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

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

INFILTRATION: Mexican Cartels Move Agents Deep Inside US Borders

Borderland Beat

Mexican drug cartels whose operatives once rarely ventured beyond the U.S. border are dispatching some of their most trusted agents to live and work deep inside the United States — an emboldened presence that experts believe is meant to tighten their grip on the world’s most lucrative narcotics market and maximize profits.
If left unchecked, authorities say, the cartels’ move into the American interior could render the syndicates harder than ever to dislodge and pave the way for them to expand into other criminal enterprises such as prostitution, kidnapping-and-extortion rackets and money laundering.
Cartel activity in the U.S. is certainly not new. Starting in the 1990s, the ruthless syndicates became the nation’s No. 1 supplier of illegal drugs, using unaffiliated middlemen to smuggle cocaine, marijuana and heroin beyond the border or even to grow pot here.
But a wide-ranging Associated Press review of federal court cases and government drug-enforcement data, plus interviews with many top law enforcement officials, indicate the groups have begun deploying agents from their inner circles to the U.S. Cartel operatives are suspected of running drug-distribution networks in at least nine non-border states, often in middle-class suburbs in the Midwest, South and Northeast.
“It’s probably the most serious threat the United States has faced from organized crime,” said Jack Riley, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office.
The cartel threat looms so large that one of Mexico’s most notorious drug kingpins — a man who has never set foot in Chicago — was recently named the city’s Public Enemy No. 1, the same notorious label once assigned to Al Capone.
The Chicago Crime Commission, a non-government agency that tracks crime trends in the region, said it considers Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman even more menacing than Capone because Guzman leads the deadly Sinaloa cartel, which supplies most of the narcotics sold in Chicago and in many cities across the U.S.
Years ago, Mexico faced the same problem — of then-nascent cartels expanding their power — “and didn’t nip the problem in the bud,” said Jack Killorin, head of an anti-trafficking program in Atlanta for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. “And see where they are now.”
Riley sounds a similar alarm: “People think, `The border’s 1,700 miles away. This isn’t our problem.’ Well, it is. These days, we operate as if Chicago is on the border.”
Border states from Texas to California have long grappled with a cartel presence. But cases involving cartel members have now emerged in the suburbs of Chicago and Atlanta, as well as Columbus, Ohio, Louisville, Ky., and rural North Carolina. Suspects have also surfaced in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
Mexican drug cartels “are taking over our neighborhoods,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane warned a legislative committee in February. State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan disputed her claim, saying cartels are primarily drug suppliers, not the ones trafficking drugs on the ground.
For years, cartels were more inclined to make deals in Mexico with American traffickers, who would then handle transportation to and distribution within major cities, said Art Bilek, a former organized crime investigator who is now executive vice president of the crime commission.
As their organizations grew more sophisticated, the cartels began scheming to keep more profits for themselves. So leaders sought to cut out middlemen and assume more direct control, pushing aside American traffickers, he said.
Beginning two or three years ago, authorities noticed that cartels were putting “deputies on the ground here,” Bilek said. “Chicago became such a massive market … it was critical that they had firm control.”
To help fight the syndicates, Chicago recently opened a first-of-its-kind facility at a secret location where 70 federal agents work side-by-side with police and prosecutors. Their primary focus is the point of contact between suburban-based cartel operatives and city street gangs who act as retail salesmen.

That is when both sides are most vulnerable to detection, when they are most likely to meet in the open or use cellphones that can be wiretapped.
Others are skeptical about claims cartels are expanding their presence, saying law-enforcement agencies are prone to exaggerating threats to justify bigger budgets.
David Shirk, of the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute, said there is a dearth of reliable intelligence that cartels are dispatching operatives from Mexico on a large scale.
“We know astonishingly little about the structure and dynamics of cartels north of the border,” Shirk said. “We need to be very cautious about the assumptions we make.”
Statistics from the DEA suggest a heightened cartel presence in more U.S. cities. In 2008, around 230 American communities reported some level of cartel presence. That number climbed to more than 1,200 in 2011, the most recent year for which information is available, though the increase is partly due to better reporting.
Dozens of federal agents and local police interviewed by the AP said they have identified cartel members or operatives using wiretapped conversations, informants or confessions. Hundreds of court documents reviewed by the AP appear to support those statements.
“This is the first time we’ve been seeing it — cartels who have their operatives actually sent here,” said Richard Pearson, a lieutenant with the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, which arrested four alleged operatives of the Zetas cartel in November in the suburb of Okolona.
People who live on the tree-lined street where authorities seized more than 2,400 pounds of marijuana and more than $1 million in cash were shocked to learn their low-key neighbors were accused of working for one of Mexico’s most violent drug syndicates, Pearson said.
Jack Riley Chicago DEA Chief
One of the best documented cases is Jose Gonzalez-Zavala, who was dispatched to the U.S. by the La Familia cartel, according to court filings.
In 2008, the former taxi driver and father of five moved into a spacious home at 1416 Brookfield Drive in a middle-class neighborhood of Joliet, southwest of Chicago. From there, court papers indicate, he oversaw wholesale shipments of cocaine in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.
Wiretap transcripts reveal he called an unidentified cartel boss in Mexico almost every day, displaying the deference any midlevel executive might show to someone higher up the corporate ladder. Once he stammered as he explained that one customer would not pay a debt until after a trip.
“No,” snaps the boss. “What we need is for him to pay.”
The same cartel assigned Jorge Guadalupe Ayala-German to guard a Chicago-area stash house for $300 a week, plus a promised $35,000 lump-sum payment once he returned to Mexico after a year or two, according to court documents.
Ayala-German brought his wife and child to help give the house the appearance of an ordinary family residence. But he was arrested before he could return home and pleaded guilty to multiple trafficking charges. He will be sentenced later this year.
Socorro Hernandez-Rodriguez was convicted in 2011 of heading a massive drug operation in suburban Atlanta’s Gwinnett County. The chief prosecutor said he and his associates were high-ranking figures in the La Familia cartel — an allegation defense lawyers denied.
And at the end of February outside Columbus, Ohio, authorities arrested 34-year-old Isaac Eli Perez Neri, who allegedly told investigators he was a debt collector for the Sinaloa cartel.
An Atlanta attorney who has represented reputed cartel members says authorities sometimes overstate the threat such men pose.
“Often, you have a kid whose first time leaving Mexico is sleeping on a mattress at a stash house playing Game Boy, eating Burger King, just checking drugs or money in and out,” said Bruce Harvey. “Then he’s arrested and gets a gargantuan sentence. It’s sad.”
Because cartels accumulate houses full of cash, they run the constant risk associates will skim off the top. That points to the main reason cartels prefer their own people: Trust is hard to come by in their cutthroat world.
There’s also a fear factor. Cartels can exert more control on their operatives than on middlemen, often by threatening to torture or kill loved ones back home.
Danny Porter, chief prosecutor in Gwinnett County, Ga., said he has tried to entice dozens of suspected cartel members to cooperate with American authorities. Nearly all declined. Some laughed in his face.
“They say, `We are more scared of them (the cartels) than we are of you. We talk and they’ll boil our family in acid,”‘ Porter said. “Their families are essentially hostages.”
Citing the safety of his own family, Gonzalez-Zavala declined to cooperate with authorities in excange for years being shaved off his 40-year sentence.
In other cases, cartel brass send their own family members to the U.S.
“They’re sometimes married or related to people in the cartels,” Porter said. “They don’t hire casual labor.” So meticulous have cartels become that some even have operatives fill out job applications before being dispatched to the U.S., Riley added.

In Mexico, the cartels are known for a staggering number of killings — more than 50,000, according to one tally. Beheadings are sometimes a signature.
So far, cartels don’t appear to be directly responsible for large numbers of slayings in the United States, though the Texas Department of Public Safety reported 22 killings and five kidnappings in Texas at the hands of Mexican cartels from 2010 through mid- 2011.
Still, police worry that increased cartel activity could fuel heightened violence.
In Chicago, the police commander who oversees narcotics investigations, James O’Grady, said street-gang disputes over turf account for most of the city’s uptick in murders last year, when slayings topped 500 for the first time since 2008.

Although the cartels aren’t dictating the territorial wars, they are the source of drugs.
Riley’s assessment is stark: He argues that the cartels should be seen as an underlying cause of Chicago’s disturbingly high murder rate.
“They are the puppeteers,” he said. “Maybe the shooter didn’t know and maybe the victim didn’t know that. But if you follow it down the line, the cartels are ultimately responsible.”
Associated Press
Thanks to "Empire23" of BB Forum for the heads up


  1. Sorry readers took the JT sons story down until I can check the name. the age is 20....stuff happens, maybe an abril broma?

    As for when JT is released....some readers are saying he was released already. I thought his release date was in the middle of April. I checked with google right now and saw nothing in American or Spanish media. Anyone?

    1. Texcoco de mora has it on his blog. Hopefully Javier Torres will be realese april 8

  2. In checking the prison Jt is/was in there is a Javier Torres that was released in March and the next Javier Torres to be released isn't until oct. unless he was transferred out of W.Va this is what is on their inmate locator:

    JAVIER TORRES 40188-086 38-White-M
    03-15-2013 RELEASED
    There were 21 Javier Torres' at the prison

    This info: is what was in a previous post:

    "He's incarcerated in a medium security prison know as the Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) Beckley, located in Raleigh County , about 136 miles from Charleston, West Virginia. El JT was arrested in January, 2004, in an operation by the Mexican Army, in the community of Tule in the Valle de San Lorenzo. According to SIEDO reports, El JT was one of the Sinaloa Cartel's major operatives, very close to El Mayo Zambada, for whom he was a lieutenant.

    Torres Felix was extradited to the U.S. in November of 2006 after spending two years in Mexican prisons. Among other charges, Felix Torres was alleged to have been involved in the death of a member of the military. His released is scheduled for April 8, 2013".

  3. He was soppuse to be realese on March 16, they gave him 22 more days for dealing phone cards with other inmates. Maybe they transfer him on March 15, to Mexico, since he has a case pending there. For killing the a mexican millitary that died when they arrested him. Or maybe they gave him more time until October for the phone cards? Them we still have to see whats going on with the case in Mexico. He might have to do more time.
    I want to know what is going on too.

  4. "The cartels are ultimately responsible". Don't agree with this statement. If it wasn't for the people buying the drugs, none of this would happen... so, who's the true responsible?

    1. I dont use drugs but the people who do are only part of the sure those losers would find other ways to make a buck illegally its just their nature.they are not exemplary human beings.dopeheads are too high to be greedy like the narcos are

  5. Chivis- Very iformative on so many levels,thanks. The US does seem to report more of late of the direct correlation between violence and drug dealers. What is rarely reported is the cartels moving their own people to thousands of US cities,to oversee there cartel business. Just one more major problem to deal with. Scary. Why is everyone so interested,excited about El JT,getting released? Wasn't he with the Sinola cartel? Seems he got a sweet deal. What did he do to get it? I'd rather the top members get at least 40 years but that's me. Kinnda like Taiban, we release them back to their country, 5 seconds later they are back to what they were doing. Thanks ago, eace to all innocents. Texas Grandma.

  6. Why are US politicians so slow to the gate all the time? By the time they admit something very serious is going on, and has been for years, it will be too late and these cartels will already have a strong grasp inside the country. All they seem to worry about is denying it's happening so the ignorant sheep of America can stay calm.

  7. US Bankers love the cash so everyone else falls in line

  8. but, but, but, Janet Napolitano and Obama says the border is secure and the border towns are the safest they have ever been and our the real threat is armed citizenry, bitter clingers and tea party types. I'm confused?

  9. “People think, `The border’s 1,700 miles away. This isn’t our problem.’ Well, it is. These days, we operate as if Chicago is on the border.”

    Chicago's problems are socio-economic issues native to Chicago. The violence and negative climate are, for the most part, home grown. Designating Chapo public enemy #1 will not solve any problems. All they [the authorities - police, DA, mayor, ect.] did was create a distraction so they wont have to deal with the real issues that are plaguing the city.

    1. I like ur theory, an enemy from without, is better than the enemy within. The populace's focus fixes on the cartels while the feds take our firearms and think of ways to make our gunlaws like Mexico's.

  10. Cartel infiltration of the U.S. was never more evident than the twin brothers Margarito/Pedro Flores case. They were moving major product, cocaine, for the Sinaloa and Beltrán-Leyva Cartels in Chicago. Their indictments and that of CDS and BLO members was a who's who of the Mexico cartel world. Chapo, Mayo, Azul, Nacho, Barbas, and others. The BLO, CDS war eventually had repurcussions for the Flores brothers as both cartels started threatening them if they did business with the other; as a result, the brothers turned snitch and started working for the federal governments(DOJ, DEA, FBI).

  11. come on people don't be naive, mexican cartels as stupid as many people call them here, are responsible for crossing the drugs, but there are many americans (mexican americans, african american, it doesn't matter) that are part of the distribution, it is a fact that us agencies have the technology and the resources to stop more shipments of drugs than they actually do, can someone tell me why?

  12. this is just hearsay, but Riverside CA. is home to CDS, CDG, and La Familia..only there, they only concentrate on businness, as killings would attract too much attention from te Feds. but don't quote me on that.

  13. This isn't big news, of course the CARTELS have people in the US. How else does " Billions of dollars worth of drugs " move into the US so readily.

    The blog concentrates heavily on what is happening on the MEXICAN side of the border but the problem lies NORTH as WELL Senores y Senoras.

    Sad that Mexican CARTELS and those involved have " stooped " so low. The greed factor is at an all time high and because of the " puto orgullo " no pueden compartir.


  14. The USA is too busy going after wealthy Americans that pay taxes... The cartels are the friends of us poor people...please leave them alone

  15. just legalize the dam drugs already!!! sheesh!!!! all rich people love cocaina (cocaine). Charlie sheen, lindsay lohan, all the rich athletes, all the beautiful women, everyone love the 100% pure, uncut,Bolivian, Bam-Bam nose candy, AKA lucifers dandruff.. what I don't understand is why the idiot cartels are killing each other. they should invest, make legitimate business ventures, have some fun. open a few discos, bars, clubs, enjoy the chicas, flash, champagne...

  16. Chivis, r u still gunna post the mayo's bad night or whatever its called???????????????????? Cuz I've never heard bout it or read what it was. So it would b greatly appreciated if u could post it. Looking forward to reading it!!!!!! Thnxs. Tflaim, tampa, florida

  17. Zetas say Chapo doesn't even control Sinaloa but look who controls the rest of the world.

  18. people don't care. they are more worried about the next new apple product!

  19. I will be in sinolia soon how hard is it to find a connect, do they talk to people they do not know if they get a good feeling from talking to you and you spend time with them what town is best area

  20. If the US really wanted Chapo dead, they would send a Predator drone and destroy him and whatever compound he is in with a Hellfire missile. He would never even see it coming.
    They assinate people in the middle east, DAILY, this way.
    He is still alive because the bankers run the US and they like all that drug money in their banks.

  21. look at these european pilgrims bastards with there ties and suits blamming da mexican's for all there fucking drug problems .....mexicans aint trying to take over your neighborhoods or ur cities u already have a oustanding gang problem that no matter how many prison u build with tax payers money u will never get rid off!!!!!i bet right after there fucking tv presantation they ended up in a strip joint or a high end bar and problaly busting a few rails themselves..any ways fuck the national drug control policy and the rat bastards that work there....

  22. freeeeedoooommmmm of speach

  23. How do they know chapo never set foot in chicago, I swear I saw him at the montez concert in joliet

  24. I dont know anyone that blames Mexicans or the the cartels for US drug consumption. It's a pleasure culture and it's, pardon the pun, high time that we take a long and hard look in the mirror. It's time to cut the middle men (cartels) out and manufacture, grow, import and distribute drugs like we do all consumer and food products. Consumers should be able to grow their own hooch and buy their coke at the liquer store or Walmart.

  25. "look at these european pilgrims bastards with there ties and suits blamming da mexican's"
    Chill out brr,im white an i hate these pricks just as much as you,they bammin anyone they fuckin feel like,so don't get that complex shit goin on.Money,money,don't have no color except green.Next month it will be fuckin Russians or something,who knows with these penguins,,to scare all the dumfucks.

  26. April 3, 2013 at 7:47 PM
    "I will be in sinolia soon how hard is it to find a connect"
    Dude,forget about it,aint you askin for some shit?

  27. can admin get on the angle of four upper level American law officials killed in less than two months. reminds me of how the cartels just started taking out officials in mexico. is this shades of things to come?

  28. Addition to April 3, 11:57. "african americans part of the distribution". African-americans are being shut out of the drug trade and are only participating at the user level or just above it. That's why the black on black killings are sky-rocketing in places like Chicago - they're fighting over a smaller piece of an ever shrinking pie and are having to turn to black on black robbery to replace drug sales. The Super Fly lifestyle is a rusty relic of the past, regardless of what Hollywood and rappers say.


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