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

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Enemy Within: Bribes Bore a Hole in the U.S. Border

Posted by DD Republished from New York Times


 WASHINGTON — In 2012, Joohoon David Lee, a federal Homeland Security agent in Los Angeles, was assigned to investigate the case of a Korean businessman accused of sex trafficking. 

 Instead of carrying out a thorough inquiry, Mr. Lee solicited and received about $13,000 in bribes and other gifts from the businessman and his relatives in return for making the “immigration issue go away,” court records show. 

Mr. Lee, an agent with Homeland Security Investigations at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, filed a report saying: “Subject was suspected of human trafficking. No evidence found and victim statement contradicts. Case closed. No further action required.” 
A plea agreement for Joohoon David Lee, a homeland security agent, details his request and acceptance of a bribe from a Korean businessman.

 But after another agent alerted internal investigators about Mr. Lee’s interference in another case, his record was examined and he was charged with bribery. He pleaded guilty in July and was sentenced to 10 months in prison. 

 It was not an isolated case. A review by The New York Times of thousands of court records and internal agency documents showed that over the last 10 years almost 200 employees and contract workers of the Department of Homeland Security have taken nearly $15 million in bribes while being paid to protect the nation’s borders and enforce immigration laws. 

Bribes Take Different Forms Cash isn’t the only method of payment. Here are some other items that were given as bribes: 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Beltran Leyva Plaza boss "El Nito Amavizca" arrested with guns, cash and armored vehicle

Original article available at Excelsior
Translated by El Wachito

Agents of the State Public Security arrested in Hermosillo, Sonora, Rodolfo Lopez Ibarra alias "El Nito Amavizca", who was identified by the authorities as the Plaza Boss of Sonora for the Beltran Leyva Cartel, among the 12 priority objectives of the Federal Government and has extradition orders to the United States.

During a Mexican Government press released, the government claimed that "El Nito Amavizca" was arrested during the afternoon of Tuesday 27, of December in the Capital of Sonora, when the cartel liutenant was traveling in a road of downtown, on board a armored pick up truck, in posession of a .38 Super and thousands of dollars in a bag. 

DEA agent explains what it's like to infiltrate Mexican and Colombian drug cartels

Original article available at Global Post
Written By Ioan Grillo

Anti-drug agents are usually extremely cautious about spilling the beans on their secret world, which lies somewhere between espionage, police work and battlefield.

Agent Mike Vigil with a confiscated shipment of drugs /Via global post
 But here’s a rare inside look, offered by a veteran of the drug war. Mike Vigil, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s former chief of international operations, served more than three decades in the agency, including 18 years abroad, and more time than any other DEA agent in Mexico.

Now an independent consultant who still advises Mexican security forces, Vigil has detailed his work in a new memoir called “Deal.”

Vigil’s known as the agent who best infiltrated Mexico’s and Colombia’s violent cartels. And he lives to tell the tales.

The Golden Age of Drug Trafficking: How Meth, Cocaine, and Heroin Move Around the World

Original article available at LinkedIn
By Leo E.
Article dated 12 May, 2016

Diplomats and top officials from governments around the world gathered last week at United Nations headquarters in New York to discuss what to do about the global drug problem. Over the course of four days and multiple discussions, the assembled dignitaries vowed to take a more comprehensive approach to the issue than in years past — but they also decided to keep waging the war on drugs.

Colombian counter-narcotics police secure a cocaine production laboratory operated by FARC guerrillas in January 2012. (Photo by Mauricio Duenas/EPA) 

The "outcome document" adopted during the UN General Assembly's special session (UNGASS) calls for countries to "prevent and counter" drug-related crime by disrupting the "illicit cultivation, production, manufacturing, and trafficking" of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and other substances banned by international law. The document also reaffirmed the UN's "unwavering commitment" to "supply reduction and related measures."

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Mexico Drug War: Proposed Law of Internal Security Allows Military to Take Control

Posted by DD republished from Mexican Voices

Reforma: Denise Dresser* Translated by Ruby Izar-Shea

General Cienfuegos [Hundred Fires] just blackmailed the President of the Republic and Enrique Peña Nieto allowed himself to be blackmailed. A military command has just imposed itself over a civilian command and few people balked. Decades of tradition and constitutional practice that allowed Mexico to avoid militarization are now threatened by the empowered Army. It is persistent, obsessed with the power it has acquired and is going for more.

More power with the "Internal Security Law" initiative that seeks to give legal protection to what the military does illegally. With the proposal to suspend individual guarantees without controls, without transparency, without civil surveillance over the military. Generals that grow as civilians shrink. Soldiers increasingly present, in place of police officers less and less professionalized. Mexico heading for a state of exception in which the exception becomes the rule.
Because general "A Hundred Fires" threatens military mutiny if he doesn’t get the constitutional coverage he needs to remain on the streets. Because after years of war, 52,000 deployed soldiers, 84 regional operations to "reduce violence", the deployment of 75 security posts, 213,000 dead, a creepy lethality rate in which the army kills 8 people for every 1 wounded, 12,408 complaints to the CNDH [National Human Rights Commission] and the involvement of military commanders in Tlatlaya and Ayotzinapa, the general needs laws that cover up his wrong doings. Laws that protect him and other high commanders. Laws that prevent the Prosecutor General or the international community from demanding accountability one day. And since he knows that is possible, he announces that if he doesn't get them, he’ll return to the barracks, knowing the fear that inspires. He incites military disobedience to produce civil protection.

But what’s behind the demand to "regulate the use of force" is permission to apply it unconstitutionally. To give powers to the Army that it shouldn't have. To centralize power and weaken federalism after criticizing governors and municipal presidents for not exercising it properly. To militarize Mexico in a stealthy, cheating way. Peña Nieto himself admitted it by declaring that "the Army performs investigative functions and works as Attorney General." This is a voluntary assignment of civilian power to military power to fill the gaps the police and criminal justice system have not been able to fill. The gaps that should lead to the central question: Who should be in charge of the country's public security? The Army or the police?

The answer should not even be debated. The answer lies in the honesty, strength, regulation and professionalization of civilian authorities. From there, laws, resources, budget allocations, and constitutional reforms should begin. But in the last two administratioins, both Calderón and Peña Nieto have shown where their preferences are, where their commitments are. Not with those in blue, but rather with those in green. Not with the patrol cars, but rather with the tanks. The evidence is in the growth of the budget for the Army vis a vis the decrease in what the federal government destines to municipal and state police. The civilian authorities are destroying the possibility of police professionalization, creating a vicious circle: since there are no good police officers we need the Army, but as long as we use the Army we will never professionalize the police.

And Enrique Peña Nieto allows this because he is timorous, weak, because of his fear of losing power if the Army doesn't support him. Because of the fear he faces with so many homicides, so many disappeared, so many graves, and the international and historical judgment they will invite. To protect himself, he’s prepared to make unacceptable concessions to General Cienfuegos and his people. He’s willing to violate the Constitution and make legal what no civilian president has allowed because of the dangers involved. A situation from which there won’t be a return or will happen after many more are dead, disappeared, tortured or illegally executed. It’s endorsing - through Congress and its initiatives - a self-coup. Because instead of returning the Army to the barracks, the government is allowing the country to be held hostage.

 *Denise Dresser is a Mexican political analyst, writer, and university professor. After completing undergraduate work at The College of Mexico, she earned her Ph.D. in Politics at Princeton University. She is currently a faculty member in the Department of Political Science at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), where she teaches courses such as Comparative Politics, Political Economy and Contemporary Mexican Politics. She has taught at Georgetown University and the University of California. In December 2015, she was decorated as a Knight of the Legion of Honor by the French government.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

In Mexico Violence and Death do not take a Christmas Holiday

Posted by DD, material from The Guardian, El Diario de Coahuila, and PanAmPost

 Mexico’s plague of drug-gang related violent death showed no sign of let-up on Christmas Day –
In the western state of Michoacan six severed human heads were found about 8:30 AM   in Jiquilpan, a municipality near the state of Jalisco – a region that has become a battleground for competing drug gangs in recent years.

Officials in the Attorney General’s Office said that the crime was most likely carried out by organized crime cells operating in the area.  According to José Martín Godoy Castro, the Attorney General of Michoacan, "criminal activity in the Sahuayo-Jiquilpan geographical area is due to the fact that there is no predominance of a delinquent group, but rather a dispute between several who seek territorial control ".

The six men are yet to be identified and their bodies have not been found.   The heads were transferred to the Forensic Medical Service for analysis.

More news on these deaths should be forthcoming shortly as 5 suspects in the murder and decapitations were arrested last night (Dec. 26).  The arrests were made as part of the investigation of the severed heads when "an abundance of Federal Ministerial Police went neighboring municipality of  Sahuayo.  

As they passed through Isabel la Catolica street in the Popular colony, they detected a white Nissan van and a red motorcycle, and when they approached they were attacked by firearms by the occupants of a nearby building.   As reported in El Diario de Coahuila;

"Faced with the refusal of the aggressors to stop the shooting, the officers entered the site and subdied five people, two women and three men.

"Inside the truck were found two knives with blood stains, so they were packed for expert analysis in order to determine their correspondence with the events recorded on Christmas day  in Jiquilpan".  .

Also confiscated from the detainees at the site were  two AK 47 rifles, caliber 7.62; An AR-15 gun, .223 caliber; Three short weapons (two 9 mm caliber and one .38 Special), plus a .22 caliber weapon,  and garments with blood stains.


In another two separate incidents, also on Christmas but in other regions, a total of 16 people were killed in gun-related violence presumed to have been motivated by drug-related violence.

Of the 16, seven people were massacred  as they gathered to celebrate Christmas in the municipality of Atoyac de Alvarez, in the southern state of Guerrero. The victims included five men from the same family, as gunmen enter the house where the victims were gearing up to celebrate Christmas.  Three brothers, their father and their uncle were shot dead according, to AP. A married couple who had been invited to lunch with the family were also killed.

Out of the seven that were killed, two were municipal police officers and one a state police officer, according to state security spokesman Roberto Alvarez Heredia. Preliminary investigations suggest that the gunmen were motivated by revenge and had attempted to target only one individual but eventually ended up killing bystanders.

In Chihuahua state, authorities said nine people were killed during Christmas Day violence, according to AFP. Five of those were in Ciudad Juarez, including three women who showed signs of having been tortured.

While much of Mexico’s drug violence goes unreported, official data say more than 170,000 people have been killed and 28,000 reported missing since 2006.

Sunday, December 25, 2016



Christmas is a time for family and even though most of us have never met in person, we consider all of you readers and followers of BB as family and wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS.

From my house to yours..............


                                                                                       Abrazos, Chivis

Saturday, December 24, 2016

"El Chueco" leaving U.S. prison after only 3 1/2 years

Guest Reporter for Borderland Beat

He gained fame as the epitome of Mexico’s political corruption and narco collusion.  His motto was
“Don’t bring your bullshit, in this state I am in command”, his moniker is “El Chueco” meaning crooked, not for his character but his asymmetrical facial appearance, the result of  a paralysis.  He is Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid, who yesterday left the United States prison system for extradition returning him to Mexico, to serve another 22 year incarceration.  

The former governor of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo who admitted  conspiring to launder money, in a New York drug case,  was sentenced in June of 2013  to just under 11 years in prison, but only served 3 ½ years behind bars in the United States.

Villanueva Madrid, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to 10 years and 11 months after pleading guilty. His original charges included the importation of hundreds of tons of cocaine.  He has been jailed since 2001, mostly in Mexico, where he was charged with similar crimes.

On June 21, 2007 Villanueva Madrid, was arrested moments after he was released from the maximum security prison of El Altiplano in Almoloya de Juarez, Mexico. Villanueva was released from the prison and immediately re-arrested for extradition to the U.S.

Friday, December 23, 2016

12 Members of some of Tijuana's most prominent families arrested for money laundering in an operation where the DEA participated

Original article available at Jornada ABC
Translated by El Wachito
Prior recommended reading: PAN politician arrested in San Diego

The arrest of prominent members of the society of Tijuana, including the arrest of PAN politician Luis Torres Santillan, who took possession of his post last December 1st, brought attention to Fernando Beltran, who is the favorite businessman of Governor Kiko Vega, due to the fact that they share family and work links.

Governor Kiko Vega, the next Duarte, Padres, Moreina
According to Jesse Navarro, one of spokesman of the Fiscal Agency of San Diego, the investigation has been on going for almost a year and more people could be involved. He confirmed that an elevated bail bond of 5 million dollars was requested in order to guarantee that Torres Santillan attends all his court hearings, and according to Jesse, the 10 charges of money laundering could land him up to 15 years in prison.

Money launderers of Cartel de Sinaloa declared themselves guilty

Original article available at ZETA
Translated by El Wachito
Prior recommended reading: Sinaloans are laundering drug proceeds using currency exchange centers

Osvaldo Contreras Arriaga and Omar Ayon Diaz, owners and administrators of currency exchange centers in Tijuana, declared themselves guilty of supervising a drug trafficking operation and money laundering operation for the Cartel de Sinaloa in the border of Tijuana, Baja California and San Diego, California,

Osvaldo Contreras and Omar Ayon Diaz were arrested in Colombia

The young businessman were detained in Colombia last September of 2015, while on vacation, when the Interpol submitted a search and apprehension order by  petition of the United States government.

Mx. Army General: ""If you want us to go back to our bases, fine, I'll be the first to raise both my hands,"

Posted by Mica on  BB Forum republished from ABC News

Mexico's top military officer said recently  that the army is uncomfortable with the law-enforcement role it was given a decade ago when the government launched an offensive against drug cartels.

The defense secretary, Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos, said the army's presence was supposed to be temporary while new police forces were built, but that hasn't happened.

Many local police in Mexico are corrupt, poorly trained or unreliable.
"We would love the police forces to do their job ... but they don't," Cienfuegos said.

"Ten years ago it was decided that the police should be rebuilt, and we still haven't seen that reconstruction," he said. "To sum it up, there are a large number of deaths that shouldn't be happening, there is a lack of commitment on the part of a lot of sectors. This isn't something that can be solved with bullets; it takes other measures and there hasn't been decisive action on budgets to make that happen."

The army has both been the target of attacks by criminals but also has been accused of killing unarmed suspected cartel gunmen.

Cienfuegos said at a year-end meeting that the army needs clearer rules to govern its work in supporting civilian law enforcement, like rules of engagement and the appropriate use of force. Congress has been considering legislation, but has not yet passed it.

"If you want us to go back to our bases, fine, I'll be the first to raise both my hands," Cienfuegos said. "We didn't ask to be here. We don't like it here. None of us here today went go to school to chase criminals."

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Decapitated heads found in Acapulco *Graphic content*

Original article available at ZETA
Translated by El Wachito

Four human heads were found in a cooler that was located in front of an Oxxo convenience store, in the community of Llano Largo, over the road Puerto Marques-Cayaco, according to the spokesman of the Coordination Group of Guerrero (GCG), Roberto Alvarez Heredia, who said that till this Monday, the human bodies have not be found.

An anonymous call to the emergency number 066, around 18:30 of last Sunday, alerted the authorities of the terrifying discovery, a cooler that had inside four heads, which belong to males between the ages of 25 and 30. 

The heads belonged to four males, and one of the heads was missing an eye and the superior right area of the skull was visible.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Effects of the Disappearance of a Parent

By Edgar Avila | Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat

When violence knocked on the door of his house, it struck everyone equally, even the smallest in the family.

The disappearance of the head of the family left in the limbo any explanation that could be given to Marcos, 6, to call it somehow, because the fear left by the incursion of crime in his home still does not let them fully adhere back into their old daily life.

The father of the child, Juan Manuel, 28, was swallowed up by the land in the port of Veracruz, as well as the other 2,312 veracruzanos who only exist in the official figures of denouncements, but who were physically absent from their homes in the middle of a war between drug cartels, the official fight against crime and many other factors.

It was in 2013 when they never again heard from the man, although they discovered that the last time he was seen alive, he had been “detained” by alleged police officers, a version that they have not yet been able to verify.

“How do you explain to a child that his father is missing, that he isn’t dead, that he’s alive, but that he is not with us,” says his mother.  They have not yet found a way to tell him, because she doesn’t even known if her husband “went to heaven” or if he’s still in captivity.

10 Years of Mexico's War on Drugs, In Pictures

Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat

Former President Felipe Calderón declared the war against drug trafficking on December 11, 2006, in Mexico, leaving an outcome calculated with over 27,000 people disappeared, 150,000 dead, and 280,000 displaced from their home.  

December 11, 2016, marked the 10 year anniversary of Mexico's War on Drugs.

Former President Felipe Calderón watches a military vehicle on top of a pile of weapons confiscated in Ciudad Juárez.  The PANista unleashed the war on drugs on December 11, 2006.  Photo: AP / Eduardo Verdugo

In this archived photo of January 12, 2014, men belonging to the autodefensas of Michoacán travel on board a truck full of sandbags as they try to expel alleged members of the Knights Templar Cartel from the city of Nueva Italia, México.  Photo: AP / Eduardo Verdugo

In this photo from October 9, 2009, the corpse of an unidentified man beaten and mutilated hangs from his neck under a bridge on the old road Rosarito, in Tijuana.  Photo: AP / Guillermo Arias

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

PAN politician arrested in San Diego for money laundering

Original article available at ZETA
Translated by El Wachito

Last Friday, December 16th, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), arrested in San Diego, California, two individuals around 2:16PM.
Luis Torres Santillan, 37 years old, was registered as an assistant politician by the actual mayor of Tijuana, Juan Manuel Gastelum who belongs to Partido Accion Nacional (PAN). Luis Torres Santillan was registered since December 1st.

According to investigations from ZETA, the politician and Liza Ampudia, are accused by the United States of money laundering.

Luis Torres was a member of Coparmex, in the commission of Public Safety, and an associate-administrator of Fernando Beltran, a businessman and one of the biggest and most successful box promoters of Mexico.

Tijuana: The entire city is a crime scene

Translated by El Wachito Original article available at ZETA Prior recommended reading: Brother of El Karateca Shot

With the full entrance of CJNG to the fight between Sinaloa and the young fraction of Cartel Arellano Felix, the quantity of murders and the areas of danger of the city have expanded. In this moment, the bloody bath gets worse, man are being dismembered and narcomantas are being left. In the colonies were the fights are more intense, the neighbors complain and consider that the safest thing to do is to look the other way and pretend that nothing happened. 

"There you go. So you can see who commands in Tijuana. Att. Aquiles"
Around 1100 AM, Wednesday 23rd, of August, a couple was gunned down in Fraccionamiento Santa Fe. The area was not included in the 10 most dangerous areas of the city, however, the delegation San Antonio de los Buenos belongs to that area, and it has a red mark.

"Because of the incursion of the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion with the young members of the CAF, the areas of danger of the city continue to expand", said an investigator to ZETA.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cocaine S.A.

Original article available at ZETA
Translated by El Wachito
Prior recommended reading: 631 Kilos of cocaine seized
*Article dated August 15, 2016

Law enforcement personnel detected several group of traffickers from the Sinaloa Cartel, that used and paid for transportation services, storage services, and distribution of the drugs to the other members of the criminal organization. They shared the services in order to make their criminal activities more efficient and to reduce the negative impacts of captures. The warehouse, was literally, a "costco" of drugs. 

The warehouse was located by elements of the Policia Estatal Preventiva (PEP) and the Mexican Army,  it was secured by the Procuraduria General de la Republica (PGR), and 631 kilos of cocaine were confiscated, it was "costco" of drugs.

The drugs were packaged with precision, and the blocks of drugs were tagged for delivery in exact quantities, to the 19 cells of traffickers, for their sale. Investigators claim that the drugs belong to groups of the Cartel de Sinaloa.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Mexican soldiers made a terrifying discovery during an operation in Jalisco *Graphic Content*

Original article available at El Sol de Zacatecas
Translated by El Wachito

During an operation lead by 3 levels of government, 10 individuals were arrested while they were transporting the dead bodies of 5 individuals on board two pick up trucks. One law enforcement agent among the arrested. This information was confirmed by Fiscal Eduardo Almaguer Ramirez. 

According to government officials in charge of the security of the state, General Fernando Enriquez Mendez Gonzalez and Raul Alejandro Velazquez Ruiz secretary of State Public Safety, law enforcement agencies received a report to the emergency number 066 that around 01:58 there were armed man traveling on board two pick up trucks in the area of Tlaquepaque, Jalisco.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

U.S. Consulate Killings: El Paso judge kicks out press, seals cartel case

Sent in; thank you BB follower   from El Paso Times

A federal judge kicked out the news media Thursday from an El Paso sentencing hearing for a
defendant in a Mexican drug cartel-related case.

The hearing was for Martin Daniel Castillo Rascon, who was among 13 alleged high-level drug cartel members and associates extradited from Mexico last year following a meeting between U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Mexico Attorney General Arely Gomez Gonzalez.

The extradited group included reputed kingpin Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez Villarreal and three suspected Barrio Azteca gang members charged in connection with the killings of three people linked to the U.S. Consulate in Juárez in 2010.

U.S. District Judge Frank Montalvo removed an El Paso Times reporter from the hearing without providing a reason after granting a defense lawyer's motion to seal the case.

The Times was the only news outlet in the courtroom.

Alfonso Arzate Garcia, "El Aquiles"

Excerpt taken from Gente de la Tia Juana
Translated by El Wachito

Born and raised in Colonia Libertad, Tijuana. Aquiles was always a reserved kid with few friends. The oldest of the Arzate Garcia brothers started his criminal life at the age of 30, while his minor brother started at the age of 15, La Rana never knew what it was to live off a salary. 

Aquiles started working at a really young age. He was involved in the transportation business for over 10 years. However, he abandoned the job because of necessity and because he had connections with the drug trafficking business of meth. He became a friend and godfather of Enrique Jorquera Guerrero, alias "El Jorquera", who was a man of trust of "El Cholo".

Without getting in trouble or having conflicts of "plaza", Aquiles started trafficking in a really peculiar manner and in a minor scale, which allowed him to live a comfortable life.

Friday, December 16, 2016

San Diego: Homeland Security agent indicted, stole hundreds of thousands from Tijuana money couriers

San Diego: Homeland Security stole hundreds of thousands from Tijuana money couriers

Part 1: June 2013: "I smell something"

With minutes til he reached the border, CW1 (Cooperating witness 1) must have been relieved.  It had been a long day, a drive down from Los Angeles, congested traffic all the way down the 405, and then the 5.  He was on he 805 southbound, passing the 905 interchange.  He didn't know where, but inside the Honda Odessey was 440,000 dollars in cash.  Money from drug loads of cocaine, crystal, heroin, whatever, he didn't know.  Product that made it's way from Sinaloa, to Tijuana, and on to LA.  

He had swapped cars with an associate whom he had never met in LA, waited near a Starbucks, until his was returned.  He didn't know how to access the trap door that contained his bosses money.  No mistakes, and clean driving, no stops.  He was nervous, yesterday they had detained him for hours at the border, he thought the run was canceled, but his boss gave the greenlight.  He picked up CW2 in Chula Vista, and the two drove north.  Now, he was close. Then he saw the lights.  

Chapo is "very cold and scared"...files with the court request for an additional blanket..

Mica republished from Univision
Chapo has become Mexico's most whining inmate in history...he should not have escaped Altiplano, seems he was much more comfortable there.

The defense team of lawyers Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera filed in a Mexican court an appeal to request  an extra blanket in  Ciudad Juarez Prison, because,  "he is very cold".

Silvia Rocio Delgado, lawyer of former leader of the Sinaloa cartel, quoted by the news website Milenio, said his client is very cold due to a wave of freezing temps affecting the state of Chihuahua, where the criminal is incarcerated .

Meteorological reports indicate at this time of year in Ciudad Juarez to 5 degrees Celsius (41F) and maximum to 21 degrees Celsius (69F).

"My client said that he has been very cold and scared with the freezing we have in this city," Delgado, who served the appeal before the Sixth District Court said.

Pangas, Trickery, Intimidation, and Drug Trafficking in California

Guest reporter republished from Small Wars Journal by Nathan Jones

The "Blind Mule" Case

Figure 1:  Example of a “Super Panga” found in Santa Barbara County[v]
Source: Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, 2013
This paper assesses maritime drug smuggling by Mexican drug trafficking organizations on the coasts of California with an emphasis on the use of panga boats.  Through court document research, this paper assesses the adaptability of drug networks to increased border enforcement, and the use of trickery and intimidation in the recruitment of panga offload crews.

A recent California government report has pointed to the ability of transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), better thought of as illicit networks,[i] to adapt to border controls by subverting them in favor of maritime drug routes, which it calls “tactical adaptation.”[ii]  This article critically analyzes an empirical case study of a maritime smuggling operation to demonstrate the adaptation of drug trafficking networks to increased law enforcement and border controls.[iii]

Maritime smuggling operations on the California coast include what have become known as panga boat operations.  Pangas are cheap, open-hulled boats that can be loaded with drugs, humans, or other contraband, to exploit the littoral space and land on California’s vast stretches of coastland, usually in secluded coves.[iv]  A more in-depth discussion of panga boat operations will be provided.  Figure 1 is an example of a  “super panga” seized in Santa Barbara County.

A recent court case provides insight into the use of pangas, trickery and intimidation by Mexican trafficking networks and other tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) they use to subvert drug enforcement efforts.

Canadian Vísa Changes Could Encourage Mexican DTO's

by Yaqui republished from Calgary Sun

Canada's border guardians have reason to fear the elimination of visa requirement for Mexico will lead to an influx of drug cartel operatives, says a former DEA agent.

But while the Liberal government action on visas will ease the way for drug traffickers, Mike Vigil said Canada's already ripe for the ruthless cartels.

"It will definitely be a factor but not the only factor," said Vigil, who battled Mexican drug cartels in the Latin American country for 13 years, four of them along the border with the U.S.

Compared to that border, the one shared by Canada and the U.S. is porous and easy to exploit by drug cartels who are relentless in their quest for new markets, he said.

"The Mexican cartels are very similar to a state army that probes for weaknesses and then exploits them," he said.

"They'll easily be able to spread their chemicals into Canada — you have a large border that's easily penetrated."

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tijuana: Another executed in Sanchez Taboada *graphic content*

Original article available at AFN Noticias
Translated by El Wachito

Members of Cartel de Tijuana Nueva Generacion (CAF-CJNG), executed a male in Colonia Reforma, a threatening message was left next to his dead body.

The message in the Narcomanta:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Alleged gang leader’s mother held by self-defense group pleads with son to release kidnap victim

Posted by DD from material at Mexico News Daily and Daily Mail

Residents of a town in Guerrero declared themselves in self-defense mode on Sunday Dec. 11th.  A sign at a rally  In Valle de Luz  contained a message addressed to the governor and President Enrique Peña Nieto advising that the town was tired of the executions, kidnappings and extortion carried out by Los Tequileros.

“. . . today we have decided to defend our families and our lives and our property with our own hands.”

 By the following day on Monday the newly formed self defense group had rounded up about 20 people in the community who were alleged to have been collaborating with the drug gang that had been terrorizing the residentsIncluded in that group was  the mother of the alleged leader of the criminal gang,  Raybel Jacobo de Almonte,  also known as El Tequilero.
Raybel Jacobo de Almonte,
Raybel Jacobo de Almonte,
Raybel Jacobo de Almonte,
Los Tequileros.
Los Tequileros.
We have your mother here, Mr Tequilero,' she said. 'I propose an exchange: I'll give you your mother if you give me my husband, but I want him safe and sound.'
“We’ve got his mom,” said the wife of an engineer who was kidnapped late Sunday afternoon in Valle de Luz, where citizens promptly rallied in response and declared they would mount an armed defense against the Tequileros gang.  .

The wife of Isauro de Paz Duque told a press conference that the gang had threatened to kill her husband, but “we have his mother here, the mother of the man called El Tequilero.”

She offered to exchange Raybel Jacobo de Almonte’s mother for her husband before tearfully accusing Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo of turning a blind eye to crime in the municipality and declaring him responsible.

Activists That Revealed Patrocinio, Coahuila “Extermination Camp” Find 5,000 Bone Remains in Viesca

Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat

Silvia Ortiz, spokeswoman for the group Víctimas por sus Desaparecidos en Acción (VIDA), said that last Saturday, they found more skeletal remains, molars, and gun casings on a property in the locality Estación Claudio.

Mexico City, Mexico, December 13, 2016 (SinEmbargo) – More than 5,000 human remains were found on a site in the municipality of Viesca, Coahuila, by the same organization that revealed the existence of the “extermination camp” in the common land of Patrocinio.

Silvia Ortiz, spokeswoman for the group Víctimas por sus Desaparecidos en Acción (VIDA), said that last Saturday, they found more skeletal remains, molars, and gun casings on a property in the locality Estación Claudio.

This is the fourth time that the relatives of the disappeared have searched the place this year.  And for two years now, the families of the disappeared have searched the area in search of their relatives.

The property measures around three hectares, although it was only possible to check a quadrant of about 100 square meters, an activist told the newspaper Reforma.  Patrocinio measures around 43 hectares (106 acres).

“The forensic police told us that Estación Claudio is a small Patrocinio, they found about 5,000 [remains], but it still hasn’t finished searching the area,” Ortiz told the national media outlet.

“The woman told Reforma that it is necessary to continue the searches on both sides “but not only those of the forensics, the PGJE [Prosecutor General of Justice of the State of Coahuila] was supposed to help them, but no, they are now asking for the collaboration so that they can go to Claudio and for the others to continue in Patrocinio.”

Silvia Ortiz told El Siglo de Torreón that she expects these tasks to intensify at least this week because they will be suspended for the holiday period.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The cartel boss who reportedly almost took out 'El Chapo' Guzmán's mother and sons

Alfredo Beltran Guzmán, the Mexican narco scion thought to be the current leader of the Beltran Leyva cartel, was arrested in a barbershop near the city of Guadalajara on Friday.

Mexican federal police, working with elements of the Mexican army and navy, detained Beltran Guzmán, 24, along with four of his bodyguards.

Beltran Guzmán and his crew had seven firearms, a grenade, over $2,400, cocaine, and two vehicles.

The suspects were detained without a shot, however. They were transferred to a prison south of Guadalajara on Monday.

Beltran Guzmán has extensive links to the Mexican drug underworld. He is the son of Alfredo Beltran Leyva, aka "El Mochomo," or the Desert Ant. Beltran Guzman is called "El Mochomito," the diminutive form of the name.

Beltran Leyva, along with his brothers, was allied with the Sinaloa cartel of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán for much of the 2000s, but the two groups split in 2008, after the Beltran Leyva clan came to believe "El Chapo" Guzmán had sold Alfredo Beltran Leyva out to authorities. (Beltran Leyva was extradited to the US in 2014.)

Mexican authorities busted 2 more cross-border tunnels possibly built by the Sinaloa cartel

The Mexican military and federal police, working with other law-enforcement agencies, raided two cross-border tunnels traversing the border between Tijuana and San Diego on Monday.

The Mexican attorney general's office said the tunnels were thought to be the work of the powerful Sinaloa cartel, likely for transporting drugs into the US.

Located in Garita de Otay, one tunnel reached across the border into San Diego and the other was under construction.

Mexican authorities reportedly uncovered the tunnels after the US consulate in Tijuana reported that the passages were being reactivated after falling into disuse.

These tunnels are only the most recent ones uncovered in Tijuana.

In October, authorities working on an anonymous tip found a tunnel west of the city's airport, seizing 5 tons of marijuana inside it. The entrance on the Tijuana side was inside an ice store, and it emerged in a store on the US side just a few hundred yards away.

Boxer Alejandro González junior and two others murdered

Guest Reporter Javier for Borderland Beat

One of the three bodies found early on Friday in the Colonia San Carlos, Guadalajara is Alejandro González junior, a super bantamweight Jalisco boxer 23 years old and son of boxer Alejandro "Cobrita" González.  Alejandro Sr, was the WBC featherweight champion of the world. 

In his professional career, Alejandro Jr. had more than 2 dozen wins with the majority winning by knockout.

One of the other victims also seems to be the son of a criminal nicknamed "El Musico”", reported  a source.

At 03:45 am a vehicle was found at the intersection of the streets of Francisco Silva Romero and González Gallo, in the cream colored Nissan X Trail, were three bodies, two clothed only in underwear, and the third without clothing.  All three were bound hand and foot  with the bodies revealing traces of torture.  There was a threatening message from a criminal group not identified by authorities, nor were the contents of the cartulina.   

Tijuana: Video: El Griego releases video warning to "Chapulines"

El Griego (Sinaloa) releases execution video

Victor Hugo Meza Lopez, aka El Griego has escalated his bloody conquest to push the Sanchez Tadoaba cell, formerly led by Arturo Herrera, (El Gross) now led by a subordinate El 50, out of their territory.  Since last August bodies have turned up, stuffed in cars, thrown from bridges, dismembered in the streets,  El Griego's calling card the of 'Fire Y Metal' appears on all the narco mantas and cartulines, lining the lifeless bodies of the victims, usually street level retailers or enforcers. 

El Griego was responsible for the four disarticulated bodies that were thrown from the pedestrian bridge in early September, calling out El Gross, El Cayman, and El Flaco,  Pablo Edwin Huerta, of La Cafatera.  Since then bodies have continued to pile up, shot outside clubs, in public places, as the killings appear to surpass 2008 by the end of the year.  There have been almost 900 killings in Tijuana this year, with 93 last month.  

This is one of the only published executions videos in Tijuana, though some pictures surfaced on Blackberry devices being intercepted by United Sttes Homeland Security Investigation, in a operation targeting Juan Castro-Navarro, a crystal and heroin trafficker, who sent shipments from Los Aquiles. Those images showed a man tortured, beaten, and finally strangled to death.  

Also, in  August 2009, three kidnappers/sicarios/tweakers in the service of 'El Teo', were found with a video showing the torture and killing of a model, Adriana Ruiz Munoz who was allegedly girlfriend of one Teo's men, who was thought to be cooperating with the military.  She was sexually assaulted and brutally tortured, and murdered.  She was innocent of betraying any trusts, and images of her killing were found on a phone belonging to the suspects. Link to 'Chapulines' video 

The video by the people of El Griego was sent to AFN.  A body was found in Boulevard 2000 earlier, matching the body in the video.  A man is seen, beaten, and pleading, he is then shot, and a banner placed in front of him.  

I was killed for being a chapulin, pickpocket, pure people of 'A', 
Fierro y Metal (Slang means 'go with everything))

As a 2016 awash in blood comes to a grim close, El Griego has upped his profile, in the wake of the death of El Gross, and may be next to be arrested or killed.  Los Chapitos Uriartes, after the killing of Chapito Trejo in Sinaloa, were the target of a manta last week, from CTNG/CJNG warning all the Chapitos to stay in line.  

Sources: AFN Tijuana 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Suicide Journalism on the Crazy-Mean Streets of Tijuana

Original article available at The Daily Beast
By Andrea Noel

The editors and reporters of the Zeta weekly risk their lives with every issue—and nobody reads them more closely than the cartels.

ZETA being sold on a newspaper stand / Alejandro Cossio AP

TIJUANA, Mexico—On Friday mornings before daybreak, trucks bearing the slogan “Free as the wind” deliver tens of thousands of newspapers to an old-fashioned network of vendors, who stand at intersections across the city, right up to the line at the United States’ busiest border crossing, handing hot-off-the-press newsprint to groggy international commuters.
The small team of intrepid reporters who keep the weekly newspaper, Zeta, stocked with some of the country’s most fearless journalism were under heavy police protection this week, after state authorities anonymously warned the editorial staff of an impending attack, in retaliation for last week’s front-page story: “The Jalisco Cartel’s Most Wanted.”