Drug-related homicides in Mexico could conceivably hit another record high 2011?

 

Stats Murder in Mexico

Stats Murder in Mexico

Drug-related homicides in Mexico could conceivably hit another record high this year but the murder count has likely leveled off and is expected to start declining, the University of San Diego said in a report, which also cited an increase in the number of Mexicans seeking asylum in the United States.

“The figures for this year are still quite bad, with more than 10,000 people killed, but not significantly worse than in 2010, when there were at least 20 percent more homicides than in 2009,” David Shirk, director of USD’s Trans-Border Institute, told Efe.

 The report was presented Wednesday at a conference in San Diego titled “The Effects of Violence in Mexico on Migration and Immigration Policy.”

Shirk said there had been a sharp slowdown in the “spiral of violence” due to a decrease in homicides in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, which in 2009 accounted for as many as a third of all murders and kidnappings in Mexico, and to new dynamics in cities such as Tijuana.

“Violence in Tijuana peaked in 2008 and 2009. Now presumably, after drug traffickers realized that violence was bad for business, there’s a pact between the Sinaloa cartel and the remnants of the Tijuana (mob), with the former gaining influence, and that’s pushed the violence to the east of the city,” Shirk said.

According to the expert, the “Tijuana model” of not interfering with the traffickers’ operations could be adopted in other Mexican cities, a move that would mean returning to the policy that existed before President Felipe Calderon launched a nationwide crackdown on the cartels upon taking office in December 2006.

The strategy has led to headline-grabbing captures of cartel kingpins, but drug war-related violence has claimed nearly 50,000 lives nationwide over the five-year period.

“That would mean all the death and violence has served no purpose, which is an unfortunate and cynical vision and a great tragedy if they’re unable to interrupt the way the cartels conduct their business,” Shirk said.

A total of 10,933 drug-related deaths were registered through Nov. 4, 2011, the expert said, citing figures compiled by the Mexican media. That compares with 15,273 homicides for all of 2010.

Most of these slayings are concentrated in four states while at least 230,000 Mexicans were internally displaced last year as a result of the war on drugs, which also has led to an increase in the number of asylum requests in the United States.

Those asylum seekers, however, have a difficult time winning their cases in part due to political reasons, immigration attorney and conference participant Ginger Jacobs said, noting that in granting their requests the U.S. government would be acknowledging that Mexico cannot protect its own citizens.

According to the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, 3,231 Mexicans requested asylum last year but only 49 of those petitions were granted. That amounts to a 1.5 percent success rate, compared to 35.6 percent and 41.6 percent for Chinese and Colombian applicants, respectively.

Shirk said Mexico’s plight is due in part to high drug consumption in the United States and the north-to-south flow of weapons and therefore a change in Washington’s current supply-side oriented anti-drug strategy is essential.

Mexico must transform its justice system to give prosecutors autonomy at the local level, but in the United States marijuana must be legalized because most prosecution and policing expenditures there are focused on that drug even though it represents only between 15-20 percent of cartels’ revenues, he said.

Legalization would free up scarce resources that would be better spent tackling much more profitable drugs like cocaine and heroin, which together with expenditures on witness-protection programs and judicial reforms in Mexico could make a difference, the expert said.

Juarez and Sinaloa cartels active in five Colorado cities.

Mexican cartels invading the USA!

Mexican cartels invading the USA!

A report from the US Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center, which says the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels are active in five Colorado cities.

Those cities are Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, and Longmont.

Sylvia Longmire, author of the book “Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico‘s Drug Wars,” says the cartels mainly operate under the radar in Colorado, although they are believed to be responsible for much of the ongoing violence plaguing the border.

“What’s happening along the border is crucial for folks in Denver to understand because the cartels have a physical presence in Denver and they are trafficking the majority of the drugs that are circulating throughout the city,” Longmire said.

Longmire is a retired Air Force captain and former Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Longmire spent six years as a senior intelligence analyst in California who focused on Mexican drug trafficking organizations and border violence issues.

The cartels in the Denver metro area may not be directly involved in street-level drug sales, Longmire says, but they do control the distribution and management aspects of the drug trade in the city.

“They are providing drugs to local gang members, they are taking care of the distribution of drugs to warehouses, to stash houses throughout different communities in Denver, making sure that they are cut, re-packaged, then sent out to smaller communities outside of the Denver area,” Longmire said.

Longmire says Denver is strategically located because of the highway system. Drugs are often smuggled up I-25 from El Paso, Texas, placed in stash houses throughout the metro area, and then distributed to other cities and states.

“It’s just the way Denver is laid out that makes a perfect system for transporting drugs by private vehicles, commercial vehicles. It’s one of the top 7 hubs for drug trafficking activity,” Longmire said.

The Mexican city directly across from El Paso, Texas, Ciudad Juarez, has been hit especially hard by cartel violence in recent years, averaging 8 drug-related murders a day. Officials estimate since 2006, drug violence has killed more than 41-thousand people in Mexico, roughly the population of Littleton.

In March, an Aurora man became a victim of the violence when he was shot 80 times in front of his wife Tania and their young son. Jake, a US citizen, had moved his family to Mexico as his wife Tania applied for her green card. Tania and their son now live in Colorado, where Jake was buried.

In February, cartel members ambushed two US ICE agents on the highway between Mexico City and Monterrey. One of the agents was shot and killed. They were in Mexico helping deal with the violence.

“It’s a vicious, vicious cycle but what is happening there and happening here is very interconnected, Longmire said.

Occasionally, drug violence does flare up in Colorado. In September, Westminster Police began searching for a suspected Mexican cartel member believed to be responsible for a murder at the Toscana Apartment Complex.
A man was found dead inside his apartment. Police say the man was in the US illegally and was believed to be a member of a drug trafficking organization.

Jose Manuel Martinez-Adame is wanted for first degree murder. Martinez-Adame was given the name “Vampie” because his teeth are sharpened to look like a vampire.
Martinez-Adame was also believed to be in the United States illegally after being recently deported. Westminster Police say he has been arrested in the US multiple times., and may have since fled back to Mexico.

top leaders of Mexico’s La Barredora drug cartel Captured!

One of the top leaders of Mexico’s La Barredora drug cartel, a gang that was formed recently and has been blamed for a wave of murders in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco, has been captured, a high-level police official said Tuesday.

Christian Arturo Hernandez Tarin, suspected of being one of La Barredora’s founders, and three associates were arrested in Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, Federal Police drug enforcement unit chief Ramon Eduardo Pequeño said.

Hernandez Tarin “had under his command at least 100 people, who performed security, homicide, lookout and drug distribution functions in the port city of Acapulco,” Pequeño said.

La Barredora, which was led by Hernandez Tarin and Eder Jair Sosa Carvajal, has been fighting the Cartel Independiente de Acapulco for control of the illegal drug trade in Acapulco, a popular tourist destination in the southern state of Guerrero.

The two gangs were formed after the break-up of the organization led by Edgar Valdez Villarreal, who was known as “La Barbie” and was arrested by the Federal Police on Aug. 30, 2010.

The 30-year-old Hernandez Tarin was arrested by security forces members taking part in “Operation Safe Guerrero,” which was launched on Oct. 6 in an effort to reduce the soaring crime rate in the state.

Drug-related murders surged 100 percent in Guerrero in the January-September 2011 period, compared to the same period last year, the federal government said.

Acapulco, a favorite among Mexican and foreign tourists for decades, has lost business to other destinations amid a 357 percent jump in murders during the first nine months of this year, making the port city Mexico’s second most violent city after Ciudad Juarez.

The war between La Barredora and the Cartel Independiente de Acapulco is behind the rising body count in the Pacific port city, officials said.

Hernandez Tarin is the son of Arturo Hernandez Gonzalez, a close associate of Juarez cartel bosses Amado and Vicente Carrillo Fuentes who is now doing time in a maximum-security prison, the Federal Police said.

The La Barredora leader began his criminal career with the Juarez cartel in 2003, smuggling marijuana from Ciudad Juarez into the United States, intelligence reports say.

Hernandez Tarin later worked as a hitman in the city of Cuernavaca for Arturo Beltran Leyva, a drug lord who died in a shootout with the army in 2009, and then joined the gang led by Valdez Villarreal. The leaders of La Barredora and the Cartel Independiente de Acapulco “have moved to the central part of the country” for security reasons, Pequeño said. Jose Carlos Espinoza Moreno, 27, Jorge Humberto Silva Gonzalez, 30, and Jose David Sanchez Delgado, 64, were arrested along with Hernandez Tarin.

The Federal Police seized an armored Porsche SUV, four AK-47 assault rifles, six ammunition clips, a handgun and communications gear from the suspects.

Gunmen ambushed and killed three state prosecutors in front of a school

Juarez Mexico

Juarez Mexico

Police respond to the scene where three state prosecutors were killed in front of a school in Juarez, Mexico, on Wednesday.

Gunmen ambushed and killed three state prosecutors in front of a school in the border city of Juarez on Wednesday, authorities said. The slain prosecutors were investigators for the office’s anti-extortion unit, said Arturo Sandoval, spokesman for the Chihuahua State Attorney General’s Office.

A 12-year-old was injured in the attack, witnesses said.

Students at the school, about 50 meters from the shooting scene, screamed as the sound of guns filled the air, according to witnesses. Police were searching the area for suspects Wednesday.

The attack came just days before federal police are expected to pull back forces from the violence-plagued border city and hours before the popular band Mana was scheduled to perform a peace concert there.

Juarez is Mexico‘s most violent city and has become a symbol of the brutal realities of the nation’s drug war, which has claimed more than 34,600 lives in less than five years.

Thousands of federal police have been patrolling Juarez since they officially took over its security operation from the Mexican military in April.

Earlier Wednesday, authorities in Chihuahua state’s capital, also called Chihuahua, said six people were killed in a shootout inside a house.

Other Mexican states also saw violence Wednesday.

At the University of Advanced Studies in Saltillo, Cuahuila, professors made students huddle in an assembly hall as a series of shootouts shook the neighborhood.

“We were all scared, calling home. They had us there for an hour,” student Ian Carlo Massu Davila said.