Tag Archives: Mexico City

The US sanctioned a ‘smooth as butter’ cartel operator and a Mexican soccer star allegedly working with him

The US Treasury sanctioned an alleged mid-level Mexican drug-cartel operator and his organization on Wednesday, naming them as significant foreign narcotics traffickers.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control designed Raul Flores Hernandez and the Flores drug-trafficking organization under the Kingpin Act, naming 21 Mexican citizens and 42 entities — including bars, restaurants, a soccer club, and a casino — for allegedly providing support to the organization or for being owned by people involved it.

Continue reading The US sanctioned a ‘smooth as butter’ cartel operator and a Mexican soccer star allegedly working with him

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Mexico captures Sinaloa drug cartel leader Damaso Lopez, a former associate of ‘El Chapo’ Guzman

He was for a time seen as the right-hand man of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, once the world’s most notorious drug kingpin, now jailed in the United States.

More recently, Damaso Lopez Nunez has reputedly been at the center of a bloody, multi-sided turf battle for the control of the powerful Sinaloa cartel long headed by Guzman.

Continue reading Mexico captures Sinaloa drug cartel leader Damaso Lopez, a former associate of ‘El Chapo’ Guzman

Feds: ICE Agent Smuggled Organized Crime Worker Into US

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – A longtime Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was arrested Wednesday on accusations he helped smuggle a Mexican national with felony convictions into the United States.

The ICE agent was operating under the orders of a “local organized crime figure with business interests in Mexico,” the U.S. District Attorney’s Office reported Thursday.

Felix Cisneros, 42, of Murrieta, was taken into custody on federal felony charges of aiding and assisting an inadmissible alien to enter the United States.

Continue reading Feds: ICE Agent Smuggled Organized Crime Worker Into US

Flying for a kingpin: The revelations of ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s personal pilot

The man who handled all El Chapo’s personal flights spoke to journalist Gonzalo Guillén about what it was like flying for the world’s most feared drug lord.

l. “You will be carrying money, of course. And our weapons.”

“Hey, buddy. I want you to know something,” Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán-Loera said to the veteran helicopter pilot who he nicknamed ‘Tinieblo’ (Twilight). The pilot had just arrived in Sinaloa, Mexico from Miami, to begin flying for Guzmán-Loera.

“I’m all ears, Mr. Guzmán,” answered the pilot. He knew his new boss was no saint, but didn’t know much else.

“Do you recognize me?” inquired Guzmán.

“I’m afraid I don’t, sir,” answered the pilot.

“I’m no little angel,” Guzmán said. “But later I’ll tell you the story of a cardinal of the Catholic Church they assassinated, mistaking him for me.”

Continue reading Flying for a kingpin: The revelations of ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s personal pilot

DEA chief confident escaped ‘El Chapo’ will be found again

Compared to other cartels, Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s Sinaloa seen as mild

Badiraguato, Mexico
In this July 20, 2015 photo, vegetation surrounds the town of Badiraguato, Mexico, the hometown of drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman. (AP/Fernando Brito)

BADIRAGUATO, Mexico — People living in the hometown of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman have heard stories of his benevolence: gifts of medicine for the poor, deliveries of drinking water to storm-stricken towns. But finding anyone who’s actually received or even seen such a gift is another matter.

In Badiraguato, the small mountain town that is part of Guzman’s rags-to-crime riches mythology, none of the two dozen people interviewed by The Associated Press could point out evidence of his legendary largesse.

“I don’t see a single building producing jobs, a single piece of public works, a soccer field, a sewer, a school, water systems, a clinic or hospital, not a single one that you can say was built by drug traffickers or their money,” Mayor Mario Valenzuela said.

If Guzman or his cartel had invested in their hometowns, he said, “they’d look different: They would have paved roads or drainage systems, but they don’t.”

Guzman’s escape on July 11 from a prison near Mexico City has focused attention again on Badiraguato, the county seat of a township that includes the hamlet of La Tuna, where El Chapo’s mother still lives.

The roads to La Tuna are still washed-out dirt tracks, and Badiraguato itself has none of the flashy accoutrements of money — luxury car dealerships, palatial mausoleums, acres of fancy, gated communities of new homes, or dozens of street money-changers offering cheap dollars — that are abundant in Culiacan, the state capital, 1 1/2 hours away.

The town’s big projects include a new balcony for the town hall that looks out over the sleepy square dominated by a 19th-century church, where residents seek shade from the punishing Sinaloa sun.

Tucked into the foothills where the coastal stretches of flat corn and tomato fields meet the imposing mountains of the Sierra Madre, Badiraguato remains mired in poverty, Valenzuela acknowledges that many of the township’s residents make a living growing marijuana or opium poppies.

Guzman grew up here, the son of a poor farmer. His rise as a crime boss has been surrounded by mythology, a Hollywood version of an old-school Mafioso — ruthless, but yet honourable. Songs have been written in his honour and some locals extol him as a Robin Hood-type figure who is careful to leave innocents out of his deadly score-settlings.

“Chapo Guzman isn’t violent,” Valenzuela said about a man accused of hundreds of murders. “He doesn’t shoot it out with the government.”

That’s unlike the reputation of the New Generation Jalisco cartel to the south, which is alleged to have brought down a military helicopter May 1 with a rocket-propelled missile.

Or the Zetas, who’ve fueled their notoriety in central Mexico with grisly beheadings and the hanging of bodies across public highways. Or Guerreros Unidos, the cartel alleged to have killed 43 college students last fall.

For many who live in the state that gives name to Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel, he is seen as a lesser evil.

Gabriel, a civil engineer, returned home recently to Culiacan after a year and a half working on road projects in the central state of Zacatecas, which is controlled by Mexico’s bloodiest cartel, the Zetas. There, he said, gunmen pulled him over and demanded he either pay protection money or get out of town.

“They are worse. They are indiscriminate. They’ll kill seven people just to get the one they want,” he said. The Sinaloa cartel, he said, leaves ordinary people alone, “there is a certain respect.”

Still, the man in his 30s wouldn’t give his last name for fear of reprisals.

Badiraguato is not immune to violence. The township of 30,000 regularly reports a homicide rate at least five times the national average. And while Sinaloa’s population is less than that of 13 other states and the federal district, it consistently ranks among the deadliest five or six states in terms of homicides.

So far this year, there are more killings here than in Michoacan or Tamaulipas, two states often in the headlines for warring cartels, vigilante justice, beheadings and daytime shootouts.

Violence, threats and fear in Sinaloa have displaced poor farming families, with hundreds fleeing the mountainous township of Sinaloa de Leyva over the last five years.

Dozens of families left the village of Ocurahui after drug gangs, particularly the Sinaloa cartel, pressured local farmers to plant opium poppies in order to counter falling prices for marijuana. Residents who didn’t want to grow drug crops faced kidnappings or even death.

Many of them are barely hanging on as refugees without homes or jobs, living on the fringes of the Sinaloa cities of Surutato, Guamuchil and Culiacan.

“We came with only what we could grab, or what we wearing,” said Mauro Diaz, 20, an Ocurahui resident who lives as a squatter in one of a half-dozen tiny abandoned cinderblock houses on the outskirts of Guamuchil.

Diaz ekes out a living as an assistant bricklayer, staying with his girlfriend in one bare room with a mattress on the floor and water leaking from the roof. He largely has given up hope of returning to the pine-covered hills of his village.

“Why return if it’s only going to get us into trouble, if in a little while it gets bad again and they exile us again?” Diaz said.

Yet, the mythology surrounding Guzman lives on.

Lucero Uriarte, a high-school student in Badiraguato, said of the drug lord: “He has helped a lot of people — more than anyone else, the poor — because he knows what they’re going through.”

Mexican Drug Lord El Chapo Rips Donald Trump Via Twitter Following Second Prison Break

Donald Trump and El Chapo Guzman

Mexico’s fugitive drug lord and his supporters hit back after Donald Trump threatens to “kick ass”

Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, the fugitive Mexican drug lord, appeared on Monday night to be taunting authorities and threatening US presidential hopeful Donald Trump while on the run.

The country’s most notorious cartel leader broke out of a maximum-security jail at the weekend in a Hollywood-style escape that saw him scurrying down an elaborate, mile-long tunnel dug under his cell.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

Guzman and his supporters wasted no time lambasting Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto as a “coward” but reserved particular ire for Mr Trump, who has accused Mexico of sending rapists and criminals to America.

A post riddled with obscenities on a Twitter account, reportedly run by the drug lord’s son Ivan, said the billionaire businessman would be made to “swallow his words”.

That was immediately followed by a post suggesting someone would be killed, although it was not clear if that referred to Mr Trump. Associates who had betrayed Guzman were also targeted.

el chapo, donald trump, twitter

He posted a message to Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto saying: ”And you @EPN, don’t call me a delinquent because I give people work unlike you you cowardly politician.’

It could not be determined who had made the comments but the account went on to proclaim that “no cage could hold” El Chapo.

On a separate account linked to Ivan Guzman he had appeared to foretell his father’s escape a week ago, saying:

“Good things come to those who wait.”

Guzman, who is believed to be 58, was widely considered the world’s richest and most powerful drug trafficker before his capture, last year, and cultivated a Robin Hood image among his followers as he ruled over the Sinaloa cartel.

After he escaped guards at Altiplano prison, 55 miles west of Mexico City, entered his cell and found a hole 10 metres deep with a ladder.

It led to a tunnel a mile long and 1.7 metres high, which allowed the diminutive drug lord to walk upright to freedom.

Mr Trump had seized on the prison escape to back up his calls for a wall between the two countries, and said it proved the extent of corruption in Mexico.

He added: “Can you envision Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton negotiating with El Chapo…Trump, however, would kick his ass!”

The entrepreneur’s poll numbers have been rising since last month when he began controversially attacking Mexican illegal immigrants as the cause of problems in the US.

He appeared to be unfazed after being targeted by Guzman and his supporters on social media.

Mr Trump responded: “El Chapo and the Mexican drug cartels use the border unimpeded like it was a vacuum cleaner, sucking drugs and death right into the US. We get the killers, drugs and crime, they get the money.”

But Mr Trump said he had contacted the FBI to investigate the apparent threat.

The property mogul told TMZ: “I’m fighting for much more than myself. I’m fighting for the future of our country which is being overrun by criminals. You can’t be intimidated. It’s too important.”

The escape was a major embarrassment for Mr Pena Nieto. Speaking on a visit to France, he called it “an affront to the state”.

Guatemala launched an operation to secure its border, which Guzman fled across once before.

Mexican prosecutors began questioning 30 prison employees, including the warden, amid suspicions of an inside job.

Mike Vigil, a retired US Drug Enforcement Administration operations chief, said if Guzman was not captured with two days of his escape he may never be found.”

“If he is able to make his way to Sinaloa, his native state, and gets into that mountainous range, it’s going to be very difficult to capture him because he enjoys the protection of local villagers.”

Raul Benitez Manaut, a security expert at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said: “El Chapo surely planned this from the time he was jailed and had very large internal and external support to escape.

“There certainly was corruption inside and outside the prison. It was a film-like escape.”

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