Over the weekend: Mexico – Mega seizure of drugs and weapons in Tijuana; Violent attacks against Federal Police

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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 7/11/09


Frontera (Tijuana, Baja California) 7/10/09

Mega-seizure in Tijuana.  
Along with the seizure of an impressive arsenal and 690 kilos of marihuana, the Mexican Army in Tijuana arrested a man presumed to be linked to the Arellano Felix drug cartel, headed by Fernando Sanchez Arellano, “El Ingeniero.”  Military personnel and local authorities made the seizure after receiving a report from a citizen that armed men were seen in the location.  At the residence in Colonia Chapultepec, authorities arrested Eduardo Morquecho Hernandez, “El Lalo,” 27, a native of Santa Ana, California.  Inside the house authorities found 32 firearms, more than 100 ammo clips and 2,550 cartridges.  In one of the bedrooms they found 176 packages of marijuana, wrapped for transport.  A Grand Caravan Escort (sic) vehicle parked on the premises yielded military and bullet-proof vests, some with insignias of the Federal Agency for Investigation (AFI).  The Army advised that the seizures belonged to the Arellano Felix organization, leading to the assumption that the arrested man was part of that cell.  [Photo relates.]


Police “fragmented”: PGR.  
Following the assassination of Benjamin LeBaron, a Mormon community leader in Galeana, Chihuahua, the spokesman for the federal Department of Justice (PGR), Ricardo Najera, said in an interview with Antena Radio that, “in large part, the major difficulty in combatting organized crime in the country is that the police forces are very fragmented.  There are no tests for control of confidence and the departments haven’t the capacity to adequately carry out their duties.”

El Informador
 (Guadalajara, Jalisco) 7/10/09
Absence of police facilitated murders.  
No police agencies had officers deployed in the community of murder victims LeBaron and Widmar last Tuesday, according to a Chihuahua state police spokesman, Fidel Banuelos.  The nearest security force to the Mormon community, federal agents of Joint Operation Chihuahua, took a little more than a half-hour in arriving at the scene of the double murder.  The state police delayed about an hour because they were on assignment some 80 miles away.  These delays, the article points out, despite that on July 1, the governor of the state had said publicly that the breaking up of a band of kidnappers had been achieved thanks to the participation and reporting of the Galeana community.  That day, around 600 members of LeBaron’s community, supported by farmers of the municipality of Galeana, rallied to demand that the authorities halt the wave of kidnappings in the region.  At that time, Governor Baeza sent a message to the demonstrators in which he promised  that they could count on all the security measures necessary and said he would visit the community after the July 5 elections.  The Governor did visit as promised, but to attend the funeral of the two victims, the article concludes.

El Universal
 (Mexico City) 7/10/09
Editorial regarding the Galeana murders.  
The editorial in El Universal, “Justice by one’s own hand,” addressing the pros and cons of an armed citizenry follows (in part):
To arm the citizenry is always dangerous, however honorable the intention may be.  It is very easy to confuse proper defense with vengeance and that dividing line is very thin; new injustices may be committed against other innocent people.  With a pistol in hand, a victim can become a criminal in his eagerness to see justice done.
But how can you say no to a community that saw one of their own die because he dared to defy the kidnappers of his brother?  That is the case of Benjamin Le Baron, assassinated three days ago by a group of thugs who even went to his home to torture him, abducted him and returned his dead body to his people.  In fact, hours after the crime, some inhabitants had indicated their desire to get arms and seek out those responsible.
The reaction of society in general is similar after years of multitudinous marches have not made kidnappings and extortions disappear.  The problem is that the reaction of an angry mob will always be on impulse and belief, never on objective judgment that saves the lives of those innocent.  The theory says that justice is impossible without a judge, laws that give guarantees to the accused and institutions controlled by public authority.  This is certain, proven, but it is impossible to explain to a society crushed by crime.  After everything, today the Mormon community of LeBaron has shown that it plans to collaborate with the authorities and arm themselves only with vigilance of the state police.  Not always will it be thus in Chihuahua nor in the rest of the country.  The political class must understand that this is a countdown.
El Diario de Juarez (Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua) 7/10/09
Military post attacked.  
A Mexican Army checkpoint in Valparaiso, Zacatecas, was attacked twice by an armed group and, on repelling the attacks, three of the aggressors were killed and two were taken into custody.  Unofficial information was that eight others were wounded and others fled.  In the aftermath, the Army seized nine rifles, two pistols, three fragmentation grenades, three vehicles and 318 kilos of marihuana.  The checkpoint had been established after a citizen report of organized crime activity in the area.  The military has been active in the area for several days destroying 25 fields of marihuana and reportedly destroying a clandestine landing strip.

Cambio de Michoacan
 (Morelia, Michoacan) 7/10/09
Shoot-out in Morelia.  
A gun battle between federal police and an organized crime group in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan, resulted in the arrest of five people.  The operation in the densely populated neighborhood was carried out with precision such that no civilians were endangered. [A live action video may be viewed at http://videos.eluniversal.com.mx/n_videos/showVideo.php?id=13573]
El Debate (Sinaloa) 7/10/09
Violence in Juarez.  
The wave of violence in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, has left 11 dead in the past few hours.  The murders took place in various parts of the city and included two police officers.
Sunday 7/12/09
El Financiero (Mexico City) 7/11/09
Attacks attributed to arrest of crime boss.  
Mexican Federal Police in Morelia, Michoacan, this morning arrested a major boss of the crime organization known as “La Familia Michoacana.”  His identity has not yet been revealed, but his arrest has apparently triggered a number of attacks on federal police and military installations in the state by the gang’s hit-men in reprisal.  The attacks have been registered in Morelia, Apatzingan, Lazaro Cardenas, Zitacuaro and Zamora, among others.  The man arrested is said to have a higher position in La Familia Michoacana than crime boss Rafael Cedeno Hernandez, “El Cede,” arrested past April. [M3 Report 4/20/09]
Subject identified.  
In an eleventh-hour story today, the Federal Police confirmed that the attacks  against its installations in the state of Guerrero were carried out in a failed attempt to rescue Arnoldo Rueda Medina, alias “La Minsa,” a major player in the criminal organization “La Familia Michoacana.”  Rueda Medina was the gang’s coordinator of logistics for the fabrication of synthetic drugs and the shipment of marihuana and cocaine to the US.  He was also responsible for designating the chiefs of the different operational zones in Michoacan, Colima, Guanajuato, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi, Jalisco, part of Guerrero and the state of Mexico.  The federal agency spokesman indicated that Rueda Medina infiltrated some police commands in areas where La Familia Michoacana operated.  He also worked closely with the leader of the crime organization, Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, “El Chayo,” developing strategies of expansion at the national and international levels.  The remaining top leaders of the organization are Jose de Jesus Mendez Vargas, alias “El Chango Mendez,” and Enrique Plancarte, alias “La Chiva.”
El Universal (Mexico City) 7/11/09
Another attack against Federal Police.  
An armed group in two “luxury vehicles” attacked the offices of the Federal Police in Ciudad Altamirano, Guerrero, with assault rifles and a fragmentation grenade.  The attack did only material damage.  There were no injuries or deaths.  The mid-morning assault was carried out using AK-47 and R-15 rifles.
Five Federal Police wounded.  
Five Federal Police were wounded an an apparent ambush on a highway outside Mexico City.  According to late reports, the attack was believed to be part of the series of attacks by the gang, La Familia Michoacana, as was the attack reported above.
Monday 7/13/09
Cambio de Michoacan (Morelia, Michoacan) 7/12/09
Arrests made in Michoacan.  
Mexican federal agents have made the first two arrests of those presumed responsible for  the state-wide attacks on federal installations unleashed yesterday by the arrest of drug kingpin Arnoldo Rueda Medina.  The two suspects were captured in Michoacan’s port city of Lazaro Cardenas after a brief gun battle between federal agents and  several armed subjects in which one of the gunmen was killed.  Besides the arrests, the authorities seized three AK-47 assault rifles, a pistol, clips and ammo, combat gear, communications equipment and a 2009 SUV.
Norte (Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua) 7/12/09
Joint Operation Chihuahua called a failure.  
The article, reading more like an editorial than news, complains that the kidnappings and murders that continue apparently unabated in the state of Chihuahua and the impunity with which the criminals operate are a clear confirmation that the federal government’s operation is a “resounding failure.”  The article goes on to cite the numbers of violent crimes committed so far this year.
El Universal (Mexico City) 7/12/09

Probable changes in Chihuahua operation.
Joint Operation Chihuahua, the federal government’s response to the escalating crime in that state, will undergo certain changes in strategy and tactics as the situation requires, according to the head of state public security, Victor Valencia de los Santos.  However, he said, any changes are the responsibility of the federal authorities to determine.  At this time, whatever is being considered is not yet ready for public release.  The military operation has come under constant public criticism.
-end of report- 

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