Monday, December 31, 2012

The Vetting Process in Mexico

Yesterday, December 30, 2012, Officers of the Directorate of Public Security (Secretaría de la Seguridad Pública) working at Puerto Peñasco participated in a model anti-doping test to detect the presence of drugs in their urine. Both male and female police officers were tested by medical personnel as required by law to obtain or retain a firearms permit.
Commander Lugo Duron said, "We are accepting provisions of the public safety act which obliges practice exams antidoping to each of the elements so that they are able to carry his weapon's charge," 
Guillermo Valdés Castellanos, CSIEN Director
The drug cartels do not require testing before handing out machine guns, ammunition and hand grenades -- though the failure to test positive for narcotics (providing that the cartels offered a test) might make them believe that you were a cop. 

USGOV has pushed for increased vetting of MEXGOV officials through the Office of Bilateral Implementation (OBI)** and the chemical tests to determine recent illegal drug use is just one part of that process. Another level involves the use of the polygraph (lie detector). Guillermo Valdés Castellanos, director of CISEN has been a strong proponent of the polygraph.
**OBI is staffed with U.S. and Mexican personnel to follow-up on joint activities and projects under the US-Funded Merida Initiative.
Genero Garcia Luna,
Corrupt head of SSP
Does the polygraph really work as advertised? The short answer is that it works against honest people with remarkably effective results. It is completely worthless when employed against sociopaths. Since most narcos are by definition, sociopaths, one can only express concern that this is relied upon. Blood tests work of traitors within the system use drugs. If they don't, the tests only push them through as being somehow "reliable".

When Genero Garcia Luna, Minister of Secretaría de la Seguridad Pública (SSP), is a bought and paid for asset of the Sinaloa Federation drug cartel, it's difficult to contend that the vetting process in Mexico that is designed to remove criminals from within the ranks of SSP is effective. In fact, because the vetting process is relied upon (primarily by USGOV), it has become a dangerous thing.

I have spoken to influential members of USGOV in Mexico and pointed out that this or that person is unreliable because they are corrupt, they inevitably tell me, "Juan, that person - and those people - have been vetted**. You must be wrong." 
**VETTING was originally a horse racing term, referring to the requirement that a horse be checked for health and soundness by a veterinarian (or vet) before being allowed to race. Thus, it has taken the general meaning "to check". Today, Vetting is the processes of assessing the integrity of individuals (such as their adherence to relevant human rights standards, past involvement with criminal elements, drug use, etc.) in order to determine their suitability for public employment.
The government system in Mexico is corrupt because the process of vetting that might work well in, say, the USA, is ineffective in Mexico.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Año Nuevo de la Segunda Guerra

Federación de Sinaloa Divide

If you thought that it was all love, unicorns and rainbows within the Sinaloa Federation Narcotics Cartel, you'd be wrong.  

The biggest personal loser for the New Year's Narco War might be Gonzalo Inzunza Inzunza (Macho Prieto). His nephew, El Cholo was assassinated in Sinaloa, his brother was gunned down in Nogales and his cousin, El Celasar, was murdered in Sonorita, SON. Then again, he might not care much about the family. Gonzalo has always been a narcissist.

The Sinaloa Federation now has two factions at war with each other. And you can't tell the players without a program.

Faction #1 Leadership

Joaquin Guzman Loera (El Chapo)
Ismael Zambada Garcia (El Mayo)
Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno (El Azul)

Allied with: 

Arellano Felix Organization, which the USGOV declared to be non-existent but just captured San Luis Rey de Colorado (across the US Border from Yuma) two days ago from Faction #2.

Los Caballeros Templarios, which used to be La Familia Michoacan, which MEXGOV declared to be non-existent but they've been marching steadily from Michoacan, through Colima and into Jalisco (headquarters of Faction #2). LCT has four thousand armed men in the field (trained to the spray and pray level), which isn't half bad for an organization that MEXGOV destroyed.

Faction #2 Leadership

Ruben Osegevera Cervantes (El Mencho)
Gonzalo Inzunza Inzunza (Macho Prieto)

They don't seem to have many allies, but they are taking some key players from the old Sinaloa Federation including most of the Manuel Torres Felix's (M-1) organization. Torres is in custody, but you will recall that he worked for Macho Prieto so his people are expected to fall into line behind this cartel.

Where are La Gran Fuerzas de Mexico (Mexican Army)? Glad you asked. They seem to be sitting on the sidelines, eating chicharones, and waiting to see who wins. It's not a bad strategy.

Yes the coffin and funeral business in Mexico is thriving.
It's clearly been a growth industry over the past six years.

The Mexican press is covering some of the major shoot outs, but they also miss some big ones. That may be because they don't have enough surviving journalists to cover it all because the war is widespread throughout Western and Northern Mexico. There was a two-hour gunfight between Faction #1 and Faction #2 yesterday in Cuidad Guzman, JAL and not a peep about it in the newspapers - not even in Zeta, and they're generally quite reliable.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Holiday Gift from ICE to Mexico!

People in Mexico always tell me, "Juan, ICE is out to get us." I calmly explain to Mexican nationals that nothing could be further from the truth. The US Government desperately wants more Mexicans to move to the United States because everyone who crosses the border can vote for the Democratic Party Candidate of their choice. Citizenship can be a sticky matter, but you don't have to provide proof of citizenship to vote in the US, unlike Mexico where everyone is issued a national identification card, also referred to as a "voting card".
Background: The old Mexican voter ID cards have a photo, signature, and one fingerprint (ink). The new ID cards which began to be issued in 2009 have multiple fingerprints, face photo and iris scans. The information will be stored on a magnetic strip. The old voter ID cards will still be accepted until they are replaced with the new biometrics-based cards.
Additional Commentary: The number of people receiving SNAP (Food Stamps) benefits in the USA is at a record high, reaching $46.6 million as of December 2012, according to the USDA. Many of those people are poor Mexican citizens who have fled poverty in Mexico and have found a bright, new, prosperous existence in the USA without needing to lift a finger to earn it. Those people thank those who read this blog.
President Obama's illegal alien amnesty-by-fiat strategy has been working. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Chief John Morton is doing his part to make it more difficult for local police to detain illegal alien criminal suspects through the 287(g) deportation program. 
The directive (below) states that “three or more convictions for minor traffic misdemeanors or other relatively minor misdemeanors alone should not trigger a detainer unless the convictions reflect a clear and continuing danger to others or disregard for the law.” 
The guidance is a left handed bit of guidance to State and Local Police Officers - don't bother issuing a detainer on illegal aliens detained for crimes in the US -- because the Federal Government won't uphold them.

There is a heavy political cost associated with removing high propensity Democratic Party voters from the country where they can cast their vote irrespective of their status in the country. (What a country!)

What can I say but, VIVA OBAMA!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Who Cares about Kevin O'Reilly?

White House National Security
Staffer Executive, Kevin O'Reilly

Did he report to President Obama?
The White House declines to comment.

A Mexican reporter from Univision asked President Obama what he knew about Operation Fast and Furious on March 22, 2011, President Obama stated that "a serious mistake may have been made." He also stated that there would be an investigation and whoever was found to be responsible would be held accountable. 

A year and a half later, documents and testimony before the House of Representatives demonstrated that a senior National Security staffer at the White House named Kevin O'Reilly repeatedly communicated by email and telephone with ATF Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious, Bill Newell, about the case while it was under way. O'Reilly indicated in one email that he wanted to share information about the case with other National Security staffers, but stated that it would go no further than that. White House officials have said there is no evidence that Newell and O'Reilly ever discussed the controversial tactic of gunwalking and, on those grounds, have blocked the attempts of Congressional Republicans to interview O'Reilly, who was sent on assignment to Iraq for the State Department. 
BATFE Special Agent-in-Charge
Bill Newell
Phoenix, AZ
CONTEXT: "Fast and Furious" is the name ATF assigned to a group of Phoenix, Arizona-area gun trafficking cases under Project Gunrunner that began in fall of 2009. It's the largest of several known operations in which ATF employed gunwalking, involving more than 2,000 weapons, including hundreds of AK-47 type semi-automatic rifles and .50 caliber rifles. According to sources who worked directly on the case, the vast majority of guns were not tracked and Mexico's government was not fully informed of the case. The ATF Special Agent in Charge of the operation was Bill Newell.
Kevin O'Reilly returned to the US from Iraq on the eve of the presidential election. He is working in the US State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (meaning Mexico) and he continues to refuse to cooperate with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He has also refused to cooperate with the Department of Justice's Inspector General.

Both the House committee and the Inspector General's office sought to interview O'Reilly about Fast and Furious but the White House refused to grant him permission to be interviewed.

Dan Restrepo
National Security Senior Director
for the Western Hemisphere
Kevin O'Reilly told SAC Newell in e-mail that he would inform two other White House National Security Staff officials: Dan Restrepo, the senior director for Western Hemisphere; and Greg Gatjanis, director for the Counterterrorism and Counternarcotics, about the Fast and Furious operation. The State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, is currently held by Assistant Secretary of State Roberta S. Jacobson. Congress didn't issue her a subpoena, but she'd likely be draped by President Obama's blanket of executive privilege  too, so she wouldn't have to testify.

Gatjanis and Restrepo don't have any recollection of  -- anything, it seems. If they did, the bread crumbs would likely lead back to President Barack Obama.
ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: Kevin O’Reilly previously served as director of North American Affairs for the White House National Security Staff (NSS), where he had a 2010 e-mail exchange with William Newell, the special agent in charge of the Phoenix field division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which oversaw Operation Fast and Furious. 
Assistant Secretary Roberta Jacobsen
In August 2011 -- after the e-mails were first discussed at a July 26 congressional hearing -- O’Reilly was named as the senior director of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Programs in Iraq, a State Department position. 
The State Department put out a story that O’Reilly’s reassignment to Iraq from the White House “was a standard foreign service career rotation that had been planned for months in advance of his detail to the NSS.” At that time, the State Department could not confirm O’Reilly’s new title at the State Department. 
The State Department claimed to be unaware of an assertion by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), who said someone else had been selected for the job in Iraq before O’Reilly was “suddenly” transferred there. (See related story
“O’Reilly’s sudden transfer to Baghdad occurred just days after the aforementioned e-mails with William Newell were produced to the Committee and Newell testified about them before Congress,” Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight panel, and Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in a Sept. 27 letter to O’Reilly’s attorney Thomas G. Connolly. 
“Additionally, we have learned that O’Reilly took the place of a previously selected individual—an individual who had gone through a competitive application process and thorough vetting process, had the necessary qualifications, and whose spouse was already in Baghdad in anticipation of the individual’s arrival—to serve as the head of the Police Development Program.”
This is the same US State Department where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a timely (and unfortunate) concussion on the eve of her testimony before the US Senate on the Benghazi Scandal. We wish Secretary Clinton a speedy recovery and have no doubt that the memory loss due to her alleged trauma will keep her from every testifying about her repeated lies to the American People about Benghazi, Libya.

I suspect that this humble blogger is the only one who sees patterns of cover-up and denial repeating themselves in different venues, all with the same politicians calling the shots.

Obama Asserts Executive Privilege over Fast and Furious Documents: The invocation of executive privilege allows the president to defy requests and subpoenas by members of the legislative and judicial branches for information the White House deems sensitive. Obama's decision will allow him to refuse to provide certain documents pertaining to the Fast and Furious program. President Obama's re-election will insure that the details of what he did and what he knew will remain hidden. However, the stain will continue to hamper his efforts in Mexico and Latin America.

Question: Why did Bill Clinton, Carlos Slim Helu and President Enrique Pena Nieto meet in seclusion in Mexico City last week? I wonder if they were discussing the weather?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

BATFE - Grenade Walker

Jean Babtiste Kingery - not prosecuted by BATFE, but 
arrested in Mexico 9-7-11 and charged with supplying 
the Sinaloa Federation Drug Cartel with hand grenades 
and explosives.
Earlier today, I posted a blog about Kaibiles de Guatemala. A portion of that dealt with, "Hand grenades sold to the Guatemalan military by Israel for military applications and issued to Los Kaibiles have made their way into the hands of various drug cartels. (oops)"

I received e-mail asking whether or not that had anything to do with the now infamous case in which marginally competent BATFE Special Agents and US Attorneys let hand grenades "walk into Mexico" without informing the Mexican Government - because "it would have embarrassed the BATFE". It's comforting to note that BATFE puts its reputation ahead of the lives of Mexican citizens - and by extension US citizens. We wouldn't want to see that bent badge tarnished, would we?

Oddly enough, Jean Babtiste Kingery sold hand grenades to the Sinaloa Federation - the same cartel which received the bulk of the 2,000 + weapons in the Fast and Furious scandal. Just a coincidence.
(CBS NEWS - Sharyl Attkisson reporting) "Grenadewalker" refers to another controversial ATF case out of Phoenix. In it, Jean Baptiste Kingery allegedly smuggled parts for as many as 2,000 grenades from the US to Mexico for killer drug cartels, sometimes under the direct watch of US law enforcement. 
Sources say Kingery could have been prosecuted twice in the US for violating export control laws but that each time, prosecutors in Arizona refused to make a case. In one instance, Kingery had allegedly been caught leaving the US with 114 disassembled grenades in a tire, but the ATF agent on the case says he was ordered by the US Attorney's office to let Kingery go because the grenade parts were "novelty items" and the case "lacked jury appeal." A year and a half after Kingery was first let go, Mexican authorities raided Kingery's stash house and factory and found materials for 1,000 grenades. Kingery allegedly admitted teaching cartels how to make grenades as well as helping cartel members convert semi-automatic rifles to fully-automatic.

Gustavo Rosario Torres - the focus of an attack by
Los Zetas on May 20, 2012 in Tobasco.
That's not the hand grenade case that I referred to where Kaibiles de Guatemala were apparently involved. Gustavo Rosario Torres a former prosecutor from Tobasco, had a dispute with Los Zetas that led Los Zetas to attack on him at his home on May 20, 2012. Three hand grenades were thrown and detonated.

I have perused the MEXGOV file of this attack. The investigation file contained photographs of hand grenade pins and rings and hand grenade spoons. The spoons had Spanish writing on them.

When I reviewed the file, I told the person who gave it to me, “I hope that those grenades didn’t originate in the US.” You see, I had concerns that they may have been part of those hand grenade - bombs that Jean Babtiste Kingery smuggled into Mexico.

It turns out that the hand grenades thrown in this attack came from a lot of 200 that went missing or were stolen from the Guatemalan Army. They had been manufactured in Israel. In addition to MEXGOV officials, US BATFE examined the explosive evidence (post-blast investigation) and confirmed that. There have been other hand grenades from the same lot thrown at SEDENA troops in Chiapas in the past. 

Kaibiles de Guatemala

Every Kaibil must ascribe to this motto."If I advance, follow me. If I stop, urge me on. If I retreat, kill me."  It's not unlike the ancient Spartan statement made by mothers to their warrior sons, "Come back with your shield or on it." Recruit training includes biting the head off of a live chicken to prove your worth.

The Kaibiles are the Guatemalan Military's response to an identified need for jungle warfare commandos who focus on counter insurgency operations. They are distinguished from other Guatemalan troops by their maroon beret with blazing sword patch.

President Otto Perez Molina, a long time methamphetamine precursor dealer/importer, has announced that he will send Los Kaibiles to fight (rival) drug interests within Guatemala. Other members of Los Kaibiles have formed their own version of the Mexican Los Zetas mercenary narcotics cartel. In this video you will see Kaibiles crawling through the jungle wearing camouflage and red berets.

Hand grenades sold to the Guatemalan military by Israel for military applications and issued to Los Kaibiles have made their way into the hands of various drug cartels. (oops)
Propaganda: Kaibil y soldado que en tiempos de guerra, defendiste la libertad, la soberanía y la independencia de tu patria, que pasaste noches de frío, y días sin agua, que moriste en la selva, que dejaste esposa e hijos, padres y hermanos, no te sientas triste, pues cumpliste con tu deber, aunque hoy se te persiga, se te humille, y te llamen genocida, no importa que tarde o temprano se hará justicia. 
Translation: Kaibil and soldiers in wartime, defend freedom, sovereignty and independence of (Guatemala) their country, they spend cold nights and days without water, they die in the jungle, they leave wives, children, parents and siblings, and do not feel sad, as they their duty. Today they are chased and humiliated and are referred as death squads but eventually justice will be done.
I have nothing against Los Kaibiles. They fall into much the same mold as many military groups in Latin America where loyalties would seem to be divided. And those who are true believers are usually betrayed by their elected leaders.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas LCT Narco Offensive

Ruben Osegevera Cervantes (El Mencho), leader of Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) invited his bitter rivals from Los Caballeros Templarios (LCT) (formerly La Familia Michoacan - allegedly destroyed by the Mexican Government) to a Christmas dinner in Jalisco. He hired a popular band and made arrangements with caterers for the huge fiesta. However as with these sorts of things, the word got out that he planned to assassinate his rivals after wining and dining them. 

LCT launched an offensive against CJNG in Colima, capturing the town of Villa de Juarez today (located near San Jose de Gracia) and possibly also the port city of Manzanillo, which has changed hands between drug organizations at least ten times in 2012. The Mexican Army (SEDENA) has sent a few desultory troops to observe. Most of them would really rather be in barracks over the holidays, drunk to the gills on old pop-skull.

NH-500 E2 from Fuerza Aérea Mexicana
It was a warm day for a fight today with a high of 91(F) and a low tonight of 57 (F). Scattered clouds made it possible for Fuerzas Aérea Mexicana, Fifth Air Group, flying Bell 212's to keep an eye on the drug war from above. High enough so that the narcos wouldn't take pot shots at their hueys and MD500's. (technically NH-500's, transferred from the Italian Air Force)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Doing Business in Mexico

The Economic Disaster 
in California

Scenario: You have a business in California and feel that your overhead is too high, your employee costs are too high (based on employee costs of living) and you'd like to join the exodus of high-earners who want to leave bankrupt California for greener pastures.

Recently Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown successfully pushed a large tax increase by suggesting that high-earners must shoulder the largest burden in bailing out the state, particularly its debt-ridden public school system. It will cost you far less to send your children to private schools in Mexico.

California Facts
  • Californians are the highest-taxed residents in the US.
  • High unemployment and government debt have already sent residents fleeing in large numbers – an estimated 225,000 annually for the past 10 years.
  • The California 2012 budget deficit is projected to hit $28 billion and they want residents to pay for it.
  • Ex-Californians over the past decade have already put roughly $5.67 billion into Nevada’s economy as well as $4.96 billion into Arizona and $4.07 billion in Texas, according to Manhattan Institute study titled “The Great California Exodus: A Closer Look.”
“With high taxes and heavy regulations, it’s just difficult to produce those widgets at a lower price than somebody in, say, Texas--or in Mexico.
Syndicated columnist Walter E. Williams wrote in The Orange County Register: “California politicians can fleece people in 2012, but there’s no guarantee they can do the same in 2013 and later years. People can leave.”
With Federal Income tax poised to rocket to 46% of high earner's salaries, California rate hikes range from 9.3 percent to 10.3 percent for families making $250,000 to 10.3 percent to 13.3 percent for families making at least $1 million annually. That's 60% of your income going to tax. In Mexico, the most you pay if you're at the highest bracket is 30%. Property tax in California is almost 1000% higher than it is in Mexico.

California-based Google is using an offshore address to avoid taxes on overseas income so “wouldn’t Google millionaires also avoid state taxes on themselves if they could?”

A Mexican Alternative

A maquiladora is the Mexican term for manufacturing operations in a free trade zone where factories assemble, process or manufacture and then ship finished products to the country of origin without paying Value Added Tax (VAT). There are over one million Mexicans working in over 3,000 maquiladora manufacturing or export assembly plants in northern Mexico, producing parts and products for the United States. Mexican labor is inexpensive and courtesy of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), taxes and custom fees are almost nonexistent, which benefit the profits of corportations. Most of these maquiladora lie within a short drive of the U.S.-Mexico border.

You don't have to sit still for all of the Obama-generated big government taxes to pay for unrestrained US Federal borrowing and wasteful California State programs. By moving to Mexico, you simply make the decision to lower your overhead by as much as 70% and your tax structure by 50%. If you want to go to the US for medical care/ObamaCare, you can always cross the border or go to private clinics staffed by US medical people who are located in Mexico. They relocate for the same reason as you can.

SAVE YOUR MONEY - Move to Mexico

Are you tired of the US Congress and the California State Legislature picking your pocket, yet?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Corruption Runs DEEP in BATF

Mexicans grow very tired of the high-handed USGOV talk of corruption in high places in the government in Mexico when the fish rots from the head down in the US as well.

By now, I'm sure that you heard that ATF Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge George Gillett's personal handgun was found at the scene of a gun battle between the Mexican Army (SEDENA) and the Sinaloa Federation. The matter is all the more infamous because Maria Susana Gamez, a Mexican beauty queen was one of five dead at the scene.

Fox News asked, "How did a gun belonging to a former assistant special agent in charge at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives end up at a crime scene in Mexico where five died, including a Mexican beauty queen?" But it's not just Fox News and the American Congress who want answers. The Mexican people want them too. And they don't hear President Obama talking about anything but going to Hawaii on vacation for three weeks.

Maria Susana Flores Gamez, 
deceased beauty queen
We know that President Obama won't be doing much about this because his fingerprints and those of Attorney General Eric Holder are all over Operation Fast and Furious, the US Government program that allowed over 2,000 firearms to be transferred from the US to Mexico through straw buyers. In addition to the handgun registered personally to ASAC Gilette, another weapon found at the crime scene was traced to a Uriel Patino, who illegally bought more than 600 guns and is a main suspect in the controversial Operation Fast and Furious run out of the Phoenix office of the ATF. 

After the Fast and Furious scandal broke, ASAC Gillette was promoted and sent to BATF Headquarters to a cushy liaison job (requiring almost no work at all). Some maintain that this was his reward for keeping his mouth shut about what he knew.

I suspect that Attorney General Holder didn't know that he provided his own Fabrique National (FN) 57 handgun to the cartels as well. Was it a personal gift to the Sinaloa Federation in appreciation? I don't know. Maybe Mr. Gillette can tell us. Only he really knows the whole story. We do know that George Gillette lied on his application to purchase the handgun. 
(Fox News) Gillett purchased the weapon at Legendary Arms, a Phoenix gun store. On the federal form 4473 used to buy the gun, Gillett used the ATF office address, 201 East Washington, and said "Apt 940." On subsequent purchase, Gillett used a commercial address, that of a strip mall. 
Both actions are illegal, since ATF regulations require buyers use their residential address. "Lying on form 4473 is a felony and can be punished by up to five years in prison in addition to fines," Sen. Charles Grassley said in a letter Wednesday to Michael Horowitz in the Office of Inspector General. "I request that you initiate an investigation into these matters and that you specifically examine whether Mr. Gillett was the purchaser as indicated by these documents, why the forms list multiple, inaccurate residential addresses while purchasing the weapons, and how the weapon purchased on January 7, 2010 ended up in Mexico."
Does anyone really believe that Attorney General Holder wants to see George Gillette sent to prison for five years? If that happens, will Gillette break and go public with his story?
FN Herstal 
(Fox News) "Why would the assistant in charge of that office be buying guns in the first place?" Grassley said in an interview with Fox News. That would raise the question of the extent to which that person might be involved in the gun trafficking that was going on and profiting from it. ... These are legitimate questions."
Assistant Special Agent in Charge George Gillette says that he sold the handgun on the Internet because he'd "run into a few financial problems". Note that sales of this particular handgun are restricted to law enforcement and the military. AND the ASAC is selling it on the INTERNET? Nobody in Mexico will believe that lie. The fish rots from the head down and George Gillette is not the head of the fish. 
The Herstal pistol is nicknamed a "cop-killer" because of its designation as a "weapon of choice" for Mexican drug cartels.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Narco Holiday Update

There is a lot of uncertainty among narcos in Mexico these days. None of them are concerned about the "fiscal cliff" looming in the economic environment with their neighbor to the north because it's simply political chicanery and Mexicans are well schooled in such government gambits. They are concerned about the selling environment and their own government's stance toward trafficking through Mexico into the US.

MEXGOV Snubbs Narcos

Since the Pena Nieto Administration took office on December 1, its key people are not taking meetings with mid to higher level traffickers, precursor dealers, and manufacturers (lab owners). That's not to say that the very highest narcos are lacking access. The crisis has come with those below the top tier. They've been snubbed. And it's making this narco holiday season a lot less cheery than it usually is.

O Canada

In most years, traffickers/distributors leave the US and return home to Mexico to spend their fiesta time with their families. Not so much this year. There are the meth labs in Canada and the new Canadian Cartel types are sticking with business - and shipping crystal meth south despite the holiday season. They've decided to be industrious right up to the period between Christmas and New Year's Day this year. 

The Canadians (RCMP pictured right) seem to be behind the curve in investigating and raiding clandestine laboratories that the Mexican drug cartels (primarily the Sinaloa Federation) have established on Canadian soil. Chapo Guzman (Joaquin Guzman Loera) has visited Canada at least three times this year.

Plastic Surgery - Surging

The uber low key Juan José Esparragoza Moreno (El Azul) has a 'new face' now as does Chapo Guzman. They used the same Brazilian surgeon and they do appear different than the photos that course through the internet. El Azul has been hanging out in Colima, reorganizing the Sinaloa Federation there. Cartel Colima Nueva Generacion (El Mencho) would seem to be out and Chapo's faction is in. SEDENA has stopped the car with El Azul in it and he hasn't been recognized, so one must suspect that the surgeon did a very good job. El Azul also has 'new finger prints'. That surgery must have been unpleasant but it would seem that it has paid off.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jet Rental and Jenni Rivera

This blog reported the untimely death of singer, Jenni Rivera when the LearJet 25 (tail # N345MC) that she rode in crashed shortly after take off from Monterey, Mexico. 

Nobody knows precisely why the airplane crashed but here are the theories that are bouncing around and I share them here as precisely that -- THEORIES.

  1. The 78 year old pilot had a health issue that resulted in pilot error and the airplane crashed.
  2. The five passengers, who woke up the (old) pilot at 2:30 am and had him spin up the Lear may have been drinking/partying and may have been a little rowdy. Reports from people who were hanging out with Jenni and didn't get on the airplane suggest that this may be the case. Combine five boozed-up people, goofing around and a sleepy 78 year old man flying the airplane -- and nothing good is going to happen.
  3. Some kind of equipment failure is unlikely, but possible. The flight data recorder information hasn't been released yet and we simply have to wait and see.

Christian Esquino, who runs Starwood Management and rents jets among other things, denied involvement with drug smuggling. DEA seized a Hawker and a Gulfstream from Starwood in Texas and Arizona, respectively, in 2012 but Esquino maintains that he's innocent of any involvement with smuggling.
The US Government indicted Esquino in the early 1990s along with 12 other defendants in a major federal drug investigation which claimed that Esquino and friends planned to sell more than 480 kilograms of cocaine. He eventually plead guilty to conspiring to conceal money from the IRS and was sentenced to five years in prison.
In 2004, Esquino pled guilty to committing fraud involving aircraft that he purchased in Mexico. The government alleged that he falsified log books before re-selling the aircraft in the US. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison -- but now maintains that he was innocent. 
Many luminaries rent aircraft from Starwood and Esquino including former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rohn. Jorge Hank, billionaire, has been a suspect in various narcotics investigations over the years. Some maintain that he is a key player in the Arellano Felix Cartel. Others suggest that these day's he's merely "crazy as a shithouse rat". Jorge Hank planned a run for Governor of Baja California Norte that was cut short when Mexican Army (SEDENA) raided his home, seizing a large cache of automatic weapons. 
Some cynics feel that the raid was politically motivated by others in the PRI to eliminate him from the list of potential candidates. By failing to obtain a search warrant before the race, the Mexican Army was able to expose Jorge Hank without prosecuting him for the contraband that they found in his mansion.

There is nothing that indicates that Rivera's death was linked to narcotics smuggling. She simply rented a jet and Starwood provided her with an inexpensive, but experienced pilot of nearly 80 years. If there is a lesson in this, I leave it to the reader to decide for themselves.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación

Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) is presently under attack in Colima State by the Mexican Army. At this point they have cleared Colima City, Tecoman of the Sinaloa Federation (CJNG) and Los Caballaros Templarios have moved in to fill the void. The Army also moved into Manzanillo, but not as hard and CJNG still retains a presence there.

Ruben Osegevera Cervantes (El Mencho) runs CJNG and his headquarters in the Autlan de Navarro and El Grullo area of southwestern Jalisco. It is also being heavily pressured by the Mexican Army (SEDENA). 

It's not really news to the people in Guadalajara where literally ALL of the narcos with any stroke at all left town about a month ago in anticipation of rough times. Some went to homes in San Antonio, Texas (where many of the Guadalajara narcos maintain residence), others with warrants for their arrest either went to Costa Rica or over the hills to Puerta Vallarta. They plan to return home after February when the Mexican Army will be discontinuing its offensive in that area.

There are two principal factions of the Sinaloa Federation in Guadalajara. CJNG is run by El Mencho. He's the one being hit. Ismael Zambada Garcia (El Mayo) is not being pressured. He is more closely allied with Joaquin Guzman Loera (El Chapo) than El Mencho is.

Jenni Rivera

Forty-three year old Mexican-American singer, Jenni Rivera, known for her work within the banda and norteña music genres died when her Learjet crashed near Iturbide, Nuevo Leon yesterday.
The Learjet 25, number N345MC, took off from Monterrey at 3:30 a.m. local time and was reported missing about 10 minutes later. It was registered to Starwood Management of Las Vegas, Nevada, according to FAA records. It was built in 1969 and had a current registration through 2015.

She began recording 1992, and her recordings include many topical songs and material dealing with social issues, narcos, infidelity, and relationships. Her tenth studio album, Jenni in 2008, became her first number-one album in the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart in the United States.

Though drug trafficking was the theme of some of her songs, she was not considered a singer of "narco corridos," or ballads glorifying drug lords like other groups, such as Los Tigres del Norte. She was better known for singing about her troubles in love and disdain for men. 

Even though her billboard success was more noteworthy in the US, her fan base was very solid in Mexico, where, in 2009, Mexican officials forgave her for smuggling $52,000 through the Mexico City Airport. 

Jenni had a rocky career, had just ended her third marriage, and was getting by as best she could when the aging private jet augered into a hillside. It was her personal tragedies that endeared her to her Mexican fan base. And she didn't really end on a high note.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Iranian Agents operating in Mexico

A little housekeeping, for the record:

Yes, Iranian intelligence agents work out of the Iranian Embassy in Mexico City and yes, their primary collection target is the United States of America. Yes the Revolutionary Guard Qods Force maintains people as "illegal" (meaning not under diplomatic cover) agents in Mexico. They speak Spanish and they have access to competent cartel murderers (Chino Anthrax and crew being one of many). Questions still remain about the fumbled Arbabsiar Plot.

The Arbabsiar Plot and the Mexican Drug Cartels

Revisiting the plot

Manssor Arbabsiar
Manssor Arbabsiar and Ali Gholam Shakuri were charged on October 11, 2011 by the US Justice Department for an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States. You can read the indictment HERE.

Shakuri is a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Qods force, a foreign special operations element tasked with promoting the IRG's interests outside of Iran. Shakuri sent $49,000 to an undercover FBI bank account inside the United States to facilitate the assassination. USGOV was aware of the plot from the beginning, and while one might congratulate them for fine police work, one might also wonder whether or not Manssor Arbabsiar may have been entrapped (just a little bit).
Once the FBI took Arbabsiar into custody, they had him make consensual telephone calls to Iran (source DOJ) 
"Arbabsiar made phone calls at the direction of law enforcement to [Gholam] Shakuri [a member of Qods Force] in Iran that were monitored. During these phone calls, Shakuri allegedly confirmed that Arbabsiar should move forward with the plot to murder the Ambassador and that he should accomplish the task as quickly as possible, stating on Oct. 5, 2011, '[j]ust do it quickly, it’s late.' " 
Because the Obama Administration was under fire for Operation Fast and Furious, some have floated the opinion that the Arbabsiar plot was a smokescreen by USGOV to obscure the Congressional investigation into the misconduct of Attorney General Eric Holder and possibly of President Obama, himself.
I have no idea whether this is a USGOV smokescreen to obscure their Operation Fast and Furious fiasco or not because I have no first hand information. However, on the stupid scale, isn't 'walking' 2,000 firearms to the Sinaloa Federation Drug Cartel just about as goofy as Iranians working with Los Zetas proxies to assassinate a Saudi Ambassador in the US?
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Why didn't the Iranians vet their "Mexican assassin" - an FBI operative - more carefully? You can chalk it up to amateurish Iranian work, but the Iranians aren't usually that stupid. That the Iranians were stupid doesn't mean that they didn't plot the work to be done. As they learned, a truck bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center didn't bring the tower down. It took Al Qaeda and jet liners filled with innocent passengers and fuel to make that happen.

The only thing that has kept the Islamic Republic from committing atrocities is their political calculus of the repercussions. With the Obama Administration's commitment to the Lloyd George school of diplomacy, what would those repercussions be? A harshly worded letter to the Supreme Leader of Iran wouldn't dent his armor or resolve.

The government’s complaint [.pdf] outlines an almost outlandish comedy of errors. Now we’re finding out that the administration itself had “expressed concern that the plot’s cartoonish quality would invite suspicions and conspiracy theories.”