Mexico’s Holy Warrior Against the Cartels

November 18, 2014

11/18/14 The Daily Beast 

roadside crossIf you want to know about the Mexican priest Padre Gregorio López, first of all you need to know that his parish is located in the small city of Apatzingán, at the heart of a region in southern Mexico known as a fiefdom of the Knights Templar drug cartel. Then you need to know that he considers it his religious obligation to drive the cartel out of the city and out of the state of Michoacán. The lengths to which the padre is willing to go to achieve that end have carried his reputation far beyond the rough-and-tumble region known as Tierra Caliente, so named for an average annual temperature that rounds down to 95 degrees. Land theft, the extortion of farmers, and the rise in kidnappings and murders were grievances left to simmer for years in the countryside.

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Mexican journalist fired after meeting with fugitive crime boss

September 25, 2014

09/23/14 Los Angeles Times

mystery manThe video is jumpy in spots, it shows signs of having been heavily edited and its audio is not always intelligible. What is clear is the presence of a well-known Mexican journalist, Eliseo Caballero, meeting with one of the country’s most-wanted crime bosses,  Servando Gomez, alias La Tuta. Caballero and a companion appear to be giving La Tuta advice on how to work the media. And, at one point, the head of Michoacan’s most notorious drug-and-extortion cartel appears to hand money over to the journalist.

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How Mexico’s cartel crackdown smashed its iron industry

September 24, 2014

09/23/14 CNBC 

mineIron ore lies abandoned in titanic piles like a gray lunar landscape amid these green hills. Government security forces descended on an open-pit mine here in July to shut it down and confiscate hundreds of tons of raw metal. The reason? The mine was operated by the bloodthirsty Knights Templar cartel, which has diversified from cooking crystal meth to a range of rackets. It was not the only narco mine. Since soldiers and marines flooded Michoacan in January to fight the Knights Templar, they have helped shutter more than 100 pits of iron, copper and other metals. In total, a whopping 700,000 tons of minerals have been confiscated and are piled up in mounds like this.

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Immigrants from Michoacán seeking asylum in United States, according to El Paso shelter

September 17, 2014

09/15/14 El Paso Times

machine gunImmigrants from the Mexican state of Michoacán, who say they are fleeing drug-related murders, kidnappings, rapes and extortions, are among the latest group of people seeking asylum in the United States, according to immigrant shelter administrators in El Paso. Ruben Garcia, executive director of Annunciation House, a faith-based organization that administers temporary shelters for migrants in the El Paso region, confirmed that large numbers of Michoacános are turning up at the border.

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4 Children Rescued From Mexico Shelter Allegedly Committed Suicide

August 18, 2014

08/16/14 Fox News Latino

Street childrenThe Mexican agency attending to children who were rescued last month from a squalid shelter in the western state of Michoacán called on prosecutors to investigate reports that four of the minors committed suicide in recent weeks.

Other victims of the “La Gran Familia” shelter, taken over by the government amid sexual and physical abuse allegations, “tell us that four children committed suicide,” Julio Hernández Barros, an attorney and member of the government’s Executive Commission on Victim Attention, or CEAV, told Efe.

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Mexico Detains Mayor For Extortion, Ordering A Murder On Behalf Of Drug Cartel

August 15, 2014

08/15/14 Fox News Latino

hands in handcuffsA mayor in the western state of Michoacán was detained for allegedly ordering the killing of a friend and extorting her employees and street vendors in her city on behalf of a drug cartel, authorities said Thursday.

Michoacán state prosecutors said in a statement that Huetamo Mayor Dalia Santana told her friend to meet her for breakfast at a Chinese restaurant, where a gunman shot him to death last year. The gunman was a member of the Knights Templar drug cartel, which is based in Michoacán.

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Mexico charges six over Michoacan children’s home abuse

July 25, 2014

07/25/14 BBC News

Street childrenA federal judge in Mexico has charged six employees of a children’s home raided by police last week.

More than 450 children and teenagers were rescued from the The Big Family Home, where they had been living in appalling conditions.

Prosecutors believe some of the children were subjected to beatings and sexual abuse.

The owner of the home, 79-year-old Rosa Verduzco, has been deemed too old and mentally unfit to stand trial.

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