Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Drug Cartels Put Hit Squads in Laredo

Federal Investigations Agency agents patrol the streets in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Tuesday June 14, 2005. Alarmed that rival drug cartels in Nuevo Laredo might spread violence across the border, federal and state politicians began this year to send money and resources in waves. (AP Photo)

The scrawny young man at the defense table was only 17, and had only a peach-fuzz mustache in his mugshot. But authorities say he was already a seasoned assassin in the U.S. for some of Mexico's drug lords.

The trial last month of American citizen Rosalio "Bart" Reta, combined with the case against a co-defendant and interviews with law enforcement officials, has cast a spotlight on a new danger along the border.

Mexican drug lords locked in a bloody fight for control of a pipeline that runs from Mexico to Dallas and up through middle America have brazenly stationed hit squads and reconnaissance teams in Laredo.

In the past two years, rival cartels have killed at least seven people in Laredo, including a victim stalked and killed near his job site and a man gunned down in the parking lot of a popular restaurant, U.S. authorities say. Nearly all the victims were mixed up in the drug trade themselves.

"That river does not stop these people," said Webb County Sheriff's Maj. Doyle Holdridge, who for the past 30 years has been working drug cases along the Rio Grande, which separates Laredo from its Mexican sister city, Nuevo Laredo. The cities have a combined population of half a million.

Over the past few years, the Mexican Gulf Cartel and its rival Sinaloa Cartel have carried out a terrifying bloodbath in Nuevo Laredo, where the traffickers have a saying: "Plata o plomo" "Silver or lead." So far, the worst of the violence has been confined to Mexico.

"Our mission is to make sure it doesn't cross over," said Jesse Guillen, a Laredo prosecutor who obtained guilty pleas from Reta and another hitman for the Gulf Cartel earlier this year. "Is it under control? Let's see."

Read the rest here:

ABC News: Drug Cartels Put Hit Squads in Laredo

Monday, August 06, 2007

2 federal agents gunned down in Mexico

Well the payback for doing your job as a drug cop in Mexico is fast and lethal. The Chinese connection on this particular set of dealers is interesting too.

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Two federal agents who took part in a raid that discovered $205 million in cash in a Mexico City mansion were found beaten and shot to death in southern Mexico, authorities said Wednesday.

The bodies of Josue Hernandez, 32, and Anibal Sanchez, 30, both agents with Mexico's Federal Agency of Investigation, were found Tuesday in Guerrero state, where they were gathering intelligence on drug traffickers, the Public Safety Department said in a news release.

Both officers took part in the seizure of more than 19 tons of a chemical intended for methamphetamine cartels in Mexico. They were also in the team of agents who raided Ye Gon's mansion where authorities in March found more than $205 million in cash hidden in closets, the news release said.

The seizures led to last month's arrest of Chinese-Mexican businessman Zhenli Ye Gon by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in a suburban Washington restaurant.

He is accused in the United States and Mexico of supplying pseudoephedrine to Mexican cartels who then used the drug to make methamphetamine.

Ye Gon has said the chemicals imported by his company, Unimed Pharm Chem de Mexico SA, were legitimate and intended for cold medicines. Ye Gon's lawyers said he has nothing to do with illegal drugs.

The Mexican agents were assigned to high-risk tasks and were "outstanding" members of the federal police, the department said.

Guerrero, which includes the resorts cities of Zihuatanejo and Acapulco, has suffered from a wave of violence including decapitations, shootings and grenade explosions that authorities attribute to warring drug-trafficking gangs.

MySA.com: Mexico