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Tag: Mexico

Mexico Cartels Have Bullet Proof Vests Emblazoned With DEA and FBI

DEA agents at Quantico/ticklethewire.com photo

DEA agents at Quantico/ticklethewire.com photo

Not surprising, the cartels have access to things they shouldn’t. But this is truly scary.

By Dane Schiller
Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON — Mexico’s Gulf Cartel may have 40 bullet-proof vests emblazoned with “FBI” and “DEA” to trick their drug-trafficking rivals, according to a new law enforcement advisory.

Baseball caps and T-shirts with the agencies’ names long have been a fad among everyday citizens, but ballistic armor raises the stakes and concerns, officials said.

“It is believed the Gulf Cartel intended to use the vests as a distraction while they were conducting enforcement activities against their victims,” reads a message prepared by an FBI intelligence coordinator.

The advisory, which was distributed Monday, comes as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano plans to travel the border and visit Mexico this week to discuss taking on drug cartels.

For Full Story

Hezbollah Using Mexican Drug Routes into U.S.

border-fence-photo5It’s not surprising that other groups would get in on a good thing. The Hezbollah revelation is an interesting twist in the nagging Mexican border problem.

By Sara A. Carter
The Washington Times
WASHINGTON — Hezbollah is using the same southern narcotics routes that Mexican drug kingpins do to smuggle drugs and people into the United States, reaping money to finance its operations and threatening U.S. national security, current and former U.S. law enforcement, defense and counterterrorism officials say.

The Iran-backed Lebanese group has long been involved in narcotics and human trafficking in South America’s tri-border region of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Increasingly, however, it is relying on Mexican narcotics syndicates that control access to transit routes into the U.S.

Hezbollah relies on “the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers and transportation experts as the drug cartels,” said Michael Braun, who just retired as assistant administrator and chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“They work together,” said Mr. Braun. “They rely on the same shadow facilitators.”

For Full Story

Can You Spell C-O-R-R-U-P-T-I-O-N? Mexico Must Deal With Corrupt System When Battling Drug Cartels

REYNOSA, Mexico — An army convoy on the hunt for traffickers rolled out of its base recently in this border town under the control of the Gulf Cartel — and an ominous voice crackled over a two-way radio frequency to announce just that.

The voice, belonging to a cartel spy, then broadcast the soldiers’ route through the city, turn by turn, using the same military language as the soldiers.

“They’re following us,” Col. Juan José Gómez, who was monitoring the transmission from the front seat of an olive-green pickup truck, said with a shrug.

The presence of the informers, some of them former soldiers, highlights a central paradox in Mexico’s ambitious and bloody assault on the drug cartels that have ravaged the country. The nation has launched a war, but it cannot fully rely on the very institutions — the police, customs, the courts, the prisons, even the relatively clean army — most needed to carry it out.

The cartels bring in billions of dollars more than the Mexican government spends to defeat them, and they spend their wealth to bolster their ranks with an untold number of politicians, judges, prison guards and police officers — so many police officers, in fact, that entire forces in cities across Mexico have been disbanded and rebuilt from scratch.

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Obama Administration Announces Modest Steps to Deal With U.S.-Mexico Border Trouble

Tex. Gov. Rick Perry/official photo

Tex. Gov. Rick Perry/official photo

As expected, the Obama administration is taking steps to beef up security along the Mexican border. But the announcement falls short for Tex. Gov. Rick Perry, which should count for something since his state has had to deal with a whole lot of trouble.

By TODD J. GILLMAN
The Dallas Morning News
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration announced modest steps this morning to beef up border security and help Mexico fight its drug cartels.

But Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the president isn’t ready to grant Texas’ request for a troop surge to ward off spillover violence.

“There’s already a very, very heavy federal presence. We add to it, we target, we dedicate,” Napolitano said at the White House, adding that she will meet with Gov. Rick Perry in Texas on Thursday to press for details on his call for 1,000 soldiers or border agents.

The drug war has killed more than 7,000 Mexicans in the last 15 months, and Perry and other border officials have expressed concern that the violence is getting worse and could threaten more Americans.

Perry expressed disappointment, saying the state and its taxpayers have had to “fill in the gaps” because the federal presence isn’t enough.

For Full Story

Mexican Drug Cartels Moving in On Lucrative Illegal Immigrant Smuggling

mexico2

Not a surprise that the Mexican drug cartels would find other lucrative enterprises. This time it’s smuggling of illegal aliens. That’s an area that can only become more violent as the cartels take over. Here’s another reason for the U.S. to step it up and address the Mexican drug cartel and border problems.

By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON— Mexican drug cartels and their vast network of associates have branched out from their traditional business of narcotics trafficking and are now playing a central role in the multibillion-dollar-a-year business of illegal immigrant smuggling, U.S. law enforcement officials and other experts say.

The business of smuggling humans across the Mexican border has always been brisk, with many thousands coming across every year.

But smugglers affiliated with the drug cartels have taken the enterprise to a new level — and made it more violent — by commandeering much of the operation from independent coyotes, according to these officials and recent congressional testimonies.

U.S. efforts to stop the cartels have been stymied by a shortage of funds and the failure of federal law enforcement agencies to collaborate effectively with one another, their local and state counterparts and the Mexican government, officials say.

U.S. authorities have long focused their efforts on the cartels’ trafficking of cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamines, which has left a trail of violence and corruption.

Many of those officials now say that the toll from smuggling illegal immigrants is often far worse.

For Full Story

RELATED STORY

Mexican Drug War Spilling Over Border at Alarming Rate (N.Y. Times)

Senators and Experts Say U.S. Falling Short in Helping Mexico Battle Cartels

border-fence-photo2Just like the mortgage debacle, if we continue to fall short in addressing the Mexican drug war, it will spin out of control and cost more lives in the U.S. The problem has already spilled over into our states. It can only get worse if we continue to fall short.

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — U.S. efforts to help the Mexican government battle powerful organized crime networks are falling short, and a recent sharp spike in violence south of the border poses a growing threat to U.S. citizens, senators and independent experts told officials from three federal agencies yesterday on Capitol Hill.

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard (D), who said his state is the principal American gateway for drugs and human smuggling from Mexico, called the Mexican cartels the principal criminal threat for the 21st century. But he criticized Washington’s response as disjointed and called for more intelligence-sharing and better coordination.

“We are not winning the battle,” Goddard told members of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime and drugs.

Lawmakers joined Goddard in calling for a stronger federal response, including heightened efforts to stanch the illicit stream of thousands of American guns and billions of dollars in cash annually flowing southward across the border.

For Full Story

Seven Bodies Found in Mexico; Could be Drug Related

Authorities suspect these are drug related murders. The thing is, the drug wars in Mexico aren’t getting out of hand, they’re  already are out of hand and the U.S. needs to step it up and get involved before more and more of it spills over into the U.S.

By MARINA MONTEMAYOR
Associated Press Writer
PDT CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Police acting on a tip found seven bodies partially buried in the desert on the outskirts of the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, an official said Saturday.

Investigators are searching the desert site south of the city to see whether there are any more bodies.

An official with the state prosecutor’s office who declined to be named in line with department policy says a police officer’s badge was found at the site. Authorities were working to identify the bodies.

For Full Story

Ex-DEA Official Testifies About the Escalating Guns, Drugs and Violence in Mexico

By Michael Braun
Counterterrorism Blog

WASHINGTON –Today* I testified before the Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the escalating violence in Mexico. My viewpoint arises from my 34 years in law enforcement and as a U.S. Marine. I served for almost four years as the Assistant Administrator and Chief of Operations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and for one year as the Agency’s Acting Chief of Intelligence. I also served in a number of DEA offices throughout the United States, including service on both our Southern and Northern borders, on both our East and West Coasts, in the Midwest, as well as two years in various countries in Latin America.

Here are several paragraphs of that testimony, and you can download it in its entirety here

*(Braun testified on Thursday March 12, 2009)