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.
El Universal (Mexico City) 2/20-21/09
A presumed area boss for the Beltran Leyva drug cartel in the State of Mexico was arrested in mid-afternoon in the major business district of Santa Fe in Mexico City during a high-security operation by the Federal Agency of Investigation (AFI) with Army support. He was identified as Gerardo Gonzalez Benavides, aka Abraham Esparza Blancarte, “Tony la Mentira” and “La Bitch.” He was believed to be in charge of the drug traffic operations in cities such as Cuautitlan and Tultitlan in the state that surrounds the Federal District. The subject is considered to be an important part of the Beltran Leyva organization and had an enforcement group of professional killers under his command.
Dismal record: one thousand executions in 51 days. In an intense roller coaster of events in the war against organized crime, yesterday the assassinations linked to narcotraffic surpassed 1,000. According to the count made by El Universal, so far in the year there have been 1,003 violent murders related to narcotraffic, which averages out to 19 per day. Last year, the 1,000 mark was registered on April 22 and the year before, after mid-year. Half of the nation’s assassinations happened in the state of Chihuahua.
The Director of Public Security in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, resigned his post under organized threats that the assassination of his police officers would continue until he steps down. Roberto Orduño said he could not allow his men, who work to defend the country, continue to lose their lives. The bodies of two recently murdered law officers had been found with narco-messages warning that this would happen to at least one police officer every 48 hours until Orduña resigned.
The war for the drug market in Peru between Mexican and Colombian drug cartels has resulted in 12 deaths and at least 40 wounded in the past 16 months, according to local sources. The Peruvian newspaper, La Republica, cited sources from the anti-drug office as saying that the casualties are victims of a war started by the Sinaloa cartel to take over territory in Peru from Colombian narcos.
The president of the Confederation of Employers of the Mexican Republic (Coparmex) backed the use of the Army in combating organized crime and warned that Mexico is not at peace. “I don’t believe we are in a situation of peace. The truth is that the agenda of organized crime has become not just a problem of health [the section of law under which drug offenders are prosecuted], which is the obligation of the State to look after, but also a true posture of challenge to the Mexican State itself, in such a way that we have an exceptional situation that has to be attended to using the recourses available. Asked about yesterday’s statement by the Army that it could have an undesired effect on the population, the president of Coparmex replied that, “There is no possibility of wavering in the determination the State has in combating whatever is outside the law,” and added his hope that this does not become a political issue. The PAN party considers that the Army is “fulfilling its role” in the narco war. The worker parties, Convergencia and Social Democratic, agreed with the Secretary of National Defense, Guillermo Galvan, who said that a “risky fringe” operated in the Army between the people and criminals and criticized the government.
The Center for Public Security Studies (CESP) considered that the country’s intelligence agencies, such as the Center for National Investigation and Security (CISEN) and the Department of Federal Publlic Security (SSPF), minimized, or were not capable of foreseeing, the mobilization of the street-blocking demonstrations in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, prior to the Army Day celebration led by President Felipe Calderón in the city. This past week, people in the states of Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas and Veracruz attacked the Army’s operation against organized crime in demonstrations asserting that the military actions violate human rights and social stability. The director of CESP stated, “the impression that prevails is, that after the statements by the Secretary of Public Security in answer to the events in Monterrey [that organized crime orchestrated the demonstrations], the reaction of organized crime was to escalate the dimensions of their operations throughout the northeast section of the country.
The Mexican Federal Agency of Investigations (AFI) arrested two men transporting 66 fragmentation grenades hidden in a truck on the Tuxtla Gutierrez-Coatzalcoalcos highway in the state of Veracruz. The grenades were concealed in a compartment made by adding a second bed to the truck. It is assumed that the explosives were obtained in Guatemala.
Five people were wounded when two fragmentation grenades were tossed at the police station in Zihuantenejo, Guerrero, from a moving vehicle. The explosions wounded two police officers two taxi drivers and a woman, but none gravely. [The town is in an area known as the Costa Grande, up-coast from Acapulco.]
Business owners in the tourist sector of Cozumel, Quintana Roo, consider there will be a decrease in the volume of foreign investment after Friday’s alert by the US government regarding visiting Mexico. The president of the National Tourist Business Counsel (CNET) recognizes that for some time the northern border has been “very hot,” although, he said, confronting crime is what must be done. So far, the tourist trade has not been affected and continues without change in the beach areas of southeast Mexico.
El Nuevo Diario (Managua, Nicaragua) 2/20/09
Nicaraguan police seized 736 kilos of cocaine found hidden in a northbound truck on the Pan American Highway. The driver was a Honduran.
El Heraldo (Tegucigalpa, Honduras) 2/21/09
“Honduras is a country not at war, yet the number of violent deaths appear to indicate the contrary. The numbers are chilling”
According to a report by the Observatory of Violence (an organization backed by the National University of Honduras, the UN Development Program, a Swedish International Development Agency as well as by the Honduran National Police and their Department of Justice) there were some 4,473 homicides in Honduras in 2008, that is, an average of 12 for each day of the year. That can be interpreted as one Honduran being killed every two hours. The total showed a 25% increase over 2007.
Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are the three leading Central American countries with the highest levels of violence. The Pan American Health Organization points out that violence is the leading cause of death in the hemisphere. In Honduras, 36% (1,621) of the homicides last year were linked to organized crime. The second highest number of homicides was caused by “common crimes”, mainly those linked to robbery.
The President of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras warned that Honduras is on the brink of un-governability because “crime has control of political institutions.”
The President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, is on tour in the United States and met with the Secretaries of Energy and of Homeland Security. While in the U.S., Zelaya is quoted as saying: “There must be a policy of reunification and stoppage of unjust deportations regarding persons who live and have children here and they destroy their families.” However, American officials have already warned that it is the government of Honduras which must undertake measures so that Hondurans will not keep fleeing the country because of poverty and uncontrollable criminality. Every day, hundreds of Hondurans depart in search of the “American dream”, overwhelmed by poverty and the high levels of crime which prevail in Honduras.
In Tegucigalpa, Honduras’ “Direccion de Lucha contra el Narcotrafico” (equiv: DEA) personnel searched a cellular phone store as well as the home of its owner. Found: 250 pounds of dynamite, an assault rifle, pistols, a fragmentation grenade, several vehicles and 200 thousand “lempiras” (U.S. equivalent of approximately $11,000) in cash.
La Prensa Grafica (San Salvador, El Salvador) 2/21/09
Statement by Patricia Licona, the Honduran Deputy Secretary of State, at a press conference relating to the 7th round of negotiations between the European Union and Central America regarding illegal immigration:
“The complete respect and protection of the rights of all immigrants, legal and illegal, shall be requested, because every person has rights which must be respected.”
The negotiations revolve around the EU’s policy regarding illegal aliens, which can result in detention of up to eighteen months.
Prensa Libre (Guatemala City, Guatemala) 2/21/09
The following are five out of the seven items in the “Latest News” portion of the front page. All five were logged in within 90 minutes of each other.
* Two extortionists with a grenade are captured
* Woman shot to death in Zacapa
* An assault on a bus on route 4 leaves one dead and two wounded
* Chimaltenango prison searched
* Two suspected rapists lynched in Chichicastenango
El Imparcial (Hermosillo, Sonora) 2/22/08
At least nine people were assassinated in different events in the past few hours in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, the border city across from El Paso, Texas, and the most violent in Mexico. The most recent wave of killings began late Saturday and extended into Sunday morning. All of the murders were by different groups of armed men in vehicles. According to official figures, so far in the year, around 357 people have been murdered by organized crime in the State of Chihuahua.
The Mexican Army seized nearly three metric tons of marihuana and an arsenal in different operations in the area of the border town of Tecate, Baja Callifornia. Thanks to an anonymous report, officials were able to locate a house in Jacume where they seized the bundles of weed, more than 3,300 cartridges and two pistols. They also confiscated three vehicles with US license plates and an identification document with a woman’s name and who is presumed to be a US citizen. Later, in another operation in the same area, the Army seized 13 rifles and nearly 1,000 rounds of ammo.
El Universal (Mexico City) 2/22/09
The leader of the Mexican left-leaning PRD party, Jesus Ortega, describes as “grave” that in Mexico the number of extortions by organized crime has skyrocketed. “We are going toward a situation where practically no Mexican is not threatened by criminals in one form or another,” he said. He criticizes the government as “arrogant” for thinking it alone can confront the problem of insecurity. He summarizes his thoughts, “The formulas of the left are an important part, but they are not enough. We need to join them with other proposals in order to make a policy of State to face up to crime.”
El Porvenir (Monterrey, Nuevo Leon) 2/22/09
The joint operation Culiacan-Navolato resulted in the arrest of seven presumed hit-men, the seizure of a safe house and confiscation of an arsenal and vehicles in Culiacan, Sinaloa. The arrested men and the equipment are presumed to be part of the Sinaloa cartel. The arms seized included 12 AK-47 assault rifles, one FN Herstal P90 and 90 cartridge clips.
A federal judge placed seven men under formal arrest for their presumed participation in last Tuesday’s gun battle with federal troops in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. Under the order, they may be held in custody for up to 40 days while the investigation of the event is carried out.
El Debate (Sinaloa) 2/22/09
Narcos self-destruct. An armed clash between two presumed groups of narcotraffickers in the mountainous area of Pueblo Nuevo, Durango, resulted in 10 deaths. The report was unofficial due to the difficulty for authorities to reach the area.
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