Mexico’s New Government Strikes Jalisco Cartel Finances, Promises More

12/07/2018 – The New York Times

amlo 2MEXICO CITY — New Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is taking aim at the finances of the powerful Jalisco cartel in what a top anti-money laundering official said was the opening salvo in the fight to stop criminal gangs from flourishing with impunity.

Santiago Nieto, the new head of the finance ministry’s Financial Intelligence Unit, told Reuters on Thursday that he had filed a complaint against three businesses and seven people linked to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. On Wednesday, the finance ministry said Nieto’s unit had filed its first complaint with prosecutors, but did not include any details.

The move against the Jalisco cartel, a relative newcomer that has risen to become one of Mexico’s most dangerous criminal gangs, heralds a new effort to overcome Mexico’s reputation for weak prosecutions against drug gang finances.

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El Chapo’s Early Days as a Budding Kingpin

12/2/2018 – New York Times

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United States Law Enforcement, via Associated Press

The jurors at the trial of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, known as El Chapo, were treated last week to a cinematic narrative about the early years of the kingpin’s career, detailing his rise from a young upstart in the drug trade to a wealthy and successful narco-entrepreneur.

Much of the tale was told by one of El Chapo’s first employees, Miguel Angel Martínez, who began working for the cartel as a pilot in 1987 before being promoted to running operations in Mexico City.

Over four days last week as a government witness in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, Mr. Martínez described how the crime lord went from being a novice trafficker with a staff of only 25 people to earning hundreds of millions of dollars that he spent on extravagances like a fleet of private jets and a rural ranch with a zoo where guests could ride a train past crocodiles and bears.

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New York Today: El Chapo’s $14 Billion Empire on Trial

11/20/2018 – The New York Times

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Credit Alfredo Estrella/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

What we’ve learned so far from the trial of El Chapo

A remarkable drug conspiracy case is taking place at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. Few in any enterprise become as notoriously famous as the defendant, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, known as El Chapo.

Even fewer in Mr. Guzmán’s line of work have been forced to defend themselves in an American court.

For example, the Colombian kingpin Pablo Escobar never faced an American jury. It’s not easy to bring a drug lord to trial.

That’s what makes Mr. Guzmán’s trial, which could last four months, so exceptional: a chance to learn about the inner workings of an illegal, international, multibillion-dollar enterprise.

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Mexican Drug Lord, Beltran Leyva, Dead at 56 of Cardiac Arrest

11/18/2018 – New York Times

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Photo: Animal Politico

MEXICO CITY — Hector Beltran Leyva, a Mexican drug lord whose cartel earned a reputation as one of the country’s most vengeful and ruthless, died late on Sunday in hospital of cardiac arrest after being transferred from jail with chest pain, Mexican authorities said.

Beltran Leyva had been incarcerated since March 2, 2016 in Federal Prison Number 1, a maximum security facility in central Altiplano, Mexico, where he was facing federal prosecution for various crimes, the Mexico Interior Ministry said in a statement announcing the death.

Nicknamed “the H,” according to the statement, Beltran Leyva’s capture in 2014 near a town where he had posed as an art and real estate dealer was seen as a major victory for Mexican authorities in their decade-long war against drug gangs.

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Inside El Chapo’s Vast Network: What We Know After the Trial’s First Week

11/18/2018 – New York Times

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(Photo: U.S. federal law enforcement via AP)

For nearly two years, crime buffs — especially those with a fascination for the Sinaloa drug cartel — have been waiting for the sprawling drug conspiracy trial of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican kingpin known as El Chapo1.

This is the first time American prosecutors have had the chance to publicly lay out what they know about a major Mexican cartel, as they have done with other criminal organizations like Al Qaeda and the Mafia.

Last week, before the start of the trial, two jurors were dismissed. Judge Brian M. Cogan said one of them was “anxious and upset” at the prospect of casting judgment on El Chapo.

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The trial of El Chapo and the crime-fighting plan of AMLO

11/16/2018 – The Economist

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Source: The Economist

CHIEF AMONG the signs that not all is well in Mexican law enforcement is the trial of the country’s most wanted man. It began this week in New York, because each time Mexican authorities locked up Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, allegedly the boss of the Sinaloa drug gang, he escaped. After his third capture, in 2016, Mexico extradited him to the United States. That has not reduced bloodshed in Mexico. As the accused kingpin stood in the dock, Mexico’s president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, unveiled a plan that he said would end a misguided, decade-long war on drugs.

The subject of ballads and gory television series, El Chapo provokes fear even in New York. A juror broke down in tears upon learning of her selection for the trial. Prosecutors accused him of smuggling 150,000kg (330,000 pounds) of cocaine into the United States. But his lawyer insisted that there had been a mix-up. Mr Guzmán was never in charge of Mexico’s biggest drug-trafficking gang, he said.

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El Chapo Trial Turns to Tales of Greed and Gore

11/16/2018 – New York Times

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Stephanie Keith for The New York Times

The assassin’s bullet whizzed past Jesus Zambada García’s ear and knocked him to the ground. He wasn’t dead, just wounded. The gunshot sliced a deep, red groove into his head.

Ambushed by his attackers at a Mexico City store, Mr. Zambada stumbled to his feet and came up shooting. With a panicked spray of gunfire, he hit one of them. The other ran away.

“I’m alive,” he told a jury on Thursday, “because the bullet did not penetrate my skull.”

This tale of an attempted hit came on Mr. Zambada’s second day as a witness against his former boss in the Sinaloa drug cartel, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican crime lord known as El Chapo.

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