How the Drug War Redefines U.S.-Mexico Relations

7/23/15 Stratfor Global Intelligence

DEA badgeThe 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.

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Meet the First Woman to Lead a Mexican Drugs Cartel

7/7/15 Time

Tijuana
Tijuana

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.

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Police: Beltran Leyva Cartel Boss Arrested in Mexico City

7/4/15 ABC News

Mexican_drug_cartels_2008One 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.

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‘The Cartel’ Is Your Annual Reminder that the War on Drugs Isn’t Over

6/26/15 Newsweek

Mexican_drug_cartels_2008Sitting across from crime novelist Don Winslow, I’m finding it hard to reconcile this soft-spoken, bespectacled man of 61 with the scene I keep replaying in my head: a drug kingpin throwing two children off a bridge to send a message to a rival. I’ve had nightmares about this scene.

The kingpin is Adán Barrera, heir to a Mexico-based international drug syndicate and a main character in Winslow’s 2005 novel, The Power of the Dog, which documented the birth of the Drug Enforcement Administration and its much-maligned War on Drugs. In The Cartel, the hefty sequel that came out in June, Winslow revisits that war and America’s role in it, while Barrera revives his longtime enmity with DEA maverick Art Keller—the so-called “Border Lord”—and everyone from local dope boys to corrupt police officers to prostitutes-turned-traffickers gets caught up in their blood feud, or killed. Often both.

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21 Gang members arrested in northeastern Mexico

6/18/15 Fox News Latino

APTOPIX Mexico Election ViolenceMexican Federal Police officers and Tamaulipas state police arrested 21 gang members in Rio Bravo, a town near the U.S. border, the Tamaulipas Coordination Group said. A tip from the public led police to a house in Rio Bravo’s Del Carmen district, where they captured the suspects, the agency said in a statement. Police seized 110 kilos of marijuana, 10 rifles, 3,035 rounds of ammunition, fuel, five vehicles and other gear.Leonel Landeros Calvo, the gang’s suspected leader, and two suspects who attacked a Federal Police station in Tamaulipas were among those arrested, the agency said.

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Mexico Detains Mayor For Extortion, Ordering A Murder On Behalf Of Drug Cartel

08/15/14 Fox News Latino

hands in handcuffsA mayor in the western state of Michoacán was detained for allegedly ordering the killing of a friend and extorting her employees and street vendors in her city on behalf of a drug cartel, authorities said Thursday.

Michoacán state prosecutors said in a statement that Huetamo Mayor Dalia Santana told her friend to meet her for breakfast at a Chinese restaurant, where a gunman shot him to death last year. The gunman was a member of the Knights Templar drug cartel, which is based in Michoacán.

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Mexico charges ex-governor’s son withheld evidence

08/04/14 Bloomberg News

prisonFederal prosecutors in Mexico have charged the son of a former governor in a crime-wracked western state with withholding evidence about a video that purportedly shows the son meeting with a leader of a drug cartel.

A statement Sunday from the Attorney General’s Office says Rodrigo Vallejo has been charged with the “crime of concealment from a district judge.” The statement says Vallejo refused to testify Friday about the video.

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