December 31, 2008
El Universal (Mexico City) 12/30/08
Mexican soldiers arrested an important leader of the drug cartel called La Familia. The Army, working in a secret investigation with Mexico’s drug enforcement agency (SIEDO) and judicial authorities, captured “at least” three members of the cartel, one of them Nazario “El Chayo” Moreno Gonzalez, considered to be third in line of command of the criminal organization. La Familia operates in at least six states in the central and south of the country, having its headquarters in MichoacÃ¡n. The arrests were made in Morelos, the capital city of that state.
The “armies” of the Mexican drug cartels are reported to be equal in fighting power to elite military forces. Testimony from protected witnesses describe the combat units of the separate cartels as having the same equipment, arms, tactics and discipline as the best units of Mexico’s army. [A more detailed report may be accessed at http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/nacion/164800.html]
El Debate (Sinaloa) 12/30/08
Of passing interest: Laura ZuÃ±iga, who was arrested December 23 with members of the Sinaloa drug cartel, has lost her beauty title of Miss Sinaloa as well as her title as Miss Latin America. She has been replaced in those titles by the runners-up in the contests.
El Porvenir (Monterrey, Nuevo Leon) 12/30/08
The home of a commander in the state department of public security was shot up by heavy firearms this morning in the town of San Nicolas [Monterrey area]. The commander was home with his family during the attack, but no one was injured. At least seven rounds hit the house and took out windows.
Frontera (Tijuana, Baja California) 12/30/08
Today closes the state of Baja California’s 2007-08 campaign for turning in firearms and explosives. A total of 1,932 arms, 70 fragmentation grenades and more than 2,000 rounds of different caliber ammo were collected by the Army. The arms were turned in by citizens for monetary compensation up to 1,000 pesos. All weapons will be destroyed.
Three women and a man were arrested yesterday by the Mexican military in Tijuana with 1,204 packages of marihuana totaling 2,588.8 kilos. At the place of arrest, soldiers also seized shotgun and pistol ammo and a luxury 2008 vehicle. [Photo relates]
El Imparical (Hermosillo, Sonora) 12/30/08
A new tunnel, presumably used by drug traffickers, has been discovered in Nogales, Sonora, totaling 14 such discoveries since October. The tunnel is located in a channel some 100 meters [direction not provided] from the Dennis DeConcini port of entry to the US. The newspaper promised more details tomorrow.
El Informador (Guadalajara, Jalisco) 12/30/08
A unit of Mexican Army troops discovered a clandestine graveyard near Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, containing at least nine bodies. The area is suspected of being a “narco-graveyard, but that has not yet been confirmed. Officials are finding that information from the public in that area is difficult to obtain.
Cuarto Poder (Chiapas) 12/30/08
A gang of four whose criminal activities have damaged tourism in the state of Chiapas have been arrested. The group carried out assaults against tourists visiting the Palenque archeological area, robbing them along various roads in the vicinity. During the arrests, police seized stolen property as well as four machetes, apparently the robbers’ weapons of choice.
Mexican Army major assigned to the Presidential Guard arrested for passing information and arms to cartels
El Universal (Mexico City) 12/27/08
Cartels violate presidential security
Mexico’s Department of Justice (PGR) arrested a Mexican Army major assigned to the Presidential Guard unit for alleged cooperation with the Beltran Leyva brothers, the Sinaloa drug cartel and other criminal organizations. Sources in the federal government confirmed that Major Arturo Gonzalez Rodriguez was arrested “within the past few hours” after an investigation of several months. According to testimony of a “protected witness,” the Army officer, as part of the Presidential Guard, provided criminal organizations information on the activities of President Felipe Calderon in exchange for a monthly salary of $100,000 US. The witness, code named “Jennifer,” also testified that Major Gonzalez Rodriguez supplied arms from the Department of Defense to several cartels, assisted in training hit men and shared military intelligence data with organized crime.
More than 800 Mexican nationals in the US have requested support from their consulates to move households back to Mexico in 2008. Although this doubles the number for last year, the Mexican Department of Foreign Relations said it was not indicative of a major repatriation of their countrymen.
El Financiero (MexicoCity) 12/27/08
Public organizations in Mexico and the US will be seeking an interview with president-elect Barak Obama in order to champion the need for an immigration reform. The coordinator of a migrant organization in Saltillo, Coahuila, said that in January, non-government organizations that advocate migrant rights will initiate a movement toward political initiatives to take advantage of the timing in the US with the beginning of the Obama presidency.
Prensa Libre (Guatemala City, Guatemala) 12/27/08
“Without a strategy against insecurity”
Kidnappings, extortions, assaults, thousands of homicides and wounded, strengthening of gangs of organized crime and territorial disputes between Guatemalan and Mexican narcos demonstrated the failure of the plans against insecurity.
The panorama left by 2008 is devastating, and the Guatemalans’ psychosis increases day by day due to the violence. The people’s clamor for security rises from all of Guatemala, and the government’s reply is minimal. The Legislative Power is part of this since it does almost nothing to provide means that may change that panorama; their lack of action favors impunity and the increase in homicides, which reached 5,834 from January to the first days of December.
Kidnappings increased by more than 90 percent: they went from 98 in 2007 to 183 this year; that situation is worse because there is a high rate of unrecorded ones, since many victims prefer to pay the ransom so as to not endanger their relatives.
Besides this scenario of death, officials report 350 complaints for rape, the disappearance of more than 1,250 persons and the wounding of 6,468 others due to violence.
Statistics reflect the gravity of the problem and show how the police weakens and the gangs and organized crime become more powerful. The proliferation of gangs is due to the government’s lack of effective plans, to a weak and corrupt police and to a justice system that does not work; all this on top of an unequal society and the lack of maximum security prisons.
El Universal (Mexico City) 12/28/08
First paragraph of the editorial: It is indeed frightening to learn that the tentacles of the narco has reached even to Los Pinos [eq. White House]. The case of Arturo Gonzalez Rodriguez, the presidential guard arrested Friday by the PGR [Justice Dept.] for selling information about the activities of President Felipe Calderon is symbolic of the power of the traffickers to corrupt, but also of the vulnerability of the authorities. Even if high officials can be corrupted, they are not the personal guards of the Chief Executive. Those men watch over the security of the president, or rather, that is their duty. Many questions arise: Operation Clean, is it finished with all the rotten apples? For how long have the narcos had informants in the official residence?
Milenio (Mexico City) 12/28/08
Remittances to Mexico from migrants in the US are expected to be $23 billion US for the year, $2 billion less than for 2007. This is expected to affect the economy and development of communities relying on such income. The considerable loss of revenue of the communities is attributed to both the insecurity in Mexico, which inhibits the return of workers, and the economic crisis in the US, which affects wages.
La Hora (Quito, Ecuador) 12/28/08
The Inter-American Press Society reported that thirteen journalists were murdered in 2008. Mexico heads the list with nine victims, while Guatemala, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador had one each.
El Universal (Mexico City) 12/29/08
A federal judge in Mexico sentenced Salim Boughader Mucharrafille to 60 years in prison for his role in heading a major smuggling operation of Arabs to the US until arrested in 2003. Also sentenced were five of his accomplices in the operation. The operating procedure of the smuggling scheme was to recruit undocumented Arabs through diverse cells, negotiate with them and then gather them in a central location where they were housed while provided false documentation before being transported to Tijuana, Baja California, to cross into the US.
The US has failed in the war on drugs by maintaining a punitive system that puts the main emphasis on application of law and punishment and less attention on the treatment, prevention and reducing damage by drug use, according to an analysis issued by a study group co-presided by ex-president of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo. The study by the Brookings organization – an independent study group – also called for the US to take responsibility for the illegal traffic of arms, which has risen to approximately 2,000 per day.
El Porvenir (Monterrey, Nuevo Leon) 12/29/08
A federal judge in Mexico City sentenced five men accused in the first case of making a narco-video. The video was made in 2005 when members of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel videotaped members of a rival gang, Los Zetas, being interrogated and tortured, after which they were murdered in front of the camera. Among those sentenced, four were ex-officers of the Federal Investigative Agency (AFI) and the other, a civilian gang member. Two were sentenced to 42 years in prison; the other three, to 22 years.
El Informador (Guadalajara, Jalisco) 12/29/08
The past weekend left seven people murdered in the state of Baja California. The execution style murders were carried out in Tijuana and Rosarito in separate parts of those cities.
In Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes state, three police officers were killed in an armed attack by a group in several vehicles. No further information was provided.
Norte (Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua) 12/29/08
During the year, Cd. Juarez has registered close to 1,600 homicides, the highest number in the recent history of the city. Last year, 2007, homicides held eighth place in causes of death in Cd. Juarez. This year murders have ascended to first place.
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.