August 11, 2011: Money talks, and also walks across the bridge. Wealthy families in Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua State) have begun moving across the border to El Paso, Texas in order to avoid the violence plaguing their city. Private Mexican schools have followed them, opening campuses in El Paso.
August 10, 2011: Colombian national police arrested a key drug smuggler and money-launderer working for the Sinaloa cartel. Dolly Cifuentes Villa was arrested in Medellin (the home town of a famous cocaine cartel). Cifuentes handled business with several Colombian drug cartels, including warehousing cocaine for shipment to Mexico. Ten airplane pilots who worked for Cifuentes were also arrested. The pilots flew drugs from Colombia to Mexico.
August 7, 2011: Mexico and the U.S. have continued to increase intelligence-gathering and intelligence-sharing operations. Both Mexican and U.S. officials have acknowledged that American intelligence agents and military officers are working at Mexican military bases to assist in handling intelligence gathered by specialized U.S. intelligence technology (for example, Predator unmanned aerial vehicles). Many people suspect that this has been going on for two to three years. The U.S. has expressed concern about intelligence leaks from Mexican police forces (due to corruption, but they don’t say that in public). Confirmation of the close cooperation is good news. Mexico intends to win the Cartel War, and it needs real-time access to American intelligence gathering and U.S. analytic capabilities.
August 6, 2011: A senior member of the Sinaloa cartel is claiming immunity from prosecution. Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla is scheduled to be tried in Chicago. However, he says he has helped U.S. police forces and worked as an informant. The U.S. denies these claims.
A Mexican Army helicopter accidentally landed at Laredo International Airport (Laredo, Texas). U.S. Customs inspected the aircraft, determined the landing was by mistake (the pilot was looking for an airfield in Nuevo Laredo, across the border) and let the helicopter fly back to Mexico.
The Mexican military has been conducting operations (code-named Northern Lynx) against Los Zetas cartel in the Nuevo Laredo region. A Mexican officials said that one soldier had been killed in the 20-day long operation and 30 criminals had been killed (including the Zetas’ senior commander in Nuevo Laredo, see report of August 2). The operation freed 12 kidnap victims. Around 200 suspects were arrested in the operation. Soldiers seized 1,217 weapons.
August 5, 2011: An entire Mexican municipal police force resigned. The town of Ascension (Chihuahua State, southwest of Ciudad Juarez) has been under attack for months. The local police chief and five police officers have been killed in incidents involving suspected drug cartel gunmen.
August 4, 2011: State police in New Mexico (the U.S. state) discovered an ultra-light airplane that had crashed near the Mexican border. The plane had 134 pounds of marijuana on board.
August 2, 2011: The army reported that it had killed a senior Los Zetas commander, Jorge Luis de la Pena Brizuela, in a firefight in Nuevo Laredo.
August 1, 2011: Federal police arrested another Knights Templar cartel leader (Nery Salgado Harrison) outside the town of Apatzingan (Michoacan State).
A former official in the town of Columbus, New Mexico pled guilty to helping Mexican drug cartels get weapons in the U.S. He faces 280 years in jail.
July 31, 2011: Mexican counter-narcotics police arrested a senior member of La Linea (enforcement wing of the Gulf cartel). Antonio Acosta Hernandez is suspected of being involved in the murder of U.S. consular officials in Ciudad Juarez. He may be involved in 1,500 murders (that’s right, 1,500).
July 28, 2011: The Mexican government is continuing to object to U.S. government travel warnings. The government claims that the U.S. warnings damage its tourism industry. However, industry figures for January to May 2011 show that tourism is up over two percent in Mexico. Also, Mexico is the favorite foreign destination for U.S. travelers. Go figure.
July 26, 2011: Mexican Army soldiers have found 23 separate marijuana fields near the town of Santa Maria del Oro (Durango state). So far the soldiers have seized 40 tons of marijuana.