Mexico: Smugglers Continue To Thrive

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November 28, 2016: In the last week another grave site has been discovered in Guerrero state. So far investigators have found 32 bodies and nine unattached heads. Civilian volunteer organizations have made several recent grave site discoveries in Guerrero state, both single body graves and mass graves. However, security forces discovered this latest site which consists of a multiple graves. Based on the condition of the bodies, the victims were slain over a period of time (perhaps two years). A man who had been kidnapped by a drug gang operating in Guerrero escaped and reported the location of the gang’s rural base camp in a mountainous area. Police found several vehicles at the base camp and a small ammunition cache. Police subsequently reported that residents of the nearby town of Tixtla discovered nine decapitated bodies recently. Forensics will determine if the nine severed heads discovered at the gang’s camp belong to the bodies found near Tixtla. Between January 1, 2016 and October 31, at least 1,800 murders occurred in Guererro state. The government says that Guerrero has three serious on-going turf wars among criminal gangs. Citizens say there are really more than that. Spokesmen for rural and local self-defense groups say there is fighting between gang factions and their towns and villages are the battleground. The government still prefers to call these local defense groups “vigilante organizations.” They call themselves community defense groups, citizen defense groups or local volunteer militias. For at least three years community defense groups in Guerrero state have complained to the state and federal government that government security forces have failed to provide protection against small drug gangs. The gangs are well-armed and very violent. The gangs rob farmers and small businesses. They block roads and rob travelers. They also kidnap citizens and murder rivals as well as civilians and police. The gangs use terror to frighten the locals into silence. The latest mass murder site demonstrates why many isolated communities think local defense forces are necessary. (Austin Bay)

November 24, 2016: In the north at least 30 cartel gunmen attacked the village of La Simona (Chihuahua State) and kidnapped six municipal police officers as well as taking a police car. Soldiers and state police have launched a state-wide search for the policemen. La Simona is near the border with Sinaloa state.

November 23, 2016: The Navy commissioned two new ships. One of them, the ARM Chiapas was an OPV (offshore patrol vessel). The other was a logistics support ship (ARM Isla Maria Madre).

November 22, 2016: The U.S. FBI and DEA reported that over 99.9 percent of the marijuana and 99.8 percent of the methamphetamine seized at U.S. borders come from Mexico. Some 61 percent of the cocaine seizures are now made along the U.S. West Coast. Between 2012 and 2015 3,700 tons of marijuana and eight tons of methamphetamine were seized at U.S. borders by customs agents, border patrol officers and police forces. From 2012 to 2015, 1,770 tons of marijuana were seized along the Arizona-Mexico border, the Tucson sector while 1,300 tons of marijuana were seized along a narrow strip of the Texas-Mexico border, the Rio Grande Valley Sector. The sector runs between Brownsville and McAllen, Texas. The Tucson sector is a Sinaloa cartel route.

November 20, 2016: U.S. Customs and Border Protection has sent additional 250 agents to the Rio Grande Valley sector. The reinforcements are a response to a surge in illegal alien crossings in the sector.

November 19, 2016: Federal police have arrested a man (identified by his nom de guerre, Benito N) they believe commanded a Beltran Leyva cartel assassination squad operating in the city of Acapulco (Guerrero state).

November 18, 2016: The government confirmed it is working on a plan (with details to follow) to deal with possible mass deportations of Mexican citizens who illegally entered the U.S.

The Mexican military has again been accused using torture. From December 2006 to October 2014 the federal government had receive 4,055 accusations of torture. About 30 percent of the accusations were attributed to the military.

November 17, 2016: Security forces in northern Mexico seized 5,942 rounds of ammunition hidden in a vehicle that were being shipped to a criminal organization. The seizure took place on an international bridge -- the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge connecting Texas and Mexico.

November 16, 2016: U.S. security agencies in Texas and New York arrested six people involved in a people smuggling ring. Another three suspects remain at large. The ring began operating in June 2015. It took cash from migrants and promised to bring the migrants over the border and relocate them in the United States. The migrants came from numerous countries, but primarily Mexico, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Individuals arrested in Texas lived in San Antonio, Laredo, McAllen and Round Rock.

Security forces in Coahuila state say have arrested the former mayor of the city of Allende on kidnapping charges. The former mayor may also be tied to the murders of a family that occurred in 2011. Authorities believe the Zetas drug cartel carried out these killings.

November 15, 2016: A man and a woman were arrested in Chihuahua State and accused of multiple homicides. The two are suspected of being assassins working for the Sinaloa cartel. When the woman was arrested she had a hand grenade in her possession.

November 14, 2016; Security officials in Veracruz State found a Roman Catholic priest who was abducted November 11. The priest was alive but showed signs of torture. The priest had recently participated in a protest against high electricity bills in the town of Catemaco.

American media reported commanders of the Zetas “Old School” faction and the Gulf cartel met in the town of Matamoros to discuss an alliance called “the United Cartels.” The report alleged that the Zetas had representatives from several states, including Coahuila, Tabasco, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, San Luis Potosi Veracruz, and Quintana Roo. If this is accurate, this is a major political event in the Mexican criminal world.

November 13, 2016: The government has frozen the assets of former governor of Veracruz State Javier Duarte. The assets include 112 bank accounts, four properties and five businesses. Duarte resigned as governor on October 12 and then disappeared. The government announced a 15 million peso ($700,000) reward for his capture.

November 9, 2016: The government announced that it is prepared to work with the new American president-elect Donald Trump.

November 8, 2016: Authorities believe a man and his three-year-old son living in Starr County, Texas were murdered by Mexican cartel gunmen.

November 6, 2016: Texas security officials and Mexico’s Federal Police believe that the Gulf cartel is operating an extensive human smuggling operation in South Texas.

November 4, 2016: Media report a spike in violence in Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua State). The statistics have not been tabulated, but Mexican sources believe 2016’s death total will approach that of 2012. Since the end of October, 17 people have been killed in Ciudad Juarez in drug gang-related violence. Why? The turf war between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels has reignited.

November 2, 2016: A Mexican businessman extradited to the United States has been charged with helping the Sinaloa cartel ship drugs to the United States. What is unusual about the case is that the U.S. tried to extradite Antonio Reynoso Gonzalez 20 years ago.

October 31, 2016: Mexico’s economy grew by two percent between July and September 2016. This is the lowest figure in over two years. Low oil prices are a major contributor to the sluggish growth.

 

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