Mexican judge orders investigation of inquiries into extrajudicial killings

08/15/2017 Reuters

16-05-23Mexico_logo_prodhMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A Mexican judge has ordered the country’s attorney general to investigate possible negligence in inquiries conducted into extrajudicial executions allegedly committed by the military in 2014, according to a decision announced on Tuesday.

The Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center (Prodh) said in June that there had been serious flaws in investigations into the case involving the deaths of 22 people in the city of Tlatlaya, in the state of Mexico.

The decision from Erik Zabalgoitia Novales, a federal judge, was issued in July. “The arguments of the plaintiff are justified, in that they maintain that the claimed omissions infringe on … the fundamental rights in favor of the victims of crimes,” he said.

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NEW PUBLICATION: “Following the Money Trail” to Combat Terrorism, Crime, and Corruption in the Americas

Over the past decade, there has been a greater appreciation of how “following the money trail” directly contributes to the fight against terrorism, crime, and corruption around the world. Money serves as the oxygen for any activity, licit or illicit; it is the critical enabler for any organization, from international crime syndicates like the Mexican cartels to terrorist groups like the FARC, ISIS, and Hezbollah. Financial intelligence has helped governments to better understand, detect, disrupt, and counter criminal and terrorist networks and expose political corruption.

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States and its Latin American partners have strengthened their ability to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and consciously incorporated the financial instrument of national power into their national security strategies. “Following the money trail,” counterterrorism, and Drug Kingpin sanctions and asset forfeiture have become particularly important to attack narco-insurgencies, dismantle transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), and address political corruption scandals that have reached the highest levels of governments across Latin America.

This report focuses on the threats from money laundering and terrorist financing, distinguishing the two, and explains government efforts to counter illicit financing. It describes the ways illicit actors raise, move, store, and use money to pursue their dangerous agendas. Specific cases examining the FARC in Colombia, the 2015 fall of the Guatemalan government, and Brazil’s “Operation Car Wash” corruption scandal illustrate how governments use financial intelligence to pursue terrorists, criminals, corrupt politicians, and their financiers in Latin America. Finally, the report emphasizes the need to design, implement, and constantly update national and international strategies to combat the financing of emerging threats like terrorism, crime, and corruption and to safeguard our financial systems.

Download the report

U.S. sanctions Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez for alleged drug ties

08/09/2017 Reuters

Photographer: Alejandro Valencia/Jam Media/LatinContent/Getty Images

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury Department said on Wednesday it had sanctioned Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez for allegedly serving as a front man for a suspected drug trafficker.

Marquez, from the cartel-riddled state of Michoacan, played in Europe for club sides Barcelona and Monaco, and still occasionally captains the national team, having represented his country in four World Cups.

Marquez, along with singer Julio Cesar Alvarez and almost two dozen other Mexican nationals, is accused of financial ties with Raul Flores Hernandez, a suspected drug trafficker with links to the Sinaloa cartel and the Jalisco New Generation gang.

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‘El Chapo’ Guzman hires John Gotti Jr’s lawyer in U.S. case

08/08/2017 Reuters

El chapo guzman
Source: Reuters

(Reuters) – Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the captured leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, has hired a New York lawyer best known for successfully defending the son of convicted mafia boss John Gotti to represent him in his U.S. criminal case.

The lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, said in an email on Tuesday that Guzman hired him, along with three others: Marc Fernich, who has also represented Gotti’s son, John Gotti, Jr; William Purpura, who represented Baltimore drug kingpin Richard Wilford; and Eduardo Balarezo, who represented Alfredo Beltran Leyva, head of another Mexican drug cartel.

Wilford and Beltran Leyva were both convicted and received long prison sentences.

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Son of Mexico cartel leader arraigned in U.S. on drug charges

08/07/2017 Reuters

State of Sinaloa

(Reuters) – The son of a leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel was arraigned in a federal court in California on Monday on drug trafficking charges after he surrendered to U.S. law enforcement authorities in July, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Damaso Lopez-Serrano, 29, is the son of Damaso Lopez-Nunez, who was arrested in May by Mexican authorities and was believed to have been fighting for control of the Sinaloa Cartel against the sons of its captured leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Also known as “Mini Lic,” Damaso Lopez-Serrano is a suspected senior official in the Sinaloa cartel and believed to be the highest-ranking Mexican cartel leader to surrender to authorities in the United States, the department said in a statement. He pleaded not guilty, local media reported.

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Mexico City feels the heat of rising drug crime

8/7/2017 Financial Times
gun - crime sceneAs the casket was carried through the cemetery, throngs of admirers chanted a common Mexican refrain: “We see it, we feel it, Felipe is present!”

Police say drug lord Felipe de Jesús Pérez Luna, better known as “El Ojos” (The Eyes), was responsible for at least 60 murders and ran an empire of drug dealing, extorting and kidnapping.

On July 20, marines descended on El Ojos and seven of his men. All were killed.

Eight dead narcos? An unremarkable headline in Mexico after a decade of the drug war. Except this time it was happening in Mexico’s hip capital.

El Ojos’ organisation “was broad, violent and had grown beyond the borders of the Tláhuac borough”, says Miguel Angel Mancera, Mexico City mayor. “But from my point of view, it did not have the kind of structure of the groups we call cartels.”

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Mexico’s Deadliest Town. Mexico’s Deadliest Year.

8/4/2017 The New York Times

colimaTECOMÁN, Mexico — He slumped in a shabby white chair, his neck unnaturally twisted to the right. A cellphone rested inches away, as if he had just put it down. His unlaced shoes lay beneath outstretched legs, a morbid still life of what this town has become.

Israel Cisneros, 20, died instantly in his father’s one-room house. By the time the police arrived at the crime scene, their second homicide of the night, the blood seeping from the gunshot wound to his left eye had begun to harden and crack, leaving a skin of garish red scales over his face and throat.

This was once one of the safest parts of Mexico, a place where people fleeing the nation’s infamous drug battles would come for sanctuary. Now, officials here in Tecomán, a quiet farming town in the coastal state of Colima, barely shrug when two murders occur within hours of each other. It’s just not that uncommon any more.

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