Tagged: Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán

Violence in Mexico hits 20-year high

(OCCRP) — Mexico witnessed a record-breaking number of homicides and murder investigations in May, according to government data.

Last month, 2,186 murders were committed surpassing 2011’s record, statistics that go back two decades show.

The number of murder investigations also peaked in May dating back to 1997. Several probes likely include multiple homicides.

“Pretty grim. Not shocking, because we’ve seen this for months,” Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope said.

Mexico recorded 9,916 murders since the beginning of 2017, roughly a 30% increase over the same period last year, underscoring the country’s struggle to deal with escalating organized crime groups.

The deadliest state was Guerrero, in the south, a hotbed for Mexico’s war on drugs where 216 people were killed.

In the western state of Sinaloa 154 people were killed – the highest number in six years -due to violence driven by rival groups vying to fill the void left by the arrest and extradition of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Mexico launched a militarized offensive to fight drug trafficking in 2006. Since then, over 200,000 people have been presumed dead or missing as rival cartels wage war on each other and the army.

The country’s escalating violence has hit journalists especially hard claiming most recently the life of well-respected drug trafficking reporter, Javier Valdez Cardenas.

The ensuing conflict has further damaged President Enrique Pena Nieto’s popularity.

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Mexican cartel shootout leaves 26 dead or wounded in latest violent clash

(THE GUARDIAN) — By David Agren in Mexico City

A battle between rival drug cartel factions in Mexico’s northern Chihuahua state left at least 26 dead and injured, officials have confirmed, in the latest series of violent incidents that have sent the country’s murder rate soaring.

Chihuahua state officials say the shootout occurred in the hamlet of Las Vargas, deep in the rugged Sierra Madre mountains, where the illegal drugs business has deep roots in the local community and economy.

Details were scant, but experts say that the security situation in Chihuahua has deteriorated in recent months as criminal groups squabble over the remains of the empire once controlled by Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

The shootout was just the latest atrocity in a wave of violence extending the length of Mexico, which has sent the country’s homicide rate soaring to levels not seen in two decades. It came after a weekend attack in neighboring Sinaloa, where a confrontation between accused cartel members and state security forces left 19 suspects dead and five police injured.

Mexico recorded 11,155 homicides over the first five months of 2017, according to federal crime statistics. May, meanwhile, was Mexico’s most murderous month since 1997, when the country started accumulating such statistics, with 2,186 homicides committed.

Analysts attribute the rising violence to a confluence of factors, including changing dynamics in the illegal drugs business. Mexican cartels are shifting focus in their smuggling operations to the US from marijuana to heroin, unleashing a wave of violence in the opium poppy-producing state of Guerrero that has left entire villages have emptied.

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Judge presiding over ‘El Chapo’s’ case shot, killed while jogging outside home

(MY SAN ANTONIO) — The judge who presided over Sinaloa Cartel drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s case was shot in the head while jogging outside of his home Monday near Mexico City, according to media reports.

Judge Vicente Bermudez Zacarias, 37, was the judge presiding over Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s case, according to SDP Noticias. Zacarias lived in Metepec, which is 45 miles west of Mexico City.

SDP Noticias reported that the person who shot Zacarias fled the scene. Zacarias later died at the hospital in Metepec.

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Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzman gets his own miniseries, made in Colombia

(NEWSMAX) — While the real Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is locked up in a cold, tiny cell in New York, his career as a drug lord apparently over, his fictional counterpart is free and in top form in Colombia, where the Univision network and Netflix are filming a television series about his life.

Ironically, Guzman’s re-arrest in 2016 — after two dramatic prison escapes — has created such a bloody power struggle for his Sinaloa cartel in Mexico that the series’ producers thought it would be safer to film in Colombia, the country that used to be the epicenter of the hemisphere’s drug violence.

Guzman was extradited to the United States in January, and his lawyers complain the conditions he faces at a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial are so restrictive they violate his rights.

The filming in Colombia was so cloaked in secrecy that the crew told locals they were filming a mythical TV soap opera, “Dolores de Amor,” roughly “The Pains of Love.” The Associated Press attended one filming session in the town of Taibo, where a half-dozen extras said they didn’t know what the series was about.

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Carnage and corruption: upstart Mexican cartel’s path to top

By Dave Graham

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – In barely four years, a little-known criminal gang has grown to challenge the world’s most notorious drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, for domination of the Mexican underworld, unleashing a new tide of violence.

Once minions of Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel, traffickers of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) have turned on their former masters, seizing territory and buying off thousands of corrupt police.

Led by former policeman Nemesio Oseguera, aka “El Mencho”, the gang soon carved out an empire at the expense of weaker rivals.

The speed of its ascent shows how quickly power can shift in Mexico’s multi-billion-dollar drugs trade.

Juggling interests from China to North Africa and eastern Europe, the CJNG’s bloody advance has pushed murders to their highest levels under President Enrique Pena Nieto, who vowed to restore law and order when he took office in late 2012.

All but four in a 2009 list of Mexico’s 37 most wanted capos are now dead or in jail, and Pena Nieto did initially succeed in reducing violence.

But a resurgence that led to 3,800 murders between July and August highlights the government’s failure to beat down cartels without new ones springing up in their place.

Pena Nieto recently sought to allay security concerns by announcing a plan to step up crime prevention in the worst-hit areas. He did not set out the details of his plan, but urged states to speed up efforts to put local police under unified statewide command.

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Queen of Cartels: most famous female leader of Mexico’s underworld speaks out

(UK GUARDIAN) — Inside the front door of Sandra Ávila Beltrán’s home is an altar and lit candles that form a crowded shrine to her first husband (riddled by gunfire), her second husband (stabbed through the heart) and her brother (tortured to death). All were murdered during Mexico’s ongoing cocaine wars.

Ávila is the stuff legends are made of – one of the few women with access to the highest levels of cartel life. She has lived, worked and loved inside the upper echelons of the Mexican drug world since the late 1970s. At the height of her career, she showed a propensity to carry suitcases with millions of dollars in crisp $100 bills.

Her status led her to become known as “The Queen of the Pacific”, in honor of her alleged prowess organizing a fleet of tuna boats laden with 10 tons of cocaine each as they navigated north from Mexico’s Pacific coast towards the world’s number one cocaine market: the United States.
Californian, businesswoman, ‘narco junior’: El Chapo’s American daughter

Ávila has spent the last seven years in prison for money laundering, including two years in solitary confinement. Now free, she gave an exclusive interview, her first in nearly a decade, from her home near Guadalajara, in which she lashed out at Mexican politicians’ corruption, mocked the futility of drug prohibition and celebrated the escape of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Her three-decade rise to power has provided her with a front-row view of private jets, clandestine plastic surgery operations to disguise identity, murderous shootouts at VIP parties and one non-stop constant: massive bribes to Mexican public officials. “The most I ever heard about was a $100m [bribe] to a Mexican president,” Ávila said. “A million dollars is nothing. I have seen one [politician] look into the bag to see if it was there. He knew everything.”

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