Mexico: Nothing Seems To Work

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December 29, 2015: President Pena has not managed to address intensifying citizen disgust with government corruption. Every month a new charge surfaces. Highly publicized arrests and prosecutions don’t seem to make a difference. A national movement has not yet evolved, but the disgust spans political parties and economic levels. The Iguala Massacre (September 26, 2014), where 43 student teachers were kidnapped and murdered, has become the representative incident. The mayor of Iguala (Guerrero state), local police and a regional drug gang were all involved in the crime. However, many people believe that the army unit in the area failed to respond. That has led to conspiracy theories. The governor of Guerrero state was a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Pena’s party. Evidence exists that he was slow to investigate Iguala’s mayor, who was also a PRI member. Sinaloa cartel drug lord Guzman’s July 2015 escape from a high-security prison and the government’s failure to re-capture him also feed citizen distrust. This month another produced another example of embedded corruption. Media reported on allegations that the Gulf Cartel paid a former senator from Tamaulipas state $500,000. This happened in 2004 when he was mayor of Reynosa, which is on the Tamaulipas-Texas border. The cartel was buying the mayor’s cooperation. The politician happens to be a member of the opposition National Action Party (PAN). However, the payment may have been arranged by the governor of Tamaulipas, who was a member of the PRI. No wonder citizens say pox on all the politicians. (Austin Bay)

December 27, 2015: The huge fire that erupted near a PEMEX (Petroleos Mexicanos) pipeline on December 22 began in what investigators have determined was a stockpile of stolen fuel. This took place in the south (Tabasco State) and four people were killed. Criminal organizations have been stealing oil and petroleum products from Mexico’s national oil company for decades but the government noted an increase after the late 1990s. Stealing fuel from pipelines is known as milking and it became more profitable as the world price of oil rose sharply from the late 1990s ($16 a barrel) to 2014 (over $100 a barrel).

December 25, 2015: Marines fought with cartel gunmen in the town of Badiraguato (Sinaloa state) after the gunmen attacked a marine patrol. Badiraguato is the hometown of Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin Guzman. A navy helicopter provided fire support for the marines and reported that two gunmen died in the firefight. Security forces then seized 4.5 tons of marijuana and six weapons. Badiraguato is located in the Golden Triangle area of where the state of Durango, Chihuahua and Sinaloa meet. Authorities believe Guzman may be hiding out in the area.

December 24, 2015: Resident of the town of Carrizalillo (Guerrero state) have complained to the government that two cartels are waging a turf war in their town. One of the Mexico’s largest gold mines is located in Carrizalillo, so there is money to fight over. The residents allege that local officials and security forces are cooperating with the gangs. The two gangs (Guerreros Unidos and "Los Rojos. Guerreros Unidos) were involved in the Iguala Massacre. Residents report that the gangs extort “taxes” from mine workers, local companies that provide the mine with supplies and landowners in the area.

December 21, 2015: The town of Iguala (Guerrero state) has become notorious for its September 2014 massacre and 15 months after the massacre it is still a dangerous place. Federal Police replaced the local police force continue to handle security in the city. This is because 66 former local policemen are now in jail on charges related to the Iguala Massacre. Federal officials acknowledge that the area also has a reputation for producing heroin poppies and turning the poppies into heroin paste. A new mayor was sworn in September 30, 2015 and since then there have been 25 murders in the town and its immediate environs.

December 19, 2015: Investigators have found the remains of 19 more people in scattered graves throughout Guerrero state.

December16, 2015: The United States placed sanctions on businessman Naim Libien Tella, who is accused of supporting smuggling operations by the Los Cuinis cartel. Libien Tella also owns the newspaper, Unomasuno.

December 12, 2015: Investigators reported that Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin Guzman spent a lot of money to escape from Altiplano 1 prison on July 11, 2015. How much did he spend? Well, investigators don’t know, not yet. However, the federal Attorney General’s office has arrested more than 30 people and all of them have admitted they were paid extremely well. The jail break scheme included digging a nearly mile long tunnel to a point underneath Guzman’s prison cell. Best estimates now believe the breakout cost five million dollars or more.

December 10, 2105: A federal court in Texas convicted a businessman of laundering money for Los Zetas cartel. This involved several schemes, including buying and racing American quarter horses. Prosecutors allege that some of the horse races were in fact money laundering operations.

December 8, 2015: An American court sentenced a Mexican attorney to 17 years in prison for crimes related to drug trafficking for the Sinaloa cartel. The attorney was part of a network operating out of Europe and Colombia as well as Mexico. The attorney often posed as a financial planner who had ties to Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin Guzman. The attorney helped launder money for the cartel as well as operate fake (shell) companies.

Violence continues in Guerrero state. Four people were killed in the towns of Chilapa and Altamirano. One of the victims was a teenager killed execution style (bullet to the head). On December 7 six people were murdered in the city of Acapulco including the director of security for Guerrero state prisons.

December 4, 2015: Police arrested three men suspected of murdering two Australian tourists. The killers had been robbing travelers along a highway in Sinaloa state.

December 3, 2015: Authorities suspect a long time Los Zetas cartel commander has been kidnapped and killed. Rogelio Rolando Gonzalez Pizana was one of the men who founded Los Zetas.

December 2, 2015: Police fear two Australian men on a surfing vacation were kidnapped and murdered in late November. Their vehicle also disappeared. On November 30 police discovered the vehicle in Sinaloa state. It had been burned. Two burned bodies have since been found in the area. The Sinaloa state location and burned remains of victims strongly suggest cartel involvement. Police are conducting DNA tests.

 

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