Mexico Cartel Tied to Argentina’s Second-Largest Cocaine Sting

6/21/2017 InSight Crime

cocaineAuthorities believe that the second-largest cocaine seizure in Argentina’s history is linked to a Mexican cartel that exploited an unusual trafficking route, suggesting that Argentina’s transshipment role is continuing to grow, most likely due to both domestic and international drug-related developments.

Argentina’s Federal Police seized two metric tons of cocaine — the second-largest cocaine seizure in the country’s history, worth an estimated $60 million — in the Bahía Blanca port city of Buenos Aires province on June 19. Another 500 kilograms were seized in the Luján de Cuyo city of Mendoza province close to the Chilean border, according to a Security Ministry press release.

Authorities believe the drugs were smuggled from Chile to the province of Mendoza and on to Buenos Aires. In Bahía Blanca’s port, the cocaine — reportedly destined for Spain and Canada — was hidden in steel coils to block customs scanners.

Cocaine has traditionally entered Argentina through the country’s northern provinces bordering Bolivia, and more recently those along the border with Paraguay.

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Mexico retail sales rise for second time in three months

6/23/2017 Reuters

Customer buys a television set during the shopping season, "El Buen Fin", at a Walmart store, in the early hours of Friday, in Monterrey
A customer buys a television set during the shopping season, ”El Buen Fin”, at a Walmart store, in the early hours of Friday, in Monterrey, Mexico, November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

Mexican retail sales rose for the second time in three months in April, official data showed on Friday, pointing to continued support for Latin America’s second biggest economy from private consumption.

Retail sales climbed by 1.2 percent month on month in April when adjusted for seasonal swings, according to data from the national statistics office. Compared with the same month a year earlier, sales were up by 1.4 percent.

Private spending has been a pillar of support for the Mexican economy in recent months, and reports from the private sector suggest it is still holding up.

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Why Mexico is reliable for investors, despite Trump

6/19/2017 Forbes India 

trumpmexico_083116getty_0Among Mexicans, few get as much pleasure from US President Trump’s tough talk excoriating our southern neighbour as Gerardo Rodriguez, portfolio manager of BlackRock’s Total Emerging Markets Fund.

Since January, Total has been seriously overweighting Mexican bonds, and the president’s rhetoric and tweets about “bad hombres”, building walls and dealing NAFTA a death blow tend to send the peso falling. In January, during Trump’s first days in office, the peso’s exchange rate with the US dollar peaked at nearly 22, its weakest level in history.

For Rodriguez, that moment was somewhat like the S&P 500 low in March 2009, after the financial crisis. Rodriguez knew it was a great time to buy Mexico, and he instructed BlackRock traders to pile into peso-denominated bonds when most investors were running for cover. At the time, Mexican government bonds were yielding 7.8 percent, compared with 2.3 percent for ten-year US Treasurys. This move, plus a big allocation to beaten-down Asian stocks like Samsung and Ali­baba, has helped Total Emerging Markets achieve a 10.4 percent total return year to date and a 4.2 percent three-year average annual return, topping its category and earning it five stars among Morningstar-rated funds.

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Mexico to speed up extradition of Chilean wanted for Pinochet ally murder

6/15/2017 Reuters

luis videgarayMexico and Chile agreed on Thursday to speed up the extradition of Chilean citizen Raul Escobar Poblete, wanted in his home country for allegedly participating in the 1991 murder of senator Jaime Guzman, a close ally of late dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Escobar Poblete, then a member of the leftist paramilitary Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front (FPMR), was arrested last week by Mexican police after being on the run from Chilean authorities for two decades.

“The Foreign Ministers of Mexico and Chile agreed to give the highest priority to the case of Raul Escobar Poblete, detained last week in Mexico, so that his extradition process will proceed in a speedy manner,” Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

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Mexico City’s Mayor Calls For Carlos Slim, Other Mexican Billionaires To Influence NAFTA Talks

6/12/2017 Forbes 

miguel mancera
AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

What role should Mexico’s billionaires play in the upcoming renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the trade pact with Mexico and Canada that the Trump Administration has proposed be renegotiated?

Miguel Angel Mancera, Mexico City’s Mayor and a possible 2018 presidential contender, has called for the creation of a 12-member group of Mexico’s richest men to try to influence from the sidelines the remake of what Donald Trump has labeled “the worst trade deal” ever. Top on Mancera’s list is Carlos Slim Helú, México’s richest person.

“Slim told me that he was ready to participate, that he was interested,” Mancera told me last week when he visited Washington D.C. “I’m convinced we have to include this type of high level interlocutors and listen to their advice. Slim can call presidents, former presidents, top businessmen and politicians and they all take his call.”

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Mexico Ex-Governor’s Extradition Overshadows Other Important Cases

5/17/2017 InSight Crime

FILE PHOTO: Tomas Yarrington poses after a news conference in Mexico City, Mexico
FILE PHOTO: Tomas Yarrington poses after a news conference in Mexico City, Mexico May 23, 2005. REUTERS/Daniel Aguilar/File Photo

The extradition to the United States of Tomás Yarrington, a former Mexico governor whose name has become synonymous with corruption and narco politics, could now be imminent. But other recent corruption cases involving powerful, though less high-profile, elites could send bigger shockwaves through Mexico’s institutions and criminal networks.

The United States formally submitted the documentation for Yarrington’s extradition on May 16 to Italian authorities, who arrested the former governor in Florence on April 9, Proceso reported.

The request came after some wrangling between the United States and Mexico about where Yarrington would face trial. But US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Mexican Attorney General Raúl Cervantes agreed on April 19 to request that the “Italian Minister of Justice grant precedence to the United States’ [extradition] request,” according to a joint statement, leaving the charges in Mexico for another day.

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‘We are the market’: Tillerson faults US for evils of Mexico’s drug trade

5/18/2017 CNN

U.S. Department of State

If there was a single theme to emerge from today’s second go at joint Cabinet-level meetings with the Mexican government, it came across stunningly loud and clear: That the real heart of Mexico’s ongoing, bloody battle with hard drug production, organized crime and murder lies firmly in the United States.

“We Americans must own this problem. It is ours,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated bluntly during a news conference. America’s “pervasive demand” for illegal drugs was brought up repeatedly throughout the day, as if US officials could not strike the tone hard enough.
“We know what we own, and we as Americans must confront that we are the market. There is no other market for these activities. It is all coming here. But for us, Mexico wouldn’t have the trans-criminal organized crime problem and the violence that they’re suffering,” Tillerson said. “We really have to own up to that.”

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