Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Senior American military commanders call U.S. drug policy hypocritical, and confusing to Latin America

"The United States accepts responsibility for the violence occasioned by drug trafficking" - Barack Obama, December 2011

Guadalajara -
In testimony yesterday before the U.S. House of Representatives, a Marine Corps general and a Coast Guard admiral expressed pessimism over efforts to stem the flow of narcotics from Latin America. But the problem rests as much north of the border as south, they emphasized.

Gen. John F. Kelly and Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, told a subcommittee that a strong demand for drugs in the United States coupled with the logistical expertise acquired by international drug cartels have made their assignments increasingly difficult to carry out. Mexico has 60-80 cartels, Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam reported in December 2012.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Zeta Killer" boss arrested in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta -
A key operative of the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), a powerful organized crime group commonly known as Los Matazetas, or the "Zeta Killers," was arrested in Puerto Vallarta last week, Mexico's federal Organized Crime Strike Force (SEIDO) reported Friday.

Miguel Ángel Pérez Quintero, 34, was taken into custody at a residence in the plush Marina Vallarta development near the city's international airport. Local officials said they were unaware of the planned operation until the house was surrounded by a large contingent of Federal Police agents.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mexican Senate passes kidnapping penalty of 140 years

*Updated June 3*
Guadalajara -
On its first day back at work after a 10 day Holy Week recess, Mexico's Senate today approved a bill raising the maximum penalty for kidnapping to 140 years in prison.

The vote was 61 in favor and 22 against. The measure now moves to the lower legislative chamber, the Cámara de Diputados, for debate.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Peña Nieto administration sues four Mexican states over education reforms

Oaxaca's governor quickly signals he'll comply

Guadalajara -
Mexico's federal government today filed a complaint with the nation's highest tribunal, demanding that the states of Chiapas, Michoacán, Oaxaca and Sonora be forced to comply with education reforms passed by heavy congressional majorities in September 2013.

The mandamus action, submitted to Mexico's Supreme Judicial Court, alleges that officials in those states have failed and refused to bring state education codes into compliance with the new standards, and in some instances have substantially rewritten the standards to their own liking.

Federals, Michoacán militias reach deal on disarmament

But the parties already disagree on what it means

*Updated May 6*
Guadalajara -
The Federal Security Commissioner for Michoacán announced Monday that an agreement has been reached with the state's thousands of citizen militiamen, in response to Mexico City's demand that they lay down their weapons or face arrest. But the 436 word "disarmament" deal is subject to interpretation, and claims of victory by both sides suggest that not everybody is on the same page.

On Apr. 3 Mexican Secretary of Government Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong and Security Commissioner Alfredo Castillo said the autodefensas or policías comunitarias would no longer be permitted to operate on their own, and warned that those who refuse to hand over their arms would "face the consequences." Mexico says it will disarm citizen militias.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Texas executes Ramiro Hernández Llanas, over protests

U.S. death penalty litigation tracks a new course - now it's all about the chemicals used

Guadalajara -
For the second time this year the state of Texas has executed a Mexican national in its Huntsville death chamber, despite protests from this country, Amnesty International and other organizations.

Ramiro Hernández Llanas, 44, was pronounced dead shortly after 6:00 p.m., the appointed hour for executions in Texas.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Michoacán militias reject federal call to disarm

Self-defense leader warns that Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel have now entered the state

*Updated Apr. 9*
Guadalajara -
Last week Mexican Secretary of Government Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong and the Federal Security Commissioner for Michoacán, Alfredo Castillo, said that the country's hundreds of citizen militias, known here as autodefensas or policías comunitarias, would be disarmed. The process began over the weekend, sooner than expected, and militias throughout the state have made it clear that they won't go quietly. Mexico says it will disarm citizen militias.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Mexico's Vicente Fox, never short of words on any topic

"There are people who, like fine wine, mature and develop well, constantly learning and doing things better. Then there are people and there are wines which go in the opposite direction." - Vicente Fox

Guadalajara -
Former Mexican National Action Party (PAN) president Vicente Fox, who held office from 2000-2006, was interviewed by a national press source last week and once again used the opportunity to advance his arguments for worldwide drug legalization.

Fox has a plan on who should run narcotics enterprises, too: Mexican drug traffickers.

"Forgiveness is the greatest of human virtues," Fox said in a wide ranging interview. "We should pardon them. Those drug capos are going to change, once the product is regulated. They're going to begin to say to themselves, ' Why am I risking my hide, when I can turn a buck legally, even though, sure, I'll have to pay high taxes.' "

Friday, April 4, 2014

DEA tells Congress, Mexican drug cartels hard at work in Colorado and Washington

Legalization will have "devastating consequences for the country" - U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.)

*Updated Sept. 19*
Guadalajara -
In testimony before a congressional subcommittee this week which has been widely quoted by the Mexican press, U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart said new laws in Colorado and Washington permitting the possession and consumption of cannabis for recreational and medicinal purposes have quickly attracted the attention of Mexican drug traffickers.

Leonhart appeared Wednesday before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, and left no doubt about her feelings on cannabis decriminalization in the U.S. and its impact on Mexico's 88 month old drug war.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mexico says it will disarm citizen militias

Guadalajara -
At a joint press conference this afternoon, Mexican Secretary of Government Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong and the Federal Security Commissioner for Michoacán, Alfredo Castillo, announced that the country's hundreds of citizen militias, known here as autodefensas or policías comunitarias, will be disarmed.

The officials set no time table for the process, but Castillo said that those who refuse to hand over their arms "will face the consequences."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

In Querétaro, Mexican troops kill key Templarios boss

"These guys have a way of coming back to life" - Michoacán militia leader

Enrique "Kike" Plancarte (left) and Servando Gómez, a/k/a "La Tuta" . . . one down, one to go

Guadalajara -
Federal security forces yesterday killed Enrique "Kike" Plancarte, one of two remaining leaders of Michoacán's vicious Los Caballeros Templarios drug cartel. The 43 year old organized crime boss was said to be the Templarios' financial manager.