Posts Tagged ‘Zetas’

The racing Zetas

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Like something out of a crime novel, All American Futurity, “the Kentucky Derby of quarter horse racing”, was used by the Zetas for money laundering:

Ginger Thompson reports for the NY Times how a Mexican Cartel Hides Millions in Horse Races, U.S. Alleges

Newcomers rarely make it into the winner’s circle at the All American Futurity, considered the Kentucky Derby of quarter horse racing.

Yet in September 2010, a beaming band of men waving Mexican flags and miniature piñatas swept into Ruidoso, N.M., to claim the million-dollar prize with a long-shot colt named Mr. Piloto.

Leading the revelry at the track was Mr. Piloto’s owner, José Treviño Morales, 45, a self-described brick mason who had grown up poor in Mexico. Across the border, Ramiro Villarreal, an affable associate who had helped acquire the winning colt, celebrated at a bar with friends.

As for the man who made the whole day possible, Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, he was living on the run, one of the most wanted drug traffickers in the world.

Mr. Treviño, a younger brother of José Treviño, is second in command of Mexico’s Zetas drug trafficking organization, say law enforcement authorities on both sides of the border. Thin with a furrowed brow, he has become the organization’s lead enforcer — infamous for dismembering his victims while they are still alive.

The race was one of many victories for the Treviño brothers, who managed to establish a prominent horse breeding operation, Tremor Enterprises, in the United States that allowed them to launder millions of dollars in drug money, according to current and former federal law enforcement officials.

Using Miguel Ángel Treviño’s cash, José Treviño’s legal residency and Mr. Villarreal’s eye for a good horse, Tremor bought a sprawling ranch in Oklahoma and an estimated 300 stallions and mares. The Treviño brothers might have kept their operation quiet, given the criminal connection, but their passion for horses and winning apparently proved too tempting. In the short span of three years, Tremor won three of the industry’s biggest races, with prizes totaling some $2.5 million.

The business was “so far out there it’s hard to believe,” said Morris Panner, a former prosecutor who handled drug cases, and officials said it amounted to a foothold in the United States for one of Mexico’s most dangerous criminal networks. “Maybe they were using some kind of perverse logic that told them they could hide in plain sight, precisely because people wouldn’t believe it or question it,” Mr. Panner said.

The Justice Department moved against Tremor on Tuesday morning, dispatching several helicopters and hundreds of law enforcement agents to the company’s stables in Ruidoso and its ranch in Oklahoma. Jose Treviño and several associates were taken into custody and were expected to be charged later in the day, authorities said.

An affidavit prepared before the raids said the Zetas funneled about $1 million a month into buying quarter horses in the United States. The authorities were tipped off to Tremor’s activities in January 2010, when the Zetas paid more than $1 million in a single day for two broodmares, the affidavit said.

The New York Times became aware of Tremor’s activities in December 2011 while reporting on the Zetas. The Times learned of the government’s investigation last month and agreed to hold this story until Tuesday morning’s arrests.

Thompson explains how the Zetas have expanded their reach to South America and West Africa, while their stronghold is Nuevo Laredo, right across the US-Mexico border, with Miguel Ángel Treviño as their money manager. The Treviño brothers have been involved in the drug trade for at least two decades.

This is a must-read.

And, the NYT’s finally got a reporter!

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 9th, 2012

No cause is permanently lost, even the worst causes

Another “summit” for Obama to waste: Dina’s coming to Washington, Hopes Rise on Brazilian Ties, but The Economist says,BRAZIL has probably never mattered more to America than it does now. America has probably never mattered less to Brazil.

Can Brazil Stop Iran?

Chile: La Cuba que Camila Vallejo no quiso ver – por Yoani Sánchez

An open letter to Chilean communist student leader Camila Vallejo

Colombian politics
Santos v Uribe
Álvaro Uribe has fallen out with his chosen successor, Juan Manuel Santos. At stake are conflicting visions of the country’s future

Cuba After Benedict
Dissidents who asked to meet with the Pope are now being arrested.

18,262 days to be thankful for

Oscar Biscet says religious freedom does not exist in Cuba

Economist special report: Revolution in retreat
Under Raúl Castro, Cuba has begun the journey towards capitalism. But it will take a decade and a big political battle to complete, writes Michael Reid

Meet Latin America’s next Hugo Chavez
Ecuador’s Rafael Correa demonstrates same anti-American behavior

The Significant ‘Little War’
Declassified documents show that the Falklands War really did matter.

Two of Latin America’s deadliest gangs join forces, via Dick and Silvio Canto.

Earthquake warnings in Mexico City
This app could save your life

Miguel de la Madrid, 1934-2012
When the PRI shook

“That is how I infiltrated Iran” A Young Mexican spy narrates the details of an operation executed in Teheran from La amenaza Iraní [The Iranian Threat (in Latin America)]


Puerto Rico warns Occupy Movement to clean up mess

Samuel must have been off that day: Santero priest targeted in Puerto Rico drug operation

Orlando Robles Ortiz is accused of helping the group transport U.S.-bound cocaine from the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten to Puerto Rico and of consulting with a spirit named “Samuel” on which days were best to do so, officials said.

Searching for Gorbachev in Caracas
The Bolivarian Revolution risks breaking to pieces. With each passing day, Caracas more closely resembles Moscow circa 1991.
via Real Clear World

The Unforgiven

The week’s posts:
Mexico: The big business of oil theft
Cuba: Aftermath of the Pope’s visit
Argentina: Book banning through unleaded ink
Monday’s North American summit: Just how bad was it?
The wasted 1-day summit

At Real Clear World:
Chavez Heading Back to Cuba
Chavez Medical Emergency?

Mexico: The big business of oil theft

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

The big business of oil theft

According to an Excelsior newspaper article, the value of the theft ascends to nearly half a billion dollars, just a fraction of Pemex’s $100 billion annual revenue but still a lot of money. Other estimates say the value of the losses are higher.

The states with the highest number of holes punched in the pipelines are Sinaloa, Nuevo Leon, Veracruz, Puebla and Tamaulipas.

The story said in a one-year period ending in November, thieves relieved Mexican taxpayers of revenue from 2,986,563 barrels of oil, 52 percent higher than the 1,959,439 barrels that went missing in the previous year. Read here and here to find out more about oil theft in Mexico (in English). Much of the oil appears to be stolen by gangs linked to Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel

Apparently 5,026 places along the Pemex pipeline are used for syphoning off nearly three million barrels of oil.

This is not a few people stealing small amounts. This is another way organized crime spreads across Mexico, beyond drugs: Oil Theft is Big Business for Mexican Gangs.

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Falklands Blockade Is an Act of War Toward Britain

Snif Snif: 300 Dogs stop Dollar Flight

In her first year, Brazil President Dilma Rousseff cleans house

Chevron’s Crude-Oil Spill in Brazil Prompts $10.6 Billion Lawsuit

Brazil Bets Big on Wind Power

Cuba: Images of repression

News host in Dominican Republic quits when station refuses to air video of politician’s bodyguard shoving a journalist

Petroecuador to Ship $538 Million Worth of Oil to PetroChina in 2012

Ecuadorian government’s attempt to trademark Twitter tag portends censorship, warns blogger

Rockhopper and Desire jump on Falklands find
Rockhopper Petroleum has unveiled another oil discovery near the Falkland Islands, sending its shares up almost 10pc.

Where has La Gringa been?

Iran Preparing Serious Cyber Attack Against the U.S. from Latin America

Hezbollah, Yet Another Western Hemisphere Link

Zetas: We are not Terrorists, Nor Guerrillas
A series of public messages seemingly hung by the Zetas in the border town of Nuevo Laredo deny that the group has any plans to confront the Mexican or US governments.
via Gancho.

Why Would Mexican Drug Cartels Need Hezbollah To Launder Their Money?

Government Says Hezbollah Profits From U.S. Cocaine Market Via Link to Mexican Cartel

Don Ray brings hospital supplies: Container #8 Unload

La Policía brasileña confisca 13 toneladas de marihuana en la frontera con Paraguay

Peru’s Humala Passes His First Test
By lifting a blockade of a copper mine, Peru’s President Ollanta Humala upholds the rule of law and sends a strong positive signal to foreign investors.

2 strong earthquakes strike Puerto Rico within a few minutes

What Hugo Chávez’s illness means for U.S., China

U.S. authorities probing alleged cyberattack plot by Venezuela, Iran, via GoV

Shake it, baby! Shake that PSUV tree!


Why the drop in illegal immigration from Mexico?

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

The WSJ has an interesting article and graph,

Far Fewer Enter U.S. Illegally From Mexico

Arrests of people trying to sneak into the U.S. from Mexico have plunged to the lowest level in four decades, the latest sign that illegal immigration is on the retreat even as legislatures, Congress and presidential candidates hotly debate the issue.

The article lists several reasons,

Behind the historic drop is a steep decline in the birthrate in Mexico and greater opportunities there relative to the weak U.S. economy. Stepped-up U.S. patrols along the border make it both riskier and more expensive for Mexicans to attempt to enter the country.

Government crackdowns on U.S. employers who hire illegal workers also have discouraged immigrants.

Yes, these are all powerful reasons, but I would add another reason: The border smuggling traffic coming from Mexico, be it of people or drugs, is controlled by the drug cartels. It has been that way for several years, particularly for the last four years, and the trend matches that of the above graph. The days where the coyotes were a mom-and-pop business are gone. The cartels control entire towns in the border area.

This would “make it both riskier and more expensive”, and also possibly a longer-term commitment to a criminal organization. That alone may be the most powerful reason, but I don’t have the resources to prove it.


Los Zetas: Organized crime puts the brakes in illegal immigration to the USA, aids Iranian terrorism

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Mexico’s National Migration Institute (Instituto Nacional de Migración de México – INM) has released a study showing that illegal immigration from Central American countries through Mexico heading to the USA has decreased by 70% (h/t Silvio) due to organized crime.

Beltrán also stated that Mexican immigration to the USA has decreased by one third since its peak of 450,000 in the years from 2000 to 2005.

INM Commissioner Salvador Beltrán del Río explained that the decrease is due to the increased risks of human trafficking, extorsion and kidnapping faced by the immigrants from organized crime’s larger role in immigration.

The worst incident so far was in August 2010, when the Zetas kidnapped and murdered 72 immigrants in the northern state of Tamaulipas, which borders Texas.

Los Zetas, according to the US Justice Department, are involved in the aborted plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the US which

also included plans to pay the cartel, Los Zetas, to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Washington and the Saudi and Israeli Embassies in Argentina, according to a law enforcement official.

The national security threats from drug cartels are not limited to drugs alone.


Mexico’s cartels vs bloggers, part 3

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Interestingly, at the same time that the cartels (the Zetas in particular?) are killing bloggers, Startfor reports that on September 8 the Mexican navy dismantled the Zetas’ communication network in Veracruz (link by subscription only).

On the massive raid, the navy seized seven trailers that served as base stations, along with computers, encryption devices, solar cells, and other equipment.

Los Zetas have more sophisticated networks than most cartels due to their origins with the military, and they use their knowledge (and massive proceeds from the drug trade) to avoid regular cell phones and other devices that are easily monitored.

The location of the raid, Veracruz, makes it tactically valuable, for its vicinity to population-dense Mexico City and its financial institutions.


Mexican cartels now going after bloggers, part 2

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Yesterday I posted on how the Zetas allegedly tortured and killed a man and a woman, who still remain unidentified, for posting on the internet on drug violence in the country.

However, the two victims are not the first bloggers to be murdered because of their posting: Last month Humberto Milan Zalazar, who ran a website, was killed also because of his posting.

The Economist comments on the most recent murders,

It isn’t clear how the killers selected their victims, as such blogs usually allow anonymous comments.

I’ll let the techies discuss how hard or how easy it would be to find the IP address of a post or a comment and compare it to the IP address of a smart phone from someone you have kidnapped. However, it is clear that the narcos are driving their point of dominance by terror.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists, and for bloggers.


On a side note, while I visit Instapundit every day and am grateful for his links, it’s a sad day to see this entry,

IN AMERICA, WE HAVE ATTACKWATCH.COM. In Mexico, a deadly threat to ‘scandal mongers’ using social media.

Attack Watch – a White House website that quickly has become a joke – doesn’t disembowel and hang anyone a few miles from the US border.


Mexican cartels now going after bloggers

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Mexican blogs Frontera al rojo vivo and Blog del narco are now being hounded by the Mexican cartels:
Bodies hanging from bridge in Mexico are warning to social media users

Social media users who denounce drug cartel activities along the Mexican border received a brutal warning this week: Two mangled bodies hanging like cuts of meat from a pedestrian bridge.

A woman was hogtied and disemboweled, her intestines protruding from three deep cuts on her abdomen. Attackers left her topless, dangling by her feet and hands from a bridge in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. A bloodied man next to her was hanging by his hands, his right shoulder severed so deeply the bone was visible.

Signs left near the bodies declared the pair, both apparently in their early 20s, were killed for posting denouncements of drug cartel activities on a social network.

“This is going to happen to all of those posting funny things on the Internet,” one sign said. “You better (expletive) pay attention. I’m about to get you.”
The gruesome scene sent a chilling message at a time when online posts have become some of the loudest voices reporting violence in Mexico. In some parts of the country, threats from cartels have silenced traditional media. Sometimes even local authorities fear speaking out.

Mashable reports that Denuncia ciudadana was included in the threat. Unlike Frontera al rojo vivo and Blog del narco, Denuncia ciudadana is an official site of the Mexican government’s Prosecutor’s office.

Video below the fold, since it’s gruesome,


Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Don’t Cry For Me Ameritina

Britain and Bolivia

Health care in Brazil
An injection of reality
Brazil’s pioneering state-run health system needs reform if it is to achieve its constitutional mandate of guaranteeing high-quality care for all

Seja simpática, faça o que pedem

Escondida Workers Reject Bonus Offer; Strike Continues

Joe Arroyo, Star of Salsa and Colombian Music Giant, Dies at 55

Joe Arroyo, a Colombian songwriter, singer and bandleader whose pan-Caribbean salsa hybrids and historically conscious lyrics made him one of his country’s most respected musicians, died on Tuesday in Baranquilla, his adopted home city in Colombia. He was 55.

Here he is, singing, En Barranquilla me quedo,

Lázaro Marlon Mesa Romero, Cuba Political Prisoner of the Week, 7/31/11

The Remittance Conundrum, via Babalu

An academic study released over the weekend shows that nearly half of all Cubans that receive remittances from abroad have absolutely no interest in leasing a self-employment license (ownership remains prohibited) from the Castro regime, while another 34% would only “think” about it. That leaves few that actually have or would.

US State Dept.’s Background Note, and Estudio: cubanos que reciben remesas no desean invertir

Five years

Two More Cuban Airports to Receive Charter Flights from U.S.

Ecuador’s autocrat cracks down on media freedom

Censorship in Ecuador
Rafael Correa seeks to bankrupt his media foes

Book review: Broken and broken-hearted

No Fatalities in Guyana Air Crash

A Prince of the Coffee Bean
Honduras Becomes Central America’s Top Producer, Helping to Fuel Its Economy

17 killed in prison fight in northern Mexico

Bloodthirsty! 1,500 murders ordered by leader of Mexican Murder, Inc.

Mexico: A Zeta Narcorepublic?
US Dept. of the Treasury Fact Sheet: New Executive Order Targets Significant Transnational Criminal Organizations

La Familia Michoacana cartel battered by U.S. agents

Humala Day 1: Changing constitutions (maybe)

Humala’s challenges

Cuba-Puerto Rico Flights to Return After 53 Years

They bark, Sancho…

Chavismo’s strategy. Well, sort of…..

Another Day, Another Bond Issued, this time by the Republic of Venezuela

Hugo Chavez’s opponents see an opportunity

The week’s posts,
Those “evil corporate jet owners” will be buying Mexican, after all
Is the FARC in retreat?
Who knew about Fast and Furious?
Mexican cartels expand into human trafficking
Carlos Eire pulls out the big stick

At The Conservatory,
Chavez Says He’ll Cheat Death and Leave Presidency in 2031