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.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Investigators have identified three people as the suspected masterminds of last week’s ambush slaying of 13 law enforcement officers in central Mexico, and a drug gang appears to have been involved, authorities said Tuesday.
The prosecutor’s office in the State of Mexico said 25 others have been detained in the case and are suspected of working for the Familia Michoacana drug gang.
Warrants have been issued for the three purported masterminds, but they apparently remain at large. Authorities offered a reward of about $25,000 each for information leading to their arrest.
The cartel members showed up in this verdant stretch of western Mexico armed with automatic weapons and chainsaws.
Soon they were cutting timber day and night, the crash of falling trees echoing throughout the virgin forest. When locals protested, explaining that the area was protected from logging, they were held at gunpoint and ordered to keep quiet.
U.S. authorities said Wednesday they completed drug-trafficking busts in Oregon that involved an international network of couriers, dealers and stash-house operators who smuggled methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine worth about $15 million from Mexico to Portland.
Federal, state and local law enforcement conducted raids and arrested 20 people, U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said. There were already 10 people in custody in the case, and 11, including the two suspected top leaders, remained at large after being indicted.
CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske declared that the U.S. and Mexico have made “great strides in strengthening our partnerships” to improve border management during remarks at a forum hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars on June 15.
During an on-stage interview and Q&A session at the Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border conference, Commissioner Kerlikowske said, “I was here a year ago and since then we’ve made much progress” building strong U.S.-Mexico economic ties and law enforcement relationships.
In a city with close to 22 million people, where concrete has taken over, how do you handle your dead? It’s that question that drove photographer Sebastien van Malleghen to Mexico City earlier this year.
“Around 450 people die every single day in Mexico City,” says the Belgian photographer best known for his in-depth forays into the penitentiary andlaw enforcement worlds. “The cemeteries are just enormous, and I wanted to show what happens between the moment we die and the moment our bodies are buried in a megalopolis like Mexico City.”
The result is a series of raw and unflinching images that show not just death but also life—the life of the people who work in the shadow, preparing bodies for their final repose. “Their job is to clean the corpses, fix the muscles, remove the fat, erase all of these stigmas and then to apply make-up and dress them up,” says van Malleghen. “It’s very mechanic. [After a while] the corpses become simple objects to them.”
It’s one of the U.S. Border Patrol’s most controversial practices: shooting at migrants and suspected drug runners who throw rocks and other objects at agents. Many law enforcement experts say the best option is to take cover or move elsewhere, rather than use lethal force. A law enforcement think tank — hired last year by parent agency U.S. Customs and Border Protection to review the Border Patrol’s practices — recommended restraint when agents encounter rock throwers who don’t pose an imminent threat of serious injury or death.
But when the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general released a report in September on the Border Patrol’s use of force, officials blacked out that call for holding back in such incidents, among other recommendations, according to an uncensored copy reviewed by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
The overhaul of the Federal Police has started, with the law enforcement agency being reorganized into five regional operations commands to fight crime more effectively in Mexico, the National Security Commission said.
The federal law enforcement agency will have northwestern, northeastern, central, western and southeastern commands, National Security Commissioner Manuel Mondragon said.
By Vanda Felbab-Brown, International Drug Policy Consortium, February 2013
In “Focused Deterrence, Selective Targeting, Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime: Concepts and Practicalities,” published by the International Drug Policy Consortium in February 2013, Vanda Felbab-Brown first outlines the logic and problems of zero-tolerance and undifferentiated targeting in law enforcement policies. Second, she lays out the key theoretical concepts of the law-enforcement strategies of focused-deterrence and selective targeting and reviews some of their applications, as in Operation Ceasefire in Boston in the 1990s and urban-policing operations in Rio de Janeiro during the 2000s decade. Third, she analyses the implementation challenges that selective targeting and focused-deterrence strategies have encountered, particularly outside of the United States. And finally, she discusses some key dilemmas in designing selective targeting and focused-deterrence strategies to fight crime.
Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin America Program and Mexico Institute, 1/27/12
Central America has become the most violent region in the world and many countries are facing enormous challenges of crime and public insecurity due to urban violence, street gangs, and organized crime engaged in international drug trafficking.
Latin America Program and Mexico Institute Senior Associate, Eric L. Olson, spent last week in three Central American countries and provides his analysis of the security situation there, including the role of the private sector, pervasive corruption in law enforcement, and the risks and benefits of vetted units.
I have just returned from a quick trip to Central America (El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Honduras) where I was attending a conference and held meeting with various government officials and independent experts on the issues of crime and violence in Central America. Here are a few initial impressions from this trip.
Engaging the private sector in the public security debate: The main reason for my trip was to participate in a roundtable discussion in Costa Rica with private sector representatives, government officials, and researchers on the issue of public security in the “Southern Triangle” of Central America – Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. This is part of a several step process that will include roundtables in the “Northern Triangle” and Washington, DC.