Over the weekend: La Familia Michoacána strengthens; Colombia to open new offensive against rebel force

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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 10/3/09

 El Financiero (Mexico City)  10/2/09

 Largest drug-related seizure

Mexican authorities today announced seizures of 37 tons of chemicals used to produce synthetic drugs in the states of Tamaulipas and Colima.  According to authorities, this is the largest such seizure in the country’s history.  “This seizure represents a hard economic blow to organized crime,” according to a press release from the federal Department of Justice (PGR).


 El Universal (Mexico City) and Frontera (Tijuana, Baja California) 10/2/09

 Summary of recent violence

Four females, one a 10-year-old, were murdered within a few hours Friday in separate events in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua.  Three of the women were targeted by armed groups and the 10-year-old playing in a park was killed by stray bullets in one of the attacks.  The scattered violence also resulted in three wounded, a woman, a man and a small child.  So far this year, 100 women have been murdered in Cd. Juarez.  Meanwhile, in the state of Guanajuato, a total of 11 murders occurred.  In the state of Sinaloa, advisories were issued to police to avoid gatherings due to recent violence aimed at police officers.  In Tijuana, Baja California, municipal police complained that the federal authorities have left them to fight alone against organized crime.  Information from unofficial sources indicate that one of Tijuana’s leading drug bosses, “El Teo,” recruits drug addicts to carry out assassinations of police officers.


 El Imparcial (Hermosillo, Sonora) 10/2/09

 Colombia: FARC suffers losses

Between 30 and 40 guerrillas of the rebel forces, FARC, were killed in an attack by the Colombian Army in the department (state) of Tolima.  It is believed that an important commander of the rebel forces was among those killed.


 El Informador (Guadalajara, Jalisco) 10/2/09

 Narco-lab dismantled

A narco-laboratory for the manufacture of synthetic drugs was destroyed by Mexican federal agents in Ayutla, Jalisco.  Also destroyed in the government operation were 600 mature marihuana plants


 Novedades de Quintana Roo (Cancun, Q.R.) 10/2/09

 One of US most wanted captured in Peru

Peruvian Interpol and US Secret Service agents arrested Mario Quiroz in Lima, Peru.  Quiroz, a mortgage broker, is wanted for real estate fraud in the US in which more than 290 individuals lost homes and more than 20 financial institutions were defrauded.


 Sunday 10/4/09

 El Universal (Mexico City) 10/3/09

 Opinion commentary regarding Olympics

(Following is a translation of the first paragraph of an opinion column by El Universal.)

In Copenhagen there was something more at stake; it wasn’t only the selection of the site for the 2016 Olympic Games, but the determination of the value of the power and influence of two solid leaderships in the world, the one of Barack Obama and that of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, both of whom, from their trenches, wave the flag of change.  The world finally witnessed Brazil’s coronation as an emerging power and the ratification of the Brazilian president’s charisma and political adroitness, “the best marketing manager that the country could have found in its history.”  Obama, on the other hand, made a bet which he lost with a resounding crash.  If there’s something that may characterize the feeling in the United States about its president’s failure, it’s the result of having put into play the combination of Barack, plus Michelle, plus Oprah (Winfrey), which turns out to equal zero.  It seems that the honeymoon is over and, definitely now, the president of the US will have to demonstrate that he is a strategist, a politician, and not just a charismatic man, since that cannot be used for everything. 



Drug enforcement events

Mexican federal police arrested an important player in narcotrafficking operations in the state of Mexico.  Valentin Flores Mondragon, “El Vale,” allegedly works for the operations boss of the drug cartel La Familia Michoacána in the cities of Chalco and Ixtapaluca near Mexico City.  “El Vale” is supposedly in charge of the distribution of drugs and extortion of businesses in those operational zones.

 Anti-drug agents in Panama arrested a Mexican citizen at the Tocumen international airport who was attempting to smuggle an unspecified amount of cocaine in packets taped to his body.  The man had arrived from Cali, Colombia and was en route to Cancun, Mexico.

 Mexican federal police arrested a Venezuelan man at the airport in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, who was transporting $25,900 in presumably counterfeit 100 dollar bills that they had acquired in Cali, Colombia.  The agents were carrying out random inspections of passenger luggage when the discovery was made.  (No mention was made of the man’s intended destination.)


 El Financiero (Mexico City) 10/3/09

 La Familia Michoacána strengthens forces as criminal cartel

La Familia Michoacána is one of the most dangerous and virulent criminal organizations in Mexico according to police forces that face the cartel daily.  Among its principal characteristics are  its high corruption power, the violence it carries out, the discipline of its followers and the criminal training, combined with religion and a high sense of regional loyalty throughout the state of Michoacán.  La Familia’s capacity for corruption not only reaches the political sphere and the chiefs of police but also achieves the shelter of a society that covers, protects and even defends them.  This support comes from the conviction that no one can take what belongs to the people of Michoacan. 

 The ex-Attorney General of Mexico, Eduardo Medina Mora, considers La Familia Michoacana the most dangerous criminal organization in the country because of its fire power, level of violence and the diversification of its criminal activities: narcotraffic, kidnapping, assassination and extortion.  Even so, the authorities are more worried by the organization’s great capacity to corrupt.  Its zone of influence is not only in the state of Michoacan, but also spreading to the states of Mexico, Guerrero and even to the Federal District.


Colombian president announces offensive to end rebellion and narcotraffic

Bogota, Colombia: Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez announced a new military offensive to put an end the rebellion of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and to narcotraffic.  The president said that firmness is needed because “although we are winning (the war), we still have not won.”  He asserted, “Determination is necessary.  The apostle said, ‘if the sound of the trumpet is uncertain and weak, who will come to the field of battle.’  We must keep firm, strong and certain.  No lethargy.”  Uribe Velez has a 63% approval rating in Colombia.


 Cuarto Poder (Chiapas) 10/3/09

 Woman arrested transporting cocaine

Mexican federal authorities, carrying out routine inspections of passenger vehicles in the state of Chiapas, found a package with about three kilos of cocaine in a luggage compartment.  A woman passenger was identified as the owner of the plastic bag with the three bricks of cocaine.  She said the bag was given to her in Ciudad Hidalgo (on the Guatemalan border) by “someone” to be transported to Tapachula.  She would not give further information.


 El Debate (Sinaloa) 10/3/09

 Indigenous arms trafficking

In an area of Chiapas where arms trafficking among the indigenous people persists, Mexican authorities arrested a Tzotzil man in possession of an arsenal of 17 rifles, 4 shotguns and a number of pistols, all for sale.  The man also had a grenade launcher.  Noted in the story was that the place of arrest, the obscure village of Yabteclum, is where the Acteal massacre occurred in December of 1997 in which 47 indigenous people at a prayer meeting were gunned down by a paramilitary group without intervention by Mexican authorities.


 Frontera (Tijuana, Baja California) 10/3/09

 Mexican gun control

Authorities in Ensenada, Baja California, arrested a man who was “calmly walking” along a boulevard with an AK-47 assault rifle.  The man, 28, was reported ambling along with the rifle and police spotted him with a backpack over one shoulder in which they discovered the firearm along with cartridges.  The man was taken into custody without further incident.


 Monday 10/5/09

 Norte (Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua) 10/4/09

 Extortion crosses the border into El Paso

The deadly paramilitary branch of the Gulf drug cartel operating in Cd. Juarez has apparently begun to threaten businesses across the river in El Paso, Texas, according to information from an El Paso newspaper.  Word of the threats has put the El Paso police on alert.  At least two businesses in El Paso have reportedly received threats by a man identifying himself as a commander of Los Zetas.  One businessman said that the man “demanded in an intimidating voice” a payment of $50,000 to be paid immediately or “the next time we meet will be at the funeral of a loved one.”  While such tactics are routine in neighboring Cd. Juarez, it has been rare for extortion to cross into the US.



 (Editor’s note: The remainder of the news on Sunday, 10/4/09, was sparse, as indicated by the following headings from around Mexico.)

 El Universal (Mexico City)  Museum to display drug cartel artifacts seized;

El Financiero (Mexico City)  Mexican couple recognized for best “lunch wagon” for Mexican food in New York City;

El Diario de Juarez (Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua)  Lack of confidence in authorities hinders citizen reports;

Cambio de Michoacan (Morelia, Michoacan)  Mexico, US and Canada analyze problems affecting pork production;

El Debate (Sinaloa)  Police: maximum risk, minimum salary;

El Porvenir (Monterrey, Nuevo Leon)  Honduran deposed President Zelaya condemns “brutal” repression;

Frontera (Tijuana, Baja California)  One-hour delay in crossing border;

La Voz de la Frontera (Mexicali, Baja California)  Federal Police capture aviary with protected birds.


 -end of report-

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