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Tag: Mexico

Drug War Spreads in Mexico to Northeast Section: Cops Beheaded, Journalists Abducted

While the U.S. fights battles in Afghanistan and Iraq, another war far closer threatens the safety of people in the U.S. — the drug war in Mexico where murder of police is common place. Now the war there is spreading. The money is too good for it to simply die off. More needs to be done on both sides of the border.

mexico-border-sign

By William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service

LOS ALDAMAS, Mexico — Javier Martinez Gonzalez may have thought himself a lucky man as he arrived in pressed khakis for his first day of work as a police officer in this little country town.

Half an hour later, masked men dragged him from the station. His body was later found in a patch of weeds alongside those of two fellow officers. Their killings early this month marked a dangerous new front in Mexico’s battle against drug gangs in the borderlands south of Texas.

More than 22,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since President Felipe Calderón unleashed his war on traffickers in December 2006, according to a confidential government report circulated last week, a toll that far exceeds previous media estimates.

The northeastern states along the Gulf of Mexico had been mostly quiet as drug cartels and the Mexican military fought farther west. But powerful and warring crime syndicates have now launched a campaign of terror here, abducting journalists, beheading police officers and assaulting military garrisons.

Read the full story.

Mexican Cartels Join Forces to Wipe Out Hitman Gang

Mexico border mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The drug war in Mexico just got more complicated.

The Associated Press reports that the Gulf and La Familia drug cartels in Mexico, which were bitter rivals, have joined forces in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas to try and eliminate a gang of hitmen known as the Zetas gang.

The effort has raised concerns of even more violence in an already very violent environment, AP reported.

The Zetas gang was once the enforcement arm of the Gulf cartel.

To read more click here.

FBI Says Ranking Mexican Gang Member No Easy Find

Eduardo Ravelo in 1998 photo/fbi photo

Eduardo Ravelo in 1998 photo/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI knows  Mexican gang member Eduardo Ravelo — who may have had a hand in the recent murders of three people linked to the U.S. Consulate in Mexico — is no easy find.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Ravelo — on the FBI’s Top Ten Fugitives — probably had his fingerprints altered and plastic surgery on his face. He is listed as a captain in the Barrio Azteca, a gang that carries out contract murders for  the Juarez drug cartel, which is believed to be responsible for the spiraling murder rate in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

“Except for his dark eyes, federal officials doubt he looks anything like his 12-year-old FBI most wanted photo — round face, trim mustache and a scar along his cheek,” the Times wrote.

The Times reports that the FBI believes the 42-year-old lives in  Ciudad Juarez, which borders El Paso, and regularly crosses into Texas.

“He’s a butterfly, a moth,” Samantha Mikeska, an FBI special agent leading the hunt for Ravelo told the Los Angeles Times. “He takes care of his people and that keeps him under the radar.”

To read more click here.

Cross-Border Drug Gang Turns Into Sophisticated Paramilitary Killing Machine

The Barrio Azteca gained added notoriety when it was named as the culprit behind the recent killings of three people tied to the U.S. Consulate in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez. They’ve been going at it quite some time. With drug money behind them, the U.S. and Mexico have a very daunting task before them. Are both countries up to the task?

Barrio Azteca/doj photo

Barrio Azteca/doj photo

By William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service

CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO — A cross-border drug gang born in the prison cells of Texas has evolved into a sophisticated paramilitary killing machine that U.S. and Mexican officials suspect is responsible for thousands of assassinations here, including the recent ambush and slaying of three people linked to the U.S. consulate.

The heavily tattooed Barrio Azteca gang members have long operated across the border in El Paso, dealing drugs and stealing cars. But in Ciudad Juarez, the organization now specializes in contract killing for the Juarez drug cartel. According to U.S. law enforcement officers, it may have been involved in as many as half of the 2,660 killings in the city in the past year.

El Paso/istock photo

El Paso/istock photo

Officials on both sides of the border have watched as the Aztecas honed their ability to locate targets, stalk them and finally strike in brazen ambushes involving multiple chase cars, coded radio communications, coordinated blocking maneuvers and disciplined firepower by masked gunmen in body armor. Afterward, the assassins vanish, back to safe houses in the Juarez barrios or across the bridge to El Paso.

To read full story click here.

Mexican Drug Traffickers Kill 10 Students on Way to Get Scholarships

Mexico border mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The ugly byproduct of Mexico’s drug war reared its head Sunday in the worst of ways: 10 students on their way to get government scholarships were murdered at a roadblock in the state of Durango apparently set up by drug traffickers, the Tribune Newspapers reported. Half the victims were 16 or under.

The news service reported that the gunmen opened fire and tossed grenades after the youths in a pick up truck apparently did not honor the road block.

The Tribune reported that the dead included three girls 8, 11 and 13.

Meanwhile,  authorities on Monday captured a suspect in the March 13  U.S. consulate shooting in Ciudad Juarez, a town that borders El Paso,  Tex., the Tribune reported.  The man is a leader of the the Barrio Azteca gang, which carries out executions for the Juarez drug cartel.

Mexican authorities made the arrest, acting on a tip from the FBI, the newspaper service reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

High Level U.S. Officals to Meet With Mexico Over Drug Violence

Mexico border mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – More than a week after three people linked to the U.S. Consulate in Mexico were slain, the U.S. is taking things up a notch.

The Washington Post reports “that a high-level delegation of U.S. officials, including three Cabinet secretaries, will meet with Mexican officials in Mexico City on Tuesday to discuss efforts to disrupt drug cartels as violence increasingly strikes Americans on the border.”

The paper reported that the Mexican government’s need for U.S. help has taken on a a new urgency with the latest murders involving the consulate.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Drug Violence Continues to Plague Mexico

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3 People Linked to U.S. Consulate in Mexico Killed in Drive-by Shooting

map_ciudad_juarezBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The White House got another reminder this weekend of the impact  drug-cartels have on the border towns of Mexico.

CNN reports that a drive by shooting in the border town of Ciudad Juarez on Saturday resulted in the deaths of three people connected to the U.S. Consulate.

The network reported that one victim was an American employee at the consulate and that another victim was the husband of that employee. The third person was the husband of a Mexican employee of the consulate.

“The President is deeply saddened and outraged by the news of the brutal murders of three people associated with the United States Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez,” National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said in a statement Sunday.

To read more click here.