Seeking to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship.
A judge in Mexico ruled Wednesday that this week’s arrest of an alleged top drug cartel boss in a city bordering Texas was illegal.
The Federal Judiciary Council said in a statement that prosecutors had sought to have the Feb. 19 arrest upheld, saying he was detained while speeding in an SUV in the northern city of Matamoros, across from Brownsville.
However his defense presented video recordings from security cameras at his house showing marines arriving at the residence, entering and extracting the suspect. They also showed marines removing the SUV from its parking spot inside the property.
The expansion into Tijuana of a new drug trafficking group, the Cartel Nueva Generacion Jalisco, is a key factor in explaining the city’s record number of homicides in 2017, according to a paper released Monday by the Justice in Mexico project at the University of San Diego.
Citing numbers obtained from the Baja California State Secretariat for Public Security, the study reports 1,780 homicide victims in 2017; the Baja California Attorney General’s Office has reported 1,744. In either case, Tijuana had more homicides that any other city in Mexico last year.
Standing guard at the scene of the crime, the two police officers surveyed the shattered glass and bullet-pocked bodywork of the Mercedes Benz hatchback and offered their analysis. “It’s an eye for an eye,” said one, repeating a phrase often heard in this coastal city, about 200 miles south-west of Guadalajara. “It’s two groups getting even with each other.” As the officers spoke, a group of children kicked a football just beyond the yellow crime scene tape, and customers wandered unperturbed in and out of a row of shops. But only an hour before gunmen on a motorcycle had opened fire on the car which crashed into the side of a health clinic; miraculously the two occupants survived.
In February 2011, during the heights of cartel-related violence in northeast Mexico, gunmen from the brutal Zetas cartel accidentally targeted two US agents driving through the area — a lethal mistake that would spur a crippling crackdown on the Zetas and its operators.
Special Agent Victor Avila and Jaime Zapata, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent attached to the US embassy in Mexico City, were headed south through the state of San Luis Potosi on Highway 57 — which runs through what was Zetas territory — on February 15, 2011.
The escape of notorious Sinaloa drug trafficker Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera has cast a shadow on Mexico’s attempts to appear capable of combating organized crime. Nearly a week after Guzman’s July 11 escape from the Altiplano maximum security prison, Mexico City’s top officials are working in earnest to organize Guzman’s recapture. Officials including Secretary of the Interior Miguel Angel Osorio Chong are also busy trying to ease the political fallout and temper international embarrassment from the prison break. Some 10,000 federal police officers reportedly have been assigned to the hunt, and Mexican federal officials are personally overseeing investigations of the case.
Though Guzman’s escape will not directly alter the established trajectory of Mexican organized crime or the resulting levels of insecurity, the fact that one of Mexico’s most famous crime bosses was able to elude authorities for a second time touches a nerve in Mexico City. Mexico has been trying to shake the image that it is corrupt and insecure, but to the dismay of many U.S. officials, the country is refusing to allow the United States to more actively intervene in the search for Guzman, a clear sign of the changing dynamic between Mexico City and Washington.
The Arellano Felix brothers, a clan of infamous drug traffickers in the border city of Tijuana, have a history of meeting sticky ends during festivities. The eldest, Francisco Rafael, was killed at a party by an assassin dressed as a clown. His brother Ramon, known for his brutal torture techniques, was shot dead by police during a seaside carnival. A nephew, Luis Fernando Sanchez Arellano, was arrested while watching Mexico beat Croatia in the soccer World Cup. Now after seven male members have gone to their graves or prison cells, the clan may have done what is unthinkable for many in the macho cartel world – let a woman take the helm.
One of the sisters, Enedina Arellano Felix, could be running the remnants of the Tijuana Cartel that traffics cocaine, marijuana, heroin and crystal meth over the world’s busiest border crossing into California, American and Mexican agents say. The 54-old trained accountant is said to be less of a party animal or sadistic killer than her male relatives and more business focused. She is believed to have taken control after Sanchez Arellano, who is reported as being either her son or her nephew, was arrested last year. While there have been other female drug traffickers since the 1920’s, Enedina, known as La Jefa, or the boss, could be the first to head an entire cartel.
One of the leaders of the once-powerful Beltran Leyva drug cartel was arrested Friday in a trendy neighborhood in Mexico City, authorities said.
Martin Villegas Navarrete, 38, was captured without a shot being fired while celebrating his birthday in the Roma Norte district of Mexico’s capital, Mexico’s Federal Police said in its official twitter account. He allegedly used warehouses in Mexico City’s main wholesale market as cover for his drug trafficking activities.
Villegas is accused of smuggling cocaine to Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. In 2011, a U.S. federal court issued an extradition request for Villegas for conspiracy and criminal association, money laundering and possessing and distributing cocaine.