Cousin of drug kingpin sentenced to 16 years in prison

8/29/15 Boston Globe

Sinaloa
Sinaloa

A cousin of one of the world’s most notorious drug lords who prosecutors say was working to distribute cocaine in the United States has been sentenced in a New Hampshire court to 16 years in federal prison.

Manuel Jesus Gutierrez-Guzman, 54, cousin of Joaquin ‘‘El Chapo’’ Guzman — who led the Sinaloa drug cartel and escaped from a maximum security prison in Mexico in July — was sentenced Friday. He pleaded guilty in October to his role in a conspiracy to expand the reach of his cousin’s drug empire into New England by distributing 1,000 or more kilograms of cocaine and other drugs.

He was arrested in Spain in 2012.

Authorities said the investigation began in 2009 when a link to the cartel was discovered in Massachusetts. Undercover FBI agents posed as members of a European drug-trafficking organization and met with Gutierrez-Guzman and others in Spain, Mexico, and the United States, including in Portsmouth and New Castle, N.H.

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2 Mexican drug traffickers arrested in Colombia

8/21/15 Fox News Latino

Flag-Pins-Mexico-ColombiaTwo suspected members of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel were arrested in the Colombian Caribbean city of Cartagena by police officers working with Interpol, police spokesmen said.

Osvaldo Contreras Arriaga and Omar Ayon Diaz were arrested on Wednesday.

The two Mexican citizens were the subjects of alerts issued by Interpol.

The suspects face drug and money laundering charges in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego.

“These two people were arrested at Rafael Nuñez International Airport when they tried to enter Cartagena accompanied by relatives from Panama and Mexico,” Cartagena Metropolitan Police commander Brig. Gen. Carlos Rodriguez told EFE. The suspects “are wanted for laundering more than $45 million from smuggling drugs from Mexico into the United States,” the police chief said.

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‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s key role in the global cocaine trade is becoming clearer

8/16/15 Business Insider

ElChapoJoaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán’s Sinaloa cartel in Mexico is the largest drug-trafficking organization in the world, and its deep ties to Colombia are becoming more apparent.

According to a recent report from from Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, Sinaloa controls 35% of the cocaine exported from Colombia — the largest producer of the drug in the world.

Now that El Chapo has escaped from a Mexican prison, Colombian generals who worked to bring down the notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar are reportedly hunting down the notorious Sinaloa cartel leader, too. Born in the mountains of Sinaloa state on Mexico’s west coast, El Chapo’s cartel has expanded throughout the country and around the world over the last several decades. According to Spanish newspaper El País, the cartel’s marijuana and poppy fields in Mexico cover more than 23,000 miles of land, an area larger than Costa Rica. It has operatives in at least 17 Mexican states and operations in up to 50 countries, Insight Crime reports.

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The first suspected narcotunnel found since El Chapo’s escape has all the hallmarks of Mexico’s top cartel

8/5/15 Business Insider

Map_Downtown_Tijuana_Northern_Baja_California_MexicoThe tunnel is roughly 19 feet deep, 5.5 feet high, and over 400 feet long, and it bears all the signs of the famously subterranean Sinaloa cartel and its leader, “Lord of the Soil” Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán. According to Spanish newspaper El País, the tunnel was discovered by Mexico authorities on June 30, but details were only released on Sunday. No arrests have been made.

The entrance on the Mexican side was located in a warehouse emblazoned with the name Importadora y Exportadora Hega, a company about which internet searches turned up little. (According to El País, googling the company shows that it does cemetery construction.) The passageway, which had not been completed, connected the US and Mexico at a point near the busy border crossing at Garita de San Ysidro, near the city of Tijuana and across the border from San Diego.

The tunnel had light fixtures as well as rail track. Though its exact purpose and designers remain unknown, it is suspected that it was built to smuggle drugs.

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After escape, Mexico cartel boss faces altered drug business

7/22/15 Yahoo News / Associated Press

Mexican_drug_cartels_2008Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, has a lot to catch up on as he returns to a drug-trafficking landscape that has shifted considerably during his 17 months behind bars.

Rival cartels have been vanquished, and infighting among factions in Guzman’s own Sinaloa gang has killed dozens in the resort area of La Paz and Los Cabos on the Baja peninsula. A new and rapidly strengthening international cartel is waging a fierce battle against soldiers and police in western Mexico, even using a rocket-propelled grenade to force down a helicopter — a style at odds with Guzman’s more corporate-like Sinaloa.

Other Mexican or Colombian cartels working with street gangs in Central America may have stolen some of Guzman’s transit routes.

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At Breakfast to Talk El Chapo, Drug War Veterans Serve Up Cynicism

7/20/15 Pro Publica

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán
Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán

The slight man at the breakfast table seemed more like an evangelical minister than someone who once brokered deals between Mexican drug lords and state governors. He wore a meticulously pressed button-down, a gold watch, gold-rimmed glasses, and a gold cross around his neck. His dark brown hair was styled in a comb-over. And when his breakfast companions started to tuck into their bowls of oatmeal and plates of salmon benedict, he cleared his throat and asked for a moment of silence.

“Would you mind if I say grace?” he asked.

The gathering last week at Le Peep café in San Antonio would seem unusual almost anywhere except south Texas, where Mexico kind of blends into the United States — and so does the drug trade. Seated next to the cartel operative was a senior Mexican intelligence official. And next to him was a veteran American counternarcotics agent. They bowed their heads for prayer and then proceeded to talk a peculiar kind of shop.

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‘El Chapo’ Guzman will be Mexican President Pena Nieto’s legacy

7/20/15 BBC News

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters
Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

It was either anger or laughter. But it was humour that won out, at least for the first 24 hours.

Pretty soon, fake selfies appeared on social media showing El Chapo outside Trump Tower smiling. A dig, of course, at businessman Donald Trump who outraged Mexicans recently when he said those who came to the US were “bringing drugs, bringing crime, they’re rapists”.

Sarcasm and dark humour are what seem to be getting Mexicans through these difficult times.

And these times are excruciating for President Enrique Pena Nieto too.

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