The Latest: Trump Says Wall ‘Important Tool’ Against Drugs

Donald_Trump)4/24/2017 New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local):

9 a.m.

President Donald Trump says that a border wall with Mexico would be an “important tool” for stopping the flow of drugs into the United States.

Trump tweeted Monday that, “the Wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others)!”

Trump approaches the symbolic 100-day mark for his administration this week, renewing his demands that a must-pass government funding bill should include money for the wall.

In a tweet Sunday, Trump jabbed at Democrats, who vigorously oppose wall funding.

He said, “the Democrats don’t want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members.”

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At least 35 killed in drug violence across Mexico: officials

4/23/2017 Reuters

gun - crime sceneAt least 35 people were killed over the weekend in Mexico, according to local officials, amid a widespread surge in drug gang violence that has driven murders to a level not seen since 2011.

In Sinaloa state, 12 people were killed in different incidents since the early hours of Sunday, according to local officials.

Battles between gangs have increased in the area following the arrest last year of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who was extradited in January to the United States.

Nine people were killed in what prosecutors said on Sunday was a gun battle between rival drug gangs in the mountains of Mexico’s west coast state of Michoacan.

The shootout took place Saturday in an isolated village of the municipality of Churumuco, which borders on Guerrero state, where eight bodies were found on the main street and another in the nearby sierra, the state prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

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Mexico says 2 top drug traffickers killed near US border

4/23/2017 The Washington Post

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Flickr/Júbilo Haku

MEXICO CITY — Two top drug traffickers have been killed in pre-dawn shootouts Saturday with federal forces in the northern Mexico border state of Tamaulipas, authorities reported.

The Tamaulipas security spokesman’s office said the men were killed in separate confrontations, which left highways littered with burned-out vehicles.

Julian Loisa Salinas, better known as “Comandante Toro,” was killed in a clash with marines in Reynosa, a city across the border from McAllen, Texas.

Loisa Salinas reportedly was the Gulf cartel’s local leader in Reynosa. Authorities had tried to capture him a number of times, leading to gunbattles with his gang. In early April, two U.S. citizens were reported wounded in one such gunfight.

On Saturday, photos showed burned-out cars, trucks and buses littering streets in Reynosa. State authorities said his supporters had set fires and tried to block roads in an unsuccessful effort to help him escape.

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Exclusive: U.S. offers to fund Mexico heroin fight as 2016 output jumps – U.S. official

4/21/2017 Reuters

Opium_poppy_seed_and_flower_at_Budhha_lodge_of_Chaurikharka,NepalThe United States has offered to help fund Mexico’s efforts to eradicate opium poppies, the U.S. assistant secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) said on Friday, as Mexican heroin output increased again last year.

“We would be prepared to support (opium eradication efforts) should we reach a basic agreement in terms of how they would do more and better eradication in the future,” William Brownfield of INL, part of the State Department, said in an interview.

“That is on the table, but I don’t want you to conclude that it’s a done deal, because we still have to work through the details,” he said, without specifying how much money the United States could provide.

The United States has offered to help fund Mexico’s efforts to eradicate opium poppies, the U.S. assistant secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) said on Friday, as Mexican heroin output increased again last year.

“We would be prepared to support (opium eradication efforts) should we reach a basic agreement in terms of how they would do more and better eradication in the future,” William Brownfield of INL, part of the State Department, said in an interview.

“That is on the table, but I don’t want you to conclude that it’s a done deal, because we still have to work through the details,” he said, without specifying how much money the United States could provide.

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Treasury targets two Mexican companies connected to drug cartel

4/20/2017 The Hill

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Flickr/Roman Boed

The Treasury Department targeted on Thursday two Mexican companies that property management authorities say are connected to a drug cartel.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Yorv Inmobiliaria and Grupo Segtac, S.A. de C.V., property companies based out of central Mexico. Each company manages a Mexican shopping center that serves as a front for Los Cunis Drug Trafficking Organization.

The companies were designated as narcotics traffickers by OFAC, cutting them off from United States financial system and banning U.S. persons and companies from financial transactions with them.

OFAC designated the Los Cuinis DTO and its leader, Abigail Gonzalez Valencia, on April 8, 2015.

“OFAC will continue to target new front companies that have been created, or coopted, for the purpose of concealing the interests of Gonzalez Valencia, the Los Cuinis DTO, and their allies in order to evade sanctions,” said OFAC director John E. Smith. “In coordination with law enforcement and the Mexican government, OFAC will work tirelessly to expose and disrupt these organizations’ operations and assets.”

The Treasury Department action comes as the Trump administration focuses on hindering Latin American drug cartels and gangs, specifically MS-13.

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What’s Behind the Violence in Ecatepec, Mexico City’s Sprawling Suburb?

4/17/2017 InSight Crime 

800px-Morelos_in_Mexico_(zoom).svgThe Mexican government’s recently released list of cities with the highest number of murders under President Enrique Peña Nieto’s tenure includes one surprise entry: Ecatepec, the sprawling Mexico City suburb not known as a center of organized crime.

According to Mexico’s Interior Ministry, the five cities that have registered the most murder investigations since December 2012 are Acapulco, Tijuana, Culiacán, Juárez, and Ecatepec.

The measure of violence is slightly odd; Mexico has various murder registries at the municipal level, a more direct and reliable statistic for measuring violence than the number of murder cases opened. But other sources support the thrust of the Interior Ministry’s findings. According to municipal tallies from Justice in Mexico’s most recent report, for instance, Ecatepec has registered either the fourth- or fifth-largest number of murders in each of the years Peña Nieto has been office.

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Mexican navy guns down top bodyguard to eldest son of ‘El Chapo’

4/15/2017 Reuters

m16 gun closeupThe chief bodyguard to the eldest son of jailed Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was killed in the northern coastal state of Sinaloa.

Mexico’s navy said on Saturday that troops killed Francisco Zazueta, suspected of helping launch an ambush of soldiers last year, during a shootout on Friday afternoon in the town of Badiraguato, a hotbed of support for the Sinaloa Cartel and not far from where Guzman grew up.

Zazueta, also known as “Pancho Chimal,” was Ivan Archivaldo Guzman’s top bodyguard.

The navy troops were attacked after entering the town, where “a meeting of members of organized crime was taking place,” the navy said in a statement.

Several assault rifles as well as a rocket launcher were recovered from the meeting spot.

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