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Tag: Mexico

Suspected Mexican Drug Smuggler Whose Brother Killed DEA Agent Pleads Not Guilty In Colo.

Here’s just another sign of Mexico’s long reach into the U.S. drug trade.

The Associated Press
DENVER-A suspected drug smuggler from Mexico whose brother was convicted of killing a U.S. drug agent has pleaded not guilty to racketeering and marijuana charges.

Miguel Angel Caro-Quintero entered his plea Thursday in a heavily guarded federal courtroom in Denver Thursday.

He’s accused of smuggling marijuana into Colorado in half-ton quantities.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

TSA to Review Airport Incident Involving Louisiana Senator (AP)

Some Congress Members Fear Mexican Cartels Might Help Terrorists Attack U.S.

It’s hard to say whether Congress members are taking this too far. Then again, who would have thought the Mexican drug wars would create so many problems here in the U.S. What ever the case, the situation south of the border can’t be ignored here in the states.

By Jordy Yager

Rep. Henry Cuellar/official photo

Rep. Henry Cuellar/official photo

The Hill
WASHINGTON — Members of Congress are raising the alarm that war-like conditions on the Mexican border could lead to Mexican drug cartels helping terrorists attack the U.S.

“When you have…gangs and they have loose ties with al Qaeda and then you have Iran not too far away from building a nuclear capability, nuclear terrorism may not be far off,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R- Ariz.), a member of the House Armed Services committee.

The Mexican drug cartels’ violence accounted for more than 6,000 deaths last year, and in recent months it has begun spilling over into the districts of lawmakers from the southwest region, even as far north as Phoenix, Ariz. — which has become, Franks noted, the “kidnap capital of the U.S.”

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), whose district borders Mexico, said that while the situation is bad, it could easily get worse.

“The goal of the cartels is to make money,” said Cuellar, who sits on the House Homeland Security committee. “If they can smuggle in drugs and human cargo, then certainly they can smuggle other things in, other devices to cause us harm.”

“We have not heard of any associations, but is there the possibility? I’ll be the first to say, yeah. They have the routes, they can very easily smuggle in other things.”
For Full Story

Mexican President Calderon Says U.S. Consumer is Fueling Narco Trafficking

President Felipe Calderon

President Felipe Calderon

The French newspaper Le Monde sat down this week with the Mexican president for a Q and A. The president blamed President Bush for easing gun restrictions and said the American consumer was helping his country’s drug trade. It’s hard to argue over those points.

By Jean Pierre-Langellier and Joelle Stolz
Le Monde

Le Monde: Concerning the battle against drug trafficking, you said:

“It’s them or us!” One minister mentioned the possibility that the next Mexican president could be a “Narco.” Has the government lost control over a part of the country?

Mexican President Felipe Calderon: Of course not. Our efforts are specifically targeted to preserve the government’s authority, that is, its monopoly on the use of force, and also the authority of the law in the face of a phenomenon, which, it is true, had begun to spread to different regions. But there is not a single spot of national territory that eludes the government’s complete control. And we’ve preserved that control because we’ve acted in time and with great resolve.

Organized crime exerts pressure on the political authorities by cooptation, corruption and intimidation. There was a certain influence at the local and municipal level. Intervening now has allowed us to avoid having criminal action affect a higher echelon.

Who’s Responsible?

Rather than pointing out who’s to blame, it’s better to assume one’s responsibilities. Let’s talk about the causes. The first is the American consumer. If the United States were not the biggest drug market in the world, we wouldn’t have this problem.

And there’s also the arms trade. In two years, we’ve seized 33,000 weapons, 18,000 of them high caliber, rocket launchers, thousands of grenades, devices able to pierce armor plating. Now the overwhelming majority of this materiel had been purchased in the United States, including materiel which is the exclusive property of the American Army. In 2004, (the Bush administration) lifted the prohibition that had previously been in place against the sale of these very dangerous weapons.

There is another factor: the cartels’ modus operandi has changed. Before, they only transported drugs to the United States. Today, and this is a substantial change, they are trying to develop a domestic market and so need to control the territory and the life of entire communities.

For Full Interview

Violent Mexico Drug Cartels Reaching into Canada

The violent Mexican drug wars are spilling over the border into the U.S., particularly in border states. But now Canada is acknowledging that the violent activities are encroaching on the Canadian landscape. Now the question is: What to do?

COLIN FREEZE AND MARINA JIMÉNEZ
Toronto Globe and Mail
TORONTO — Mexico’s war on the drug cartels has become a national security issue for Canada, say Ottawa officials, as the violent backlash from the syndicates spills across the border into Canada and the U.S.

Security agencies, including the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre, are concerned an organized-crime problem could turn into a full-fledged national security threat.

One official, who asked to speak anonymously, explained that “it’s all part of this river of drugs – and we’re one of the subsidiary streams.

“It’s going to impact on us,” he said, adding the issue “does receive national attention.”
The Globe and Mail

This week, the RCMP publicly described a series of B.C. gang murders as a Canadian echo of the bloody feuds among the Mexican drug cartels, notorious for beheading their enemies and bribing corrupt local officials.

For Full Story

Related Story

Mexicans and Americans Getting Armor Plated Vehicles in Response to Violence (AP)

Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Calls For U.S. To Step It Up In Helping Mexico With Drug War

Mexican drugs seized in large-scale DEA operation/dea photo

Mexican drugs seized in large-scale DEA operation/dea photo

The paper’s editorial calls for action now to take on the violent Mexican drug cartels that pose great dangers to the U.S. Sec. of Defense Robert Gates said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press that the U.S. is in a position to help Mexico with training, resources, surveillance and intelligence. Well, no better time than the present to act.

By The Philadelphia Inquirer
Imagine if murders in Philadelphia tripled. Imagine if they quadrupled. Imagine living in Juarez, Mexico. With a population about the same as Philadelphia’s 1.4 million, Juarez had 1,600 murders last year; Philadelphia had 332.

Last month, Juarez had more than 80 murders. If you think that sounds like a war zone, you would be right. Juarez is on the front lines of the so-called war on drugs. That multi-decade misadventure has filled U.S. prisons with thousands of drug-law violators, but hasn’t done enough to stem our demand for drugs.

Overall drug use among America’s youth is down 25 percent since 2001, according to a University of Michigan study. But 32 percent of 12th graders said they used marijuana over the past year.

To Read Entire Editorial

U.S. Big Source of Guns For Mexican Drug Cartels

For a long time the U.S. has been highly critical that Mexico hadn’t done enough to curb drug trafficking. But Mexico has a reason to gripe: A lot of guns used by drug cartels come from the U.S.

By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
New York Times
PHOENIX – The Mexican agents who moved in on a safe house full of drug dealers last May were not prepared for the fire power that greeted them.

When the shooting was over, eight agents were dead. Among the guns the police recovered was an assault rifle traced back across the border to a dingy gun store here called X-Caliber Guns.

Now, the owner, George Iknadosian, will go on trial on charges he sold hundreds of weapons, mostly AK-47 rifles, to smugglers, knowing they would send them to a drug cartel in the western state of Sinaloa. The guns helped fuel the gang warfare in which more than 6,000 Mexicans died last year.

Mexican authorities have long complained that American gun dealers are arming the cartels. This case is the most prominent prosecution of an American gun dealer since the United States promised Mexico two years ago it would clamp down on the smuggling of weapons across the border. It also offers a rare glimpse of how weapons delivered to American gun dealers are being moved into Mexico and wielded in horrific crimes.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Homeland Sec. Napolitano Says Helping Mexico Fight Drug Cartels Demands “Utmost Attention”

Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano recognizes the threat of violence from the Mexican drug war poses for the U.S., particularly for border states like Texas and Arizona.

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Aiding the Mexican government’s fight against drug cartels is a top priority that demands the “utmost attention” of U.S. security officials, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said yesterday, announcing new steps aimed at preventing the spillover of violence into the United States.

Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s sweeping crackdown on narco-traffickers has triggered a desperate backlash of violence “of a different degree and level than we’ve ever seen before,” Napolitano said in her first appearance before the House Homeland Security Committee. “It is something that deserves our utmost attention right now,” she said.

Napolitano said she has reached out to national security adviser James L. Jones, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and local and state law enforcement officials to review ways to assist Mexican law enforcement; stop the flow of guns, assault rifles and cash from the United States into Mexico; and identify areas in which more resources might be needed.

For Full Story

Authorities Roundup 48 Suspects in U.S. in Crackdown on Mexican Drug Cartel

Weapons seized in operation/DEA photo
Weapons seized in operation/DEA photo

More and more media outlets in recent months were reporting on  Mexican drug violence that was spilling into the U.S. Authorities hope this will address some of the problem, but obviously it will take more than this to make it go away.

By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — Federal authorities said today that they have arrested 48 people in California, Minnesota and Maryland as part of a 21-month investigation targeting the Sinaloa Cartel, a Mexican drug trafficking organization that U.S. officials fear has spread into scores of American cities.

In Operation Xcellerator, federal, state and local law enforcement officials in the U.S. worked closely with authorities in Mexico and Canada to arrest more than 751 people on narcotics-related charges, and seized more than 20 tons of narcotics, a Justice Department official said.