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

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pablo Acosta "El Zorro de Ojinaga" Part 2

Written for Borderland Beat by Otis B Fly-Wheel, with images from Drug Lord by Terrence Poppa and Google

[ Subject Matter: Pablo Acosta Villarreal
Recommendation: Read Part 1 of this article here]

Altruistic benefactor or skill-full manipulator?

Pablo with a local blind woman, he paid for the operation to restore her sight

The Arevalo wars ended up costing the lives of nearly 30 people from both sides. With them out of the frame, Pablo had two roads ahead of him. Would he rule with a rod of iron now that he had total control of the plaza, or would he go down the shorty Lopez route and become, what was considered as customary, a benefactor godfather.

Pablo had been investigated by the major USA law enforcement agencies that deal with drugs, racketeering, and murder. The DEA classified him as " a vicious, extremely dangerous person, who has little regard for human life". Also that when he "gets bored he goes out and shoots someone, slices them open then drags them from the back of pickups". Not exactly what you might class as charitable behavior.

Pablo's upbringing as a campesino, meant he never forgot that life, or its hardships. He genuinely felt for the poor people of his region. I would suggest that Pablo had quite a strong sense of right and wrong, of fair and unfair, and had an understanding of cause and effect. In my book that rules him out as a psychopath, so if Pablo wasn't enjoying killing people a la "El Ondeado" and "El Z-40" or "Rosalio Rhetta", then he was doing it for a reason. But he still had a taint of " a side-winding, horn swogling, cricker-crocker" about him.

Monday, December 28, 2015

CJNG Downed Helicopter: Federal Agent survivor defies odds

Lucio R. Borderland Beat using material from BB-Reforma-Noticias Terra

The federal operation took place in the wee hours of May 1st- the goal was to capture Nemesio Oseguera, "El Mencho", supreme leader of CJNG.

The plan was a familiar one, one used to catch capos in the past.   Federal Forces moved guided by intelligence information to the area where the leader of the Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) was located.

The operating tried for a repeat of success, by implementing a surprise deployment I the hour between 3 and 4 AM.  Ideally when El Mencho would least suspect an attack and is most vulnerable.

Helicopter aerial surveillance was the key to the arrest. This happened, for example, with the arrest of Miguel Trevino, alias "Z40", arrested in July 2013 on a road south of Nuevo Laredo.

But this time the plan failed.

4 bodies discovered on Michoacán Highway one is El Tísico founder of LFM

Lucio R. Borderland Beat from Diario.Mx 

Update:  El Americano and his H3 were at the meeting, I am working the story I will try and post  tonight

Morelia— The bodies of four males killed by gunshots were discovered in a parking lot on Autopista Siglo 21 (hwy), in the municipio Gabriel Zamora, Michoacán.

The Attorney General of the State (PGJE) reported that the bodies were lying near the tollbooth of Santa Casilda, at kilometer 232 + 750.  "The bodies are male and have wounds produced by firearm projectiles, "explained the PGJE in a statement. 

According to the first investigations, bullet wounds on the victims were caused elsewhere, since no caps were found at the site.  The discovery occurred around 1:15 am.

The Siglo21 hwy, runs about 300 kilometers from the  Patzcuaro port of Lazaro Cardenas, and goes through the regions of Uruapan and Tierra Caliente. 

The PGJE said that personnel of the Crime Scene Special Unit  was sent to the scene to carry out further investigations.  "the deceased were not identified and were not carrying any documents"added the attorney.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

3 decapitated bodies discovered in Piedras Negras

Lucio R. Borderland Beat Material from BB archives and El Rancherita

On Christmas eve, in Piedras Negras, the border city of Coahuila, three decapitated bodies appeared, with their heads discovered in various public places of the city.

According to Mayor Fernando Puron, this is another sign that the “monster is lurking”, and “organized crime is not gone from the city”.  Piedras shares a border with Eagle Pass Texas.

There are indications that the three victims were not involved with organized crime and may be innocents killed as props to generate fear and panic among the residents, who have become less fearful in the past year, the mayor agrees that this was the motive for the killings.  Using innocents as props is a practice used by cartels to send a message. It is also possible the killings were retaliation for working with police, while there is no proof to support that,  it is possible since the message could be read that way.  It is unusual however, to send a message of a specific threat without signing the message.

The consensus is however, that the killings were a scare tactic to create terror at a time the population has become relaxed and confident in security. It is not unusual that a Coahuila narco message warms against trusting or relying on GATES.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Sinaloa: Mexican Navy helicopter attacked by gunfire

Lucio R. Borderland Beat material from Reforma and RioDoce

While conducting patrols, Troops of the Ministry of the Navy of Mexico (Semar) who traveled by land and air were attacked by a group of armed men in the state of Sinaloa.

During the operation, in which they claimed four tons and a half of marijuana in bags and packaged ready for transport, the feds called in air support which resulted in a Navy helicopter (Marina/Semar) coming under attack and attacked by gunfire.

The elements fired back in self-defense during the events and two assailants were killed, reported Semar.

The federal agency said the incident occurred yesterday near the ranchería Saco de Agua, Sinaloa. 

"The naval elements develop their operations in compliance with procedures established by the ‘Use of Force, Common Application to the Three Forces’,  and strict respect for human rights" said Semar.

During these actions "in the vicinity of the settlement" Six rifles, magazines and ammunition for the exclusive use of the Armed Forces " were found and seized.

Also, "about 4.5 tons of marijuana packed in bags and ready for transport", which was "destroyed on site by incineration".

Friday, December 25, 2015

Wishing the Borderland Beat family a day filled with joy...............

Thank you to all the  BB readers for your kind expressions of concern.  I am down but not out, and improving each day.... Love you all, even the Millies and Willies. 

BIG thanks to my friend DD for holding down the fort.....Paz, Chivis

Each year I am given hundreds of "original art" Christmas cards made for me by the foundation children I work with.   What is striking to me, is the messages that are written on almost every card.  The same theme; no more bad guys, no more narcos, Zetas (or whatever cartel dominates their area) no more death of innocents, kidnappings, etc.  A perspective  by children who live in places of violence.

A family feud in the Badiraguato Sierra

Last April Ernesto Guzman Hidalgo was assassinated in the mountains of Badiraguato, he was, the half brother of Joaquin Guzman Loera, the word or rumor is that, Aureliano Guzman Loera, El Guano, give the order to kill Ernesto.

It was speculated, that the settle of score, was because Don Ernesto was not reliable to run the structure of Guzman Loera. He was the father of Patricia Guzman Nunez, the wife of Alfredo Beltran Leyva, El Mochomo. Archenemies Guzman and the Beltran Leyva, hence the mistrust.

He died with his companion, Raul Astorga, near Bacacoragua, the land where Don Carlos Beltran Araujo was born, father of the Beltran Leyva brothers.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

PGR seize a ranch from 'El Chapo's' brother

The federal forces incursion in the area came after a shootout between people of 'El Guano' and a group from Chihuahua.

The Attorney General's Office said they sized a ranch owned by Aureliano Guzman Loera, El Guano, brother of the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, near the community of Los Alisitos, a municipality of Badiraguato, after a shootout that killed eight men linked to the group led by Aureliano.

The Navy reported that they arrived at that community, after a clash between members of El Guano cell and other group from Chihuahua that left a toll of eight men dead.

Tijuana: Encojibado left for Aquiles

Encobijado left for Aquiles

As the year ends in Tijuana, a marker of sorts is left strewn amongst weeds and trash of the bloodshed over the past months.  Bound and wrapped like a grotesque mummy, the cold body sat in the darkness, wind whistling through in the bitter cold of late December in Tijuana, a card lay next to the body.  The card explains, or attempts to explain the fate of his unwilling companion, slowly decomposing, frostbite forming between the toes, all warmth leaving the body, as life had.

This may be the last of the year, or may not, a year that as seen over 500 murders, many collateral damage, victims in a war they understand, only from their lower tier positions.  The explanations are often closed circle types of communication, cryptic messages of a reckless sarcasm, mocking the dead, and welcoming death themselves.  

The message left in the green wrapped blanket in Playas De Tijuana, Rancho La Flores was 'Heres your people Akiles and Alejo, we will continue to fuck you up putos', or words to that effect.  The violence will continue to play out in neighborhoods and back streets, bullets tear into flesh, and knifes sear away limbs, dripping with blood of the contras....

For the sake of some clarity, to not leave anyone out of this....Alejo refers to Raul Miranda Ortiz, an Aquiles ally and Sinaloa proxy, who has ordered numerous murders in the last year, including the mother of 'El Jackal', relative of Luis Manuel Toscano, an inter family organization who ran the Zona Norte drug trade for years.  Alejo directed Los Cuates De Oberas, a group of murders who moved crystal meth under the Aquiles banner. 

Judge Exonerates and Orders the Release of Cemeí Verdía

By Carlos Arrieta | Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat

Due to a lack of evidence, the Third Criminal Court, located in Morelia, issued a release order to Cemeí Verdía Zepeda, former leader of the autodefensas in the Sierra-Costa area of Michoacán.  Verdía had been detained since July 19, 2015, while he ate breakfast in a stand in the community of La Placita, located in the municipality of Aquila.

The leader of the Community Police of Santa María de Ostula was accused by the Attonrey General of the State of Michoacán of homicide, in which he was freed today Thursday, December 24, 2015.

According to the decision, there was insufficient evidence to determine that Verdía had participated in the homicide of Argel Mejía Valdovinos, who was shot during a shootout with the Community Police, after the ambush against Verdía in May of this year.

“At the time of the commission of the facts, in proceedings, the probable criminal could not be credited of homicide.  Consequently, Cemeí Verdía Zepeda is decreed released under reserve required by law,” the court clerk read.

Héctor Zepeda, commander of the Fuerza Rural in Coahuayana, said that “it’s a big truth that we are all waiting for Cemeí; he has never ceased to be the leader, and never ceased to be the commander of the Community Police of the coast and it’s good that now they are going to do justice, that is what we will applaud our government, that those who are found guilty fall but those who are innocent will always remain free.”

According to state officials, Verdía will be released today from the Social Rehabilitation Center David Franco Rodríguez, also known as “Mil Cumbres”, where he has been imprisoned since July 29, 2015.


Posted by DD.
And to all a Happy New Year

I have a friend named Mitch.  Mitch is another Gringo living here in the small city where I live here in Mexico.  He is originally from Minnesota, is single, and for lack of a better word, he is the wrangler and manager of the stables and rodeo arena owned by the city.  He breaks and trains horses, as well as taking care of them by feeding and water.  I have always considered Mitch a "good man" during the several years now  that I have known him.  

Knowing that he had no wife or family here, I invited to our house for Christmas dinner.  He told me he really appreciated it, but the way he celebrated Christmas was saddling  up his horse and ridding the streets in the poorer areas of town and passing out candy to the kids who would be out in the streets playing with their new toys.  i told him that was really neat and I would like to be a small part of it and buy the candy (he doesn't make a lot of money at the stables).  So we went to Waldo's and bought enough packaged candies to fill a good sized Santa bag.  I also got him a Santa Claus hat, but he didn't know if he would wear it or put it on the horse.

Fresnillo: Man Found Dead After Interrogation Video

Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat

For the umpteenth time at Camelias street and a few hours after the attorney general was in the city, armed gunmen shot a man over five times who had been kidnapped, tortured, and later brought to the area to be executed.

Around 21:00 hours, warnings were given about gunshots at the streets Camelias and Tres de Mayo in the well known neighborhood of Obrera a few meters away from the Santa Cruz Cemetery.

People who were in the street at the time saw how three individuals abandoned the body quickly, and then heard five to seven shots from a firearm, but didn’t see anything after.

It was civilians who were traveling in their vehicles who saw the body of the person lying on the sidewalk when they passed by the area.  Immediately, the residents of that street closed their doors and windows, and turned off their lights to avoid being questioned about something that they didn’t see.

Immediately afterwards, a chase was reported in Poblados de Plateros and later, the preventative police said that they received a 066 call (911 call) in which suspicious activity was reported on a dark colored truck in the community of Rancho Grande, near the cemetery.

Forces from the Directorate of Public Security and other corporations were sent in to revise the area, but so far there have been no reports regarding the incident.

According to AccesoZac’s Facebook page, it is due to a war between the Cartel del Noroeste (CDN) and the Gulf Cartel (CDG).

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Monterrey: 300 kilos of cocaine seized, likely belonging to Cartel del Norte (Zetas)

Lucio R. Borderland Beat material from Reporte Indigo

The Coming Storm: After the seizure of more than 300 kilos of cocaine last weekend, clouds of violence loom ahead. Authorities do not rule out, that this blow to the cartel will provoke retaliation

Last weekend in a joint operation, elements of BOM, seized  330 kilograms of cocaine in a warehouse located in the Colonia New Morelos, Monterrey.

The blow to the cartel who lost the drug cache, could open the door to a new phase of violence in the city.

Each of the 279 packages seized drug is traded on the black market for apx $20,000, (dollars)  so it is estimated that the cargo would be worth  $ 5.5 million.

The million dollar loss for the cartel could cause a storm of retaliation. So the authorities do not rule out "uprisings" and executions of members of the same organization or rivals who leaked information of the drug location  to the authorities.

Pablo Acosta " El Zorro de Ojinaga " Part 1

Written for Borderland Beat by Otis B Fly-Wheel, images from Drug Lord by Terrence Poppa
[ Subject Matter: Pablo Acosta Villarreal
Recommendation: No prior subject matter knowledge required]

Pablo Acosta, was one of the top narcotic trafficking Godfathers of  Mexico until his demise, he was also the friend, business partner, and mentor of  Amado Carrillo Fuentes "El Senor de los Cielos" or "the Lord of the Skies". He moved incalculable tonnes of  Marijuana and Heroin which constituted the majority of his illegal trade, in his heyday he was moving 60 tonnes of  Cocaine a year for the Colombian Cartels with a street value today of  $3 billion US a year, along a 200 mile stretch of border that he controlled round the big bend national park area. He died during a confrontation with Government Forces in 1987.

Reporter: Otis B Fly-Wheel

The Ojinaga Plaza

The current plaza system utilized by the major cartels in Mexico today, developed from and owe their roots to the Ojinaga Plaza. The first " Plaza Boss" of Ojinaga was Manuel Carrasco "La Vibora", this was before the term had been used for the first time. The one time campesino and drug mule, made a few extra bucks delivering small quantities of heroin for his wife's uncle.

His wife's uncle was Domingo Aranda, an independent drug trafficker who sold to the Chicago Mafia. Aranda was a small time trafficker compared to the generations after, that put flesh on the bones of, the brainchild of the corrupt Mexican Government that is the Plaza system, the modern day Drug Capo took "ownership" of the Ojinaga Plaza.

Carrasco had his sights set on bigger things than Domingo Aranda. He realised that after establishing USA contacts of his own, that if he locked down the interstate routes, he could move a lot of weight and put his own Boss and relative Aranda out of business.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Lawyer: Michoacán Government Obliges Cemeí to Change Lawyer In Exchange For Release

public defender (left), Cemeí Verdía (right)

Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat

Morelia, Michoacán— Ignacio Mendoza Jiménez, who was the lawyer of Cemeí Verdía Cepeda, leader of the Community Police of Santa María de Ostula, in Aquila, said in a telephone interview that the Michoacán government obliged Verdía to change his layer in exchange for his release.

In that regard, “Nacho” Mendoza said verbatim: “the state government obliged Cemeí to give up his defense under the promise that they will release him, the government secretary, Adrían López Solís, was the one who operated this matter."
Adrían López Solís
In an 11 minute video, you can precisely see Cemeí Verdía with Mendoza and in front of two more lawyers, who as told by Mendoza, are public defenders, one by the name of Efraín and the other one with the surname of Quintana.

Nestora Salgado: “Gordillo Was the Owner of Tepepan Prison”

Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat

Elba Esther Gordillo “threatened me, saying that she would do everything to keep me in here,” the former commander of the Community Police of Olinalá, Guerrero, Nestora Salgado said during an interview with Aristegui CNN from the Tepepan Prison.

“We lived together, we shared the same hall, there was a conflict.  But obviously she’s a woman with a lot of power.  The fact that the state gave her too much power, the government gives her too much power, the lady has done and undone this place.  She was the owner of this place, I’m telling you this, she was the owner of this place (until she left to a private hospital).  Perhaps I shouldn’t talk much about the lady because then I would get into a worse conflict.  The only thing I can say is that they have given her too many powers, the government, which puts in and removes who it wants, I don’t think it should be like this.”

“She threatened me, (saying) that she would do everything to keep me from ever leaving this place, because I made a sexual harassment complain of a commander of this place who was the protégé of her and she got very mad, because she relied heavily on that person, he was a commander who allowed her to do anything and obviously very protected by her.  In fact he’s leaving from this place, but no punished, he’s going to another place as a chief.  They remove him from this place because (of the denouncement) of sexual harassment and they put him in another center as chief, so to me it’s that instead of punishing him, it was a prize.  His name is Jaime Sánchez Martínez.”

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mireles’ Message From Prison: Yes It Was Worth It

Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat

(Message dated October 14, 2015; Received on December 2, 2015, Hermosillo, Sonora)

“On the other hand, one of the people who sent me a letter strongly questioned me whether our struggle was worth it, because some of us are imprisoned while others are being assassinated along with their entire families.  This is why I want to send a short message.

The national front of autodefensas was made official on May 5, 2014 and on May 28, 2014, it became known worldwide with 12 states of the republic, in the Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros.

By 6pm that day, there had already been 19 states that had registered.  A day before my arrest, a 20th state registered.  YES IT WAS WORTH IT.

To all of the autodefensas of Michoacán and of the Mexican Republic, I tell them to continue to organize, to take care of their life, their house, their towns, and their productivity, if we fight; we won’t die when the criminals want us to die.

If we fight, we will only die when God wills it.  I tell you this from experience.  After seven ambushes, and a plane crash, I kept fighting organized crime in Michoacán and my worthwhile witnesses have been the reporters of Denise Maerker.  As well as those from the newspaper El País and the Washington Post and others who were with us in some of our battles.

This is why I tell you to organize and to take care of your communities, by neighborhood and by the entrances and exits of the towns.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Devils, Deals and the DEA

Posted by DD Republished from propublica 
thanks to Breccia for publishing the story on BB Forum .
Drawing byTim McDonagh, special to ProPublica

Why Chapo Guzman was the biggest winner in the DEA's longest running drug cartel case


For 14 months, the first thing Dave Herrod, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, did every morning was boot up his laptop and begin tracking a 43-foot yacht with Dock Holiday painted on the stern.

In the summer of 2005, the DEA had intercepted a conversation in which members of a Mexican drug cartel known as the Arellano Félix Organization discussed buying a yacht in California. Herrod and his colleagues studied the classified ads in yacht magazines and determined that the Dock Holiday was the boat the AFO members wanted. DEA agents then managed to get on board and install tracking devices before the sale went through. That’s when Herrod started watching the boat on his laptop.

 Since the early 1990s, the Arellano brothers — the inspiration for the Obregón brothers in the movie Traffic — had controlled the flow of drugs through what was perhaps the single most important point for illicit commerce in the world: the border crossing from Tijuana to San Diego. Much of the AFO’s success derived from its predilection for innovative violence. The cartel employed a crew of “baseballistas” who would hang victims from rafters, like piñatas, and beat them to death with bats. Pozole, the Spanish word for a traditional Mexican stew, was the AFO’s euphemism for a method of hiding high-profile victims: Stuff them headfirst into a barrel of hot lye or acid and stir for 24 hours until only their teeth were left, then pour them down the drain. 

Dismantling the AFO had been an official project of the U.S. government since 1992, and an obsession of Herrod’s since the year before that, when he’d started chasing the cartel as a rookie agent stationed near San Diego. A former athlete, he spent years guzzling Pepsi and Mountain Dew to power through long workdays. His health, like everything else, took a backseat to the AFO case.

After the sale of the Dock Holiday, the trackers showed the vessel hugging the coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, rounding the tip of Cabo San Lucas, and heading north into the Gulf of California to La Paz. Once in a while, it sailed to Rancho Leonero, where Javier Arellano Félix, the head of the AFO at the time, had a beach house. Herrod knew that Javier loved deep-sea fishing, and he was convinced that the cartel’s chief executive was using the boat. So the DEA launched Operation Shadow Game. The plan: Watch the Dock Holiday to find out if Javier would be on it, then intercept the boat should it stray beyond Mexico’s territorial waters.

For six weeks, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Monsoon stood sentinel off Baja California, waiting for the yacht to venture more than 12 nautical miles off the coast and into international waters. But it never did. On August 12, 2006, Operation Shadow Game came to an end. The Monsoon set off for other duties, and Herrod left his laptop dark for the first time since the previous summer.

Shootout on "El Chapo's" birth place leaves eight dead

A shootout in the town of San José del Barranco, a Badiraguato Township, in the state of Sinaloa, left eight men dead, one of them was the security chief of  the brother of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

The confrontation was between two criminal groups who are fighting for control of the drug trade and those who died were from the ranches of La Tuna, Los Licitos and San Jose del Barranco, all from the same municipality.

La Tuna is where the family of "El Chapo" Guzman lives, and from the time he managed to escape the Navy has strengthened its operations in Mexico to locate him.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Censor or die: The death of Mexican news in the age of drug cartels

Posted by DD, republished from Washington Post
dd: a thanks to chimera for posting on the BB Forum.
Hildbrando “Brando” Deandar’s family has been in northern Mexico’s journalism business for nearly 100 years. But in the past 10 years, one beat has become a potentially fatal task: reporting on the country’s savage drug cartels. (Brad Horn/The Washington Post)
There is a 4 minute video with the story in the Washington Post, but I could not embed it here.  It is titled "One Journalist"s experience on Mexico's deadliest beat"  Click the WP link above to watch it. 
By Dana Priest
REYNOSA, Mexico — As deadline descended on El Mañana’s newsroom and reporters rushed to file their stories, someone in the employ of a local drug cartel called with a demand from his crime boss.

The caller was a journalist for another newspaper, known here as an enlace, or “link” to the cartel. The compromised journalist barked out the order: Publish an article saying the mayor in Matamoros had not paid the cartel $2 million a month in protection fees, as an El Mañana front-page story had alleged the day before.

“They want us to say he’s not guilty,” the editor who took the call told his colleagues during the episode in late October. Knowing glances passed between them as a visiting Washington Post reporter looked on.

Cemeí Verdía Interview: Confident In His Release


By: Laura Castellanos | Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat

Charo, Michoacán- Cemeí Verdía, the first commander of the Community Police of Santa María Ostula and general coordinator of the autodefensas of the municipalities of Aquila, Coahuayana and Chinicuila, is confident in his release.

On Monday, Verdía came out of his appeal against the criminal proceeding 82/2015 for the crime of homicide, of which he has already been tried for and released, in the Fifth Criminal Court of the Supreme Court of Michoacán, assigned to Judge Marco Antonio Flores Negrete.

From inside CERESO (Social Rehabilitation Center) David Franco Rodríguez, also known as Mil Cumbres, the 35 year old indigenous leader seen as the commander of the civil guards following the arrest of José Manuel Mireles, is calm and with enthusiasm.

“I’m confident that I’m leaving,” he said smiling.  “I’m innocent, they can accuse me of thousands of things but none of them will check out because I know what I do,” said the man who led the taking of Ostula, municipality of Aquila, on February 2014, after four years of being under the heel of the Caballeros Templarios, which left six missing and 34 community members executed over a period of five years.

The former coordinator of autodefensas and community members of Michoacán is accused of the first degree murder of Argel Mejía Valdovinos on May 25, 2015, after the ambush that he and five other individuals staged against Verdía along the coastal road of Aquila, which left one of Verdía’s bodyguards dead.

This caused the Nahua and other civil guards to chase the attackers in the mountains, which ended in a clash that left four attackers dead, among them Mejía, and four wounded.

“Fortunantely, since I arrived, there have been no deaths, they only deaths were those from the attack against me,” he said of the ambush.

And while he says, the expulsion of the Templarios was achieved “they are the most interested in returning to Michoacán because they know their wealth.  They have already tasted it.”

The indigenous leader is currently the most combative defender of the Nahua territory composed of a headquarters and 22 laborers' quarters, and has faced the cartel that illegally exploited its mineral-rich territory, against small landowners of La Placita who seek to deprive them of 1,200 hectares of coastal terrain, as well as wood looters who exploit the sangualica tree, which is in danger of extinction.

Regarding his fight against the mining companies, the leader who went to school until the sixth grade states: “I woke up the communities and told them that they were the owners; if they (mining companies) wanted to exploit the land they had to talk to them (the community members), not just arrive and say ‘it’s mine’.”

In regards to the wood looting he accuses the government of “being in on it, we realized this, there are Mexican Navy and federal checkpoints and we see how they embark.  Government interests were the worst, having touched the interests of the government.”

His legal representative Ignacio Mendoza argues that the detention of Verdía is “political in nature” because in the criminal proceeding 82/2015 “a crime was fabricated and his guarantees for human rights were violated.”

Likewise, he was accused of carrying a weapon for the exclusive use of the Mexican Army, of the theft of six coils of wire from the city of Aquila, and of electoral crimes in the form of poll burning, but Verdía has been released from all of these accusations.

The Arrest of the Nahua Leader

Judge Sentances 3 to 520 Years For Kidnapping & Murder of "Tepito 13"

Posted by DD from material from BBC, inserbia, and Borderland Beat

Three people were given sentences of 520 years in prison each for their roles in the kidnapping and murder of 13 young people in May of 2013 from the Heaven Bar in the Zona Rosa in Mexico City that became known as the Tipito 13.  The sentence was handed down by the 25th Criminal Court in the capitol city.  
 photos of 10 of the victims were published in the newspapersas the person likely responsible for the kidnapping
As reported in Inserbia, Ernesto Espinosa Lobo and José de Jesús Carmona Aiza, both part-owners of Heaven, and a presumed hitman in the case, Victor Manuel Torres García, were charged and convicted for their roles in the illegal deprivation of liberty with the intent of causing damage to the deprived, and the charge was upgraded to “aggrevated” because the crimes were committed against groups of people and with violence, along with minor-related charges as several of the victims were under 18 years of age.
At the time Espinosa Lobo and Carmona Aiza were arrested and charged an "order to locate and appear" was issued  for a third part owner of the Heaven Bar, Dax Rodriguez Ledezma, as a person likely responsible for the kidnapping,  but authorities were unable to find him. 

On June 22, about a month after the kidnappings, the burned bodies of a man and woman were found in a community in Morelos, which is south of Mx. City.  The body of the man was identified as Dax Rodriguez Ledezma and the woman identified as his girlfriend.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Judge Denies Release of 100 Autodefensas

Autodefensas imprisoned in Francisco J. Mujica Prison

By: Laura Castellanos | Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat

The Sixth District Judge located in Uruapan, Horacio Ortiz González, denied the release of the 70 autodefensas who were arrested along with José Manuel Mireles, the former coordinator of the autodefensas and communitarios in the state, on June 27, 2014, in the community of La Mira, Michoacán.  

They are accused for the illegal possession of arms for the exclusive use by the Mexican Army.

Likewise, the judge refused to release 30 more autodefensas arrested on May 9, 2014.

Ignacio Mendoza, the lawyer for hundreds of autodefensas, says that the judge acted “cowardly and narrow” because he resorted to the same legal argument that allowed the freedom of Cemeí Verdia, who was accused for the same offense, and released on July 28.

The litigant asserts that the argument allowed the release of José Manuel Farfán, an autodefensa from the municipality of Turicato on February 2015.

The lawyer of Mireles and Verdía, the latter still imprisoned for the crime of murder, states that the release was achieved in the case because “they cannot enforce gun laws in Michoacán in that time period because of the rule of law was broken for civilians and authorities.”

“And if this judge is proceeding in this way with 100 autodefensas, then he should also proceed the same way against the 7,000 autodefensas who are armed and against the officials who legalized them, they allowed them to use weapons, they converted them into Fuerza Rurales, and they used them.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Alleged CDG members attack PGR base in Reynosa

Translated by Otis B Fly-Wheel for Borderland Beat from a SDPnoticias article and image from Google images

[ Subject Matter: Cartel del Golfo, Reynosa
Recommendation: No prior subject matter knowledge required]

Reporter: SDPnoticias Redaction
According to un-official sources the attack is a consequence of the detention of a boss of the said cartel.

Federal Forces confronted armed men with gunfire in diverse Colonias of Reynosa, as well as registering an attack against the PGR Tamaulipas delegation.

The PGR of Tamaulipas informs that the situation of risk increased since 3 am in the morning since this Monday in the Vista Hermosa Colonia.

30 lives extinguished, but no regrets: A killer's story

Posted by DD republished from Yahoo.News AP story  


IGUALA, Mexico (AP) — The killer says he "disappeared" a man for the first time at age 20. Nine years later, he says, he has eliminated 30 people — maybe three in error.

He sometimes feels sorry about the work he does but has no regrets, he says, because he is providing a kind of public service, defending his community from outsiders. Things would be much worse if rivals took over.

"A lot of times your neighborhood, your town, your city is being invaded by people who you think are going to hurt your family, your society," he says. "Well, then you have to act, because the government isn't going to come help you."

He operates along the Costa Grande of Guerrero, the southwestern state that is home to glitzy Acapulco as well as to rich farmland used to cultivate heroin poppies and marijuana. Large swaths of the state are controlled or contested by violent drug cartels that traffic in opium paste for the U.S. market, and more than 1,000 people have been reported missing in Guerrero since 2007— far fewer than the actual number believed to have disappeared in the state.

"El Cochi" BLO plaza boss of Nuevo Leon arrested

Translated by Otis B Fly-Wheel for Borderland Beat from a Proceso article, additional image courtesy of Google Maps

[ Subject Matter: "El Cochi" or "El Commandante 9", Beltran Leyva Organization]
Recommendation: No prior subject matter knowledge required]

Reporter: Zeta Redaction
Elements of the Marines, detained this weekend a subject identified as "El Cochi" or "El Commandante 9", alleged leader of the Beltran Leyva Cartel in Nuevo Leon.

The authorities allege he is responsible for assassinations, extortion's and narco trafficking in the State of Nuevo Leon. The Marines detained him in the town of San Pedro during an operation carried out in the Santa Engracia Colonia. (Otis: this is on the outskirts of Monterrey).

Click to enlarge

Monday, December 14, 2015

San Diego: 25 indicted in money laundering, gambling conspriacy tied to Tijuana

FBI unseals indictment against 25 people in gambling, money laundering conspiracy

An indictment naming against 25 conspirators involved in sex trafficking, bookmaking, and money laundering was unsealed last week in San Diego.  The men allegedly ran a nationwide illegal gambling operation, laundered millions in proceeds, and trafficked women for prostitution from Tijuana, where they worked from an office, and the home of a US citizen,  Jeffery Broadt a primary defendant in the case.

The case is a fascinating look at San Diego, from the corruption and money in politics, to the high stakes poker games held in Rancho Santa Fe mansions, with gaudy luxury vehicles out front, and powerful men with bankrolls inside, being catered to by prostitutes, chefs, and servers.  The women were trafficked from Tijuana, at the direction of the lead defendant David 'Fat Dave' Stroj, a longtime bookmaker with multiple convictions, and a prior case linking him with the Philadelphia mafia.

Dave Stroj
The owners of the casinos are linked to contributions to Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a San Diego 'good old boy', and wealthy businessman, who was elected after Bob Filner was displaced after a scandal involing his groping and sexual assault of dozens of women, in 2013.  Harvey Souza is the owner of the Seven Mile, formerly the Palomar, that re opened in July 2015, after the inital raids on both casinos.  Mary Salas, the mayor of Chula Vista, spoke and posed during the reopening.  The business contributes about 500,000 in tax revenue to the city, yearly.  Harvey Souza and Naseem 'Nick' Saleem, the Palomar manager are charged with failure to have money laundering protections in place, and facilitating illegal gambling. One instance on the search warrant affidavit details a conversation in which Stroj talks about depositing 50,000 checks into the Palomar, and 'there are no problems for me'. 

San Diego has long had card rooms, a confusing purgatory between legal gambling like Vegas, and tribal gaming like Sycuan, a sort of halfway point, in areas like Chula Vista and El Cajon boulevard, the customers are gamblers, criminals, and combinations the two.  The two named in the case were the Seven Mile Club in Chula Vista, formerly directly adjacent to a strip club, and the Palomar on El Cajon boulevard, a longstanding hotbed of drugs and prostitution, from the street to the card club itself.  

Enter Fat Dave, and his gambling business, which had clients from Arizona, New Mexico, to Florida. Stroj recruited financiers, enforcers sub bookies and sub agents who recruited, collected, and managed the sprawling gambling operation, that came under investigation by the FBI in October 2013.  The documents allege Stroj earned, and lost hundreds of thousands throughout, and his gambling business at points grossed 2 million a month.  Dave rubbled shoulders with San Diego and Tijuana businessmen, who gambled and partied with him.  Stroj was indicted in 2008, Operation Costa Delcro, a bookmaking, loan sharking, and drug dealing conspiracy in Delaware.  It is unknown if he was sentenced in local or federal court.  
Mary Salas, and Harvey Souza, middle.

 He ran operations from a home in Valley Center Escondido, and a condo in the Gaslamp district on fifth and K, the Trellis building, as well as leading defendant Jeffery Broadt's office/home in Tijuana. Stroj was a figure downtown in the clubs and bars, often in the company of indicted coconspirators, bottle service and VIP tables.  A meeting documented in the search warrant affidavit took place at Nobu, at the Hard Rock, in which Stroj paid a client his winnings in a paper bag, and discussed the seizure of 185,000 in New Mexico, which partially belonged to Stroj.  

The charging documents indicate the conspiracy began in 2013, but it was likely a year or so earlier at least.  Online sites, utilized by almost all the customers, and based in Costa Rica handled much of the business, customers were recruited or referred to the services, were they placed their bets and received their winnings.  The high end card games and blackjack nights were bankrolled by the lead defendants.  Sub bookies and sub agents received a portion of the losses of their clients, up to 30%.  

Jefferey Stoff, ran a bail bonds business and became involved with conspiracy in 2014, offering to use his business again to help Stroj launder profits, and becoming a part of the gambling operation. Jeffery Broadt, a US citizen who lived in Playas De Tijuana, frequented strip clubs, and trafficked girls, along with Stroj to Rancho Santa Fe, and Las Vegas.  In another repugnant example of sex trafficking and sex tourism, Broadt pimped out girl from places like Adeltias in Zona Norte, places where poverty and desperation force women into prostitution, where they are abused, raped, and degraded by employers and customers.

The girls paid the 'house' a 10% fee, and 30% kickback to Broadt, who bought them plane tickets and escorted them through immigration, where they claimed they were masseuses.  The women admitted to the investigators during interviews they were paid from 1,000 to 2,000.  Broadt and Stroj are charged with trafficking the girls in two instances in fall 2014.  

Stroj used Arturo Diaz, as his enforcer and right hand man, who frequently was charged with collecting money from customers, whom the sub bookies and sub agents failed to collect.  Excepts from the wiretap evidence, applied for and collected in 2015 and 2014, from Stroj two cellphones show examples of this, and others, sometimes amusing...

"You came to me for HELP and I loaned you 200,000 and nowYOU disrespect me and hang up!!!

"Call me back or I'm selling your debt to Arturo"

"You don't owe me anymore, you now owe Arturo"

"Arturo has his guys ready to run into resturaunts to make collections"

"Jeff and I are going to make a bank for the blackjack, because the Mexicans want to play"

"Listen, all my life I was a scientist, a biochemist before I was a bookmaker"

Stroj is facing charges of money laundering conspiracy, along with 20 others in the indictment, as well as prostitution charges, and illegal gambling.  He surrendered to the FBI at the Sorrento Valley offices, as the indictment came down.  In October 2014 raids were conducted at many defendants homes and offices, and hundreds of items seized, including cell phones and nearly a 100k in cash. Many defendants were interviewed by the FBI and made incriminating statements, admitting to gambling and bookmaking.  Despite this, the flashy group of alleged conspirators continued to conduct their activities and talked on lines that were compromised.  Stroj was the only member to have his phone wire tapped, the wire monitored incoming and outgoing communications, and a pen register was applied to his phone in 2015.

The members of the conspiracy are a cross section of San Diego, including a Barona Tribal gaming employee, Greg Kolk, wealthy Tijuana businessmen, a former managing director to the Tijuana Xolos, linked to Jorge Hank Rohn, Ricardo Castellanos Velasquez, and various sleazy hanger ons and lackeys, who courier money and enjoyed the lifestyle.  Stroj will be facing the most severe sentence, due to his priors, and the ability of the lower defendants to testify against him. Many of those indicted exchanged hundreds of texts and calls with Stroj, and could easily testify against him.  Stroj's own brother, an Orange County attorney, Robert Stroj is among the indicted also.  

It is likely that the 2013 arrest and likely cooperation of Eric & Jan Portecarreo, and their dozens of sub bookies and sub agents, in a very similar indictment, contributed to the FBI's initial investigation. Homeland Security, the DOJ, the San Diego Sheriffs Department, the IRS, also contributed to the building of the case.  

Despite the splash and press releases, the cases will likely wind slowly through federal court, with many being released on bail, because of their ability to put up substantial assets for collateral, many will cooperate, and receive minor sentences and fines.  

Link to US Attorney Office press release and names of indicted:

Link to search warrant 


Sources: UT San Diego, NBC San Diego, US Attorneys Office