Over the weekend: Mexico a poor choice for a police career; border relations better than ever: Napolitano

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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 11/7/09

 El Universal (Mexico City) 11/6/09

 Arrests made in General’s assassination

State authorities in Garcia, Nuevo Leon, arrested 10 people in connection with the murders of the newly appointed Chief of Police, Brigadier General Juan Esparza, and four of his bodyguards [Friday’s M3 Report].  The General and his escorts were ambushed and gunned down by a contingent of some 30 hit men from Los Zetas, the armed branch of the Gulf drug cartel.  Among those arrested were municipal and transit police and an active political member of the leftist PRD party.  The politician, Norberto Jaime Trevino, had been an unsuccessful candidate for mayor of the city of Garcia where the murders took place.  Trevino had been involved in illegal activities for which he was personally admonished by the present mayor of Garcia.  Supposedly, the attack orchestrated by Trevino for vengeance, was only meant to frighten the General. 


Controversial issue

[An editorial titled “Do we kill criminals?”  Ref: M3 Report 11/3/09]

A great deal of commotion has surrounded the mayor of San Pedro [Nuevo Leon] after announcing, first, that he would “create cleaning crews” against criminals and then revealing that a presumed narco trafficker was executed in DF [Federal District] before the authorities in the capital had confirmed the discovery.  Death squadrons in Mexico?  Serious, but there had already been indications for some time.  The problem that faces us now is that the people don’t seem to react, indignant, when an authority promotes this discretional use of brute force.

 There lacks a national survey to confirm this, but the comments of citizens already give us an indication of support.  A horrifying coincidence considering the discussion about the death penalty.  In 2008, 75% of the people approved of it, even knowing that in this country, the corruption and the inefficiency of the judicial system does not permit knowing if all those detained and convicted are in reality guilty.  Already one political party has taken advantage of this issue to win votes and got them.  Would the same tactic benefit the “avengers” like the mayor of San Pedro?  It would be a dreadful precedent.

 The citizens must understand that opposing death squadrons is not hypocrisy.  It is knowing history and human behavior.  A mercenary contracted by governments or business groups to eliminate criminals will sooner or later become part of a band of kidnappers or murderers.  This has already happened with elite Mexican military; from such came Los Zetas.  In Colombia the businessmen created paramilitary groups that the country now cannot get rid of.  The civil population, that cannot pay “civilian guards.” are the ones who will always end up in the crossfire.

 Impunity should never be a pretext to justify the irrational use of force.


 Lapolaka (Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua) 11/6/09

 An afternoon in Cd. Juarez

[Translation of short article titled “Cartels in total war.”]

Cd. Juarez — The city became a street disaster this Friday evening because of crime.  A series of gunfights caused police responses, cars in pursuit and continuous congestion of streets.  At [one] intersection, a taxi was blasted by an armed group.  In the interior of the vehicle resting on a center divider were the dead driver and two unidentified passengers.  In [another neighborhood] a motorcyclist was chased and shot with rifles.  The body of the victim remained lifeless under the wheels of a bus.  On [another street in another neighborhood] a Stratus automobile occupied by hit-men collided with a bus causing the bus to turn over.  While the killers ran through the streets with their assault rifles on their shoulders, paramedics attended the 15 injured passengers who were riding on the bus.


Huge opium gum seizure

The Mexican military near the town of Guadalupe y Calvo, Chihuahua, [near the southern border of the state] made one of the largest seizures of opium gum in history.  The operation netted 203 kilos of gum in nine plastic containers with an estimated value of nearly seven million dollars.  The gum can be converted into morphine, heroin and/or codeine


 Sunday 11/8/09

 El Universal (Mexico City) 11/7/09

 Tough day for Mexican police: a collection of today’s stories

– Agents of the organized crime division of the Mexican federal department of justice (SIEDO) arrested 12 Guerrero state police investigators for apparent connections with narco criminals.  The state agents were summoned to an anti-narcotics office to presumably carry out an operation.  On arrival, they were disarmed and arrested on federal warrants by SIEDO agents assisted by military units.

 – State police in La Union, Guerrero, responding to a report of the discovery of a body, were ambushed by a group of hit men.  The attack wounded five of the officers and killed another.

 – A federal police commander and an agent were gunned down in Mexicali, Baja California, when they arrived at a residence suspected of narco activity.  The attack also wounded another federal agent accompanying them.

 – In another incident, a municipal police captain in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, was assassinated while driving his personal car.

 – The mutilated body of a presumed policeman was discovered in the town of Soledad de Doblado, Veracruz, an area where federal forces killed the leader of a group of Los Zetas last Tuesday.  The body, with clothing that appeared to be a police uniform, had a message on the chest signed by Los Zetas, the armed branch of the Gulf drug cartel.

 – While eight people were murdered in Sinaloa state during the past day, another victim of a shooting that occurred August 29 died in the hospital from the injuries she suffered in an attack that targeted and killed her husband, a municipal police agent. 

 – And in Tijuana, Baja California, authorities have learned that organized crime planned to assassinate the Secretary of Public Security because of the actions he has taken against them.  Although he has not received death threats, federal authorities have information that an attack was planned.  This has put the authorities on alert.  The mayor said, in effect, that the top police official is threatened because he is actually doing his job.  Those who are not performing their duties have nothing to fear.


 El Financiero (Mexico City) 11/7/09

 Mexico and US working together as never before: Napolitano

In an interview with the Spanish daily El Pais, US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said that the US and Mexico have, at this time, the best cooperation in working jointly against narcotraffic.  “We work very closely with President Calderon and his government and there cannot be more agreement in that there is enormous interest by the US in defeating the cartels,” she said.  “For us, it is a matter of national security in that these organizations should introduce drugs in hundreds of communities,” she emphasized.  Referring to the topic of migration, she said President Barack Obama wants to move ahead with that in 2010.  She anticipates changes will be presented to Congress in the first half of next year.  She said that there is a better system for finding those who have crossed the border illegally and for identifying the businesses that give them employment.  There is a growing public awareness that there must be change.  She also affirmed that there is a majority who see the illegals, in most part, as future US citizens.


 Frontera (Tijuana, Baja California) 11/7/09

 Intriguing story fragment

A citizen report led Mexican Army troops to discover a tunnel in Tijuana, which in turn, led to the discovery of a storehouse with 125 kilos of marihuana, 23 vehicles and the arrest of six people.  The tunnel was discovered under a house that was under construction in Colonia 70-76 and is 10 meters deep, 1.85 meters high,1.10 meters wide and 1.22 meters long. [sic]  The storehouse was located in Colonia 20 de Noviembre.  [This is essentially all the information in the story.  The problem, aside from the dimensions of the tunnel, is that the two colonias are not near one another and no explanation was given how the tunnel and storehouse are connected.  However there was a good photo.  Attached.


 Monday 11/9/09

 Frontera (Tijuana, Baja California) 11/8/09

 Update on yesterday’s tunnel story

The number of arrests in the tunnel caper reported yesterday increased from six to eight.  Those arrested are presumed to be the ones constructing the tunnel.  Also, the length of the tunnel was increased from 1.22 to 122 meters.  Other than referring to it as a “narcotunnel,” the story left all other questions unanswered.


 El Universal (Mexico City) 11/8/09

 Violence against news reporters

Eight journalists were assassinated within the past six months in Mexico and 53 between 2000 and 2009, advised the International Press Society (SIP).  The SIP pointed out that attacks against the news media increase in an atmosphere of impunity.  “Mexican journalism faces a constant threat, considering the cases of assassinations and attacks,” according to a report presented to the assembly.  There are areas where news reporters suffer difficulties in carrying out their work due to the growth of organized crime and the battle the government has brought against the criminals.  The assembly report also complained that the present legislature “doesn’t have the same political will as the former one,” criticizing its elimination of a Special Commission for monitoring attacks on journalists and communications media.


 El Financiero (Mexico City) 11/8/09

 Arms traffic controlled by subsidiaries, not drug cartels: PGR

The large criminal drug trafficking organizations do not control the arms traffic but rather, their distribution networks contact buyers in the US and they bring the arms into Mexico, according to a study by the Mexican Department of Justice (PGR).  The smuggling operation is carried out in a series of small shipments (“ant trails”) and not big ones all at once, the PGR analysis indicates.  “Up to now, no criminal organization, foreign or national, has been detected exclusively trafficking in arms,” said the report.  The report also pointed out that Los Zetas, the armed branch of the Gulf drug cartel, has obtained most of their armament from Mexico’s present federal administration.  The official investigation assures that “in the US, there are no clandestine groups that sell arms, but along the length of the border with Mexico there are more than 12,000 sales establishments.”


 -end of report-


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