Friday, July 5, 2013

Fast and Furious: The Ball Still Rolls

Even though Attorney General Eric Holder refuses to release the documents which will likely prove that he lied about the Fast and Furious scandal, we do learn a little more about this iconic ATF activity directed by the Obama Administration every day.

The latest revelation is that one of those guns the ATF allowed to be sold to the Mexican Drug Cartels was used to kill a Mexican Police Chef. 

The LA Times read  that some internal Department of Justice records showing that a high powered rifle allowed to "walk" was used to kill a Mexican police chief in the state of Jalisco earlier this year. The bulk of the Fast and Furious weapon sales were orchestrated on the cartel side by Nicolas Balcazar Lopez aka El Bronco, a police commandant turned narco. Oddly enough, he lived in Jalisco until the Mexican Government arrested him last year. He's been awaiting trial in Mexico City, but nobody expects that the matter will be tried anytime soon.
Luis Lucio Rosales Astorga, the police chief in the city of Hostotipaquillo, was shot to death January 29, 2013 when gunmen intercepted his patrol car and opened fire. His wife  was with him in the car at the time. She was injured. One bodyguard was killed in the car and a second one was injured. 

Local authorities said eight suspects in their 20s and 30s were arrested after police seized them nearby with a cache of weapons — rifles, grenades, handguns, helmets, bulletproof vests, uniforms and special communications equipment. The area is a hot zone for rival drug gangs, with members of three cartels fighting over turf in the region. 
A semi-automatic WASR rifle, the firearm that killed the chief, was traced back to the Lone Wolf Trading Company, a gun store in Glendale, Ariz. The notation on the Department of Justice trace records said the WASR was used in a “HOMICIDE – WILLFUL – KILL –PUB OFF –GUN” –ATF code for “Homicide, Willful Killing of a Public Official, Gun.” 
The WASR used in Jalisco was purchased on Feb. 22, 2010, about three months into the Fast and Furious operation, by 26-year-old Jacob A. Montelongo of Phoenix. He later pleaded guilty to conspiracy, making false statements and smuggling goods from the United States and was sentenced to 41 months in prison. 
Court records show Montelongo personally obtained at least 109 firearms during Fast and Furious. How the WASR ended up in the state of Jalisco, which is deep in central Mexico and includes the country’s second-largest metropolis, Guadalajara, remained unclear. 
After the shooting in Jalisco, local officials said some of the suspects confessed to two other shootouts in the area, including one that left seven people dead, all part of the continuing feud by rival cartel members.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Valor por Tamaulipas

Be without fear in the face of your enemies.
Be brave and upright that God may love thee.
Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death.
Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong.

There are a lot of courageous people in Mexico who push back on the drug dealers and corrupt government officials who keep them in business. Valor por Tamaulipas ("Courage for Tamaulipas") is a Facebook page that covers security updates in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. It was founded by an anonymous user on 1 January 2012, shares information with other social-media users on the drug-related violence across Tamaulipas and through adjoining regions.

Valor por Tamaulipas routinely posts messages and photos of crime scenes on their page. In a country where many journalists have been assassinated for writing about drug trafficking and organized crime, the page survives under anonymity, but it has not been immune to threats.

In early 2013, a Mexican drug trafficking organization issued fliers offering a reward of $600,000 pesos ($46,000 USD) for anyone that could give out information to locate the admin of Valor por Tamaulipas, or any of his family members. The admin, however, openly defied the criminal organization's threat.

This is a tribute to that Facebook site and to courage.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Russian Federation- Spies in Latin America

The Russians are Back!
General Victor Ivanov

Those of us who check traffic on narco-blogs have noticed a regular increase in the number of hits from the Russian Federation, which is taking a much greater interest in North America and Latin American affairs (through the Internet) than they have since the fall of the old Soviet Union. Some of the readers here may find this interesting and others may say, "Yesterday's News".

The Russian Federation is funding an anti-narcotics and intelligence training center in Nicaragua. I'm not sure when it will stand up, but my sense is that it should be operational by the end of summer. The Russians want it to be a fusion center for law enforcement throughout Central America. Since the US-Mexican relationship has been 'frosty' since Presidente Pena Nieto took office, the Mexicans are likely to send people to be trained there too. Russian Federal Drug Control Service Chief, Victor Ivanov stated that thirty Russian subject matter/police experts will train about 100 Latin American police students every year. (more information on this)

This blog has shared information on the details of the trafficking arrangements with Russian Mafia groups who purchase drugs from Mexican Drug Cartels in the past. The Russians are taking their efforts to control the nearly one billion metric tons of cocaine that flow through Central America on an annual basis. Most of the cocaine that moves through Central America lands in the United States and Canada. The cocaine that makes its way to Russia either moves from Brazil and through Africa to Russia or from Ecuador and Peru to Russia. 
Panamanian President Manuel Noreaga
wears his Israeli jump wings proudly.

Is Central America a big hub for Russian-bound cocaine? No, not so much. But Russia and Nicaragua have old ties so it makes sense that the center goes there.

What is the REAL reason for setting up this academy? The Russians are taking a play from the Israeli playbook. The students develop personal friendships with their teachers and the Russians provide a turn-key intelligence system that they use. The Russians then develop reliable local government sources in Latin America. It works. They simply re-inventing the Israeli wheel. (note defunct Panamanian dictator Manuel Noreaga, left)

I give the Russians high marks for having the wisdom and foresight for getting back in the game. If I was a Russian (and I'm not), I'd do the same thing. The cost of seeding people with whom you have a relationship in their own governments is much cheaper and more effective than cold recruiting.

Russia is moving big on Brazil in terms of both intelligence collection and economic ties as is China. While the Chinese are not so obtuse as to put an intelligence/anti-narcotics training center in Nicaragua, they simply work differently than the Russians. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Obama LIES on the Stump in Mexico (again)

President Obama has been beating up Americans again while on the stump in Mexico, he lies when he does it, and it's irritating. 
(Fox News) "Most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States," Obama told the crowd. "I think many of you know that in America, our Constitution guarantees our individual right to bear arms. And as president, I swore an oath to uphold that right, and I always will. But at the same time, as I've said in the United States, I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common-sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people.  
"That can save lives here in Mexico and back home in the United States," he said.  
Most narcos carry fully automatic AK-47 rifles. Last I heard, those were illegal in the United States in just the same way as they are in Mexico. The same goes for RPG-7's (that the Mexicans all call "bazookas" - not to be confused with the American Rocket Launcher M1A1 - made famous in the Second World War).

Yes there are handguns that originate in the US and make it across the border into Mexico and yes, they are used in roughly 8% of the firearms related crimes in Mexico. If you include firearms possession crimes (where the only crime is possession), that number is about 20%.

And then there is the Obama Administration and Operation Fast and Furious, where they specifically armed the drug cartels with weapons made in America for the purpose of supporting their thesis that US weapons were used by drug cartels to commit crimes. Obama's hands are dirty -- and he continually distorts the truth when it comes to firearms statistics. The truth today is that Mexico is a net IMPORTER of illegal firearms into the US, not the other way around. Why is that? Because the Obama Campaign has caused an increase in the price of firearms in the US and it's profitable to smuggle them north of the border.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Another dead narco lawyer

There is a shelf life to Mexican cartel attorneys and Roberto Navarro-Vázquez expired today in the usual way - six bullets to different parts of his body. They found the body in Lomas de Agua Caliente, Tijuana. Roberto Navarro was best known for his defense of Benjamin Arellano Felix.

Since Benjamin went away for twenty years  and a fifty million dollar fine, he's been working with Joaquin Guzman Loera's organization in Tijuana in conjunction with Francisco Ochoa, another narco lawyer. 

Ochoa still lives, but for how long? That may be for his direct patron Oscar Andres Rodriguez Gurrero to decide.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Cartels Arming Americans - Cartels with MANPADS

The headline reads like this: Mexican drug cartels reportedly dispatching agents deep inside US

Associated Press and carried by Fox News
CHICAGO – Mexican drug cartels whose operatives once rarely ventured beyond the U.S. border are dispatching some of their most trusted agents to live and work deep inside the United States -- an emboldened presence that experts believe is meant to tighten their grip on the world's most lucrative narcotics market and maximize profits.
...A wide-ranging Associated Press review of federal court cases and government drug-enforcement data, plus interviews with many top law enforcement officials, indicate the groups have begun deploying agents from their inner circles to the U.S. Cartel operatives are suspected of running drug-distribution networks in at least nine non-border states, often in middle-class suburbs in the Midwest, South and Northeast. 
"It's probably the most serious threat the United States has faced from organized crime," said Jack Riley, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Chicago office.
It's not news to anybody who follows the drug trade, but it was apparently new enough for the Associated Press to run a story on it.

What they fail to mention is that the cartels are also running AK-47's:

AK-74's and RPK-74's:

RPG-7's (both the launcher and rockets):

Into the United States to buyers who are concerned about government tyranny and feel as though they need to have something to shoot back when DHS shows up. I personally discount many of the conspiracy theories, but what I do or don't do doesn't matter.

Los Caballeros Templarios (was La Familia Michoacan) and The Sinaloa Federation (Chapo/Mayo Faction) have also recently acquired Chinese FN-6 man portable air defense systems (MANPADS), also referred to as shoulder-launched surface to air missiles (SAM's). Those same MANPADS have recently also shown up in Syria in the hands of rebels, indicating wider proliferation than the Chinese are comfortable taking public credit for.
(Wikipedia) FN-6 (FN = FeiNu, 飞弩, meaning Flying Crossbow), is a third generation passive infrared (IR) man portable air defence system (MANPADS). It was developed by China, and is their most advanced surface-to-air missile offered in the international market[citation needed]. Specially designed to engage low flying targets, it has a range of 6 km and a maximum altitude of 3.5 km. The FN-6 is in service with the People's Liberation Army (PLA), and has also been exported to Malaysia, Cambodia, Sudan and Peru. Based on FN-6, China has developed a number of other MANPADS, such as HN and FY series, as well as other vehicle-based short-range air defense systems such as FN and FB series.
But before you express the slightest bit of alarm, the Obama Administration has shown a surprising degree of apathy in helping the Mexicans take these dangerous weapons (that can down nearly any aircraft) off the street.  Yes, it's a low priority. Or at least it is at the moment. Even though the Sinaloa Federation is unlikely to move them across the US-Mexico Border into the United States, Los Caballeros Templario (LCT) has no no such scruples. Blackmail, and retribution is a likely use for at least half of the one dozen FN-6 missiles that LCT has been vetted to have in their position. At least four travel with Servando (La Tuta) Gomez Martinez, current operational leader of LCT.

When the crap hits the fan, you can refer back here and know that you read about the warning on this lonely blog.

BATFE's Operation Fast and Furious sold firearms to cartels to demonstrate (erroneously) that America was arming the cartels, when the reality is quite different. Cartels are arming concerned Americans. And they are bringing a new dynamic to the game with MANPADS.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Man-in-the-Middle Hack/Attack

The man-in-the-middle attack (MITM) or Janus attack is a form of active eavesdropping in which the
attacker makes independent connections with the victims and relays messages between them, making them believe that they are talking directly to each other over a private connection, when in fact the entire conversation is controlled by the attacker. It was designed to defeat public key cryptography first introduced to the internet as Pretty Good Privacy (PGP).
PGP can be used to send messages confidentially. For this, PGP combines symmetric-key encryption and public-key encryption. The message is encrypted using a symmetric encryption algorithm, which requires a symmetric key. Each symmetric key is used only once and is also called a session key. The session key is protected by encrypting it with the receiver's public key, therefore ensuring that only the receiver can decrypt the session key. The encrypted message and encrypted session key are sent to the receiver.
Early PGP software was pretty good until MIT bought the license, worked the software under a program funded by the National Security Agency and sold it to the public with a back door. A back door in cryptospeak is an engineered solution in the algorithm that will allow a third party to crack the cypher and thus, read your mail. The FBI and other federal law enforcement jumped on this MITM solution in the mid-1990's. Possibly as early as 1995 according to EPIC (see link below). 

This is now news because the FBI's use of Stingray, which facilitates a government-initiated MITM attack, is going to court. (EPIC Lawsuit) In the case, which you can read for yourself at the Electronic Privacy Information Center's website. 

The technology took quite a bit longer to reach Mexico, though it has been in use for at least the past three years. It will never be illegal for the government to use in Mexico, but explains why nobody is talking on cell phones.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Local 2544

You can only find the truth if you're not afraid of looking for it. This Blog, such as it is, has been dedicated to exploring a few facts that you may or may not find elsewhere. I don't have anything to do with the US Border Patrol and never have, so there's not any 'skin in the game' on my part. You'll find that for the most part they are under paid, overworked and are 'abused' by the Washington power structure. The Border Patrol (CBP) handles issues on the US Borders. Once the issue migrates to the interior, it falls under ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Both agencies fall within the US Department of Homeland Security.

This is a plug for the UNOFFICIAL U. S. Border Patrol Blog, posted by the Border Patrol Officer's Labor Union (Local 2544) (READ MORE HERE)

This is what Local 2544 says about themselves: "We are the largest local in the Border Patrol and the largest AFGE local in District 12 (covering Arizona, Hawaii, California, and Nevada). Our voluntary membership rate is over 95% of eligible bargaining unit members in the Tucson Sector. We have over 3,300 dues-paying members in this local. Our members are the real border security experts."

One good example of the difference between the Obama Administration's hype and the reality can be seen here: Throats being cut at "secure border".

Another place where you'll tend to find the truth is at the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officer's website. (READ MORE HERE)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Easter Break in Cancun

Over 45,000 young people will visit Cancun this year over Spring/Easter Break. But is it safe? It should be because firearms laws in Mexico are very strict... 

Narcotics in Cancun are distributed by cab drivers who weave and speed through the streets of the seaside resort. Sometimes the cab drivers keep the drugs or the money and have to be dealt with. Two narcos killed 7 narcotics distributors last week at the Mermaid Bar in Cancun. Four additional people were injured.

Usually American and Canadian parents simply worry about their children
coming home with a social disease or pregnant from Spring Break in Cancun. 
Key narcotics kingpins have ownership interests in Cancun - almost all of them do. Therefore one would think that they'd put a lid on the violence. They try. They really do. But that doesn't always translate into safe streets. Acapulco, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta have been prone to beheadings and gun battles in the streets and those socially unacceptable things led to parents feeling that their children could go to Cancun instead where you don't see narcomatas hanging from pedestrian overpasses. 

SEMAR has stepped up patrols to make partying young people feel safe. But it doesn't matter to the narcos. (LINK)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mexico - America's Basement Arms Supplier

Those half dozen of you who drift past this blog from time to time have heard me rant about the AK-47's that are coming north into the United States from Mexico, but this one will blow your skirt up just a little more.

The worst part of it is that it's confirmed - sorta. This morning, I woke up to a telephone call from 'my man in Jalisco'. 

Caller from Guadalajara: "Hey Juan, there are these gringos here who want to buy RPG-7 launchers and rockets. What should I do?"

Juan: "Send them home empty handed."

The Caller from Guad is not an arms merchant. But he knows arms merchants. The gringos in question are a delegation from a Red State in the US and are comprised, near as I can tell at this point of a dentist, two (possibly three) hardware store types, and an equal number of people from the church. I don't know what they do for a living. From what the Caller from Guad said, some learned Spanish undertaking missionary work in the past in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America.

Caller from Guadalajara: "Do you want to talk to them?"

Juan: "No."

He puts the dentist on the telephone.

Dentist: "I'm Dr. XXXXX and we don't want trouble here in Mexico. We're down here looking for some RPG's."

Juan: "Are you frigging nuts?"

Dentist: "Things are getting serious in the US. The Department of Homeland Security is buying 2,700 tanks (MRAPs) to use on us and the President all but said that he plans to use drones to attack us. We need to have something that will be effective against armored vehicles and don't know where else to go."


I am not convinced that the USGOV bought 2,700 MRAPs to use against the lightly armed American public, but I have a few comments for President Obama - who will never read this blog. 

LIGHTEN THE FUCK UP, BARAK. You're scaring the strait, normal God fearing people and they're more afraid of YOU than they are of murderous drug cartels. They want to protect their homes and families against YOUR THUGS. That's just not right (maybe it's 'left').

There is no way to know whether these people took my advice and went home, were robbed, stripped and left by the roadside to hitchhike home or were buried in unmarked graves (common). The cartels and SEDENA have similar methods of operation. The Federales would have taken heavy bribes to release them from custody, etc. None of these outcomes is desirable, nor is the acquisition of RPG-7 anti-tank rockets. 

These guys pull and fill teeth and peddle nails and hammers for a living. They must be insane - or terrified - to be wandering around Guadalajara looking for rockets. But they are. And it is a very sad, sad commentary on the State of the Union in the US.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jaime Gonzalez Dominguez Muerte

Being a blogger on matters dealing with narcos, guns and Mexican politics can be a nasty business. Neither the Mexican politicians, the police, the military or the narcos themselves want you reporting on --anything. Jaime Gonzalez found out the hard way.
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (Fox News/AP) -- Gunmen shot dead an online journalist while he ate dinner at a taco stand in the border town of Ojinaga, across the border from Texas, authorities said Monday. 
Assailants killed Jaime Gonzalez Dominguez Sunday afternoon in the town across the border from Presidio, Texas, said Chihuahua state prosecutors spokesman Carlos Gonzalez. 
Gonzalez Dominguez published a news website called Ojinaga Noticias...The website didn't carry any major reports about crime or drug trafficking on Monday, when the main story was about the killing of the 38-year-old journalist, who was shot at least 18 times with an assault rifle.
The woman who stood next to Jaime Gonzalez was not injured when the narcos killed Jaime, which means that it wasn't the usual spray and pray murder in which the air is filled with bullets in the hope that one of them will strike the target. (sometimes they do - sometimes they don't) There is also the potential that the murder was part of a love triangle. Though the media has not yet speculated on that angle, I think that it's too early to rule that out.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Is the NSA Listening in to your Telephone Calls?

Everyone who I know in Mexico (MEXGOV officials and narcos) believes that their telephone calls are being listened to by MEXGOV, the cartels or both. I don't think that they are paranoid. They also feel that USGOV is listening in and I can't say that is necessarily off the mark.

But this blog post is about the US, not MEXGOV because having MEXGOV "illegally" wiretap is like dog bites man. It's not a story. The US is a bit more interesting because there are laws to protect unwarranted wiretaps on US Citizens. Everyone knows that the National Security Agency, headquartered at Ft. George Meade, Maryland acts like a vacuum cleaner where SIGINT is concerned and that sophisticated methods are used to sift that information that comes from a number of sources including (but not limited to) telephone conversations.

Some of these programs are discussed in a new book, "Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry", by Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady. The book will be released on April 1, however having had access to it before its release, I can share what it says and you can decide whether or not to pay any attention to it. (how's that for a dodge and weave?) The authors also wrote "The Command: Deep Inside the President's Secret Army", which I have not read. It's available on Kindle for US$2.99.

The program that they cite is caveated RAGTIME (RT) and I suspect that if you nosed around you'd find documents classified TS/NF/WN/RT.

RAGTIME is subdivided into four categories. RAGTIME A are intercepts of foreign-to-foreign data. RAGTIME B is foreign intercepts made as it transits through US territory. RAGTIME C deals with intercepts of nuclear proliferation material and RAGTIME P are Patriot Act related intercepts.

Though I don't wish to over complicate the process with Cryptonyms. The National Security Agency specializes in 'data mining'. They sift through a large amount of bulk data that comes through the scoops that they've put into place. ANCHORY, the all-source database holds everything that comes in. HOMEBASE coordinates the data base with collection requirements set by the various components of the Intelligence Community, which task NSA.

Using link analysis as a basis for deciding what is and what is not important, the links between the known and heretofore unknown are given a score to both target validity and information in the context of probable reliability. Xkeyscore, once applied, directs the raw data to different 'selectors'. For example, AIRGAP is a selector associated with the Department of Defense (DOD). TINMAN deals with information that applies to both airborne warning and information that a component of CIA uses. WRANGLER organizes bits of data along a timeline to try and help all of it to make some sense.

The legality of various collection departments (can USGOV collect against a particular source) is a matter for attorneys and politicians to hash out. However, finding legal consensus is not always as easy as it may seem to be. This blog is not going to sort that out for you. Neither does it condemn the NSA or it's outreach to data delivered by T-MEX or the Mexican Intelligence Agencies (Mostly Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional, CESEN).

Friday, March 1, 2013

SECSTATE Kerry - Latin America Relations (and Drugs)

What about John Kerry, the new SECSTATE? Here's one piece of advice for Secretary Kerry, but it's advice that Kerry's master, President Obama isn't likely to agree with:

En su nuevo cargo de secretario de estado norteamericano, John Kerry tiene una gran oportunidad para compensar el desinterés con el que Obama trató a América Latina durante su primera presidencia. Como veterano observador de los asuntos de América Latina, creo que las principales prioridades de Kerry en la región deberían ser: (1) revivir un enérgico programa de libre comercio, (2) aumentar el apoyo que presta Estados Unidos a las instituciones que hacen cumplir la ley en países plagados por la violencia como Honduras y Guatemala, y (3) hacer de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) un vehículo más efectivo para promover y defender la democracia. Esas iniciativas enviarían señales positivas a los aliados y asociados democráticos de Washington. (Jaime Daremblum -- fue embajador de Costa Rica en los Estados Unidos) 
A friend of mine who works for USGOV explained the US ambivalence toward Mexico this way: It's difficult to get people to notice trouble in their own backyard. It's just tough - sort of like not cutting your own lawn because the neighbor across the street is shooting porno movies with the windows open.
President Otto Perez Molina
Secretary Kerry will continue to hand-hold with the authoritarian governments in Latin America because President Obama is more comfortable with them than he is with those governments who trend on the democratic side of politics. At the moment, George Soros (think what you will of him) is spending a lot of time in Guatemala, sleazing around with President Otto Perez Molina. Soros' official position is that he wants to combat illegal narcotics trafficking. If that's his intent, perhaps Perez Molina isn't the best of people to do it with because the esteemed president has been strongly alleged to be a major precursor dealer with Mexican drug cartels, Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion being the foremost. Maybe that's only in his past? Perhaps he has reformed and reinvented himself.

Even though Secretary Kerry doesn't seem to know it (yet), there are tense times coming for the Republic of Mexico as President Enrique Pena Nieto stands at the helm of the Mexican ship of state. That ship will be running over a lot of rocks and shoals this summer as they fight established drug cartels, all the time managing the drug business themselves more and more outside of traditional narco circles (with the intent of avoiding violence). It's like dancing on quicksand with a pogo stick. If Kerry and the Obama Administration link themselves too closely with the Mexican regime, they could very easily be accused of drug dealing themselves as the US closes on the 2014 mid-term elections.

The US is unlikely to give any serious attention to Latin America under an Obama Regime  (see the porno movie analogy above) because the President and the NSC is focused on Africa and the Middle East.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Drug Cannons and Drones

Multi-barrel drug cannon - for those who are serious about launching the
largest number of loads over the fence in the shortest amount of time.
The truck mounted home made cannon pictured below will fire a 30 pound projectile over the US/Mexico Border Fence. Usually it fires packets of marijuana, but you could also fire cocaine, methamphetamine or cocaine over the fence. Physics is no respecter of narcotics. In the past when the narcos needed to fire cocaine, it was packaged in a hard plastic container and because of the weight of the container, it would fire no more than ten pounds at a shot.

Marijuana Cannon - designed to defeat the Border Fence
Police told the Televisa network that the device was made up of a plastic pipe and a crude metal tank that used compressed air from the engine of an old car 

The apparatus fired cylinders packed with drugs that weighed as much as 13 kilos, police said. It was confiscated last week after US officers told Mexican police that they had been confiscating a 16px number of drug packages that appeared to have been fired over the border.
Before long, ambitious cartel members will begin to fly unmanned drone aircraft from Mexico into the US, packed with high value narcotics. Up to now, drone aircraft have been the prerogative of the Customs and Border Protection Service, and the narcos flew radar resistant ultralight aircraft across the fence, loaded with cocaine. Once landed, the small aircraft were abandoned.

That's changing along with changing technology. Drone aircraft technology has made it from the hangers of the world's superpowers into the garages of the powerful and very wealthy drug cartels. The concept is that drug drones could be reused and would not depend on a drug pilot flying an ultralight. Ultralight aircraft are more heavily influenced by weather than the larger and more robust drones that can drop a load of narcotics very accurately using GPS technology.

Working from US, European and Israeli designs, aeronautical engineers in Mexico and Latin America have been hard at work to find a drone that can be transported quickly by truck, launched and recovered and subsequently moved and has enough payload weight to meet the needs of their employers (Sinaloa Federation).

Anyone who can build a hobby aircraft successfully has all of the tools to ramp up the dimensions and integrate control technology to build a workable drone. In the case of Cartel Drones, the wings need to fold up so that it will fit in a semi-truck both before and after flight so that it can be serviced, reloaded and flown from another site.

One narco that I spoke to who is familiar with this program said that it's a lot easier and less expensive than running a drug submarine - but the submarines carry a much more substantial narcotics load than the drones do. However, you can build and operate two dozen drone aircraft for the price of one submarine. The swarm effect also makes it unlikely that more than one at most will be apprehended by American law enforcement at any one time. The assembly line for narcotics drones is located in the Santa Fe District of Mexico City and near the Bombardier factory at Queretaro where aircraft factory workers can moonlight and double their money.

A rumor persists that NSA has collected a body of information on this narco drone effort, collected under RAGTIME, but it has yet to be confirmed.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Assist to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

This is a very brief investigative primer for any Canadian authorities who are looking for Mexican cartel operators within their country. I doubt that any RCMP types will read this blog, but if they do, they can consider this.

Joaquin Guzman Loera (El Chapo) is running the majority of the Canadian Traffic from the Mexican side of things. There were cells of Los Caballeros Templario (based in Washington State, US) but now that they're allies, I'm lumping them into one big pot.

This is important to know, because Chapo is a micromanager. He didn't last as long as he has nor grow in both personal wealth and power through the hemisphere by being stupid. Which means that they won't be making mistakes that the bush league narcos make. 

If you're accustomed to working on Asian targets (who almost religiously follow the same low key profile), you're going to feel at home working on these cartels.

Automobiles - Don't expect to see these guys driving around in Ferraris. The vehicle of choice for running around and being cool is usually the pick-up truck. They will also drive nondescript sedans simply because they don't attract attention. However, because they're from Sinaloa for the most part, you will see "Sinaloa Crap" on the cars. Stickers, Virgin of Guadalupe or Santa Muerte statues. You need to learn the difference between the two. Regular Catholic Mexicans usually have the Virgin of Guadalupe icons on their dash. If you find anything to do with Senora de los Sombras, Nino Negro Santa or the Holy Death (Santa Muerte) (different names for the same saint), you have a narco on your hands.

Restaurants - Everyone wants food and culture that reminds them of home close at hand. They need a place to hide in plain sight and the leaders want to hold court. So you'll find some really good Mexican restaurants popping up. Remember, it doesn't need to be a hole in the wall because these cartels have a lot of money to spend. Look for Sinaloa, Jalisco or Michoacan style cooking. If you can't tell the difference between Sonora, Quintana Roo and Jalisco style cooking - do your homework. They will hang out where they are comfortable.

Homes - They will live well and they will live on land with a buffer around it. They will have ranches and those ranches will have runways cut on them. Expect over ten ranches in any area where the narcos are active. They'll set them up with equipment, barns, sorting pens for livestock, etc. and they will leave them dormant until they're needed. Usually one one will be active at a time. That's just how they roll. It's a shell game.

Clothing - The well healed narcos will dress 'Mexican upscale casual' - short hair, expensive dress shirt, usually worn outside (not tucked in), nice slacks and nice shoes. The Sinaloa Cowboys, who work on the ranches (bottom feeders) will dress the way that they did when they were home. Do some homework on those dress patterns. These guys won't deviate from what they are comfortable wearing.

Family Life - Most wealthy Mexican men have more than one wife. The wealthier and more powerful, the more wives. It's not uncommon for a narco to have one Casa Grande (the first wife) and half a dozen Casa Chicas (the subsequent girlfriend). Mexicans don't wear condoms so those women all have children. Alert your family support people to keep a sharp eye out for women from Mexico who apply for welfare benefits and aid for their children. They almost all will. Narcos have money but they are cheap in terms of spending that money on the Casa Chicas. This information can be exploited and it's possibly the best single method of finding out who the narcos are. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Mexican Weddings - Track them, cover them, photograph the people who show up, collect license plate numbers. They are political affairs within the community and they are LARGE. It will help you to understand who is there. The important people will usually travel in Humvees or Suburbans. Some may be armored - but I'm not sure that they have a lot of armored vehicles in Canada. If you find one, the occupant is important.

Good Luck

If anyone wants more they can e-mail me. If you do e-mail me, please provide your RCMP/Law Enforcement affiliation because I will vet you before I contact you.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mexican Threat to Canadian Security

This blog has outlined the development of the Sinaloa Federation's presence in Mexico beginning in earnest about two years ago and intensifying ever since then. I'm not going to rehash what I've written in this blog. If you're interested enough, you can scroll down and read it to establish that for yourself.


1. Immigration

Mexican Immigration to Canada in 2005 was the first phase of the establishment of the Mexican drug trade that we are seeing in a mature environment in Canada today. Joaquin Guzman Loera (El Chapo) bought his first ranch in Mexico in 2005. Mexican citizens began to enter Canada 'fearing for their lives' and were accepted by the Canadian government as refugees. This trend continued unabated until July 2009, when the Canadian Government instituted a requirement that Mexican citizens traveling to Canada obtain a visa.  Mexican refugee claimants, represent 25% of the total Canadian asylum petitions. Even though 90% of those are ultimately rejected, refugees/asylum applicants continue to stress the over taxed Canadian system. 

What do cartel members awaiting adjudication from Canadian authorities do while on parole status? They traffic narcotics and receive public assistance payments from a generous and naive Canadian system.

2. Trafficking Trends

Historically, the primary conduit for the conduct of the smuggling operations were well organized Asian gangs on the Canadian side of the border. That balance tipped beginning in 2010 when very well trained, experienced Mexican traffickers entered the business of trafficking through Canada into the US began to switch on. Canada is the path of least resistance. Canada is also not the market. Canada has 34 million citizens. California alone has 38 million residents. The drug cartels will sell to Canadians, but the market is a small fraction of the size of the US so cocaine, methamphetamine products and opiates bound for Canada usually re-enter the US.

3. Kind and Gentle Canada

Canada is no stranger to organized crime. Their efforts against motorcycle gangs, the Italian Mafia, and more recently in their history, against Asian gangs has been moderately effective. They are NOT ready for the destabilizing effect on society that is being fashioned by highly-organized, violent criminal cartels from Mexico. 

Many drug cartels, including the Sinaloa Federation use contract intelligence people from the former Soviet Union including Ukranian GRU and KGB operators. They are not Asian gangs and they are not bikers. They are PROFESSIONALS. Canada isn't ready. Reliance on USGOV agencies such as the FBI or the Customs and Border Protection Service is thin because they themselves are ham handed when it comes to interdicting or impacting drug cartels. The US track record is not impressive.

4. Impact on Legal Trade

The US has begun to react to the new threat from Mexican Cartels moving narcotics through Canada by "thickening" their border defenses. Trade between Canada and the US has decreased by twenty percent over the past five years. Part of this is due to the security barriers that also impact legitimate trade by simply making it 'harder' to do business. And I'm not only writing about this difficulty, I've experienced it. 


DDG 283 HMCS Algonquin
Canada has participated in the North American Maritime Security Initiative (NAMSI) and last year the HMCS Algonquin participated in counternarcotics patrol work in the US Mexico Pacific Border area. It was a symbolic step (at best). None of it addressed the endemic corruption in Mexico and the folly of relying on Mexican Navy (SEMAR) allies for accurate and timely support. That's not to say that all of SEMAR is corrupt. It's not. Enough is to make it (and the rest of MEXGOV) unreliable (I'm trying to be kind here).

Canada is trying to implement a species of trilateral security to protect its interests and while that is the only way to proceed, what they are doing is not having ANY impact on the Sinaloa Federation's operations within its borders. The Canadians need to up their game if they want to play in the big leagues.

The only game in town is HUMINT. It's expensive, it's exhausting, it's difficult, but no other method is likely to work. The RCMP won't be able tell the players without a program and Canada either enters the Great Game or they reap the whirlwind. 

The Sinaloa Federation - LCT Alliance


Joaquin Guzman Loera (El Chapo) has a long standing relationship with MEXGOV, but he paid off primarily SEGOB and SEDENA. He had Mexican Army liaisons with him almost all of the time and Gobernacion people with him some of the time to fend off unwanted inquiries. 

Times change and politics changes. Since Enrique Pena took office, there has been a systematic purge of the old guard at PRI and the young turks have replaced them. El Chapo is now going it alone without the top cover that he's grown accustomed to. 

El Chapo and his partner, Ismael Zambada (El Mayo) have split the sheets with Cartel Nueva Generacion Jalisco and El Mencho. The Sinaloa Federation is trimming down and is getting ready to operate under a new paradigm.

The New Sinaloa Federation

As part of the Sinaloa Federation's restructure, El Chapo has joined with Los Caballeros Templarios (LCT) and is allied with key figures within Los Kaibiles de Guatemala (Guatemalan Special Forces). Thus, his strength in Southern Mexico is profound. Much of their methamphetamines and opiate products are now streaming into the marketplace (USA) by way of Canada. Chapo is proportionately as strong in Canada as he is along the US Border. The Arellano Felix Organization was folded completely into El Chapo's new Sinaloa Federation and he has a strong grip on the border from the Pacific Ocean to New Mexico.

MEXGOV Reaction

Because the rapprochement with the Sinaloa Federation has gone, MEXGOV wants to put pressure on them to crush them. 

Example of MANPAD damage to a
civilian aircraft.
El Chapo's Reaction to the MEXGOV Reaction

El Chapo has decided to up the ante. One of those moves is to provide the Sinaloa Federation with protection against MEXGOV rotorcraft and low flying aircraft. He turned to Guatemala (site of the shoot-out yesterday) to purchase Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) - surface to air missiles. He couldn't lay his hands on the latest generation of MANPAD, but the Chinese FN-6 is good enough to eliminate the threat that MEXGOV can present from the air to cartels operating in the field.

New MEXGOV Philosophy

For a very long time, the Mexican Government has been paid by drug cartels for the right to move narcotics through "plazas" as the drugs make their way to "the customer/consumer" - the USA. This resulted in unacceptable violence. Today MEXGOV plans to cut out the middle man and handle the business themselves. It brings more profit to PRI's new young turks and they can do it without encountering the problem of violence between competing cartels. Or at least that's the plan.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cartels with MANPADS

Joaquin Guzman Loera (El Chapo) is in Guatemala today, checking out his new weapons with his allies in the Guatemalan military (los Kaibiles) and Los Caballeros Templario (LCT).
Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS or MPADS) are shoulder launched surface to air missiles which are particularly effective against helicopters. Sources suggest that the FN-6's (Second generation shoulder launched SAM's) have been delivered recently.
Chinese made FN-6 MANPAD
The narcotics cartels in Mexico are changing as MEXGOV is changing its way of managing the narcotics supply to the United States. The old "dinosaurs" in the PRI Party have been or are are being 'castrated' and removed from power to make way for the young turks. 

los Kaibiles, armed by the US and other nations.
El Chapo found himself in a position where his SEDENA bodyguards/reps were being recalled. The same is true with his personal SEGOB detail. So he made a bold move and has built an alliance with LCT - which is being armed to the teeth. The Beltran Leyva Cartel (BLO) made a similar move a couple of years ago with Los Zetas. The alliance worked for a while. But, in fairness, Los Zetas are not the LCT, which enjoys the tacit backing of the Catholic Archdiocese. 

If the Mexican Military/Paramilitary can't fly their helicopters, it removes a key ingredient in their multi-pronged approach to take down significant narco targets. Time to break out the popcorn and see how it all unfolds.


There is a rumor floating that the Guatemalan military shot Chapo in the border area just south of Chiapas this afternoon at about 1500 HRS (local time).

Saturday, February 2, 2013

US Immigration Reform and Drug Traffic

The Mexican Government is genuinely concerned about it's borders because one of the largest problems that Mexico faces is illegal immigration (from the south). The US Government is not serious because the Democratic Party knows that Mexican people seeking a new home in the USA are likely to vote for that particular political group.

Now that we've cut to the chase, let's delve a bit more deeply into linkage between illegal drug traffic from Mexican cartels and US/Mexico border security and immigration reform.

The 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli Act, signed by President Reagan granted amnesty to the then 3 million illegal immigrants and promised border enforcement. Amnesty came, effective enforcement didn't because at the time, the US Border was a safety valve against the revolution that the Mexican government always fears but hasn't materialized since 1968 when they set armored vehicles on their own people. Discontent Mexicans go north and so long as they have a place to go, the US enjoys a stable regime to the south. Or so it seemed to President Reagan.

Illegal immigration from Mexico has slowed down a lot over the past decade due to a horrible economy in the US and an improving economy in Mexico. There are also the demographics to consider. The population in Mexico is not growing at a rate that will force nearly as many Mexican people north in search of work in the future. 

A secure LOW TECH fence between the US and Mexico would stop something on the order of 50% of the cross border drug traffic from Mexico into the US. It would also stop about 100% of the illegal border crossing.

Are the Americans considering such a fence? 

Apparently not.

Why? (see paragraph one above)

The bipartisan Senate deal reached by the Gang of Eight, led by Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republicans John McCain and Marco Rubio makes illegal immigrants eligible for green cards and, ultimately, citizenship and it additionally grants the right to live and work here openly. Once granted, it will never be revoked.

The US does not need high tech radar blimps, Predator drones, and sophisticated measures to control cross-border illegal immigration or drug traffic from Mexico. They only need a fence. A regular fence. In 2006, Congress $1 billion to construct 53 (out of 2,000) miles of fence. It worked well for the contractors and the triple layer fence near San Diego works.  But it doesn't have to be three layers of razor wire to be effective. It just has to be a genuine FENCE.

Once the fence is complete, THEN allow the 11 million illegal aliens a pathway to citizenship. They're here anyway, many receiving welfare, food stamps and other government hand-outs despite their illegal status.. Make them pay for their ObamaCare the same as everyone else.

The fence will have the additional impact of reducing the flow of drugs -- which means that the cartels will have to find another way to deliver the narcotics, but it will make it more difficult than it is now.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

BATFE Screwed the Pooch in Milwaukee

Another BATFE screw up?

You be the judge.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel broke the story today. Fox News followed along with a story of their own. And poorly executed law enforcement work draws Congress in much the same way as other things draw flies.
The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) created a phony storefront, named it Fearless Distributing, staffed it with undercover agents and created a Facebook page that lured people to the location all under the guise of selling clothes and shoes. The ATF agents handed out business cards with a logo similar to the one from the movie “The Expendables” with the words “buy, sell or trade” on them. Once the store was up and running, agents spread the word that Fearless Distributing was willing to buy guns and drugs.
So far, it looks like a typical 'storefront operation' that the federal government loves to run. It's set to get the dumbest of criminals and they cast a wide net. The funding is budgeted as a "Group One" program.  As usual, results matter and money is secondary -- but does it constitute entrapment? Not in a federal courtroom the way it would usually play out in a state court. The agents in one case paid $1,200 for a firearm that would normally sell for between $400 and $700. 

Keystone Cops?

Not yet. But it's coming...
On Sept. 13, 2012, three weapons – including an M-4 machine gun – were stolen from an agent’s parked car. The very next day one of the weapons -- as well as another unrelated one -- were sold back to agents for $1,400. The M-4 and Smith & Wesson 9mm are still unaccounted for.
Senator Charles Grassley responds:
"The Journal Sentinel story reads more like an accounting of the Keystone Cops instead of a federal law enforcement agency," Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. "I'll be asking the ATF questions because if the operation was handled as badly as it was reported, it puts yet another major stain on the agency."
David Salkin unknowingly rented his building at 1220 E. Meinecke Ave. to BATFE, from which they ran their sting operation. Burglars broke into the business, ending the operation. Salkin says BATFE owes him $15,000 for damage and unpaid utility bills. The agency has refused to pay.


Post Mortem

The Group One undercover operation didn't result in arrests or convictions of major dealers and they didn't take down a gang. $35,000 in merchandise was stolen from the undercover store and a military style machine-gun is now on the streets of Milwaukee. BATFE is in embroiled in a civil lawsuit with David Salkin who says that he's owed $15,000 because of utility bills, holes in the walls, broken doors and damage from an overflowing toilet.
When the 10-month operation was shut down after the burglary, agents and Milwaukee police officers who participated in the sting cleared out the store but left behind a sensitive document that listed names, vehicles and phone numbers of undercover agents.
The sting resulted in charges being filed against about 30 people, most for low-level drug sales and gun possession counts. But agents had the wrong person in at least three cases. In one, they charged a man who was in prison - as a result of an earlier ATF case - at the time agents said he was selling drugs to them.
Were the special agents lying, careless or stupid? It looks like Congress will have the last word on that account.
Other cases reveal that the agency's operation was paying such high prices that some defendants bought guns from stores such as Gander Mountain and sold them to the agents for a quick profit. 
Why not? And back to entrapment, were the amounts that the government spent to buy the firearms so great as to entrap? If you can buy them from a store and then sell them to federal agents down the street for double or triple the money, would that lure an financially strapped person to make the deal? Should they go to prison for it?
ATF spokesman Special Agent Robert Schmidt declined to say how much the sting operation cost.
Group One budgets are usually one million dollars. It would be interesting to see how much the budgeted amount that BATFE actually spent.
Milwaukee is among 31 cities where the ATF has dedicated a Violent Crime Impact Team. The teams are supposed to target "hot spots" - small, high-crime areas - and go after the "worst of the worst" violent criminals, according to the agency's Best Practices report
The agency launched the initiative in 2004 and quickly reported "enormous" success. Agency officials touted a drop in firearm-related homicides in pilot cities and credited the $35 million effort with helping local police departments solve other crimes. 
But a U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General's report two years later found no evidence that the teams reduced firearm crimes in the targeted areas. Authors of the report cited "inadequate direction" and "ineffective oversight" by the agency. 
"We found that ATF based its analysis on insufficient data and faulty comparisons," the report stated.
No matter what happens, BATFE or any federal agency will claim success. The US Government has never been long on the truth and there is no reason to see a change of pace here.

Daniel Stiller, head of the federal defender's service in Milwaukee, said such undercover operations are rare. The case involving Gladney and Bryant suggested to him that those defendants weren't major criminals given they got guns from a store, not the street.
"I have to guess a true criminal on the streets of Milwaukee has the ability to obtain a firearm when needed from something other than a store," Stiller said.
I think that most people would agree.
The operation ran into more trouble in October, when burglars broke into the building housing Fearless and cleaned out the ATF operation. 
Late on Oct. 9, burglars made off with jewelry, clothing, auto parts, purses, Nike shoes and more, according to police reports. No one has been charged in the burglary. 
The lease states that the alarm is included in the rent. But shortly after Fearless moved in, Salkin said he told the people running the store he was cutting the phone line, which connected the alarm. He said he assumed they would hook up their own alarm. They did not. 
"You would think the ATF would know that," Salkin said.
We're clearly at the Keystone Cops level at this point in the saga.
Business owner, Salkin, said by going over on the $800 a month utility allotment and damage to walls, doors and carpeting, the ATF owes him about $15,000, which includes a month of lost rent. 
The ATF has balked, saying there was less than $3,200 in damage and telling Salkin to return the security deposit. They told him to file a claim with the federal government and warned him to stop contacting them. 
In an email to Salkin, ATF attorney Patricia Cangemi wrote, "If you continue to contact the Agents after being so advised your contacts may be construed as harassment under the law. Threats or harassment of a Federal Agent is of grave concern. Utilizing the telephone or a computer to perpetrate threats or harassment is also a serious matter."
Wow. One would think that with a million dollar budget, they could afford to clean up after the whole thing went haywire. So much for secrecy.
Turns out, the ATF has weapons stolen or loses them more frequently than the public might think, according to a 2008 report from the Office of the Inspector General with the U.S. Department of Justice. 
In a five-year span from 2002-'07, for example, 76 ATF weapons were stolen, lost or missing, according to the report. That's nearly double the number compared with the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, when considering rates per 1,000 agents.
Is anyone who has read this far surprised?

If you're really interested, reading the articles that were linked at the top of this page is a good idea. I quoted from the Journal Sentinel (highlighted).

This is the same agency that created Operation Fast and Furious and the same agency that will be getting more and special powers from the President of the United States under his new firearms initiative.

I think that I may move to Mexico just to be safe from well meaning federal agents. 

On the Practice of Lying

In Mexico the army and the federal police water board everyone just to make sure that they have the story straight. (the Mexicans use a bottle of Tihuacan and a filthy rag but it's still water boarding). And while BATFE doesn't do that, they have a real bad habit of lying about damned near everything which means that nobody will trust them even when they assert ---- "we're not lying this time." The Mexicans proudly boast that they torture prisoners and they break. They don't lie about what they do...well not all the time.

The Other Side of Alien Smuggling

There has been an uncanny proliferation of Chinese buffet style eateries opening all around the United States. Curiously well over 90% are managed and staffed by people from the greater Fuzhou area of Fujian Province. 60+% of the Chinese in China town, NYC are from that area. Almost every municipality of any size, anywhere in the country has one or several of them. Ocala, FL has 6 or 7, and maybe more counting carry outs.

Curiouser still is the fact that they all speak Northern Min Dialect which is not mutually intelligible with any other Chinese Dialect. N. Min isn't known or spoken by any non Chinese on the planet, not even any missionaries, as far as I've been able to discern -- ergo, keeping tabs on them via electronic surveillance won't work.

Alien smuggling of Chinese takes place across the US/Mexico Border. In Mexico, they burrow into the La Chinescas (Chinatowns in Mexican Cities) until it's safe to cross. They use better and generally more sophisticated methods than their Latin hosts do and their numbers are swelling inside of the US. 
  • Some may be well trained espionage agents -- very capable of carrying out industrial, economic spying. 
  • There are so many of these people, and I've met some who are obviously triad or Chinese Mafia members, that I suspect there is a good percentage of these people who are involved in organized crime. The 'Snake Heads' operate human smuggling networks -- They are triad-crime syndicate connected and it has always been a tactic of Chinese government has long to use criminal elements to achieve certain nefarious goals.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation - Foreign Counter Intelligence people don't care. And many FBI Special Agents order food from the very restaurants where these Fujian people work - oblivious that the majority are de-facto slaves/indentured servants. How do I know? I've been with them when they did and they didn't know. Yes, I shared but -- the FBI doesn't care because it's not paid to care about this problem. And if they don't care, in the parlance of the FBI, it's not a problem. The only reason that I single out the FBI is because they are boastful about how well they do and the truth is that they're every bit as ignorant about this problem as everyone else is.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cares to the extent that they are able. However, with tons of drugs smuggled successfully through US ports of entry  every day, the emerging automatic weapons trade from Mexico to the US, and the mundane business of collecting customs duties, a few thousand Chinese here and there don't raise much of a blip on the scope. And if they're captured, nobody can interrogate them anyway because CBP doesn't have Fjuianese linguists.

One of the foremost experts in this field is Dr. Sheldon Zhang, San Diego State University (San Diego, CA). Dr. Zhang also sits on the board of directors of the eminent Center for Asian Crime Studies, Bethesda, Maryland, Chaired by M. Cordell Hart.