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Tag: Mexico

Not Everyone in Mexico Wants America’s Help in Battling Violent Cartels

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Not everyone in Mexico is happy with America helping the Mexicans battle the drug cartels.

Prominent Mexican poet and peace activist Javier Sicilia wants the Mexican government to explain the reported presence of CIA and DEA agents in Mexico, Fox News Latino reported.

Fox News reported that Sicilia made the demand at a press conference Wednesday a few days after the New York Times reported that a total of 24 CIA and DEA operatives were in the country investigating and training people.

Foreign Relations Secretary Patricia Espinosa and Government Secretary Jose Francisco Blake should appear before Congress “to explain the matter,” Sicilia said, according to Fox.

He said the presence of the CIA and the DEA is “illegal and unacceptable” and a violation of Mexico’s sovereignty.

New Mexico Gun Dealer Files Suit to Stop ATF Regulation of Reporting Sales in Border States

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The push back continues against an ATF regulation that would require gun dealers in four Mexican border states to report multiple gun sales of semi-automatic rifles.

An Albuquerque gun store has become the latest to file suit against the U.S. government to try and block the practice from taking effect on Aug. 14, the Associated Press reported. The states effected include New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and Calif.

Ron Peterson Firearms Peterson filed a lawsuit last week, AP reported. The news service reported that it was the third lawsuit to be filed to try and block the regulation from taking effect.

ATF spokesman Drew Wade told The Associated Press on Friday that his agency will vigorously defend the regulation.

Another lawsuit has been filed by National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents the firearms industry, AP reported.

Attorneys for Accused Mexican Drug Lord Says Justice Department Protected Him

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mexico may not be thrilled about the latest allegations coming out of the U.S.

The news service All Headline News (AHN) reports that court filings in an upcoming Chicago case against accused Mexican drug lord Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla claim the Justice Department agreed to protect Niebla from prosecution in exchange for information about other drug cartels.

Zambada, 36, is the son of an alleged leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel that operates in Mexico’s western states, AHN reported

The filing by Zambada’s attorneys claims the Justice Department gave the Sinaloa cartel’s leaders “carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago and the rest of the rest of the United States.”

DEA Helps Mexicans Capture Ex-Cop Suspected in 1,500 Killings

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

With the help of information from the DEA, authorities in Mexico have captured a former cop-turned drug gang chieftan allegedly responsible for ordering the killings of 1,500 people, the Associated Press reported.

Authorities said Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez is also a suspect in last year’s slaying of a U.S. consulate employee near a border crossing in Ciudad Juarez, AP reported.

AP reported that “Mexican President Felipe Calderon said through his Twitter account that Acosta’s capture is ‘the biggest blow’ to organized crime in Ciudad Juarez since he sent about 5,000 federal police to the city in April 2010 to try to curb violence in one of the world’s most dangerous cities.”

Authorities said Acosta, 33, was caught Friday in the northern city of Chihuahua along with his bodyguard.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Agents Lost Track of More than 1,000 Guns in Fast and Furious; ATF Agents in Mexico Were Furious About Operation

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The latest report on ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious shows that ATF officials in Mexico City were becoming increasingly alarmed and incensed when learning of the number of guns linked to the operation that were being found  at violent crime scenes in Mexico.

The report, released by Rep. Darrell Issa(R-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia), also stated that federal agents running the operation out of Arizona could not account for more than 1,000 guns bought by suspects in  the operation that encouraged gun dealers in Arizona to sell to middlemen or straw purchasers, with the hopes of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels.

The report is being released just at the Issa’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is set to conduct hearings on the matter on Tuesday at 10 a.m. The testimony is expected to be explosive.

“The consequences of arming Mexican drug cartels seem obvious,” Issa said in a statement. “But even guns turning up at crime scenes in Mexico wasn’t enough for Justice Department officials to arrest straw purchasers and shut down their trafficking operations. Tragically, it wasn’t until Fast and Furious guns were found at the murder scene of a Border Patrol Agent that Justice officials finally ended this reckless and arrogant effort.”

Grassley added: “ It’s incomprehensible that officials at the Justice Department, the ATF and the U.S. attorney’s office would keep their counterparts at the U.S. embassy in Mexico City in the dark about Operation Fast and Furious. Keeping key details secret while straw purchasers continued buying weapons for gun traffickers jeopardized our relationship with our southern ally and put lives at risk.”

A press release issued by Issa and Grassley also stated:

There was little to no information sharing from the Phoenix Field Division, ATF Headquarters and the Justice Department to their colleagues in Mexico City. Every time Mexico City officials asked about the mysterious investigation, their U.S. based ATF counterparts in Phoenix and Washington, D.C. continued to say they were “working on it” and “everything was under control.”

Lanny Breuer, the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the Justice Department, was clearly aware of Operation Fast and Furious and touted the case during a visit to Mexico.

ATF officials in Mexico City were incredulous that their agency would knowingly allow guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, and they were incensed when they finally began to learn the full scope of Operation Fast and Furious and the investigative techniques used.

To read report click here.

Mexican Drug Cartel Figures Linked to Gun Smuggling Were Paid FBI Informants

By Richard A. Serrano
Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — Congressional investigators probing the controversial “Fast and Furious” anti-gun-trafficking operation on the border with Mexico believe at least six Mexican drug cartel figures involved in gun smuggling also were paid FBI informants, officials said Saturday.

The investigators have asked the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration for details about the alleged informants, as well as why agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which ran the Fast and Furious operation, were not told about them.

The development raises further doubts about the now-shuttered program, which was created in November 2009 in an effort to track guns across the border and unravel the cartels’ gun smuggling networks. The gun tracing largely failed, however, and hundreds of weapons purchased in U.S. shops later were found at crime scenes in Mexico.

To read fulls story click here.

LA Times Editorial: Obama Admin. Takes Concrete Step Toward Curbing Gun Flow to Mexico

atf file photo

By The Los Angeles Times Editorial Page

The Obama administration took a concrete step toward curbing the flow of semiautomatic weapons to Mexico last week when it adopted a new regulation mandating the reporting of multiple sales of long guns to federal authorities. Under the regulation, some 8,500 licensed gun shops in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas will be required to inform the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a customer buys more than one semiautomatic that is .22 caliber or greater within a five-day period. The regulation is a small but significant tool that could help federal authorities keep weapons sold in the United States out of the hands of Mexican gangs and drug cartels. Rather than tracing an AK-47 after it has been recovered from a crime scene, ATF agents may be able to intervene before the weapon is smuggled across the border. The National Rifle Assn. is, not surprisingly, denouncing the modest rule as encroaching on Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights; in fact, it is already threatening to sue the federal government, contending that only Congress can impose such rules. To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Is ATF Concerned About Sending “Fast and Furious” Official to Mexico as Attache?

William Newell

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Last October in Orlando, at the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the heads of the ATF field offices gathered for a SAC meeting. It was there where it was announced that  William Newell, head of the Phoenix office, would become the ATF’s attache to Mexico.

Newell, an up and comer in the agency, seemed like a good choice. He was fluent in Spanish or as one person said “he spoke Spanish like professor.” And he had experience  dealing with the Mexican cartels.

In fact, he was helping head up a little known program at the time called “Operation Fast and Furious”, which encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell weapons to “straw purchasers” — all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartel.

It was a bold program and a highly ambitious one.

But months later, it became a very controversial one after  word got out that some weapons were showing up at crime scenes, including in the fatal shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December.

Congressional inquiries started. An Inspector General probe was launched.  A media frenzy ensued.

Now, eight months after the announcement in Orlando, Newell has been holed up in Washington instead of Mexico supposedly to help the Congressional inquiries into Operation Fast and Furious. His post in Phoenix has already been filled and his assignment as ATF’s Mexican attache has been put on hold.

Word inside ATF, according to one knowledgeable person, is that some in the agency have voiced concerns about sending Newell to Mexico as an attache because the Mexican government, which is fuming over Fast and Furious, might pursue criminal charges and arrest Newell.

Fox News reported Tuesday that  the Mexican government is furious about Fast and Furious and wants to extradite American officials for prosecution.   Sending Newell might make that all too easy for the Mexicans.

Whether Mexico goes that far is unclear.

Nonetheless, sending Newell isn’t likely to sit well in Mexico.

But an ATF official on Friday tried to dispel any notion that Newell won’t be headed south of the border.

“As far as his assignment to Mexico City, it’s still in place but it’s been temporarily postponed so that he can assist with the Congressional inquiries and the OIG (Office of Inspector General) review,” the official told ticklethewire.com.

Newell did not respond to an email asking for comment.

When asked for comment more than a week ago, the Mexican embassy in Washington asked that ticklethewire.com submit questions in writing. There was no response.

On Friday, a spokesman did call back and left a voicemail. But the spokesman could not be reached after that.

The embassy spokesman did not immediately return the call on Tuesday for comment.