Friday, July 6, 2012
AZMEX UPDATE 2 5-7-12
AZMEX UPDATE 2 5 JUL 2012
Texas trucker's arrest to be re-enacted in Juárez
By The Associated Press
Posted: 07/05/2012 10:30:01 AM MDT
EL PASO - The attorney of a Dallas trucker jailed in Juárez, Mexico, on ammunition smuggling charges says a Mexican court has ordered a re-enactment of events leading to the arrest.
Attorney Emilio de la Rosa says experts and prosecutors will attend the Thursday re-enactment of the moment when Jabin Bogan tried to make a U-turn at a border crossing bridge. Bogan tried the U-turn after realizing he was in Mexico carrying 268,000 bullets inside his 18-wheeler.
Bogan has claimed his GPS malfunctioned, directing him to Mexico. Mexican customs officials testified he was trying to turn and, when asked, showed paperwork showing the ammunition was destined for a wholesaler in Arizona.
Mexican authorities have charged him with smuggling military ammunition, which carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.
Note: Updated and interesting.
Texas trucker's arrest re-enacted in Mexico (update)
Posted: 07/05/2012 06:16:47 PM MDT
Attorney Emilio de La Rosa, left, and forensics expert Mario Gomez, right, talk to a customs and court officials at the Las Americas Bridge in Juarez, Mexico on Thursday, July 5, 2012 while doing a walk-through reconstruction of the events that lead to the arrest of trucker Jabin Bogan. (AP Photo/ Juan Carlos Llorca)
EL PASO, Texas (AP) - An attorney for a Dallas trucker whose rig was filled with ammunition when he crossed the Mexican border said a re-enactment conducted Thursday confirms that his client simply made a wrong turn and wasn't trying to smuggle bullets into Mexico.
A Mexican court allowed local prosecutors and Jabin Bogan's defense lawyer to gather with experts at the border-crossing bridge in Ciudad Juarez where Bogan tried to make a U-turn. Bogan has been held in a Mexican prison since the April 17 incident, when Mexican custom officials found 268,000 bullets in his 18-wheeler.
Forensic expert Mario Gomez showed how the 27-year-old trucker wound up blocking traffic while trying to make what he called an "impossible" U-turn back into the United States. Gomez also showed prosecutors and the court photographs that he said showed the cargo wasn't hidden, as prosecutors allege. He spent about an hour with local officials and Bogan's attorney walking through the truck lanes of the bridge and inspections yard.
"This is very good for us," said Bogan's Mexican defense lawyer, Emilio de la Rosa.
Bogan claimed that his GPS malfunctioned, causing him to take a wrong turn. Mexican customs officials have testified that Bogan was trying to turn around and, when asked, showed paperwork indicating the ammunition was destined for a wholesaler in Arizona.
Prosecutors allege Bogan concealed the cargo and charged him with smuggling military ammunition.
De la Rosa said
he is trying to convince the judge that Bogan had no intention to smuggle the bullets into the Mexico. The attorney said he is trying to get the charges reduced from the smuggling charge, which carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, to possession, an offense punishable by no more than six years in prison or even a fine.
Bogan is being held in a maximum security prison in Veracruz, about 260 miles east of Mexico City.
America Saenz was the customs official who first encountered Bogan as he was trying to maneuver his truck into the U.S.-bound passenger-vehicle lanes and instructed him to proceed to the truck inspection zone where the ammunition was found. On Thursday, Saenz described to the prosecutor and the court official present at the scene how she saw Bogan's truck trying to turn.
In a deposition given to the judge in May, Saenz testified that Bogan produced paperwork for the cargo when it was requested that showed the bullets were destined for United Nations Ammunition in Arizona.
According to Texas Department of Public Safety records, Bogan was arrested in and around Dallas eight times between 2002 and 2007 for offenses that include theft, evading arrest, unauthorized use of a vehicle and misdemeanor assaults. According to those records, he was convicted of the crimes. His lawyer said it's not likely the judge would take those offenses in consideration.
The trucking company that Bogan worked for at the time, Demco Express, was shut down by the Department of Transportation on May 25 for repeated and blatant violations of the Federal Motors Carrier Safety Regulations regarding unsafe and fatigued driving, vehicle maintenance and drug and alcohol testing of the drivers.
Blog: A border corruption case spreads fear about informants
David Sanders / Arizona Daily Star 2011
The border fence stands out between Nogales, Arizona and Sonora. Agents were told last summer that drug traffickers were planning to send a group across the border to "round up" informants in Nogales and Rio Rico, Ariz.
1 hour ago • Tim Steller, Arizona Daily Star
The marathon sentencing of Homeland Security special agent Jovana Deas last week produced many tantalizing details about the mysterious border underworld that I was unable to include in Saturday's story.
(I'm reflecting on the hearing now because I went on a short vacation immediately afterward.)
Nothing was more important than the public acknowledgment by federal officials that they believe a list of informants in the Nogales area was leaked last year by someone in the office where Deas worked.
Questioned by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Lacey, Special Agent Jesus Lozania said his office received word in July 2011 that his office's informants identities were compromised.
"A drug trafficking organization in Nogales, Sonora had in its possession a list of confidential informants who were working in the Nogales-Rio Rico area. An informat said the cartel was about to send people over to round up the informants in Nogales and Rio Rico."
"We immediately started contacting our active sources, making sure these sources were not harmed. We reviewed every case currently open to make sure the cases weren't compromised."
Lozania and Lacey tried to tie the leak to Deas. Lozania testified that Deas was a select agent among the 30 in the Nogales office with access to the secret files on informants. He also testified that informants said the leaker of the informant information was a Hispanic female.
But assistant federal public defender Julia Santander was able to poke holes in that story when she questioned Deas herself. Deas testified that she had not had access to the informant files since January 2010, when she was pregnant and passed out in the office. At that point, she was transferred to Tucson, Deas testified.
Also, Deas testified that three Hispanic females worked as clerks in the office and would type — on a typewriter — the file cards for each new informant. Those cards included the informants' names and other identifying information, Deas said.
Whether she was involved or not, the damage was done, testified Homeland Security Special Agent Carlos Cruz, of the Douglas office.
"Informant are our bread and butter. Informants told us they were unwilling to work for us because the cartel had a list of informants," he said.
Taking down an agent
The two-day hearing also gave a window into the way the feds work a corruption case.
Agents first confronted Deas on May 1, 2011, when she was called in to speak with Lacey on a ruse — they said they needed to talk to her about a case of hers. It turned out, Deas had just been indicted, and they had called her in for a come-to-Jesus talk.
"They said that if I helped them get a corrupt agent, they would ensure I get probation," Deas testified.
Deas said Special Agent Stan Ward, the lead agent investigating her, spoke with her daily about her progress, sometimes in meetings in her car at anonymous Tucson-area parking lots. She poked around and found a couple of names, but they weren't ultimately useful.
As time went on and word of the informant leak emerged, Lacey, Ward and others became more concerned about her case.
In his closing statement, Lacey said the government asked her to come in and take a polygraph test, in order to help them determine the degree of damage Deas had done to the agency's secrets.
Their offer, Lacey said: "If she sat down and took a polygraph, we would dismiss the charges against her sister," Dana Samaniego, a co-defendant in Deas' case. Deas refused.
A blown case in Douglas
Another of Deas' colleagues, Special Agent Carlos Cruz of the Homeland Security Douglas office, pointed to a leak by Deas as ruining an investigation he was working on. Cruz was investigating an Agua Prieta nightclub owner named Carlos Luna Grijalva when Deas began looking up information on the man in a federal database.
The database is set up so that the "owner" or originator of the files on an individual are notified when another person looks at the records. In January 2011, Deas looked up many records on Luna Grijalva. A month later, Cruz testified, he spoke with Deas about it on the phone.
"She was extremely nervous, and I thought that was very unusual," he said.
Eventually, Ward testified, agents learned that Deas had looked at and printed every record in the Luna Grijalva file.
Deas testified her sister had asked her for the information on Luna Grijalva, explaining that Luna Grijalva's attorney had approached the sister, trying to confirm that he was under investigation. She said the information was nothing more than what the attorney already knew.
Feds: Father, two sons implicated in shooting of ICE special agent
July 05, 2012 10:57 AM
The U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of Texas issued the following news release that provides new details about the shooting Tuesday of Kelton Harrison, a special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations division:
McALLEN, Texas – Pedro Alvarado, 41, and Arnoldo Alvarado, 18, have been arrested and charged with the assault of a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The Hargill, Texas, men are currently in custody and expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Orsmby this morning at 10:30 a.m.
The criminal complaint was filed just minutes ago in McAllen, Texas. Both are charged with assault of a federal officer and knowingly using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
"The announcement of these arrests related to the shooting of our HSI special agent is a testament to the close cooperation among our law enforcement partners," said Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton. "We are encouraged by this action to bring these criminals to justice. We continue to keep the agent and his family in our prayers during his road to recovery."
On July 3, 2012, HSI special agents were conducting surveillance in anticipation of a narcotics transaction believed to be occurring near Hargill. While parked in his official vehicle near the intersection of Farm to Market 493 and Cemetery Road, an HSI agent was allegedly approached by another vehicle from which shots were fired. According to the criminal complaint, the agent proceeded north and the second vehicle pursued him and continued shooting. The agent then lost control of his vehicle, at which time additional agents arrived and discovered the agent had been shot one time in the back. HSI special agents then conducted a consent search at a residence in Hargill and encountered Pedro Alvarado and his son, Arnoldo Alvarado, who were then taken into federal custody for further questioning. A third person, a minor, was also identified in relation to the crime and turned over to state authorities.
The penalty range for assault on federal officer is up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to 250,000, upon conviction. The Alvarados also face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison as well as a 250,000 fine for using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed.
The case is being investigated by the FBI with the assistance of HSI. Assistant United States Attorneys James Sturgis and Anibal Alaniz are prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
Note: and sadly ineffective given the heavy traffic that makes it through the res.
JULY 2, 2012SELLS, AZ
TOP STORY: Shadow Wolves provide unique approach to law enforcement
How did the Shadow Wolves get its name?
Stanly Liston, one of the seven original members of the Shadow Wolves, was extremely adept at tracking and quietly sneaking up on backpackers – sometimes even handcuffing them as they slept. He was nicknamed the "Shadow Man." As the unit matured, the group's tactics also evolved. When a member located a good sign to follow, the remaining members converged on the scene like a pack of wolves. Hence, the Shadow Wolves were born.
Located in a remote area of Arizona that shares a 76-mile stretch of land with the Mexico border, the Tohono O'odham Nation became a thoroughfare for smugglers.
"It's the reality of living on the border," said Rodney Irby, assistant special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Sells, Ariz. "There was a definitive drug smuggling threat on the second largest Indian reservation in the United States."
That's why the residents of the Tohono O'odham Nation embarked on a unique partnership with ICE's legacy agency, the U.S. Customs Service, in 1974. The two organizations formed the Shadow Wolves, ICE's tactical patrol unit.
"To date, we are the first and only federal law enforcement agency authorized a permanent residence on the Tohono O'odham Nation which is comparable in size to the state of Connecticut," said Irby.
When the partnership was established, the U.S. Customs Service agreed to hire Native American officers to serve as part of the Shadow Wolves. ICE upholds this commitment today.
"The Shadow Wolves enable us to develop intelligence from a somewhat closed society that wouldn't be available to non-community members," said Irby. "[They are] also expert trackers. They use their Native American tracking skills that were instilled in them when they were young for hunting and tracking livestock and apply those skills to locating smugglers in the remote desert terrain."
Shadow Wolves officers patrol smuggling corridors based on information from the community. They start a mission when someone finds signs – animal indicators, footprints or evidence of backpackers. Sometimes they work on foot, and other times, by vehicle. It is not uncommon for a Shadow Wolves officer to work continuously for 24 hours to catch someone.
The unit was heavily involved in the success of Operation Pipeline Express, a 17-month multi-agency investigation responsible for dismantling a massive narcotics trafficking organization suspected of smuggling more than $33 million worth of drugs each month through Arizona's western desert. Since October, the Shadow Wolves have seized 20,719 pounds of marijuana and 20 vehicles and made 8 arrests.
PRI candidate Ramon Guzman wins mayoral election in Nogales, Sonora
Posted: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 8:46 am | Updated: 8:43 pm, Tue Jul 3, 2012.
Just as Mexico's former ruling party won back the nation's presidency during Sunday's elections, it also returned to power in Nogales, Sonora.
Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Ramon Guzman defeated Marco Antonio Martinez Dabdoub of the National Action Party to win the Nogales, Sonora mayor's office, unofficial results showed. Local media, citing preliminary reports from the Sonora State Electoral Board, said Guzman won with just under 50 percent of the ballots cast.
Guzman's party, known as the PRI, had controlled the city government until 2006, when voters swept Dabdoub of the PAN into office. Dabdoub, who was prohibited by Mexican law from seeking a consecutive three-year term, was replaced as mayor in 2009 by fellow PAN member Jose Angel Hernandez Barajas.
Guzman, a lawyer and owner of the radio station Radio XENY, is a former city councilman who served as interim mayor for eight months in 2003. He campaigned on a promise to return Nogales to the relative tranquility it experienced prior to an outbreak of drug-related violence in 2009. He also accused the PAN of corruption and mismanagement of the city.
Guzman adopted a more conciliatory tone during an interview Monday on XENY, promising that as mayor, he'd work with the PAN to solve Nogales' problems.
"We are Nogalenses," he said. "We are brothers, all of us."
Guzman will be formally sworn into office on Sept. 16.
Polls leading up to the election varied widely. A survey published in the newspaper Nuevo Dia less than a week before the election showed Dabdoub with a 15-percent lead over Guzman. Another survey in the Hermosillo-based daily El Imparcial showed the race as a dead heat.
In Mexico's presidential election, PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto defeated Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party and Josefina Vazquez Mota of the PAN, which had governed Mexico since voters ended the PRI's 71-year-reign in 2000.