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JOINT TASK FORCE NORTH OPEN SOURCE REPORT
23 August 2010
(U) This document is UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY and portions may be exempt from mandatory disclosure under FOIA. DOD 5400.7R, "DoD Freedom of Information Act Program", DoD Directive 5230.9, "Clearance of DOD Information for Public Release", and DoD Instruction 5230.29, "Security and Policy Review of DOD Information for Public Release" apply. (U) FAIR USE NOTICE. This document may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making it available to recipients who have expressed an interest in receiving information to advance their understanding of threat activities in the interest of protecting the United States. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. (U) NOTE: This product may contain articles, or links to articles, containing USPER information that has been deemed necessary for the intended recipient to understand, assess, or act on the information provided. It should be handled in accordance with the recipient's intelligence oversight and information handling procedures.
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For further information on any item, please contact the JTF North J-2. Compiled and Edited by: CW3 Brian Woodworth Reviewed by: Mr. Bruce Truesdale Approved for Release by: Mr. Sotero G. Reyes CONTENTS: (Note: All active hyperlinks have been removed)
A. Further Details on Bear Lady’s Marijuana Farm in British Colombia B. Legal Ecstasy Causing Concern in Quebec C. Captain of Sun Sea Has Links to Tamil Tigers D. Ontario Police Nab Five in Human Smuggling Run SOUTHERN BORDER E. Stray Bullet Strikes University Building in El Paso, Texas F. Police Arrested in Nuevo Leon Mayor's Killing G. Statistics on Military Deaths in War against Drugs H. Rifles and Ammunition Seized at Lukeville Port of Entry I. Zeta Slashed His Own Throat But Survived J. Five Arrested in Zapopan, Jalisco K. Governor Asks for Reinforcements in Nuevo Leon L. Arizona Sheriff Creates Border-Crimes Unit CENTRAL and SOUTH AMERICA M. Key Venezuelan Drug Suspect Arrested in Colombia ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------A. FURTHER DETAILS ON BEAR LADY’S MARIJUANA FARM IN BRITISH COLOMBIA 19 August 2010 National Post It is common knowledge in Christina Lake in southeastern British Colombia that a local woman known as the ―Bear Lady‖ had befriended the wild animals at her remote cabin. But no one seemed to realize the bears were protecting what police describe as a million-dollar marijuana grow-op. Deep in B.C.’s bear country, a half-hour’s drive up a steep logging road in the foothills of the Rockies, RCMP and a local police detachment from Nelson, acting on a tip, converged on the ―Bear Lady’s‖ cabin in the Kootenay region. Investigators say they confiscated a million dollars’ worth of marijuana plants growing in the thick brush. But first they came upon at least 10 full-grown black bears lazing about the property. Police were taken aback at first, and one officer armed himself with a police shotgun in case the bears became aggressive, said RCMP Sergeant Fred Mansveld, whose team made the arrests. ―They soon realized [the bears] were very docile and very laid back, wandering throughout the property,‖ he said. Dog food had been left out for the bears, which seemed well-fed and posed no threat to the officers. With no interference from the bears, investigators removed between 1,000 and 1,100 marijuana plants valued at about $ 1 million from the property. They also found a pot-bellied pig in the
house and a raccoon sleeping on a bed. Provincial conservation officers are conducting their own investigation because it is illegal to keep or feed wildlife. The property owners, a man and woman in their early 50s, were arrested and later released. No names have been made public and the investigation continues. Many residents agreed that there were no hints of illegal activity in those hills, although marijuana cultivation is common in the region. You could live alone for years in the hills, although the population of Christina Lake swells to nearly 10,000 in summer months, when tourists flock to its beaches and rental cabins. Christina Lake is a remote area that is home to bears, elk, deer and mountain sheep. With just 1,500 year-round residents in the town, it’s the kind of place everyone knows everyone. No one was willing to give their name for this story, but most people had encountered the ―Bear Lady.‖ She lives a solitary life, driving her beat-up pickup down the hill into the town by the lake just once in a while to work at odd jobs. She mostly travels alone and many locals were unaware that she was married. The cabin where she lives with her husband may not have running water and she comes into town to wash and get supplies for the property, including the dog food, according to residents. But suggestions that she had used the bears as guard animals were dismissed as false. ―If she has a grow-op, that’s not why she [keeps the bears]. She feeds all the wildlife up there,‖ said one woman who has lived in Christina Lake for 30 years. ―She’s just different. People in their rational mind probably wouldn’t feed the bears. You’d probably try to avoid them. But she puts food out for them. She’s very much into thinking the bears are part of her friends. I don’t think she realizes they are not a domesticated animal.‖ Little is known about the woman’s life, although she is a long-time resident and a familiar sight. There is nothing unusual about her appearance, said one woman who has lived in Christina Lake for 15 years. ―She’s normallooking with some strange ideas, I guess…. She’s just a little eccentric. She’s kind of like a community figure.‖ One man, who used to own a bar and restaurant in town, had become friendly with the woman and said he was surprised by news of the arrest. He said that she was different but kind. ―She probably trusts [animals] more than humans. A lot of people do,‖ he said. He said she would pet and hold the animals on her property, including the bears. ―She’s kind of an oddball,‖ he said. ―I think she’s harmless enough.‖ RCMP Constable Dave Smith said the Kootenays have prime marijuana growing conditions. ―There’s a lot of pot in that area. It’s rural, it’s unoccupied… It’s hot, dry and there are a lot of areas where you can grow plants and nobody’s going to see it.‖ As for the animals, Dave Webster, the provincial conservation officer handling the animal issues said he is monitoring the situation and if the bears cannot reintegrate into the wild and display aggressive behavior in pursuit of food, they will be have to be destroyed. Source: [news.nationalpost.com/2010/08/19/b-c-marijuana-grow-op-discovered-with-at-least10-bears-on-property/#ixzz0x3QO3SUI] B. LEGAL ECSTASY CAUSING CONCERN IN QUEBEC 18 August 2010
Montreal Gazette The Quebec government is alerting the public of the dangerous side effects of mephedrone, billed as "legal ecstasy" in at least one Quebec City shop. The drug, which offers a high similar to ecstasy, has recently been the target of governments around the world. In the last eight months, France, Italy, Belgium and Germany have banned the substance. The Quebec City Health and Social Services Agency issued a health advisory Tuesday warning Quebecers of the dangerous and sometimes fatal side effects of the drug. The warning was prompted by the recent hospitalization of a young girl in Quebec City who was sent to the intensive care unit for severe intoxication from the drug. "As far as we know, it's the first case of this kind in Quebec," said agency spokeswoman Marianne Potvin. "The drug is very dangerous and we have a role to warn the public about dangerous substances." The news release urged Quebecers not to be fooled by packaging that touts it as a natural and legal substance, often sold as plant food in head shops. The drug is also available online from various websites. Users can experience many negative side effects, including nausea, vomiting, anxiety, paranoia, convulsions and hallucinations, according to the advisory. The drug, which became available in 2007, has so far caused two deaths, one in Sweden and one in England. Mephedrone can also lead to extreme thirst, prompting the user to drink too many fluids. Also referred to as water intoxication, this is what happened to the Quebec City girl. "The young girl was in a very severe state," said Pierre Auger, a doctor with the Quebec City public health department. "The substance she took made her really thirsty." He said the young girl is recovering and is "out of danger." The substance is illegal in Canada, but is regulated as a controlled substance because it is an analog of amphetamine, according to Health Canada spokesman Gary Scott Holub. "Unless authorized by regulation, all activities with mephedrone are prohibited in Canada," he said. The drug, known on the streets as M-cat or Meow Meow, is popular among clubbers and ravers. Its effects are similar to those of regular ecstasy, such as feelings of alertness and euphoria. "It's considered to be less strong than ecstasy," said Auger. "People take it and three or four hours later, (the high) is gone." Montreal Police said they have never had a case involving this substance. According to the health advisory, there is one business in Quebec City that sells the drug and police are currently investigating the location. No additional information was given about the business. Auger said mephedrone is part of the cathinone drug family found in the khat plant of eastern Africa. It can be snorted, taken orally or injected. Source: [www.montrealgazette.com/news/montreal/Legal+ecstasy+causing+concern+Quebec/3415148/st ory.html] C. CAPTAIN OF SUN SEA HAS LINKS TO TAMIL TIGERS 19 August 2010
Ottawa Citizen Although Canadian authorities are concerned some of the recently arrived migrants might be members of the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist group outlawed in Canada, Ottawa has been tight-lipped about any evidence it might have for this claim. Nor have this week's detention hearings shed any light on whether the MV Sun Sea was a human-smuggling ship or whether any Tamil Tigers were aboard. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has said the Thai cargo ship was part of a "broader criminal enterprise" and a "test boat" intended to gauge Ottawa's attitude toward refugees arriving by ship. Prime Minister Stephen Harper echoed those words Tuesday by stating that Ottawa "will not hesitate to strengthen the laws" in order to tackle the "trend" of would-be refugees arriving via human-smuggling ships. A more forthcoming source has been the Malay Mail newspaper, which reported this week that the commander of the Sun Sea is a man known as Capt. Vinod, who studied at the Malaysian Maritime Academy in Malacca during its early days. While in Malaysia, Vinod stayed in close contact with local financiers of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or Tamil Tigers, Singapore-based terrorism expert Prof. Rohan Gunaratna told the newspaper. He said Vinod had from the 1990s to 2009 worked with another Tamil Tiger cadre, Capt. Kamalraj Kandasamy, alias Capt. Kamal, to ship several tons of arms, ammunition and explosives from North Korea to Sri Lanka for the outlawed group to wage and sustain its terrorist campaign. Gunaratna told the paper that Kamal skippered the first Tamil refugee ship, Ocean Lady, which arrived in Canada last October. He added that while Kamal captained Ocean Lady, Vinod stayed in Thailand to buy the Sun Sea from a Thai company, on behalf of LTTE, to take advantage of Canada's weak response to the Ocean Lady. Chitranganee Wagiswara, the Sri Lankan high commissioner in Ottawa, told Postmedia News last week that Vinod was the Sun Sea's captain and a known Tamil Tiger involved in arms procurement. Source: [www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Captain+links+Tigers+Newspaper/3416827/story.html] D. ONTARIO POLICE NAB FIVE IN HUMAN SMUGGLING RUN 19 August 2010 Ottawa Citizen Amherstburg police officers nabbed five people — three children and two adults — attempting to enter Canada illegally by boat Thursday. The group, who said they had paid $ 2,000 to be transported across the Detroit River, claimed refugee status and have been turned over to officers with the RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency Source: [www.ottawacitizen.com/Ontario+police+five+human+smuggling/3417695/story.html] E. STRAY BULLET STRIKES UNIVERSITY BUILDING IN EL PASO, TEXAS 23 August 2010 El Paso Times
UTEP police believe a stray bullet from Saturday's shootout in Juárez may have hit a campus building, and El Paso police are investigating a report that a stray bullet from the incident struck a vehicle in El Paso. A single bullet struck Bell Hall on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso sometime Saturday night. UTEP police believe the bullet may be related to the shootout in Juárez. A single bullet struck the south door of Bell Hall, going through a glass panel in the door. The bullet was found embedded in an office doorframe. No one was injured. "This appears to be the only stray bullet to have struck the campus, and there is no evidence to suggest that UTEP was specifically targeted," said a college official in a statement. Both UTEP and El Paso police continue to investigate. "At this time, El Paso police have received one report of a vehicle possibly being struck by a stray bullet," El Paso police said Sunday in a statement. "Officers did check the surrounding area for any injuries or other property damage, but none was reported or located." A police spokesman said, ―We are still investigating whether the bullet, if it came from Juárez, struck a parked or moving vehicle.‖ At the request of the U.S. Border Patrol, police closed West Paisano Drive between Santa Fe Street and Executive Center Boulevard for about 30 minutes Saturday. Officials said the road was closed as a safety precaution because of a shootout that broke out about 5:45 p.m. in Juárez between Mexican law enforcement and armed suspects. One of the gunmen was killed and three police were injured in the firefight that led police to pursue the assailants through several neighborhoods near the U.S.-Mexico border. The gunfire was reported in four Juárez neighborhoods, roughly across the border from the 1700 to 1900 blocks of West Paisano, where the former Hacienda restaurant, and several apartments and homes are located. "Police came by Saturday and asked us to leave in case something happened, and we left," said a homemaker who lives in one of the apartment buildings that used to house Old Fort Bliss on West Paisano. "We left because we were concerned about the safety of our six children," who range in age from 2 to 9 years old. "This is not the first time stray bullets have worried us," she said. "A couple of months ago, someone on the Juárez side shot at the trash dumpsters behind the building. Another time, we heard bullets hit the towers next to the El Paso Rescue Mission." The El Paso properties are only several yards from the border in some places. A neighbor was in his front yard stirring a pot of pork cracklings. A Rottweiler stood guard next to him. "We worry about this all the time, but there isn't much we can do about stray bullets". A couple of weeks ago, we watched a man carrying an AK-47 standing across the border while three of his friends tried to cross illegally. That's why I keep this big dog here, in case someone tries to break into the house." Behind his house, Doniphan Park, with its new playground equipment and basketball court, was empty on Sunday afternoon. It lies directly across from the part of Juárez where Saturday's shooting took place. At least seven stray rounds struck the El Paso City Hall building during another shootout in Juárez on June 29, also between police and suspected organized criminals. The investigation into the source of the bullets continues. Also Saturday, unidentified gunmen killed two Juárez (assembly plant) workers in front of their assembly plant. The victims worked for Eaton Inc. in the Omega Industrial Park, west of Elias
Plutarco Calles Street. Authorities identified one of the employees as Aaron Aguilar Salazar, 35. The second employee, also a man, had not been identified. Police said the two men were about to enter their workplace when armed suspects suddenly showed up and opened fire on them. The shooters got away. The employees were among a dozen people who were killed in Saturday's spate of violence across the border. (…) More than 6,000 people have been murdered in the Juárez area since 2008 when a war began between the Juárez and Sinaloa drug cartels. Authorities said the tactics used by cartel gunmen are evolving with the inclusion of women in the warfare, including the hiring of female assassins. Mexican federal police said Azteca gang members in Juárez are carrying out killings accompanied by their wives or girlfriends in an effort to fool law enforcement officers while moving about the city. The revelation was made Sunday when officials announced several arrests, including suspected members of the Aztecas gang detained after police saw a pickup and a sport utility vehicle speeding on Avenida Ejercito Nacional. During a pursuit, occupants of one of the vehicles allegedly fired at police. Police seized a 9 mm handgun and arrested: Jaime Reyes Hernandez, 21, alias "El Junior" Maria Azucena Hinojosa, 21 Alejandro Medina Cano, 27 Jesus Campos Resendiz, 27 a 17-year-old boy Officials said a police patrol prevented a homicide in another incident. The encounter began when police noticed a car was following another vehicle. A person pointed a weapon at the driver of the vehicle being followed but the alleged would-be attackers drove away when they noticed police close by. Police arrested Tobias Alvarez, 30, and Jaime Gaytan Estrada, 40, after a shootout at a house. Police seized an AK-47, a .45-caliber handgun and six "bricks" of marijuana. In a third incident, police arrested Arturo Roman Chavez, 35, when officers saw him leaving his home after he had allegedly killed someone. Chavez allegedly fired a handgun at police but was stopped a few streets away. The dates of the recent arrests were not disclosed. It was another violent weekend in Juárez. There were 16 homicides Saturday and another 16 on Friday, according to information from Chihuahua state police. There had been at least one more homicide by Sunday afternoon. Source: [www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_15863324] Editorial Comment: This article has been edited. To view the full text of the article, remove the brackets from both ends of the source citation and cut and paste the URL into the web browser. F. POLICE ARRESTED IN NUEVO LEON MAYOR'S KILLING 20 August 2010
Associated Press MONTERREY, Nuevo Leon: Six city police officers were arrested Friday in the killing of a mayor in northern Mexico, as the country's escalating drug violence targets more public officials. The suspects included the officer who guarded the house where Santiago Mayor Edelmiro Cavazos was seized on Sunday. The officer said he was kidnapped with the mayor and later freed unharmed. The officers confessed to being involved in the Cavazos' killing, said Nuevo Leon state Attorney General Alejandro Garza y Garza, even though some declared their innocence while being presented to the press. "We are still looking for others who were involved as well," Garza y Garza said. The body of the 38-year-old mayor was found handcuffed and gagged Wednesday outside of his town, a popular weekend getaway for residents of the industrial city of Monterrey. One of the officers took part directly in the kidnapping, while the others kept watch on roads surrounding the mayor's home, said Adrian de la Garza Santos, director of the state investigations agency. Shortly after the kidnapping, the guard on duty told authorities he had been thrown in the trunk of one of the kidnappers' cars and driven around for 15 minutes before being dumped unharmed by the side of the road, De La Garza said. The guard is now accused of being involved, though he said Friday he is innocent. Cavazos' death comes amid increasing violence in the northeast of the country attributed to a dispute the Gulf cartel and its former allies, the Zetas. The Nuevo Leon attorney general did not indicated which gang may have been responsible in Cavazos' case, which has prompted authorities to call for more patrols by both the army and federal police in Nuevo Leon. Mauricio Fernandez, mayor of the San Pedro Garza Garcia, another town on the outskirts of Monterrey, said Cavazos had received death threats from gangs warning him to stay out of their way and had sought advice on how to handle the threats. Officials at the state attorney general's office said Cavazos had never informed authorities about any threats. Gen. Guillermo Moreno, who commands troops in Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas states, said the army did not received complaints from the mayor or requests for protection. (…) Source: [news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100820/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_drug_war_mexico] G. STATISTICS ON MILITARY DEATHS IN WAR AGAINST DRUGS 19 August 2010 El Universal Summary Translation of Spanish Source: CW3 Brian Woodworth A total of 191 military personnel have died in the battle against drug trafficking so far during the six year presidential term, according to an official report from the Department of National Defense (SEDENA). The names and ranks of each of them are among all of the 694 Army personnel who have died while serving since the beginning of the battle against drug trafficking (from 1976 to the present). Spanish Source: [www.eluniversal.com.mx/nacion/179809.html]
H. RIFLES AND AMMUNITION SEIZED AT LUKEVILLE PORT OF ENTRY 19 August 2010 Yuma Sun U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Lukeville Port of Entry (Arizona) stopped an attempt to smuggle assault rifles, along with magazines and ammunition, into Mexico. On Aug. 8, at approximately 6 p.m. while CBP officers were performing outbound inspections, they encountered a 35-year-old Mexican national driving a pickup loaded with a television and stove. The man was referred to a secondary inspection, which disclosed anomalies similar to weapons and ammunition. Subsequently, the subject was placed under arrest. After concurrence by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the television and stove were dismantled. The stove contained 11 packages of ammunition for assault rifles and the television contained 9 packages with four assault rifles and additional magazines. The subject was turned over to ICE for prosecution. Subsequent questioning resulted in a warrant being served by ICE agents on a home in Phoenix, which yielded the discovery of additional appliances that were modified for similar usage. ―This case demonstrates the commitment of both ICE and CBP to stop the flow of firearms from the United States into Mexico,‖ said an assistant special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Sells. ―As the result of this discovery by CBP and a follow-up investigation by ICE, there are now 15 weapons that won't make their way into the hands of the cartels and there is one less provider of weapons on our streets." (…) Source: [www.yumasun.com/news/lukeville-63254-weapons-ammo.html] I. ZETA SLASHED HIS OWN THROAT BUT SURVIVED 19 August 2010 The Brownsville Herald Jose Ezequiel Galicia Gonzalez, an alleged member of the Zetas criminal organization, was in federal court Wednesday for a competency hearing after he tried to kill himself with plastic cutlery. According to testimony given before a U.S. Magistrate Judge, Galicia used either a plastic knife or a plastic spoon to cut his wrists and then slit his throat. According to the defense attorney, Galicia almost succeeded and ended up in intensive care. The attorney stated that Galicia might suffer from a mental disease or defect and requested a psychiatric evaluation. Galicia will be evaluated by a court-appointed psychiatrist on Friday. Court documents don’t state when the suicide attempt took place, but the attorney filed a motion for the hearing on Aug. 12. Galicia is being held on a charge of illegal re-entry to the United States and was arrested on July 23, along with Oscar Castillo Flores, also known as Arturo Castillo and nicknamed ―El Apache,‖ and Luis Alberto Blanco Flores, known as ―El Pelochas,‖ court documents show. Galicia and the two other men are under the custody of the U.S. Marshals in lieu of $ 25,000 bail. The group was
caught during an operation involving U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI, the U.S. Border Patrol and Brownsville police, the ICE spokeswoman said. After the men conclude their pending legal matters, they will be extradited to Mexico, she has said. During his hearing, a shackled Galicia, wearing khaki pants and a blue shirt, told the judge that it was all a misunderstanding and he was not trying to kill himself. He stated that he was just trying to get a hold of his wife. Galicia, speaking in a raspy voice in Spanish, said that he and his wife had been hiding in the Rio Grande Valley. He said that after unknown individuals burned down his house in Mexico, she wanted to go there to recover their possessions. ―It wasn’t safe to go to Mexico,‖ Galicia said. ―My father was abducted, and they burned my house. I didn’t want her to go. Before I had gotten arrested I told her I was going to take her to McAllen to buy stuff for the house, but since I got arrested I haven’t been able to get in touch with her. I remembered the forms that had the phone number to call in case of emergency. I wanted to go to the hospital to get in touch with her and tell her not to go.‖ When asked by the judge if he had succeeded, Galicia stated he had gotten in touch with her. However, he added that he was paying for it dearly because he was being held in solitary confinement and was under suicide watch. According to a Mexican law enforcement official who asked that his name not be released, Galicia worked for Castillo. The official said Castillo was the leader a group of Zeta hitmen who are responsible for the recent shootouts in Matamoros, including an attack in June at the city’s Municipal Police Station where seven police officers were killed. The Zetas began as a group of Mexican Special Forces who switched sides and became the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel. In February, the Zetas split from the Gulf Cartel split and began a bloody dispute over territories and drug trade routes. According to a source with firsthand knowledge of criminal activity in Mexico, who for security reasons asked not to be identified, Castillo’s older brother, ―El Beto Fabe,‖ was the head of the Gulf Cartel in Matamoros but cooperated with the Zetas by letting Castillo operate there. According to the source, after Beto Fabe was killed last May supposedly under orders of Gulf Cartel bosses, his brother and a group of hitmen – including Blanco and Galicia — began openly attacking Gulf Cartel and police assets. A few days after the trio’s arrest in Brownsville, 15 bodies with signs of torture were dropped along a Matamoros highway. Each of the bodies reportedly had a large ―Z‖ painted on its back, and sources have said the men were part of Castillo’s group. At around the same time, the Mexican navy announced that it had arrested 12 Zetas at a motel in San Fernando, all of whom were also part of Castillo’s group. Authorities have said those 12 were among the 14 men killed two weeks ago in violence at the Matamoros state prison. Source: [www.brownsvilleherald.com/articles/galicia-115649-court-plastic.html] J. FIVE ARRESTED IN ZAPOPAN, JALISCO 18 August 2010
Informador Military personnel in Military Zone XV arrested five people in Zapopan, Jalisco. Based on a tip from the public, military personnel from the 14th Infantry Battalion went to 25 Donato Morales Street in Colonia San Isidro Ejidal where they arrested: Leonel López Pineda, age 38 César Rodríguez Ayala, age 27 Gustavo Adolfo Cortés Rosales, age 26 Daniel Pérez Godínez, age 24 Juan Chaires Soto, age 61 Military personnel seized 1.5 kilos of marijuana, 3 handguns, magazines, $ 300.00 dollars, a grey 2008 vehicle with plates JHL4553 from Jalisco, a gram scale, and a passport in the name of Manuel Brambila Limón. Summary Translation of Spanish Source: [www.informador.com.mx/jalisco/2010/226465/6/incautan-droga-armas-cargadores-y-cartuchosen-zapopan.htm] K. GOVERNOR ASKS FOR REINFORCEMENTS IN NUEVO LEON 19 August 2010 Az Starnet The kidnapped mayor of a northern Mexican town was found dead Wednesday, extending a rash of deadly attacks on political figures in an area besieged by drug gang battles. Santiago Mayor Edelmiro Cavazos' body was found near a waterfall outside his town, a popular weekend getaway for residents of the industrial city of Monterrey, said Nuevo Leon state attorney general Alejandro Garza y Garza. Police have not determined a motive, but the assassination bore the hallmarks of drug cartels waging vicious turf battles in northeastern Mexico: Cavazos' hands were bound and his head was wrapped in tape. Garza y Garza suggested it was a drug-gang hit, saying Cavazos participated in state security meetings and was "showing his face in the fight against organized crime." However, Cavazos had not made any dramatic security decisions since taking office in November 2009, said Jorge Santiago Flores, the local president of the mayor's National Action Party. Gov. Rodrigo Medina appealed to the federal government to send reinforcements to the state and in a full-page newspaper ad Wednesday, Nuevo Leon business leaders called on authorities to act together to reduce insecurity in the region. The ad by the CAINTRA chamber of commerce called for three army divisions and a division of the marines to be sent to the state. Cavazos, 38, was kidnapped from his home Sunday night by 15 armed men wearing uniforms from a defunct federal police force, a tactic frequently used by Mexico's drug gangs. Garza y Garza said the gunmen arrived in seven vehicles with police patrol lights. When Cavazos and his security guard went to see what was going on, the assailants forced them into the cars. The security guard was
driven around for about 15 minutes and released unharmed by the side of a road, Garza y Garza said. The guard then reported the kidnapping to police. Nuevo Leon Gov. Rodrigo Medina said he would press for more federal soldiers and police in the state. In June, gunmen ambushed and killed the leading gubernatorial candidate for Tamaulipas state, which neighbors Nuevo Leon, a week before the elections. A mayoral candidate in Tamaulipas was killed in May. A total of 191 soldiers have been killed fighting drug gangs between December 2006 and Aug. 1, 2010, according to a list of names on a wall of a Defense Department anti-narcotics museum. Source: [azstarnet.com/news/local/border/article_37f97925-6b87-52b2-ae03a107dc508c2b.html] L. ARIZONA SHERIFF CREATES BORDER-CRIMES UNIT 19 August 2010 Arizona Daily Star The Cochise County Sheriff's Office has created a border-crime unit. The six-deputy Border Interdiction Unit began work last week to disrupt criminal activity in border areas and investigate crime associated with illegal immigrants, said a spokeswoman. The Sheriff's Office will use $ 1.5 million in Homeland Security funds that came from (the Governor’s) office to outfit the team with personal safety gear, weapons, two all-terrain vehicles and six four-wheel-drive SUVs. The six deputies chosen were already working for the Sheriff's Office, and their previous positions will not be filled. They won't be able to work around the clock, but the unit should be able to augment the regular patrols of the 80 other deputies in the county. The team will work heavily trafficked areas where burglaries, thefts and other crimes have occurred, such as the Portal area near the New Mexico line. Rancher Robert Krentz was found killed in this area on March 27. Working Friday on the border between Douglas and Bisbee, the unit spotted two ultralight aircraft trying to cross into the U.S. One never took off and the other landed while still in Mexico. The Pima County Sheriff's Department has employed a border- crimes unit since April 2007. Source: [azstarnet.com/news/local/border/article_0cd9e125-0aeb-58e1-9090-9cf16a7f7faf.html] M. KEY VENEZUELAN DRUG SUSPECT ARRESTED IN COLOMBIA 20 August 2010 Associated Press A prominent Venezuelan drug trafficking suspect who has been branded a major kingpin by the U.S. government was arrested in Colombia, police said Friday. Venezuelan Walid Makled Garcia was among several alleged smugglers named "significant foreign narcotics traffickers" last year by President Barack Obama. The White House requested sanctions against Makled
under a law known as the Kingpin Act, which prohibits all transactions between traffickers and U.S. companies and individuals, and freezes any assets in the U.S. Makled was arrested Thursday in the city of Cucuta near the Venezuelan border, Colombian national police director Gen. Oscar Naranjo said. He said Makled accumulated a fortune through an alliance with rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Due to Makled's alliance with the FARC, "they managed to introduce more than 10 tons of drugs a month into the United States and Europe," Naranjo said. Makled is wanted by a New York court and is to be extradited to the United States, Naranjo said at a news conference where police led the handcuffed suspect past reporters. An irate Makled proclaimed his innocence and said the accusations are a plot against him. Asked about killings in which he is implicated, he said: "Do I have the face of a killer?" Naranjo called the arrest an important counter-drug victory for Colombian and U.S. authorities, saying the Venezuelan legal system also contributed. Venezuelan prosecutors, meanwhile, announced they are also asking a court to approve an extradition request. Venezuelan authorities issued an arrest order for Makled last year through Interpol, prosecutors said in a statement Friday. Makled has been wanted in Venezuela since November 2008, when authorities seized cocaine at a ranch he owned. Three brothers, Abdala, Alex and Basel, were arrested in the case, prosecutors said. Makled is implicated in Venezuela in two killings, including that of journalist Orel Zambrano, a newspaper columnist who was slain in January 2009 by two gunmen on a motorcycle. Venezuelan police have accused Makled of being behind the slaying. Zambrano had been covering drug cases in which the Makled family was accused of involvement. Venezuelan authorities also suspect Makled had links to the killing of Francisco Larrazabal, a veterinarian involved in horse racing. Naranjo called the 43-year-old Makled — the son of a Syrian immigrant — a "pseudo businessman," saying his money came from drugs rather than legitimate operations run by him and his family, including the Venezuelan airline Aeropostal. The family also had a warehousing business at Puerto Cabello, Venezuela's biggest port. Naranjo said Colombian authorities believe Makled also had a role in the 2008 killing of Wilber Varela, alias "Jabon," or "Soap," one of Colombia's most-wanted traffickers. Varela was found shot to death in the Venezuelan city of Merida. In a letter published in Venezuelan newspapers in March 2009, Makled said he was in "forced exile" and denied involvement in Zambrano's killing. "I'm not a murderer, and I'm not a thief, I'm not a cheater, I'm not a drug trafficker," he wrote. Source: [www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gHy4dqjcPsUgNrc6GmC2uKsnWC8wD9HN EJK00]
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