Posts Tagged ‘Sinaloa Cartel’

Mexico: Caught in the crossfire

| October 30th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Jude Webber

Their 43 expressionless faces stare out from a double-page advertisement by Mexico’s government in the national press. The banner headline reads: “Reward”.

But they are not the grainy photos of drug lords with prices on their heads. These underprivileged youths from a rural teacher-training college, missing and feared dead after clashes with local police on September 26 are, as activist priest Alejandro Solalinde says, the brutal reminder that “Mexico is sown with corpses”.

Despite a manhunt for the students and their abductors, the only clues appear to lead to mass graves on the hilltops outside the town of Iguala, 130km south of Mexico City. Residents say the area echoes at night with shots and screams. Pictures on social media of a body dumped in the street after the disappearances spread the horror worldwide: its bloodied face was stripped of skin and its eyes gouged out.

This is not “Mexico ... Read More

Why are the Sinaloa Cartel the World’s Most Powerful Gangsters?

| September 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
International Business Times

By Lewis Dean

The FBI landed a blow to the world’s most powerful gang last week when it seized $100m (£62m) from the feared Sinaloa drugs cartel.

Nearly 1,000 officers took part in the major Los Angeles takedown in an attempt to destabilise the Mexican racket.

At one location during the operation on Wednesday 10 September, FBI agents seized nearly $3m in cash and searched dozens of businesses in the city’s trendy fashion district alleged to have laundered money for Mexican drug cartels.

Crimes the cartel are accused of – including drugs trafficking, hostage taking, and money laundering in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the US and Mexico – built former gang leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman a $1bn fortune and in 2012 a berth at number 63 in Forbes magazine’s The World’s Most Powerful People list (in 2013, he dropped to 67).

But, despite his vast empire, the net was closing in on the man dubbed Chicago’s Public Enemy ... Read More

Honduran city’s violence adding to immigration surge

| September 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
Philly Inquirer Logo

By Michael Matza

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – Shot twice in the face by two men on bicycles as he changed a car tire, Omar Gabaretta, 34, died Sunday and was brought to the morgue in this steamy city, which has the world’s highest homicide rate.

On Monday, his cousin Claudia, 28 and pregnant, went there in a red pickup with a simple, black-painted coffin to claim his body. Distraught and not eager to talk, she said she did not know why her cousin, a machinist, was killed. He was the first in his family to die violently, she said, and he now is part of a familiar story.

Violence, corruption, unemployment, grinding poverty, and a crop-destroying drought are among the factors that fueled this summer’s surge of illegal immigration to the United States by Central Americans. The largest group – including thousands of unaccompanied minors – came from Honduras.

It is not hard ... Read More

US Targets Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, Seizing $100 Million in Cash

| September 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
Latin American Herald Tribune

LOS ANGELES — In a major takedown in Los Angeles, nearly 1,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers seized approximately $100 million in cash, arrested nine subjects, and searched dozen of businesses in the city’s downtown fashion district alleged to have laundered money for Mexican drug cartels.

The ongoing investigation—three indictments have been unsealed — is specifically aimed at the Sinaloa Cartel and its activities, including narcotics trafficking, hostage taking, and money laundering in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the U.S. and Mexico.

In one case, the cartel used a fashion district business to funnel ransom payments related to a kidnapped U.S. citizen who was held hostage and tortured by cartel members in Mexico.

“The victim, who worked as a distributor for the Sinaloa Cartel, was kidnapped after 100 kilograms of cocaine he was supposed to distribute were seized by U.S. law enforcement,” said Bill Lewis, assistant director in charge of our ... Read More

Mexico drug kingpin Juan José ‘el Azul’ Esparragoza believed to have died

| June 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Guardian UK

BY JO TUCKMAN

Juan José Esparragoza, one of the architects of Mexico‘s global drug trafficking empire – and a key figure in the Sinaloa cartel – has reportedly died of a heart attack at 65.

The investigative weekly Río Doce, based in the northern state of Sinaloa,reported the death late on Sunday on its website, citing anonymous police sources and people close to the family of the trafficker known as “el Azul”, or the Blue One.

Radio Formula reported on Monday that the attorney general’s Office had started an investigation into “rumours” of El Azul’s death. The FBI’s website retained the crime boss on its most wanted list, alongside a five million dollar reward for information leading to his capture.

The death of Esparragoza would be the second blow to the Sinaloa cartel this year, following the February arrest of its most famous kingpin, Joaquín “el Chapo” Guzmán. It would leave Ismael “el Mayo” Zambada, as the only ... Read More

Honduras Extradites Drug Suspect to US, a First

| May 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

Honduras has extradited a suspected drug trafficker to the United States for the first time, the U.S. State Department said Friday.

Carlos Arnoldo Lobo, 40, was extradited on Thursday, spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Lobo, who is indicted on U.S. drug trafficking charges in the Southern District of Florida, was arrested March 27 when Honduran security forces surprised him in a bakery in San Pedro Sula near the Caribbean coast. His extradition was approved in April, and the Supreme Court upheld it last week.

Also in April, the U.S. Treasury Department levied sanctions against Lobo under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act for allegedly moving multi-ton loads of cocaine for Mexican, Guatemalan and Honduran drug kingpins and their organizations.

The action seized his property and interests in property in the United States and prohibits U.S. citizens from engaging in transactions with him.

The Treasury Department alleges that ... Read More

THE HUNT FOR EL CHAPO

| April 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New Yorker

How the world’s most notorious drug lord was captured.

BY PATRICK RADDEN KEEFE

One afternoon last December, an assassin on board a K.L.M. flight from Mexico City arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. This was not a business trip: the killer, who was thirty-three, liked to travel, and often documented his journeys around Europe on Instagram. He wore designer clothes and a heavy silver ring in the shape of a grimacing skull. His passport was an expensive fake, and he had used it successfully many times. But, moments after he presented his documents to Dutch customs, he was arrested. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had filed a Red Notice with Interpol—an international arrest warrant—and knew that he was coming. Only after the Dutch authorities had the man in custody did they learn his real identity: José Rodrigo Arechiga, the chief enforcer for the biggest drug-trafficking organization in history, Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.

To work ... Read More

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman: The rise and fall of Mexico’s drug lord

| March 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

It was nighttime in May of 1990, in the heyday of the cocaine boom across America. Twenty Mexican federal police officers and a handful of U.S. Customs agents, acting on a tip, descended on a stucco home on the edge of Agua Prieta, Mexico — a stone’s throw from Arizona. “Policia,” they yelled, guns drawn, before busting down the front door.

The house was empty but looked lived in, with dishes in the kitchen and toys in the backyard. The officers moved quickly to a spacious game room, complete with a bar and a pool table, set atop a three-metre-by-three-metre concrete panel on the floor.

An informant had told them that what they were looking for was under the pool table. They moved it aside and went to work with a jackhammer. Then, a stroke of luck: One of them turned the knob of a faucet and suddenly the floor panel rose into ... Read More

Obama Administration To Mexico: Hand Over ‘El Chapo’

| February 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
Foreign Policy

BY SHANE HARRIS

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told members of Congress Wednesday that he “wholeheartedly” wants to see captured Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman brought to justice, but he stressed that extraditing him to the United States will be difficult and is far from a certain outcome.

During testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee, Johnson joked that successfully extraditing Guzman to the United States would be easier than settling who among the half dozen U.S. attorneys vying to prosecute him should get the first crack. Guzman has been charged in at least seven district courts in the United States, including in Chicago, where he was named Public Enemy No. 1 last year, a notorious title first applied to Al Capone.

Johnson, who was making his first appearance before the committee since he was confirmed in December, deferred specific questions about the administration’s efforts to extradite Guzman to the Justice ... Read More

Cocaine Boss’s Capture Signals Progress in Mexico’s Drug War

| February 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

BY JONATHAN LEVIN & NACHA CATTAN

The capture of the world’s most-wanted narcotics boss shows Mexico is making headway in a drug war that has curbed economic growth while helping to leave at least 92,000 people killed or missing since 2006.

Mexican security forces captured Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman early Feb. 22 in the Pacific beach town of Mazatlan after trailing him for more than a week. Thirteen people were apprehended in all, with no shots fired. Authorities also seized guns, a rocket launcher and 43 vehicles.

Guzman’s arrest caps a 13-year manhunt by Mexican and U.S. authorities and marks a victory for President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office in 2012 after pledging to scale back the military’s role in fighting organized crime to curb bloodshed. Further progress against drug trafficking could help boost gross domestic product, according to Alonso Cervera, the chief Latin America economist for Credit Suisse Group AG in Mexico City.

The ... Read More

U.S. to Seek Extradition of Mexican Drug Kingpin Guzman

| February 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon

BY MARK HOSENBALL & JOHN SHIFFMAN

U.S. prosecutors plan to seek the extradition of Mexico’s most wanted man, drug cartel kingpin Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, to face trial in the United States after he was captured in Mexico.

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn, said on Sunday his office would request Guzman’s extradition to face a variety of charges.

Guzman, caught on Saturday in Mexico with help from U.S. security forces, had long run Mexico’s infamous Sinaloa Cartel. His capture marks a major victory in the fight against drug gangs in Mexico.

It was not immediately clear whether Mexico would agree to extradite him any time soon. Sensitivities over the issue could mean he is more likely to face justice first in Mexico, where he still has an outstanding term to finish. He broke out of prison, reportedly in a laundry cart, in 2001.

The United States had a $5 million ... Read More

How Mexico Nabbed a Drug Kingpin

| February 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal BY JOSÉ DE CÓRDOBA & SANTIAGO PEREZ

Before dawn this month, a convoy of Mexican marines quietly surrounded a house in the Spanish colonial city of Puebla and arrested an alleged drug trafficker also wanted for questioning over the kidnapping of a Mexican politician.

Little did the marines know then, but his capture would become a vital piece of the puzzle that would help Mexican and U.S. officials several days later to nab the world’s most sought after drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

U.S. and Mexican crime-enforcement officials hailed Saturday’s arrest as the biggest blow to organized crime since the 1993 killing of Colombian capo Pablo Escobar.

Mr. Guzmán’s capture ends a 13-year manhunt ever since his daring 2001 escape from a Mexican federal prison. U.S. officials say his Sinaloa Cartel is probably the world’s biggest drug-trafficking group, responsible for as much as a third of the cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamines smuggled into the ... Read More

US drone, phone taps used to hunt Mexican drug lord

| February 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
From AFP

BY LAURENT THOMET

Mexico City – US authorities announced plans to seek the extradition of Mexico’s most powerful drug lord after his capture in a US-backed operation that included a drone, cellphone intercepts and elite Mexican marines.

As prosecutors in New York prepared their request, new details emerged Sunday from the manhunt that led to the capture of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, whose empire has smuggled drugs to the United States, Europe and Asia.

The US surveillance drone was used for two weeks between mid-January and mid-February to back up a massive operation in the northwestern city of Culiacan, a US government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Guzman eventually slipped out of Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, after escaping through tunnels under one of his safe houses as the marines closed in on him, Mexican and US officials said.

Under pressure, the 56-year-old drug capo, who had ... Read More

Guatemala detains 21 people for allegedly laundering money for Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel

| December 4th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

GUATEMALA CITY –  Guatemalan authorities say they have detained 21 people who allegedly laundered money for Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Interior Secretary Mauricio Lopez says the 16 men and five women laundered about $46 million through an agricultural company.

Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz said Tuesday that the bulk of the money was sent from Guatemala to Mexico.

She says the investigation began when the national banking system reported suspicious deposits and money transfers by the company Comercializadora de Frutas y Verduras Internacional SA to Aguacates y Frutas Tecario SA de CV, a company in Mexico.

The Sinaloa cartel is Mexico’s most powerful drug organization.

Click here for original ... Read More

Drug War Continues But Most Of Mexico Is Safe For Travel And Business, Experts Say

| November 26th, 2013 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

BY ANDREW O’REILLY

Tucked into a protected bay on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Acapulco has in recent years become the poster child for how the country’s vicious drug war has turned a once idyllic tourist destination into a killing field.

Headless bodies, gang rapes of tourists and hours-long shootouts have driven even the hardiest of visitors away from the city’s famed beaches and high-rise hotels. Foreign visitors flying in have decreased from over 350,000 in 2006 to fewer than 61,000 in 2012 and the once popular spring break destination saw the number of U.S. college students visiting drop by 92 percent in the last three years.

While Acapulco – and border cities like Ciudad Juárez and Reynosa – have dominated the headlines for the gruesome drug violence, much of Mexico’s 761,606 square miles remain relatively safe for both tourists and business interests. Analysts and travel experts tend to agree that Mexico is both as ... Read More

DEA: Coca Down In Colombia And Cartel Infighting In Mexico Means Less Cocaine In U.S. Streets

| November 22nd, 2013 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

BY ANDREW O’REILLY

Cocaine availability in the United States has decreased in recent years, while the availability of heroin and methamphetamine have soared in certain regions of the country, a new study by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) found.

The National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, which compiled illegal drug trends through 2012, found that infighting between Mexican cartels, declining coca production in Colombia and ramped-up drug-interdiction efforts in the U.S. have all contributed to the decline in the availability of cocaine. In 2011 approximately 37,200 pounds of cocaine were seized along the U.S. border with Mexico while in 2012 only about 15,700 pounds were seized, according to the National Security Service statistics.

“This is a very important shift because cocaine has traditionally been the main driver of profits for transnational organized crime groups,”Andrew Selee, vice president for programs at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C, told Fox News Latino. The RAND Corporation estimates ... Read More

Will Honduras Become a Failed State?

| November 15th, 2013 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01

BY JAIME DAREMBLUM

Four years ago, Honduran officials took preemptive action to stop Hugo Chavez acolyte Manuel Zelaya from transforming their country into a Venezuelan-style autocracy. Zelaya had proposed an illegal referendum in hopes of abolishing term limits and extending his presidency. When the Honduran Supreme Court rejected his gambit as unconstitutional, he tried to proceed anyway, using orchestrated violence to intimidate his opponents. That’s when the Supreme Court authorized his removal from office. Zelaya was arrested by the military and put on a plane to Costa Rica.

His ouster from the presidency — which was supported by Honduras‘ National Congress, its Supreme Court, its Supreme Electoral Tribunal, its attorney general and its national prosecutor — was legal and constitutional, as a U.S. Law Library of Congress study later confirmed. But Zelaya’s exile was not, and it gave ammunition to critics who were eager to paint the whole episode as a military coup. ... Read More

Mexican Trafficker With Ties To Sinaloa Cartel Extradited To U.S. From Panama

| November 14th, 2013 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

An accused drug dealer facing conspiracy charges in connection to a smuggling operation that allegedly moved large amounts of cocaine from Central America to Mexico was extradited to the United States from Panama.

Juan Juárez Orosco, aka “El Abuelo,” was arraigned Sunday in New York City after he was extradited last Friday.

Court documents allege that Juárez led a large-scale drug trafficking ring throughout Central America and Mexico over the last two decades. The 64-year-old Mexican was considered one of the most highly sought-after drug traffickers in the world thanks to his deep ties with illicit organizations throughout the Western Hemisphere.

“Juárez’s trafficking organization was responsible for the importation of massive quantities of cocaine, across oceans and continents, into the United States,” Acting U.S. Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman said in a press release.

Over the last decade, it is believed that Juárez and his cohorts worked closely with Colombia’s Norte Valle Cartel and ... Read More

Colombia or Bust: Narcotics Trafficking in Peru and the Road Ahead

| November 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
Southern Pulse

BY PATRICK HERNANDEZ

Is it wise to compare Peru’s ongoing struggle with cocaine production and trafficking with Colombia’s experiences? Patrick Hernandez doesn’t think so. Beyond the differences between the two countries’ domestic politics, he also believes that the US’s falling demand for cocaine makes a ‘Plan Peru’ unlikely.

Even the most cursory analysis of the war on drugs in Latin America reveals that gains in one geographical region tend to be followed by losses in another. The case cited most frequently is Mexico, where a wave of violence since 2006 has been attributed to U.S. efforts that successfully staunched the flow of cocaine through the Caribbean in the early 2000s.

If media reports are to be believed, Peru is next in line. Its increasingly high profile as the number one producer of coca leaf in the world, following U.S. assistance to neighboring Colombia, appear to confirm the pattern. But are the comparisons with ... Read More

Mexico’s Zetas Are Not Finished Yet

| October 24th, 2013 | No Comments »
Stratfor

BY SCOTT STEWART & TRISTAN REED

During the question-and-answer portion of our quarterly Mexico Security Monitor webinar, we were asked a question pertaining to the current status of Los Zetas. The question was something to the effect of: “Some Mexican media outlets and analysts claim that Los Zetas have been dismantled as an organization and are now little more than a ‘ragtag operation.’ Why do you disagree with that assessment?”

This question apparently came in response to our quarterly cartel report (an abbreviated version is available here), in which we wrote that despite the leadership losses suffered by Los Zetas, including the arrest of their leader, Miguel “Z-40″ Trevino Morales, there were no signs that other leaders were challenging the current leader and Miguel’s brother, Omar Trevino Morales. We also wrote that we believed Los Zetas have maintained their operational capabilities in terms of drug smuggling and other criminal activity, and that they have ... Read More

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