Mexico's Drug Cartel Violence is This What We Have To Look Forward To In The U.S

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#924
Jun 30, 2010
 
Bloodthirsty Los Zetas are striving for control of Mexico

By Jerry Brewer

Revolutionary conspiracy theorists within the southwest hemisphere could be getting closer to connecting the graphic dots of murder and violence with impunity, narcotics trafficking as revenue, and an ideology that seeks to go beyond just financial enrichment and wealth.

Mexico's Los Zetas movement is becoming clearly more violent, using direct military confrontation and intimidation in attempts at neutralizing government and taking control of national territory. This by paramilitaries who are part of a sophisticated and superior-armed insurgent group that threatens to create a quasi-state within a state. Although Los Zetas probably do not find the expectations of a “failed state” in Mexico completely appealing or viable, it would achieve victory by simply weakening Mexico and finding opportunity to operate with impunity, which to a degree has already been accomplished.

The U.S. has contributed more than US$5 billion over the last seven years to the Colombian government for assistance and training to aggressively locate and stop guerrilla insurgency and narcotrafficking in that country. This a nominal sum considering the U.S. has a US$30 billion yearly illicit drug demand.

Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe, as well as Mexican President Felipe Calderon, have boldly emerged as no nonsense leaders who continue to focus on defeating and demobilizing (narco) terrorist groups in their homelands. Vigorous law enforcement, intelligence, military, and economic measures against these insurgents has been their mandate.

How successful has President Uribe's war on terror been? Security forces captured or killed numerous terrorists and mid-level commanders, plus they have debriefed combatant deserters for detailed information, and hence reduced the territory or area of terrorist operations in Colombia. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the main narco-terrorist group, has been reduced to around 9,000 soldiers, down from about 18,000 six years ago.

Colombia's successful and strategic initiatives have also brought the homicide rate down 40 percent over the last five years. Terror attacks against citizens were down 61 percent, and kidnapping for ransom by 76 percent. The U.S. military’s Southern Command has played a strategic and proactive role in this highly effective operation in South America. The strategic intelligence focus on these terrorists has consisted of tracking terrorist training, their recruiting, fundraising, logistical support, and their pre-attack planning. Significant dollars as bounty for the capture of terror leaders have also been paid, as in Mexico. This has also resulted in the ritual dismantling of many in the high leadership hierarchies.

President Uribe's frustrations have been what he describes as a lack of support and cooperation by Venezuela and Ecuador in the tracking and capture of these terror insurgents. As recently as last week leftist President Hugo Chavez, of Venezuela, urged Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos to close U.S. military bases in the country to show a change of attitude toward the neighboring countries.
(continued)

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#925
Jul 1, 2010
 
10 alleged Aztecas, drug dealers arrested in Juárez

By Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times
07/01/2010

Ten alleged members of the Aztecas gang and alleged drug dealers with La Linea have been arrested in Juárez by Mexican federal police.

Officials said the men were arrested after police learned about a group of armed men in the Bella Vista neighborhood, west of Downtown Juárez.

Police on Sunday arrested Jorge Rodríguez Ríos, 38, alias "El Viejillo" (The Old Man). They allege he worked for the Aztecas and say he is suspected in 13 homicides, including the deaths of five members of the rival Artistas Asesinos, or AA, gang.

Five alleged "halcones," or lookouts, with the Aztecas were also arrested. They are José Guillermo "Memo" Ramírez Cerna, 51; Jaime "El Jimmy" Reyes Rentería, 32; Francisco "El Pancho" Chávez Delgado, 42; Lorenzo "El Chori" Tadeo Palacio, 37; and Pedro Huisar Almanza, 39.

Police arrested three men accused of selling drugs for La Linea, or Juárez drug cartel. They are Jorge Eduardo "El Chino" Arsola García, 35; Arturo "El Matute" Nuńez de la Cruz, 52; and Joel Antonio "El Cat" Morales Vera, 19. Police said they also arrested a juvenile car thief with the cartel.

Police seized a 1998 Lincoln Towncar, two shotguns, an AK-47 rifle and more than 8 pounds of marijuana.

Aztecas work as enforcers for the Juárez drug cartel, and they have been key combatants in the city's drug cartel war, police said.

In a separate case, federal police arrested a 20-year-old Juárez man suspected in at least 37 homicides, officials said.

Jorge David Pineda Villa and two boys supposedly working as lookouts were captured Saturday after a police chase, officials said. A 9 mm submachine gun and a 9 mm handgun were seized. Pineda allegedly works for La Linea.

http://www.elpasotimes.com/juarez/ci_15414060

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#926
Jul 2, 2010
 
21 killed in rival Mexican gang shootout near U.S.-Ariz. border

Jul. 2, 2010
Associated Press

HERMOSILLO, Mexico - A massive gun battle between rival drug and migrant trafficking gangs near the U.S. border Thursday left 21 people dead and at least six others wounded, prosecutors said.

The fire fight occurred in a sparsely populated area about 12 miles from the Arizona border, near the city of Nogales, that is considered a prime corridor for immigrant and drug smuggling.

The Sonora state Attorney General's Office said in a statement that nine people were captured by police at the scene of the shootings, six of whom had been wounded in the confrontation. Eight vehicles and seven weapons were also seized.

All of the victims were believed to be members of the gangs.

The shootings occurred near a dirt road between the hamlets of Tubutama and Saric, in an area often used by traffickers.

Gangs often fight for control of trafficking routes and sometimes steal "shipments" of undocumented migrants from each other, but seldom have they staged such mass gun battles.

Gang violence near the Arizona border has led to calls from officials in the U.S. state for greater control of the border and is one reason given for a controversial law passed in April requiring Arizona police to ask people about their immigration status in certain situations.

In a city on another part of the U.S. border, gunmen killed an assistant attorney general for Chihuahua state and one of her bodyguards.

After being chased by armed assailants through the darkened streets of Ciudad Juarez, the vehicle carrying Sandra Salas Garcia and two bodyguards was riddled with bullets Wednesday night.

Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, said the second bodyguard was seriously wounded.

Salas was responsible for evaluating the work of prosecutors and special investigations units in Chihuahua.

Drug violence has killed more than 4,300 people in recent years in Ciudad Juarez, which borders El Paso, Texas.

More than 23,000 people have been killed by drug violence since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon began deploying thousands of troops and federal police to drug hot spots.

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

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#927
Jul 2, 2010
 
Mexico: Gang leader says U.S. consulate infiltrated

by Morgan Lee
Jul. 2, 2010
Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — A top drug gang enforcer says he ordered the killing of a U.S. consulate worker because she helped provide visas to a rival gang in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, federal police said Friday.

Jesus Ernesto Chavez, whose arrest was announced on Friday, leads a band of hit men for a street gang tied to the Juarez cartel, said Ramon Pequeno, the head of anti-narcotics for the Federal Police.

Pequeno said Chavez ordered the March 13 attack that killed U.S. consulate employee Lesley Enriquez and her husband as they drove through the violent city toward a border crossing to the U.S. Pequeno said Chavez told police that Enriquez was targeted because she helped provide visas to a rival gang.

The suggestion that drug gangs may have infiltrated the U.S. diplomatic mission runs counter to previous statements by U.S. Embassy officials that Enriquez was never in a position to provide visas and worked in a section that provides basic services to U.S. citizens in Mexico.

And U.S. officials who looked into the possibility of corruption involving Enriquez shortly after her killing found no evidence that she was involved in illegal activity at the consulate, said a federal official in the U.S. who is familiar with the investigation. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the case.

He said the motive behind the attacks remains unclear to U.S. officials.

"The why' has not been answered" in the killing of Enriquez, her husband and the husband of a co-worker, the official said.

The attack on Enriquez — within view of the Texas border — and a nearly simultaneous attack that killed the husband of a Mexican employee of the consulate raised concerns that Americans and U.S. government personnel were being caught up in drug-related violence. Enriquez was four months pregnant when she and husband Arthur H. Redelfs, were killed by gunmen who opened fire on their vehicle after the couple left a children's birthday party. Their 7-month-old daughter was found wailing in the back seat.

Jorge Alberto Salcido, the husband of a Mexican employee of the consulate, also was killed by gunmen after leaving the same event in a separate vehicle.

Chavez told police that gunmen opened fire on Salcido because the two cars were the same color and the hit men did not know which one Enriquez was in, Pequeno said.

Investigators also have looked at whether Redelfs may have been targeted because of his work at an El Paso County Jail that holds several members of the Barrio Azteca, believed to be responsible in the attacks.

In March, U.S. federal, state and local law enforcement officers swept through El Paso, picking up suspected members of the gang in an effort to find new leads in the killings.

A suspect detained in Mexico shortly after the shooting confessed to acting as a lookout as the Azteca gang supposedly hunted down Redelfs, but he was never charged and was released without explanation.
(continued)

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#928
Jul 2, 2010
 
Alleged gang members arrested in murders of US Consulate employee, husband in Juárez

By Aileen B. Flores
EL PASO TIMES
07/02/2010

Mexican authorities have arrested two alleged members of the Aztecas gang in the killings of a U.S. Consulate employee and her husband in Juárez in March, officials said today.

Mexican officials said Jesús Ernesto "El Camello" Chávez Castillo is accused of planning the execution of consulate employee Lesley Enriquez and her husband, Arthur Redelfs, in Juárez.

Chávez Castillo, 41, is also accused of participating in the killings of 13 teens at a party in Juárez in January.

The arrest of Chávez Castillo also led to the detention of Francisco "Paco" Puga de la Torre, 30, for allegedly participating in the murders of Enriquez and Redelfs, investigators said.

On March 13, gunmen killed Enriquez, 34, a U.S. citizen who worked for the U.S. consulate in Juárez; Redelfs, 36, a detention officer for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office; and Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, 37, of Juárez, whose wife worked for the U.S. Consulate.

The three had left a birthday party attended by other employees of the U.S. Consulate in Juárez in separate cars when they were attacked by gunmen.
Officials allege that Chávez Castillo planned the attack and provide the weapons used to kill Enriquez and her husband.

Officials said Chávez Castillo told police that members of the Juárez drug cartel, La Linea, who live in the United States ordered the murder of Enriquez because she facilitated passports (visas) to members of the Sinaloa cartel.

As for the other case, officials said, Chávez Castillo told investigators they attacked the students because they confused the party as a reunion of gang members of the Artistic Assassins.

http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_15424128

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#929
Jul 2, 2010
 
Chihuahua State assistant attorney general shot, killed in Juárez

By Adriana Gómez Licón
EL PASO TIMES
07/02/2010

EL PASO -- An assistant Chihuahua State attorney general died after the vehicle she was traveling in was riddled by gunfire.
Sandra Ivonne Salas García, 38, handled internal affairs from her office in Chihuahua City. She visited Juárez often to follow up on the work of homicide investigators and prosecutors in the busiest division of the state.

Before gunmen killed her Wednesday, Salas was checking on investigation files at the state offices in Juárez, said Carlos González, a spokesman for the Chihuahua State attorney general.

González said investigators have yet to find out whether the attack happened in retaliation for her work handling internal affairs. An investigation continues, he said.

One of Salas' bodyguards was also killed in the attack and the other was wounded.

http://www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_1542...

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#930
Jul 3, 2010
 
Drug war fears cast pall across Mexican elections

By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ
Associated Press Writer
07/03/2010

CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico -- A common theme haunts Sunday's state and local elections across Mexico: drugs.

One gubernatorial candidate has been photographed with a powerful kingpin. Another was arrested for allegedly protecting two cartels. A third was assassinated after pledging to bring peace to his violent state.

Many Mexicans are scared to vote, and others wonder why they should bother if the cartels seem to be in charge anyway.

The elections for governors, mayors and local posts in 12 states is the biggest political challenge yet for the government of President Felipe Calderon, who declared war on the cartels in 2006 and deployed thousands of troops and federal police to wrest back territory from drug traffickers.

A low turnout in the most violent states would signal Mexicans believe the drug lords have more control than ever.

And Calderon's conservative party is facing a resurgence of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico for 71 years through a combination of coercion and corruption that critics considered a veiled dictatorship. That party, known as the PRI, is favored to win in most of the 12 states and gain momentum to regain the presidency in 2012, just 12 years after losing it.

That would add uncertainty to the future of Mexico's drug war, backed by millions of dollars in U.S. aid and marked by an unprecedented increase in the number of drug suspects extradited to the United States for prosecution under Calderon's National Action Party.

Nowhere has drug violence so shaken campaigning as in the northern state of Tamaulipas, where PRI candidate Rodolfo Torre was assassinated Monday, less than a week before he was forecast to win the race for governor.
(continued)

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#931
Jul 4, 2010
 
Mexicans vote elections besieged by drug violence

7/4/2010
By Olga R. Rodriguez And Alexandra Olson, Associated Press Writers

CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico — A dozen Mexican states hold elections Sunday after a campaign marred by assassinations and other scandals that displayed drug cartels' power. The party that ruled Mexico for 71 years hoped to capitalize on frustrations over the bloodshed and gain momentum in its bid to regain the presidency in two years.
The elections for governors, mayors and local posts is the biggest political challenge yet for the government of President Felipe Calderon, who is deploying troops and federal police to wrest back territory from drug traffickers.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party, which held on to power for seven decades through a system of largess and corruption that many considered a quasi-dictatorship, has seen its popularity recover amid frustration with Mexico's surging drug gang violence.

The party, known as the PRI, held up the assassination Monday of its gubernatorial candidate in the northern state of Tamaulipas as evidence of Calderon's failure to bring security despite the presence of thousands of troops in drug trafficking hotspots.

Torre, who had been widely expected to win in a state that has long been a PRI stronghold, was killed Monday along with four of his companions. The day before, he had pledged to make a security a priority in Tamaulipas, a state across the border from Texas that has been torn by a turf battle between two cartels.

Even Calderon said the ambush of Rodolfo Torre's campaign caravan showed cartels are trying to sway the elections. Torre was the second candidate killed in Tamaulipas: a member of Calderon's own conservative National Action Party was gunned down in May after ignoring warnings to drop his campaign for mayor.

The prospect of the PRI regaining the presidency in 2012 would add uncertainty to the future of Mexico's drug war, backed by millions of dollars in U.S. aid and marked by an unprecedented increase in the number of drug suspects extradited to the United States for prosecution under Calderon's party, known as the PAN.

Calderon urged Mexicans to vote and show they will not be intimidated.

Many Mexicans are afraid to vote, while others wonder why they should bother if it seems the cartels are in control anyway.

Dozens of election workers have quit in Tamaulipas, some because their homes were damaged by Hurricane Alex but others because they were afraid to show up at polling stations, said Arturo Miniz, a spokesman for the state election institution.

The PRI nominated Torre's brother Egidio to run in his place. But many voters felt the cartels had snatched their right to choose -- a new low in a state where henchmen extort businesses and people avoid highways where caravans of armed men travel openly.

"After what happened you don't even know that to think," said Jose Rodriguez, 52, a street vendor who had planned to vote for Torre. "I had already decided who to vote for, but after what happened I don't know."

Politicians in Calderon's party have long insinuated that the PRI protects drug traffickers in Tamaulipas, the birthplace of the Gulf cartel, which is now waging a turf battle with its former ally, the Zetas gang of hit men. PAN leaders complained they couldn't find anyone to run for mayor in some Tamaulipas towns because of drug gang intimidation, and noted that the PRI had no trouble fielding candidates
(continued)

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#932
Jul 4, 2010
 
Details emerge in deadly drug cartel clash .

Sun, 07/04/2010

The Nogales International
A violent clash that left at least 21 people dead in a remote area southwest of Nogales, Sonora on Thursday resulted when gangsters working for the powerful Sinaloa Cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman confronted rivals loyal to the Beltran Leyva drug-trafficking group, according to media reports based on official sources.

The assault began after a convoy of up to 50 vehicles drove northward toward a mountainous area near the village of Tubutama, approximately 30 miles southwest of Nogales, Sonora, according to news outlets that included the Mexico City-based newspaper Milenio.

Milenio reported that the convoy carried heavily armed members of the Beltran Leyva gang and allies from the Zetas, a violent crime organization based in Mexico’s Gulf region. The gunmen intended to dislodge Guzman-affiliated traffickers from the Tubutama area, the paper said.

However, the website BorderReporter.com , run by NI contributor Michel Marizco, reported that the attackers were Guzman associates trying to drive Beltran Leyva loyalists from a mountain stronghold.

The Guzman group suffered the worst of the bloodshed — an ambush
by the Beltran Leyva gang, according to
BorderReporter.com .

Jose Larrinaga Talamantes, spokesman for the Sonora Attorney General’s Office, said 21 people were killed and another nine were arrested following the early morning showdown. Some media reports put the death toll as high as 29.

Larrinaga said that six of the nine detainees had been injured and were receiving medical attention. The other three were being interrogated.

Sonora Interior Secretary Hector Larios Cordova told media outlets including W Radio the dead were from Sonora, Sinaloa and the Gulf state of Tamaulipas.

Sinaloa native Arturo Beltran Leyva, architect of a massive drug trafficking organization that he ran with his brothers, was a key ally of Guzman, Mexico’s most wanted man, until a violent split in early 2008. Beltran Leyva was killed by the Mexican military last December in the southern city of Cuernavaca, and Guzman’s associates in Sonora set to rid the state of Beltran Leyva’s influence, touching off a wave of bloodshed in Nogales, Sonora, and surrounding areas.

The Mexico City newspaper El Universal reported Friday that Saltiel Beltran, son of Arturo Beltran Leyva, had been kidnapped recently in the city of
Zapopan, Jalisco by members of Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel. Authorities had been on alert for clashes between the cartels, the paper reported.

Also on Thursday, two charred human heads were found hanging on a fence outside the Del Rosario cemetery in Nogales, Sonora. Local police identified the victims as men ages 22 and 23.

A photo posted on the newspaper El Diario’s website showed the heads hanging next to a handwritten cardboard sign, bearing what appeared to be a warning.

http://www.svherald.com/content/news/2010/07/...

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#933
Jul 4, 2010
 
Mexican authorities beef up security in beach town

July 3, 2010

Authorities in the Mexican beach city of Puerto Penasco have beefed up security in hopes of easing visitor fears of drug-cartel violence of the Fourth of July weekend.

A security checkpoint has been set up on the outskirts of the city, known to many Americans as Rocky Point, and redoubled police patrols along the highway.

Volunteers known as Green Angels also will cruise Highway 8, the main route used by American tourists, and an ambulance will be stationed at the halfway point to respond to possible emergencies.

American fears about Mexico's cartel violence have damaged the economy of Puerto Penasco.

Last week, authorities and business leaders came up with the new security plan and say the precautions will remain in place for an indefinite period beyond the holiday weekend.

http://azstarnet.com/news/state-and-regional/...

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#934
Jul 5, 2010
 
Cartels use kids to bring drugs across United States-Mexico border

Border agents see big rise in apprehensions of teens

by Dennis Wagner
Jul. 5, 2010
The Arizona Republic

On May 9, a 15-year-old girl walked into Arizona through the San Luis port of entry, near Yuma, with 5 pounds of marijuana strapped around her belly.

She got busted by Customs and Border Protection officers.

Later that same day, a 16-year-old boy tried the same thing with 2 pounds of cannabis taped to his legs. He, too, was arrested.

The marijuana, with a combined street value of $72,000, was confiscated.

The juveniles - both U.S. citizens - were turned over to police.

But others keep taking their place.

In the past two years, Homeland Security officials have witnessed a disturbing development along the Mexican border: kid smugglers.

"It's going up," said Michael Lowrie, a public-affairs agent for the U.S. Border Patrol. "Not a whole lot, but more than we've seen in, well, pretty much ever."

The Border Patrol does not keep data on juvenile drug runners caught trying to sneak into Arizona through the desert and mountains. But Customs and Border Protection records show 130 minors were caught attempting to bring drugs through entry ports from Sonora into Arizona during fiscal 2009, an 83 percent increase over the previous year.

Teresa Small, a Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman in San Luis, said narcotics organizations - always on the lookout for ways to penetrate increasing border security - are recruiting American teens with claims that they won't face major punishment if they are caught.

"Drug-trafficking organizations lead them to believe they will not have a substantial sentence," Small said. "But they're actually telling them a lie."

In fact, prison terms are not uncommon for teen smugglers.

The problem escalated last year to a point where federal and local authorities created programs to warn Yuma County students about the dangers and consequences of drug smuggling. The federal campaign includes a presentation by border agents and a video with arrest re-enactments.

Meanwhile, a mock-sentencing program created by the Yuma County Superior Court has been presented at San Luis High School and a local after-school jobs center. Judge Maria Elena Cruz said she has noticed a surge of young smugglers who are stunned when she orders them incarcerated.

Cruz said her presentation, featuring a real prosecutor and defense attorney, ends with a teenager sentenced to prison. "We had parents and juveniles crying," she added. "It was very, very effective."

Small said most of the youthful offenders are Americans with family members in Mexico. She said port officers generally refer suspects to local authorities for prosecution under Arizona law, rather than to the federal justice system.
(continued)

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

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#935
Jul 6, 2010
 
Mexican drug cartel killings near Nogales increase

by Elliot Spagat
Jul. 6, 2010
Associated Press

ALTAR, Sonora - Very few residents dare to drive on one of the roads out of this watering hole for migrants, fearing they will be stopped at gunpoint. They worry they will be told to turn around after their gas tanks are drained or, worse, be kidnapped or killed.

A shootout that left 21 people dead and six wounded on the road last week is the most gruesome sign that a relatively tranquil pocket of northern Mexico quickly is turning into a hotbed of drug-fueled violence on Arizona's doorstep. The violence in recent months is grist for supporters of the state's tough new law against illegal immigration. They are eager to portray the border as a lawless battlefield of smugglers both of drugs and humans.

Nogales, the main city in the region, which shares a border with the Arizona city of the same name, has had 131 murders so far this year, nearly surpassing 135 for all of 2009, according to a tally by the newspaper Diario de Sonora. That includes two heads found Thursday stuffed side-by-side between the bars of a cemetery fence.

The carnage still pales compared with other Mexican border cities, most notably Juarez, which lies across from El Paso, which had 2,600 murders last year. But the increase shows that some small cattle-grazing towns near Nogales are in the grip of drug traffickers who terrorize residents.

The violence is concentrated in a few villages in the mountainous desert area of Rio Altar, which, until recently, drew tourists for its handsome churches, its river, a tilapia-filled lake and cooler temperatures. The roads wind through mountains of mesquite trees and saguaro cactus.

That's where Thursday's pre-dawn shootout occurred, just 12 miles south of the border, on a deserted stretch between the villages of Tubutama and Saric. Eight vehicles and numerous weapons were found in what authorities described as a confrontation between rival gangs competing for drug and immigration routes into the U.S.

The windows and panels of some vehicles were painted with X's in white shoe polish, said Fernando Pompa, a police officer in Altar who visited the scene. Bullet casings littered the pavement.

The territory is disputed between Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who heads the Sinaloa cartel, and the Beltran Leyva cartel, whose leader, Arturo Beltran Leyva, was killed in a shootout last December with Mexican marines in Cuernavaca.

Locals trace the wave of violence to the arrest in February of Jose Vazquez Villagrana, nicknamed "El Jaibil," or "The Wild Boar." Vazquez, reported to be an ally of Guzman, was captured in nearby Santa Ana.

Many people have fled in the past few months, said one resident whose family has roots in a village near the shootings. He asked that only his first name, Luis, be published because he fears for his safety. His relatives abandoned their homes this spring to join him in a larger city where he lives.

"This began like a cancer in the finger and now it is spreading to other parts of the body," he said, adding that it seems as if the government has no power to stop it.
(continued)

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

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#936
Jul 6, 2010
 
3 headless bodies found in car in Mexico

CULIACAN, Mexico (AP)— Police have found the decapitated bodies of three men inside a burned-out car in the drug gang-plagued Mexican state of Sinaloa. The heads had been put on the vehicle’s hood.

The Sinaloa state attorney general’s office says one of the burned bodies was in the driver’s seat, another in the back seat and the third was in the trunk.

Investigators found the car Monday in the city of Angostura, near the Pacific coast.

The office’s statement provided no information on possible suspects or the motive for the killings.

Sinaloa has long been considered the home state of many of Mexico’s most powerful drug lords.

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#937
Jul 6, 2010
 
12 people killed during elections in Juárez

By Adriana Gómez Licón
El Paso Times
Posted: 07/05/2010

A man was beaten to death and hung from his house's fence in Juárez this morning, Chihuahua state police said.

Police arrived to the Los Almendros subdivision about 6 a.m. to respond to the murder. They have not identified the man who appears to be between 35 and 40 years old. Police reported threatening messages were written on the man's chest and back.

In total, eight people were killed in Juárez on Sunday, when thousands headed to the polls to elect the mayor and Chihuahua governor. Four have been killed today, state police said.

Among the murders, a man found close to midnight Sunday appeared to have been tortured.

Police said the unidentified man was pierced from his mouth to his genitals with an iron rod. The body of the man between 30 and 35 was also half-burned.

A message to gang members was also left at the scene.

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#938
Jul 7, 2010
 
Mexican governor's guard accused of drug ties.

MEXICO CITY (AP)— The bodyguard of a Mexican state governor was ordered jailed Tuesday pending an investigation into allegations that he belongs to a drug cartel, one of a string of scandals that plagued weekend elections.

Ismael Ortega Galicia, a bodyguard for Tamaulipas Gov. Eugenio Hernandez, was detained for questioning over the weekend after the newspaper Reforma reported he was on a U.S. Treasury Department list of key members of the Gulf or Zetas gangs.

A judge ordered Ortega held for 40 days pending an investigation, the federal Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

His arrest came a week after gunmen killed the governor’s hand-picked successor, Rodolfo Torre. However, officials at the Attorney General’s Office said Ortega was not under investigation for the attack.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party chose Torre’s brother, Egidio, to run in his place, and he easily won Sunday’s election.

Hernandez’s government has defended the bodyguard, saying Ortega has been arrested several times before and released for lack of evidence. Tamaulipas officials also say Ortega has accompanied the governor on several trips to the United States without being detained or having any problems, despite the Treasury Department listing.

Treasury Department official did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Gulf and Zetas gangs are former allies fighting a bloody turf war in Tamaulipas, a state bordering Texas from where both cartels emerged.

Torre and four of his companions were killed when gunmen ambushed his campaign caravan June 28.

President Felipe Calderon called the assassination an attempt by drug cartels to sway elections for governors, mayors and local posts in 15 states. Calderon’s government called Torre an honest man with no corruption scandals in his past, but leaders of the president’s National Action Party have long insinuated Torre’s party protects cartels in Tamaulipas.

Such allegations also shadowed elections for governor in the states of Sinaloa and Quintana Roo.

Meanwhile, the Public Safety Department said in a statement that it had arrested a man in the June 30 killing of a top prosecutor for the northern state of Chihuahua.

The prosecutor, Sandra Salas, had been responsible for evaluating the work of public prosecutors and special investigatory units in Ciudad Juarez, which borders El Paso, Texas.

The department said the suspect, Cristian Rosado, was arrested Monday and told investigators that Salas was killed because she meddled into the dealings of the La Linea, the enforcement arm of the Juarez cartel.

The statement said Rosado began working as a hit man for the cartel two months ago and had been involved in at least 15 killings.

Also Tuesday, police found the body of a reporter who was shot to death in a western Mexican town plagued by drug gang violence — the sixth journalist reported slain in the country this year.

The Michoacan state Attorney General’s Office said Hugo Olivera’s body was in his pickup truck in Apatzingan. He had last talked to his family Monday night.

Olivera, 28, reported for La Voz de Michoacan, a main newspaper in the state that is a stronghold of La Familia cartel. He was also editor of the newspaper El Dia de Michoacan.

The National Human Rights Commission says 63 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000. Press freedom groups say Mexico is one of the world’s deadliest countries for journalists.

http://www.svherald.com/content/associatedpre...

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#939
Jul 7, 2010
 
Journalist killed in Mexico; 6th this year

The Associated Press
Posted: 07/06/2010

MORELIA, Mexico—A reporter has been killed in a western Mexican town plagued by drug gang violence—the sixth journalist reported slain in the country this year.
The Michoacan state Attorney General's Office says Hugo Olivera's body was found in his pickup truck in Apatzingan.

Olivera reported for La Voz de Michoacan, a main newspaper in the state that is a stronghold of La Familia cartel. He was also the editor of the newspaper El Dia de Michoacan.

Police had no suspects in Olivera's killing Tuesday.

The National Human Rights Commission says more than 60 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000. Press freedom groups say Mexico is one of the world's deadliest countries for journalists.

http://www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_1544...

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#940
Jul 7, 2010
 
Alleged hit man arrested in killing of assistant attorney general

By Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times
Posted: 07/07/2010

Mexican federal police have arrested a suspected Juárez drug cartel hit man in the murder of a Chihuahua assistant attorney general, police officials said Tuesday.

Cristian Rosado Mendoza, 23, was arrested and a 9 mm handgun was seized Monday after police stopped Rosado, who was driving a car with Texas license plates in a neighborhood near the Juárez airport.

Rosado, alias "El Cris," is accused in the fatal shooting of assistant attorney general Sandra Ivonne Salas Garcia during an ambush in Juárez on June 30 that also killed one of Salas' bodyguards and wounded another. Salas supervised internal affairs cases.

Rosado allegedly told investigators La Linea, as the Juárez drug cartel is known, ordered Salas' death because she had become involved in cartel business in the Cereso prison in Juárez.

Police said Rosado, originally from the Mexico City area, has a criminal record for drug smuggling in the U.S. and was jailed on a robbery charge in the Cereso prison until being released two months ago.

After his release from prison, Rosado allegedly began working as a sicario (hit man) for La Linea.

Authorities said Rosado is suspected in at least 15 homicides in the state of Chihuahua, including the fatal shooting of five men at a burrito stand on May 28 in east Juárez.

Rosado allegedly told police that Omar Carrasco Molina, alias "La Loba" (the female wolf), was the main target of the burrito stand hit. Carrasco was reputed to be a strong drug trafficker with the Sinaloa drug cartel led by Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman.
Rosado has been transferred to the custody of an federal organized crime unit in Mexico City.

More than 5,600 people, including at least five Tuesday, have been killed in Juárez since the start of a war between the Juárez and Sinaloa cartels in 2008.

http://www.elpasotimes.com/juarez/ci_15453970

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#941
Jul 8, 2010
 
Mexico's drug violence leads schools to teach students to dodge bullets

by Chris Hawley
Jul. 8, 2010
Republic Mexico City Bureau

MEXICO CITY - Schools across Mexico are teaching students to dive to the floor and cover their heads as urban gunfights between drug gangs multiply in the violence-torn country.

At least nine shootouts have erupted in school zones since mid-October, three of them in the past month. On June 15, soldiers and gunmen battled for an hour just 60 feet from a preschool in the central town of Taxco.

Several Mexican states are now requiring "shootout drills" and are incorporating them into summer teacher-training courses, which begin next week. School ends Friday in most of Mexico.

"We're in a situation like nothing we've ever lived through before, and we need to make sure the children are safe," said Juan Gallardo, director of school safety in the northern state of Tamaulipas.

Drug-related violence has reached record levels in Mexico since President Felipe Calderón launched a military crackdown on the cartels in late 2006. As of Monday, there had been 5,775 drug-related murders in 2010, up from 2,275 in all of 2007, according to an unofficial tally by the Reforma newspaper.

Shootouts have become common as drug gangs ambush government forces and each other in an attempt to control smuggling routes and, increasingly, local drug sales. Last week, 21 gunmen died in a shootout between gangs in a rural area near the Arizona border.

Although attacks rarely target schools, educators are worried students could be caught in the crossfire. On March 19, two college students were killed by stray bullets as they left a study session in the prestigious Tecnologico de Monterrey university in the northern city of Monterrey.

Gunbattles erupted near public schools on June 18 in the western town of Bellavista and on June 24 in the northern city of Apodaca. In Apodaca, police evacuated two elementary schools and a preschool.

After the June 15 battle near the preschool in Taxco, the southern state of Guerrero held shootout drills in several schools and ordered training for all 52,400 teachers in the state.

New guidelines instruct teachers to bring all students indoors, lock their classroom doors and keep the children away from windows. Children should lie on the floor and cover their heads with their hands to protect themselves from flying glass or chips of concrete.

Above all, children should not take pictures or video of the shootout.

"The first thing the kids want to do is take pictures to post on their social networks," said Erika Arciniega, director of crime prevention for the Guerrero state police. "We don't want them to become targets."

In Nuevo León state, where the college students were killed in the crossfire in March, education officials are preparing a video teaching children how to protect themselves during shootouts, state Education Secretary José González told reporters. Officials also are distributing manuals with instructions for surviving a shootout.

"Upon hearing gunshots near the school zone, the teacher will immediately order all students to lie with their chests to the floor," the guide says. "Avoid visual contact with the aggressors."

Not everyone thinks such training is a good idea, said Angel Carrillo, principal of the Rafael Briceńo Elementary School in the western city of Colima.

"Some of the parents think it scares the kids too much," Carrillo said.

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

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#942
Jul 8, 2010
 
Mexican drug cartel killings near Nogales increase

by Elliot Spagat
Jul. 6, 2010
Associated Press

ALTAR, Sonora - Very few residents dare to drive on one of the roads out of this watering hole for migrants, fearing they will be stopped at gunpoint. They worry they will be told to turn around after their gas tanks are drained or, worse, be kidnapped or killed.

A shootout that left 21 people dead and six wounded on the road last week is the most gruesome sign that a relatively tranquil pocket of northern Mexico quickly is turning into a hotbed of drug-fueled violence on Arizona's doorstep. The violence in recent months is grist for supporters of the state's tough new law against illegal immigration. They are eager to portray the border as a lawless battlefield of smugglers both of drugs and humans.

Nogales, the main city in the region, which shares a border with the Arizona city of the same name, has had 131 murders so far this year, nearly surpassing 135 for all of 2009, according to a tally by the newspaper Diario de Sonora. That includes two heads found Thursday stuffed side-by-side between the bars of a cemetery fence.

The carnage still pales compared with other Mexican border cities, most notably Juarez, which lies across from El Paso, which had 2,600 murders last year. But the increase shows that some small cattle-grazing towns near Nogales are in the grip of drug traffickers who terrorize residents.

The violence is concentrated in a few villages in the mountainous desert area of Rio Altar, which, until recently, drew tourists for its handsome churches, its river, a tilapia-filled lake and cooler temperatures. The roads wind through mountains of mesquite trees and saguaro cactus.

That's where Thursday's pre-dawn shootout occurred, just 12 miles south of the border, on a deserted stretch between the villages of Tubutama and Saric. Eight vehicles and numerous weapons were found in what authorities described as a confrontation between rival gangs competing for drug and immigration routes into the U.S.

The windows and panels of some vehicles were painted with X's in white shoe polish, said Fernando Pompa, a police officer in Altar who visited the scene. Bullet casings littered the pavement.

The territory is disputed between Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who heads the Sinaloa cartel, and the Beltran Leyva cartel, whose leader, Arturo Beltran Leyva, was killed in a shootout last December with Mexican marines in Cuernavaca.

Locals trace the wave of violence to the arrest in February of Jose Vazquez Villagrana, nicknamed "El Jaibil," or "The Wild Boar." Vazquez, reported to be an ally of Guzman, was captured in nearby Santa Ana.

Many people have fled in the past few months, said one resident whose family has roots in a village near the shootings. He asked that only his first name, Luis, be published because he fears for his safety. His relatives abandoned their homes this spring to join him in a larger city where he lives.
(continued)

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

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#943
Jul 24, 2010
 
Mexican cartels rely more on explosives in drug war

By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
The detonation of a car bomb within sight of the U.S. border in Mexico has rattled officials who expect more of the devices — staples of terrorism and warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan — to emerge on the streets of Mexico.
Dan Kumar, chief of international affairs for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the cartels "absolutely have the capacity and ability" to continue such attacks and there is reason to "expect more of this type of violence."

"This latest incident has raised a lot of concern in the U.S. and Mexico," Kumar said, adding that the cartels have turned even more violent in a vicious war to control the drug routes to the U.S.

The bombing last Thursday in Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso, killed three people, including a police officer. It marked the first time a vehicle bomb has emerged in the deadly conflict, Kumar said.

El Paso Police Department spokesman Darrel Petry said there is no evidence the violence will spill into the U.S., but local authorities are prepared.

"Are our officers advised to use extra caution? Yes," he said.

Drug gangs allegedly lured police and other emergency responders near a vehicle packed with explosives by dropping a wounded man dressed as a police officer near the car, Juárez Mayor José Reyes Ferriz said after the attack. As police and other emergency officials arrived to assist the wounded man, the bomb was detonated remotely.

This week, Mexican President Felipe Calderón appealed for the entire country's help.

"This is not just a job for the federal government, much less just for the president," he said Tuesday. "Citizens, of course, cannot face the criminals by themselves, but we ask for their support and understanding to continue this fight."

Kumar said the cartels have steadily increased their use of explosives, a mix of military ordnance and homemade grenades, in the past two years.

The emergence of explosives in cartel battles, he said, prompted the Mexican government to create a team to examine the phenomenon. Its work has expanded as the use of explosives has increased.

"I think we have to expect ... these types of car bombs," Kumar said.

In a bulletin issued to state and local law enforcement officials in the United States, Department of Homeland Security analysts said the attack — "within walking distance" of the U.S. border — highlighted "the potential for American casualties if similar attacks are conducted in the future."

The Juárez Cartel, which has claimed responsibility for the bombing, and the Sinaloa Cartel are responsible for much of the fighting.

"There is no indication either cartel will target U.S. law enforcement personnel," the July 17 bulletin states. "There is potential, however, for collateral injury to U.S. persons in Mexico and along the border regions as violence escalates," the bulletin says.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2010-07-22...

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