1. Violence and Calderón:
Violence increases pressure on Calderon (emphasis added)
In yet another case of alleged police complicity in murder, authorities found the bodies of four men detained three weeks ago in the border city of Ciudad Juarez. The men disappeared in the system after they were arrested by a special forces unit of municipal police. Their bodies, showing signs of torture, turned up in the high grass at a ranch Wednesday.
Four years into his U.S.-backed, military-led war against drug cartels, Calderon’s government is struggling to make good on promises to transform the state and local police forces, whose officers are often ill trained and poorly paid. These same units often work for crime mafias and drug traffickers. Calderon’s opponents in the Mexican congress have blocked his efforts to place local police under state control.
Authorities searching shallow pits in San Fernando, about 90 miles south of Brownsville, Tex., said they found 23 more corpses Thursday, bringing the total to 145 since the first were uncovered last week.
The locations highlighted above bring me to
2. The Threat Just Inside Our Door
National Security: The Defense Department warns that the cartels making Mexico a war zone are operating easily here too. And a secret U.S. report leaked in Mexico warns of even worse. So why isn’t anyone talking about it?
“The drug trade is inherently associated with creating instability” and is “often a localized funding source for insurgent and criminal groups.”
As for Mexico’s cartels, he [William F. Wechler, deputy assistant secretary of defense, on his testimony last Tuesday to a Senate armed services subcommittee on emerging global threats] said they operate in Atlanta, Chicago and Detroit. Amazingly enough, that was an understatement.
According to an internal Justice Department report leaked to Mexico’s El Universal this week and available only in Spanish, Mexican drug-trafficking organizations have affiliates in at least 1,286 U.S. cities, with 143 reporting directly to cartel leaders.
Translating from the El Universal report, InsightCrime.com said the Sinaloa Cartel, run by Mexico’s biggest kingpin, Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman, operates in 75 U.S. cities.
The Zetas, a separate organization known for beheadings, operate in 37. Then there’s the Gulf Cartel operating in 37 cities, the Juarez Cartel in 33, the Beltran-Leyva Organization in 30, La Familia in 27 and the Tijuana cartel in 21.
That would explain why Phoenix has seen beheadings, Las Vegas has seen child kidnappings, Los Angeles has seen freeway shootings and both El Paso and Brownsville, Texas, have seen the murder of American college students.
There’s a lot of money behind all this violence, and the money has to be laundered. Here is a post on trade-based money-laundering,
On Washing Dirty Cash
For what it’s worth, the most notorious money-launderers in Torreón, at least according to the word on the street, were also really successful businesses, especially nightclubs and car dealerships. There were a couple that were always empty yet stayed open for years, but more common were the ones that would have made money with or without the dirty cash flowing through. I can only imagine the huge volume of legitimate sales makes it harder to identify a place as a money-laundry.
Once the money is “clean”, it pays for a lot of politicians’ favors.