New team to tackle border crimes

July 27, 2013

 

BISBEE — A new team composed of both sheriff’s deputies and federal agents will focus on local and federal law enforcement issues along the border.

The 12-member Southeastern Arizona Border Region Enforcement (SABRE) Team will operate under the mission of the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office and is composed of four sheriff’s deputies, four U.S. Border Patrol Agents and four agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The team gained final approval on Monday when an intergovernmental agreement between Cochise County and Border Patrol was approved by the Cochise County Board of Supervisors.

Prior to that, Sheriff Mark Dannels was working behind the scenes with federal partners to get the effort up and running.

“Since January, we’ve been working on these plans, putting this together,” Dannels said.

The combination of both local and federal agents on the team will mean that it will have the flexibility to enforce all laws and investigate any issues dealing with the border.

“This border team will be dealing with any crimes that have a nexus to the border. With immigration obviously being one of them, we wanted that partner from Border Patrol and customs, whether we’re working stash houses inside the county or working a smuggling group coming right from the border. So we’ll have both aspects covered with customs and Border Patrol,” the sheriff said.

“If we have an immigration issue or if there is a federal nexus that needs to be addressed, we have that authority on this team. If it’s a state or local law that is being broken, and we need to go that way, based on our prosecution authority, we’ll go that way.”

Beyond that, the sheriff’s office also played an active role in the selection of the federal agents selected for the team.

“We sat on their appraisal boards,” Dannels said. “We want the best to be on this team. We want people that care about people and understand the needs of the people of this county.”

Part of the team’s primary objective is to serve as a response team to crimes related to the border, such as burglaries and stolen vehicles, as well as respond to concerns of ranchers and other residents along the border.

“Their job is not to sit on the border. That is a federal problem,” he said. “Their job is to be a direct response team to the community. Working the open seams, the seams the ranchers and the homeowners in this county have identified that are causing them harm and great concern.”

To that end, the SABRE Team will often work in conjunction with the sheriff’s office’s Ranch Patrol, which serves as “the voice, eyes and ears of the ranchers.”

“The intel they gather from the rural parts of our county is provided to this border team for intel operations and setting up details,” Dannels said.

County Board of Supervisors Vice-Chairman Richard Searle said the partnerships created through this effort would benefit the entire community.

“I’m fully supportive of the agencies working together, because together they can accomplish so much more,” Searle said.

Dannels agreed, saying  “When law enforcement can start working together and sharing intelligence, especially when you have a task force like this, the citizens will benefit. That’s what this is all about, that we can direct our focus to make our communities better.”

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Brutal Drug Cartels Still Being Ignored in Washington’s Illegal Immigration Debate

July 26, 2013

Monday, the leader of the brutal Mexican Zeta Cartel Miguel Angel Trevino Morales was arrested and taken into custody. Morales was best known for punishing his enemies by boiling them alive in oil. He was captured in Nuevo Laredo, a border city right across from Laredo, Texas.

Trevino Morales, known as “Z-40,” was captured by Mexican Marines in Nuevo Laredo, the Mexican media reported. The U.S. official who confirmed the media reports was not authorized to speak to the press and asked not to be identified.

Trevino’s capture removes the leader of a corps of special forces defectors who splintered off into their own cartel and spread across Mexico, expanding from drug dealing into extortion and human trafficking.

Along the way, the Zetas authored some of the worst atrocities of Mexico’s drug war, slaughtering dozens, leaving their bodies on display and gaining a reputation as perhaps the most terrifying of the country’s numerous ruthless cartels.

Why does this matter? Despite what the Obama administration and Congress continually says about the border being “more secure than ever,” cartel violence is spilling over our borders and running rampant in states across America.

Take for example what happened last week when an innocent Texas man, with no relation to the drug trade, was kidnapped by Gulf cartel members, taken to back to Mexico thanks to a porous border and executed. 

The partial unsealing of a criminal complaint by the U.S. Attorney’s Office reveals a Mexican man legally living in the U.S. was kidnapped on U.S. soil by the Mexican Gulf cartel, illegally brought across the U.S. southern border back into Mexico, and allegedly executed.

Roel Garza of Texas was arrested on July 7, 2013 and stands accused of participation in the kidnapping which authorities say was retaliation by the Mexican Gulf cartel for the theft of more than 100 kilograms of cocaine from the cartel. The victim, however, was not involved in any way with the stolen drugs.

“The victim was a permanent resident of the U.S. with no criminal record and had no involvement in the theft or sale of cocaine. The victim has not been heard from or seen since this event,” explained the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Just a few months ago, the Associated Press released an alarming report about cartels operating on American streets, within American gangs and in the American prison system. 

Mexican drug cartels whose operatives once rarely ventured beyond the U.S. border are dispatching some of their most trusted agents to live and work deep inside the United States — an emboldened presence that experts believe is meant to tighten their grip on the world’s most lucrative narcotics market and maximize profits.

If left unchecked, authorities say, the cartels’ move into the American interior could render the syndicates harder than ever to dislodge and pave the way for them to expand into other criminal enterprises such as prostitution, kidnapping-and-extortion rackets and money laundering.

But a wide-ranging Associated Press review of federal court cases and government drug-enforcement data, plus interviews with many top law enforcement officials, indicate the groups have begun deploying agents from their inner circles to the U.S. Cartel operatives are suspected of running drug-distribution networks in at least nine non-border states, often in middle-class suburbs in the Midwest, South and Northeast.

“It’s probably the most serious threat the United States has faced from organized crime,” said Jack Riley, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office.

During an interview on Fox News Tuesday, former Immigration and Naturalization Service Agent Michael Culter reiterated this reality.

“We know that hundreds of cities across America have been infected by Mexican cartels” Cutler said.

For months President of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Union Chris Crane has been begging Congress to address the issue of interior enforcement to deal with the dangerous cartel problem. His requests have been repeatedly ignored by lawmakers working on immigration legislation. 

“We aren’t even scratching the surface on the criminal illegal alien problem in the United States,” Crane said. “That part [cartels] is absent from this discussion as are many parts of this….we know that the drug cartels, that the lieutenants and the troops, the soldiers, they’re all within the interior of United States and they’re all conducting business as are many other criminal elements and criminal individuals. There are people coming here for this to be a land of opportunity and there are people coming here because the United States for them is a target of opportunity and we believe there is a very disproportionate number of criminals coming into the United States. That conversation is almost completely absent from this entire public conversation about what’s happening….It’s just another part of this debate that gives us this concern that this is all about politics and not about really fixing the problems that we face within our broken immigration system and providing for what is best for everyone is best for America to include and most importantly, public safety.”

A recent Rasmussen Report shows the majority of Americans are more concerned about cartel violence than they are about illegal immigration. The majority also want the military to patrol and do exercises on the border, something hardly being discussed seriously on Capitol Hill. 

Voters remain more concerned about Mexican drug violence coming to this country than they are about illegal immigration, and most favor use of the U.S. military on the border to prevent it.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 34% of Likely U.S. Voters are more concerned about illegal immigration. Fifty-seven percent (57%) worry more about drug violence.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) believe the U.S. military should be used along the border to protect American citizens if the drug violence continues to escalate along the Mexican border. Only 16% disagree, but another 15% are not sure.

 Seventy-three percent (73%) of U.S. voters think it is at least somewhat likely that this drug violence will spill over into the United States. Twenty percent (20%) feel that’s unlikely. This includes 36% who think the violence is Very Likely to come here and just two percent (2%) who say it’s Not At All Likely.

As the House starts work on an immigration overhaul tied to border security, representatives should keep in mind that they owe the American people action in order to protect their safety. Cartel violence is a serious issue that must be addressed, not ignored.

One Reason to secure border…

July 22, 2013

Brutal Drug Cartels Still Being Ignored in Washington’s Illegal Immigration Debate

July 21, 2013

Monday, the leader of the brutal Mexican Zeta Cartel Miguel Angel Trevino Morales was arrested and taken into custody. Morales was best known for punishing his enemies by boiling them alive in oil. He was captured in Nuevo Laredo, a border city right across from Laredo, Texas.

Trevino Morales, known as “Z-40,” was captured by Mexican Marines in Nuevo Laredo, the Mexican media reported. The U.S. official who confirmed the media reports was not authorized to speak to the press and asked not to be identified.

Trevino’s capture removes the leader of a corps of special forces defectors who splintered off into their own cartel and spread across Mexico, expanding from drug dealing into extortion and human trafficking.

Along the way, the Zetas authored some of the worst atrocities of Mexico’s drug war, slaughtering dozens, leaving their bodies on display and gaining a reputation as perhaps the most terrifying of the country’s numerous ruthless cartels.

Why does this matter? Despite what the Obama administration and Congress continually says about the border being “more secure than ever,” cartel violence is spilling over our borders and running rampant in states across America.

Take for example what happened last week when an innocent Texas man, with no relation to the drug trade, was kidnapped by Gulf cartel members, taken to back to Mexico thanks to a porous border and executed. 

The partial unsealing of a criminal complaint by the U.S. Attorney’s Office reveals a Mexican man legally living in the U.S. was kidnapped on U.S. soil by the Mexican Gulf cartel, illegally brought across the U.S. southern border back into Mexico, and allegedly executed.

Roel Garza of Texas was arrested on July 7, 2013 and stands accused of participation in the kidnapping which authorities say was retaliation by the Mexican Gulf cartel for the theft of more than 100 kilograms of cocaine from the cartel. The victim, however, was not involved in any way with the stolen drugs.

“The victim was a permanent resident of the U.S. with no criminal record and had no involvement in the theft or sale of cocaine. The victim has not been heard from or seen since this event,” explained the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Just a few months ago, the Associated Press released an alarming report about cartels operating on American streets, within American gangs and in the American prison system. 

Mexican drug cartels whose operatives once rarely ventured beyond the U.S. border are dispatching some of their most trusted agents to live and work deep inside the United States — an emboldened presence that experts believe is meant to tighten their grip on the world’s most lucrative narcotics market and maximize profits.

If left unchecked, authorities say, the cartels’ move into the American interior could render the syndicates harder than ever to dislodge and pave the way for them to expand into other criminal enterprises such as prostitution, kidnapping-and-extortion rackets and money laundering.

But a wide-ranging Associated Press review of federal court cases and government drug-enforcement data, plus interviews with many top law enforcement officials, indicate the groups have begun deploying agents from their inner circles to the U.S. Cartel operatives are suspected of running drug-distribution networks in at least nine non-border states, often in middle-class suburbs in the Midwest, South and Northeast.

“It’s probably the most serious threat the United States has faced from organized crime,” said Jack Riley, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office.

During an interview on Fox News Tuesday, former Immigration and Naturalization Service Agent Michael Culter reiterated this reality.

“We know that hundreds of cities across America have been infected by Mexican cartels” Cutler said.

For months President of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Union Chris Crane has been begging Congress to address the issue of interior enforcement to deal with the dangerous cartel problem. His requests have been repeatedly ignored by lawmakers working on immigration legislation. 

“We aren’t even scratching the surface on the criminal illegal alien problem in the United States,” Crane said. “That part [cartels] is absent from this discussion as are many parts of this….we know that the drug cartels, that the lieutenants and the troops, the soldiers, they’re all within the interior of United States and they’re all conducting business as are many other criminal elements and criminal individuals. There are people coming here for this to be a land of opportunity and there are people coming here because the United States for them is a target of opportunity and we believe there is a very disproportionate number of criminals coming into the United States. That conversation is almost completely absent from this entire public conversation about what’s happening….It’s just another part of this debate that gives us this concern that this is all about politics and not about really fixing the problems that we face within our broken immigration system and providing for what is best for everyone is best for America to include and most importantly, public safety.”

A recent Rasmussen Report shows the majority of Americans are more concerned about cartel violence than they are about illegal immigration. The majority also want the military to patrol and do exercises on the border, something hardly being discussed seriously on Capitol Hill. 

Voters remain more concerned about Mexican drug violence coming to this country than they are about illegal immigration, and most favor use of the U.S. military on the border to prevent it.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 34% of Likely U.S. Voters are more concerned about illegal immigration. Fifty-seven percent (57%) worry more about drug violence.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) believe the U.S. military should be used along the border to protect American citizens if the drug violence continues to escalate along the Mexican border. Only 16% disagree, but another 15% are not sure.

 Seventy-three percent (73%) of U.S. voters think it is at least somewhat likely that this drug violence will spill over into the United States. Twenty percent (20%) feel that’s unlikely. This includes 36% who think the violence is Very Likely to come here and just two percent (2%) who say it’s Not At All Likely.

As the House starts work on an immigration overhaul tied to border security, representatives should keep in mind that they owe the American people action in order to protect their safety. Cartel violence is a serious issue that must be addressed, not ignored.

Border Patrol considers adding razor wire fences to deter migrants

July 20, 2013

Border crossers may soon have a more difficult time in Noglaes, Arizona. The Border Patrol is looking at a plan to add razor-wire and coiled metal strands to the border fence, and this has elicited different reactions from the community.

Mary Ann Bocz lives right next to the fence.

“I’ve had issues where they’ve brought marijuana into my yard,” said Bocz.

She’s had rocks thrown in her direction and people trespassing onto her property. “I was like, ‘Why do you need to come inside my house?’ and he said, ‘I need to hide from Border Patrol,’” said Bocz. She said she constantly has to call Border Patrol.

“I really feel sorry for these people, but yet you don’t know anymore who to trust,” said Bocz.

She said adding razor wire to the fence could be a good idea. “It could slow down a lot. Yes, it could,” she said.

Border Patrol is considering adding concertina wire. The city said the wire would be ten feet from the ground on the U.S. side of the border.

“It’s going to cause more injuries and it’s not needed,” said Nogales Councilman Cesar Parada. Parada said the city is preparing a formal statement of protest. Other people living near the fence agree with the city, saying that they believe adding the wire would be inhumane.

“It will kill people or hurt people more than it will do any good,” said “Enrique.”

“Enrique” doesn’t want his identity shown for fear of retaliation. He lives near the border fence and has seen how the drug runners operate.

“What I have seen is when they jump there’s always a car waiting for them, and they just load it up. The car takes off, and then the kids crossing just jump (back) over.”

“Enrique” fears if the wires do go up, he might see a tragedy after someone jumps over the fence and gets stuck on the razor sharp wires. It’s a tragedy the city doesn’t want to deal with either.

The city has already started writing a resolution protesting the concertina wire, and they hope to have it out to Congress soon. Border Patrol responded by saying, “Tucson Sector Border Patrol is considering a proposed deployment of concertina wire in the Nogales area. Currently this proposal is still under review. Specifics concerning this proposal are unavailable at this time.”

Mexico: Will Los Zetas Unravel Without Their Leader?

July 18, 2013

Following is a summary of the importance of the capture of the drug lord who ran the Zetas in Mexico.  It is written by STRATFOR which is the world;s largest independent private Intelligence Agency (Stategy Forcasting).  They are professional and rarely if ever wrong.   Gary

A Mexican soldier stands next to a placard depicting arrested cartel members. (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/GettyImages)

Summary

The arrest of Los Zetas leader Miguel “Z-40” Trevino Morales marks the most significant capture involving a Mexican organized crime leader since 2008. On July 15, Stratfor sources confirmed Mexican and U.S. media reports saying that Trevino was arrested in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas state, and that he was being transferred to Mexico City. Reports indicate that he was arrested late July 14, though that has not been confirmed. At least one source claims Trevino’s nephew was also arrested. 

Trevino became the leader of Los Zetas, one of Mexico’s most prolific and most territorial organized crime groups, sometime in 2012 shortly before then-leader Heriberto “El Lazca” Lazcano Lazcano was killed by the Mexican navy. Trevino’s arrest could change Mexico’s criminal landscape substantially if Los Zetas begin to unravel in his absence. 

Analysis

One reason behind Los Zetas’ success is the group’s ability to replace its leadership, even its senior-most leaders, relatively easily. In fact, Trevino succeeded Lazcano without any noticeable internal strife — a rare occurrence among Mexican criminal groups.

This ability stems from the founding members, several of whom deserted from the highly trained Special Forces Airmobile Group unit of the Mexican army. Because ex-military personnel formed Los Zetas, members tend to move up in the group’s hierarchy through merit rather than through familial connections. This contrasts starkly with the culture of other cartels, including the Sinaloa Federation. However, Trevino did not originate from the Mexican military like his predecessor, so it is possible that the group’s culture may have changed somewhat. 

It is unclear who will now try to keep the group together. Trevino’s brother, Omar “Z-42” Trevino, will likely continue to maintain his role in criminal operations but it remains to be seen whether he has the capability or respect within the organization to replace his brother.

The places where cartel-related violence could rise as a result of Trevino’s capture will depend on the ability of Los Zetas to replace their top leader as well as the strategies of Los Zetas’ rivals. Should Trevino’s arrest spark an internal struggle for succession, violence could rise in the states in which Los Zetas hold a substantial presence, including Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Coahuila, Veracruz, Hidalgo, and Tabasco states.

Los Zetas’ rivals, such as the Sinaloa Federation, the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion, the Knights Templar and factions of the Gulf cartel, probably see this transition as a moment of weakness. They could attack Los Zetas in their strongholds or otherwise try to expel Los Zetas from their own home territories.   

The intelligence from Trevino’s arrest could be a boon to U.S. and Mexican officials. Unlike Lazcano, who was killed during his attempted apprehension, Trevino survived his arrest and thus could provide valuable intelligence either through interrogation or through the seizure of his personal belongings, including mobile phones, computers and paper records. These in turn could lead to the arrests of other high-ranking organized crime leaders.

Interior Repatriation in Mexico: Baby Steps in the Right Direction

July 17, 2013

The Obama administration and the new Mexican regime are taking some useful — if tiny — steps in the right direction regarding sending Mexican illegals back to the middle of that nation.

For decades the pattern has been to ship illegal aliens captured by our government back to our southern border, send them to the other side; then, all too often, the illegals try to cross again, frequently successfully.

If you are thrust into Juarez, and your village is, say, near Mexico City, then El Paso or even Denver are much, much closer than your home town. And if you find a job north of the line, the pay will be much better than in Mexico, even if below U.S. standards.

Most illegals from Mexico are not from the Mexican border states; they come from more populous, less prosperous areas in the central and the southern parts of the country. So it is better for us, and maybe even for them, if they are sent back to their home towns. It is called interior repatriation.

A couple of days ago, ICE announced that from now on there would be bi-weekly flights from El Paso to Mexico City, each carrying as many as 136 deported Mexicans back to Mexico City, presumably at U.S. expense. Then — and this is a switch — the Mexican government will buy bus fares for these aliens as they head to their home towns in Mexico.

This is the third (albeit small) step in a little-noticed progression.

The first step was taken several years ago when the Border Patrol started funding a summertime flight back to Mexico City program for volunteers among those who had been captured in the Arizona desert during the often fatally hot days of summer. The program only applied to volunteers, only to those without criminal records, only to the hottest months, and only to the Arizona border. It was sold more as a humanitarian gesture — it must have saved some lives — not as an enforcement tool.

For more on that program, see this 2010 blog of mine.

The next step came last year when, during the gap between the election of a new president of Mexico and his swearing in; PAN, the party that had held power but lost the 2012 election, worked out an experimental project with the United States involving El Paso-Mexico City flights for some 2,300 Mexican nationals, mostly with criminal records, and thus probably mostly, if not all, deportees. These were involuntary departures, a welcome change from the past, as we reported in a December 2012 blog.

The most recent development, as reported in a skimpy Associated Press story and an even more bare-bones ICE press release said that the new set of flights would be made twice a week from El Paso, typically filling a 136-seat plane. In one part of the AP story the arrangement was noted as “permanent” and in another Mexico’s National Migration Institute said that about 6,800 people would be involved in flights that will “last six months”.

Again, these will be involuntary departures, thus presumably deportees and thus most of them will have criminal records beyond their violations of the immigration law. Persons apprehended outside the immediate El Paso region will be taken to the Otero County (N.M.) detention center, processed there, and then bussed 90 miles or so to the El Paso airport for the flights south.

This is, of course, progress. It is well known than the recidivism rate for those involved in interior repatriation is a fraction of that of those who are simply dumped on the other side of the southern border. But the scale is so small as to be almost meaningless.

Let’s assume that there is a steady flow of flights out of El Paso for a year; that would come to 14,144 (104 x 136) Mexican nationals. That could be compared to the 2012 estimate by the Department of Homeland Security that in 2011 there were 6,800,000 Mexican illegals in the United States. At the scheduled rate of departure it would take more than 480 years to complete the removal task, assuming there were no continuing arrivals of illegals.

When one compares the planned annual exit rate of 14,144 to the total number of removals of Mexican illegals (a number that has been inflated recently by the administration) one sees that only a tiny percentage of that number is likely to be flown back to the interior. Using a fairly safe number, the Office of Immigration Statistics total of aliens removed to Mexico in fiscal year 2011, we find 293,966. The projected airborne-departures would be less than 5 percent of that total.

The precedent has been set for the involuntary return of some illegal aliens to Mexico City, with the Mexican government picking up some of the costs. Though both governments may be doing this with little more than symbolism in mind, it is a baby step in the right direction.

Mexico Captures Zeta Drug Lord

July 16, 2013

(CNN) — A Mexican military helicopter hovered south of the border in the early morning darkness.

Below it, one of the country’s most wanted drug lords was riding in a pickup truck.

Mexican authorities say they’d been tracking Zetas cartel boss Miguel Angel Treviño Morales for months. Early Monday morning, their moment came to swoop in.

The helicopter stopped the pickup Treviño was riding in 27 kilometers (about 16 miles) southwest of the border city of Nuevo Laredo, said Eduardo Sanchez Hernandez, the Mexican government’s security spokesman.

Treviño, known as Z-40, had $2 million, eight weapons and hundreds of ammunition cartridges with him when he was captured around 3:45 a.m., Sanchez said.

The Zetas leader was in the pickup truck with two others, who were also arrested.

“It seems like one of them was in charge of financial operations of this gang and the other was a bodyguard,” Sanchez said, adding that authorities would have more information after speaking with the suspects.

No shots were fired in the operation, said Sanchez, who didn’t explain how the helicopter managed to stop the pickup.

“It made a maneuver that resulted in the truck stopping, and three people in the truck were apprehended by personnel on the ground who came to support the navy, which had made the detention using the helicopter,” he said.

Treviño, 40, faces charges of organized crime, homicide, torture and money laundering, Sanchez said. There are at least seven arrest warrants for his capture.

Treviño is accused ordering the kidnapping and killing of hundreds of migrants in the border state of Tamaulipas, Sanchez said.

His arrest is the most significant blow to drug trafficking in Mexico since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in December.

Mexican authorities had been offering a reward of 30 million pesos (about $2.4 million) and the U.S. State Department had been offering an award of up to $5 million for information leading to his capture.

In a news conference describing the dramatic military operation late Monday night, Sanchez said Treviño was known for “cruelty” and “the fury with which he attacked his victims.”

The Zetas started out as the enforcement arm of Mexico’s Gulf cartel, but later split off and formed their own drug trafficking organization.

They have since branched out into extortion, kidnapping and human smuggling.

The Zetas are accused of smuggling tons of cocaine and other drugs annually to the United States, generating many millions of dollars.

The name of the cartel conjures up some of the most violent images of the drug war: a casino fire that killed 52 people, the deaths of 72 migrants and tortured bodies hanging from bridges.

It’s unclear how Treviño’s arrest could affect the cartel.

Mexico’s state-run Notimex news agency described Treviño as the head of the Zetas. But Sanchez did not mention the cartel’s name during Monday night’s news conference and did not describe Treviño as its leader.

Asked by a reporter Monday night who would head the organization after his capture, and whether Treviño’s brother played a role in leading the cartel, Sanchez declined to comment.

Last year, Mexican authorities announced that they had killed Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, who had been the cartel’s leader.

The high-profile arrest of Treviño came the same day that Mexico’s defense secretary and the head of Mexico’s navy met with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A senior U.S. State Department official praised Mexican authorities for Monday’s arrest.

“Credit goes to the Mexican government for this,” the official said. “It is a very big get.”

It is unclear whether the arrest will qualify for the U.S. government’s reward program, the official said.

“We work well with these guys and congratulate them,” the official said.

Attorney General Eric Holder Has One More Murder to Answer For

July 15, 2013

Attorney General Eric Holder

International developments in Egypt and Syria – along with the Obama administration’s keystone Cops-like hunt for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – have distracted media and public attention from three extremely serious scandals; each one of which would justify the impeachment and criminal trial of several US cabinet members, including, arguably, the President himself. One of these scandals surrounds Operation Fast and Furious, and – related to this issue – it now seems that Attorney General Eric Holder has one more murder to answer for

According to internal Justice Department (DoJ) records, a police chief in the Mexican state of Jalisco was shot and killed in an ambush on January 29th. Also killed was one of his bodyguards, whilst his wife and a second bodyguard were wounded. The ambush was carried out by suspected members of a drug cartel; Jalisco, a western Mexican state that has Guadalajara as it’s capital, is the virtual battleground in a war between several rival criminal cartels.

Following the arrest, by local authorities, of eight suspects in the shooting, the rifle that killed Hostotipaquillo chief of police Luis Lucio Rosales Astorga, was recovered, along with a large cache of weapons, grenades and tactical equipment. The WASR rifle, a Romanian-manufactured AK-47 variant, was traced to the Lone Wolf Trading Company, a Glendale, Arizona gun store. It was originally purchased by Jacob A. Montelongo, an Arizona resident who was later sentenced to more than three years in prison, after pleading guilty to conspiracy, making false statements and smuggling goods from the United States. The purchase was made in February 2010, around three months after Operation Fast and Furious was begun. In this operation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) sanctioned the purchase of hundreds of firearms, from gun stores in the United States, by arms smugglers, who then took the firearms to Mexico and sold them to drug cartels.

At the time, gun store owners were raising concerns about the high-volume sales, but were told, by the ATF, to make the sales, as the weapons were supposedly being tracked, in order to locate and apprehend high-level drug cartel members. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, court records show that Montelongo obtained more than 109 firearms, whilst Operation Fast and Furious was active.

The ATF failed to track the weapons, leading critics of the Obama administration to question whether the purpose of Fast and Furious was to flood Mexico with American weapons, in order to justify tighter laws, relating to firearms purchases; the President, along with other members of his administration, have long claimed that the drug-related violence in Mexico is largely due to the huge number of weapons that find their way across the US-Mexico border. The assertion, that the majority of weapons used by drug cartels originate from the United States, has never been substantiated.

Although neither Attorney General Eric Holder, who – as de facto head of the ATF – has numerous murders to answer for, nor any other high-ranking DoJ official has provided Congress with the full details of Operation Fast and Furious, it is understood that some 2,000 weapons, illegally purchased in the US during this operation, were smuggled into Mexico and then disappeared. A number of these weapons have since been recovered and linked to the killings of over 200 people – most of them Mexican citizens. One victim of the botched gun-trafficking operation was US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed, in 2010, with a weapon linked to Fast and Furious.

During the Presidency of George W. Bush, a similar operation – named Wide Receiver – had been conducted by the ATF. However; Wide Receiver involved less than 500 weapons and was conducted with the knowledge, approval and cooperation of Mexican authorities, whereas Fast and Furious was concealed from Mexican officials. Wide Receiver was scrapped after it was deemed ineffective; with very few of the weapons being successfully tracked.

Testifying under oath before a Congressional committee, Holder had denied any knowledge of Fast and Furious until mere weeks before the hearing. Documents subsequently obtained by the Committee showed that he had lied about this and had, in fact, been aware of the operation for some time. As a result, Holder was held in contempt but, inexplicably, remains US Attorney General. Ultimately, Eric Holder is responsible for what happens at the ATF and, as such, has over 200 murders to answer for. Now, he has one more.

US and Mexico resume interior repatriation initiative

July 14, 2013