Ex-Mexican prosecutor sentenced to 20 years in US drug case

court

09/26/19 – Reuters

A former state attorney general from Mexico has been sentenced to 20 years in prison in a U.S. drug-trafficking case.

Edgar Veytia received the sentence on Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn.

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Mexico violence: ten killed in Michoacán shootout

5/23/2019 – BBC

bbcTen people have been killed and three injured in a shootout between suspected gang members near the town of Uruapán in western Mexico. Residents said the gun battle went on for an hour and police later found military-grade weapons at the site.

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Canadian CEO Pleads Guilty in U.S. to Helping Drug Cartels

10/3/2018 – New York Times

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

(Reuters) – The chief executive of a Vancouver-based company pleaded guilty on Tuesday to facilitating international narcotics traffic by supplying drug cartels with encrypted communications devices, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Secure communications devices supplied by Vinc

ent Ramos, chief executive of Phantom Secure, and four co-conspirators helped traffickers distribute cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine in the United States, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Thailand and Europe, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Ramos admitted that at least 450 kg (1,000 pounds) of cocaine were distributed using Phantom Secure devices, the statement said, and he agreed to forfeit $80 million and other assets as part of the guilty plea.

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Mexico’s drug cartels, now hooked on fuel, cripple the country’s refineries

01/25/2018 Reuters

energy - oil pumpsSALAMANCA, Mexico—The first call, from someone claiming to belong to the Michoacán Family drug cartel, came in February 2015.

“They said they knew who I was and where I lived,” said Alberto Arredondo, who got the call at work as a pump technician at an oil refinery in the central Mexican city of Salamanca. “They wanted information.”

At first, Arredondo hung up.

“But they were insistent,” he said, calling back and demanding details of when fuels would be pumped and through which pipelines.

Over the next two years, Arredondo said, he would be hounded, kidnapped, pistol-whipped and stabbed so severely that surgeons removed his gall bladder. In December 2016, he fled to Canada, where he now seeks asylum from gangs that steal fuel from Salamanca and five other refineries operated by Pemex, the state-owned oil company.

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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

Taking down Zeta cartel leaders has triggered more violence in Mexico

08/18/16 Vice News 

His spacious house and lawn in the northern Mexican city of Ciudad Victoria are surrounded by tall walls, and stand in a gated community with more high fences and security guards. But even here, sitting on his couch surrounded by family photos and Catholic imagery, this owner of a big business still doesn’t feel safe.

“Nobody trusts anyone,” he said. “This house, 10 years ago, it didn’t have a fence. All the neighbors’ kids used to come play here.

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Alleged cartel boss found guilty of conspiracy leading to 300 deaths

07/19/16 The Guardian 

His lawyer described Marciano Millan Vasquez as nothing more than a humble goat rancher. A jury disagreed on Tuesday, concluding that he was a regional boss for the Zetas drug cartel involved in a murderous conspiracy that lead to the deaths of more than 300 people in northern Mexico.

After a brief deliberation, the jury found Millan Vasquez guilty of all 10 charges he faced.

The two-week trial took place in federal court in San Antonio, the city where Millan Vasquez was arrested last year. He now faces life in prison.

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Son of Mexican ex-governor convicted of covering for drug cartel

9/12/2015 Fox News Latino

Latitudes Press.Rodrigo Vallejo Mora, son of a former governor of the western Mexican state of Michoacan, has been convicted of covering for a drug gang and sentenced to 11 months and seven days in prison, the top administrative body of Mexico’s judiciary said in a statement.

A federal court in this capital handed down the sentence against Vallejo Mora, son of former Gov. Fausto Vallejo Figueroa, for failing to provide information in an organized crime investigation, the Federal Judiciary Council said Friday.

He also did not provide information that could have helped investigators pursue members of the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel, specifically top leader Servando Gomez Martinez, alias “La Tuta,” the statement read.

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U.S. sanctions Mexican businesses and individuals for drug trafficking links

8/20/15 Reuters

jaliscoThe United States sanctioned 21 Mexican businesses and individuals on Wednesday, saying they were part of the business network of a powerful drug cartel in the country.

The 15 businesses and six people provided support and services for the Los Cuinis drug cartel, the U.S. Treasury said in a statement. The cartel was itself sanctioned by the U.S. government in April for cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking.

The businesses targeted on Wednesday include an upscale boutique hotel, two real estate firms, and a shopping center in the south-central Mexican state of Jalisco, as well as a shopping center in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo.

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Mexico drug kingpin Juan José ‘el Azul’ Esparragoza believed to have died

06/09/14 The Guardian

drug warReported death from heart attack at 65 would be second blow to Sinaloa cartel this year following arrest of ‘el Chapo’.

Juan José Esparragoza, one of the architects of Mexico‘s global drug trafficking empire – and a key figure in the Sinaloa cartel – has reportedly died of a heart attack at 65.

The investigative weekly Río Doce, based in the northern state of Sinaloa, reported the death late on Sunday on its website, citing anonymous police sources and people close to the family of the trafficker known as “el Azul”, or the Blue One.

Radio Formula reported on Monday that the attorney general’s Office had started an investigation into “rumours” of El Azul’s death. The FBI’s website retained the crime boss on its most wanted list, alongside a five million dollar reward for information leading to his capture.

The death of Esparragoza would be the second blow to the Sinaloa cartel this year, following the February arrest of its most famous kingpin, Joaquín “el Chapo” Guzmán. It would leave Ismael “el Mayo” Zambada, as the only one of the cartel’s main leaders still in action.

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