Mexico: Who Pays And Who Gets Paid

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November 1, 2011: Since the government launched the Cartel War in late December 2006 around 40,000 people have died in drug cartel-related violence. That is a loss rate of 8,000 a year. Turf wars (also called intra-cartel violence) have been a major source of the deaths, though no one is quite sure what the correct percentage is. This is ultimately a war about money. How much money? Good question. The estimates vary, but the Mexican cartels probably do a $30 to $40 billion a year business in the U.S. The figure is credible. The state of Arizona announced on October 31 that it had arrested 76 people on drug smuggling charges. The accused are suspected of being members of the Sinaloa cartel. Arizona authorities estimated that the individuals arrested had done some two billion dollars' worth of business in Arizona.

October 27, 2011: Two more suspects were arrested for the August attack on a Monterrey casino, the attack the government called a terror attack. That makes 17 arrests. Prosecutors have said that there are 18 suspects. The attack left 52 people dead. Los Zetas were responsible for the attack. So 17 out of 18 is an impressive figure. Remember this arrest rate when certain media claim Mexico is a failed state, or a North American Pakistan. That media meme is fallacious, but gets a lot of traction because it scares American citizens.

October 25, 2011: Security personnel have occupied a ranch in northern Mexico that Los Zetas used as a training area and safe house. The ranch is in the Las Aguilas area (Nuevo Leon state, Texas border area). Apparently several families in the area fled Mexico and went to the U.S. to escape Los Zetas.

October 24, 2011: The Mexican Army has deployed an infantry battalion in the town of Ciudad Mier (Tamaulipas state). The 105th Battalion has 650 troops. Many of Ciudad Mier’s citizens have fled the area. The Gulf and Los Zetas cartels have been fighting a turf war in the area and the people are tired of being caught in the crossfire. Prior to the turf war Ciudad Mier had a population of some 7000 people. The Mexican military built a cantonment area near the town and the 105th Battalion’s deployment is intended to encourage citizens to return to their homes.

October 17, 2011: The army reported that it had freed 62 people who had been kidnapped by a drug gang. The people were found in the town of Piedras Negras (Coahuila state, Texas border). The kidnappers were likely members of Los Zetas cartel.

Texas security officials reported that Los Zetas and possibly other cartels have recruited American citizens (young Texans) to help with drug smuggling operations. The cartels call the young recruits Expendables. What do Expendables do? Move cars, watch Texas state troopers, sheriff’s deputies, and local cops, then call the cartel contact on a cell phone. Pay seems to vary, but an Expendable might get fifty bucks for moving a vehicle. Think about it. Expendables. The name says everything.

October 14, 2011: The government said previous presidential administrations ignored the threat posed by drug cartels. Veracruz State was used as a specific example. The government made the case that Veracruz had basically become a duchy run by Los Zetas cartel, in other words, a separate state where the word of a drug lord was law. The implication is that someone may have been paid off to look the other way, though no one in the government has said that.

October 13, 2011: Mexican Army troops arrested a senior member of Los Zetas who is suspected of ordering the attack on a casino in Monterrey that left 52 people dead. Soldiers captured Carlos Oliva Castillo (nom de guerre, The Frog) in the town of Saltillo. Oliva Castillo’s bodyguards tried to stop the arrest and started a firefight that lasted for several hours.

October 8, 2011: Several weapons that have been traced to the U.S. Fast and Furious sting operation have shown up in the hands of Sinaloa cartel members. One Sinaloa gunman had over 40 Fast and Furious weapons in his basement arsenal. Fast and Furious is the code name of a Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) operation

October 7, 2011: Mexican Navy personnel arrested eight members of the New Generation drug gang who are accused of killing 32 people in the city of Veracruz (Veracruz State). New Generation is the name now being used for the group that was originally identified as the Zeta Killers (Matazetas). New Generation portrayed itself as an anti-drug militia. It turns out they are gangsters and were seeking political cover for their turf war. In a separate operation, naval personnel also arrested 12 members of Los Zetas. The New Generation gang is fighting Los Zetas in Veracruz State.

 

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