Category Archives: drug war

Update: CJNG DENIES GRENADE aTTaCK ON US CONSULATE: —” Grenade attack on U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara, MX

Diplomatic Security Sit-Rep 12/12/2019 Updates on US Consulate Grenade Attack

MEXICO CITY — Officials in western Mexico confirmed Friday that a drug cartel has hung up banners denying involvement in a Nov. 30 grenade attack on the U.S. consulate in Guadalajara.

Several media outlets posted photos of the banners, which read: “Our cartel totally and completely distances itself from what happened at the U.S. embassy (sic).”

The banners were signed “Jalisco New Generation cartel.”

A Jalisco state government official who was not authorized to be quoted by name confirmed the content of the banners, and said they were found strung on an overpass and footbridge in Guadalajara on Thursday.

The official could not vouch for the authenticity of the banners.

The professionally printed vinyl banners read, “We are not the ones who carried out the attack” on the consulate.

“You, the government, know perfectly well who is doing things with the aim of sullying our organization’s image,” the banner continued.

The banners appeared a couple of days after the FBI offered a $20,000 reward for information on the attack.

The FBI says a lone attacker tossed two grenades at the consulate while it was closed. Nobody was injured.

It was unclear if the Nov. 30 attack had been timed to coincide with the eve of the Dec. 1 inauguration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Mexican cartels have been known to carry out grisly acts of violence in areas controlled by their rivals in order to provoke government crackdowns on their rivals’ turf.

The Mexican and U.S. government have been focusing their efforts on the Jalisco cartel in particular, in part because it is viewed as the fastest-growing Mexican drug gang. This week, the new administration announced its first money-laundering case against the Jalisco cartel.

In past attacks on U.S. targets in Mexico, the attackers have usually pleaded ignorance or mistaken identity.

In 2010, hitmen working for Barrio Azteca, a gang allied with the Juarez drug cartel, killed U.S. consulate employee Leslie Ann Enriquez Catton, her husband, Arthur Redfels, and Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, the husband of another employee of the consulate in Ciudad Juarez.

Former gang members testified the killings were a case of mistaken identity. Redfels was driving a white SUV that was very similar to a vehicle that had been marked as a target for his team of assassins because they thought it belonged to members of the rival Sinaloa cartel.

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Grenade attack on U.S. Consulate may be an ominous warning for Mexico’s new president

MEXICO CITY — The U.S. Consulate in Mexico’s second-largest city, Guadalajara, opened Monday with limited operations after it was targeted with two grenades over the weekend, just hours before Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was sworn in as the nation’s first leftist president.

The act occurred when the consulate was closed, and no one was injured. But it immediately caused alarm among government officials and security experts who question whether it was meant as a test for the new Lopez Obrador government, to provoke the Trump administration, or both.

Guadalajara, along with Lake Chapala and Ajijic in the region, is home to one of the largest American expat communities in the world.

Elements of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, whose headquarters are in Guadalajara, were suspected in the act. Security was reinforced Monday outside consulate offices as well as at the U.S Embassy in Mexico City as a precaution.

“The situation in Mexico is a powder keg,” said Arturo Fontes, a security consultant and former FBI agent whose postings have included the western city. “The timing and target are key: a presidential inauguration. Political transition. The Chapo trial, which threatens to expose names of corrupt officials, and the migrant caravan.”

In this Jan. 19, 2017, photo provided by U.S. law enforcement, authorities escort Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, center, from a plane to a waiting caravan of SUVs at Long Island MacArthur Airport, in Ronkonkoma, N.Y. The Mexican drug lord is currently on trial in New York City.(AP)
In this Jan. 19, 2017, photo provided by U.S. law enforcement, authorities escort Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, center, from a plane to a waiting caravan of SUVs at Long Island MacArthur Airport, in Ronkonkoma, N.Y. The Mexican drug lord is currently on trial in New York City. (AP)

The infamous drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán of the Sinaloan cartel has been on trial in New York City since mid-November. Fontes and other security experts say the caravans of hundreds and sometimes thousands of Central Americans moving up through Mexico to the U.S. border are hurting human- and drug-smuggling profits because they don’t need cartel protection or cartel-regulated coyote smuggling services.

And with Christmas fast approaching, cartel bosses are desperate for money to pay annual holiday bonuses known as aguinaldos to their underlings.

Some current and former U.S. and Mexican officials drew parallels to other political transitions in which power vacuums have led to internal realignment among cartels, usually leaving a trail of bloodshed behind.

Lopez Obrador arrives to the presidency with the murder rate at a record high, with more than 31,000 people killed this year. It’s now been 12 years since the official start of a militarized crackdown on organized crime that’s left more than 240,000 dead and more than 37,000 missing.

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador holds his first news conference as president, which started at 7 a.m. local time in Mexico City, on Monday.(Christian Palma/AP)
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador holds his first news conference as president, which started at 7 a.m. local time in Mexico City, on Monday. (Christian Palma/AP)

Moreover, Mexico’s rule of law remains weak, with beleaguered police forces beset by corruption and incompetence, campaign issues that were central in ushering Lopez Obrador to power.

This article neglects to mention the large number of crimes committed by the Municipal Police in Mexico. It has been our experience that even high ranking Government Employees, Senior Elected Officials, and Judges  are often forced to ignore crimes commited by the municipal police out of fear.

At his first daily early morning press briefings Monday, Lopez Obrador made no mention of the incident in Guadalajara.

Near midnight on Friday, a person, caught on film, tossed two grenades into the U.S. Consulate General compound. Grenade fragments were found at the scene and the blast left a 16-inch hole in an exterior wall. The damage was considered minimal.

Mexican federal and U.S. authorities are investigating the act. The U.S. Consulate said on Twitter that it was limiting operations Monday to facilitate the investigation. Regular operations were to resume Tuesday.

“The investigation has been handed over to federal authorities, who will give information on developments in due time,” stated the prosecutor’s office for the state of Jalisco.

The incident comes nearly two weeks after the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, known by its Spanish acronym, CNGJ, allegedly posted a video online in which it threatened to attack the consulate. The video shows a man under interrogation, with part of his face bandaged and severely beaten. With an accordion playing in the background, the man says he was ordered to attack the consulate office and, with the help of local and state police, to kidnap Central American men, women and children and hold them for ransom to generate money to pay corrupt authorities to overlook illicit activities. The planned attack against the consulate office, the man said, was to send the U.S. a message to leave “Mencho alone.”

The Dallas Morning News couldn’t independently confirm the recording’s authenticity.

CNGJ is one of the largest and most violent cartels in Mexico and is a top target for U.S. anti-drug operations. The gang’s leader, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, or “El Mencho,” is on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s most wanted list.

Attacks on U.S. personnel or structures are rare. But when they do happen, retaliation by the U.S. government has been swift and severe. An unexploded grenade at a U.S. Consulate in Monterrey in 2008, the 2010 killing of a U.S. Consulate employee and her husband in Juarez, and the 2011 murder of U.S. agent Jaime Zapata led to swift action by the U.S. government that eventually crippled or splintered the cartels, from the Zetas in the state of Tamaulipas to the Juarez cartel across from El Paso.

John Feeley served in Mexico during those incidents and said of the incident in Guadalajara: “We have seen U.S. embassies and consulates attacked before, but it is very rare. If this was a cartel directed attack, it was almost certainly a message or a trial run … El Mencho and CNGJ know how to kill and maim and this attack did neither.”

Feeley said he won’t fully rule out that someone other than a cartel may be behind the grenades, saying, “We have seen embassies attacked by disgruntled visa seeker or ideologically anti-American crowds, too. One thing is certain, however: The FBI and ATF will be all over this and it will be an early test of law enforcement collaboration in the AMLO-era.”

Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a political science professor at George Mason University and expert on security, said she was puzzled by the act because it’s been a long-held unspoken rule by the cartels not to rattle U.S. authorities. But she said the timing was key.

“Remember that the CJNG grew exponentially and became what it is now since the beginning of the Peña Nieto government,” she said, referring to former President Enrique Peña Nieto, who just ended his six-year term. “But they should not be attracting attention, and with this attack you’re calling for a response from two governments. Why?”

Fontes played an integral role as an FBI investigator in the Laredo region during the rise of the Zetas paramilitary group, whose remnants continue to terrorize the area. Fontes didn’t dismiss the possibility of a feud inside the Jalisco cartel, as warring factions led by Carlos Enrique Sanchez Martinez, known as El Cholo, with the support of the Sinaloa cartel,  against his old boss, ‘El Mencho.” But in his experience in Nuevo Laredo, he said, politics also played a central role in such incidents as political rivals unleashed violence to weaken their opponents in the eyes of voters.

Political motives cannot be ignored, he said. “You have a new president coming in and this may be a message: ‘Hey, this drug war continues and it can make or break you.’ ” More From Dallas News

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The Bullet of Impunity

Translated by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: El País

By: Javier Garza Ramos, Torreón, Coahuila.
June 18, 2018

The bullet that killed Fernando Purón Johnston , PRI candidate for federal deputy in Piedras Negras, Coahuila on Friday, June 8, was the same one used six days earlier, on June 2, that killed Pamela Terán Pineda, candidate for councilor El Juchitán , Oaxaca, and Juana Maldonado Infante, candidate for local deputy in Jopala, Puebla .
The same bullet was used the next day, on Saturday June 9, which wounded Rosely Magaña, candidate for councilor in Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, who died 72 hours later. And it was the same bullet that killed Alejandro Chávez, candidate for mayor of Taretan, Michoacán on Thursday, June 14th.
This same bullet  has killed 44 pre-candidates and candidates for election and other 70 officials and political figures in this election process. No ballistic proof is needed to sustain the claim, just follow the path of the bullet of impunity.

Fernando Purón Johnston, PRI Candidate and former Mayor of Piedras Negras, Coahuila

The person who ordered Purón’s murder probably knew that nothing was going to happen to him, because nothing happened to Terán’s murderer , and he knew that Salado’s murderer had nothing happen to him and so goes back in time the long thread of impunity.

I get the impression that we already saw this movie. The sequence of candidates killed in the current electoral process in Mexico is very similar to the list of dozens of journalists killed in Mexico in the last decade. A succession of crimes that alarm at first, but have become normalized.
Candidates and journalists are two high-risk groups in Mexico. Of course, they are not the only ones, they are only two subgroups of rampant unabated  violence that last year averaged 20 victims a day  and of which there is no end in sight.
While the motive of each murder is particular, in the case of journalists and candidates, a common thread unites them in that the victims may have touched powerful interests that prefer to use violence to end threats because they live in a country with a broken rule of law. Violence is a cheap, fast and easy remedy to perceived threats to institutions.
Throughout this succession of crimes there are those who warn about the gestation of an epidemic but their voices are drowned because nothing ever happens, until a high-profile case arrives that causes greater impact, which raises the volume of the complaints, although the increasing demand for sentencing does not end up solving anything.
The “strong condemnation” that we hear from the authorities is just a placebo that shows its inefficiency. Worse yet, when those high-profile cases are registered in the highest spheres of authority, after having ignored dozens of other cases, things are only  likely to get worse.
Fernando Purón was the highest-profile candidate killed in the current electoral process, as he was the first candidate to hold a federal election position, while the previous candidates had been candidates for local positions in small municipalities.

Secretary of Labor Roberto Campa

His death was the first that merited the presence of a member of the cabinet of President Enrique Peña Nieto at the funeral. The Secretary of Labor, Roberto Campa, traveled to Piedras Negras as the presidential representative, but also with the same common promises to deliver justice.

Something similar happened with the case of Javier Valdez, the highest profile journalist killed in Mexico in recent years.

Javier Valdez, award winning and internationally known Journalist and Author of several books

 A year ago, when Javier Valdez was gunned down in Culiacán, Peña Nieto spoke for the first time about the murder of a journalist, after having ignored 35 previous crimes committed during his six-year term . The president brought together the security cabinet and the governors, issued instructions to strengthen the protection of journalists and promised that the killing would not go unpunished.
A year later, two of the three men who attacked Valdez on May 15, 2017 have been detained, but accused only of the material authorship of the crime, because until now the intellectual authors enjoy the same impunity enjoyed by those responsible for dozens of previous murders.
It is easy to conclude that if the murder of a nationally and internationally recognized journalist provoked the reaction of the same President of the Republic but the crime still goes unpunished, anyone who is thinking of killing a lesser-known journalist than Javier Valdez can reasonably think he or she will get away with it.
In fact, there were already some who thought about it: in 2017 six more journalists were killed after Javier Valdez and at least four so far in 2018.
Mexican police Mexican Citizens take to the streets to demand Justice and Freedom of the Press after their beloved brave truth-telling journalists continue to be murdered.
That is why Roberto Campa’s presence at Purón’s funeral involves a challenge in itself: if the murder of a candidate that merited this level of attention is unpunished the fate of others is already cast.
The impunity in the homicide of Purón also carries another risk because it threatens to throw overboard the pacification that the State of Coahuila has had in the last years and in particular the northern zone of the state,  in Piedras Negras, ie, where Purón  was mayor from 2014 to 2017, a period in which state and federal operatives managed to dismantle the power of Los Zetas, who waged a reign of terror in the area during the previous decade .
The infamous prison near Piedras Negras, Coahuila that Los Zetas turned into a Base of Operations and many call a death camp. The death toll will probably never be known.
Unlike previous municipal administrations, that of Purón did not succumb to the control of Los Zetas. That had been one of the focal points of his speech and it is now one of the lines of investigation into his murder.
It was during the years that Purón was mayor when Piedras Negras managed to overcome the trauma of the massacres and disappearances that have been documented with horrifying detail by El Colegio de México, the government of Coahuila and the Executive Commission for Victim Assistance.
 Piedras Negras has made such a remarkable recovery that in the latest surveys of urban security by the National Institute of Geography and Statistics, Piedras Negras appeared among the cities with a better perception of security, data that resulted from the mayoral work of the now dead candidate.
Just a week ago, Pablo Ferri published in this newspaper the chronicle of a trip through Coahuila that ended precisely in Piedras Negras. Noting the horror of recent years, the story also showed a semblance of quiet normalcy within political campaigns.
Two days after the text was published, the story completely changed to one that we already know all too well.
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Arrest Warrants Issued in the Murder of Congressional Candidate Purón.

Authorities issue arrest warrants in the murder of candidate Purón..his widow announces pregnancy

Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat ,,,Big thanks to mi Amiga Lacy

Ignacio, ‘El Putrambula’, served as director of public security in Tenosique, Tabasco, and has more than 81 complaints of homicide, kidnapping, torture, abuse of authority.

Purón was 112th candidate murdered in the past 14 months of Mexico’s bloody election campaign

 

The young widow announced through her personal Facebook account and confirmed it later in an exclusive interview with Periódico Zócalo. “I feel a lot of happiness, I am eight weeks pregnant and I know in this way that Fernando is giving me the strength to keep going despite his absence,” she said.

This is the second child of Villarreal and her husband, who was killed minutes after leaving a political debate on Friday June 8th.  Puron, was running for deputy, (similar to a congressman) of the 11th district of Coahuila.

“Since Fernando became the father of María Constanza, I could see how his life changed, and with the anticipation of our second child, we were very excited, we were already making many plans, like decorating a second room, (… ) I have at the same time nostalgia, but it fills me with illusion to know that a part of Fernando grows inside me,” she said.

In a news conference yesterday, authorities announced they have issued arrest warrants for two men believed to be the authors of the murder, not necessarily the trigger-man.

The names were not revealed yesterday  but later revealed by Governor Miguel Riquelme, along with a wanted poster.

The wanted men are brothers Erick and Ignacio Arámbula Viveros, there is a 10 million MP reward offered.

Ignacio was director of public security in Tabasco

Erick was part of the Equitation team of the Secretariat of National Defense (Sena), and even participated in the Pan-American Games in Guadalajara.  Ignacio, ‘El Putrambula’, served as director of public security in Tenosique, Tabasco, and has more than 81 complaints of homicide, kidnapping, torture, abuse of authority.  They are from Michoacan.

This kidnapping attributed to Ignacio was caught on video….

From video notes:

2011: The kidnapping of Gino Gritilli by the then chief of public security of tabasco, Ignacio Arambula Viveros.  All involved are policemen and are hooded. “A dozen of municipal police officers and the corrupt, legalized professional criminal (a former lieutenant, former military chef) Ignacio Arambula Viveros (el putrambula), director of public security in Tenosique, Tabasco, Mex.”

During his candidacy Puron highlighted how Los Zaetas cartel were “ran out of Piedras Negras” and mentioned the same during the debate.  Puron was a popular mayor of Piedras Negras before running for the federal office seat. Piedras Negras is a border city adjacent to Eagle Pass Texas

The candidate’s killing was captured on security video footage, as he was taking a selfie with a supporter, outside the university where the debate was held.

 

Puron was the 112th candidate assassinated since September, 2017.

Borderland Beat Reporter Chivis Posted at 12:31 PM

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One Candidate Murdered Every Four Days in Mexican Elections: OAS

“We are concerned about several elements in the Mexican election; the first is the assassination of candidates,” OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said. | Photo: @Almagro_OEA2015

 A spike in assassinations in the run-up to Mexico’s regional and national elections is “absolutely unacceptable,” the Organization of American States (OAS) warned on Friday, March 16.

“It is an average of one murder of a candidate every four or five days: that is a margin of violence absolutely unacceptable in an electoral process, we are very worried,” said OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro.

PRD Mayor

Mexico’s next president – as well as numerous senators, federal deputies, governors and mayors – will be contested in July when millions of voters head to the polls.
“We are concerned about several elements in the Mexican election: the first is the assassination of candidates and political leaders in the country,” Almagro said during a conference at the Casa America in Madrid.
On Friday morning, news of the murder of Gustavo Martin Gomez Alvarez, a mayoral candidate with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), reached the department of Puebla.
Local media is reporting that Gomez Alvarez was eating breakfast in Metlatoyuca at about 11:30 a.m. when a group of men drove up and shot him six times. The death is being investigated by the Puebla Public Prosecutor’s Office as a homicide.

 

 Earlier this month, mayoral candidates Homero Bravo Espino, with the Mexican Democratic Party (PRD), and Aaron Varela Martinez, with the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), were both shot dead.

 

Antonia Jaimes Moctezuma (PRD) and Dulce Nayeli Rebaja Pedro(Institutional Revolutionary Party), both precandidates for local elections inChilapaGuerrero, were killed on Feb. 21 and Feb. 25 respectively. Rebaja was also head of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Affairs for the state of
Guerrero.
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According to the PRD’s estimate, about 12 members of the party have been assassinated since the beginning of the election campaign in September.
Local media report that at least 54 pre-candidates from various parties have been murdered during the same period, while 83 have been assaulted.
Since 2006, more than 100 mayors have been killed, according to a report by theNational Association of Mayors.
The OAS plans to send observers to the July elections in an attempt to safeguard electoral transparency.

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Russian Embassy Official Arrested Smuggling 400kg of Cocaine in Russian Embassy via Diplomatic Pouches.

 

Diplomatic Security SitRep:02/23/2018

  • cropped-diplomatic-security-situation-report.jpg Russian ambassador tipped of the authorities after luggage found in embassy 
  • A sting operation was mounted with drugs intercepted and replaced with flour 
  • Operation resulted in the arrest of two suspects in Argentina and three in Russia 
  • High purity drugs destined for Russia as well as Germany, where gang boss livesRussian Argentina

 

A police officer and a former Russian diplomatic official are among those arrested after authorities seized a large cocaine shipment at the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires.

Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said that 860 pounds (389 kilograms) of the drug were hidden inside diplomatic luggage.

The investigation began after Victor Koronelli, the Russian ambassador to the South American country, and three members of the Russian federal security service, reported to Bullrich that they had suspicions about the luggage found at a school annex of the embassy.

497E3B2300000578-0-image-a-8_1519334595575

Once authorities confirmed that there were drugs inside the 16 pieces of luggage, they devised a plan to catch the criminals.

They swapped cocaine for flour and placed a GPS to track the luggage and the luggage was flown to Russia in 2017.

Bullrich said three Argentine customs officials traveled to Russia to monitor the delivery, and that Ishtimir Khudzhmov and Vladimir Kalmykov, were arrested when they went to pick up the cargo.

497E32E500000578-0-image-a-9_1519334598505

A suspect, who Bullrich only referred to as ‘K,’ was in charge of buying the drug, and introducing it to the embassy in Argentina. He is still at large in Germany and is wanted under an international arrest warrant.

The logistics were also coordinated by former embassy official Ali Abyanov, who was arrested in his Moscow apartment.

Russian-Argentine citizens Alexander Chikalo, suspected of being in charge of the logistics, and police officer Ivan Blizniouk, who is accused of providing contacts to jump through customs controls, were seized in Argentina.

497E31E600000578-5424231-The_cocaine_in_16_cases_pictured_was_replaced_by_flour_and_devic-a-3_1519343954743

Bullrich said the drugs were discovered had a street value of around $50 million (£35 million).

‘A gang of narco-criminals was trying to use the diplomatic courier service of the Russian embassy’ to ship the drugs to Europe, she said.

‘The cocaine was replaced by flour and monitoring devices were placed to monitor delivery’ of the 16 bags of the drug, Bullrich said.

 

The drug, of ‘very high purity,’ was destined for Russia and probably also Germany, where the suspected mastermind lives.

‘We believe the German police will arrest this fugitive,’ Bullrich said.

‘This has been one of the most complex and extravagant drug-dealing operations that Argentina has faced’, Bullrich said at a press conference.

Russian Argentina

‘At 3 a.m. we had to send people from the border police to buy the 389 kilograms of wheat to the central market because no one had 389 kilograms in a warehouse. The drugs never traveled to Russia. Only the flour traveled.’

The minister said Russian security service agents ‘came to Argentina on three occasions to assist in the investigation’ that took more than a year.

One of the two people arrested in Argentina is a naturalized Russian who was a member of the police force in Buenos Aires, said Bullrich.

Investigators believe the cocaine likely originated in Colombia or Peru.

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