Homeland Security blacked out recommendation on Border Patrol restraint

January 29, 2014

shutterstock_24590917Washington Post, 1/28/14

It’s one of the U.S. Border Patrol’s most controversial practices: shooting at migrants and suspected drug runners who throw rocks and other objects at agents. Many law enforcement experts say the best option is to take cover or move elsewhere, rather than use lethal force. A law enforcement think tank — hired last year by parent agency U.S. Customs and Border Protection to review the Border Patrol’s practices — recommended restraint when agents encounter rock throwers who don’t pose an imminent threat of serious injury or death.

But when the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general released a report in September on the Border Patrol’s use of force, officials blacked out that call for holding back in such incidents, among other recommendations, according to an uncensored copy reviewed by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

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Mexico’s Federal Police Reorganized into 5 Regional Commands

November 1, 2013

Policia MexicoThe Latin American Herald Tribune, 10/31/2013

The overhaul of the Federal Police has started, with the law enforcement agency being reorganized into five regional operations commands to fight crime more effectively in Mexico, the National Security Commission said.

The federal law enforcement agency will have northwestern, northeastern, central, western and southeastern commands, National Security Commissioner Manuel Mondragon said.

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Report: Focused Deterrence, Selective Targeting, Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime: Concepts and Practicalities

March 8, 2013

crime and drugsBy Vanda Felbab-Brown, International Drug Policy Consortium, February 2013

In “Focused Deterrence, Selective Targeting, Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime: Concepts and Practicalities,” published by the International Drug Policy Consortium in February 2013, Vanda Felbab-Brown first outlines the logic and problems of zero-tolerance and undifferentiated targeting in law enforcement policies. Second, she lays out the key theoretical concepts of the law-enforcement strategies of focused-deterrence and selective targeting and reviews some of their applications, as in Operation Ceasefire in Boston in the 1990s and urban-policing operations in Rio de Janeiro during the 2000s decade. Third, she analyses the implementation challenges that selective targeting and focused-deterrence strategies have encountered, particularly outside of the United States. And finally, she discusses some key dilemmas in designing selective targeting and focused-deterrence strategies to fight crime.

Read the full report here…

Policymakers should consider immigration reform an economic priority – #MexFacts

February 20, 2013

MexFact - Imm Economic priority

Read the full policy brief here…

Wilson Center Senior Associate, Eric L. Olson, on the current security situation in Central America.

January 27, 2012

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin America Program and Mexico Institute, 1/27/12

Eric Olson

Central America has become the most violent region in the world and many countries are facing enormous challenges of crime and public insecurity due to urban violence, street gangs, and organized crime engaged in international drug trafficking.

Latin America Program and Mexico Institute Senior Associate, Eric L. Olson, spent last week in three Central American countries and provides his analysis of the security situation there, including the role of the private sector, pervasive corruption in law enforcement, and the risks and benefits of vetted units.

I have just returned from a quick trip to Central America (El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Honduras) where I was attending a conference and held meeting with various government officials and independent experts on the issues of crime and violence in Central America.  Here are a few initial impressions from this trip.

Engaging the private sector in the public security debate:  The main reason for my trip was to participate in a roundtable discussion in Costa Rica with private sector representatives, government officials, and researchers on the issue of public security in the “Southern Triangle” of Central America – Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.  This is part of a several step process that will include roundtables in the “Northern Triangle” and Washington, DC.

Read the Eric Olson’s complete Central America report here.

Despite Violence – Many Mexican Police Still Paid Low Wages, Report Says

September 25, 2011

Fox News Latino, 9/25/11

They are fighting a violent drug war – but a new government report released Sunday shows many Mexican police officers still earn $350 per month or less, despite reform efforts aimed at increasing wages and decreasing corruption among the country’s police.

A report by the government’s National Public Safety System says the average wage for state police in Mexico is 9,250 pesos, which is equal to about $670 per month or about $8,000 annually.

But in the drug violence-wracked northern border state of Tamaulipas, state officers receive on average about 3,618 pesos, or $262 per month. Officers in the far-less-violent central state of Aguascalientes receive five times more than that.

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Veracruz proposes lesser charges for Twitter terrorism suspects

September 13, 2011

Los Angeles Times, 9/13/11

The state of Veracruz in Mexico wants to change its penal code to apply a lower charge against the jailed Twitter and Facebook users accused of terrorism for spreading unconfirmed rumors of an attack on local schools (link in Spanish).

A proposed change in Veracruz’s laws would permit the government to punish the two social-networking users now behind bars, but for a lesser offense of “disruption of public order,” rather than the original charges of terrorism and sabotage. Those charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years.

Under the government’s plan, teacher Gilberto Martinez Vera and journalist Maria de Jesus “Maruchi” Bravo would be retroactively charged with a crime that isn’t even on the books, a scenario that Internet and human rights activists in Mexico promptly denounced as legally unfeasible.

The crime envisioned under the proposed law would carry a sentence of one to four years, meaning that Martinez and Bravo could possibly be set free after posting bail, the Veracruz government said.

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Study links drug enforcement to more violence

April 27, 2010

Washington Post, 4/27/2010

The surge of gunbattles, beheadings and kidnappings that has accompanied Mexico’s war on drug cartels is an entirely predictable escalation in violence based on decades of scientific literature, a new study contends.

A systematic review published Tuesday of more than 300 international studies dating back 20 years found that when police crack down on drug users and dealers, the result is almost always an increase in violence, say researchers at the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, a nonprofit group based in Britain and Canada.

When communities get tough on drug crime, that drives up the black market profits, prompting fierce battles to control the lucrative trade, their study says. And when powerful and successful drug bosses are taken out, it’s all too common for more brutal and less sophisticated criminals to step in.

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Gangs deeply rooted on U.S. side of Mexico border

April 23, 2009

Reuters, 4/23/2009

As violence spirals across the border in Mexico, law enforcement officials on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas say they have not seen significant spillover.

But while American border towns have not seen anything remotely approaching the blood-stained carnage of some north Mexican cities where rival drug cartels are in a high-stakes war that killed over 6,000 people last year, criminal street and prison gangs have long been a way of life in south Texas.

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Drug cartels keep Catholic officials in fear

April 21, 2009

Los Angeles Times, 4/21/2009

Drug Kingpin Joaquin Guzman

Drug Kingpin Joaquin Guzman

In the tense state of Durango, Roman Catholic Archbishop Hector Gonzalez announced over the weekend that the fugitive drug trafficker who tops Mexico’s most wanted list was living nearby.

And everyone knows it, he added. Except, it would seem, the authorities, who fail to make an arrest.

A shocking revelation indeed. But in Durango, most local newspapers and television stations declined to report the comments, and for some reason national papers that contained the remarks did not appear on many newsstands.

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