Saturday, July 28, 2012
AZMEX UPDATE 26-7-12
AZMEX UPDATE 26 JUL 2012
Pharr man, San Juan woman get prison in gun-buying scheme
July 25, 2012 9:32 PM
McALLEN — A Pharr man and a San Juan woman will spend more than three years each behind bars in connection with illegal weapon purchases.
On Wednesday morning, U.S. District Judge Micaela Altars sentenced David Ricardo Gonzalez and Jolynn Perez, both 21 years old, to 42 months and 40 months in federal prison, respectively.
The two had entered a guilty plea April 25 to one count of making false statements while purchasing firearms — a practice known as straw purchasing. During an ongoing investigation, federal agents learned that Gonzalez had purchased 26 firearms while Perez had purchased 10 weapons. The two were purchasing weapons for 21-year-old Marco Villalobos and 22-year-old Taisa Garcia, who are serving a 33-month and a 46-month prison sentence, respectively, for their role in the gun-purchasing scheme.
Starr home invaders sought missing shooting victim, authorities believe
July 26, 2012 8:43 PM
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GARCEÑO — Starr County authorities said they were investigating an early Thursday morning home invasion here during which masked gunmen searched for a shooting victim from Wednesday's attack in Escobares.
About 5 p.m. Wednesday, authorities were called to an area near Lopez and Martinez streets in Escobares in connection with a shooting, said Capt. Homero Flores of the Starr County Violent Crimes Task Force.
When authorities arrived, they found a Chevrolet pickup with blood inside and six bullet holes from a .223-caliber weapon, Flores said. The victim was nowhere to be found.
Then, early Thursday morning, a group of masked gunmen stormed a house in Garceño. Authorities believe they were looking for the victim of Wednesday's shooting, Flores said, but they left when he couldn't be found.
Because the shooting victim is missing, authorities have not been able to confirm a motive for the shooting.
Drunkenness no defense in Starr County smuggling case
July 26, 2012 3:36 PM
McALLEN — Apparently the drunk excuse wasn't good enough for one Starr County man.
A federal jury convicted a Enrique Gonzalez Cavazos, 41, of three counts of immigrant smuggling Thursday in U.S. District Court in McAllen.
Gonzalez, a legal permanent resident living in Lopeño, was arrested March 19 by Border Patrol agents about a mile from the Rio Grande near Fronton, a small community in southwest Starr County.
Agents tried to stop a red pickup truck with several illegal immigrants inside, but the driver refused to stop, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson said in a statement Thursday. Agents tracked down the driver and truck's owner — Gonzalez — alongside Julio Cisneros Jr. and 10 illegal immigrants.
Witnesses testified that three adult illegal immigrants and an 11-year-old boy were in the rear cab of the pickup truck, with six others covered in the truck's bed. The immigrants, who paid between $3,000 and $5,000 to be smuggled, were unable to escape from the bed, as it could only be opened from the outside.
Gonzalez's defense lawyers attempted to convince jurors that he was "extremely intoxicated" during the failed smuggling attempt and was unable to comprehend what he was doing.
Ultimately, the jury didn't buy Gonzalez's story.
U.S. District Judge Randy Crane set Gonzalez's sentencing for October 4, when he will face up to five years in federal prison on each count.
Cisneros, 48, of Falcon, pleaded guilty in the case and faces sentencing on August 20.
Note: Worldwide? Not effective even on Mexican border.
Human Trafficking Policy Issues Outlined In Report For Lawmakers
By: Anthony Kimery
07/17/2012 ( 9:11am)
As US officials' concerns grow over Mexican transnational criminal organizations' (TCOs) involvement in human trafficking, especially kidnapping for purposes of ransom, forced prostitution and cross-border drug smuggling, a recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report stated that, "despite US and international efforts, perpetrators continue to persist in victimizing men, women and children worldwide through commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, debt bondage, domestic servitude and the use of children in armed conflict."
The CRS report, Trafficking in Persons: International Dimensions and Foreign Policy Issues for Congress, stated that "although there remains widespread support among policy makers and outside observers for the continuation of US and international anti-trafficking goals, reports of ongoing exploitation of trafficking victims worldwide appear to fundamentally question the effectiveness and prioritization of current responses to the trafficking problem."
The report said, "in the face of persistent reports of human trafficking worldwide, policy makers remain challenged to evaluate whether US goals to eradicate human trafficking worldwide are achievable and whether current international anti-trafficking programs are measured against realistic expectations."
"Human trafficking is an inherently transnational and multi-dimensional issue that touches on a broad combination of foreign policy, human rights, criminal justice and national security priorities," the report stated.
As for the latter concern, the report pointed out that National Security Presidential Directive 22 on Combating Trafficking in Persons issued by President George W. Bush in December 2002 highlighted the impact of human trafficking on US national security.
But while "there is widespread support among policy makers for the continuation of US anti-trafficking goals, ongoing reports of such trafficking worldwide raise questions regarding whether sufficient progress has been made to deter and ultimately eliminate the problem, the end goal of current US anti-trafficking policies," the report said.
The CRS report explored current foreign policy issues that confront US efforts to combat human trafficking, the interrelationship among existing policies and the historical and current role of Congress in such efforts.
The 112th Congress has introduced and taken action on several bills related to human trafficking, including bills to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which is the cornerstone legislative vehicle for current US policy to combat human trafficking beyond fiscal year 2011 (S. 1301, H.R. 2830, and H.R. 3589).
But "given recent challenges in balancing budget priorities," the CRS reports noted, "the 112th Congress may choose to consider certain aspects of this issue further, including the effectiveness of international anti-trafficking projects, interagency coordination mechanisms, and the monitoring and enforcement of anti-trafficking regulations."
The report emphasized that, "observers [continue to] debate whether existing anti-trafficking efforts worldwide have resulted in appreciable and corresponding progress toward the global elimination of human trafficking."
The report, prepared by Liana Sun Wyler, a CRS analyst in international crime and narcotics, stated that "current US foreign policy approaches for addressing human trafficking are a modern off-shoot of anti-slavery policies that centered initially on reinforcing international prohibitions on forced labor during the first half of the 20th century. With time, US and international perspectives on the global scope of human trafficking have expanded to cover a broader range of victims and prohibited activities, including sex trafficking and the exploitation of children in labor, armed conflict and the commercial sex industry.
"The ultimate goal of current US anti-trafficking policy is to eliminate the problem and support international efforts to abolish human trafficking worldwide."
[Editor's note: Because TCOs run their sophisticated operations online, Google Ideas, Google Inc.'s think tank, is working with the Council on Foreign Relations and other organizations to look for ways to use technology to disrupt TCOs involved in drug and human trafficking.]