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Tag: Mexico

Jury to Decide El Chapo’s Fate After 35 Days of Surreal Testimony

‘El Chapo’ Guzman

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The fate of notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is now in the hands of a jury.

The jury heard 35 days of surreal, outlandish and often gruesome testimony from 56 government witnesses.

The seven women and five men on the jury are expected to begin deliberating Monday to determine whether the notorious 61-year-old conspired to murder countless rivals, traffic nearly 450,000 pounds of cocaine and launder millions of dollars.

During close arguments Thursday, Guzman’s attorneys told the jury to dismiss the government’s case because it relies on witnesses who “lie, steal, cheat, deal drugs and kill people,” NBC News reports.

Prosecutors said the trial provided an “avalanche of evidence” to prove Guzman’s guilt.

Guzman stayed quiet during the trial and declined to testify in his own defense.

“Señor judge, me and my attorneys have spoken about this,” Guzman said, “and I will reserve.”

His life is now in the hands of a jury.

El Chapo Trial: How the FBI Cracked Sinaloa Cartel’s Sophisticated Communications System

‘El Chapo’ Guzman

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

When the FBI couldn’t crack the Sinaloa cartel’s encrypted messages, agents did the next best thing: They went after the tech guru who built the sophisticated communications system.

Cristian Rodriguez began cooperating with the feds in 2011, handing them the encryption key to listen to about 800 calls from members of the most notorious Mexican drug cartel.

On Tuesday, prosecutors played excerpts from what they described as incriminating phone calls that were tapped between July 2011 and January 2012. Jurors heard the calls during the trial of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the alleged Sinaloa kingpin, The New York Times reports.

The elusive El Chapo was captured by a recording device between 100 and 200 times. In many of the calls, Guzman could be heard orchestrating cocaine sales and speaking to corrupt cops.

The trial resumes Wednesday.

Trump Threatens to Deploy Military, Shut Down Mexican Border over Caravan of Immigrants

Border marker, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump threatened Thursday to deploy the military and close the southern border if Mexico fails to stop thousands of immigrants heading toward the United States.

“I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught – and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!,” the president tweeted Thursday.

In another tweet, Trump continued to castigate Democrats for being weak on immigrations.

“I am watching the Democrat Party led (because they want Open Borders and existing weak laws) assault on our country by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, whose leaders are doing little to stop this large flow of people, INCLUDING MANY CRIMINALS, from entering Mexico to U.S,” Trump said.

In a third tweet, Trump said trade is less important to him than stopping migrants from entering the country.

“The assault on our country at our Southern Border, including the Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as President, than Trade or the USMCA. Hopefully Mexico will stop this onslaught at their Northern Border,” he wrote. “All Democrats fault for weak laws!”

A caravan of more than 4,000 migrants fled Central American countries a week ago because of violence and poverty.

They appeared to be undeterred by Trump’s threats.

“We are going to continue,” 32-year-old Luis Navarreto told the Associated Press. “It is God who decides here. We have no other option but to move ahead.”

Mexican National Accused of Murdering Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in 2010 Finally in Court

Brian Terry

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

It has been eight years since the murder Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Finally, the Mexican gang member accused of killing Terry, which lead to the discovery of the Fast and Furious Scandal, appeared in federal court for the first time Wednesday after he was extradited from Mexico on Monday, the Washington Examiner reports.

Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and eight other charges at a court in Tucson., Ariz.

Osorio-Arellanes was lodged in jail pending a Sept. 11 trial.

The Mexican national was captured by Mexican authorities in April 2017 and held for18 months until he was extradited to the United States.

“The Department of Justice is pleased that the suspected killer of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry has been successfully extradited to the United States and will now face justice for this terrible crime,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan applauded the extradition.

“We never cease in our efforts to bring those involved in Agent Terry’s murder to the U.S. to face charges for their heinous actions,” McAleenan said in a statement. “I am grateful to our partners in the law enforcement community, both here and in Mexico, who joined us in bringing this criminal to face charges in a U.S. court.”

The Examiner wrote:

Terry was fatally shot on Dec. 14, 2010, during an encounter with a “rip crew” — a gang that steals from drug and human traffickers — near Nogales, Ariz. Terry and several members of the Border Patrol had approached the group to make arrests, but they fled.

One agent fired nonlethal bean bags at the gang. The crew fired at the agents with their AK-47-type assault rifles, killing Terry.

The death of a Border Patrol agent in the line of duty is rare. Since 1924, a total of 124 agents have died while on the job. The events surrounding Terry’s death led to the public learning the guns the gang members had acquired and used in the shooting had originally been purchased from the U.S. government.

Fast and Furious, the name of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives operation, was rolled out in hopes the Obama administration could track who purchased guns and how they were distributed.

Border Patrol Agent Fatally Shoots Woman Illegally Crossing the Border

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent shot and killed a woman crossing the border illegally near Laredo, Tex., on Wednesday after the officer came under attack, federal authorities said, according to a report in the New York Times:

The officer was searching for “illegal activity” in a culvert on a residential street in Rio Bravo, a border town about seven miles south of Laredo, when a group of undocumented immigrants started to hit him with “blunt objects,” United States Customs and Border Protection said. The officer, whose name was not released, fired at least one shot with his handgun, fatally striking the woman in the head.

A woman who lives next door to the site of the shooting disputed the federal agency’s account of the events, saying that the property does not have a culvert and that she did not see any weapons that the group could have used.

“They were on the very corner on that lot where there was a tree,” the woman, Marta V. Martinez, said in an interview Thursday morning. “There was no weapon. They were hiding.”

Mexican Police Commander Pleads No Contest to Leaking Sensitive DEA Information to Drug Cartel Members

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s a scenario that has been played out countless times over the years.

Jason McGahan of the Daily Beast reports:

A top-ranking Mexican police commander who was the point person for intelligence sharing between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement has pleaded “no contest” in Chicago federal court to charges he leaked sensitive information, including the identity of an informant, to drug cartel members who were targets of a U.S.-led investigation.

Ivan Reyes Arzate, 46, is accused of funneling sensitive information about surveillance operations from U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents to the cartel members, who were the objects of those very same operations in Mexico, over a Blackberry Messenger app.

The unusual pleading of “nolo contendere,” which required a judge’s approval, means Reyes Arzate is acknowledging that the particular facts, if presented at trial, would result in a verdict of guilty, but stops short of admitting guilt.

Reyes Arzate flew to Chicago and self-surrendered to law enforcement in April 2017, according to Chris Hotaling, assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago.

Interior Department Dispatching Officers to Help Secure Border with Mexico

Border marker, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Interior Department is dispatching officers to help secure the border with Mexico.

Officers from the U.S. Park Police Planning Unit (USPP) and the National Park Service will help Homeland Security along the southwest border beginning May 13 as part of “Secretary [Ryan] Zinke’s offer of assistance to the Department of Homeland Security,” according to an internal email obtained by The Hill

The assignment is a dramatic departure from what USPP officers are traditionally tasked with doing – policing NPS property in Washington D.C., New York and San Francisco.

According to the email, officers will spend about three weeks stationed at two national parks and monument sites along the border – Amsted National Recreation Area in Texas and the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona.

Dispatching officers from the federal agencies is “the first of many steps Interior will take to secure the homeland.”

President Trump and I are 100 percent committed to keeping our border communities and the American people safe and secure, which is why I’m deploying some of Interior’s law enforcement officers to increase security on the southern border,” Zinke told the Hill in a statement. “Interior is ready, willing, and able to deploy a significant force to carry out the President’s mission.” 

Border Patrol Agent Acquitted in Shooting Death of Mexican Teen

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Prosecutors are mulling whether they should pursue a retrial in the case of a Border Patrol agent charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting a teenager after an Arizona jury deadlocked on the lesser accounts.

The jury found Agent Lonnie Swartz not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was with a group throwing rocks at agents from the Nogales, Mexico, side of the border.

U.S. District Judge Raner Collins declared a mistrial after the jury deadlocked on a lesser charge of manslaughter, NPR reports

In October 2012, Swartz responded to the rocks by firing 16 shots, striking Rodriguez eight times in the back and twice in the head.

Swartz’s attorneys said the agent was protecting himself and fellow agents when he opened fire. Prosectors said he pulled the trigger because he was frustrated with rock throwers.