Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

Brazil: 3 beheaded in prison riot

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

After a 2 day long riot that left 4 dead this week, Brazil officials say deadly Cascavel jail riot is over

Two prison guards who were held hostage have been released, police said.

Five inmates were killed in the riot. Two were beheaded while two more died after being pushed off the prison roof. Police are probing how the fifth died.
. . .
The prisoners had complained about the way Cascavel was run, its food and lack of hygiene.

Other accounts say that there were three beheadings.

The PCC were behind it. The Primeiro Comando da Capital, or PCC is Brazil’s biggest drug cartel. InSightCrime has their history,

The First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC) was inspired by the Red Command (Comando Vermelho). Both criminal organizations were formed by prisoners as self-protection groups in Brazil’s brutal prison system. The PCC arose in São Paulo in the 1990s, and has fought a bloody ongoing feud with police in the city. The group, now the largest and best-organized criminal organization in Brazil, is believed to have members in two-thirds of the country’s states, and controls drug trafficking routes between Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

As of Monday night, the prisoner’s negotiator was worried that the “agreement to end the revolt was still in doubt as concern emerged among the inmates over the possibility of a crackdown.”

Prisoners had armed themselves with the following (video in English),

Security forces are still searching the Cascavel jail; O Globo reports that as of yesterday, seven inmates were missing.


Colombia: Was military intelligence hacked?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Latest headlines in Colombia,
Detained Colombia hacker outlines alleged political plot against peace process
Andrés Sepúlveda, an alleged computer hacker who was detained in May, says political rivals of President Santos were using classified information to derail Colombia’s peace process.

The FARC certainly has been doing enough derailing on its part, but here’s the story at hand: President Santos ordered authorities to conduct a thorough investigation

The reaction comes after Andrés Sepúlveda, an alleged hacker who has been in custody since May, told Semana in a jailhouse interview that he had been hired by Uribe’s Centro Democrático party to help undermine the talks and support the presidential bid of the party’s candidate Oscar Iván Zuluaga.

In the interview, Sepúlveda said he was ordered to use his skills to turn the armed forces and public opinion against the peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas in Havana. To do that, he said he purchased classified information from military intelligence and other groups that he fed to party officials.

So what was it? Did Sepúlveda actually hacked, or was he buying information? If he was buying information “from military intelligence,” why the need to turn the armed forces against the FARC negotiations?

Here comes the more interesting part,

Sepúlveda said that he provided members of Zuluaga’s campaign information about the FARC’s negotiating team, including private emails. But he said the Centro Democrático party was also receiving classified information gleaned from the hacked communications of government negotiators in Cuba.

Considering how Santos has thrown the towel and wants the FARC in congress without being elected, that information should be released to the public.

Indeed,

The discovery of Sepulveda’s spy operation came three months after Semana exposed a covert military intelligence scheme to monitor both government and FARC representatives to the peace talks in Havana as well as journalists covering the negotiations.

However, Sepúlveda alleges that he hacked the military, a whole different thing altogether.

Other reports say that

Sepulveda claims to have bought information from the military’s “Andromeda” intelligence program, a CIA-funded covert wiretapping operation exposed earlier this year and also accused of spying on the peace talks.

Buying information is the old-fashioned George Smiley way; not hacking.

Now

Sepulveda’s brother has testified that the alleged hacker is “receiving pressure” from “high officials” of the Prosecutor General’s Office to speak out against “certain individuals,” a claim that has also been issued publicly by Sepulveda’s wife.

To answer the question, was Colombian military intelligence hacked?, Sean Mullholand, Brigadier General of the US Southern Command, has asserted a definite no, insisting that there is no chance it was hacked.

On his part, Santos claims, “what existed and exists is a criminal enterprise,” which really leaves no room for the benefit of the doubt.

Álvaro Uribe is striking back, and hard,

Santo’s hacker advisor always: in campaigns, in infamies, and in smokescreen to hide the drug traffic campaign money

Santos also has released his agenda for the day he allegedly met the hacker,

 

Let’s not forget that Uribe accused Santos Santos of electoral fraud, buying votes, and allowing the FARC to intimidate voters to obtain re-election.

As Drudge says, developing.

Colombia: Luis Carlos Cervantes murdered

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

A classic mob hit: The Colombian journalist’s car was stopped on the road, and Cervantes was shot dead . . . three weeks after he was denied protection by the authorities, who now claim that “according to the information obtained from a risk assessment, there weren’t any links between the threats Cervantes received, and his work as a journalist.”

Marcela Estrada has the story:

 Four years ago, Cervantes served as a correspondent for news channelTeleantioquia. His problems started in 2010, when he covered the collusion between government employees from the Bajo Cauca region and the paramilitary and drug trafficking group, Los Urabeños. This occurred most heavily in Tarazá and Caucasia, both cities in the department of Antioquia,

In April 2010, Cervantes was attacked by a policeman while he was reporting on the capture of another police officer in Tarazá, who was accused of handling war munitions for paramilitary groups. Three years later, a grenade exploded just a few meters away the radio station where he worked.

In October 2013, Cervantes asserted to the authorities that the local leader ofLos Urabeños, Germer Andrés Rebolledo, also known as “El Escamoso,” was the instigator behind the threats. That same year, Rebolledo was detained by the police, for allegedly killing another journalist, Luis Eduardo Gómez.

After filing several complaints, Colombia’s National Agency for Protection assigned Cervantes around-the-clock state protection. From then on, the journalist was always escorted by two bodyguards and a police car.

Nonetheless, on July 20, the agency determined that the journalist was no longer at risk, and took away his protection program.

Four days after he was off the protection program, a stranger shows up, a text tells him to get out of town, ten days later he was executed, but the National Agency for Protection claims Cervantes’s murder had nothing to do with his profession? The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is not buying it.

In response to the clamor generated by the assassination, the Colombian government’s Procuraduría General (prosecutor’s office, the equivalent of the U.S. Attorney General) is creating a “special agency” to work with the Medellín prosecutor’s office’s current investigation (link in Spanish).

As Drudge says, “developing.”


Venezuela: El Pollo as big fish

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Mary O’Grady on today’s WSJ:
A Terrorist Big Fish Gets Away
The Netherlands refuses to extradite FARC ally Hugo Carvajal Barrios to the U.S.

While O’Grady contradicts herself on the criminals’ intent, saying, on the one hand, “America’s voracious appetite for illegal drugs has allowed violent political actors to create powerful transnational criminal organizations”, while on the other hand stating, “All of this terror is done in the name of social justice for Colombians,” the effect of current U.S. foreign policy is clear: The bottom line? (emphasis added)

Yet it’s not surprising that the Netherlands decided it would be less costly to be on the good side of the bad guys than to be on the bad side of the good guys. After six years of the Obama global retreat, any leader would be crazy to expect the U.S. to go to the mat for an ally, even one that stuck its neck out for Uncle Sam. So when Venezuela threatened military and economic retribution at the Netherlands Antilles if Carvajal was extradited, the Dutch foreign affairs minister relented.

Read the whole thing here.

Venezuela: Derwick in the news

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

In the WSJ:
American Agencies Probe Venezuelan Energy Company
Federal and New York City law-enforcement authorities are investigating Derwick Associates, which became one of Venezuela’s leading builders of electricity plants during the Chávez administration.

Manhattan prosecutors are investigating Derwick and ProEnergy for possible violations of New York banking law, people familiar with the matter said.

Meanwhile, people familiar with the matter said prosecutors in the Justice Department’s criminal fraud section are reviewing the actions of Derwick and ProEnergy for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits offering foreign government officials improper payments in exchange for a business advantage.

Federal prosecutors are scrutinizing the difference between the prices ProEnergy charged Derwick for its equipment and the prices Derwick ultimately charged the Venezuelan government, one person familiar with the matter said. The person said that in some past FCPA cases, excessive margins have been used to conceal bribes to foreign officials.

Casto Ocando, in his book Chavistas en el Imperio: Secretos, Tácticas y Escándalos de la Revolución Bolivariana en Estados Unidos (page 224), estimates that the Chavez government awarded Derwick contracts of nearly a billion dollars (plus $400 million overruns) between 2009-2010.

Alek Boyd has been writing about Derwick since 2012; in today’s post he explains that

Derwick Associates never won “competitive bids”. In the multiple occasions that Batiz and Ultimas Noticias asked Derwick Associates to reveal details of the contracts it had gotten from the Venezuelan State -bold added with the purpose of highlighting the fact that this is public money we are talking about- the company refused, repeatedly, to come clean. Derwick Associates has never been a “transparent company”. Quite the opposite in fact.

Read Alek’s post here.


Mexico: Knights Templar chief La Tuta’s on YouTube

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

. . . and everyone’s watching.

La Tuta’s touting.

I mentioned this on yesterday’s Carnival, and the WSJ today reports on it,
Alleged Mexican Drug Lord’s Videos With Officials Lead to Arrests
After more than six months on the run from federal troops, Servando Gómez, who allegedly heads the Knights Templar syndicate, is striking back with videos purporting to link officials and their relatives to his gang.

The videos, which in recent months have emerged online, show politicians and their family members meeting with Servando Gómez, known as “La Tuta”—the teacher—who heads the Knights Templar syndicate. Federal officials say Mr. Gómez dominates organized crime and terrorizes residents of Michoacán state.
. . .
In another video posted to YouTube last week, Mr. Gómez accuses some leaders of the rural guards of links to a rival gangster band, the Jalisco Cartel-New Generation, which produces methamphetamine for the U.S. market, officials say.

Walter White would not have allowed himself to be videotaped.

Here are some of the YouTubes:

With Rodrigo Vallejo Mora, son of former Michoacán mayor Fausto Vallejo (206,335 views as of the writing of this post),

With the mayor of Pátzcuaro (4,023 views),

And here he claims the vigilantes owe him drug money, but he offers no proof (28,389 views),


Colombia’s narco-subs

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Prensa Libre reports that a gang that manufactures and operates submarines has been nabbed. They worked for the Úsuga clan. The subs are used for transporting cocaine to Honduras, the U.S., and Europe.

It’ll be interesting to see what information comes about from the seizure of the shipyard; their subs could carry a crew of four, and seven tons of drugs.

Certainly, the technology has evolved immensely since the days of Pablo Escobar.

The Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) reports on narco-subs:
CAPABILITY ANALYSIS, SOUTH AMERICA
NARCO-SUBMARINES: DRUG CARTELS’ INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY
(emphasis added):

In fact, as of June 2012, maritime drug smuggling accounts for 80% of the total illicit flow from the Andean region into Honduras, Mexico and other mid-way transportation regions prior to entry into the U.S. About 30% of the maritime flow is estimated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to utilize narco submarines. Overall, however, maritime interdiction rates are very low.

The numbers of these vessels which now exist is also highly debatable with potentially dozens of them being produced every year by criminal organizations in Colombia such as the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), Rastrojos, and Urabeños. One point greatly influencing the numbers of these vessels which exist at any specific time is if they are utilized once and then scuttled after their delivery (the traditional U.S. military viewpoint) or if they are utilized multiple times (the traditional Colombian military viewpoint). Depending on the perspective held, greater or lesser numbers of narco subs would be required to be produced each year to replenish the vessels lost due to capture, accidental sinking, intentional-scuttling to avoid capture, and, potentially most importantly, at the end of a delivery run.

The CIMSEC will be releasing a paper,

Narco-Submarines – Specially Fabricated Vessels Used For Drug Smuggling Purposes”, soon to be released by the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) and intended to be an initial primer on the subject of narco-submarines.
. . .
Finally, it is important that we collectively consider the potential of these types of vessels to transport more than just narcotics: the movement of cash, weapons, violent extremists, or, at the darkest end of the spectrum, weapons of mass destruction.

The study will appear on the FMSO website. I’ll link to it when it does.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Silvio Canto. Thank you!


Chicken run: The curious case of Venezuela’s Pollo Carvajal

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog, Chicken run: The curious case of Venezuela’s Pollo Carvajal, on the released general, is up. Please read it and hit the tip jar!

El Pollo and Venezuela’s game of chicken: Venezuela exerted military pressure on Aruba

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

In today’s WSJ, Aruba: Venezuela Pressured It Militarily
The Netherlands’ release of a former top Venezuelan official wanted by the U.S. for alleged drug trafficking came after Venezuela raised economic and military pressure on two Dutch islands in the Caribbean, officials said.

Aruba’s chief prosecutor Peter Blanken said that Venezuelan navy ships neared Aruba and Curaçao over the weekend as Dutch officials were debating what to do with Hugo Carvajal —Venezuela’s former chief of military intelligence who was jailed in Aruba last week on a U.S. warrant.

“The threat was there,” Mr. Blanken said. “We don’t know what their intentions were, but I think a lot of people in Aruba were scared that something would happen.”

Holland is a member of NATO and as such Aruba would be protected, as WSJ commenter Donald Hutchinson points out, but, in the Obama administration’s era of “smart diplomacy”, the Dutch couldn’t count on that:

Assuming that US intelligence was not asleep, all,it would take would be a fly over by US Navy jets and a notification that any offensive action would be met by the immediate destruction of their ships. Holland is a member of NATO and such actioned would clearly be sanctioned,
It would also be a devastating set back to the former bus driver running Venezuela for bringing shame to their military.
But what one might expect from a timid White House and a preoccupied State Department?

Then there’s the oil,

Mr. Blanken said Venezuela’s government also had threatened to sever Venezuela’s vital commercial air links to Aruba and Curaçao. Venezuela’s state oil company also threatened to withdraw from a contract to manage Curaçao’s refinery, Mr. Blanken said, which would have put at risk some 8,000 jobs.

To put that number of jobs in perspective, Aruba’s total population is 103,009.

In the “no sh*t, Sherlock” file, the U.S. State Department spokeswoman’s reaction was, “This is not the way law enforcement matters should be handled.” At least they didn’t #hashtag it.

Hugo Carvajal a.k.a. “”el Pollo” is one of the guys who took part in Hugo Chávez’s unsuccessful 1992 military coup, later rising to the rank of general, but with a sideline,

Mr. Carvajal’s role as one of the Chávez government’s key liaisons to guerrillas from Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, emerged after computers belonging to a slain guerrilla leader were captured by Colombian security forces in 2008.

Here’s the indictment in the U.S. District Court accusing Carvajal of coordinating the transport of 5,600 kilos (6.17 tons) of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico.

In addition to good’ol military thuggery, Miguel Octavio asserts that the Netherlands caved in (emphasis added):

Clearly, everyone applied pressure, but the weak link did not turn out to be Aruba as I suggested on my first post, but rather The Netherlands, as reportedly even Russia played a role, exchanging concessions on the Ucraine plane for helping release Carvajal. No matter what anyone says or how this is interpreted, it was a severe blow to the US, who would have loved to get Carvajal onshore.

One of my sources also mentions that team Obama had about 30 days to hand over its Extradition Request to Aruba but failed to; the Treasury Dept, the DEA and a U.S. District Court (mentioned above) had indicted him last year. It reminds me of drug kingpin Walid Makled, who was released to Venezuela by Santos of Colombia after the U.S. dragged its feet.

We’re in the best of hands.

PS,
While the Dutch allow Carvajal diplomatic immunity, the Egyptians search Secretary of State John Kerry, which was no biggie, but he fumes over Israel’s criticism.

And now, MS-13 news

Monday, July 28th, 2014

from Drudge:

Border agents hampered by environmental rules…

Migrants from Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka Entering Through Mexico…

VIDEO: Residents Protest in MA…

More than 200 dumped in Indiana…

Pittsburgh at ‘tipping point’… 

Professors: Guest worker policies freezing Americans out of middle class… 

‘Death Train’ to increase traveling speeds to deter jumping…

‘BORDER PATROL’ POINTS LOADED GUN at Iowa Boy Scout Troop…

IN EVENT OF EMERGENCY, ILLEGALS TO BE EVACUATED BEFORE CITIZENS…

‘Plan is to get unaccompanied women and children to safer ground’…

Mark Steyn:

One of the reasons why so many Americans oppose amnesty and a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens is because, even if one buys it in utilitarian terms, to accept that an honorable American identity can be born from an illegal act seems to mock the very essence of citizenship and allegiance.

Read the rest.