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Tag: Mexico

ATF Initiative Helps Crack Down on Guns to Mexican Drug Cartels

This is a good good initiative. We just need more of these because the violent Mexican drug cartels aren’t going away, not so long as business remains brisk.

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By Juan A. Lozano
Associated Press Writer
HOUSTON- A four-month effort to stop the flow of firearms from the U.S. to Mexican drug cartels has helped law enforcement disrupt various gun trafficking rings and gain a better understanding of how these groups try to avoid detection, officials announced Thursday.

Many weapons seized south of the border are traced back to Houston, where 100 agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other personnel were deployed in April to develop cases on trafficking firearms to Mexico.

ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson said the initiative vastly reduced a backlog of investigative leads and increased the number of criminal cases in Houston.

“While we can’t say we’ve solved the gun running problem to Mexico as a result of this (effort), it is a start and it certainly has made an impact here in Houston,” Melson told The Associated Press after a news conference.

For Full Story

Read Justice Department Press Release

Lack of Authority, Funding and Bad Image Hurt Mexican Police in Drug War

How can you battle the violent drug cartels when you have police departments that are powerless and underfunded like this? The Mexican president hopes to change some of this. We’ll see if he can pull this off.

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By Chris Hawley
Arizona Republic Mexico City Bureau
URAUPAN, Mexico — One of the police station’s doors is riddled with bullet holes. Shrapnel from grenades has scarred nearby walls. Inside, a makeshift shrine to the Virgin Mary honors officers who have lost their lives fighting drug traffickers.

So far, it has been a one-sided battle. The police force in Uruapan, a city of 280,000 that sits astride a major smuggling route in the Sierra Madre, doesn’t have a single detective. Mexican law prevents local police from questioning witnesses, doing undercover work or searching homes. The department is so cash-strapped that officers must buy their own bullets, at about 75 cents a pop, for target practice.

“We’re the ones out there every day, the easy targets for the drug traffickers,” says Police Chief Adolfo Medina, whose own house was strafed with gunfire in March. “But we’re handicapped.”

That may be changing. As Mexico’s U.S.-funded drug war reaches new levels of violence, President Felipe Calderon’s government has launched a $1 billion drive to train and equip beleaguered local police forces.

For Full Story

Report Says More than 70% of Illegal Aliens and Contraband Will Make it Across U.S. Border

The borders at Mexico and Canada continues to present a daunting challenge. It’s obvious that the U.S. should and could be doing a better job at the border. Yet, the answers aren’t easy. More inspections might result in untenable traffic jams.

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By Homeland Security Newswire
According to DHS, the vast majority — more than 70 percent — of illegal aliens and contraband attempting to move across our border through official ports of entry will succeed

In fiscal 2008 U.S. Border Patrol officers working at checkpoints that are typically set up along roads and highways 25 to 100 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border stopped three people “who were identified as persons linked to terrorism,” according to information provided by the Border Patrol to the Government Accountability Office.

“In addition,” says a GAO report released Monday, “the Border Patrol reported that in fiscal year 2008 checkpoints encountered 530 aliens from special interest countries, which are countries the Department of State has determined to represent a potential terrorist threat to the United States.”

For Full Story

Gunmen Kill Aide to Mexican Fed Agent Probing Death of Crime Reporter

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This murder is just another sign of just how out of control things are south of the border. The first agent assigned to this case was killed last month.

By Associated Press
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico— Gunmen killed the aide of a Mexican federal agent investigating the death of a crime reporter — a month after the first agent assigned to the case was shot dead, authorities said Thursday.

The bullet-riddled body of Pablo Pasillas, 33, was found Wednesday next to a car in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, said Ángel Torres, a spokesman for the federal attorney general’s office.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

U.S. Agents Recruit Mexican Drug Dealers as Informants; Local U.S. Law Enforcement Sometimes Left in Dark

U.S. federal agents are recruiting Mexican drug traffickers as informants. That may be a nice break through in the battle against the violent activity, but it’s causing friction with local law enforcement, which is often left in the dark. That’s the situation with Jose Daniel Gonzalez, a drug trafficker who was living in El Paso.

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By William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
EL PASO, Tex. — José Daniel González was living the sweet life in America. He bought the $365,000 two-story Mediterranean with the tile roof and swimming pool. He started a trucking company, was raising a family. But on a Friday night in May, he was executed in his front yard — eight shots, tight pattern, close range.

According to police detectives, González knew the man who ordered his killing. He also knew the man who stood on his lawn and watched him die. These things are often personal, especially among high-level drug traffickers.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

U.S. Flying Illegal Immigrants Back to Mexico

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For the sixth straight summer, the U.S. has been running these flights. And in all likelihood these flights don’t charge extra for checking in luggage.

By JACQUES BILLEAUD
Associated Press Writer
PHOENIX –– Immigration authorities are flying illegal immigrants deep into their native Mexico from Southern Arizona to discourage dangerous crossings in triple-digit desert heat.

The twice-daily flights from Tucson to Mexico City are intended to keep immigrants away from border towns where they would likely run into smugglers who want to sneak them back into the U.S.

“This is where the probability of losing their lives can really increase. We offer that opportunity for them to get out of that cycle,” John Torres, a special adviser to the assistant secretary of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Monday in Tucson.

For Full Story

U.S. Officials See Continuation of Mexican Cartel Violence

No question, with the stakes so high, the money so plentiful, the Mexican drug trade isn’t going away any time soon. The U.S. announcement on Thursday of a major indictment including major cartel figures is good, but it certainly does NOT mark the end, or anything close to it.

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By Anthony L. Kimery
HS TODAY

US counterterrorism officials continue to be increasingly concerned about the growth of Mexico’s narco-cartels and the Mexican military’s inability to substantially break up their operations.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon earlier this year was forced to deploy military forces throughout regions of the country to try to break-up and disrupt the cartels’ activities.

But officials who spoke on background said the cartels and their “enforcers” have become emboldened and have less fear than they did several years ago to directly confront Mexican federal police and military forces, and that they no longer have hesitation about using violence to protect – and project – their operations there and in the United States.

For Full Story

Ten Mexican Drug Cartel Leaders Among 43 Indicted in U.S. Crackdown

As violence spins out of control in Mexico and across the U.S. border, these type of indictments are good. But there’s so many other folks out there willing to take over the lucrative drug trade. In other words: Both countries have to keep plugging away.

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By James Vicini and Jeremy Pelofsky
Reuters
WASHINGTON – Ten accused Mexican drug cartel leaders were among 43 defendants charged with conspiring to smuggle billions of dollars worth of cocaine into the United States, but most of them remain at large, U.S. authorities said Thursday.

The United States, which has been seeking to crack down on drug trafficking and violence along the border with Mexico which has escalated recently, seeks the forfeiture of more than $5.8 billion in drug proceeds as part of the charges.

They announced the charges brought in New York and Chicago against the accused leaders and other high-ranking members of several of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels, along with other Mexican and U.S. defendants.

For Full Story

Read Justice Dept. Press Release