Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How Narcos use C-TPAT to their Advantage

Yuma Regional Update

M1 and M2 - Compadres
A narco cell belonging to the Sinaloa Federation operating in the area bounded (generally) by Peñasco, SON and Sonoyta, SON, that is part Ismael Zambada Garcia's (El Mayo) faction is actively looking to purchase between sixty and one hundred fully automatic AK-47 (7.62x39 caliber) weapons. It's part of the aftermath that's come as a result of the arrest of Manuel Torres Felix (M-1). Manuel Torres worked under Gonzalo Inzunza Inzunza (Macho Prieto) and ran the Mexicali Plaza. Nature abhors a vacuum and the same is true of narcotics territories. 

As a result of the build up of El Mayo's cell, the San Luis Rio Colorado/Yuma, Arizona US Port of Entry is seeing an increase of narcotics traffic. Methamphetamine, marijuana and some cocaine is crossing. The friction between Macho Prieto and El Mayo is increasing as a result. It's interesting to note that this particular turf/region is also claimed and used heavily by the Beltran Leyva Organization and Fausto Isidro Meza (Chapo Isidro) in particular. There don't seem to be many tunnels in play. It comes across the border by body-pack and across at the ports of entry.

C-TPAT - The Narco's Friend

The US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism is a key strategy of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
CBP is one of the Department of Homeland Security’s largest and most complex components, with a priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. It also has a responsibility for securing the border and facilitating lawful international trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws and regulations, including immigration and drug laws.

Essentially this is how the narcos (primarily Los Caballeros Templarios or LCT) use C-TPAT to their advantage: Much of the avocado and mango crop from Mexico is shipped to the US from only a few regions (as a matter of agreement and law between Mexico and the USA). Agricultural products are brought from the fields to C-TPAT approved facilities where both US Customs and the US Department of Agriculture inspects the loads. They then put a C-TPAT seal on the rear loading doors of the trailer holding agriculture.

The truck and trailer(s) depart for the US Border under official US Government seal. Usually with ten minutes of leaving the facility where they were certified, the rear doors are lifted from their hinges by the use of a fork lift (seal intact). The produce is off-loaded and put in another truck. The (certified) produce trailer is filled with narcotics products. The sealed doors are replaced and the trailer is driven from the Mexican interior to the US Border region including the city of Peñasco (see Yuma Regional Update above). Having transited Mexico with their sealed and certified load, the rear doors are again lifted from their hinges, the produce is replaced and the narcotics crosses the border in broken up loads. That means some of it might come in through the C-TPAT certified load of produce, and it's also body packed over the border and brought across ports of entry by other means.

While CBP is proud of their expensive and lauded program, the only thing that it does in this scenario is to facilitate the shipment of narcotics over a thousand miles of Mexican highway. The Mexican Police will not break a USGOV applied C-TPAT seal to inspect the cargo.

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