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Tag: Mexico

ATF Home Raid Yields Dozens of Guns, Drugs at Houston Home Used Mexican Cartel

The logo of the Los Zetas Cartel/baltimore city paper

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Houston ATF agents hit a small jackpot recently when they raided the home used by a Mexican cartel member.

The local KPRC-TV reports that agents seized dozens of guns and 45 pounds of marijuana. Agents were lead to the home by Juan Garcia, who had been arrested after purchasing high-powered rifles at a gun show on New Year’s Eve. Garcia told agents he had shipped 250 weapons to the home in the past two years.

After agents found 26 rifles and $5,000 in Garcia’s trunk, he told agents he was a ranking member of the Zetas, a group of  former Mexican military servicemen that run one of the country’s most violent drug trafficking cartel. On January 4, Garcia led agents to the Houston home, where they seized 34 assault rifles, 21 AR-15s, 13 AK-47s and 45 pounds of marijuana, according to the KPRC report.

To read more click here.

 

DEA Says Mexican Cartels Extorting Protection Money from U.S. Businesses

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Mexican drug cartels just aren’t selling drugs to make cash.

AHN News reports that the cartels are increasingly extorting protection money from retail stores on the U.S. side of the border.

Citing the DEA, the news agency reports that businesses often don’t report the extortion demands because they employe illegal immigrants and don’t want to draw attention that could lead to the arrest and deportation of the workers.

To read more click here

Mexican Extradited to U.S. on Charges of Killing ICE Agent Jaime Zapata and Wounding Another Agent

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata killed in Mexico/ice photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A man charged in the Feb. 15 murder in Mexico of ICE agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE agent Victor Avila has been extradited from Mexico to the U.S. to face trial.

The Justice Department announced the charges and the extradition on Wednesday of Julian Zapata Espinoza, aka “Piolin.”

On April 19, a D.C. federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment.

“Julian Zapata Espinoza (“Piolin”) allegedly participated in the murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer in a statement.

“The extradition of Julian Zapata Espinoza to face charges in the U.S. is a significant development in the ongoing investigation into the murder of Special Agent Jaime Zapata and attack on Special Agent Victor Avila,” said Kevin Perkins, Assistant Director for the FBI Criminal Investigative Division in a statement.

The Justice Department said the indictment was unsealed on Wednesday when Zapata Espinoza made his initial appearance before U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth in D.C. He was ordered detained without bail.

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Mexican Officials Spying for America

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Despite fiery rhetoric from congressional Republicans, it appears that botched gun-walking programs have not completely soured relations between Mexican and US federal law enforcement.

Fox News Latino cites a Spanish-language news report that at least 80 former employees of the Mexican government are currently working for US agencies as spies.

The La Jornada newspaper reported over the weekend that Mexicans have worked as agents for the DEA, ATF and ICE.

To read more click here.

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On 1 Year Anniversary, Family of Slain Border Agent Critical of ATF and Justice Dept.

 

Brian Terry

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

On the one year anniversary of the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, the family issued a statement that included a sharp rebuke of ATF and the Justice Department.

“Brian’s death has been extremely difficult to accept. As most know, we had to learn from the news media that two assault rifles carried by the men that killed Brian and found at the murder scene were linked to Operation Fast and Furious, a failed gun trafficking operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Department of Justice,” said the statement that was issued on Wednesday, one day before the Dec. 15 anniversary of the death of Terry, who was killed while on patrol in southern Arizona.

“We find it incomprehensible that members of ATF and DOJ would embark on such an egregious operation and then try to conceal the link between this failed investigation and Brian’s murder. Much to our dismay, no one in ATF or DOJ has come forward to accept responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious.”

Terry’s name has often surfaced among critics of Operation Fast and Furious, an ATF program that encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to “straw purchasers”, all with hopes of tracing the guns to the cartels. ATF lost track of many of the guns, some which surfaced at crimes scenes on both sides of the border.

Two of the guns were found at the scene where Terry was murdered, though authorities have been unable to confirm through ballistics whether the guns were actually used in the shooting.

The family, in its statement also said: “December 15th will mark the one year anniversary of the murder of Brian A. Terry. On that day in 2010, our family lost an amazing son, brother, uncle, and friend. Our country lost an incredible young American who was fully committed to his job in keeping our Nation safe and its borders secure. Brian’s life was dedicated to public service as a U.S. Marine, police officer, U.S. Border Patrol agent and finally as a member of the Border Patrol’s elite tactical unit known as BORTAC.”

“Our priority continues to be the successful arrest and prosecution of all the individuals involved in Brian’s murder,” the family wrote.”However, we will continue to press for answers and accountability from our government. Those responsible for such a misguided and fundamentally flawed operation must be held fully responsible for their decisions which allowed so many weapons to flow to the criminal element on both sides of the border. We now believe that if it can be shown that laws were broken, then all those responsible for Fast and Furious should be held criminally liable.”

The family added: “We would like to acknowledge the work conducted by agents from the FBI Tucson Office in the homicide investigation and the continued work by federal prosecutors in the San Diego U.S. Attorney’s Office who are working to bring Brian’s killers to justice. We would also like to thank those members of ATF that recognized Operation Fast and Furious as fundamentally flawed and came forward with information that exposed this foolish operation to the American public. These individuals have continued to speak the truth at great professional risk.”

 

Border Patrols to be Cut by Half

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Federal budget cuts have manifested themselves in a multitude of ways already. Now, dramatically, the Obama administration plans next year to cut the number of National Guard troops patrolling the US-Mexico border by at least half, reports the Washington Times.

Though the White House is not announcing the plans yet, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter learned of the plan, says half is the minimum number the patrol will have to be cut by, which will mean reshuffling troops already along the border. In Duncan’s state of California, the new plans will mean slashing patrol levels from 264 to just 14.

To read more click here.

 

Number of Drug Tunnels at the Border Dramatically Increase Under Mexican President

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A crackdown on drug smugglers has resulted in a dramatic jump in the use of sophisticated tunnels under the Mexico-U.S. border, Reuters reports.

Reuters reports that authorities discovered more than 100 tunnels during President Felipe Calderon’s five years in office. That number is double the ones found over the previous 15 years.

Reuters reports that the cartels have been perfecting the way the tunnels have been built.

The more sophisticated tunnels have hydraulically controlled steel doors, elevato and elecric rail tracks and are built with expensive drilling equipment, Reuters reported.

“It’s evident that those who constructed these tunnels are specialists, not only for the size but also because it requires study of the soil to prevent it from caving in,” General Gilberto Landeros, a Mexican army commander, during the recent discovery of a Tijuana tunnel told Reuters. “The machinery they use for construction is really sophisticated.”

 

DEA Money Laundering Began Under Reagan, Justice Says

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The DEA sting operation involving the laundering of money to drug cartels that has angered some Republican congressmen actually dates back to the Reagan administration, according to the Justice Department.

Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Ronald Weich sent a letter to Rep. Darrel Issa–the Republic congressman leading the charges against the Justice Department–which said Congress gave the DEA the authority to conduct such operations in 1984, reports a blog from the Houston Chronicle. During Reagan’s time in office DEA investigations laundered as much as $100 million, gaining access to top levels of drug cartel leadership, according to Weich.

Congress gave the Drug Enforcement Administration the authority to conduct such sting runs as far back as 1984, Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Ronald Weich told Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in a letter, obtained by Texas on the Potomac. In investigations during the Ronald Reagan administration, some in which agents laundered over $100 million, they gained access to the top levels of drug-cartel leadership, Weich wrote.

To read more click here.

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