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Tag: Drugs

Feds Say Detroit Drug Kingpin Used Mexican Plastic Surgeon to Change Face and Remove Fingerprints

detroit

Some drug dealers use fake identities. But Adarus Mazio Black was a little more creative and was willing to travel thousands of miles to throw the feds off  track.

By Paul Egan
The Detroit News
DETROIT — Adarus Mazio Black made so many millions from the cocaine he sold and so feared detection of murders committed to protect his turf that he used multiple identities and paid a plastic surgeon in Mexico to change his facial appearance and surgically remove his fingerprints, a federal jury was told Tuesday.

Black’s drug trial, expected to last about three weeks in U.S. District Court in Detroit, could provide a rare glimpse into the secretive and violent life of an alleged drug kingpin.

Special Agent Edward Donovan of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration testified that he began to investigate Black after learning a major Manhattan drug dealer, Angel “Amigo” Esparza, had moved to Detroit to set up a cocaine-dealing operation.

On Aug. 24, 2004, just days after moving to Detroit, Esparza’s bullet-riddled body was found in a Detroit alley. The burning and duct-taped body of an Esparza associate, Rigoberto Martinez, was found in another alley.

For Full Story

Ex-Texas Border Patrol Agent Gets 14 Years for Helping Drug Smugglers

Border PatrolBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former Border Patrol agent, who showed drug traffickers how to smuggle 20 kilos of cocaine through Zapata County, Tex.,  was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in prison.

Authorities say Leon Morales, 30, of Zapata County, showed traffickers how to avoid sensors and drew a map of the best routes to smuggle the drugs.

Federal authorities said he also bragged that he could get other Border Patrol agents out of the area.

Obama to Send Federal Agents, Equipment and Other Resources to Mexico Border

This is a good first step in the battle against the growing menace of the violent Mexican drug cartels. But in all likelihood, this is just a start. More will bborder-fence-photo3e needed.

By Spencer S. Hsu and Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — President Obama is finalizing plans to move federal agents, equipment and other resources to the border with Mexico to support Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s campaign against violent drug cartels, according to U.S. security officials.

In Obama’s first major domestic security initiative, administration officials are expected to announce as early as this week a crackdown on the supply of weapons and cash moving from the United States into Mexico that helps sustain that country’s narco-traffickers, officials said.

The announcement sets the stage for Mexico City visits by three Cabinet members, beginning Wednesday with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and followed next week by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

For Full Story

Ex-DEA Official Testifies About the Escalating Guns, Drugs and Violence in Mexico

By Michael Braun
Counterterrorism Blog

WASHINGTON –Today* I testified before the Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the escalating violence in Mexico. My viewpoint arises from my 34 years in law enforcement and as a U.S. Marine. I served for almost four years as the Assistant Administrator and Chief of Operations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and for one year as the Agency’s Acting Chief of Intelligence. I also served in a number of DEA offices throughout the United States, including service on both our Southern and Northern borders, on both our East and West Coasts, in the Midwest, as well as two years in various countries in Latin America.

Here are several paragraphs of that testimony, and you can download it in its entirety here

*(Braun testified on Thursday March 12, 2009)

Some Congress Members Fear Mexican Cartels Might Help Terrorists Attack U.S.

It’s hard to say whether Congress members are taking this too far. Then again, who would have thought the Mexican drug wars would create so many problems here in the U.S. What ever the case, the situation south of the border can’t be ignored here in the states.

By Jordy Yager

Rep. Henry Cuellar/official photo

Rep. Henry Cuellar/official photo

The Hill
WASHINGTON — Members of Congress are raising the alarm that war-like conditions on the Mexican border could lead to Mexican drug cartels helping terrorists attack the U.S.

“When you have…gangs and they have loose ties with al Qaeda and then you have Iran not too far away from building a nuclear capability, nuclear terrorism may not be far off,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R- Ariz.), a member of the House Armed Services committee.

The Mexican drug cartels’ violence accounted for more than 6,000 deaths last year, and in recent months it has begun spilling over into the districts of lawmakers from the southwest region, even as far north as Phoenix, Ariz. — which has become, Franks noted, the “kidnap capital of the U.S.”

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), whose district borders Mexico, said that while the situation is bad, it could easily get worse.

“The goal of the cartels is to make money,” said Cuellar, who sits on the House Homeland Security committee. “If they can smuggle in drugs and human cargo, then certainly they can smuggle other things in, other devices to cause us harm.”

“We have not heard of any associations, but is there the possibility? I’ll be the first to say, yeah. They have the routes, they can very easily smuggle in other things.”
For Full Story

Mexican President Calderon Says U.S. Consumer is Fueling Narco Trafficking

President Felipe Calderon

President Felipe Calderon

The French newspaper Le Monde sat down this week with the Mexican president for a Q and A. The president blamed President Bush for easing gun restrictions and said the American consumer was helping his country’s drug trade. It’s hard to argue over those points.

By Jean Pierre-Langellier and Joelle Stolz
Le Monde

Le Monde: Concerning the battle against drug trafficking, you said:

“It’s them or us!” One minister mentioned the possibility that the next Mexican president could be a “Narco.” Has the government lost control over a part of the country?

Mexican President Felipe Calderon: Of course not. Our efforts are specifically targeted to preserve the government’s authority, that is, its monopoly on the use of force, and also the authority of the law in the face of a phenomenon, which, it is true, had begun to spread to different regions. But there is not a single spot of national territory that eludes the government’s complete control. And we’ve preserved that control because we’ve acted in time and with great resolve.

Organized crime exerts pressure on the political authorities by cooptation, corruption and intimidation. There was a certain influence at the local and municipal level. Intervening now has allowed us to avoid having criminal action affect a higher echelon.

Who’s Responsible?

Rather than pointing out who’s to blame, it’s better to assume one’s responsibilities. Let’s talk about the causes. The first is the American consumer. If the United States were not the biggest drug market in the world, we wouldn’t have this problem.

And there’s also the arms trade. In two years, we’ve seized 33,000 weapons, 18,000 of them high caliber, rocket launchers, thousands of grenades, devices able to pierce armor plating. Now the overwhelming majority of this materiel had been purchased in the United States, including materiel which is the exclusive property of the American Army. In 2004, (the Bush administration) lifted the prohibition that had previously been in place against the sale of these very dangerous weapons.

There is another factor: the cartels’ modus operandi has changed. Before, they only transported drugs to the United States. Today, and this is a substantial change, they are trying to develop a domestic market and so need to control the territory and the life of entire communities.

For Full Interview

Venuzuela Prez Chavez Rejects U.S. Drug Traffic Report; Takes Poke at Obama

President Chavez

President Chavez

President Chavez continues to flap his jaws and poke a stick at the U.S. This latest incident doesn’t bode well for the relationship between Chavez and the freshly-minted Obama regime. As Rodney King once said: “Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

By The Associated Press
CARACAS, Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez on Saturday rejected a U.S. report alleging that drug trafficking is soaring in Venezuela, stepping up his criticism of President Barack Obama following the U.S. leader’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

The State Department report, which covers global anti-drug efforts in 2008, was compiled while President George W. Bush was in office but approved this month by the Obama administration.

“Is there really a new government in the United States, or is Bush still in charge?” Chavez told supporters in a poor Caracas neighborhood. “Don’t mess with me, Mr. Obama.”

The report asserts that drug trafficking soared fivefold in Venezuela from 50 metric tons (55 tons) of illegal drugs in 2002 to an estimated 250 metric tons (275 tons) in 2007 as cartels took advantage of the country’s “geography, corruption, a weak judicial system, incompetent and in some cases complicit security forces and lack of international counternarcotics cooperation.”
Full Story

Read Part 1 of Report

Read Part 2 of Report

Authorities Roundup 48 Suspects in U.S. in Crackdown on Mexican Drug Cartel

Weapons seized in operation/DEA photo
Weapons seized in operation/DEA photo

More and more media outlets in recent months were reporting on  Mexican drug violence that was spilling into the U.S. Authorities hope this will address some of the problem, but obviously it will take more than this to make it go away.

By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — Federal authorities said today that they have arrested 48 people in California, Minnesota and Maryland as part of a 21-month investigation targeting the Sinaloa Cartel, a Mexican drug trafficking organization that U.S. officials fear has spread into scores of American cities.

In Operation Xcellerator, federal, state and local law enforcement officials in the U.S. worked closely with authorities in Mexico and Canada to arrest more than 751 people on narcotics-related charges, and seized more than 20 tons of narcotics, a Justice Department official said.