Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

Mexico: 22,000 missing, 43 of them are the #Ayotzinapa students

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

#HastaEncontrarlos

I have been blogging about the 43 student teachers missing since September 26, but, as I pointed out in yesterday’s podcast, they are only a few of the thousands missing/killed by the drug cartels.

How many?
At least 22,000:

But searchers have found plenty of other horrors, including a string of mass graves with 50 unidentified victims that DNA tests show are not the students. Most of those victims were chopped into bits and set on fire.

As the discovery of the other grave sites shows, the mystery of the missing students isn’t an isolated case. The Mexican government estimates more than 22,000 people went “missing” during the last eight years of violence here between cartels fighting each other and security forces. Human-rights groups say the toll could be far higher.

If most of those missing are dead, as rights groups fear, that would significantly raise Mexico’s already staggering death toll of some 100,000 drug-related homicides during the past eight years by more than a fifth.

Before you blame the war on drugs, bear in mind that the cartels (sometimes with the help of the authorities) are killing each other and whoever dares to speak against them:

Mexico’s missing is a somewhat different phenomenon. Here, the crimes tend to be more about money than ideology. Drug and kidnapping gangs have perpetrated most of Mexico’s disappearances, officials say. But, if investigators’ version of events holds true, the case of students shows the line between organized crime and government security forces can be thin.

Disappearing victims has long been a strategy of the warring gangs, who earn the bulk of their income trafficking marijuana and methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine to U.S. consumers.

Someone knows where the 43 students are, but no one is talking.

In other headlines,
Mexico’s 43 Missing Students: Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca ‘Murdered Political Rival’; additionally,

Abarca has been accused in the past of direct participation in torture and murders of activists, while his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda Villa has links to gangs as members of her family (at least three brothers) are part of the Beltrán Leyva drugcartel.

Venezuela: $15 smugglers jailed, $3.08 billion a year smugglers go free

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014


Los miserables

Colombians Jailed in Venezuela for $15 Grocery Run

A $15 grocery run has cost two single mothers from Colombia 48 days in jail, along with the threat of a 14-year prison sentence, as a result of a crackdown on smuggling in Venezuela that is ratcheting up tensions and highlighting growing economic distortions between the neighbors.

Jenifer Rojas and Belsy Alvarez were arrested in early September by Venezuela’s national guard walking out of a supermarket in the western city of San Cristobal with bags of rice, pasta, mayonnaise and other staples whose prices are capped in Venezuela and whose sale is restricted to the country’s residents.

Right now they’re out on parole, along with the cashier, who also was arrested.

Back in September crossing the border with foodstuffs may have been profitable, but now, goods are bad,

My first shock was the grocery store when I went to refurbish my refrigerator. The prices went noticeably up in one month for the stuff I buy. There was no imported goods. Of course, among the goods available there is all sorts of imported stuff re-processed in Venezuela. After all we are importing now at the very least 60% of our food (estimates vary, I am giving you the bottom line). What I mean is that you could still find an occasional treat, like some average Italian pasta, or an overpriced jar of raspberry jam. This is now all gone. And it has not been replaced, even by sub-par Venezuelan production.

The real dough is in oil smuggling,

Caracas-based economist Asdrubal Oliveros recently estimated 130,000 barrels of gasoline are now smuggled across the border to Colombia each and every day.

That’s a big number. How big?

Well, assuming our men in uniform are bad at business and only make $65 per barrel sold (they’re wholesalers, after all), that would work out $8.5 million dollarsevery day, $253.5 million dollars a month, $3.08 billion a year.

You could make three thousand milicos millionaires for that kind of money, and still have spare change to cut another 843 of them $100,000 gifts. (Note: the government believes the amount is about $2.2 billion per year)

In some ways, the headline figure is actually quite small. It’s only a fifth of the $14-15 billion a year in foregone sales from subsidizing gasoline in the first place, andmuch less than the $25 billion a year we would be earning from extra oil produced in the Orinoco Belt if Chávez hadn’t muscled out our foreign partners in 2005-2006 and production had risen according to what was then the schedule, but hasn’t cuz, y’know, he did.

Don’t wonder, then, why there is no military coup in Venezuela. All that money is going somewhere.

Meanwhile, Maduro raised the minimum wage by 15%, i.e., the $776 lie

Nicolás Maduro raised the minimum wage by 15% last night, starting December 1st.

Quickly, government news agencies began spewing the lie – there really is no other way to characterize it – that this was the highest minimum wage in Latin America, equivalent to US$ 776. The rub lies in the fact that this conversion is calculated using the official-yet-impossible-to-find exchange rate of BsF 6.3 per dollar – if you were to use the market exchange rate of BsF 102 per dollar, you get a minimum (and I mean really minimum) wage of US$ 48 per month.

He’s also aligning himself with the hardcore Marxists

That’s going to work as all Marxism has so far.

Report on 100% food inflation in Venezuela,

Parting question,
Could Low Oil Prices End Venezuela’s Revolution? The answer to that question may depend on the outcome of Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi trip this week to Venezuela.

Mexico: Iguala mayor arrested

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

BBC reports,
Mayor held in Mexico missing caseJose Luis Abarca stands up during a meeting with state government officials in Chilpancingo on 8 May 2014
Police in Mexico say they have arrested the fugitive mayor of the town of Iguala, where 43 students went missing in September.

Jose Luis Abarca was detained by federal police officers in the capital, Mexico City, a police spokesman said.

Abarca’s wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda was also arrested.

All 43 students are still missing. The BBC has a timeline:

Timeline: Iguala disappearance

26 Sept: Students from a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa travel to Iguala to protest and raise funds

Night of 26 Sept: Police stop the students, 6 people are shot dead, 43 students disappear

30 Sept: Iguala mayor Jose Luis Abarca asks for leave from his post, which is granted

4 Oct: Mass graves are found near Iguala containing 28 bodies

19 Oct: Federal police are deployed to Iguala and replace the municipal force

22 Oct: Mexico’s prosecutor general says an arrest warrant has been issued for Mr Abarca, his wife and the town’s police chief

23 Oct: Guerrero state governor Angel Aguirre resigns

29 Oct: President Enrique Pena Nieto meets the relatives of the missing students and promises a “renewed search plan”

4 Nov: Mr Abarca and his wife are arrested in Mexico City

In other crime news, Mexican Regional Security Chief and Wife Shot Dead
Tamaulipas Is Across Border From Texas

The dead man, Gen. Ricardo Niño Villarreal, was security chief for the area around Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas. The area is considered the turf of the Zetas drug cartel, which has been doing battle with the Gulf cartel.



Mexico: 3 siblings, US citizens, dead

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Siblings Erica, Jose Angel and Alex Alvarado Rivera, who had been visiting their father in Mexico, have been found dead,
Mexican State Authorities Say Three U.S. Citizens Found Dead
Siblings, Missing for More Than Two Weeks, Found Shot to Death Near Border City of Matamoros
. They

had been visiting their father in Mexico and disappeared Oct. 13 along with Jose Guadalupe Castaneda Benitez, Erica Alvarado’s 32-year-old boyfriend.
. . .
Parents of the siblings have said witnesses reported they were seized by men dressed in police gear identifying themselves as “Hercules,” a tactical security unit in the violent border city racked by cartel infighting. Mr. Quintanilla said at a news conference Thursday that nine of the unit’s 40 officers are being questioned.

It would the third recent case of abuse and killing by Mexican authorities if police are involved. The country already is engulfed in the case of 43 teachers-college students missing in southern Guerrero state allegedly at the hands of a mayor and police working with a drug cartel. Fifty-six people are under arrest, including dozens of police officers.

In June, the army killed 22 suspected gang members in Mexico state and then altered the scene and intimidated witnesses to hide the fact that most were executed after they surrendered, a National Commission on Human Rights report said last week. Three soldiers face murder charges.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto met with parents of 43 teachers college students Wednesday for the first time since they disappeared over a month ago

when investigators say police detained the students and handed them over to a drug gang.

In other news, Andrew Tahmooressi’s Family Hopeful for His Release From Mexican Prison by Veterans Day.

I guess Mexico’s police applies the rule of law or not.



Mexico: The death of #Felina

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

faustaMy latest, Mexico: The death of #Felina, is up at Da Tech Guy Blog,

As we watch with dismay the ever-more-porous border with Mexico, is it unreasonable to be concerned about the effects of the Obama administration’s open borders policy on public safety and national security?

Mexico: #Ayotzinapa backlash in Mexico Bronco

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

The 43 students are still missing. Here are today’s headlines:

Mexican Tied to Missing Students Is Killed
Death of Benjamin Mondragón, Alleged Head of Guerreros Unidos, Comes After Protests

The alleged leader of a Mexican criminal band that prosecutors accuse of colluding with police in the disappearance of 43 college students was killed on Tuesday during a shootout with security forces, federal officials said.

The security forces had tracked Benjamin Mondragón to a house in a suburb of Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City, where the battle took place, officials said.

The officials said Mr. Mondragón led the Guerreros Unidos gang, which they said collaborated with police in the September shooting deaths of six people and the subsequent disappearance of the college students—whom most officials presume to be dead—in Iguala, a city in Guerrero state.

The death of Mr. Mondragón, known as Benjamón, or Big Ben, came a day after teachers and students burned and vandalized parts of Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre’s office and the state’s local legislature, demanding the return of the missing students and the governor’s resignation.
. . . .
But the incident in Iguala is a reminder of what Mexicans call “Mexico Bronco,” or “Untamed Mexico”—a wild land rife with poverty, cronyism and violence. Entire states and hundreds of cities and towns are in the grip of drug gangs and corrupt police and city halls, security experts say. The rule of law is shaky: Fewer than 3% of homicides are solved, officials say.

Protesters Burn State Building in Southern Mexico
Students, Teachers Clash With Police as Anger Flares Over Disappearance of 43 Young People

Missing Mexico students: Iguala eyewitness account

The search continues in Mexico for 43 students who have been missing since 26 September following clashes with the police. Omar Garcia is one of the students who witnessed the deadly clashes in which six people died. Here he describes what he saw that evening and what he thinks may have happened to his 43 fellow students.
. . .
We think the municipal police took them – what we think happened is that they kept them somewhere and then, as we say, “disappeared” them – like so many thousands of others in this country who are missing.

The Twitter tag is #Ayotzinapa

Ecuador’s “dirty hand,” and Mia Farrow’s greased palm

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

My latest article, Ecuador’s “dirty hand,” and Mia Farrow’s greased palm is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.

Don’t expect the case to be over, either.

Mexico: 43 students missing since September 26

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

#HastaEncontrarlos

Vigilantes in Mexico students search
Hundreds of members of self-defence groups join the search in the Mexican town of Iguala for 43 missing students who disappeared almost two weeks ago.
None of the missing are known to have crime connections:

The students, from a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa, travelled to the nearby town of Iguala to protest against what they perceived as discriminatory hiring practices for teachers.

After a day of protests and fundraising, they wanted to make their way back to their college.

Accounts of what happened next differ.

Members of the student union say they hitched a lift aboard three local buses, but the police says the students seized the buses.

In the hours which followed, six people were killed when armed men opened fire on the three buses and that of a third division football team which they presumably mistook for one carrying students.

Three students, a footballer, the driver of one of the buses and a woman in a taxi were shot dead. Many more were injured.

Municipal police gave chase to the students, and are believed to have fired at them.

Twenty-two officers have been detained in connection with the shooting.

But there are also reports of other armed men opening fire on the students. Eight people not belonging to the municipal police have also been arrested.

Disappearance
Following the incident on the night of 26 September, 57 students were reported missing.

On 30 September it was announced that 13 of them had returned to their homes.

One name was found to have appeared in the list of the missing twice, leaving 43 students unaccounted for.

On 4 October, prosecutors announced they had found six shallow graves containing the remains of at least 28 people.

Authorities are investigating the possible involvement of a local drug gang called Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors, a pun, since the state’s name is Guerrero), led by a thug nicknamed El Chucky, and are affiliated with the Beltran Leyva cartel. Additionally, Iguala’s mayor, Jose Luis Abarca Velazquez, his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda Villa, and the police chief have not been seen since the events on 26 September. However, so far the biggest suspect is Mexico’s Police

The state prosecutor investigating why the police opened fire on students from their vehicles has found mass graves in Iguala — the small industrial city where the confrontations occurred — containing 28 badly burned and dismembered bodies.

The prosecutors had already arrested 22 police officers after the clashes, saying the officers secretly worked for, or were members of, a local gang. Now they are investigating whether the police apprehended the students after the confrontation and deliberately turned them over to the local gang. Two witnesses in custody told prosecutors that the gang then killed the protesters on the orders of a leader known as El Chucky.

According to witnesses

More police officers arrived, accompanied by gunmen in plainclothes. Prosecutors have now identified these shooters as members of a cell of assassins called “Guerreros Unidos” or “Warriors United,” who work for the Beltran Leyva cartel. The cartel’s head Hector Beltran Leyva was arrested last week following the incident.

Federal agents are now in charge instead of local police.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has vowed to identify and punish those responsible for the recent disappearance of 43 students after clashes with police.

On one front, the September 26 murders of six people in Iguala, Guerrero, has plunged the conflict-ridden state south of Mexico City into renewed political turmoil.

Paco Almaraz features the governor of the state of Guerrero in the burn-out unit (in Spanish),



Mexico: La Tuta’s newest YouTube

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Knights templar chief Servando Gómez “La Tuta” (the teacher) has a new one,

Video shows Mexican drug lord paying journalists for ‘good press’

The video, which was published yesterday by Mexican news site MVS, shows two reporters from Mexico’s troubled Michoacan state appearing to accept money from one of the country’s most wanted drug lords, Servando Gomez, leader of the Knights Templar Cartel. The men then discuss a “communication strategy” to improve the cartel’s image and are heard asking for trucks and cameras.

The handoff occurs at the: 22:56 mark

An offer they really could not refuse.

Chile: $30m of cocaine and marijuana seized

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

The drug trade doesn’t move just from South America to Europe and the USA:

Drugs raid recovers tonnes of cocaine and marijuana in Chile
Dramatic footage shows Chilean authorities seizing almost $30m worth of cocaine and marijuana during a raid

According to a regional prosecutor, the drugs were intended to be sold domestically during Chile’s independence celebrations which are taking place later this month.

Video below the fold,
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