by a onetime Arellano lieutenant, Teodoro Garcia Simental. The dispute led to a bloody turf battle in Baja California between the two factions, and the killings of law enforcement officers. Garcia was arrested in January 2010 in the state of Baja California Sur.

Sanchez Arellano is a low-profile figure but has long been sought by U.S. and Mexican authorities. The Mexican Attorney General’s Office in 2009 offered up to 30 million pesos (about $2.3 million) for information leading to his arrest. In February 2010, the U.S. government offered up to $5 million for information leading to Sanchez’s arrest.

 Sanchez Arellano is the son of Enedina Arellano Felix,  also known as “La Jefa”, “La Madrina” and “La Narcomami", who the U.S. has  tagged premier leader of the cartel.

Amazingly, there was not an arrest warrant ever issued for Sanchez Arellano in Baja California

Sanchez Arellano was taken to the zone II military base, once identification was verified he was then transferred to Mexico City.

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