Category: Breaking News

Gunmen storm Cancun hospital, kill regional cartel boss

(BREITBART) — by Robert Arce

Cartel gunmen stormed a private hospital in Cancun and executed a regional Gulf Cartel boss being treated for medical problems while on release from prison.

The execution occurred at approximately 7:00 pm at the Grupo PlayaMex when a group of heavily-armed men entered the hospital and went directly to the patient room of the victim identified as Alfonso Enrique Contreras Espinoza, aka “El Poncho.” The gunmen also killed Contreras Espinoza’s wife who was visiting him. Their six-year-old daughter was unharmed, according to local media reports. An unarmed security at the bedside with the victim was also spared.

The state attorney general’s office revealed that Contreras Espinoza had been the “plaza boss” for the Gulf Cartel in Cancun prior to being jailed by the federal police on July 25, 2014, for weapons and explosives violations. Contreras Espinoza had been in charge of sale and distribution for the local market as well as extortion operations. Contreras Espinoza was previously accused of murder and attempted murder for an intentional fire set at a brothel in 2014 which resulted in five deaths, as reported by Noticaribe.

While waiting in custody for a trial, he was allowed to be released from prison for medical reasons since he had no previous arrests. Media reports indicate he checked himself into Grupo PlayaMex for an ailment to a leg and was a patient at the hospital for several weeks when he was murdered.

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Tracking Mexico’s Cartels in 2018

(STRATFOR) — By Scott Stewart, VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor

Highlights

Factional competition resulting from the breakup of large organized crime organizations continues to drive violence in Mexico.
The lucrative fentanyl trade, built on the backbone of methamphetamine and opiate smuggling networks, is furthering the expansion of criminal groups in Tierra Caliente.
While most cartel violence is directed at other cartels and the government, the widespread use of military-grade weapons raises the risk of collateral damage.

Since 2006, Stratfor has chronicled the dynamics of the organizations that make up the complex mosaic of organized crime in Mexico in the form of an annual cartel report. Back when this process began, the cartel landscape was much simpler, with only a handful of major groups to track. But by 2013, the splintering of the cartels into smaller factions had made it difficult to analyze them the same way. Indeed, many of the once-dominant umbrella groups, such as the Gulf cartel, have fragmented into several, often competing, organizations. In response, the focus of the analysis shifted to the clusters of smaller groups that emanate from a specific geographic area. Nevertheless, the organizations that arose in the Tierra Caliente region and in the states of Tamaulipas and Sinaloa remain on the radar.
2017 in Review

The dynamics outlined in last year’s cartel forecast have changed little over the past year. Organized crime organizations in Mexico remain heavily fragmented, and this fragmentation is driving most of the violence in the country. As noted, there really is no Gulf cartel anymore. Instead, localized gangs that arose from the remnants of that once powerful cartel are now at war with one another over control of the smuggling routes, retail drug sales and other criminal activity formerly monopolized by the group. This drove the heavy violence in Reynosa during 2017 and in other parts of the state of Tamaulipas. The violence spawned by the fractionalization also led to a record number of murders last year: 29,168, which surpassed the previous record of 27,213, set in 2011.

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USA issues travel warning for Mexican resort town

(USA TODAY) — The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City is prohibiting U.S. government employees from traveling to popular resort town Playa del Carmen.

The U.S. Consular Agency in Playa del Carmen in the state of in Quintana Roo will be closed “until further notice,” the embassy said in it alert.

The embassy said it had “received information about a security threat” on Wednesday. It did not specify what that threat is.

The alert, issued Wednesday night, says U.S. government employees have to cease traveling to the town “immediately” and “until further notice.”

The move comes after the Feb. 21 explosion on the ferry that links Playa del Carmen with the town of Cozumel. The incident injured 25 people, including two Americans.

On March 1, undetonated explosive devices were found by Mexico law enforcement on another tourist ferry. Both incidents are still under investigation. After that incident, the embassy prohibited U.S. government employees from using all tourist ferries.

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518 pounds of methamphetamine discovered in meth lab in popular Mexican tourist town

(BREITBART) — by Robert Arce

A major cartel methamphetamine lab was discovered near the U.S.-Mexico border approximately 20 miles south of California in a Mexican resort city. Mexican authorities discovered the lab in Rosarito, a destination popular with U.S. tourists.

Elements of the State Preventative Police located the drug lab on March 1, 2018. The cartel facility was inside a separate section of a small shop that made decorative lamps. At least 235 kilos of meth (approximately 518 pounds) were discovered inside the shop which was being used to house the active drug lab.

Due to a large amount of meth located inside the shop, elements of the Mexican army and State Police arrived at the location to secure the crime scene until investigators could obtain the proper authorization to complete a search of the shop. The Mexican Army and State Police remained at the shop for several hours providing security. According to media reports, the location of the drug lab was next to a private school.

A total of three suspects were arrested including the suspected “meth cook.” Authorities revealed that the quantity of the meth seized was going to be distributed to the local drug distributors for street sales and the rest was heading north to the U.S. drug markets.

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Mexico police charged with using death squad tactics on drug suspects

(THE GUARDIAN) — Police in Mexico’s corruption-plagued state of Veracruz set up units that used death squad-style tactics to abduct, kill and dispose of at least 15 people who they suspected of being drug cartel informers and drug runners, according to charges filed by state prosecutors.

The allegations filed against the former top police commanders in Veracruz show all the signs of the human rights abuses of Mexico’s notorious anti-guerrilla counterinsurgency campaigns of the 1960s and

Police in marked patrol cars picked up youths but never recorded their arrests. Instead they turned them over to specialized interrogation and torture squads working at the police academy itself, according to the indictment, and they were later killed and their bodies disposed of.

While individual groups of corrupt cops have been known to turn youths over to drug cartels in several areas of Mexico, the Veracruz state case is notable for the rank of those accused: the former head of state security and the leaders of at least two police divisions have been charged, suggesting that the disappearances were state policy under the former governor Javier Duarte, who is in jail facing corruption charges.

“This is the first time they have charged people in significant numbers and of significant rank and demonstrated that there was an organized, structured governmental apparatus that had an agreed-on, systemic method to carry out a policy of disappearing people,” said Juan Carlos Gutiérrez, a lawyer who specializes in human rights cases.

“The groundbreaking thing is that prosecutors built a case by demonstrating there was a whole governmental structure that was designed to disappear people,” he said.

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Mexican cartel continues stockpiling military weapons in Mexican border city

(BREITBART) — PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Coahuila — The seizure of a large cache of military weapons at a rural area near Piedras Negras points to the dangerous cartel, known as Los Zetas continuing to arm themselves in order to continue terrorizing this region.

Recently, state authorities found an arsenal of weapons hidden by Los Zetas off a rural road near Piedras Negras, just across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. The weapons included a .50 caliber rifle, a rocket launcher, six AK-47s and three AR-15s. Officials also seized 1,500 cartridges of different calibers. The officers also found vests and other tactical equipment. All of the seized items were turned over to federal authorities for further investigation.

State authorities found the arsenal as part of an intelligence-driven operation aimed at minimizing the violent capabilities of the cartel known as Los Zetas. The Los Zetas group known as Cartel Del Noreste (CDN) is the one that maintains its presence in Piedras Negras. The CDN is being challenged by other cartels as well as independent groups.

In recent months, groups of cartel hitmen carried out multiple executions that spread panic among the residents of this city. Although authorities arrested several of the hit men, state judge Maritza Gonzalez Flores continues to release them under the argument that there is no evidence tying them to the crimes, Breitbart Texas reported. The judge released numerous cartel-linked drug dealers under suspicious rulings.

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Bodies of Mexican federal agents previously kidnapped by cartel found, say authorities

(BREITBART) — The Mexican government confirmed the discovery of two bodies they believe are related to the recent kidnapping of two federal agents who were forced to record a video message accusing the government of violating the law in secret operations against the drug cartels.

The Attorney General’s Office publicly revealed that forensic examinations are being conducted to confirm the identity of the bodies. The human remains were found after intense searches by federal authorities, following the kidnapping of two agents.

The bodies were discovered in the trunk of a KIA automobile with license plates RFZ-3972 in Xalisco, Nayarit. The bodies are believed to be the remains of agents Alfonso Hernández Villavicencio, 28, and Octavio Martínez Quiroz, 26. The pair were part of Mexico’s Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) and went missing on February 5 in Nayarit.

This week, a group of hitmen forced the two agents to record a video where they read a script claiming that members of Mexico’s cabinet, as well as top military authorities, are behind the use of federal forces to rob cartel members and intimidate their families.

Although authorities have not officially declared which criminal group is behind the kidnapping and murder of the agents, police sources revealed to Breitbart Texas that internal information points to gunmen from Jalisco Cartel Nueva Generación (CJNG).

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AK-47 rifles, Claymore mines, & grenade launchers discovered on Mexico border

(ZERO HEDGE) –by Tyler Durden

According to Breitbart Texas, the federal government of Mexico recently deployed thousands of Mexican soldiers, Marines, and police officers to the Gulf region of the Mexico-United States border, as drug cartel violence spirals out of control.

Rival factions of the Gulf Cartel are in an all-out war against each other for the control of drug trafficking and human smuggling routes into Texas. Breitbart Texas describes how drug cartels are using military weapons in daily skirmishes in the border region.

During a series of recent military operations by the Mexican Army, soldiers honed in on various rural areas near the Rio Grande. According to exclusive information provided to Breitbart Texas via the Mexican Army, soldiers found a “series of weapons caches that had been buried”– leading to the arrest of three suspects.

What the soldiers found next is mind-numbing. According to Breitbart Texas, “soldiers unearthed two Claymore mines, a grenade launcher, two Barrett .50 caliber rifles, 17 AK-47 rifles, ballistic plates, ammunition, and magazines.”

It has been reported that the Gulf Cartel and other Mexican organized crime units have used Russian-made assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades in past battles, this appears to be the first case of a U.S. military-grade directional anti-personnel mine found near the border.

Special Operations.com explains the deadly power behind the M18A1 Claymore mine:

Unlike traditional land mines, which direct their explosive upward, the Claymore is what is called a “directional mine.” This means that the user points the mine by using a crude sight on top, and steadies it with twin scissor-like anchors which can be pressed into the ground, or stand free on their own. A wire is then unfurled a safe distance back to the user’s position were a detonator in the form of a clacker is squeezed to initiate the explosion. Since the Claymore has a curved rectangular shape, once fired, plastic explosive hurls 700 steel balls out in a 60° radius. Anything exposed within a 50 yard distance is bound to become a casualty. This only increases by magnitude the closer to the detonation. The function is rather like dozens of shotguns going off at once. There is nothing like it on the battlefield.

Last month, we reported that the U.S. State Department warned all U.S. citizens and U.S. government employees to exercise increased caution while traveling in Mexico, and even restricted some regions from access because of “violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery.”

Exercise increased caution in Mexico due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory. Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico as U.S. government employees are prohibited from travel to these areas. U.S. government employees are prohibited from intercity travel after dark in many areas of Mexico. U.S. government employees are also not permitted to drive from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior parts of Mexico with the exception of daytime travel on Highway 15 between Nogales and Hermosillo.

U.S. State Department discouraged all travel to 31 Mexican states and even issued five states to Level 4, otherwise known as a war-zone like some countries in the Middle East.

The U.S. State Department defines Level 4 as :

Do Not Travel: This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

For example in Colima, the U.S. State Department warns:

U.S. government employees are prohibited from travel to Tecoman or within 12 miles of the Colima-Michoacán border and on Route 110 between La Tecomaca and the Jalisco border.

Do not travel due to crime. Armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers.

Do not travel due to crime. Violent crime, such as murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault, is common. Gang activity, including gun battles, is widespread. Armed criminal groups target public and private passenger buses traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers hostage and demanding ransom payments. Local law enforcement has limited capability to respond to violence in many parts of the state.

Perhaps, President Trump’s border wall is a good idea as drug cartels on the Mexico-United States border are stockpiling military grade weapons

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Cartel gunmen murder two Catholic priests in southern Mexico

(BREITBART) — Two Catholic priests from coastal Guerrero were murdered by a group of suspected cartel hitmen while returning to their parish. One other priest was shot.

Fathers Germain Muñiz Garcia, Ivan Añorme Jaime, and German N, were traveling in a pickup truck as they were returning from a Catholic celebration known as El Día de La Candelaria. Shortly before the attack, the priests traveled on the road that connects Taxco with Iguala, approximately 140 miles north of Acapulco.

For unknown reasons, a team of cartel gunmen fired on the clergy vehicle. Two of the priests died while German N was transferred to hospital.

The Archdioceses of Acapulco condemned the attack and demanded action from authorities–in a state where most crimes go unpunished.

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“We ask the authorities, once the truth is known, to act in justice,” the Catholic Church revealed in a statement.

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Tijuana suffers five cartel murders per day, say Mexican authorities

(BREITBART) — by Robert Arce

Following a record-breaking 2017 in which 1,734 murders were registered in the border city of Tijuana, 2018 has continued the alarming pace with at least 132 homicides in the first 23 days of January.

Of the 132 registered homicides, only five resulted in arrests with a total of 11 suspects detained, according to the state attorney general’s office.

In one case, three suspects who were arrested but later released after discarding two suitcases containing human body parts. They were not detained for murder but instead charged with exhuming corpses and were released pending a future court date. The move sparked outrage and eventually resulted in two of the suspects being detained. The third suspect is currently subject to an arrest warrant.

An average of five murders is being recorded daily since late October 2017. During a recent stretch in less than 48 hours, a total of 14 homicides were counted in to include the execution of a taxi driver in front of the Macro Plaza–a popular tourist destination frequented by U.S. citizens. The taxi driver was executed by two gunmen but left his passengers unharmed. This past Monday, the state attorney general’s office reported nine executions for the day, including an incident in which two people were killed and six wounded.

This ongoing violence in Tijuana has been a result of a turf war between rival drug cartels as they fight for key trafficking routes and street-level distribution, according to local media reports. The escalation can mainly be attributed to the hostilities between the Sinaloa Cártel and their one-time ally, Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) who have aligned themselves with the Cártel Tijuana Nueva Generación (CTNG), according to Breitbart law enforcement sources.

On Tuesday, authorities reported the discovery of a narco-banner left hanging from an overpass on a well-traveled road. The notice contained threats directed at “El Güero Chompas” and Alberto García Meza alias “El Wicho” signed by the Cártel Tijuana Nueva Generación (CTNG), local reports indicate. “El Güero Chompas” is José Luis Mendoza Uriarte of the Sinaloa Cartel and leader of the cell known as “Los Chompas” or “Los Uriarte”. This cell is related to Raydel López Uriarte, who was arrested in 2010. “El Wicho” also belongs to the Sinaloa Cártel. The banner adds that “for every 1 or 2 you kill of ours, we will kill 4 or 6 of yours.” The message is signed by the Cártel Tijuana Nueva Generación (CTNG).

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