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State of Texas, State Operations Center (SOC)

SUBJECT: Operation BORDER STAR Summary

DAILY 24 HOUR SUMMARY: March 22, 2010

DATE AND PERIOD COVERED:


Friday March 19, 2010 3:00 pm
Monday March 22, 2010 3:00 pm

This Operation BORDER STAR Daily Summary is an operational information sharing tool and
reflects voluntary input from agencies participating in BORDER STAR activities. It is prepared by
the Texas Border Security Operations Center (TBSOC) and distributed to sheriff offices, municipal
police departments, State agencies, and Federal agencies for the purpose of providing situational
awareness relative to Texas border security issues. The intent of this report is to facilitate the
development of a common understanding necessary for coordinated operations among agencies
committed to improved border security.

Jack Colley
Chief, Emergency Management Division

This Daily Summary provides the means for developing a common frame of reference for activities focused
on improving the security of communities along the Texas-Mexico border area. The intent of this report is
to facilitate situational awareness and understanding necessary for coordinated actions linked to the
common goal of stemming escalating violence, increasing border security, and thereby ensuring the safety
of Texans. While contributing agencies have a responsibility to share mutually helpful information,
distribution of this summary is limited to groups and individuals who have an operational responsibility for
using it.

Law Enforcement Sensitive/For Official Use Only


Contact Information: (512) 424-7561
Operation BORDER STAR Daily Summary
3/22/2010

Laredo 1. Frio Co. SO recovered a vehicle reported stolen out of Austin. The vehicle
Sector was found abandoned on a private ranch.
2. Frio Co. SO detained the driver and two referrals following a traffic stop.
The three subjects were turned over to USBP.
3. La Salle Co. SO recovered two abandoned vehicles. Both vehicles were
reported stolen out of Austin.
4. Laredo PD arrested three subjects for possession of marijuana and cocaine
following a search at a residence.
5. Pearsall PD detained the driver and one referral following a traffic stop. The
subjects were turned over to USBP.
6. DPS seized 54 lbs of marijuana following a traffic stop near Laredo. The
driver and two passengers bailed from the vehicle. The driver was
immediately apprehended and the two passengers were later apprehended
by USBP with DPS AVN assistance.
7. CBP Officers seized one 12 gauge shotgun and 80 rounds of ammo at the
Lincoln-Juarez Bridge POE. The gun and ammo were concealed in the door
panels of a Chevrolet pickup. No arrests were made.
8. USBP Agents recovered a stolen 2003 Ford F-350 and a stolen 2005 Ford
F-250 on Highway 133 near Artesia Wells. The drivers of both vehicles
absconded. Both vehicles were registered out of Austin and were turned
over to the La Salle Co. SO.
9. USBP Agents recovered a stolen 2004 Ford Explorer on IH-35 in La Salle
Co. The driver absconded. The vehicle was registered out of Houston and
was turned over to the La Salle Co. SO.
10. USBP Agents arrested one illegal alien from Mexico and seized 482.67 lbs
of marijuana and a 2008 Ford F-350 on Highway 44 near Encinal in La Salle
Co. The subject, the vehicle and the contraband were turned over to DEA.
11. USBP Agents arrested one USC and seized 134.05 lbs of marijuana and a
1994 Freightliner tractor-trailer at the tactical Checkpoint on FM 1017 in Jim
Hogg Co. The subject, the vehicle and the contraband were turned over to
DEA.
12. USBP Agents arrested one USC and one Legal Permanent Resident (LPR)
and seized 482.15 lbs of marijuana, a 2010 Ford F-150 and a 2005 Bass
Tracker boat at the Highway 16 Checkpoint near Hebbronville. The vehicle
and the boat were turned over to the Jim Hogg Co. SO. The subjects and
the contraband were turned over to DEA.
13. USBP Agents arrested one illegal alien from Honduras near Hebbronville.
The subject admitted that he had been a member of the “MS-13” gang. NTC
reported no additional derogatory information. The subject had previously
been removed from the US. The subject was processed for prosecution and
removal.
14. USBP Agents arrested one USC and seized 2.6 lbs of marijuana while
performing a passenger bus inspection at the IH-35 Checkpoint near
Laredo. The subject and the contraband were turned over to DEA.
15. USBP Agents seized 525 lbs of marijuana near the border west of Laredo.
Several subjects absconded to Mexico. The contraband was turned over to
DEA.
16. USBP Agents arrested one USC and seized 65 lbs of marijuana and a 2009
International Harvester tractor-trailer at the IH-35 Checkpoint near Laredo.
Daily Summary for 3/22/2010

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The subject, the vehicle and the contraband were turned over to DEA.
17. USBP Agents seized 315 lbs of marijuana near the Rio Grande south of
Laredo. The subjects absconded back to Mexico. The contraband was
turned over to DEA.
18. USBP Agents recovered a stolen GMC Yukon found abandoned on IH-35
near Laredo. The vehicle was registered out of Pasadena, TX and was
turned over to the Webb Co. SO.
19. USBP Agents arrested one USC and one illegal alien from Mexico and
seized 338.4 lbs of marijuana and a 2004 Pontiac Sunfire near the river
south of Laredo. The subjects and the contraband were turned over to DEA.
20. USBP Agents seized 227.7 lbs of marijuana near the Rio Grande River west
of Laredo. Several subjects absconded back to Mexico. The contraband was
turned over to DEA
21. USBP Agents arrested one illegal alien from Nicaragua near Cotulla in La
Salle Co. The subject admitted that he had been a member of the “18th
Street” gang member and had several associating tattoos. NTC reported no
additional derogatory information. The subject was processed for removal.

Rio 22. Cameron Co. SO seized 50 .223 cal. magazines, 10 .50 cal magazines, 10
Grande belts and one rifle scope from a package that was delivered to a residence
Valley in Brownsville. The SO had received a call from the resident regarding the
Sector suspicious package.
23. Harlingen PD is investigating a kidnapping incident involving a 67 year old
male victim.
24. DPS seized 10.20 lbs of cocaine following a traffic stop near San Manuel in
Hidalgo Co. One subject was arrested. The contraband was concealed
inside the firewall of the vehicle.
25. DPS AVN provided assistance to USBP with numerous incidents in Hidalgo
Co. resulting in the apprehension of 42 subjects. An unknown number of
subjects attempting to cross into the US were turned back along the Rio
Grande River.
26. TXARNG AVN provided assistance to USBP with several incidents in
Hidalgo Co. resulting in the apprehension of 15 subjects.
27. TXARNG AVN provided assistance to USBP with an incident near La Joya
resulting in the arrest of one subject and the seizure of 795 lbs of marijuana.
Assistance provided with another incident in Hidalgo Co. resulted in the
seizure of 470 lbs of marijuana and several subjects absconding to Mexico.
28. CBP Officers seized 62.17 lbs of marijuana at the B&M Bridge POE in
Brownsville. No arrest report was received.
29. CBP Officers seized 2.31 lbs of heroin at the B&M Bridge POE in
Brownsville. A pedestrian was arrested after officers found the contraband
concealed inside his boots.
30. CBP Officers seized 43.10 lbs of marijuana at the B&M Bridge POE in
Brownsville. The contraband was concealed inside the rocker panels of a
Ford Windstar. No arrest report was received.
31. CBP Officers seized five SKS assault rifles at the Anzalduas POE. One
subject was arrested. The rifles were found in the undercarriage and
quarterpanels of the subject’s vehicle.
32. USBP Agents arrested one LPR and seized 2,765.5 lbs of marijuana and a
Daily Summary for 3/22/2010

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tractor-trailer at the Falfurrias Checkpoint. The subject presented himself for


inspection and a service canine alerted to the trailer. A secondary inspection
utilizing a Backscatter scan revealed anomalies in the trailer. Agents
discovered 95 bundles of marijuana concealed within a load of broccoli. DEA
assumed custody of the case.
33. USBP Agents arrested one USC and one LPR and seized 64.06 lbs of
marijuana and a 2005 Dodge pickup at the Falfurrias Checkpoint. The
subjects and the contraband were turned over to DEA.
34. USBP Agents arrested one USC and seized 6.05 lbs of marijuana and a
2009 Chevrolet Impala at the Falfurrias Checkpoint. The subject, the vehicle
and the contraband were turned over to DEA.
35. USBP Agents arrested three USCs and seized 60 lbs of marijuana and a
2000 Ford pickup at the Falfurrias Checkpoint. The subjects, the vehicle and
the contraband were turned over to the Brooks Co. SO.
36. USBP Agents arrested one USC and seized 1,197.7 lbs of marijuana and a
tractor-trailer at the Falfurrias Checkpoint. Agents referred the subject to a
secondary inspection. A Backscatter scan revealed anomalies in the trailer
and during a search, agents discovered the contraband behind a false wall.
DEA assumed custody of the case.
37. USBP Agents recovered a stolen 2001 Ford F-250 found abandoned on
Highway 281 south of the Falfurrias Checkpoint. The vehicle was registered
out of Mission and was turned over to the Brooks Co. SO.
38. USBP Agents seized 37.3 lbs of marijuana while performing a passenger
bus inspection at the Falfurrias Checkpoint. The contraband was turned over
to the Brooks Co. SO.
39. USBP Agents arrested one illegal alien from Mexico and seized 53.6 lbs of
marijuana near Brownsville. The subject and the contraband were turned
over to the Cameron Co. SO.
40. USBP Agents seized 689.5 lbs of marijuana near the Rio Grande River west
of Brownsville. Several subjects absconded back to Mexico. The contraband
was turned over to DEA.
41. USBP Agents arrested one USC and seized 12.4 lbs of cocaine and a 2000
Nissan Xterra at the Highway 77 (Sarita) Checkpoint. The subject, the
vehicle and the contraband were turned over to DEA.
42. USBP Agents arrested four USCs and seized 7.8 lbs of marijuana, five
dosage units (pills) of Ecstasy, a small amount of cocaine and a 1990 Ford
Tempo at the Highway 77 (Sarita) Checkpoint. The subjects, the vehicle and
the contraband were turned over to the Kenedy Co. SO.
43. USBP Agents arrested two USCs and seized a small amount of marijuana, a
S&W .40 caliber handgun and a 2008 Nissan Altima at the Highway 77
(Sarita) Checkpoint. The weapon was found in the trunk of the vehicle. The
subjects, the weapon, the marijuana and the vehicle were turned over to the
Kenedy Co. SO.
44. USBP Agents seized 925 lbs of marijuana and a 1994 Ford Windstar near
Madero in Hidalgo Co. Several subjects absconded to Mexico. The
contraband was turned over to DEA.
45. USBP Agents seized 1,027 lbs of marijuana in a 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe
found abandoned near La Joya. The contraband was turned over to DEA.
The vehicle was seized by CBP.
Daily Summary for 3/22/2010

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46. USBP Agents seized 349 lbs of marijuana and a 1998 Toyota Camry near
McAllen. The vehicle and the contraband were turned over to DEA.
47. USBP Agents seized 795 lbs of marijuana and a 2003 Jeep Liberty near
Penitas in Hidalgo Co. The driver absconded to Mexico. The contraband
was turned over to DEA.
48. USBP Agents seized 3 lbs of marijuana while performing a passenger bus
inspection in McAllen. The contraband was turned over to DEA.
49. USBP Agents seized 139 lbs of marijuana found abandoned near the Rio
Grande River in La Joya. The contraband was turned over to DEA.
50. USBP Agents seized 485 lbs of marijuana found abandoned near the Rio
Grande River in Hidalgo. The contraband was turned over to DEA.
51. USBP Agents seized 470 lbs of marijuana and a 2000 Infinity Q45 near
Granjeno in Hidalgo Co. The driver absconded to Mexico. The vehicle and
the contraband were turned over to DEA.
52. USBP Agents seized 45 lbs of marijuana and a 1996 Mercury Villager near
Madero in Hidalgo Co. The driver absconded to Mexico. The vehicle and the
contraband were turned over to DEA.
53. USBP Agents seized 5 lbs of marijuana during a canine inspection of
packages at a shipping facility in Pharr. The contraband was turned over to
DEA.
54. USBP Agents seized 338 lbs of marijuana found abandoned near the Rio
Grande River near Fronton in Starr Co. Several subjects absconded to
Mexico. The contraband was turned over to DEA.
55. USBP Agents seized 115 lbs of marijuana found abandoned near the Rio
Grande River in Rio Grande City. The contraband was turned over to DEA.
56. USBP Agents seized 359 lbs of marijuana found abandoned near the Rio
Grande River near Fronton in Starr Co. The contraband was turned over to
DEA.
57. USBP Agents seized 20 lbs of marijuana while performing a passenger bus
inspection in Roma. The contraband was turned over to DEA.
58. USBP Agents seized 168 lbs of marijuana abandoned near La Grulla in
Starr Co. The contraband was turned over to DEA.
59. USBP Agents arrested one non-immigrant visitor and seized 205 lbs of
marijuana and a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am near Rio Grande City. The subject,
the contraband and the vehicle were turned over to DEA.

Coastal 60. Jim Wells Co. SO recovered a vehicle reported stolen out of Houston
Bend following a bailout on Hwy 281.
Sector 61. Jim Wells Co. SO detained 16 referrals following an attempted traffic stop
and bailout. The subjects were turned over to USBP. A TPWD Game
Warden assisted.
62. Goliad Co. SO and Jackson Co. SO reported incidents involving the theft of
copper wiring at transmission towers in the two counties. The incidents
remain under investigation.
63. Corpus Christi PD arrested a subject for aggravated assault with a deadly
weapon after responding to a disturbance call.
64. DPS AVN provided assistance to the San Patricio Co. SO following a
bailout. Six referrals were detained. The subjects were turned over to
USBP.
Daily Summary for 3/22/2010

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65. USBP Agents seized 51.2 lbs of marijuana while performing a passenger
bus inspection at the Highway 77 (Sarita) Checkpoint. The contraband was
turned over to the Kleberg Co. SO.
66. USCG Officers detained two referrals who were onboard a vessel in the
Lavaca Channel near Port O’Connor. The subjects were turned over to
CBP.

El Paso 67. El Paso Co. SO arrested a subject for possession of cocaine following a
Sector traffic stop.
68. El Paso Co. SO recovered a stolen vehicle. The vehicle was found
abandoned at a local business.
69. El Paso PD arrested a subject for possession of marijuana and on
outstanding warrants following a traffic stop.
70. El Paso PD arrested two subjects for possession of cocaine following two
traffic stops.
71. El Paso PD seized 17 Ecstasy pills, three Diazepam pills and a small
amount of marijuana at a residence. Three subjects were arrested.
72. El Paso PD arrested a former “Barrio Azteca” gang member for theft and on
outstanding warrants.
73. El Paso PD arrested a “Varrio Glenwood Street” gang member on
outstanding warrants following a traffic stop.
74. El Paso PD arrested a “Barrio Azteca” gang member on outstanding
warrants.
75. El Paso PD arrested two subjects who were involved in a narcotics
transaction. Officers seized 0.14 lbs of marijuana. One of the subjects was
a “Los Stones De Luga” gang member.
76. El Paso PD seized three handguns, a small amount of marijuana and a
small amount of cocaine during the execution of a search warrant. Four
subjects were arrested.
77. El Paso PD arrested a subject for possession of a prohibited weapon (a
sawed-off 12 gauge shotgun). Officers also seized a .22 cal. rifle, a
machete, a knife, a hockey mask and several boxes of ammunition.
78. El Paso PD recovered six stolen vehicles.
79. El Paso PD arrested 19 subjects on outstanding warrants.
80. El Paso PD arrested a subject for burglary of a vehicle and on outstanding
warrants.
81. El Paso PD arrested a subject on theft charges at a local business. The
subject also had outstanding warrants.
82. El Paso PD arrested a subject for possession of methamphetamine and for
theft.
83. El Paso PD seized two Molotov cocktails at a residence. One subject was
arrested.
84. El Paso PD arrested two “Golden Boys” gang members for possession of
two pairs of brass knuckles.
85. El Paso PD arrested one “Los Ortiz Brothers” gang member for spray
painting graffiti on a wall.
86. Socorro PD arrested a subject for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
and for terroristic threats.
87. CBP Officers seized 35.49 lbs of marijuana at the Paso Del Norte Bridge
Daily Summary for 3/22/2010

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POE. One subject was arrested. The contraband was concealed inside the
fuel tank on the subject’s vehicle.
88. CBP Officers seized a total of 68.73 lbs of marijuana in two incidents at the
Ysleta POE. Two subjects were arrested. In both incidents the contraband
was concealed inside the fuel tanks on the vehicles.
89. USBP Agents arrested two illegal aliens from Mexico and seized 93.8 lbs of
marijuana near Fort Hancock. The subjects and the contraband were turned
over to the Hudspeth Co. SO.
90. USBP Agents seized 31.2 lbs of marijuana found abandoned near the Rio
Grande River near Fort Hancock. The contraband was turned over to the
Hudspeth Co. SO.
91. USBP Agents arrested one illegal alien from Mexico near El Paso. The
subject was a “Barrio Azteca” gang member and had identifying tattoos. The
subject had an extensive criminal history and had been previously removed
from the US. The subject was processed for prosecution and removal.

Marfa 92. USBP Agents arrested four illegal aliens from Mexico and seized 235.4 lbs
Sector of marijuana and a 1989 Lincoln Town Car after several of the subjects
walked the contraband around the Highway 67 Checkpoint (near Marfa) and
were picked up by the vehicle. The subjects, the vehicle and the contraband
were turned over to DEA.
93. USBP Agents seized 44.63 lbs of marijuana while performing a passenger
bus inspection at the IH-10 Checkpoint near Sierra Blanca. The contraband
was turned over to the Hudspeth Co. SO.
94. USBP Agents arrested an out-of-status subject from the Philippines near
Sierra Blanca. NTC reported no additional derogatory information. The
subject was processed for removal.
95. USBP Agents arrested three USCs and seized 0.19 lb of marijuana at the
IH-10 Checkpoint near Sierra Blanca. The subjects, the vehicle and the
contraband were turned over to the Hudspeth Co. SO.
96. USBP Agents seized 1.37 lb of abandoned marijuana on a commercial bus
at the IH-10 Checkpoint near Sierra Blanca. The contraband was turned
over to the Hudspeth Co. SO.
97. USBP Agents arrested one USC and seized 0.72 lb of marijuana, one rifle,
one handgun, and 63 rounds of ammo at the IH-10 Checkpoint near Sierra
Blanca. The subject, the marijuana, the firearms and the ammo were turned
over to the Hudspeth Co. SO.
98. USBP Agents arrested one USC and seized 0.12 lb of marijuana, one .22
rifle and 51 rounds of ammo at the IH-10 Checkpoint near Sierra Blanca.
The subject, the marijuana, the rifle and the ammo were turned over to the
Hudspeth Co. SO.
99. USBP Agents arrested three illegal aliens near Dryden in Terrell Co. The
subjects were processed for removal.

Del Rio 100. Dimmit Co. SO recovered a vehicle reported stolen out of Houston.
Sector 101. Maverick Co. SO detained one referral following a traffic stop. The subject
was turned over to USBP.
102. Uvalde Co. SO is investigating an aggravated assault incident and related
aggravated kidnapping incident.
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103. Val Verde Co. SO arrested two subjects on outstanding warrants while
working outbound operations at the Del Rio POE.
104. Zavala Co. SO arrested a subject for possession of drug paraphernalia and
driving with a suspended license.
105. USBP Agents seized 98.75 lbs of marijuana found abandoned near the Rio
Grande River near Eagle Pass. The contraband was turned over to DEA.
106. USBP Agents arrested two illegal aliens from Mexico and seized 113.1 lbs of
marijuana near the Rio Grande River near Del Rio. The subjects and the
contraband were turned over to DEA.
107. USBP Agents seized 340.49 lbs of marijuana found abandoned near the Rio
Grande River near Eagle Pass. The contraband was turned over to DEA.

New 108. USBP Agents assigned to the Deming, NM Station arrested two illegal aliens
Mexico from Mexico and seized 97 lbs of marijuana. The subjects and the
contraband were turned over to DEA.
109. USBP Agents assigned to the Las Cruces, NM Station arrested one USC
and seized a loaded 9mm handgun at the Checkpoint on IH-25 near Las
Cruces. A service canine alerted to the vehicle and a subsequent search
revealed the weapon under the driver's seat. Record checks revealed the
subject had served a 13 year sentence for second-degree murder. New
Mexico State Police assumed custody of the subject. The subject was
charged with “felon in possession of a firearm” and concealment of identity.
110. USBP Agents assigned to the Deming, NM Station arrested two illegal aliens
from Mexico. One of the subjects admitted that he was a “Sureno 13” gang
member and had identifying tattoos and had been previously removed from
the US. Both subjects were processed for removal.

Statewide 111. DPS seized 18.16 lbs of cocaine following a traffic stop near Conway in
(Texas) Carson Co. One subject was arrested. One juvenile subject was turned
over to Child and Protective Services. The contraband was concealed
inside a false compartment in the floor of the vehicle.
112. DPS seized 124 lbs of marijuana following a traffic stop near Conway in
Carson Co. Two subjects were arrested. The contraband was concealed
inside a false compartment in the floor of the vehicle.
113. DPS seized 12 lbs of cocaine, 103 lbs of marijuana, 104 Ecstasy pills and
one stolen handgun during the execution of a search warrant in Red Oak in
Ellis Co. Two subjects were arrested. Red Oak PD assisted.
114. DPS seized 9,000 Xanax and Hydrocodone pills following a traffic stop near
Baytown in Harris Co. One subject was arrested. The contraband was
concealed inside the back passenger side door panel.
115. DPS seized 100 lbs of marijuana following a traffic stop near Baytown in
Harris Co. One subject was arrested. The contraband was found inside two
trash bags in the trunk of the vehicle.
116. DPS seized 3.50 lbs of methamphetamine following a traffic stop near
Shamrock in Wheeler Co. Two subjects were arrested. The contraband was
concealed inside the liner of an ice chest.
117. DPS seized $175,200 in US currency following a traffic stop near San
Marcos in Hays Co. One subject was arrested.

Daily Summary for 3/22/2010

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Open El Paso Times, March 20, 2010


Source 28 Held In Move Against Azteca Gangs
Media EL PASO -- Federal agents arrested 28 people on charges of possession of
cocaine, auto theft and possession of marijuana and weapons Thursday and
Friday in one of the city's largest law enforcement operations. The sweep,
called Operation Knock Down, was prompted by the murders of three people
with ties to the U.S. Consulate in Juárez. The FBI and DEA want to generate
leads in the killings. The federal agencies have interrogated 200 Barrio
Azteca gang members. Mexican officials said they suspect that the Aztecas
gang of Juárez might have been involved in the shootings. The Juárez-
based Aztecas and El Paso-based Barrio Azteca gangs are brother
organizations that carry out killings for the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes' Juárez
drug cartel. The names of those arrested were not released because of the
ongoing investigation.

MetroSource News, March 20, 2010


Seven Charged In Related Cases Of Drug Seizure, Murder
(El Paso, TX) -- Seven men are facing charges in connection with a border
drug bust that allegedly led to the kidnapping and murder of a man.
Authorities have arrested and charged the defendants, including some
Mexican citizens living in Texas. Four of them have been charged with
conspiracy with intent to distribute marijuana in connection with the August
2009 seizure of nearly 700 pounds of marijuana at the Sierra Blanca
checkpoint. The three other defendants are charged with kidnapping,
conspiracy to kidnap and use of an interstate communication facility for
murder for hire. The three allegedly kidnapped Sergio Saucedo from his
home in Horizon City, Texas, and took him to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where
he was murdered and mutilated in retaliation for the loss of the marijuana
load seized at the border. If convicted, the defendants face prison time and
fines.

CNN, March 21, 2010


Four more arrested in Juarez house party massacre
The Mexican military has arrested four more people connected to the killings
of 15 people at a January house party in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, bringing
the total to seven suspects arrested and one killed, according to documents
from the Mexican attorney general's office obtained by CNN. Last Sunday
the Mexican military, in connection with federal police, arrested Heriberto
Martinez, a self-proclaimed member of the Aztecas, a Juarez street gang
that acts as the Juarez cartel's enforcers in the city. State prosecutors say
Martinez committed at least four killings and acted as a lookout during the
house party massacre in Villas de Salvarcar, a southern suburb of Juarez, in
the early morning hours of January 31. The house party slayings of 15
people, most of whom were students with no ties to organized crime, has
sparked outrage across the country. The slayings are thought by officials to
be the result of bad intelligence by the cartel and by the gang that carried
out the killings. Another one of the four arrested recently was Luis Alberto
Camacho Ramos, alias "El Shoker" or "El Flaco," who according to
documents obtained by CNN confessed to participating in the house party
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killings. Ramos, along with admitted drug cartel member Jesus Bustos
Renteria, was arrested in the beginning of March, according to the
documents. The documents obtained Saturday, forwarded exclusively to
CNN by someone close to the investigation, show that at least one of the
four men recently arrested -- Alfredo Arias, alias "Arnold" -- was signaled out
during testimony by Aldo Favio Hernandez Lozano, alias "El 18." Lozano
was a municipal police officer arrested last month who state prosecutors say
was a hit man in the January killings. During testimony, Lozano said it was
Arias who originally called him to order the house party hit. Arias also
supplied the weapons for the killings, Lozano said during testimony. Arias
had been sought in connection with a different killing. Six people, including
26-year-old U.S. Air Force Airman David Booher, died in a November 2009
shooting carried out at a strip club in Juarez, according to Juarez Mayor
Jose Reyes Ferriz. In a press release last week by the Chihuahua State
Attorney General's Office, Arias was identified as the gunman in the strip-
club shooting through surveillance video taken at the club. Still photos
included in the documents obtained by CNN show a man who resembles
Arias, wearing a hat and hooded sweatshirt, removing a gun from his waist
band and opening fire shortly after entering the club. Arias was caught on
March 16, while driving his son in the colony of Plutarco Elias Calles. In his
possession, according to officials, were dozens of rounds of ammunition and
at least 3 guns, including an assault rifle commonly known in Mexico as "un
cuerno de chivo" or "goat's horn" because of the gun's banana shaped clip.
It is the weapon of choice for drug cartel members in Juarez. According to
the press release, Arias was also the apparent leader of the drug cell "Los
Linces," and it was that cell that ordered the killing on January 31 in
southern Juarez. Another man identified as the mastermind behind the
killings -- Adrian Ramirez Armendariz, alias "El Rama" -- was killed by the
Mexican military days after the house party killings. Arias "was at one time in
U.S. custody, but was later deported to Juarez," Reyes said. "It really
underscores the fact that many of the criminals we have in Juarez were
illegal aliens in the U.S. that have been deported from the U.S. into Juarez."
Reyes said in recent years as many as 100,000 Mexican nationals living
illegally in the United States have been deported to Juarez, just across the
border from El Paso, Texas. "We did a study of the killings during an isolated
period recently and cross-referenced to the date we have of deportation. We
found that 10 percent of those killed in previous months from the time we
made this study actually had been deported within the last two years from
the U.S. to Juarez." CNN could not immediately authenticate whether or not
Arias was at one time in U.S. custody. On Sunday, Reyes told CNN he was
looking forward to meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she
visits Mexico this week. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet
Napolitano also is scheduled to visit Mexico this week. The announcement
of the arrests comes on the same weekend a funeral was held in El Paso for
two of the three people associated with the U.S. consulate in Juarez who
were killed last week after they left a social gathering. Reyes said last week
that authorities believe those slayings were carried out by the Barrio Azteca
drug gang. No motive has been revealed, and no arrests have been made.
About 200 U.S. federal, state and local authorities interviewed more than
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100 Barrio Azteca members and associates in El Paso and southern New
Mexico on Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2010


Cartel wars gut Juarez, a onetime boomtown
CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico—This violent border city is turning into a ghost
town. Bloodshed from Mexico's warring drug cartels has sent those with
means fleeing this former boomtown. Restaurants have moved north to
Texas. The dentists who served Americans with their cheap procedures
have taken their equipment south. Even the music is dying here. "The
musicians haven't left yet, but they do their shows in El Paso now," says
Alfonso Quiñones, a Juárez concert promoter who is trying to organize a
jazz festival in the city. No solid number exists for the exodus, a matter of
debate among Juárez's leaders. But the city's planning department
estimates 116,000 homes are now abandoned. Measured against the
average household size of the last census, the population who inhabited the
empty homes alone could be as high as 400,000 people, representing one-
third of the city before the violence began. That would mark one of Mexico's
largest single exoduses in decades. "The problem is that we don't have the
rule of law here," says Lucinda Vargas, an economist who runs a civic group
called Plan Estratégico de Juárez. Juárez finds itself in the crossfire
between two rival drug gangs, the local Juárez cartel and the powerful
Sinaloa cartel, both of whom want to control the city to smuggle drugs into
the U.S., the world's biggest drug-consuming market, and capture a lucrative
and growing local drug market. In 2008, roughly 1,600 people were killed
here, up from a few hundred annually in previous years. President Felipe
Calderón decided to send federal police and some 7,000 troops to quell the
dispute. The move hasn't worked: Last year, the death toll reached 2,600
people, making it Mexico's most violent city. There have been an estimated
500 homicides this year. The latest high-profile blow to the city came on
March 13, when three people associated with the U.S. Consulate in Juárez
were gunned down in an incident that drew outrage from presidents on both
side of the border. Juárez isn't alone in its troubles with drug gangs, which
operate with near complete impunity in much of northern and western
Mexico. On Friday, residents of Mexico's northern business capital,
Monterrey, awoke to nightmarish traffic after heavily armed men believed to
be linked to drug gangs commandeered several trucks and buses and used
them to block eight strategic traffic points around the city. Juárez's gradual
emptying has been hastened and deepened by a recession in a border
economy that is hogtied to that of the U.S. Just 2½ years ago, Juárez was
one of Mexico's engines of growth, a magnet of manufacturing with an easy
entry point into the U.S. The North American Free Trade Agreement had
helped to expand Juárez into the base for assembly plants that accepted
parts for everything from consumer electronics to plush toys, and shipped
the finished products back to America tariff-free. Since 2005, 10,600
businesses—roughly 40% of Juárez's businesses—have closed their doors,
according to the country's group representing local chambers of commerce.
Ciudad Juárez's new reality is told on its empty streets. Along residential
block in a subdivision called Villas de Salvarcar, hardly a home appears left
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occupied. "I don't know when they left," said a woman selling clothes in a
garage sale for her few remaining neighbors. She declined to give her name,
simply pointing to the block behind her where 15 teenagers were killed on
Jan. 31 while they watched a football game. The massacre was a case of
mistaken identity: Drug gangs had been targeting another party, authorities
later said. Down the street, the bloodstained walls of the home had been
washed clean a few days ago, residents said. But bullet holes remained in
the walls and neighbors nervously kicked at the dirt as a police car,
permanently stationed along the block, rolled by. The rising towers of El
Paso, visible from downtown Juárez, offer a stark contrast along with a
promise of security just across the border bridge. Among those with a home
in El Paso is Juárez's mayor, José Reyes Ferriz. Mr. Reyes uses the home
only for his work as an attorney on the other side of the border, his
spokesman said. But he added: "It's very common to have a [second] house
in El Paso." Guillermo Marcedo, 70 years old, keeps to one side of the
border. Born in Juárez, he now drives a taxi in El Paso. Like many of his
colleagues, he will rarely take clients to Mexico, fearing an attack.
Having arrived in the 1990s when the border had been quiet, Mr. Marcedo
has moved as many relatives as he can into the U.S. "I had to think of my
family," he says from behind the wheel on a recent day. Two weeks ago, the
last member of his immediate circle, a son who works as a psychologist for
the Juárez government, received permission from the U.S. to make the
move. Not all who want to leave, especially the poor, have been so lucky.
With bank loans more difficult to get and mortgage interest rates high, the
Texas town has fallen out of reach for even some well-heeled Mexicans. "A
lot of them do not have established credit [because] they had no intention of
ever living here," says Sandie Leal, an El Paso real-estate agent who
recently struggled to cobble together bank statements and other documents
for a Mexican client. The client was offered an interest rate of 9%, Ms. Leal
says, which he turned down, but has opted to rent in the city. Whether they
rent or buy across the border, much of the town's middle class has left it,
says Oscar Cantú, publisher of the local newspaper El Norte. Two weeks
ago he sent reporters knocking door-to-door in the town's wealthy
neighborhoods, and says they turned up roughly 3,000 empty homes.
"There was a lot of speculation about how many people had gone—we
counted," he said. In one such subdivision, residents had scrawled graffiti,
pleading with the government for help. "Defend us, I want to live," says one.
"We had been the hope, the light," reads another. "Don't lie to us, Calderón."
It remains to be seen when—if ever—Juárez's departed residents return.
Ms. Vargas, the economist, expects many will cross back from El Paso
when the drug situation calms and the economy picks up. "They're waiting it
out," she says. But for his part, Mr. Marcedo, the driver, says he intends to
die in the United States.

CNN, March 20, 2010


Drug criminals block roads in Mexico
Five presumed drug gang members and one soldier were killed in shootouts
Thursday and Friday after criminals blocked thoroughfares in two northern
Mexico states to prevent military reinforcements from arriving, authorities
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said. The criminals used cars, transit buses and tractor-trailers to block
roads and streets in the states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon in
northeastern Mexico, said an official with the Nuevo Leon public security
office. The official was briefed on the incidents but declined to be named
because she is not allowed to speak for the department. Three gang
members were killed Thursday in Tamaulipas and two died early Friday in
the city of Monterrey, in Nuevo Leon, the official said. One soldier was killed
and four wounded in the Tamaulipas confrontation, the security official said.
Two of the road blocks happened Thursday and five more were set up
before dawn Friday, the official said. All were cleared within a matter of
hours. The area, which borders Texas, has seen bloody fighting between the
Zetas and Gulf cartels after a recent gangland slaying. Hours-long gun
battles are common, and U.S. officials were recently forced to temporarily
close the consulate in the city of Reynosa.

KRGV, Channel 5 News, Rio Grande Valley, Marcy 21, 2010


Deadly clash in Sinaloa
SINALOA, MEXICO - More people have fallen victim to the drug violence in
Mexico. Last night, a clash among armed men left eight people dead in the
Pacific coast state of Sinaloa. The bodies of seven men were found inside
two cars along a highway between the cities of Culiacan and Mazatlan. An
eighth victim was found nearby dressed in a fake federal police uniform.

KRGV, Channel 5 News, Rio Grande Valley, March 20, 2010


Shootout in Monterrey
MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) - A shootout in the northern city of Monterrey
killed two suspected drug cartel gunmen and wounded a soldier Friday.
Suspected gang members also blocked roads in the city for the second day,
in a bold attempt to impede security patrols. Gunmen opened fire on an
army patrol outside the gates of the Tecnológico de Monterrey, a prestigious
private university in Monterrey, Mexico's third-largest city and a major
industrial hub, the army said in a statement. Soldiers seized guns,
ammunition and hand grenades at the scene. The wounded soldier is in
stable condition. Gang members blocked more than 30 roads in the
Monterrey metropolitan area over 24 hours, including several leading out of
the city, said Nuevo Leon Public Safety Secretary Luis Carlos Trevino. He
said the blockades were intended to keep the military from carrying out
operations. Most suspects fled after parking the trucks and other vehicles
across the roads, but at least two were arrested, he said. Authorities towed
the cars away, the official said. The street blockades, a novel tactic, drive
home how imbued Mexico's drug war has become in the daily life of some
cities - and how audacious cartels have become in their battle against the
military and federal police. Two of the vehicles blocking the roads Thursday
were set on fire a few hundred yards (meters) from toll booths. The same
day, gunmen in a convoy of six vehicles opened fire on a navy helicopter on
a reconnaissance patrol in Fresnillo, outside of Monterrey. Marines aboard
the chopper returned fire, killing one of the gunmen. Separately, the navy
announced the capture of Alberto "bad Boy" Mendoza, suspected of being a
chief cartel operator linked to the Beltran Leyva gang and others in
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Monterrey. President Felipe Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of


soldiers and federal police across Mexico over three years in a U.S.-backed
campaign to crush brutal cartels battling each other for trafficking and drug-
dealing turf. Gang violence has since surged, claiming nearly 18,000 lives.
At least 40 soldiers have been arrested on drug trafficking charges and
another 38 have been accused of abuse against civilians, including torture
and killing, said Brig. Gen. Jose Luis Chavez, Mexico's top military
prosecutor. He said ongoing investigations may lead to the arrest of 50
more soldiers on abuse charges. To date, however, no soldier has been
convicted of abuse, prompting criticism from local and international human
rights groups, who also say Mexico should be trying soldiers accused of
human rights violations in civilian rather than military courts. Chavez
insisted the military does not systematically engage in abuse or corruption.
"Mistakes are inevitable when working in such a risky situation, in which your
life is in danger every day," Chavez said. "But mistakes must be punished."
In the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, meanwhile, police found the
skeletal remains of three people in a clandestine grave. Federal police said
they were led to the grave by an anonymous tip and would keep digging in
the area to seek more bodies. The identities of the people or how they died
were not known. Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, is
Mexico's most violent city. In the western state of Michoacan, a judge
ordered the release of yet another of 12 town mayors arrested last year for
suspected cartel ties. Zitacuaro Mayor Antonio Ixtlahuac was the eighth to
be freed for lack of evidence, a setback for Calderon's efforts to show
politicians are not immune to prosecution. The mayors have all maintained
their innocence. After nearly 10 months behind bars, Ixtlahuac walked out of
a prison outside the state capital of Morelia hours after the judge gave the
order. He smiled and told reporters he felt vindicated before driving off in a
black Mercedes Benz with several relatives.

KGNS, Channel 8 News, Laredo, March 19, 2010


Hebbronville Border Patrol Agents Seize Half A Ton Of Pot
Border patrol agents in Hebbronville seize a load of marijuana weighing in at
more than 1,000 pounds. The bust happened when agents were
investigating suspicious activity at a ranch. They came upon a truck parked
at one of the gates, and when they approached the truck to talk to the driver,
they detected the strong scent of marijuana. As the agents got closer, they
saw several cellophane-wrapped bundles under a rubber mat in the bed of
the truck. A thorough search of the truck revealed several more bundles
inside a bed-mounted toolbox and inside the cab. The 102 bundles weighed
in at just over 1, 142 pounds.

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