Mexicans make important arrest in struggle with cartel

January 24, 2014

prisonFox News Latino, 01/24/2014

Federal forces deployed in the embattled western state of Michoacan arrested a man identified by media outlets as a key figure in the drug cartel that has been terrorizing the region, the head of Mexico’s National Public Safety System said.

Hector Chavez Quiroz, 40, is “an important part of a criminal structure,” Monte Alejandro Rubido told a press conference in Morelia, the state capital.

Though the official did not name the criminal organization, media accounts described Chavez Quiroz as the lieutenant of Enrique Plancarte, one of the seven top bosses of the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar) outfit.

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Mexico protects wounded leader of citizen militia trying to fight off cartels

January 10, 2014

m16 gun closeupThe Washington Post, 01/09/2014

Fifty federal police officers armed with black assault rifles guard the gates of an exclusive private hospital in this cosmopolitan capital.

They are patrolling the polished stone lobby, standing sentry under palm trees, surveilling the Starbucks. Private security guards and local police man the doors, driveways and elevators.

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Mexico ‘clown’ gunmen kill ex-drug chief Arellano Felix

October 21, 2013

BBC News, 10/19/2013

gun - crime sceneThe authorities in Mexico have said gunmen dressed as clowns have shot dead a former leading member of a once-powerful and violent drug cartel. Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix, 63, was killed in a beach resort in Baja California in north-western Mexico. He and his brothers controlled the drug trade on Mexico’s border with the United States in the 1990s. But their Tijuana cartel was gradually weakened by the capture or killing of other leading members.

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Three police, four suspected cartel members killed in Mexico shootout

October 10, 2013

jaliscoLos Angeles Times, 10/09/2013

Seven people were killed in a shootout between police and suspected members of “an organized criminal group” in Tepatitlan, a city of 136,000 residents northeast of Guadalajara, Mexico,  officials in the state of Jalisco said Wednesday.

Three police officers were killed and four were injured in the shootout Tuesday night,  according to a statement released the next day. Four of the suspects also died, and a fifth was reportedly arrested.

State investigators told the Guadalajara newspaper El Informador that the civilians involved in the shootout were members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, or CJNG.

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Mexico drug cartel commander pleads guilty in murder of U.S. official

May 24, 2013

justice - gavel and bookReuters, 5/23/2013

A Mexican drug cartel commander known as “Tweety Bird” pleaded guilty on Thursday in federal court in Washington to ordering the ambush and murder of U.S. immigration agents in 2011, according to U.S. officials. The plea related to a February 2011 incident when two “hit squads” from the Los Zetas drug cartel forced an armored U.S. government vehicle off a highway near Mexico City and surrounded it, federal prosecutors said.

Zetas commander Julian Zapata Espinoza, known as “El Piolin” (Tweety Bird), ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila out of the car, said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the U.S. Justice Department’s Criminal Division. When the agents refused, identifying themselves as American diplomats from the U.S. embassy, Espinoza ordered the gunmen to fire on the vehicle. Zapata was killed and Avila was seriously wounded but survived, officials said.

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Mexico cartel dominates, torches western state

May 24, 2013

Photo: Brian Griffin Associated Press, 5/22/2013

The farm state of Michoacan is burning. A drug cartel that takes its name from an ancient monastic order has set fire to lumber yards, packing plants and passenger buses in a medieval-like reign of terror. The Knights Templar cartel is extorting protection payments from cattlemen, lime growers and businesses such as butchers, prompting some communities to fight back, taking up arms in vigilante patrols.

Lime picker Alejandro Ayala chose to seek help from the law instead. After the cartel forced him out of work by shutting down fruit warehouses, he and several dozen co-workers, escorted by Federal Police, met on April 10 with then-state Interior Secretary Jesus Reyna, now the acting governor of the state in western Mexico. The 41-year-old father of two only wanted to get back to work, said his wife, Martha Elena Murguia Morales.

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U.S. jury convicts four in Mexico cartel money laundering scam

May 10, 2013

justice - gavel and bookReuters, 5/9/2013

A federal jury in Texas convicted the brother of two alleged leaders of Mexico’s Los Zetas drug cartel of setting up a racehorse enterprise to launder millions of dollars in illicit profits, authorities said on Thursday. The jury found Jose Trevino Morales, 46, guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Trevino Morales is the brother of alleged Zetas leaders Miguel and Oscar Omar Trevino Morales. Both men were named co-defendants in the case and are at large. The jury also convicted Mexican businessman Francisco Colorado Cessa, 52, horse trainer and purchasing agent Fernando Solis Garcia, 30, and 49-year-old horse trainer Eusevio Maldonado Huitron.

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Documentary ‘El Sicario’ reveals how organized crime operates in Mexico [In Spanish]

March 7, 2012

CNN México, 2/24/2012

For almost 80 minutes on film, a Mexican man completed covered in thick layers of black cloth except for his forearms gives testimony of his former occupation: being a hitman for a drug cartel in Ciudad Juárez. Released as El Sicario, Room 164, the documentary tells its story through the anecdotes of this masked man, recounted in the same hotel room in which he allegedly tortured one of his kidnapped victims. In front of the camera, the hitman calmly confesses to have killed around 500 people.

Produced by Icarus Films, the documentary has been shown in many parts of the world, including screening at European film festivals like those of Vienna and Venice, and received nominations for best documentary film. It has not yet been distributed or screened commercially in Mexico, except at the Guadalajara Film Festival. Following that showing, the film has not screened elsewhere, according to its director and cinematographer Gianfranco Rosi.

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Mexico Pipeline Blast Kills 27, Blamed on `Criminal Gang’ Stealing Fuel

December 20, 2010

Bloomberg, 12/20/2010

Mexican authorities blamed an explosion in an oil pipeline that killed 27 people on a criminal gang that was trying to steal fuel.

Yesterday’s blast at the 30-inch Nuevo Teapa pipeline operated by state-owned company Petroleos Mexicanos in San Martin Texmelucan, Puebla state, also injured 52 people, the company, known as Pemex, said in a statement on its website. The explosion damaged 115 houses, Pemex said.

The attempt to steal fuel from Pemex, which is often a victim of theft, is part of the broader wave of criminal activity afflicting Mexico, said David Shields, a Mexico City- based independent energy analyst and publisher of Energia magazine. The company said last year it had 5 million barrels worth 9.3 billion pesos ($750 million) stolen in 2008.

“It’s not an isolated incident,” Shields said in a telephone interview. “It’s part of the constant problem we’re living every day.”

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Mexico Cartels Kidnap, Kill Migrants Headed to U.S.

September 22, 2009

guns1Reuters, 9/22/09

TECATE, Mexico, Sept 22 (Reuters) – Mexico’s violent drug gangs are increasingly kidnapping illegal migrants for ransom and forcing them to carry narcotics into the United States as they muscle into the lucrative trade of smuggling people across the border.

Traffickers armed with automatic weapons are snatching weary Mexican and Central American migrants on both sides of the border and holding them in cramped houses with little water or food until families pay ransoms of up to $12,000.

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