Wednesday, August 22, 2012



Note:  some curious stuff.  

El Paso City Council votes on gun sale resolution during peace caravan visit
By Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera / EL PASO TIMES
Posted:   08/21/2012 07:18:12 PM MDT 

Prompted by victims of violence in Mexico, the City Council on Tuesday approved - not without debate - a resolution calling for the endorsement of a voluntary code of conduct for firearm sales.
The resolution, which also called for a discussion on the country's drug policies and prioritizing human rights in U.S.-Mexico collaborations, was a gesture of solidarity with the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity. The group of about 110 people is traveling through the U.S. to create awareness about the U.S.'s link to drug violence in Mexico among policy makers and the general public.
The leader of the caravan is Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, whose son Juan Francisco, 24, was killed by gunmen last year. On Wednesday, Sicilia and the group addressed city council before demonstrating at the El Paso offices of federal agencies and visiting the University of Texas at El Paso.

Sicilia told council members about the pain and suffering caused by Mexican president Felipe Calderón's term-long push against criminal organizations in the country, which has led to the death and disappearance of tens of thousands.

Sicilia underscored the role of weapons flowing from the U.S. in spurring
violence in Mexico. U.S. aid policies had contributed to militarize the country, he said, and U.S. authorities have been unable to keep criminal organizations from purchasing high-caliber weapons here.
"It only benefits the lords of death, the lords of pain, the lords of war and the lords of violence," he said. "We believe that the United States has a responsibility that hasn't been assumed by the government and the people of this country."
Victims also spoke to reporters of the losses they've endured.
Juan Carlos Trujillo, from the southwestern state of Michoacán, said two of his brothers went missing while traveling through a town where a drug lord was sweeping for unfamiliar people. Two other brothers disappeared two years later on an incident the family can't tell if it was related.
To disappear is a worse fate than dying, Trujillo said, because the uncertainty is devastating.
"I'm talking to you and I don't know if my brother is eating or not, if he's alive or not," Trujillo said. "As brothers, we made a pact that when we feel we're in danger we either throw ourselves off a cliff or crash against (our attackers) so our mother will know where we ended."
Sicilia's address to the city council was followed by the vote on the resolution, which was approved by the majority of council members, with the exception of city Rep. Cortney Niland who abstained from voting.

The document was only approved after some modifications to the language of the resolution.
Council member Michiel Noe said he sympathized with the caravan but criticized one point in the proposed code of conduct for fire arm sales, which called retailers to refuse sales when background checks don't return within three days.
Noe said people cannot be denied the purchase of a weapon "without a reason or without someone accusing them."
Noe also said the original resolution's call to "spur discussion about current drug policy and alternatives to it" indirectly referred to a discussion on the legalization of drugs, which he refused to engage in.
Noe asked that the resolution's language emphasize the code of conduct is voluntary and omit the part alluding to the discussion of drug policy alternatives.
Two El Paso residents who spoke before the city council said they were against the resolution. One of the critics, Salvador Gomez, said he supported the caravan but thought its efforts should be focused in Mexico.
"I'm tired of hearing people come and criticize my country," he said. "The place to make an impact is on Juárez, not on this side of the border." Caravan members responded by standing up and giving their back to the speakers.
After their appearance in city council, the caravan held a demonstration outside the offices of federal agencies in the city and later visited UTEP, where Sicilia spoke about the impact of violence in fueling immigration into the U.S. In the evening, the caravan led a march from San Jacinto Plaza toward the immigrant support center Annunciation House, where they held a vigil for the victims of violence.
Sicilia called for people in the U.S. to be compassionate toward Mexican victims displaced by violence, the legalization of drugs and demand U.S. aid money for Mexico be used to restore the country's social fabric, cleanse corrupt institutions and limit the southbound traffic of weapons.
Sicilia's caravan will leave El Paso on Wednesday and will stop in Laredo, Austin, San Antonio, Atlanta, Chicago and New York before reaching Washington D.C.
The group's month-long trip will take them through 28 cities. It began San Diego on Aug, 12 and passed through Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Cruces, among other cities, before making it to El Paso.
Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera can be reached at; 546-6129. Follow him on Twitter @AlejandroEPT.



Mexican judge may decide fate of U.S. trucker accused of trafficking ammunition
by Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera \ El Paso Times
Posted:   08/20/2012 12:00:00 AM MDT  

JUAREZ -- A federal judge's decision today could be crucial in determining the future of a U.S. trucker being held in a Mexican prison and accused of trafficking thousands of rounds of ammunition into Mexico.
Jabin Akeem Bogan, 27, was arrested by Mexican authorities in April this year after he drove a tractor-trailer with 268,000 rounds of ammunition across the international Bridge of the Americas.
Bogan, whose employer said he was transporting legitimate cargo to a gun store in Phoenix, contends he entered Mexico accidentally after he took a wrong turn that led him to the bridge.
His attorney in Mexico, José Emilio de la Rosa, said he has requested a federal appeals court in Juárez to reduce his charges from trafficking to possession of ammunition.
Weapons and ammunition trafficking is highly penalized in Mexico -- up to 30 years in prison -- but a guilty verdict for possession carries a much lower sentence of between two and six years in prison.
If federal magistrate judge Víctor Manuel Flores Jiménez accedes, Bogan would qualify for conditional release while he waits for his trial. He would not be allowed to leave the country until then, De la Rosa said.
Even if he's found guilty, it is likely Bogan would get the minimum sentence, because he has no criminal record in Mexico.
Bogan is currently being held at a prison in the southeastern state of Veracruz, accused of having violated Mexico's anti-gun laws.

Thursday, August 16, 2012



Downtown El Paso pawnshop manager pleads guilty in weapons case
By Adriana M. Chávez / EL PASO
Posted:   08/16/2012 10:24:28 AM MDT   

The manager of a Downtown El Paso pawnshop pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges he conspired with others to launder money and smuggle weapons and ammunition into Mexico.

Bryan Nelson Schonberg pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and two counts of conspiracy to smuggle goods into the U.S. before Senior U.S. District Judge David Briones.

On Aug. 3, 2011, agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested Schonberg, the manager of the Geneva Loan and Jewelry Co., 222 S. El Paso, and five employees for allegedly selling repackaged assault-caliber ammunition to be smuggled into Mexico. Agents seized at least 34,500 rounds during the raid.

The employees arrested were Jaime Rangel, Guadalupe Gallegos, Cirilio Soriano, Elataria Pedroza and Raquel Galvan Molina. All have pleaded guilty to various charges and are scheduled to be sentenced later this month.

Federal indictments alleged Schonberg and his employees "sold large quantities of ammunition and large quantities of ammunition magazines to undercover agents." The indictments also stated Schonberg and the five employees knew the items would be smuggled into Mexico, and repacked the items into bundles and hid them in luggage.

During Wednesday's plea hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory McDonald read a factual basis, which Schonberg agreed was true, stating Schonberg knew employees sold the ammunition and weapons for export into Mexico. Schonberg also never obtained
permission from federal authorities to export the items.

Among the items seized by the federal government were 1 million rounds of ammunition, 44 weapons of various gauges and calibers, and about $173,000 from two bank accounts belonging to Schonberg and his wife, who owned Geneva Loan and Jewelry Co.

As part of Schonberg's plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to return some of the seized items, including a portion of the money, to Schonberg's wife. She has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

A sentencing date was not immediately available Wednesday.

Adriana M. Chávez may be reached at; 546-6117. Follow her on Twitter @AChavezEPTimes.



Note:  first reported by El Imparcial in Sonora   Used more than most think. 

Agents find real pot in fake county truck
 •  Veronica M. Cruz Arizona Daily Star

More than 1,750 pounds of marijuana was seized Monday night from a truck made to look like an official Santa Cruz County vehicle with fake decals.

Border Patrol agents found the abandoned truck near Harshaw, east of Rio Rico, and found 75 bundles of marijuana underneath a piece of plywood in the bed of the truck, said a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The truck had decals on its doors from the Santa Cruz County Flood Control Department.

The drugs were valued at $875,000. No suspects were located.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012



Note:  A good time to revisit this webpage.  

Note:  Despite extensive border exposure, Pima county/Tucson seldom manage to catch anyone.
Some more details in KGUN report.  

Two men connected to assault of Tucson officer in custody
22 hours ago  •  Veronica M. Cruz/Arizona Daily Star

Two of three men connected to an assault of a Tucson police officer are in custody following an hours-long search of a south-side neighborhood. 

Sixth and 12th avenues between West Ajo Way and West Michigan Street are now open following the massive search, but some neighborhood streets in the area continue to be closed and there is still a police presence in the area continuing the investigation, said Sgt. Maria Hawke, a Tucson police spokeswoman. 

The incident started just before 11 p.m. Sunday night when police received a 911 call that several men armed with guns were pointing them at people at a car wash at West Irvington Road and South Liberty Avenue, Hawke said. 

At least two of the men were armed with assault rifles, handguns and were wearing tactical armor, she said. 

Officers responded to the car wash immediately and checked on the people at the car wash and saw the suspects leaving the scene in a vehicle headed northbound into a nearby neighborhood. 

Police followed the car which came to a stop near South Liberty Avenue and West Aviation Drive and the three men got out and ran in different directions, Hawke said. 

Additional weapons were found in the suspects' vehicle. 

One officer saw one of the suspects jump over a wall into a resident's backyard and began to get out of his vehicle when the man popped up over the wall and began shooting at the officer, striking his patrol car several times, Hawke said. 

The officer was not hit by the gunfire, but sustained minor injuries from broken glass, and was able to get out of the car and take cover behind it, Hawke said.

All available TPD units in the city and the SWAT team were then called to assist with the incident and to block off streets in the neighborhood to search for the men. 

One man was found a block away from where the vehicle was stopped and another man was found two to three hours later near Sixth Avenue and Pennsylvania Street, Hawke said. 

The second man was apprehended with help from the K-9 unit and was taken to the hospital for treatment of a bite. 

Police believe one of the two men in custody is the person who fired at the officer, Hawke said. 

The names of the two suspects have not been released. 

Police are still looking for the third man who is about 35 years old, weighs 220 pounds and stands about 5 feet 7 inches tall. 

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or 88-CRIME (882-7463). 

Police continue the search for an "armed and dangerous" man
CREATED AUG. 13, 2012 

The patrol car involved in the aggravated assault on an officer. The officer received only minor injuries from debris. Photos courtesy of Tucson Police. 
Reporter: Rikki Mitchell 
Web Producer: Sara Wright

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Police, along with the U.S. Marshals Service are still searching for a man they say opened fire on an officer, after they arrested two others in the same incident.

TPD tells KGUN9 that Sergio Valenzuela, 20, and Jose Tapia Paloma, 24, were arrested and charged with several felony offenses after they led police on a man-hunt Sunday night.

Officers responded to Irvington and Liberty Sunday around 10:50 p.m., to reports of three men waving guns and pointing them at people at a car wash.

Police say the men were equipped with three assault rifles, a Glock handgun, about 400 rounds of ammunition and a bullet proof vest.

When officers arrived at the car wash, the men took off in their car. The suspects ditched the car in the area of Pennsylvania and Liberty and took off on foot. One of the suspects jumped a wall, turned, and opened fire on an officer.

The officer was not injured, but TPD called all officers on duty for back-up, including five SWAT teams.

Police tracked down two of the suspects with the help of police K9s, and one of the men was bitten by a police dog and taken to a nearby hospital with minor injuries.

Micaela Bullock works across the street, and says this incident, along with recent robberies at her store, scares her.
"Just knowing that hooligans are out in the neighborhood making ruckus around here, it's actually kind of nerve-racking," she said.

Officers are still on the lookout for the third man. Police say he may be wearing body armor, and could be carrying an assault rifle.

Ericka Acuna works at the hair salon next door to the car wash where this incident first started. She says that knowing the third suspect is still out there worries her.
"We're right next door to it," she said. "I mean, I worked yesterday and if we would have stayed any later, you know, it's very scary."

Police conducted a yard-by-yard search of the area, and consider the suspect armed and dangerous.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 35 years-old,  5' 7" tall, and 220 pounds.

TUSD says C.E. Rose Elementary School, which is in the area, was open for classes today.

Monday, August 6, 2012



Note:  The Mex govt. has the info on all the arms recovered including the F&F ones.
Will probably take congressional pressure to get the data.

Report: ATF gun part of plan to kill Juarez police chief Julián Leyzaola
By Diana Washington Valdez \ El Paso Times
Posted:   08/06/2012 08:30:54 AM MDT  
El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles says deputies passed TxDOT traffic grant check
A weapon tied to "Operation Fast and Furious" was seized in Tijuana in connection with a drug cartel's conspiracy to kill the police chief of Tijuana, Baja California, who later became the Juárez police chief, according to a U.S. government report.
The firearm was found Feb. 25, 2010, during an arrest of a criminal cell associated with Teodoro "El Teo" García Simental and Raydel "El Muletas" López Uriarte, allies of the Sinaloa cartel.
Tijuana police said they arrested four suspects in March 2010 in connection with a failed attempt to take out Julián Leyzaola, and that the suspects allegedly confessed to conspiring to assassinate the police chief on orders from Tijuana cartel leaders.
The suspects had an arsenal of weapons and ammunition, and one of the firearms traced back to the operation that the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF) was monitoring from its field office in Phoenix.
Adrian Sanchez, spokesman for Leyzaola, said Leyzaola was unavailable for comment.
Leyzaola, a retired Mexican army officer, reportedly survived several attempts on his life while trying to bring order to Tijuana, a city torn apart by turf battles following the arrests and deaths of Arellano Felix cartel leaders.
A native of Sinaloa, Culiacán, Leyzaola became the Juárez police chief in March 2011, where brutal battles by competing cartels have claimed more than 10,000 lives.
On July 31, the U.S. House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee released a 2,359-page report titled "Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation," based on numerous interviews from hearings, and reviews of more than 10,000 pages of documents.
U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa and U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley led the investigation into the ATF's operation that ended abruptly after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered in December 2010, and two weapons traced to Fast and Furious were found near Terry's body in the Arizona desert.
Officials said bandits preying on immigrant and drug smugglers fired on Terry, who first shot at the bandits with only bean bags.
The Department of Justice Office of Inspector General plans to issue a separate report within weeks on Fast and Furious.
In addition to Terry and Leyzaola, Fast and Furious-traced weapons also were connected to a drug cartel cell in Chihuahua state that kidnapped and murdered the brother of ex-Chihuahua Attorney General Patricia Gonzalez, as well as to crime scenes in Juárez and other places in Mexico.
Under the ATF operation, about 2,000 firearms purchased at U.S. stores by straw buyers were allowed to walk across the border. The ATF's goal was to dismantle an arms-trafficking network by identifying and arresting its leaders.
Hundreds of the operation-monitored firearms are unaccounted for, and legislative investigators speculate that more people could be killed on either side of the border with these weapons.
According to the U.S. joint report, at one point the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration and ATF were investigating some of the same targets that the ATF was after, but failed to coordinate their efforts so that the ATF could end Fast and Furious before Terry and others were killed.
"We know the DEA was actively giving information to the ATF, but the ATF dropped the ball," Grassley and Issa said in a statement.
The report said that "Shortly after the (ATF's) case began, in December 2009, DEA supplied ATF with extensive information on what would become the ATF's prime target. At that point, ATF should have shut Fast and Furious down, but it failed to recognize that significance of the information the DEA had shared."
A year before Terry was killed, the information the DEA had was sufficient to make arrests of the same targets, the report said.
"Both the FBI and DEA had key information," the report said.
A key arms-trafficker that the ATF was after was detained three times by law enforcement, and was set free each time, reportedly after promising different U.S. federal agents that he would provide them with useful intelligence about the drug cartels.
The same target admitted to U.S. law enforcement later that he was trying to start his own drug-trafficking organization.
The U.S. joint report also said that DEA had provided the ATF with information on Dec. 21, 2009, about a shipment of 32 weapons that suspects obtained in Arizona and planned to transport to El Paso and possibly on to Juárez.
"(U.S. law enforcement) Group VII could have at least tried to intercept the firearms transfer through El Paso, as well as connect the trafficking with evidence of intent from the DEA wire," the report said. "Yet Group VII apparently failed to act on these more specific (wiretap) intercepts."
Last month, "Proceso," Mexico's national investigative magazine, reported that a Mexican lawyer and law experts in the United States are preparing a lawsuit against the ATF over Fast and Furious. Such a lawsuit has not been filed yet.
The U.S. Attorney General's Office said it does not plan to disclose any more documents related to the ATF's operation because doing so might jeopardize ongoing investigations.
Operation Fast and Furious came into public view after ATF whistleblowers disclosed details about the gunwalking operation.
Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at; 546-6140.

Friday, August 3, 2012



Note:  Not Mexico, but another interesting look at govt. arms trade.  Also very curious to see from who and where they "buy" the arms and munitions.  AZ gun shows?  Worthy of a congressional, media look?  In the past couple years we have seen example after example of people wanting to be free of despotic governments.  What is their most urgent need?  Those "evil and useless" small arms.  Which of course can help obtain those "big" arms.  

August 2, 2012 in Nation/World
U.S. group can help arm rebels
Administration clears the way for weapons funding
Hannah Allam McClatchy-Tribune  

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration quietly has cleared the way for U.S. residents to buy weapons for the rebels who are fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, granting a Washington-based advocacy group a rare license to collect money for arms and other equipment.

The license, which the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control issued last month without fanfare, gives the nonprofit Syrian Support Group the authority to take in money and pass it directly to armed insurgents. Previously, U.S. entities' assistance to Syria was limited to humanitarian and educational programs.

Brian Sayers, an American who once served as a NATO political officer and is now the Syrian Support Group's Washington lobbyist, said the new license would ease the fears of many prospective donors that helping the rebels buy guns would run afoul of U.S. law. "A lot of donors have been reluctant," he said.

Other analysts said the license would send a message to the Assad government, despite the Obama administration's opposition to U.S. military intervention and its reluctance to supply weapons directly to the rebels.

"It's indirect pressure the U.S. is putting on the regime: 'Hey, we're getting involved with the Free Syrian Army if you don't stop this,' " said Mohammad Abdallah, the head of the new Syria Justice and Accountability Center, a partially U.S.-funded clearinghouse for documenting atrocities.

Sayers said the Syrian Support Group had vetted nine military councils of the Free Syrian Army, the loosely organized rebel force, and already was accepting donations to send to Syria "within weeks." The support group also is consulting legal advisers to make sure members and donors wouldn't run into trouble should the money end up in the hands of militant Islamists, who have become a more visible part of the Syrian revolt in recent weeks.

"We're definitely looking into it. We're studying the issue very carefully," he said.

Sayers said the license would allow more transparency in the flow of weapons to the ragtag militias that were fighting Assad's better-equipped forces. He said the money also could be used to pay fighters' salaries and help toward procuring gas masks, vehicles and other items the rebels report as scarce.

With detailed fund transfers and logs of how the money is used, he added, weapons purchases can be better tracked and distributed than it is in the current system, which involves shadowy donations from Persian Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Sayers said the Syrian Support Group participates in the conference calls of the Free Syrian Army's military council chiefs in order to assess their battlefield needs. Once enough money is raised to send, he said, the group will make sure it is equitably distributed among the councils instead of going to loyalists of "a sheikh who lives in some outpost in Saudi."

"Obviously, it's always going to be difficult to say who's the end user for every cent, every dollar, but we don't see that the military councils will provide funds to the fringe groups," Sayers said.

The license, first noted Friday on the Middle East-focused news website Al-Monitor, gives the Syrian Support Group the right to export, sell or supply "financial, communications, logistical and other services" to the Free Syrian Army.



Anthony home raid yields 65,000 rounds of ammo destined for Mexico
by Daniel Borunda \ El Paso Times
Posted:   08/02/2012 04:45:45 PM MDT 

Federal agents arrested a man and seized 65,000 rounds of ammunition that was allegedly destined for Mexican drug cartels following a raid at a home in Anthony, N.M., officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Thursday.
ICE Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested Carlos Guadalupe Morales, 25, after a raid on Tuesday at his apartment in the 900 block of Monroe Avenue. Officials said agents seized 65,195 rounds of ammunition of various calibers in the apartment.
Morales allegedly told agents that he estimates he shipped 200,000 rounds of ammo to Mexico since 2011. Morales was charged with conspiring to export munitions without a license.



Home invasion on Rocky Point tourists prompts new U.S. warning

A few of the giant high rise condos in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico, are shown in this 2010 file photo.A new warning for American tourists is expected later today after a series of attacks.
5 hours ago  • 
 By Tim Steller Arizona Daily Star

A shocking home invasion targeting a group of American tourists in Puerto Peñasco preceded the July 19 shootout there, prompting the U.S. consulate to issue a new advisory to travelers.

On July 17 in the early-morning hours five armed men entered a home in Las Conchas, a beachfront neighborhood populated largely by Americans, said the president of the area's homeowners association in an email to property owners.

"They restrained the individuals who were renting the house," wrote president Ginger Beauchamp. "These men stole electronics, bedding, jewelry and an unidentified amount of cash."

This attack was the most brazen of four that occurred in the last four months, said Chad Cummins, the U.S. Consul General in Nogales, Sonora. The other assaults were on Americans who live in Rocky Point, as the beachside town is known.

One of the victims was attacked in his home and seriously injured, Cummins said.

The consulate plans to issue a new "warden message" this afternoon noting these violent incidents and advising tourists to take heed of the travel warning issued in February. That warning said tourists should travel in the daytime and only use the road from Lukeville to get to Rocky Point, not travel other connecting roads in Mexico.

While violence in Mexico has been commonplace for the last six years, Puerto Peñasco had largely escaped serious incidents, and attacks on foreigners were minimal.

The home invasion in Las Conchas was unprecedented as far as Beauchamp knows.

Read more in tomorrow's Star   

McAllen police: Guns seized after trio try to run down officer
July 30, 2012 5:30 PM
| Print Story | E-Mail Story
Ildefonso Ortiz
The Monitor  

McALLEN — Police said an officer tried to assist stranded motorists Monday only to have them dash off to another vehicle, whose driver tried to run the officer down, prompting a high-speed chase.

The affair ended with the arrests of the three men and the seizure of guns, drugs and ski masks from their SUV, according to a McAllen police news release.

About 11:20 a.m. Monday, the officer drove up to a stalled vehicle in the 900 block of West Wichita Avenue, but when the officer got out of his vehicle to help, two men ran away from the stalled vehicle and got into a blue Ford Escape SUV nearby, which had a third male at the wheel, according to the news release.

The officer tried to chase the two men on foot but couldn't catch them, and the Escape's driver drove it straight at the officer in an apparent effort to run him down, according to the release.

The men riding in the Escape fled north to Expressway 83 and took it into Alamo, where they abandoned the SUV and fled on foot. They were detained shortly thereafter.

Inside the SUV, police found various firearms, including a pistol and a shotgun, an unknown amount of ammunition rounds, a small amount of narcotics and ski masks. 



Former Chihuahua governor denies cartel allegations
By Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera \ EL PASO TIMES
Posted:   08/01/2012 12:00:00 AM MDT
Reporter: Alejandro Martinez-Cabrera  

Former Chihuahua Gov. José Reyes Baeza this week denied accusations made by a Mexican publication that he received campaign contributions from the Juárez cartel and in turn offered it protection during his administration.
On Monday, the Mexican weekly news magazine, Reporte Indigo, reported on an alleged 2010 investigation conducted by a unit of Mexico's attorney general's office, or PGR, that focuses on organized crime.
According to Indigo, the PGR's investigation files contain the testimony of a protected witness who is identified under the pseudonym Ramiro Chávez and is thought to be former Juárez cartel member Julio Porras Chávez.

In his testimony, Chávez said he was the middleman who delivered more than $225,000 from Juárez cartel leader Vicente Carrillo Fuentes to Baeza's campaign for governor in 2004. In return, Baeza allowed the Juárez cartel to pick the chief of the state police, Indigo wrote.

In a written statement, Baeza said the accusations "go beyond reality" and said the Indigo story made "false affirmations about my work as governor of Chihuahua State."
A PGR official in Mexico City, who asked not to be quoted because he wasn't authorized to speak, said he couldn't confirm "or much less deny" the existence of an investigation against Baeza. He said no arrest orders, formal accusations or requests to testify have been issued against Baeza.
"Oftentimes federal investigators conduct
an investigation in total secrecy. It doesn't mean there isn't an investigation but, officially, there isn't one," the official said.
But in his statement Baeza acknowledged he knew of a protected witness who spoke to authorities in 2010 about the alleged involvement of state officials -- including himself -- in criminal activities during the years of 1998 and 2004.
Baeza said that back then he addressed the issue with Mexico's then Attorney General Arturo Chávez Chávez and Marisela Morales, then head of the PGR's organized crime unit and now the nation's attorney general, and showed that the accusations "were not only false but also ill-willed."
"It is truly grave that the honor of a person is thrown into question due to the declarations of those who have been pursued because of their criminal activities and, in their attempt to reduce their sentences or punishments, they dare to revile someone without proofs," he said.

Officials in both Chihuahua Gov. César Duarte's administration and Baeza's party, the Revolutionary Institutional Party, said Tuesday that they didn't have an official comment on the matter.

At least three other Mexican governors -- all from Tamaulipas state and the PRI party -- have recently been the subjects of investigations because of alleged ties to drug traffickers.

Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera can be reached at; 546-6129. Follow him on Twitter @AlejandroEPT.Ê