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Tag: Mexico

Chicago Tribune Editorial: U.S. Needs Mexico to Be More Aggressive in War Against Drug Cartels

By The Chicago Tribune
Editorial

Jack Riley left El Paso, Texas, to become the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s top man in Chicago. Even though he’s 1,500 miles from the border now, Mexico’s war against drug cartels still matters to him.

It should matter to all of us. More than 90 percent of the marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the Chicago area enters the U.S. from Mexico. Drug rings are expanding into the Midwest to control distribution with violence a good bet to follow.

“If we’re going to be successful, Mexico needs to be successful,” Riley says. “We can’t do it without them.”

Sadly, Mexico is falling short.

Mexico’s occasional triumphs are starting to seem more and more hollow as the death toll of the 4-year-long drug war tops … 30,000. Every day seems to bring another horrific tale — most recently, cameras rolled while masked gunmen mowed down anti-crime activist Marisela Escobedo as she held vigil at the doorstep of the Chihuahua governor’s palace.

If the mayhem continues unabated, we worry that Congress will lose the will to renew the $1.4 billion Merida Initiative — an infusion of U.S. equipment and training to combat international drug trafficking and other organized crime — when it expires in about a year.

To read more click here.

Panamanian Pres. Ricardo Martinelli Wanted DEA to Wiretap Political Opponents

Panama Pres. Ricardo Martinelli/wikipedia photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Good or bad, one thing is certain: The WikiLeaks documents are pretty fascinating.

One of the latest ones of interest has surfaced in some publications including  the Washington Post, which reports that Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli was trying to put the squeeze on the DEA to wiretap his political opponents.

“He clearly made no distinction between legitimate security targets and political enemies,” then-U.S. Ambassador Barbara Stephenson wrote in her Aug. 22, 2009 report, the Post reported.

The Post reported that Martinelli via a BlackBerry message wrote to Stephenson: “I need help tapping phones.”

In her cable, the U.S. ambassador said Martinelli’s requests were rebuffed, the Post reported.

“We will not be party to any effort to expand wiretaps to domestic political targets,” Stephenson wrote.

Another cable reported that head of the Mexican military told U.S. authorities last year that Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, moved around a lot and was “difficult” to capture because he surrounds himself with hundreds of armed men and a sophisticated web of snitches, the Post reported.

To read more click here.

Related Story: Cables Portray Extended Reach of DEA (NY Times)

ATF Wants Gun Dealers Along Mexico Border To Report Rifle Sales of 2 or More to Same Person

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — ATF has asked the White House to ok an emergency order to require gun dealers along the Mexico border to report sales of two or more rifles to the same person within five days, the Washington Post reported.

The measure is part of an ongoing crackdown on the flow of guns from America into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels.

The  Post reported that the plan revives a proposal the Justice Department and White House have sat on.

The NRA is none too happy, the Post reported.

“This administration does not have the guts to build a wall, but they do have the audacity to blame and register gun owners for Mexico’s problems,” Chris Cox, chief lobbyist for the NRA told the Post. “NRA supports legitimate efforts to stop criminal activity, but we will not stand idle while our Second Amendment is sacrificed for politics.”

To read more click here.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Shot and Killed at Arizona-Mexico Border

istock file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot and killed Tuesday night at the Arizona-Mexico border and at least four people were in custody, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement issued Wednesday.

“Last night, Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry was shot and killed after he encountered several suspects near Rio Rico, Ariz.,” the agency said. “At least four suspects are in custody while one is still being pursued. Agent Terry’s murder is a tragic reminder of the ever-present dangers U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, Air & Marine and Border Patrol agents face as they protect our nation’s borders.”

The Customs and Border Protection Commissioner  Alan Bersin said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Terry family for their tragic loss. Our commitment to Agent Terry and his family is that we will do everything possible to bring to justice those responsible for this despicable act.”

The Arizona Republic reported that Terry, 40, a Michigan native, was killed at about 11 p.m. near Peck Canyon, about 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border west of Rio Rico on the Interstate 19. He was a member of BORTAC, the border patrol’s special response team, assigned to the Naco station, the paper reported.

“We believe he was killed by illegal alien ‘bandits’ north of Nogales during a shootout,” said The National Border Patrol Council, a union representing agents, the paper reported.

Janet Napolitano

Meanwhile, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued a statement on Wednesday:

“The fatal shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry last night is an unconscionable act of violence against the men and women of the Border Patrol and all those who serve and defend our country.”

“We are working with other federal, state and local authorities to ensure those responsible for this horrendous act are held responsible. We will leave no stone unturned as we seek justice for the perpetrators.”

15 People Extradited From Mexico


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — One of the things Colombian drug lords hated most back in the day — getting extradited to the U.S. — is now happening with the Mexican cartel members with more frequency since they took over the distribution networks in the U.S.

The Justice Department on Tuesday announced that 15 people from Mexico have been extradited over the past week from Mexico to the U.S. to either stand trial, be sentenced or serve sentences. Twelve of the 15 are charged with federal narcotics-related offenses and the remaining three are accused of violent crimes in state-prosecuted cases.

“Extraditions are an important tool we have to ensure that criminals are brought to justice in this country,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.

“Over the past decade, the Department of Justice has established stronger partnerships with Mexico in many areas of law enforcement, including extraditions to and from each country. With these extraditions of individuals who committed or stand charged with violent and dangerous crimes, we look forward to seeing those partnerships continue to strengthen.”

Authorities said three of the people are charged in the Northern District of Illinois and were arriving Tuesday in Chicago. Nine others left Mexico and arrived in Houston Saturday morning and three others arrived in the United States over the course of the past week.

The Justice Department said the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI are involved in transporting the defendants to jurisdictions where they face charges.

The extradited defendants are the following, as stated in a press release:

Oscar Jacobo Rivera Peralta, Ricardo Valdez Torres and Alfredo Molina Garcia: Northern District of Illinois; According to court documents, from approximately 2001 until 2006, Peralta, Torres and Garcia were members of a drug trafficking organization responsible for the importation of cocaine, heroin and synthetic heroin into the United States for distribution. The defendants are charged with narcotics trafficking-related offenses.

Read more »

Texas Guns Dealers Top U.S. Suppliers List to Mexican Cartels

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — America profits from the murderous ways of the Mexican cartels when it comes to supplying weapons.

Washington Post reporters James V. Grimaldi and Sari Horwitz, in a year long investigation, uncovered the names of the top 12 U.S. gun dealers of guns traced to Mexico in the past two years, with eight coming from Texas, three from Arizona and one from California.

The Post reports that Houston appears to be the number one city for guns traced to Mexican crimes.

“One of the reasons that Houston is the number one source, you can go to a different gun store for a month and never hit the same gun store,” J. Dewey Webb, special agent in charge of the Houston field division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told the Post. “You can buy [a 9mm handgun] down along the border, but if you come to Houston, you can probably buy it cheaper because there’s more dealers, there’s more competition.”

To read more click here.

Navy Sailor in N.C. Arrested for Selling Classified Documents to Undercover FBI Agent

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In this turbulent era of WikiLeaks, this hardly seems shocking.

Authorities are alleging in a search warrant that a Navy sailor based at Fort Bragg passed classified documents to an undercover FBI agent posing as a foreign intelligence agent, the Associated Press reports. In exchange, he was given cash.

AP reported that Navy Reserve Intelligence Specialist Third Class Bryan Minkyu Martin, 22, of Mexico, N.Y., was arrested last week, but has not been charged.  He is, however, being held in the naval brig in Norfolk, Va.

AP, citing a search warrant filed in the Eastern District Court in North Carolina, reported that Martin received a total of $3,500 “from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for dozens of pages of documents that were classified either secret or top secret.”

At an initial meeting on Nov. 15, Martin told the undercover agent that his current assignment focused on Afghanistan and that he planned to work for the Defense Intelligence Agency, and would one day be very valuable, AP reported.

IG Report Sharply Criticizes ATF’s Program to Crack Down on Guns to Mexico

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– A Justice Department’s Inspector General report released Tuesday sharply criticized ATF’s efforts to crackdown on gun trafficking along the Mexican border, saying the agency is failing to share information within and outside the agency and with Mexico and is focusing far too much on smaller rather than bigger gun traffickers.

The 152-page report, which focused on ATF’s “Project Gunrunner”, which aims to curb gun trafficking to Mexico, found “that ATF does not systematically and consistently exchange intelligence with its Mexican and some U.S. partner agencies.”

“We found weaknesses in how ATF implemented Project Gunrunner as a multi-agency effort,” the report by Inspector General Glenn Fine concluded.

Read more »