Posts Tagged drug war

Mexico and the Arms Trade

From Free Republic:

It wasn’t sporadic.  It was continuous throughout the city.  For a country that bans guns I thought, how in the world did they get their hands on all these full-auto weapons?  Clearly what sounded like M16 fire was prolific along with 7.62 x 39 AK autos with a smattering of smaller caliber full-autos, most likely 9mm.  Gun fire can be heard in most American cities on New Years, but I’ve never heard full-auto weapons being fired, at least not in the San Diego area.

The next day I went into work and sat down with a trusted senior Mexican manager.  I looked at him and said, “I thought guns were illegal in Mexico.”  He chuckled and said, “So you stayed in town last night?”  As the conversation progressed, it became clear that guns are as common in Mexico as tamales at Christmas.  Everyone he knows, including himself, own at least one gun.  And, it matters not whether it’s a semi-auto or fully automatic, they’re all illegal, so why stop with semi-autos?  Though clearly illegal in the states in most instances, a lot of Mexicans have more firepower in terms of military weapons than we can only dream of owning here.

This article first appeared in 2009. The author describes how no one in Mexico is unarmed despite it being illegal to own a gun larger than .22.

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Bodies Found In Western Mexico

From Voice of America:

Mexican law enforcement officials said nine men, their hands bound and shot, were found Saturday in Michoacan state where local residents have been fighting the Knights Templar drug cartel.

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Wachovia Ignores Mexican Money Laundering While Chase Harrasses Defense Distributed

According to an article in The Gaurdian, Wachovia bank ignored evidence that Mexican cartels were laundering billions of dollars through said bank:

“Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations,” said Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor. Yet the total fine was less than 2% of the bank’s $12.3bn profit for 2009. On 24 March 2010, Wells Fargo stock traded at $30.86 – up 1% on the week of the court settlement.

Criminal proceedings were brought against Wachovia, though not against any individual, but the case never came to court. In March 2010, Wachovia settled the biggest action brought under the US bank secrecy act, through the US district court in Miami. Now that the year’s “deferred prosecution” has expired, the bank is in effect in the clear. It paid federal authorities $110m in forfeiture, for allowing transactions later proved to be connected to drug smuggling, and incurred a $50m fine for failing to monitor cash used to ship 22 tons of cocaine.

This comes just a few weeks after we learned that Chase bank cancelled Defense Distributed‘s account based not on illegal activity but because of politics. Here is Cody Wilson’s take on it from a recent interview with The Washington Post:

We’re regarded with suspicion. You might even say that it’s due, right? . . . So I have to file, like, affidavits that I’m not involved in illicit activity and online gambling, and I’m constantly just harassed with extra administrative supervision and stuff — this is while we were at Chase. We did like $18,000 in deposits one month this summer. We were doing business for Chase Bank, and treated more or less like — not resentment, but just like, “Ah, we’re a burden.”

So here we have a law student who runs a non-profit given the 3rd degree to make sure he is not a criminal, and on the other hand the drug cartels are laundering millions if not billions through Wachovia without raising much suspicion. Yep, everything seems to be working as planned.

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Los Zetas Kingpin Captured

From PBS:

“The Zetas were involved in 20 different criminal activities,” George Grayson, an expert on the Zetas and professor of government at the College of William & Mary, said. “Extortion, smuggling, torture, possible harvesting of human body parts. You name it, the Zetas did it.”

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Invasion of the Drug Cartels

Info-graphic of the increasing influence of Mexican cartels in the United States. Click image to view full size.


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Cartel Assassin Admits to 30 Murders in USA

From US News:

Investigators have confirmed that Martinez is responsible for a 2006 double-homicide in Marion County, Fla., a March homicide in Lawrence County, Ala., and at least 10 other killings in California, according to sheriff’s officials.

Martinez, a U.S. citizen, told investigators that he committed those murders and more than a dozen others as an enforcer for multiple Mexican drug lords, according to Lawrence County Sheriff’s Capt. Tim McWhorter.

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President Lies About Gun Violence in Mexico

From Real Clear Politics:

“Most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States,” President Obama said during a speech at Mexico’s Anthropology Museum

The weapons the cartels are using: RPGs, M-60s, fully automatic AKs and ARs, are not coming from the United States Mr. President.

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Mexico’s Drug War: Balkanization Leads to Regional Challenges

Mexico’s Drug War: Balkanization Leads to Regional Challenges is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

Editor’s Note: This Security Weekly assesses the most significant cartel-related developments of the first quarter of 2013 and provides updated profiles of Mexico’s powerful criminal cartels, as well as a forecast for the rest of this year. It’s the executive summary of a more detailed report available to clients of our Mexico Security Monitor service.

By Tristan Reed
Tactical Analyst

Balkanization of Cartels

Since the late 1980s demise of the Guadalajara cartel, which controlled drug trade routes into the United States through most of Mexico, Mexican cartels have followed a trend of fracturing into more geographically compact, regional crime networks. This trend, which we are referring to as “Balkanization,” has continued for more than two decades and has impacted all of the major cartel groups in Mexico. Indeed the Sinaloa Federation lost significant assets when the organizations run by Beltran Leyva and Ignacio Coronel split away from it. Los Zetas, currently the other most powerful cartel in Mexico, was formed when it split off from the Gulf cartel in 2010. Still these two organizations have fought hard to resist the trend of fracturing and have been able to grow despite being affected by it. This led to the polarized dynamic observed in 2011 when these two dominant Mexican cartels effectively split Mexican organized crime in two, with one group composed of Los Zetas and its allies and the other composed of the Sinaloa Federation and its allies.

This trend toward polarization has since been reversed, however, as Balkanization has led to rising regional challenges to both organizations since 2012. Most notable among these is the split between the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion and the Sinaloa Federation. The Sinaloa Federation continues to struggle with regional crime groups for control in western Chihuahua state, northern Sinaloa state, Jalisco state and northern Sonora state. Similarly, Los Zetas saw several regional challengers in 2012. Two regional groups saw sharp increases in their operational capabilities during 2012 and through the first quarter of 2013. These were the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion and the Knights Templar. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mexican Citizens Take Back Town

From The Daily Mail:

The 1,500-strong force has also set up improvised checkpoints on the major road running through Tierra Colorado, which connects the capital Mexico City to Acapulco, a coastal city popular with tourists less than 40 miles away.

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MS-13 and Los Zetas Join Forces

From DangerRoom:

Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, became El Salvador’s deadliest gang through force of numbers and the power of the handgun — while inking some pretty crazy tattoos. Now if they weren’t deadly enough, the gang is transitioning into adopting heavier weapons while teaming up with Mexico’s Zetas.

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8 Murdered In Monterrey

From Borderland Beat:

Unofficially, the dead were identified in the news report as Alfredo Flores, 34, owner of the business, Juana Maria Villegas, 32, José Alfredo Flores Villegas, 15 and  Osiris Michelle Flores Villegas, 8.  Two other unidentified male victims were killed, and a seventh victim was wounded and taken for medical attention.

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Cartels Offer $47,000 Bounty For Identity Of Twitter User

From La Politica Es La Politica:

Due to the self-imposed silence of the media, and even of the government and police, for many citizens to follow the Twitter account of @ValorTamaulipas is the only way for them to know if and where a shooting might be taking place, as well as what roads are secure, and in what areas people have met with violence or been “disappeared”.

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Mexico’s Drug War: Persisting Violence and a New President

Mexico’s Drug War: Persisting Violence and a New President is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

Editor’s Note: This week’s Security Weekly summarizes our annual Mexico drug cartel report, in which we assess the most significant developments of 2012 and provide updated profiles of the country’s powerful criminal cartels as well as a forecast for 2013. The report is a product of the coverage we maintain through our Mexico Security Memo, quarterly updates and other analyses that we produce throughout the year as part of the Mexico Security Monitor service.

In 2013, violence in Mexico likely will remain a significant threat nationwide to bystanders, law enforcement, military and local businesses. Overall levels of violence decreased during 2011, but cartel operations and competition continued to afflict several regions of Mexico throughout 2012. These dangers combined with continued fracturing among cartels, such as Los Zetas, could cause overall violence to increase this year.

A New President

2013 will be the first full year in office for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who campaigned on promises to stem cartel violence. The most significant of his initiatives is his plan to consolidate and restructure federal law enforcement in Mexico. Pena Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party has introduced legislation that would switch oversight of the federal police, among other entities, away from the Public Security Secretariat to the Interior Ministry. The president also announced plans to bring the state police from each of Mexico’s 31 states under a unified federal command. Pena Nieto has frequently stated his plans to create a national gendarmerie that would serve as a supplemental paramilitary force for tackling violent organized criminal groups. During a Dec. 17 conference, he announced that this new organization initially would have 10,000 personnel trained by the Mexican army. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mexican Mayor Sacrifices Self to Save Daughter

From The Daily Mail:

Maria Santos Gorrostieta, who had already survived two assassination attempts, was driving the child to school at around 8.30am when she was ambushed by a car in the city of Morelia.

The 36-year-old was hauled from her vehicle and physically assaulted as horrified witnesses watched, according to newspaper El Universal.
They described how she begged for her child to be left alone and then appeared to get into her abductors’ car willingly.

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How the U.S. is Fighting the Zeta Cartel

From: Danger Room

Fighting the Zeta Cartel

The violence in the Mexican border state of Nuevo Leon began Tuesday morning and continued into Wednesday. By the end, 30 bodies had turned up around the state with bullet wounds or had been dismembered. The cause was attributed to a seemingly never-ending war between the Zeta drug cartel and their rivals. And that may only be a prelude. Miguel Angel Treviño, or “Z-40,” has seized the leadership of the cartel from longtime chief Heriberto Lazcano, according to the Associated Press, which describes the new boss as a “brutal assassin” who favors cooking his enemies inside burning oil drums.

For those unnerving reasons, the Zetas have come to define the violence of the drug war, and have lead the U.S. and Mexican governments scrambling to fight them. Arguably Mexico’s most powerful drug cartel, the Zetas are now estimated to operate in half of the country, if not more, and have expanded into Guatemala. Aside from unleashing violence, extortion and kidnapping across much of their territory, the Zetas are responsible for the February 2011 death of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon deployed 200 Marines to Guatemala in a sign the U.S. is getting more direct in going after the Zetas. The Pentagon stresses that the Marines will play a secondary role to the Guatemalans and are limited to merely tracking drug traffickers. But still, that’s a lot of Marines now operating in territory shared by the cartel. The U.S. also considers the operation to be only one part of a much larger strategy. Here are five aspects of that war.


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