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#536 Apr 12, 2010
Mexico: Cartels team up to destroy hit-men gang

Apr. 12, 2010
Associated Press .

MEXICO CITY - Two Mexican drug cartels have joined forces to destroy a feared gang of hit men along the border with Texas, a shift in allegiances that is fueling drug-war violence, federal police said Monday.

Intelligence reports indicate the Gulf and La Familia cartels - formerly bitter rivals - have formed an alliance to fight the Zetas gang in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, said Ramon Pequeno, the head of the anti-narcotics division of Mexico's federal police.

It was the first official confirmation of the alliance, which has been rumored since banners appeared throughout the region announcing the pact and warning residents not to leave their homes, saying the conflict would get worse. E-mails were also sent with the same message.

The campaign to wipe out the Zetas has raised fears of open warfare in Tamaulipas, with armed men throwing up roadblocks around army garrisons and ambushing military patrols, brazen tactics that experts say are meant to get soldiers out of the way of the turf war.

Mexico has deployed tens of thousands of troops to the border and other regions to combat drug trafficking groups, an effort backed by U.S. intelligence work and aid. Gang violence has surged despite the three-year-old deployment, claiming more than 18,000 lives since 2006.

Last weekend, assailants threw a grenade at the U.S. consulate in Nuevo Laredo, a city across the border from Laredo, Texas. Nobody was hurt.

On Monday, the State Department extended until May 12 the authorized departure of relatives of U.S. government employees from consulates in Nuevo Laredo and five other border cities - an indication that Washington does not expect the violence to subside soon.

La Familia, whose stronghold is in the Pacific coast state of Michoacan, has sent a large number of members across the country to Tamaulipas to help the Gulf cartel, Pequeno said.

He spoke at a news conference to announce the arrest of three alleged members of La Familia, a brutal gang known for beheading its rivals and staging bold attacks against federal police in Michoacan. One of the three suspects confirmed the alliance to police, Pequeno said.

Mexican and U.S. authorities previously confirmed a break between the Gulf and the Zetas, which once was the enforcement arm of the Gulf cartel.

The feud escalated when a member of the Zetas was killed in January in Reynosa, a city across the border from McAllen, Texas. Battles ensued when the Gulf cartel refused to hand over the man responsible.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/0...

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#537 Apr 13, 2010
Juárez violence: Street gangs responsible for killings, mayor says
By Zahira Torres

Austin Bureau
Posted: 04/13/2010

AUSTIN -- Street gangs, not drug cartels, are behind most murders in Juárez these days, the city's mayor said Monday.

Juárez Mayor José Reyes Ferriz told a crowd of more than 100 people at the University of Texas at Austin that law enforcement efforts have made it more difficult for drug cartels to transport cocaine into the United States.

He said the increased patrols forced the cartels to find alternate routes. That, he said, created a separate battle between Juárez gangs that are now hunting for additional income.

"For the most part, the killings between the Sinaloa cartel and the Juárez cartel have ceased in Juárez," Reyes Ferriz said. He blamed the majority of the 2,600 killings in the city during the past year on the feud between warring gangs.

He said the Aztecas and their rivals the Mexicles and Artistas Asesinos (Artists Assassins) are now fighting for control of the retail distribution of drugs in Juárez. The Aztecas are linked to the Juárez cartel, and the Mexicles and Artistas Asesinos are linked to the Sinaloa cartel.

Nearly 5,000 people have been killed in Juárez since 2008.
The killings were initially part of a feud between the Juárez and Sinaloa cartels over who would control the drug-trafficking routes through the border city.

The Associated Press last week reported that the Sinaloa cartel was winning that battle.

Reyes Ferriz said he could not confirm that claim because he is not privy to such information. But, he said, Juarenses no longer see a strong effort by either cartel to transport drugs through Juárez.

"I think when they refer to Juárez, they are referring to the entire region -- Guadalupe, Praxedis (Guerrero), Palomas -- all of that which is much larger than Juárez," Reyes Ferriz said.
The mayor said law enforcement efforts are helping to slow the number of murders in the city.

Juárez was averaging about 12 murders a day in August. Last month, the city averaged about six killings daily, Reyes Ferriz said.
He said the Mexican military, which withdrew from the police department last week, helped the city build a more effective and less corrupt police force.

He also defended the Mexican army against reports that its soldiers have used their power to violate the rights of innocent Juarenses.
(continued)

http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_14872596

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#538 Apr 13, 2010
State Department warns against travel to Mexico, urges Americans to avoid parts of Chihuahua

By Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times
Posted: 04/13/2010

The U.S. State Department re-issued a travel warning for Mexico on Monday, cautioning Americans to avoid unnecessary travel to parts of the state of Chihuahua, including the Valley of Juárez.

A "travel warning" is more severe than the previously issued travel alerts. The State Department said travel warnings are issued due to long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable.

The warning cited drug violence in various regions of northern Mexico. The warning specifically mentioned Juárez, the Valley of Juárez and the northwestern part of state of Chihuahua, which have been a battleground in a fight between drug cartels.

The current Mexico warning was issued March 14 and renewed Monday. Mexico is listed along such countries as Haiti, Colombia and many nations from the Middle East and Africa.

A few weeks ago, Juárez officials said that security was being increased in tourist zones in an effort to lure back visitors to what is the most dangerous city in Mexico.

Federal police last week took over control from the military of Coordinated Operation Chihuahua in the city.

About 670 people have been killed this year in Juárez, raising the total to about 4,900 people slain in the Juárez area since 2008.

On Monday evening, the killings continued. A man identified as Saul Garcia was shot and killed by gunmen with AK-47s in the Felipe Angeles area in west Juárez.

In another case, a woman was shot and killed while sitting down at a car race on

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Sunday night. Chihuahua state police identified her as 34-year-old Claudia Mora Quintana.
A Juárez news Web site showed a message left spray-painted on a wall stating, "And we also killed Claudia Mora the one who was with the AA. Sincerely, the Juárez cartel."

AA refers to the Artistas Asesinos or Artist Assassins gang that is apparently allied with the rival Sinaloa drug cartel.

http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_14872301

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#539 Apr 13, 2010
Federal commander slain in Juárez

By Diana Washington Valdez
El Paso Times
Posted: 04/12/2010

A group of armed men fatally shot a Mexican federal commander Saturday near the ProNaF area in Juárez, officials said.

The commander, who was with his wife and daughter, was ambushed at the intersection of Hermanos Escobar and Las Americas avenues.

He was identified as Jonathon Gonzalez.

The killing comes a week after federal police took command of anti-crime Coordinated Operation Chihuahua in Juárez.

The operation is in response to a crime wave unleashed in a war between drug cartels across the state.

In other news, a Chihuahua police video that shows armed men killing people in Creel, Chihuahua, is making the rounds in TV news programs and on the Internet.

The 90-minute video was recorded by police cameras in the village located in the Sierra Tarahumara, about 105 miles southwest of Chihuahua City.

Cameras zoomed in on the alleged killers armed with AK-47s. Some of their faces are clearly seen.

Police said the armed men were aboard more than a dozen vehicles when they stopped in the village of about 5,400 people.

Televisa network's "Punto de Partida," a national news talk program with host Denise Maerker, showed parts of it Thursday.

The video depicts men allegedly consuming drugs and stopping vehicles at gunpoint on one of the roads.

Police said the armed men were responsible for the shooting deaths of 10 people and for injuring seven others in Creel and the vicinity on March 15.

Creel is a tourist destination in Chihuahua state, and a railroad stop for tourists headed to the Copper Canyon.

http://www.elpasotimes.com/juarez/ci_14866231

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#540 Apr 13, 2010
Woman Arrested on Laredo Bridge

A 20 year old Houston woman was arrested by federal agents for transporting several hidden packages of cocaine.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010
By: LAREDO SUN

LAREDO, Tx.- A woman from Houston was arrested by federal agents when a truck that transported several hidden packages with 6 kilos and a half of cocaine arrived on one of the international bridges.

The 20 year old was arrested by Customs and Border Protection inspectors in a routine check when she arrived on the Gateway to the Americas bridge.

The woman traveled in a recent model Dodge Durango and when she was questioned she told authorites she did not have anything to declare.

Federal authorities found several plastic packages in a secret compartment of the vehicle.

The cocaine has a street value of half a million dollars. The woman admitted to transporting the drug to the Houston area for a payment of 5,000 dollars.

http://www.laredosun.us/notas.asp...

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#541 Apr 13, 2010
Laredoan Arrested for Cocaine

A man on a bus line headed to Dallas, Texas, and carrying a kilo of pure cocaine was arrested by Border Patrol agents.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010
By: LAREDO SUN

LAREDO, Tx.- A man on a bus line headed to Dallas, Texas, and carrying a kilo of pure cocaine was arrested by Border Patrol agents.

Officials arrived to El Conejo Bus Lines on the 800 block of Houston to carry out an inspection operation.

Federal officers detected a 27 year old Laredo man that behaved in a suspicious manner so they decided to interrogate him.

The subject presented a Texas identification but later admitted that the document was not his, that it belonged to his brother, who is an American citizen.

He also carried a social security and a bank card with his brothers name on them, stating that he adopted his brothers identity in order to remain in the United States.

Immigration agents began searching a bag he had and found a package with black tape and as officers opened it they discovered some cocaine valued at 90,000 dollars.

The subject also declared he would receive 600 dollars as a payment.

http://www.laredosun.us/notas.asp...

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#542 Apr 13, 2010
Cartels Use Clone Trucks To Transport Drugs

Reported by: Farrah Fazal

MCALLEN - Tractor trailers are the heart of businesses on both sides of the border. Now the cartels may have made them the newest targets.

"We're seeing higher incidents of drugs being planted on traditionally maquilla type trucks," says McAllen Economic Development President Keith Patridge.

Patridge says the cartels are cloning trailers, to sneak their drugs across the border.

They often load the trucks with legitimate loads along with the drugs, using actual drivers to deliver the illegal cargo.

Patridge says some company managers have hired security to escort their loads to the border.

The fake trucks are also slowing down real truckers here in the state.

"You get pulled over. It holds you up for an hour. Once they pull you over they're checking everything else," says one driver.

He also says driving loads into Mexico is just too much of a hassle to be profitable.

http://www.krgv.com/news/local/story/Cartels-...

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#543 Apr 13, 2010
Travel Warning to Mexico Extended

MEXICO - The U.S. Department of State is extending its travel warning to Mexico. The warning has been extended until May 12th to several border cities including Matamoros, Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo and Ciudad Juarez.

Officials want U.S. citizens living or heading to Mexico to be on alert when they head across the border. They are also asking family members of government employees working for the U.S. consulate offices in mexico to leave the country and head back to the U.S.

Officials say it is imperative that U.S. citizens understand the risks in Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and who to contact if victimized. Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable.

Recent violent attacks have prompted the U.S. Embassy to urge U.S. citizens to delay unnecessary travel to parts of Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua states and advise U.S. citizens residing or traveling in those areas to exercise extreme caution. Drug cartels and associated criminal elements have retaliated violently against individuals who speak out against them or whom they otherwise view as a threat to their organizations. These attacks include the abduction and murder of two resident U.S. citizens in Chihuahua.

http://www.krgv.com/news/local/story/Travel-W...

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#544 Apr 13, 2010
Three Mexican Drug Cartels Trying to Take Out the Zetas

MEXICO CITY (AP)- Three Mexican cartels have joined forces to destroy a gang of hit men that has grown into a feared drug trafficking outfit with reach into Central America, Mexican and U.S. officials said Monday. The shift in allegiances is fueling bloody battles along the Texas border.

Intelligence reports indicate the Gulf cartel has recruited its former rival, La Familia, to crush the Zetas gang in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, said Ramon Pequeno, the head of the anti-narcotics division of Mexico's federal police.

An official with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico's most powerful drug trafficking organization, has also joined the alliance against the Zetas, whose rise to power has come to threaten all three of the cartels.

"It's an issue of a common enemy," said Will Glaspy, head of the DEA's office in the border town of McAllen, Texas.

The pact followed a break between the Gulf cartel and the Zetas, which started as a group of hit men for the Gulf but quickly began rivaling its creator. Tamaulipas has long been the stronghold of the Gulf cartel, but the Zetas have begun taking over.

It was the first official confirmation of the pact, which has been rumored since banners appeared throughout the region earlier this year announcing the campaign by "the cartels of Mexico united against the Zetas."

One banner even urged President Felipe Calderon to withdraw the army and let the new alliance exterminate the Zetas. Videos and e-mails were sent around warning families to stay home, saying the conflict would get worse.

The campaign to wipe out the Zetas has raised fears of open warfare in Tamaulipas, with armed men throwing up roadblocks around army garrisons and ambushing military patrols - brazen tactics that experts say are meant to get soldiers out of the way of the turf war.

http://www.krgv.com/news/local/story/Three-Me...

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#545 Apr 13, 2010
Drug violence scares off tourists to Mexico

13 Apr 2010
Source: Reuters
* Tourists worry drug violence makes vacations unsafe

* International arrivals down at Mexico's top resorts

By Jose Cortazar

CANCUN, Mexico, April 13 (Reuters)- Fears of drug violence spreading to beaches and colonial towns are driving away tourists and threatening Mexico's crucial tourism industry, already battered by last year's swine flu outbreak.

Gory news reports of daily shootouts between drug cartel hitmen are fueling concerns among North Americans and Europeans that Mexico is increasingly unsafe, even if most of the violence is along the U.S. border, far from top tourist areas.

The number of international tourists flying into the Pacific beach resort of Acapulco, where rival hitmen have fought brazen gun battles in recent months, fell by almost a quarter in the first three months of this year, airport operator OMA <OMAB.MX><OMAB.O> said.

International arrivals to the popular Caribbean resort of Cancun fell 4 percent in the same period, according to airport operator Asur <ASURB.MX> <ASR.N>. They are peak months in Cancun as many tourists escape from winter at home, and U.S. students traditionally flood Mexico on their "spring break."

Almost 20,000 people have died in the fight between cartels and Mexican security forces. Violence has worsened dramatically since the start of the year, with 1,000 deaths across Mexico in March, the bloodiest month since President Felipe Calderon launched his crackdown on drug gangs in late 2006.

Mexico's tourism industry is still likely to grow in 2010 compared to last year, when fears of swine flu emptied beaches, but businesses worry a perception of danger hangs over Mexico that could continue to undermine the industry.
(continued)

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N131...

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#546 Apr 13, 2010
Juarez Mayor Says He Still Lives in His City

April 12, 2010. Austin, TX
Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz

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#547 Apr 13, 2010
Juarez mayor tells UT crowd about challenges of drug wars

By Jeremy Schwartz
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jose Reyes Ferriz had no idea what he was getting into when he was elected mayor of Juárez in 2007. A few months after winning, his city plunged into the most brutal drug war Mexico has ever known.

Entering its third year, Juárez's bloody conflict has seen nearly 5,000 murders, dozens of businesses torched by extortionists and residents worried that neither a rebuilt police force nor thousands of Mexican soldiers can protect them from the violence.

Ferriz offered a glimpse behind those grim headlines Monday, speaking to an overflow crowd at the University of Texas in a talk sponsored by the school's Latin American studies program.

The visit featured an unusual amount of security for a university talk: two police officers checking bags as people entered. Ferriz has faced numerous death threats, the latest found next to a severed pig's head a few weeks ago after he fired several corrupt Juárez police officers.

While it's often characterized as a fight between powerful drug cartels, Ferriz said the current violence is the result of battles between the city's three main street gangs, who are fighting for control of the city's drug trade.

The mayor said the city's own drug consumption — it has the highest drug use rate in Mexico — has created a lucrative local market.

The major cartels have largely stopped battling over Juárez, he said, and no longer use it as crossing point for large shipments of drugs because of massive buildups of federal and local troops and police.

But that has only made the city more violent, sparking about 2,600 killings in 2009.

"The route is no longer in use," Ferriz said in an interview.

"So the money that used to come in has stopped, and the criminal gangs are now fighting to control the local sale of drugs."

Ferriz said the Aztecas, Mexicles and Artist Assassins gangs include large numbers of criminal illegal immigrants deported from American prisons and are fueled by record unemployment rates and hard times in the city's maquiladoras.

Ferriz recently convinced American officials to temporarily halt criminal deportations through Juárez, a practice he said aggravated the city's violence. Those deportees are now being sent through other border crossing points.

Ferriz's talk drew a number of UT students from Juárez, many of whom carried protest signs calling for an end to the city's violence.

"We're just tired, fed-up," third-year student Aura Valdez said. "They bring in the military, they bring police, but they just increase the violence."

Ferriz also faced criticism over claims of rampant human-rights abuses by the Mexican military in Juárez.

Although violence has steadily increased during Ferriz's three years in office, he said the city has made strides in building a competent, trustworthy police department.

Ferriz has purged much of Juárez's police force, recruiting and training about 2,000 officers over the last two years.

"The road is clear — you need an efficient police department that you can trust," he said. "Juárez cannot allow the police to become corrupt again."

Ferriz took a less hopeful tone when asked about the drug war in general.

"Our definition of success is having (drug violence and smuggling) move someplace else," he said.

"It's not a good definition of success, but it's the only one we have as long as the United States is the biggest consumer of drugs."

http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/...

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#548 Apr 13, 2010
Shocking Number Released On Drug Violence Deaths In Mexico

Renee Narvaiz
KFOX News Producer
April 13, 2010

EL PASO, Texas -- A new report from the Mexican government details the number of deaths since a military crackdown on cartels began three years ago.

The report shows at least 22,700 people have been killed in Mexico through the drug and gang violence.

The deadliest year was 2009 with 3,365 people killed.

That compares to 2,837 people in 2007.

http://www.kfoxtv.com/news/23142712/detail.ht...

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#549 Apr 13, 2010
Five People Slain In Mexico Tuesday

Renee Narvaiz
KFOX News Producer
April 13, 2010

EL PASO, Texas -- A new report from the Mexican government shows at least 22,700 people have been killed in Mexico since a crackdown on drug violence began three years ago.

This number doesn't include the five more people killed Tuesday.

The first happened in front of a home where three men were washing a car.

Authorities said a group of armed men stopped in front of the home, opening fire and killing all three.

The second killing spree happened a short time later.

Witnesses told investigators three men were inside a Lincoln Navigator, another group of men with guns in hand, shot several times at the Navigator killing two of the men inside.

The third was taken to a local hospital in critical condition.

http://www.kfoxtv.com/news/23142723/detail.ht...

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#550 Apr 14, 2010
Border Patrol Arrest a Human Smuggler in Laredo

Noe González, was arrested by federal agents on charges of human smuggling.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
By: LAREDO SUN

LAREDO, Tx.- Border Patrol officials prohibited the entrance of an undocumented woman who was being transported by a man from Pearsall, Texas.

Noe González, was arrested by federal agents on charges of human smuggling. This man was arrested at the inspection booth located on mile 29 and interstate highway 35 in north Laredo.

The subject drove a Chevrolet Astro Van with Texas plates. Agents then questioned González about his citizenship and stated he was American, authorities then asked the woman that accompanied him the same questions.

However, the woman seemed very nervous, therefore officials decided to send her to secondary where she admitted being an illegal immigrant.

She added that after being crossed by a "coyote" to the American side and housed in a motel, she was picked up by González days later.

http://www.laredosun.us/notas.asp...

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#551 Apr 14, 2010
Suspected drug runner, worker square off with guns

By Dan Shearer,
Green Valley News
April 13, 2010

A U.S. surveyor and a suspected lookout for Mexican drug runners exchanged gunfire near the border Thursday after a short standoff that found them pointing weapons at each other.

The surveyor was looking for stone monuments that mark the U.S.-Mexico border near Tres Bellotas Ranch, south of Arivaca, when he heard a noise on a ridge, according to a Pima County Sheriff’s Office report. He then came face-to-face with a man wearing what he described as “the old battle-dress uniform of the U.S. Army.” The surveyor, whose name was redacted in the report, pulled his 9mm pistol while the man in camouflage pointed a rifle at him. The standoff lasted just a few seconds as the men looked at each other, then lowered their weapons.

The surveyor, who did not speak Spanish, said the other man uses gestures to ask whether there were other people in the area. He said no, and the man said,“adios” and walked away.

The man in fatigues walked about 600 feet when the surveyor said he heard two voices then heard six shots in his direction. He “hit the deck,” according to the report, and returned seven shots. He said he was unsure whether the shots from the two men came near him, and no shells or casings were discovered during an investigation.

The surveyor left on his ATV and called authorities.

The incident occurred in Santa Cruz County, and sheriff’s officials there along with Border Patrol agents took over the investigation. According to the PCSO report, the surveyor apparently “had just stumbled across a group (of drug runners) preparing to cross” and the shots were fired to scare him off.

Tres Bellotas Ranch is about 10 miles due south of Arivaca. It’s the same place where a Mexican military helicopter carrying about half a dozen armed men landed on the U.S. side of the border five years ago this month.

They showed interest in a fuel truck, according to a U.S. worker who spoke to the Mexicans in the helicopter. The men then boarded the helicopter and left.

The worker said he later received a message from the FBI to say nothing about the incident.

http://gvnews.com/articles/2010/04/13/news/69...

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#552 Apr 14, 2010
Vietnam Vet Headed to Mexico to Find Family

Reported by: Farrah Fazal

LA GLORIA - A Vietnam veteran says he's about to go into another war zone to look for his family.

Leonel Lopez’s son, daughter-in-law, and 15-month-old grandchild are in the Mexican city of Camargo, one of the most violent places in the country.

He says he doesn’t know if his family is dead or alive. Calls go unanswered and text messages aren’t returned.

“That's why I’m worried,” he says.“Four houses from where he lives, they burned a house a week ago.”

A YouTube video shows shootings in Camargo that happened in February. Lopez says the violence hasn’t stopped and the last 24 hours were especially brutal.

He tells us his son is an U.S. citizen, but his daughter-in-law and granddaughter aren't. He adds his son won't leave his wife and child.

Lopez says he's called Congressman Henry Cuellar and Senator John Cornyn's office for help.

Now the Vietnam veteran says he’s preparing to head to the war zone himself.

“I’m going to go and look for them,” he tells us.

In spite of the dangerous situation, Lopez says it’s better than not doing anything.

http://www.krgv.com/news/local/story/Vietnam-...

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#553 Apr 14, 2010
Woman Doused with Sulfuric Acid

ALAMO - Police say a man threw sulfuric acid on a woman in Alamo.

It happened as the 40-year-old woman was leaving North Alamo Elementary School yesterday afternoon. The woman’s daughter was in the car with her, when another driver bumped the rear of her vehicle.

Officers say when the woman got out of the car, the passenger of the second vehicle threw sulfuric acid in her face. The people in the second car took off.

The victim was flown to a San Antonio hospital. Police are looking for the two men involved in the attack.

We’re told both men are Hispanic. One is about five-feet, eight-inches tall and has short hair. He was wearing a blue shirt at the time of the attack. The second man was wearing a black Yankees baseball cap.

The men were seen driving a light green or baby blue Ford Focus. The car’s hood was brown.

Police don’t know what the motive for the attack was at this time.

http://www.krgv.com/news/local/story/Woman-Do...

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#554 Apr 15, 2010
Trucker arrested after 9,500 pounds of pot seized

Apr. 14, 2010
Associated Press

NOGALES, Ariz.- Federal authorities say a Mexican truck driver has been arrested after more than 9,500 pounds of marijuana was found in his shipment of watermelons being driven into Arizona.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers at the Mariposa port of entry stopped a big rig driven by the unidentified 40-year-old man for an agriculture inspection Tuesday afternoon.

They say a drug-sniffing dog alerted authorities to the presence drugs in the shipment and 390 bales of marijuana was found in the trailer. The marijuana had an estimated street value of more than $21 million. The driver was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/0...

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#555 Apr 15, 2010
Mexico's Zetas drug gang now in El Salvador.
News from Mexico

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP)— President Mauricio Funes says Mexico’s Zeta drug gang has entered El Salvador and has made contact with local gangs in what appears to be an exploration of opportunities.

Funes says the gang already has extended its operations into Central America, operating in countries like Guatemala and Honduras. But he adds it is not clear whether the violent gang has set up shop yet in El Salvador.

Funes told reporters Wednesday that Central America needs a U.S. anti-drug aid plan designed specifically for the region. Mexico gets most of the $1.4 billion in U.S. anti-drug aid under the current Merida Initiative.

Mexican cartels have increasingly been using Central American as a transit point to ship drugs toward the U.S. market.

http://www.svherald.com/content/news-mexico/2...

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