October 10, 2008
Mexican drug cartels are extending their tentacles in Latin America

Prensa Libre  (Guatemala City, Guatemala) 
headline: “Mexican cartels expand their tentacles in Latin America”  ( – full transl. – except for the next to last paragraph, an item which was already reported yesterday) 
The Meeting of Public Security Ministers of the Americas ends today in Mexico and according to statements made there the Mexican drug cartels are extending their tentacles in Latin America and worrying the governments of Argentina, Costa Rica, Colombia and Guatemala.

In a press conference, Guatemala’s Secretary of Government , Francisco Jimenez, said that in Guatemala there is fear that “the logic of the economics of crime will move over to Guatemalan territory.” Last March, eight Mexicans and four Guatemalans assassinated 11 persons; (they were) headed by Daniel Perez Rojas alias el Cachetes, the leader of the criminal Mexican organization Los Zetas.

Jimenez added “Success of the Colombia Plan, success in the fight against narcotraffic and organized crime in Mexico. Obviously, to say it colloquially, we are hamburger meat.”
Today the Secretary General of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, Antonio Acosta, stated that the countries of Central America and the Caribbean “are caught in the crossfire of drugs and firearms.”

According to Acosta, while the United States consumes half the world’s cocaine, South America produces all the cocaine which circulates in the world, equivalent to 950 tons a year, with a value of US $60 billion.
In tune with the meeting which was held Tuesday and Wednesday in Mexico, Costa Rica reported that the Sinaloa cartel, led by the at-large Mexican drug dealer Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman, has begun to operate in that country. This criminal organization uses Cessna type aircraft loaded with money to pick up the drug which the Colombian cartels leave in that Central American country.

At a press conference, the Secretary of Interior, Janna de Vecho, said “What was going on for a long time was the incursion by the Colombians who would come up and go across our border be it by sea or land. In the last twelve months we’ve been noticing the presence of Mexican drug trafficking groups, especially the group known as Sinaloa.”  According to the official, the drug cartels have begun to use unconventional borders such as the one which exists between her country and Nicaragua and they are beginning to use Costa Rica, with some four million inhabitants, as a drug warehouse.
Meanwhile, the Government of Colombia also reported in Mexico that the narcotrafficking cartels are buying drug from the FARC guerilla (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.)

Sergio Jaramillo, Colombia’s  Defense Department Vice-Minister for Politics and International Affairs, said “The strengthening between the Mexican cartels and FARC is particularly worrisome. The Mexican cartels are buying a lot of drug from the FARC and are exporting to Mexico, North America and also Europe.”

In the south of the continent, Argentine authorities in July dismantled an illegal laboratory where ephedrine was seized and detained individuals suspected of working with the Sinaloa Mexican cartel.  Hector Masquelet, Argentina’s Justice Department Secretary for Internal Security, said that the discovery of that installation was significant because up to now Argentina was only a transit country and partially one of destination. Nevertheless, he ruled out that there “might be a large presence” of Mexican cartels, or that they might have contacted Argentine businessmen. “The link with Argentine businessmen, from what has been gathered from investigations, is a marginal activity, not one of big business. That is (there are no links) (sic) with prestigious pharmaceuticals in the market, but only a few adventuresome businessmen who saw the possibility of doing some business with a high margin of profit.”

Since December 2006 the Government of Mexico began a frontal war against the drug cartels by the deployment in different zones of the national territory of 36 thousand military who have not been able to prevent the assassination of some three thousand persons so far in 2008.
El Heraldo  (Tegucigalpa, Honduras)  10/8/08
According to Honduras’ National Violence Observatory, and based on data furnished by the “preventive police”, there were 1,882 violent deaths in the first three months of this year in Honduras, a daily rate of 12 and a 38% increase over the same period in 2007. Violence intensifies because of the impotence of the officials charged with providing security to the nation’s population. If the present trend were to continue, the country’s homicide rate could reach over 55 per 100,000.
El Debate  (Culiacan, Sinaloa)  10/8/08
At the Benjamin Hill highway checkpoint on Tuesday morning (some 85+ mi. south of Nogales) Mexican military seized 113 kilos of cocaine hidden in an 18-wheeler inside a shipment of bottled water. The driver said he had started in Guadalajara and was headed for Mexicali, Baja Calif.
El Debate  (Culiacan, Sinaloa) 10/8/08
–    The chief of police at Choix, Sinaloa, was forcibly carried off by an unknown group of men on Monday (6th). His cadaver was found today (Wed.), dumped by a canal. He had been shot in the head repeatedly. (Choix is a town some 90+ miles N.E. of Los Mochis, in northern Sinaloa)
El Diario de Coahuila  (Saltillo, Coahuila) , Correo (Guanajuato, Gto.) 10/8/08
–    The chief of police at Jerecuaro, Guanajuato, and his wife were both murdered in a car-to-car gunfire assault Wednesday morning shortly after they left their home. Their 6-month old baby daughter, also in the car, survived unscathed.
–    “Chihuahua recorded seven dead in the last hours.” Two of them were killed this morning as they left a restaurant; two others showed up “wrapped” in “an exclusive neighborhood”; another died in a confrontation with police and two men who were carried off by an armed group turned up dead on a highway side road, shot in the head and with signs of torture.
El Informador  (Guadalajara, Jalisco) , Excelsior (Mexico City)  10/9/08
Five state police officers were killed and three others seriously wounded Wednesday night after an attack with grenades and assault rifles in the area of Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco. Apparently the troopers were about to check the occupants of a vehicle at a gas station when hit men believed to be “Zetas” attacked them from other vehicles. Approximately 850 shell casings have been located at the scene. Nine grenades exploded.
El Porvenir  (Monterrey, Nuevo Leon)  10/9/08
Eight Colombian military on an anti-insurgent patrol in southern Colombia died when they entered a field which had been rigged with antipersonnel land mines.
Excelsior  (Mexico City)  10/9/08
Two more Juarez police agents were assassinated late Thursday by an armed group who chased them for several kilometers. The police unit eventually crashed into another vehicle  and the killers used the opportunity to murder the two inside their patrol unit.
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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.