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Mexico News

Ecuador Officials Reject Report Saying Mexico Cartels Operate There

Ecuador Officials Reject Report Saying Mexico Cartels Operate There

Law enforcement officials in Ecuador rejected a recent report indicating that Mexican cartels have a presence there, in what is likely an attempt to preserve the country's image as a relatively safe nation, despite mounting evidence that the booming cocaine trade is fueling organized crime across the Andean region.

Mexico Profile

Mexico

Mexico

Mexico is home to the hemisphere's largest, most sophisticated and violent organized criminal groups. These organizations have drawn from Mexico's long history of smuggling and its close proximity to the United States, the world's largest economy, to grow into a regional threat.

More Mexico News

  • Massacre at Tijuana Rehab Center Linked to Marijuana Seizure

    After a gang of masked gunmen burst into a rehabilitation center in Tijuana and methodically assassinated 13 patients, El Universal reports that the Sinaloa cartel is behind the massacre. 

  • Police Destroy 134 Tons of Marijuana in Tijuana

    In what amounts to the largest marijuana seizure in Mexican history, state police from Baja California and military operatives found 134 tons and 240 kilos of the drug in three separate operations carried out in Tijuana, reports Sinaloan daily El Noroeste.

  • Recordings Reveal Connection between Mexican Legislator and 'Familia'

    Audio leaked to Mexican radio by the Federal Police reportedly captures a conversation between Servando Gómez Martínez, alias "La Tuta," a leader of the powerful criminal syndicate the Familia Michoacana and Mexican lawmaker Julio César Godoy Toscano in which Godoy assures Gómez protection from the law.

  • WOLA Condemns Mexican Military in Report

    The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) published a new report yesterday about human rights violations by the military in Juarez and Chihuahua City, Mexico.

  • Mexico Sets Table for Police Reforms

    The New York Times published a piece Friday on the push to reform Mexico's security forces.

  • Blog del Narco: What Next for Beltran-Leyva Cartel?

    Days after granting a rare interview, the anonymous author of the Blog del Narco, which publishes uncensored images of Mexico's drug violence, has posted an analysis of what lies next for the Beltran Leyva Organization.

  • Mexico Denies Kidnapping of Honduran Consuls

    Two Honduran diplomats reported being kidnapped temporarily by unknown perpetrators in Veracruz, Mexico last Saturday. But the state governor has already denied the version of the story presented by the Hondurans, indicating there may be a drawn-out, diplomatic spat.

  • Counter-Arms Trafficking Measures Yield Mixed Results

    Lack of inter-agency cooperation is hindering efforts to stem arms trafficking at the U.S-Mexico border, says a 2009 draft report issued by the Justice Department.NBCsums up the report's findings regarding the effectiveness of Project Gunrunner, a U.S. task force formed in 2005 that tracks gun smuggling into Mexico. The task force just received $37 million from Congress, and the ATF announced Tuesday that seven new Project Gunrunner teams will be dispatched in key cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, Dallas and Sierra Vista, Arizona, reportedly an important hub for the Sinaloa Cartel. However, the Justice Department's draft report finds there are "significant weaknesses" in Project Gunrunner, notably, the "ATF does not systematically exchange intelligence with its Mexican and some U.S. partner agencies." 

    This is preoccupying: especially considering that the same groups involved in smuggling arms is probably also involved in drugs and human trafficking, more collaboration between agencies like the ATF, the DEA, Homeland Security, and Mexican offices could only be more helpful than harmful. It looks as though the task force has been relatively effective since its creation: since 2005 Project Gunrunner has seized 6,668 firearms and referred 497 cases to the Justice Department.

    But there are other challenges besides the lack of shared intelligence. Not only are offices understaffed in the Southwest U.S. and in Mexico, NBC reports, but weak gun laws have made it difficult for courts to successfully prosecute some arms-trafficking cases. Currently there is no federal law that would notify authorities if large amounts of AK-47s and other semi-automatics are purchased in a short period of time. Existing laws also need to be better enforced, so that rogue gun stores can more easily lose their license. Other solutions appear more short-term. As NBC notes, the White House has not yet nominated a director at the ATF, for fear of riling up the U.S. gun lobby.

  • Juarez Newspaper Asks for Guidance from Traffickers

    The Diario de Juarez publisheda moving editorial over the weekend entitled "What Do You Want From Us?" concerning the recent death of a staff photographer on Thursday. It was not so much an annoucement that the paper planned to cut coverage of Juarez's crime beat, but more of a veiled attack against inept government and police officials, for failing to do more to rebuild their own credibility via rule of law.

    It is no secret that Mexican journalists routinely face intimidation and death threats, in relation to crime reporting: according to the Comittee to Protect Journalists, a U.S.-based watchdog group, 30 Mexican journalist have died or disappeared in the last four years. The Juarez-based newspaper did critique President Calderon for failing to follow up on promises to reinforce security measures for reporters. But what the editorial really appears to highlight is the ongoing lack of confidence in Mexico's public institutions. Armando Rodríguez Carreón was another one of the Diario de Juarez's crime reporters, gunned down November 13, 2008.

    Investigations into his death have resulted in nothing, the editorial points out, adding, "There have been so many promises that this case will resolve itself, without anything becoming resolved, that at this point if these authorities present us with a supposed perpetrator of the crime, the first thing we would do is doubt it." According to Reporters Without Borders, another Juarez-based journalist, Emilio Gutiérrez Soto, was forced to flee to the U.S. after reportedly receiving threats from military personnel. Cases like these do nothing to build credibility in Mexico's police, army or justice system.

  • "El Grande" of BLO Captured

    Mexican authorities Sunday announced the capture of Sergio Villareal Barragán, alias El Grande, allegedly head of an assassin's network for the Beltran-Leyva DTO.

Investigations

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Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...