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Posts Tagged ‘Mexico

U.S. Citizen Beheaded In Mexico!

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Via(NationalTerrorAlert)

U.S. Citizen Beheaded In Apparent Mexico Drug Hit

A U.S. citizen was one of the three men who were found decapitated this week in Tijuana, Mexican authorities said Friday.

The body of George Harrison, a 38-year-old former Chula Vista resident, had been dismembered and mutilated and was dumped in a vacant lot near Tijuana’s beachside bullring.

Authorities said they suspected that it was an organized crime hit.

Harrison had several drug-related convictions in the United States and was suspected of drug trafficking in Mexico, Baja California Assistant Atty. General Rafael Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said Harrison had been living in the Tijuana area since his release from a U.S. prison six months ago. He owned a pizzeria in Tijuana, from which he was abducted, Gonzalez said.

Authorities who searched Harrison’s business found four weapons, including a .38-caliber handgun.

Alongside the bodies, authorities discovered a taunting narco-message similar to others left at crime scenes in the battles among rival organized crime groups.

Source

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The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Due to Drug War, Help Needed On U.S. Border!

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Via(Washington Times)

Homeland security: Help needed on U.S. border

The drug war is on.

On the same day that the secretary of homeland security told Congress that drug-related violence along the Mexican border had grown beyond the ability of the department to handle, the DEA announced an operation against a major Mexican drug cartel that netted more than 750 suspects – almost all of them in the U.S.

“I believe this is going to require more than the Department of Homeland Security,” Janet Napolitano said Wednesday during her first Capitol Hill appearance since her confirmation last month as homeland security secretary.

“So we are reaching out to the national security adviser, to the attorney general and others about how we within the United States make sure we are doing all we can in a coordinated way to support the president of Mexico,” said Ms. Napolitano, explaining that containing border-related drug violence will require more than the 22 agencies and 200,000 employees in her department.

TWT RELATED STORY: 755 arrested in drug cartel operation

Border violence, which claimed more than 1,000 lives in January and about 6,000 in 2008, is already on the radar of Pentagon and CIA officials, who have told The Washington Times of their involvement in the current crisis in Mexico and say they are watching developments closely.

U.S. intelligence officials told The Times that the effects of the global economic crisis on Mexico have helped narcotics traffickers recruit more people and corrupt more Mexican officials.

At his first meeting with reporters Wednesday, new CIA Director Leon E. Panetta said that Mexico was a “priority” for the agency.

“Mexico is an area of concern because of the drug wars going on there,” Mr. Panetta said. “The president [of Mexico] has courageously taken on that issue, but nevertheless, it’s an area that we are paying attention to, a lot of attention to.”

Meanwhile Wednesday, Justice Department officials announced the arrest of 755 people associated with Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel as part of a two-year probe dubbed “Operation Xcellerator.” The operation also netted $59 million, 12,000 kilograms of cocaine, 16,000 pounds of marijuana and about 1.3 million Ecstasy pills.

But as a measure of how thoroughly Mexico’s deadly drug gangs have entrenched themselves in the U.S., Justice Department officials said only 20 of the arrests took place in Mexico, with the rest taking place north of the border.

And in a specific example of the spread of Mexican drug-gang violence across the U.S., a confidential Department of Homeland Security advisory said an assassination attempt on a South Carolina deputy sheriff was the work of three illegal immigrants as part of a Mexican-American gang with ties to the drug trade.

Lexington County, S.C., Deputy Sheriff Ted Xanthakis and his K-9, Arcos, both survived the ambush by three men armed with a 12-gauge shotgun during a Feb. 8 incident in West Columbia, S.C.

Two of the men were identified in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report as members of the Surenos gang, or SUR-13, a collection of hundreds of Mexican-American street gangs with origins in the oldest barrios of Southern California and which federal law enforcement agencies accuse of involvement in smuggling drugs and illegal immigrants.

Violence on the Mexican border and its reverberations throughout the U.S. are emerging as one of the gravest and least expected problems confronting the Obama administration, a point that was made by President George W. Bush in a late December interview with The Washington Times.

Mr. Obama will need to deal “with these drug cartels in our own neighborhood,” Mr. Bush said. “And the front line of the fight will be Mexico. The drug lords will continue to search for a soft underbelly. And one of the things that future presidents are going to have to make sure of is that they don’t find a safe haven in parts of Central America.”

In her testimony Wednesday, Ms. Napolitano sounded a similar note, saying: “I’ve actually found the situation in Mexico one of the top priority items on my desk. It was on my desk when I was governor of Arizona, but as the secretary of homeland security, I see it in a much broader way.”

Thousands of Mexican troops have been sent to the border by President Felipe Calderon to patrol drug routes and bust drug runners.

But the drug cartels have retaliated at levels of violence never before seen, and Ms. Napolitano warned that failure could turn Mexico’s border areas into a war zone that the central government cannot effectively control, as happened in Colombia.

“They’ve been targeting in some of those homicides public officials [and] law enforcement officers as a process of intimidation,” Ms. Napolitano said.

The homeland security chief has already met with Mexico’s attorney general and the U.S. ambassador there, and said the U.S. is “working to support President Calderon in his efforts.”

“That is primarily the product of the president of Mexico and his government going after these large drug cartels, so that we never run the risk, never run the risk of Mexico descending into, say, where Colombia was 15 years ago,” Ms. Napolitano said.

The cocaine trade turned Colombia into a battle zone, with the Medellin and Cali cartels able to attack the highest levels of Colombian politics with kidnappings and assassinations.

The U.S. has spent billions of dollars on anti-drug efforts, and teamed up with the Colombian government to knock down cocaine production, but to this day the national government in Bogota does not effectively control large parts of the country, where the drug-linked Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is the de facto government.

U.S. officials will focus in particular on the traffic of guns and cash from the U.S. to Mexico to support “these very, very violent cartels,” Ms. Napolitano said.

“I believe our country has a vital relationship with Mexico, and I believe that Mexico right now has issues of violence that are of a different degree and level than we’ve ever seen before,” she said.

“But in my view, from a homeland security standpoint, this is going to be an issue, working with Mexico, that is going to be of real priority interest over these coming months,” Ms. Napolitano said.

The Obama administration says that the drug-gang violence on the U.S. side of the border does not match what is going on in Mexico’s border states, but says there is a contingency plan in place that will not include militarizing the U.S. side of the boundary.

• Sara A. Carter, Ben Conery and Jerry Seper contributed to this report.

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R Bootie

No R&R in Tijuana for U.S. Marines!

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Tijuana off-limits to U.S. Marines

By William M. Welch, USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — For tens of thousands of U.S. Marines in Southern California, new orders from the brass amount to: Baghdad si, Tijuana no.

Citing a wave of violence and murder in Mexico, the commanding officer of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Pendleton has made the popular military “R&R” destinations of Tijuana and nearby beaches effectively off-limits for his Marines.

The order by Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland restricts travel into Mexico by the 44,000 members of the unit, many of whom have had multiple tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and other combat zones under their belts — or are there now.

The limits were first put in place for the Christmas holiday. Last week the commander extended the order indefinitely, said Mike Alvarez, civilian public information officer for the unit at Camp Pendleton.

“The situation in Mexico is now more dangerous than usual,” he said. “The intent is just to look out for the Marines’ safety and well-being.”

Tijuana has been a popular attraction for Californians since Prohibition days, when legal liquor was unavailable north of the border. In more recent times, its 18-year-old drinking age, cheap prices, gambling, beaches, tourist-oriented businesses and bars have attracted civilians and off-duty military from the San Diego area and elsewhere.

San Diego, heavy with Navy and Marine presence, adjoins the Mexican border and Camp Pendleton is in northern San Diego County, about 50 miles from the border.

Fallen on hard times

These days, sidewalk restaurants along Tijuana’s main tourist street, Avenida Revolucion, often are empty. Tourists are buffeted by barkers and merchants desperate for U.S. dollars. Visitors may be approached with offers of drugs or prostitution as well.

Tijuana, like Ciudad Juarez across the border from El Paso, has been hit particularly hard by the drug violence that has spread across Mexico. Tijuana saw its bloodiest year ever in 2008 with 843 killings, compared with 337 the previous year.

The violence in Tijuana grew toward the end of last year and continued this year with numerous execution-style slayings. Many of the bodies were found decapitated. The State Department has issued a travel alert for Americans going to Mexico.

Officials from the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana regularly check with Mexican police and jails for Americans in trouble, and U.S. military Shore Patrol officers check daily. Alvarez said “there have been incidents from time to time” but did not know how many Marines have gotten into trouble.

Helland’s directive requires written approval from a lieutenant colonel or higher-ranking officer for travel across the border — whether for official business, to visit family or for leisure, known in the military as rest and relaxation, or R&R.

Marines venturing over the border also must complete anti-terrorism training, receive a military security briefing and “use the buddy system,” that is travel with a companion 18 or older, according to Helland’s order.

Most of the affected Marines are at Pendleton, but some are at other bases in Southern California and Arizona. And 13,500 members of the unit are currently deployed overseas, said Alvarez, a retired captain and helicopter pilot who served three tours in Iraq.

As part of the order, Marines who cross the border on approved travel must carry contact information for the U.S. Consulate General and the Border Shore Patrol.

The restrictions don’t apply to the more than 75,000 active duty Navy sailors in the area, but they are required to inform their chains of command if they cross the border, said Lt. (j.g.) Lenaya Rotklein, public affairs officer for the Navy Region Southwest Command at San Diego.

For Marines, the order is enforceable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Violators could face a court-martial.

“It’s a lawful order,” Alvarez says. “As Marines, we obey lawful orders.”

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

‘Greatest Organized Crime Threat’ to U.S.

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Mexican Drug Traffickers Now ‘Greatest Organized Crime Threat’ to U.S.

By Ryan Byrnes

(CNSNews.com) – Mexican drug trafficking organizations are now the greatest organized crime threat to the United States, according to a recent report released by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The National Drug Threat Assessment for 2009, released last month by the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center, says Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) operate in more than 230 cities across the United States.

These drug syndicates not only smuggle drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border, they also produce drugs here in the United States. Their smuggled products include cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and marijuana, and their domestically produced products include methamphetamines and marijuana.

The power of the Mexican DTOS in the U.S. is growing as they expand into new markets, the threat assessment said.

“Mexican DTOs represent the greatest organized crime threat to the United States,” said the threat assessment. “The influence of Mexican DTOs over domestic drug trafficking is unrivaled. In fact, intelligence estimates indicate a vast majority of the cocaine available in U.S. drug markets is smuggled by Mexican DTOs across the U.S.–Mexico border.

“Mexican DTOs control drug distribution in most U.S. cities, and they are gaining
strength in markets that they do not yet control,” the threat assessment said.

“Mexican DTOs control a greater portion of drug production, transportation and distribution than any other criminal group or DTO,” the assessment said. “Their extensive drug trafficking activities in the United States generate billions of dollars in illicit proceeds annually.”

The Mexican groups often work with urban gangs and outlaw motorcycle groups (OMGs) inside the United States. “Mexican drug traffickers affiliated with the Sinaloa, Gulf, Juárez, and Tijuana Cartels maintain working relationships with at least 20 street gangs, prison gangs, and OMGs that operate in urban and suburban communities throughout the country,” said the threat assessment.

The activities of the Mexican drug syndicates, other drug-crime organizations and their customers result in a wide array of crimes.

“The violence, intimidation, theft and financial crimes carried out by DTOs, criminal groups, gangs and drug users in the United States pose a significant threat to our nation,” the threat assessment concluded.

More than 1.8 million drug-related arrests took place in the U.S. in 2007 and about 52 percent of federal prisoners were sentenced for drug-related offenses.

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

U.S. military report warns ‘sudden collapse’ of Mexico is possible

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U.S. military report warns ‘sudden collapse’ of Mexico is possible

By Diana Washington Valdez / El Paso Times

EL PASO – Mexico is one of two countries that “bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse,” according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats.

The command’s “Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)” report, which contains projections of global threats and potential next wars, puts Pakistan on the same level as Mexico. “In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse:

Pakistan and Mexico.”The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and press by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone.”

The U.S. Joint Forces Command, based in Norfolk, Va., is one of the Defense Departments combat commands that includes members of the different military service branches, active and reserves, as well as civilian and contract employees. One of its key roles is to help transform the U.S. military’s capabilities.

In the foreword, Marine Gen. J.N. Mattis, the USJFC commander, said “Predictions about the future are always risky … Regardless, if we do not try to forecast the future, there is no doubt that we will be caught off guard as we strive to protect this experiment in democracy that we call America.”

The report is one in a series focusing on Mexico’s internal security problems, mostly stemming from drug violence and drug corruption. In recent weeks, the Department of Homeland Security and former U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey issued similar alerts about Mexico.

Despite such reports, El Pasoan Veronica Callaghan, a border business leader, said she keeps running into people in the region who “are in denial about what is happening in Mexico.”

Last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon instructed his embassy and consular officials to promote a positive image of Mexico.

The U.S. military report, which also analyzed economic situations in other countries, also noted that China has increased its influence in places where oil fields are present.

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie