NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FORMER BORDER PATROL OFFICERS
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Foreign News Report
La Hora (Guatemala City, Guatemala) 5/8/09
“The most violent country” [full article translation.]
The Spanish citizen Angel Corbalan, who writes frequent commentaries on reports in La Hora, sent us a copy of the Spanish magazine “Qué” in which a graphic description of our country is made, which provokes shame and grief, but which we have to recognize as a cruel reflection of our reality. The journalistic product titled “Chronicles from Guatemala: Welcome to the most violent country of Latin America” begins like this: “Welcome to the most violent country of Latin America.” Yesterday, with that statement, the Spanish Consul in Guatemala, Diego Nuño, greeted the Spanish expedition composed by Qué and which will travel around the Central American country in the next few days. That welcome defines the Guatemalan situation straight to the point, a situation which is not known, which is not in the media, but which makes Guatemala bleed in silence.
“It is impossible, just impossible, to walk a kilometer in the city of Guatemala with a portable computer hanging from the shoulder without being assaulted.” The graphic example is from the chief of security of the Spanish embassy in Guatemala. His advice, before starting our journey, outlines the country’s panorama: “Do not call for a taxi on the street, do not take out money from the cashiers on the street, do not ride the buses, if you pay in a taxi do not let him see you taking out too many bills, if you go to the bank do not take out too much money because the one from the bank can call and they’ll wait for you at the next corner….” Discouraging.
Thus far the first two paragraphs of the account. Any Guatemalan can endorse each and every word written by the Spanish reporter because here talking on a cell phone out on the street is dangerous, to say nothing of hanging a computer from the shoulder or taking money out of a bank. To corroborate his statement, the reporter turns to other data and says: “ Exaggerated? The fact is that the country is going through an uncommon wave of violence. The mass media even call the situation an “undeclared war.” Taking a look at today’s edition of the Guatemalan newspaper “Al Dia” confirms the extreme precaution that they ask from us at the embassy: two young men murdered by gunfire, a woman decapitated, two kids knifed, a girl assaulted…. up to three pages of nothing but assassinations yesterday. It’s hard to believe. The statistical data are the definite argument to be cautious: in 2008 there were 6,260 homicides in a country that has 12 million inhabitants. This means a rate of 44 murders for each 100 thousand inhabitants. The Spanish rate is 3.3 deaths and the European Union’s is 1.7. If we make an average, 17 persons a day are murdered in Guatemala.”
Is there anything to deny? There’s simply a feeling of grief and shame about that reality which reveals our situation.
El Universal (Mexico City) 5/8/09
The Mexican federal Attorney General’s office (PGR) in Tijuana, Baja California, presented before a federal judge 27 defendants charged with links to organized crime. Twenty-five of those presented were municipal police suspected of belonging to cells of a criminal drug organization headed by Teodoro Garcia Simentel, El Teo, who heads one of the cartels that control narcotraffic in Tijuana. The judge found that there was sufficient evidence to hold all 27 for trial and the group was then transported by air under heavy guard to detention facilities in Tepic, Nayarit.
El Imparcial (Hermosillo, Sonora) 5/8/09
Mexican federal agents confiscated nearly two tons of packaged marihuana in a boxcar from a train headed for Mexicali,Baja California. The seizure took place near Trincheras, Sonora, due to a citizen’s tip to the authorities. [photo relates]
El Debate (Sinaloa) 5/8/09
Police learned that three women who disappeared in Tijuana, Baja California, in August were murdered by narcotraffickers and their bodies dissolved in caustic soda. The women, 23,24 and 25, had traveled from Mexicali to Tijuana to meet with three narcotraffickers at a bar. Two of the three suspects were arrested this week and confessed to the murders to investigators. The women had been murdered by asphyxiation. No further details were given.
Novedades de Quintana Roo (Cancun, QR) 5/8/09
The Mexican Army broke up a cell of the “Cardenas Guillen” drug organization that operates in the state of Quintana Roo under the command of Rafael del Angel Velez Morales, a.k.a. Jose Manuel Figueroa Martinez, “El Fayo,” who was captured along with nine others. El Fayo confessed that, with the protection given him by different authorities in the state, he was able to form his organization and carry out its criminal activities.
Prensa Libre (Guatemala City, Guatemala) 5/9/09
[Full article translation]
Vice-Chancellor (Dep. Sec. of State) Miguel Angel Ibarra corroborated the hardening of the controls on the border between Mexico and the U.S., for which reason he urged Guatemalans to remain in the country. Underground cameras, infrared trackers, motion, scent and temperature sensors, remote control planes, motorcycles, horses, patrols and trained dogs are some of the obstacles which the U.S. has deployed lately along its border with Mexico. “The operations center is impressive. There is no way that any migrant might be able to enter” said Ibarra, who visited that locale. “We make an urgent call to Guatemalans so that they won’t attempt to reach the U.S.”, the official emphasized, “The crossing is impossible, there are too many obstacles, starting from going into debt, the ‘coyotes’ – who lie – and the equipment on the border”
El Universal (Mexico City) 5/9/09
The Mexican Army delivered a blow to organized Crime in Michoacan with the seizure of an arsenal of nearly 500 firearms and more than a ton of drugs in separate military actions throughout the state. During the past week, the Army has carried out operations in 18 towns.
Cambio de Michoacan (Morelia, Michoacan) 5/9/09
Three people standing on a street corner in Zamora, Michoacán, were gunned down by a group in a passing vehicle Saturday afternoon. No further details were given.
El Diario de Juarez (Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua) 5/9/09
Mexican Army units in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, freed 19 people, 17 of them Central Americans, who had been kidnapped along this border. Military units patrolling the city streets noticed several suspicious people near a house. When the suspects spotted the military, they ran inside the house. A quick inspection by soldiers was met with cries for help from inside the house, which led to the discovery of the 19 people. The group was comprised of Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Hondurans, Costa Ricans and two Mexicans. Although no arrests were reported, the Army seized an SUV at the house.
El Informador (Guadalajara, Jalisco) 5/9/09
An explosion in a rural community near Tlajomulco de Zuñiga, Jalisco, led to the discovery by federal and state agents of what appeared to be a narco laboratory, according to a report from the Mexican Department of Justice (PGR). A search of the area by the agents, assisted by Mexican military, resulted in the seizure of 374 kilos of methamphetamine, 1.282 million pseudo-ephedrine pills and 7.7 kilos of ephedrine.
El Financiero (Mexico City) 5/9/09
The Mexican Army arrested six presumed hit men of the Gulf cartel in a luxury home in Villa de Santiago, Nuevo Leon. The military also seized two weapons plated with gold and encrusted with diamonds. The interior of the house was furnished in objects “luxurious and ostentatious,” including stuffed exotic animals.
El Sol de Mexico (Mexico City) 5/10/09
According to a report from Mexico’s UEC [equiv: GAO ], the Mexican immigration department (INM) has shown a lack of control over the entry of migrants into the country inasmuch as more than 2.5 million people are in Mexico in an illegal status. The figures were based partly on the number of entries registered by the INM compared to the departures. The report also criticized the lack of coordination between the INM and the Federal Protective Police in controlling undocumented foreigners in the country. It concluded with the observation that migratory policy continues to be a relevant topic in the national agenda, not only because of its importance in the flow of Mexicans to the US, but also for the illegal international movements recorded by Mexico.
El Heraldo (Tegucigalpa, Honduras) 5/10/09
Bad weather caused the emergency landing and crash of a Venezuelan registry aircraft around 2 a.m. today at Utila, on the Islas de Bahia, in the Caribbean off the coast of Honduras. Aboard: at least 1,500 kilos of cocaine. All three occupants were said to be Colombian; one died as a result of the crash and the other two were injured.
El Debate (Sinaloa) 5/10/09
Five men were executed mob style near Tupataro, Michoacán, a small village on the highway between Morelia and Patzcuaro. According to witnesses, several luxury vehicles arrived at a ranch Saturday and the occupants engaged in a lengthy conversation with the five men who were employed as stable hands. The witnesses then heard a number of shots, seemingly from assault rifles, and then saw the strangers leave hurriedly in their vehicles. The bodies of the five stable hands were found scattered in a 30-yard radius littered with at least 100 spent shells from AK-47, AR-15, FAL and .38 Super firearms. The victims had been in charge of a stable of 60 fine horses of different breeds. An investigation at state and federal levels has been launched.
At least eight people were arrested and one killed after a gun fight between presumed kidnappers and the Mexican military. Those arrested are thought to be members of Los Zetas. Although the battle took place in a crowded housing area, only one house other than the one used by the kidnappers, received any firearm damage. Neighbors said, however, that they spent the hours-long duration of the nighttime fight terrified and flattened on the floors of their homes.
El Diario en Linea (Chihuahua) 5/10/09
Thanks to a tip from an anonymous female caller, the Mexican military in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, were able to intercept three vehicles loaded with marihuana and arrest eight armed men. The caller had notified the Army that the men were armed and had radio contact with associates as to the movements of the military. Armed with such information, soldiers set up the successful operation, seizing 128.6 kilos of marihuana in packages, as well as three vehicles. The men arrested in the surprise operation were also relieved of their unused weapons, two revolvers, one 9 mm pistol, two rifles and three assault weapons.
El Imparcial (Hermosillo, Sonora) 5/10/09
A federal judge in Mexico City granted a 40-day detention of 14 presumed members of the Beltran Leyva cartel who were arrested by SIEDO [equiv. DEA ] in Cuernavaca, Morelos state. Among those arrested, it was initially assumed that one of them was Alberto Pineda Villa, “El Borrado,” the leader of the organization, but that identification is now uncertain. The group also included two ex-police agents.
Novedades de Quintana Roo (Cancun, QR) 5/10/09
As a result of the February 12 arrest this year of Francisco Velasco Delgado, “El Vikingo,” in connection with the assassination of Brigade General Mauro Enrique Tello Quiñones in Quintana Roo last February 3, the Mexican Army is preparing a campaign to “clean out” Los Zetas from the state. El Vikingo held the position of Director of Public Security in Cancun when he was arrested for links to the criminal organization. The operation, planned on the basis of arrests made in the aftermath of the assassination of the General and his two aides by Los Zetas, is taking shape by the Army in Cancun in planned joint operations with federal, state and municipal police. The Army will carry out coordinated searches to hunt down members of the militant crime group that serves as the “muscle” of the Gulf cartel. More than 100 special forces and intelligence specialists will take part in the operations that have been delayed somewhat by the recent flu epidemic, but is expected to begin soon. Although the recent presence of higher ranking officers have tipped off organized crime that the plans are underway, precautions are being taken to prevent anticipated attempts to infiltrate criminal elements into the enforcement units.
-end of report-