Over the weekend: Mexican drug cartels operate here; US blamed for Mexican violence

Saturday 11/21/09

 El Universal (Mexico City) 11/20/09

 Tentacles of La Familia Michoacána  in US

Fifteen members of one of the most powerful Mexican drug cartels, La Familia Michoacána , were arrested today in the Chicago area, accused of distribution of thousands of kilos of cocaine.  The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) also reported the seizure of 250 kilos of cocaine and eight million dollars in cash as a result of an investigation of the cartel that began in 2007.  Those arrested included Mexican citizens operating under directions from cartel leaders in Mexico.



Guilty plea in Border Patrol Agent’s murder

A 17-year-old Mexican immigrant pleaded guilty in San Diego, California, court today for the murder of a Border Patrol agent.  The federal attorney reported that Cristian Daniel Castro Alvarez made the plea in federal court, where he admitted illegally entering the US from Mexico to steal “properties” of a border patrol agent.  The agent, Robert Rosas, received four gunshots to the head the night of July 23 near Campo, east of San Diego.  He also received another shot to the back of the neck and another three in his torso.  The authorities said that the accused lured Rosas from his vehicle and struggled for a firearm.  [El Universal made no mention of the assistance by Castro’s accomplices.] 

 A reader commented: One death against dozens of Mexicans and Latin Americans who day after day cross the border and perish en route because of the difficulties or because of mistreatment by federal agents.

 Another answered: Then is this homicide justified?  This mentality is what contributes in large part to the poor concept of the Mexican abroad.  If this monkey is guilty, they shouldn’t give him life, they should give him the injection.


 [A San Diego Union-Tribune story can be accessed at http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/nov/20/rosas1121/ ]

Nicaragua seizes 2.5 tons of cocaine

Managua.  Nicaraguan Navy forces seized 2.5 tons of cocaine and arrested five Honduran citizens from a “fast boat” some 20 miles off the Caribbean coast from Puerto Cabezas [Northeast corner of Nicaragua].  This was one of the largest shipments seized this year, according to the Chief of Naval Forces.  The 46-foot craft, powered by four outboard engines, had left from Bocas del Toro, Panama, but developed fuel problems before reaching its destination, presumably in Nicaragua.


La Jornada (Mexico City) 11/20/09

 State of Guanajuato on alert

The state Attorney General of Guanajuato advised today that all public security personnel in the state are on “maximum alert” because of attacks on installations of the Federal Department of Justice (PGR) and the police in the city of Celaya that have occurred Thursday evening into Friday.  The alert was called in anticipation of further violent reactions by members of La Familia Michoacana crime organization, whose leader Cristobal Altamirano Pinon, was arrested last Wednesday.  The PGR has launched an investigation into those responsible for the attack on the PGR substation in Celaya.  In that attack, armed men in several vehicles threw three grenades at the offices, but only two exploded, causing damage to the buildings and official vehicles, but with no injuries to people.  [Photo relates.]

Celaya, Guanajuato.  After a series of attacks on federal police installations in Celaya, Army units detonate a grenade thrown by presumed thugs of La Familia Michoacana that failed to activate.


 Cambio de Michoacán (Morelia, Michoacán) 11/20/09

The cost of news reporting in Mexico

The Committee for Protection of Journalists (CPJ), headquartered in New York, urged Mexican state and federal authorities to do everything in their power to bring news reporter Maria Esther Aguilar to safety.  Aguilar, a reporter for El Diario de Zamora and a correspondent for Cambio de Michoacán, was last seen November 11 leaving her home in Zamora, Michoacán.

She is a reporter with 10 year’s experience and has written a recent series on local corruption and organized crime for Cambio de Michoacán.  Aguilar is the eighth Mexican reporter to disappear since 2005.


Cuarto Poder (Chiapas) 11/20/09

Uncontrolled border

There are eight official ports of entry on Mexico’s border with Guatemala, but there are another 43 places where vehicles can cross and hundreds of hidden roads, all demonstrating the porosity existing to facilitate smuggling of basic goods, drugs and arms.  Even when there is good coordination between the governments of Mexico and Guatemala on matters of information and vigilance, there is no possibility of controlling all crossing areas.


El Debate (Sinaloa) 11/20/09

Wave of violence endures in Ciudad Juarez

During the last few hours, 16 more have been killed by criminal violence in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua.  One triple execution in a bar included two women.  In another event, three men were gunned down by AK-47 assault rifle fire while washing a car.  The other 10 events were scattered about town.


Sunday 11/22/09

Norte de Ciudad Juarez (Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua) 11/21/09

Violence in Juarez due to US drug consumption: Governor of Chihuahua

Responding to the US warning to its citizens not to travel to Mexico, principally to Cd. Juarez because of the wave of violence, Chihuahua’s Governor Jose Reyes Baeza Terrazas said that the problem is not rooted on his side of the border.  Using catchy wording, he said “he who is the cause of the cause, is the cause of the damage caused,” clarifying that the US is the major consumer of drugs as well as the one selling arms to Mexico’s criminal bands. 

He reiterated that the problems existing in Cd. Juarez from the wave of violence do not only have to do with his side of the border if one only analyzes its origin.  He said that because the major consumers of drugs are in the US, it’s a matter of “cause and effect.”  He asserted that the US and Mexico are directly linked in this problem.

Criminals organized, government uncoordinated

Salvador Urbina Quiroz, a Mexican attorney and member of Mexico’s federation of lawyers, said the increasing assassinations of police is a sign the criminal groups are performing in a coordinated way with a true strategy, something that is not happening at the three levels of government.  He indicated that, sadly, among the units that make up Joint Operation Chihuahua, distrust prevails giving organized crime the advantage.  Meanwhile, the people are without the protection of an effective justice system.  “In addition, evidently there is no real coordination between the three levels of government, with each acting for their own purpose, which definitely puts them at a disadvantage,” he said.


El Financiero (Mexico City) 11/21/09

Two-ton seizure in Colombia

Bogota.  Anti-narcotics police in Colombia seized two tons of marihuana being transported in three “animal drawn” carts in a rural area of the department [state] of Cauca.  The load was intercepted by police after trailing it through the area.  The guerrilla forces, FARC, operate in the area and control the drug traffic for trading with Mexican cartels for firearms.


El Debate (Sinaloa) 11/21/09

Insecurity prevails in medical centers

Though public medical centers in Culiacan, Sinaloa, often treat victims of gunfight and brawls, their patients cannot count on police vigilance to prevent renewed attacks while they recover in the clinics.  A recent example was the execution last Wednesday of a man who was a patient in a Social Security hospital.  Four men entered his room and murdered him in bed.  Similar incidents have been recorded in the city’s General Hospital as well as in private institutions.


El Imparcial (Hermosillo, Sonora) 11/21/09

Cause for alarm

Authorities in Sinaloa are alarmed at the number of assassinations of police that have occurred this year.  With the death of yet another officer who died in the hospital last week from injuries he received in an armed attack, the total so far this year reached 53 such cases in the state.  Police in departments at all levels of government are urged to wear bulletproof vests and work in groups to confront the criminal gangs that target them.  An average of more than four police from each department have been killed by organized criminals without any change in working strategies.


Monday 11/23/09

El Financiero (Mexico City) 11/22/09

Budget funds to assist Mexicans in US

The Mexican Chamber of Deputies [House] will see to the punctual application of 701 million pesos [$53.6 million] in the 2010 budget for the protection of more than 13 million Mexicans living and working in the US.  A Chamber member of the commission on migratory matters, Jose Torres Robledo, said that although the funding is not sufficient to strengthen the Mexican consular network in the US, it will be applied correctly to benefit their countrymen.  In an interview, he said,”we are going to be watchful over programs of Repatriation of Cadavers, of legal consultation for the more than 50 Mexicans sentenced to death in that country, assistance to migrant children, and in general to every kind of aggression by racist and anti-Mexican groups.” 

The Deputy said that because of the economic and security crises that affect Mexico, a rebound of migration to the US in 2010 is foreseeable.”  He noted that there are 40,000 newly unemployed on the streets [in Mexico] due to layoffs from the Light and Power Company [recently replaced by a federal commission] and many of those, despite their technical training, will opt to emigrate to the US in the coming months.


Cambio de Michoacán (Morelia, Michoacán) 11/22/09

Small-town Mexico suffering from lagging US economy

Due to the economic crisis, the end of the year return of Mexicans residing in the US is expected to be minimal this year.  Even though many from Mexico in the US have lost their jobs, they are not expected to return home.  The town of Tarimbaro, Michoacán, has 8,000 of its natives now residing in Minnesota who are unemployed.  Remittances to their relatives in Mexico have diminished.  The same stories are coming from other small towns in Michoacán. 

Those who choose to return home to Mexico with their families also face unemployment and difficulties transferring their children to the Mexican school system.  In that regard, it was also noted that the older children who return from the US often “look like ‘cholos’ [gang members] and have tattoos all over, which generates distrust,” according to one migrant official.


Lapolaka (Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua) 11/22/09

Grim humor

Lapolaka keeps close tabs on the violence in Cd. Juarez with a style that is almost lighthearted.  This story was headlined with a wry twist: “One more and a twelve pack.”

[Quoting] “Four more men were executed by gunfire this midday in separate events that add up to nearly a dozen over the course of Sunday.”  The story continues to cover seven more gang-style murders throughout Cd. Juarez during the day.


Cartoon time

Last Friday, November 20, was the 99th anniversary of the beginning of the Mexican Revolution, which ended with the Constitution of 1917.  While a solemn occasion, Mexican cartoonists, of course, can’t resist the humorous side.  This one appeared in El Financiero and was titled “Thus was the Mexican Revolution,” noting that the revolutionaries often traveled with their wives.


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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.