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Chapo “The Fight is on” ISIS!

Chapo “The Fight is on” ISIS!

Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman has a lot of enemies: the Mexican government, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Donald Trump.

But now the world’s most powerful drug trafficker is taking one what is arguably the world’s most feared organization, ISIS.

Chapo’s anger toward the radical jihadist group does not stem from some sense of altruism for the victims of the recent attacks in Paris or San Bernardino, but instead from concerns about his bottom line after ISIS destroyed several of his Sinaloa Cartel’s drug shipments moving through the Middle East.

In a harshly worded email to ISIS, which was leaked by the website Cartel Blog, Guzmán sent a stark warning to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi about messing with the cartel’s business.

“You [ISIS] are not soldiers,” Guzmán purportedly wrote. “You are nothing but lowly p**. Your god cannot save you from the true terror that my men will levy at you if you continue to impact my operation.”

Guzmán added: “My men will destroy you. The world is not yours to dictate. I pity the next son of a whore that tries to interfere with the business of the Sinaloa Cartel. I will have their heart and tongue torn from them. It looks like it’s on.”

The Sinaloa Cartel is considered the world’s largest drug trafficking organization, with operations running throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia. In the Middle East, the cartel has become a major provider of cocaine, ecstasy and other so-called party drugs to oil-rich princes and businessmen throughout the region.

Islamic State fighters, however, abhor the use of drugs and have systemically been destroying any cartel shipments they get their hands on.

While the group is prolific on social media and in their video output, ISIS has so far not responded to the threats from Guzmán.

In his letter, Guzmán also hints that if he succeeds in destroying the terrorist group then he should be given immunity from prosecution. Guzmán made a highly-publicized escape earlier this year from a maximum security prison in Mexico, where he was awaiting trial on drug trafficking charges.

“It would be ironic that the group who ends up taking out ISIS is El Chapo’s drug cartel!” Guzmán reportedly wrote. “They seem up to the task and it could be worth giving immunity to this guy in exchange for him and his boys taking out ISIS once and for all!

 
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Posted by on 12/11/2015 in Crime!, Latin America Drug kingpins, Mexican Drug Cartels, Terroism

 

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Asia the Next target for the Drug Cartels

Mexican soldiers unload bundles of seized marijuana before incinerating the drugs at a military base in Tijuana, Mexico.

David Maung | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mexican soldiers unload bundles of seized marijuana before incinerating the drugs at a military base in Tijuana, Mexico.

Latin American drug syndicates are sweeping into Asia, spurred by growing wealth, regional trade pacts that ease smuggling and some of the highest margins on offer.

Growth in the drugs trade, a significant part of an illicit economy worth more than $100 billion a year in east Asia alone, has led to a rapid rise in seizures: 254 million methamphetamine pills, for example, were intercepted in east and Southeast Asia in 2013 — a more than eight fold increase in just five years.

Officials warn that Asian law enforcement authorities are ill-equipped to cope with the rapid rise of drugs being smuggled across increasingly porous borders.

“Police and customs officials in Asia don’t often have connections in the Americas and have little knowledge of what may be coming their way,” said Jeremy Douglas, regional representative for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. “They don’t operate internationally. They’re about to have to.”

For those who are caught, the risks outweigh the rewards, with the death penalty operating for drugs offences in several Asian jurisdictions.

The Philippines, which has debated introducing the death sentence for drug offences, is the test bed for a pioneering case next month, when Mexican national Horatio Hernandez Herrera appears in court accused of being a high-ranking member of the notorious Sinaloa drugs cartel.

At a regional meeting in Bangkok last month, representatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations raised red flags, saying that despite the potential for economic growth and trade, the region’s rapidly increasing connectivity could leave borders vulnerable to transnational trafficking and smuggling.

“Strengthening skills, capacity and cross-border co-operation among border and port security agencies is therefore essential to counter rapidly evolving transnational crime challenges,” said Jakkrit Srivali, a top official with Thailand’s foreign affairs ministry.

 

Growing wealth in Asia has translated into heightened demand for cocaine, with emerging pockets of consumption, trafficking and trade, according to a report last year from the UN office.

Mexico’s infamous Sinaloa cartel, whose head Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán staged a sensational jailbreak last month, has been pinpointed as a key supplier by authorities across Asia-Pacific.

The Jalisco New Generation cartel, an aggressive newcomer to Mexico’s drug wars that achieved notoriety in recent months after shooting down a military helicopter, is also targeting markets in Hong Kong and Japan, according to Canacintra, a Mexican business chamber.

“The severe penalties, such as life imprisonment or even the death penalty, for traffickers caught in Asia are reflected in the exorbitant price of the drugs there,” organisation president Rodrigo Alpízar Vallejo told media in Mexico.

Asia-Pacific economies offer much higher profit margins than the cartel’s traditional markets. In Hong Kong, a kilogramme of cocaine can sell for up to three times the price it would in the US. In Australia, it can be as much as six times, according to police and experts.

Meanwhile, according to financial crime investigators, the cartels will be closely studying regional trade deals, such as the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership, for clues about the liberalisation of certain routes or the reduction of tariffs on certain goods, which could be used to hide contraband and assist in the trade-based repatriation of smuggling profits.

“Anything that is going to increase the volume of trade, the efficacy of trade, is also going to increase the opportunity and bandwidth of criminals to move their products and launder funds,” said Bill Majcher, who worked with American and Canadian federal police.

“Over the past few decades I have seen a dramatic increase in trade-based laundering closely correlated with the opening up of transnational trade zones and treaties,” said another investigator, who asked to remain anonymous due to ongoing operations.

Robert Evan Ellis, professor of Latin American Studies at the US Army War College and an expert on the region’s relations with China, said the deal would “expand opportunities for transpacific organised crime by increasing trade volume, and the number of banks and companies doing transpacific transactions”.

However, he noted that regional ties fostered by the deal would “indirectly help increase law enforcement and transpacific legal frameworks that will help combat the cartels”.

Credit; Bryan Harris Financial Times

 
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Posted by on 09/25/2015 in Crime!, Mexican Drug Cartels

 

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El Chapo (Shorty) Guzman on the Lam

El Chapo (Shorty) Guzman on the Lam

Although Mexico’s attorney general has called for a “full investigation” into Guzmán’s escape, we may never know exactly what happened. But if there is a level of complicity by the state, or state agencies, this would not be illogical. Friendly relations between the state and Guzmán would have a rational motive. Not for nothing did the Sinaloa cartel, until recently, have its own hangar at Mexico City airport, not far from the President’s.

In matters mafia, one of the dilemmas is whether it is harder for a state to live with an organised, patriarchal pyramid of power, like Guzmán’s, or the myriad mini-cartels, street-gang micro-cartels, so-called combos and super-combos, that arise if the pyramid is smashed. Which is worse: a formidable power with which some kind of accommodation is possible, or a narco-nuclear-fission reactor of electrons and protons charging into one another?

Colombia had to opt for smashing the pyramid, in the form of Pablo Escobar’s Medellin cartel, because it was becoming a a state within a state that threatened to take over. In the improving situation for Colombians, the problem is now the miasma of uncontrollable combos.

But the Mexican experience is different. The worst violence has ravaged the country since December 1996, when President Felipe Calderón sent the army into Tamaulipas and Michoacan to deal with insurgencies in those states by the Zetas and a cartel called La Familia, which were breaking up the prevailing order of things. Once the hornet’s nest was kicked, the killing accelerated as Guzmán laid claim to the whole frontier (previously allocated by his predecessor Gallardo) and the army and police established mafia systems of their own, often in league with one cartel or another.

In this war, Guzmán and the state have a common cause against the insurgents and new-wave cartels, and it is no secret that Mexico’s best bet in bringing down the violence is to back the strongest and biggest against its rivals, or at least to act in tandem. An official of the ruling PRI party, when it was fighting the last election, talked to me about the need for “adjustments” with the most powerful cartel.

The figures speak for themselves. For a while, in 2008, Tijuana was the most violent city in Mexico, as Guzmán assailed the local Arellano Felix cartel. Soon afterwards, Ciudad Juárez became the most dangerous city in the world, as Guzmán, the local Juárez cartel, army and police factions fought over local drug markets and smuggling routes to the US.

The military went into both places, followed by the Federal police, with Guzmán’s cartel gunmen on the slipstream of both, recruiting local gangs. Now, both cities are relatively quiet; no one knows quite why, but the most common (and terrifying) explanation is that Guzmán now runs the drug business – domestic and export – in both cities, with official or semi-official blessing.

The tunnel began with a 50-by-50-centimeter (20-by-20-inch) opening inside the shower of Guzman’s cell, Rubido said. The tunnel stretched for about a mile and ended inside a half-built house

To pull off the escape, it’s likely the Sinaloa cartel had spent years infiltrating the country’s prison system, a Mexican official said on Monday. Whoever helped in the plot likely had the architectural plans for the prison that pointed them toward the shower area, the official said.

Official: 'El Chapo' escape tunnel had motorcycle track

 As authorities detailed the evidence they’d found pointing to Guzman’s escape through the underground passageway, one drug war expert questioned Monday whether the notorious kingpin even used the tunnel at all.

“If he went out that tunnel, it was with an armed escort, most likely a mix of prison guards and his own people, if the past is prologue,” said Don Winslow, who’s tracked Guzman’s career for 15 years and wrote about a fictional version of the famed kingpin’s 2001 escape in his recent novel “The Cartel.”

“My bet is that he went out the front gate, and the tunnel was a tissue-thin face-saving device for Mexican officials, the motorcycle a dramatic improvement over the laundry cart.”

How did Guzman slip by the prison’s extensive network of security systems?

It’s likely prison workers played a role, Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong said Monday as he announced that he’d fired the prison’s director and other prison officials as authorities continue their investigation.

Guzman, he said, was inside a cell with 24-hour hour closed circuit video surveillance and a bracelet that monitored his every move. The video system, he said, had two blind spots that Guzman exploited. And he left the bracelet behind before he crawled into the tunnel and made his getaway.

Mexico’s attorney general said Monday that 34 people had been questioned in connection with the escape. And the country’s interior minister asked for help from the public in tracking Guzman down.

Where could he be?

It’s possible Guzman is hiding out in the sprawling metropolis of Mexico City while the search is hot, accordintg to a Mexican official.

But in the end, the official said it’s likely Guzman will head back to his home turf in the Sinaloa region on the Pacific Coast, where there’s a vast network of local residents who will help him stay out of harm’s way. Guzman is believed to have found refuge at times during his past stints on the lam in rugged mountain areas of Mexico.

No matter where he’s hiding, time is of the essence, according to Mike Braun, a former chief of operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration who spent years tracking and gathering evidence on Guzman.

 
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Posted by on 07/14/2015 in Crime Watch, Crime!

 

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New U.S. Immigration laws make Kidnapping More Profitable!

New U.S. Immigration laws make Kidnapping More Profitable!

Repost: Criminal groups in Mexico have kidnapped and extorted migrants for years, but their ability to prey upon people embarking on the perilous journey to the United States may well be inadvertently facilitated by the very policies intended to keep migrants out: border security.

A recent feature story in the New Yorker magazine details how heavy policing of traditional border crossing routes has pushed migrants to use more dangerous pathways through the Arizona and Texas deserts.

Not only has this US strategy of “deterrence through prevention” increased the risks that migrants face, but so has the evolution of the human smuggling trade at the border. While smugglers, or “coyotes,” used to work alone or in small, family-run networks, as the price of crossing the border has gone up — from $6,000 to over $8,000, according to the Dallas Morning News — transnational criminal groups have moved in. These groups are increasingly kidnapping migrants and holding them for ransom, until family members in the United States or Central America cough up thousands for their freedom.

The New Yorker also found that migrant kidnappings happen on the US side of the border as well, not just in Mexico. In both countries, migrants are reluctant to report kidnappings and extortion for fear of being deported, although the United States has laws that protect witnesses in criminal cases from deportation.

As one aid worker told the New Yorker, “When organized crime kidnaps somebody rich, the media and police mobilize. Then the criminals feel the heat. So they realized that, rather than doing one big, flashy kidnapping of someone rich and powerful, it would be better to do a hundred small kidnappings of migrants whom nobody pays attention to.”

As the New Yorker details, there are two primary reasons why migrants crossing into the US are increasingly at risk. The first is that border security apparatus in the United States has made illegally crossing more dangerous and more expensive. Secondly, the fragmentation of Mexico‘s traditional criminal groups means that migrants are now seen as another revenue source.

A 2013 report from the Washington Office on Latin America found that the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas orchestrated a full takeover of the “mom and pop” coyote businesses along US-Mexico border. While the Sinaloa Cartel tends to be less violent, the Zetas are especially renowened for extorting and kidnapping migrants, and killing those who do not pay up.

According to Mexico‘s statistics agency, there were 682 reported migrant kidnappings in 2014, a 1000 percent increase from the year before. While the rise could be due to better compilation of data, another potential explanation is that some Mexican border states, like Tamaulipas, are Zeta strongholds and remain racked by insecurity.

 
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Posted by on 05/02/2015 in Crime Watch, Crime!

 

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Dolly Cifuentes linked with Joaquin El Chapo Guzman arraigned

An alleged Colombian drug trafficker accused of having ties to the Mexican organization Joaquin ” El Chapo “Guzman, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, appeared before a federal judge in Miami on Monday , but the hearing was held behind closed doors by order of the judge.

Colombian Drug trafficker associated with Joaquin " El Chapo "Guzman,

Colombian Drug trafficker associated with Joaquin ” El Chapo “Guzman,

Immediately after the hearing started with Dolly Cifuentes , Judge Joan Lenard ordered the audience leave the room. Only a few people were present, including the defendant, her attorney Bonnie Klapper, prosecutor Andrea Hoffman, one interpreter and several policemen.

According to court records contained in the online system of the federal courts, Cifuentes Villa was due to Lenard to change the declaration of innocence that had been made in August 2012.

In 2010, the U.S. government accused Cifuentes, dubbed the “minor” with conspiracy to import and manufacture cocaine knowing that it would be imported into the United States, and to manufacture and distribute cocaine in Guatemala and Colombia and to import these drugs into this country .

In total, the authorities made five charges that carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

 However, due to an agreement between Colombia and the United States, Cifuentes cannot face a life sentence or death. At the hearings where the accused changed her initial statement of innocence to guilty, also typically announced a plea deal. Through these agreements undertake to cooperate with the authorities in ongoing investigations, in exchange for a lighter sentence and avoid a trial, a process that is usually longer.

Cifuentes, recently extradited more than a year from her country, would have been a brother’s girlfriend of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. After the hearing of nearly an hour, Klapper  the defense attorney refused to comment outside the courtroom to. Lenard said the judge had ordered court documents remain secret. Cifuentes entered the courtroom minutes before Lenard request removal of those present.

She was dressed in a short sleeveless camisole and beige pants. Her face was pale. A woman who also left the room said it was the lawyer of Cifuentes in Colombia, who said that the defense of the accused had asked that the hearing be reserved. The woman, who spoke Spanish, was not to be identified by name.

 
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Posted by on 09/15/2013 in Crime!, Mexican Drug Cartels

 

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Ten men with links with Mexican cartels and Los Zetas and the FARC, captured

Map of Mexican drug cartels based on a May 201...

Map of Mexican drug cartels based on a May 2010 Stratfor report. “Free Article for Non-Members”. Stratfor. 2010-05-17 . . Retrieved 2011-03-28 . Tijuana Cartel, red; Beltrán Leyva Cartel, orange; Sinaloa Cartel, yellow; Juárez Cartel, brown; La Familia Michoacana, green; Gulf Cartel, cyan; Los Zetas Cartel, blue. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ten men reported to have links with Pacific Mexican cartels and Los Zetas and the FARC, were captured after the United States requested his extradition for crimes related to drug trafficking.

Those arrested include two policemen and John Eduarth Monk Alvarado, mayor of Milan, Department of Caquetá and 395 miles southwest of Bogota, said the director of the Technical Investigation of the Attorney General, Maritza Escobar.

“According to the investigation conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office with support from U.S. authorities, it was established that these people would be part of an international organization which exported 100 tons of cocaine a year, to Central America, United States, Spain and Australia,” the agency researcher in a statement.

The arrests took place in nine cities, including Bogota, Medellin and Cali

The report added that “it was determined that the structure would have ties to the Pacific Cartel and Los Zetas in Mexico as well as the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the criminal gang Los Urabeños“.

The arrests took place in nine cities, including Bogota, Medellin and Cali.

Five of the 10 captured belong to the same family.

The Colombian authorities have said that Colombian drug gangs supplied the drug to groups of Mexico, who are responsible for the drug across EU, but ruled that Mexican cartels have direct presence in the country.

Other arrests

The Colombian authorities have conducted other operations in which they have detected the presence of the Mexican cartels. – On January 13, 2011 was captured Julio Enrique Ayala Muñoz, one of the men close to Joaquin El Chapo Guzman in the Colombian city of Cali. Ayala, era conocido como El Cóndor. Ayala, was known as the Condor.

– On January 20, 2011, Colombia’s judicial police caught Carlos Arturo Cordoba, The Claw, responsible for getting the aircraft traveling to EU.

– On October 30, 2012 was arrested Colombian drug kingpin Henry de Jesus Lopez Londoño, My Blood “, considered the largest supplier of cocaine to Los Zetas.

 
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Posted by on 08/24/2013 in Latin America Drug kingpins, Mexican Drug Cartels

 

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EL Chapo back in the news

Sprint Antiballistic Missile

Sprint Antiballistic Missile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Members of “El Chapo” Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel tried to buy high-powered weaponry, including surface-to-air missiles and anti-tank weapons, according to US government reports, suggesting that the powerful drug trafficking syndicate is seeking to make a quantum leap in its military capacity.

According to the US Justice Department, the Sinaloa Cartel, the Zetas and the Familia Michoacana all established arms trafficking networks that allowed them to import high caliber assault weapons and military equipment from the United States, reported Mexico’s El Universal.

In three of the 25 cases detailed, which span from 2007 to 2012, undercover agents with the US Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco (ATF) bureau managed to prevent Sinaloa Cartel operatives from obtaining weapons including Stinger surface-to-air missiles and various anti-tank weapons.

Over the time period, US security forces broke up several arms trafficking cells, arresting a number of men on both sides of the border. Among the US arrests were ex-military personnel. The various trafficking cells operated out of Texas, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico and California.

One of the reasons El Chapo has managed to evade capture for so long is thanks to his small army of private security, which in 2009 consisted of 300 personal bodyguards, according to a US diplomatic cable obtained by Wikileaks.

With El Chapo believed to favor isolated hideouts, the type of high-powered weaponry mentioned in the reports would help repel security forces raids before they even came within touching distance of the infamous drug lord, while surface to air missiles would offer protection against raids carried out with helicopters.

The reports also highlight what is a broader and ongoing issue — the trafficking of arms from the United States to Mexico. The price and accessibility of arms in the United States makes it an ideal source country, not only for Mexico, but also for other crime-plagued Latin American countries, including Colombia, where there have been numerous cases showing how US-purchased weapons end up in the hands of Colombian gangs and drug trafficking organizations.

 
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Posted by on 08/12/2013 in Mexican Drug Cartels

 

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