July 27, 2012: A recent U.S. government study concluded that using the Mexican military in the Cartel War as a substitute for inadequate or incapable police forces has been a limited success. The report also said that Mexico has made headway in its attack on the leadership of organized criminal syndicates. The report asserted that the reliance of military forces, however, led to more atrocities. While a majority of Mexican citizens back government efforts to combat crime, a majority also doubts that drug violence can be quelled. The people, and the U.S. report, also believe that corruption plagues the Mexican police forces and judiciary. All this leads back to square one. Corruption in police forces and ineffectiveness were the primary reasons President Felipe Calderon’s government decided to use the military when it launched the Cartel War in December 2006.
July 25, 2012: The U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission recommend that the U.S. build border fences in a flood plain area along the Rio Grande River. The project could involve 14 miles worth of fencing. Mexico opposes the recommendation. The flood plain area is near the Texas towns of Rio Grande City and Roma.
July 24, 2012: Eight people were murdered in drug gang violence the city of Monterrey (Nuevo Leon state). Seven of the victims were taxi drivers. Police reported cartel gunmen in vehicles attacked the drivers using large-caliber weapons.
Gunmen murdered three men in a hotel in the town of Cocula (Jalisco state). Investigators believe the attack was drug cartel related.
July 22, 2012: Some 50 gunmen attacked the mayor’s office and the police station in the town of Vista Hermosa (Michoacan state). The town has a population of around 10,000. The gunmen killed five people, including three policemen and the town’s director of public security. The gunmen arrived in trucks, sealed off the town, then attacked. The government said the cartel gunmen wanted to show how strong they are in the area. The local police were completely out-manned and out-gunned. The Mexican Army has now moved troops to the town.
July 16, 2012: Fracking techniques and other enhanced recovery methods have opened up new oil and gas resources in the United States. They have also, indirectly, opened up new smuggling routes for Mexican drug cartels. U.S. security officials and Texas police forces have reported that drug smugglers are making use of a new network of roads built to service natural gas drilling rigs in South Texas. U.S. oil and gas companies are drilling in the Eagle Ford shale formation, near the Texas-Mexico border. The new service roads are for the most part dirt roads, but they are in areas that were previously brush country, cut by jeep trails and little else. For years the U.S. Border Patrol has used a chokepoint strategy for siting checkpoints on highways or rural farm roads that heavy vehicles had to use if they were carrying goods (or contraband) north. Side roads would run in and out of ranches but eventually these side roads returned to the north-south paved road network. The new roads, however, can be used to by-pass the chokepoints. The drilling boom has created other opportunities for cartel subterfuge. Though there is no official report (yet) that they have done so, law enforcement agencies know that the drug cartels can disguise their vehicles to look like oil and gas drilling vehicles or service vehicles. The cartels can also steal and use legitimate oil and gas company vehicles. All of this makes the inspection and enforcement job of the Border Patrol and other police forces that much harder. A law enforcement group in Texas also reported that its members are concerned that drug traffickers might try to bribe oil and gas service workers. Here is one scenario. The cartels bring drugs across the border, stash the drugs in a hiding place in the brush country (near a drilling site), and then the crooked truck drivers would pick up and deliver the drugs to cities in Texas, the southwest, or the Midwest (essentially the Interstate 35 corridor route). (Austin Bay)
July 16, 2012: Police arrested one man who is suspected of being involved in the July 13 attack on a Christian group camping near Mexico City. The attackers raped several women.
July 15, 2012: Mexican security officers arrested one of the corrupt police officers involved in the June 25, murder of senior federal police officers. The rogue officer was hiding in an apartment in Mexico City.
July 13, 2012: A dozen heavily armed men attacked a Christian youth camp-out in a park located near Mexico City. Seven young women were raped by the attackers. The attackers robbed the camp, assaulted several other campers, and then stole two vehicles. Officials said the attack went on for several hours.
Mexican investigators reported that they raided a warehouse and discovered sacks of food, farm goods, and implements that are allegedly part of a vote-buying scheme linked to the July 1, presidential election. The food included sacks of oats and beans. The food was allegedly traded for votes by local government officials, The Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) alleges that the winning party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), violated election laws and bought the election.
July 13, 2012: Police in Cancun arrested one of America’s most-wanted fugitives. Vincent Legrend Walters had been in hiding for 24 years. He was wanted on murder and kidnapping charges. Apparently he was working at the Cancun airport. Walters will be extradited to the U.S. July 12, 2012. A newspaper in Nuevo Laredo (Tamaulipas state, across the border from Laredo, Texas) said that it will no longer report on violent disputes between drug gangs. The newspaper, El Manana, has suffered two grenade attacks on its offices. Media in Texas have noted that several Mexican newspapers have curtailed their reporting on drug violence because the cartels have physically threatened their employees. Nuevo Laredo has been the scene of an on-going war between Los Zetas cartel and the Gulf cartel. The gangsters do not want media reporting on their crimes.
July 11, 2012: The Mexican Army reported that murders by crime gangs in Ciudad Juarez fell by 42 percent in the first six months of 2012. While 952 gang-related murders occurred in the first six months of 2012, 1,642 occurred in the first six months of 2011. Authorities attribute the decline to military and police efforts to weaken the Juarez cartel and the Gente Nueva criminal organization. The Sinaloa cartel is allied with the Gente Nueva gang.
July 9, 2012: The U.S. is investigating an incident where a U.S. Border Patrol agent reportedly fired at a gunman on the Rio Grande River. A Mexican boy may have been hit by the Border Patrol agent’s bullet. The incident occurred July 7, near a border crossing between Matamoros and Brownsville, Texas.
Mexican election authorities reported that the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) will likely have 62 seats in Mexico’s Senate. Mexico has 128 senators, so that is three seats short of a majority.
Seven police officers and four gunmen were killed in a firefight in Sinaloa state. The firefight occurred near the town of Choix. Sinaloa’s governor had announced earlier this month that Mexican federal police were assuming security duties in Choix. Choix’s local police chief was murdered June 29. The Mexican Army fought a battle with members of the Beltran Leyva cartel in Choix in May.
July 7, 2012: President-elect Enrique Pena said that he will revive Mexico’s oil industry. The incoming president said that modernizing Mexico’s national oil company, PEMEX, was a priority issue.
July 6, 2012: A retired Colombian police commander, General Oscar Naranjo, will be advising in-coming president Enrique Pena on counter-crime issues. Naranjo advocates creating elite police strike units to target senior cartel leaders and lower-level gunmen (cartel enforcers). Attacking the gunmen provides more immediate protection for citizens. Local gangs would also be targeted. Naranjo contends this worked in Colombia and will also work in Mexico.