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The Wounded Eagle: Volume 3
The Wounded Eagle: Volume 3
The Wounded Eagle: Volume 3
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The Wounded Eagle: Volume 3

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Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents the third volume of his non-fiction work detailing the drug and gang related violence in Mexico. Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has dominated Mexico for six years. The work contains news articles which were summarized, translated and rewritten along with original reporting for a detailed snapshot of one of the most violent periods in Mexican history.

PublisherChris Covert
Release dateDec 1, 2013
The Wounded Eagle: Volume 3
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Chris Covert

Chris Covert currently lives in Oklahoma City and writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com and BorderlandBeat.com. His articles have also appeared on FrontPageMag.com, TheTruthAboutGuns.com and NewsRealBlog.com Chris has written sports and business news for Oklahoma daily newspapers. He has also worked as a mechanic, a machinist and a bookkeeper, and has been self employed. Chris Covert was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1954. He served briefly in the US Army as a tank driver. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Journalism from the University of Central Oklahoma. Chris is currently writing his third novel, set in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the mid 1980s. His latest non-fiction work is tentatively scheduled for release late 2013 to early 2014.

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    The Wounded Eagle - Chris Covert

    The Wounded Eagle:

    Volume 3

    By Chris Covert

    Copyright 2013 Chris Covert

    Smashwords Edition, License Notes

    This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

    Table of Contents

    Part One: Mexican Mayhem, Massacres, Shootouts and Busts

    Chapter 1 July 2011

    Chapter 2 August 2011

    Chapter 3 September 2011

    Chapter 4 October 2011

    Chapter 5 November 2011

    Chapter 6 December 2011

    Part Two: Politics, Editorials and Interviews

    Chapter 7 July 2011

    Chapter 8 August 2011

    Chapter 9 September 2011

    Chapter 10 October 2011

    Chapter 11 November 2011

    Chapter 12 December 2011


    This is the third volume of Mexican drug war news in the the Wounded Eagle series, this time covering the last half of 2011.

    The year 2011 was the last full year of Partido Accion Nacional Mexican president Felipe Calderon in office. The first half of 2011 was marked by two of the largest mass graves of any period in Mexican history in Durango and Tamaulipas, but it ended with politics with the state elections in Coahuila, Mexico state and several others.

    Politics dominated the news in Mexico starting with those two elections and continuing with the growing profile of Javier Sicilia and his peace movement as the peace movement began dealing with the drug war from a political point of view. Their influence had grown so much that it netted Sicilia two separate meetings with President Calderon, and two meetings with national politicians, and has even hinted an influence in the Mexican national legislative agenda.

    An obscure leftist poet and writer, Javier Sicilia lost his son in a drug murder in March 2011, but later would come out of nowhere to lead Mexico's peace movement. Starting in 2011 the Mexican press had provided coverage for his movement and his marches, and the politics of Sicilia would become important in the years to come, at least if you ask Sicilia and the Mexican press.

    The top political story of 2011, in this writer's opinion, was the sudden rise and fall of Humberto Morerira Valdes, former governor of Coahuila and until December 2011, head of Mexico's most powerful political entity, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI). Moreira fell from his lofty position when it was revealed the extent to which his government had acquired public debt, much of it illegally without any legislative oversight, some monies of which found their way into the coffers of at least one former Coahuila state official, Javier Villareal.

    The San Fernando graves, easily the worst found in Mexico of drug war victims is a find ignored by the US press except for the mention of the sensational news that some of the victims were killed as part of gladiator style competitions. And like the San Fernando victims, most of the the Durango victims have to date not been identified. It would come out later that the reason why the Los Zetas group in San Fernando decided to hijack buses was that Los Zetas' rival Gulf Cartel was using the public bus system to transport shooters to the north. No doubt many of those murdered in that months long pogrom -- to call it what it is -- were in fact innocents. Local Mexican crime gangs still use bus hijackings to recruit their shooters.

    One other significant event which impact would not be realized until 2012 was the hire of the dynamic Ciudad Juarez Police chief Julian Leyozoala in March, who had a background of success for his unconventional methods to reduce violent crime, proven methods which had worked in Tijuana. Because of the appearance of Leyozoala, the regular feature in Rantburg.com, More Mexican Mayhem would be discontinued by 2012.

    Notes on Translation:

    Spanish have been edited from Spanish style to English as much as possible. All Mexican organization, government and news publications names in Spanish have been italicized, while geographical names, proper names and street and colony names have not. The text also departs from the common practice in English language publications on the border referring to neighborhoods using the Spanish colonia. The text refers to those as districts, colonies and neighborhoods. I have tried where appropriate to refer to ranches as a formal part of the the name inasmuch as the formal name was not referred to in the original news items. The sole exception is the ejido.

    Notes on Sources:

    As noted in previous volumes, many of the news reports included more than one sources, especially in compilations such as where individuals murders and crimes were reported. Generally, the sources are the same as listed on each story, but not always. Some Mexican newspapers, for example La Polaka have changed their content management systems and this have caused the loss for sources. In others where the sources were lost a search engine search should turn up sufficient information on every incident.

    In the story about the El Charco, Guerrero incident in 1998, the source was lost, but a second source had been found that reflects at least some of the information contained therein. In that story I made extensive use of Proceso, but they too changed their content management system sufficiently so the source has been lost. The link used in the story was one found only two months before Volume 3's release.

    Finally concerning the Humberto Moreira story, one reported incident was where his former tax collector, Javier Hernandez had been bailed out of jail for USD $.77 or about MEX $10, just before he fled to the United States. I remembered I later had read in other newspapers where the actual bail amount was MEX $1,200 of about USD $92, but I could not find the reference. Asking a colleague just prior to publication if she had heard what the actual amount of bail was, she said the amount was sealed. I could not find any concurrent reference to the actual bail amount anywhere.

    So, it appeared, since I actually crunched the numbers, the USD $.77 was accurate, and apparently previous references to the actual amount had been redacted.


    I wish to thank Fred Pruitt of Rantburg.com and Alex Marentes of BorderlandBeat.com for providing a platform for this endeavor. I want to thank Jenifer Sawitski for her help in editing at least some of these stories, and Chivis Martinez of BorderlandBeat.com for her tough friendship. Finally, I wish to thank the people in my day job at Wright Welding & Machine, Bo, Harry, Dave, Stanley and others, for patiently listening to me prattle on endlessly about the Drug War in Mexico.

    Part One: Mexican Mayhem, Massacres, Shootouts and Busts

    July, 2011

    July 2nd, 2011

    Zacatecas: Fighting Erupts in Fresnillo, 15 Die

    Source: Esmas.com, Mexico City, Distrito Federal


    (Accessed July 2nd, 2011)

    By Chris Covert

    Mexican Marines killed 17 armed suspects presumed to be Los Zetas operatives and detained 17 more, according to Mexican news reports.

    Elements of a Mexican Marine unit left the village of San Jose de Lourdes in Fresnillo municipality mid Friday afternoon after conducting sweeps in the area following the early morning firefight.

    Official reports say the gun battle in Fresnillo started around 0600 hrs and ended around 1200 hrs.

    The marine unit was on patrol on Mexican Federal highway 45 when they were attacked by armed suspects aboard several vehicles.

    Several suspects fled the scene to a safe house where the main part of the battle took place. Weapons and vehicles were seized in the aftermath.

    A total of 15 armed suspects died in gun battles around the area of San Jose de Lourdes. Seventeen were detained. Six marines were wounded in the firefights.

    Later in the morning several roads around San Josede Lourdes were blocked using heavy vehicles presumably hijacked by armed suspects. Some were set afire. Blocked roads included Paseo del Mineral, and Avenida Plateros and Bulevar Hombres Ilustres, and near a grocery store.

    Streets in the area were emptied, and schools and other institutions were closed.

    Mexican Marines began house to house searches in the area following the battle at the safe house and seized a number of vehicles.

    Confirmed reports as of 1743 hrs say fighting continues near the western border with Durango state, near Jerez north of Fresnillo and in Plateros in the south.

    Last May, Mexican press reported as many as 200 Marine effectives were deployed along the main road between Durango city and Zacatecas state and had set up checkpoints.

    Although Zacatecas is considered a Los Zetas stronghold, the criminal gang has suffered a number of setbacks from Mexican security forces counternarcotics operations, and from shootouts with rival gangs.

    For example in Florencia de Benito Juarez municipality May 18th, as many as 20 Los Zetas died in a firefight with Carteles Unidos. With the Los Zetas practice of retrieving their dead it is likely the death toll was much higher.

    Carteles Unidos is a criminal group which included members of the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia Michoacana cartels, all of which have major beefs with Los Zetas.

    A subsequent firefight between Los Zetas and the Los Valencias Sinaloa faction in San Cristobal de la Barranca municipality in nearby Jalisco state cost Los Zetas 20 more and probably more dead.

    July 4th, 2011

    Bad Guys Attack Federales in Northern Michoacan

    Source: El Sol de Morelia, Moerilia, Michoacan


    (Accessed July 4th, 2011)

    A force of 50 armed suspects traveling aboard ten trucks attacked a Policia Federal inspector early Saturday morning in northern Michoacan, where Policia Federal agents killed three armed suspects, according to Mexican news reports.

    The attack took place at a former Procuraduria General de la Republica (national attorney general) facility building in La Piedad municipality where Miguel Angel Rosas Perez and 30 other Mexican Policia Federal agents kept their billets.

    Rosas Perez and the assisting agents fought a gun battle against an estimated 50 armed suspects for nearly 30 minutes where 3,474 each AK-47, 1,904 each AR-15, and at least one Barrett .50 caliber BMG spent casings were found.

    The attackers also used 40mm grenades. Reports say at least six grenades total were detonated against the facade of the building.

    The building at the corner of Bulevar Heriberto Jara and Lazaro Cardenas was shot so many times it was described as a strainer.

    Rosas Perez took over as Director of Municipal Public Security (Seguridad Publica Municipa) (Police Chief) March 24th following the murder of the former police chief, Jose Luis Guerrero Morales.

    Although English language reports continue to make much of the establishment of Los Caballeros de Templarios (Knights Templars) supplanting La Familia Michoacana in Michoacan, and a purported rivalry between the groups, La Familia is not considered much of a factor in Michoacan, especially since the devastating raids by the Policia Federal last January which virtually completely beheaded the group.

    Three vehicles were abandoned and seized by security forces.

    July 4th Badanov's Buzzkill Bulletin

    Source: Secretaria de Defensa Nacional, Mexico City, Distrito Federal


    (Accessed July 4th, 2011)

    Mexican Army units have seized since June 28th 6,811.9 kilograms of marijuana, 182.16 kilograms of cocaine, 50 kilograms of opium, 57.36 kilograms of glass methamphetamine and USD $9,500.00 in cash.

    *-- A Mexican Army unit arrested a top Los Zetas commander in Veracruz state June 28th. Abraham Barrios Caporal, AKA Erasmo and three other unidentified individuals were detained in an apparent traffic stop in Coatzacoalcos. The four were guarding a person who was being held hostage. Seized in the arrest were two rifles and two pistols. Barrios Caporal is wanted in connection with the mass murders that took place in San Fernando, Tamaulipas from September 2010 to April, 2011, particularly about the bus hijacking campaign that took place in March. A total of 193 individuals were discovered in a number of graves in and around San Fernando.

    *-- A detachment of the Mexican 8th Military Zone seized almost three tons of marijuana in Tamaulipas state June 30th. The find was made in the village of Guardados de Abajo in Miguel Aleman where soldiers found an underground storage vessel containing 2,910 kilograms of marijuana in 371 packages.

    *-- A unit of the Mexican 2nd Military Zone seized a quantity of cocaine in Baja California state July 1st. The seizure took place in the ejido Merida in Mexicali municipality where soldiers made a traffic stop of two vehicles. Soldiers found 179 kilograms of cocaine, and they arrested three individuals.

    *-- A detachment of the Mexican 8th Military Zone discovered a large amount of marijuana in Tamaulipas state July 3rd. The drugs were found in an underground vessel next to a latrine near Camargo municipality. A total of 3,894 kilograms of marijuana in 876 packages were seized.

    *-- A unit of the Mexican 13th Military Zone seized a quantity of opium and weapons at a traffic stop in Nayarit state July 3rd. The stop took place on the Mesa del Nayar-Santa Teresa highway in the Nayar municipality, where soldiers detained three individuals and seized 50 kilograms of opium. Weapons seized included two rifles, a handgun, two weapons magazines and 15 rounds of ammunition. A truck was also seized.

    *-- A detachment of the Mexican 4th Military Zone discovered a quantity of various drugs and weapons July 5th. The discovery was made in Hermosillo, Sonora in the Cuatro Olivas colony, where soldiers seized 29.1 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, two kilograms of cocaine and 7.9 kilograms of marijuana. Weapons seized included one rifle, three handguns, 11 weapons magazines and 70 rounds of ammunition.

    *-- A unit of the Mexican 2nd Military Zone detained two individuals in Baja California state in an apparent traffic stop July 5th, seizing a quantity of drug and guns. The arrests took place in the Monte Carlo colony of Mexicali municipality. Drugs seized included 28.26 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and 1.16 kilograms of cocaine. Weapons taken included one rifle, two handguns, 751 rounds of ammunition, three weapons magazines, USD $9,500.00 in cash and a vehicle.

    July 8th, 2011

    Six Die, 1 Missing in San Dimas, Durango

    Source: Proceso, Mexico City, Distrito Federal


    (Accessed July 8th, 2011)

    Six of seven individuals kidnapped Wednesday in San Dimas municipality in Durango were found shot to death in two separate locations, according to Mexican press accounts.

    Armando Villanueva Nuñez, Jesus Eloy Ayon Perez, 16, and Hipolito Ayon Perez, 35, were found in El Patillo which is an area directly adjacent to the village of El Muerto in San Dimas. Reports say about 20 armed suspects came to El Muerto, took their victims then murdered them shortly afterward.

    All three victims lived and were born in El Muerto.

    The suspects then drove to Carbonera, and abducted four individuals.

    Jose Ramon Martinez Lozano, 32, Martin Romero Martinez, 35, and Pedro Romero Mata, 65, were all found nearby a short time later shot to death. The fourth kidnapping victim is still missing.

    San Dimas municipality has been the location of violence a few weeks ago.

    In late April, 2011, four men were found bound and gagged and shot to death in the village of Flechas.

    Three weeks before that, several homes in the village of El Zapote de Buena Vista were torched by armed suspects.

    Native Americans comprise the great majority of those who live in the Mexican Sierra Madres, many of them descendants of the Aztecs.

    Drug cartels, such as the Sinaloa Cartel and the Gulf Cartel all operate drug growing and drug laboratories in the western Sierras, and treat the inhabitants as serfs. The criminal gangs use threats and intimidation to get rural communities to grow drugs for sale.

    July 9th, 2011

    Mexican Federales Kill 11 Bad Guys

    Source: Secretaria Seguidad Publica, Mexico City, Distrito Federal


    (Accessed July 9th, 2011)

    A total of 11 armed suspects were killed by Mexican Policia Federal units in two separate battles Thursday, according to Mexican news sources.

    Reports are the suspects attacked Policia Federales on road patrol in Apatzingan at around 1640 hrs. Two separate ensuing firefights killed 11 armed suspects and wounded another. Three Federal agents were wounded.

    Fighting was also reported in Morelia, Patzcuaro, Zinapacuaro Mugica, Zitacuaro, Lazaro Cardenas and Maravatio.

    The attackers were said to be part of the Caballeros de los Templarios (Knights Templars) a breakaway group of La Familia headed by Servando Gomez Martinez, AKA Tuta and Enrique Plancarte, AKA El Kike.

    Members of the group at roughly the same time as the attack moved to block roads in Uruapan, on the Morelia-Salamanca road and Apatzingan by hijacking, and disabling or destroying by fire several heavy vehicles. The blocks served to prevent Policia Federal and Mexican Army units from reinforcing Apatzingan.

    A total of 11 vehicles were destroyed in the blocking actions, seven of them in Apatzingan.

    Two Policia Federal helicopters were flying in support of federal forces. Apparently one bird was damaged in the fighting.

    Unconfirmed published reports also said three civilians were killed in the blocking actions.

    Early Friday morning several narcopintas blankets appeared in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan and in Apatzingan which accused Policia Federal agents of rape and theft. Such graffiti is one of the primary means drug gangs in Mexico use to communicate with the public without filtering their messages through news agencies.

    Security forces seized six rifles and two handguns, six grenades, 32 weapons magazines and 200 rounds of ammunition at one location. An overturned Chevrolet Suburban was found with tactical gear, police uniforms, brochures and an undisclosed number of weapons.

    July 10th, 2011

    21 Die in Bar Massacre in Monterrey

    Source: Milenio, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon


    (Accessed July 10th, 2011)

    By Chris Covert

    A total of 21 individuals were shot to death as a large group of armed suspects attacked a bar in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon late Friday night.

    The shooting took place at around 2200 hrs at the El Sabino Gordo bar near the intersection of calles Villagran and Carlos Salazar in the Zona Centro of Monterrey.

    Reports say 14 were killed inside the bar while another five were killed outside. Two more presumably wounded in the shooting died later while receiving medical attention. One other unidentified individual is said to have been seriously wounded in the shooting.

    The suspects emerged from two vehicles, and entered the bar shouting for waiters. As some on the wait staff attempted to hide from that attack, the shooters opened fire. Most of the dead were wait staff. AK-47 and AR-15 rifles were used in the attack.

    Milenio reports that the bar was a known venue for selling drugs, but reports were unclear as to which cartel benefited from drug sales.

    The initiating event was a decision by the club managers to stop selling of drugs inside the bar entirely, after they received threats about one of the rivals being allowed to sell drugs.

    Other reports say that a cartel federation, dubbed Nueva Federacion operating in Nuevo Leon and comprising the Sinaloa, Gulf and La Familia cartels was involved in the shooting. Friday's shooting as described as a settling of accounts.

    The Sinaloa and Gulf cartels are known to have joined forces in northeastern Mexico from Mexican published reports last fall. At that time the announcement of the new group came with no formal identifying name, but was an apparent response to Los Zetas kidnapping and extortion operations in Nuevo Leon. The announcement followed a car bomb in General Zuazua, Nuevo Leon, and was faxed to several national publications including Proceso, the Mexican leftist weekly.

    Sinaloa cartel cocaine operations have moved to the east coast in states such as Tabasco and points north, in an apparent alliance with the Gulf Cartel.

    Both the Gulf and Los Zetas criminal groups have suffered heavy losses in fighting each other over last summer and fall, especially in the border cities of Matamoros and Reynosa, so the additional help of the Sinaloa cartel is seen as a counterbalance to Los Zetas operations in the same area.

    The attack took place less than five blocks from the Monterrey quarters for the Mexican Policia Federal detachment in Monterrey.

    Federal agents went to two other nearby bars later that night, Infinito and Givengis, to conduct searches of the premises. In the same area, Federal agents located a vehicle with bullet holes.

    A report by Milenio described a second shooting as the shooters exited the bar, and it is possible one or more armed suspects were waiting outside the bar. However, no accounts have been released detailing any return fire against the shooters.

    July 11th, 2011

    Mexican Federales Reinforce Michoacan With 1,800 Troops

    Source: Secretarian de Seguridad Publica, Mexico City, Distrito Federal


    (Accessed July 11th, 2011)

    By Chris Covert

    A total of 1,800 Mexican Policia Federal (PF) troops have been deployed to Michoacan in the largest build-up of PF troops in Mexico so far this year, according an announcement in the Secretaria de Seguridad Publica (SSP) website Saturday afternoon.

    The news bulletin also mentioned similar additional troops are being deployed to Michoacan, but none of the other Mexican defense agencies have thus far released any information about their specific deployments.

    The PF reinforcement includes about 170 vehicles including armored cars, 15 ambulances and four helicopters, including US made Blackhawk utility and Russian made MI-17Sh helicopters.

    Although no specifics have been announced about the build-up, SSP officials must be concerned about the increasing number and power of attacks by Los Zetas and Caballeros Templarios drug cartel against against Mexican security forces as well as rival drug gangs in the past month.

    At least three attacks have come on the heels of the conclusion of a major counternarcotics offensive in June in the nearby state of Jalisco and in Zacatecas where Mexican Army and Marine units seized drugs and weapons, and disrupted drug cartel activities in the area.

    *-- On June 19th on the eve of a FIFA Under 17 soccer tournament in Morelia, nine individuals were found tortured and shot to death, and several roads in and around Morelia were blocked by 15 hijacked heavy vehicles. The murders and the blocks were initiated by the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel.

    *-- On July 2nd, a Policia Federal group housed in an office building in La Piedad in far northern Michoacan was attacked by as many as 50 armed suspects aboard 10 vehicles. The ensuing firefight lasted for 30 minutes and cost three armed suspects their lives. The attack was said to be the work of Los Zetas.

    *-- On July 6th, 11 armed suspects were killed by Policia Federal units in two firefights near Apatzingan. Shortly after the conclusion of the gunfights, several roads in central Michoacan were blocked using hijacked heavy vehicles. As many as three civilians may have been killed in the blocking campaign. The criminal action was credited to the Caballeros de los Templarios drug cartel.

    Policia Federal deployments in metropolitan areas in Mexico such as the La Laguna region of Mexico which includes Torreon, Coahuila-Gomez Palacio, Durango and in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon typically includes troops numbering as many as 300. PF has in the past rotated whole deployments of PF effectives in and out of metropolitan areas when they have suffered sharp reverses or are under stress.

    For example in Juarez, Chihuahua last year, an entire deployment of 300 Mexican Federal agents were rotated out and replaced by another unit following a near mutiny led by subordinate commanders last August.

    The last known full deployment of PF troops in northern Mexico took place in the summer of 2010 when 300 Policia Federal troops were deployed to Torreon, Coahuila.

    The largest last known deployment of any security forces occurred last May when more than 1,000 Mexican soldiers were deployed to Torreon, Coahuila by land and air.

    National politics may have played a role in such a massive reinforcement. The Michoacan 2011 gubernatorial elections take place in November to replace current Partido de la Revolucion Democratica (PRD) Leonel Godoy Rangel, whose terms ends this year.

    The candidate for Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) is Luisa Calderon Hinojosa, the sister of Mexican president Felipe Calderon.

    The PRD has held the governor's seat for six years, but while a PAN pickup here would be a shot in the arm for PAN's flagging fortunes, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), fresh from gubernatorial, legislative and municipal electoral sweeps of Nayarit, Mexico state and Coahuila, is regarded as more likely to take control with a win.

    The PRI candidate for Michoacan governor is Victor Manuel Silva Tejeda, while the PRD candidate is Raul Moron Orozco.

    July 15th, 2011