Mexico: Internet Buzz Causes Pain At The Top


February 5, 2015: The government intends to intensify anti-corruption efforts as well as the crackdown on organized crime operations in three states. Michaocan is already the scene of an on-going major operation that began almost three years ago.  Guerrero state is where the Iguala Massacre occurred. The political fallout from the kidnappings and murders of 43 college students has damaged the government and president Pena himself. Tamaulipas is on the U.S.-Mexico border so it is closely watched by American media outlets because this area is across the Rio Grande River from Texas. The Gulf and Los Zetas cartels are fighting a turf war in Tamaulipas.

February 3, 2015: In the north, near the U.S. border, gun battles between rival drug gangs, which soon expanded to include soldiers and police, left at least nine dead and many wounded along a section of Highway 2. A nearby U.S. consulate warned its employees, and Americans in the vicinity, to stay off the streets until whatever was going on has settled down. Sometimes major clashes like this between drug gangs leads to lots more violence in the area.

President Pena caused a flurry of Internet activity after he was overheard remarking that he didn’t get any applause after announcing that he was ordering an investigation of corruption allegations swirling around him and his family. This is all about the business dealings of his wife and the discovery that the president and his wife own some very expensive real estate and have close ties with some very wealthy families that get a lot of business because of the federal government. Pena is not happy about these accusations, as he got elected in part because he promised to go after corrupt politicians. Many Mexicans are now convinced that Pena is dirty and his investigation announcement is part of yet another scam to hide details of his misbehavior. This was widely discussed among Mexicans via Internet messages.

January 30, 2015: Police in Mexico City arrested a gas truck driver and two assistants for their involvement in a gas explosion which destroyed part of a maternity hospital. The explosion killed three people and injured nearly fifty.

January 27, 2015: The federal attorney general’s office announced that investigators have concluded that all 43 missing students from Guerrero state were murdered near the town of Iguala in late September 2014. Their bodies were then incinerated in a trash dump in another town near Iguala. So far DNA tests have confirmed the death of only one student.  DNA specialists have reported that the fire was intense and the charred remains have frustrated chemical testing. However, prosecutors and investigators have other evidence, to include the confessions of 39 people involved in the kidnappings and murders. Some of the confessions are by individuals who witnessed (or committed) the murders and then helped destroy the bodies.

The federal government said it does not intend to extradite to the United States Sinaloa cartel senior commander Joaquin Guzman. The U.S. government is reportedly interested in trying Guzman in the United States on charges of smuggling, money laundering, murder and organized criminal activity.

January 23, 2015: Prosecutors in Tlaxcala state have arrested the head of the Tlaxcala state police. He is the state’s senior police official and has been charged with kidnapping. The arrest of a senior police official on kidnapping charges would be national news but after the Iguala Massacre arrests of police commanders have even more political significance. Kidnappings by local Iguala police played an essential role in the Iguala Massacre.  Now the government intends to disband some 1,800 local police departments and put their municipalities under state control. However, critics point to extensive corruption in the state police -- like this example from Tlaxcala. The Tlaxcala prosecutors allege that Jorge Lopez Perez led a group of state police officers who specialized in “express” kidnappings. The police ring would kidnap someone for a few hours then release them for small ransoms. Other state policemen have been arrested for working with Lopez. Tlaxcala state is just east of Mexico City and the Federal District.

January 22, 2015: The government announced that it is removing the federal security commissioner appointed last year to administer Michaocan state. Alfredo Castillo, who had the title Security Envoy, will be replaced by a Mexican Army officer, General Felipe Gurrola. The replacement comes as the government says it will intensify efforts to defeat drug gangs in Michoacan state.

January 21, 2015:  A drone aircraft carrying 2.7 kg (six pounds) of methamphetamine crystal crashed in the parking lot of a Tijuana grocery store not far from a major port of entry (San Ysidro) to the U.S. (California).  The drug was in small packages taped to the body of the drone. The drone had six propellers, all powered by a lithium battery. Drug gangs are increasingly using these inexpensive recreational aircraft, which can either be operated remotely or programmed to fly to a specific spot and land. In this case the users got greedy and loaded the aircraft with more than it could safely carry. For these purposes the camera (and related) equipment is removed and replaced with drugs.

January 20, 2015: State police in Tamaulipas arrested a Zetas cartel city commander and four other suspects in a recent operation conducted on the U.S.-Mexico border.  The Zetas commander (plaza boss) was arrested in the town of San Fernando. Two other men and two women were also taken into custody. In the other incident, state police encountered (in Mexico) a truck with Texas license plates as it approached the Rio Grande River. A chase resulted. Someone in the truck tossed out road spikes to stop police vehicles.  Subsequently the gunmen abandoned the vehicle not far from the Camargo-Rio Grande International Bridge. One gunman was arrested. Police later seized two other cartel vehicles which they concluded belonged to the Gulf cartel. The three vehicles were carrying some interesting items. The drugs (marijuana), ammunition, two rifles and 98 road spikes were no surprise. However, one of the cartel vehicles was also carrying a vote counting machine.



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