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Tag: Mexico

Mexico Sending 5,500 Cops and Military Forces to Area to Fight Violent Drug War

After 12 federal Mexican agents were recently found tortured and dead, what choice was there but to call for a full court press? This drug war in Mexico is only going to get uglier. The U.S. has stepped up its effort to help, but it needs to step it up even more. More people are going to die on both sides of the border.

mexico-map21

By Ken Ellingwood
Los Angeles Times
MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities announced plans Thursday to send 5,500 police officers and military personnel to the western state of Michoacan to confront a violent crime syndicate offering some of the fiercest resistance President Felipe Calderon’s government has faced since launching its war on drugs 2 1/2 years ago.

About 1,000 extra police officers were deployed Thursday before officials outlined the broader buildup.

The move, which included providing helicopters and other equipment, represented a show of resolve in Calderon’s home state, a major drug-trafficking corridor where 16 police officers have been killed recently in well-coordinated attacks.

Following the assaults, police have patrolled in convoys and curtailed nighttime operations as a way to avoid further casualties.

One Mexican pundit said the recent aggressiveness by the drug-trafficking group La Familia was the equivalent of the surprise 1968 Tet offensive by communist forces in the Vietnam War.

Michoacan is a key front in the drug war.

For Full Story

Mexican Army Using Torture in War on Drugs

One sure way to lose public support on the war on drugs in Mexico and the U.S. is to use torture. This is something both the U.S. and Mexico need to address if they hope to succeed.

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By Steve Fainaru and William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
PUERTO LAS OLLAS, Mexico — The Mexican army has carried out forced disappearances, acts of torture and illegal raids in pursuit of drug traffickers, according to documents and interviews with victims, their families, political leaders and human rights monitors.

From the violent border cities where drugs are brought into the United States to the remote highland regions where poppies and marijuana are harvested, residents and human rights groups describe an increasingly brutal war in which the government, led by the army, is using harsh measures to battle the cartels that continue to terrorize much of the country.

In Puerto Las Ollas, a mountain village of 50 people in the southern state of Guerrero, residents recounted how soldiers seeking information last month stuck needles under the fingernails of a disabled 37-year-old farmer, jabbed a knife into the back of his 13-year-old nephew, fired on a pastor, and stole food, milk, clothing and medication.

For Full Story

Mexico’s Narco Al Capone Remains on the Lam

Joaquin Guzman Loera has become a narco folk hero in Mexico. He has also helped contribute to the growing violence in Mexico. Will he ever get caught or remain a free man like Bin Laden?

By DAVID LUHNOW and JOSE DE CORDOBA
The Wall Street Journal
Joaquin Guzman

Joaquin Guzman

BADIRAGUATO, Mexico — As a child, Joaquín Guzmán Loera was so poor that he sold oranges to scrape together money for a meal. Since then, the 52-year-old has built a business empire and a personal fortune currently tied for number 701 on Forbes magazine’s list of global titans.

He also has another ranking: Mexico’s most wanted man.

Mr. Guzmán is the informal CEO of one of the world’s biggest drug-trafficking organizations, the so-called Sinaloa cartel, named for its home state of Sinaloa.

It smuggles a big part of the marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines that end up on American streets, and it has links to organized crime in 23 countries, according to Mexican and U.S. officials.

Delays Continue to Hamper U.S.-Mexico Border Fence

This project could be tied up for quite some time as the government deals with land acquisitions from private property owners. With all the hurdles, it won’t be easy to complete.

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By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN
Associated Press Writer
BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Nearly six months after the U.S.-Mexico border fence ordered by the Bush administration was supposed to be finished, its completion is in limbo while a judge waits answers to questions about private property in the fence’s path.

About 630 miles of the promised 670-mile-long vehicle and pedestrian barrier is complete, with the unfinished portion in deep south Texas where opposition is fierce and the government has struggled to get the land it needs.

The biggest unfinished segment is a 13-mile stretch that runs east of Brownsville through rich farmland toward the Gulf of Mexico.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Threats Against Nation’s Judges and Prosecutors Rise Sharply

U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow's Husband and Mother Were Murdered
U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow’s Husband and Mother Were Murdered

This is a dangerous trend. We’ve seen in nations like Mexico and Colombia where threats to the justice system have undermine democracy,  justice and order. The problem isn’t nearly as bad in the U.S. , but it’s still a big problem.

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer

Threats against the nation’s judges and prosecutors have sharply increased, prompting hundreds to get 24-hour protection from armed U.S. marshals.

Many federal judges are altering their routes to work, installing security systems at home, shielding their addresses by paying bills at the courthouse or refraining from registering to vote. Some even pack weapons on the bench.

The problem has become so pronounced that a high-tech “threat management” center recently opened in Crystal City, where a staff of about 25 marshals and analysts monitor a 24-hour number for reporting threats, use sophisticated mapping software to track those being threatened and tap into a classified database linked to the FBI and CIA.

“I live with a constant heightened sense of awareness,” said John R. Adams, a federal judge in Ohio who began taking firearms classes after a federal judge’s family was slain in Chicago and takes a pistol to the courthouse on weekends. “If I’m going to carry a firearm, I’d better know how to use it.”

For Full Story

Mexican Drug Cartel Threatening to Take on U.S. Law Enforcement

Joaquin Guzman

Joaquin Guzman

As if we needed more evidence of the threat the Mexican cartels pose to the United States, here’s the latest. Don’t be surprised to see more DEA agents in Mexico and possibly other U.S. personnel from other agencies– and even the military.

By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
SELLS, Ariz. — The reputed head of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel is threatening a more aggressive stance against competitors and law enforcement north of the border, instructing associates to use deadly force, if needed, to protect increasingly contested trafficking operations, authorities said.

Such a move by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted fugitive, would mark a turn from the cartel’s previous position of largely avoiding violent confrontations in the U.S. — either with law enforcement officers or rival traffickers.

Police and federal agents in Arizona said they had recently received at least two law enforcement alerts focused on Guzman’s reported orders that his smugglers should “use their weapons to defend their loads at all costs.”

Lax U.S. Gun Laws Let Gun Smugglers Sell To Mexican Drug Traffickers

gunSure the violent drug trade in Mexico is out of control and sure we care. But we have to face up to the fact that our citizens are providing guns down there and helping distribute the product up here. More things need to be done up north to help our neighbor to the south.

By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
New York Times
HOUSTON – John Phillip Hernandez, a 24-year-old unemployed machinist who lived with his parents, walked into a giant sporting goods store here in July 2006, and plunked $2,600 in cash on a glass display counter. A few minutes later, Mr. Hernandez walked out with three military-style rifles.

One of those rifles was recovered seven months later in Acapulco, Mexico, where it had been used by drug cartel gunmen to attack the offices of the Guerrero State attorney general, court documents say. Four police officers and three secretaries were killed.

Although Mr. Hernandez was arrested last year as part of a gun-smuggling ring, most of the 22 others in the ring are still at large. Before their operation was discovered, the smugglers had transported what court documents described as at least 339 high-powered weapons to Mexico over a year and a half, federal agents said.

“There is no telling how long that group was operating before we caught on to them,” said J. Dewey Webb, the agent in charge of the Houston division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Noting there are about 1,500 licensed gun dealers in the Houston area, Mr. Webb added, “You can come to Houston and go to a different gun store every day for several months and never alert any one.”

 For Full Story

U.S. Promised $1.4 Billion to Mexico to Fight Cartels, But Little of That Has Actually Been Spent

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I keep harping on this, but the U.S. better step it up when it comes to assisting Mexico in the war against the drug cartels. This problem has the potential get more out of control, and it’s pretty bad right now. The following is an example of the lax approach to this problem.

By William Booth and Steve Fainaru
Washington Post Foreign Service
MEXICO CITY — After promising $1.4 billion last year under a landmark initiative to help fight drug trafficking in Mexico, the U.S. government has spent almost none of the money, fanning criticism on both sides of the border that the United States is failing to respond quickly to the deepening crisis.

In June, Congress appropriated $400 million to assist Mexico under the first installment of the Merida Initiative, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The three-year aid package was passed as an emergency measure because of deteriorating security in Mexico. In December, the State Department announced that $197 million had been “released.”

For Full Story