Wednesday, July 27, 2011

'Fast and Furious' helped 'El Chapo'

As details of the US operation "Fast and Furious" unraveled in Washington, DC, this week, Mexican politicians and media assailed it for the criminal it ended up helping: Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka "El Chapo," leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Alejandro Poire Romero, technical secretary of the national security cabinet, spoke on the subject at a press conference at Los Pinos, Mexico City, La Jornada reported. Poire said that Mexican authorities were publicly aware of "Fast and Furious" as an operation of the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) to fight illegal arms trafficking in Mexico. Yet he added that Mexico was unaware that ATF authorized "Fast and Furious" to do so by allowing weapons to fall into the hands of criminal organizations in Mexican territory.
Had Mexican authorities known so, he said, they would have opposed such measures.
Meanwhile, La Cronica columnist Pepe Grillo had harsh words for "Fast and Furious," after learning that "El Chapo" ended up receiving around 2,500 weapons from the operation -- an amount sufficient to equip "an entire regiment," Grillo wrote.
"With these foreign arms," Grillo charged, "the assassins of the Sinaloa Cartel shot and killed civilians and Mexican soldiers."
Carlos Canino, head of the ATF office in Mexico City, had mentioned the link between "Fast and Furious" and "El Chapo."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

4 guilty in Juarez slayings

Four men were found guilty on Thursday in the January 30, 2010 assassination of almost 20 people in the Villas de Salvarcar neighborhood of Ciudad Juarez.
News accounts differ as to the number of the dead -- La Jornada says 16, Norte Digital says 15. Yet both newspapers link the four men who killed them to the criminal group La Linea.
La Jornada describes La Linea as an armed wing of the Juarez drug cartel in the state of Chihuahua, and says that the four assassins believed their victims worked for two other criminal factions: the Gente Nueva group and the Los Doblados (AA) gang. La Jornada adds that both of these groups were linked to the cartel of Joaquin Guzman Loera ("El Chapo").
Norte Digital reports that the slayings took place at a birthday party and lists the names of the dead: 14 males and one female. In addition to the slain, almost a dozen others were wounded -- Norte Digital says 10, La Jornada says nine.
As for the assassins, La Jornada has some background info, saying that one is a former metropolitan police officer. La Jornada reports that a fifth person (Israel Arzate Melendez) was arrested for the crimes, but that he alleges that he was tortured by the servicemembers who apprehended him.
The four men found guilty will be sentenced on July 11.