Wednesday, April 17, 2019

From the Al-Qaida Playbook

Excerpts from Borderland Beat book - Chapter - From the Al-Qaida Playbook 

At around 7:30pm on July 15, 2010 two vehicles stopped in the middle of the streets of Bolivia and 16 de Septiembre, in downtown Ciudad Juarez. This area was always congested with commuters and people shopping. It is also close to the tourist district of the city. This day was busy as usual.

Several people got out of the vehicles and placed a man on his knees in the middle of the road who was wearing a Ciudad Juarez police uniform. The man had his hands tied behind his back and was already injured from a gunshot. This caught the attention of the many people that were on foot on the sidewalk and also the people in the heavy traffic on the road.

Suddenly, while the policeman was placed on his knees, they shot him in the head while everyone looked in horror. The men then drove away in one of the vehicles while leaving the other at the scene.

They also left the policeman in the middle of the street after taking several gunshots at close range to his head. Some people rushed to the scene, this included a doctor who happened to be in the area.

This resulted in a heavy response from the federal police and rescue personnel. Moments after the federal police arrived to investigate, a bomb detonated on the vehicle that had been left behind. The blast killed the doctor instantly who got the full force of the bomb, a civilian who was a musician that happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Also killed in the blast was a federal police officer that was inspecting the car with the explosives.

Several people were injured including a cameraman form Channel 2 that captured the explosion on video. The vehicle with the explosives appeared to be a Ford Taurus. Inside the vehicle there were traces of C-4 explosives and a cellular that was apparently used as a trigger.

It turned out that the police officer that had been executed in the middle of the road was not a police officer after all. They had dressed a man in police uniform and executed the man to lure the federal police officers to the proximity to the car bomb.

The Mayor of Cuidad Juarez, José Reyes Ferriz, confirmed that the execution of the man dressed in police uniform was merely a ploy to lure federal police officers to the location of the car bomb.

The bomb being detonated in the streets of Ciudad Juarez.

Sicarios belonging to La Linea talk to the media about crime and, 
how they created the plot to lure federal police and how they planted the bomb

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Calderon takes on the Cartels Syndicate

Excerpts from Borderland Beat book - Chapter - Calderon takes on the Cartels Syndicate 

Coronel Julián Leyzaola was very aggressive in his fight against organized crime. Many times, he was seen at crime scenes or leading operations.

Incidentally, Leyzaola would eventually also become the chief of police in Ciudad Juarez and he would try to reform the municipal police like he tried to do in Tijuana.

This really peaked my interest in learning of the extent of corruption from the municipal police departments in Mexico. Most had no choice, it was either "plata o plomo." You are with us or against us.

Cartels were known to instill fear in the local police department by threatening families, not to mention the amount of money spent in bribes was a lot more lucrative than their salary. The bribe and corruption activities among the local police is a staple of the Mexican police norm, it had always been like this. Everyone knew this, even the US tourists.

The border between El Paso (population: 600,000) and Juárez (population: 1.5 million) is the most menacing spot along America's southern underbelly.

On one side is one of the safest cities of its size in the United States, with only 15 murders so far in 2008. On the other is a slaughterhouse ruled by cartel bosses where the death toll this year is more than 1,300 and counting.

"I don't think the average American has any idea of what's going on immediately south of our border," says Kevin Kozak, acting special agent in charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's office of investigations in El Paso. "It's almost beyond belief."

"The majority of the people detained and the bodies found are not from Ciudad Juarez. It is an intense battle between these two groups (Juarez and Sinaloa cartels). The level of violence has reached new levels. Retaliation between the groups has become more violent and terrorizing," said Reyes Ferriz, who is the Mayor of Ciudad Juarez but lives in El Paso .

Dismemberments and beheadings have become a common method of retaliation. A government source told about a case where a relative of a drug cartel member was tied to two trucks and stretched until his arms where ripped apart.

The dead are mostly unknown obscured figures in the underground world of the drug trade but are also innocents caught in the crossfire, make up a long procession of clients for busy coroner and daily material for the media sources and blogs (we can hardly keep up). But the mayor down plays the effect on the general population.

Ciudad Juarez police chief Julián Leyzaola directing an operation during a shootout.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Michoacan–Tierra Caliente

Excerpts from Borderland Beat book - Chapter - Michoacan–Tierra Caliente

In 2009 La Familia Michoacana declared war against Mexican President Felipe Calderon through a letter delivered a warning. The following is a segment of the message from La Familia Michoacana, reacting after the death of their leader Nazario Moreno González.

"Beware Felipe Calderón, pray to your holy saint because we come with the blessing of our God. Our God Nazario, may God rest his soul. This will not stop until Familia Michoacana dies. We are going after Calderon and all his fucking family, our groups are ready in Michoacan."

On July 14, 2009, La Familia Michoacana tortured and murdered twelve Mexican Federal Police agents and dumped their bodies along the side of a mountain highway along with a written message: "So that you come for another. We will be waiting for you here." The federal agents were investigating crime in Michoacán state; President Calderón, responded to the violence by dispatching additional 1,000 Federal Police officers to the area.

The infusion, which more than tripled the number of Federal Police officers patrolling Michoacán, angered Michoacán Governor Leonel Godoy Rangel, who called it 'an occupation' and said he had not been consulted. Days later, 10 municipal police officers were arrested in connection with the slayings of the 12 federal agents.

By December 2010, the streets of Michoacan were set ablaze, burning vehicles blocked the highways.  Black smoke could be seen from miles away, it was a war zone. The smell of burnt tires and gun powder permeated the air.  As bullets ricochet off the pavement, screams of panic could be heard as helicopters flew overhead.  Outnumbered and out gunned the criminals began to vanish into the hills surrounding Apatzingan, taking their dead with them.

It would go down as one of the fiercest battles the drug war had seen, lasting several days.  This was to be the last stand of the once mighty La Familia Cartel and their leader Nazario aka "El Chayo" or "El Mas Loco" Moreno Gonzalez.