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.

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