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Tag: Mexico

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 »

U.S. Military Ties Growing with Mexico’s Armed Forces in Battle Against Drug Cartels

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — To help battle Mexico’s increasingly violent and dangerous drug  cartels, the U.S. military is getting more involved, the Washington Post reports.

Mary Beth Sheridan of the Washington Post reports that the U.S. military is sharing information and training soldiers in an expanding effort to help that country battle its violent drug cartels.

The Post reports that U.S. military officials have been reluctant to publicly discuss the growing ties, fearing Mexico’s residents might voice concern about the U.S. meddling in Mexico’s affairs.

Citing the Government Accountability Office, the Post reported that the Pentagon’s counternarcotics funding for Mexico has nearly tripled, from $12.2 million in 2008 to more than $34 million in 2010.

To read more click here.

Feds Find 600-Yard Drug Tunnel at Mexico-Calif. Border

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities on Wednesday discovered a 600-yard long tunnel with lighting and ventilation that went from Tijuana to California that was used to smuggle marijuana, the New York Times reported.

DEA and ICE officials said they found about 30 tons of marijuana in the Otay Mesa section of San Diego,the Times reported. Most of the marijuana was in the tunnel.

Authorities said the tunnel wasn’t large enough to stand up in, and that smugglers likely crawled through it, the Times reported, adding that warehouses on both sides were used to store drugs.

The Times reported that authorities have found more than 75 tunnels along the border in the last four years.

Washington Post Editorial: Mexico’s Massacres- U.S. Needs to Do More

The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — TIJUANA, one of Mexico’s violence-racked border cities, was supposed to be getting better. A drug kingpin notorious for dissolving his enemies in acid was arrested; a record cache of 134 tons of marijuana was seized and burned.

President Felipe Calderon said the city was a “clear example that the security challenge has a solution.” Then came the massacre. On Oct. 24, gunmen attacked a drug rehabilitation center, slaughtering 13 men. That brought this year’s death toll to 639 in a city of 1.5 million.

The mass slaying was one of three recorded in Mexico in just five days. On Oct. 22, a gang attacked a teenager’s birthday party in Ciudad Juarez, killing 14; the youngest was a 13-year-old girl. On Oct. 27, shooters appeared at a carwash in the Pacific state of Nayarit, where clients of a drug rehabilitation center were working. Some of the workers were wearing T-shirts bearing the words “Faith and Hope.” At least 15 were killed.

The larger message here is that Mexico is still embroiled in a desperate fight to save its liberal democracy.

To read more click here.

U.S. Marshals Help Track Down Health Care Executive in Mexico

Rebecca Parrett/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sophisticated and a person of means, convicted health care executive Rebecca S. Parrett was one tough person to track down. She was on the lam for two years.

But the Justice Department announced Wednesday that Mexican authorities arrested Parrett, 62, Tuesday in the resort town of Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico, thanks to information provided by the U.S. Marshals Service in Columbus Ohio. She was immediately deported to the U.S.

The capture came after the U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement agencies followed leads in more than a dozen states and several foreign countries, the Justice Department said.

Parrett fled in March of 2008 after a federal jury convicted her on charges stemming from her role in a $2.8 billion fraud that led to the collapse of National Century Financial Enterprise, based in Dublin, Ohio. It was one of the largest health care financiers in the nation.

“I’ve been doing this for 12 years, and this was the most detailed and far-reaching investigation I’ve ever been a part of,” Drew Shadwick, deputy U.S. marshal in Columbus, Ohio told the Washington Post. “She was difficult to find, because she is intelligent, she was a woman of means and she had plenty of time to plan her escape.”

“She was living comfortably – making friends and going out dancing,” Shadwick told the Post.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Mexican Cartels Beefing Up U.S. Presence

US Mexican borderBy William Booth and Nick Miroff
Washington Post Foreign Service

SAN DIEGO — When a major Mexican drug cartel opened a branch office here on the California side of the border, U.S. authorities tapped into their cellphones – then listened, watched and waited.

Their surveillance effort captured more than 50,000 calls over six months, conversations that reached deep into Mexico and helped build a sprawling case against 43 suspects – including Mexican police and top officials – allegedly linked to a savage trafficking ring known as the Fernando Sanchez Organization.

According to the wiretaps and confidential informants, the suspects plotted kidnappings and killings and hired American teenage girls, with nicknames like Dopey, to smuggle quarter-pound loads of methamphetamine across the border for $100 a trip. To send a message to a rival, they dumped a disemboweled dog in his mother’s front yard.

But U.S. law enforcement officials say the most worrisome thing about the Fernando Sanchez Organization was how aggressively it moved to set up operations in the United States, working out of a San Diego apartment it called “The Office.”

To read more click here.

Homeland Security Warns of Mexican Hit Squads in Arizona

Mexico border mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

More signs of the Mexican drug cartels reaching into the U.S.:

The Washington Times reports that the Department of Homeland Security is warning Arizona authorities that Mexican drug gangs have sent assassins or “sicarios” into the state to kill bandits who are ambushing and stealing loads of cocaine, marijuana and heroin,

A Homeland Security memo, which  first circulated in May, said a group of “15, very well-equipped and armed” assassins complete with body armor had been sent into the state to carry out the executions.

To read more click here.

FBI’s Mueller Pushes to Expand Telecom Wiretap Laws

Robert Mueller III / file fbi photo

Robert Mueller III / file fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III is pushing to update laws to help agents keep up with the rapidly changing technology so they can effectively conduct surveillance of communications in anti-terrorism and other cases.

At a conference of intelligence experts in Washington, Mueller said there have been instances in which companies have not been able to comply with court orders and turn over electronic communications.

“One lesson we have learned in recent years is the need to ensure that the laws by which we operate keep pace with new threats and new technology,” he said.

“By way of example, let us turn to court-ordered intercepts,” he said. “In some instances, communications providers are not able to provide the electronic communications we seek in response to a court order.

“Many providers are not currently required to build or maintain intercept capabilities in their operating systems. As a result, they are often not equipped to provide timely assistance,” he said.

He cited one example in which “a Mexican drug cartel was making use of a communications system that we were not able to intercept. We had to use other investigative techniques that were far more risky.”

Some civil liberties groups are concerned about the FBI expanding its reach. But Mueller said that there is a balance that needs to be struck.

” Some have suggested there is an inherent tension between protecting national security and preserving civil liberties, ” Mueller said. ” I do disagree. Yes, we have a right to privacy. But we also have a right to ride the subways without the threat of bombings.”