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

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Cartel Jalisco Enforcers Are Seeking More Plazas

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat


A new video from the Mexican underworld has just surfaced online. For this broadcast a Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) enforcer stands among his criminal counterparts under the cover of darkness with the zero fucks given attitude etched across his face. 

Jose Darey Castro of Dareyes De La Sierra is singing a narco ballad in the background. “70 Calaveras” is that very corrido that narrates a story from the drug trade.

The armed sicarios shuffle about while a cameraman records their presence. They’re waiting in the interim before pressing on into the night. A night that involves toeing the line for their drug trafficking organization. Murder and mayhem is what they will utilize in the furtherance of their cartel. 

Código Rojo

Cotija, Michoacán: Authorities Discover 8 Hitmen Tortured and Executed

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

8 hitmen tortured and executed in Cotija are located; yesterday 6 dismembered bodies were found in Villa Jiménez.

The bodies of eight alleged hitmen of a criminal group were located in a "narcocamp" located on the Cerro Verde property of the town of Los Gallineros in the municipality of Cotija.

According to the Attorney General's Office (FGE), the bodies executed with gunfire, had traces of torture, in addition to wearing tactical clothes similar to that worn by hitmen of criminal groups.

Elements of the Expert Services and Crime Scene Unit (USPEC) of the FGE, carried out the proceedings on the site, where they secured shell casings and tactical accessories.

The bodies were transferred to the Forensic Medical Service (Semefo), the victims have yet to be identified.

The intelligence areas of the authorities have identified the criminal operations of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), The Knights Templar and La Nueva Familia Michoacana, the latter associated with the United Cartels (CU).

Yesterday, six dismembered bodies were located in the municipality of Villa Jiménez.

Contra Muro

Zacatecas: Murdered Activist Was Searching for His Missing Son Since 2018

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Jose Nicanor Araiza Davila, 51, had been searching for his son for nearly three (3) years.

Missing persons search group activist José Nicanor Araiza Dávila was confirmed dead by his family members earlier this week. Relatives say that he was kidnapped from his home by armed individuals on July 22, in Villa de Cos municipality.

His body was found the following day, but his identity was not confirmed until yesterday. Investigators did not confirm the cause of death nor the conditions in which the body was found.

The victim's son, José Nicanor Araiza Hernández, went missing on September 30, 2018. Soon after, he mounted a massive search and became an activist.

When the activist was kidnapped, the Citizen Council of the Zacatecas State Search Mechanism requested that state and federal authorities "intensify urgent search actions" and work to ensure that he be returned alive.

But he was found dead hours later.

Local sources say that Araiza Davila and his family were deeply involved in various initiatives with groups responsible for searching for disappeared persons.

"This is an extremely serious situation given that the family has participated in the actions to locate [missing people]," members of the search group said in the text addressed to Governor Alejandro Tello; governor-elect David Monreal; the State Attorney General, Francisco Murillo Ruiseco; the Attorney General of the Republic, Alejandro Gertz Manero, and the head of the National Search Commissioner, Karla Quintana.

Neither the Attorney General's Office nor the Local Search Commission have given more details about the activist's death.

"We only know that they found him ... murdered," said a member of the groups of relatives of disappeared people, who requested anonymity.

Sources: Proceso

Human Smuggling in El Paso–Juárez: Cartels Keep Migrants Overcrowded, Forced To Move Drugs to US

"Anonymous" for Borderland Beat

Chihuahua State Police officers find 16 migrants inside a home in Ciudad Juárez. Authorities they their living conditions were "deplorable" (Photo credit: La Opcion; Editing: HEARST from Borderland Beat) 

Juarez police say they will be increasing their patrols of the Rio Grande due to the rising number of migrant stash houses found in the area in the past few weeks.

The latest find took place on Monday, when the Chihuahua state police were tipped off about a home in the middle of a field near the town of Porvenir. The house held 52 citizens of Guatemala and Ecuador in overcrowded and filthy conditions.

“They were packed into a few small rooms. They were threatened, they could not leave the house. They had them living in an inhumane state,” said Juarez state police Chief Ricardo Realivazquez.

Photos of the scene provided to Border Report show dirty mattresses, clothes strewn about, a single 5-gallon water jug and a fan with a broken stand propped up on a traffic cone. The migrants were taken to a government-run shelter. Mexican immigration authorities were notified of the find.

This is the second migrant stash house found in Juarez’s Lower Valley in the past week. The other one held 39 Central and South Americans. The municipal police has turned up half a dozen additional stash houses, mostly in the western portion of Juarez.

Police said a man was arrested in a nearby property where four stolen trucks and SUVs were reported. Police did not immediately confirm if the man was linked to the stash house.

“This activity is going on in many towns near the border … Caseta, Barreales, Porvenir, Guadalupe and Praxedis. What is happening there worries,” Realivazquez said.

“The criminal groups provide very little food for them (but) they are charging from $7,000 to $15,000 (to get them to the U.S.). Depending on how much they pay, if they get deported, the smugglers will cross them again for free.”

Map of the smuggling routes controlled by La Linea and the Sinaloa Cartel in the Texas/New Mexico border with Chihuahua, Mexico (source: HEARST from Borderland Beat)

Reynosa, Tamaulipas: Unknown Crime Mob Abandons Truck Filled With Caltrops

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

The events were recorded on Paseo de los Fresnos street, in the Los Fresnos neighborhood.

While carrying out security and surveillance tasks, elements of the State Police seized a truck with caltrops inside.

The events took place on Paseo de los Fresnos street, in the Los Fresnos neighborhood.

State authorities reported that they were carrying out security work in the sector when they saw a white Chevrolet Tahoe truck in a state of abandonment and with the doors open.

El Mañana

Sonora State Police Commander Shot Dead in Magdalena de Kino

"MX" for Borderland Beat


The Attorney General's Office of the State of Sonora reported this Friday that José Saúl Martínez Trillas, head of the group of the base of the Ministerial Criminal Investigation Agency (AMIC), was shot to death in the municipality of Magdalena de Kino by suspected cartel members.

The events occurred at 5:50 p.m., by the exit of Magdalena de Kino towards Tubutama. The agent was ambushed in San Isidro neighborhood while driving his white Ford Explorer truck.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, Martínez Trillas was on leave and was heading to the city of Hermosillo to spend a few days off when he was attacked. He had 28 years of service and was one of the leading experts in spoken portraits by hand prior to its digitalization.

His execution comes days after several days of constant shootouts in Magdalena de Kino, as covered by Borderland Beat.

No official announcement has been made on the cartels involved in the shootouts or in Martinez Trillas's death. However, sources say that the recent violence is part of an internal dispute between two factions of the Sinaloa Cartel: on one side elements loyal to Ismael Zambada "El Mayo", on the other side elements loyal to Los Chapitos, the sons of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

Magdalena de Kino has long been the territory of one of El Mayo's top lieutenants Felipe de Jesús Sosa Canizales, alias "El Gigio", who leads Los Gigios, a Sinaloa Cartel faction based out of Nogales. El Gigio works closely with Leonardo López, alias "El 20" or "El Nayo", his second-in-command and the leader of hitmen.

There are rumors online that Los Chapitos side may be Los Salazars or Gente Nueva de Altar, also called Los Cazadores, or some combination of the two working together against El 20's men.

Los Cazadores notably has recently suffered the loss of its two most well known leaders El Durango and El Noveno. Both were arrested within the last few months by law enforcement and military authorities.

GRAPHIC IMAGE BELOW




Background sourcesMagdalena, Sonora: Four Days of Gunfights (Borderland Beat)


Federal Forces Leave Chiapas as Self-Defense Groups 'Hunt' For Narcos

"Anonymous" for Borderland Beat

Members of the El Machete self-defense group took control of the municipal government building at midday on Monday.

A recently-formed self-defense group forced state police, soldiers and members of the National Guard to withdraw from a highlands municipality of Chiapas on Monday after the official security forces refused to raid the homes of suspected criminals.

Members of the “El Machete” self-defense force, which formed in Pantelhó earlier this month, demanded that the state and federal security forces raid the homes of people who allegedly belong to a criminal group called Los Herrera, which has been blamed for a recent wave of homicides and is accused of having links to the municipal government.

Citing the absence of warrants, the security forces refused and were consequently run out of town by the self-defense force members.

El Machete proceeded to carry out the raids themselves. Armed with guns as well as other weapons including crowbars and sledgehammers, the self-defense force went house to house searching for Los Herrera hitmen, the newspaper El Universal reported.

They set at least 12 homes as well as cars, motorcycles, a police vehicle and an ambulance on fire and managed to detain 21 suspected members of Los Herrera.

Iguala's 43 Missing Students Case Closed in the US After Gang Leader Negotiates Deal With Prosecutors

"El Choclo" for Borderland Beat

A protest against the 2014 disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero.
The United States is set to close its investigation into crimes allegedly related to the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero, in 2014.

A leader of the Guerreros Unidos crime gang – which allegedly killed the Ayotzinapa rural teacher’s college students – has confessed to transporting drugs from Iguala to Chicago and reached an agreement with the United States government to provide information to the U.S. about the illegal smuggling.

Pablo Vega, who has been in prison in the United States for the past seven years, pleaded guilty in April to transporting drugs to the U.S. in passenger buses, according to the newspaper Milenio, which reviewed official U.S. documents.

The details of the agreement he reached with U.S. authorities is classified but it appears likely he will be released from prison as a result of his agreement to collaborate. José Rodríguez, an associate of Vega who was also a member of the Guerreros Unidos, is currently in negotiations with U.S. authorities and pending an agreement will officially plead guilty to trafficking charges on September 1, Milenio said.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Man Who Laundered Millions In Mexican Cartel Proceeds From Small SE Portland Store Gets 11 Years In Prison

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Operating out of a nondescript store off Southeast Portland’s busy Powell Boulevard, Jesus González Vazquez and another brother laundered millions of dollars in drug proceeds for Mexican drug cartel bosses between 2015 and 2019.

On Wednesday, González Vazquez, 37, was sent to prison for 11 years for his crimes in what prosecutors describe as one of the largest takedowns of a drug trafficking operation in Oregon history.

“If I were before the court and this was a mafia case ... I would say that this defendant before you was a made man,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Cardani told a judge.

“He was one that was the blood brother of the organization who was willing to do anything to help the objectives of the organization,” Cardani said.

Federal investigators, working with local police, set up covert pole cameras outside Tienda Mexicana González Bros. and intercepted phone calls through wiretaps starting in 2019.

They determined that González Vazquez was the main money launderer for two large drug traffickers working in four states in Mexico.

The store bearing his name sent at least $6.4 million of illegal drug proceeds to Mexico through wire transfers from November 2018 to early October 2019, the prosecutor and González Vazquez’s defense lawyer agreed in a negotiated plea deal.

But prosecutors believe he funneled much more over time: up to $19 million since 2015, according to government estimates.

“This defendant before you is the most significant defendant, whose actions were responsible for the success of the drug trafficking organization, certainly during the wiretap period but probably even before,” Cardani said. “He was the one that talked directly to the leaders in Mexico.’'

González Vazquez, of Jalisco, Mexico, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Gresham police initiated the investigation that led to the federal indictment of 42 people in October 2019 for their alleged roles in the international drug smuggling and money laundering conspiracy. Thirty-four of the 35 people who have been arrested in the case have entered guilty pleas.

Investigators identified the drug bosses in Mexico as Samuel Diaz and Faustino Monroy and said they organized and ran the operation, trafficking hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine and heroin into Oregon for sale.

At its peak, its Portland distribution cell sold up to 77 pounds of methamphetamine and 55 pounds of heroin weekly in and around the city, according to prosecutors.

“This sentence is a successful step towards removing the ability of the cartels to collect their profits from the poison they inject into our communities,” Robert Hammer, the Homeland Security Investigations agent in charge of Pacific Northwest operations, said in a statement.

While drug trafficking organizations can quickly replace the low-level couriers and dealers, “it’s much harder for these organizations to quickly replace savvy, large volume money launderers” like González Vazquez, said Scott Asphaug, Oregon’s acting U.S. attorney.

‘HARM TO SOCIETY’

Prosecutors and investigators said drug dealers would sell methamphetamine and heroin throughout Portland and typically collect between $10,000 and $30,000 a day.

They would then deliver the drug proceeds, investigators said, to the small market at Southeast 124th and Powell Boulevard.

The cartel bosses in Mexico would contact González Vazquez, tell him that a street-level dealer was about to deliver cash to the store and he’d accept the bags of money, according to investigators.

González Vazquez would count the money, confirm the deliveries to the traffickers in Mexico by phone or text message and then receive multiple fake names and locations from the drug bosses to send the wire transfers. He would text the drug bosses a copy of the wire transfers to alert them they were on their way.

González Vazquez would keep each wire transfer below $3,000 and used three different international wire transfer companies to avoid law enforcement scrutiny, investigators said.

He was paid 5% of each transfer -- $50 for every $1,000 he laundered -- as his commission, according to prosecutors.

During the 10-month period covered by the indictment, González Vazquez earned an estimated $315,000 in commissions, according to a government analyst.

The drug cartel bosses directed González Vazquez to make the money transfers to four Mexican states: Baja California Norte, Jalisco, Michoacan and Nayarit.

From January 2015 to early October 2019, González Vazquez and one of his brothers laundered $19 million in more than 18,000 wire transfers from the market, prosecutors contend.

Investigators reviewed the names of the “senders” or customers purportedly making the wire transfers that González Vazquez provided to the companies and found that none matched the addresses given, two addresses didn’t exist and one came back to a food cart in a different city. The name of one false sender -- Teodoro Beltan -- is the name of a small region in El Rosario, Sinaloa, Mexico, according to prosecutors.

González Vazquez’s lawyer, Per Olson, argued that prosecutors exaggerated his client’s role in the drug trafficking organization and urged a lesser sentence of six years in prison.

Olson described his client as a family man who came to the United States about a decade ago and was “basically a shopkeeper” who started to make some illicit wire transfers “and it got out of control.”

He stressed that González Vazquez, unlike other co-defendants, has no prior arrest or criminal history. He blamed González Vazquez’s amicable nature, how he “goes out of his way to do things for people,” for getting him into trouble.

The tienda also wasn’t his sole source of income, Olson said, noting he had done other work to support his wife and children, such as forest fire management, interior construction and car sales. He also had medical ailments resulting in hernia surgery from mid-2013 through the spring of 2015, Olson said.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon told González Vazquez that he was sentencing him to the higher end of the sentencing guidelines because he “caused a great deal of pain, hurt and suffering” to other people and their families.

“The punishment that you’re receiving for this crime is based upon the conduct that you have engaged in, and the harm to society that it has caused,” Simon said.

‘TOOK THOSE GUNS DOWN’

González Vazquez also worked to arrange the purchase of high-capacity rifles -- including AR-15 and AK-47 semi-automatic rifles -- to smuggle to Mexico. On April 27, 2019, federal agents stopped an Idaho gun seller who was hauling these eight rifles, three handguns and ammunition to Vazquez in Portland, according to prosecutors.

González Vazquez’s brother and co-defendant, Juan Antonio Romo, 46, worked in the operation but was more of a back-up and less active, prosecutors said. He has pleaded guilty to money laundering but has not been sentenced yet. Prosecutors will seek a four years and nine month prison term for Romo.

Case agents believe a third brother who owned the store -- a priest who was the only one of the three legally in the United States -- wasn’t actively involved in the crimes.

González Vazquez moved to Oregon around 2010 and began working with Romo at the González Bros. market, according to prosecutors.

The store was an authorized agent for three international money service businesses: Sigue Corp., Servicio UniTeller Inc. and Continental Exchange Solutions/Ria Financial, according to Rachel Royston, a fraud examiner with the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation who now works for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and assisted in the investigation.

Federal grand jury subpoenas were issued to all three for their records and transaction data relating to the Portland store from January 2015 through October 2019.

González Vazquez, prosecutors said, also was involved in an array of illegal side businesses, including working to arrange the purchase of high-capacity rifles -- including AR-15 and AK-47 semi-automatic rifles -- to smuggle to Mexico.

He set up the purchase of the rifles from an Idaho seller, who agreed to drive the guns to Portland. González Vazquez warned that the freeway to Portland was “full of cops,” according to court documents.

Federal agents intervened, stopping the Idaho seller en route and seizing eight rifles, three handguns and ammunition on April 27, 2019, the documents show.

“Law enforcement, jeopardizing the wiretap investigation, took those guns down,” Cardani said.

“The decision was made that it was just too dangerous too risky to let those guns” get to Portland, he told the court.

González Vazquez also helped a fugitive escape to Mexico, obtained false driver’s licenses for drug dealers and helped drug trafficking associates illegally enter the United States, Cardani said.

He’s the 20th defendant sentenced for his role in the operation. Fourteen others await sentencing and one is pending trial. Diaz, Monroy and several others remain fugitives.

Earlier this year, one of the leading drug dealers of the organization, Edgar Omar Quiroz Rodriguez, was sentenced to 19 years and seven months in prison. He was responsible for directing the distribution of enormous amounts of methamphetamine and heroin from Mexico into the Portland area.

In October 2019, investigators executed federal search warrants at more than a dozen places throughout the Portland area, seizing 22 pounds of methamphetamine, as well as quantities of heroin and cocaine and seven guns. 

Overall, law enforcement officers seized 51 guns, including assault rifles, shotguns, and handguns, from defendants affiliated with the Diaz-Monroy drug trafficking organization, according to prosecutors.

Investigators from Homeland Security Investigations worked with Gresham police, the FBI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Oregon State Police, Portland police and the Multnomah, Clackamas, and Clark County Sheriff’s Offices on the case

Oregon Live

Texas Lawyer Pleads Guilty To Passing Public PACER Documents To Mexican Drug Traffickers

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

A lawyer with an office in McAllen, Texas, has pleaded guilty to violating the Travel Act by accessing the PACER court database and using his cellphone to pass the publicly available information to drug traffickers.

Lawyer Eric S. Jarvis, 48, admitted providing information to traffickers about drug seizures contained in criminal complaints, according to a Department of Justice press release. Jarvis knew that drug traffickers would provide the information to their suppliers to continue receiving drugs for sale in the United States, prosecutors said.

Drug traffickers typically request documentation when a drug shipment is seized by law enforcement, according to the Progress Times.

Jarvis admitted obtaining criminal complaints at least eight times between July 2017 and May 2021 and using a cellphone to provide them to a Mexican drug trafficker or his successors. He also admitted accepting drug trafficking proceeds to pay for his representation of co-conspirators.

He agreed to forfeit $8,000 that he received as payment for his criminal actions.

Jarvis is a 1999 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, who ran unsuccessfully for state judgeships in two different elections, according to the Progress Times, which covered a raid of Jarvis’ office in April.

The Travel Act is a 60-year-old federal law passed to fight organized crime, Law360 reports. It bans the use of facilities of interstate commerce to promote or carry on specified illegal activities, including conduct that would otherwise be charged as state crimes.

According to the criminal information filed against Jarvis, he used his cellphone—a facility of interstate commerce—in a conspiracy to import and distribute a controlled substance and a conspiracy to commit money laundering. The plea agreement is here.

According to Law360, the Travel Act “slipped into obscurity for decades but has been dusted off in recent years by prosecutors going after health care fraud and foreign corruption cases that lie beyond the reach of conventional federal statutes.”

Law360 spoke with Dykema Gossett lawyer Jason M. Ross, who said the law has been used by federal prosecutors to prosecute health care fraud in schemes to defraud private insurers, rather than federal Medicare or Medicaid programs. Using the law to fight international drug trafficking may represent a new frontier, Ross said.

“There are fewer and fewer safe harbors, and the federal government is going to look to the Travel Act and other creative tools if they can’t get at the underlying bribe or conduct through traditional prosecutions,” Ross told Law360.

Jarvis is represented by Carlos A. Garcia of Mission, Texas.

“Eric is very remorseful for his lack of better judgment and looks forward to getting this chapter of his life behind him,” Garcia told the Progress Times.

Aba Journal

Ex-Federal Employee Sentenced For Divulging Sensitive Information To Drug Traffickers

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

A former paralegal specialist in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Antonio was sentenced Tuesday to five years of probation for lying to federal agents about divulging sensitive law enforcement information to drug smugglers linked to Mexican cartels.

Jennifer Loya, 31, was arrested last year by agents with the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The feds had been investigating traffickers that included Roland Gustamante, who is married to her sister.

The investigation found that Gustamante and his group were tied to other traffickers and Mexican cartels and that Gustamante had inside information that Loya saw in the course of her job.

Initially charged as part of the conspiracy, Loya pleaded guilty in April to making a false statement. She admitted that, on May 7, 2020, when the FBI and DEA questioned her, she falsely denied passing on any sensitive information to her sister.

Loya admitted that she did tell her sister, Kimberly Loya, that the feds were coming after Gustamante and that she should leave the trafficker. Jennifer Loya did not know her sister would tell Gustamante nor that she was entrenched in the drug organization, Jennifer Loya’s lawyer, John Convery, told U.S. District Judge Fred Biery.

The judge admonished Jennifer Loya for breaching the trust of the government.

“I’m sorry for breaking your trust,” Jennifer Loya told employees of the U.S. Attorney’s Office who attended her sentencing. “That was never my intent. It was just to get my sister away and safe.”

Jennifer Loya began working with the office in San Antonio as a legal assistant in 2017, and was promoted to paralegal specialist in February 2020, making about $60,000 a year. She resigned after her arrest, losing her salary, medical benefits and was trying to earn a bachelor’s degree so she could attend law school and become a lawyer, Convery said.

Prosecutor Robert Searls Johnson asked the judge to sentence Jennifer Loya to one year and one day, saying Loya might have obstructed justice because her information helped out drug dealers. One cooperating defendant told investigators that Gustamante texted him shortly before his arrest so that he could get rid of drugs before a raid.

“The DEA din’t find the drugs they expected to find,” Johnson told Biery.

Convery urged the judge to follow the recommended sentencing guideline of zero to six months, a range that allowed for probation. The defense lawyer argued that Loya’s information was not specific or detailed and only meant to “help her sister, not to do anything bad against the United States.”

Kimberly Loya faces sentencing Aug. 31 for her guilty plea to money laundering conspiracy. She admitted she transported drug proceeds from San Antonio to Laredo for the group.

Gustamante pleaded guilty to drug-trafficking conspiracy in December, and Biery sentenced him on April 8 to more than 16 years in federal prison. Others related to the investigation also have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. The once close sisters no longer talk to each other.

Express News

Jerez, Zacatecas: Authorities Dismantle A Narco Camp

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Elements of the State Preventive Police were alerted through an anonymous complaint

A camp used by a criminal group was dismantled and destroyed in the municipality of Jerez, Zacatecas; there were no detainees.

The Ministry of Public Security reported through a statement that, through an anonymous complaint, that agency was alerted to the fact that in the Ermita de los Correa community, which led to the Santa Rosa dam, there was a settlement of armed people, so elements of the State Preventive Police (PEP) immediately moved to the scene.

When making a tour of the area, the operational personnel located a site that, due to its characteristics and findings, corresponds to a camp used by a criminal group, which was abandoned in the presence of the police.

In this place they located kitchen utensils, food, a motorcycle that has a theft report and several indications that will be part of the investigation folder, which has been initiated by the State Attorney General's Office.

El Sol de Zacatecas

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Zacatecas: Grupo Flechas Burns Alive A Jalisco Operative

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

A new video from the Mexican underworld has just surfaced online. For this broadcast hitmen from the Grupo Flechas burn a captured Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) operative alive.

Grupo Flechas are an anonymous army of enforcers in charge of the security of the drug kingpin and founder of the Sinaloa Cartel, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

This armed criminal cell has been tasked with clearing the way for whichever drug corridor they’re dispatched to. Currently they’re in the state of Zacatecas fighting their war of attrition against El Mencho’s henchmen. 

Warning: Graphic Video

Video translation is as follows:

Sicario: Mencho can suck our dicks!

El Blog de Los Guachos

AMLO to Issue Decree Freeing Thousands of Inmates (Elderly, Sick, Torture Victims and Those Held without Charges for over 10 Years)

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat


President López Obrador said Thursday he would sign the decree next week ordering the release of federal prisoners who fall into four categories.

A presidential decree is set to release thousands of prisoners from Mexican jails including those aged 75 and over who didn’t commit a serious crime and victims of torture. President López Obrador said Thursday he would sign the decree next week ordering the release of federal prisoners who fall into four categories.

They are prisoners accused of non-serious crimes who have been incarcerated for more than 10 years without a sentence; prisoners who were victims of torture regardless of the crime of which they are accused; inmates aged 65 and over with chronic illnesses who didn’t commit a serious crime such as murder; and prisoners aged 75 and over who didn’t commit a serious crime.

The decree to free such prisoners will be drawn up by the Interior Ministry and take effect by September 15, López Obrador told his regular news conference. Interior Minister Olga Sánchez said there are more than 94,000 people in prison who haven’t received a sentence. Of that number, more than 12,000 are incarcerated in federal prisons.

López Obrador said he hoped state authorities would consider releasing prisoners in the same categories from penitentiaries they operate. He said the Ministry of Health will carry out assessments of prisoners aged over 65 to determine if they are suffering from a chronic disease.

Prisoners’ claims of torture will be assessed in accordance with the United Nations Istanbul Protocol on the effective investigation and documentation of torture. The UN said in 2018 that many of the suspects accused of involvement in the disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero in 2014 were tortured. Human rights organizations have denounced Mexico for using torture as a means to obtain confessions from criminal suspects.

The federal Congress passed an amnesty law early last year that allowed the release of some prisoners. Although impunity rates are very high in Mexico, some of its prisons are severely overcrowded, a problem that could be alleviated somewhat by the upcoming mass release.

He assured that "the Ministry of the Interior has a new function", as he affirmed that the agency rejects repression and authoritarianism, as it is "for the protection of human rights and justice." López Obrador called on state authorities to apply measures similar to those proposed by the federation and ordered them to say that if the resources do not reach them, lower salaries and apply austerity measures.

It will be interesting to see who if any cartel members are to be released as it is for 'non-serious crimes' and the impact that may have on the narco landscape in Mexico. The suspects in the 43 missing students case likely will be released due to torture at the hands of officials. The possibility of appeals being filed and bribes being paid to secure releases under these guidelines is high.

Sources Milenio Mexico News Daily

The Kings of Inverse Huachicol: An Analysis of Mexico's White Collar Crime Scenario. Part One

"Redlogarythm" for Borderland Beat



Mexican customs have become one of the key instruments for economic criminality, constituting a market as big as the one managed by violent organized crime

Mexico has become known for its forms of violent criminality. Gruesome videos of interrogations, tortures and executions are daily uploaded and shared through social media. Pictures of lifeless bodies piled as garbage in highways or hanged from modern bridges illustrate our mornings when we consult the journals.

Narco "comunicados" displaying cadres of heavily armed and masked individuals talking to their enemies and addressing local authorities are also common. Each day we receive reports of a new massacre in a rehabilitation center or a restaurant, of a new load of weapons seized in an airport or a customs office or of a several hour long gun battle fought in Reynosa, Matamoros, Caborca or Guadalajara.

And behind such horrible events the civil society points its finger towards a growing number of criminal groups commonly labeled as "cartels". We have the powerful ones, like the Sinaloa Cartel or the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), which monopolize the production and export of drugs.

We also have the remnants of once important organizations, such as the myriad of factions using the Gulf Cartel´s label in Tamaulipas, Zacatecas and parts of Veracruz; or the remains of the once almighty Los Zetas group preying in the extortion, kidnapping and drug retailing markets all across the Eastern Gulf coastal line.

Finally, we have the local and regional expressions of Mexico´s underworld expansion; groups that from an initial family-oriented business strategy have expanded trying to exert their dominion over extensive areas to create frames of criminal governance.

This would be the case of the ruins of the Beltrán Leyva cartel, of the myriad of Guerrero´s criminal cells or of Guanajuato´s mixture of drug retailers, extortionists and gas thieves that have used the brand of the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel to appear as a monolithic entity.

El Chapo's Mother Has COVID-19, Sources Confirm

"MX" for Borderland Beat

María Consuelo Loera Pérez
Maria Consuelo Loera Perez, the mother of Mexico's notorious drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, got infected with COVID-19 about three weeks ago, family members confirmed.

Sources consulted by the Sinaloa-based media outlet Riodoce said that El Chapo's mother, aged 93, started to present symptoms after she attended a religious ceremony in La Tuna, Badiraguato. She was reported in "stable" condition and her health is being observed by family members.

"Thank God she is well", one of the family member told Riodoce.

Residents from Badiraguato confirmed to Riodoce that the COVID-19 situation in the area is "critical". Many of the residents in this town and in El Barranco, Otatillos, San Jose del Llano, Tameapa, and Santiago de Los Caballeros have been infected with COVID-19 but do not report it to local authorities.

The Badiraguato town council started a sanitary program that provides health measures for businesses, restaurants, and public gathering spots. However, these measures are only available in Badiraguato proper and not in the rural communities that surround it.

This Friday, July 30, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) will visit Badiraguato, the cradle of the Sinaloa Cartel, to supervise the construction of the Badiraguato (Sinaloa) & Guadalupe y Calvo (Chihuahua) highway. This will be the third time AMLO visits Badiraguato during his administration.

Last year, specifically on March 29, AMLO went to supervise that same highway but his visit was eclipsed when he decided to shake hands with El Chapo's mother.

During their meeting, Maria Consuelo delivered a letter to AMLO asking for his permission to be able to travel to the United States and see his son.

When questioned about the greeting El Chapo's mother AMLO argued that she was a "92-year-old woman who deserved respect".

Sources: Riodoce; Infobae

Three Men in Laredo, Texas Charged with Conspiring to Smuggle $500,000 Worth of Weapons to Cartel del Noreste

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat

Three men are now facing federal charges in Laredo, Texas for their roles in a conspiracy on behalf of Cartel del Noreste (CDN), announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.  

Luis Ramos, 43, Rio Bravo, is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Judge Christopher A. Dos Santos in Laredo today at 1:30 p.m. Authorities took him into custody Tuesday, July 27. Also charged and previously arrested are Mexican national Manuel Perez-Ortiz, 39, and Arturo Mata Jr., 55, Rio Bravo. They are expected again in federal court Aug. 12. A federal grand jury returned the five-count indictment May 18.

The charges allege that negotiations to purchase $500,000 worth of high-powered weapons occurred in May 2020. The weapons allegedly included machine guns, grenades, military-style rifles, and rocket-propelled launchers. According to the indictment, the plan was for the weapons to be purchased in the United States and then smuggled into Mexico. There, those associated with CDN planned to use them in battles against rival cartels to further their drug smuggling activities, according to the charges.   

CDN allegedly sent Perez-Ortiz to conduct the transaction in Laredo. On June 19, 2020, Ramos and Mata drove Perez-Ortiz to and from the meetings discussing the exchange, according to the indictment. Mata also allegedly assisted in providing counter-surveillance during the operation.

Law enforcement apprehended Ramos and Perez-Ortiz June 19, 2020. At that time, authorities seized $500,000, according to the charges. All men are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to export firearms to Mexico. Upon conviction, they face up to 20 years in prison for the money laundering conspiracy as well as a maximum $500,000 fine or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction. The indictment also alleges three substantive money laundering counts, including international money laundering, which carry the same potential penalty. The conspiracy to export firearms charge carries a potential punishment of five years and a maximum $250,000 fine.

The investigation was part of the Blue Indigo task force and brought as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation dubbed Operation Noreste. OCDETF is the largest anti-crime task force in the country. Its mission is to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug trafficking and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States through prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency task forces that leverage the authorities and expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Laredo Police Department conducted the investigation of this case with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The Blue Indigo task force also includes Border Patrol.

Source DOJ

San Luis Potosí, SLP: Northeast Cartel Leaves Corpses Inside Van

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

This morning the Cartel del Noreste left a vehicle with 3 corpses inside. Between the streets of America del Norte and Trinidad y Tobago in the Santuario neighborhood.

The six year governor term of Juan Manuel Carreras López of the PRI political party will soon be coming to an end. With his departure he leaves behind a State consumed by terror from organized crime groups.  

Policiaca San Luis

Vigilante

Reynosa, Tamaulipas: Édgar Valladares Hernández, alias "El Maestrín”

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

A picture has been released onto social media of the deceased Édgar Valladares Hernández, alias "El Maestrín". Reports have surfaced that he was brutally tortured before being executed by his own gunmen.

Édgar Valladares was considered one of the principal perpetrators behind the senseless attacks against unarmed civilians in Reynosa. 

An apprehended gunman following an intense police operation in search of the culprits revealed for the authorities the reasoning behind the attack back in June of this year.

Warning: Graphic Picture


Borderland Beat Archives

El Blog de Los Guachos

Reynosa, Tamaulipas: GOPES Elements Kill 2 Armed Criminals

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Armed men aboard a Dodge Ram truck open fire on GOPES elements; private vehicles damaged in the shooting

The body of the second gunman killed was on a townsquare, next to a public transport truck.

Two armed men were killed yesterday when they fired against elements of the Special Operations Group (GOPES), in the Lazaro Cárdenas Extension neighborhood.

The events occurred on Adolfo López Mateos Street and Veracruz Street, where the policemen were patrolling that area.

When they came across the armed criminals who were traveling in a gray Dodge Ram pickup, the occupants of the unit opened fire on the state troopers and fled.

There the shooting began, which lasted a few minutes, as the criminals were immediately subdued.

A few meters from where the shooting began, one of the men was killed on the sidewalk, while the second was killed two blocks away, on a townsquare next to a public transport truck.

The area was cordoned off to prevent the passage of onlookers who came to see what was happening.

During the shooting, two parked vehicles were damaged by gunfire, the door window of a Town Country pickup and the windshield and hood of a Jeep Liberty pickup.

The owners of both units indicated that they will go to the ministerial authorities to claim the damages caused to their respective units.

Experts from the General Unit of Expert Services were in charge of carrying out the corresponding investigations, while personnel from the Forensic Medical Service transferred the bodies to the local amphitheater, where they would continue with the corresponding studies.

The weapons and the vehicle manned by those killed were placed at the disposal of the Public Ministry.

One of the criminals was left dead on the sidewalk on Adolfo López Mateos Street.

The place was cordoned off by the authorities to prevent the passage of onlookers.

Two parked vehicles were hit by bullets.

The Special Operations Group (GOPES) killed two criminals in the Lázaro Cárdenas neighborhood.




El Mañana


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Cartel Air Routes, Under The Navy's Sights

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Last year, the Mexican Navy identified that the Sinaloa, Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) cartels and their cells use three air routes through the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea to transport cocaine from South America to the United States

The first has its point of origin in Ecuador, from where criminal groups take off in high-powered executive aircraft, such as Hawker Siddeley, Beechcraft Super King Air, Gulfstream and British Aerospace BAe 125, towards the coastal strip of Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca.

In those states, they have clandestine runways that can only be reached by boat, indicates a report that the Secretariat of the Navy (Semar) delivered to the International Center for Research and Analysis against Maritime Drug Trafficking, based in Colombia.

... AND BY SEA

Once they land on the coastal strip, whose main characteristic is the difficult access, the cartels use smaller boats for the subsequent transfer of the narcotic.

According to the document, the second air route used by criminal groups is the one that leaves Guajira, Venezuela, for Honduras, Belize and Guatemala, where they take advantage of the "southern border porosity or through smaller boats" to enter cocaine shipments.

The third route comes from Guajira, Venezuela, to Quintana Roo, where the cartels use areas that are difficult to access by the road for the descent of aircraft.

"The aircraft identified are of great power and autonomy, they leave the Mexican Air Space using false flight itineraries, turning off their gps; after that, they head south to load the drugs, being able to transport at least a ton.

El Mañana

Z-40 Transferred To Federal Prison In Chiapas

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Privileges that Miguel Treviño Morales had in Buenavista Michoacán are disabled

After the complaint made by custodians of the federal prison of Buenavista Tomatlán, in Michoacán, about privileges that the alleged drug trafficker Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales "El Z-40" had, the inmate was transferred to the Federal Center for Social Rehabilitation (Cefereso) number 15 CPS Chiapas, located in Villa Comaltitlán.

The transfer occurred during the weekend, when a helicopter arrived at Cefereso 17 CPS Michoacán to take the former leader of the criminal organization of Los Zetas to what is now his new home, after he was incarcerated in the federal prisons of Altiplano, Puente Grande, Oaxaca, Hermosillo and Ciudad Juárez.

Upon his arrival in Buenavista in 2020, after his transfer from Cefereso 2 Occidente, in Puente Grande, which closed its doors, Treviño Morales relaxed the security measures in his favor, with the support of the directors, who placed him in the "ECO" module with partial exclusivity,  he only lived with a few prisoners that he authorized.

Operational personnel of the Michoacán prison said that months after their internment at that site, "El Z-40" donated to the administration of the then director of the center, Julio César Pérez Ramírez, about 30 speakers to be distributed in each of the modules; and later, in 2021, with Jorge Isaac Neri García, he gave gifts worth 2,800 pesos each, and chess and domino games, which are worth approximately a thousand pesos, each.

The same prison workers reported that Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales had privileges, unlike the rest of the population of Cefereso 17, including access to news and newspapers of the day, as well as fresh fruit that had to be peeled and chopped in his presence because of his distrust of being a victim of poisoning.

With the transfer of "El Z-40", the staff feels less stress, since they were afraid that "Los Zetas" would take control of the prison institution; however, the risks for the workers continue, since it’s a medium security prison that houses highly dangerous inmates, among others the drug traffickers and kidnappers transferred from Puente Grande and gang members who were in Cefereso 9 of Ciudad Juárez, and who have been in several fights.

El Cefereso 15 CPS Chiapas, where Treviño arrived, is of maximum security, where characters such as Juan Francisco Sillas Rocha "El Ruedas" and Edgar Colonel Aispuro, the latter brother-in-law of drug trafficker Joaquín Guzmán Loera "El Chapo Guzmán" among others, are imprisoned.

Zeta Tijuana

Tijuana Courtroom Battles: El Aquiles, La Rana, El Max, El Flaquito

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat



Four of the most visible Tijuana cartel leaders have filed amparo cases in order to avoid being arrested by law enforcement. This year, as with many before, the legal teams of famous Baja drug lords can be seen regularly striding through courtrooms in both Tijuana and Mexico City as they seek to shroud their clients in constitutional protection.


El Aquiles

Alfredo Arzate González, alias "El Aquiles" allegedly began his drug trafficking career over a decade ago. He entered into the drug trade by working as a supplier and collaborator of a CAF cell led by Fernando Sánchez Arellano, alias "El Ingeniero". Following the arrest of El Ingeniero, Aquiles allegedly joined the ranks of the Sinaloa Cartel. He now reportedly leads a CDS group alongside his brother René Arzate García, alias “La Rana”.

The US has previously unsealed a January 2015 indictment against Aquiles and other members of the Sinaloa Cartel on charges of trafficking large quantities of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana into the US. The FBI San Diego office offered a reward of $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of Aquiles. 

El Aquiles' lawyers Alejandro O. and Luis Felipe F. filed a writ of amparo on his behalf on January 14, 2020 in the First District Court for Amparo in the State of Baja California. They protested against the right of judicial and ministerial authorities to attempt to "deprive him of his freedom". The judge in response to this filing, answered that there is an arrest warrant against Aquiles and forwarded a certified copy of criminal case 122/2012 which was filed against Aquiles for his probable responsibility in the commission of aggravated homicide and attempted aggravated homicide.

Of note, the Judge asked the complainant to clarify his legal name since he signed his filing as "Alfonso Zárate" rather than "Alfonso Arzate". The kingpin replied that the correct name is Zárate.

El Aquiles wants to end his outstanding Baja California arrest warrant by forcing the courts to resolve the case its based on. The case of Aquiles is delayed because it requires a summons of the victims, presumably of the attempted aggravated homicide; however the victims currently live on the other side of the border in San Diego, California. One of the victims is a US citizen, the other is a citizen of Mexico. The Judicial authorities have been trying for months to locate them in order to deliver the court summons but have been unable to find them currently. 




La Rana

René Arzate García, alias "La Rana" is a Tijuana cartel operator who allegedly leads a Sinaloa cartel group alongside his brother Alfonso Arzate García, alias “El Aquiles”. For many years now, La Rana has been tried by the Baja California Security Coordination Table for drug trafficking, corruption of members of law enforcement and multiple executions that have occurred in Tijuana, orchestrated by the Sinaloa Cartel.


La Rana, via his lawyers, is currently fighting to prevent being detained by Mexican authorities for the purpose of US extradition. Recently, La Rana lost his court battle over an injunction he filed. His injunction was in regards to potentially being detained in Mexico for the purposes of extradition to the US. The US issued a federal arrest warrant for La Rana on July 25, 2014 on charges of conspiracy to import marijuana of 1,000 kilos or more. On November 3, 2016,  the US officially requested that Mexico arrest La Rana on their behalf. 






El Max 

Baja California authorities have said Edwin Antonio Rubio Lopez, alias "El Max" leads a group that works under the Sinaloa Cartel. However authorities have not pinned him down to either Arzates or Uriartes. El Max is based out of the Villa de Campo region of Tijuana. The group he leads has a presence in the East Zone of the city. In October 2020, El Max was named on Baja California's most wanted list. 

He has filed two lawsuits so far in 2021. One lawsuit presented before a Tijuana District Court of Amparo opposes an arrest or production order being used against El Max. The suit also alleges that his last names are not "Rubio Lopez" but "Lopez Rubio". The judge ordered him, on January 22, to specify, under oath, the facts that constitute the background of the challenged act otherwise the lawsuit would be considered as not filed. El Max did not clarify the facts and on February 22, as he was warned, the lawsuit was deemed to have not been filed.
Subsequently, El Max's lawyers went to Mexico City to file another amparo claim against the same arrest warrant in the Sixteenth District Court of Amparo in Criminal Matters. This case is still being processed.




El Flaquito

28-year old Pablo Edwin Huerta Nuño, alias "El Flaquito", is the accused leader of a CAF criminal organization that is currently believed to be working in an alliance with Sinaloa Cartel's Los Chapitos. Zeta Tijuana alleges Flaquito is considered to be somewhat of a "great negotiator" by Baja authorities because he has previously been able to reach agreements with rivals such as Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) groups and non aggression pacts with the Arzate García brothers.

There is currently an arrest warrant out for El Flaquito for criminal Case #6/2020 which centers around several kidnappings. El Flaquito is just one of the accused perpetrators in Case #6/2020, along with Gorky Manuel Zavala Rodríguez, Bernard Olivie Pozo Romero and Jorge Mario Vera Ayala. All four men have been accused of having belonged to a CAF group led by José Luis Escudero Escandón, alias "El Quieto" at the time of these kidnappings.

On January 31, 2020, lawyers Elías Alberto L. and José Alberto S. filed an injunction on behalf of El Flaquito but for a number of reasons (the pandemic, victim summons, possible jurisdiction issues) the case has been delayed. His amparo trial is being held in the First District Court on Amparo in Tijuana, Baja California.


Main Source: Zeta Tijuana

Supplementary Sources: Zeta TijuanaChicago TribuneBuho LegalEl MexicanoEnsenada Online