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Old 02-16-2012   #341
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Tinker Tailor Soldier Kingpin: How Sinaloa cartel boss 'El Chapo' Guzmán got U.S. agents to help him become Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, by Aram Roston. Newsweek, 30 January 2012.
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Most criminals who become informants do so because they’ve been arrested and squeezed, encouraged to betray their criminal employers in exchange for leniency. But this man had an unusual story to tell about his first encounter with U.S. federal agents. It was his boss, a top manager at the Sinaloa cartel, who encouraged him to help the Americans. Meet with the U.S. investigators, he was told. See how we can help them with information.

At the time, Guzmán’s huge Sinaloa organization was in the middle of a savage war, trying to crush the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes cartel, known as the VCF. And the Sinaloa cartel wanted to pass along information about its enemies to American agents.

The drug dealer told me how, acting with the full approval of his cartel, he strolled into the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office for an appointment with federal investigators. He walked through a metal detector and past the portrait of the American president on the wall, then into a room with a one-way mirror. The agents he met were very polite. He was surprised by what they had to say. “One of the ICE agents said they were here to help [the Sinaloa cartel]. And to f### the Vicente Carrillo cartel. Sorry for the language. That’s exactly what they said.”

So began another small chapter in one of the most secretive aspects of the drug war: an extensive operation by Chapo Guzmán’s forces to manipulate American law enforcement to their own benefit.
Is this a counterintelligence failure or just the nature of the ‘war on drugs’?
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Old 02-21-2012   #342
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Mexico's Burgeoning Economy Amid Drug Violence

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There have been reports about Mexico's thriving economy amid continuing drug violence. Does this sort of ambivalence truly exist in Mexico right now?

It is true. Mexico is a place that's seen a huge escalation in violence. Under President Felipe Calderon over the last five years, we've seen almost 50,000 people killed in drug-related murders. But at the same time, Mexico's economy has actually been doing quite well since the end of the global recession. Mexico was the hardest hit in Latin America but it's recovered quite quickly, and in part it's been due to a huge boom in manufacturing along the border tied to U.S. companies and to U.S. consumers.

We've seen a boom in tourism. There have been record levels of tourists over the last year in Mexico--to its beaches, to its colonial cities, and to Mexico City. And we've also seen the benefit of high oil prices as Mexico still produces a good amount of oil and much of it for the United States ...
I wonder to what extent NAFTA has changed the Mexican economy and thus Mexico itself. Trade with the U.S. and Canada has skyrocketed - is it any wonder that this would include illegal drugs as well as car parts, with a corresponding increase in the sophistication and capabilities of Mexican organized crime?
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Old 02-21-2012   #343
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http://www.stanford.edu/group/progre...cgi-bin/?p=521

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By far, the people most hurt by a blow to the drug cartels would be the rural poor in certain areas of Mexico. According to Ms. Rios: “drug traffic cash flows are in fact helping some Mexican communities to somehow alleviate a grinding stage of poverty and underdevelopment. In fact, for almost all drug-producing communities, the drug traffic industry seems to be the only source of income.” This is partly due to the nature of drug cultivation, which, in many ways, is similar to farming. As of the late 1990′s, roughly 300,000 peasants were employed in drug production. The National Farm Workers’ Union (UNTA) estimates a number around 600,000. The importance of drugs in the area is nothing new. The earliest documented poppy production in the state of Sinaloa, called “the heart of Mexican drug country” by Newsweek, was in 1886. The extent of this dependence was illustrated in 1976, when a joint operation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the Mexican government was organized. Called “Operacion Condor”, it involved helicopters that would spray (and ruin) poppy and marijuana fields. The operation caused such immediate economic destabilization in the region that the Mexican government indefinitely halted the project. This dependence on drug cultivation, especially on the labor-intensive process of processing poppy gum, still exists today.

Given the close ties between drug revenues and the economy, it is not entirely surprising to see some support for cartels in certain areas. Drug organizations have begun to provide psuedo-governments in certain towns, and sometimes win the support of locals by positive means. Of course, terror tactics, including a rising trend of beheadings, death threats, and atrocities, balance these. Still, a dependence on drug money establishes what some call an “artificial economy” that may simply disappear as the drug war goes on.
http://www.economywatch.com/in-the-n...ars.01-02.html

Global Warming impacts the Cartels


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The number of illegal marijuana plantations in Northern Mexico has “declined considerably” over the last few months, told a Mexican army commander to the Associated Press on Tuesday, as a devastating drought continues to wreck havoc on the country’s water supply to both its population and cropland.


"We can see a lot less (marijuana plantations) than in other years," said General Pedro Gurrola, commander of armed forces in the state of Sinaloa. With water supply scarce, many marijuana crops have also dried up, added General Gurrola, whose forces conducts regular surveillance flights across the country to seek out any illicit drug plantations.
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Old 02-23-2012   #344
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Default Rain, or lack thereof...

makes absolutely no difference to the huge meth production ops run by Sinaloa primarily, but also by La Familia Michoacana, Los Caballeros Templarios, and Los Zetas. Huge labs in Sinaloa, Durango, Jalisco, Nayarit, Michoacán, Guanajuato states, but now also popping up in Sonora.

And then there's the poppies...Mexico appears to have moved into second place behind Afghanistan for poppy cultivation and heroin production - and a number of the chem precursors and reagents used for meth synthesis also are used for heroin production.

And then there's the cocaine...

Whether due to interdiction, weather, eradication, or escalated conflict, we see large upswings in the high-value/low-volume narcotics whenever marijuana smuggling drops.

As for the economic impact, that's where geopolitical realities come firmly into play. Whether you're talking the Fox or Calderon administrations, or whomever follows next, the GOM is stuck between a rock and a US place. The Mexican drug trafficking trade (et al) brings in anywhere from 30-50 billion USD per year into the economy (a very hefty 20% or so), and the GOM has to strike a careful balance. The USG pressured (and continues to pressure) the GOM to kill the goose that's been pooping out golden eggs. But when Calderon started targeting cartel leadership he created power vacuums that destabilised what had been until about 2004 a thriving drug trade that only experienced localised turf wars on rather a small scale.

Now the violence, fracturing and fragmentation of the original family-centric organisations that sprang from the Guadalajara cartel has spiralled so far out of control - directly due to Calderon's initiatives (and I seriously doubt that anyone in the GOM in 2006 had any clue what they started) - the genie can't be shoved back into the bottle.
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Old 02-29-2012   #345
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Texas Observer - The Deadliest Place in Mexico

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... For decades, this lucrative smuggling corridor, or “plaza,” was controlled by the Juarez cartel. In 2008, Mexico’s largest, most powerful syndicate—the Sinaloa cartel, run by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman—declared war on the Juarez cartel and moved in to take over the territory. The federal government sent in the military to quell the violence. Instead the murder rate in the state of Chihuahua exploded. The bloodshed in the city of Juarezm made international news. It was dubbed the “deadliest city in the world.” So much blood was being shed in Juarez that few outside the region noticed the violence spilling into the rural valley to the east, where killings and atrocities began to occur on a daily basis. Police officers, political leaders and community activists were shot down in the streets. By 2009, the valley, with a population of 20,000, had a shocking murder rate of 1,600 per 100,000 inhabitants—six times higher than its neighboring “deadliest city in the world”—according to government estimates. In one particularly gruesome stretch in 2010, several valley residents were stabbed in the face with ice picks, and a local man aligned with the Juarez cartel was skewered with an iron bar, riddled with bullets, then roasted over an open fire. The Juarez newspapers began to call the rural farming region the “Valley of Death ...”
The story is focused on the Juarez Valley and how the massive violence in the region was brought by what has been theorized before - the Sinaloa Cartel's conquest of the smuggling corridor through the violent extermination of the Juarez Cartel, allied with the Mexican Army. The story posits a disturbing thesis - that the Sinaloa Cartel and the Mexican Army are working hand in glove.
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Old 03-01-2012   #346
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Default While disturbing, it's not just a thesis...

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Originally Posted by tequila View Post
Texas Observer - The Deadliest Place in Mexico

The story is focused on the Juarez Valley and how the massive violence in the region was brought by what has been theorized before - the Sinaloa Cartel's conquest of the smuggling corridor through the violent extermination of the Juarez Cartel, allied with the Mexican Army. The story posits a disturbing thesis - that the Sinaloa Cartel and the Mexican Army are working hand in glove.
The Sinaloa cartel has the Mexican army and the Federal Police heavily infiltrated in the western half of the country, and some would argue that Chapo owns the Federales. But in their areas of control in the eastern half of the country the same can be said of Los Zetas, regarding infiltration of and/or influence over the army. It's not clear to me to what extent Los Z has influence with the state police, but Z support networks have long involved municipal police.
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Old 03-04-2012   #347
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Default Mexico's Challenges: Lessons in the War Against Organized Crime

Mexico's Challenges: Lessons in the War Against Organized Crime

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Old 03-05-2012   #348
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Default Five Ps for a Violence Reduction Strategy in Mexico (Part I)

Five Ps for a Violence Reduction Strategy in Mexico (Part I)

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Old 03-07-2012   #349
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Default Five Ps for a Violence Reduction Strategy in Mexico (Part II)

Five Ps for a Violence Reduction Strategy in Mexico (Part II)

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Old 03-09-2012   #350
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Default Five Ps for a Violence Reduction Strategy in Mexico (Part III)

Five Ps for a Violence Reduction Strategy in Mexico (Part III)

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Old 03-20-2012   #351
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Gunmen in western Mexico have killed 12 policemen investigating the beheadings of 10 people. The officers were attacked as they searched for bodies after severed heads were found near the town of Teloloapan in Guerrero state on Sunday. Messages threatening the La Familia drug cartel were found with the heads.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-17439509
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Old 03-30-2012   #352
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Default Corley DEA Sting Operation

From DoJ (Press Release), Two With Alleged Ties to Military and Others Charged in Murder-for-Hire Plot/Drug Conspiracy (March 26, 2012):

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LAREDO, Texas – Several men have been arrested and charged in a conspiracy related to drug trafficking and/or an attempted murder-for-hire plot, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Kevin Corley (Corley), 29, Samuel Walker, 28, both of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Shavar Davis, 29, of Denver, Colo., were taken into custody Saturday afternoon in Laredo, Texas, while Marcus Mickle, 20, and Calvin Epps, 26, both of Hopkins, S.C., were arrested in South Carolina. A sixth man, Mario Corley, 40, of Saginaw, Texas, was also taken into custody in relation to this case in Charleston, S.C.

The criminal complaint charging Corley, Walker and Davis was filed just a short time ago in Laredo federal court, at which time they made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Song Quiroga. Mickle and Epps, charged in a now unsealed indictment, are expected to make their initial appearances in Columbia, S.C., this afternoon.
...
On Jan. 7, 2012, Corley traveled to Laredo and met with undercover agents at which time the agents inquired about his ability to perform "wet work," allegedly understood to mean murder-for-hire, specifically, whether he could provide a team to raid a ranch were 20 kilograms of stolen cocaine were being kept by rival cartel members. Corley confirmed he would conduct the contract killing with a small team, at a minimum comprised of himself and another person who he described as an active duty soldier with whom he had already consulted. According to the complaint, Corley ultimately agreed to $50,000 and five kilograms of cocaine to perform the contract killing and retrieve the 20 kilograms of cocaine and offered to refund the money if the victim survived.
...
On March 5, 2012, Corley delivered two AR-15 assault rifles with scopes, an airsoft assault rifle, five allegedly stolen ballistic vests and other miscellaneous equipment to an undercover agent in Colorado Springs, Colo., in exchange for $10,000. At the meeting, Corley and the undercover agent allegedly again discussed the contract killing and the retrieval of the cocaine which was to occur on March 24, 2012. Corley allegedly stated he had purchased a new Ka-Bar knife to carve a “Z” into the victim’s chest and was planning on buying a hatchet to dismember the body.

On March 24, 2012, Corley, Walker and Davis traveled to Laredo and met with undercover agents, at which time they discussed the location of the intended victim, the logistics of performing the contract kill and their respective roles. The three were arrested, during which time a fourth suspect was shot and killed. A subsequent search of the vehicle in which Corley and the other co-conspirators arrived revealed two semi-automatic rifles with scopes, one bolt-action rifle with a scope and bipod, one hatchet, one Ka-Bar knife, one bag of .223 caliber ammunition and one box of .300 caliber ammunition. ... (more) ...
Criminal Complaint (26 Mar 2012).

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Old 04-03-2012   #353
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When your Small War turns into a Lovecraftian plotline.

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Authorities in the northern Mexican state of Sonora have arrested eight people accused of killing two boys and one woman as human sacrifices for Santa Muerte -- the saint of death -- officials said Friday.

The victims, two of whom were age 10, were killed and their blood was offered at an altar to the saint, according to Jose Larrinaga, spokesman for state prosecutors. The accused were asking the saint, who is generally portrayed as a skeleton dressed in a long robe and carrying a scythe, for protection, he said.
http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/30/wo...iref=obnetwork
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Old 04-08-2012   #354
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Default Zetas and MS-13 Join Forces in Guatemala

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/new...-in-guatemala/

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In recent months, authorities say, they have begun to see the first signs that the Zetas are providing paramilitary training and equipment to the Maras in exchange for intelligence and crimes meant to divert law-enforcement resources and attention.
Here is a match made in hell, and it is sounding too much like the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, Somalia, and other locations where those with similiar purposes converge, network, train, and coordinate future operations.
Quote:
"As a result of this union with the Zetas, the Mara Salvatrucha have more ability to organize, strategize and maneuver," Velasco said. "The Mara Salvatrucha want to build up their inventory of long-range weapons, grenades and drugs for their own use and for sale ... they know the economic benefit is great for them and that the Zetas, as an outside group, need the Maras' network in order to grow inside Guatemala."
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Old 04-20-2012   #355
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Default The Case of Mexico: A Hard Pill to Swallow

The Case of Mexico: A Hard Pill to Swallow

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Old 04-22-2012   #356
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(CNN) -- A group of masked gunmen stormed a popular bar in the Mexican city of Chihuahua late Friday, killing 15 people, including two journalists, state prosecutors said Saturday.

At least 10 suspects entered the Colorado Bar wearing what looked like police uniforms and opened fire on the crowd inside the bar, according to Carlos Gonzalez, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state attorney general's office. Eleven people died at the scene, and the other four died en route to the hospital.
http://edition.cnn.com/2012/04/21/wo...-bar-killings/
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Old 05-10-2012   #357
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No, this is not a re-post. More like a "quid pro quo, Clarice" sorta thing.

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Police found the dismembered, decapitated bodies of 15 people in two abandoned vehicles in western Mexico Wednesday in an apparent revenge killing between powerful drug gangs.

Police initially counted 12 bodies dumped in the car on a road between Mexico's second city of Guadalajara and the lakeside city of Chapala, known for its North American expatriate community.
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/fifteen-dec...223203577.html
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Old 05-14-2012   #358
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The bodies of the 43 men and six women were found in the town of San Juan on the non-toll highway to the border city of Reynosa at about 4am on Sunday morning, forcing police and troops to close off the highway.

Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene said at a news conference that a banner left at the site bore a message with the Zetas drug cartel taking responsibility for the massacre.

Domene said the fact the bodies were found with the heads, hands and feet cut off will make identification difficult. The bodies were being taken to Monterrey for DNA tests.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012...tilated-bodies
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Old 05-21-2012   #359
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An army spokesman said Daniel Jesus Elizondo, known as El Loco, or The Madman, was arrested by troops.

The authorities say he is the local leader of the Zetas drug cartel, which, they say, left threatening messages with the bodies.

In a statement, Mexico's defence secretary said Mr Elizondo was detained on 18 May in Cadereyta municipality, where the 49 bodies had been found six days earlier.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-18140844
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Old 06-01-2012   #360
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Mexico Cartel Drops Aerial Leaflets Against Gov't

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