Where Tourism Thrives in Mexico, Bloodshed and Poverty Are Blocks Away

58063dc18d83b439008b5113-240009/17/2017 The New York Times

LOS CABOS, Mexico — In recruiting foot soldiers, the drug gang did not have to look hard to find 18-year-old Edwin Alberto López Rojas. He, in fact, had been looking for them.

He admired the traffickers’ lifestyle and power. And the money he stood to make promised admission to the ranks of the international elite who cavorted in the luxury resorts mere blocks — yet a universe away — from the poor neighborhoods where he grew up in Los Cabos, a tourism mecca at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula.

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The 1985 murder of a DEA agent still haunts Mexico. Finally, a drug lord gets sentenced in the case

8/24/2017 Los Angeles Times

He was known as “El Padrino” — the Godfather — and, as co-founder of the once-dominant Guadalajara drug cartel, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo reigned over Mexico’s multibillion-dollar narco-commerce with all the ruthlessness and aplomb of the fictional Don Corleone.

The former street cop and bodyguard turned-drug kingpin counted police commanders and politicians among his protectors and supplicants.

ut eventually, Gallardo went too far. The international outrage following the 1985 murder in Mexico of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, eventually led to the fall of Gallardo and his close associates and the splintering of their nationwide criminal network.

The fallout of Camarena’s murder — and the unraveling of Gallardo’s cartel — continues to be felt in Mexico to this day, influencing law enforcement, politics and how modern cartels operate. Even though Gallardo was arrested decades ago, the case made the news again this week when a Mexican federal court sentenced Gallardo to 37 years in prison for the murder of Camarena and a Mexican pilot, Alfredo Zavala.

As part of Wednesday’s court decision, Gallardo also was ordered to make the equivalent of $1.18 million in reparation payments, presumably to the families of the victims.

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Podcast: Mexico’s war on poppies

08/21/2017 Reuters

opium_poppy_field_-_mexicoAs the U.S. heroin crisis rages, the Mexican army is taking its war on opium into the poppy fields themselves. Reuters reporter Michael O’Boyle embeds with an army platoon destroying the fields that old and new drug gangs are fighting to control.

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‘El Chapo’ seeking new lawyers in US drug trafficking case

8/14/2017 ABC News 

Private lawyers seeking to represent Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in his U.S. drug-trafficking case failed to get assurances Monday that they’ll get paid, leaving the Mexican drug lord’s defense in limbo.

During a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan told the lawyers that if they took the case, there was no guarantee that prosecutors wouldn’t later seize their fees if they could show that the money came from his estimated $14 billion in drug profits.

“I’m not going to pressure the government to create a carve-out for counsel fees,” Cogan said.

Guzman smiled and waved at family members as he was led into the courtroom, but he didn’t speak during the brief appearance.

Afterward, the lawyers told reporters that they still hope to find a way to represent Guzman. They said they were waiting for him to consult with his sister on Thursday — the first jail visit he’s had by family member since he was brought to the U.S. from Mexico in January.

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Mexican official says migration, security at stake in NAFTA talks: report

8/10/2017 Reuters

27424865601_1ff00195fd_kMexico could pull back on cooperation in migration and security matters if the United States walks away from talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Mexican economy minister said in a newspaper report published on Thursday.

Ildefonso Guajardo, who will take part in the first round of NAFTA talks with U.S. and Canadian officials in Washington on Wednesday, told the Reforma daily that new tariffs on Mexican exports to the United States were unacceptable.

“If they do not treat [us] well commercially, they should not expect us to treat them well by containing the migration that comes from other regions of the world and crosses Mexico,” Guajardo said. “Or they should not expect to be treated well in collaboration with security issues in the region.”

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

08/09/2017 Reuters

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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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