December 22, 2009

“DEA and FBI agents received information about a week ago on Beltran Leyva’s whereabouts in the city of Puebla, southeast of Mexico City, and shared it with Mexican naval officials, according to a DEA official in Washington.

But Beltran Leyva and his bodyguards escaped a navy raid on the Puebla location, said the DEA official, who was not authorized to discuss the operation publicly.

Early the next morning, Mexican forces raided a Christmas party in the picturesque southern Mexico City suburb of Tepoztlan in search of cartel members. They arrested dozens of attendees and entertainers, including Latin Grammy-winning accordionist and singer Ramon Ayala.

 Chavez said residents in nearby Cuernavaca reported the presence of heavily armed men in their neighborhood. The DEA official said U.S. and Mexican agents received information that the Beltran Leyva group had fled to a Cuernavaca high-rise.”

Sold out by the Sinaloans, it seems. This is only going to get worse for a while.

December 19, 2009

It’s very strange that this is the first death of a drug lord that has ever been really widely publicized, in terms of the events surrounding his death, photos and videos of the scene, adding stories and color to the tale. Most of the time, these drug lords die as they lived, largely out of the public eye. Maybe it’s just that Beltran-Leyva was killed in his home rather than in the street, but there are certainly elements of pro-drug war PR going on that is doing well to show the success of Calderon’s government.

December 19, 2009

Aftermath.

Battle in the Streets

December 19, 2009

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mexican Navy Special Forces acting on a tip provided by US intelligence stormed the Altitude luxury apartments in Cuernavaca. They were fired on by Beltran’s bodyguards with assault rifles and grenades. The shootout lasted 4 hours. Beltran was gunned down trying to make a last-ditch escape after the rest of his men fell. Holding an AR-15, he opened the front door to his apartment and was cut down immediately.

Story here. This is a huge deal. Arturo was the head of the Beltran-Leyva cartel, which operated in Morelos, Acapulco, Mazatlan and parts of Northwestern Sonora, among other locations. But it raises a lot of questions. There’s definitely going to be more violence now, but between who. The Beltran-Leyva brothers split from the Sinaloa cartel and partnered with the Zetas after they believed Chapo Guzman sold out second-in-command of the family unit Alfredo Beltran-Leyva in the spring of 2008. The group retaliated by murdering Guzman’s son Edgar in Culiacan soon after. Arturo’s death leaves the Sinaloans as the main group to benefit. They can now make a push to control almost the entire Pacific seaboard of Mexico.

This marks another turning point. Now every major cartel has felt serious blows in the government’s war. All of them besides the Sinaloans. Which doesn’t do much for the unspoken belief in Mexico that there are parts of the government who believe the only way to resolve this drug war between the cartels is for one of the cartels to win, and that the Sinaloa cartel knows this well. Some believe they have greased the right right palms and are being largely ignored by law enforcement, who are instead pursuing the smaller, weaker drug trafficking organizations. You won’t stop cocaine smuggling in Mexico, but if you can consolidate it, you can end the need for inter-cartel violence.

The Sinaloa cartel is indeed widely believed to have reported Alfredo Beltran-Leyva’s location to the authorities and gotten him arrested in 2008. It would not be surprising if the same happened here. It’s hard to believe Arturo would just be caught off guard like this without a serious breach of his formidable lines of security.

This is a very big deal.

December 15, 2009

Nightlife in Juarez continues.

December 15, 2009

Tijuana

December 15, 2009

Calexico/Mexicali.

Border Patrol agents seized 1,869 pounds of marijuana and a 2005 Chevrolet pickup truck near Why, Arizona. An agent observed the vehicle driving through the desert without headlights and agents responded to the area. A search revealed the abandoned vehicle with the marijuana inside.

Border Patrol agents seized 1,151 pounds of marijuana and a 2002 Ford truck near Cockelbur, Arizona. Agents observed a truck being driven through the desert without headlights, and shortly thereafter, discovered the abandoned vehicle containing 53 bundles of marijuana.

Border Patrol agents arrested two illegal aliens from Mexico near Pan Tak, Arizona. During processing, both subjects admitted to being Sureño 13 gang members. Records checks revealed both had extensive criminal histories and had been previously removed from the United States.

Border Patrol agents seized 1,280 pounds of abandoned marijuana near Nogales, Arizona. The subjects carrying the bundles absconded and abandoned the marijuana as agents and Customs and Border Protection air assets attempted apprehension.

All in a weekend’s work.