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

Monday, March 4, 2024

Wife Of Former DEA Agent Killed In Cartel Shootout In Mexico

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

An American woman who was killed by a stray bullet during a gun battle between warring drug dealers in Tulum earlier this month had relocated to Mexico because she was worried about crime in her native Los Angeles, according to her husband.

Karl Perman, a former DEA agent, told Fox News Digital that he and his wife of nearly 15 years, 44-year-old Niko Honarbakhsh, had been splitting their time between their home in Beverly Hills and their condominium in Cancun over the past five years.

“We were aware of the State Department advisory and we were aware of … reportings of crime in this area [of Mexico]. But honestly, our opinion was, take a look at Los Angeles,” Perman told the outlet last week. “So, actually, I feel many times, depending upon the neighborhood, safer in Cancun than I do in Los Angeles.”

Former DEA agent Karl Perman (right) said his slain wife, Niko Honarbakhsh (left), had been concerned about the crime rate in her native Los Angeles. 

Honarbakhsh, 44, was killed by stray bullets during a shootout between rival drug dealers in Tulum, Mexico. 

Honarbakhsh was shot dead at a beach club in Tulum on Feb. 9. Facebook / Mia Restaurant & Beach Club

The State Department’s travel advisory issued last year for the state of Quintana Roo, which is home to both Cancun and Tulum — where Honarbakhsh was shot dead at a beach club on Feb. 9 — urges Americans to “exercise increased caution due to crime.”

“Criminal activity and violence may occur in any location, at any time, including in popular tourist destinations,” the advisory warns. “Travelers should maintain a high level of situational awareness, avoid areas where illicit activities occur, and promptly depart from potentially dangerous situations. While not directed at tourists, shootings between rival gangs have injured innocent bystanders.”

Perman, who works in the private energy sector and is often away on business, said his wife felt safer living in Cancun and was more worried about violence when she stayed in Los Angeles, especially after a harrowing close call last summer.

Honarbakhsh had been enjoying a solo getaway while her husband was away on business when she was killed. 

The grieving husband recounted how Honarbakhsh called him while he was away on business and said she was being chased by a knife-wielding maniac while walking their two dogs, Coco and Skylar, on the University of California at Los Angeles campus.

Honarbakhsh escaped unharmed and was able to call the police.

Earlier this month, Perman had been traveling for work to Florida, while his wife decided to drive from their condo in Cancun to the popular resort town of Tulum about two hours away and stay at an Airbnb for a short getaway with her dogs.

Perman said on Feb. 9, he was on his way to Mexico via Dallas, when he got a call from a friend saying he heard that an American woman matching his wife’s description had been shot at the Mia Beach Club in Tulum.

Perman said last summer, his wife was chased by a knife-wielding man while walking their two dogs, pictured on the UCLA campus. 

Perman and his glamorous wife had been married for nearly 15 years.

By the time he reached Tulum, the local police headquarters and the morgue had closed for the night, so he headed to the beachside crime scene.

A security guard let him in and Perman said he saw his wife’s hat and their dogs’ vests discarded in the sand. He also found the family car in the beach club’s parking lot.

After speaking to the guard and reviewing security footage that captured the deadly incident, Perman said, he was able to piece together what happened.

The video reportedly showed an alleged drug dealer arriving at the club, spotting a rival and opening fire at him. A chase and a shootout followed, during which two stray bullets struck Honarbakhsh.

One of the alleged drug dealers, a citizen of Belize, was also killed. He was found to be in possession of cocaine and pills.’

Three weeks after her death, Honarbakhsh’s killers still have not been apprehended. 

Quintana Roo prosecutors said Honarbakhsh was caught in the crossfire and had no connection to any illicit activity, contrary to a local report falsely claiming that she was romantically involved with the slain man.

A trio of suspects in the shooting had been identified, but none of them has been arrested so far.

Perman lashed out at the Mexican authorities’ response to his wife’s killing.

“The main thing was nobody was helpful at all, at any level, until I actually, you know, kind of stood in their station demanding assistance and then making calls,” Perman said. “The main thing is I just want people to be aware that you kinda gotta use your own voice and make it heard.”

Perman also bristled at having to defend his wife’s reputation in the face of baseless rumors claiming that she was not a US citizen and had been dealing drugs around Tulum for several months.

“It seems like every time there’s an American that’s killed here, the spin is they were doing something wrong,” the widower said.

Fox News  New York Post

Sierra Cartel Touches On Truce, Warns Adversaries

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

The deadly Cartel de la Sierra aka Sierra Cartel aka Los Tlacos have taken the time out of their busy schedule to remind locals of an agreed upon truce. 

Their announcement comes hard on the heels of a successful campaign that was waged against the mighty Familia Michoacána. 

Where over a dozen gunmen not only perished in the gun battle. Their corpses were also shot again and set ablaze. The humiliating defeat suffered by the Familia Michoacána forced its leaders into submission for a peace treaty. 

Video translation is as follows:

Sicario: For all the townspeople of Iguala, Cocula, Tepecua (Tepecoacuilco de Trujano), and Huitzuco. It was a whole year of war. Thank God that it’s now over with. The bosses have made a truce and the decision of the leaders is to be respected. To all those citizens from Iguala and its surroundings, do not let yourself be fooled by extortionists, by assholes, by thieves. 

The government personnel need to do their jobs. We have no problems with you. The problem is with people who don't want to live well. To all those brilliant people from Iguala. This is your last chance to get the fuck out of here. Because I’m going to kill you guys one at a time. Afterwards don’t bother claiming: 'poor individuals, they had nothing to do with organized crime, surely innocent civilians were murdered'.

For all those individuals who are out here extorting. And using their lackeys to go out and collect payments. Once and for all you’re being warned. The first dumbass who goes out to ask for money and makes a deposit will be killed the fuck off. Ok? Because we know that they’re asking for money in the town of Iguala. And that in all the other towns there are extortions happening. 

The tortilla shops and taxis services need not to fall into this lie. No one is to be charged an extortion fee. The same goes for the surrounding towns. We’re not extortionists. We all have our own money and our actual jobs. All the townspeople who were displaced from their homes need to return to their communities, their residences. 

Go about your lives. This conflict was never against any of you. But unfortunately you got caught up within the crossfire. We’re here to respect and to take care of you guys. In addition, you can also count on us. We are the absolute Cartel de la Sierra!

Sicarios scream in unison: We are the absolute Sierra Cartel!

Sicario: We are the absolute mob for Mr. Gavilán!

Sicarios scream in unison: We are the absolute mob for Mr. Gavilán!

Sicario: We are the absolute mob for Señor 21! 

Sicarios scream in unison: We are the absolute mob for Señor 21! 

Iguala, known officially as Iguala de la Independencia

Cocula, Guerreo

Tepecua (Tepecoacuilco de Trujano)

Huitzuco, Guerrero

La Masakr3  Borderland Beat Archives

Authorities Destroy 40 Thousand Square Meters Of Marijuana In Chihuahua

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

The authorities destroyed a total of 360 thousand Marijuana plants measuring 50 centimeters in height on average.

Marijuana plantation in Chihuahua.

Security personnel, through a joint operation deployed in the municipality of Guadalupe y Calvo, Chihuahua, destroyed a marijuana plantation near the town of El Saucito Arriba, Dolores Section, with an area of ​​40 thousand square meters.

This intervention was carried out on March 1 by elements of the State Investigation Agency (AEI), the State Public Security Secretariat (SSPE), the Mexican Army and the National Guard.

The field had a density of nine plants per square meter.

The authorities destroyed a total of 360 thousand marijuana plants measuring 50 centimeters in height on average, notifying the Federal Public Ministry who will be in charge of the investigation work.

The operational deployment was extended in order to investigate the version regarding firearm detonations, after several tours and interviews with locals, any eventuality of this type was ruled out.

What other marijuana fields have they destroyed?

On January 15, five plantations with more than 21 thousand marijuana plants were destroyed by elements of the National Guard and the Mexican Army in the municipality of Turicato, Michoacán, without arrests.

Through its social networks, the National Guard reported the operational action in the Tierra Caliente region.

According to the institution, it was during crime prevention patrols in said municipality where they located the five plantations.

At the site, alleged criminals planted approximately 21,900 marijuana plants of different sizes.

And adhering to the protocols, they proceeded to destroy and incinerate the substance.

Afterwards, they notified the Attorney General's Office (FGR) Michoacán delegation, who will continue with the corresponding investigations to determine responsibilities.

This operation is carried out a few days after the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) and the National Guard reported on the reinforcement of security in Michoacán to combat crime in different regions with more than 5,500 uniformed personnel.

Guadalupe y Calvo

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Super Cartel Trafficker Ridouan Taghi Sentenced to Life at 6-Year Long Trial in Bunker Court Room

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat

A Dutch court has sentenced the head of a brutal cocaine cartel to life imprisonment over a campaign of murders and attempted killings that prosecutors described as “a well-oiled killing machine”. In the Marengo trial, 17 people were convicted for 6 murders and 4 attempted murders.

Ridouan Taghi was among three gang members handed life terms, with 14 others sentenced to between 21 months and 29 years in jail after one of the largest trials in Dutch criminal history, whose nearly six years of hearings were marked by three more related murders.

Masked and armed police surrounded the courthouse, known as the Bunker, "Ze Bunker," in an Amsterdam suburb as the judges, who were not named and whose faces were hidden from view, read out the sentences. Drones and a police helicopter circled overhead, and armed guarders surrounded the courthouse bunker.

Gunmen For El Migueladas Destroy A CJNG Spy

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

The full weight of a felling ax and a machete will be used to cut a bound captive into pieces. Painful groans from the enslaved male on the ground can be heard during the first two swings that rain down across his neck. 

It is alleged that the victim was a spy for the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. He supposedly belonged to a cell of hit men that also had within its ranks Kaibiles commandos. 

The following videos are very graphic in nature. Just as well the events have taken place in the state of Michoacán.

Video translation is as follows:

Sicario #1: The state of Michoacán belongs to the Michoacános. This is so that you faggots know how things are going to be here. I can also get down when it comes to committing evil you sons of bitches. So, don’t bother trying to instill fear with people here. We can also resort to being evil in this area. In addition, we also kill the Jalisco gunmen you sons of bitches. Everyone needs to be made aware of this. Keep sending more dumbasses like this individual our way. Take a good look at this dismembered head that I have within my hands. Let it serve as your fucking warning. 

Sicario: Here lies the handiwork of your Kaibiles.

Sicario #1: This just goes to show you, to fucking show every one of you.

Video message reads as follows:

Limones, stay on your toes you sons of bitches. Everyone knows who the fuck is in charge here and will continue to rule. You made the mistake of biting the hand that fed you guys. So, for your own safety it’s best that you backstabbers brace yourselves. Stop bringing people here based on lies. We don’t just talk about handling our affairs. We also put our words into action. 

Pajarraco is the name of the individual doing the axe work. 

* The Limones reference is in regards to the Operativa Limones that the CJNG currently has underway in Michoacán. CJNG has a special forces group known as Fuerzas Especiales Limones (FEL). An English translation of this would be the Lemon Special Forces.   

Narco Chat de Noticias  El Blog de Los Guachos

Why Is The Mayor Of Ensenada Linked To The Sinaloa Cartel?

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat 

Armando Ayala spoke out against the accusations against him and announced that the corresponding complaints will be filed to clarify the facts.

Armando Ayala Robles, mayor of Ensenada, aspires to be a candidate for senator for Morena.

Through a video that circulated on social networks, an alleged member of the Sinaloa Cartel acknowledged that there are alleged links between the mayor of Ensenada in Baja California, Armando Ayala Robles, and said criminal organization.

In the audiovisual clip, four armed and hooded individuals are seen interrogating a shirtless man who remains kneeling and with his back turned. This individual identified himself as Alejandro Ozuna and said he was originally from the Las Cañas municipality, in the state of Durango.

For the last eight years, Alejandro resided in Ensenada, where he was recruited by a criminal operator named Carlos Adrián Casas Reyes, alias 'El Mercenario'. Although currently his direct boss is Leopoldo Lizárraga Ochoa, alias 'El Pantera'.

The interrogated man confessed to being in charge of collecting fees from businessmen and fishermen in the port, distributing drugs and extorting money. “These indications are directly from René Arzate García, alias 'La Rana',” Alejandro assured.

The subject questioned said he was a member of the Sinaloa Cartel

He added that he was also in charge of collecting fees from the owners of wineries in Valle de Guadalupe and San Antonio, by receiving money in “envelopes” sent by a mediator, whom he identified as 'El Poyo' Ayala, a supposed cousin of the current municipal president of Ensenada”, in reference to Armando Ayala.

“Is the municipal president aware of what they do within the corporation of the Sinaloa Cartel hitmen who operate in their Municipal Police units?” questioned one of the hooded men.

Given this, the alleged hitman of the Sinaloa Cartel responded affirmatively. “Yes, he has knowledge, but he tries to maintain links, never directly,” he said. “He has had meetings with bosses, since he intends to take political positions and tells us that he occupies economic support,” added the subject.

As for the armed men who carried out the interrogation, it is unknown to which criminal group they belong. Although it emerged that they are part of a cell of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), there are no elements to prove it.

The mayor of Ensenada denied the allegations that link him to the Sinaloa Cartel

Armando Ayala rejects accusations

Given the spread of the video on the morning of February 26, the mayor of Ensenada stressed to local media the importance of not sharing “false information” on social networks to avoid confusing the population.

He assured that the allegations made against him are not supported and cannot be verified either. Likewise, he attributed these accusations to dirty games during electoral times and to the actions that municipal authorities have deployed against criminal cells.

“We are aware that the actions taken in terms of security have disrupted the interests of criminal groups. However, we cannot remain silent in the face of false accusations,” said Ayala.

Regarding the measures that he will implement in this regard, the mayor announced that instructions have already been sent to the Legal Directorate to present the corresponding complaints. This is in order to identify the people involved in these events.

In addition to the above, Ayala reported that starting this Wednesday he will request leave from the Cabildo to leave his position as of March 1, in order to seek a senatorship with the National Regeneration Movement party (Morena).

Las Cañas, Durango

Ensenada, Baja California 

facebook  Infobae

Cell Of Assassins Working For 'CJNG' Arrested In Tlaquepaque Goes To Preventive Custody: Jalisco

 "Char" for Borderland Beat 

This article was translated and reposted from INFORMADOR.MX

6 adults and a minor were linked after a confrontation with the National Guard on February 21.

The cell of hired killers arrested on February 21 in Tlaquepaque by members of the National Guard after an armed confrontation with the uniformed officers in the El Tapatío neighborhood was indicted.

The 16 adults and one minor were charged with violation of the Federal Law on Firearms and Explosives, in its modality of Carrying Firearms for the Exclusive Use of the Armed Forces and Criminal Association. On the day of the arrest, members of the National Guard patrolling the area received a report that several armed individuals were entering and leaving a building located on Brigada del Norte street, in the aforementioned neighborhood and municipality, which was emitting a strong putrid odor.

The officers went to the site, but were met with gunfire from inside the building, so they repelled the aggression and detained four of them. As a result of this confrontation, a woman died and 13 other people (including a minor) were arrested in another property located in the Revolucion neighborhood in Tlaquepaque. Uniformed officers seized four long guns, four magazines, 111 rounds of ammunition and four vests with the word DELTAS, the name of an elite group of hitmen related to high-level violent crimes, belonging to the CJNG, from the first four detainees.

Following the arrest of the first four suspects, the Attorney General's Office (FGR) requested a search warrant for the aforementioned property, where members of the Federal Ministerial Police seized 36 handmade firearms, six handguns, eight long guns, 30 magazines and various useful cartridges, 21 wraps of cocaine, 48 wraps of marijuana, 70 wraps of crystal meth, eleven cell phones, 23 license plates, four scales, seven ballistic vests, six vehicles and three motorcycles.
They also located six bags with human remains, which were handed over to the Jalisco Institute of Forensic Sciences, for the corresponding reports. During the arrest of the other 13 suspects, the federal agents seized six long arms, one short weapon, seven magazines, three fake weapons, 143 cartridges of various calibers and one vehicle.

Subsequently, the FGR conducted a search of the second property, where authorities confiscated 39 bags with marijuana, 25 magazines, 41 cell phones, four firearms, a bag containing a crystalline substance, 12 vests, several vehicle plates, six motorcycles and two vehicles. Meanwhile, the Federal Prosecutor's Office of the Attorney General's Office in Jalisco obtained the indictment of the 16 adults by a District Judge Specializing in the Accusatory Criminal System.

Therefore, Jorge "E", Julio "V"; Paulina "J" and Noe "A", arrested in Colonia El Tapatío, and Jaziel "G"; Alfonso "R"; Tomás "L"; Cristian "M"; Francisco "C"; Brandon "B"; Diego "T"; Leobardo "P"; Jonathan "L"; Rosaura "P"; José "F" and Anthony "O", arrested in the Revolución subdivision, will be remanded in custody for the duration of their trial at the Puente Grande penitentiary complex. The minor was placed at the disposal of a Specialized Judge for Minors and was also sentenced to trial.

The general strategic security coordinator of Jalisco, Ricardo Sánchez Beruben, stated that the State Prosecutor's Office would investigate the relationship of this cell with the four multiple homicides that took place in Tlaquepaque during February, which left 16 dead, among them five minors.

Two Arrested In Military Operation In Guasave Confirmed: Sinaloa

 "Char" for Borderland Beat 

This article was translated and reposted from LOS NOTICIERISTAS 

Guasave, Sin.- The group of military personnel who carried out an operation this Saturday morning in the coastal area of the municipality took two people into custody after the search of a house, as confirmed by sources of this news media.
The convoy is a special group that arrived from Mexico City, specifically to carry out the operation.
It was reported that the federal elements were first in the area of Tamazula and La Brecha, where they remained for approximately two hours.

It was in the latter community where they reportedly searched a house and detained two men.

The soldiers were accompanied by members of the Criminal Investigation Agency of the Attorney General's Office, who were in charge of the corresponding investigations.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

LA Defense Lawyer Charged in Mexican Mafia Member's Murder

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat

A criminal defense attorney was charged in a federal indictment unsealed last week with conspiring to murder a member of the Mexican Mafia who had fallen out of favor with the prison-based syndicate.

Gabriel Zendejas Chavez was first indicted in 2018 in an indictment with dozens of gang and Mexican Mafia members, is accused of using the confidentiality afforded by his bar license to relay messages between Mexican Mafia members held in far-flung prisons. Witnesses have testified that he helped the organization traffic drugs, collect extortion proceeds, and unmask government informants.

Lagos De Moreno Multihomicide Victims Rise To Eight: Jalisco

 "Char" for Borderland Beat 

This article was translated and reposted from INFORMADOR.MX 

One woman and seven men are the victims in the multi-homicide of Lagos de Moreno

By: José Díaz Muñoz

March 1, 2024 - 8:27 PM

Eight victims have already been located in the multiple homicides that occurred in Lagos de Moreno, and the investigations of the Prosecutor's Office continue, so there could be more victims.

A total of one woman and seven men were found dead after the first discovery on the Camino Viejo a Leon, in the community of Comanja.

Yesterday, Civil Protection personnel from Lagos de Moreno carried out the extraction of the bodies of four men and one woman, who had gunshot wounds.

Hours later, the ministerial personnel found a black plastic bag with a cooler, which inside contained the head of a man of approximately 30 to 35 years of age, as well as a human finger.

When continuing with the inspection of the place, approximately 1 kilometer away, in the direction of the town of Comanja de Corona, the lifeless body of another man was observed, wrapped in a gray blanket.

Another deceased man was also found 200 meters away.

The Prosecutor's Office informed that 18 percussion casings from a long weapon were found at the site, as well as one casing from a short weapon.


Friday, March 1, 2024

An Attempted Child Abduction Was Reported in 'Rafael Buelna Sector' South Of Culiacán: Sinaloa

"Char" and "Enojon" for Borderland Beat 



On March 1, 2024, "ESTILO CULIACAN" INSTAGRAM news page received reports of a possible attempted child abduction, and it is believed a gang of "chilangos" slang for natives of Mexico City is responsible for the fear that was created in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa. Further, several radio frequencies where Sinaloa Cartel "punteros" or lookouts talked about the incident were released with permission from the cartel.

The possible gang of kidnappers was described as southerners, three male subjects, one female subject, and license plates not from Sinaloa. Another important fact is that the city of Culiacan's code name for cartel members is called "la capital' or the capital in English. Once again the possible attempted child abduction was reported to have occurred in Rafael Buelna sector south of Culiacán, Sinaloa. 


"It is the school of Pollito and Benito Juarez, a gray Mini-van and a Nissan Sentra vehicle appear wanting to kidnap young children" 

"Take precautions unsure if the news is true some say it is fake news" 



Former DEA Agents Who Believed They Were “Owners Of Mexico” Ask For A New Trial

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

The defense of Manuel Recio and John Costanzo Jr. argues that they invented bribes and deposits, for which they request acquittal or another legal process, in a case that exhibits bad practices in the CIA and the FBI.

Two former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, convicted of “blatantly” working for drug trafficking, are now demanding their acquittal, claiming that Justice Department prosecutors persuaded the jury of their guilt by inventing that they had received bribes, illegal deposits and other crimes gathered in an accumulation of 300 pieces of evidence against them.

The case of Manuel Recio and John Costanzo Jr., who according to an intercept of calls came to celebrate that their links with drug power would lead them to become “owners of Mexico,” also exhibits bad practices by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). , in English) and the Central Investigation Agency (CIA).

On February 27, government prosecutors requested that the former DEA agents' requests be denied. They maintain that the evidence provided by the government at trial demonstrated each element of the crimes charged, beyond a reasonable doubt.

MILENIO disclosed in 2022 that once-decorated DEA agents Recio and Costanzo Jr. offered VIP services that consisted, according to the allegations, of extracting information from the agency's systems, such as sealed indictments, open investigations and even the date on which some characters would be detained, to whom the agents would give timely notice. Among those VIP clients were, of course, drug traffickers.

On November 8, 2023, a jury unanimously decided that both were guilty of four counts related to bribery and electronic fraud, for having entered the confidential systems of the DEA from where they extracted information considered secret.

Some evidence was based on intercepting telephone calls; It is clear from them that Costanzo and Recio wanted to negotiate with an active DEA colleague to help them obtain information in favor of a Mexican client, who was one of the targets of the anti-drug agency. It was also revealed that the agents gave expensive dinners and even tickets to see the New York Yankees to the former head of the DEA in Mexico and Central America, Nicholas Palmeri.

VIP clients

A document in the possession of MILENIO reveals that, during the last weeks and in an effort not to annul the trial, the Prosecutor's Office of the Southern District of New York released names of some who were allegedly clients of Recio and Costanzo: the Venezuelan Marco Antonio Flores Moreno, main supplier of smuggled gold to the Brazilian company MC Agua Mineral; Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and ally of President Nicolás Maduro, pardoned by US President Joe Biden in a prisoner exchange, and Shirley Herrera Colorado, known as The Godmother of Drug Trafficking in Colombia.

Despite the accumulation of evidence against them, the former DEA agents undertook a battle against their own former colleagues. John Costanzo Jr., who allegedly extracted information about his clients from the Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Information System (NADDIS), recently filed the longest request.

In this he requests to be acquitted of the charges, and if not, that a new trial be carried out. This would be devastating for the Department of Justice, which began this process in 2022, and which has also had to admit that corruption exists within its agencies.

“By doing so [trafficking information], they endangered public safety by revealing sealed indictments and arrests of DEA targets. Recio and Costanzo were convicted by a unanimous jury because of their brazen violation of trust and for providing information that could have endangered their former colleagues and others,” charged powerful prosecutor Damian Williams of the Southern District of New York. 

But Costanzo seeks to protect himself through that country's Federal Rule 33 of Criminal Procedure, which allows a federal court to grant a new trial to a defendant if justice requires it.

Absolute lies?

The defense of the DEA agents argues one by one the reasons why they consider that the charges against their clients were invented by agencies such as the FBI and the Department of Justice, that is, the organizations that carried out the investigation and the subsequent trial.

According to John Costanzo Jr., during the trial the US Prosecutor's Office presented the theory that although the special agent had an impeccable and even decorated career within the DEA, work for which he earned a lucrative salary and for which he had been able to accumulate good savings, he became a “rogue” anyway, almost for no reason. “This theory defies common sense,” Costanzo’s lawyers say in court papers.

During the trial, the Prosecutor's Office recounted how Constanzo gave confidential DEA information to Manuel Recio, another decorated and recently retired agent, who had founded a private investigation and consulting company called Global Legal Consulting, a small firm that provided private investigation services to criminal defense lawyers.

According to prosecutors, Costanzo distributed small payments he received from bribes for his services using his father, Mr. John Costanzo, also a former DEA agent, and his best friend, a former SWAT and former DEA special agent. named Edwin Pagan III.

They now claim that the government did not offer any evidence of how the payments Costanzo made to his father and his friend were related. They argue that prosecutors got the jury to speculate about the sources, amounts and reasons for the alleged bribe payments, and even claim that the witnesses did not even have direct knowledge of the events:

“The government witnesses were little more than narrators who crafted an illogical story. “Much of the case consisted of employees of the Federal Prosecutor's Office reading graphs they created,” the defense denounced.

To demonstrate “an alleged bribery plan,” the government presented evidence of two payments from Manuel Recio's company, Global Legal Consulting, to another of former agent Pagan, called JEM Solutions, a consulting firm that provides security, weapons and security services. personal defense from Coral Gables, Florida.

During his statement, Pagan assured that on April 17, 2019, Manuel Recio's company issued a check to JEM Solutions for $10,000. The former agent assures that this payment was to rent him office space and not a bribe, as the New York Prosecutor's Office claims.

Edwin Pagan acknowledges that he deposited more money with Costanzo's father: $10,000, then $1,600, then a check for $50,000 for the purchase of a house. “The government invited the jury to speculate that his company account must have been a slush fund,” says the defense, which maintains that there is not a single piece of evidence to prove this fact.

However, there are three plane tickets that were purchased from Edwin Pagan's company JEM Solutions, for Constanzo to travel to Washington and Miami. That was the evidence that the Prosecutor's Office presented to link him with these moneys.

“In a particularly desperate effort to persuade the jury to consider a conspiracy involving Costanzo and Pagan,” the defendants' lawyers denounce today.

A Miami Lawyer Takes Action

The Prosecutor's Office also involved lawyer David Macey, from Miami, Florida, a controversial character who caused the dismissal of the then director of the DEA in Mexico, the aforementioned Nicholas Palmeri. In 2021, he spent two days at Macey's sunny house, on a trip that had no official purpose and violated agency rules.

During the trial, the government argued that Costanzo accepted bribes from David Macey in the form of tickets to a Yankees game, a dinner and a payment to a housing contractor. And that is why he links up with the former director of the DEA in Mexico with corrupt agents.

On April 14, 2019, Costanzo and Macey exchanged messages to go to a Yankees game. The lawyer bought tickets to the game for $1,136. According to prosecutors, Costanzo went to the game with Macey and two other DEA agents, including Nicholas Palmeri.

The Prosecutor's Office assures that what happened in that game was very important for the illegal operations of the DEA network. To reach that conclusion, they alleged an intervention of messages where the alleged former corrupt agents celebrated that Nicholas Palmeri was the new regional director of Mexico.

Constanzo: “We about to own Mexico. Nic [Nicholas Palmieri] is in.”

Recio: “Really!!!!!!!!”

The first said that they were about to be “owners of Mexico.” Nic is inside”, to which the other responded festively: “Deveras!!!”.

But even with this document, the defense assures that it did not constitute proof that their clients had bribed someone: “None of the seven payment vignettes that the government presented at trial can support a conviction for any of the charges, because the government could not prove that Costanzo received or accepted anything of value in exchange for violating his official duty. “The misleading inferences that the government asked the jury to make should not be allowed,” they say in new pleadings.

What is recognized is that Constanzo carried out searches in the DEA's NADDIS system, a fact that is minimized by ensuring that he only received a one-time payment of $2,500 in November 2018 to carry out "a series of searches."

“Accordingly, the most the government demonstrated was bribery, honest services fraud, and conspiracy scheme,” the defense says. “Accordingly, the Court must order a new trial.”

Manuel Recio, the retired DEA agent, was not left behind in his demands: since January 17, 2024, he has “respectfully” demanded that the judge, who has not yet decided his sentence, rule in favor of an acquittal… or a new trial .

In the previous judicial process, which took place between October 23 and November 8, 2023, the jury found him guilty after 12 days of analyzing the evidence. However, it is the judge who must decide what his sentence will be. For now, the number of judicial appeals filed make an immediate sentence impossible.

In the midst of this lawsuit that does not seem to end and exhibits all the bad practices of the US agencies, the New York Prosecutor's Office reiterated that for more than a year, Recio bribed Costanzo to obtain confidential and sensitive information about the DEA in exchange for a total of 100 thousand dollars.

It was further revealed that during his time as supervisor, Costanzo developed close relationships with Miami attorneys David Macey and Luis Guerra, who have defended criminals and were part of the DEA bribery scheme. “From at least 2015, until October 2018, Costanzo provided Macey and Guerra with inadequate information and access to DEA cases,” prosecutors maintain.

In fact, they claim that since 2018 Costanzo and Guerra met Jorge Luis Hernández Villazón, nicknamed 'El Boliche', a former drug trafficker and former paramilitary who at that time was an informal source for the DEA. Hernandez also helped Macey recruit other criminals as clients, with Costanzo's knowledge.

The accusation adds that Costanzo also leaked information about the indictment date of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman born in Venezuela, who is under investigation for high-level money laundering and corrupt practices in his country of origin.

Costanzo also provided Recio with inside information about César Emilio Peralta, the Dominican Pablo Escobar, with the intention that Macey and Recio would recruit him as a client and sell him inside information. Costanzo would also share information about DEA witnesses and informants.

One of the clients they managed to recruit in exchange for information from the DEA was Shirley Herrera Colorado, 'The Godmother of Drug Trafficking'. Recio revealed that the work would be worth 30 thousand dollars.

This February 27, government prosecutors have forcefully requested that the requests of former DEA agents be denied. They maintain that the evidence provided by the government at trial demonstrated each element of the crimes charged, beyond a reasonable doubt.

But for now, the former DEA agents and the prosecutor's lawyers have nothing left but to wait for Judge James Paul Oetken to finally make a decision.

With it it will be evident which agency committed the most irregularities. Because no one wins here: everyone will be exposed.


Thursday, February 29, 2024

Secretary Of Navy And FGR Carry Out Operation In ElDorado: Sinaloa

 "Char" for Borderland Beat 

This article was translated and reposted from RIODOCE 

Elements of the Attorney General's Office and the Secretary of the Navy carried out a ground and air operation on Thursday morning in the La Flor ejido, which belongs to the Eldorado syndicate, south of Culiacán.

At the site, the elements secured a country house set up as a party room, but it is not known if anyone was detained.

Neighbors of the sector mentioned that the operation began around 5:00 a.m., when two helicopters flew over the area, and later several civilian units with license plates covered with black tape and several Semar patrol cars with official numbering and logos arrived by land, from which armed men descended, some of them dressed in civilian clothes and others in Navy uniforms, and then entered through the fence of the property and broke the front door plate to search the property.

The operation was carried out until shortly before 10:00 a.m., and then the elements withdrew aboard at least eight civilian units and a dozen Navy patrol cars.

According to testimonies, the elements allegedly beat people passing by the site and held others inside their homes, and also searched other properties.

The secured premises is allegedly uninhabited and non-functioning.


Personnel From The 43rd Military Zone Were Ambushed By 'Tepalcatepec Cartel' With Narco-Drones And Narco-Mines In The Municipality Of Tepalcatepec: Michoacán

 "Char" for Borderland Beat 

This information was reposted from LaMasakr3

Personnel from the 43rd Military Zone were ambushed this day with narco-drones and narco-mines in the municipality of Tepalcatepec by alleged members of the Tepalcatepec cartel led by Juan Jose Farias Alvarez, alias "El abuelo", leaving at least 4 dead and several wounded.

According to military sources, the attack took place when the soldiers were traveling along a rural road between the towns of El Montoso and El Terrenatillo, at which point several narco-mines exploded as their convoy passed by.

The soldiers were then attacked with high-powered firearms and narco-drones, at which point at least 4 soldiers were killed and approximately 9 injured, according to sources inside the Army. 

This action took place in a territory that is disputed by the cartels of "El Abuelo", headed by José Farías Álvarez, in alliance with "Los Caballeros Templarios", against the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation, military commanders told this newspaper.