Posts Tagged ‘ trafficking ’

3 Accused of Trying to buy Stinger Missiles, Anti-Tank Weapons for Sinaloa Cartel

Mar 24th, 2011 | By Michel Marizco | Category: General News, Organized Crime
TUCSON – Three people are accused of trying to buy anti-tank weapons in Arizona for a drug cartel in Mexico. Federal indictments were recently unsealed  in Phoenix. Court documents show the three also tried to buy a Stinger missile. Click here to download the Indictment. The accused were trying to buy the military weaponry for the Sinaloa Cartel.  Court documents show they used pounds of crystal meth for a down payment on the weapons. The case started in 2009 in Phoenix. One of the accused, David Diaz, approached a confidential informant working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. They delivered nearly five pounds of crystal meth and $139,000 in cash. Then they brought ten more pounds to finish the arms deal. Robbie Sherwood is the spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona. “These are very serious charges, as the indictment that has been unsealed indicate. We will be proceeding to trial soon and we look forward to presenting our case at that time.” From the indictment: A Dragon Fire Anti-Tank Weapon, a Stinger Missile, (a surface-to-air missile like those used by Afghan fighters in the eighties to defeat the Soviets), two AT-4s, a shoulder-fired light anti-tank rocket, a variety of grenade launchers, two M-60 machine guns and three cases of hand grenades. Court records show that Diaz was trying to buy the weapons for the Yucatan Peninsula. They were destined for druglords Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán and Ismael El Mayo Zambada, the leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel. The cartel is battling not only every other cartel in Mexico, but also the Mexican Army. John Bailey, a Georgetown University professor who worked in Mexico most of his career, says this level of weaponry was likely designed to take on the Mexican government itself. “It’s the kind of weaponry that you’d expect to be used against the Army. These groups are willing to up the ante.” The trial begins in April in Arizona.

Gunmen Knew They Were Killing a U.S. Agent

Feb 18th, 2011 | By Michel Marizco | Category: General News, Organized Crime


This is a story I produced for KJZZ, public radio, Arizona. Note, law enforcement sources I spoke with say police recovered more than 80 shellcasings at the crime scene. New details have emerged in the attack of two US immigration agents working in Mexico. People familiar with the case say the agents identified themselves to the gunmen. But that didn’t stop the shooters from opening fire and killing one of the men. The two Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents had stopped for lunch Tuesday and they were driving south on a busy highway between Monterrey and Mexico City.  What happened next was confirmed by DEA agents who reviewed the reports. A vehicle believed to be driven by members of the Zeta cartel passed the American’s armored SUV. Another, crowded the agents from behind and forced them to a stop. Jaime Zapata, the agent who died in the attack, put the SUV in Park. That unlocked the doors. The attackers opened his door. He managed to close it again. Then one of the agents lowered the window. Texas Republican Representative Michael McCaul was debriefed by senior ICE officials. “The ICE agents said we’re Americans, we’re diplomats. And the response from the Zetas was to open fire on the agents,” he said. Federal law enforcement officials have warned about threats against agents working in Mexico for years, but the belief has persisted that American agents were hands off. Diplomatic security consultant Ron Williams says the agents were properly trained. “People make mistakes. People are human” Williams said. And they probably didn’t think that these guys would in fact open up and try and kill them.” Williams says rolling down the windows and trying to reason with the attackers were the agent’s biggest mistakes.

Dedos Muertos?

Jan 26th, 2011 | By Michel Marizco | Category: General News, Organized Crime


This State Department cable out of Wikileaks caught my eye. 51 FBI informants and 10 DEA "liaison officers" were murdered in Mexico between 2007-09.

When we talk about American law enforcement in Mexico, we generally view the Americans as not being part of the game; for the most part, this has held true since the wars began.

But I wonder about these 61 informants and liaisons. Were the 51 also Mexican informants and therefore murdered for that connection or were they killed because of their ties to the Americans? Same for the 10 liaisons. Were they killed because they were Mexican intelligence officers or because they were working with the Americans?

BREAKING NEWS: Arturo Beltran Leyva Killed in Mexico

Dec 16th, 2009 | By Michel Marizco | Category: General News, Organized Crime

THE BORDER REPORT Arturo Beltran Leyva, the charismatic rising cartel figure of Mexico's narco wars was killed a few minutes ago in a gunbattle with the Mexican Navy in Cuernavaca. Reports from sources within the Mexican Federal Attorney General's Office state that El Barbie, Edgar Valdez Villarreal, had been arrested at the scene. Those reports are now unconfirmed. Also the rumor that Beltran's brother, Mario, was one of those killed tonight. A third had allegedly committed suicide. Milenio is reporting seven dead total. The power move in northern Mexico sounds like it's already begun. Nogales erupted about 11:10 tonight with at least ten gunshots throughout the city. NOTE, another source is telling me it's a celebration not a gunfight. Chapo's people, I presume. "A stray bullet injured a little girl but it's all about the celebration," a friend said. "It's a posada, man." Sources at Justice say that Arturo was almost captured at a party a few nights ago when the Navy arrested Ramon Ayala. No idea if Arturo had been at the party but my guys at Justice insist he left shortly ahead of the Navy's arrival. Also of interest; the Navy. Where's the Army in all this? Why is the Marina moving on Arturo Beltran and not SEDENA? Locally, along the Arizona border, this has just created a power vacuum in Sonoyta, Nogales and Agua Prieta. Nationally, the Juarez Cartel and the Zetas in Tamaulipas and Coahuila just lost their most powerful ally and we all know what means: Shorty Guzmán's back in charge, no doubt celebrating in a hot tub somewhere. Just in time for his birthday, too.

Chapo in a hot-tubA

Sonora plays catch up

Dec 14th, 2009 | By Michel Marizco | Category: General News, Organized Crime


With the finding of six bodies in a dirt lot yesterday afternoon, about twenty people have now been murdered along the Arizona-Sonora border since last Tuesday. The bodies were found in Nogales, Sonora, and were presumed to have been there some three to five days, a timeline that matches up nicely with the start of this current conflict. Still don't know who the man was that was killed in Agua Prieta last week; nobody's saying so you know it's good (regionally interesting, probably not national). But a source in the area says Mexican Feds were in a meeting with the gringos on the Arizona side when they got the call and went running back into Mexico to deal with this. The latest conflict appears to be a group of Nuevo Zetas moving against the powerhouses of the Arizona border (and it ain't DHS). Meanwhile, the Mexican Army exercised an extreme case of ineptitude when a soldier was shot in a crossfire in Agua Prieta last Thursday. Seems the Army had surrounded a stash house when two traffickers in a Pontiac Grand Am raced out. A desmadre ensued when the soldiers unloaded on the car, hitting the car but also shooting at each other. The narcos got away. I thought training was a big part of the Merida money ... pero bueno. In light of this latest ordeal, Sonora Gov. Guillermo Padrés is asking Mexico City for one thousand more federales to be brought up into Sonora (mas ratas pal pozo ... ) And, up north of me, one of Arturo Beltrán Leyva's people was indicted on cocaine trafficking and money laundering charges in Phoenix. Misael Beltrán Cital and seven other people were indicted on the charges after the State Department issued him a visa to come to the U.S. Total setup and he fell for it, oops. We'll see what happens next.

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