Mexico's Drug Cartel Violence is This...

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#784 May 23, 2010
Auto-theft life leads to death: El Pasoan caught up in Mexico violence

By Maggie Ybarra
El Paso Times
Posted: 05/23/2010

EL PASO -- The lure of easy money and the daily danger of being arrested or killed are an auto thief's life.

Police say Christian Avendano, who had ties to organized crime in Juárez and an El Paso auto-theft ring, chose that life. His story is one of many that haunt investigators, said Lt. Marc Medina, commander of the El Paso Police Department's Auto Theft Task Force.

Police say they believe Avendano was murdered for his part in a theft ring, in which vehicles were stolen in the United States and sold in Juárez.

"I think (murders) happen frequently, and we find out about it infrequently," Medina said.

Avendano, 18, died June 22 in Juárez. Somebody shot him in the head.

Police suspected him of stealing about nine vehicles during his short life, Medina said. Medina described Avendano's role in organized auto theft as that of a "worker bee."

Most in that category provide cars and auto parts to Mexican gangs, yet don't belong to any of them. They aren't able to tell investigators who is above them in the chain of a criminal operation because they're not embedded deeply enough to know, he said.

They are, however, part of a dangerous lifestyle, even if many are too naive to realize it, Medina said.

"They're impressed with the fast money, fast cars type of deal and, before you know it, they're involved to the point where they can no longer stop working for the organization.

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#785 May 23, 2010
Ignacio Padilla: Don't let El Paso become 'Marijuana City' in bid to save Juárez

By Ignacio Padilla
Guest columnist

Beto O'Rourke and Susie Byrd, two of three city of El Paso pro marijuana-legalization advocates on City Council, again spoke in favor of legalizing marijuana this past Monday.

What is wrong with this picture and do this people really deserve to actually represent us and continue to try and turn us into "Marijuana City?"

This drug-legalizing issue has been defeated in City Council twice with the backing of the citizens of El Paso; do "B, S and S (Steve Ortega)" not get our message?

Do they not understand that we the citizens of El Paso are not willing to diminish and downgrade the future of our city simply to give drug users the right to smoke their marijuana at home and supposedly help Juárez with its crime problems?

Beto, Susie and Steve are hiding behind the drama that Juárez is the deadliest city in the world since the start of 2008, and that we must help at any price. Wrong!

Juárez has been one of the worst cities in the world from the very beginning of its existence because of its awful police corruption, prostitution, allowing children to drink alcohol in bars and, as of lately, legalizing drugs.

The murder of men, women and children are in the hundreds of thousands since Juárez was founded and El Paso legalizing marijuana is not going to fix Juárez's criminal-political way of life that they have brought upon their city themselves since the Mexican Revolution.

To say that a tax on marijuana would benefit our government is so ridiculous that it makes me
wonder what the real purpose of the "B, S & S" campaign is.
The fact that after legalizing marijuana the addiction of our citizens, to include our children, would multiply by the hundreds of thousands and the cost of treating addicted people would far exceed the so-called marijuana tax that Beto, Susie and Steve seem to think would benefit our United States of America.

On Monday, "B, S & S" did their best to make their marijuana dream come true by again trying to squeeze the legalization of marijuana into their six-point "declaration in support of the city of Juárez," this time at the national level.

They managed to influence a turnout of about 20 persons; do they not get it?

Do "B, S & S" not understand that the morally repugnant situation that exists in Juárez is their problem brought about because of their corrupt style of government, and that El Paso bowing to the cartels and becoming the cartels' friend is not going to solve the problem?

El Paso needs to listen to persons like Sen. Shapleigh, retired DEA official Sañdalio Gonzalez, Mayor Cook and many others who put El Paso first, and not Juárez.

The reason we are the second-safest big city in the United States is because we fight for our rights; we do not bow to drug cartels or evil people who benefit from the sale of drugs.

We will never give up our noble way of life which belongs to us and the future generations of our great city and country.

The citizens of El Paso's religious groups, educators, business community -- and our heroes -- need to stand up and say no to those who would throw our community under the bus so they can succeed in legalizing marijuana and then later come back and try to legalize cocaine, meth and then heroin so that "Juárez can be saved."

Stand up and fight on the side of honesty, truth and goodness for our city of El Paso and get rid of those pro-marijuana city representatives. We do not need them.

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#786 May 24, 2010
Border drug war: Juárez hits 1,000 homicides for year; 16 slain Saturday

By Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times

Mexican federal police were attacked in a drive-by shooting during the weekend as Juárez surpassed 1,000 homicides for the year.

Three or four officers were wounded by gunmen who shot a patrol truck Sunday morning outside a medical clinic on Avenida López Mateos, the Norte newspaper reported on its website. No official information had been released.

The homicide toll jumped on Saturday with 16 deaths, including one during a confrontation in which federal police reportedly used an armored vehicle to ram down the walls of a house in the village of Guadalupe in the Valley of Juárez.

Federal police had not released details about Saturday's incident, described by Mexican news media as a shootout lasting more than an hour during the rescue of a kidnapping victim. An armored police vehicle was used to ram the walls of a house where the alleged kidnappers were bunkered.

Chihuahua state police confirmed that an unidentified man was killed when he was shot multiple times in Guadalupe and that there were about 500 rounds fired.

There was other violence Saturday morning in the farming communities of the Valley of Juárez, located across the border from the San Elizario-Fort Hancock area.

State police reported an unidentified man in a Chevrolet Suburban was fatally shot late Saturday morning by gunmen with AK-47s in the community of Barreal. And, two unidentified men were also found shot to death in the back seat of a car in the village of San Isidro.

There were also killings throughout Juárez, including a quadruple murder.
Four men in a red Chevrolet Trail Blazer were shot and killed on Saturday afternoon in colonia Torreón in west Juárez. Police identified the victims as Gabriel Calderon Olvera, 30, Andres Molina Santos, 27, Osvaldo Zubia Calderon, 17, and an unidentified man about 25 years old.

More than 5,260 people have been killed in the Juárez area since a drug cartel war began in 2008.

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#787 May 24, 2010
Deadly, ultra-pure heroin arrives in U.S.

by Jim Salter and Alicia A. Caldwell
May. 24, 2010
Associated Press

WINFIELD, Mo.- Mexican drug smugglers are increasingly peddling a form of ultra-potent heroin that sells for as little as $10 a bag and is so pure it can kill unsuspecting users instantly, sometimes before they even remove the syringe from their veins.

An Associated Press review of drug overdose data shows that so-called "black tar" heroin - named for its dark, gooey consistency - and other forms of the drug are contributing to a spike in overdose deaths across the nation and attracting a new generation of users who are caught off guard by its potency.

"We found people who snorted it lying face-down with the straw lying next to them," said Patrick O'Neil, coroner in suburban Chicago's Will County, where annual heroin deaths have nearly tripled - from 10 to 29 - since 2006. "It's so potent that we occasionally find the needle in the arm at the death scene."

Authorities are concerned that the potency and price of the heroin from Mexico and Colombia could widen the drug's appeal, just as crack did for cocaine decades ago.

The Latin American heroin comes in the form of black tar or brown powder, and it has proven especially popular in rural and suburban areas.

Originally associated with rock stars, hippies and inner-city junkies, heroin in the 1970s was usually smuggled from Asia and the Middle East and was around 5 percent pure. The rest was "filler" such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, even brick dust. The low potency meant that many users injected the drug to maximize the effect.

But in recent years, Mexican drug dealers have improved the way they process poppies, the brightly colored flowers supplied by drug farmers that provide the raw ingredients for heroin, opium and painkillers such as morphine. Purity levels have increased, and prices have fallen.

Federal agents now commonly find heroin that is 50 percent pure and sometimes as much as 80 percent pure.

The greater potency allows more heroin users to snort the drug or smoke it and still achieve a sustained high - an attractive alternative for teenagers and suburbanites who don't want the HIV risk or the track marks on their arms that come with repeated injections.

"That has opened up heroin to a whole different group of users," said Harry Sommers, the agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency office in St. Louis.

Among the drug's casualties was William Henderson, a 29-year-old welder from rural Missouri who died in his sleep in 2009, hours after snorting heroin. A bear of a man at 6-foot-1 and 300 pounds, he had tried the drug only a few times.

His wife recalled waking up to find the alarm buzzing. Her husband's body had turned blue, and his stomach was cold to the touch.

"I kept telling him, Will, you're late - get up!" said Amanda Henderson of Winfield, Mo., northwest of St. Louis. "But he wasn't moving, wasn't breathing. I called 911, but I knew it was too late." She and her three small boys were left destitute.

An increasing amount of the deadliest heroin appears to be coming from Mexico. Although the vast majority still arrives from overseas, Mexican dealers appear to be chipping away at the U.S. market.

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#788 May 24, 2010
Beware of fake checkpoints in Mexico, U.S. warns

May. 24, 2010
Associated Press

TUCSON - The U.S. Consulate in Nogales has issued a travel warning for people heading to Puerto Penasco, Mexico.

Authorities are warning of unauthorized police checkpoints set up at night along Highway 8 between Sonoyta and the beach community.

The Consulate was told by those moving through the checkpoints that drivers were asked to show identification before they were allowed to pass.

The Consulate is urging people to travel on Highway 8 only during the morning and early afternoon hours.

The U.S. government says if you are stopped at a checkpoint in Mexico, do not resist, cooperate fully, stay calm and comply with demands.

The Consulate also wants to hear from victims.

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#789 May 24, 2010
Drug traffickers worship 'Most Holy Death'

By Andrew Chung
Toronto Star
Posted: 05/24/2010

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, MEXICO-It's not true killers have no conscience, and good thing, or else business would be even worse for Ruben Torres.
With so few tourists venturing into Juárez these days, and the cross-border American shopper nearly extinct, profits at Torres' kiosk in historic old Juárez, are down 60 per cent.

But there is one group of customers who have continued their patronage: Juárez's many sicarios, hired hitmen and members of vicious and heavily armed gangs that authorities believe are largely responsible for turning this city into a human shooting range.

That's because Torres sells all manner of figures and statuettes, including the handsome, mustachioed Mexican folk hero Jesus Malverde, a thief and Robin Hood character who robbed from the rich and powerful and gave to the poor in the early 1900s. He has become a de facto saint of drug traffickers.

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#790 May 25, 2010
Phoenix kidnapping victim shot to death in Mexico
Man turned down witness protection

by Michael Ferraresi and Samuel Murillo
May 25, 2010
The Arizona Republic

A suspected drug smuggler rescued from a violent kidnapping in Phoenix was shot to death last month in Mexico - months after he turned down a chance at entering a witness-protection program, according to local investigators probing the case.

The April murder was reported in graphic detail by Mexican media, which raised concern with Phoenix police investigators who believe the slaying is connected to organized crime in both the United States and Mexico.

Renan Beltran-Leon, 32, was initially considered a witness in the October case, in which he was beaten and held captive for a week at a house. His captors threatened to kill him and bury him in a 5-foot-deep grave dug into a bedroom at a home near Indian School Road and 75th Avenue.

Phoenix investigators eventually determined Beltran-Leon was working in the United States and moving drugs across the country as a long-haul trucker, although he denied any involvement in the drug trade.
"He didn't exactly come clean about the ransom demands (the kidnappers) were asking for him," said Lt. Lauri Burgett, who oversees the Phoenix Home Invasion Kidnapping Enforcement unit.

"We did what we could to help him, offered options, but he chose his own - to stay in Mexico where he felt safe."

Beltran-Leon escaped his kidnappers on Oct. 7 by loosening duct tape and fleeing through a bedroom window to alert neighbors to call 911. He told Phoenix police the men who beat and burned him used pickaxes and concrete-cutters to dig the grave in the foundation of the home where he was held.

Doroteo Estrada-Perez, 38, and Mariano Perez-Gonzalez, 27, were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder and other charges. Phoenix police said others were involved, although they declined to elaborate on the case, citing the ongoing investigation.

Mexican authorities said Beltran-Leon was gunned down at a house in Mexicali, Baja California Norte, on April 19 by two men who arrived in a gold Lincoln with Arizona license plates.

Mexican investigators recovered several 9mm shell casings from the scene, in the area south of the California border.

Mexican homicide detectives are still searching for the assailants in the slaying, which is considered "drug related," according to Jose Manuel Yepiz, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office in Baja California Norte.

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#791 May 25, 2010
UTEP student is slain in Juárez

By Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times

A UTEP student was one of two men killed in a roadway shooting south of Juárez during the weekend, a university spokeswoman confirmed.

A spokeswoman for the University of Texas at El Paso on Monday identified the men as current student Alejandro Ruiz Salazar and former student Jorge Pedro Gonzalez Quintero.

Ruiz, 19, was a sophomore nursing major who started last fall at the University of Texas at El Paso, spokeswoman Arleene Barrios said. Gonzalez, 21, was an engineering student enrolled at UTEP from fall 2006 to the spring semester of last year.

The hometowns of the men were not immediately available, but Ruiz was believed to be from El Paso.

The Chihuahua state prosecutor's office said the two men were traveling in a gray Jeep Cherokee when they were chased down and shot Sunday evening on the highway linking Juárez and the town of Villa Ahumada. The shooter was armed with an AK-47 rifle.

Investigators found Gonzalez dead in the front seat and Ruiz laying on the asphalt next to the vehicle. Both men had multiple gunshot wounds. Six bullet casings were located at the scene. The case is under investigation.

Some Juárez news media reported the men were coming from a Boy Scout camp, but state police said that information had not been confirmed.

"The family says they were students, but we don't know if they were students here (in Juárez) or in El Paso," Julio Castañeda, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state attorney general's office, said before the confirmation from UTEP.

Many UTEP students have family ties across the border, though university administrators had said student travel into Mexico for institutional purposes has been severely restricted since fall 2009.

The murders of college students and professors in Juárez has become more frequent as the violence in the city has raged for more than two years.

Last week, Roberto Eduardo Sotelo Martinez, a communication sciences student at the Juárez campus of the Autonomous University of Chihuahua, was killed. The university urged authorities to solve the murder.

During the weekend, homicides in Juárez surpassed 1,000 for the year. State police reported 16 murders Saturday and 11 murders Sunday.

The violence continued Monday with at least six killings, including the fatal shooting of a Juárez police officer during an afternoon bank robbery. Police said Pedro Peña Mena, 32, was shot in the head while standing guard outside the Santander bank at Las Torres commercial center.

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#792 May 25, 2010
Forensic artist Frank Bender tells of women murders in Juárez

By Diana Washington Valdez
El Paso Times

›› Photo gallery: Frank Bender & "Ni Una Mas" exhibit
›› Photo gallery: Art March in Philadelphia |›› Video

PHILADELPHIA -- Forensic artist Frank Bender assisted in identifying several women who were killed in Juárez and Chihuahua City.

He is an international facial reconstruction expert who has worked with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies around the world. He has also helped catch some of the most-wanted U.S. criminals.

Now that the episode in Juárez is behind him, Bender, 69, said, he can talk freely about the harrowing experiences he had there in 2003 and 2004.

Bender was at his home-studio on South Street in Philadelphia. The place is filled with trinkets, mementos, souvenirs, a train set, childhood photos, books, busts and art that Bender has collected over a lifetime. He was busy at work on a new art series about his late wife, but much of his focus this particular day was on Juárez.

Bender said he was threatened and drugged while he was in Juárez. At the time, the authorities required him to maintain secrecy on his role in the investigations of murdered women. Since 1993, more than 800 girls and women have been murdered in the city.

"I couldn't reveal the identities of the girls because it would endanger their families. In fact, they would be killed," Bender said. "One of the girls was actually identified by someone in El Paso."

Chihuahua state officials introduced him at a news conference in 2003 in Juárez to announce that he was going to help with the women's murder investigations. At the conference, officials displayed skulls of unidentified victims they had turned over to Bender.

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#793 May 25, 2010
Mexican Tourist Town Reduced to Ghost Town

by: Will Ripley

MEXICO – A small town in Mexico once bustling with tourism now looks like a ghost town due to the Mexican drug violence.

Just across the border from the Fabens crossing in west Texas sits the small town of Caseta.

As a CHANNEL 5 NEWS crew crossed into Mexico, a customs officer checking outgoing traffic warned of the potential danger in the small town.

Several of the businesses that line the streets of Caseta are closed and have been closed for some time.

A doctor’s office that once used to see 10 patients a day now sees one or two patients a week.

Residents of Caseta blame the cartel, but most are too scared to talk.

One resident who lives near and abandoned gas station says the owner shut down after the fifth armed robbery.

Alfredo Sarinana says everyone who still lives in Caseta lives in fear.

Sarinana says owner of a nearby bakery had no money to pay the cartel for protection so he was gunned down in front of his children.

The scene throughout the city is the same at every corner.

Businesses closed and roads empty.

Caseta has seen more violence and murders than even that of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

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#794 May 25, 2010
Drug and Money are Seized from a Residence

Narcotic Agents seized 52 pounds of marijuana in a special operation where they arrested one person.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010
By: Laredo Sun

LAREDO, Tx.- Narcotic Agents from the Laredo Police Department seized 52 pounds of marijuana in a special operation where they arrested one person.

Spokesman Joe Baeza, stated that agents received information about suspicious drug trafficking at a residence on the 3400 block of Monclova, near Los Presidentes sub-division.

Police officials conducted a surveillance during several days until they obtained an official order to raid the house. Authorities found 5 plastic packages with 52 pounds of marijuana in one of the bedrooms.

Authorities found a pound of cocaine in another part of the house, along with a pistol and 14,051 dollars in cash inside a closet.

Iván Pedraza, 30, was arrested on drug possession charges, a second degree felony and did not receive a bond.

The marijuana is valued at 7,000 dollars and the cocaine at 21,900 dollars.

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#795 May 26, 2010
Mexico arrest Cancun mayor on drug charges

Associated Press Writer

CANCUN, Mexico—Mexican federal police have arrested the mayor of the resort city of Cancun on drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime charges, the latest blow to 2010 state and local elections already marred by violence and allegations of drug cartel involvement.
Gregorio Sanchez, who took a leave of absence from the Cancun mayoral post to run for governor of the Caribbean coastal state of Quintana Roo, was taken into custody Tuesday at Cancun's international airport after arriving on a flight from Mexico City.

The federal Attorney General's Office said Sanchez is suspected of offering information and protection to the Zetas drug gang and the Beltran Leyva cartel, which are active in Quintana Roo.

Officials said they could not immediately recall another case in which a gubernatorial candidate had been arrested on drug charges.

"This takes us all by surprise, it is unprecedented," said current Quintana Roo Gov. Felix Gonzalez Cantu.

Ricardo Najera, a spokesman for the federal Attorney General's Office, said the charges allege Sanchez played a role in fomenting or aiding drug trafficking, engaging in organized crime and making transactions with illicitly obtained funds.

Sanchez's website carried an article in which the candidate for the leftist Democratic Revolution Party and two smaller parties said he was being persecuted for political reasons.

The site quoted Sanchez as saying he had been threatened.

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#796 May 26, 2010
Police recover $820 K worth of pot in Sierra Vista

May 26, 2010
Web Producer: Ina Ronquillo

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz.(AP)- Acting on a tip, Sierra Vista police went to a drop house and recovered close to 2,000 pounds of marijuana Tuesday.

Police spokesman Sgt. Lawrence Boutte said officers found a total of 83 bales weighing a total 2,054 pounds.

The marijuana has an estimated street value of $821,000.

Police arrested a 21-year-old Mexican citizen. Officers said the man was expected to be charged with possession of marijuana for sale. It's not known if the man was in the U.S. illegally.

Boutte said drug smugglers use stash houses to store drugs coming from Mexico before transporting them elsewhere.

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#797 May 27, 2010
US officials seek drug war change

By E. EDUARDO CASTILLO and MARTHA MENDOZA Associated Press Writers

MEXICO CITY -- The Obama administration wants to shift U.S. aid in Mexico away from high-priced helicopters and airplanes and toward reforming Mexico's corrupt law enforcement, courts and politicians.

Marking a dramatic change from past years, most of the $310 million that the Obama administration seeks for Mexico in its 2011 budget request is aimed at judicial reforms and good governance programs in Mexico.

"We are moving away from big ticket equipment" and toward programs that support "Mexican capacity to sustain adherence to the rule of law and respect for human rights," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobsen in testimony prepared for a congressional subcommittee hearing on Thursday.

"The starkest shift is in how funding will be spent," said Shannon O'Neil of the Council of Foreign Relations, also in prepared testimony provided to The Associated Press ahead of Thursday's hearings.

While the administration has previously talked about emphasizing institution-building and prevention instead of law enforcement in the fight against drugs, State Department budgets obtained by The Associated Press show that funding has remained almost entirely devoted to law enforcement.

The proposals to be unveiled Thursday indicate that may soon change, marking a fundamental shift in the way the Untied States has waged its war on drugs for four decades.

The changes are not going to be easy, nor direct.

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#798 May 27, 2010
UNM warns against travel to Juárez

Adriana Gómez Licón

University of New Mexico officials advised students on Wednesday to avoid Juarez and nearby areas because of the violence.

Richard Holder, deputy provost, cited the deaths of a University of Texas at El Paso student and a former UTEP student on Sunday.

Alejandro Ruiz Salazar, 19, who attended UTEP, and Jorge Pedro Gonzalez Quintero, 21, were chased down and shot dead Sunday south of Juarez on the highway that links the border city with the town of Villa Ahumada.

The number of slayings in Juarez since 2008 is nearing 5,300. More than 1,000 people have been killed this year.

College students and professors in Juarez have fallen victim to the drug cartel violence. UTEP officials said they believe Ruiz is the first of their students killed in the drug war.

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#799 May 27, 2010
Drugs Found in Play-Doh Cups

by: Cristina Rendon

BROWNSVILLE - A man living in Brownsville may face federal charges for his alleged involvement with the drug cartels in Mexico.

Authorities seized weapons, drugs, and more in Roberto Lopez’s home.

Investigators say the 38-year-old was allegedly giving military uniforms and weapons to a cartel in exchange for drugs. They say they found cocaine and heroine in Play-Doh cups at his home.

Neighbors who live in the area off Paredes Line Road say they are surprised.

Eric Hinojosa says, I guess it goes to show you it can happen anywhere. I mean this is a pretty secure neighborhood. It's kind of unfortunate that it happened.”

Roberto Lopez Cervantes is facing a number of charges.

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#800 May 28, 2010
Million Dollar Cocaine Bust at B&M Bridge

BROWNSVILLE - More than $1 million dollars worth of cocaine was seized at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge.

On Thursday Customs Officers stopped a 20-year-old Mexican citizen driving a Ford F-150 truck. During an inspection officers discovered more than 31 pounds of cocaine wrapped in 16 individual bundles.

The cocaine had an estimated street value of approximately $1,004,800.

The driver from Matamoros was arrested and turned over to ICE agents.

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#801 May 29, 2010
Mexican Indians seize 20 police in land dispute

ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP)— People in an Indian village in southern Mexico have disarmed and seized about 20 police officers and are demanding the cancellation of arrest warrants that arose from a local land dispute.

The officers are being held in one of the poorest and most remote areas of the Pacific coast state of Guerrero.

The state government says a nearby rival village had accused inhabitants of the Nahua Indian community of Zaragoza of stealing their vehicles during a confrontation over land claimed by both sides.

Police arrived in Zaragoza on Friday to arrest those responsible, but were surrounded and prevented from leaving by inhabitants.

Such seizures are often used as a pressure tactic in rural Mexico, but they sometimes turn violent.

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#802 May 29, 2010
Mexico offers rewards for 33 drug gang suspects

MEXICO CITY (AP)— Mexico’s government unveiled a list of 33 wanted drug suspects Friday, including three men allegedly tied to a cartel responsible for much of the bloodshed in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez.

The Attorney General’s Office did not specify the criminal bands affiliated with each suspect.

However, a security official in the northern state of Chihuahua, where Ciudad Juarez is located, said the three at the top of the list belong to La Linea, a gang tied to the Juarez cartel. Rewards of $1.1 million (15 million pesos) were offered for each.

One of the three, Juan Pablo Ledezma, is believed to be the head of La Linea, said the official, who is with the joint army and police operation in charge of security in Chihuahua. He agreed to discuss the list only on condition of not being quoted by name, because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

A turf battle between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels has turned Ciudad Juarez into one of the world’s deadliest cities. More than 4,300 people have been killed over the past three years in the city, which lies across the border from El Paso, Texas.

Five men were killed in a Ciudad Juarez shooting Friday, said Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state prosecutors’ office.

The five were riding in a car when gunmen drove up beside them and opened fire, Sandoval said. Two of the five were killed inside the car. The others tried to flee into a restaurant but were gunned down in front of panicked customers.

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#803 May 30, 2010
Mexican pirates prey on American anglers
by William Booth
May. 30, 2010
Washington Post

ZAPATA, Tex.- Falcon Lake is famous for its bass and for the obsession of the fishermen who come from all over Texas to stalk them. Now this remote reservoir that straddles the international boundary is known for something else: pirates.

In the past month, crews of outlaws in a small armada of banged-up skiffs and high-powered bass boats launched from the Mexican shore have ambushed bass anglers from the Texas side. The buccaneers have struck in Mexican waters but within sight of the Texas shore.

Dressed in black, the pirates brandish automatic weapons and board the anglers' boats. They demand weapons or drugs from their captives, but finding neither, seem satisfied with taking $400 or $500, according to law-enforcement officials and victims' accounts.

The idea that criminals are preying on American anglers is raising already-high temperatures along the border. Answering calls for help, President Barack Obama last week ordered 1,200 National Guard troops to the region.

The pirates claim to be police, but instead are brigands from the drug cartel Los Zetas. The Zetas are on a rampage of killing and extortion along the Mexican border as they fight gun and grenade battles against the military and the rival Gulf Cartel.

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