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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #250 on: October 06, 2010, 06:00:25 PM »

JDN:

Thank you for the data. 

1) Per chance do you have the population growth rates, the number entering the labor force each year, the number of jobs created at the current rate of growth, etc?

2) I get the point about the comparative murder rates, but
     a)  is the data accurate?  Often Mexican data is even less acurrate than ours.  How many people do we have in the US
         and how many murders?  Same question for Mexico?  Is the Mexican number being used consistent with the
         numbers being quoted for the narco wars?
     b) Apart from that I submit the proposition that a murder of a government official, police chief, DA, policeman, their
         family members, etc. is a far more socially destructive phenomenon than the sort of murders we have here in the
         US.   

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JDN
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« Reply #251 on: October 06, 2010, 08:26:36 PM »

Crafty,

I do not have population growth rate data, labor data etc.  I did notice in my reading that many authors gave credit to NAFTA
for Mexico's success.  One could wonder is this at America's expense?  But that is another topic.

As for the murder rate, it seems reasonably accurate and is accepted by most authorities.

The data is based upon homicides per 100,000 of population therefore it is a fair comparison.

It does include the narco wars; imagine if they did not exist?
I guess that tells you what a nice and tranquil nation Mexico truly is except for the narcotic business...

Further, while all murder is bad, I absolutely agree with you that "a murder of a government official, police chief, DA, policeman, their
         family members, etc. is a far more socially destructive phenomenon than the sort of murders we have here in the
         US."
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G M
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« Reply #252 on: October 06, 2010, 08:37:02 PM »

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/04/14/92181/in-mexicos-murder-capital-residents.html

Ciudad Juarez, the sprawling Mexican metropolis of 1.3 million people across the border from El Paso, Texas, is Murder City, probably the most dangerous city in the world outside a declared war zone.

Already this year, 686 people have been murdered here. Residents hunker in trepidation. Most answer cell phone calls only from people they know to avoid random extortion attempts. Instead of going out on the town, they hold private parties — and only with close friends.

Those residents who can afford to leave have left.

"The exodus is dramatic," said Gustavo de la Rosa, the local ombudsman for the Chihuahua State human rights commission. "There are at least 20,000 abandoned houses, and maybe up to 30,000."

Americans have reason to be concerned, too. The U.S. does about $1 billion a day of trade with Mexico, and nearly one-sixth of that trade goes through the Juarez-El Paso region.

Crime in Juarez also threatens to bleed across the border. Criminal gangs working for drug cartels already operate on both sides of the border, and in a sign of the growing risks, on March 13 gunmen killed three people linked to the U.S. consulate in Juarez. The sky-high murder rate is driven by two rival groups — the Juarez cartel and the Sinaloa cartel — and their battle for control of drug smuggling into the U.S.


Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/04/14/92181/in-mexicos-murder-capital-residents.html#ixzz11dIDBNPY
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #253 on: October 06, 2010, 10:20:10 PM »

Recently I worked with Customs & Border Protection.  Some interesting tales were told over lunch and dinner.

The situation at the border is serious folks.
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G M
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« Reply #254 on: October 06, 2010, 10:26:29 PM »

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125427225

Journalist Charles Bowden, who details a city in collapse in his new book about Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, says that at first glimpse the border town looks like a flat tapestry of one-story buildings.

"It can be an illusion at first," he tells NPR's Mary Louise Kelly. "You'll see an Applebee's; you'll see a Radisson, a Denny's. You'll think everything's all right.

"What you don't see until you look closely is 100,000 people who've lost their factory jobs; 40 percent of the businesses have folded in the last year; 25 percent of the houses have been abandoned. And, of course, there's the killings," he says.

The killings are the focus of Bowden's new book, Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields. Most recently, the city was in the news after three people associated with the U.S. consulate were gunned down and killed.

But the reality is that on most days killings in Juarez don't make the front page. They've become, as Bowden has called it, "part of the ordinary noise of life."

Bowden says a recent study in Chihuahua state, in which Juarez is the largest city, found that 40 percent of young males harbored the ambition to become contract killers. He says half of any young man's peer group will be neither in school nor employed.

The drug industry makes $30 billion to $50 billion a year and is second only to petroleum among Mexico's lucrative exports.
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JDN
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« Reply #255 on: October 07, 2010, 09:57:24 AM »

Not denigrating the terrible violence in Mexico on the border, but it is worth repeating;
overall Mexico is a reasonably safe place.

Many cities in America are worse.
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0934323.html

And some places like Compton only 30 minutes from my place are much worse.  Compton -  67/100,000  (murders/population)

Note, Compton is even statistically worse per 100,000 than Ciudad Juarez cited above.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #256 on: October 07, 2010, 10:21:46 AM »

My first job when I moved to LA was serving subpoenas-- including in Compton, Watts, and East Los Angeles.
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JDN
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« Reply #257 on: October 07, 2010, 11:07:42 AM »

No wonder you pursued Practical Martial Arts as a career path!   grin
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #258 on: October 07, 2010, 11:17:56 AM »

I was working for a private investigation agency that had a large case it was developing against a conspiracy of lawyers and chiropractors that had a network of folks who would create car accidents with a technique known as "Swoop and Squat".  They would load a car with willing low lilfes.  The driver would swoop in front of a nice car driven by a likely victim (e.g. an older woman driving a Mercedes) and stomp on the brakes, thus creating a rear end collision by the nice car.  The many passengers of the car would claim various soft tissue injuries requiring lots of chiro treatment.  Of course they simply pocketed the money they were promised and disappeared, and the chiros and their enforcer thugs the lawyers would bill the insurance company.

Where I fit in was to find the disappeared passengers and serve them so they could be deposed.  It was an interesting job-- too bad it didn't pay enough  wink
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #259 on: October 12, 2010, 11:28:41 AM »


Los Zetas Guatemala Confrontation

Members of the Guatemalan military clashed with suspected members of the Mexican drug trafficking organization Los Zetas in the jungles of Guatemala’s Peten department near the village of El Remate, leaving two Zetas dead, another two captured and a Guatemalan soldier injured the night of Oct. 5. Official reports indicate that a convoy of 10 vehicles (some of them armored) carrying eight to 10 Zetas each was traveling down a jungle road when it encountered a Guatemalan military patrol, at which point the Zetas opened fire on the soldiers. The Zeta convoy reportedly was based out of the village of El Chal (a significant distance away) and allegedly was searching for those responsible for stealing a cocaine shipment a few weeks ago. The group got lost on the jungle roads, however, before it stumbled upon the military patrol. As of Oct. 6, Guatemalan National Police had confiscated nine of the 10 vehicles, and were continuing to search from remnants of the Zetas with the help of the Guatemalan special operations forces unit known as Los Kaibiles.

While confrontations between Mexican drug trafficking organizations and foreign militaries are fairly rare, it is not surprising that they occur. STRATFOR has tracked the southward push of Mexican drug trafficking organizations into Central America and South America for some time, with an emphasis on the Zetas’ and Sinaloa Federation’s push into the Central American trafficking scene. Los Zetas operate almost exclusively throughout the vast swaths of jungle from western to northeastern Guatemala, where they receive shipments of cocaine from South America on hundreds of clandestine airstrips throughout the region. Los Zetas also have established several training camps in the area where both Mexican and Central American recruits receive varying degrees of tactical training on drug trafficking.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the incident was its proximity to the Mayan ruins of Tikal, a popular tourist destination. Several thousand people visit the ruins every year, with the vast majority of these tourists flying into nearby Flores and then traveling on the road from Flores to Tikal National Park. Tourist buses have been hijacked and the passengers robbed before, but the large amounts of cash the tourists brought to the local economy and the resulting pressure against this kind of banditry minimized such incidents. Increased confrontations in the region between cartel elements and Guatemalan security forces would likely cause a decline in tourism not unlike the blow to Mexico’s tourism industry dealt by the widespread violence in that country — and many tourists already were avoiding Guatemala due to fears of violence.


Hidalgo State Heating Up?

Hidalgo state police discovered a narcomanta (a banner with a message from a drug cartel) signed by Los Zetas hanging from a pedestrian bridge between two prominent state government buildings early Oct. 5. In it, the Zetas declared their rivalry with the Gulf cartel and La Familia Michoacana, adding that they do not to kill or extort the people of Hidalgo. Later, at around 5 a.m. Oct. 7, the decapitated and quartered bodies of two men believed associated with the Zetas were found near Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo state, near a narcomanta signed by the Gulf cartel and La Familia Michoacana reading “Welcome to Hidalgo.”

Hidalgo traditionally has been one of Mexico’s quieter regions, though it has experienced fleeting bouts of cartel violence. The region serves as a popular trans-shipment location for narcotics and alien smuggling as part of the Gulf route from Central America to the Texas-Mexico border and traditionally was Gulf cartel territory. After Los Zetas and the Gulf cartel split earlier this year, their conflict slowly has spread in regions where their operations overlap. These types of tit-for-tat assassinations and public displays of mutilated bodies often signify a declaration of war. Similar narcomantas from both Los Zetas and the Gulf cartel appeared in Reynosa and other parts of Tamaulipas before violence significantly escalated between the two groups in February and March. The events in Hidalgo could thus foreshadow a new wave of violence in the coming weeks as a new front in the Los Zetas-Gulf cartel conflict.





(click here to view interactive map)

Oct. 4

The Mexican navy announced the seizure of 5,683 kilograms (about 12,500 lbs.) of marijuana from several abandoned vessels in Talchichilte Island, Sinaloa state.
Authorities announced the seizure of 77.5 kilograms of marijuana from a vehicle in the municipality of Silao, Leon state. Three people were arrested during the incident.
Naval security forces and customs agents seized approximately 100 kilograms of cocaine at the port of Manzanillo, Colima state. The shipment was discovered in a container that arrived from Callao, Peru.

Oct. 5

Police discovered the body of an unidentified man wrapped in plastic bags in the municipality of Tezoyuca, Mexico state.
Unidentified gunmen killed a man inside his home in the Tlalpan neighborhood of Mexico City and kidnapped four members of his family who were later found inside an abandoned car shot dead.
Soldiers freed 14 kidnapping victims from a vehicle at a roadblock near the San Miguel Bridge in Coahuila state. The driver of the vehicle was arrested.

Oct. 6

Soldiers arrested two people in the Valle del Sur neighborhood of the municipality of Juarez, Nuevo Leon state. The suspects were interrogated and subsequently led the troops to a safe-house where authorities freed a kidnapping victim.
Unidentified gunmen killed two men traveling in a car on Madero Avenue in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state. A group of unidentified armed men later arrived at the scene to recover the bodies, causing police to retreat temporarily.
Unidentified gunmen killed one policeman and injured seven in an ambush in Coyuca de Catalan, Guerrero state.
Unidentified gunmen attacked an armored vehicle belonging to a restaurant owner in Leon, Guanajuato state, slightly injuring the owner. Police later arrested two suspected members of the Sinaloa cartel in connection with the attack.

Oct. 7

Soldiers killed two gunmen during a firefight in a rural area of the municipality of Paras, Nuevo Leon state.
Authorities discovered a dismembered body near the settlement of Tres Palos in Acapulco, Guerrero state, along with a message warning “those who back the Beltran Leyva cartel and Daniel Encinas.”
Two dismembered bodies were found in the municipality of Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo state. A message attributing the crime to the Gulf Cartel and La Familia Michoacan was found nearby.
Police found the severed head of a kidnapped man in the El Troncal de Villa Union neighborhood of Mazatlan, Sinaloa state.

Oct. 8

Unidentified gunmen attacked a house in the Unidad Nacional neighborhood of Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas state with grenades, destroying a vehicle in the garage.
Six suspected cartel gunmen were killed and one soldier was injured during a firefight in Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, Tamaulipas state.
A vehicle accidentally triggered an improvised explosive device in Chilpancingo, Guerrero state, injuring one person and damaging several buildings.
Unidentified gunmen killed the mayor of Martires de Tacubaya, Oaxaca state.

Oct. 9

Soldiers in Salvatierra, Guanajuato state, arrested two suspected cartel members after discovering three bodies in their vehicle during a traffic stop.
Police discovered the bodies of two men the Los Puestos neighborhood of Tlaquepaque, Jalisco state. The two victims had been shot to death.
One policeman was injured during a grenade attack on the Public Security Secretariat headquarters in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state.

Oct. 10

Two suspected cartel gunmen were killed during a firefight with soldiers in the municipality of General Teran, Nuevo Leon state.


Read more: Mexico Security Memo: Oct. 11, 2010 | STRATFOR
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #260 on: October 14, 2010, 08:36:54 AM »

http://policelink.monster.com/news/articles/146982-mexican-investigator-was-beheaded-to-intimidate-cops?utm_source=nlet&utm_content=pl_c1_20101014_bathroom
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #261 on: November 03, 2010, 06:48:57 AM »


LFM Connection to 20 ‘Tourists’ Kidnapped in Acapulco

A group of 20 tourists from Morelia, Michoacan state, reportedly kidnapped Oct. 1 in the Costa Azul neighborhood of Acapulco, Guerrero state, was sent on orders from La Familia Michoacana (LFM), Reforma reported Oct. 26, citing Mexican federal security sources. According to the report, LFM sent 22 men to Acapulco (two of the men eluded capture) to “heat up” the region as part of its struggle with its rivals from the Cartel de la Sierra, headed by Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal. Some of their objectives reportedly included assassinating the mayors of Acapulco and nearby San Marco and attacking area schools. Mexican authorities learned that Valdez Villareal had ordered the kidnapping of the 20 during the interrogation of Isidro “El Quirri” Juarez Solis, allegedly the plaza boss for the Acapulco region for the Cartel de la Sierra, whom they detained several days after the 20 were kidnapped.

As STRATFOR noted when reports of the kidnapping emerged Oct. 1, inconsistencies in the initial reports made it seem dubious that those kidnapped were merely tourists, and the Michoacan origins of this group along with the current violence in Acapulco gave the incident the hallmarks of cartel conflict.

The Cartel de la Sierra is the name used by the Valdez Villarreal faction of the former Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO), which has operated throughout the region for several years now first for the Sinaloa federation, then for the BLO and now independently. LFM has operated in the Acapulco region for several years, too, but has never had the level of influence that the Valdez Villarreal organization has had. LFM has attempted to wrest control of Acapulco several times, causing periodic spikes of violence and spectacular firefights with rival organizations and Mexican security forces.

There have been at least 21 deaths in the Acapulco region in the wake of the disappearance of the LFM-linked group, and likely more that have gone unreported. The deployment of these 22 LFM operatives, with ambitious objectives even by Mexican standards, reveals another push by LFM in the Acapulco region, with the 21 reported deaths likely the beginning of a new wave of violence between Valdez Villarreal’s organization and LFM. This new LFM offensive could see the Valdez Villarreal organization lose its status as the dominant organization in the region, especially given the recent arrests of senior Valdez Villarreal leadership, especially that of La Barbie himself in August.


October was Juarez’s Deadliest Month of 2010

A total of 350 people were killed in the Ciudad Juarez metro area during October, according to the Chihuahua State Attorney General’s Office, making it the deadliest month of 2010 to date. According to the Attorney General’s Office, Juarez has seen some 2,387 drug trafficking-related deaths in 2010 against 2,666 for the entire state of Chihuahua — and those are only the ones reported. To give some perspective, 2009 was believed to have been the deadliest year on record for the state of Chihuahua, with 2,754 drug trafficking-related deaths. Now, 2010 — which has yet to have a month with fewer than 100 deaths — is on pace to break that record.

No part of the Juarez metro area has been left untouched by the seemingly endless violence despite hosting the largest deployments of Mexican federal security forces, including both Federal Police and members of the military. The violence stems from a three-front war involving the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes organization (VCF), aka the Juarez cartel, and the Sinaloa Federation headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera. U.S. and Mexican law enforcement have both indicated that the Sinaloa Federation appears to have gained a tactical advantage in the Juarez region and is now the region’s primary trafficker. This appears to have provoked the VCF to employ more extreme tactics, such as deploying vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices against Mexican security forces.

Nothing suggests the violence in Juarez will slow soon, as the three-way war dynamic is not likely to change in the near term. With the Sinaloa Federation appearing to be the dominant cartel in the region, however, the VCF simply cannot maintain the pace at which it is currently operating indefinitely given its current resources. It may take several months or even years for the Sinaloa federation to either co-opt or eliminate the VCF, but it appears that one of those outcomes will be inevitable.



(click here to view interactive map)

Oct. 25

Soldiers arrested four police officers in two separate incidents in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, for allegedly spying on military operations for criminal organizations.
Police arrested eight suspected kidnappers linked to approximately a dozen kidnappings in Mexico City. The suspects were arrested in the municipalities of Ecatepec and Tecamac.

Oct. 26

The bodies of five men were found in the municipality of Temixco, Morelos state. The victims were allegedly associates of Edgar Valdez Villarreal; police found a message at the scene attributing the crime to Cartel Pacifico Sur.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents seized 57 kilograms of heroin from a bus driven by a U.S. citizen at the Laredo border crossing.
The unidentified bodies of three men and a woman were found in the municipality of San Andres Huayapam, Oaxaca state. The victims bore signs of torture and were partially buried.
Several armed men broke into a morgue in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, to steal the body of a man who died in a firefight earlier in the day.

Oct. 27

Six police officers were injured in a grenade attack against the police headquarters in Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas state.
The bodies of three men and a woman were discovered in Acapulco, Guerrero state. The four victims had been blindfolded and bore signs of torture.
Unidentified gunmen killed 15 people at a carwash in Tepic, Nayarit state. The private secretary for the Nayarit state attorney general was reportedly injured during the attack.
Police in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Tijuana, Baja California state, seized approximately 1.5 tons of marijuana and arrested three suspects. The seizure reportedly occurred after soldiers checked two suspicious vehicles during a routine patrol.

Oct. 28

Unidentified gunmen killed five people during an attack on buses carrying factory workers in Caseta, Chihuahua state.
Soldiers in Xalisco, Nayarit state, killed one suspected cartel gunman and arrested 17 others allegedly linked to the murders of 15 carwash employees in Tepic, Nayarit state.
Nine policemen were killed during an ambush in Jilotlan, Jalisco state. One officer was reported missing after the incident.

Oct. 29

Six suspected gunmen allegedly working for an unidentified criminal organization were arrested at an unidentified location along the Monterrey-Saltillo highway. Police seized several automatic rifles, a grenade launcher, several bulletproof vests and 11 communication radios.
Soldiers arrested six suspected CPS gunmen at a safe house in Tejalpa, Morelos state.
Police arrested Francisco Javier Gomez Meza, director of the Puente Grande prison in Jalisco state, for alleged links to organized crime.

Oct. 30

Two suspected cartel gunmen died in Cadereyta, Nuevo Leon state, after several grenades in their vehicle reportedly exploded after their vehicle crashed during a firefight with soldiers.
Unidentified gunmen killed four people at a bar in Chihuahua, Chihuahua state.
Farmers in Ixtlan de los Hervores municipality, Michoacan state, discovered three bodies in an abandoned vehicle.
Police discovered the burned body of Canadian citizen Daniel Allan Dion in the municipality of Eduardo Neri, Guerrero state.

Oct. 31

Unidentified gunmen injured three people in the 15 de Septiembre neighborhood in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state.
Unidentified gunmen killed the deputy police commander of Ometepec, Guerrero state.


Read more: Mexico Security Memo: Nov. 1, 2010 | STRATFOR
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #262 on: November 09, 2010, 11:23:06 AM »

Networked Intelligence | 9 November 2010

Mexico - 400 cities lacking operational police force

According to Mexican Minister of the Interior Francisco Blake Mora, there are at least 400 cities out of 2,449 without an operational police force. (October 2010)

Mexico - Public officials arrested for ties to La Familia Michoacana

On 31 October 2010, Jose Luis Avalos Rangel, Municipal President of Tzitzio from 2005 to 2007, and four other men were arrested in Charo, Michoacan, for alleged ties to La Familia Michoacana. In a separate incident, the Director of the Water Commission (CAPALAC) of Lazaro Cardenas, Roman Mendoza Valencia, was arrested for his alleged ties to La Familia Michoacana in Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan.

Mexico - La Familia Michoacana improves access to California

La Familia Michoacana’s recently formed alliance with the Arellano Felix organization (AFO) gave them an entrance route into the United States by way of Tijuana. La Familia, which dominates the market of methamphetamines, initiated the alliance with the AFO, which would help move methamphetamine through Baja California into California. (November 2010)

Mexico - Six Americans killed within five days

The U.S. Department of State confirmed on 2 November 2010 that six US citizens from El Paso, Texas were killed in separate attacks in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico between 29 October 2010 and 2 November 2010. In total, 47 Americans were murdered in Mexico in the first half of 2010.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #263 on: November 10, 2010, 06:54:56 AM »

I'm not following this point , , ,  huh
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #264 on: November 11, 2010, 10:26:53 AM »

My thinking exactly.  We agree 100%.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #265 on: November 16, 2010, 10:17:41 AM »

Federal Deployment to Tamaulipas

The Mexican government is reported to have significantly augmented federal security forces in the northern Tamaulipas border region with a deployment of both Mexican army troops and Federal Police agents, bringing the number of federal security forces in the region to nearly 3,000. These forces, which have been arriving since Nov. 13, will be primarily deployed to the areas around Ciudad Mier, Camargo, Nuevo Guerrero, Miguel Aleman and Diaz Ordaz, or more generally in the rural stretch between the major metropolitan areas of Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo along the Tamaulipas-South Texas border. This deployment will be in addition to the Mexican Marine forces already deployed to the region, as well as the Mexican army operating in the military’s 7th and 8th zones, which are headquartered in Escobedo, Nuevo Leon and Reynosa, respectively. Additionally, there are reports that a Mexican special operations unit will be deployed from Mexico City to the Tamaulipas border region as well to conduct high-risk operations, possibly targeting high-value cartel targets. Military officials also have indicated that they will be establishing checkpoints in the region and will be inspecting 100 percent of both passenger and cargo vehicles.

Though the new deployment of federal forces to the area is sizable, the total number of federal forces in the region pales in comparison to other federal security operations, such as Coordinated Operation Chihuahua, which boasts close to 10,000 forces deployed primarily in northern Chihuahua. The Tamaulipas deployment also will allow particular branches of the military and Federal Police to have more specified roles in the operations. According to Mexican military officials, Mexican Marines will primarily be tasked with intelligence operations and to a lesser extent will conduct joint patrols with the army and Federal Police. The Federal Police will base the majority of their operations in more urban areas, including Reynosa, Matamoros and to a lesser extent Nuevo Laredo. Mexican army personnel will primarily be tasked with operations in the more rural areas, including checkpoints outside urban centers.

This deployment comes at a time when tensions between the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas are high in large part due to the Nov. 5 death of Gulf cartel leader Antonio Ezequiel “Tony Tormenta” Cardenas Guillen. Tony Tormenta’s death set in motion a likely offensive on the part of Los Zetas to retake control of the Tamaulipas-South Texas border region lost earlier in the year to the Gulf cartel and their allies in the New Federation.

Los Zetas have made bold moves in battleground like Ciudad Mier, Camargo and Miguel Aleman. The group has all but taken over portions of these towns, forcing residents to flee in the wake of Tony Tormenta’s death. One such brazen takeover reportedly occurred Nov. 5 in Ciudad Mier, where alleged members of Los Zetas were reported to be running through the streets screaming that all the residents in the area must vacate the city or be killed. More than 300 people are estimated to have left the city reportedly seeking shelter in nearby Miguel Aleman, where at least two temporary housing settlements have been set up. It appears that Los Zetas are using both of these small towns as a staging area for a possible assault on the much larger Reynosa metropolitan area some 65-80 kilometers (40-50 miles) to the southeast.

The death of Tony Tormenta could not have come at a worse time for the Gulf cartel. The Gulf cartel was part of the New Federation alliance which included La Familia Michoacana (LFM) and the Sinaloa Federation, but developments in the past three months have strained the relationship between the three, with the once-powerful alliance reduced to a non-aggression agreement between the Gulf cartel and its two former allies. LFM fell out of the Sinaloa Federation’s favor after attempting to move in on the methamphetamine production and trafficking market in Jalisco and Colima states after the death of Sinaloa No. 3 Ignacio “El Nacho” Coronel Villarreal in July. LFM’s defense of its territory in its home state of Michoacan also has drawn Sinaloa’s ire. The Sinaloa Federation has been of little help to the Gulf cartel in recent months as Sinaloa has been dedicating large amounts of its resources and focus to the conflict in Juarez. The group traditionally has held very little influence in the Tamaulipas region.

Further leaving the Gulf cartel exposed, in the months leading up to the death of Tony Tormenta, Mexican federal security forces dealt a serious blow to cells associated with the Gulf cartel leader, arresting more than 50 operatives and making numerous weapons and cash seizures. This leaves the remaining Gulf cartel leader, Eduardo “El Coss” Costilla Sanchez, and the cells associated with him extremely vulnerable to any Los Zetas offensive.

With the increase in tensions and posturing between Los Zetas and the Gulf cartel along with the influx of Mexican federal security forces in the region, violence in the Tamaulipas border area is likely to escalate in the weeks to come. The deployment of more federal security forces increases the likelihood that they will come in contact with one of the two criminal groups operating in the region, resulting in firefights between criminals and security forces. Additionally, aside from the obvious risk of bodily harm from being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, this likely increase in fighting and along with the expanded presence of security forces will present significant disruptions to businesses and visitors in the region. Narco-blockades, a tactic both Los Zetas and the Gulf cartel use, create an elevated degree of risk of carjacking (especially for high-profile vehicles such as SUVs, trucks and tractor trailers) as well as logistical complications from the resulting traffic jams. Logistical issues also will arise from the 100 percent inspection rate at the military checkpoints that have been and will be established in the region and from the military personnel manning the checkpoints’ lack of training in interacting with civilians.



(click here to view interactive map)

Nov. 8

Soldiers in Zapopan, Jalisco state, killed two men and arrested another during a firefight at a suspected methamphetamine lab. A passerby was injured during the incident.
Unidentified gunmen killed the police commander of the municipality of Pabellon de Arteaga, Aguascalientes state, as he drove near his home.

Nov. 9

Police seized 531 kilograms (about 1,170 pounds) of marijuana from a steel shipment in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas state. Authorities said the drugs arrived from Leon, Guanajuato state. No arrests were made during the incident.
Security forces in Acapulco, Guerrero state, discovered the decapitated bodies of two police officers near the settlement of La Venta. The victims’ tongues had been removed and both bodies bore signs of torture.
Police discovered several body parts in a plastic bag floating in a sewage ditch in Ecatepec, Mexico state. Local residents called the police after spotting a dog carrying a human hand in its mouth.
Soldiers in Piedras Negras, Coahuila state, freed 10 kidnapped migrants and arrested six suspected kidnappers during a raid on a house.
Police in Puente de Ixtla, Morelos state, arrested a suspected associate of Edgar Valdez Villarreal. The suspect allegedly controlled drug trafficking routes through central Mexico.

Nov. 10

Suspected LFM members hung banners in Zitacuaro, Maravatio and Ciudad Hidalgo, Michoacan state, stating the cartel’s alleged intent to disband and seek a truce with the government.
Officers from the state attorney general’s office discovered the bodies of two men in a house allegedly owned by the Beltran Leyva Organization in Bosques de Las Lomas neighborhood of Mexico City.
Soldiers arrested two municipal policemen in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon state, for allegedly surveilling a security forces raid on a motel.
Unidentified gunmen fired at the offices of the El Sur newspaper in Acapulco, Guerrero state. No injuries were reported.

Nov. 11

Unidentified attackers threw two grenades at the state security and roads offices in Gomez Palacio, Durango state. No injuries were reported in the attack.
Police found the body of a man in the trunk of an abandoned car in the Coyoacan neighborhood of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state. The victim had been shot in the head.
Police in Santa Rosa, Morelos state, arrested three suspected high-ranking associates of Edgar Valdez Villarreal after a car chase that began in Oaxtepec, Morelos state, after the three suspects failed to stop at a police roadblock.

Nov. 12

One suspected cartel gunman was killed in a firefight with soldiers in the Terminal neighborhood in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state. The shooting began when a convoy of suspected gunmen did not heed the soldiers’ order to stop.
Three severed heads were discovered outside a municipal government office in Chalchihuites, Zacatecas state. A message claiming the crime was revenge for a previous homicide in Chalchihuites was left near the heads.
Police arrested seven people suspected of working as lookouts for Los Zetas in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state.

Nov. 13

Police discovered the bodies of two men and a woman hanging from a bridge in Tepic, Nayarit state. A message was discovered near the bodies.
The bodies of two unidentified men were found in the trunk of an abandoned car in the municipality of Cuautla, Morelos state.
Unidentified gunmen killed a Chihuahua state prison official as he drove with his son in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state. The child was injured during the attack.

Nov. 14

Police discovered five bodies in an orchard in the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood of Acapulco, Guerrero state.
Five people were killed and eight were injured when a group of unidentified gunmen opened fire on patrons at a bar in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state.
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« Reply #266 on: December 09, 2010, 10:49:52 AM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/08/AR2010120806379.html
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« Reply #267 on: December 09, 2010, 11:22:31 AM »

Yes, that is what happens when the rule of law breaks down. When the gov't does not provide justice, people make their own.
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« Reply #268 on: December 13, 2010, 08:15:00 PM »

A Near Miss for El Chapo?

Mexican media reported Dec. 13 that Sinaloa Federation leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera may have narrowly escaped a Mexican army raid on a party the night of Dec. 10-11 in the Campestre neighborhood of Delicias, Chihuahua state. El Diario cites unofficial, unidentified sources as saying Guzman was attending the party, and El Digital reports the operation was targeting him but that units from the 5th military zone that first arrived on the scene were ordered to wait for backup from the 42nd military zone before they could initiate the raid.
 
This hesitation may have allowed Guzman to flee, though there also is no confirmation, only statements by unnamed sources, that he was even present at the party. The El Digital sources said the order to wait was given so the 42nd zone could share credit for the capture, which indicates that the hesitation was not due to lack of firepower — making it an unusual order, given the target’s value.

STRATFOR
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« Reply #269 on: December 14, 2010, 08:28:08 AM »

What are the odds the person giving the orders to wait is corrupt?  Just saying very fishy. 
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« Reply #270 on: December 16, 2010, 08:50:30 AM »

Mexico and the Cartel Wars in 2010
December 16, 2010


Editor’s Note: This week’s Security Weekly is a heavily abridged version of STRATFOR’s annual report on Mexico’s drug cartels. The full report, which includes far more detail and diagrams depicting the leadership of each cartel along with our updated cartel map, will be available to our members on Dec. 20.

By Scott Stewart

In our 2010 annual report on Mexico’s drug cartels, we assess the most significant developments of the past year and provide an updated description of the dynamics among the country’s powerful drug-trafficking organizations, along with an account of the government’s effort to combat the cartels and a forecast of the battle in 2011. The annual cartel report is a product of the coverage STRATFOR maintains on a weekly basis through our Mexico Security Memo as well as other analyses we produce throughout the year. In response to customer requests for more and deeper coverage of Mexico, STRATFOR will also introduce a new product in 2011 designed to provide an enhanced level of reporting and analysis.

In 2010, the cartel wars in Mexico have produced unprecedented levels of violence throughout the country. No longer concentrated in just a few states, the violence has spread all across the northern tier of border states and along much of both the east and west coasts of Mexico. This year’s drug-related homicides have surpassed 11,000, an increase of more than 4,400 deaths from 2009 and more than double the death toll in 2008.


Cartel Dynamics

The high levels of violence seen in 2010 have been caused not only by long-term struggles such as the fight between the Sinaloa Federation and the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Organization (also known as the Juarez cartel) for control of the Juarez smuggling corridor but also from the outbreak of new conflicts among various players in the cartel landscape. For example, simmering tensions between Los Zetas and their former partners in the Gulf cartel finally boiled over and quickly escalated into a bloody turf war along the U.S.-Tamaulipas state border. The conflict has even spread to states like Nuevo Leon, Hidalgo and Tabasco and has given birth to an alliance between the Sinaloa Federation, the Gulf cartel and La Familia Michoacana (LFM) called the New Federation.

Last December, it appeared that Los Zetas were poised to make a move to assume control over much, if not all, of the Gulf cartel’s territory. The Gulf cartel knew it could not take on Los Zetas alone with its current capabilities so in desperation it reached out to its main rivals in Mexico — the Sinaloa Federation and LFM — for help, thus forming the New Federation. With the added resources from the New Federation, the Gulf cartel was able to take the fight to Los Zetas and actually forced its former partners out of one of their traditional strongholds in Reynosa. The New Federation also expanded its offensive operations to other regions traditionally held by Los Zetas, namely the city of Monterrey and the states of Nuevo Leon, Hidalgo and Veracruz.

This resulted in Los Zetas being pushed back on their heels throughout the country, and by June it looked as if Los Zetas’ days might be numbered. However, a chain of events that began with the July 28 death of Sinaloa Federation No. 3 Ignacio “El Nacho” Coronel served to weaken the alliance and forced the Sinaloa and LFM to direct attention and resources to other parts of the country, thus giving Los Zetas some room to regroup. The situation along the border in eastern Mexico is still very fluid and the contest between the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas for control of the region will continue in 2011.



(click here to enlarge image)
The death of Arturo Beltran Leyva in December 2009 in a Mexican marine raid led to a vicious battle between factions of the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) for control of the group, pitting Arturo’s brother, Hector Beltran Leyva, against Arturo’s right-hand man, Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal. The war between the two BLO factions ended with the arrests of the leadership of the Valdez Villarreal faction, including La Barbie himself on Aug. 30, and this faction has been heavily damaged if not completely dissolved. Hector’s BLO faction adopted the name Cartel Pacifico Sur (CPS), or the South Pacific Cartel, to distance itself from the elements associated with Valdez that still clung to the BLO moniker. The CPS has aligned itself with Los Zetas against Sinaloa and LFM and has actively fought to stake a claim to the Colima and Manzanillo regions in addition to making inroads in Michoacan.

After being named the most violent organized-crime group in Mexico by former Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora in 2009, LFM has been largely a background player in 2010 and was active on two main fronts: the offensive against Los Zetas as part of the New Federation in northeastern Mexico and the fight against elements of the CPS and Los Zetas in southern Michoacan and Guerrero states, particularly around the resort area of Acapulco. LFM and CPS have been locked in a heated battle for supremacy in the Acapulco region for the past two years and this conflict shows no signs of stopping, especially since the CPS appears to have recently launched a new offensive against LFM in the southern regions of Michoacan. Additionally, after the death of Sinaloa leader El Nacho Coronel in July and the subsequent dismantlement of his network, LFM attempted to take over the Jalisco and Colima trafficking corridors, reportedly straining relations between the Sinaloa Federation and LFM.

LFM has been hard hit in the latter months of 2010, its losses on the battlefield amplified by the arrest of several senior operatives in early December. The Dec. 10 death of LFM spiritual leader Nazario “El Mas Loco” Moreno Gonzalez will further challenge the organization, and STRATFOR will be carefully watching LFM over the next several weeks for additional signs that it is collapsing.

Two former heavyweights on the Mexican drug-trafficking scene have continued a declining trajectory in 2010: the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Organization/Juarez cartel (VCF) and the Arellano Felix Organization/Tijuana cartel (AFO). The VCF continues to lose ground to the Sinaloa Federation throughout Chihuahua state, most notably in the Ciudad Juarez area. The VCF’s influence has largely been confined to the urban areas of the state, Juarez and Chihuahua, though it appears that its influence is waning even in its traditional strongholds (Sinaloa now appears to be moving narcotics through the Juarez smuggling corridor). Following a bitter war between two factions of the AFO, the organization is a shell of its former self. While the AFO faction under the leadership of Fernando “El Ingeniero” Sanchez Arellano emerged victorious over the faction led by Eduardo “El Teo” Garcia Simental, who was a Sinaloa Federation proxy, it appears that Sanchez Arellano has reached an agreement with Sinaloa and is allowing it to move narcotics through Tijuana.

In the past, these sorts of agreements have proved to be temporary — one need only look at recent history in Juarez and the cooperation between Sinaloa and the VCF. Because of this, it is likely at some point that the Sinaloa Federation will begin to refuse to pay taxes to the AFO. When that happens, it will be important to see if the AFO has the capability to do anything about it.

The death of El Nacho Coronel and the damage-control efforts associated with the dismantlement of his network, along with the continued focus on the conflict in Juarez, forced the Sinaloa Federation to pull back from other commitments, such as its operations against Los Zetas as part of the New Federation. On the business-operations side, Sinaloa has made inroads in other regions and other continents. As noted above, the organization also has reportedly made progress in extending its control over the lucrative Tijuana smuggling corridor and is making significant progress in asserting control over the Juarez corridor.

Over the past few years, Sinaloa has gained control of, or access to, smuggling corridors all along Mexico’s northern border from Tijuana to Juarez. This means that Sinaloa appears to be the group that has fared the best over the past few years amid the intensifying violence. This would apply more specifically to Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera and his faction of the Sinaloa Federation, which has benefited greatly by events since 2006. In addition to the fall of external foes like the AFO and Juarez cartels, he has seen the downfall of strong Sinaloa personalities who could have risen up to contest his leadership, men like Alfredo Beltran Leyva and El Nacho Coronel. Sinaloa members who attract a lot of adverse publicity for the federation, such as Enrique “El Cumbais” Lopez Acosta also seem to run into bad luck with some frequency. Additionally, STRATFOR sources continue to report a sustained effort by the Sinaloa Federation to expand its logistical network farther into Europe and its influence deeper into Central America and South America.


Escalation

Some of the groups that have borne the brunt of the cartel wars, such as Los Zetas, the AFO and the VCF, have seen a decrease in their ability to move narcotics. This has forced them to look for other sources of income, which typically means diversifying into other criminal enterprises. A steady stream of income is important for the cartels because it takes a lot of money to hire and equip armed enforcer units required to guard against incursions from rival cartels and the Mexican government. It also takes money to purchase narcotics and to maintain the networks required to smuggle them from South America into the United States. This reliance on other criminal enterprises to generate income is not a new development for cartel groups. Los Zetas have long been active in human smuggling, oil theft, extortion and contract enforcement, while the VCF and AFO have traditionally been involved in extortion and kidnap-for-ransom operations. However, as these groups found themselves with their backs against the wall in 2010, they began to escalate their criminal fundraising operations. This increase in extortion and kidnapping has had a noticeable effect on businesses and wealthy families in several cities, including Monterrey, Mexico’s industrial capital. The wave of kidnapping in Monterrey even led to the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey ordering the departure of all minor dependents of U.S. government personnel beginning in September.

Some of the more desperate cartel groups also began to employ improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2010. The VCF has made no secret about its belief that the Federal Police are working for and protecting the Sinaloa Federation in Juarez. Following the July 15 arrest of a high-ranking VCF lieutenant, VCF enforcers from La Linea conducted a fairly sophisticated ambush directed against the Federal Police using a small IED hidden inside a car containing a cadaver that the attackers called in to police. The blast killed two Federal Police agents and injured several more at the scene. La Linea attempted to deploy another IED under similar circumstances Sept. 10 in Juarez, but Federal Police agents were able to identify the IED and call in the Mexican military to defuse the device. La Linea has threatened to use more and larger IEDs but has yet to follow through on those threats.

There were also three small IEDs deployed in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas state, in August. On Aug. 5, a substation housing the rural patrol element of the Municipal Transit Police was attacked with a small IED concealed inside a vehicle. Then on Aug. 27, two other IEDs placed in cars successfully detonated outside Televisa studios and a Municipal Transit Police station in Ciudad Victoria. The Ciudad Victoria IED attacks were never claimed, but Los Zetas are thought to be the culprits. The geographic and cartel-territorial disparity between Ciudad Victoria and Juarez makes it unlikely that the same bombmaker is responsible for all the devices encountered in Mexico this year.

To date, the explosive devices deployed by cartel groups in Mexico have been small, and La Linea and the Ciudad Victoria bomber did show some discretion by not intentionally targeting large groups of civilians in their attacks. However, should cartel groups continue to deploy IEDs, the imprecise nature of such devices will increase the risk of innocent civilians becoming collateral damage. This will be especially true if the size of the devices is increased, as La Linea has threatened to do. The cartels clearly have the skills required to build and deploy larger devices should they so choose, and explosives are plentiful and easy to obtain in Mexico.


Outlook

The administration of Mexican President Felipe Calderon has dismantled several cartel networks and captured or killed their leaders in 2010, most notably Sinaloa No. 3 Ignacio “El Nacho” Coronel Villarreal and Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal. While such operations have succeeded in eliminating several very dangerous people and disrupting their organizations, however, they have also served to further upset the balance of power among Mexico’s criminal organizations. This imbalance has increased the volatility of the country’s security environment by creating a sort of vicious feeding frenzy among the various organizations as they seek to preserve their own turf or seize territory from rival organizations.

Calderon has also taken steps to shift the focus from the controversial strategy of using the Mexican military as the primary tool to wage war against the cartels to using the newly reformed Federal Police. While the military still remains the most reliable security tool available to the Mexican government, the Federal Police have been given more responsibility in Juarez and northeast Mexico, the nation’s most contentious hot spots. Calderon has also planted the seeds to reform the states’ security organizations with a unified command in hopes of professionalizing each state’s security force to the point where the states do not have to rely on the federal government to combat organized crime. Meanwhile, the Mexican Congress has take steps to curb the ability of the president to deploy the military domestically by proposing a National Security Act that would require a state governor or legislature to first request the deployment of the military rather than permitting the federal government to act unilaterally.

The successes that the Calderon administration has scored against some major cartel figures such as La Barbie and El Nacho in 2010 have helped foster some public confidence in the war against the cartels, but disruptions to the balance of power among the cartels have added to the violence, which is clearly evidenced by the steep climb in the death toll. As long as the cartel landscape remains fluid, with the balance of power between the cartels and the government in a constant state of flux, the violence is unlikely to end or even recede.

This means that Calderon is at a crossroads. The increasing level of violence is seen as unacceptable by the public and the government’s resources are stretched to the limit. Unless all the cartel groups can be decapitated and brought under control — something that is highly unlikely given the government’s limitations — the only way to reduce the violence is to restore the balance of power among the cartels. This balance can be achieved if a small number of cartels come to dominate the cartel landscape and are able to conduct business as usual rather than fight continually for turf and survival. Calderon must take steps to restore this balance in the next year if he hopes to quell the violence and give his National Action Party a chance to maintain power in the 2012 Mexican presidential elections. In Mexico, 2011 promises to be an interesting year indeed.

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« Reply #271 on: December 17, 2010, 11:43:56 AM »

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/crime-scene/clarence-williams/cops-bust-la-familia-members.html

Cops bust "La Familia" members
By Clarence Williams

D.C. police and federal officials have arrested eight men with ties to Mexico's La Familia drug cartel who sought to set up operations in the Washington metro area, law enforcement officials said.

Authorities also have seized millions of dollars worth of methamphetamine as part of the investigation.

Undercover police and ICE agents arrested the men on federal conspiracy charges last week and the authorities are expected to make a formal announcement on Wednesday. Investigators served search warrants in three states and arrested the men Dec. 10, during raids which netted pounds of crystal meth and dozens of gallons of liquid meth, the sources said.

Authorities seized an estimated $5 million worth of crystal meth during raids near Atlanta. Officials also recovered six pounds of marijuana, three guns, and more than $15,000 in cash, from raids in the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina and in Temple Hills.

The investigation followed a purchase by a police informant and an undercover officer of a kilo of cocaine and five pounds of crystal meth in mid-November, from a local trafficker in the D.C. area, the law enforcement officials said.
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« Reply #272 on: December 21, 2010, 11:46:12 AM »

IED attack on Police in Nuevo Leon

A small improvised explosive device (IED) detonated around 1 p.m. Dec. 17 inside a sport-utility vehicle outside the Zuazua Public Security Secretariat offices (the equivalent of a municipal police station) in Zuazua, Nuevo Leon state. In addition to destroying the vehicle, the blast injured at least three people and damaged several surrounding vehicles. A message attributed to the Sinaloa Federation and Gulf cartel addressed to “Zeta Police” was found shortly thereafter near the site of the explosion that read, “The state of Nuevo Leon does not guarantee the security of its citizens in the state, and more than a thousand kidnappings are not reported for fear of the authorities. Eleven more car bombs are waiting to be detonated to bring justice for the kidnapped, for the police and corrupt officials are aware.” Nuevo Leon authorities have been quick to say the claim of 11 more IEDs is false, but have offered little in the way of proof. Additionally, authorities have not officially said whether they believe area drug-trafficking organizations were involved in the attack, despite the very public message.

This attack is the year’s fifth successful deployment of an IED against a specified target in Mexico; one occurred in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, and three occurred near Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas state. While there has not been any indication as to the composition or exact size of the device, photographic evidence of the blast scene indicates that the device was relatively small and on the scale seen with other devices deployed in the country this year.

The enforcement arm of the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes (VCF) organization, La Linea, was responsible for the Juarez IED on July 15, and the group indicated after the attack that it would continue its “car bomb” campaign as long as the Federal Police continued to support the Sinaloa Federation, which the VCF accuses the police of doing. Despite these warnings, only one other IED was deployed in Juarez, a few weeks later, and the Mexican military was able to render it safe before it detonated. However, it appears from the message left near the scene and the geographic disparity between Juarez and Nuevo Leon that entirely different actors were responsible for the Dec. 17 incident.

The message falls in line with the strategy pursued by the New Federation alliance. In the spring, elements of the New Federation began taking the fight against Los Zetas to their stronghold in the Monterrey metro region, targeting not only Los Zetas members and operatives but also their support network in the region, including local politicians and local and regional police.

It remains to be seen whether the Sinaloa Federation and the Gulf cartel will actually follow through with a sustained bombing campaign against law enforcement believed to be associated with Los Zetas. If the groups do follow through with their pledge to deploy 11 more IEDs, it would be a significant escalation in the tempo of these types of attacks. While IED attacks in the country thus far have been discriminating in their targeting, the imprecise nature of IEDs greatly increases the risk of civilian casualties.


Nuevo Laredo Prison Break

A prison break the morning of Dec. 17 at the Center for Social Readaptation (CERESO) in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas state, led to the escape of between 141 and 192 prisoners (the latest figure reported was 151). This is merely the latest in a string of prison breaks in Tamaulipas since January; the total number of prisoners having escaped in the state this year is more than 300.

In the Dec. 17 escape, the prisoners (reportedly both federal and local), working with complicit guards, were able to exit the prison facilities through a service entrance into waiting vehicles. Additionally, the prison director was reported missing the morning of Dec. 17. Multiple source reports indicate Los Zetas were the primary orchestrators of the escape, with some STRATFOR sources saying Los Zetas’ motivation was to augment their forces in the region. The prisoners were reportedly told that once released, they either must work for Los Zetas or be killed. Additionally, STRATFOR sources said the nephew of Los Zetas No. 2 Miguel “Z-40” Trevino Morales was one of the escapees from the CERESO unit.

Los Zetas have experienced several setbacks throughout much of 2010, with several regional plaza bosses and numerous operatives being killed or apprehended. However, developments in the last few months have weakened the Gulf cartel and the New Federation’s grip on Tamaulipas border region, and Los Zetas appear to be poised to regain some of their lost ground, particularly in the Reynosa and Matamoros regions. If the reported ultimatum for the freed prisoners is correct, this influx of forces for Los Zetas could provide the necessary resources to begin a campaign to retake these lost areas. However, the true number of prisoners that will actually go to work for Los Zetas remains to be seen; some likely will renege on their promise and slip back into Mexican society — only now with a bounty on their heads.



(click here to view interactive map)

Dec. 13

Unidentified gunmen shot a man to death during a suspected kidnapping in the Jardines Universidad neighborhood of Guadalajara, Jalisco state.
The body of an unidentified person was discovered near Tlajomulco, Jalisco state. The body was wrapped in a blanket tied together with a string and had a bag over its head.

Dec. 14

Four police officers were reportedly shot to death by a fellow police officer in Cancun, Quintana Roo state. The attacker later committed suicide.
Police found a decapitated body in the trunk of a car in the Ejidos de San Agustin neighborhood of Chimalhuacan, Mexico state. The victim’s head had been placed on the trunk lid.
Two decapitated bodies were found on a soccer field in Huixquilucan, Mexico state.

Dec. 15

In a recorded message released to a TV station, La Familia Michoacana (LFM) leader Servando Gomez Martinez called on his followers to continue fighting and called for more marches against the federal government. Gomez Martinez also confirmed the death of Nazario Gomez in Michoacan state during the week of Dec. 13.
The dismembered body of a man was found in several bags in Guadalajara, Jalisco state. A handwritten sign near the victim attributed the crime to the Jalisco Cartel, New Generation.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the arrests of eight suspected members of LFM in Georgia and North Carolina. One of those arrested is believed to be the primary supplier of illegal drugs for LFM in Washington.
Unidentified gunmen shot and injured two police officers in Allende, Nuevo Leon state.
Authorities were alerted through an anonymous call about three boxes allegedly containing explosives that were placed near separate hospitals in Cuernavaca, Morelos state. The boxes contained clocks inside and were designed to give the appearance of being explosive devices.

Dec. 16

Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a police guard post in the Roma neighborhood of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, but did not cause any injuries.
One suspected cartel gunman was killed and two bystanders were injured during a firefight between soldiers and gunmen in the La Estanzuela neighborhood of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state.

Dec. 17

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped two employees from the nightclub where they worked in Acapulco, Guerrero state. The victims were later discovered shot to death.
A decapitated head was discovered wrapped in cloth inside a bag outside a bar near Texcoco, Mexico state.
A car with explosives inside was detonated outside a police station in Zuazua, Nuevo Leon state. Approximately 151 inmates escaped from a prison in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas state. The director of the prison was reported missing after the escape.

Dec. 18

Federal security forces arrested four police officers suspected of participating in an attack on other police forces in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon state on Dec. 16. Ten other officers had been arrested Dec. 17 for their alleged participation in the attack.
An e-mail sent to news outlets by a group calling itself the “Ex-Mysterious Disappearers” announced that former legislator Diego Fernandez de Cevallos will be freed soon by his kidnappers.

Dec. 19

Unidentified gunmen forced security personnel to pull back from a crime scene where a decapitated body was present in Juarez, Nuevo Leon state. The gunmen reportedly arrived to recover the body.
Military authorities announced the seizure of a suspected methamphetamine lab in the municipality of Tuxpan, Jalisco state.
Authorities announced the arrest of suspected Colombian drug trafficker Jerson Enrique Camacho Cedeno in an unspecified part of Mexico. Camacho Cedeno is allegedly linked to Los Zetas.
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« Reply #273 on: December 26, 2010, 12:36:02 AM »

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/7716583-breaking-lone-female-police-officer-kidnapped-in-juarez-valley-of-mexico
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« Reply #274 on: December 27, 2010, 10:06:19 AM »

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gArzGbiOwhFhAgcHZWx1MZy8h82Q?docId=f188a3da00a1427093d4332a026a9b47

AP IMPACT: Mexico says its troops killed US man

(AP) – 1 day ago

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Joseph Proctor told his girlfriend he was popping out to the convenience store in the quiet Mexican beach town where the couple had just moved, intending to start a new life.

The next morning, the 32-year-old New York native was dead inside his crashed van on a road outside Acapulco. He had multiple bullet wounds. An AR-15 rifle lay in his hands.

His distraught girlfriend, Liliana Gil Vargas, was summoned to police headquarters, where she was told Proctor had died in a gunbattle with an army patrol. They claimed Proctor — whose green van had a for-sale sign and his cell phone number spray-painted on the windows — had attacked the troops. They showed her the gun.

His mother, Donna Proctor, devastated and incredulous, has been fighting through Mexico's secretive military justice system ever since to learn what really happened on the night of Aug. 22.

It took weeks of pressuring U.S. diplomats and congressmen for help, but she finally got an answer, which she shared with The Associated Press.

Three soldiers have been charged with killing her son. Two have been charged with planting the assault rifle in his hands and claiming falsely that he fired first, according to a Mexican Defense Department document sent to her through the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

It is at least the third case this year in which soldiers, locked in a brutal battle with drug cartels, have been accused of killing innocent civilians and faking evidence in cover-ups.
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« Reply #275 on: December 30, 2010, 12:55:54 AM »

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2009/0824/mexico-quietly-decriminalizes-drug-use
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« Reply #276 on: January 08, 2011, 12:45:35 PM »

Woof,
 They say it's completely safe for Americans to come down and spend their money; let's vacation elsewhere, anyway. tongue
               P.C.

www.news.yahoo.com/s/ap/lt_drug_war_mexico;_ylt=AihUsJsi7EUcCHjQkAc8Y8eROrgF;_ylu=X30DMTJzN
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 03:40:41 PM by prentice crawford » Logged

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« Reply #277 on: January 11, 2011, 10:43:10 AM »


U.S. Executive Kidnapped in Monterrey

A heavily armed group kidnapped a U.S. citizen early the morning of Jan. 4 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, in an incident apparently not yet reported in open source media in Mexico. The victim, who reportedly worked for a U.S.-based company with operations in Monterrey, apparently was driving a company-issued armored luxury vehicle at the time of the kidnapping, according to STRATFOR sources.

The victim was traveling through Monterrey when up to three vehicles blocked his passage. The attackers’ first vehicle, which had local Mexican law enforcement markings and lights, cut the victim off from the front, while a second vehicle blocked the victim’s vehicle from the rear. According to STRATFOR sources, a third vehicle then blocked the victim’s vehicle from the side, leaving him boxed in against the curb.

At this point, an unknown number of heavily armed assailants emerged from the vehicles and approached the victim. The victim was quickly removed from his vehicle and placed in one of the attacker’s vehicles.

The victim was severely beaten during the ordeal, and was released later in the evening in the nearby city of Escobedo, Nuevo Leon state, just north of Monterrey. No ransom was demanded, indicating that the attackers’ main objective was stealing the armored luxury vehicle.

Armored cars are especially sought-after items by organized crime elements, who see them as offering safety. Multinational corporations sometimes share this view of armored cars, despite problems emerging from a lack of training in their use. As with any luxury vehicle, driving an armored luxury vehicle significantly raised the U.S. citizen’s profile, thereby making him or her a target for such an operation.

This operation demanded at least minimal pre-operational surveillance of the victim’s routes and routine. The tactics the kidnappers demonstrated show that they were highly trained. Initial reports indicate that at least some, if not all, of the assailants involved in the Jan. 4 incident were members or former members of the local municipal police departments in Escobedo or San Nicolas. Los Zetas have routinely employed municipal officers in these areas for this type of activity.

STRATFOR has been anticipating an escalation in kidnappings in the Monterrey area. This is due to the large concentration of wealth in the region and to the defensive posture the Zetas have had to assume due to their ongoing conflict with the New Federation in the Monterrey area. The rise in kidnappings in Monterrey over the past six months has alarmed the U.S. diplomatic community there, forcing the departure of all minor dependants of all U.S. diplomatic personnel from the region.

The incident shows the Zetas are in fact focusing on kidnapping operations in the region. With an apparent new push by the New Federation to target Los Zetas’ support network (mainly local police and journalists working for the Zetas), a continuation of this trend is likely, as Los Zetas seek additional funds and resources to combat the New Federation offensive. This attack also underscores the need to maintain a minimal profile in contested criminal environments in Mexico such as Monterrey and to employ the use of countersurveillance techniques such as surveillance detection routes and varying routines and routes, as the attacker likely keyed in on the victim’s daily routine.


Acapulco Massacre

Authorities in Acapulco, Guerrero state, found 15 bodies, 14 of them decapitated and one partially decapitated, along a sidewalk Jan. 8 near the commercial center of Plaza Sendero. Two notes accompanying the corpses were signed “El Chapo,” a reference to Sinaloa Federation leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera. The armed men reportedly arrived several hours earlier in multiple SUVs, according the Mexican newspaper Milenio, which cited eyewitnesses. Shopkeepers and citizens were ordered to leave or be shot. The fountain in the plaza reportedly flowed red after the armed men sought to wash the blood from the 15 bodies off of their hands and equipment. Ten more bodies were found around the Acapulco metro area during the same time period, most of which had multiple bullet wounds to the head and chest.

Acapulco has been the scene of numerous gruesome murders over the past year or so. The majority of that fighting stemmed from conflicts between the Beltran Leyva Organization/Cartel Pacifico Sur (CPS) and La Familia Michoacan. Notes attributed to El Chapo suggest a shift in the cartel dynamic in the Acapulco region. The Sinaloa Federation has not fought over the Acapulco area since early 2008, when the newly formed BLO effectively kicked forces loyal to El Chapo out of the region. The latest incident suggests El Chapo and the Sinaloa Federation might be seeking to stake a claim to the region once again.

Even so, the beheadings and gruesome tactics on display Jan. 8 are more reminiscent of those employed by CPS members, especially in the Acapulco region. Cartels have been known to leave notes falsely attributing blame for crimes to distract authorities or to shift public opinion against a rival cartel. Whatever the case here, another layer of conflict may have emerged in the complex and ever-changing cartel environment in the Acapulco region.



(click here to view interactive graphic)

Jan. 3

Unidentified gunmen injured a police officer during a patrol in Taxco de Alarcon, Guerrero state.
Unidentified gunmen shot and killed the deputy director of public security for Empalme, Sonora state as he drove.
Soldiers killed three gunmen during a traffic stop in the Palmira neighborhood of Apatzingan, Michoacan state.
An unidentified gunman shot and killed the interim director of Sonora state prisons as he left home in Hermosillo, Sonora state.

Jan. 4

Police in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Jalisco state, discovered a severed pair of feet.
A group of unidentified gunmen killed three construction workers from the same family at a job site in the municipality of Quechultenango, Guerrero state.
Security forces in Mexico City arrested David Romo, the leader of the church of “Holy Death” (aka La Santa Muerte) for allegedly receiving ransom payments obtained from a group of suspected kidnappers.
The bodies of four men shot dead were discovered in the municipality of Tepehuanes, Durango state. Two of the bodies were inside an abandoned vehicle.

Jan. 5

The bodies of two unidentified men were discovered in Tocumbo, Michoacan state. The victims had been blindfolded and bore signs of torture. One of the bodies had had several fingers severed and bore a gunshot wound to the forehead.
Unidentified gunmen ambushed and injured two police officers in the municipality of Santa Catarina, Nuevo Leon state.
Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a police officer riding a motorcycle in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon state.
Soldiers in Zuazua, Nuevo Leon state, killed two suspected gunmen during a firefight. One police officer was injured during the incident.

Jan. 6

Unidentified attackers attacked the Topo Chico prison in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, with firearms and grenades. No injuries were reported.
Unidentified gunmen shot and killed the public security director of Taretan, Michoacan state, as he drove to Ziracuaretiro, Michoacan state, with his family. The director’s wife and children were not injured.
Police in the municipality of Lerdo, Durango state, discovered a common grave with seven bodies.

Jan. 7

Unidentified gunmen stole four vehicles from a used car lot in the Valle de Linda Vista neighborhood of Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon state. The attackers reportedly also kidnapped the business owner.
The body of Saul Vara Rivera, the mayor of Zaragoza, Coahuila state, was discovered in the municipality of Galeana, Nuevo Leon state. Vara Rivera, who apparently was shot dead, had been missing since Jan. 5.
Police in Mazatlan, Sinaloa state, arrested Felipe Zurita Cruz, a suspected drug trafficking route operator for the Sinaloa cartel.
Four suspected criminal gunmen were killed during a firefight with police in Tepic, Nayarit state. Three gunmen, two police officers and a civilian were injured.

Jan. 8

Security forces discovered 15 decapitated bodies in Acapulco, Guerrero state. Three messages alluding to Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin Guzman Loera were found at the scene of the crime.
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a municipal police post in Acapulco, Guerrero state, injuring a police commander and two secretaries.
Five people were injured in an attack by unidentified gunmen on a police post in General Teran, Nuevo Leon state.

Jan. 9

Military authorities announced the arrests of 18 suspected kidnappers in the municipality of Rioverde, San Luis Potosi state.
Police discovered three bodies hanging from a bridge in the Benito Juarez neighborhood of Acapulco, Guerrero state.


Read more: Mexico Security Memo: Jan. 10, 2011 | STRATFOR
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #278 on: January 12, 2011, 04:28:48 AM »


GUADALUPE DISTRITO BRAVOS, Mexico — Her uncle, the mayor who gave her the job nobody else wanted, warned her to keep a low profile, to not make too much of being the last remaining police officer in a town where the rest of the force had quit or been killed. But in pictures for local newspapers, Érika Gándara, 28, seemed to relish the role, posing with a semiautomatic rifle and talking openly about the importance of her new job.

“I am the only police in this town, the authority,” she told reporters.

Then, two days before Christmas, a group of armed men took her from her home, residents say, and she has not been seen since.

It was an ominous punctuation mark on the wave of terror that has turned this cotton farming town near Texas into a frightened outpost of the drug war. Nearly half of its 9,000 residents have fled, local officials say, leaving block after block of scorched homes and businesses and, now, not one regular police officer.

Far from big, infamous cities like Ciudad Juárez, one of the most violent places in the Americas, the war with organized crime can batter small towns just as hard, if with less notice.

The cotton towns south of Juárez sit in territory disputed by at least two major drug trafficking groups, according to government and private security reports, leading to deadly power struggles. But the lack of adequately trained police officers, a longstanding crisis that the government has sought to address with little resolution, allows criminal groups to have their way.

“Small cities and towns are really highly impacted,” said Daniel M. Sabet, a visiting professor at Georgetown University who studies policing in Mexico. “They offer strongholds organized crime can hold and control.”

Some towns consider themselves so vulnerable that they have gone out of their way not to antagonize criminals. Believing that those involved in organized crime would be less inclined to harm women — and because fewer men are willing to take the job — local officials have appointed a handful of women in the past year to senior police ranks in small cities and towns here in Chihuahua, the country’s most violent state.

After a spate of violence in a neighboring town, Praxédis Guerrero, local officials selected a 20-year-old college student in November as police chief to run the force of nine women and two men, hoping that criminal networks would see her as less threatening.

Marisol Valles, the young police chief, has made it clear that she leaves major crimes to state and federal authorities to investigate. Really, she said, she just reviews civil infractions issued by other officers and rarely leaves the office. “I am more like an administrator,” said Ms. Valles, who does not carry a gun or wear a uniform.

But the criminals have not discriminated. Hermila García, the woman appointed police chief of Meoqui, a small city in central Chihuahua, was killed on Nov. 30 after only a month in the job.

Guadalupe tried to put a nonthreatening face on law enforcement by appointing Ms. Gándara chief in October. But it appears that she tried — or at least talked about — taking the job more seriously, to the regret of her uncle, Mayor Tomás Archuleta. He had good reason to counsel a low profile: He took office after his predecessor was killed last summer, part of a wave of assassinations of local officials across Mexico.

“I told Érika, ‘Be careful,’ to not make waves,” Mr. Archuleta said, openly frustrated by the picture of her with the rifle. Like Ms. Valles, her role is more to issue citations, leaving serious crimes to state and federal authorities.

Guadalupe has plenty of them to investigate. There are as many abandoned homes and businesses — several of them gutted — as occupied ones. One recent morning, four homes smoldered from an attack and two people had been shot dead with high-powered weapons, the bullets leaving several gaping holes in cinder-block walls.

Few people here leave their homes after 5 p.m., and see soldiers and police officers only briefly after a major crime or when they are guarding the monthly delivery of government pension checks for retirees.

“We lock ourselves in most of the time,” said Eduardo Contreras, 26, as he watched residents douse and pick through the embers of their smoldering homes.

In a voice choked with tears, María Torres, 70, who grew up here, said, “This is so sad what has happened here,” as she carried a sign for a church service.

Mr. Archuleta, the mayor, said the town mainly gets its protection from soldiers based at a recreation center in Praxédis Guerrero. Maybe, Mr. Archuleta suggested, not having local police officers is better. He said local residents had told him that common crimes like burglary had dropped out of fear of drawing the attention of a military patrol.

“There aren’t any” minor crimes, he said, his voice dropping to a near whisper.

But townspeople disputed that, complaining that the soldiers or state and federal police officers were rarely seen except after major violence had occurred.

“There is no police, no fire department, no social services, nothing here,” said the middle-aged matriarch from one burned-out home, declining to give her name for fear of reprisals. “People get away with everything here. Nothing gets investigated, not even murders.”

Not long afterward, a four-truck caravan of federal police officers arrived from another town, hopping down from their vehicles, taking notes and asking her and other family members for a word. The family refused even to open the gate for the police, apparently out of fear of being seen talking to them, and the officers moved on. The officers appeared to be taking stock, driving from crime scene to crime scene and taking notes, but not mounting a forensic investigation.

At the site of the double murder in the morning, one officer dabbed at a pool of blood and body fluid on the driveway with a stick; another picked up a piece of flesh and playfully tossed it at a companion.

Ms. Gándara may not have investigated much deeper. Local police officers in small towns usually play a mostly preventive role, refereeing minor disputes, handling the town drunk and quieting rowdy teenagers, city managers said. Many are not armed.

Mr. Archuleta would say little else about his niece, Ms. Gándara, citing an investigation by the state prosecutor’s office, which would not comment on a motive. But he noted that he had turned to her when nobody else would take the job. She had experience as a security guard and appeared not to be involved in any criminal activity, he said.

“Who knows what people do in their private lives,” he said, “but I did not think she was involved in anything.”
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #279 on: January 17, 2011, 02:57:24 PM »

Summary
Baja California state, with its lucrative port of entry into the United States in Tijuana, is among the most sought-after territory for Mexico’s drug cartels. For years the state was controlled by the Arellano Felix Organization until that group’s disintegration and the rise of perhaps Mexico’s most powerful cartel, the Sinaloa Federation. Learning from its past experience, the Sinaloa Federation has moved over the past year to decentralize control among autonomous cells in order to prevent any single faction from becoming too dominant, and breaking off to form its own rival cartel, which has already led to a more stable security environment in the region.

Analysis
The criminal landscape in Mexico’s Baja California state has changed dramatically over the past year, and so have the internal workings of arguably the most powerful cartel in Mexico, the Sinaloa Federation. Dominated by the Arellano Felix Organization (AFO) in the 1990s and early 2000s, crackdowns by the Mexican government and internal divisions in the AFO led to the eventual rise of the Sinaloa Federation in Baja California in late 2010.

Taking its own experience with internal divisions into account, the Sinaloa Federation has adjusted its approach, decentralizing control and ensuring that no one faction becomes powerful enough to split from its parent organization and hold the lucrative Tijuana port of entry into the United States and its surroundings for itself. Despite the increase in organized criminal activity in the region over the past few months, this move has led to a more predictable security environment in the greater Baja California region — a drastic change from only a year ago.

Throughout the 1990s, Tijuana was controlled by the AFO, but a string of arrests and deaths of senior leaders of the groups — namely the Arellano Felix brothers, who made up the core leadership of the AFO beginning in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s — left the group’s operational capability severely diminished. Internal fighting between the faction loyal to the Arellano Felix brothers’ successor, Fernando “El Ingeniero” Sanchez Arellano, and those loyal to the group’s top enforcer, Teodoro “El Teo” Garcia Simental, led to a further degradation of the organization in the beginning of 2008. This conflict sparked incredible levels of violence in the region, until the Garcia Simental faction was dismantled by the Mexican Federal Police in January 2010. Out of desperation, Garcia Simental attempted to win back power by reaching out to the Sinaloa Federation for backing against Sanchez Arellano, knowing that the Sinaloa Federation had been trying to move into the lucrative Tijuana region for several years.

The strategy failed and the Garcia Simental faction was marginalized by Mexican security forces, but this left the AFO under Sanchez Arellano extremely weak, with only a few remaining cells still operating in the region. In the latter half of 2010, the Sinaloa Federation used the opening Garcia Simental had given it to solidify control over parts of western Baja California state, namely the Tecate and Mexicali regions, putting Sinaloa in prime position to seize Tijuana. The AFO knew it could not withstand another lengthy battle to retain control of its home territory against a much larger force with vast resources, and a deal was struck between the two organizations. The deal allows both organizations to operate independently and includes a nonaggression pact, securing for the Sinaloa Federation its long-awaited access to the lucrative port of entry into the United States.

As the Sinaloa Federation prepared to send its assets into the region in early 2010, it implemented a business plan for Tijuana that differed from its previous approach. Rather than have a traditional plaza boss who heads several cells and coordinates shipments of illicit goods across the border, the Sinaloa Federation sent numerous autonomous cells to work in the same area under the direction of Sinaloa No. 2 Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia. This information was finally made public by the Tijuana publication Zeta Tijuana (no association with the criminal organization Los Zetas) after it was able to obtain information from the interrogation of an aspiring Sinaloa cell leader in Tijuana, Jesus “El Tomate” Israel de La Cruz, who was arrested Jan. 4.

According to Israel de La Cruz, this new business structure with multiple autonomous cells working together was adopted after the Beltran Leyva brothers, who formed an important faction within Sinaloa, became too powerful and split from the Sinaloa Federation in 2008. A similar instance occurred with the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes organization in Juarez. This strategy is intended to prevent one cell leader from becoming too powerful, and therefore to keep them dependent on the parent organization, the Sinaloa Federation.

While this approach has generally stabilized the Tijuana region compared to the situation from 2008 to 2010, there is still some dissonance among the cells. A record 134-ton marijuana seizure in October 2010 resulted from a dispute between cell leaders over who was to smuggle which portion into the United States. Somehow, word of the massive shipment made its way to the Mexican military and law enforcement, resulting in the multimillion dollar seizure. After an enforcement sweep left numerous associates dead, business was back to normal.

Undoubtedly, there will be brief flare-ups of violence anywhere organized criminal activity is present — it simply comes with the territory of any illicit business — and there will be spikes in violence again in Tijuana. These two factors — Sinaloa’s decentralized approach, which prevents new rivals from springing up from within a cartel, and the agreement in place in Tijuana between the Sinaloa Federation and the AFO — have led to a more predictable operating environment not only for the cartels, but for the people and businesses of Tijuana, and have given the organizations operating in the area a set of rules to play by. That being said, historically, these types of agreements have been fleeting in nature, as they are often only followed as long as they are convenient to all parties involved. The question is not if the agreement will stay in place but how long it will prevail.

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« Reply #280 on: January 20, 2011, 06:07:35 AM »

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2011-01-19-column19_ST_N.htm

SAN DIEGO — Many Americans see Mexico as a dysfunctional family in the neighborhood. With the start of a new year, and a new Congress, President Obama needs to persuade the American people to see Mexico in a different light — as one of the most explosive countries in the region capable of creating a major foreign policy crisis for the U.S. There's no better time to start than with Obama's upcoming State of the Union address.


Thanks to Mexico's narco nightmare, our backyard is on fire. According to figures recently released by Mexican Attorney General Arturo Chavez, the number of deaths in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon took
office four years ago has surpassed 30,000.

You can chalk up a few of those killings to a notorious drug cartel hit man who has admitted to beheading his victims — even though he isn't old enough to shave. A few weeks
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G M
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« Reply #281 on: January 20, 2011, 09:51:57 AM »

The author of the piece is a raza-ist advocate for open borders and amnesty. Gee, maybe if we secured the borders first.....
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #282 on: January 20, 2011, 12:50:47 PM »

Lets see now:

"On this side of the border, President Obama must:

"•Deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border, not to combat illegal immigration as George W. Bush did but to help secure the area and ward off drug violence."

Is this even lucid?

"•Reboot and refocus the stale war on drugs with a new emphasis on curbing Americans' consumption that includes instructing the Justice Department to push for stiffer penalties for casual users of marijuana, cocaine and other illegal drugs."

Hello?  We've been there, done that.  America has the largest percent of its population incarcerated of any nation on earth by far, and a large % of those are there for crimes.

"•Reverse a dangerous and wrongheaded administration policy, recently detailed by The Washington Post, of not requiring gun dealers on the border to report bulk sales of high-powered semiautomatic rifles — the guns of choice for drug dealers."

Actually the guns of choice are ones unavailable to the American people; they are the military ones brought by defectors from the Mexican Army (indeed, this is where the Zetas, trained by the US government, began) and bought on in illegal international markets.  Maybe if the Mexican PEOPLE's right to bear arms were recognized, the narcos couldn't act with such impunity?

"•Start discussing the drug war in Mexico, with the American people, as a potential national security threat. What's going on in Mexico is not just limited to Mexico. Already, the Mexican drug cartels are spreading their operations and power into neighboring countries, such as Guatemala, Peru and Colombia."

Duh! --  WHICH IS A MAJOR REASON WE SHOULD BE CONTROLLING THE BORDER!!!

"How to help Mexico

"With regard to Mexico, Obama should:

"•Provide additional U.S. military advisers to train the Mexican army in counterinsurgency tactics and the taking down of drug lords.

Is this really the issue?

"•Ride herd on the $1.6 billion over three years that Congress provided to the Mexican government in the Merida Initiative but which has been slow to arrive, and make sure every dime gets to Mexico where it can be used to fight the cartels."

Where it will no doubt be put to good and honest use  rolleyes

"•Be prepared to hand over whatever other kind of support Calderon requires to quash the insurgency, including U.S. troops if necessary.

Anyone with a scintalla of knowledge about Mexican political culture and basic reasoning skills or better would know that this would be explosive!  Indeed, IMHO it could imperil the survival of the political order itself.   Also, a hot news flash:  The narcos don't walk around in uniforms or wear signs saying "I am a narco".

"•Dole out some tough love to our neighbors by making the case to Mexican officials — whether they want to hear it or not — that their situation does indeed compare with Colombia 20 years ago but that they can learn valuable lessons from it.

What does this mean?

"U.S. leaders have been much too timid in dealing with this crisis.

Duh.

"That has to stop.

Duh.

"After all, Americans are subsidizing this war. We buy the drugs that keep the cartels in business, and we provide the guns that keep the drug traffickers armed to the teeth. This is our baby, and it's time we owned up to it.

Certainly the American market is a sine qua non here, but so too are the extraordinay profits that are a result of our War on Drugs.  Maybe, instead of peeing into the wind we should look at decriminalizing/legalize & regulate the drugs so as to take the big profits out of it all.

Ruben Navarrette Jr., a member of the USA TODAY Board of Contributors, is a syndicated
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G M
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« Reply #283 on: January 20, 2011, 12:59:05 PM »

For decades, we've been providing money, training and equipment to Mexican law enforcement and military to fight the narcos.

Many times, Mexico has created a "New, uncorrupted law enforcement agency" to wage war. And soon enough, "la mordida" was the way of doing business in the new agency.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #284 on: February 10, 2011, 10:15:42 AM »

By Scott Stewart

For several years now, STRATFOR has been closely watching developments in Mexico that relate to what we consider the three wars being waged there. Those three wars are the war between the various drug cartels, the war between the government and the cartels and the war being waged against citizens and businesses by criminals.

In addition to watching tactical developments of the cartel wars on the ground and studying the dynamics of the conflict among the various warring factions, we have also been paying close attention to the ways that both the Mexican and U.S. governments have reacted to these developments. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects to watch has been the way in which the Mexican government has tried to deflect responsibility for the cartel wars away from itself and onto the United States. According to the Mexican government, the cartel wars are not a result of corruption in Mexico or of economic and societal dynamics that leave many Mexicans marginalized and desperate to find a way to make a living. Instead, the cartel wars are due to the insatiable American appetite for narcotics and the endless stream of guns that flows from the United States into Mexico and that results in Mexican violence.

Interestingly, the part of this argument pertaining to guns has been adopted by many politicians and government officials in the United States in recent years. It has now become quite common to hear U.S. officials confidently assert that 90 percent of the weapons used by the Mexican drug cartels come from the United States. However, a close examination of the dynamics of the cartel wars in Mexico — and of how the oft-echoed 90 percent number was reached — clearly demonstrates that the number is more political rhetoric than empirical fact.


By the Numbers

As we discussed in a previous analysis, the 90 percent number was derived from a June 2009 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to Congress on U.S. efforts to combat arms trafficking to Mexico (see external link).

According to the GAO report, some 30,000 firearms were seized from criminals by Mexican authorities in 2008. Of these 30,000 firearms, information pertaining to 7,200 of them (24 percent) was submitted to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for tracing. Of these 7,200 guns, only about 4,000 could be traced by the ATF, and of these 4,000, some 3,480 (87 percent) were shown to have come from the United States.

This means that the 87 percent figure relates to the number of weapons submitted by the Mexican government to the ATF that could be successfully traced and not from the total number of weapons seized by Mexican authorities or even from the total number of weapons submitted to the ATF for tracing. In fact, the 3,480 guns positively traced to the United States equals less than 12 percent of the total arms seized in Mexico in 2008 and less than 48 percent of all those submitted by the Mexican government to the ATF for tracing. This means that almost 90 percent of the guns seized in Mexico in 2008 were not traced back to the United States.

The remaining 22,800 firearms seized by Mexican authorities in 2008 were not traced for a variety of reasons. In addition to factors such as bureaucratic barriers and negligence, many of the weapons seized by Mexican authorities either do not bear serial numbers or have had their serial numbers altered or obliterated. It is also important to understand that the Mexican authorities simply don’t bother to submit some classes of weapons to the ATF for tracing. Such weapons include firearms they identify as coming from their own military or police forces, or guns that they can trace back themselves as being sold through the Mexican Defense Department’s Arms and Ammunition Marketing Division (UCAM). Likewise, they do not ask ATF to trace military ordnance from third countries like the South Korean fragmentation grenades commonly used in cartel attacks.

Of course, some or even many of the 22,800 firearms the Mexicans did not submit to ATF for tracing may have originated in the United States. But according to the figures presented by the GAO, there is no evidence to support the assertion that 90 percent of the guns used by the Mexican cartels come from the United States — especially when not even 50 percent of those that were submitted for tracing were ultimately found to be of U.S. origin.

This point leads us to consider the types of weapons being used by the Mexican cartels and where they come from.


Types and Sources of Guns

To gain an understanding of the dynamics of the gun flow inside Mexico, it helps if one divides the guns seized by Mexican authorities from criminals into three broad categories — which, incidentally, just happen to represent three different sources.


Type 1: Guns Legally Available in Mexico

The first category of weapons encountered in Mexico is weapons available legally for sale in Mexico through UCAM. These include handguns smaller than a .357 magnum such as .380, .38 Super and .38 Special.

A large portion of this first type of guns used by criminals is purchased in Mexico, or stolen from their legitimate owners. While UCAM does have very strict regulations for civilians to purchase guns, criminals will use straw purchasers to obtain firearms from UCAM or obtain them from corrupt officials. It is not uncommon to see .38 Super pistols seized from cartel figures (a caliber that is not popular in the United States), and many of these pistols are of Mexican origin. Likewise, cartel hit men in Mexico commonly use .380 pistols equipped with sound suppressors in their assassinations. In many cases, these pistols are purchased in Mexico, the suppressors are locally manufactured and the guns are adapted to receive the suppressors by Mexican gunsmiths.

It must be noted, though, that because of the cost and hassle of purchasing guns in Mexico, many of the guns in this category are purchased in the United States and smuggled into the country. There are a lot of cheap guns available on the U.S. market, and they can be sold at a premium in Mexico. Indeed, guns in this category, such as .380 pistols and .22-caliber rifles and pistols, are among the guns most commonly traced back to the United States. Still, the numbers do not indicate that 90 percent of guns in this category come from the United States.

Additionally, most of the explosives the cartels have been using in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Mexico over the past year have used commercially available Tovex, so we consider these explosives to fall in this first category. Mexican IEDs are another area where the rhetoric has been interesting to analyze, but we will explore this topic another time.


Type 2: Guns Legally Available in the U.S. but Not in Mexico

Many popular handgun calibers, such as 9 mm, .45 and .40, are reserved for the military and police and are not available for sale to civilians in Mexico. These guns, which are legally sold and very popular in the United States, comprise our second category, which also includes .50-caliber rifles, semiautomatic versions of assault rifles like the AK-47 and M16 and the FN Five-Seven pistol.

When we consider this second type of guns, a large number of them encountered in Mexico are likely purchased in the United States. Indeed, the GAO report notes that many of the guns most commonly traced back to the United States fall into this category. There are also many .45-caliber and 9 mm semiautomatic pistols and .357 revolvers obtained from deserters from the Mexican military and police, purchased from corrupt Mexican authorities or even brought in from South America (guns made by manufacturers such as Taurus and Bersa). This category also includes semiautomatic variants of assault rifles and main battle rifles, which are often converted by Mexican gunsmiths to be capable of fully automatic fire.

One can buy these types of weapons on the international arms market, but one pays a premium for such guns and it is cheaper and easier to simply buy them in the United States or South America and smuggle them into Mexico. In fact, there is an entire cottage industry that has developed to smuggle such weapons, and not all the customers are cartel hit men. There are many Mexican citizens who own guns in calibers such as .45, 9 mm, .40 and .44 magnum for self-defense — even though such guns are illegal in Mexico.


Type 3: Guns Not Available for Civilian Purchase in Mexico or the U.S.

The third category of weapons encountered in Mexico is military grade ordnance not generally available for sale in the United States or Mexico. This category includes hand grenades, 40 mm grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, automatic assault rifles and main battle rifles and light machine guns.

This third type of weapon is fairly difficult and very expensive to obtain in the United States (especially in the large numbers in which the cartels are employing them). They are also dangerous to obtain in the United States due to heavy law-enforcement scrutiny. Therefore, most of the military ordnance used by the Mexican cartels comes from other sources, such as the international arms market (increasingly from China via the same networks that furnish precursor chemicals for narcotics manufacturing), or from corrupt elements in the Mexican military or even deserters who take their weapons with them. Besides, items such as South Korean fragmentation grenades and RPG-7s, often used by the cartels, simply are not in the U.S. arsenal. This means that very few of the weapons in this category come from the United States.

In recent years the cartels (especially their enforcer groups such as Los Zetas, Gente Nueva and La Linea) have been increasingly using military weaponry instead of sporting arms. A close examination of the arms seized from the enforcer groups and their training camps clearly demonstrates this trend toward military ordnance, including many weapons not readily available in the United States. Some of these seizures have included M60 machine guns and hundreds of 40 mm grenades obtained from the military arsenals of countries like Guatemala.

But Guatemala is not the only source of such weapons. Latin America is awash in weapons that were shipped there over the past several decades to supply the various insurgencies and counterinsurgencies in the region. When these military-grade weapons are combined with the rampant corruption in the region, they quickly find their way into the black arms market. The Mexican cartels have supply-chain contacts that help move narcotics to Mexico from South America and they are able to use this same network to obtain guns from the black market in South and Central America and then smuggle them into Mexico. While there are many weapons in this category that were manufactured in the United States, the overwhelming majority of the U.S.-manufactured weapons of this third type encountered in Mexico — like LAW rockets and M60 machine guns — come into Mexico from third countries and not directly from the United States.

There are also some cases of overlap between classes of weapons. For example, the FN Five-Seven pistol is available for commercial purchase in the United States, but the 5.7x28 armor-piercing ammunition for the pistol favored by the cartels is not — it is a restricted item. However, some of the special operations forces units in the Mexican military are issued the Five-Seven as well as the FN P90 personal defense weapon, which also shoots the 5.7x28 round, and the cartels are obtaining some of these weapons and the armor-piercing ammunition from them and not from the United States. Conversely, we see bulk 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm ammunition bought in the United States and smuggled into Mexico, where it is used in fully-automatic AK-47s and M16s purchased elsewhere. As noted above, China has become an increasingly common source for military weapons like grenades and fully automatic assault rifles in recent years.

To really understand Mexico’s gun problem, however, it is necessary to recognize that the same economic law of supply and demand that fuels drug smuggling into the United States also fuels gun smuggling into Mexico. Black-market guns in Mexico can fetch up to 300 percent of their normal purchase price — a profit margin rivaling the narcotics the cartels sell. Even if it were somehow possible to hermetically seal the U.S.-Mexico border and shut off all the guns coming from the United States, the cartels would still be able to obtain weapons elsewhere — just as narcotics would continue to flow into the United States from other places. The United States does provide cheap and easy access to certain types of weapons and ammunition, but as demonstrated by groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, weapons can be easily obtained from other sources via the black arms market — albeit at a higher price.

There has clearly been a long and well-documented history of arms smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border, but it is important to recognize that, while the United States is a significant source of certain classes of weapons and ammunition, it is by no means the source of 90 percent of the weapons used by the Mexican cartels, as is commonly asserted.

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« Reply #285 on: February 13, 2011, 10:15:50 AM »



GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Armed men opened fire and hurled a grenade into a crowded nightclub early Saturday, killing six people and wounding at least 37 in a western city whose former tranquility has been shattered by escalating battles among drug cartels.

The attack in Mexico's second-largest municipality took place just hours after a shootout between soldiers and presumed cartel gunmen left eight people, including an innocent driver, dead in the northeastern city of Monterrey. Monterrey is Mexico's third-largest city.
 
In the Guadalajara attack, assailants in a Jeep Cherokee and a taxi drove up to the Butter Club, located in a bar and restaurant district popular with young people, and sprayed it with bullets.  Some of the men then got out of the taxi and threw a grenade into the nightclub entrance, said a police official. The gunmen fled after the pre-dawn attack, he said.

Three were killed at the scene and three more died later in hospitals, said Medical Services Director Yannick Nordin. A Venezuelan and a Colombian were among the dead.

While there have been isolated grenade attacks around the city, Saturday's was the first to be thrown into a crowd and cause so many injuries.

The U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara recently warned U.S. citizens not to drive at night in parts of the city after suspected drug-gang members burned vehicles and blocked streets.

Such alerts have become common for highways in some areas of northern and western Mexico, but not for Guadalajara, which is known more for its mariachi music and tequila than as a focal point of a drug war that has claimed nearly 35,000 lives since 2006.

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« Reply #286 on: February 16, 2011, 06:37:26 AM »

By JOSé DE CóRDOBA And DAVID LUHNOW
MEXICO CITY—An agent for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was shot and killed and another agent wounded by unknown gunmen in central Mexico on Tuesday, according to U.S. officials.

The men were driving from Mexico City to Monterrey in the central state of San Luis Potosi when they were attacked.
(Marc: This is the major north-south road of Mexico)  U.S. officials condemned the attack and said they would work with Mexican counterparts to bring the assailants to justice.

"Let me be clear: any act of violence against our ICE personnel…is an attack against all those who serve our nation and put their lives at risk for our safety," Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement.

The wounded agent was shot in the arm and leg and was in stable condition, Ms. Napolitano said. U.S. officials would not speculate about the motive for the attack.

The incident is sure to raise fresh concerns about Mexico's deteriorating security in Washington and elsewhere. Drug-related violence in Mexico has claimed at least 34,000 lives in the past four years as rival drug gangs have fought for control of lucrative drug-smuggling routes.

Video Archive: Turmoil in Mexico

Deadly Party in Mexico
Drive-by Killings at Mexico Car Wash
Shootout at Mexico Rehab Center
Police Chief Killed in Mexico
."In terms of the U.S. law enforcement community, this will greatly raise the significance of Mexico," said George Grayson, an expert on Mexico and drug trafficking at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

In a statement, Mexico's foreign ministry said that Mexico's federal police were working with San Luis Potosi state authorities to bring the crime's perpetrators to justice. Mexico "energetically condemns this grave act of violence and expresses its solidarity with the government of the United States and with the families of the attacked persons," the statement said.

Attacks on U.S. officials are rare.

In 1985, the torture-murder of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Enrique Camarena, strained bilateral ties and ultimately led to the arrest of several high-ranking Mexican drug lords.

More recently, in December, a U.S. border patrol agent was fatally shot just north of the border in Arizona while trying to catch bandits who target illegal immigrants cross the border.

And three people with ties to the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juárez, including a pregnant consular employee, were killed in March, prompting the State Department to tighten security at its diplomatic missions in northern Mexico.

View Full Image

Pulso Newspaper, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
 
Mexican federal police vehicles at the scene where two ICE agents traveling in a car were shot Tuesday.
.The U.S. provides equipment and some training to Mexican security forces under the $1.4 billion Merida Plan, and U.S. intelligence is credited with helping Mexico catch a score of leading drug kingpins in the past two years.

ICE, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, routinely investigates narcotics smuggling as well as money laundering, organized crime and human smuggling.

Violence between organized crime gangs in Mexico is spreading far beyond northern states where most of the killings take place, affecting Mexico's northern business capital of Monterrey, Mexico's second city of Guadalajara, and even into tourist resorts like Acapulco.

San Luis Potosi has also gotten caught up in the violence, with a spate of recent drug-related killings. A shootout in a major supermarket as well as a leading university in the state capital caused panic among residents last week.

Drug gangs have also branched out into activities like human smuggling. Last year, a gang massacred 72 Central and South American migrants who were on their way to the U.S.
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« Reply #287 on: February 16, 2011, 11:31:07 AM »




Vice President of Tactical Intelligence Scott Stewart examines the attack on two Immigration and Custom agents in Mexico on Feb. 15 and explains why the case is not likely to cause a strong response from the U.S. Government.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Here at STRATFOR we’re closely watching an incident that happened on Feb. 15 in which two special agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, or ICE, were shot in an incident in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

The incident occurred yesterday afternoon as the two agents were traveling in a late-model suburban north of Mexico City in the state of San Luis Potosi, very close to the city by that same name. the reports that we’ve received so far indicate that the two agents were stopped at what they thought was a military checkpoint along the road, and as they pulled their armored vehicle over to the side of the road and rolled down their window, one of the gunmen who was manning the checkpoint opened fire on them, killing the driver and wounding the second agent.

Many people and the press are going to make parallels between this case and the case of Kiki Camarena, a DEA agent who was killed back in 1985. However the circumstances surrounding these two incidents are quite different. The Camarena case was very intentional and the bosses of the Guadalajara cartel had Camarena specifically targeted and kidnapped. Once he was kidnapped then they tortured him, revived him using a medical doctor, and tortured him some more in order to try to get information pertaining to the source network he was running in Mexico. The Camarena case was very brutal, very intentional and of course raised a lot of ire on the American side of the border. The DEA launched a huge operation called Operation Leyenda, or legend, to go after the jefes of the Guadalajara cartel.

Now in this current case it appears that what we had, were two ICE agents who were traveling in a vehicle that was very attractive for the cartels. We know really that the vehicles the cartels covet the most for their operations are the large crew cab pickup trucks. Indeed we saw some missionaries attacked a couple weeks ago, as they were traveling on a highway and they tried to escape a carjacking attempt by the cartels who wanted that vehicle.

As we look at the circumstances surrounding this case it really appears that it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time for the agents and that it was really a case of cartel, low-level cartel gunmen responding to encountering two U.S. law-enforcement agents inside that vehicle when they stopped at the checkpoint. Therefore we don’t think that it was an intentional case planned by high-level cartel planners. Certainly there’s always more that the U.S. government can do in Mexico, but they’re restrained by the sovereignty of Mexico and really the sensibilities of the Mexican people to American incursion, they really see Americans as a threat. So the bottom line is while the U.S. will respond to this case, we really don’t think we will see the urgency and severity of the U.S. response that we did in the Camarena case.

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« Reply #288 on: March 02, 2011, 11:00:27 AM »

I saw this morning that the ICE agent recently murdered in Mexico was killed by a Texas bought AK; the second such killing in recent events according to the article.

===========

Mexican President Felipe Calderon is visiting the United States March 2 and March 3. We thought it would be a good time to discuss the unique threat assessment that will be written pertaining to President Calderon’s visit.

Calderon’s visit comes at a very critical time with the confluence of issues that are taking place not only inside of Mexico, but in the United States, which makes this threat assessment much more difficult than any current head of state visiting. We’ve had the recent high-profile killings of Americans in Mexico such as David Hartley on Falcon Lake, the missionary killing and the recent Zeta killing of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent. You have the politics of the immigration issue, as well as the politics of guns, meaning the guns flowing into Mexico from the United States and the domestic politics of that issue in general. Another element that will be factored into the threat assessment, regardless of the likelihood of this occurring, would be the cartels’ ability to pay for high-priced mercenaries or assassins to carry out some sort of attack.

One other aspect that is also factored into the threat assessment is the radical fringe link to domestic groups of concern. Specifically the Secret Service will be calling their database looking for adverse intelligence on individuals that have surfaced in connection to the immigration or gun issue that may have made threats against public officials. This issue is a significant one on the heels of the shooting of the congresswoman in Tucson, Arizona. Another element that would be factored into the threat assessment would be president Calderon’s statements as recent as last week, where he raised the issue of drug consumption in the United States fueling cartel violence, as well as the United States government not doing enough to stop the flow of weapons into Mexico.

Given all the concern surrounding Calderon’s visit to the United States, there will be an effort to minimize public exposure and at any kind of event that is open, you will find enhanced screening for firearms specifically to mitigate the risk from these unknown variables — such as another John Hinckley surfacing — that may not have raised the awareness of the secret service in Washington.

The “Above the Tearline” aspect is the politics of Calderon’s visit at this moment in time due to the confluence of events that have taken place, make this threat assessment much more complex, and also raises the risks to President Calderon.

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« Reply #289 on: March 03, 2011, 03:39:40 PM »

America's Third War: Texas Farmers Under Attack at the Border

By Kris Gutiérrez

Published March 03, 2011

| FoxNews.com

In Texas, nearly 8,200 farms and ranches back up to the Mexican border.  The men and women who live and work on those properties say they’re under attack from the same drug cartels blamed for thousands of murders in Mexico.

“It’s a war, make no mistake about it,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. “And it’s happening on American soil.”

Texas farmers and ranchers produce more cotton and more cattle than any other state, so Staples is concerned this war could eventually impact our food supply, and calls it a threat to our national security.

“Farmers and ranchers are being run off their own property by armed terrorists showing up and telling them they have to leave their land,” Staples said.

To raise awareness, Commissioner Staples launched the website ProtectYourTexasBorder.com. It’s a place where frustrated and scared farmers can share their stories.

One Texas farmer, who asked not to be identified, said it’s common for him to see undocumented immigrants walking through his property.

“I see something, I just drive away,” he said. “It is a problem, I’ve learned to live with it and pretty much, I’ve become numb to it.”

Another farmer, Joe Aguilar, said enough is enough. After walking up on armed gunmen sneaking undocumented immigrants into the United States through his land, Aguilar decided to sell his farm.“It’s really sad to say, you either have to beat ‘em or join ‘em and I decided not to do either,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar's family farmed 6,000 acres of land along the Texas-Mexico border for nearly 100 years.

“Our farmers and ranchers can’t afford their own security detail,” Staples said. “We’re going to become more dependent on food from foreign sources.  Americans don’t like being dependent on foreign oil, they won’t stand for being dependent on foreign food.”

For more on the battle at our border, visit http://www.ProtectYourTexasBorder.com.

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« Reply #290 on: March 09, 2011, 09:11:56 PM »

EL PASO, Texas—Journalist Emilio Gutierrez and thousands of other Mexicans seeking asylum in the U.S. want protection they say their government can't provide. But, for the U.S., granting such requests carries practical and political risks.

Mr. Gutierrez, who accuses the Mexican military of threatening him, is part of a growing community of asylum seekers, largely centered around El Paso. The latest is Marisol Valles, the former police chief of Mexican border town Práxedis G. Guerrero, who fled to the U.S. last week from the town where her predecessor had been beheaded by drug traffickers.

Some experts say the asylum requests put the U.S. in a thorny position, caught between human-rights goals of supporting those in danger and standing by Mexico, a key ally who says it is capable of protecting its own citizens.

Since Mexico opened its war on drug cartels in 2006, its relationship with the U.S. has grown closer. The two countries now share intelligence, coordinate border security and are linked by a $1.4 billion U.S.-sponsored aid package known as the Mérida Initiative aimed at strengthening Mexican institutions' fight against organized crime.

"When you're granting asylum, you're admitting in effect that the government is going to persecute someone, or is too weak to give that person protection from others who could," said Stephen Legomsky, an asylum expert at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.

And with violence that has killed more than 34,000 people in Mexico since 2006, many see a potential for a rise in asylum requests if the U.S. appears amenable to them.

Other practical concerns work against asylum seekers. For example, many arrive in the U.S. without paperwork and find themselves under the same scrutiny and procedures as immigrants who are caught crossing illegally.

Among the pending asylum cases are those of a family of an activist slain by unknown attackers and a television cameraman who was once kidnapped by a drug cartel and says the government can't stop it from happening again. Getting asylum in the U.S. isn't easy for Mexicans. In 2010, Mexicans made 3,231 asylum requests and the U.S. granted 49; the previous year, 2,816 requests were made with 62 granted.

Mr. Gutierrez's case is particularly charged because of his accusations against the military.

Last year, Mexico received $450 million in drug-fighting aid from the Mérida Initiative that directed much of the money toward its military. One requirement: The Mexican military must have no record of human-rights abuses or a portion of the funds will be withdrawn.

Mr. Gutierrez, 47 years old, worked as a journalist in northern Mexico for more than 25 years before he sought asylum in the U.S. in 2008.

In 2005, he wrote an article about accusations that soldiers had broken into rooms at a hotel in a small border town and stolen items including jewelry and food.

After the story was published, the journalist says he was threatened by a man who identified himself as a colonel and another whom he recognized as a general. "They said I'd written three articles about the military and there would not be a fourth," he said.

Mr. Gutierrez stopped writing about the military. But he launched complaints about his treatment, one which was published in an unsigned front-page story describing the incident and a second that was filed with Mexico's human-rights commission.

In 2008, the Mexican government sent the military into northern border areas and Mr. Gutierrez says his troubles returned.

One night in May that year, he says soldiers broke down his door unexpectedly and began what they said was a search for drugs and weapons. Nothing was found, but he says he was warned to "behave himself."

His newspaper published a front-page story on the incident and photos of the damage. A few months later, Mr. Gutierrez says a friend who was dating a soldier said that his life was in danger.

Shortly after, Mr. Gutierrez and his 15-year-old son crossed into the U.S., telling border guards that he wanted asylum. He and his son were separated and put into detention centers. Mr. Gutierrez was held for eight months, and his son for two. After being released, the two moved to Las Cruces, N.M., an hour's drive from El Paso.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security appointed a prosecutor to the case to argue that Mr. Gutierrez should be deported back to Mexico. The agency declined to comment on the case.

Mexico's military, in response to written questions, said it is aware of the complaints, but has found no evidence of wrongdoing and isn't pursing an investigation.

Mr. Gutierrez's case is set to be determined by an immigration judge next year.

"I will be killed if I go back to Mexico," Mr. Gutierrez said on a recent day at a law office a short drive from the border.

Write to Nicholas Casey at nicholas.casey@wsj.com

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« Reply #291 on: March 11, 2011, 12:56:01 PM »



http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-naw-mexico-guns-20110311,0,2534184.story
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« Reply #292 on: March 11, 2011, 02:05:50 PM »

In this case, Mexico has the right to be pissed.
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« Reply #293 on: March 11, 2011, 02:15:53 PM »

In this case, Mexico has the right to be pissed.

True GM. There is still plenty of blame to go around though.
IMHO, both countries should start hanging people on both sides of the law, that are found to be contributing to this. I have an old, grandmotherly lady friend, that makes my lunch in a dirt shack everyday, and she suffers from people on both sides of the law.

I understand why criminals kill other criminals. I understand why LEO puts on a badge to protect others. Criminals and Leo's that are party to killing innocents on the other hand, are the lowest of the low.

People like these need to start being removed permanently. It is no different when someone is found to be gunning down an LEO. At least the Leo's and the criminals asked for it. The innocent people did not.
My two cents.
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« Reply #294 on: March 11, 2011, 02:20:01 PM »

I want congress to question the BATFE chain of command under oath. If this is the way it's being reported, a lot of firings and/or prosecutions need to happen.
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« Reply #295 on: March 11, 2011, 02:27:19 PM »

I want congress to question the BATFE chain of command under oath. If this is the way it's being reported, a lot of firings and/or prosecutions need to happen.

I agree. My only problem with that is that in this case (and others), bureaucracy and people's political careers, wind up directly affecting people trying to do nothing other than wash their clothes at the laundromat and getting them killed.

If you're on either side and caught engaging them in this behavior, done deal. Hang them.

There are a lot of agents, police officers, and soldiers that put their lives on the line honourably, only to have people like these (including sitting politicians), sully all that they sacrifice.

This world has too many "humanitarian" rules that protect these idiots (both sides of the law).
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« Reply #296 on: March 12, 2011, 08:15:52 AM »

Demand for Mexican Security Firms’ Services Soars
Friday, March 11, 2011 | Borderland Beat Reporter Buggs

Mexico’s private security companies saw demand for their services soar 25 percent in 2010 due to a surging crime rate and requests for protective service by businesses and individuals during the Christmas holidays, an industry association said. 
Security companies’ payrolls grew about 25 percent last year because of rising demand in parts of the country that are doing well economically, the 150-member National Association of Private Security and Associated Industry Executives said.

“Housing units, shopping centers, security for trucks and bodyguards were the segments with the highest volume,” the trade group said.

Association members saw demand for security services rise in the states of Mexico, Nuevo Leon, Guerrero, Jalisco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, San Luis Potosi, Veracruz, Puebla, Morelos and Michoacan, as well as in the Federal District, the trade group said.

Security was expanded by clients affected by burglaries, the theft of merchandise from shopping centers and department stores, truck hijackings and kidnappings.  Security firms have grown by offering a complete portfolio of services, ranging from security guards to risk analysis and the installation of security systems, association president Arnulfo Garibo said.

Providing protection for cargo trucks is the area with the fastest-growing demand because security firms helped prevent more than 300 highway robberies, association spokesman David Garcia said.  Robberies fell 70 percent, Garcia said, adding that security firms worked with other industries and used satellite monitoring, armor plating and logistics techniques to protect trucks.

Source: EFE

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« Reply #297 on: April 20, 2011, 10:17:39 AM »

Agenda: Mexican Drug Cartels
April 15, 2011 | 2156 GMT
Click on image below to watch video:



Vice President of Tactical Intelligence Scott Stewart looks at the potential for an escalation of violence as Mexican drug cartels fight for power and control.


Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Colin: More than 230 American cities have now been affected by the presence of Mexican drug cartels. This weekend, Australia’s Crime Commission reported that the cartels have taken ahold of organized crime syndicates in cities like Sydney and Melbourne. In Mexico, the seemingly unstoppable violence continues. A few days ago we had the gruesome discovery of at least 116 bodies in mass graves near the city of San Fernando, just 100 miles away from the Texan border. And, perhaps as evidence of more violence to come, we have the erection of concrete car-bomb barriers outside the busy United States consulate in Monterrey.

Welcome to Agenda. Joining me this week to discuss Mexican security is Scott Stewart. Scott, let’s start with this latest security measure. Has this building been targeted before, and is there intelligence that it’s about to be hit by a large car bomb?

Scott: Well first of all yes, the U.S. consulate general in Monterrey has been targeted before by attacks but these have been attacks using hand grenades and small arms, and that’s something different from a large car bomb attack. At this point we don’t believe there is any imminent car bomb threat to that facility, or any other U.S. facilities in Mexico for that matter.

Colin: Why would a cartel want to escalate the battle and invite the further wrath of the United States?

Scott: The Mexican cartels certainly don’t shy away from violence. We see them regularly beheading and dismembering people. However they tend to try to target most of their violence against opponents of the fellow cartels or against government employees, and a lot of times the government employees that they target are actually working for opposition cartels. So there’s really a relation there between the targeting. We have not seen the Mexican cartels really get into widespread attacks against the public at large. They have really tried to target their violence. And in times where we have seen them have incidents where there’s been indiscriminate violence, or violence that has impacted negatively on their public image - things like the Falcon Lake shooting - we have seen the cartels come down hard on operatives that made those mistakes and that brought the heat down upon the cartel.

One thing to remember is that these cartels are not terrorist groups. They are really businesses, and they’re organized crime organizations. So their end is making money. That is their objective. And anything that gets in the way of that objective, bringing down massive heat upon them, is bad for business, and they try to shy away from that sort of activity.

Colin: Are the authorities making any progress in their fight against the cartels?

Scott: Well, I think it depends on how one defines progress. Certainly, they have been arresting the heads of certain cartels and they have been disrupting the operations of some of these cartels. For example, over the last five or six years, organizations such as the Arellano-Felix organization, which is also known as the Tijuana cartel; another organization, the Juarez Cartel or the VCF, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes organization; they’ve both been decimated. Likewise, we’ve seen the Beltran Leyva organization decapitated and split up. So, they’re making headway against certain organizations, but at the same time, the largest cartel, Sinaloa cartel, that is headed up by a gentleman by the name of El Chapo, “the short one,” Sinaloa has been getting stronger and stronger. And they are really becoming more of a regional hegemon in the cartel landscape. And right now, they control the border from Tijuana all the way over to Juarez, for the most part. And they are acting to increase their control over that area. So while certain cartels have been weakened, other cartels, like Sinaloa, have become stronger.

Of course, one other measure of progress against the cartels would be violence. And indeed, we have not seen violence come down at all. This fracturing, this splintering of these cartel organizations, has really led to more fighting. What happens is, when a cartel organization has very good control of an area - or what we call a plaza, a smuggling corridor - there’s generally peace in that area. But when they become weakened and another organization comes in and tries to take over there territory, that’s when you see the violence, that’s when you see the fighting. And of course the death toll then will increase. So as some of these organizations have been weakened, others have tried to move in. And that has escalated the violence.

Colin: How safe is it for a businessperson to go to Mexico now, and where should they avoid?

Scott: There are certain hotspots right now. Indeed, in Acapulco at this present time we have a three-way struggle for control of that city between three factions of the former Beltran Leyva organization. One that now calls itself the Cartel del Pacifico Sur, the South Pacific Cartel; another faction has gone on to form this independent cartel of Acapulco; and still another little faction has gone and they’re working with Sinaloa. And so you have these three organizations fighting each other for control of Acapulco, which generally in the past had been a very popular tourist resort.

Likewise, in the Northeast we see a lot of violence right now in places like Monterrey. And one of the reasons that Monterrey is so concerning is because it is really the industrial heart of Mexico. You have not only large Mexican corporations that are headquartered there, but also U.S. companies have gone down into Monterrey in order to manufacture. The things that make Monterrey attractive to businesses, the fact that they have good lines of communication and roads, and then of course lines of communication to the U.S. border to ship stuff, also makes it an ideal place to control as a drug organization. If you can control Monterrey, you can control the flow of a lot of goods and a lot of contraband to the border. So we really expect to see a lot of continued violence in the Northeast in the coming months.

Colin: Scott, thank you. Scott Stewart there, ending Agenda for this week.

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« Reply #298 on: April 20, 2011, 10:58:02 AM »

Last week, Margarita Crispin, a female officer working on the border, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for taking $5 million in bribes for allowing vehicles with marijuana to come through her point of entry. Today we’re going to look at the increase in corruption cases along the U.S. and Mexican border.

In the last five years, nearly 80 U.S. border patrol and customs and border protection officers have been arrested for corruption. The up tick in the arrests along the border are in parallel to the enhanced physical security measures that have been put into place with the laser focus on border security efforts. For example, walls and fences had been built along the border, along with unmanned surveillance vehicles such as drones. On the technology front, very sophisticated license plate readers, which can very quickly identify cartel suspects or stolen automobiles, as well as the enhanced SIGINT capability, which is the intercept of text messages, cellular telephone calls and email between cartel suspects in Mexico and the United States. As a result of the enhanced physical security measures along the border, the cartels are operating as a foreign intelligence agency, utilizing the exploitation of human capital, human assets, people, to provide intelligence to their organizations.

From an exploitation perspective, cartels are utilizing the principle of MICE. The “M” in MICE stands for money, and as we look at the corruption cases on the border, clearly the bulk are as a result of money: paying bribes to law enforcement officers throughout the border. “I” is ideology and we don’t see that being used along the border. “C” is compromise, and we have seen evidence of that surfacing, primarily using sex as a tool to compromise law enforcement officers. “E” is for ego and in that case it is the promotion or looking at individuals that think they deserve a better position and haven’t gotten that inside their police department or government agency, but we haven’t seen a lot of ego being used along the border.

To recap, looking at the acronym of MICE, money and compromise are the primary drivers for the border corruption. The Above the Tearline aspect is there really needs to be an aggressive background investigation process engaged with any law enforcement personnel working the border, with routine and thorough updates. The polygraph can also play an important part here with a line of questioning focusing on finances, extravagant lifestyle, multiple vacations, as well as other kinds of suitability issues that could surface. The use of an updated background investigation process, combined with the polygraph, can be used to help stem the tide of corruption that appears to be increasing along the border

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #299 on: April 20, 2011, 11:16:59 AM »

Third post of the morning

The Perceived Car Bomb Threat in Mexico
April 13, 2011


By Scott Stewart

Related Special Topic Page
Tracking Mexico’s Drug Cartels
On April 5, Mexican newspaper El Universal reported that a row of concrete Jersey barriers was being emplaced in front of the U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey, Mexico. The story indicated that the wall was put in to block visibility of the facility, but being only about 107 centimeters (42 inches) high, such barriers do little to block visibility. Instead, this modular concrete wall is clearly being used to block one lane of traffic in front of the consulate in an effort to provide the facility with some additional standoff distance from the avenue that passes in front of it.

Due to the location and design of the current consulate building in Monterrey, there is only a narrow sidewalk separating the building’s front wall from the street and very little distance between the front wall and the building. This lack of standoff has been long noted, and it was an important factor in the decision to build a new consulate in Monterrey (construction began in June 2010 and is scheduled to be completed in January 2013).

The U.S. Consulate in Monterrey has been targeted in the past by cartels using small arms and grenades. The last grenade attack near the consulate was in October 2010. However, the Jersey barriers placed in front of the consulate will do little to protect the building against small arms fire, which can be directed at portions of the building above the perimeter wall, or grenades, which can be thrown over the wall. Rather, such barriers are used to protect facilities against an attack using a car bomb, or what is called in military and law enforcement vernacular a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED).

That such barriers have been employed (or re-employed, really, since they have been used before at the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey) indicates that there is at least a perceived VBIED threat in Mexico. The placement of the barriers was followed by a Warden Message issued April 8 by the U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey warning that “the U.S. government has received uncorroborated information Mexican criminal gangs may intend to attack U.S. law enforcement officers or U.S. citizens in the near future in Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and San Luis Potosi.” It is quite possible that the placement of the barriers at the consulate was related to this Warden Message.

The Mexican cartels have employed improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the past, but the devices have been small. While their successful employment has shown that the cartels could deploy larger devices if they decided to do so, there are still some factors causing them to avoid using large VBIEDs.


Some History

The use of IEDs in Mexico is nothing new. Explosives are plentiful in Mexico due to their widespread use in the country’s mining and petroleum sectors. Because of Mexico’s strict gun laws, it is easier and cheaper to procure explosives — specifically commercial explosives such as Tovex — in Mexico than it is firearms. We have seen a number of different actors use explosive devices in Mexico, including left-wing groups such as the Popular Revolutionary Army and its various splinters, which have targeted banks and commercial centers (though usually at night and in a manner intended to cause property damage and not human casualties). An anarchist group calling itself the Subversive Alliance for the Liberation of the Earth, Animals and Humans has also employed a large number of small IEDs against banks, insurance companies, car dealerships and other targets.

Explosives have also played a minor role in the escalation of cartel violence in Mexico. The first cartel-related IED incident we recall was the Feb. 15, 2008, premature detonation of an IED in Mexico City that investigators concluded was likely a failed assassination attempt against a high-ranking police official. Three months later, in May 2008, there was a rash of such assassinations in Mexico City targeting high-ranking police officials such as Edgar Millan Gomez, who at the time of his death was Mexico’s highest-ranking federal law enforcement officer. While these assassinations were conducted using firearms, they supported the theory that the Feb. 15, 2008, incident was indeed a failed assassination attempt.

Mexican officials have frequently encountered explosives, including small amounts of military-grade explosives and far larger quantities of commercial explosives, when they have uncovered arms caches belonging to the cartels. But it was not until July 2010 that IEDs began to be employed by the cartels with any frequency.

On July 15, 2010, in Juarez, Chihuahua state, the enforcement wing of the Juarez cartel, known as La Linea, remotely detonated an IED located inside a car as federal police agents were responding to reports of a dead body inside a car. The attack killed two federal agents, one municipal police officer and an emergency medical technician and wounded nine other people. Shortly after this well-coordinated attack, La Linea threatened that if the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation did not investigate and remove the chief of the Chihuahua state police intelligence unit — who La Linea claimed was working for the Sinaloa Federation — the group would deploy a car bomb containing 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of explosives. The threat proved to be an empty one, and since last July, La Linea has deployed just one additional IED, which was discovered by police on Sept. 10, 2010, in Juarez.

The Sept. 10 incident bore a striking resemblance to the July 15 Juarez bombing. The device was hidden in a vehicle parked near another vehicle that contained a dead body that was reported to police. The Sept. 10 device appears to have malfunctioned, since it did not detonate as first responders arrived. The device was noticed by authorities and rendered safe by a Mexican military explosive ordnance disposal team. This device reportedly contained a main charge of 16 kilograms of Tovex, and while that quantity of explosives was far smaller than the 100-kilogram device La Linea threatened to employ, it was still a significant step up in size from the July 15 IED. Based upon the amount of physical damage done to buildings and other vehicles in the area where the device exploded, and the lack of a substantial crater in the street under the vehicle containing the device, the July 15 IED appears to have contained at most a couple of kilograms of explosives.

Seemingly taking a cue from La Linea, the Gulf cartel also began deploying IEDs in the summer of 2010 against law enforcement targets it claimed were cooperating with Los Zetas, which is currently locked in a heated battle with the Gulf cartel for control of Mexico’s northeast (see the map here for an understanding of cartel geographies). Between August and December 2010, Gulf cartel enforcers deployed at least six other IEDs against what they called the “Zeta police” and the media in such cities as Ciudad Victoria in Tamaulipas state and Zuazua in Nuevo Leon. However, these attacks were all conducted against empty vehicles and there was no apparent attempt to inflict casualties. The devices were intended more as messages than weapons.

The employment of IEDs has not been confined just to the border. On Jan. 22, a small IED placed inside a car detonated near the town of Tula, Hidalgo state, injuring four local policemen. Initial reports suggested that local law enforcement received an anonymous tip about a corpse in a white Volkswagen Bora. The IED reportedly detonated when police opened one of the vehicle’s doors, suggesting either some sort of booby trap or a remotely detonated device.

The damage from the Tula device is consistent with a small device placed inside a vehicle, making it similar to the IEDs deployed in Juarez and Ciudad Victoria in 2010. The setup and the deployment of the IED in Tula also bear some resemblance to the tactics used by La Linea in the July 2010 Juarez attack; in both cases, a corpse was used as bait to lure law enforcement to the scene before the device was detonated. Despite these similarities, the distance between Tula and Juarez and the makeup of the cartel landscape make it unlikely that the same group or bombmaker was involved in these two incidents.


Car Bombs vs. Bombs in Cars

The IEDs that have been detonated by the Mexican cartels share a very common damage profile. The frames of the vehicles in which the devices were hidden remained largely intact after detonation and damage to surrounding structures and vehicles was relatively minor, indicating the devices were rather small in size. The main charges were probably similar to the device found in a vehicle recovered from an arms cache in Guadalajara, Jalisco state, on Sept. 10, 2010 — a liquor bottle filled with no more than a kilogram of commercial explosives.

In fact, most of the devices we have seen in Mexico so far have been what we consider “bombs in cars” rather than “car bombs.” The difference between the two is one of scale. Motorcycle gangs and organized crime groups frequently place pipe bombs and other small IEDs in vehicles in order to kill enemies or send messages. However, it is very uncommon for the police investigating such attacks to refer to these small devices as car bombs or VBIEDs. As the name implies, “vehicle borne” suggests that the device is too large to be borne by other means and requires a vehicle to convey it to the target. This means the satchel device that prematurely detonated in Mexico City in February 2008 or the liquor-bottle charge recovered in Guadalajara in September 2010 would not have been considered VBIEDs had they been detonated in vehicles. None of the devices we have seen successfully employed in Mexico has been an actual VBIED, as defined by those commonly used in Iraq, Pakistan or Afghanistan — or even Colombia in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The only explosive device we have seen that even remotely approached being considered a VBIED was the 16-kilogram device discovered in Juarez in September 2010. This means that those who are referring to the devices deployed in Mexico as VBIEDs are either mistaken or are intentionally hyping the devices. Claiming that the cartels are using “car bombs” clearly benefits those who are trying to portray the cartels as terrorists. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, there are both political and practical motives for labeling the Mexican drug cartels terrorists rather than just vicious criminals.

That said, the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes organization and the Gulf cartel have demonstrated that they can construct small devices and remotely detonate them using cellphones, Futaba radio-control transmitters and servos (as have the still unidentified groups responsible for the Tula attack and the radio-controlled device recovered in Guadalajara in September 2010). Once an organization possesses the ability to do this, and has access to large quantities of explosives, the only factor that prevents it from creating and detonating large VBIED-type devices is will.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s in Colombia, powerful Colombian drug trafficking organizations such as the Medellin cartel used large-scale terrorist attacks in an effort to get the Colombian government to back off on its counternarcotics efforts. Some of the attacks conducted by the Medellin cartel, such as the December 1989 bombing of the Colombian Administrative Department of Security, utilized at least 450 kilograms of explosives and were incredibly devastating. However, these attacks did not achieve their objective. Instead, they served to steel the will of the Colombian government and also caused the Colombians to turn to the United States for even more assistance in their battle against the Colombian cartels.

A U.S. government investigator who assisted the Colombian government in investigating some of the large VBIED attacks conducted by the Medellin cartel notes that Medellin frequently employed Futaba radio-control devices in its VBIEDs like those used for model aircraft. A similar Futaba device was recovered in Guadalajara in September 2010, found wired to the explosives-filled liquor bottle inside the car. This may or may not provide the Mexican authorities with any sort of hard forensic link between the Mexican and Colombian cartels, but it is quite significant that the Futaba device was used in an IED in Mexico with a main explosive charge that was much smaller than those used in Colombia.

On April 1, 2011, the Mexican military discovered a large arms cache in Matamoros. In addition to encountering the customary automatic weapons, grenades and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, the military also seized 412 chubs (plastic sleeves) of hydrogel commercial explosives, 36 electric detonators and more than 11 meters of detonation cord. (The Mexican government did not provide photos of the explosives nor the weight of the material recovered, but chubs of gel explosives can range in size from less than half a kilogram to a couple of kilograms in weight.) This means there were at least a hundred kilograms of explosives in the cache, enough to make a sizable VBIED. Given that the cache was located in Matamoros and appears to have been there for some time, it is likely that it belonged to the Gulf cartel. This, like other seizures of explosives, indicates that the reason the Gulf cartel has used small explosive devices in its past attacks is not due to lack of explosives or expertise but lack of will.


Assessing the Threat

When assessing any threat, two main factors must be considered: intent and capability. So far, the Mexican cartels have demonstrated they have the capability to employ VBIEDs but not the intent. Discerning future intent is difficult, but judging from an actor’s past behavior can allow a thoughtful observer to draw some conclusions. First, the Juarez cartel has been hard-pressed by both the Mexican government and the Sinaloa Federation, and it is desperately struggling to survive. Despite this, the leaders of that organization have decided not to follow through with their threats from last July to unleash a 100-kilogram VBIED on Juarez. The Juarez cartel is not at all squeamish about killing people and it is therefore unlikely that the group has avoided employing VBIEDs for altruistic or benevolent reasons. Clearly, they seem to believe that it is in their best interests not to pop off a VBIED or a series of such devices.

Although the Juarez cartel is badly wounded, the last thing it wants to do is invite the full weight of the U.S. and Mexican governments down upon its head by becoming the Mexican version of Pablo Escobar’s Medellin cartel, which would likely happen should it begin to conduct large terrorist-style bombings. Escobar’s employment of terrorism backfired on him and resulted not only in his own death but also the dismantlement of his entire organization. A key factor in Escobar’s downfall was that his use of terrorism not only affected the government but also served to turn the population against him. He went from being seen by many Colombians as almost a folk hero to being reviled and hated. His organization lost the support of the population and found itself isolated and unable to hide amid the populace.

Similar concerns are likely constraining the actions of the Mexican cartels. It is one thing to target members of opposing cartels, or even law enforcement and military personnel, and it is quite another to begin to indiscriminately target civilians or to level entire city blocks with large VBIEDs. While the drug war — and the crime wave that has accompanied it — has affected many ordinary Mexicans and turned sentiment against the cartels, public sentiment would be dramatically altered by the adoption of true terrorist tactics. So far, the Mexican cartels have been very careful not to cross that line.

There is also the question of cost versus benefit. So far, the Mexican cartels have been able to use small IEDs to accomplish what they need — essentially sending messages — without having to use large IEDs that would require more resources and could cause substantial collateral damage that would prompt a public-opinion backlash. There is also considerable doubt that a larger IED attack would really accomplish anything concrete for the cartels. While the cartels will sometimes conduct very violent actions, most of those actions are quite pragmatic. Cartel elements who operate as loose cannons are often harshly disciplined by cartel leadership, like the gunmen involved in the Falcon Lake shooting.

So while the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey may be erecting Jersey barriers to protect it from VBIED attacks, it is likely doing so based on an abundance of caution or some bureaucratic mandate, not hard intelligence that the cartels are planning to hit the facility with a VBIED.

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