Over the weekend: Mexico prepares for summit meeting; some successes in the drug war

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FORMER BORDER PATROL OFFICERS
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Foreign News Report

The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) extracts and condenses the material that follows from Mexican and Central and South American on-line media sources on a daily basis. You are free to disseminate this information, but we request that you credit NAFBPO as being the provider.

Saturday 8/8/09

El Universal (Mexico City) 8/7/09

 Combat crime without exception: Calderon

Mexican President Felipe Calderon, speaking at a police awards ceremony, assured that the fight against organized crime will be continued “without restrictions and without exceptions”.  The president said that the precise and effective strikes that have been carried out against criminal organizations have diminished and disrupted their criminal structures.

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Largest narcolab discovered in the mountains of Durango

Units of the Mexican Army discovered a narcotics laboratory for the production of methamphetamine, “ice” and “crystal”, on 240 hectares (593 acres) located in the tiny mountainous community of Las Trancas, near Tamazula, Durango.  Found on the property were approximately 200 kilos of both drugs as well as 18 vehicles, among them a front loader [aka, skip loader] and several four-wheeled ATVs.  According to military sources, the lab is the largest yet discovered.  No arrests were reported.

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Narco attacks in Hidalgo and Guanajuato: 13 dead

Two armed attacks on police installations in the state of Guanajuato and another two in the state of Hidalgo reportedly left 13 dead and 20 wounded.  Among those killed were three police agents.  Thursday evening, the federal Justice Department (PGR)  requested the assistance of Hidalgo state police in locating a group of missing federal agents.  The operation resulted in the first battle between the criminals and police in Epazoyucan and almost simultaneously, another one a little over a kilometer away in a suburb of the state capital, Pachuca.  Both attacks lasted about 20 minutes with two police and nine gangsters killed.  Some of the criminals escaped on foot into the countryside and the operation with the Army and helicopters was continuing at press time.   After the battle, authorities seized four vehicles and an “arsenal”.  Regarding the missing federal agents, an official source said they were found, but gave no further details.

 Meanwhile, in the state of Guanajuato, attacks took place on the installations of Justice Department in Irapuato and, simultaneously, on the police station in Silao.  Two were killed in Irapuato, one a police officer, and seven gravely wounded. The attack in Silao resulted in six wounded.  All the above attacks involved the use of fragmentation grenades by the criminal groups.  [The story did not give an accurate account of the wounded, only that they totaled 20.]

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 Sunday 8/9/09

 El Debate (Sinaloa) and El Imparcial (Hermosillo, Sonora) 8/8/09

“Megalab” discovered in Bolivia

A police patrol unit  discovered another cocaine factory in the town of Guarayos, department [state] of Santa Cruz in Bolivia.  This is the sixth such factory found so far this year by the country’s anti-drug police.  The narcolab was discovered on a farm, El Pajaral, 360 kilometers (224 miles) from the city of Santa Cruz.  In three days of operations, the police patrol seized a Cessna airplane and discovered three clandestine airstrips in the nearby jungle.  Preliminary information indicates that the lab was capable of producing 50 kilograms (110 lbs.) of cocaine daily, using Colombian technology.  According to the United Nations, Bolivia ranks number three in the production of cocaine, behind Colombia and Peru.

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 El Informador (Guadalajara, Jalisco) 8/8/09

 Arrest in Tijuana: one of most wanted

Federal police in Tijuana, Baja California, arrested Manuel Ivanovich Zambrano Flores, alias “El Jimmy”, an alleged leader in the Arellano Felix cartel.  The federal police (SSP) indicated that “El Jimmy” is number three on the US DEA’s most wanted list.

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 Monday 8/10/09

  El Universal (Mexico City) 8/9/09

 Well-known lawyer assassinated in Monterrey

Silvia Raquenel Villanueva Fraustro, an attorney who represented several presumed narcotics traffickers in years past, was gunned down by at least three hit-men in the commercial center of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, at noon today.  She had been a protected witness in a case that led to the arrest of narco boss Juan Garcia Abrego in 1996.  In past years, she had been the target of at least four attempts on her life, three in Monterrey and one in Mexico City.

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North American summit meeting in Guadalajara

As the summit meeting of North American leaders gets underway, some 300 activists in Guadalajara, Jalisco, have begun demonstrations through the streets against “neoliberal policies”, requesting a renegotiation of NAFTA and even declaring opinions on the situation in Honduras. A demonstration by the National Liberation Movement gathered at the US Consulate where they displayed placards rejecting US immigration policies and requesting concrete measures to improve the condition of their countrymen in the US.  The demonstrations are expected to attempt moving to the Cultural Institute in Guadalajara where the meeting between the leaders of Mexico, the United States and Canada takes place.

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US concerned over illegal tunnels

US drug enforcement is working toward a strategy to increase the detection of clandestine tunnels along the US/Mexican border because they are considered a growing threat to national security as well as their use for drug and human trafficking.  From May, 1990, to the present, 101 such tunnels have been discovered, 24 of them in 2008.  Better cooperation between agencies of both countries is urged to combat the trend through developing technology.  Criminal organizations have shown enduring abilities and evolution for constructing and using tunnels, according to a US government report.  “The length and sophistication of the tunnels, as well as the considerable time and effort required for their construction and use, suggest that the smugglers consider them a useful investment despite the risks of being discovered,” it pointed out.

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 Cambio de Michoacan (Morelia, Michoacan) 8/9/09

 Little interest in anti-torture legislation

In the state of Michoacan, reports of torture and human rights violations are on the rise, but the state legislature shows little interest in passing an initiative to counter it.  The state Commission on Human Rights has reported 40 citizen complaints of torture by distinct police units and around 300 by the Mexican Army.  An initiative to address the problem was presented to the full legislative body in February, but has yet to be passed into law.

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 El Debate (Sinaloa) 8/9/09

 Basic training for federal recruits

The governments of the US and Canada will give basic training in combatting organized crime to 1,500 recently recruited Mexican federal police, according to a draft of the final document to be agreed on in the meeting of the North American leaders.  One of the main themes to address in the meetings is security and reinforcing links between the three countries in order to  confront the crime organizations that span them.

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 El Imparcial (Hermosillo, Sonora) 8/9/09

 Weed abatement

The Mexican Army seized more than six tons of marihuana in Rancho San Bernardino, 26 kilometers (16 miles) from the border city of Agua Prieta, Sonora.  The drug was discovered yesterday afternoon hidden in the double bottoms of two tractor-trailer trucks.

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 -end of report-


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