Body of Abducted Mexican Journalist Is Found

10/6/2017 The New York Times

The body of a photographer was found Friday in the northern state of San Luis Potosí, a day after he was abducted from his home by men dressed as police officers, Mexican officials said.

The photographer, Edgar Daniel Esqueda Castro, is the fifth journalist to be killed in Mexico this year in retaliation for their reporting, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York.

Another journalist, Salvador Adame Pardo, was abducted from his home in the Mexican state of Michoacán in May; although the authorities say that his burned body was found, his family believes that he is still missing.

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NEW PUBLICATION: “Following the Money Trail” to Combat Terrorism, Crime, and Corruption in the Americas

Over the past decade, there has been a greater appreciation of how “following the money trail” directly contributes to the fight against terrorism, crime, and corruption around the world. Money serves as the oxygen for any activity, licit or illicit; it is the critical enabler for any organization, from international crime syndicates like the Mexican cartels to terrorist groups like the FARC, ISIS, and Hezbollah. Financial intelligence has helped governments to better understand, detect, disrupt, and counter criminal and terrorist networks and expose political corruption.

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States and its Latin American partners have strengthened their ability to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and consciously incorporated the financial instrument of national power into their national security strategies. “Following the money trail,” counterterrorism, and Drug Kingpin sanctions and asset forfeiture have become particularly important to attack narco-insurgencies, dismantle transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), and address political corruption scandals that have reached the highest levels of governments across Latin America.

This report focuses on the threats from money laundering and terrorist financing, distinguishing the two, and explains government efforts to counter illicit financing. It describes the ways illicit actors raise, move, store, and use money to pursue their dangerous agendas. Specific cases examining the FARC in Colombia, the 2015 fall of the Guatemalan government, and Brazil’s “Operation Car Wash” corruption scandal illustrate how governments use financial intelligence to pursue terrorists, criminals, corrupt politicians, and their financiers in Latin America. Finally, the report emphasizes the need to design, implement, and constantly update national and international strategies to combat the financing of emerging threats like terrorism, crime, and corruption and to safeguard our financial systems.

Download the report

What’s Behind Rising Violence in Colima?: A Brief Look at 2016’s Most Violence Mexican State

expert I (2)The Expert Take, By Eric L. Olson & Gina Hinojosa

May 2017 was Mexico’s deadliest month on record.[1] 2,200 people were reportedly murdered nationwide that month, bringing the country’s death toll to nearly 10,000 since the beginning of the year. If the violence continues at this pace, 2017 will become Mexico’s most murderous year since the federal government began releasing homicide data in 1997, surpassing its previous annual homicide record of 23,000 murders in 2011.

Mexico has struggled with elevated violence for over a decade since the government launched an aggressive campaign against the country’s drug cartels in 2007. Deploying federal troops to communities particularly affected by drug violence has done little to stem criminal organizations’ drug trafficking operations[2] or curb violent crime. In fact, by 2011, Mexico’s murder rate had more than doubled, and while homicides declined moderately between 2012 and 2014, violence picked up once more in 2015 and has continued to rise since (see Figure 1).

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The only two powerful cartels left’: rivals clash in Mexico’s murder capital

The Guardian 11/28/16 

drug warStanding 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.

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The deadly roadside blunder that helped bring down one of Mexico’s most vicious cartels

11/12/16 Business Insider 

Border patrol agent by Flickr user °FlorianIn 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.

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“In Mexico’s murder capital, signs of gold rush are emerging”

10/23/2016 Chicago Tribune 

In Mexico’s Guerrero state, a lot is hidden in the dirt, secrets both gruesome and wonderful.

The unmarked graves that dot the rolling hillsides give Guerrero its moniker as Mexico’s murder capital. But there’s gold here, too — lots of gold.

Toronto-based Torex Gold Resources opened its first mine earlier this year, representing a rare victory in Mexico’s efforts to fuel economic growth in a state ravaged by drug gangs fighting over the opium crops that feed U.S. heroin habits. Two other Canadian miners, Timmins Gold and Minaurum Gold, have plans to explore and develop their own sites. In a region with very little going for it, local officials and workers hope the trio of investments could be the start of something bigger.

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“Mexico’s bloodshed keeps getting worse — homicides hit a new high for the 3rd month in a row”

10/21/2016 Business Insider

The grisly accounting continues in Mexico, as homicides hit a new high for the year in September — the third month in a row in to lodge such a record.

Nationwide, there were 2,187 homicide victims in September, exceeding the 2,155 of August and the 2,098 recorded in July. July was the first time the number of homicide victims was over 2,000 since the government began releasing that statistic at the start of 2014.

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