Mexico's Drug Cartel Violence is This...

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#168 Feb 28, 2010
More Marijuana Seized in Laredo

The case was registered when patrolmen detained a man in a truck on highway 83.
Saturday, February 27, 2010

LAREDO, Tx.- Sheriff Department deputies from Webb County seized 424 pounds of marijuana and arrested a man, and confiscated 2,042 dollars in cash.

Spokesman Maru de la Paz, stated that the case was registered when patrolmen detained a man in a truck on highway 83, in south Laredo.

Agents were made aware that in the back of the truck there were several packages of drugs among bags of animal food.

The cargo weighed in at 424 pounds with a street value of 215,000 dollars.

Along with the 12 packages of narcotics, authorities were able to arrest Jesús Mata, 57, who was charged for drug possession, a second degree felony, for evading arrest and resisting arrest.

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#169 Feb 28, 2010
Border Patrol tracks, nabs drug mules

Friday, 26 Feb 2010,
Web Producer: Bill Diven

LORDSBURG, N.M.(KRQE)- Two seizures in two hours netted Border Patrol agents nearly 400 pounds of marijuana after they spotted and followed a trail of footprints leading north from Mexico.

The agents working in the area of New Mexico's bootheel Tuesday night found "individuals and their backpacks" as the group apparently moved toward Highway 80, according to a news release. Agents took the individuals into custody and seized 129 cellophane-wrapped bricks weighing a total of about 144 pounds.

The release did not say how many individuals were involved or whether the seizure took place in New Mexico or Arizona. Highway 80 runs from Interstate 10 in Hidalgo County to the border city of Douglas, Ariz.

A few hours later agents observed a second group of people toting about 223 pounds of marijuana. Agents took three people into custody, but the remainder is believed to have fled back into Mexico.

The two loads of pot have an estimated street value of $294,000. The contraband and the individuals were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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#170 Mar 1, 2010
Obama Seeks US Ban of Assault Weapons For Benefit of Mexico

Author: Mac Slavo
February 27th, 2010

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are seeking to reinstate the weapons ban on assault rifles which expired in 2004. This would ban 19 types of semi-automatic military style guns and ammunition clips containing more than 10 rounds.

According to Eric Holder, the ban is not so much focused on preventing crime in the USA as it is to help out Mexico:

“As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons,” Holder told reporters.

Holder said that putting the ban back in place would not only be a positive move by the United States, it would help cut down on the flow of guns going across the border into Mexico, which is struggling with heavy violence among drug cartels along the border.

“I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum.”

What Mr. Holder is saying is that the need for lowering drug crime in Mexico supersedes the Constitutional protections of American citizens.

Perhaps Mr. Holder doesn’t understand how drug cartels operate or, more likely, does understand quite clearly and is using this as an excuse to further restrict second amendment freedoms.

If billion-dollar Mexican drug operations cannot source their weapons from the United States they would have no problems acquiring modern weapons through other means from countries like Venezuela, China and Russia.

Instead of focusing on restricting the freedoms of American citizens, Eric Holder and President Obama should focus on restricting the movement of guns, drugs and illegal aliens across our southern border. But that would be too easy, right?

If you’re a gun enthusiast, perhaps it’s time you stock up on some additional high-capacity magazines and pick up that assault rifle you’ve always wanted, just in case.

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#171 Mar 1, 2010
Juárez: Shooting kills man, toddler at horse race

By Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times
Posted: 03/01/2010

A toddler was killed alongside his father in a shooting at a horse race west of Juárez during another violent weekend with more than 20 murders.

Ricardo Beltran Flores and 17-month-old Alfredo Beltran Cervantes were shot Saturday evening at Carril Siete Leguas. Two other males were wounded in the shooting and hospitalized, Chihuahua state police said on Sunday.

Beltran, 39, worked taking care of race horses and had taken a race horse to the site when he was attacked by gunmen with AK-47s who fired 42 rounds, police said.

Police said Beltran was shot several times in the chest, head, arms and legs. Alfredo was shot twice in the abdomen and the back. Beltran died next to the boy. There had been no arrests.

As a drug cartel war has raged since 2008, violence in Juárez has increasingly claimed the lives of children and women, including six women that state police reported slain since Thursday.

On Thursday night, an unidentified woman driving a white Chevrolet Avalanche was fatally shot on Avenida de las Torres, police said.

A Friday afternoon shooting at a beauty shop in south Juárez killed two women and two men. The same afternoon, an unidentified woman in her 30s was shot in the head and killed on Calle Manuel Goita.

On Friday night, an unidentified woman was found dead in colonia Chaveña south of downtown Juárez. Police said the woman, who appeared between 35-40 years old, had bruises on her face and knife wounds on her body.

And Saturday evening, Luz Adriana Cobayachi Peñaloza, about 25-30 years old, and Aldo Alan Contreras Cobayachi, 17, were in a 1994 Nissan Altima when they were shot and killed.

In other news, a judge has released two alleged hit men with the Juárez drug cartel arrested by the Mexican army on Feb. 20 at the Mirage nightclub, the Norte newspaper reported.

Jesus Armando "El 35" Acosta Guerrero and Victor Manuel "El 38" Avila Vázquez were accused of trying to kill a woman outside a gym and were suspected in other homicides.

The Norte reported Judge Imelda Rodriguez Diaz ordered the men be freed after an eight-hour detention hearing where defense lawyers presented a medical report showing the men had electrical burns and bruises indicating they were tortured into confessing.

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#172 Mar 1, 2010
More than 600 Lbs. of Marijuana Seized

Migratory officials detected abnormal activity near the entrance of Camino Colombia.

Monday, March 01, 2010

LAREDO, TX.- Border Patrol agents assigned to the west station confiscated nearly 700 pounds of marijuana near Camino Colombia.

According to reports, migratory officials detected abnormal activity near the entrance of Camino Colombia, as they observed several subjects.

When federal officials drew close, the subjects dropped the packages they carried and ran in to the field and then into the river as they crossed to the Mexican side.

The men abandoned the bundles that weighed in at 686 pounds of marijuana with a street value of 548,800 dollars.

The drug was turned over to DEA agetns to continue with investigations.

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#173 Mar 1, 2010
Cocaine, Heroine, and Firearms are Seized

Authorities also confiscated drug paraphernalia used to prepare and sell the drugs.

Monday, March 01, 2010

LAREDO, TX.- Officials from the Sheriffs Department, Police and FBI, seized cocaine, heroine and fire arms, and arresting two suspects.

According to spokeswoman Maru de la Paz, raided a residence located on the 2500 block of Zaragoza, where agents confiscated 30.6 grams of cocaine valued at 2,000 dollars, and 1.9 grams of heroine valued at 400 dollars.

Authorities also confiscated drug paraphernalia used to prepare and sell the drugs. Police officials also seized two shotguns, a semiautomatic pistol and various ammunition.

In this operation David Ramos, 27, and Miguel Angel Esparza, 26, were arrested for drug possession a second and third degree felony.

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#174 Mar 1, 2010
Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

John Humberto Garza, 41, was not allowed the benefit of probation.

Monday, March 01, 2010

LAREDO, TX.- A man from Pasadera, Texas was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of transporting 2,220 kilos of marijuana.

Official José Angel Moreno, indicated that John Humberto Garza, 41, was not allowed the benefit of probation.

Federal Judge George P. Kazen determined that Garza must serve a prison term and then another five years on parole.

Garza was arrested by federal agents in March 2009 at the migratory booth on highway 16 for drug trafficking.

The subject drove a tractor trailer with several metal tanks. Migratory agents suspected that something was wrong since the driver could not answer any of the questions about the tanks or where they were headed.

The vehicle was examined by an x-ray scanner that determined a total of 234 packages inside the tank.

The subject confessed that a man contracted him in Houston to trasport the drug for a payment of 1,500 dollars.

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#175 Mar 1, 2010
FBI trains Mexican police in McAllen

February 28, 2010 5:46 PM
Jared Taylor
The Monitor

McALLEN — The Federal Bureau of Investigation hosted Mexican police officers from across the country last week for law enforcement training and to share knowledge.

More than 30 Mexican police officers from all levels of law enforcement — local, state and federal — participated in the training.

“We gain friendship and trust,” said Jorge Cisneros, spokesman for the FBI’s McAllen office.

FBI agents trained the Mexican officers on ethics, firearms shooting and how best to investigate different types of crimes. The program, known as the Mexican American Liaison and Law Enforcement Training, or MALLET, first began about two decades ago, Cisneros said. The FBI pays to transport and accommodate the Mexican officers during the sessions.

Since then, the training has evolved along with the shifting climate of police work in Mexico, and the rise in drug cartel-related violence. The classes coincidentally coincided with a week that saw at least 13 slayings across the border from the Rio Grande Valley.

“They’re well-armed adversaries,” Cisneros said.“Something we certainly focus our training on is the criminals today that are much more well-armed.”

Jose Manuel Lopez Gijón, a Tamaulipas state police commander based in Ciudad Victoria, said he had shared plenty of information with the U.S. authorities during the sessions. The classes were “very revealing,” he said.

“It’s very important to work as a team and avoid casualties,” he said in Spanish.“We have got to work on our image so the community knows we in fact help them and are not someone who gets in their way.”

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#176 Mar 1, 2010
AP IMPACT: Drug gangs taking over US public lands

Posted on March 1, 2010

SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST, Calif.(AP)— Not far from Yosemite's waterfalls and in the middle of California's redwood forests, Mexican drug gangs are quietly commandeering U.S. public land to grow millions of marijuana plants and using smuggled immigrants to cultivate them.

Pot has been grown on public lands for decades, but Mexican traffickers have taken it to a whole new level: using armed guards and trip wires to safeguard sprawling plots that in some cases contain tens of thousands of plants offering a potential yield of more than 30 tons of pot a year.

"Just like the Mexicans took over the methamphetamine trade, they've gone to mega, monster gardens," said Brent Wood, a supervisor for the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. He said Mexican traffickers have "supersized" the marijuana trade.

Interviews conducted by The Associated Press with law enforcement officials across the country showed that Mexican gangs are largely responsible for a spike in large-scale marijuana farms over the last several years.

Local, state and federal agents found about a million more pot plants each year between 2004 and 2008, and authorities say an estimated 75 percent to 90 percent of the new marijuana farms can be linked to Mexican gangs.

In 2008 alone, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, police across the country confiscated or destroyed 7.6 million plants from about 20,000 outdoor plots.

Growing marijuana in the U.S. saves traffickers the risk and expense of smuggling their product across the border and allows gangs to produce their crops closer to local markets.

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#177 Mar 2, 2010
Body of slain Mexican journalist was dissolved in acid

Mar. 1, 2010
Associated Press .

VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico - A long-missing journalist in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco was killed by a drug cartel's hit men who dissolved his body in acid, Mexican authorities said.

Rodolfo Rincon, 54, who worked for the newspaper Tabasco Hoy, was last seen Jan. 20, 2007, after he reported on local drug dealers.

Rincon's fate was learned from an arrested hit man, Silvia Gil, a spokeswoman for the Tabasco state prosecutor, told reporters late Sunday.

Gil said the man, who was not identified, admitted belonging to a gang of hit men known as the Zetas. The man said the gang killed Rincon over his articles and then dissolved his body, she said. Mexico is one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists. Watchdog groups say that more than 60 have been slain since 2000.

In the drug-plagued state of Sinaloa, Red Cross workers in the capital city of Culiacan refused to offer ambulance service Sunday and Monday to protest the killing of a volunteer and the lack of government protection for emergency workers.

Red Cross volunteer Maria Rogers, 20, was killed Sunday by a stray bullet when gunmen went into a Red Cross hospital trying to finish off a man who had been shot minutes earlier. The man survived.

Culiacan Red Cross chief Jose Vidal said Rogers had volunteered with the group for five years. "We will stop offering our ambulance services as a protest to the government and so that people know about the insecurity that we have been working under," Vidal said.

More than 500 people have been killed this year in Sinaloa, which is in Mexico's drug-smuggling heartland.

Drug violence has killed more than 15,000 people nationwide since President Felipe Calderon launched a crackdown on cartels after taking office in late 2006.

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#178 Mar 2, 2010
Witnesses: Suspect is top cartel operative

By Diana Washington Valdez
El Paso Times
Posted: 03/02/2010

EL PASO -- Two witnesses testified Monday that a man on trial on drug-smuggling charges is one of Mexican kingpin Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman's top operatives.

The trial of Fernando Ontiveros-Arambula and Manuel Chavez-Betancourt resumes today in Judge David Briones' court. Both pleaded not guilty.

Silvia Carbajal, 26, a former girlfriend of Ontiveros-Arambula, testified that Ontiveros-Arambula told her "he was on the same level as 'Mayito.'"

"Mayito" is a nickname for an associate of the Sinaloa cartel in alliance with Guzman.

Carbajal said she worked for Ontiveros-Arambula as a drug smuggler and money courier, and had a child by him. She said he told her he flew into Mexico's interior for meetings with Guzman and other drug-traffickers, and also worked with a man nicknamed "Arabe."

U.S. federal officials arrested Carbajal at the Zaragoza bridge in 2008 after marijuana was found in the tires of the car she was driving. She said the marijuana belonged to Ontiveros-Arambula.

Carbajal said Ontiveros-Arambula, who also fathered a child with one of her sisters, had three bullet-proof vehicles and a staff of about 50 people.

She said she knew Ontiveros-Arambula before he became an important figure in the cartel, and accompanied him when she was 16 years old to drop off backpacks with drugs at the border.

"He told me he would help me with my charges, that he would provide information that I could give the (investigators) about Border Patrol agents who were involved in drug-trafficking, or about the 'marranos'(rival cartel members), but he didn't," she said.

She said she transported large packages containing cash to El Paso, and cities in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Kansas. She said Ontiveros-Arambula owned race horses and had ranches in Acension, Chihuahua, and the Mexican state of Durango. She said he also owned a store with her sister Ivonne Carbajal, who works for him.

Carbajal had several relatives who were involved in drug-trafficking. "I've always been around drugs since I was little," she said.

She said her sister warned her the family could be killed if she cooperated with U.S. officials. "If I opened my mouth, there was going to be a price on our family's heads ... I told her I was going to say what I knew," Carbajal said.

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#179 Mar 2, 2010
Juárez: Doctor sought in kidnappings

By Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times
Posted: 03/02/2010

A doctor is accused of leading a kidnapping gang that targeted other medical professionals in Juárez, Mexican authorities said on Monday.

The suspected leader of the kidnapping ring, Rene Romero Ruiseco, nicknamed "El Doctor," remains a fugitive even after five members of the ring, including an El Pasoan, were arrested during the weekend, the Chihuahua state attorney general's office said.

The attorney general's office stated Romero is a 28-year-old general practitioner without an office. Romero's ring is suspected in 11 kidnappings since November.

"'The Doctor' works with a woman known as 'La Chole,' who is approximately 38 years old, short, fat, dark skinned," according to a statement by the attorney general's office. "A few months ago, this woman's son,'El Tibu,' was killed and his hands amputated and a message left stating 'for being a kidnapper.'"

The suspected kidnapping ring members arrested were Arturo "El Guero" Espinoza Guardian, 19; Aaron Isaac "El Kaski" Sandoval Sanchez, 18; and Sergio "El Toki" Iglesias Jr., 21, a native of El Paso.

Iglesias allegedly told investigators he is an old neighborhood friend of Espinoza and that he took part only in the separate kidnappings of two women. It was unclear if Iglesias resides in Juárez or El Paso.

The Mexican army also arrested Armando Martinez Castro, 25, and Benito Galarza Olivas, 52, on Saturday after they allegedly took part in the pick-up of a bag filled with cash for a ransom.

Authorities said the case against the gang is a result of information revealed following the recent capture of 10 members of the "El Stitch" and "El Peke" kidnapping groups.

Kidnappings for ransom and extortion of doctors and other health professionals in Juárez have been a problem since a rise in crime in a war between the Sinaloa and Juárez drug cartels that erupted in 2008. Doctors have had protests and have complained to Mexican President Felipe Calderón about the lack of security.

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#180 Mar 2, 2010
Ex-girlfriend: Accused drug smuggler claimed to be high in 'Chapo' Guzman cartel

By Diana Washington Valdez
El Paso Times
Posted: 03/01/2010

EL PASO -- The former girlfriend of a man accused of smuggling drugs testified Monday that the accused claimed to be a high-level member of the Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman cartel.
The federal trial against Fernando Ontiveros-Arambula and Manuel Chavez-Betancourt continued today in Judge David Briones' court.

Silvia Carbajal, a government witness, said Ontiveros-Arambula told her "he was on the same level as 'Mayito.'"

"Mayito" is a nickname for an associate of Guzman, a drug dealer who escaped from a Mexican prison and is sought by U.S. officials.

Carbajal said she worked for Ontiveros-Arambula as a money courier and as a drug smuggler and had a child by him.

She said the defendant had three bullet-proof vehicles and a staff of about 50 people.

Carbajal also testified that a man she met known as "Arabe" worked with Ontiveros-Arambula. "Arabe" is a nickname associated with another cartel associate.

Carbajal said she also worked as a dancer at the Tequila Sunrise and Prince Machiavelli strip clubs in El Paso and at the Amadeus club in Juárez.

The trial continues this afternoon.

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#181 Mar 2, 2010
Recent Violence Along The Border Came From Fight Between Cartels

REYNOSA, MEXICO - A new intelligence report obtained by CHANNEL 5 NEWS says the recent violence along the border started with the murder of a Zeta leader on January 18th.

The Zetas blamed the Gulf Cartel and demanded they hand over the killer.

When they refused the Zetas then kidnapped 16 Gulf Cartel Members in Miguel Aleman.

That led to the shootouts up and down the border last week.

The report says the violence may not be over. It says the Gulf Cartel has now joined forces with La Familia Michoacana and the Sinaloa Cartel to fight the Zetas.

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#182 Mar 2, 2010
Border Residents Prepare for Possible Spillover Violence

HIDALGO - The recent spike in border violence has people thinking about safety and how to best protect their families. Some folks are even ready to arm themselves. They're thinking about the possibility of spillover violence, things like home invasions and drug related chases. Their number one priority is to stay safe.

It's a quiet street right along the river in Hidalgo, but recently, the silence has been broken. Resident Rachel Salinas says, "I've heard something like fireworks. It is really scary."

Salinas believes she's heard the gun battles in Reynosa. She often sees Border Patrol and police here, but to feel more secure, she locks up. "I just close my gate as soon as it gets dark," says Salinas.

Her neighbors do the same. Their fence offers security. Still they worry. Homero Llamas says, "They could easily cross over here, or there could be a shootout on the other side."

For some folks, being locked up tight behind a gate is not enough protection. Nelda Gonzalez owns Thin Blue Line, where she offers a firearms training program. She says while she mostly caters to law enforcement, she's seeing a spike in civilians who want weapons. Right now there's a two-month waiting list for the course. Gonzalez attributes part of that to increased border violence and the threat of spillover. "I think that's what triggering people to come. They want to purchase weapons."

With the shoot outs so close, people are doing everything they can to feel safe.

Several Valley law enforcement agencies have confirmed to CHANNEL 5 NEWS they are on alert, ready for the possibility of spillover. Last week, the Hidalgo Police chief told us his department recently bought 25 automatic rifles in response to the escalating violence in Mexico.

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#183 Mar 2, 2010
Bus Traffic to Mexico Unaffected by Border Violence

MCALLEN - The recent spike in border violence is not stopping bus passengers from crossing into Mexico. CHANNEL 5 learned bus traffic is moving at a near normal pace, unaffected and un-phased. One Valley bus company who say border violence is not on their list of worries.

It is a busy day for Noreste Bus Lines. About 112 of their buses loaded with passengers leave McAllen's Central Station every week. That is 16 departures a day, all headed across the border. Ticket sales took a drop during last week's outbreak of violence. Laura Perera, a manager with Noreste says that was coincidental. "Sales go down on weekdays," says Perera, "that's very normal."

In spite of the threat of violence, people keep boarding and crossing into Mexico. Alejandra Guadalupe Delgado boards a bus two times a week bound for Reynosa to visit family there. She says, "I have to grow accustomed to what happens across the border."

Guadalupe will be back in her Hidalgo home later this week, only to return to Reynosa for the weekend. She is part of a steady flow of passengers who will travel back and forth no matter what's happening along the border.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS asked if Noreste drivers are taking any extra security measures to keep passengers safe across the border. They say they have not felt the need to.

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#184 Mar 3, 2010
Teen among 6 slain in Juárez

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

At least six people were killed -- including a quadruple murder -- in Juárez on Tuesday.

Four people, including a 16-year-old boy, were killed in a shooting outside a home in east Juárez, said Chihuahua state police.

Three victims died on the street after shooters fired 24 rounds from an AK-47 about 11:45 a.m. on Toronja Roja street, police said.

Police identified the dead as Israel Díaz Guerrero, 21; José Luis Carrasco Ramos, 16; Arturo Astorga Mora, between 35 and 40 years old; and Victor Amaya, who was in his 20s.

About 3 p.m., a man was shot and killed near Avenida de las Torres in the east part of the city.

The man had not been identified.

At 4:15 p.m., another man, identified as 21-year-old Fernando Becerra Dominguez, was fatally shot in the head on Isla Hawaii street in west Juárez, police said.

Four .22-caliber casings were found.

On Monday, hundreds of Mexican soldiers rode into Juárez as part of a regular rotation of army units, Coordinated Operation Chihuahua officials said.

The soldiers arrived in convoys of green pickups, cargo trucks and Hummers to take part in anti-drug operations in the troubled city.

The soldiers are from the 4th, 78th, and 98th Infantry Battalions and the 2nd Independent Infantry Battalion, all from the Mexico City area.

The Mexican military rotates units every 60 days in an effort to prevent corruption and bring in fresh soldiers.

Thousands of soldiers and federal police are in Juárez as part of the federal government's efforts to quell violent crime.

The presence of the army has also led to complaints about unlawful searches of homes, illegal arrests and other civil-rights violations.

About 4,700 people have been killed in Juárez since January 2008 due in because of a war between the Sinaloa and Juárez drug cartels.

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#185 Mar 3, 2010
Witness says drug dealer cleared kingpin Joaquin "Chapo" Guzmán pot path

By Diana Washington Valdez
El Paso Times
Posted: 03/02/2010

EL PASO -- A regional drug dealer cleared the way for kingpin Joaquin "Chapo" Guzmán to begin smuggling marijuana through Juárez, a witness testified Tuesday.

Jesús "Jesse" Aranda, 41, the witness, is one of the latest persons to testify in the federal trial of Fernando Ontiveros-Arambula and Manuel Chavez-Betancourt. Both defendants face drug-smuggling charges.

Some of his testimony provided insights into the events that led to unprecedented violence in Juárez during the past two years. Since 2008, more than 4,700 people have been killed in the border city.

"Oscar Martinez introduced me to 'Mayito.' He worked for 'La Linea' at the time," Aranda said. "He's the one who opened the door for 'Chapo' to come into Juárez.(Martinez) told me he opened the corridor for Mayito."

Mayito is a nickname for Ismael Zambada Niebla, a lieutenant in Guzmán's cartel who is on trial in Chicago on drug charges. Guzmán, an international fugitive, is the leader of the Sinaloa cartel.

La Linea is a nickname for the cartel led by Vicente Carrillo Fuentes.

Aranda, an admitted drug broker or middle man, said Martinez told him he wanted to work with Zambada because it was easier to get marijuana from Guzmán's people. U.S. authorities arrested Aranda in Colorado on cocaine smuggling charges in a case unrelated to the trial under way in El Paso.

The Carrillo Fuentes cartel had no problem providing cocaine, but was unable to provide as much pot as Guzmán's cartel, he said.

Aranda also understood belonged to Ontiveros-Arambula.
He tried to hire a bounty hunter to help him find a man named Carlos Carrillo, who was responsible for the payment, but was unable to find him despite searching in several U.S. cities, he said.

Aranda said he started getting pressure from the people in Juárez who had provided the marijuana, and feared for his safety. He said someone else failed to forward one of his payments to the marijuana owners in Mexico.

"They (cartel members) put people on a list. They have some people, they find you,(and) they kill you if you don't pay the money," Aranda said.

He said he considered injecting Carlos Carrillo with morphine if he found him, so he could take him forcibly to Juárez in exchange for saving his own life.

Later, he said, Zambada offered to help him because he trusted him. Zambada had taken all of Martinez's former people under his wing. Martinez was thought to have been killed.

Aranda said he also learned that Guzmán took Marcos Martinez, brother of Oscar Martinez, to work for him in Sinaloa state.

"All of Pedro's people were being taken down," Aranda said, referring to Pedro Sanchez, the Carrillo Fuentes cartel's top man in Chihuahua state.

Sanchez, who was captured, is in the custody of Mexican authorities.

Around June 2008, Aranda said, a drug war erupted because marijuana was hard to get and the price for pot soared.

The result was that "anybody who owed (money) better have it or end up dead," Aranda said.

From the evidence of May 2008 wiretaps presented at the trial, it was apparent that U.S. investigators were investigating in earnest the movements of drug dealers in the area just as the drug wars began to intensify.

During the trial, several witnesses testified that Ontiveros-Arambula, who lived in far east El Paso County, was equal in rank to Zambada and worked directly under Guzmán. He owned ranches in Chihuahua and Durango states, and had three bullet-proof vehicles.

The trial continues today in U.S. District Judge David Briones' court.

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#186 Mar 3, 2010
Sources: Zetas Plan to Make Nuevo Laredo Their Base of Operations

Last Update: 3/02

WESLACO - CHANNEL 5 NEWS learned the Zetas are out of Reynosa tonight.

They've moved about 150 miles west to Nuevo Laredo. Our intelligence sources tell us the group wants to take over the city and make it their base of operations.

The U.S. Consulate General's office has already confirmed a gunbattle in Nuevo Laredo. It's happening near Boulevard Colosio and the city's zoo. The consulate general's office is telling all U.S. citizens to take shelter until the fighting stops.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS learned the Zetas are already calling in reinforcements. We're told 700 Zetas from around Mexico are joining the 500 already brought to the area last week.

The Gulf Cartel also called in reinforcements last week. CHANNEL 5 NEWS learned they joined forces with two rival cartels, La Familia Michoacana (LFM) and the Sinaloa Cartel.

Our sources tell us the Sinaloa Cartel and LFM have a deep hatred of the Zetas. They could also benefit by getting a cut of the Valley's drug smuggling business.

It was a rough week for the border. CHANNEL 5 NEWS was following an explosion of shootouts and grenade attacks in northern Tamualipas.

Violence was reported in border cities like Valle Hermoso, Reynosa, Guerrero, Miguel Aleman, Ciudad Mier, and Valadeces. According to the Mexican military and CHANNEL 5 NEWS sources, last week's violence left at least 23 people dead.

Our sources tell us it was triggered when a Gulf Cartel member murdered a Zeta leader on January 18. The Zetas demanded the Gulf Cartel hand over the killer.

When that didn't happen, the Zetas kidnapped 16 Gulf Cartel members in Miguel Aleman. We're told that led to the shootouts up and down the border.

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#187 Mar 3, 2010
Travel Company Says Business To Mexico On The Rise

Last Update: 3/02

HARLINGEN - Some local travel agencies are reporting an increase in business, in spite of more violence across the border.

Nancy Haala from Minnesota is traveling to Mexico with a tourist group. They say they're not going to let drug cartels spoil their fun.

"We're not nervous, not at all, looking forward to it," she tells us.

"We'd like to have some warm weather. We hear it's going to be in the 70s. And in Minnesota it's been winter for six months."

Jo Liston, owner of Go with Jo Tours in Harlingen, says the violence concerns her, but it doesn't make her that uncomfortable.

"I have a lot of contacts down there... Anytime I question anything, I send someone special in," she says.

The 30-year travel industry veteran adds business to Mexico is actually up over last year.

"I'm taking more people. And I'm having more interior trips, and cutting back on numbers of departures, expecting the economy to be bad. And that would affect spending," she tells us.

Liston just had a French-Canadian group go to Reynosa. She didn't report any problems. Liston says it's not the first time she's sent customers in a country with violence.

"It's common sense the world over," she explains. "I don't think there's any more danger there than anywhere else in the world as long as you behave yourself."

We're told the business is making sure customers travel during the day.

Liston adds their clients have never been injured from drug-related violence in any country.

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