Tuesday, July 10, 2012
AZMEX UPDATE 9-7-12
AZMEX UPDATE 9 JUL 2012
Men plead guilty to smuggling ammunition into Mexico
The Mexican Teodoro Sanchez Rivera Alejandro Ruiz Alejo and tried to smuggle 300 rifles magazines for AK-47 and AR-15
LAREDO, Texas, July 9. - Two men, one a Mexican national, pleaded guilty to attempting to smuggle 300 porters assault rifles into Mexico.
The Justice Department said Monday in a statement that the Mexican Teodoro Sanchez and Alejandro Alejo Rivera Ruiz of Laredo, said they had tried to smuggle 300 large capacity magazines for the AK-47 and AR-15.
According to court documents, undercover U.S. agents who participated in the investigation of traffic made contact with Sanchez, who agreed to meet at a service station in Laredo.
The agents gave six pockets with shippers, followed minutes later by the arrival of Rivera with 50 magazines for ammunition.
Sanchez drove to a bridge heading to Mexico, where U.S. authorities intercepted him and recovered the mags.
Both face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $ 250 000. Still no date for sentencing.
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Drug tunnel found in San Luis center
July 07, 2012 9:18 PM
CESAR NEYOY AND CHRIS MCDANIEL - BAJO EL SOL/YUMA SUN
Federal agents and Yuma County Sheriff's deputies reportedly discovered a clandestine smuggling tunnel between the United States and Mexico during a raid on a business in San Luis, Ariz., Saturday morning.
Officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration, which is overseeing the case, declined to comment on the raid because the investigation is ongoing.
There was no information about any arrests that had been made, if any contraband had been seized, or how long the alleged tunnel had been in operation as of press time Saturday. There was also no information about the size of the alleged tunnel or the sophistication of its design.
The business in the United States that was raided at about 8 a.m. is at the corner of Urtuzuastegui and Archibald Street, across from Friendship Park, and just northwest of the San Luis Port of Entry.
Mexican Army soldiers guarded the Mexican side of the alleged tunnel, located in a building near Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon Street and Alvaro Obregon Street just to the southwest of the port of entry, throughout the day.
Leonor Godinez, owner of wholesale store La Mexicana, was surprised to see the law enforcement operation. Her business, located at 532 N. Archibald St., is in the same strip mall as the business in which the alleged tunnel was discovered in San Luis, Ariz.
"I arrived at about 6 in the morning, and shortly later somebody told my employees to go inside because something was happening, and that there were many police officers," she said. "Then I realized they were searching the place."
Godinez had been unaware of any strange activity at that location, she added.
"I did not notice any activity indicating that something like a tunnel was being built. What I know is that the place was rented since March. I spoke with the person in charge sometimes, and he told me they were struggling to start the business because they had problems with the licenses."
Godinez mentioned that the person in charge of the property commented that the plan was to open a parcel delivery business.
Lorena Macias, an employee of a shoe store near the site of the operation, was also unaware of any illegal activity at that location, including the construction of an alleged tunnel.
"Maybe they have been doing it at night, because during the day the place was empty and always closed," Macias said, noting she was also surprised by the raid.
Read more: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/tunnel-80240-business-alleged.html#ixzz202jcERml
Drug tunnel used more than 6 months
July 08, 2012 6:34 PM
BY CESAR NEYOY - BAJO EL SOL
SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Son. — A half-block from the Mexican port of entry and a few feet from the border is where authorities discovered a tunnel that crosses into a commercial facility in San Luis, Ariz.
About 755 feet long and 60 feet deep, the tunnel would have been used for more than six months to smuggle drugs northbound and weapons and cash southbound, said Gen. Raul Guereca Valenzuela, head of the local military station, during a briefing with media representatives.
Finding the tunnel was possible thanks to binational coordination between authorities. At this point of the investigation, no arrests have been made, he added.
Inside a downtown commercial property named Ice Land on Morelos Street between Calles Obregon and Carlos G is where the tunnel was located. It was equipped with electricity and a ventilation system, and special vehicles allegedly used to transport the merchandise were found inside the building.
The tunnel is 4.25 feet high and 1 meter wide. The sand removed during construction was stored in a room inside the property.
At about 8 a.m. Saturday, military and police personnel sealed the surrounding area to enter the property.
A truck with Baja California license plates was confiscated.
According to the advertising on the building, the ice-selling business was about to open its doors.
The property is guarded by military personnel while federal police continue their investigation.
Read more: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/tunnel-80259-property-feet.html#ixzz20CApVyMG
Secrecy shrouds cartel slaying in El Paso
by Adriana M. Chávez \ El Paso Times
Posted: 07/08/2012 11:24:54 AM MDT
Adriana M. Chávez
Three years ago, El Paso saw its first cartel-related killing since the drug wars in Juárez began escalating in 2008.
Five people, including a 16-year-old boy and a Fort Bliss soldier, were arrested in the May 2009 death of José Daniel Gonzalez-Galeana, 37, in East El Paso.
Since then, charges have been dismissed against one, while the remaining four are still awaiting trial. Court records pertaining to the case, which has been dubbed the Pony Trail murder, have either been sealed by state district judges, shrouded in secrecy or remain stagnant.
A spokeswoman with the El Paso District Attorney's Office said only that the cases are still pending and declined to comment further.
In 2010, District Attorney Jaime Esparza confirmed he was seeking the death penalty against two defendants, former Army Pfc. Michael Jackson Apodaca, 21, and Ruben Rodriguez-Dorado, 33, who are charged with capital murder.
Rodriguez-Dorado had been scheduled to attend a court hearing on June 27, but coming hearings no longer appear on the El Paso County criminal records website.
Apodaca's trial had been scheduled to begin in April 2011, but it never took place. No new trial date has been set and state District Judge Gonzalo Garcia has sealed several records relating to the case. Apodaca's attorneys at the El Paso County Public Defender's Office declined to comment, citing a court-issued gag order.
The trial of a third defendant, Christopher Duran, 20, had been scheduled to begin in
February, but it also did not take place and a new trial date has not been set. He is also charged with capital murder but is not facing the death penalty.
Duran's attorney, Tom Hughes, couldn't be reached for comment. Rodriguez-Dorado's attorney had been listed as Russell Aboud, but a woman who answered the phone at Aboud's office Thursday said Aboud no longer represents Rodriguez-Dorado.
Gonzalez-Galeana was a mid level member of the Juárez drug cartel who also worked as an informant for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, police said at the time of his death.
He was shot at least eight times in front of his home on Pony Trail Drive in East El Paso. Apodaca, who was 18 at the time of his arrest, is accused of being the shooter, while Rodriguez-Dorado and a 16-year-old boy are accused of being part of a surveillance team watching Gonzalez-Galeana.
The boy, now an adult, is also awaiting trial, but officials with the El Paso County Attorney's Office have declined to release his name because he was a juvenile when the crime was committed.
Jesus Aguayo Salas, the alleged midlevel cartel lieutenant accused of ordering the murder, is thought to be in Mexico and has not been arrested. Duran has been identified as the alleged getaway driver in the shooting.
Police have said Juárez cartel members assigned Rodriguez-Dorado, also an alleged ICE informant, to find and kill Gonzalez-Galeana because they believed he was cooperating with the U.S. government or had joined a rival criminal organization.
At the time of the shooting, Gonzalez-Galeana lived in a home that was next to the rear of police Chief Greg Allen's house.
Police said that Gonzalez-Galeana owned a trucking business and permanently moved to El Paso on a visa from ICE, but that he didn't give up his role as a midlevel cartel boss coordinating drug shipments.
Prosecutors dropped charges against a fifth man originally charged in the murder, Orlando Rafael Benavente, because of insufficient evidence. Police had accused Benavente of being a lookout for the group.
Adriana M. Chávez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6117. Follow her on Twitter @AChavezEPTimes.