Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Dangers Of Crossing The Border

KFOX El Paso has this story on their web site, reiterating the obivous. It's dangerous in Mexican border towns, and a big part of the danger comes from the police!

EL PASO, Texas -- According to the U.S. State Department, crime in Mexico continues at high levels, and it is often violent, especially in Mexico City, Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and Monterrey.


The U.S. State Department’s Web site has warnings for Americans traveling to Mexico. While there have been kidnappings and homicide in the border region, drug-related violence has increased dramatically in recent months.

Juarez and Tijuana are listed on the state department website as having a rising number of car crashes in which police ask Americans for money.

It seems most people KFOX spoke with had a story about Juarez police.

“They (friends) were drunk driving, and one of the cops stopped them. They were scared, and the cop told them, 'Give me $60 and I'll let you go,'” said Zavala.

“A cop stopped her (mom) and she wasn't doing anything wrong. He said she was speeding and that she had to write him a check so that he wouldn't give her a ticket,” said Villalba.

The Dangers Of Crossing The Border - News Story - KFOX El Paso

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lawmen under siege along Mexico border

A tough job is getting tougher.

"They've got weapons, high-tech radios, computers, cell phones, Global Positioning Systems, spotters and can react faster than we are able to," said Shawn P. Moran, a 10-year U.S. Border Patrol veteran who serves as vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 1613 in San Diego.

"And they have no hesitancy to attack the agents on the line, with anything from assault rifles and improvised Molotov cocktails to rocks, concrete slabs and bottles," he said. "There are so many agent 'rockings' that few are even reported anymore. If we wrote them all up, that's all we would be doing."

Lawmen under siege along Mexico border - - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

Monday, November 12, 2007

Regional chief of federal police gunned down in northern Mexico

This was a pretty big fish. The brazenness of the border bandits knows few bounds. Killing a chief is no harder than killing a patrolman if you are a narco gang. One doesn't know all the details, but it appears there are still some good men doing a hard job. Sad to see one die this way.

As usual expect a no coverage of this in the USA.

This is revealing. Imagine if the FBI Agent-In-Charge for Dallas was executed in this manner; in broad daylight, in an ambush on the streets of Dallas. It would be wall to wall coverage on CNN and Fox. This will not even make the headline roundup.

This just goes to show the low expectations that everyone in the elite media in the USA has for Mexico and Mexicans.

PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico: A senior federal police official was gunned down Saturday while driving his car in the northern city of Saltillo and was in critical condition, police said.

Jose Luis Hernandez Marquez, chief of Mexico's Federal Preventative Police force in the border state of Coahuila, was shot at least five times Saturday morning by gunmen traveling in two vehicles, said a spokesman for the force, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to comment on the case.

The police chief's car "was intercepted by two vehicles from which various people, who have yet to be identified, opened fire on him," the federal attorney general's office said in a statement.

Members of Mexico's Army and Federal Investigation Agency joined officials from the preventative police — which was formed from military ranks in the 1990s — in searching for the shooters by land and air, the spokesman said. No arrests have been made.

President Felipe Calderon, who calls the war on drugs and crime his top priority, has sent more than 24,000 troops to violence-wracked areas since taking office in December 2006.

Assassinations of police officers and law enforcement officials continue nonetheless.

Regional chief of federal police gunned down in northern Mexico - International Herald Tribune

Monday, November 05, 2007

Mexican-style corruption spreads to Texas City

Laredo residents silent on corruption

From MySA website:

Lynn Brezosky
Express-News Rio Grande Valley Bureau

LAREDO — Horns honk as locals drive past the marquee at the Shell station on Santa Ursula Avenue, which often holds messages about political goings-on as flammable as the gasoline sold there.
The messages change constantly. But to station owner Manuel Arechiga, the honks are signs of support from a population that's tired of corruption scandal after corruption scandal yet reluctant to say anything themselves.

Most everyone has a brother, a cousin — someone in the family — who works for the city, the county, the school board, or U.S. Customs and Border Protection. People fear that speaking out will risk that someone's livelihood.

"It's basically keep your mouth shut, keep your job," Arechiga said. "It's business as usual in Laredo."

The latest scandal involves Police Chief Agustin Dovalina, a veteran of the force who seemed the poster child for the up-and-up but was taking payoffs to protect eight-liner parlors.

It has not been lost on Laradoans that Dovalina pleaded guilty to a federal charge of extortion just days after resigning, pension and benefits intact.

Others pleading guilty to corruption charges recently have included National Guard soldiers, a U.S. Customs officer and the deputy commander of the Laredo Multi-Agency Narcotics Task Force.

In 2004, two investigators with the county attorney's office were arrested for a similar eight-liner protection scheme. And the city has not forgotten the federal sweep of the district attorney's office a decade ago, when five people, including District Attorney Joe Rubio's father and brother, were convicted on charges involving case fixing.

"There's a lot of corruption going through the city," Arechiga said. "It's no secret the feds are all over the school district, the county, the airport. We're all fed up with it."

Rumors abound that more officials will be brought down. Arechiga's phone rings with insiders sharing the latest tip on who's about to turn himself in. People mail anonymous packages detailing scandals to the gas station.

But Arechiga said there is a growing clique of "people who care."

He said radio talk show host Jay St. John is one of them.

After a Rotary Club meeting made lively by millionaires sparring over the routing of the next international bridge, St. John walked down the hall in a spin, demonstrating how he constantly watches his back.

He is a one-man operation who rents radio time from a station across the river in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, for a daily morning show that puts city players on the hot seat.

He never needs to solicit advertising; it comes to him. He's on the air for two hours, then spends the rest of the day prowling City Hall and the county justice building. Security guards wave him by. Told the sheriff is eating lunch, he takes it as an invitation to enter the conference room and fix himself a fajita taco.

Sheriff Rick Flores looks happy to see him. He called Chief Dovalina's case "sad."

"It gets to the point where you become complacent, you become careless. And when you become careless, you're going to make mistakes," Flores said "You also need to surround yourself with good people. Corruption doesn't only exist in local law enforcement, corruption exists in every agency in law enforcement."

St. John, who grew up in San Antonio, attributes his success in the overwhelmingly Mexican American city to being raised by a Hispanic stepfather who helped him understand "the culture." It goes back to the old patron system, he said.

"These people have been suppressed for so long," he said. "People have never had the opportunity to speak out and be heard. They're still afraid to do so.

"This is a big little town."

Down the Interstate 35 access road, in the halls of the Mall Del Norte and in the H-E-B supermarket parking lot, shop owners and customers shook their heads at the demise of "the old chief." But several said they didn't want to talk publicly about corruption because "everybody knows everybody."

Trey Hughes, who owns a cavernous warehouse of Mexican crafts destined for boutiques and garden shops across the United States, called the state of affairs "hideous."

Laredo's boom, driven by the North American Free Trade Agreement, has been offset by drug cartel bloodshed in Mexico, he said, and tourism is dead. The feeling that everyone is on the take doesn't help.

"Some people lose track of what it means to be a public official," Hughes said.

At the Starbucks on the fast-growing north side of town, 17-year-olds Jesus Rangel and Enrique Leal said the scandals were embarrassing.

"People always feel Laredo's bad," Rangel said. "People think you're going to get kidnapped, robbed, shot. If the chief's bad, you can't expect much from the lower-ranking people."

"People think Laredo's the Third World," Leal said.

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