Mexico: The Illusion Of Victory


June 6, 2014: U.S. Border Patrol officials admitted that a critical report of Border Patrol operations has merit and placed the study on the Border Patrol’s website. The study made several recommendations. Agents need more training in the use of non-lethal weapons and in properly using cover and concealment. The Border Patrol should restrict the use of deadly force when responding to people throwing stones. Agents should not be allowed to open fire on vehicles. The study considered 67 incidents in which agents used deadly force on the Mexican border. In 19 of the incidents, at least one person was killed.

June 4, 2014: Cartel gunmen armed with assault rifles murdered three men in a bar in the town of Tiripetio (Michoacan state).  The gunmen fled the scene of the crime, pursued by law enforcement personnel. In another incident in Michoacan, two federal policemen killed two suspected narcotics smugglers in the town of Cuitzio (on the border region of Michoacan, Mexico and Guerrero states).

June 3, 2014: The army continues to shift forces to two northern states which border on the U.S., Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. The shift began in early May as army units were designated to reinforce police and military units in Tamaulipas. Authorities reported that law enforcement efforts in Tamaulipas have forced criminals to move to Nuevo Leon.

June 1, 2014:  Officials and national security analysts believe that the Knights Templar and the Zetas may have reached a “tipping point” in sources of income. The cartels may be making more money from non-narcotics related criminal operations. The Knights Templar and Los Zetas both make a lot of money in mining (Templars extracting iron ore, Zetas in coal). Both run extensive business extortion operations.

May 30, 2014: The government is now touting the Michaocan operation as a major success. Senior officials contend that security forces now have the state under control. However, several media outlets did a quick survey of some of the towns and apparently made a few phone calls to sources in the rural areas. Residents acknowledge the situation has improved but few people in the rural areas believe that the cartels are defeated.

May 29, 2014: U.S. legal authorities indicted 17 people in the Atlanta, Georgia area. Prosecutors claimed that the individuals arrested are part of a sophisticated drug trafficking ring. Eleven of the people arrested are Mexican citizens living in the Atlanta area.

May 28, 2014: Police reported that a U.S. citizen from Arizona was murdered execution-style in Sonora state. The victim’s body was found May 26 south of border town of Nogales.

May 26, 2014:  Eight people were slain in Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua state). The victims were killed in several separate incidents. Authorities do not believe all of the homicides involved cartel-related violence. Two of the murder victims were lawyers, one of them a prominent defense attorney. Gunmen entered the defense attorney’s office and killed him and another attorney who happened to be there. Three people were killed when gunmen attacked a small business. The shopkeeper was killed and two customers.

May 25, 2014: Security forces have arrested the Gulf cartel’s senior commander in Tamaulipas state. Marines conducted the raid in which Juan Manuel Rodriguez Garcia was arrested. Rodriguez Garcia was arrested in a hotel in an outlying suburb of Monterrey (Nuevo Leon state). Prosecutors accused Rodriguez Garcia of drug smuggling and weapons smuggling. They believe he was involved in a mass kidnapping operation.

May 20, 2014: Farmers in Michoacan state are reporting that the security forces have disrupted the Knights Templar cartel’s agriculture extortion racket. The gangsters, at least for the moment, are not showing up to demand protection money. Farmers complained to the government that Knights Templar gunmen would not only demand extortion payments but would tell them when and where they could sell their produce, to whom, and at what price.

May 19, 2014: The Guatemalan government announced that it is creating an air task force to combat drug smuggling in Guatemala and Central America. The task force will have six helicopters. There will also be fixed-wing aircraft capable of intercepting airplanes smuggling drugs.

May 16, 2014: Guatemalan police arrested a drug smuggler with ties to the Los Zetas cartel.  Police identified the man as Jairo Orellana, a native Guatemalan.  He was arrested in the town of Dona Maria Gualan (about 130 kilometers east of the capital, Guatemala City). Orellana is wanted in the US on cocaine trafficking charges.





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