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Violent Beheadings Kidnappings for Ransom Forcing Mexican’s to Flee to the U.s

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Violent beheadings kidnappings for ransom forcing Mexican’s to flee to the U.S.

By Michael Webster: Investigative Reporter July 6, 2008 12:00 P.M. PDT

Since President Felipe Calderon launched an all-out offensive against drug cartels after taking office in December 2006. As many as 5,000 people have been killed in drug violence in Mexico, among them hundreds of police hierarchy and street cops, Mexican and U.S. citizens.

The FBI’s Special Agent in Charge in El Paso David Cuthbertson said when the Juarez cartel war started, it was largely confined to those directly involved in the drug trade, but it now is spreading into new areas of crime, such as kidnapping and Mafia-style extortion, in which innocent citizens are the victims.

In an apparent response to the all-out offensive, Mexican cartels have found other ways to raise war money, including robbing banks and extorting and holding for ransom business owners, Juárez city officials have said.

According to the El Paso Times the wave of kidnappings was foreshadowed in early June when La Linea, as the Juárez drug cartel is also known, supposedly posted a message on the popular video-sharing site YouTube.com. The message demanded that prominent Juárez families and entrepreneurs pay a “quota” for protection.

In just the last month several Juárez business’s including restaurants, nightclubs and other businesses were burned downed, and have closed because of kidnappings, extortions and robberies.

“If you are doing an illegal business in Juárez, the cartels want you to pay them for protection or derecho de pizo, that is the right to use the plaza, as they call it, to do business,” UTEP Professor Tony Payan  said at recent El Paso Texas Press Club event, describing the trend as “dangerous.”

The violence has caused some Juarenses, mostly the wealthy who can afford it, to seek refuge in El Paso.

A similar “war tax” has been levied by drug traffickers on Mexican U.S. border businesses in Nuevo Laredo, Tijuana and other Mexican cities.

The deadly cartel war responsible for these deaths is liable to go on for sometime, the El Paso’s Border Patrol Chief Victor Manjarrez said at Saturday’s El Paso Press Club Meet the Press forum.

UTEP Professor Tony Payan blamed the former governor of the state of Chihuahua and former mayor of Juarez for allowing the lawless atmosphere that led to the armed struggle between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels for control of the Juarez drug trade and corridor in to the north.

“The political authorities are definitely responsible for what is going on,” Payan said, adding that former Gov. Patricio Martinez could have and should have demanded federal assistance.

Payan said the reason may also be that the conflict has reduced drug trafficking and income for the criminals, so they are turning to other forms of crime.

“We are certainly seeing an increase of people coming over (from Juárez). People renting, buying and moving. In some cases, they appear to be moving businesses over here,” said Dan Olivas, president of the Greater El Paso Association of Realtors.

“The thing we are hearing about more is the fear of the kidnappings than of being caught in the crossfire of the cartels,” Olivas said.

According to the on-line Borderfire Report the Mexico’s organized crime death tally has now gone over 2,000 for this year. In comparison, the first semester of 2005 reached 677; in 2006 it was 1,003 in the same period ; and in 2007 the number was 1,410. The first six months of this year reached 1,935 executions.
Since President Calderon took office (on Dec. 1, 2006) there have now been almost 5,000 executions and this year’s current figure is 2,017. Just yesterday there were 21, of whom eight were police officers.

Three decapitated bodies, all repeatedly shot, were found in the trunk of a car in Culiacan, Sinaloa; one was identified as an ex-commander of the “Centaur Group” of the state police.. One of the bodies also had both its legs amputated at the knees, while the other two had only their left leg amputated, also at the knee. In the trunk of the car there was also a rattlesnake with its head chopped off and two defiant and threatening signs against the Beltran-Leyva drug group. There also were 509 – five hundred nine – shell casings in the trunk.
Nine persons were murdered in the state of Sinaloa yesterday (note: this includes the three decapitated ones mentioned above). Two state police officers and a civilian were executed with “goat’s horns” on a street corner in Culiacan; elsewhere in town a faith healer was also murdered and in Guamuchil two young men were also killed. 

 

El Diario , Tiempo  reported yesterday evening (4th) three men were murdered by gunfire in Juarez within a lapse of three hours. Two of them were shot in a parking lot outside a restaurant in Juarez’ “Golden Zone”; “hundreds” of shell casings were located at the scene. 

 

The chief, the deputy chief and two other officers of the Puruandiro, Michoacan, police department were returning from an out of town meeting last Friday afternoon when they were ambushed and all four were killed.

Mexico’s raging drug war claimed the lives of six more police officers, ambushed on patrol in the marijuana-rich state of Sinaloa, authorities said Friday.

The attack followed the slaying Thursday of a senior police commander, part of a long string of killings apparently aimed at eroding public confidence in the government’s ability to challenge drug gangs.

The six officers were killed when two carloads of heavily armed men cut off their vehicle in the Sinaloa capital of Culiacan, an official with the state attorney general’s office said by e-mail.

But several analysts suggest that the high-profile killings in particular make the government and its main law enforcement agencies appear vulnerable.

The assassinations, along with the gangs’ growing propensity for decapitating their victims and issuing threats using posters and the Internet, “have a clear objective to intimidate, frighten, paralyze society and, with that, force the federal government to retreat,” Interior Minister Juan Camilo Mourino said.

Inspector Igor Labastida, a senior officer in the federal police, was the fifth top commander slain in 13 months. A man armed with an Uzi killed him and one of his bodyguards as they ate lunch at a small, busy restaurant in Mexico City. The gunman fled in a waiting car while a second man videotaped the bodies and calmly walked away, witnesses told the Mexican daily El Universal.

Labastida had survived an earlier assassination attempt, and his name figured on a hit list purportedly drawn up and circulated by drug gangs. Another senior commander on the list, Edgar Millan Gomez, was killed in May.

The Mexican government on Friday applauded U.S. Senate approval of a $400-million aid package for Mexico’s drug war that will provide the Calderon government with training, telecommunications, aircraft and other equipment.

Mexico earlier objected to portions of the bill, known as the Merida Initiative, that would have required it to change the way human rights violations are investigated. Congressional officials agreed to ease those conditions.

Mourino, the interior minister, praised the measure because it represented “a concrete expression of the principle of shared responsibility” in the drug war.

Mexico has long complained that it endures the ravages of the war while the U.S. has done little to stop the flow of guns southward into the hands of the cartels. Mourino said. He also said he believed that was changing and that U.S. authorities had begun to track and stop weapons more efficiently.

Sources:

The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO)

U.S. Border Patrol

FBI

DEA

Borderfire Report

El Paso Times

UTEP Professor Tony Payan

El Paso Texas Press Club

The Greater El Paso Association of Realtors

Sinaloa capital of Culiacan, an official with the state attorney general’s

Mexican Interior Minister

Mexican daily El Universal

Ycatan (Merida, Yucatan)                                                                                               Diario de Coahuila (Saltillo, Coah

Other open source Mexican newspapers

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