Big Money; sheriff's department receives $5.9 million in drug proceeds
January 18, 2012 6:43 AM
By Jacqueline Armendariz The Brownsville Herald
The sheriff's department announced it received more than $5.9 million
in seized drug funds after an operation that convicted former Gulf
Cartel head Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, who allegedly placed a hit on the
undercover officer involved.
The amount given to the Cameron County Sheriff's Department is almost
20 percent of the $30 million in cash drug money said to be seized in
the "Los Cazadores" operation that led to the 2010 conviction of
Cárdenas Guillén. Sheriff Omar Lucio said an undercover officer began
working on the investigation in 1998, acting as the primary officer
and developing Gulf Cartel contacts.
"We did most of the ground work to begin with from this office,"
Lucio said at a press conference Tuesday.
Last week, U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn of
Texas said 12 South Texas agencies would share in the seized drug
funds. Lucio said he did not know the amounts the other agencies
would receive, though he did say he believed it was the largest
amount his department had ever received.The sheriff said the
undercover officer posed as a buyer and transporter, moving marijuana
and cocaine throughout Texas and other parts of the country. The
officer has worked at the Sheriff's Department since 1994, he said.
"This particular officer … had the opportunity to talk and meet face-
to-face with Osiel Cárdenas and some of the high members of the
cartel," Lucio said.
In a recorded phone conversation from about 10 years ago, Lucio said
he learned "a contract for his life" was placed on the officer by the
Gulf Cartel leader, sending the officer — with his wife and children
— into hiding for at least six months.
"From what I gathered is that he was all business," Lucio said of
hearing Cárdenas Guillén on the phone call. "He meant business. He
meant what he said. ... In other words, he felt that nobody's going
to betray him and if somebody did that he's going to make sure that
they pay for it."
The threat, Lucio said, came after the CCSD officer transported a
load of drugs to Houston, but the $50,000 the cartel expected in
return didn't come back. The sheriff did not elaborate on where the
Lucio also said it is believed cartel members searched for the
undercover officer at the false address he used while infiltrating
the organization. He said that after driving by the house, he and
another officer spotted a suspicious vehicle. As it left the area,
passengers discarded a firearm, Lucio said.
Lucio also said he heard a second conversation in which cartel
members threatened a Mexican man's family so he would help them find
the undercover officer.
Cárdenas Guillén was sentenced in 2010 in Houston federal court
during a closed hearing. He pleaded guilty to five counts, including
The court process for Cárdenas Guillén began in 2000 when he was
indicted by a federal grand jury in Brownsville. He was arrested by
Mexican authorities in 2003, according to reports from The Associated
Press. He was extradited to the U.S. four years later.
Cárdenas Guillén also forfeited $50 million in cash and goods as part
of a judgment, public records show. Some $30 million in cash were
On Tuesday, Lucio propped up the oversized check for the department
with Cárdenas Guillén's first name misspelled on it, as he
congratulated his officers, particularly those who work undercover as
they are generally unarmed and isolated when working.
Lucio said the seized drug money, as required by federal regulations,
would go to hiring more officers, paying more overtime or buying more
Note: The locals are right, and have a better location.
S Border Patrol to make decision on south NM base
Wed, 01/18/2012 - 20:09
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.(AP) — The U.S. Border Patrol will make a decision
Friday on a much-debated planned substation for southern New Mexico's
Animas Valley, the agency recently announced.
Federal officials said the agency will hand down its final decision
following a public forum scheduled for Friday in Animas.
U.S. Border Patrol Doug Mosier said the substation, also known as a
forward operating base, is needed in the isolated southwest corner of
New Mexico because of changing patterns of illegal immigration and
drug trafficking due to beefed up enforcement in Arizona and around
El Paso. He said it's also needed because agents must drive about two
hours, one-way, from the nearest Border Patrol headquarters in
Lordsburg, N.M., to reach the border.
"This is an area where we are facing the most challenges in terms of
terrain," said Mosier.
But a vocal group of ranchers and other Hidalgo County residents want
the proposed base to be built closer to the border instead of 13
miles from a planned site that's in a draw and fed by two other
arroyos. Each can carry significant amounts of water during a storm.
They said U.S. Border Patrol's preferred site is hard to see and
won't serve as a deterrent for those trying to cross into the U.S.
illegally or trafficking drugs.
An environmental review says the base, regardless of which site is
selected, will hold a heliport, horse corrals and modular buildings
capable of housing up to 16 federal agents, who'll stay for short-
The project gained serious momentum after the 2010 killing of a
southeastern Arizona rancher.
Officials have said they'd been waiting on two agency officials to
sign off on a document, called a "finding of no significant impact,"
that's part of the environmental review.
The number of illegal immigrants apprehended along the Mexico-New
Mexico border last year dropped to 6,900. Mosier said the arrests are
a 90 percent drop from five years ago in the El Paso sector, which
covers New Mexico and two Texas counties.
Note: still busy in SW AZ.
Agents nab sex offender suspects, marijuana
January 17, 2012 5:28 PM
BY JAMES GILBERT - SUN STAFF WRITER
Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents arrested two sex offenders and
seized 1,082 pounds of marijuana over the holiday weekend.
On Monday, Blythe Station agents patrolling on Interstate 40 near
Kingman stopped a suspicious vehicle. One of the occupants, Joel
Mendoza-Valdovinos, a Mexican national illegally present in the
United States, was found to have an active felony warrant issued by
the San Jose, Calif., Police Department.
Mendoza-Valdovinos was alleged to have committed lewd and lascivious
acts with a child under 14, with force, and forcible spousal rape. He
was turned over to the Riverside County Sheriff's Office.
Later the same day, Blythe Station agents were contacted by a Arizona
Department of Public Safety officer about a possible illegal alien in
custody. Agents were dispatched and arrested Jesus Manuel Hernandez-
Franco for being illegally present in the United States.
A records check revealed Hernandez had been charged and convicted of
corporal injury to spouse, as well as lewd and lascivious acts with a
minor by a caretaker. Hernandez was previously deported and is being
criminally prosecuted for re-entry into the U.S.
On Friday, Yuma Station agents were patrolling near County 8th Street
and the Colorado River when they observed a suspicious person riding
an all-terrain vehicle under cover of darkness. As agents approached
the suspect, he turned the ATV around and sped away back toward Mexico.
Agents found the ATV abandoned at the river's edge and discovered it
was loaded with more than 154 pounds of marijuana, which had an
estimated street value of $77,380. The ATV and marijuana were turned
over to the Yuma County Narcotics Task Force.
Early morning Saturday, Wellton Station agents patrolling near
Sentinel south of the interstate discovered six abandoned burlap
backpacks filled with 300 pounds of marijuana. Agents searched the
area but did not find any suspects. The marijuana, worth $150,300,
was seized for destruction.
Later the same morning, Wellton Station agents patrolling south of
Gila Bend observed three individuals walking through the desert.
Agents responded to the area and apprehended the individuals, who
turned out to be carrying large backpacks filled with marijuana. The
suspects and marijuana, weighing 268 pounds and valued at $134,070,
were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
On Saturday evening, Wellton Station agents patrolling 11 miles south
of Gila Bend observed six more individuals walking through the
desert. Agents approached the group and found them to be in
possession of 360 pounds of marijuana valued at $180,115. The
suspects were turned over to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Read more: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/agents-76005-marijuana-