Category: Breaking News

U.S. sanctions Venezuelan vice president on drug trafficking

(AZCENTRAL) — The Trump administration imposed sanctions Monday against Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami, accusing him of playing a significant role in international drug trafficking.

The Treasury Department has been investigating El Aissami for years over his alleged relations with Venezuela’s largest convicted drug trafficker and a Middle Eastern militant group, resulting in the decision to designate him a narcotics trafficker under the federal “Kingpin Act.”

The department said he orchestrated drug shipments from a Venezuelan air base and multiple seaports, some weighing more than 2,200 pounds per shipment.

The department also sanctioned Samark Lopez Bello, a Venezeulan businessman accused of being El Aissami’s frontman. Lopez Bello helped launder money through a network of 13 companies in the U.S., Venezuela, Panama, the British Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom.

Treasury officials would not comment on whether the Justice Department will seek indictments against the two men. But the sanctions include freezing all their U.S.-based assets, which include a twin-engine Gulfstream jet, and blocking all their U.S.-based companies and properties. The pair controlled tens of millions of dollars in Miami real estate alone, a senior Treasury Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the case.

Under the sanctions, the two men are forbidden from traveling to the United States, and people in the U.S. are prohibited from conducting transactions with them or the companies they controlled.

The Treasury official said the operation was years in the planning but did not say whether President Trump signed off on the sanctions before they were implemented.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., called the sanctions “long overdue.”

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Mexican smuggler says Trump’s wall won’t stop him

(SEEKER) — He grew up poor in Nogales, Mexico, just across the border from Arizona. His dad died when he was a teen, his mother worked as a cook. He couldn’t afford the things he wanted. There weren’t many jobs for a guy like Pancho, as he calls himself.

But there was a steady gig that paid $2,000 a week — smuggling marijuana across the U.S.-Mexico border — and Pancho took it. He’s 29 now, a father of five, and he says he works long hours to support his family, “so that they won’t be in need.” It’s a risky life, but he’s done it for 12 years, and he doesn’t think anything President Donald Trump does about a border wall will stop the illegal narcotics trade.

“No matter what you do here, we can still get through,” said Pancho, while sitting in the dim light of an abandoned tenement just a few minutes south of the border. It was cold and damp, and he sat hunched in a chair in a musty room with a dirty old mattress and newspapers scattered across the floor. The fence along the border used to be shorter, he recalled. It’s higher now, but that’s no impediment.

Smugglers always seem to find a way around such obstacles — over, under or around. US law enforcement agents know this.

“Drugs will come in through every direction,” said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada in Nogales, Ariz., located just across the border. “They’ll throw the drugs over the fence. They’ll push them through.” That or they will tunnel beneath or send people deep into the mountains, where the fence is less obtrusive.

“These cartels, they’re a 24/7 business, thinking of ways to bring drugs across,” Estrada continued. “They’ll do it through the ports of entry, the Mariposa commercial port. You know, they’ll get a ton, two tons of marijuana come in on some of those trailers.”

The drug smuggling is unrelenting.

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Mexican Marines rain gunfire on cartel boss

(BREITBART) — A regional cartel boss and his security detail engaged in a firefight with Mexican Marines were eradicated when a military helicopter rained gunfire from above.

The gun battle took place in the Mexican state of Nayarit where authorities were trying to arrest a top leader within the Beltran Leyva Cartel. A video taken by a citizen journalists and shared on social media revealed the moment when a Mexican military helicopter used what appears to be rotary machine gun commonly referred to as a mini-gun to fire hundreds of rounds at the gunmen in mere seconds.

The Mexican military had been trying to arrest Juan Francisco “H-2” Padron Sanchez, a top ranking member within the Beltran Leyva Cartel. Authorities tracked the capo to a neighborhood in the city of Tepic, Nayarit where the gunmen made their stand.

Padron Sanchez and seven of his gunmen died in the gun battle, the Mexican Navy confirmed to Breitbart Texas. It remains unclear if any military personnel were injured during the fighting.

As Breitbart Texas reported, the Beltran Leyva Cartel recently lost another of their key regional leaders who was arrested in a ritzy suburb in the border state of Nuevo León. Authorities in that state arrested Eleazar “El Cochi” Palomo Castillo, who was the Beltran Leyva Cartel’s top leader in the area.

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Convicted, released illegals committed 121 murders during Obama years

(NEWSMAX) — By Jason Devaney

Illegal immigrants convicted of various crimes committed more than 100 murders in four years after they were released from prison and not deported by the Obama administration, according to a new report.

The Miami Herald cites a Senate Judiciary Committee document dating back to 2015, which discusses the recidivism rate among people living in the United States illegally.

The letter states that at least 121 homicides between 2010 and 2014 “could have been avoided” if the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency deported convicted immigrants rather than release them.

“This disturbing fact follows ICE’s admission that, of the 36,007 criminal aliens it released from ICE custody in Fiscal Year 2013, 1,000 have been re-convicted of additional crimes in the short time since their release,” the June 12, 2015 letter reads.

President Donald Trump has vowed to crack down on illegal immigration. He also instituted a temporary immigration ban from seven countries with a terror presence and halted America’s refugee program from certain countries, although those directives have since become inactive as the court system rules on them.

The Herald reports that the majority of the illegal immigrant convicts in question came from countries that generally do not take back people who are deportable. Coupled with a Supreme Court ruling from 15 years ago that says the U.S. cannot imprison a deportable foreign national for more than six months, illegal immigrant convicts are often allowed to stay in the U.S.

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Trump border ‘wall’ could cost $21.6 billion, take 3.5 years to build

(NBC NEWS) — President Donald Trump’s “wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border would be a series of fences and walls that would cost as much as $21.6 billion, and take more than three years to construct, based on a U.S. Department of Homeland Security internal report seen by Reuters on Thursday.

The report’s estimated price-tag is much higher than a $12-billion figure cited by Trump in his campaign and estimates as high as $15 billion from Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The report is expected to be presented to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in coming days, although the administration will not necessarily take actions it recommends.

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Homeland Security head tours border as wall plan takes shape

(ABC NEWS) — U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will wrap up a two-day tour of the nation’s border with Mexico on Friday as plans take shape to build a wall along the 2,000-mile divide between the two countries.

Kelly has told lawmakers that he would like to see wall construction well underway within two years, but he held open the possibility that it wouldn’t extend to areas where there are natural physical barriers.

Fences already cover about 700 miles of the border.

Kelly was scheduled to tour one of the most fortified stretches of the border separating San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. The two cities in the border’s largest metropolitan area are separated by a double fence, much of it topped with razor wire.

San Diego is often cited as an example of how walls can slow illegal crossings, but critics say the structures only forced people to more dangerous areas where many have died in extreme heat.

The San Diego-Tijuana area of about 5 million people has the nation’s busiest border crossing, where tens of thousands of motorists and pedestrians enter the U.S. every day. It’s also one of the busiest crossings for cargo.

On Thursday, Kelly toured southern Arizona — the busiest corridor for illegal crossings from 1998 to 2013.

Southern Texas is now the most preferred route as large numbers of Central American families and children make their way to the U.S.

San Diego was the busiest route for illegal crossings until the late 1990s, when a surge of agents helped push crossers toward the remote mountains and deserts in Arizona.

Kelly was visiting the border in Arizona and California for the first time since he became secretary last month. Last week he toured the border in southern Texas.

Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, rose to run the U.S. Southern Command, responsible for U.S. military activities in 31 countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Kelly told a House panel on Tuesday that Trump’s immigration and travel ban made “an awful lot of sense” but probably should have been delayed at least long enough to brief Congress about it.

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Iraqi and Egyptian nationals caught after sneaking across open border

(BREITBART) — by Brandon Darby & Ildefonso Ortiz

One Iraqi national and one Egyptian national were apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol agents after the individuals from terror-hotbeds had illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed the concerning apprehensions to Breitbart Texas in a statement. CBP declined to confirm that the foreign nationals were men, though a source operating under the umbrella of their agency claimed they were both males to Breitbart Texas.

“USBP agents [U.S. Border Patrol agents] from Lordsburg Station apprehended two individuals, one Iraqi national and the other from Egypt, while on patrol Saturday at 2:15 p.m. local time along Arizona State Route 80. Records checks and interviews produced no derogatory information and the two individuals were placed into removal proceedings,” wrote a spokesperson for the agency.

Breitbart Texas asked CBP again to specify the gender, as fighting-age males from terror-hotbeds penetrating the U.S. border would clearly be more of a concern than elderly females, but the agency would not enlighten the public to these important details.

The exact location of the apprehensions is unclear, as the Border Patrol agents were from the Lordsburg, New Mexico, station, according to CBP. Arizona State Route 80 runs in both New Mexico and Arizona, due to the location of the highway in New Mexico, the CBP statement would indicate that the foreign nationals had made it more than 15 miles into U.S. territory before being apprehended. Had the apprehensions been in Arizona, Lordsburg agents would likely have not been present. The stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border south of the apprehension area is open and without sufficient barriers of any sort.

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Failed kidnapping kills three in Mexican border city

(BREITBART) — PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Coahuila — Authorities in this border city continue to probe a failed kidnapping that turned into a triple murder outside of a local junkyard. While local media have claimed that the murder was a gang hit, the victim’s relatives revealed that the case was something else.

Preliminary information points to the victims decorating a local business for a party in the Laguito Mexicano neighborhood when the shooting happened. The victims have been identified as 28-year-old Jorge “Copetes” Rosales and his employees Aaron “N” and El Pepo. The murder scene is approximately six miles from this city’s downtown area.

According to the victim’s relatives, two vehicles with gunmen followed Rosales to his business where they tried to kidnap him in an apparent effort to collect a ransom. The victim tried to fight back while two of his employees rushed to his aid. The gunmen shot them and fled the area. Days after the murder, local residents reported that a second kidnapping attempt had taken place but the victims had managed to escape unharmed.

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Govt. audit: “Elevated” terrorism threat to U.S. from Mexico

(JUDICIAL WATCH) — A new government audit confirms what Judicial Watch has been reporting for years, that Islamic terrorists are operating in Mexican border towns and infiltrating the United States to carry out attacks. In a report issued this month by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the agency notes that the state faces a full spectrum of threats and “due to the recent actions of lone offenders or small groups affiliated with or inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other foreign terrorist organizations, we assess that the current terrorism threat to Texas is elevated.”

Safety officials in the Lone Star State also write in the 86-page document that they are “especially concerned about the potential for terrorist infiltration across the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly as foreign terrorist fighters depart Syria and Iraq and enter global migration flows.” They also express worries about Syrian refugees that have been sent to Texas under President Obama’s settlement program because the government doesn’t have a system to properly vet them. Judicial Watch has also reported extensively on that national security crisis. Read the latest stories here and here. “We see a potential that these challenges may leave the state exposed to extremist actors who pose as authentic refugees, and who are determined to later commit violent acts,” the Texas report states.

In the same manner that ISIS deployed operatives to their targets in European capitals, the terrorist group could implement the same tactics to infiltrate operatives across the Texas-Mexico border, the new report points out. “Human smugglers, working along established Latin American routes, have long transported Syrians, Iraqis and other immigration from countries where terrorist groups operate to our land border with Mexico,” Texas safety officials write in the report. The U.S. government calls them Special Interest Aliens (SIA) and in past few years they have come from Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Egypt and many other “countries of interest” in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia where terrorist groups are active.

The southern border has become a hotbed of Islamic terrorism in recent years and Judicial Watch has exposed the national security disaster as part of an ongoing investigation into the dangerously porous region. In 2015 Judicial Watch reported that Mexican drug cartels are smuggling SIAs from countries with terrorist links into a small Texas rural town near El Paso. Sources on both sides of the border confirmed to Judicial Watch that the smugglers use remote farm roads—rather than interstates—to elude the Border Patrol and other law enforcement barriers. Once they clear the border, the SIAs are transported to stash areas in Acala, a rural crossroads located around 54 miles from El Paso on a state road – Highway 20. Then the SIAs wait for pick-up in the area’s sand hills just across Highway 20.

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Texas sanctuary sheriff faces removal from office for aiding criminal illegals

(INFO WARS) — By Kit Daniels

Travis Co. Sheriff Sally Hernandez is facing removal from office after defying Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s call to end sanctuary city policies which aid criminal aliens.

Hernandez, whose jurisdiction includes Austin, the capital of Texas, has rejected Abbott’s request to reverse her refusal to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement except in limited circumstances, which Abbott says is hypocritical.

“First, you claim you have no legal power to comply with ICE detainers. That proves too much, of course, because by your own admission, Travis County Sheriff’s Office will honor some ICE detainers, for example when the alien is charged with or convicted of capital murder,” Abbott wrote. “You have the exact same legal authority to honor ICE detainers for capital murder cases as you do for other crimes that you personally deem unworthy of enforcement.”

In addition, Abbott pointed out that ICE also issues detainers for illegal aliens with felony records – including murder.

“…Under your reckless policy, for example, dangerous criminal aliens convicted of felonies like murder, aggravated assault, human trafficking, including child sex trafficking, aggravated kidnapping, including sexual performance by a child or indecency with a child, dangerous gang activities…,” he added.

But in response, Hernandez declared that honoring the detainers would make the “community less safe by driving people into the shadows.”

“As local law enforcement officers, we will not interrogate or arrest someone over an unrelated federal immigration matter if they are trying to report a crime,” she said.

Hernandez is contending that state law enforcement cannot constitutionally be drafted into service by federal agencies, which is true – but it appears to be a straw man argument.

Judging by the letter, Abbott seems more interested in allowing ICE to remove illegals from the streets who were already arrested by Texas officials for committing – not simply reporting – serious crimes.

“For one, these sheriff offices receive grants from the governor’s office and we’re cutting off those grants to any sanctuary city in the State of Texas,” he said on Fox & Friends. “But, however, we are in a legislative session and we’re working on laws that will #1 ban sanctuary cities and #2 remove from office any office holder who promotes sanctuary cities while also imposing criminal penalties as well as financial penalties.”

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