October 21, 2013
BBC News, 10/19/2013
The 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.
October 10, 2013
Los 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.
May 24, 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.
May 24, 2013
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.
May 10, 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.
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.
December 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.”
September 22, 2009
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.
September 21, 2009
The New York Times, 9/21/09
Mexico’s drug cartels are many things: murderous, dangerous and remarkably effective at smuggling huge quantities of illegal drugs into the UnitedStates. But are they really cartels?
Cartels are organizations that control prices and production. They often divvy up territories, rig bids and engage in other collusive acts. On the international relations front, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is the most famous example.