Posts Tagged ‘ kjzz ’



Mexico’s Hidden Drug War

May 3rd, 2011 | By Michel Marizco | Category: General News, Organized Crime

THE BORDER REPORT

The following story was produced for the Fronteras Desk, public radio, Arizona. Click here for the audio version.

Long known as Arizona's beach town, tourists and business owners in Rocky Point, Mexico, say a recent State Department's travel warning about this place is unfair. Victims say otherwise. They say cartel violence in Mexico has quietly crept in and goes mostly unreported. Last year the chief of police of this quiet resort town on the Sea of Cortez was gunned down. Since then, the stories of violence here are barely mentioned. Business owners and the town's mayor prefer to keep it that way.   But for people like Veronica, the stories of violence are hard to ignore. Veronica is a waitress in a tourist bar here. She doesn't want her last name used; she's afraid she'll be murdered for talking. She says her boyfriend was a Rocky Point cop kidnapped from their home at gunpoint a few weeks ago. "I have to be careful, I saw the people who did it, so did my son," she says. Police found his body the next day. Noone can agree as to why the killers had ripped his fingernails out and shot him one time. The story barely made the Mexican press and it was never mentioned north of the border. There's other stories. Last week, sources gave a Fronteras Desk reporter a video of a Mexican Marine being accosted in his home by the Rocky Point police chief's bodyguards while the chief stood by watching. In the final moments of the video, his face is shown, beaten. He shot the video on his cellphone. He filed a complaint in court. He was beaten last March. Veronica's boyfriend's was killed in early April. Two weeks later, nearly the entire force held a protest, demanding the chief resign. Rocky Point mayor Alejandro Zepeda dismisses these issues. He's speaking through his translator, Mónica Castro. The mayor says his new chief is staying put. "The commander is ex-military, so he's a little bit more stricter so they have to acknowledge that change and maybe some people don't like the changes but it's gotta be done in order to provide better service for everybody." Over 35,000 people have been killed in Mexico's drug wars since 2006. Fewer than three hundred were Americans. Now The State Department's travel warning cautions visitors to Rocky Point. It's Washington's broadest alert yet. It advises people to stay away from entire states in Mexico and includes small towns like Rocky Point it had never mentioned before. Steve Holder's been coming to Rocky Point with his friends for nearly 20 years. "I'm going to Turkey next week and there's a travel warning there too so what can you do," he says as he smokes a cigar and orders another beer on the patio. No American has been killed in Rocky Point as a result of the drug violence in Mexico. But fear has driven the tourists away. On a beautiful day in April, it takes eight hours to find a single American. Rafael Noriega gave up on American tourists. The restaurant owner tried running a swank Italian place in the Old Port. Now he caters to the Mexican crowd with cheap, good red wine and five dollar pizzas. "Only Mexicans now. Mexicans from all over around. There's no Americans, well." Like the mayor, he says the little bit of violence that hit Rocky Point is the kind of sporadic violence that can hit any town in the world. "Nothing special. There's not violence in Puerto Peñasco," he pauses. "Not really." That same afternoon, the Mexican Army storms through downtown.. Fifty-cal rifles are mounted on rotating turrets on the soldiers' Humvee. Those soldiers had just shot a man in a white SUV. This is the problem with reporting on the violence in this town. Two soldiers threatened to arrest me when I tried to photograph the crime scene. The story didn't appear in the town's two major papers the next morning. The Mexican Army never admits publicly to the shooting.


Hundreds Gather to Honor Murdered Border Agent

Jan 21st, 2011 | By Michel Marizco | Category: General News, Organized Crime, Politics
The U.S. Border Patrol held a memorial service in Tucson on Friday morning, paying homage to one of its elite agents, Brian Terry, who was killed during a gunbattle with bandits in a canyon along the Arizona-Mexico border. He was a man who friends called "Super-Cop." (Click inside for slideshow of images.) This is a story I produced for KJZZ's Fronteras Desk, public radio, Arizona. TUCSON – Hundreds of Border Patrol agents filled part of the baseball stadium in a sea of olive green. A line of riflemen stood at attention as the American flag and the agency's own flag fluttered in the cool morning air. They were here to honor an elite Border Patrol agent murdered last month. Brian Terry was a former Marine and cop who became an agent in his late thirties. Agent Jose Verdugo had known Terry since their days in the Border Patrol Academy. They they ran into each other in a hall recently and Verdugo says he wasn't surprised to see Terry in the uniform of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit. "Brian, your work ethic, your integrity and your sense of honor were infectious and inspirational. Rest in peace, super-cop," he said. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin addressed the agents, telling them the murderers will be captured. "The reason why he was in those canyons west of Nogales and the reasons why our Border Patrol agents go out on the line and stand between harm and the American people is because we are determined to restore the rule of law to the United States Mexico border. And this sector in Tucson is the last place where it must happen," Bersin said. Four Mexican men have been arrested as part of the investigation into the murder. Nobody has been charged.
Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.


A Border Legacy

Jan 17th, 2011 | By Michel Marizco | Category: General News, Organized Crime

THE BORDER REPORT

TUCSON – When a gunman killed six people last Saturday in Tucson, he took the life of one of the hardest working judges along the U.S.-Mexico border. Federal Judge John Roll was truly impartial, even in a time when rhetoric dominates much of the politics of the border region. Those who worked in his courtroom say that Tucson and the southwest lost what was very much a border judge.

Produced for KJZZ's Fronteras Desk. Click to listen.

A line of cars streamed down the road. Hundreds of people walked somberly into the church to pay their respects to Judge John Roll. The faces were somber and tearful.



Giffords’ Shooting Taking its Toll on Arizona

Jan 17th, 2011 | By Michel Marizco | Category: General News, Politics

THE BORDER REPORT

Produced for KJZZ's Fronteras Desk. Click to listen. Last weekend's shooting in Tucson has been difficult on the community, including those tasked with keeping the rest of us safe. Since Saturday, the sheriff and the surgeons have kept the nation briefed on developments in the case, and given us a glimpse into their drive and humanity. KJZZ's Michel Marizco reports. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was just minutes into a press briefing when he started talking about his personal loss in Saturday killings. "Five people were killed. One of whom – two of whom – are personal friends of mine, including councilwoman Giffords. One being a federal judge, John Roll," he said. Dupnik, of course, meant Congresswoman Giffords. He’s an experienced lawman who suddenly found himself bound by professional duty on one hand, and grief on the other. Then, the anger crept in. "The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous," he said, his voice rising. "And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry." Dupnik has since been slammed for these comments, criticized by Republican senators and AM Talk Radio deejays for confusing the personal with the professional. All across Tucson, the people of this tight-knit community they call the Old Pueblo have been grappling with the grief behind Saturday’s killings. All told, six people were murdered, another 14 were shot. Sheriff Dupnik’s reaction makes sense to Jake Jacobs, a psychology professor at the University of Arizona. He studies the affects of trauma on soldiers and emergency workers. "The sheriff? As he stepped outside of his role as the sheriff, and began to speak personally, we got more opinions. The anger came out, I think," Jacobs said. The 75-year-old sheriff wasn’t the only one expressing his personal feelings. The pressure of the past few days has even weighed on the doctors, including Dr. Michael Lemole, the neurosurgeon who’s been at Giffords' bedside. He spoke to the press on Monday morning. “I was personally touched," he said during a press briefing, last week. "My wife brought my children by to the memorial and really the look on the childrens' faces said it all and it really spoke to the way the community has come together, the way it's healing and the way it's trying to heal.” Prof. Jacobs says the doctors are doing the most normal thing in the world, reaching out to the Tucson community. "If there's anything we know, it's connecting with others that helps in moments like these," Jacobs said. Then there's Dr. Peter Rhee, UMC’s chief trauma surgeon. Speaking about her condition, his experience as a battlefield surgeon comes through. "I think that she has a one hundred and one percent chance of surviving. She will not die. She does not have that permission from me," he said, confidently. Dr. Rhee says he’s seen much worse injuries in war. He was one of the first trauma surgeons deployed to Afghanistan, then started the first surgical unit in Ramadi, Iraq. If Giffords’ case is affecting him adversely, Rhee isn’t showing it. "That evening here in Tucson after mass casualty type of event, we had another person shot in the chest and died in our emergency room as well. This goes on all day long," Rhee said. Asked how it compares to war, Rhee smiles and says it doesn't. "This is a piece of cake."


Log in | 26 queries. 0.441 seconds.