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Tag: Mexican cartels

American Families of Victims Killed By Drug Traffickers Sue HSBC Bank for Allegedly Laundering Money and Supporting Cartels

 

imgres

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

American families of victims killed by “ruthless” Mexican drug cartels are suing the HSBC Holdings PLC, saying it “knowingly provided continuous and systematic material support to the cartels and their acts of terrorism by laundering billions of  dollars for them.”

“As a proximate result of HSBC’s material support to the Mexican drug cartels, numerous lives, including those of the Plaintiffs, have been destroyed,” said the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Brownsville, Tex.

HSBC said it plans to fight the allegations, according to Bloomberg News.

The lawsuit mentions some of the people who were killed by the cartel.

The lawsuit stated:

Victims Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila, Jr. were Special Agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), a federal law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security. On February 15, 2011, while on assignment transporting cargo to Mexico City, the two were attacked in broad daylight by two car loads of Los Zetas militants on a highway outside of the city of San Luis Potosí. While travelling in an armored vehicle displaying U.S. diplomatic plates, the agents were chased down, flanked, and forced off the road. Ignoring cries from the Special Agents that they were U.S. citizens and diplomats, the militants fired over 100 rounds from AK-47s and other military-grade weapons inside and at the vehicle, killing Special Agent Zapata and seriously wounding Special Agent Avila.

In another case, the lawsuit stated:

Victim Lesley Enriquez Redelfs was an employee of the U.S. Consulate Office in Ciudad Juárez, and her husband, victim Arthur Redelfs, was a detention officer for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department. On Saturday, March 13, 2010, Arthur, Lesley, and their sevenmonth-old daughter attended a children’s birthday party in Ciudad Juárez hosted by the U.S. Consulate Office. As they were leaving the birthday party in their SUV, they were followed and ambushed by members of an enforcement arm of the Juárez Cartel. Lesley, who was four months pregnant, was shot twice in the head. Arthur made a desperate dash for the American border as the Juárez Cartel enforcers chased the Redelfs through the streets, spraying their car with more bullets. Just before reaching the border, Arthur was gunned down. The Redelfs’ infant daughter was found screaming in the backseat. At the same time, other Juárez Cartel enforcers chased down and killed the spouse of another U.S. Consulate employee as he left the same birthday party with
his two young daughters, who were also wounded in the attack.

Bloomberg reports that HSBC, in 2012,  paid $1.9 billion to resolve a criminal investigation into whether it violated U.S. sanctions laws and laundered at least $881 million on behalf of drug cartels.

Read Lawsuit 

Officials: Border Patrol Under Heavy Fire from Mexican Cartels Near Texas

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents came under heavy fire from the Mexican side of the border Friday night, Fox News reports.

Authorities believe .50-caliber rounds were fired at the U.S. side of the riverbank near Rincon Peninsula across from Reynosa, Mexico. Sources told Fox News that the gunfire likely came from Mexican drug cartels.

“We don’t have any armor that can stop a .50-caliber round, so our Border Patrol agents had to take cover when the rounds were richocheting around them,” Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas said.

“When the shooting stopped, about 40 to 50 people came out on the U.S. side and turned themselves in. So clearly the rounds were being fired to suppress every effort to stop anybody intervening with anyone or anything coming across,” Gohmert added. “We have no idea what or how many or whom came across with the other illegal immigrants.”

The shooting comes at a time when the U.S. is in the midst of an immigration crisis involving unaccompanied children from Central America.

Ex-U.S. Immigration Agent Gets 30 Months for Helping Cartels

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former U.S. federal immigration agent who passed on classified information to families with ties to Mexican drug cartels is to serve 30 months in prison, Reuters reports.

Jovana Deas was sentenced Friday following accusations that she illegally obtained and disseminated classified documents as a special agent for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a small border town in Arizona.

According to court documents, Deas stole restricted crime and immigration databases and gave them to her former brother-in-law, Miguel Angel Mendoza Estrada, who belongs to a Mexican cartel with ties to drug traffickers in Brazil, Reuters reported.

Rep. Issa Announces Investigation into DEA Letting Money Flow to Cartels

By Allan Lengel and Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)is attacking Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. once again, this time for a DEA operation that allowed money to flow to the Mexican drug cartels.

In a press release issued Monday, Issa announced that he was investigating the matter, which was highlighted in a front page story in the New York Times on Monday.

In a letter to Holder, he said he had been investigating this “reckless tactics” in Operation Fast and Furious, and he was none too happy to see it being done with money “walking” to the cartels. ATF’s Fast and Furious operation encouraged gun dealers to sell to “straw purchasers” or middlemen, all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the cartels.

“The existence of such a program again calls your leadership into question,” Issa wrote in the letter to Holder. “The managerial structure you have implemented lacks appropriate operational safeguards to prevent the implementation of such dangerous schemes. The consequences have been disastrous.”

DEA agents have laundered or smuggled–or, “let walk”–millions of dollars in drug proceeds in an effort to trace the money to the end recipients, reports the New York Times. The DEA sought to understand how cartels moved their money, where assets were kept and, ultimately, who the leaders were. Money was put into trafficker accounts or shell accounts set up by agents, according to the Times.

The DEA said the operations began in Mexico only within the past few years, but similar operations have been used internationally before. The controversial tactic lets cartels continue their activities while the investigation is ongoing, and raises serious some questions about the agency’s effectiveness, diplomacy and Mexican sovereignty and the distinction between surveilling and facilitating crime, the Times reported.

Former DEA officials reject any comparison between the laundering operation and the gun-walking program Fast and Furious, saying that money poses far less a threat to public safety and can lead more directly to the top ranks of cartels, the Times reports.

Fed Law Enforcement Infiltrating Cartels in Mexico

By GINGER THOMPSON
New York Times

WASHINGTON — American law enforcement agencies have significantly built up networks of Mexican informants that have allowed them to secretly infiltrate some of that country’s most powerful and dangerous criminal organizations, according to security officials on both sides of the border.

As the United States has opened new law enforcement and intelligence outposts across Mexico in recent years, Washington’s networks of informants have grown there as well, current and former officials said. They have helped Mexican authorities capture or kill about two dozen high-ranking and midlevel drug traffickers, and sometimes have given American counternarcotics agents access to the top leaders of the cartels they are trying to dismantle.

Typically, the officials said, Mexico is kept in the dark about the United States’ contacts with its most secret informants — including Mexican law enforcement officers, elected officials and cartel operatives — partly because of concerns about corruption among the Mexican police, and partly because of laws prohibiting American security forces from operating on Mexican soil.

“The Mexicans sort of roll their eyes and say we know it’s happening, even though it’s not supposed to be happening,” said Eric L. Olson, an expert on Mexican security matters at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

To read the full story click here.

 

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ATF Grenade Case Linked to Cartels Contributed to Ouster of Top Officials


U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The case involving an Arizona man who was let go after being accused of supplying grenades to the Mexican drug cartels, appears to have contributed to the ousting of the Arizona U.S. Attorney and the acting head of the ATF, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Reporter Evan Perez reports that U.S. officials are investigating the missteps in the case that was being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona.

Acting ATF head Ken Melson and Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke abruptly resigned last month in wake of the controversy surrounding Operation Fast and Furious, which encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers or middlemen, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels.

At the time of their resignations, the controversy surrounding Fast and Furious was  mentioned in the media as a key factor to their abrupt departures. The grenade case was not mentioned.

To read full story click here.

 

Atty. For Slain Border Agent May Sue Government

Brian Terry

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry may sue the government.

Fox News reports that the family attorney Paul Chartlon said: “If the evidence shows Brian’s death was proximately caused by the negligence of the federal government, there may be a cause of action.

Guns from ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious were found at the scene of the crime in December 2010. He was killed in southern Arizona allegedly by an illegal immigrant working for the Sinaloa Cartel, according to Fox.

To date, there has been no evidence that has surfaced publicly to indicate that the guns from the ATF operation were actually used to kill Terry.

Operation Fast and Furious has become the target of Congressional inquiries. The operation involved encouraging gun dealers in Arizona to sell to middlemen or “straw purchasers” — all with the hopes of tracing them to the Mexican cartels.

Critics say ATF lost track of some guns that showed up at crime scenes.

The White House has condemned the program.

Report Says ATF Agent Predicted Death and Congressional Inquiry After ATF Launched Controversial Gun Program; Agents Worried Guns Might be Linked to Gabrielle Giffords Shooting

atf file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

One ATF agent told Congressional investigators  that someone was going to die  from ATF’s controversial gun-walking program dubbed “Operation Fast and Furious”, and he predicted the program would become the subject of a Congressional inquiry.

That prediction by agent Larry Alt was noted in a  51-page report released Tuesday Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.).

It detailed critical comments from four ATF agents made to Congressional investigators about the gun-walking program. The agents worked on the controversial operation that encouraged gun dealers in Arizona to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels. Some of the guns ended up being used in crimes including in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, authorities have said.

Agents told how they raised grave concerns about the gun program, and were distressed about it all,  but were told to back off.

One agent, John Dodson said, according to the report, that a supervisor was downright giddy that the guns were linked to crimes, saying the supervisor thought it was proof they were on the right track.

“Whenever he would get a trace report back . . . he was jovial, if not, not giddy, but just delighted about that, hey, 20 of our guns were recovered with 350 pounds of dope in Mexico last night. And it was exciting. To them it proved the nexus to the drug cartels. It validated that . . . we were really working the cartel case here,” Dodson said.

The report, released on Tuesday, was part of a blitz this week by Rep.  Issa  and Sen. Grassley to find out information about the ATF program, and to apply more public pressure on the Justice Department and ATF to come forward with information.  Issa, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, held a hearing on the issue on Monday and has scheduled another hearing for Wednesday morning.

“ATF agents have shared chilling accounts of being ordered to stand down as criminals in Arizona walked away with guns headed for Mexican drug cartels,”  Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said in a statement about the report.“With the clinical precision of a lab experiment, the Justice Department kept records of weapons they let walk and the crime scenes where they next appeared. To agents’ shock, preventing loss of life was not the primary concern.”

“These agents have risked their lives working for the ATF and they’ve risked their careers by coming forward to speak the truth about a dangerous strategy that was doomed from the start,” added Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.),. “The report shows the street agents’ perspective on this risky policy to let guns walk. It should help people who are wondering what really happened during Operation Fast and Furious understand why we are continuing to investigate.”

The report, which is highly critical of the Department of Justice, concluded: “Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, DOJ continues to deny that Operation Fast and Furious was ill-conceived and had deadly consequences.”

The report also said that the shooting of  Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords created a “state of panic” within  the group conducting the operation because it initially feared a “walked” gun might have been used.

Agent  Dodson was also  quoted as saying about the operation:

“But every day being out here watching a guy go into the same gun store buying another 15 or 20 AK-47s or variants or . . . five or ten Draco pistols or FN Five-sevens . . . guys that don’t have a job, and he is walking in here spending $27,000 for three Barrett .50 calibers at . . . walks in with his little bag going in there to buy it, and you are sitting there every day and you can’t do anything, you have this conversation every day.”

“And quite frankly, it is unfathomable to me how both sides or any person isn’t completely livid about what we have been doing here. I cannot see anyone who has one iota of concern for human life being okay with this…,” he added.

The Justice Department on Wednesday pointed to a comment from Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. when first learning of ATF agents’ concerns about the controversial proogram:

“Fighting criminal activity along the Southwest Border – including the illegal trafficking of guns to Mexico – has been a priority of this Administration and this Department of Justice.

“The Attorney General takes the allegations that have been raised by some ATF agents about the Fast and Furious operation seriously, which is why he has asked the Inspector General to investigate the matter. The Department has also made clear to law enforcement agencies and prosecutors working along the Southwest Border that under no circumstances should guns be allowed to cross the border into Mexico.”

Read Report

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