Over the weekend: Drug war intensifying; Border Patrol gets good press

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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 12/12/09

 El Universal (Mexico City) 12/11/09

 Marines tough even in Mexico

Mexican “Marines” (Naval infantry) arrested 11 presumed hit-men of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel during an armed encounter in Tepoztlan, Morelos, in which three of the criminal combatants died.  A Navy spokesman reported that troops seized 280,700 dollars cash, 16 rifles and 4 pistols as well as some 1700 rounds of various ammunition and 74 ammo clips.


Mexican Army troops discovered yet another unfinished tunnel in Mexicali, Baja California.  The tunnel had only reached 10 meters in length at a depth of three meters.  Seven people were arrested in the operation.  The location of the tunnel’s entrance was given as a warehouse on Callejon Madero between Bravo and Mexico.  [This would place it some 500 ft. from the border at Dool Ave., Calexico.]


 El Financiero (Mexico City) 12/11/09

 Los Zetas cell leader arrested

Mexican federal police arrested a subject identified as Tomas Ochoa Celis, the presumed leader of a cell of Los Zetas that controls the cocaine traffic from Guatemala along the “Emerald Coast” of Veracruz and Tamaulipas.  Each shipment coordinated by Ochoa was approximately one ton transported from Comitan, Chiapas, to Diaz Ordaz, Tamaulipas in cargo trucks with false bottoms.  Ochoa has a criminal record, having served nine years in prison in Texas for a marihuana conviction.


Drug seizure in Panama

Anti-drug agents in Panama seized 450 kilos of cocaine in the same Caribbean area where yesterday [Thursday] they seized 2,460 kilos of drugs in two boats at Punta Escribano.  So far this year, Panamanian authorities have seized 56 tons of drugs, three tons more than in 2008.


Migratory wave harms US but benefits Mexico, according to expert

The mass immigration of workers from Latin America to the US (disregarding legal status) in the past 40 years harmed the US economy while benefitting Mexico and other Latin American countries, according to Philip Cafaro, a professor at the state university of Colorado.  He maintains that due to “uncontrolled immigration” the US has been “inundated” with workers who have little preparation and as a consequence, since 1980 until now, there has been a 45% drop in salaries in occupations with a high percentage of foreigners, as in construction or meat processing.  “In the present economic climate, when so many Americans suffer lack of work . . . the government should implement levels of immigration that favor the poorest Americans, not those that harm us,” Cafaro stated.  He also pointed out that now the US has 12 to 15 million undocumented workers and one of the consequences is that, while in the last four decades, the number of workers with university degrees increased  4%, the number of workers who didn’t complete high school rose 21%, causing a decrease in salaries.


El Financiero cartoon commentary: Corruption


 Cuarto Poder (Chiapas) 12/11/09

 Journalists protest lack of protection

Journalists from various media, locations and nationalities gathered in front of the Mexican federal offices of the Department of Justice (PGR) in Mexico City to protest the indifference and silence of that agency over the assassinations and disappearances of news journalists that have been reported in past years.  Conditions of insecurity have worsened for reporters, they claim, and the situation is aggravated by the impunity that exists, permitting attacks against them, especially in border areas.


 El Debate (Sinaloa) 12/11/09

 Harsh punishment

Due to the rising numbers of sexual assaults in the state of Sinaloa, one of the state representatives presented an initiative proposing the castration of convicted offenders.  He noted that previous increases in punishment in the penal code had not had any effect in reducing incidents of the crime.  In the public comment section following this story, one wag said, “It would be good.  The truth is the church lacks sopranos.”


 El Informador (Guadalajara, Jalisco) 12/11/09

 Federal police free 29 migrants held by cartel

Federal agents succeeded in freeing 29 migrants held by a group presumably linked to the Gulf cartel in Reynosa, Tamaulipas.  Intelligence and investigative work led to the discovery of a building used as a “security house” and the feds carried out the operation to free the 29 men, 24 of whom were Mexican.  Of the other five, two were from Guatemala and one each from El Salvador, Honduras and Ghana.  Four of their presumed kidnappers were arrested.  The group targeted people trying to cross illegally into the US, promising them assistance, but then kidnapping them for large ransom amounts demanded from their families.


Frontera (Tijuana, Baja California) 12/11/09

 Mini St. Valentines Day massacre

Four men were gunned down in a mechanic shop in Tijuana by an armed group who shot two inside the shop and took the other two out back to finish the job.  The investigation continues.


 La Voz de la Frontera (Mexicali, Baja California) 12/11/09

 Border Patrol to the rescue (again)

A US Border Patrol Borstar [Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue] team was successful in locating and rescuing seven lost border crossers in rugged mountains west of Mexicali.  The aspiring migrants became lost in the area of La Rumorosa Thursday of last week in their attempt to enter the US.  The seven were identified only as males 18 to 30 years of age.  They had been part of a group of 16 that divided into two groups when caught off guard by rain and low temperatures and became disoriented after they were abandoned by their guides, according to Rafael Hernandez, a member of a Mexican rescue team that also participated in the search.  The other nine had been rescued days earlier by the same Borstar team from the El Centro, California, sector and had already been returned to Mexico.  Of the seven rescued later, two needed medical attention due to longer exposure to the harsh conditions. [Photo relates.]


 Sunday 12/13/09

 Cambio de Michoacán (Morelia, Michoacán) 12/12/09

 Showdown for La Familia?

[The following stories cover the intense situation in Michoacán.]

 Attempt to capture ‘La Tuta’ the presumed cause of simultaneous attacks

Approximately a hundred elements of the Federal Police carried out an operation which, with the help of the Intelligence Center, would have located Servando Gomez Martinez, alias “La Tuta,” in the mountains of Apatzingan.  [La Tuta is the presumed top leader of La Familia Michoacána.] According to versions of a federal police agent, the operation that was carried out was very well orchestrated, including assistance by a Black Hawk helicopter, while the Intelligence Center provided details of the location of a convoy of vehicles guarding “La Tuta.”   When La Tuta’s escorts realized the federal agents were behind them, they set up an ambush by blocking the road and hiding their vehicles in the brush.  When the police units arrived at the roadblock, they received gunfire from the brush, wounding several of  them.  The helicopter overhead also received heavy fire “much larger than assault rifles” and believed to be from grenade launchers.  The helicopter apparently survived [the article failed to say], but the ambush effectively stopped the feds’ operation.  However, La Tuta, feeling himself becoming cornered by federal operations around Apatzingan, is believed to have ordered the simultaneous attacks on federal police facilities in Morelia, Lazaro Cardenas, Arteaga, Tumbiscatio and Patzcuaro to tie up federal police so that the federal operation focused on him could not be reinforced.

 This is not a new tactic for La Familia, the article noted.  When another La Familia leader, “La Minsa,” was captured last July [M3 Report 7/11/09], there followed a series of attacks against the federal police, leaving 18 dead and 18 wounded.  One agent observed that if all this happened just because we wanted to capture him [La Tuta], imagine when we arrest him.  The federal agent noted that the federal force knows little about Michoacán.  They have come into the territory without help because neither the military nor the Ministerial Police, much less the locals, want to join in.  “We are completely alone in a war.”


New attack in Uruapan

A new attack on federal police early Saturday morning in Uruapan, Michoacán, left three police officers gravely wounded.  The city has had scattered attacks and reports of threats, causing federal police to take cover and close at least four city blocks around a hotel where the agents are temporarily lodged.  Notwithstanding the heightened alert, an armed group carried out the attacks with assault rifles and fragmentation grenades against a municipal police headquarters that federal police took command of two days earlier in an arrangement following the dismissal of the mayor for links to organized crime.  For the past three days, attacks against police facilities have been occurring throughout the state.


Wounded officers guarded

Police wounded in previous attacks in Uruapan have been moved from one hospital to another, better guarded one, as a security measure against follow-up attacks against them which often occur. Hospitals are vulnerable to invasions by armed thugs.


 El Universal (Mexico City) 12/12/09

 Bad day in TJ

Various violent events in Tijuana, Baja California, Saturday resulted in five men dead and three wounded.  In addition, police reported the death of another person who had been wounded in an attack on Friday.  The killings began with one man being riddled by bullets.  Later, an armed group gunned down three youths, leaving one dead and two wounded.  Another armed group in a vehicle fired at another group in a taxi, killing three and wounding another, completing the day’s work.


 La Jornada (Mexico City) 12/12/09

 Narco to the press: Neither opine nor inquire 

Ciudad Altamirano, Guerrero.  The phone is answered by Juan Cuevas, editor of a local newspaper.  A narco call.  “They tell me I only have to inform, not investigate, not opine, not editorialize.”  This area in the mountains between the states of Guerrero and Michoacán is called Tierra Caliente for its warm climate, combative people and the drug operations of narcotraffic.  It is dominated by La Familia Michoacána.  The violence also touches journalists.  Mexico is the most dangerous in the continent for that profession.  “When we see ‘private number’ on the telephone, we know it is someone from some gang.”  They complain that we don’t publish their messages left on bodies or they demand that we not publish those from other gangs,” explained Cuevas.  “As a journalist, I feel limited.  We should be able to investigate, but if we do, we wouldn’t be here.  The heroes are buried.  I don’t want to be a hero,” he said.


 Monday 12/14/09

 El Universal (Mexico City) 12/13/09

 Opinion:  Attacks ever more brazen by organized crime

Antonio L. Mazzitelli, regional representative of the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime Control, already anticipated it when he asserted that the Mexican cartels resort to acts of terrorism in order to persuade the civic population and, in particular the authorities, to enter agreements.  It seems he wasn’t mistaken.  The offense started by organized criminal groups in the past few days against the security system of the State demonstrates that.  The systematic attacks on military and police installations, principally in Michoacán, reveal a new strategy of direct harassment by the narco that threatens to intensify, given time.  They toss fragmentation grenades at military bases and blast installations and hotels where federal forces are housed.  This, without noting the kidnappings of active military and police participating in anti-drug and organized crime operations.  This is a matter that should not be ignored by anyone.


Cd. Juarez heading for a record

From Saturday evening through Sunday, another seven people were murdered in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, bringing the year’s total of organized crime murders to 2,491.  Most of the murders are between warring criminal gangs.


 Frontera (Tijuana, Baja California) 12/13/09

 A most violent day

A total of nine people were murdered in different areas of Tijuana during Saturday.  This was one of the most violent days of the year.


 -end of report-

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