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Blog dedicated to the reporting of organized crime
on the border line between the US and Mexico.
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    Char for Borderland Beat republished from Cafe Negro-El Portal Politico de Sinaloa

    Culiacán, Sinaloa.- The special group of the Mexican Navy that killed four assassins during a confrontation outside a party hall in La Limita de Itaje, was looking for Ismael El Mayo Zambada, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, and during the operation arrested a merchant, whom was  confused with the alleged drug trafficker.

    Relatives of Antonio Valenzuela Iribe, 70, who is one of the two detained by the Navy, reported that the arrest of the merchant was illegal, and that during the operation the sailors also simulated executing at least 10 young people who were in the party ordering them to say where the "M" (Mayo Zambada) was and where the weapons were hidden.

    "The sailors grabbed my grandfather and put a hat on him and compared it to a photo. Then a sailor approaches me and says: what's that man's name?  I say: Antonio Valenzuela, why? And he tells me: he is not called that. And I answer again and I say: Who are you confusing with? And he says: “we're not confusing him, it's Mr. Mayo Zambada."

    They said that after the confrontation outside, the sailors broke in and violently forced all the men to lie on the floor for four hours, and that they were stripped of money and jewels.

    They said that during the deployment, registered between Tuesday night the 30th and the morning of January 31, Antonio Valenzuela was at his table, inside the party room, when he was arrested, and not outside when the shooting occurred.

    "My family member was interrogated, and it turned out they determined that my grandfather was Mr. Mayo Zambada, which is a lie."

    They contend that sailors planted an AK-47 assault rifle and an AR-15 rifle, as well as cartridges, in the vehicle that Antonio Valenzuela had parked outside the party room, and that was the pretext to stop him. They said they did the same with the other detainee, who was also inside the room and they planted a tactical vest with cartridges.

    They assured that the white Hyundai vehicle of the merchant was transferred by the sailors to the facilities of the delegation of the Attorney General's Office, before the experts arrived who reviewed the units that were hit by bullets during the confrontation.

    The family of Antonio Valenzuela denied knowing the four young people killed by the Navy and had no knowledge if they were escorts of any of the people who were at the party. They also denied having a relationship with El Mayo Zambada.

    The official version issued by the Secretariat of Public Security of Sinaloa on the fact indicates that the elements of the Navy carried out a patrol in the area of ​​La Limita de Itaje, when they were met with gunfire, when they repelled the aggression, they killed the four alleged gunmen identified as Manuel Filiberto Tapia Arellano, José Saúl Félix, Daniel Armando Serrano, and José Alonso Angle Castañeda.

    The SSP also reported the securing of six long guns and four pistols, as well as cartridges and the arrest of Héctor Román, and don Antonio, originally from Tamazula, Durango.

    As for the execution simulations, the relatives said the sailors were choosing and taking the young people out for interrogation.

    "I heard that they saw one and said: you, come; and they stopped him and asked him questions first, I do not know what kind of questions. And to make them afraid they fired gunshots. Doing that to terrify them, because according to them (the sailors), at the party was El Mayo and that those who were there were from his cartel.  My family has no ties to him."

    They explained that Don Antonio Valenzuela was first put at the disposal of the Public Ministry accused of belonging to organized crime, but that this crime was already rejected by the federal authorities and that now he only faces charges for carrying a firearm exclusively for the Army.

    Family members said that at age 70, Mr. Antonio continues to work honestly and has never had problems with any authority. 

    "My grandfather is a merchant. He works hard every day from 6 am. He goes to Los Mochis, Guasave, or places here near Culiacán to buy fruit or vegetables in season; loads his  double wheeled truck and returns home,  and sells to all the nearby colonies or small towns. A job where he does not earn much but it is honest labor. That's why what happened is so painful. He is a hardworking person who has worked his ass off all his life and who is an innocent but was arrested and detained anyway."

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    Translated by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Milenio

    Feb 11, 2018

    Identified as the last of the active founder Zetas , the last of the "numbered" of the criminal organization, José María Guízar Valencia, "El Z43" , took refuge six months ago in Mexico City, where he was a regular gambler at horse races at the Hipódromo de las Américas.

    That was one of the activities he carried out in the capital city , from where even with his diminished power,  he managed drug trafficking operations and organized crime in the southeast of the country.

    "Z 43", for whom the US government offered a reward of $5,000,000 hid in the suite of a hotel in Colonia Roma, for which he paid a monthly rent of 20,000 pesos. Intelligence reports to which Milenio had access, reveal that at least since August 2017, Guízar Valencia had moved to Mexico City, but he did not completely cease his business as head of the Tabasco plaza for the Los Zetas cartel .

                                                Hotel Marabella Colonia Roma, Mexico City

    Guizar Valencia sought to pass unnoticed, he was alone, without the security circle with which he normally moved or the escorts and assassins with whom he unleashed a wave of violence in entities such as Veracruz and Chiapas.

    "Z 43's" love of horses, which included buying horses and betting on them made him a frequent customer at the Hippodrome, which is in the Miguel Hidalgo delegation.

    The federal authorities managed to document the constant visits to the betting area and his other movements, which allowed them to prepare the operation against Guizar Valencia.

    Officials said the Zeta's regional leader preferred to hide in Mexico City because it made it easier for him to go unnoticed, contrary to his areas of operations, "where he was known."

    Alone, as he returned to his hotel in Colonia Roma, "Z 43" was captured in the street, the last of the "numbered" heads of Los Zetas , the 43rd leader of a story that began with "El Z1", Arturo Guzmán Decena,  who built up the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel in 2001.

    For the federal government, 17 years after its creation, the fraction of leaders of the criminal group ended with the capture, without a single shot, of "El Z43" .

    It concludes a stage in which several military deserters of the Special Forces Aeromobile Group (Gafes), an elite body of the Army, created the fearsome Zetas and became hit men in the service of capo Osiel Cárdenas Guillén.

    In a few years, they achieved a power that made the Barack Obama administration classify them in 2011 as an "unusual and extraordinary threat to the stability of international political and economic systems" due to their degree of dangerousness and violence.

    Wedding Party Photo:

    A photograph held by Milenio shows Guízar Valencia along with nine "legendary" Zetas who not only met to commit a crime, but also to socialize. The image was captured in 2010, the year in which the violent Zetas were at the top of the drug trafficking scene; they are seen embracing, as great friends or family members. 

    The ten "greats" attended the wedding of Salvador Alfonso Martínez Escobedo, "El Ardilla" , in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, in which the godfather was the late Zeta leader Heriberto Lazcano, "El Lazca".

    These were times of splendor for these criminals, who in the same year became independent of the Gulf cartel. In 2010 they were no longer the armed wing of the criminal organization, but one more cartel.

    Of the men shown in the photo, three of them were killed and seven were captured during operations by federal and military forces.

    It is observed from left to right to Francisco Antonio Medina Mejía, "El Quemado" , killed in April 2012; "Commandante Gallo" , who lost his life in January 2012; Fernando Galaviz or Juan Carlos Gutiérrez, "El Pinky" , arrested in March 2013.

    Óscar Omar Treviño Morales, "El Z42" , arrested in March 2015; Salvador Alfonso Martínez Escobedo, "El Ardilla" , captured in October 2012; José María Guízar Valencia, "El Z43" , arrested on February 8, 2018.

    Carlos Alberto Oliva Castillo, "La Rana" , apprehended in October 2011; Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, "El Z40" , apprehended in July 2013; Mauricio Guízar Cárdenas, El Amarillo , arrested in July 2012 and José Luis Peña Brizuela, "El Pompín" , killed in August 2011.

    The fall of each one of them represented the diminution of the Los Zetas power . In recent years "El Z43", Jose Maria Guitar Valencia, was in charge of the Plaza de Tabasco, he turned the southeast into a bastion, from there he  kept active the drug transfer operations from Colombia to the US.

    The intelligence reports indicate that he had protection from local authorities to prevent operations, but he also deployed violence in states such as Chiapas and Veracruz.


    Guízar Valencia, also known as "El Charly" and "El Amo" , is  Mexican-American and formed part of the list of 122 priority objectives identified by the federal authorities, and of those 109  have now been neutralized.

    The National Security Commissioner, Renato Sales confirmed the arrest of "El Z43" , operator of the transfer of drugs from Colombia to the US and one of the main generators of violence in the southeast region of Mexico and Guatemala.

    He explained that the US government has already requested Mexico for his extradition, since "El Z43" has arrest warrants in Washington, Dallas and Laredo, although he is also accused in Tabasco, Puebla and Chiapas of crimes against health, arms trafficking, organized crime, homicide and kidnapping.

    According to Mexican authorities, he was born on November 1, 1979 in Venustiano Carranza, Puebla, and began  drug trafficking in Michoacán in 1998, and  continued in 2001 in Tamaulipas.

    In 2003 he began the recruitment of cells to seize the Palenque plaza in Chiapas; which in  2005 expanded its activities to Veracruz and by 2007 he  was in charge of the transport by land of cocaine from Colombia to the US, passing through Guatemala.

    Sales Heredia said that Guízar Valencia "established connections with other suppliers in Central and South America, derived from control in the southeast of the country, in 2013 the defendant expanded its operations to the center of the Republic, mainly the state of Puebla."

    Note: The claim "El Z43" was born in the state of Puebla contradicts the previously published information by Milenio that Guizar Valencia was born on that same date , Nov 1, 1979 in Tulare California ; see my BB Post on Friday Feb 9, 2018 

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    Translated by Otis B Fly-Wheel for Borderland Beat from a Zetatijuana article

    Subject Matter: Arrest of Esteban Loaiza
    Recommendation: No prior subject matter knowledge required

    Reporter: Carlos Alvarez
    The ex Mexican baseball pitcher, Esteban Antonio Loaiza Veyna, was detained this afternoon, Friday the 9th of February, in San Diego, California, United States, on charges of transporting drugs for sale.

    The Sheriff's department of Condado, San Diego, informed that the ex sportsman, 46 years of age, and born in Tijuana, Baja California, faces charges after being detained for possession of more than 20 kilos of heroin and cocaine, charges that carry a fine of 200,000 dollars.

    The ex pitcher and ex husband of the dead singer Dolores Janney Rivera Saavedra, better known only as Jenny Rivera, has a date before the Court of Condado, San Diego on the 14th of February to determine his legal situation.

    According to information given out by the Sheriff's department, Loaiza Veyna was detained by elements of the said corporation and detained in their centre at South Bay.

    In July of 2006, Loaiza Veyna was detained in Oakland, for driving while drunk at excessive speed in his Ferrari. In the same month, but in 2013, the ex pitcher was arrested in Tijuana together with various persons who were caught drinking beer in a taxi in the North Zone of the city.

    Loaiza Veyna played with major league teams in the United States: the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago White Sox, the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Texas Rangers and the Oakland Athletics, with who, he signed a contract for 21.4 million dollars.

    He also played with the Red Devils of Mexico City and with the Aguilas de Mexicali, in the Mexican Pacific league. In addition, the Mexican baseball player was the starting pitcher in the 70th anniversary game of the American League, during the All-Star game, held in Chicago in 2003.

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    Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat from Boston Herald

    Enough drug to kill every man, woman and child in the state 

    Federal agents and Boston police have seized more than 33 pounds of fentanyl — enough of the deadly synthetic opioid to theoretically kill every man, woman and child in Massachusetts — funneled in by Mexico’s  Sinaloa cartel.

    Allowed wiretaps after
    being busted
    A lengthy wiretap operation by a joint task force including Drug Enforcement Administration agents and Boston police resulted in an

    early-morning sweep of the drugs and 37 suspects, including alleged kingpin Robert Contreras, 42, of Roxbury.

    Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley called the investigation “one of the longest, most far-reaching and most successful state wiretap investigations in Massachusetts history. ... But it did not stop there. It continued up the ladder to identify a second group at the top of the domestic pyramid, one with direct ties to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.”

    Contreras was ordered held on $1 million bail during his arraignment yesterday on charges of trafficking fentanyl, heroin and cocaine.

    The six-month investigation first led to the arrest late last year of Edward Soto-Perez, 43, of Roxbury, who led a group that would distribute drugs obtained from Contreras throughout Massachusetts and as far away as Pennyslvania, Conley said.

    Robert Contreras is the direct link to Sinaloa Cartel
    “We allege that the Contreras organization worked with members of the Sinaloa cartel, one of the most powerful drug-trafficking organizations in the world, who imported huge quantities of narcotics into the northeastern United States,” Conley said. “In fact, we believe they were so high in the distribution structure that the next level up would take us outside the United States. Evidence suggests that the Contreras organization would receive those cartel narcotics and distribute them to the Soto-Perez group and others, who would in turn supply lower-level dealers.”

    In total, 77 pounds of drugs were seized, including heroin, cocaine and opiate tablets in addition to the fentanyl. Authorities said they confiscated $300,000 in drug money.

    Michael J. Ferguson, DEA’s special agent in charge of the New England Division, likened fentanyl to a weapon of mass destruction.

    “You take a sweetener packet that has 1,000 milligrams in it that you put in a cup of coffee. It takes only two milligrams and it’s lights out for an individual,” Ferguson said. “We’re talking a couple of grains of salt or sand. It can kill you if you inject it in your arm, if you snort it up your nose or simply breathe it in the air. Drug traffickers are now lacing fentanyl not just with heroin, but with cocaine as well. As well as in pain pills, counterfeit pain pills made to look like Percocet.”

    The 33 pounds of fentanyl seized is enough to kill more than 7 million people in its raw form, a law enforcement source told the Herald. The Bay State’s population is 6.8 million, census figures show.

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    LeChef for Borderland Beat from El Pais  written by Zorayda Gallegos 

    With officers gunned down, abducted or run out of town, Chihuahua precincts are close to defeat

    Patrolling the streets of Práxedis, in el Valle de Juárez.

    Jorge lives in an improvised campsite in Práxedis, a silent town in the north of Mexico where few cars or people venture out on the streets. He is a member of the state police force, sent in by the Chihuahua state governor to combat the terrifying rate of violent crime. It is the state police that now handle a substantial portion of law enforcement in the area.

    The Valley of Juárez, a region of Chihuahua bordering the US, has been a war zone riddled with organized crime for the past 10 years, due to its location at the crossroads of the routes used by drug traffickers and people smugglers. “We’ve been here since 2015 – there were no local police left because they had either been killed or abducted,” says Jorge at the precinct. When he first arrived here, he felt as though he were driving through a ghost town. “People didn’t come out on the streets, but bit by bit things have gone back to normal,” he says.

    Práxedis and Guadalupe belong to the Valley of Juárez, a region surrounded by desert that was previously a prosperous cotton-growing area. But since the drug traffickers moved in more than 10 years ago, the territory has been a battleground for the Sinaloa and La Línea cartels smuggling drugs and people across the inhospitable gulf dividing this part of Mexico from the US.

    Panoramic view of  Ciudad Juárez,  Chihuahua.

    The violence was largely responsible for the high number of murders in the state of Chihuahua in 2010, when it racked up a historic 3,903. The murder rate dropped dramatically in 2013, and though it began to climb again after 2016, the death toll in 2017 was still less that half of that at 1,566. In the volatile years between 2007 and 2015, any local police officer who had escaped death or abduction simply fled.

    Lourdes López explains how her son was “carried off” along with four other policemen in Práxedis in 2009. “That was nine years ago and there’s been no justice,” she says. Her son had never used a gun and was never trained to do so. “He wanted to be a policeman ever since he was a boy and he was a good person who didn’t deserve what he got,” says the 62-year- old mother, who left town several days after her son was seized.

    Martín Hueramo, a former mayor of Guadalupe, says that the municipal police were not prepared for the situation they found themselves in. “Towns had to confront organized crime with unarmed police officers whose only experience was with minor offenses. Nine policemen were killed in Guadalupe in various shoot-outs, and three human heads were left in an icebox. It was a terrifying era,” says Hueramo, who was granted political asylum in Texas. In that period, the population of Guadalupe fell from 13,000 to 2,000, he adds, although it has since bounced back to 5,000.

    The last municipal policeman to work in Guadalupe, Joaquín Hernández, was killed in July 2015 after being lured to a phony crime scene. The municipal police department there was among the most frequently attacked. Between 2007 and 2010, it often closed down completely. In December 2010, it was shut down definitively when its head, Erika Gándara was “carried off” by a criminal group who sought her out in her own home. She was the last police officer left in the precinct following the death, disappearance or resignation of her colleagues. In 2014, the police station reopened with Máximo Carrillo at the helm, but he was killed in June 2015. He was then replaced by Joaquín Hernández, who was killed only three weeks later.

    A policeman walks in the barracks  in the locality of Práxedis, in Chihuahua.
    The situation wasn’t much different in Práxedis. The last police officer in town was Marisol, a young 20-year-old criminology student who made international headlines as “The Bravest Woman in Mexico.” She lasted less than four months before death threats forced her to flee across the border into the US. After she’d gone, no one else offered to step up to the plate and the state police moved in on surveillance shifts.

    To date, Guadalupe’s police precinct has no plans to reopen, according to the town council secretary, Fausto González Pérez. “It exposes people to danger,” he says. “If we issue a job notice, some courageous soul might come forward, but it’s a delicate matter.” The prison cells of the precinct are currently being used to store wine, and the money that once went towards the town’s security has been otherwise spent on sport and cultural activities. “These are difficult times,” says González Pérez. “Right now we are in a wilderness, but we are rebuilding the town.”

    Beleaguered by crime

    Chihuahua’s municipal police force is not equipped to deal with serious crime. A recent report in a Juárez newspaper reveals that there are towns such as Guachochi with 53 police officers but only 15 bulletproof vests. Meanwhile, in Rosales, there are 42 police officers without vests working on an average salary of $200 a month. The state government has had to intervene in as many as nine towns, either because the police are ill equipped or because the police department has become corrupt. Last year, in Ahumada, the director of Public Security, Carlos Alberto Duarte, and six of his men were arrested on criminal charges. Several months later, however, Duarte was back in his job.

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    JD for Borderland Beat from youtube Animal Politico and Reforma

    The two agents of the SEIDO who disappeared on February 5, were abducted the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación.  

    They were forced to participate in a video.

    In the video you can see the two men wearing a white shirt that reads "SEIDO" in black letters. Both are surrounded by armed and hooded men.

    In the recording, the agents denounce  "abuses" in the anti-drug operations  the federal government and the pair read a message against the secretaries of the Interior, Alfonso Navarrete, of the Defense, Salvador Cienfuegos and of the Navy, Vidal Francisco Soberón Saenz.

    It is to undermine the State and humiliate the institutions, said the activist Isabel Miranda de Wallace.

    “I hope that there is no fool who believes everything the agents  were told to say." she said. "Because it's obvious that if they put a gun on you, you're going to say you raped your grandmother, why? Because you're threatened, it's undoubtedly organized crime exerting  great power."

    Alfonso Hernández Villavicencio, 28, and Octavio Martínez Quiroz, 26, were CJNG  in the limits of Nayarit and Jalisco. They worked in the kidnapping division of SEIDO a part of the attorney general’s PGR agency, the top investigative agency in Mexico.

    During the weekend, a video on social networks was broadcast in which the investigative agents, launched the accusations  and criticisms.

    The agent is reading the script; he speaks of "agents who torture, rob, kidnap without respect towards women, children and the elderly, who are the principal victims”

    And a warning; “This will happen to our associates from other agencies who commit these acts while hiding behind a badge.”

    "This case personally touches me a lot and alarms me, firstly because the agents are people investigating kidnappings, they went to a baptism of a relative and obviously  someone detected that they were police," Wallace said.

    "I understand, that they were wearing a cap that brought the code of SEIDO  and this is like telling the criminals 'look here I am.'

    I urge the public not to believe in those videos."

    About the agents

    The attorney General's Office (PGR) reported that the young have barely a year working at SEIDO.  According to records of the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) they began on January 16, 2017.

    There are no public records that public servants had worked before in that or another federal agency.

    Both entered the PGR with the position of non-commissioned officer and were assigned to the "investigation of crimes" in the anti-kidnapping area of ​​the AIC.

    Hernandez Villavicencio, 28 years old, studied criminology at the University of Ixtlahuaca CUI, in the State of Mexico.

    Before entering the PGR, the agent worked as an escort in the Auxiliary Security Corps of the State of Mexico (CUSAEM) between February 2014 and June 2016.

    In said corporation, Hernández Villavicencio was assigned to Region XXXI and held the position of "Officer A".

    Martínez Quiroz, 26 years old, obtained his degree in Law from the Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala.

    The only previous professional experience that the young man reported when entering the PGR was as "auxiliary" in a legal office between January 2011 and December 2013.

    PGR did not give any personal information of the two men.  In the video, Hernández did send a greeting to “all of his family” and a separate greeting to his children.

    The video did not reveal any noticeable signs of torture.

    A baptism brought the agents to Nayarit

    According to the investigations, the agents went to a personal commitment in Nayarit, apparently a christening.

    However, before returning to Mexico City, they were picked up by members of the CJNG, the criminal organization that maintains control in that area.

    The PGR informed on Sunday that the AIC has already initiated the necessary investigations and that it will not spare efforts or resources for the search and location of the agents.

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    LeChef for Borderland Beat republished from AZ Central By Dennis Wagner

     An ex-cop in Prescott digs into the corrupt life of "el negro" with FBI records and uncovers a secret plot to kill Mexico’s president.

    Mexico City’s police chief was not an imposing man: short and pudgy, with thick jowls.

    But as Mike Rothmiller sat across from Arturo Durazo Moreno 35 years ago, the air of authority was unmistakable.

    Durazo, known as “El Negro,” was a lifelong friend to President Jose Ernesto López Portillo, and one of the most powerful men in Mexico.

    Rothmiller was a lowly Los Angeles police detective who had traveled south with his partner Kenny Hamilton to work out an intelligence-sharing deal in preparation for the upcoming Los Angeles Olympics.


    An LAPD informer close to Durazo — a former Colombian police officer who immigrated to the United States — had set up the entente. And a police cavalcade had brought the detectives totheir meeting with the chief.

    Then, immediately after the introductions, Durazo leveled an accusation: The American guests were CIA agents posing as cops. Through a translator, Durazo brushed off their denials and began talking about arms shipments and drug smuggling.

    “You know what I do for the CIA and the Contras?” he asked.
    That comment, which made no sense at the time, echoes in Rothmiller’s memory. Only years later, would Americans learn about a secret U.S. campaign, then underway, to arm insurgents fighting Nicaragua’s leftist government.

    In that moment, however, it seemed that Mexico’s top cop was trying to sidetrack their negotiations.

    Rothmiller and Hamilton tried to steer the conversation to counter-terrorism. There were reports that a Colombian organization known as the 19th of April Movement might be plottingan attack on the Olympic games. The detectives wanted help from Mexico to prevent an attack.

    Again, El Negro played tough. He said he might be willing to share information — but only if the detectives would get him access to a U.S. database of stolen vehicles.


    Rothmiller balked. Before heading south, he’d run a background check and learned that Mexico City’s police chief was dirty. Durazo had been indicted by a Florida grand jury seven years earlier for cocaine trafficking. And, to Rothmiller’s bewilderment, those charges were somehow erased from the U.S. justice system.

    Knowing the value of stolen-vehicle data to Mexican crime syndicates, Rothmiller told El Negro that a detective could never make such a deal — then held his breath.

    Durazo eventually abandoned his demand. He agreed to share information on terrorist groups. And he gave the two LA cops badges with credentials identifying them as majors on the Mexico City police force.

    On the flight back to LA, Rothmiller's head swirled with questions: What was all the CIA talk? How did someone make a federal drug indictment disappear? And who was this guy?

    Now a silver-haired author living in Prescott, Rothmiller never saw Durazo again.

    But he kept watching, and kept wondering.

    El Negro would become the most notorious lawman in Mexican history, a fugitive from his own government. And the target of a frantic, worldwide manhunt by the FBI, trying to stop a presidential assassination.

    That drama, previously hidden in classified U.S. government files, is partially revealed in Rothmiller's recently published book, "Secrets, Lies and Deception."

    But here is the full story, never told before.

    While each detail of Rothmiller's account could not be independently verified, all key facts were corroborated by FBI reports, news archives, books, interviews and other records. Some FBI documents cited in this story were obtained independently by Virginia Colwell, an architectural historian in Mexico City whose father, Jack Colwell, was among the FBI agents who captured Durazo.


    Rothmiller worked in LAPD's Organized Crime Intelligence Division.

    After the Mexico trip, he continued planning Olympic security, aided by a pair of Durazo's police colonels, plus the Colombian snitch.

    Over time, Rothmiller says, those sources assured him Durazo was, in fact, tied to the CIA, and they alluded to U.S. government involvement not just with Nicaraguan rebels, but with drug smugglers.

    Although skeptical, Rothmiller developed an appreciation for his informer's savvy and his connections.

    The informer had once served as a police officer in Bogota, and seemed to have tentacles everywhere. But he would only learn years later, while reading FBI files on El Negro, just how far they reached.

    Those documents contain dozens of references to an informer known as "Source Two." The person's name is blacked out, but the identity unmistakable: the Colombian.


    FBI reports say Source Two was so close to Durazo that he served as a personal aide when El Negro moved to Los Angeles, even registering the former chief's vehicles to his home address in Southern California.

    The FBI records mention that Source Two, as a Bogota police officer, became a confidante to Colombia's most powerful politicians in the late 1960s. After the adult son of a politician was involved in a fatal shooting, FBI records say, Source Two agreed to take the blame. In return, the Colombian government helped him flee to the United States to avoid arrest.

    The Arizona Republic recently tracked down Source Two at his modest California home. Clear-eyed, feisty and articulate, the balding 82-year-old sipped coffee at a kitchen table, confirming the FBI reports and asking not to be identified for security reasons.

    He said he began working for Colombia's secret police as a teenager and advanced in rank, becoming close with President Guillermo Valencia Muñoz.

    Source Two said he and the son of an important political figure went out with two women one evening. He fell asleep in the car, and was awakened by gunfire: For reasons that are unclear, his friend had shot one of the women.

    To avert a national scandal, Source Two said, he agreed to become a scapegoat. "I was so stupid. Unfortunately, I'm a very loyal person," he explained. "I say, 'Well, I was drunk. I did it.'"

    Source Two vanished to Miami, then New York, where he got a job at a customs house. During the early 1970s, he was approached there by a Colombian government official offering $250,000 for help with a cocaine-smuggling operation.

    Source Two said he has always hated drugs and terrorists, so he went to federal prosecutors and agreed to be the front man for an undercover sting. When the case broke, he said, Colombian cartels posted the $250,000 bribery sum as a bounty on his head. The Justice Department gave Source Two U.S.citizenship and a new identity, placing his family under witness protection with names they still use today. The government also helped launch his new career as informer.

    "I never worked for the money," Source Two said. "I am a professional law enforcement officer, and I'm doing nothing for money."

    He worked primarily on salary as a contract operative for the FBI, with additional jobs for the Customs Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS, U.S. Marshals Service and local law enforcement. His civilian job, distributor for a body-armor company, served as cover while he traveled the world gathering intelligence and setting up criminals.

    As suggested in FBI files, Source Two was mostly a shadow — running stings without being publicly exposed.

    There were exceptions, however: Court records show he led a 1,500-pound cocaine seizure by the Mohave County Sheriff's Office in Arizona. And he put a major narcotics trafficker behind bars in Texas.

    Source Two said he has never counted up the investigations or criminal convictions, but there were many brushes with death. "I've been in the middle of very, very, very bad people. Many times I got set up and everything," he said, pointing skyward. "And I got protection from the Lord."


    In the late 1970s, Source Two said, FBI handlers asked him to target Durazo.

    At the time, El Negro had not yet been convicted of orchestrating cocaine shipments from Colombia through Mexico to Miami, but was suspected. Source Two said he came up with a ruse, persuading an international police association to give El Negro an award for law enforcement in Washington, D.C. Source Two arranged to be Durazo's guide on tours of the FBI academy and U.S. Supreme Court.

    "My expertise was infiltration," he explained. "I was assigned to infiltrate him. So I did … He once lit a cigarette with a $100 bill right in front of me."

    Soon, Source Two was making trips to Mexico City, visiting his new friend, who not only gave him a badge as police major, but made him a general in Mexico's military — a title he flaunted during sting operations.

    Source Two said he had no part in Durazo's Miami indictment, but isn't surprised the criminal charges simply vanished: "Like Noriega in Panama, he dealt with all the (U.S.) agencies because they needed his cooperation in Mexico."

    Portions of Source Two's account are substantiated not just by FBI records, but by Albert Zapanta, now president and CEO of the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce. Zapanta, who has held numerous U.S. government positions, became acquainted with Source Two and Durazo during the 1970s in Mexico City, where the chief gave him credentials as a police major. (He also was offered, but refused, a gold- and silver-plated .45 automatic.)

    Zapanta says he suspected Durazo was a CIA asset, adding, "I had to believe it had to do with arms and drugs."

    He also wondered about Source Two, a "promoter of relationships" who seemed to work for U.S. intelligence. "He was a likable guy," Zapanta adds, "but would I trust him? No."

    Rothmiller's impression of Source Two at the time: "U.S. agents, spies and cops buzzed around him like gringo bees. And there was no doubt he had access to the deepest secrets within the Mexican intelligence community."

    In fact, Source Two became one of Rothmiller's most valuable assets, putting him onto major cases that involved cocaine shipments into California and weapons trafficking out of the country. Those investigations were underway on Aug. 10, 1982, when Rothmiller — driving near his home — was ambushed by a gunman on a motorcycle. Six shots from a machine pistol peppered hisunmarked police car. Rothmiller was not hit. But he crashed, injuring his back, and the gunman escaped.

    Forced to take medical leave, Rothmiller applied for worker's compensation benefits. LAPD administrators denied them, alleging he had fabricated the shooting and injury. Misconduct charges were filed. After hearing evidence, a judge not only ruled in favor of Rothmiller, but ripped the police department, which was headed at the time by Chief Daryl Gates. Rothmiller received compensation for the injury and stress caused by an LAPD campaign of harassment and false charges.

    Despite the outcome, Rothmiller's law enforcement future was over, and he resigned from the police department.

    But there would be another chapter in his personal conflict with Chief Gates. And the strange story of El Negro would get more tangled.


    Mexico elected a new president in 1982, Miguel De La Madrid Hurtado, who vowed to root out corruption.

    Durazo lost his job.

    Within months, one of his top aides published a bestselling book, "Lo Negro del Negro Durazo" (The Dark Side of Blacky Durazo), which in chilling detail revealed the former chief's role in murders, bribery, drug dealing and other crimes.

    By early 1983, with rumors spreading through Mexican media that Durazo would face criminal charges, he went underground. He began jetting around the world, with a home base in California.

    Rothmiller knew El Negro had a condo in Marina Del Rey's oceanfront towers, frequented a plush L.A. restaurant, and hung out with American judges and law officers.

    Once again, the reality made no sense. "Durazo was the El Chapo of his time," Rothmiller recalls. "We knew he was under indictment. Why is he not getting arrested when he comes here?"

    The questions remained unanswered for years, overshadowed for Rothmiller by career developments. After leaving the police force, he worked in television, eventually hosting a show on ESPN called "The Gamesman" where he wrestled alligators, soared with the Blue Angels and took on other challenges.


    He also began writing books.

    The first, "LA's Secret Police," was published amid a furor over the 1992 Los Angeles riots spawned by the beating of motorist Rodney King. Rothmiller described the attempt on his life, suggesting a link with his investigation of drug cartels and arms shipments. He also mentioned his Colombian snitch. But the volume focused on a police spy campaign waged by Chief Gates against California political figures and Hollywood celebrities. Rothmiller's revelations helped force the closure of LAPD's Organized Crime Intelligence Division and, along with the riots, contributed to Gates' departure as chief.

    Rothmiller wrote more than a dozen books — from a psychological portrait of Hitler to a historical analysis of Roman law to a humor tome about dogs.

    He began paying attention to the Iran-Contra scandal, which included allegations that Reagan administration operatives coordinated with cocaine traffickers to finance military shipments to Nicaraguan insurgents. The Kerry Report of 1988, a U.S. Senate investigation, spelled out the Contra collaborations.

    Rothmiller also followed investigations into the Mexico City torture and assassination of DEA Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena. Although the 1985 slaying initially was blamed on cartel leaders and corrupt Mexican officials, two former DEA officials in 2013 went public with claims that the CIA played a role.

    Phil Jordan of Scottsdale, former head of the DEA's El Paso Intelligence Center, and Hector Berrellez, a retired agent who oversaw the investigation into Camarena's death, contend a CIA operative named Felix Rodriguez was present during Camarena's torture, and the murder was carried out in part because the DEA agent had uncovered connections between cartels and Mexican airstrips used to ferry drugs and weapons for the Contra operation.

    The CIA has denied involvement in Camarena's death. Via email, an agency spokeswoman declined to provide records or answer questions about figures in this story. However, the spokeswoman confirmed Rodriguez was a CIA operative.

    (In a recent Mexican television news interview, Rodriguez said the assertion that he played a role in Camarena's demise was "the most ridiculous accusation I've heard in my life." He said he was not even in Mexico at the time, and would take a polygraph test to prove it.)

    Against that backdrop, Rothmiller finally acted on his curiosity about El Negro, filing public-records requests with the FBI, State Department and other federal agencies. Inquiries were stonewalled or denied, he says. Then, inexplicably, the FBI mailed him a CD full of classified reports.

    The documents read like a spy novel with a stunning twist. The plot, based in Los Angeles rather than Mexico, placed Mike Rothmiller as a minor character. It also revealed his former partner, Hamilton, in a shocking cameo.


    El Negro's legend began in Cumpas, a Sonoran village about 100 miles south of the Arizona border, where Arturo Durazo Moreno grew up. López Portillo, the future Mexican president, was his neighbor and close friend.

    Both entered government service. El Negro became a member of Mexico's right-wing Guardias Blancas (White Guards), a militia notorious for violently quashing reformists during the 1960s. When López Portillo ran for president in 1976, Durazo became his personal security chief.

    That relationship proved troublesome for American authorities.

    According to records obtained by Rothmiller, just before López Portillo was sworn in, then-U.S. Ambassador Joseph Jova met with the president-elect to warn about Durazo'sFlorida cocaine indictment. Jova told López Portillo that Durazo could face arrest in the U.S., and urged him not to give El Negro a prominent government job. López Portillo ignored that request, creating a potential diplomatic nightmare.

    But, as Rothmiller puts it, something very odd happened: "The U.S. agencies then conspire to remove the warrant from the Look-Out system. They keep the indictment secret and allow this cocaine trafficker to travel freely in and out of the U.S. during the next six years ... He (Durazo) held meetings with senior U.S. officials and, during the term of his appointment, continued his cocaine trafficking, engaged in extortion, kickbacks and murder."

    By all accounts, Durazo used Mexico City's federal police department as a personal crime syndicate.

    His officialsalary was reportedly $1,000 per month, yet he amassed a fortune. There were mansions in Mexico and getaways in the U.S., Canada, Spain and elsewhere. One Mexican compound featured a horse-racing track, a man-made lake, a casino and a discotheque. Another, replicating Greece's Parthenon, is now a popular museum of corruption.

    When López Portillo left office in December 1982, the new president, De La Madrid, fulfilled a reform promise by replacing the capital city's police chief.

    El Negro already was a subject of Mexican movies, books and ballads. Now, a criminal probe was underway. But the target, tipped off by insiders, slipped away — with help from a Colombian pal in Los Angeles.

    Source Two confirms FBI reports that describe how he helped Durazo import vehicles to California, cash checks, seek visas and set up business meetings as an aide and confidante. Source Two said he solidified trust by using his influence to get Durazo's wife, Silvia, through U.S. Customs with gold elephant statues and $300,000 cash.


    By late 1983, Durazo still had not been charged with a crime in Mexico, and there was no official U.S. effort to track him down.

    But early the next year an urgent bulletin was sent from the Los Angeles FBI office to then-bureau Director William Webster:


    According to the FBI, Durazo hoped that by eliminating Mexico’s new leader he could avoid prosecution.

    The alert described how the chief of Mexico's Federal Security Directorate, José Antonio Zorrilla Peréz, had asked U.S. authorities if American agents could secretly capture Durazo in the U.S. — without a warrant or extradition — and haul him back to Mexico as a "forcible escorted deportation."

    Zorrilla, who claimed his government allowed U.S. agents to take similar actions in Mexico, was informed such a plan would be kidnapping — unacceptable and illegal.

    The Mexican official tried another tack, asking "WHAT WOULD BE THE RESULT IF SOMEONE WAS MERELY SENT TO KILL DURAZO?" The American legal attache answered that it would be "intolerable."

    Finally, Zorrilla pointed out that Mexican authorities had previously cooperated with U.S. law enforcement by planting drugs on subjects in Mexico so they could be arrested. He asked if the FBI or Los Angeles police might employ a similar tactic on Durazo.

    The attache once again refused, urging Mexican officials to secure a criminal warrant for Durazo that would meet U.S. legal requirements for extradition.


    The attache then suggested an alternate plan: American agents could launch a sting in hopes of drawing Durazo into a murder plot while inside the U.S. — a violation of the Neutrality Act.

    How would such an operation be carried out?


    According to the FBI memo, Zorrilla became so excited at this proposal he volunteered to fly the U.S. attache on his private Lear jet, 'El Tigre,' to Washington, D.C., for approvals.

    That same day, the FBI communique says, Mexico's deputy attorney general conferred with U.S. Ambassador John Gavin and asked for a meeting with U.S. Attorney General William French Smith to request an "urgent, direct investigation by the FBI to resolve this threat."


    Federal agents learned of the Mexican assassination plot from informers in California.

    The first, identified in records only as “Source One,” was interviewed by FBI agents on Dec. 14, 1983. He claimed to be a close friend of the Durazo family and reported that a relative of El Negro told him, "They are going to kill the president" of Mexico.

    Then came the February 1984 interview with Source Two, who told U.S. agents he'd known El Negro for years and helped him relocate to Los Angeles. According to Source Two, another of Durazo's relatives was soliciting assistance for a presidential murder.


    A week later, Source Two had a follow-up conversation with the Durazo relative about who might finance the assassination, the FBI report says. Source Two said he was told El Negro would pay.

    In official reports, some FBI agents questioned Source Two's trustworthiness. They wrote that, several years earlier, he failed a polygraph test and was "discontinued with prejudice" as an operative. They said he was suspected of posing as a federal officer and possessing stolen property, though U.S. prosecutors declined to file charges. They described him as a "wheeler and dealer" who consorted with "organized crime figures, thieves, con artists and present and past law enforcement officials of questionable integrity ... (He) will work for both sides as long as he gets what he wants ..."

    Another FBI report suggested that Source Two was a mole — manipulating agents while gathering information to protect El Negro: "(Source Two) is known to have numerous contacts within LAPD," the memo added, "and he may use them to help Durazo."

    Nevertheless, a key FBI memo concluded Source Two was "very reliable," and he might be the crucial go-between in an undercover operation.

    During interviews with The Republic, Source Twodenied failing any polygraph test or possessing stolen property. He said he earned a reputation for integrity, but jealous agents concocted allegations because they resented his ability to go over their heads to top FBI administrators.


    According to FBI records, Durazo lived a "playboy lifestyle," theoretically making him easy to locate.

    He frequented the ritzy Westwood Marquis Hotel in Los Angeles. He bought a condo in nearby tower where the top floor cost $11 million, including helipad. His vehicles included a Rolls Royce, a Ferrari and a Mercedes Benz.

    Although Durazo wasn't threatening in stature, looks can be deceiving. Most FBI teletypes ended with a warning: "SUBJECT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS. ... DURAZO'S BODYGUARDS ALLEGEDLY CARRY UZZI (sic) SUBMACHINE GUNS AND DURAZO HIMSELF CARRIES A .45 CALIBER AUTOMATIC."

    Perhaps more importantly, as a former police chief El Negro had vast resources. Agents believed he was getting intelligence from law enforcement figures in the U.S. and Mexico. Because of that, FBI bulletins were top secret — not even entered into a national crime computer.


    Durazo's crony network included prominent American politicians, judges, police chiefs and federal agents, as well as officials overseas.

    Even amid the secrecy, federal communiques about El Negro zipped across the nation and around the world. Durazo was said to be in Spain, Cuba, Brazil, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Tahiti, France, Canada and Los Angeles. Dozens of FBI offices were investigating. Information was shared with the CIA, State Department and Secret Service.

    In March 1984, assassination fears peaked as President De La Madrid scheduled a spring visit to Washington, D.C. The U.S. Secret Service was warned with a teletype that stressed, "THIS MATTER IS BEING GIVEN THE HIGHEST PRIORITY.


    On March 6 of that year, the FBI Terrorism Section in Los Angeles asked bureau headquarters for permission to launch a sting.

    The application said an undercover agent would be introduced to a Durazo relative in Canada to "discuss and plan recruitment of mercenaries" to carry out the assassination. "MAIN OBJECTIVE WILL BE TO MEET WITH THE PRINCIPLE SUBJECT, ARTURO DURAZO MORENO, AND OBTAIN DETAILS OF THE ASSASSINATION PLAN... ULTIMATE PLAN WILL BE TO IDENTIFY ALL INDIVIDUALS IN THE CONSPIRACY AND NEUTRALIZE THE PLAN."

    The application included projected expenses for costly undercover clothing and meals at the "most exclusive restaurants and/or nightclubs." It also listed airfares to Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico City and Tahiti.



    In early April 1984, U.S. officials became concerned with yet another threat — a stealth mission against Durazo by Mexican authorities. According to FBI records, the bureau discovered high-level federales were in California using intimidation tactics to locate and possibly kidnap or kill El Negro.

    Among those suspected: federal security chief Zorrilla and Miguel Aldana Ibarra, then director of INTERPOL in Mexico. The U.S. legal attache in Mexico City confronted Zorrilla, warning that foreign agents would be arrested if they tried to take out Durazo on U.S. soil. Zorrilla denied running a covert operation and suggested that El Negro had concocted such a rumor so he could challenge extradition if arrested.


    By June 1984, the threat of a De la Madrid assassination was prompting executive-level communications. A teletype to FBI headquarters noted: "The President of Mexico, MIGUEL DE LA MADRID, has personally conveyed this sense of urgency to the President of the United States, RONALD REAGAN, Attorney General WILLIAM FRENCH SMITH, and FBI Director WILLIAM WEBSTER."

    That month, Mexican courts finally charged Durazo with extortion, illegal arms possession and tax violations.

    The search continued for weeks with dead-end leads. Then, in late June 1984, FBI agents got a tip: Durazo would be arriving by plane at the airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to meet family members.

    A federal greeting party was dispatched. Shortly after the flight landed, news shot across the FBI teletype: "SAN JUAN DIVISION ARRESTED CAPTIONED SUBJECT, ARTURO DURAZO, ON 6-29-84 WITHOUT INCIDENT ... SUICIDAL TENDENCIES.”


    The arrest was a media event. But Rothmiller saysinitial accounts left out a key detail: When Durazo's family flew to Puerto Rico to meet him, they were accompanied by Los Angeles police detective Kenny Hamilton, Rothmiller's ex-partner.

    Hamilton, who eventually was disciplined and dismissed by LAPD for consorting with El Negro, declined to comment for this story. At the time, however, he told the Los Angeles Times: "Durazo's just a nice, very warm guy ... When I went to Puerto Rico, it was as a friend, not as a police officer."

    FBI records don't explain how Durazo got set up. But Source Two offered this back story: After being assigned to lure Durazo into U.S. territory, Source Two learned that Silvia Durazo was planning a trip to meet her husband. Source Two says he joined Silvia — and Hamilton — on the flight from Los Angeles to Puerto Rico.


    Stakes were high, Source Two recalls: The FBI operation was being monitored by the White House.

    Durazo was not in San Juan. Source Two said he was given money to hire a private plane to retrieve El Negro, but not told the destination. Instead, FBI handlers provided a bureau aircraft, unmarked, with an agent as pilot. As the flight began, Silvia announced they were going to Curacao, an island off the coast of Venezuela.

    After landing, Source Two says, he and Silvia met Durazo at a hotel and urged him to return with them to Puerto Rico, then fly to Los Angeles and seek asylum. El Negro resisted, fearful of arrest, but finally relented.

    When the plane came to a stop in San Juan, Durazo stepped onto the tarmac, oblivious to what awaited. An FBI agent stepped forward, shook the fugitive's hand and applied handcuffs, saying, "General Durazo, welcome to Puerto Rico."


    El Negro was flown to Los Angeles.

    In court, a defense attorney told the judge Durazo would not survive extradition because he held too many secrets about powerful people. "You can't return this man to Mexico," the lawyer said. "He'll be executed somewhere along the line."

    The prediction proved wrong. Durazo was convicted in Mexico and sentenced to 25 years. He was paroled after serving just seven, and died of natural causes in 2000.

    But for Rothmiller, a riddle continued to nag — not just about El Negro or the CIA, but about why someone had tried to gun him down more than three decades ago.

    It was not until 2013, when former DEA agents Berrellez and Jordan went public with allegations about a CIA role in Camarena's death, that Rothmiller filed a swarm of records requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

    Sorting through the files, the former detective no longer wonders how Durazo's cocaine indictment vanished, or who protected him: "I'm convinced it was the CIA because of the Contra thing," he says. "The weapons running."

    In his book Rothmiller contends El Negro was "an integral player in this top-secret operation."

    "How many Americans died from a drug overdose or the related violence from Durazo's trafficking?" he asks. "How many lives could have been saved if the U.S. government elected to do their job and arrest Durazo while visiting the United States?"

    Rothmiller admits there's no smoking-gun proof. But, at least for an ex-cop who worked intelligence, circumstantial evidence fits like pieces cut with a jig saw.

    "If you had a puzzle of Abe Lincoln, and you had everything but his eyes, you'd say, 'Oh, that's Lincoln,'" he says. "It kind of completes the circle."

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    Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat from The Cipher Brief

    Note:  I agree that President Trump’s advisers have led him down the path of great hype with respect to all things MS-13.  Who will challenge the administration?  Fooling Trump about gangs is easily accomplished when 99.9% of the American public is ignorant about cartels and gangs.  Interests about Narcos, Cartels and U.S. gangs have not been cultivated in the U.S. press and Americans follow the headline and do little outside research.  In the case of MS-13, the gang has greatly diminished, but is fast growing according to some accounts.  The U.S. Government data of 2017 has a figure of 8k.  This article says 10k.  One must wonder if the administration's MS-13 publicity is inadvertently attracting some to the gang that would not have joined otherwise.  

    The article addresses the announcement that the U.S. will terminate the provisional residency permits of about 200,000 Salvadorans who have lived in the country since at least 2001, leaving them to face deportation.    The government is giving until September of 2019,  for refugees who have not already done so, to apply for green card status.
    Once the process begins they must stay in the U.S. until completed.  Since the refugees have been in the U.S. on or before 2001, one would think law abiding refugees would have applied and received status by now.  especially since refugees are required to apply for a status change within the first year.  The filing costs are waived for refugees. 

    My note does not diminish the opinions of Vigil. He is the renowned expert and his opinion of what would transpire if the Salvadoran refugees were deported I won’t/can’t argue with.   I am just  presenting another school of thought,  that questions if there are that many refugees that have been productive members of U.S. society, why haven’t they  applied for green card status during the last 20 years?.. …CM

    Analysis: Trump’s Deport Push Boosts MS-13
    by Mike Vigil
    President Donald Trump invoked the deadly deeds of the violent street gang MS-13 in his State of the Union address, and again this week when addressing law enforcement officials at the White House. He spoke of closing loopholes to keep members of the Salvadoran gang out, and he has also announced plans to terminate the protected status for more than 200,000 Salvadorian immigrants in less than two years.
    That plan could make the problem much worse.

    The effect of forcing that many people to return to El Salvador, a country with a population of only 6.34 million, is likely to only reinforce a gang that currently pales in comparison to others. The result may create a greater danger by far to both the U.S. and El Salvador.

    The decision, announced Jan. 8, to end protected status for Salvadorans after Sept. 9, 2019, means those immigrants currently in the U.S. will have to return to El Salvador or be subject to deportation. In trying to strengthen the argument for the decision, Trump drew attention to MS-13, which now numbers about 10,000 in the U.S. and 20,000 in Latin America.

    Yet other criminal gangs such as the Latin Kings, the Bloods and the Aryan Brotherhood are much more violent. Some are even larger than MS-13, and they have tentacles throughout the U.S.

    It’s true that a large percentage of MS-13 members in the U.S. are immigrants, and some are undocumented. But the history behind that has as much to do with past U.S. policy and practices as with conditions in El Salvador.

    In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Salvadorans began to flee their homeland to escape the civil war that brutalized their country for 12 years, finally ending in 1992.  The U.S. had supported the Salvadoran government against left-wing rebel groups. Thousands of Salvadorans began the long trek to the U.S., seeing it as the most desirable destination, with much better economic opportunities.  They were used to working hard and just wanted to carve out a piece of the American dream.

    Many of the immigrants went to Los Angeles, simply because it had a large Hispanic population and work was available there.  Almost immediately, they fell prey to established Hispanic and African American gangs that robbed and extorted them.

    ‘Mafia’ in the Name

    In response, the Salvadorans quickly formed their own gang, calling it MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha.  According to gang members, Mara means gang, Salva is short for Salvador and trucha refers to street smarts.  The 13 stands for M, the 13th letter in the alphabet and referring to the word “mafia.”

    The gang’s estimated revenue of $30 million a year is derived from a diverse criminal portfolio that includes prostitution, murder, extortion and human trafficking.

    In the late 1980’s, the U.S. government began to detain substantial numbers of MS-13 members and initiated a large-scale deportation program. Most of them were sent to what is known as the Northern Triangle in Central America —  Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

    The U.S. strategy was severely flawed from the onset. It didn’t anticipate that gang members would begin a prolific recruitment program in and out of the existing prison systems in these countries.  This swelled the ranks of MS-13, making it even more formidable by transforming it into a transnational criminal organization.

    A violent and bloody conflict quickly broke out in these countries between the MS-13 and their bitter rivals, the Barrio 18 gang.  The Barrio 18, which also had its roots in Los Angeles, is larger than the MS-13, counting more than 50,000 members.  The widespread gang violence over control of territory and criminal activities caused thousands of innocent people to flee northward to the U.S.

    El Salvador has a murder rate that makes it the second-deadliest country in the world. In 2015, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime counted 109 intentional homicides committed for every 100,000 people.  This is more than 20 times the U.S. rate of fewer than 5 per 100,000 inhabitants.

    El Salvador’s resource-starved domestic security services are unable to cope with the high crime rates.  The country’s anti-gang strategy is one of zero tolerance, but the mass incarceration of gang members has only created intolerable prison crowding. The Salvadoran government had pleaded with the Trump administration not to revoke the temporary protective status, saying the country is in no position to successfully absorb that many returnees.

    A Boost to MS-13

    So Trump’s policy and planned deportation will only benefit MS-13, giving it a massive influx of people unaccustomed to life in El Salvador and perceived to have large amounts of money who will be ready prey.  It also will bring a new population of potential young recruits.

    Either way, MS-13 will become more powerful and empowered. The violence undoubtedly will increase, causing a still-larger wave of migration to the U.S. rather than preventing it. Many making the trek through Mexico will be exposed to the sophisticated Mexican drug cartels that now engage in kidnapping and human trafficking.

    The violence and displacement of El Salvador’s citizens costs that country an estimated $4 billion a year, according to its Central Reserve Bank.  The lack of infrastructure in El Salvador and an increase in crime and violence will only serve to further destabilize the country.

    The U.S. policy also will destabilize other Central American nations.  And the U.S. economy will feel a pinch, since the vast majority of Salvadorans are hardworking individuals who make significant contributions to American workplaces, business and culture.

    The crafting of policy requires careful thought, with well-defined objectives and strong efforts to mitigate risks. A failure to take more well-considered steps could spiral into catastrophic consequences not only for El Salvador, but also for the U.S.
    Mike Vigil is the former Chief of International Operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration. He is one of the most highly decorated agents within the agency and was responsible for numerous multi-national operations, the largest involved 36 countries. He was also responsible for developing global intelligence sharing platforms. He is the author of DEAL and Metal Coffins: The Blood Alliance Cartel.

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    Translated by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: El Mañana 

                                   Tomas Yarrington Revulcaba, Ex PRI Governor of Tamaulipas
    Feb 13, 2018
    Extra material from: El Universal

    Hooded individuals arrived in two vans and opened fire on the facilities of 150 hectarea horse ranch  "La Providencia" , located at Kilometer 87 of the Zaragoza-Monterrey highway; in Ejido San Cayetano in the Municipality of Guemez, Tamaulipas, according to witness statements at 8:40 am.

    The armed comando aboard two SUVs attacked the ranch registered in the name of Eduardo Rodríguez Berlanga, "La Conga", presumed associate of former PRI Tamaulipas Governor Tomás Yarrington Ruvalcaba, where they riddled a worker and at least 17 horses quarter horses with AK 47's. 

    The Ranch property is estimated to be worth $300,000 and in reality the property of the Former Governor of Tamaulipas. Tomas Yarrington who is being held in an Italian jail accused of  money laundering and organized crime charges.

    WARNING : EXTREMELY GRAPHIC PHOTOS on the following page

    Upon arrival, authorities found the body of a tied man riddled with bullets who presumedly was the caretaker of the ranch, although he carried no identification or belongings. Sedena confirmed that shell casings were found at various locations and no one was detained.

    They also found 17 horses killed by firearm and five more wounded in the stables. Reports are varied about the total number of animals involved. Some sources report 12 dead and 5 wounded for a total of 17.

    Expert services from the Tamaulipas Attorney's Office cordoned off the perimeter of the property to collect evidence and remove the body.

    PGR of Tamaulipas State has opened an investigation.

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    Translated by El Profe for Borderland Beat from La Silla Rota

              Así es como los cárteles mexicanos buscan apropiarse de Nueva York 

    Traffickers use a drug that is 50 times more powerful than heroin 

    They had a couple of weeks in the United States from Mexico. The middle-aged couple had been in New Jersey, had gone shopping at a Walmart, had dinner at an IHop. They returned home only to be arrested.

    US anti-narcotics agents, with a search warrant in hand, entered the apartment located in one of the apartment buildings in Queens.

    Inside one of the many suitcases the couple had arrived in the United States with, the officers found drugs, but not "the usual ones."

    It was not methamphetamine, nor cocaine, much less marijuana, it was pure fentanyl, a synthetic and extremely dangerous opioid, 50 times more powerful than heroin.

    The lethality of this drug is shown with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which indicate that more than 60,000 people died from overdoses in the United States last year. As well as five times more deaths caused by synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

    The couple owned 141 pounds, almost 64 kilos, of that substance. It was the largest fentanyl seizure in the history of the United States.

    According to the Drug Control Administration (DEA), in those 64 kilos there was enough of the drug to kill 32 million people.

    Rogelio Alvarado Robles, 55, and Blanca Flores Solis, 52, were arrested.

    And although they had no criminal record, much less weapons, they were both drug runners to negotiate the sale of tens of millions of dollars in narcotics, as pharmaceutical executives on a "business trip."

    To the DEA, the drug cartels seek to turn New York into their distribution center.

    So far this year [2017] they have seized more than 350 pounds, almost 159 kilos, of pure fentanyl in New York City, 10 times more than in 2016.

    Fentanyl seems better than heroin for trafficking because of its various advantages. First because it is much more profitable.

    In addition, far from growing in the undergrowth of distant mountains, such as poppy, heroin base plant, this, like methamphetamine, can be manufactured in clandestine laboratories using relatively inexpensive chemicals.

    Not to mention that its potency makes it able to be diluted to exponentially increase the doses at street level, either in the form of powder or alternative pills pressed to look like brands such as OxyContin and Percoset.

    For James Hunt, head of the New York Division of the DEA, the way in which this drug is distributed in the city is also different.

    They put aside the violence, the drug traffickers become "evil businessmen", who invest 3 thousand dollars and earn millions of dollars.

    "They are smart," says Jimmy Arroyo, a special agent of the DEA that leads the team that in recent months has made several important arrests related to Mexican traffickers. "They know that if they kill people, they will attract attention."

    The criminal organization responsible for bringing fentanyl to the United States is the Sinaloa Cartel .
    According to the DEA, 80% of the fentanyl seized in the New York area is related to the Sinaloan drug lords.

    And it's no surprise to the US authorities, according to its National Assessment on the Threat of Drugs, the Sinaloa Cartel is the one with the largest presence in the United States.

    This despite the fact that its most recognized leader, Joaquín Guzmán Loera "El Chapo " is incarcerated in a Manhattan prison. So perhaps the defense of the criminal boss can be financed in part with the benefits of sales of fentanyl made only a few meters from his cell.

    The drug traffickers even avoid the precarious areas of New York’s rougher neighborhoods, to avoid being robbed or detected by the DEA. They seek to settle in the places of high prestige.

    The Americans' concern about drugs is such that President Donald Trump declared that opiate addiction was a public health emergency.

    For his part, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has defined fentanyl as "the number one killer drug in the United States [...] and as deadly as it is, you can connect and ask for it by mail."

    With information from The Washington Post

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    Translated by El Profe for Borderland Beat from Zeta


    by Marco A. Flores

    More than 513 kilos of marijuana were seized by elements of the State Preventive Police (PEP) after being located inside a reportedly stolen van abandoned in the Gómez Morín neighborhood of Ensenada.

    At approximately 2:11 p.m. today, agents of the state corporation that patrol Fernando Robles Avenue, of the aforementioned demarcation, observed a 1994 model Nissan Quest truck, apparently abandoned.

    The engine was on and the door was semi-open, which is why the officers approached to verify that everything was in order, but they noticed that inside the car there were several packages.

    More than 120 packages accounted for an approximate weight of 513 kilos, 110 grams of marijuana, which after being confiscated allows to avoid the possible manufacture and distribution of 1 million 26 thousand 220 doses of said intoxicant.

    In addition, after checking in the Control, Command, Communication and Computing Center (C4), the serial number and plates of California 4N2DN11W1RD846295 5VAT052 of the vehicle involved was reported to be connected to a theft report dated February 11, 2018.

    Homicide fugitive caught

    In another action, after being located trying to hide among the cars parked on Nueve Avenue, in the downtown area, Carlos ¨N¨, 20, of Chihuahua, was arrested and found to have an arrest warrant for a homicide charge.

    The drug and the fugitive were at the disposal of the Public Ministry of the Federal Jurisdiction where the pertinent investigations will be carried out in each case

    In the actions undertaken within the framework of the ¨Quest for Security: the task of all¨ headed by the governor of Baja California, Francisco Vega de Lamadrid, there are clear results against crime.

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    by Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat

    Remains found in trunk of car were "butchered"

    Human remains found in Nayarit; PGR investigates if they belong to abducted SEIDO agents.

    The PGR announced the discovery of human remains in the state of Nayarit. They are investigating whether the agents are Octavio Martínez Quiroz and Alfonso Hernández Villavicencio, members of the SEIDO AIC, registered with the  Attorney General for Organized Crime Investigation.

    The Attorney General's Office (PGR) reported that the human remains found inside the trunk of a Kia car in Xalisco, are "possibly belonging" to the two missing agents.

    A first report affirmed that the remains in the car found in Xalisco in the first minutes of this Thursday were of three people, but later, a source from the Nayarit Prosecutor's Office specified that it was two people, as there was confusion because the bodies were dismembered.

    Because the bodies are not in a condition to have a visual identification,  they will  require DNA testing which will take 3 to 5 days.

    The agents, from Mexico City were at the border of Nayarit and Jalisco for a family baptism on February 4th.  They went missing the following day.

    Last week a video began to circulate in which the agents are observed kneeling, while four hooded gunmen had weapons pointed at them, while Hernandez was forced to read a script condemning federal agencies for criminal acts.

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    by Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat

    There is much packed in this letter…Guzmán does not want a deal, just a fair trial. He wants his family to know he wishes is attorneys to be paid.  He requests medication……..

    February 15, 2018

    Text of Joaquín Guzmán Loera’s statement to Judge Cogan (translated from the Spanish original)
    Judge Cogan 
    I, Joaquin Guzman-Loera, want to explain to you the problems that I have regarding my case: 
    Due to the rules that you authorized, I find it impossible to mount my defense in a case that you yourself said is very complex.
    Due to the rules you authorized, I have not had contact with my wife for 13 months, either in person, on the phone or by letter. It has never been explained to me why that contact is not allowed. Six month s ago I wrote her a letter and, as far as I know, she has not received the letter. Because of the impossibility of contact, she has not been able to help me get the funds to pay my lawyers.
    You authorized personal visits with my sister, but after a one-hour visit, which was monitored, the united states government revoked her visa. She can no longer enter this country.
    You authorized phone calls with my sister and mother but they do not have the ability to pay the lawyers. Because the rules forbid me to give them instructions on how to get funds for my lawyers, they can not resolve the problem.
    I have had some visits with my little girls who are 6 years old, but obviously they can not resolve the problems. I cannot even send my family greetings with them. When I told them to say hello to their mother, the agents who monitored the visit stopped it to scold me about passing messages.
    Only my current legal team can visit me, but the rules do not allow them to pass messages to my family with instructions on how to obtain the fees.
    The conditions that you authorized have greatly hurt me because I cannot build my defense with the teams of lawyers that I chose.
    With luck and much effort, my family was able to make the first payment to Attorney Balarezo, but because of the rules I could not get the rest. The people who helped me make that first payment cannot do more.
    At this moment Attorney Balarezo is doing the best he can with what he has. But my agreement with him included more resources to be able to defend myself. Not only his fees, but also for the necessary expenses.
    Because I do not have access to the necessary resources, my case is affected because I do not have the full team of lawyers that I selected. To this day, my defense is not complete due to lack of resources.
    Some articles that were published last week have said that my family does not want to pay the fees in part because they do not know what I want to do. I want to make it clear - I want my family to know that I want to go to trial. I do not have any intention to cooperate or to plead guilty. I also want them to do what they can to pay the attorney fees. The problem is that without instructions from me, they cannot do it.
    Judge Cogan, I ask that you please modify the rules to allow me to speak with my wife faceto-face to resolve this situation. If not, my trial will be a farce.
    I also want to explain to you that the rules you authorized are affecting me physically, mentally, and emotionally.
    I suffer from headaches every day.I vomit almost every day.
    They have not fixed two teeth and they are very painful. 
    I have not seen the sun or breathed fresh air for 13 months in your country. 
    The air I breathe comes through a duct in my cell and it is very dry - my throat and sinuses constantly hurt.
    The light in my cell is on all hours of the day and it is difficult for me to sleep.If it’s not too cold, it’s too hot. 
    I am not even allowed to buy the same things that other prisoners can. 
    Because of the conditions and how they have affected me, I cannot focus to study the evidence in my case. I can not concentrate to help my defense. It is clear that the conditions have hurt me a lot. It is torture 24 hours a day. 
    Judge Cogan, I ask you to please authorize some medication to help me relax and focus so I can help my defense.
    Finally, the decisions you have made about the motions are based on evidence that I do not have the opportunity to refute and that is not fair. I am not going to see important evidence until very close to trial and I will not have the ability to defend myself against it. 
    I thought that the American justice system was at least going to give me the opportunity to defend myself. But now I see that that is not the truth. All I ask for is a fair trial.                                                                                                                                                                                     /s Joaquín Guzmán Loera

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    Translated by El Profe for Borderland Beat from Sin Embargo

    The situation of violence in the state of Guerrero does not seem to end. In the last 24 hours at least 12 people were killed in the entity. 

    Acapulco, one of the state's most popular tourist destinations, daily records deaths, executions, kidnappings and more crimes, a situation that has made it one of the most violent municipalities in the country. 

    Despite the statements of Governor Hector Astudillo that the violence in the entity has been contained, the facts show otherwise. 

    Guerrero / Mexico City February 16 (ElSur / SinEmbargo) - A new violent day yesterday left nine men and three women shot to death in different neighborhoods, in addition to the discovery of a human skull.

    Also, two ‘’Acatianguis’’ [Acapulco outdoor market] stalls and one car were burned.

    Yesterday, up to 9 o'clock at night, there were 49 victims so far this month, and it was the most violent day with 11 murders, according to a count from El Sur.

    Also, a young woman who was with a group of motorcyclists attacked by gunfire last Sunday, near La Quebrada, died on Wednesday afternoon.

    In a first violent incident yesterday, two women and two men were shot dead in the Rufo Figueroa neighborhood, in the vicinity of La Sabana.

    The attack was reported at 4 in the morning, on Ciudad Perdida street and Iturbide, 500 meters from Lázaro Cárdenas Avenue, indicated in the ministerial report.

    Despite the operations implemented by the three levels of government, a wave of violence was recorded in less than 24 hours. Photo: Cuartoscuro
    The police version is that armed men shot at the four victims and then fled the scene. 

    The policemen, through an emergency call, found two women shot and killed and a man in the same state.

    The wounded was transferred to a nearby hospital, but later died from bullet wounds.  Experts from the Acapulco Regional Prosecutor's Office located several scattered shells in the road at the crime scene.

    The women were close to the scene and apparently were sitting there when they were shot, while the men were about five meters away from them because they apparently tried to flee their assailants, the police said.

    In the afternoon, a taxi driver and a woman, apparently his partner, were riddled inside a blue and white public service vehicle in the Mozimba subdivision, located on the west side.

    The double crime occurred at 4 pm on Granjas Avenue, about 150 meters from the Pie de la Cuesta road, indicated in the police report.

    Witnesses told the policemen that armed men in a car chased their victims shooting at them, who were in the taxi, in order to kill them.

    It was detailed that the taxi driver hit the wall of a house. The experts located several scattered shells in the area. The bodies were transferred by strangers to the facilities of Semefo.

    Before, two men were shot to death in an orchard of San Isidro Gallinero, located in the rural area.
    The double finding was reported at 1 o'clock in the afternoon in a produce farm located on the main road that connects to El Salto, indicated in the report of the State Police.

    The agents by means of an emergency call found two men shot and bound by their hands.

    The police version is that armed men took their victims and then moved them to a less crowded place and they were shot in the head.

    The bodies were found about 20 centimeters away and at first sight they had shots in the head, the experts reported.

    The first victim wore only a pair of jeans and the second a gray pair of shorts.

    During the proceedings the ministerial police located two shells fired by a super 38 caliber weapon. The Public Ministry of El Coloso initiated an investigation file for the double crime.

    Minutes later, a man was gunned down inside a taxi site on busy Cuauhtémoc Avenue.
    The crime was reported at 2 in the afternoon, near the Bicentennial Bridge, in the Magallanes subdivision.

    The police version is that armed men broke into the site of the taxis on the Acapulco-Ayutla route, and fired without saying a word against anyone.

    In spite of the violent incidents, the other taxi drivers of the site remained in the area. The violent act caused a strong police deployment of the three orders of government. The victim was sent to Semefo.

    In the morning, a semi-naked man was found shot and killed inside a car in the town of San Isidro Labrador, in the west.

    The finding was reported at 10 in the morning, near the Acapulco-Zihuatanejo highway, ahead of Pie de la Cuesta.

    The agents there found a white Chevy abandoned near the federal highway.

    During review of the scene, experts located the victim in the truck of the car, about 50 years old, shot to death. The relatives went to the scene of the crime.

    And at night, a cargo truck driver was shot to death and another man was injured in the town of Metlapil, in the rural area.

    The violent incident was reported at 8 pm at the gas station located on the Acapulco-Pinotepa Nacional highway, near the Diamante Viaduct, indicated in the police file.

    The police version is that armed men shot at the victim, who was inside the Dina cargo truck, but it is not clear what it was transporting.

    The injured was identified as José Luis, 54, from Uruapan, Michoacán, and was attended to by paramedics from the Red Cross.

    And a young man, presumably the son of a commander of the Ministerial Police, was shot to death in Renaissance City.

    The homicide was reported at 9 o'clock at night in the Villa Sol housing complex, indicating the file of the State Police.

    The officers found a young man in his 20s, apparently the son of a commander of the Ministerial Police, shot dead, without giving further details of the victim.

    The police authorities found several shells struck by a .9 millimeter caliber weapon.

    So far this month there are 50 victims and in the year there are 129 homicides, allegedly related to organized crime, according to a count from El Sur.

    In addition, a human skull was found in a garbage container in the El Coloso housing unit.

    The finding was reported in the first minutes of Thursday on the Cayaco-Puerto Marques highway, near the Technological Institute of Acapulco, indicated in the report of the State Police.

    The agents by means of an emergency call found the human skull inside a garbage container, so it was transferred to the Semefo.

    In another case, two semi-fixed stands were set on fire at the Acatianguis, located next to the Comercial Mexicana de la Zapata store.

    According to the police report, the fire started at 7 in the morning and was intentionally started.

    According to witnesses, unknown people sprayed gasoline at the blacksmith stands and then set them on fire.

    Municipal firefighters controlled the fire that affected tables in both locations.

    Last Wednesday, four semi-fixed stalls were burned in the same area of Acapulco, on Vicente Guerrero boulevard, in Renacimiento City.

    A car was set on fire in the Fovissste housing unit.

    The accident was reported at 5 pm between Del Maestro Avenue and Rinconada Street, firefighters reported.

    Witnesses told the cops that unknown people sprayed gasoline on the blue Tsuru car, which was parked, and then set it on fire.

    The firefighters put out the car's fire, where a narcomanta was placed whose content is unknown.
    The fire and smoke that the car gave off caused astonishment among the neighbors who looked from their apartments.

    And last Wednesday a young woman from the group of motorcyclists shot dead Sunday at La Quebrada, where seven people were injured, died at the hospital.

    The death was reported in the General Hospital of El Quemado, indicated in the ministerial report.
    The victim was named Yukari, 20, who received several bullets in the abdomen, according to the medical report.

    On Monday, two of the injured in that attack were discharged from the hospital and there are only four internees in different hospitals.

    The injured are Eder, 25; Graciela, 20 years old; Kevin, 23 and Anthony, 21.

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    Translated by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: El Siglo de Durango

    Extra Material/ Photos from: ImparcialOaxaca
    By: Floriberto Santos, Feb 16, 2018
    San Juan Lachigalla, Oaxaca

    At least seven people were shot dead in San Juan Lachigalla and a former mayor was killed in Ejutla de Crespo, Thursday morning; the massacre of seven people in the municipality of Lachigalla occurred around 1:30 am , Feb 15, during  a popular Valentine's Day dance celebration. 

    According to witnesses, the Valentine's Dance on Wednesday began with entertainment by the musical group  Los Paniqueados de Oaxaca.

    According to the first police reports, a group of armed men arrived at the municipal esplanade and opened fire on the attendees. The festivities were being held at the large multi purpose room near the town's main Zocolo Plaza in El Centro with many people and families inside and out of the building. 
    Suddenly, at 01:30 hours am, the dance music was interrupted by bursts gunfire and flying shrapnel.

                      Municipal Salon / Multipurpose Event Building, San Juan Lachigalla, Oaxaca

    Outside the room there was an uproar where the President of this municipality, Rafael Melchor Ruiz, and several family members were hanging out together.

    "Everything was fast, several shots were heard, some ran to protect us, after a while we left and it was already a scandal, there were several bodies lying around," said a resident with some distrust.

    The first police reports indicate that a command of 8 to 10 men were those who arrived and opened fire. At different points, the dead bodies of seven people were left. Another was injured and taken to a hospital.

    According to the eye witnesses inspection, the group of killers used .223 caliber weapons, known as AR-15s. There were also 9 mm caliber percussion caps.

    Among the deceased victims were Marcial "N", 60 years old, father of the municipal president of San Juan Lachigalla, Rafael Melchor Ruiz. Felix, 28; Miguel Ángel, 25 and Lucano, brothers of the mayor.

    It was reported that five people killed in the attack are relatives of the mayor and his son was among the dead. Also killed were: Jorge Antonio, 20, son of the president and Manolo, 29, a cousin.

    Another of the deceased is Genaro, 56, an inhabitant of this town, who was found in possession of a 45-caliber pistol.

    The multihomicide was confirmed by the Secretariat of Public Security of Oaxaca and the PGR, State Attorney General.

    Immediately after the attack elements of the Mexican Army arrived;  who just a month ago came to this jurisdiction to improvise a base near an area of ​​on going violence and aggression.

    The military force mobilized at different points, between hills, but could not encircle the attackers.

    "As the first responders arrived with a Second Lieutenant of Infantry, it was the Army who cordoned off the area," said a police officer .

    It is presumed, said a senior police officer, that the attackers  are professional thugs, assassins, who apparently located their victims and planned the massacre.

    "We think that they were watching for a while, waiting for the moment when the family was together, the strange thing is that nobody in the town was made suspicious of these people , who were possibly unknown to the inhabitants," he said.

    At approximately 03:00 hours, personnel from the State Attorney General's Office arrived to take charge of the investigations. 

    Experts and elements of the State Agency of Investigations headed by the general coordinator, José Antonio Yglesias Arreola, packed up all remaining evidence.

    At approximately 3:00 p.m., the practice of necropsies performed in the same palace was completed.

    At the time of the delivery of the bodies, dozens of relatives waiting in front of the Municipal Palace, burst into tears.

                        Municipal Palace / Government Headquarters in San Juan Lachigalla, Oaxaca

    In the municipality of Ejutla de Crespo, the former municipal president and former state official Francisco Hernández was murdered, also by  gunfire, without the assailant (s) being identified.

    Nine more people were shot dead yesterday in different communities of Oaxaca, and a person was kidnapped in Loma Bonita.

    In Loma Bonita, a municipality adjacent to Veracruz, confirmed the disappearance yesterday of Victorio "N", leader of an organization of agricultural producers of the Papalopan region, and his whereabouts are still unknown; his alleged captors uploaded a video to social networks in which Victorio reveals the way in which he cheated his union members, along with other accomplices.

    During Valentine's Day, nine people, including a policeman, were murdered in different communities of Oaxaca.

    Two homicides occurred last night Wednesday in San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec; in a private home on Calle 21 de Marzo at the  corner with Margarita Jiménez, in the Progreso neighborhood; The victims still have not been identified.

    In Matías Romero Avendaño a police persecution happened, after an operation; armed men fired on a patrol and killed municipal policeman Gabriel Vera Melchor; The events took place around 7:00 p.m. on the corner of Corregidora and Cuauhtémoc streets, in Colonia Centro Norte.

    In the town of Agostadero, in the municipality of Santa María Tonameca, the corpse of an individual was found, with three shots of fired, one of them in the temple; He was found inside a black plastic bag and has not yet been identified.

    While in Rincon Tlapacoya, belonging to the district of Zimatlán, a man known Eugenio Díaz Ibáñez was shot to death, while he was working on his land.

    Yesterday morning  on the Peripheral Avenue in Colonia 25 de Mayo , in Juchitán de Zaragoza, Istmo region, two individuals were shot to death, identified only as Francisco Javier and Roberto, alias "Goku".

    In Tuxtepec, municipality of the Papaloapan Basin region, an individual was murdered inside a bar. The events occurred during the early morning hours in the establishment located on Aldama Street; According to his identification, he was called Mario Alberto de Jesús Domínguez Mazaña, originally from Mérida, Yucatán.

    Six members of a family and another inhabitant of this community located in the limits of the Central Valleys and the Sierra Sur, were killed by an armed commando early yesterday.

    While in the early hours of this day, two people were attacked in the Municipality of Huajuapan de León, in the Mixteca region, by those allegedly traveling in a Chevrolet car.

    The attack took place on Avenida 5 de Febrero, near an IMSS hospital; the deceased was identified as Adam, approximately 34 years old, another injured identified as  Julio, 24 years old; both are from  El Molino,  Municipality of Huajuapan, in the Mixteca region of the Oaxacan state.

    Last year there was also attacks and death: in June of 2017, another massacre occurred, only seven months ago.

    The mourning returns to this town of San Juan Lachigalla that borders the municipalities of San Pedro Taviche, Santa María Zoquitlán and Yaxe, San Luis Amatlán, San José Lachiguirí, Santa María Zoquitlán and Coatecas Altas.

    Rafael Santiago Matías, former municipal secretary of the community, and his cousin, Felipa Ríos Luis, were executed by gunfire, also by an armed commando.

    Rafael was driving his vehicle to Ejutla de to continue the journey to  Oaxaca City. Traveling together with him, was his cousin , 31 years old and two minors.

    When passing through El Portillo, on the stretch from Coatecas Altas to San Juan Lachigalla, men dressed in military clothing and carrying assault rifles came out and began firing at the vehicle.

    The former municipal official and his cousin were left dead inside the truck.

    Miraculously, the children with them managed to save their own lives: by playing dead so that the assassins would not attack them.

    When the murderers escaped, the young children ran into the mountains and managed to reach the first houses of Coatecas, where they asked for help.

    Unofficially it was announced on that occasion that as the investigations progressed, it is presumed that Rafael had some death threats against him; that is how it was reported in the town.

    Although the police did not want to give more details, it is known that they took into account that the deceased had had problems with some of the authorities of the community and another family member of the community.

    MAOSS Demands Justice:

    For their part, representatives of the Broad Movement of Municipalities and Social Organizations of the South (MAOSS), which is attached to the so-called National Movement for Hope (MNE), demanded that the government of the state investigate and clarify this armed aggression.

    Eli Eduardo Vásquez Ramírez, general coordinator of MAOSS, condemned the violence in the region and accused a political background, since next year elections will be held in the town of Lachigalla.

    He added that MAOSS will provide all political and legal support to the municipal president Rafael Melchor Ruiz.

    "This situation is alarming in Oaxaca, we do not want it to become a Tamaulipas, Monterrey or a Veracruz," he said.

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    Posted by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Guardian

              "The training stays with you'': Say the elite Mexican GAFE Soldiers recruited by cartels.

     Feb 10, 2018

    Last year, Mexico’s murder rate reached the highest level on record – and years of military defections are fueling the violence.

    Delfino was handpicked twice. At 18, he was chosen by the Mexican army to join its elite unit, the airborne special forces group known by its Spanish acronym, Gafe, where he specialized as a sniper.

    Ten years later, he was recruited again – this time by the very people he’d been trained to kill.

    Nowadays, the only outward sign of his military background is the camouflaged hat on his head, and the Panther .308 sniper rifle slung across his back. 

    Delfino specialized as a sniper in the Mexican army and is now a member of the Knights Templar Cartel.

    Once a dominant force in the rugged western state of Michoacan, the group is now locked in a bitter
    war for survival with rival criminal factions.

    Delfino belongs to what remains of a cult-like drug cartel called Los Caballeros Templarios, or the Knights Templar, whose original leaders blended extreme violence with pseudo-religious teaching and claimed a mandate from God.

    But Delfino describes himself as an instrument of divine justice. “God has his will,” he said. “But he still needs people to do his work here on Earth.”

    Over the past decade, Mexico’s drug violence has undergone a dizzying escalation, claiming more than 230,000 lives and last year pushing the country’s murder rate to the highest level since records began. 

    Security analysts and cartel sources agree that a key factor in the transformation of underworld rivalries into a full-throttle war has been the cartels’ recruitment of elite soldiers.

    The leakage of Mexican special forces into organized crime began in the 1990s when the powerful Gulf cartel recruited a group of ex-Gafe troops to create its own paramilitary enforcement unit, known as Los Zetas.

    They eventually turned on their masters, establishing the Zetas as a cartel in their own right. But other narco bosses followed suit, turning to the military for skilled recruits.

    The scale of the problem remains unclear – not least because the Mexican government has been unwilling to release data, said Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, an associate professor at George Mason University and author of Zetas Inc.

    “It’s an inconvenient issue for the government, so they deny freedom-of-information requests. But what we do know is that special forces helped turn Mexico’s narcos into the paramilitary armed groups we see today.”

                              GAFE: One day Mexican's Elite Military Unit , Later Los Zetas Cartel
    According to Mexico’s defence ministry, about 1,383 elite soldiers deserted between 1994 and 2015.

    Defectors included members of units that received training in counter-terrorism, counter-intelligence, interrogation and strategy from French, Israeli and US advisers, according to a 2005 FBI intelligence document.

    Internal documents from Mexico’s attorney general’s office obtained by the Guardian also confirm accounts from sources in Michoacán that the Templars’ predecessor organization – known as La Familia Michoacana – sent envoys to Guatemala to recruit former special forces soldiers known as Kaibiles. 

    Members of the Kaibiles unit, which has received US training since the 1970s, committed some of the worst atrocities in Guatemala’s civil war, notably the 1982 slaughter of 201 civilians in Dos Erres.

                                     Protesters After Dos Erres Massacre, Gautemala's Civil War

    Mexico’s military has also received US support: between 2006 and 2017, Washington provided just over $2.7Billion in security assistance, including military and counter-narcotics support.

    According to Kate Doyle, senior analyst at the National Security Archive in Washington DC, the US focus on military aid to the region has helped drive the militarization of Mexico’s drug conflict.

    “That US military training and intelligence techniques ended up in the wrong hands is far from unusual. Its lethal spillage into the contemporary criminal context is one of the legacies of US security policy in Latin America,” she said.

    Rarely, however, has a soldier-turned-narco gone on the record.

    As he led the way up a steep path to a sniper’s nest of volcanic stone and brush, Delfino said he had his own reasons for speaking to a reporter. “We want the world to understand what we’re doing out here: protecting the communities against the enemies that come to rape and pillage.”

    Below his lookout unfolded the scrubby plains and rugged canyons of Michoacán’s Tierra Caliente – the Hot Land. It was here that the former president Felipe Calderón first deployed the country’s armed forces against the cartels in 2006.

    The military crackdown was eventually extended across the country, but its initial targets were the cartels of Calderón’s home state: La Familia Michoacana and its offspring, the Knights Templar. 

    For a time, it seemed that the strategy was working. When the Templars finally collapsed under the joint pressure of federal forces and an armed “self-defense” movement in 2013, the government claimed victory.

    But for every fallen kingpin, there was a host of would-be successors: organized crime in Michoacán shattered into a patchwork of warring fiefdoms. And though now reduced to a fraction of their former strength and cut off from vital trafficking routes, the Templars are still in the thick of it.

    In a desperate bid to cling to its remaining territory, the group has joined forces with a former rival: a fast-growing cartel called the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

    Their current enemies are a group of former allies, to whom Delfino refers contemptuously as “locusts”.

    Up on the hill, Delfino eyed the enemy positions through his scope. "Locusts" surrounded his position on three sides and had attempted to overrun the Templars several times in recent months.

    But Delfino was dismissive of his counterparts, who he said were untrained boys sent into battle doped up on crystal meth.

                   “The difference between them and us is that we always take precise shots,” he said.

    "We want the world to understand what we're doing out here: protecting the communities against the enemies that come to rape and pillage", says Delfino.  Photo: Falko Ernst

    Most of Delfino’s own fighters were barely adults, but he still claimed to abide by the principles of his military training. “The strict rules, the way they prepared me psychologically, morally and practically – that stays with you forever,” he said.

    Delfino’s training began not long after he joined the army in 1996. After selection for the GAFE,  he underwent months of instruction, including courses in jungle survival and amphibious combat.

    After specializing as a sniper, he was deployed in counterinsurgency operations in the southern state of Chiapas, where the indigenous Zapatista guerrillas had risen up in 1994. 

                                      Indigenous Zapatista Guerillas during the Uprising in 1994

    Later, he was moved to the Pacific port city of Lázaro Cárdenas, where he became involved for the first time in counter-narcotics: his unit was tasked to chase speedboats bringing cocaine from South America.

    But off-duty, Delfino and his fellow soldiers came into contact with narco bosses in local nightclubs. Before long, he was receiving expensive bottles of Scotch – and then job offers.
    “They knew exactly what they were looking for: our knowledge, our professionalism, our loyalty,” he said. 
    Delfino resigned from the army, and in 2006, he joined La Familia Michoacana. 
    The cartel presented itself as the only force able to provide stability in a region long neglected by the Mexican state. 
    Delfino specialized in tracking down alleged kidnappers. “I just grabbed them and handed them over – that was my job. Others would then take care of the rest,” he said.
    “The rest” was La Familia’s trademark brutality: alleged wrongdoers were killed, beheaded and mutilated, their bodies then dumped with messages justifying the murder. 
    Vigilantism helped win some local support; it also removed criminal competitors, and by 2009, the group had become one of the most powerful in the country. 
    But what set the group apart was its home-brewed ideology, which blended the language of self-help with fire-and-brimstone theology.

    When La Familia’s ideological leader, Nazario Moreno González, was killed in 2014 the religious aspect faded. But Delfino still claims he’s following a divine mission.
    "Technically it's not correct to take somebody's life," said Delfino. But then he reached for a biblical justification. "Not a leaf moves without God's permission."

    At the height of the cartel’s power, nothing in Michoacán moved without the cartel’s permission. It monopolized crime, but it also penetrated ordinary life, using the threat of lethal violence to arbitrate anything from land disputes to marital conflicts.
    That soft power was fused with strategic sophistication, thanks to the influx of former soldiers , said Correa-Cabrera. “Their rapid expansion, the way they controlled territories, used communications and armament – they were now doing it like the army,” she said.

    The involvement of veterans has enabled cartel combatants across the country to organize tactical responses to the deployment of troops and paramilitary federal police. More recently, the CJNG has become notorious for a string of ambushes that have killed dozens of federal officers.

    In Tierra Caliente, such head-on confrontations have given way to a constant state of low-intensity warfare. In 2017, 1,510 murders were registered in Michoacán, a state of 4.5 million inhabitants.
    Delfino’s role in the bloodletting is no secret to his former brothers in arms. He remains in touch with soldiers on active duty, and even meets up to reminisce when security conditions allow, he said. 
    “We like each other, and they respect my decision,” he said, “but if they learn that I’m out here doing something which doesn’t square with our values – if I mess with innocent people – they will come for me. From them, there’s no hiding.”

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    Posted by Canadiana from El Universal and El Sur

    Dialogue between the bishop of Chilpancingo/Chilapa and criminal gang bosses, appears to have gone askew, as it has been revealed that a Catholic nun’s relatives were executed last month on January 31, in Chilapa, Guerrero.

    Bishop Salvador Rangel Mendoza said this week that four nuns who were operating a school in Chilpancingo have fled,  after the parents and sister of one of them were killed, allegedly  by the Ardillos gang.

    The bodies of the nun’s parents were found in plastic bags January 30 alongside those of five artisans from Veracruz on the outskirts of Chilapa.

    The body of the nun’s 18 year old sister was found three days later in Chilapa. She had been brutally tortured, raped, dismembered and decapitated.

    In an initial report after the gruesome discovery, Guerrero Attorney General Javier Olea Peláez attempted to criminalized the victims, saying the seven dismembered corpses belonged to members of organized crime gangs

    Later, the relatives clarified that the five men had arrived in Chilapa to sell wooden furniture, and the other two were the parents of a nun.

    This week, the diocese issued a prepared statement expressing its “deep sadness and outrage” over the kidnapping and murder of the nun’s relatives, as well as the in addition to the “criminalization” of the victims.

    The diocese is now scrambling to find someone else to take over the management of the school, because closing it “would leave many children and teenagers without quality education.”

    In its statement, the diocese asked the Los Rojos and Ardillos gangs, long embroiled in a turf war over the control of Chilapa, to “not destroy one of the most sacred things we have: the education of our children and teenagers.”

    Bishop Rangel has held meetings with local gang chiefs because he felt he had to “intercede,” because violence was keeping children from attending school and priests from reaching their parishes.

    A criminal gang has also been pointed to as the suspects in the execution of two priests earlier this month in the same part of Guerrero, near Taxco.

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    Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat from Showtime

    Series Premier full film

    The Trade Showtime’s Docu-Series. A documentary look inside America's heroin crisis. In Mexico, Don Miguel struggles to control the local poppy fields. In Ohio, Det. Edwards closes in on a heroin dealer. In Atlanta, Skyler moves home to get clean.

    The Trade spotlights the opioid crisis through the eyes of the growers, addicts, cartel bosses and law enforcement hopelessly caught in its web. It’s directed and executive produced by Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land).

    See what you think BB readers-

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    by Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat

                                  With a mountain of evidence, why are prosecutors                               blocking Chapo's right to a fair trial?

    Chapo Letter    

    On Thursday I posted a statement written by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán.  On that same day, Chapo asked permission to address the court, so that he may   read his prepared statement.  The statement consisted of listing his conditions of confinement, his health and his inability to defend himself against the charges filed against him.

    Clearly, Judge Cogan and the prosecution team were taking off guard.  Judge Cogan cautiously asked attorney Eduardo Balarezo, to put in context what his client wanted to address.  

    Balarezo told the court that his client wanted to address “Special Administrative Measure” or SAMs, which he says is barring his ability to defend himself.  Further, that he wants his family to pay his attorneys.

    Supposedly, his family has not paid attorneys because they want to “hear it from the horse’s mouth”. 

    He also was overheard saying to his translator, “Tell him I am sick”.  Chapo is prohibited from  communicating  with anyone; not his family, the press, or his attorney privately.
    Although Judge Cogan was taken by surprise, he initially seemed to be considering allowing Chapo to speak; Cogan asked questions and had a side bar to confer.  After the sidebar conference, Cogan allowed bother the defense and prosecution to explain in open court the situation.

    Prosecutors objected to Chapo addressing the court, on grounds that he may use the opportunity “to pass messages to the media or others”.

    Chapo wants his attorney to be paid

    When it was Balarezo’s turn to speak he said that Chapo wants his family to pay his attorney.  That he is going to trial and will not be cooperating with the government [no deal].

    This may have derived from reports in Mexican Media last week reporting that Chapo’s family did not want to pay his attorney.  Anonymous sources claimed the family wasn’t sure it was what Chapo wanted and the case was impossible to win.  So perhaps it was best not to squander the family money. One of those articles was in El Universal a leading news source in Mexico.

    Chapo has no source to utilize, not even his attorney, to get a message to his family.  In turn, they have no way to determine what his wishes are.  His sister was allowed a short visit months ago to speak about business.   Directly after, her visa was evoked.

    Ultimately, Cogan ruled against Chapo and he wasn’t allowed to speak.

    After court

    On Friday the following day, Balarezo filed Chapo’s letter on public docket. 

    At 4:02pm, the government filed a motion to seal Mr. Guzman’s statement that was filed publicly yesterday. The government claims that the filing was violation of the SAMs.

    At 4:41pm, before Chapo’s defense could respond, the Court granted the government’s motion.

    The Court said:
    ORDER granting [195] Motion to Seal Document as to Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera. The public filing of defendant's letter prior to Government review was in plain violation of the Special Administrative Measures, which were reauthorized on February 1, 2018. Provision 3(g) of those measures requires non-legal mail from the defendant, which includes letters to the Court, to be analyzed and approved by the Government prior to being forwarded to the addressee. The Court grants the Government's motion to seal the letter for one week to allow the Government to conduct the analysis described in the Special Administrative Measures. Defendant is cautioned to comply with the Special Administrative Measures going forward. Ordered by Judge Brian M. Cogan on 2/16/2018.

    Chapo’s defense filed an opposition/motion to reconsider. 

    From U.S. attorneys on February 16, 2018

    Dear Judge Cogan:
    The government respectfully moves to seal Exhibit 1 to defense counsel’s February 15, 2018 letter, which defense counsel filed on the public docket on February 16, 2018. (Dkt. # 194, pp. 2 through 6). Exhibit 1 is described as the “Text of Joaquin Guzman Loera’s statement to Judge Cogan” and includes both the original Spanish text and the English translation of the defendant’s letter to the Court, which is signed by the defendant. Defense counsel’s publication of the defendant’s letter is in violation of Section 3(g) of the Special Administrative Measures (“SAMs”), reauthorized by the Department of Justice on February 1, 2018. Specifically, SAMs Section 3(g), “Non-legal mail” requires any correspondence from the defendant, including “to/from U.S. courts,” to be analyzed and approved by the government prior to delivery to the addressee. 
    Defense counsel failed to provide Exhibit 1 to the government for analysis and approval prior to filing the letter with the Court on the public docket in violation of the SAMs. Therefore, the government respectfully moves to seal Exhibit 1 to allow the government one week to follow the appropriate SAMs procedures.1 The government will file a report promptly thereafter to advTo the extent defense counsel claims that he published the defendant’s letter at the Court’s request, the Court should dismiss such a claim as without merit. At the February 15, 2018 status conference, the Court directed defense counsel to provide notice to the Court, summarizing issues the defendant may want to raise with the Court at the next status conference. The Court, however, did not direct defense counsel to publish a signed letter from the defendant to the Court without prior analysis and approval by the government, in clear violation of the SAMs.2ise the Court if the letter should remain under seal.

    Defense files in opposition:

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    Translated by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: El Debate

    Extra Material from: Universal
    By: Javier Cabrera Martinez

    Feb 17, 2018

    Culiacán, Sin.- Elements of the Military Police burst into a birthday party that took place in a auto workshop at 3:30 am on Friday, Feb 16 and held 62 attendees for 16 hours. The 62 people included men, women, seniors, children and the musicians, waiters and a taquero and his wife hired to cater the event. 

    Unofficially it is reported that the auto shop "qualified as a ballroom ", the building was often used as a  salon for events and parties in the Colinas de Riviera neighborhood in Culiacan. 

    The celebration had  entertainment provided  by the group of musicians , in the hall there were horns and mounted musical instruments similar to those used by "chirrines".

    The Mexican Army arrested nine people , secured AK 47s, AR15s , pistols, cartridges , cash and a jaguar (a cat not car ). The nine men arrested were taken to the headquarters of the PGR.

    The convoy of soldiers arrived at the location on Calle Liberalismo between the Bulevard Obrero Mundial and Calle Manuel Kant , across from Valladoloid  Private School where the birthday party had allegedly started on Thursday night.

    Antonio Casteneda Verduzco, the Municipal President of Culiacan, Sinaloa, announced that due to the military operations it was necessary to suspend classes at the school. He also reported that the Municipal Police were not involved or required by the Military , so he had no more information to report.

    The hours were long as the Military held the partygoers at the facility, later there were complaints of no access to water , food or bathroom facilities. 

    Hours passed and it was eventually revealed that the guns were found inside vehicles parked outside the building, including a trunkful of automatic rifles in a gray Mitsubishi ASX.

    The State Commission of Human Rights general spokesman , Miguel Angel Calderon Espinoza , gave a statement in response to complaints lodged by telephone from party goers, two of which came to the office to collect  reports to send to the National Commission for Human Rights. 

    The CNDH has already been notified of the complaints received for the retention of all 62 attendees.

    All persons not arrested were released to leave the festivity building in intervals of 10 minutes. Most left in groups of 12 - 15 in private vehicles and none gave a statement to the media.

    Jose "N", a high school student who lived nearby was the only who volunteered the  information that near dawn gunshots were heard coming from the celebration and that was  when the Military intervened.

                 No other local or Federal authority issued official information on the events either.

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    by Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat

    Click on image to enlarge
    Last night the PGR agency of Mexico announced that the bodies discovered in Xalisco, Nayarit  have been positively identified as those of the abducted SEIDO agents,  Octavio Martínez Quiroz and Alfonso Hernández Villavicencio. 

    The bodies could not be positively identified with the exception of DNA analysis. 

    The remains were discovered in the trunk of an abandoned KIA.  

    Initial reports indicated there were 3 bodies because the remains were so grossly dismembered, later the correction was made reporting there were 2 not 3 bodies.

    The agents, ages 28 and 26, who live and work in Mexico City, were in Nayarit for the February 4thChristening, of a family member of one of the agents.

    The following day they were determined to be missing.

    However, the federal agency of SEIDO nor PGR publicized the agents were missing and failed to call on the public to help by sending in any information.

    That changed on February 11th, when the agency was forced to announce the agents were abducted.

    This was subsequent to a video that was released to social media of the agents.

    The video began to circulate depicting the agents kneeling, while four hooded gunmen had weapons pointed at them, while Hernandez was forced to read a script condemning federal agencies for criminal acts.

    Last night the bodies were released to the agent’s families.

    CJNG is suspected of being the perpetrators of the abduction and murder of the agents. 

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    Translated by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Excelsior

          Mondragón and Kalb: Consumption of drugs and alcohol in children increased up to 200%.
    Mexico City Feb 19, 2018

    The Commissioner Against Addictions indicated that if these are not taken care of in time they will lead to / cause serious consequences , physical damages, scholastic desertion, teen pregnancy, familiar violence and even the death.

    The National Commissioner Against Addictions, Manuel Mondragón and Kalb, indicated that in recent years the consumption of drugs and alcohol among minors increased to 200%, mainly in the case of girls .

    "I must say with regret that, both in drugs and alcohol, the difference was six men for a woman and today the numbers  are tied to  minors. That is to say, the consumption of men increased by 50% or 60% in recent years and the consumption of women by 200%, ", the National Commissioner  explained.

    Faced with dealing directly with young people from middle school and the private high school Justo Sierra Institute, Mondragón and Kalb has first hand experience.

    Within the framework of the Signing of the Collaboration Agreement between the National Commission Against Addictions (CONADIC) and the National Association of Private High Schools Incorporated to the Secretariat of Public Education (ANEPPI), he affirmed that in view of the increase in the consumption of drugs in minors  they are taking preventive actions and guidance for healthy growth .

    For its part, the president of the aforementioned association, Graciela Meza Díaz, mentioned that addictions are the number one cause of school desertion and the cause of family conflicts.

    Therefore, he called on young people to avoid their approach to any type of drug , he said, using drugs lead to and prevent the generation of hormones, which causes deficiencies in learning and lack of interest in the study.

    The signing of the agreement was attended by the academic members of ANEPPI, Margarita Sancén Hernández; the technical director of the Technological Baccalaureate of the Justo Sierra Institute, Martha Huerta Olea; the vice-president of ANEPPI, Gabriel García de Alba and the regional delegate of the Southern Zone of ANEPPI, Miguel Ángel Vázquez González.

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    Translated by Otis B Fly-Wheel for Borderland Beat from a Noreste article

    Subject Matter: Jose Alfredo Cardenas Martinez, El Contador
    Recommendation: No prior subject matter knowledge required

    Reporter: La Jornada
    Elements of the Marines detained in Tamaulipas, Jose Alfredo Cardenas Martinez, alias "El Contador", identified as one of the leaders of the Cartel del Golfo, and nephew of the ex leader of this group, Osiel Cardenas Guillen.

    Even though he is not on the list of 122 priority objectives of the Federal Government, achieving his capture is considered highly relevant to the Cabinet of Federal Security.

    Cardenas Martinez, also known by the alias "El Sobrino", was identified by the DEA as one of the principal leaders of the group together with Jose Antonio Romo Lopez, and plaza boss in Tamaulipas.

    He was detained in the San Francisco fraccionamiento during an operation that started Sunday night.

    According to Federal Forces, in the past year, Cardenas Martinez has been in dispute for control of this criminal group with Luis Alberto Blanco Flores, alias M28, or Commandante Pelochas, who is also linked with the same cartel. Also in the past year, there have been many registered gun battles in Reynosa between members of these two groups.

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    Translated by Otis B Fly-Wheel for Borderland Beat from a Zetatijuana article

    Subject Matter: Esteban Loaiza, CJNG
    Recommendation: See link to article by myself on his arrest

    The ex pitcher was detained in an operation of United States authorities to dismantle a narco trafficking network under the orders of the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion. Half a million dollars in cocaine in his home could cost Loaiza, who denies the accusations, which carry 20 years in prison. His girlfriend was also detained for narco trafficking. 

    Reporter: Ines Garcia Ramos
    As he has done regualarly, Esteban Loaiza crossed the frontier on Friday the 9th of February, when together with three other cars he was sent for secondary inspection on the frontier crossing of Otay, between Tijuana and San Diego.

    This was part of an investigation by Police corporations planned to dismantle a narco trafficking network pertinent to the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion, an investigation that remains open, confirms United States authorities.

    During this operation, four cars transporting drugs were detained. The Mercedes-Benz vehicle driven by the ex pitcher of the Los Angeles Dodgers had been detected for crossing drugs before, as well as the three other automobiles.

    During the search, agents found a hidden compartment for the transit of drugs, but without any drugs in it. It was located in the rear of the vehicle that Loaiza was driving, with all of the characteristics of a narco trap, as modifications are known on vehicles for this purpose.

    Even tho the compartment was empty, according to the laws in California, it is considered a crime to utilize, possess, use and control a false compartment that is used for hiding, trafficking or transporting drugs, as Federal agents let Loaiza go, but he was closely followed by the Sheriff's department of San Diego. It was a strategy to gain some time.

    While Loaiza was carrying on his route in USA territory, the agents hoped that he would commit a traffic violation so they could detain him at Imperial Beach, inspect his automobile and solicit a search warrant to enter his house located in this California locality, a community pertinent to the County of San Diego and adjacent to Tijuana.

    Once the search warrant was issued, the agents entered the residence that Loaiza had rented days before and found 20 kilos of cocaine, valued at half a million dollars.

    At 5.56 pm, the ex baseball star from Mexico from the Grand Leagues was admitted into County Prison at Chula Vista, California.

    Loaiza denies the accusations

    On the 14th of February of 2018,  the doors of Court 12 of the South San Diego County Court, in Chula Vista, were shut with the yellow warning precaution lights, at the time a group of Sheriffs brought in Loaiza.

    More than 40 reporters, producers, photographers, including those dedicated to sporting programs expected to enter the room with 15 seats available for the press, to see for the first time, since his arrest the former pitcher.

    On the other side of the room, Loaizas father, brothers, brother in law took their seats for the audience that lasted no more than five minutes. Judge Keri G Katz opened the hearing with a surprised expression when she saw how full the room was.

    The Loazia, born in Tijuana entered for his first audience, with his wrists handcuffed at the hip, his thin appearance and slow pace seemed to accentuate his 1.88 meter height. Dressed in a Khaki prison uniform, he took a seat on the bench for the accused.

    Prosecutor Ryan Karkenny began formalizing the three charges against the 46 year old from Tijuana. The crimes were transporting drugs, possession for the purpose of sale and use of a false compartment for drug trafficking.

    He reported that 20 kilo grams of cocaine were located in the residence of the former player, which was located less than 300 meters from a primary school, which is an aggravating circumstance.

    The second aggravating circumstance is that the weight of the drug exceeds 10 kilo grams, for which reason it was ruled out that the cocaine packages were for his own use and it is understood that the possession was for the purpose of sales.

    These charges amount to a maximum sentence of 20 years and eight months in prison, the prosecution said. Loaizas private attorney, Janice Deaton, a litigant with 31 years of experience, supervised the entry of her clients relatives from the beginning. During the hearing, she was placed next to Loaiza, who did not speak during the judicial presentation, even with his lawyer.

    The former baseball players interactions were limited to smiling at his family when he entered and left the room, however his lawyer reported that Loaiza had pleaded not guilty to the charges that the San Diego County Prosecutors office imputes to him and denied all the allegations against him.

    Loaizas wife, also detained with drugs in San Diego

    For more than a year, Esteban Loaiza began a relationship with Rosaura Labra, a Tijuana resident of 32 years of age. Through social networks, the couple showed their appointments, and trips in Mexico and the United States.

    At the end of January, they went to Soxfest in Chicago, Illinois, an annual event organized by the Chicago White Sox team in which players and former players meet and greet the fans. While playing for the White Sox, Loaiza had the best success in his career during 2003.

    For some programs and shows, this relationship became important because he was the ex husband of the singer Jenni Rivera, with whom he appeared not only in concerts and public events, but also in a reality show.

    However, Rosaura Labra has a criminal record in San Diego, California. According to documents filed in the South County Court, to which Zeta had access, the woman was arrested on October 31st of 2005 for possession of marijuana.

    The San Diego prosecutors office, in the same court in which Loaiza appeared, filed charges against her for possession of marijuana for sale and transportation purposes.

    Labra pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to three years on probation. She paid a fine of $239 dollars plus an amount of $200 corresponding to court costs.

    On the day of Loaizas hearing, Rosaura Labra did not appear in the court.

    Recent notices against Loaiza in Tijuana and San Diego

    At the height of his career, when Loaiza played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Tijuana native acquired a residence in the residential complex, La Perla Residencial, in Playas de Tijuana. The house marked as unit 205, and measuring 642 square meters, had a cost of 3,853,385 pesos.

    This is detailed in the documents of the Public Registry of Property and Commerce of Baja California and seen by Zeta. The following year, in 2008, Esteban Loaiza Veyna acquired a property of 335 square meters located next to his residence, for 365,902 pesos.

    However, on May 5th of 2015, a Lien was registered against Loaiza for 10,000 dollars, because of the second property he acquired in La Perla, was part of a commercial executive trial. While according to the San Diego Public Registry, on July 21st of 2017, a tax lien notification was issued to Loaiza.

    If bail is paid he cannot leave San Diego

    At the time of his arrest, the bail for Esteban Loaiza was set at $200,000, but once in court, prosecutor Ryan Karkenny asked Judge Katz to change the amount to $250,00.

    The reasons he explained, were due to the high profile of the former player, his links with Mexico, as he lives in Tijuana, as well as his large sums of money. All this, the prosecutor told the media, places Loaiza at greater risk of fleeing.

    For its part, the defence, did not object to the amount of bail, so the Judge set it a $250,000 and, at the request of the prosecutors office, determined that the origin of the money with which it is paid will be inspected to verify that it is not of illicit origin.

    If he does post bail, to continue his case in freedom, he cannot leave San Diego County. At the request of both the defense and the prosecution, the Judge granted an order of protection so that only the parties involved in the case have access to the videos filmed by the uniformed elements who participated in the arrest.

    "No matter who you are, what you do or what you did, you will be prosecuted fairly", the prosecutor declared at the end of the hearing. He also explained that, since this is an open investigation, no more arrests are ruled out, especially when, "in a case like this, there are large amounts of cocaine".