Author Topic: Mexico Drug War and Instability  (Read 67651 times)

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Offline tomahawk6

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Mexico Drug War and Instability
« on: January 14, 2009, 21:44:55 »
http://www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_11444354

EL PASO - Mexico is one of two countries that "bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse," according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats.

The command's "Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)" report, which contains projections of global threats and potential next wars, puts Pakistan on the same level as Mexico. "In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico.

"The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and press by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone."

The U.S. Joint Forces Command, based in Norfolk, Va., is one of the Defense Departments combat commands that includes members of the different military service branches, active and reserves, as well as civilian and contract employees. One of its key roles is to help transform the U.S. military's capabilities.

In the foreword, Marine Gen. J.N. Mattis, the USJFC commander, said "Predictions about the future are always risky ... Regardless, if we do not try to forecast the future, there is no doubt that we will be caught off guard as we strive to protect this experiment in democracy that we call America."

The report is one in a series focusing on Mexico's internal security problems, mostly stemming from drug violence and drug corruption. In recent weeks, the Department of Homeland Security and former U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey issued similar alerts about Mexico.

Despite such reports, El Pasoan Veronica Callaghan, a border business leader, said she keeps running into people in the region who "are in denial about what is happening in Mexico."

Last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon instructed his embassy and consular officials to promote a positive image of Mexico.

The U.S. military report, which also analyzed economic situations in other countries, also noted that China has increased its influence in places where oil fields are present.

« Last Edit: December 17, 2009, 22:43:21 by muskrat89 »

Offline Yrys

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2009, 18:05:59 »
Obama Says He Will Review Request for Guard on Border, NY Times, March 13, 2009

WASHINGTON — President Obama is considering a request by Gov. Rick Perry of Texas to deploy
National Guard troops along the southern border to stop a devastating wave of violence from
spilling into this country from Mexico.

Mr. Obama spoke about the request Wednesday with a group of reporters from regional newspapers.
He said that he did not favor “militarizing the border,” and that his staff was preparing a
“comprehensive strategy” for working with Mexico to stem both the flow of drugs into the United
States and the flow of guns into Mexico.

But Mr. Obama added that he would “examine whether and if National Guard deployments would
make sense, and in what circumstances they would make sense as part of this overall review of
our border situation.”

Those comments followed a series of hearings at which members of Congress characterized the
deteriorating situation in Mexico as a major threat to national security, and criticized the Obama
administration, saying it had not offered a specific strategy for dealing with the problem.

At one of those hearings, Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence, told legislators that
Mexico was not in control of parts of its territory. The statements put new strain on the United States’
long-conflicted relationship with Mexico. Speaking about Mr. Blair’s statements, President Felipe
Calderón
said he believed there was a new “campaign” against his country.


Dennis C. Blair is the director of
national intelligence in the
administration of President Barack
Obama.


“I challenge anyone to tell me to what point in national territory they want to go, and I will take them,”
 Mr. Calderón said in a speech Thursday.

He acknowledged the magnitude of Mexico’s fight and added that its problems were a consequence
of Mexico’s location next to “the biggest consumer of drugs in the world and the largest supplier of
weapons in the world.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will visit Mexico on March 25 and 26. Aides said the trip
was meant to demonstrate the Obama administration’s support for Mr. Calderón’s efforts and to talk
about ways to expand cooperation in areas like trade.

Topping the agenda, officials said, would be discussions about ways to increase cooperation through
a $1.4 billion plan approved by the Bush administration that includes weapons and training for
Mexican security forces.

Officials said trips to Mexico were also being planned by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano
and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.



Janet Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona,
is the homeland security secretary in the
Obama administration.



Eric H. Holder Jr., former deputy attorney general
under Janet Reno in the Clinton administration,
is the attorney general in Barack Obama's
administration.
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Offline Yrys

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2009, 18:06:30 »

Mexicans seek asylum at any cost, BBC News, Friday, 6 March 2009


Violence in Ciudad Juarez has already taken 350 lives this year, local media say

Drug-related violence in Mexico has become so extreme that some policemen and journalists
would rather sit in a cell at a US immigration detention centre than run the risk of being
caught in the crossfire between rival gangs in their home country.

In Ciudad Juarez, an important city that borders El Paso, in the US state of Texas, police officer
Salvador Hernandez Arvizu can testify to the gravity of the situation. Mr Hernandez, whose name
had been blacklisted by the drugs gangs, was hit by two bullets in February 2008 while walking
with his family in a downtown area.

The Spanish-language local internet site Lapolaka.com reported in a matter-of-fact tone that this
was the "umpteenth criminal attack" to be carried out.

Even though the lieutenant was rushed to a medical centre "guarded by dozens of armed agents",
his fear of further violence was greater than the pain he was suffering. The Los Angeles Times
newspaper reported on 4 March, 2009 that Mr Hernandez had left his hospital bed in spite of his
injuries and crossed the border to El Paso, where he applied to US immigration officials for political
asylum and was promptly taken into custody in a holding cell.

A matter of life and death

Jorge Luis Aguirre, the Mexican journalist who wrote the story in Lapolaka.com, soon found
himself in the same predicament as Mr Hernandez.


I would prefer seven months in jail
because it's a matter of life and death
Jorge Luis Aguirre


Mr Aguirre remembers the details of the anonymous phone call that forced him into exile in El Paso.
"He asked me my name and said 'you are next, you son of a *****'. That was what all he said,
then he hung up," he recalls.

The call came in November 2008, as Mr Aguirre was driving to the funeral of a journalist from
the El Diario de Juarez newspaper, Armando "Choco" Rodriguez, who had been shot dead.

"I turned back towards my house, but I stopped half-way there," Mr Aguirre says. "I left the truck
in a mall, in a public parking lot, and walked away. I called my wife and told her to pick me up
in another vehicle and to bring the children, so we could all go to El Paso directly."

Life in El Paso

The 51-year-old journalist, together with his wife and three adult children, currently lives in El Paso
on a temporary one-year visa that had been previously granted so he could report on both sides
of the border.

Emilio Gutierrez, a fellow journalist from the El Diario newspaper in Chihuahua, was not as fortunate.
He crossed the border into El Paso in 2008 and requested political asylum after writing a series
of articles that were critical of anti-drug efforts being conducted by the Mexican army. However,
Mr Gutierrez ended up being held in an immigration detention centre for seven long months before
being  released to pursue his asylum application.

But whatever the inconvenience, Mr Aguirre - who has also denounced alleged threats from an official
in the Chihuahua state government - says sitting in jail would be a better option than a return to
Mexico.

"Of course I would prefer seven months in jail because it's a matter of life and death. Either way,
I would like to explore other possibilities," he told the BBC.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2009, 23:12:18 »
Dealing with the Mexican gangs will be very challenging:

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/

Quote
March 15, 2009

GUN PROPAGANDA INTERFERING WITH SAVING MEXICO? Well, note this:

    Traffickers have escalated their arms race, acquiring military-grade weapons, including hand grenades, grenade launchers, armor-piercing munitions and antitank rockets with firepower far beyond the assault rifles and pistols that have dominated their arsenals. Most of these weapons are being smuggled from Central American countries or by sea, eluding U.S. and Mexican monitors who are focused on the smuggling of semiauto- matic and conventional weapons purchased from dealers in the U.S. border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

So all this talk about U.S. gun shops arming Mexican gangs with bazookas was just gun-control propaganda, then?
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2009, 21:00:41 »
I'd like to hope that Mexico is not about to hit the fan, but these cartels aren't just gangs with rifles anymore. Personally, I think that it's just a matter of time before there is a fight in Arizona with the police/border service and cartels. What happens after that, depending on the intensity of the incident and/or number of casualties........time will tell.

On a slightly related side note, my neighbour will be onboard a flight to Mexico in less than 12 hours.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/17/mexican.drug.war/index.html

Quote
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A bloody war between Mexican drug cartels is no longer solely a south-of-the-border problem, members of Congress said Tuesday at a hearing on the issue.

 1 of 3  The violence accompanying those battles has crept into the United States, and is believed to be largely fueled by money and guns from America, said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois.

"The drugs are coming north, and we're sending money and guns south," said Durbin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs. "As a result, these cartels have gained extraordinary power."

About 90 percent of guns seized in Mexican raids are traced back to the United States, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, he said. About 2,000 firearms cross the border into Mexico daily, according to the Brookings Institution, he added.

The subcommittee held a joint hearing Tuesday on the issue with the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. The hearing focused on ways the United States can assist Mexican President Felipe Calderon's efforts to combat drugs and violence.

In addition, American communities are seeing an increase in violent crimes related to the Mexican drug trade. In Phoenix, Arizona, in 2008, 366 kidnappings for ransom were reported -- more than in any other U.S. city, Durbin said, citing federal statistics. The vast majority of those, he said, were related to Mexican drug cartels.

"We're not winning the battle," Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard told lawmakers. "The violence that we see in Mexico is fueled 65 to 70 percent by the trade in one drug: marijuana."


It's not only border states that are affected, either. Authorities believe cartels reached 230 American cities, up from 50 in 2006, Durbin said. In his home state of Illinois, far from the Mexican border, he said, cartels are believed operate in three cities: Chicago, East St. Louis and Joliet.

Lawmakers and witnesses at the hearing universally applauded Calderon's efforts to deal with drug violence through actions such as sending troops into Ciudad Juarez. "I think he needs every single bit of our support," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California.

However, the violence has skyrocketed, Goddard said, with a new and appalling trend: assassinations of police officers, prosecutors and other officials who are combating cartels.

Perhaps even more horrifying, as the violence increases, so does the possibility that innocent citizens will be caught in it, he said. In at least one instance in Phoenix, criminals making a home invasion had the wrong house, he said.

"The casual fallout is going to be significant if we can't do something to try to assist Mexico in stopping it south of the border," Goddard said.

Efforts by Arizona authorities to fight the violence include intercepting wire transfer payments to smugglers of drugs and of human beings, Goddard said. Between 2003 and 2007, he said, Arizona seized about $17 million in such transfers.

However, a more comprehensive and regional effort is needed, he said, as the cartels, faced with increasing law enforcement surveillance in one area, will simply take their crimes elsewhere.

And authorities must target the masterminds and leaders behind the violence, he said: "Just arresting and deporting foot soldiers is a waste of critical assets."

Also Tuesday, a federal firearms official told the subcommittee there has been a "troubling increase" in the number of hand-grenades seized from Mexican drug traffickers recently, and that officials are concerned violence involving explosives could spill into U.S. border towns.

"In the past six months, we have noted a troubling increase in the number of grenades seized from, or used by, drug traffickers," William Hoover of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told the Senate subcommittee.

"We are concerned about the possibility of explosives-related violence impacting our U.S. border towns," he said.

Hoover did not give statistics about the number of hand-grenades seized by ATF, nor were statistics immediately available from the agency.

Another federal law enforcement official told the subcommittee he doesn't expect Mexican cartels to intentionally target U.S. officials and interests "in the near term."

Anthony Placido of the Drug Enforcement Administration said the DEA does not believe "that in the near term the cartels will deliberately target U.S. government personnel or interests or intentionally target U.S. civilians in the United States."

But, he added, "defining spillover is a tricky business."

Oddball
What are you doing?

I'm drinking wine and eating cheese, and catching some rays, you know.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2009, 21:32:32 »
The cartel lost its hold in Columbia and doesnt want to lose Mexico so its a fight to the death between the government and the cartels.

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2009, 22:35:55 »
This crap has been spilling over into Arizona since I got here 11 years ago. Mexican soldiers have been in Arizona, assisted drug runners, human smugglers fighting running gun battles on the major freeways, kidnappings, home invasions - you name it.

The Government's absolute refusal to do anything substantive about illegal immigration has only served as a catalyst

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/aug/06/soldiers-cross-into-us-hold-guns-to-agent/

http://arizonahuntingtoday.com/desertrat/2007/06/03/more-than-one-way-to-skin-a-cat/

http://arizonahuntingtoday.com/desertrat/2007/12/27/border-work-dangerous-for-scientists/

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,372202,00.html
« Last Edit: March 17, 2009, 22:43:39 by muskrat89 »
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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2009, 00:48:39 »
Mexico drug gangs 'top US threat'

Inside Mexico's most dangerous city



Gang violence is surging in Mexico, where 40,000 soldiers have been deployed across the country
to root out drug cartels. Beheadings, attacks on police, and shootings in clubs and restaurants are
a daily occurrence in some regions.

One of the worst areas for the violence has been the border city of Juarez, where thousands of
Mexican troops are now trying to re-establish control. Driving into Mexico's most dangerous city
is slightly nerve-wracking, to say the least. There has been murder, kidnapping and extortion on
a grand scale. Ciudad Juarez has not exactly been the safest place.

So the first time you cross that bridge over the Rio Grande, which divides Mexico and the United
States, there is a slight flutter in your stomach. Then you see the soldiers. Juarez has been flooded
with troops. Thousands have arrived in the past few weeks, under direct orders from the president.

The car park of the central police station is full - with army vehicles. Several lorries drive in with
two-dozen camouflaged troops in the back. Pickups head out, with soldiers standing on the tailgate,
guns at the ready. Army officers give the troops their orders. The police must feel a little squeezed
out.

"The army is in control of the police station," police spokesman Mauricio Mauricio says. "They have
the order of the president of Mexico to take control."

Battleground city

For more than a year Juarez has been a major battleground. About 2,000 people were killed here
in the past 14 months in drug-related violence. Across the country some 6,000 have been killed -
the majority either members of the drug cartels, or of the security forces.  It has been so violent
the US has warned that Mexico is in danger of becoming a failed state.

The troop surge does seem to have helped. Violence in the days since the army took over has
fallen substantially. What many are now asking though, is for how long? To find out how bad it
has been here, you simply need to take a rather grim tour of the city.

A local journalist showed me around - he asked not to be identified. Around almost every corner
there was another deadly story. "Three guys were killed here," he said, as we pulled up outside
a bar. Whitewashed walls in a suburban street. Two young men had walked into the bar, right up
to their targets who were playing pool. "Three of them died."

We come across a building where several bodies were found last year. One of a number of mass
graves in and around the city. Then to a city hospital. "Several men who survived an execution
were taken here," my guide tells me. "The killers came in. The men came here to kill the guys
who were inside the hospital."

So does this make Mexico a failed state? "Your country must provide you with the things a
democracy provides," he says. "One of those is security, the freedom to raise a family, to grow up,
to make a business, to buy a house and in this place you can lose those things in an hour. Your
family can be destroyed in a single act. "Of course when your state cannot provide such security
it's not working, it is a dysfunctional state."

A short distance away, in the centre of the city, a band strikes up a tune. Like anywhere with crime,
or killing, there are bad parts, and better parts. The city centre is pretty lively. The tourists may
have been scared away, but the streets feel safe - as long as the army is around.

A parking attendant, standing on the pavement, says everybody feels more confident. "This street
was completely deserted a few weeks ago. We were starting to call it the ghost street." A shop
owner agrees that the violence has been reduced. "Much more has to be done though. The
solution has to come from the top. Corruption has to be cleaned up for this to go away."

End in sight?

Mexico's problems are complex. There is poverty, and widespread corruption. Politicians, police
and judges have been bought off by the drug cartels. So now they are trying to re-train the police.
Corrupt officials have been removed. At city hall, the local mayor, Jose Reyes Ferriz, told me the
end may be in sight.

"We have examples throughout the world [of cities that have dealt with crime] that we can follow
and we are doing that. We can do away with corruption and do away with crime at the levels we
had before and maintain a clean city."

Many, though, wonder if that can happen. The army cannot stay forever. There are other violent
areas across this country where they are also needed. Police wages are low. The state cannot
match the attractive sums with which the drugs cartels pay off officials.

There are external factors too. Mexico's gun laws are tight, but in the US it is far easier to get
weapons. The Mexican government says lax US gun laws help arm the cartels and fuel the
violence. And while American drug users are still prepared to pay for narcotics, the Mexican drug
cartels will be prepared to kill to control the lucrative drugs market. The solution here is far from
simple.
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Offline Yrys

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2009, 00:52:09 »
Mexico offers $2m for drug lords

A reward of $2m (£1.37m) each will be paid to informers who help arrest Mexico's 24 most-wanted
drug gang chiefs, the attorney general has said. Correspondents say the most-wanted list is a public
challenge to the cartels.

Some 8,000 people have died in the past two years, as drug gangs fight for territory amid
government crackdowns. US and Mexican agencies are increasing their co-operation as the gang
violence spills over the border, where kidnaps and killings are on the rise.

The reward offer comes two days before a trip to Mexico by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
and a month before President Barack Obama is due to visit.

'Cartels splintering'

Washington is expected to confirm in the next few days that it will be deploying more federal agents
along its border with Mexico - to tackle the increase in drug trafficking and related violence.

The BBC's Stephen Gibbs in Mexico City says that with some evidence that drug violence is crossing
the border, both governments are under pressure to find a more coordinated policy to undermine
the immensely powerful Mexican cartels.

The drug gangs have splintered into six main cartels, under pressure from law enforcement action
on both sides of the border, according to the attorney general's office in Mexico. For example, one
gang once affiliated with the Sinaloa group under the Pacific cartel alliance was now listed as its
own cartel, the office said, as was La Familia, which operates in central Mexico and was once
considered a gang that answered to the Gulf cartel.

Among the men on the most-wanted list are the alleged head of the powerful Sinaloa cartel, Joaquin
"el Chapo" Guzman, who gained recent additional notoriety after being named by Forbes magazine
as one of the world's billionaires. Others on the most wanted list are the suspected heads of the La
Familia and Los Zetas criminal groups. Some of the men, such as Guzman and Ismael Zamabada,
allegedly of the Pacific cartel, are also targeted by separate $5m (£3.43m) bounties from the US
government.

The Mexican announcement offers "up to 30m pesos ($2m) to whomever provides information that
is useful, true and leads to the location and arrest" of the listed traffickers.

While Mexico has offered rewards for the capture of drug lords in the past, this is the first concerted
offer for all the most-wanted cartel members at once.
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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2009, 01:01:03 »
Mexican Drug Cartel Violence Spills Over, Alarming U.S.


Police officers with the victims of a recent Tucson home invasion, one of
more than 200 in the city in the last year


TUCSON — Sgt. David Azuelo stepped gingerly over the specks of blood on the floor, took note
of the bullet hole through the bedroom skylight, raised an eyebrow at the lack of furniture in
the ranch-style house and turned to his squad of detectives investigating one of the latest home
invasions in this southern Arizona city.

A 21-year-old man had been pistol-whipped throughout the house, the gun discharging at one
point, as the attackers demanded money, the victim reported. His wife had been bathing their
3-month-old son when the intruders arrived.

“At least they didn’t put the gun in the baby’s mouth like we’ve seen before,” Sergeant Azuelo
said. That same afternoon this month, his squad was called to the scene of another home invasion,
one involving the abduction of a 14-year-old boy.

This city, an hour’s drive north of the Mexican border, is coping with a wave of drug crime the police
suspect is tied to the bloody battles between Mexico’s drug cartels and the efforts to stamp them out.

Since officials here formed a special squad last year to deal with home invasions, they have counted
more than 200 of them, with more than three-quarters linked to the drug trade. In one case, the
intruders burst into the wrong house, shooting and injuring a woman watching television on her
couch. In another, in a nearby suburb, a man the police described as a drug dealer was taken from
his home at gunpoint and is still missing.

Tucson is hardly alone in feeling the impact of Mexico’s drug cartels and their trade. In the past few
years, the cartels and other drug trafficking organizations have extended their reach across the
United States and into Canada. Law enforcement authorities say they believe traffickers distributing
the cartels’ marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs are responsible for a rash
of shootings in Vancouver, British Columbia, kidnappings in Phoenix, brutal assaults in Birmingham,
Ala., and much more.

United States law enforcement officials have identified 230 cities, including Anchorage, Atlanta,
Boston and Billings, Mont., where Mexican cartels and their affiliates “maintain drug distribution
networks or supply drugs to distributors,” as a Justice Department report put it in December. The
figure rose from 100 cities reported three years earlier, though Justice Department officials said
that may be because of better data collection methods as well as the spread of the organizations.

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has asked for National Guard troops at the border. The Obama
administration is completing plans to add federal agents along the border, a senior White House
official said, but does not anticipate deploying soldiers.

The official said enhanced security measures would include increased use of equipment at the
ports of entry to detect weapons carried in cars crossing into Mexico from the United States, and
more collaboration with Mexican law enforcement officers to trace weapons seized from crime
scenes.

Law enforcement officials on both sides of the border agree that the United States is the source
for most of the guns used in the violent drug cartel war in Mexico. “The key thing is to keep
improving on our interdiction of the weapons before they even get in there,” said Janet Napolitano,
the secretary of homeland security and the former governor of Arizona, who will be testifying
before Congress on Wednesday.

Familiar Signs

Sergeant Azuelo quickly began to suspect that the pistol whipping he was investigating was linked
to a drug dispute. Within minutes, his detectives had found a blood-spattered scale, marijuana buds
and leaves and a bundle of cellophane wrap used in packing marijuana.

Most often, police officials say, the invasions result from an unpaid debt, sometimes involving as
little as a few thousand dollars. But simple greed can be at work, too: one set of criminals learns
of a drug load, then “rips” it and sells it.

“The amount of violence has drastically increased in the last 6 to 12 months, especially in the area
of home invasions, “ said Lt. Michael O’Connor of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department here. “The
people we have arrested, a high percentage are from Mexico.”

The violence in the United States does not compare with what is happening in Mexico, where the
cartels have been thriving for years. Forbes recently listed one of Mexico’s most notorious kingpins,
Joaquin Guzmán, on its list of the world’s billionaires. (No. 701, out of 793, with a fortune worth $1
billion, the magazine said.)

But a crackdown begun more than two years ago by President Felipe Calderón, coupled with feuds
over turf and control of the organizations, has set off an unprecedented wave of killings in Mexico.
More than 7,000 people, most of them connected to the drug trade or law enforcement, have died
since January 2008. Many of the victims were tortured. Beheadings have become common.

At times, the police have been overwhelmed by the sheer firepower in the hands of drug traffickers,
who have armed themselves with assault rifles and even grenades. Although overall violent crime
has dropped in several cities on or near the border — Tucson is an exception, reporting a rise in
homicides and other serious crime last year — Arizona appears to be bearing the brunt of
smuggling-related violence. Some 60 percent of illicit drugs found in the United States — principally
cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine — entered through the border in this state.

The city’s home-invasion squad, a sergeant and five detectives working nearly around the clock, was
organized in April. Phoenix assembled a similar unit in September to investigate kidnappings related
to drug and human smuggling. In the last two years, the city has recorded some 700 cases, some
involving people held against their will in stash houses and others abducted.

The state police also have a new human-smuggling squad that focuses on the proliferation of drop
houses, where migrants are kept and often beaten and raped until they pay ever-escalating smuggling
fees. “Five years ago a home invasion was almost unheard of,” said Assistant Chief Roberto Villaseñor
of the Tucson Police Department. “It was rare.”

Web of Crime

Tying the street-level violence in the United States to the cartels is difficult, law enforcement experts
say, because the cartels typically distribute their illicit goods through a murky network of regional and
local cells made up of Mexican immigrants and United States citizens who send cash and guns to
Mexico through an elaborate chain.

The cartels “may have 10 cells in Chicago, and they may not even know each other,” said Michael
Braun, a former chief of operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Elizabeth W. Kempshall, who is in charge of the drug agency’s office in Phoenix, said the kind of open
warfare in some Mexican border towns — where some Mexican soldiers patrol in masks so they will
not be recognized later — has not spilled over into the United States in part because the cartels do not
want to risk a response from law enforcement here that would disrupt their business. But Mrs.
Kempshall and other experts said the havoc on the Mexican side of the border might be having an
impact on the drug trade here, contributing to “trafficker on trafficker” violence.

For one thing, they say, the war on the Mexican side and the new border enforcement are disrupting
the flow of illicit drugs arriving in the United States. The price of cocaine, for instance, a barometer
of sorts for the supply available, has surged. With drugs in tighter supply, drug bosses here and in
Mexico take a much harder line when debts are owed or drugs are stolen or confiscated, D.E.A.
officials said.

Although much of the violence is against people involved in the drug trade, law enforcement
authorities said such crime should not be viewed as a “self-cleaning oven,” as one investigator put it,
because of the danger it poses to the innocent. It has also put a strain on local departments.

Several hours after Sergeant Azuelo investigated the home invasion involving the pistol whipping, his
squad was called to one blocks away. This time, the intruders ransacked the house before taking a
14-year-old boy captive. Gang investigators recognized the house as having a previous association
with a street gang suspected of involvement in drug dealing.

The invaders demanded drugs and $10,000, and took the boy to make their point. He was released
within the hour, though the family told investigators it had not paid a ransom. “You don’t know
anybody who is going to pay that money?” the boy said his abductors kept asking him. The boy,
showing the nonchalance of his age, shrugged off his ordeal. “No, I’m not scared,” he said after
being questioned by detectives, who asked that his name not be used because the investigation
was continuing.

Growing Networks

Not all the problems are along the border. The Atlanta area, long a transportation hub for legitimate
commerce, has emerged as a new staging ground for drug traffickers taking advantage of its web of
freeways and blending in with the wave of Mexican immigrants who have flocked to work there in
the past decade.

Last August, in one of the grislier cases in the South, the police in Shelby County, Ala., just outside
Birmingham, found the bodies of five men with their throats cut. It is believed they were killed over
a $450,000 debt owed to another drug trafficking faction in Atlanta.

The spread of the Mexican cartels, longtime distributors of marijuana, has coincided with their taking
over cocaine distribution from Colombian cartels. Those cartels suffered setbacks when American
authorities curtailed their trading routes through the Caribbean and South Florida. Since then, the
Colombians have forged alliances with Mexican cartels to move cocaine, which is still largely produced
in South America, through Mexico and into the United States.

The Mexicans have also taken over much of the methamphetamine business, producing the drug in
“super labs” in Mexico. The number of labs in the United States has been on the decline. While the
cartel networks have spread across the United States, the border areas remain the most worrisome.
At the scene of the pistol-whipping here, Sergeant Azuelo and his team methodically investigated.

Their suspicions grew as they walked through the house and noticed things that seemed familiar to
them from stash houses they had encountered: a large back room whose size and proximity to an
alley seemed well-suited to bundling marijuana, the wife of the victim reporting that they had no
bank accounts and dealt with everything in cash, the victim’s father saying over and over that his
son was “no saint” and describing his son’s addiction problems with prescription drugs.

A digital scale with blood on it was found in a truck bed on the driveway, raising suspicion among
the detectives that the victim was trying to hide it. The house, the wife told them, had been invaded
about a month ago, but the attackers left empty-handed. She did not call the police then, she said,
because nothing was taken. Finally, they saw the cellophane wrap and drug paraphernalia and
obtained a search warrant to go through the house more meticulously.

The attackers “were not very sophisticated,” Sergeant Azuelo said, but they somehow knew what
might be in the house. “For me, the question is how much they got away with,” he said. “The family
may never tell.”

All in all, Sergeant Azuelo said, it was a run-of-the-mill call in a week that would include at least
three other such robberies. “I think this is the tip of the iceberg,” Detective Kris Bollingmo said as
he shined a light through the garage. “The problem is only going to get worse.”

“We are,” Sergeant Azuelo added, “keeping the finger in the dike.”
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Offline CBH99

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2009, 02:40:26 »
I just spent last week in Mexico, and there are definately signs of the drug war. 

We've been going to Manzanillo for years, as we own some property there.  It was the first time there was a substantial military presence at the airport.  While down there for the week, we saw quite a few signs that the government is taking this very seriously.  (Being deliberately vague, as I don't want to jeopardize the OPSEC of our Mexican brothers in arms in any way.)

Even in the english newspaper, there are pages & pages worth of news stories about the current situation.  Most of the stories about gunfights between federal police & military units against cartel members.

On a personal note, I hope the police & military take significant action against the cartels.  In my own personal opinion, there are far too many evil people in this world - and that number continues to grow because governments are afraid to act.  Slowly, whether it is terrorism and extremism, violent drug syndacites, groups committed to ethnic cleansings - the world is slowly decaying as governments become more worried about being politically correct, and less worried about upholding and defending basic morals and values. 

The threat the drug cartels pose to all of North America shouldn't be understimated.  They have already used deliberate and deadly force against Mexican and American law enforcement - and I have no doubt they would use violence agianst anybody if they stood up against them.  There are already significant amounts of drugs coming up to Canada as well, which means the cartel's business interests in Canada will only grow - even if slowly.

I'm not trying to be alarmist, just a realist.  I hope the law enforcement and military resources, regardless of nationality, get some real significant successes against these cartels.
Fortune Favours the Bold...and the Smart.

Wouldn't it be nice to have some Boondock Saints kicking around?

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2009, 11:10:34 »
Out with the border patrol in Texas

Videos of agents checking vehicles crossing the border on link (2 min 22 sec)
and of patrol with the Mexican army
here (1 min 4 sec)


Concern is growing in the US about how to stop drugs being smuggled into the country from Mexico.
There are also fears that the rampant violence between Mexican drugs cartels could spread across
the border. The boundary, some 2,000 miles (3,200km) long, between Mexico and the US is reported
to be the busiest international border. Every day, hundreds of thousands cross legally but every day
also sees money and weapons smuggled south, and drugs brought across to the north.

In the Texan city of El Paso and the Mexican city of Juarez, monitoring the border has become a huge
problem. The two communities live right up against one another, at the heart of a drugs smuggling
route that is worth billions.

If you head out with the US Border Patrol here you get a good idea of how hard it is to stop traffickers
getting across. Agent Joe Romero and his colleagues have a huge desert region to patrol. Fences have
been built in some places, but Agent Romero agrees that surveillance and fences alone cannot stop
the drugs trade. "It's a huge business. It's a major part of an economy. Whether it's a legal economy
or an illegal economy it's a big part of that. And there's a big demand for it. That side is supply, and
there's a big demand for it on the US side."

Seized drugs

As long as Americans are buying, Mexican drug cartels will continue to sell.

Up the road, at the El Paso field office of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), they have
been burning marijuana in a special incinerator. Nearby, two undercover agents are packing up more
than 30kg of cocaine, seized in a raid just two days earlier. It's being sent off for analysis. In the
warehouse next door, Special Agent Joseph M Arabit shows off several tons of seized drugs.

Plenty of narcotics though are still getting through. The FBI estimates that between 40% and 60% of
the drugs smuggled into the US come in via the Juarez-El Paso corridor. Other agencies dispute this
figure, but it's a clear indication of the scale of the problem. "I think the long-term solution is going
to have to be the elimination of the cartels themselves," says FBI Special Agent David Cuthbertson.

"The Mexican government and our government, in co-operation, really need to remove the cartels
at their roots, because they are multi-billion dollar criminal enterprises, who are very powerful.
They are very violent and they are also very flexible."

So far the US approach has been two-fold. Try and stop drugs getting in, and spend money on
equipping and training the Mexican army to destroy the cartels. The trafficking issue, however,
is not a one-way street.

The Mexican government says the US authorities are failing to stop weapons and drug money from
heading south across this border. Most of the weapons used by the drug cartels are easily bought
in the US thanks to relaxed US gun laws.

"The Mexicans are justifiably worried and angry that weapons, very sophisticated weapons are being
smuggled into Mexico from the United States and are being used by the drug cartels," says Senator
Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security. "It's been a fact of life
that except for occasional random inspections, the American border authorities do not make exit
inspections of people and vehicles when leaving the country. That's gotta stop."

Still, others feel it's not so simple. "I think at the very least we need to have a national debate about
the wisdom of the United States policy of prohibition," says El Paso council member Beto O'Rourke.
"The US for decades has focused on the supply side of the problem, of getting into the business of
how drugs are produced in Colombia, and Peru, and now Mexico."

"It really has done nothing to limit the supply and the availability and desirability of drugs in the
United States, and that's what fuelling the violence that we see in Juarez. The US drug consumer's
money is what buys guns, buys the corruption of public officials, recruits new members to the
cartels."
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Offline Yrys

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2009, 11:12:22 »
U.S. Taking Steps on Mexican Border to Control Violence

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday announced sharp increases in the number
of federal agents and the use of high technology along the Mexican border, as part of a series of
steps aimed as much at preventing violence from spilling into the United States as at stemming
the flow of drugs and money.

“The president is concerned by the increased level of violence, particularly in Ciudad Juarez and
Tijuana, and the impact that it is having on the communities on both sides of the border,” said a
White House statement released shortly before a formal announcement.

The statement made no mention of soldiers being deployed on the border, a measure that has been
requested by the governors of Arizona and Texas. Those states have been seeking urgent assistance
as a wave of drug-related violence tied to bloody battles between drug cartels has spread into cities
across the Southwest and beyond.

Among the measures announced Tuesday, along with the sharp increase in some categories of border
agents and analysts, will be the increased use of advanced X-ray technology — the so-called virtual
strip search that reveals a person’s undressed outline — and other equipment at ports of entry
to detect weapons being carried into Mexico.

The Homeland Security Department plans to double the size of both its border enforcement task
forces and its violent criminal aliens teams; to triple the number of intelligence analysts along
the southwest border, and to quadruple the number of border liaison officers working with Mexican
law enforcement officials, the White House said. Other American law enforcement agencies are also
expanding their efforts along the border; they plan to increase collaboration with Mexican officials
to trace weapons seized at crime scenes.

The Homeland Security secretary, Janet Napolitano, who was joining in the announcement on
Tuesday, said last week that “the key thing is to keep improving on our interdiction of the
weapons before they even get in there.”

Congress has already appropriated $700 million to support Mexican law enforcement and judicial
capacity. That money will, among other things, help provide five helicopters and a surveillance
aircraft to the Mexican military, allow expanded use of inspection technology and furnish
additional training to strengthen the Mexican legal system.

The White House statement praised President Felipe Calderon of Mexico for his efforts to confront
and dismantle the cartels, saying that “we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him in that fight.”
“I don’t think we can do this piecemeal,” President Obama said last week during a town-hall-style
meeting in California. “I’m going to be working with President Calderon in Mexico to figure out how
we get control over the border that’s become more violent because of the drug trade. We have
to combine that with cracking down on employers who are exploiting undocumented workers.”
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2009, 11:16:04 »
Notice how the "make use of a crisis" crowd is triangulating the issue to support their own agenda (which is not the secutity of the United States or the citizens therof)

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/   24 March 2009

Quote
TELEGRAPH: Mexican Drug Wars Now Worse Than Iraq.

But notice the juxtaposition. First this quote:


“The dynamic of this combat is approaching the early days of the Iraq war. The cartels’ men are well trained, disciplined and are armed with the latest weaponry, including armour-piercing bullets, rocket-launchers and grenades.”

Then this:


His claims were backed by Congressmen in Washington, who have said money and guns smuggled from the US were fuelling violence that was now creeping over the border.

If rocket launchers and grenades are making it into Mexico from the United States, it’s because they’re being sold out the back door of military and police armories, since civilian gun stores don’t sell them. I think it’s more likely that they’re coming from elsewhere, but any member of Congress who really thinks this is a problem should be demanding audits of those facilities posthaste.

Plus this: “The cartels’ ability to smuggle both guns and kidnap victims into Mexico has been facilitated by lax US border controls, although the Americans are starting to tighten up.” So instead of gun control, we might fix things by tightening up on the border? Hmm. . . .
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline PanaEng

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2009, 18:06:00 »
I've been following the situation for some time and I'm of the opinion that short of a traty where the DEA/FBI or some sort of North American anti-gang/drug agency goes in and supervices/controls the Mexican police in the border states nothing will change.
The corruption is too ingrained in the police and judiciary and can easily affect the military as well that is almost impossible to stamp out without outside help.
And the tentacles of the gangs is not limited to some areas in the US, they are trying to gain ground in BC and in TO as well.

cheers,
Frank
Now I am SAS or SWAT dude ;-)
see:
Quote from: RHFC_piper ink=topic=51916.msg617784#msg617784 date=1190404708

The 'pana" is a play on the Greek 'pan' meaning 'all' or 'encompassing' - not quite but similar to UBIQUE
some think I just misspelled "para" :-)

Offline Yrys

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2009, 11:57:47 »
Mexico Drug War Causes Wild West Blood Bath, NY Times, April 16, 2008
In Mexico Drug War, Sorting Good Guys From Bad, NY Times, November 1, 2008
For More of Mexico’s Wealthy, Cost of Living Includes Guards, NY Times, November 16, 2008
U.S. Is Arms Bazaar for Mexican Cartels, NY Times, February 25, 2009
U.S. Moves Against Top Mexican Drug Cartel, NY Times, February 25, 2009
The Drug Cartels’ Right to Bear Arms, NY Times, February 27, 2009
With Force, Mexican Drug Cartels Get Their Way, NY Times, February 28, 2009
For Some Taxi Drivers, a Different Kind of Traffic, NY Times, March 1, 2009
At Spring Break in Mexico, Revelry Mixes With New Caution, NY Times, March 10, 2009
Soccer Is an Oasis From Mexico’s Drug War, NY Times, March 18, 2009
Prosecutors Seek Appeal in Dismissal of Gun Case, NY Times, March 19, 2009
Mexico: Son of Cartel Leader Detained (brief), NY Times, March 20, 2009
Mexico: Trafficker Held in Attacks (brief, NY Times, March 21, 2009
The Mexican Evolution, NY Times, March 23, 2009
Mexico: List Published of Most Wanted Drug Kingpins(brief), NY Times, March 23, 2009
List here



As Clinton Visits Mexico, Strains Show in Relations, NY Times, March 25, 2009


Mexican soldiers checked identification during a drugs and weapons
search last week in Reynosa, near the United States border.



MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s economy is being dragged down by the recession to the north.
American addicts have turned Mexico into a drug superhighway, and its police and soldiers
are under assault from American guns. Nafta promised 15 years ago that Mexican trucks
would be allowed on American roads, but Congress said they were unsafe.

United States-Mexican relations are in the midst of what can be described as a neighborly
feud, one that stretches along a lengthy shared fence. That border fence, which has become
a wall in some places, is another irritant.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrives in Mexico on Wednesday for what will be
the first in a parade of visits by top administration officials, including President Obama
himself next month, to try to head off a major foreign policy crisis close to home. They will
find a country mired in a deepening slump, miffed by signs of protectionism in its largest
trading partner, and torn apart by a drug war for which many in Mexico blame customers
in the United States.

Hours before Ms. Clinton’s arrival, Mexican authorities announced that they had captured one
of the nation’s 37 worst drug traffickers, a man included on “most wanted” list police issued
two days ago. The suspect, Hector Huerta Rios, was detained Tuesday in a suburb of the
northern industrial city of Monterrey, said Gen. Luis Arturo Oliver, at a news conference,
according to The Associated Press. On Monday, Mexican authorities published a list of their
most-wanted drug traffickers with an offer of up to $2 million for information leading to the
arrest of any of the top 24 and up to $1 million for any of the 13 lieutenants, including Mr.
Huerta Rios. It was unclear if any reward was paid in the arrest on Tuesday.

On the American side of the border, there is also plenty of angst. Many American communities
are worried about drug violence spilling over the border, and about Mexican immigrants taking
scarce jobs. That is forcing the Obama administration, already managing two wars and a deep
recession, to fashion a new Mexico policy earlier than it might have wished.

Mr. Obama, like President George W. Bush before him, is finding that these foreign challenges
touch on some of the thorniest issues in domestic politics, including immigration, free trade and
gun control. The Bush administration disturbed relations by failing to deliver on its promise of
immigration reform. And the Obama administration, in its first weeks in office, has set off new
tensions with a series of conflicting signals and false starts.

Some in the administration have suggested that the Mexican government is not in control of all
of its territory, even as other officials praise President Felipe Calderón’s resolve to fight the drug
trade. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. urged and then backed away from reinstituting a ban
on sales of assault rifles, which are fueling the drug violence.

Mr. Obama acknowledged contingency plans to deploy troops to the border if too much of the
violence spilled over into the United States, but he said almost in the same breath that no such
deployment was imminent. “I think it’s unacceptable if you’ve got drug gangs crossing our borders
and killing U.S. citizens,” Mr. Obama told reporters when asked if he might deploy troops. “I think
if one U.S. citizen is killed because of foreign nationals who are engaging in violent crime, that’s
enough of a concern to do something about it.”

The bloody drug war, which has caused 7,000 deaths in 16 months, has become the principal sore
point between the countries. Although addiction rates among Mexicans are on the rise, the vast
majority of the drugs flowing through Mexico will be sniffed, smoked or injected by Americans.
On top of that, 90 percent of the guns used by Mexican drug cartels originated in the United States,
according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The suggestion by Mr. Obama that American troops might be moved toward the border to combat
drug cartels prompted Gen. Guillermo Galván, Mexico’s defense secretary, to assert that no
deployment of foreign soldiers would be allowed on Mexican soil. History was at the root of the
concern here, as even Mexican schoolchildren know of the war a century and a half ago in which
the United States seized half of Mexico’s territory.

Also riling the Mexicans was Congressional testimony by Dennis C. Blair, the director of national
intelligence, suggesting that drug cartels controlled some parts of Mexico. The Calderón
administration reacted angrily, with Interior Minister Fernando Gómez Mont saying that such
remarks “are unfortunate and don’t contribute to generating a climate of confidence that is
indispensable to win this fight.”

For his part, Mr. Calderón has spoken of an American “campaign” against Mexico, and has
pointed out that the murder rate is higher in New Orleans than in his country. Mexico’s battered
image, as outlined in State Department travel advisories, is of particular concern to Mr. Calderón
because it scares off potential investors and tourists.

The litany of angry rebuttals from Mexico has grown so fierce that an American diplomat here,
Leslie Bassett, wrote a column in a Mexican newspaper the other day, saying, “No Obama
appointee has referred to Mexico as a failed state; every Obama appointee posed the question
has acknowledged the existing security challenges, commended President Calderón’s fortitude,
and dismissed the idea out of hand.”

State Department officials said that one of the critical goals of Mr. Obama’s visit would be to
“open the aperture” of the bi-national agenda so that the relationship was not limited — some say,
held hostage — to a single issue. “It is important to underscore that this is a big relationship,”
Assistant Secretary of State Thomas A. Shannon Jr. said in an interview. “It is very broad and
deep. And it should not be narrowed down to a couple of issues.”

Few of those issues are simple, however.

After the United States shut the border to Mexican trucks, in violation of a promise it made under
the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico placed tariffs on 89 American products, from
grapes to dishwashers, in some cases appearing to select items from the districts of well-connected
members of Congress to increase the action’s impact.

Mexico is reeling from the recession in the United States. Although Mr. Calderón speaks often of how
well prepared his country is for the global downturn, Mexico’s export factories have lost some 65,000
jobs since October, one of many tangible effects. Exports fell 32 percent in January, and automobile
exports fell 50 percent in the first two months of 2009. Mexico’s central bank expects the economy
to contract no more than 1.8 percent this year, but some investment banks forecast shrinkage of as
much as 5 percent.

Last week, Mr. Obama made clear that many problems, including the drug trade and immigration
reform, will have to be dealt with together. “I don’t think we can do this piecemeal,” Mr. Obama said
during a town hall meeting in California. “I’m going to be working with President Calderón in Mexico
to figure out how we get control over the border that’s become more violent because of the drug
trade. We have to combine that with cracking down on employers who are exploiting undocumented
workers.”

Marc Lacey reported from Mexico City and Ginger Thompson from Washington. Elisabeth Malkin
contributed reporting from Mexico City and Sharon Otterman from New York.
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Offline Yrys

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2009, 12:03:43 »
Drugs war challenge for US and Mexico, BBC News, El Paso and Ciudad Juarez Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Ciudad Juarez has been called "the most dangerous city on earth". Driving in from the US side
of the border, it doesn't feel like that. You simply pay $2.25 (£1.54) at the toll-booth, and cross
the bridge over the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.

Ask the Mexican authorities and they will tell you that this is a major factor fuelling the drug wars
raging in cities like Juarez. They argue the lax border controls make it easier for money and guns
to flow south from the US. It is estimated that at least 90% of the guns used by the Mexican drug
trafficking organisations have come from the US.

In an interview with the BBC, the chairman of the US Senate Homeland Security Committee, Joe
Lieberman, agreed that the border controls are too lax. "It's been a fact of life that except for
occasional random inspections, the American border authorities do not make exit inspections of
people and vehicles when leaving the country. That's got to stop," he said.

According to a New York Times editorial, "a vast arms bazaar is rampant along the four border
states, enabled by porous to non-existent American gun laws. "The hypocrisy grows all too
gruesome: The US Justice Department pronounced the Mexican drug cartels "a national security
threat" even as American gun dealers along the border were busily arming the cartels' murderous
gangs."

There is a political dimension to all this, one of the fierce debates which rages periodically in the
US concerns the right to bear arms.

Lucrative trade

In Mexico, they would like the US to restrict sales but that is not likely to happen anytime soon.
The bigger issue, however, is that drugs smuggling is a multi-billion dollar business. Senator
Lieberman acknowledges that between $8bn and $24bn in drug profits flow back into Mexico
from the US every year.

Drug smuggling is lucrative and the cartels will fight and adapt to maintain their grip on it. Still,
Mexican President Felipe Calderon says he hopes to quell his country's rampant drug violence by
the end of his term in 2012, and disputes US fears that his government is losing control of its
territory. The Mexican government says that the violence that killed more than 1,000 people
nationwide in the first eight weeks of 2009 is a sign that the cartels are under pressure from
military and police operations nationwide, as well as turf wars among themselves.

"To say that Mexico is a failed state is absolutely false," President Calderon said in a recent
interview. "I have not lost any part - any single part - of Mexican territory."

Violence 'peaking'

The Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora also believes that the increase in violence
reflects how the drug cartels are falling apart. He points out that street prices of cocaine in the
US have doubled in the last three years, while purity has dropped by 35%. Mr Medina Mora
predicted that Mexico is "reaching the peak" of the violence.

The government's goal is to make smuggling through Mexico so difficult that the drug gangs are
forced to look elsewhere. That, in many ways, is a crucial point, Mexico is trying to shift the
problem, but it does not feel it can end it.

Despite decades of trying to eradicate Latin American drug production and trafficking, illegal
narcotics are still getting into US cities. The levels of violence Colombia experienced in the 1980s
for example have been significantly reduced, but the country is still a major producer of cocaine.

As one former security official in Juarez, who preferred not to be named for his own safety, said
"trafficking won't stop while a lucrative market exists."

Corruption

Some suggest that decriminalising certain drugs would significantly dent the cartel's profits. The
US, however, shows no sign of being ready for a national debate about decriminalising illegal
narcotics.

There is also the issue of corruption in Mexico where decades of rule by one party helped encourage
corruption. Since coming to office in December 2006, President Calderon has been trying to remove
corrupt officials across the country. However huge drug profits allow the cartels to pay off local
officials.

The former security official from Juarez said the army must clean up the city, and remove corrupt
people from their posts, but: "what I've not heard is anybody ask 'what's next?'" after the officials
have been removed. "What's the plan? How do you keep the new police clean? Let's suppose they
get $200 a week so you put the wage up to $400. It won't stop them receiving $10,000 a month
from the cartels." "How do you keep tabs on them?" he asked.

The US and Mexico have vowed to work together on the problem, and say they are making progress.
Both sides must know though that the best solution may in the end be to stop the drugs- related
violence. So far no one's come up with a way of ending the drugs trade itself.
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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2009, 12:37:08 »
Mexico arrests 'top trafficker'


Hector Huerta Rios is accused of
working for the Beltran Leyva cartel


Mexican soldiers have arrested a man the authorities say is a key figure in one of the country's
main drug gangs. Hector Huerta Rios was detained in the northern city of Monterrey a day after
his name appeared along with 36 others listed as Mexico's most-wanted.

The Mexican government is offering rewards of up to $2m (£1.37m) each for information leading
to the arrest of the drug lords and their lieutenants. It was not clear if any money had been paid
in this case. Hector Huerta Rios was listed as a key member of the Beltran Leyva cartel with a
$1m price tag on his head. He is accused of being the main operator in the north of Mexico for
the gang, whose base is on the Pacific coast.

Mr Huerta Rios was arrested in Monterrey on Tuesday afternoon, together with four bodyguards,
Gen Luis Arturo Oliver told a news conference. His detention was announced hours before US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was due to begin a two-day visit to Mexico. US and Mexican
agencies are increasing their co-operation as the gang violence spills over the border, where
kidnaps and killings are on the rise. On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced plans
to deploy more US agents and equipment along the border.

Some 8,000 people have died in the past two years, as drug gangs fight for territory amid
government crackdowns.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2009, 10:22:14 »
Powering the drug wars:

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/  03 April 09

Quote
SOME OF US HAVE BEEN NOTING THIS FOR A WHILE: The Myth of 90 Percent: Only a Small Fraction of Guns in Mexico Come From U.S. “While 90 percent of the guns traced to the U.S. actually originated in the United States, the percent traced to the U.S. is only about 17 percent of the total number of guns reaching Mexico.” Gee, most guns traced to the United States come from the United States. Now there’s a meaningful statistic. I thought the Obama Administration was going to fearlessly follow science without distortion.

Well, okay, I never actually thought that, but a lot of people did claim that. But wait, there’s more:


So, if not from the U.S., where do they come from? There are a variety of sources:

– The Black Market. Mexico is a virtual arms bazaar, with fragmentation grenades from South Korea, AK-47s from China, and shoulder-fired rocket launchers from Spain, Israel and former Soviet bloc manufacturers.

– Russian crime organizations. Interpol says Russian Mafia groups such as Poldolskaya and Moscow-based Solntsevskaya are actively trafficking drugs and arms in Mexico.

- South America. During the late 1990s, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) established a clandestine arms smuggling and drug trafficking partnership with the Tijuana cartel, according to the Federal Research Division report from the Library of Congress.

– Asia. According to a 2006 Amnesty International Report, China has provided arms to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Chinese assault weapons and Korean explosives have been recovered in Mexico.

– The Mexican Army. More than 150,000 soldiers deserted in the last six years, according to Mexican Congressman Robert Badillo. Many took their weapons with them, including the standard issue M-16 assault rifle made in Belgium.

– Guatemala. U.S. intelligence agencies say traffickers move immigrants, stolen cars, guns and drugs, including most of America’s cocaine, along the porous Mexican-Guatemalan border. On March 27, La Hora, a Guatemalan newspaper, reported that police seized 500 grenades and a load of AK-47s on the border. Police say the cache was transported by a Mexican drug cartel operating out of Ixcan, a border town.

So when you hear the Mexican Gun Canard, bear in mind that it’s a lie, told by people who want to manipulate American politics with a phony foreign connection.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2009, 00:16:17 »
Speaking of americans guns :

Mexico says US fuels gun crime


Mr Sarukhan said cartels were buying
from US border gun shops


Mexico's ambassador to the US has urged America to stop the flow of guns and cash that pass
into his country, fuelling the country's drug wars. Arturo Sarukhan said US money and weapons
provided the drug cartels with the means to "corrupt, bribe and kill".

President Barack Obama is due to visit Mexico later this week.

More than 6,000 people died last year in Mexico in drug-related violence and Mexico believes
90% of the weapons used by drug cartels come from the US. US gun lobby groups dispute
the figure.

Assault weapon call


Mexico says the lifting of a US assault rifle ban
in 2004 fuelled the gun trade


In an interview with CBS's Face The Nation programme, Mr Sarukhan said the lifting
of a US ban on military-style assault weapons in 2004 had been a crucial factor.
"There is a direct correlation between the expiration of the assault weapons ban and
our seizures of assault weapons," he said. "We cannot determine how Congress and
the administration will move on this.

"What we will say is that... reinstating the ban... could have a profound impact on the
number and the calibre of the weapons going down to Mexico." But any move to reinstate
that ban would be fiercely fought by gun lobby groups in the United States.

One in four Americans legally own some type of gun and gun ownership is deeply rooted
in American culture.
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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2009, 00:19:35 »
A Cause Célèbre Clouds Mexican Sentiment on Kidnapping Scourge

As Mexican Killings Rise, Groups Take Envoy to Task


Francisco Barrio Terrazas, left.
(Does that mean the newspaper assumed that Americans knows who's right?)

MEXICO CITY — Lawless Ciudad Juárez has become a potent symbol of Mexico’s escalating drug war.
Drug cartels recently chased out the police chief there, and citizens have become fearful witnesses
to daily murders of drug dealers, police officers and bystanders. But lost amid the headlines are
the murders of young women that drew international notice more than a decade ago and that
continue today.

Now, frustrated women’s groups are making new headlines of their own, challenging the recent
appointment of Mexico’s ambassador to Canada, Francisco Barrio Terrazas. They say he was
negligent in dealing with the killings in the 1990s as governor of the state of Chihuahua, where
Ciudad Juárez is located, across the border from El Paso, Tex.

The women’s groups, along with other human rights organizations, sent a formal protest to Mexico’s
Ministry of Foreign Relations this month. They are also asking the Foreign Relations Commission
of the Mexican Senate to reconsider Mr. Barrio Terrazas’ appointment. Several human rights groups
in Quebec have supported their protests.


“He doesn’t represent Mexicans,” said Marisela Ortiz, a founder of May Our Daughters Return Home,
an association of victims’ families in Ciudad Juárez that is leading the challenge. “Because of his
misogynistic characteristics, we oppose him having any position, and even less in a country that
is known as a promoter of peace.”

Rights groups estimate that as many as 500 women have been killed since 1993 in Ciudad Juárez and
other cities in the state of Chihuahua. Many of them were tortured before they were killed, their bodies
often found weeks later, dumped in the desert. Many of the killings remain unsolved. Although several
people have been convicted in some of the slayings over the years, some were later released after
evidence suggested they were tortured into confessing.

Women’s groups have long maintained that the police did not try to solve the cases, either because
they feared that organized crime was involved or because they were involved themselves, or both.
The groups also argue that the authorities simply did not care because the victims were poor. Many
of those killed had challenged Mexico’s machismo culture by earning their own livings in the area’s
assembly plants. The women’s groups’ most incendiary assertion against Mr. Barrio Terrazas — and
one that the Mexican media have repeated — is that he once suggested that the victims should not
have worn miniskirts and walked through unlighted streets. But it is unclear whether Mr. Barrio
Terrazas, who was governor for six years starting in 1992, ever made such a statement.

In response to a query, the Mexican Embassy in Ottawa said the ambassador “rejects the notion that
he was indifferent or insensitive about the topic or that he insinuated that the murdered women
of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, bore some responsibility for their own deaths.” The embassy statement
also said he had “strongly encouraged the punishment of the perpetrators of murders or
disappearances of women.”

Mr. Barrio Terrazas, a member of President Felipe Calderón’s National Action Party, has held several
national posts since his years as governor, including serving as a deputy in the Mexican Congress.
He began work as ambassador on Feb. 26, after Senate ratification.

As violence in Juárez has risen in the past year, so, too, have the killings of women, said Ms. Ortiz,
of May Our Daughters Return Home. The state government said that 98 women were killed last year
in Juárez, although Ms. Ortiz estimated the toll at 130.

Although attention in Mexico to the plight of the women of Juárez has wavered, the murders have
caught the attention of celebrities. The latest to take up the cause is the singer Peter Gabriel who,
along with representatives of human rights groups, met with Mr. Calderón last month to deliver a
petition asking him to work to end violence against women.

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2009, 13:49:28 »
real collapse :  Earthquake hits Mexico City, BBC News



A strong earthquake has struck south of Mexico's capital, Mexico City, causing buildings
to shake and prompting workers to rush out onto the streets.

The quake had a magnitude of 6.0, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The USGS said the quake hit 240km (150 miles) south of the capital at a depth of 40km.

Mexico is currently battling an outbreak of the swine flu virus, which has claimed 149 lives
in the country.


Strong Earthquake Felt in Mexico City, NY Times

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- A strong earthquake struck central Mexico on Monday, swaying tall buildings
in the capital and sending office workers into the streets. The 6.0-magnitude quake was centered
near Chilpancingo, about 130 miles (210 kilometers) southwest of Mexico City or 50 miles (80
kilometers) from the resort of Acapulco, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Televisa television network quoted Mexico City officials saying there were no immediate reports
of damage or injuries. The quake rattled nerves in a city already nervous about a swine flu outbreak
suspected of killing as many as 149 people nationwide.

''I'm scared,'' said Sarai Luna Pajas, a 22-year-old social services worker standing outside her office
building moments after it hit. ''We Mexicans are not used to living with so much fear, but all that is
happening -- the economic crisis, the illnesses and now this -- it feels like the Apocalypse.''

Co-worker Harold Gutierrez, 21, said the country was taking comfort from its religious faith, but
he too was gripped by the sensation that the world might be coming to an end.

''If it, it is God's plan,'' he said, speaking over a green mask used to ward off swine flu.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 13:55:00 by Yrys »
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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2009, 14:15:40 »
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1904756,00.html
Drug Gangs’ Kin Ensnared in Mexico Crackdown


In Mexican City, Drug War Ills Slip Into Shadows





NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico — The reminders of Nuevo Laredo’s violent days still mar its streets
— bullet holes and the impacts of grenades where drug traffickers once flaunted their power,
boarded-up buildings of merchants who fled the lawlessness, and until they were leveled by
the government a few weeks ago, garish roadside shrines to Santa Muerte, the saint of death.

What makes Nuevo Laredo so remarkable now, however, is the relative calm that envelops
this border town, a small dose of good news in a country awash with bloodshed. Tamaulipas
State, where Nuevo Laredo is located, used to be ground zero in the country’s drug war, with
convoys of criminals riding through the streets as if they owned them and one of the highest
murder rates in the country. That distinction has since shifted farther west along the United
States-Mexico border to Ciudad Juárez and Tijuana, where soldiers patrol the streets by the
thousands. But Nuevo Laredo’s transformation from war zone to regular town is not
necessarily what it seems. Organized crime has gone underground in Nuevo Laredo,
still feared, still thriving, but no longer in charge.

That uneasy peace may well be the best outcome Mexico can extract from its consuming drug
war, so Nuevo Laredo could be a glimpse of the country’s future. Government officials
acknowledge that their realistic goal is not to eliminate the outlaws, but to weaken them
to the point where something resembling everyday life can resume.

The government, which is in the midst of a vicious, countrywide battle with the cartels, played
a role in the newfound tranquillity by pouring soldiers into Nuevo Laredo, under President Felipe
Calderón and his predecessor, Vicente Fox. They took up positions around the city and took over
the police force, which was regarded as a corrupt adjunct of the cartels. But the army did not
actually defeat the traffickers here by rounding them up and putting them out of business. Rather,
law enforcement officials on both sides of the border say, a brutal, long-running turf war between
rival cartels came to an end when one side, the Gulf Cartel, came out on top. The added presence
of government troops made it harder for the rival Sinaloa Cartel to continue its quest to take over
Gulf territory. But many of the most-wanted criminals responsible for the violence got away and
continued their business trafficking drugs, in the shadows.

What has changed and what has not in this once-besieged border city are best seen through
the eyes of some of those who survived the darkest times.


A POLICE OFFICER
Wavering Allegiances

“I’ll never go back,” said Homero Villarreal, a former Mexican federal police officer who used
to investigate the cartels. Mr. Villarreal spoke from an Italian restaurant across the border in
Laredo, Tex., with his wife, Dora, at his side. They fled from Nuevo Laredo in 2005 after two
of their sons, who were in their 20s, were abducted by gunmen and not heard from again.
Mr. Villarreal is not sure exactly why his sons were singled out, although he acknowledges
that he, like many officers, accepted money from the cartels on occasion to look the other
way. He makes a firm distinction between the money he took not to act and the payments
that other officers took — and continue to take — to commit illegal acts themselves.

Mr. Villarreal has not been back since he fled because, he says, the traffickers who once ran
the city still lurk below the surface. Drugs continue to flow north, and money and guns return,
as recent seizures of huge shipments make clear. In recent weeks, the haul at the bridges
connecting Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, for example, has included nearly three tons of marijuana
and cocaine heading north, and two caches of weapons and ammunition, as well as $1 million
in cash going south.

Mr. Villarreal has joined a group called Laredo’s Missing to try to find out what happened to
his sons. Disappearances were commonplace in those days, and the police sometimes acted
in cahoots with the criminals, Mr. Villarreal said. “The cartels would call the police and say
they were looking for someone,” he said. “The police would find the person and turn him
over to the cartels, who would take him away.”

Those police officers who did not play along were killed. It was in June 2005, after a police
chief was killed hours after being sworn in, that the federal government of Mr. Fox launched
Operation Safe Mexico and sent hundreds of soldiers and federal police officers into Nuevo
Laredo. On their way to the city from the airport, the federal forces were fired upon by
none other than the municipal police
, which had all but turned into a protection force for
the drug cartels. Dozens of officers were arrested after that morning shootout, which left one
federal police officer wounded and offered a stark example of Nuevo Laredo’s lawlessness.

A scrubbing of the police began, with all 700 officers removed from their posts and investigated.
What brought the explosion of violence to an end, however, was not just revived law enforcement
but the fact that a long intercartel war over the lucrative transit route through Nuevo Laredo had
run its course. Some law enforcement officials say that the Gulf Cartel, backed up by a feared
paramilitary group, the Zetas, defeated its rivals from the Sinaloa Cartel outright and sent them
packing. Others say the cessation of hostilities was the result of a pact in which the Sinaloa Cartel,
unable to dislodge its rivals, agreed to pay what amounts to a transit tax for drugs that passed
through Tamaulipas. Emerging from the conflict stronger than ever were the Zetas, which now
operate semi-independently from the Gulf Cartel.

The soldiers stationed in an armored vehicle at one of the bridges connecting Laredo and Nuevo
Laredo are only a temporary solution, government officials say, until the police are able to handle
the outlaws on their own. That time has not yet come. “It’s quiet, but that doesn’t mean they’re
not around,” Mr. Villarreal said of the drug lords. “Believe me, they’re there.”

A JOURNALIST
Muted Media

Long ago, journalists here stopped covering the drug violence in their backyard. They still do not.
They avoid mentioning the Zetas and would not even consider writing about one of the group’s
top men, Miguel Ángel Treviño, whom law enforcement officials hold responsible for much of
the bloodshed here.

When the Drug Enforcement Administration in April named Mr. Treviño and his younger brother
as 2 of the 11 most wanted Mexican fugitives, the local press took a pass. “We’re self-censored,”
said one Nuevo Laredo newspaper editor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid
angering the outlaws. “We’re in the mouth of the wolf. We hope one day to again have the
freedom to publish what we want.”

Some papers did publish photographs recently of banners that the traffickers hung from overpasses
criticizing Mr. Calderón’s government for detaining the relatives of some drug traffickers. “Families
are sacred and should be respected,” the traffickers said, a gibe that the papers reported straight.

Army transgressions receive extensive coverage. In May, the military prosecutor’s office arrested
12 soldiers and said it would court-martial them on charges that they murdered three local
residents and then buried them in a hidden grave.

The editor says that the drug barons do not contact newspapers as much as they used to offering
suggestions, which were really not optional, on which articles should be printed and which should
not. But they continue to lurk in the background, issuing occasional threats to keep the news
media in line. They mean business. In 2006, the newspaper El Mañana was invaded by attackers,
who opened fire on the newsroom and hurled a grenade in as well. One journalist, struck in the
back by shrapnel, was paralyzed. The battle scars are still visible in that newsroom. Journalists
continue to be singled out, but in recent years they have been killed in other parts of the country.

“I’m concerned the problems could come back, but I’m not afraid anymore,” the editor said. “We’ve
all been through too much. Everyone. Society, little by little, is recovering its voice. They are talking
about what happened.”

A CHILDREN’S ADVOCATE
Outlaw’s Philanthropy

On Children’s Day in 2004, tractor-trailers full of food and gifts pulled up outside the orphanage that
Guadalupe Carmona de González runs on the outskirts of the city. There were bags of rice, toys
galore and cakes in the shape of cartoon characters. The children were giddy and so was Ms. Carmona,
who founded Casa Hogar Elim in the mid-1980s with her own money.

Even after she learned that the donations were sent by one of the area’s most notorious drug dons,
Ms. Carmona remained thankful. “The gifts weren’t for me,” she said in a recent interview. “It was
for children who had nothing.”

The gift giver was Osiel Cárdenas, who was in a Mexican prison at the time, accused of being
the leader of the Gulf Cartel, which ran drug operations in Nuevo Laredo and points east. It was
his jailing, authorities say, that emboldened a leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquín Guzmán Loera,
who is known universally by the nickname El Chapo, or Shorty, to launch his bold and bloody
takeover attempt in Nuevo Laredo.

Mr. Guzmán failed. Mr. Cárdenas was eventually extradited to the United States, where he awaits
trial on drug trafficking charges. Filling the void were the Zetas, ruthless ex-soldiers who cared
much less about their public image than Mr. Cárdenas did and who sent no gifts to Ms. Carmona’s
orphanage, which now houses about 100 children.

Her chief patron now is the government, a normal state of affairs. Ms. Carmona credits Nuevo
Laredo’s mayor, Ramón Garza Barrios, with bringing air-conditioning to her orphanage, helping
to build a library and outfitting the children with school uniforms. Gone are the days when her
calls for the city to pave the road in front of her orphanage would go unheeded, and
Mr. Cárdenas would step in to hire a crew to do the job.

Mr. Garza was also one of the officials behind the destruction of the shrines to the saint of death,
worshiped by traffickers, which had been set up on the highways leading into Nuevo Laredo. He
banned the sale of images of the saint on public property. One of Mr. Garza’s spokesmen said
the mayor was so intent on eliminating Nuevo Laredo’s image as a drug haven that he would
not comment for any newspaper article on the subject.

Ms. Carmona, a religious woman, said she welcomed the government support. As for her former
patron, she said she never knew Mr. Cárdenas personally but appreciated his humanitarian gestures
and prayed for him during his travails. She agreed that drugs break up families and result in even
more orphans. But she was somewhat philosophical about those who were engaged in the business,
saying they were not evil people but were lured into the easy money by dire poverty.

“We’ve all committed sins,” she said.

A SHOPKEEPER
Enduring Reputation

Nuevo Laredo’s violence may have calmed, but the border city’s reputation has not changed as quickly.
Nuevo Laredo is still frequently mentioned in the same breath as Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez, the more
recent hotspots.

That frustrates business owners like Jack Suneson, who sells Mexican artifacts, or rather tries to sell them,
from a stylish boutique in Nuevo Laredo. Customers are so few that he recently bought land in San Antonio
and is on the verge of closing his Mexican store, which his mother first opened in 1954. “I can’t begin to tell
you how bad business is,” he said inside his sprawling store, which was full of merchandise but not buyers.

The other day, he took a walk around his store, pointing out the events that took place on his block alone
during the dark days. There were the dead bodies — “There was one there,” he said, pointing down the
block. “And another there. You never knew when you’d come across another victim.” There were the
boarded-up buildings. Some were once well-known restaurants that catered to the Americans who used
to stream across the border for a taste of Mexico. Others were casinos that were similarly filled with
foreigners but closed their doors when cartels began demanding more and more in protection money.

Mr. Suneson said the cartels have always steered clear of his store. But the collection of taxes by the
criminals continues. In but one example, the pirated movies that are sold across the city bear stamps
from the particular organized crime group that produced them. Many movies carry a photograph of a
gold Hummer, referring, authorities say, to “El Hummer,” one of the top leaders of the Zetas in the
area until he was arrested in 2008.

“There’s a psychosis,” Mr. Suneson said of the fear that Americans still have about crossing the border
into Nuevo Laredo these days. “I won’t deny we had a bad period. I won’t say we weren’t in the middle
of a drug war. We were. But we shouldn’t be the poster child of violence in Mexico. We had our bad
period, and now it’s crept along somewhere else.”
« Last Edit: June 15, 2009, 16:14:34 by Yrys »
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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2009, 14:19:21 »

Army in Mexico Seizes 25 Gunmen


Mexico drug gang 'boss' arrested




Mexican officials say they have arrested a drug cartel leader in Cancun who is believed to be behind
the murder of a retired general last February. Juan Manuel Jurado Zarzoza, known as the Puma,
was detained on Friday with three other suspected traffickers. They were found in possession
of drugs and weapons, officials said. The arrest of Juan Manuel Jurado is being seen as a blow
to the feared Gulf Cartel's operations in Cancun.

In another operation on Sunday, the army arrested 25 suspected drug traffickers in northern
Mexico who were apparently disguised as soldiers.

The city, known internationally as a tourist resort, is also an important base for cocaine-trafficking
from South America to the US via Mexico's Caribbean Coast. Last February, retired Brig Gen Mauro
Enrique Tello Quinones from the Mexican army was sent to the city to clean up the apparently
corrupt local police force. Within days of arriving, he was kidnapped, tortured and murdered.

The Mexican authorities say the Gulf Cartel was behind that killing, as well as other drug-
running and extortion operations.

Over the weekend the Mexican army also raided a ranch close to the city of Ciudad Juarez
on the border with the US after a tip-off. According to witnesses, the 25 men who were
arrested there were wearing soldiers' uniforms. They were later paraded in front of the
press, in civilian clothes, along with a large weapons haul.

Mexican drug cartels have in the past resorted to the tactic of disguising themselves as
policemen, and indeed police officers have often been found to have been working for
the cartels. But criminals disguising themselves as soldiers would appear to be a new
strategy - perhaps reflecting the fact that it is the army which is now most visibly on
the front line in Mexico's war on drugs.

See the Mexican cartels' main areas of influence :

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Re: Collapse of Mexico
« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2009, 12:25:52 »
Mexico cocaine 'hidden in sharks'



The Mexican Navy says it has seized more than a tonne of cocaine hidden inside
the carcasses of frozen sharks. Armed officers found slabs of cocaine inside more
than 20 sharks aboard a freight ship in the Gulf coast port of Progreso in Yucatan
state.

Correspondents say cartels are coming up with increasingly creative ways of
smuggling drugs into the US. Shipments of cocaine have also been discovered
hidden inside sealed beer cans, religious statues and furniture.

"We are talking about more than a tonne of cocaine that was inside the ship,"
said Mexican Navy Commander Eduardo Villa. He said X-ray machines and
sniffer dogs had helped to uncover the haul. "Those in charge of the shipment
said it was a conserving agent but after checks we confirmed it was cocaine,"
he said.

Methamphetamine

In another development on Tuesday, the Mexican Navy unveiled what it described
as one of the largest methamphetamine labs ever found in the country. When
officers stumbled across the enormous holding tank in a remote part of the northern
state of Sinaloa last week they thought it might be used to water a marijuana plantation.

Instead, the tank fed water into two enormous sheds where investigators found
12,905 gallons (49,640 litres) of ephedrine, a chemical used to make methamphetamine.
Officials said it was enough to produce 40.2 tonnes of the drug, or about 309 million
individual doses.

So far this year more than 2,700 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico.
Last year about 6,300 were killed. Mexican President Felipe Calderon has committed
some 45,000 troops and federal police to try to crush the country's powerful cartels.
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