Mexico's Drug Cartel Violence is This...

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#228 Mar 9, 2010
Agents net half-ton of marijuana (4:42 p.m.)Sun-

News report

LAS CRUCES - Border Patrol agents were busy this weekend, arresting a criminal alien and confiscating more than a half-ton of marijuana in five separate incidents, most occurring near Lordsburg.
On Friday evening, agents assigned to the El Paso Border Patrol Station saw a group of individuals illegally entering the Franklin canal, east of the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry in downtown El Paso. The agents pursued the subjects on ATV's and were able to arrest them.

They identified themselves as Mexican nationals and were transported to the El Paso Station's processing center where one of the subjects' extensive criminal history was discovered.

Records revealed that the 37-year-old man from Mexico was charged by the El Paso Police Department with a local homicide in 1993. He was transported to the El Paso County Detention Facility pending further prosecution.

On Friday, agents assigned to the Lordsburg Station were performing line watch operations when they observed footprints of a group who crossed the border illegally approximately 10 miles south of Rodeo. As agents followed the footprints, they observed several burlap sacks of marijuana totaling approximately 200 pounds of marijuana, valued at more than $160,304.

Agents searched the area for the subjects and saw the footprints leading back into Mexico. This seizure was followed by three other attempts by smugglers to transport a total of 323 pounds of contraband through New Mexico on Friday. One more
significant drug load was also seized by agents from Lordsburg in the same vicinity totaling 276 pounds.
In total for the weekend, agents from the Lordsburg Station seized over 799 pounds of marijuana valued at over $639,200.

Lordsburg agents were not alone in their fight against drugs. Agents from Santa Teresa and Fort Hancock, TX were also busy intercepting drug loads in their respective areas. Agents from the two stations seized 260 pounds of marijuana, valued at $208,000. In connection with those same drug seizures, agents also arrested six subjects. In each case, the contraband, and subjects were turned over to the appropriate investigating agency for final disposition.

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#229 Mar 10, 2010
US-born capo, drug lord's brother fight for cartel

MEXICO CITY (AP)— Authorities say a U.S.-born hitman is fighting the brother of a deceased drug lord for control of the Beltran-Leyva cartel, marking what may be the first time an American has risen to the very top ranks of Mexican gangs.

Ramon Pequeno, head of the anti-narcotics division of Mexico’s federal police, said Tuesday that Texas-born Edgar Valdez Villarreal, nicknamed “La Barbie,” is battling Hector Beltran Leyva for control of the Beltran Leyva cartel.

“Right now it appears there is an internal dispute for control of the organization,” Pequeno said.“On one side is ‘La Barbie’ and on the other side is Hector Beltran, the natural heir of the organization.”

Pequeno said the battle was unleashed when cartel leader Arturo Beltran Leyva died in a shootout with Mexican marines in December. Both men are apparently carrying out killings in bids to take control of the gang, one of Mexico’s most powerful.

A previous top drug lord, Juan Garcia Abrego, was expelled to the United States in 1996 for purportedly being a U.S. citizen. But he appeared to have lived all his life in Mexico and reports have raised doubts about whether he was born in Texas, as one birth certificates states.

Valdez Villarreal was born in the border city of Laredo, Texas, and has built a reputation as one of the most brutal enforcers employed by Mexican drug gangs.

Turf battles among Mexico’s drug gangs and attacks on law enforcement officers and civilians have killed about 17,900 people since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against the gangs when he took office in December 2006.

The battles have become so fierce in some regions — particularly along the border — that the U.S. government has cautioned its citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to some areas.

Late last week, the U.S. consulate in the northern city of Monterrey warned Americans to avoid traveling by road between Monterrey and the border cities of Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa, citing a “heightened risk of violence” on those highways.

It also noted “an increase in carjackings in the city and on the highways, including an incident involving a U.S. citizen on the toll (cuota) highway to Reynosa.”

The violence in that region, including a running series of gunbattles, is believed to be the result of yet another dispute between drug gangs. The Zetas — a gang of hitmen led by army deserters who once worked for the Gulf cartel — have apparently split with that organization, which in turn reportedly allied with the powerful Sinaloa cartel.

Calderon has dispatched tens of thousands of soldiers to fight the cartels, but recently acknowledged the offensive needed to include social programs as well.

On Tuesday, the government announced 700 million pesos ($52 million) in funding for housing, day care and anti-poverty programs in Ciudad Juarez, a city on the border with Texas that has been wracked by violence.

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#230 Mar 10, 2010
Reynosa Officials Warning Residents About Gunbattle

Last Update: 3/09/2010

REYNOSA, Tamaulipas, Mexico - Reynosa city officials are warning residents in the Petrolera Colonia of a gunbattle.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS learned the area of concern is near the intersection of Alvaro Obregon and Colosio boulevards.

City officials say the shooting began around 2:45 this afternoon. An hour later residents were told the "high risk situation" was over but to be cautious.

Meanwhile in Matamoros and Rio Bravo, there are widespread reports of banners being hung. The banners announce the Gulf Cartel's intention to split from the Zetas.

Similar banners were hung today throughout Mexico including the states of Nuevo León, Guerrero, Michoacán, and Durango.

All have similar messages from drug cartels saying they no longer wish to associate themselves with the Zetas.

The messages also refer to the Zetas as kidnappers, terrorists, bank robbers, rapists, child killers, and traitors.

The banners in Matamoros and Rio Bravo are signed with the initials CDG, or Cartel Del Golfo.

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#231 Mar 10, 2010
Mexico Consulate Says Region is Safe

Last Update: 3/09/2010

MCALLEN - The U.S. Consulate in Monterrey has a new warning for those looking to travel to Mexico. It is a different message than what the Mexican Consulate office reports.

The U.S Consulate in Monterrey opposes leisure travel by U.S. government employees in the region. In a recent message, the consulate said the security has deteriorated in the border region. They noted how cartels set up checkpoints along major highways linking Monterrey and the U.S. It includes roads around Reynosa. The office admits violence can happen at any time of the day.

That is not stopping some travelers. The Mexican Consulate office in McAllen has long lines, lengthy waits, and many people looking to travel to Mexico, including the Molina family. Yadira Molina says, "Every time we go to visit, it is ok."

Magdalena Diaz, the Mexican Consulate, agrees. She says, "We invite all people to continue to visit Mexico. We're still working in promoting our relationships."

The Mexican Consulate is known for its services like issuing a passport or updating visas, but it is also holding community events to promote commerce between the border cities. Diaz says, "I see how intense this is. It is the same people, the same family, the same business. So, I think we are very much of the same region."

The Mexican Consulate says promoting business between border cities may reduce the violence in area.

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#232 Mar 10, 2010
Mexico releases report on recent Tamaulipas seizures

March 10, 2010 6:57 AM
The Brownsville Herald

The arrests of nearly 1,500 suspects and the seizure of 4,300 weapons and 123 tons of marijuana are among the top figures recently released by the Mexican military.

The figures were compiled nationally by Mexico’s Defense Secretariat (SEDENA) and take into account all the seizures made during January and February.

The report lists 1,475 arrested suspects, and the seizure of 4,309 weapons, 1,298 motor-vehicles, three airplanes, eight ships, 123 tons of marijuana, 15,993 psychotropic pills, 22 kilos of opium and 12 kilos of cocaine, SEDENA said.

Military officials also reports destroying 35 drug laboratories, 2,875 hectares of marijuana, 2,881 hectares of poppies and 86 clandestine airports.

The Mexican military also released figures from their operations in the state of Tamaulipas from the last two weeks of February.

During that time period, residents saw a dramatic increase in firefights due to a drug war between the Zetas criminal organization and various drug cartels, including The Gulf Cartel, La Familia Michoacana and The Sinaloa Cartel.

According to U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency documents, the Zetas began as a rapid response team from the Mexican army called Grupo Aeromovil de Fuerzas Especiales (GAFE). The group was designed to fight drug cartels; however, shortly after their inception, the Zetas switched sides and became the personal guard of cartel leader Osiel Cardenas.

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#233 Mar 10, 2010
U.S. officials: Don't drive to Monterrey

March 09, 2010
Jared Taylor
The Monitor

REYNOSA — U.S. consular officials advise American citizens to avoid driving between Reynosa and Monterrey as a recent surge in violence and reports of impromptu checkpoints operated by drug cartel thugs further erode security across the region.

The U.S. Consulate in Monterrey issued the warning Friday in response to widespread attacks in cities across the states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon.

The advisory is directed at Americans living in Monterrey who may travel to visit Reynosa and the Rio Grande Valley, consular spokesman Brian Quigley said.

One U.S. citizen was recently carjacked along the toll highway between Reynosa and Monterrey.

“We have a duty to inform American citizens and to make them aware of what’s happening,” Quigley said.“It is still a valid message.”

For those who must to drive to Monterrey, consular officials recommend traveling during the early morning and afternoon, when fewer violent outbreaks have occurred. But any unnecessary trips should be avoided, officials said.

The violence comes as the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas — once the cartel’s band of ex-military enforcers — have reportedly been vying for control over the region in a war supported by other cartels in other regions of Mexico.

The battles have claimed dozens of lives across Tamaulipas since early February, according to Mexican authorities. The Dallas Morning News this week quoted an unnamed U.S. intelligence official as saying at least 200 people have died in the recent battles, but the report also stated no official estimate of the casualties could be obtained.

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#234 Mar 10, 2010
Million Dollar Drug Cargos Seized

Inspectors had a very busy day on the international bridges as they seized cargos of heroine, cocaine, marijuana and even cash money.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

LAREDO, Tx.- Customs and Border Patrol inspectors had a very busy day on the international bridges as they seized cargos of heroine, cocaine, marijuana and even money in cash.

In the first case, federal agents arrested a 23 year old Houston resident, who arrived at the Juarez-Lincoln bridge in a 2001 Isuzu Trooper.

Once he was at secondary, the x ray scanner and a trained canine helped authorities detect 12 packages with a total of 41 pounds of cocaine valued at 1.3 million dollars.

In the second case, custom agents confiscated two pounds of heroine valued at 200,000 dollars that were hidden underneath a seat in a 2006 Volvo Bus, that carried passengers.

A package with two pounds of cocaine were also found, valued at 64,000 dollars, no arrests were made. The largest bust was registered on the World Trade bridge when federal agents seized 3,500 pounds of marijuana found in a trailer tractor.

A 1997 Volvo tractor that was driven by a 27 year old Nuevo Laredo resident, was sent to secondary where 98 packages valued at 3.5 million dollars were found with a scanner among some auto parts.

In the last case, authorities seized 212,243 dollars in cash that a native from Jalisco tried to take out of the United States throught the Juárez-Lincoln international bridge.

The 60 year old man traveled in a 2000 Sonora truck when he was sent to secondary and officials found 11 packages of money hidden.

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#235 Mar 10, 2010
Border Patrol Seizes More Marijuana in Laredo

Border Patrol agents arrested a man that transported 67 kilograms of marijuana.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

LAREDO, Tx.- Border Patrol agents arrested a man that transported 67 kilograms of marijuana. Juan José Gallegos, was taken into custody on federal charges of drug possession, with the intent to distribute.

According to official reports, Gallegos was busted carrying several packages of marijuana valued at 120,000 dollars.

The subject was interrogated by officials but refused to give any information and asked for an attorney. Gallegos and the drug were turned over to the DEA to continue with investigations.

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#236 Mar 10, 2010
Backpacks of marijuana found abandoned in desert near Ajo

by Jennifer Thomas
Posted on March 9, 2010

AJO -- U.S. Border Patrol agents found more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana abandoned in the desert near Ajo.

On Monday, Border Patrol agents located the footprints of a group of people who apparently entered the United States illegally.

After tracking the group for several hours, the agents found multiple backpacks of marijuana.

The agents conducted a thorough search of the immediate area, but no individuals were found.

Agent David Jimarez said the marijuana has an estimated value of more than $850,000.

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#237 Mar 10, 2010
Agents report finding ton of marijuana, beached smugglers on local island

By Adam Foxman
Posted March 9, 2010

Federal agents arrested four Mexican citizens and seized more than a ton of marijuana that smugglers tried to hide on Santa Rosa Island after their boat beached there, U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials said Tuesday.

A Navy helicopter Thursday spotted a type of lightweight Mexican boat typically used for smuggling narcotics heading north about 46 miles off the coast. Helicopters and vessels from Homeland Security’s San Diego Maritime Unified Command continued to search the area, and Saturday they spotted fuel canisters and wreckage of the “panga” boat on a Santa Rosa Island beach, officials said.

Agents searched the island and found 46 bundles of marijuana weighing a total of 2,448 pounds under some vegetation in a canyon. They also found four men hiding in nearby brush, officials said.

The four were arrested and await arraignment for alleged smuggling, officials said. Their names and ages were not released Tuesday.

The bundles of marijuana were valued at more than $1.2 million, said Jackie Dizdul, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

While such seizures are not uncommon near the Mexican border, the location of this incident was unusual, Dizdul said.“It’s probably been decades since we’ve had a seizure this far north of the border,” she said.

Channel Islands National Park spokeswoman Yvonne Menard said the park had never received a report of a drug smuggler or pot cultivator on the islands. The only incident even remotely close was when three juveniles stole a boat from Channel Islands Harbor in 1989 and ran aground on Santa Rosa Island on their way to Hawaii.

Authorities have recently seen an increase in smuggling along the coast, which appears related to increased border enforcement on land, Dizdul said.

The San Diego task force made 430 drug and human smuggling arrests during the 2009 fiscal year, compared with 230 the previous fiscal year, according to Customs and Border Protection.

On March 3, agents stopped a boat filled with nearly a half-ton of marijuana in Mission Bay in San Diego, officials said.

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#238 Mar 11, 2010
Juárez officer slain; mayor gets threat:'2 weeks left to live'

By Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times
Posted: 03/11/2010

A police officer killed, a threat against the mayor and an attack on a family were parts of the latest violence in Juárez.

Police officer Luis Alberto Adame Rubio was off duty when his car was sprayed with gunfire by men with assault rifles Wednesday afternoon in the Jilotepec area, a Juárez city spokesman said. Adame died at the scene.

Adame, 32, was a patrol officer who had joined the police department a year ago among recruits intended to replace corrupt officers.

The cleansing of the police department could be a motive behind a death threat made against Juárez Mayor José Reyes Ferriz.

City officials said that the mayor's security team was looking into the threat and that security had been increased.

"We know the topic of cleaning up the police to have a trustworthy department is something that has affected a lot of criminal interests and we take very seriously these" threats, Reyes said in a statement.

Reyes has been threatened before.

Wednesday morning, a pig's head was found next to a sign for the mayor stating in part "you have two weeks left to live," the Internet news Web site reported.

Drug kingpin Joaquin "Chapo" Guzmán's Sinaloa drug cartel uses the term "marranos," or pigs, as a derogatory reference to members of the rival Juárez drug cartel.

Since 2008, both cartels have been fighting for control of a drug-smuggling corridor in a wave of bloodshed that has turned Juárez into Mexico's most violent city. Mexico President Felipe Calderón is scheduled to visit Juárez next Tuesday. He recently visited the city twice.
More than 75 homicides have occurred this month in Juárez. Chihuahua state police said there had been at least four killings by Wednes day evening. On Tuesday, there were 14 homicides, including an attack on a family.

Two women were killed and a 3-year-old girl was wounded in a shooting Tuesday in a home near the airport, officials said. Maricruz Avalos Mendoza, 34, and Janet Perez Avalos, 19, who are reportedly mother and daughter, died after being shot in the head. The wounded girl was taken to a hospital in undisclosed condition.

Also on Tuesday, the body of an unidentified man was found "100 percent burned" at the edge of an irrigation canal in colonia Partido Romero in the northern part of the city. A cause of death had not been determined.

Police said a bottle smelling of gasoline was found nearby.

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#239 Mar 11, 2010
Mexican Helicopter Spotted in Starr County

Last Update: 3/10 11:40 pm

FALCON HEIGHTS - A Mexican Navy helicopter was seen doing surveillance in Starr County.

Residents of Falcon Heights, about 14 miles away from Roma, noticed a Mexican helicopter hovering over a home shortly after six o'clock last night.

Witnesses say the helicopter hovered for about 15 minutes over a house where a known criminal used to live.

Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr. says, "They had armored individuals in the chopper, open ramp, very military looking, in style and preparation."

CHANNEL 5 NEWS contacted nearly a dozen government agencies on this side of the border. The Federal Aviation Administration directed us towards Customs and Border Protection who would only say they knew about the incident and that the Falcon Bridge was not affected.

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#240 Mar 11, 2010
Valley City Takes Steps To Secure Sewer Systems

Reported by: Polo Sandoval
Last Update: 3/10 11:42 pm

HIDALGO - A smuggler's expressway is out of commission now.

In November CHANNEL 5 NEWS first took you under the city of Hidalgo. We showed you how smugglers used the drainage system to bring drugs and people into the country.

Now the city has started sealing those tunnels up.

Workers built a custom cage around a drainage inlet that was the entrance for smugglers.

Using high grade steel they made it where water and debris can flow through, but people will not be able to get in.

"This is our answer to the cartels wanting to use our storm drains to come into the city," says Police Chief Vernon Rosser.

Chief Rosser says he knows he will have to stay a step ahead of smugglers.

"I think this is going to be an ongoing and continuous effort on their part to try and defeat whatever safety measures we use," he says.

The next step for the city will be to put locking covers on all of the city's manholes.

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#241 Mar 11, 2010
Violence Along Border Affecting Valley Economy

Last Update: 3/10 11:43 pm

MCALLEN - Violence across the border is cutting into one Valley city's bottom line.

The McAllen Deputy City Manager says several months of low retail taxes could have an effect on next year's city budget. City leaders might have to make up the shortfall cuts in services or city programs.

Money exchange workers we talked to told us their businesses were down between 80 and 95%. Martha Villarreal says she used to see lots of Mexicans exchanging their money at this money exchange in downtown McAllen. She rents space here to sell insurance. Martha says the violence at the border is keeping Mexicans away from McAllen.

Workers at another exchange near La Plaza Mall told us they get 200 people in the door on an average day. Now they're seeing less than 20. That's a 90% decrease.

The McAllen Deputy City Manager says this past month was painful for retailers. He says because fewer Mexicans came to spend their money, retailers collected 10% less in taxes they pay to the city. All of this affects you. Every time you eat out or go to the movies in McAllen, you are making up the difference in the retail tax deficit.

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#242 Mar 11, 2010
At least one killed in Reynosa shootout

Bodies found in other border towns

March 10, 2010 1:11 PM
Jared Taylor
The Monitor

REYNOSA — At least one man was killed in a shootout among civilians on the city’s west side Wednesday morning — the latest in a string of fatalities reported this week.

Reynosa city officials first reported the incident about 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Casa Bella neighborhood, along Boulevard Hidalgo near a Halliburton facility.

El Universal newspaper reported on its Web site that more than 100 military units were called to the neighborhood and closed streets near the scene of the shootout.

An update posted about 1:20 p.m. said the incident had ended. Federal police continue to investigate the shooting.

Wednesday’s fatality comes after other deadly incidents reported in Tamaulipas border cities this week.

Tamaulipas state officials reported via their government Web site that a man and a woman believed to have been 25-35 years old were found dead Tuesday morning in downtown Ciudad Mier, across the border from the Starr-Zapata county line. No further information about the incident was available.

In Reynosa, state officials said civilians engaged in a battle with federal authorities Tuesday in that city’s Laguna neighborhood, near Avenida Álvaro Obregón. One woman was injured during the firefight.

On Monday, a man was found dead in the Guardados de Arriba neighborhood of Miguel Alemán, across the border from Roma. The man had been shot several times and was found in the bed of a pickup truck, state officials said.

Also on Monday, state officials reported that a man was found dead in Camargo, across the border from Rio Grande City. The man, who was about 20 years old, had several gunshot wounds and was found near an abandoned truck.

One member of the Mexican navy died Saturday during a shootout with suspected cartel members in Mier, according to an agency statement.

A group of naval officers patrolling the city encountered a group of 15 vehicles driven by suspected cartel members and engaged in a shootout that left the sailor dead. No information was given regarding possible casualties or arrests among the suspected cartel members, but the navy said vehicles, weapons and communications equipment were seized after the incident.

The wave of fatalities comes amid a rash of shootings in the past month that have left dozens dead in Mexican cities across the border from the Rio Grande Valley.

Many of the recent deadly battles in Tamaulipas and the neighboring state of Nuevo León are believed to be related to a recent split between the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, the once-allied dominant drug trafficking gangs in the region.

Last week, the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey advised Americans to avoid driving between Reynosa or Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey after cartel checkpoints had been established and several carjackings were reported, including one involving a U.S. citizen.

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#243 Mar 11, 2010
Heroine Seized on Laredo Bridge

Inspectors arrested a man from North Carolina, who transported nearly 8 kilos of pure heroine.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

LAREDO, Tx.- Customs and Border Protection inspectors arrested a man from North Carolina, who transported nearly 8 kilos of pure heroine.

Javier Castañeda, resident of Lincoln, North Carolina, was busted trying to cross the drug into the United States on one of the international bridges.

The subject was sent to secondary where 7.9 kilos of heroine valued at 150,000 dollars were found.

Castañeda was arrested on federal charges of possession with the intention of distributing.

The subject appeared before Federal Judge Scott Hacker, who determined not to issue a bond.

The subject and the drug were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforecements to continue with investigations.

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#244 Mar 12, 2010
Juárez: Cop slain for being honest

By Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times
Posted: 03/12/2010

Juárez police went on alert Thursday and increased security at police stations after a threat was left at the city's police memorial following the killing of an off-duty officer.

The threat was found Wednesday after patrol officer Luis Alberto Adame Rubio was chased down in his car and fatally shot by a group of gunmen.

Adame, 32, joined the Juárez police a year ago as part of classes of recruits intended to weed out corruption.

The threat at the police memorial referred to Adame's murder and mentioned that the same thing would happen to police "who do not cooperate with La Linea," or the Juárez drug cartel.

Mexican police have historically faced a dilemma known as "plata o plomo" (silver or lead), in which police either take bribes from narco-traffickers or are killed.

City officials said the murder was the first attack on municipal police this year.

Tension grew late Wednesday night when gunshots were fired outside the Chihuahua district police station in southwestern Juárez.

Police spokesman Jacinto Segura denied reports that claimed the gunfire was a direct attack on the police station. Segura said there was no attack but there was a large police response after gunshots were heard on the street in front of the station. There were no injuries.

The killings continued on Thursday with at least nine homicides in the Juárez area.

Chihuahua state police said four men were found shot and killed Thursday morning near a ranch in the village of El Porvenir.

The body of Julio Cesar Murillo Orozco, 28, was found on a road in Rancho Rinconada Gallegos. Jose Luis Gonzalez, 28, was found 500 meters away in an irrigation canal, and two unidentified men were found one atop the other alongside the Juárez-Porvenir highway.

About 5:30 p.m., Abel Herrera Picasso, 39, was fatally shot in the San Isidro hardware store in the village of San Isidro, police said.

El Porvenir and San Isidro are in the Valley of Juárez. El Porvenir is across the border from the Fort Hancock area, and San Isidro is across from the San Elizario area.

The Valley of Juárez has been a hot spot as narco-traffickers fight for control of smuggling routes into the United States.

Also on Thursday, security remained increased for Juárez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz who was the target of a death threat found Wednes day along with a pig's head. The threat stated the mayor had two weeks left to live.

Reyes also has a home in West El Paso. El Paso police spokesman Detective Mike Baranyay said police were aware of the threat against Reyes but decline to discuss whether anything was being done in El Paso about the mayor's safety.

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#245 Mar 12, 2010
At least 8 dead across Mexico in drug killings

The Associated Press
Posted: 03/12/2010

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- Gunmen burst into a wake in the border city of Ciudad Juarez on Thursday and opened fire, killing 5 young men and wounding five others, including a 10-year-old girl.

The wake was being held at a private home for an 18-year-old man who had been shot to death in his car two days before.

Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for prosecutors in northern Chihuahua state, where Ciudad Juarez is located, said the bodies of the shooting victims lay in the street outside the home, after they apparently tried to flee the gunmen.

There was no immediate information on the condition of the wounded, who were taken to local hospitals for treatment.

The city has been plagued by drug gang violence in which gunmen often seek to finish off wounded rivals or associates of previous victims. Gunmen have attacked homes where they believe rivals might be gathering.

In January, gunmen killed 16 people, many of them teenagers who had gathered for a party. Investigators believe the killers may have been acting on a false tip that the youths belonged to a rival gang.

Elsewhere in Mexico, an American citizen, two policemen, four young men and a local government official were among those killed in other attacks across the country.

Police identified U.S. citizen German Norman Hall on Thursday as one of two men murdered by gunmen with assault rifles in the border town of Piedras Negras across from Eagle Pass, Texas. Police said Hall was shot eight times in the Wednesday attack.

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#246 Mar 12, 2010
Cartels Corrupting Border Patrol

McALLEN, Texas (AP)- Mexican drug cartels are infiltrating federal law enforcement agencies along the southwest border and those charged with weeding them out say they don't have the money to catch all the corrupt agents, homeland security officials told a U.S. Senate panel Thursday.

James Tomsheck, assistant commissioner with U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Internal Affairs, told a Senate homeland security subcommittee in Washington that only about one in 10 of the new hires for agency jobs are given polygraph tests, and of those, 60 percent are deemed unsuitable for employment.

That means that many who joined the agency during the recent hiring boom and did not take polygraphs could have joined with corruption already in mind, Tomsheck said.

"That 60 percent number is alarming to me," said U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., who chaired the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs' Subcommittee on State, Local, and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration.

The Associated Press reported last year that four applicants for border protection jobs were not hired when polygraph tests and background checks confirmed they were infiltrators from drug trafficking operations.

"Transnational criminal organizations are doing all they can to infiltrate CBP through our hiring initiatives," Tomsheck told the subcommittee.

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#247 Mar 12, 2010
Mexican mafia member wanted in multiple homicides arrested

by Natalie Rivers
March 11, 2010

PHOENIX - A member of the Mexican mafia gang wanted in connection to multiple homicides over the past month is behind bars.

U.S. Marshals have arrested Eduardo Ochoa, 40, for violating his federal supervised release.

Ochoa was taken into custody near 40th Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

He has a criminal history that includes convictions for weapons violations, aggravated assault and endangerment.

He was recently released after serving 77 months in prison.

The U.S. Marshal's Office said Ochoa was wanted as an investigative lead for multiple homicides here in the Valley over the last few weeks.

U.S. Marshal talks to 3TV about arrest of Mexican mafia suspect

by Javier Soto
March 11, 2010

PHOENIX - U.S. Marshals have arrested Eduardo Ochoa, 40, for violating his federal supervised release. Thomas Henman with the U.S. Marshals spoke with 3TV's Javier Soto about the arrest.

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