February 26, 2014
The Sacramento Bee, 2/24/14
Almost as soon as Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, reputedly the head of one of the world’s largest crime syndicates, was captured after a 13-year manhunt, young drug dealers began campaigns to take his place – a sign that the group, responsible for 25 percent of all illegal drugs smuggled into the United States, might not be headless for long.
But even as the internal jockeying intensified, experts predicted that the arrest of the legendary crime boss over the weekend would prove to be a watershed event likely to usher in the breakup of Mexico’s huge crime syndicates.
“The fragmentation we’ve seen here in Colombia will be replicated in Mexico,” said Jeremy McDermott, a former British army officer based in Medellin, Colombia, who’s a co-director of InSightCrime, a research group. “The capture of Chapo will accelerate that process in Mexico of criminal fragmentation. The days of big cartels are gone.”
February 24, 2014
The Guardian, 2/23/14
Washington will seek the extradition of Mexico’s most-wanted man, the US attorney’s office announced Sunday, as reports emerged that Joaquín Guzmán Loera spent his final days of freedom scrambling through tunnels and drains before ending up pinned to a bed in a beachside condominium unable to reach a Kalashnikov rifle lying on the floor.
The arrest of Guzmán (known as El Chapo, or Shorty) in the Pacific resort city of Mazatlán just before dawn on Saturday punctured the myth of untouchability that had enveloped the capo since his escape from a high-security jail in January 2001 and his rise to the status of world’s most wanted trafficker.
News of Guzmán’s capture has been triumphantly received in the US, where he is blamed for up to 80% of the drugs trade in cities such as Chicago, with the official response emphasising the successful collaboration of the US with the Mexican authorities.
December 16, 2013
The New York Times, 12/14/2013
With violence down to a quarter of its peak, Ciudad Juárez, a perennial symbol of drug war devastation, is experiencing what many here describe as a boom. New restaurants pop up weekly, a few with a hipster groove. Schools and homes in some neighborhoods are gradually filling again, while new nightclubs throb on weekends with wall-to-wall teenagers and 20-somethings who insist on reclaiming the freedom to work and play without being consumed by worry.
Critics here fear that the changes are merely cosmetic, and there is still disagreement over what, exactly, has led to the drastic drop in violence. Some attribute it to an aggressive detention policy by the police; others say the worst killers have died or fled, or that the Sinaloa drug cartel has simply defeated its rivals, leaving a peace of sorts that could quickly be undone.
December 9, 2013
The Los Angeles Times, 12/6/2013
He allegedly raked in millions of dollars to give drug traffickers easy access to the United States. The cocaine flowed north, prosecutors say, and the money in his pocket bought him elegant houses and a couple of private jets.
Tomas Yarrington, former governor of the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, has been indicted by U.S. federal prosecutors on a host of drug-trafficking, money-laundering and racketeering charges.
December 6, 2013
Fox News, 12/5/2013
Lawyers for a former Mexican governor charged in the United States with money laundering and drug trafficking say the charges are based on false accusations by people trying to bargain with U.S. prosecutors.
Attorney Josel Androphy says witnesses against former Tamaulipas Gov. Tomas Yarrington gave false information to get leniency from the U.S. government. Androphy spoke Thursday in Mexico City along with three Mexican lawyers for Yarrington.
November 22, 2013
San Antonio Express, 11/21/2013
Mexico extradited an alleged former top member of the Zetas drug cartel Thursday to face narcotics trafficking and money laundering charges in Laredo, a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent said.
Officials with the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office would not confirm or deny Thursday afternoon that Iván Velázquez Caballero, known by the nickname “El Taliban,” had been sent to the U.S. But Mike Vigil, the former chief of international operations for the DEA, said Velazquez is now in the country.
Velázquez is one of more than 30 people charged in a massive conspiracy indictment, alleging that, between 2000 and 2008, the Zetas smuggled large amounts of drugs into the U.S. and committed homicides in Texas as part of their narcotics trafficking operations.
November 7, 2013
Since December 2010, I have lived with death threats because I have documented and revealed corruption at the highest levels in the Mexican government. My family has been attacked, I have to live with bodyguards and some of my sources have been killed or are in jail.
But my case is just one of many. A large number of journalists and human rights activists — as well as those who denounce corruption in Mexico — receive similar threats or have been killed. And the biggest danger is not in fact the drug cartels, but rather the government and business officials that work for them and fear exposure.
April 24, 2013
The Miami Herald, 4/24/2013
Sandra Avila Beltran, the dark-haired Mexican beauty dubbed the “Queen of the Pacific,” has pleaded guilty to a drug-trafficking charge in Miami, closing the curtain on the once celebrity-like role of the reputed cocaine smuggler.
Avila, 52, admitted Tuesday in federal court that she helped her former boyfriend, a one-time Colombian cartel boss, evade prosecution for cocaine importation and distribution charges in the United States. She pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to his conspiracy crimes, for which the ex-boyfriend, Juan Diego Espinosa Ramirez, was ultimately convicted.
April 8, 2013
UT San Diego, 4/5/2013
Scholars from Tijuana and San Diego are key contributors to a new book that looks at the changing relationship between the United States and Mexico, examining issues such as immigration, trade, drug trafficking and water resources.
Among the recommendations of “Mexico and the United States: The Politics of Partnership,” are: increasing investment in infrastructure and education; promoting debate about whether to decriminalize marijuana possession; and collaborating on the management of aquifers beneath the U.S.-Mexico border.