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Tag: Mexican cartel

El Chapo Gets a Life Sentence for Running the Deadly, Highly Profitable Sinaloa Cartel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

‘El Chapo’ Guzman

Convicted Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera, best known internationally as “El Chapo,” was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New York to life, plus 30 years to run consecutive to the life sentence.

“The long road that brought ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Loera to a United States courtroom is lined with drugs, death, and destruction, but ends today with justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski in a statement.  “Thanks to the unflagging efforts of the Department of Justice and the law enforcement community over the past 25 years, this notorious leader of one of the largest drug trafficking organizations in the Western hemisphere, the Sinaloa Cartel, will spend the rest of his life behind bars.”

El Chapo was convicted in February of heading up the Sinaloa Cartel and trafficking drugs and a murder conspiracy. He has been the subject of a popular made-for-TV series on Netflix.

Evidence during trial showed that he was the principal leader of the cartel responsible for importing and distributing more than a million kilograms of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin in the United States.

The evidence, according to the Justice Department, included testimony from 14 cooperating witnesses, including Sinaloa Cartel members Rey and Vicente Zambada, Miguel Martinez, Tirso Martinez, Damaso Lopez and Alex Cifuentes; narcotics seizures totaling over 130,000 kilograms of cocaine and heroin; weapons, including AK-47s and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher; ledgers; text messages; videos; photographs and intercepted recordings that detailed the drug trafficking activity of Guzman Loera and his co-conspirators over a 25-year period from January 1989 until December 2014.

A number of co-conspirators testified during trial that El Chapo directed his hitmen to kidnap, interrogate, torture and slaughter members of rival drug organizations. At times, he carried out acts of violence himself.

He also  relied on a vast network of corrupt government officials and employees to protect and promote the interests of the Sinaloa Cartel.

 

Parker: Slain DEA Agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena Would Be Proud of His Son, the Judge

Judge Enrique Camarena, Jr.

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

While six extradited Colombians have been arraigned and await trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on charges related to the murder of DEA Special Agent James “Terry” Watson in Bogota last summer, the DEA Survivor Benefit Fund dedicated a memorial this summer to Special Agent Watson in his home town of Rayville, LA.

Farther west, past investment by the SBF Higher Education Fund bore particularly poignant fruit when Enrique Camarena, Jr. was appointed to a judgeship on the San Diego Superior Court in July 15th. Judge Camarena was 11 years old when his father DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was murdered by Mexican drug cartel members in February 1985.

Like Special Agent Terry Watson, Enrique “Kiki” Camarena lived a full life of bravery and service. He was born in Mexicali, Mexico, but his family moved to the United States in Calexico, California. He became a naturalized U. S. citizen and served in the Marines, as a firefighter and police investigator before joining DEA.

His son at an early age made a commitment to follow in his father’s footsteps. With the support of the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund he went to law school and became a Deputy District Attorney for San Diego County. He has also been active in the work of the Camarena Foundation and in contributing to the efforts to support other children who have lost a father or mother who were killed in the line of duty.

No doubt Judge Camarena’s father was in his and his family’s memories as he received his robe to the Superior Court bench.

Mexican Cartels Flood U.S. with Cheap, Potent Meth from ‘Superlabs’

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The good news: The crackdown on methamphetamine in the U.S. is working.

The bad news: Mexican drug cartels are fulfilling the demand by pumping out cheap, potent meth from so-called “superlabs,” the Associated Press reports.

“These are sophisticated, high-tech operations in Mexico that are operating with extreme precision,” said Jim Shroba, a DEA agent in St. Louis. “They’re moving it out the door as fast as they can manufacture it.”

Meth coming from Mexico now accounts for 80% of the drug being sold in the U.S., according to the DEA.

And it’s more enticing then ever – purer, faster, strong and longer-lasting.

Five Charged in Border Agent Brian Terry’s Death: $1 Million Award Offered for Info on Whereabouts of 4

Brian Terry

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department announced on Monday the indictment of five people in connection with the 2010 death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, and a $1 million reward from the FBI for info leading to the arrest of four the defendants who remain at large.

Authorities unsealed the indictment in Tuscon charging  Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza with  first degree murder, second degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, use and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.  Only Manuel Osorio-Arellanes has been in custody.

Authorities charged that the men crossed the border into the U.S. to rob drug traffickers and ended up in a gun fight with agent Terry.

“Agent Terry served his country honorably and made the ultimate sacrifice in trying to protect it from harm, and we will stop at nothing to bring those responsible for his murder to justice,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement.“This investigation has previously resulted in one defendant being charged with Agent Terry’s murder and taken into custody, and today’s announcement reflects the department’s unrelenting commitment to finding and arresting the other individuals responsible for this horrific tragedy so that Agent Terry’s family, friends and fellow law enforcement agents receive the justice they deserve.”

Terry’s name has become part of the controversy over Operation Fast and Furious, an ATF operation out of Phoenix that encouraged gun dealers to sell to “straw purchasers”, all with the hope of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels.

Two of the guns from that operation surfaced at the crime scene where Terry was murdered.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, ranking member of the the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has been examining the failed Operation Fast and Furious, issued a statement:

“I commend the Department of Justice for its vigorous pursuit of justice for Brian Terry’s family. I remain dedicated to ensuring that his family and the American people get the answers they deserve.”

 

 

Major Mexican Cartel Player Sentenced to 25 Years

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The former leader of the Tijuana Cartel/Arellano-Felix Organization was sentenced Monday in San Diego fed court to 25 years in prison, the DEA announced.

Benjamin Arellano-Felix, nearly 60, was also ordered to forfeit $100 million in criminal proceeds.

“The Tijuana Cartel was one of the world’s most brutal drug trafficking networks, but has now met its demise with leader Benjamin Arellano-Felix’s sentencing today,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart in a statement. “It is a major victory for DEA and Mexico’s Calderon Administration.”

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy added: “Today’s prison sentence virtually ensures that Arellano-Felix will spend the remainder of his life in custody. Following this sentence, he will be deported to Mexico to finish a 22-year sentence.”

For U.S. authorities, it was a long road to justice.

Arellano-Felix was taken into custody by Mexican authorities on March 9, 2002.

A final order of extradition to the United States was granted in 2007 and after years of unsuccessful appeals, Arellano-Felix arrived in the U.S. on April 29, 2011, to face drug-related charges in San Diego.

In January, he pleaded guilty.

 

Guilty Verdicts Returned for Mexican Cartel Affiliates

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Things did not go the way Gerardo Castillo-Chavez and Armado Garcia had hoped in Laredo, Texas, on Wednesday.

Both men saw guilty verdicts returned on all charges against them, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced. Castillo-Chavez, a 25-year-old from Tamaulipas, Mexico, was convicted of “conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, interstate travel in aid of racketeering (ITAR) and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime or a crime of violence,” according to the Justice Department.

The guilty verdicts were returned unanimously after a four-day trial and six-hours of deliberation.

A Feb. 17, 2010 indictment charged Castillo-Chavez and 33 other individuals with 47 counts of conspiracy to kidnap and murder U.S. citizens in a foreign country, drug conspiracy, kidnapping conspiracy, firearms conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, use of juveniles to commit a violent crime, accessory after the fact and solicitation as well as substantive money laundering, drug trafficking and ITAR charges, according to the Justice Department. To date, 14 of those charged have been convicted.

Several witnesses in the trial tied Castillo-Chavez to the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas, and implicated Castillo-Chavez, also known as “Cachetes,” in a double murder on April 2, 2006, as well as other attempted murders a violent attacks in Mexico.

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Mexican Cartel Recruiting American Kids

Assassination Plot Was So Clumsy, Officials at First Doubted Iran’s Role

By Joby Warrick and and Thomas Erdbrink
The Washington Post

The straight-out-of-pulp-fiction plot by alleged Iranian operatives to assassinate a Saudi diplomat in Washington was so badly bungled that investigators initially were skeptical that Iran’s government was behind it, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Officials laying out the details of the case owned up to their early doubts about an Iranian role as they sought to counter skepticism and confusion about the unusual scheme — one that happens to carry far-reaching international consequences.

Less than 24 hours after disclosing the disruption of the alleged plot, the Obama administration spent much of Wednesday outlining the evidence, not only to journalists but also to international allies and members of Congress. In briefings and phone calls, U.S. officials sought to explain how Iran’s vaunted Quds Force allegedly ended up enlisting a used-car salesman and a Mexican drug gang in a plan to kill Saudi Arabia’s U.S. ambassador and blow up embassies in Washington and Buenos Aires.

To read full story click here.

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