Friday, August 30, 2013



Note:  Another of Janet's inner circle is / was Dennis Burke, former U.S. Atty. and F&F player.

New boss at ICE ineligible for job, says critic
By Jana Winter
Published August 30, 2013

Critics suspect the elevation of John Sandweg (r.) to acting director of ICE has more to do with his closeness to outgoing Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano (l.) than his law enforcement credentials. (AP, C-Span)

The acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement—who oversees the nation's second-largest federal investigative agency—may not be eligible for the permanent position under laws set up to keep politics out of the agency, according to one former high-level employee.
When John Sandweg, a former Arizona criminal defense attorney and associate of outgoing Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, was named acting director of ICE, several critics questioned his credentials. Some told his appointment seemed to be political, and others said the agency needed a leader who had come up through the ranks.

"Given that there are literally dozens of people within ICE who have more experience in management/law enforcement and meet these qualifications, there is no excuse for placing Mr. Sandweg as acting director of ICE," said Anthony Ho, who was assistant special agent in charge of ICE's San Francisco division before retiring in December.
Ho noted that the 2002 law which established the agency, then known as Bureau of Border Security, explicitly requires that the director "shall have a minimum of 5 years professional experience in law enforcement, and a minimum of 5 years of management experience." The law was designed specifically to prevent the agency from becoming politicized, Ho said.

It was not clear if the same requirements apply to an acting director, but one source told it was likely the intent that they would, otherwise an acting director could be installed indefinitely simply to get around them.

Sandweg, 38, was a fundraiser for Napolitano while she was governor of Arizona and came to Washington with her in 2009 when she was named DHS secretary. has previously reported Sandweg's extensive experience in political activism—a background recently raised by the House Homeland Committee, which wrote to President Obama expressing its concern with Sandweg's appointment.
Sandweg has not been nominated for the permanent post, which would then require Senate confirmation. But even if his time at DHS were to count as law enforcement experience, which critics would dispute, he would still fall short of the five-year requirement. 

"He doesn't even meet this minimal requirement set forth by Congress and certainly none of his professional experience meets any reasonable definition of law enforcement," Ho told
The Bureau of Border Security was renamed the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2003 and took on its current title, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2007.
The full 2002 law outlining the five year law enforcement and managerial experience requirement for the head of ICE is currently posted on the website of the Department of Homeland Security. Those same requirements for assistant secretary of ICE are listed in a March 16, 2010 "Statutory Qualifications for Executive Branch" prepared for members and committees of congress by the Congressional Research Service.
That would appear to indicate that the law did not change when the agency went through its various renaming.
A DHS official cited Sandweg's work as general counsel for the department as providing experience for his current post. Sandweg helped craft border security and immigration enforcement strategies, helped remove more than 950,000 convicted criminal aliens since 2009, worked with the Pentagon to deploy the National Guard to the Southwest Border, the official said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Similar concerns were raised when the Bush administration chose Julie Myers to head ICE in 2005 despite criticism of her credentials. She became head of the agency in a recess appointment. 
Ho isn't the first to raise concerns about Sandweg's appointment appearing to support claims of the agency's politicization. Earlier this month, reported on his previous work defending killers and pedophiles and opposition to the appointment from lawmakers.
Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, who chairs the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, was the first lawmaker to publicly blast Sandweg's promotion to top post, calling him "in no way qualified" and his appointment the latest example of the "blatant politicization" of the nation's second largest federal investigative agency.
"I am deeply disappointed by this appointment and believe it is disrespectful to the thousands of dedicated professionals at ICE who are working tirelessly to enforce our laws and provide for our security," he said following the announcement of Sandweg's appointment.
"I urge the administration to re-think this appointment and promptly appoint a qualified, confirmable applicant for this essential post."
DHS officials continue to support Sandweg, and recently retired head of Customs and Border Patrol David Aguilar told he is more than capable of running the agency.
"I think he's extremely qualified to serve as the acting director of ICE and that's in my opinion, that's the opinion of a 35-year cop," said recently retired Deputy Commissioner of Customs and Border Patrol, David Aguilar, who worked with Sandweg on immigration and border-related issues over the last few years.
But a growing chorus of lawmakers disagrees.  House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R- Texas, and Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., who chairs the committee's Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee, wrote a letter to President Obama last week expressing "extreme concern" over Sandweg's installation as acting ICE director. They noted his "critically thin" law enforcement experience.
"Despite extensive political experience, Mr. Sandweg's qualifications are critically thin in one area: experience in law enforcement," they wrote.
"Such a critical agency to our homeland security demands a leader with proven experience, significant managerial acumen, and tested judgment," the congressmen wrote. "We fear your choice may possess none of these crucial qualities."
The lawmakers asked Obama to respond to several questions pertaining to Sandweg's background and qualifications and vetting for the acting director post. They have not heard back.
Their letter to the president came days after published a detailed account of Sandweg's career history, which includes his time as a criminal defense attorney representing sex offenders and murders in Arizona while he served as a major fundraiser for then governor Napolitano.
"A litany of concerning allegations has been raised against Mr. Sandweg," reads their letter. "Perhaps the most concerning is the clear political partisanship displayed throughout his career."




U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake visits Sierra Vista, border

Thu, 08/29/2013 - 12:10am

Mark Levy • Herald/Review 
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, left, speaks with Casey Jones during Flake's appearance at Cochise College in Sierra Vista Wednesday. 

SIERRA VISTA — U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake stopped in Sierra Vista and Naco on Wednesday, finding an opportunity during a legislative break to meet with local leaders to talk immigration, water and other issues of concern in Cochise County.  

Full text available to premium subscribers only.


AZMEX I3 30-8-13

AZMEX I3 30 AUG 2013

6th homicide suspect arrested in Arizona immigrant-smuggling ring

Photo courtesy of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office  (must use link)
Gerald Alan Turner  

3 hours ago  •  Kimberly Matas Arizona Daily Star  

A sixth suspect has been arrested in connection with a human-smuggling ring that left one illegal border crosser dead.

Gerald Alan Turner, 39, was arrested Thursday afternoon in Phoenix by members of the U.S. Marshals fugitive task force. He was booked into the Maricopa County jail on a probation violation, but faces charges of homicide, kidnapping and human smuggling in the July death of a border crosser.

Earlier this month five other suspects, all Phoenix residents, were arrested in connection with the smuggling ring: Nathan Lamb, 25, Elizabeth Kay, 25, Yolanda Banda, 48, Gerad Punch, 28, and Enrique Morales Velazquez, 53.

Authorities learned about the "large-scale human smuggling ring out of Mexico," July 7,  when deputies were called to the Bowlin Travel Center off Interstate 10 near Picacho Peak, about 45 miles northwest of Tucson in reference to suspicious activity involving a U-Haul truck, Tim Gaffney, spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, said in a news release. 

Lamb, the driver of the truck, and his girlfriend, Kay, had picked up more than a dozen immigrants — each of whom had paid $5,000 — in Douglas that morning, loaded them into the back of the truck and were driving them to Phoenix, when they heard pounding from the cargo area. 

They pulled over and found many of them suffering the effects of heat-related illnesses. The temperature in the back of the truck was estimated to be 180 degrees or higher, Gaffney said.

Lamb, Kay, and about a half-dozen immigrants ran into the desert to hide. They were found later by U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Those who stayed behind were too ill to flee.

When deputies arrived at the truck stop, they found eight Hispanic men and women standing, sitting or lying near or inside the back of the truck, Gaffney said. Three of the immigrants - one of whom later died - were in critical condition and airlifted to a hospital. Five others were taken to hospitals by ambulance.

In total, 11 immigrants were taken into custody. Six of the injured were issued temporary papers to reside in the United States until the end of the trial in the smuggling case, Gaffney said. The other five immigrants were returned to Mexico, along with the body of the deceased immigrant.

Further investigation led to the arrest of the other suspects.




Note:  Your correspondent has been in the area on occasion.  The last time, once past the BP checkpoint,  the only "authorities" seen or met were from Sinaloa.   Latest info is that the incident was in the northern area of the Chiricahuas, not the Rucker Canyon area. 
Park believes robbery/assault isolated incident at Chiricahua National Monument
Posted: Aug 29, 2013 6:56 PM by Erika Flores 
Updated: Aug 29, 2013 7:28 PM  

WILLCOX - An attack on a national park service employee at the Chiricahua National Monument in Southeast Arizona landed the woman in a hospital.

The 60-year-old woman was found unconscious Wednesday afternoon inside a picnic area restroom.
She is at the University of Arizona Medical Center in critical but stable condition.
Karen Gonzales is a maintenance employee and park guide at the park.

Michelle Fidler with Coronado National Park Service tells News 4 Tucson that a park researcher found her during the middle of the day with a head injury.

"We weren't sure at the time whether she had fallen. We are investigating it as an Assault and robbery," said Fidler. "After she was airlifted out, we discovered that her vehicle was no longer in the park."

The Cochise County Sheriff's office later tracked down her truck in Douglas. 
The FBI is assisting with the investigation.

James Reeves said he was at his mom's house when heard the helicopter airlift Gonzales to UAMC.   "Her house is probably two, three miles from the visitor center," he said.

He said he's concerned whoever did this to Gonzales could be back and wander onto his mom's property.  "There's times when she's by herself, and it worries me," said Reeves.

Fidler said she believes this is an isolated incident.
"Safety is our number one priority, and we continue to have our park service and border patrol agents patrolling in this area," said Fidler. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family."

If you know anything about this case, you're urged to contact the Cochise County Sheriff's office.


Convicted felon nabbed by law enforcement
August 29, 2013 10:34 PM
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A Mexican citizen convicted of manslaughter was arrested by Yuma County Sheriff's Office deputies and Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents Tuesday near Gadsden.

The man's name has not been released to the public because such information could possibly interfere with the prosecution in this case, Border Patrol officials stated.

The man was convicted of manslaughter in Phoenix in May 2003 and sentenced to 11 years in prison. He was deported to Mexico in May 2013 after being released from prison, but recently re-entered the United States illegally. His case will be turned over to the U.S. Attorney's Office.


FBI investigating National Park assault near Willcox
By Cory Marshall
CREATED 6:27 AM (?)

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -  Cochise County Sheriff's deputies say someone assaulted a National Park worker on park grounds, Wednesday afternoon.
According to deputies, someone attacked 61-year-old Karen Weston Gonzales inside Chiricahua National Monument, near Willcox. 

A park researcher later found her "unconscious in a picnic area restroom," according to reports. Authorities say the attacker took off with her government truck. Officials later located the vehicle in Douglas.
Today, KGUN 9 On Your Side sat down with members of Gonzales' family in an exclusive interview.
"My number one concern is my mom. I want to make sure she's Ok. I want her to recover. I want her to wake up and tell me the story and then we'll have the whole, real story," her son, Joseph Gonzales said.
Karen's son, Joseph, also works on the park grounds. At the time of the attack, he says, he was just two miles away. 

He says he sat with his mother in the ambulance before she was airlifted to University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson.    "Yeah,at that point she was still responsive to me. I put my hand on her leg [and] she shook her head," Joseph said.
As a whole, the Gonzales family says they are having trouble with the timeline. 

Joseph says his fellow park employee first rushed to grab him around 1:30, Wednesday afternoon. However, according to a CCSO press release, deputies were not notified of the assault until 3:20 p.m., almost two hours later.   "They said, 'we're working on it.' That's all they said. They didn't say they contacted anyone. They said 'we're working on it' and that was unacceptable to me," Joseph told 9OYS while outside UAMC. 

According to deputies, the 61-year-old remains in critical, but stable condition. Her family says she is slowly waking up and slightly responsive.
No arrests have been made. Anyone with information is asked to call the CCSO.

Note:  Pima county continues to crush drug crime.

3 hours ago  •  Arizona Daily Star
A man accused of participating in a drug-related killing was sentenced to four years in prison.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Scott Rash sentenced Julian Zepeda, 26, Thursday for his role in the 2011 shooting death of Javier Bejarano, 22.

Zepeda and two other men were accused of killing Bejarano in a drug-deal gone bad. Court documents said the men arranged to meet a buyer who wanted 4 pounds of marijuana, instead Bejarano showed up and attempted to steal the drugs.

Zepeda then shot and killed Bejarano in fight.

Zepeda pleaded guilty in June to negligent homicide and conspiracy to transport for sale more than 2 pounds of marijuana.

Following the prison term, Zepeda will serve seven years probation.
Pima County Superior Court Judge Scott Rash sentenced Julian Zepeda, 26, Thursday for his role in the 2011 shooting death of Javier Bejarano, 22.

Zepeda and two other men were accused of killing Bejarano in a drug-deal gone bad. Court documents said the men arranged to meet a buyer who wanted 4 pounds of marijuana, instead Bejarano showed up and attempted to steal the drugs.

Zepeda then shot and killed Bejarano in fight.


Mexico captures alleged Sinaloa cartel lieutenant
8 hours ago  •  Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Mexican police have captured an alleged former Sinaloa drug cartel lieutenant accused of involvement in the killings of more than 350 people found in various mass graves in 2011, officials said Thursday.

Police in the northern state of Chihuahua detained Mario Nuñez, 39, also known as "M-10," on Wednesday in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, federal security spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said.

Nuñez, a former police officer, began working with the Juarez Cartel before joining the rival Sinaloa organization allegedly led by Mexico's most-wanted man, Joaquin Guzman.

The government partially blames Nuñez for a surge in violence that brought shootouts in broad daylight, ambushes of police and kidnappings to Juarez, which is across the border from El Paso.

U.S. court documents say Guzman, known as "El Chapo," hired Nuñez and gave him the job of snatching the smuggling corridors into the U.S. from the local Juarez Cartel by ordering gangs of hit men to carry out killings that included mutilations and decapitations.

The Juarez Cartel lost ground to the Sinaloa organization in a three-year battle that wound down in 2011.

But Nuñez's criminal career continued, officials say.

The Mexican government says Nuñez's power struggle with another drug chief in the spring of 2011 resulted in the slayings of 350 people, whose bodies were unearthed in 23 mass graves in the northern state of Durango.
"Much of the violence seen in the states of Chihuahua and Durango is partially because of the actions carried out by this man," Sanchez said.

Nuñez is wanted in the U.S. on drug-trafficking charges in a federal court in Texas. The Mexican government said he could face up to 40 years in prison in Mexico, and it was not immediately clear whether there was a U.S. extradition request for him.


Thursday, August 29, 2013



Note:  Probably Rucker Canyon area.  The Chiricahua corridor ( through and around Douglas ) is a important and successful route into the U.S.  Sometimes personally supervised by upper level Sinaloa management.  Disruptions are usually not appreciated.   Would suggest extra caution over next few days if heading into AP, or outside of Douglas.   Probable disciplinary actions coming.  Prime whitetail country.

Aug 29, 11:16 AM EDT
Nat. park worker in Ariz. hurt in apparent assault

BISBEE, Ariz. (AP) -- A 60-year-old National Park Service employee was critically injured in an apparent assault in southeastern Arizona and her government-owned truck was later found in a border town about 40 miles away, authorities said.

A Park Service interpretive worker was found unconscious Wednesday afternoon in a picnic area restroom at Chiricahua National Monument, apparently suffering from a head injury, the Cochise County Sheriff's office said.

The woman was flown to a Tucson hospital where she was in critical but stable condition, but further information on her injuries was not immediately available, sheriff's spokeswoman Carol Capas said.

The woman's government vehicle was found several hours later in the city of Douglas by tracking the worker's cellphone, which was still inside.

No suspects have been arrested or identified, she said.

Capas said the worker's pickup was found in the middle of Douglas and there was no immediate evidence that whoever abandoned it had crossed the border into Mexico.

Douglas is about 40 miles south of the monument, which is in mountains and desert on the east side of a broad valley that runs north from the U.S.-Mexico border.

The region is used by drug smugglers as well as people entering the United States illegally.

"We do have significant foot traffic and vehicle traffic that's attributed to illegal activity," Capas said.

Deputies were working closely with federal and state law officers to " identify the suspect(s) who apparently seriously injured a federal employee," Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said in a statement released by his office.

Perryn Collier, a spokesman for the FBI in Phoenix, said the agency was assisting in the investigation being conducted by the Sheriff's Office and Park Service law enforcement officials.

Capas said investigators gathered evidence where the worker was found and the places where her vehicle had been parked and later located.

The monument was the site of the still-unsolved 1980 disappearance of a Park Service ranger, Paul Fugate, who was last seen when he went on foot patrol.

Also in the region, the unsolved shooting death of a Douglas-area rancher, Rob Krentz, helped spur passage of a 2010 Arizona law targeting illegal immigration.

Krentz was gunned down in March 2010 while checking water lines on his property. Authorities believe - but have never produced substantive proof - that a scout for drug smugglers killed Krentz.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down some parts of the law in 2012, including the requirement that immigrants obtain or carry immigration registration papers. But the high court upheld a requirement that Arizona officers question the immigration status of those suspected of being in the country illegally.


Suspect sought in alleged assault of National Park Service employee

Posted: Aug 28, 2013 10:49 PM MST
Updated: Aug 28, 2013 10:50 PM MST
By Jackie Kent - email

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -
Cochise County Sheriff's Office officials are searching for a suspect connected to the alleged assault of a National Park Service employee Wednesday in the Chiricahua Mountains, south of Willcox.

An official discovered an unconscious 60-year-old woman in a picnic area restroom around 3:20 p.m. The official reported the woman appeared to have head trauma and it was unknown if she had fallen.

The woman was transported via air ambulance to a local hospital where she remains in critical but stable condition, according to officials.

A National Park Service employee later discovered the victim's government vehicle was missing. Sheriff's Officers tracked her cell phone, which was in the vehicle at the time it was reportedly stolen. The vehicle was located at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Douglas and is now being processed for evidence.

"We have all available resources dedicated to this case and we are working closely with our local, state, and federal partners to identify the suspects who apparently seriously injured a federal employee, before stealing her vehicle and fleeing the area," Sheriff Dannels said. "We will be diligent in our efforts to find those who are responsible for this senseless act and our thoughts and prayers are with her family in this very sad and stressful time."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Cochise County Sheriff's Office at (520) 432-9500.




This is primarily for Arizona south of I-8 and I-10.  Also to the west of Phoenix south of I-10.  But not necessarily limited to these areas.  

To report activity:    
Border Patrol -
Tucson Sector  (520) 748 - 3141   
Yuma Sector  (866) 999-8727 
or 911  

Dove season starts on Sunday Sept. 1st.    The prime dove areas around Maricopa and Yuma are also heavily used smuggling routes.  So be careful.  

Remember:  Especially if you are bird hunting and only have a shotgun, and should encounter drug or human traffickers, you could be severely outgunned.  It is best to remove yourself from the situation as fast as you can.  

If you have a cell signal call 911 and report.  Once you are at a safe distance.  

In Pima and Santa Cruz counties it is probably best to call the Border Patrol directly.  

  To report activity:  
Tucson Sector  (520) 748 - 3141   
Yuma Sector  (866) 999 - 8727 
It is also very useful if you can supply GPS coordinates or good map location.

Another good reason to avoid any confrontation if at all possible, is that given the current administration, any citizen interfering with; or even, in self defense, harming a drug or human smuggler could be faced with federal charges.  The cartel people are also known to get upset with interference.  

Info from our friends at Secure Border Intel and others.    "46" - marijuana. 

08/24/13 - 0600 - Border Audio - Significant Incident- Hunting Season has started

Hunting season has started and hunters are in remote areas where they regularly encounter human and drug smugglers

In this case, a hunter reported spotting a group of 9 "46" drug packers carrying large backpacks of marijuana near Santa Rita Ranch - 30 miles south of Tucson, Arizona. The hunter also reported that one packer was armed with an AK-47 rifle.  At the end of the audio clip, the dispatcher questions the propriety of sending 2 BP agents to search for 9 armed "46" drug smugglers.

The Border Patrol estimates that they catch 1 out of 3 IAs that traverse north.... ranchers estimate it more like 1 out of 10.

The question is,  if it wasn't for the observant hunters taking the time to report these smugglers, would the smugglers ever have been detected by the myriad of BP Agents/MSS-APSS-SBI-Vader Radar/Ground Sensors/Sign Cutting/High Flyer Aircraft/Checkpoints/Helicopters/Predator Drones.....or would they just become one of the 9 out of 10 ?   

Disposition of the incident is unknown.

Thanks to "Concerned Citizen" Hunters out there..... watch your 6 !   (click on audio link below)

Video from a trail camera placed by the AZ Border Defenders of 4 drug smugglers (one armed with an AK-47) 30 miles north of the United States border with Mexico near Tucson AZ.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013



McCain, Flake discuss immigration reform at Mesa town hall

View more clips now at, or watch the entire "Conversation on Immigration" Sunday, Sept. 1, at 8 a.m. on Channel 12 KPNX.

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 5:05 pm | Updated: 5:41 pm, Tue Aug 27, 2013.
By Eric Mungenast, Tribune 

Amid a stalled momentum in the House of Representatives, Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake defended their proposed immigration legislation during a town hall event held at the Mesa Arts Center on Aug. 27.
Both senators are members of the senate's "Gang of Eight" — a group of four Republican and four Democrats who crafted a bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, to reform the country's immigration system. The crux of the bill passed through the senate in June is an increase in border security and a path toward citizenship for people in the country illegally.
"Everyone recognizes the status quo is not acceptable," Flake said.
The bill passed the senate with 68 votes two months ago, but the House of Representatives has not acted on it, and House Speaker Rep. John Boehner said he will not bring it to the floor for a vote without broad support from the body's GOP members. 
Tuesday's event — dubbed "A Conversation on Immigration" and organized by the Arizona Republic,, 12 News and USA Today — provided the senators a venue to defend a bill they said will secure border states like Arizona while providing a means toward citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
McCain said the key to improving border control is the implementation of technological innovations, the most notable being what he called the VADER, or Vehicle Dismount and Exploitation, Radar. According to manufacturer Northrop Grumman's website, the device, which came into use during the Iraq War, detects people on the ground and relays their location to enforcement agents in real time.
Another component of the bill Flake cited is an increase in border fencing covering approximately 700 miles. Not every part of the border would receive additional fencing — Flake said some parts of the Arizona border, for example, might receive a second fence, while mountainous areas that act as a natural deterrent would not have a fence built around it. But he said the fencing component has to be in place before any of the amnesty provisions come into effect.
Flake and McCain said the end result of the proposed legislation is to increase the security to a minimum of 90-percent effectiveness, and McCain said an additional $2 billion would go to support those efforts if the target percentage is not reached in two years.
"The border is not secure, but it's much more secure than it has been," he said.
If approved, the bill would allow an estimated 11 million people a path to citizenship as long as they have been in the country since Dec. 31, 2011, have no felony convictions and meet other qualifications. That portion of the bill has received the most flak from some Republicans and objections from people like the protestors who stood outside the Mesa Arts Center and held signs in opposition to the provision. One woman who addressed the senators during the event opposed the amnesty portion after losing a loved one to border violence near a ranch three years ago.
Flake and McCain, however, said the process to gain citizenship isn't necessarily amnesty, as it's a long and arduous process that does penalize people who are not legal citizens through fines and fees.
"This is a 10-year path to a green card; this is thousands of dollars that need to be paid," McCain said.
Of those 11 million undocumented residents, Flake said approximately 40 percent first entered the country legally on student or work visas but overstayed the duration of their proscribed visitation, which he said is an issue that needs to be addressed.
"We know when they come. Right now, we don't know when they leave, and that's a terrible system for national security," he said.
McCain and Flake also touted the potential benefits of the senate's bill beyond border control, highlighted by expected positive effects on the economy. According to the Congressional Budget Office, which McCain praised along with the Government Accountability Office for their scruples, the bill would decrease the federal deficit by a net total of $175 billion between 2014 and 2023, depending on how Congress appropriates funding.
"It would help our budget deficit significantly," Flake said.
McCain said adding more workers to the employment pool would also provide a boost to Social Security funding that has dropped significantly over the last 50 years.
Flake and McCain said another one of the bill's positives is the funding, which they said is not tied to congressional appropriations.
"We don't have to depend on year-to-year appropriations from Congress; that was one of the failings of 1986," McCain said, referencing the Immigration Reform and Control Act from that year.
A side bonus for Republicans like Flake and McCain is a possible increase in support from Hispanic voters, who overwhelmingly sided with Democrats in the last election.
Flake, however, emphasized creating a good policy will lead to good political fortunes, and McCain added the bill's purpose should not be tied to politics.
"I don't want this to be an issue that's political," McCain said. "But I do make the argument when asked that we do know the dispiriting in Hispanic voters in the Republican Party. … I don't think this would add one Hispanic voter to the Republican Party."
McCain admitted the bill, like all legislation, is imperfect. Potential fraud issues with the E-Verify system used to check employment status for workers could arise, and McCain was stumped by a question regarding whether employers might use illegal workers to duck regulations tied to the Affordable Care Act.
But McCain emphasized his support for the bill through his own story about visiting a military base in the Middle East and seeing the boots of deceased soldiers who ended up receiving their citizenship posthumously. And there are, he said, "11 million people living in the shadows," and the immigration reform bill can help people like the four soldiers who died before they could become full-fledged citizens and others who continue to work hard to support themselves and their families.
"All of us have a chance for redemption, and that's what it's all about," McCain said.




Note:  A update from down south.  Some of the numbers a bit suspect.  Couple years back there was a map of where some of the F&F firearms has been recovered.  Many of them far outside the Sinaloa AOR.    Also talk is that the number of dead Hispanics directly attributed to F&F far exceeds 200, more close to 1,000.  No, no govt. or media on that, so far.  

Fast and Furious: three more weapons in Sinaloa
Posted on August 25, 2013 by Miguel Angel Vega

Three high-powered rifles that were part of Fast and Furious operation, appeared in the city of Culiacan in late July and early August this year, as recorded in a series of documents sent by the Justice Department of the United States to the PGR delegation Sinaloa, requesting the return of the weapons.

"The goal is to recover all our weapons that were part of the operation Fast and Furious, we know that eventually appear in different parts of Mexico, either because they were seized in operations, or because they were recovered during a confrontation," said Donna Sellers, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Snuff (ATF), the agency that led the operation. 

However, the spokesperson could not specify the places where weapons were recovered nor the actions that led to its forfeiture, saying only that it was a process that was being investigated, and it worked in coordination with the government of Mexico to ensure that the weapons were returned to that country. 

According to three documents sent by the Department of Justice to the PGR, guns recovered are three brand Romarm Rifles, Caliber 762, two of which were batch purchased at the Lone Wolf Trading Company, Glendale Arizona, by Uriel Patino, one major arms buyers in Phoenix and who apparently worked for Joaquin Chapo Guzman.

In an investigation by the office of Sen. Charles Grassley, Patiño was identified as the buyer of at least 700 of the nearly 2000 high-impact weapons that the ATF let go to Mexico.

The documents highlight different dates, two of which are dated August 2 and the other on August 6, and as detailed the request, two of the weapons have been recovered on 21 July this year, while another does not specify the date of forfeiture.

A quick review of events recorded in Culiacan between 15 and July 30 show no clashes between criminal groups and the authorities, and neither the PGR in Culican,  or the PGR  in Mexico (DF) or could specify the places where weapons were found.

"Right now we're not revealing that information," said Alberto Islas, a spokesman for the PGR in Mexico.

These rifles, which are of great precision and power, according to several websites, would be the first Fast and Furious guns recovered in Sinaloa, since the army found an AK-47 at the death site of an ex-beauty queen and a farmer, in Mocorito, however, which appear gradually of the failed BATFE operation, in Sinaloa further strengthens a theory shared by many experts who claim that Fast and Furious weapons were aimed at groups of The Cartel Sinaloa.

The ATF would not comment on the matter and were currently only focused on recovering the weapons.

Weapons on the rise
In 2012, companies reported weapons sellers have sold more than 344,000 weapons across the United States. However, 192,342 were reported as lost or stolen, as revealed by the ATF.  (note:  numbers a bit suspect) 

Where are or who has them, is a mystery to the ATF, but some experts suggest that it is likely that many of these weapons have reached the hands of organized crime in Mexico. 

Adam Winkler, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, noted that the possibility of violence in Mexican communities, and how was the trend, selling of weapons has not decrease, it has increase.

"It is unfortunate that the U.S. government continues to do nothing, and unfortunately all this will result in more tragedies for U.S. citizens, and violence in countries like Mexico," said Winkler Ríodoce.

According to data from the U.S. Senate, even though the number of Mexicans have been killed with Fast and Furious weapons were accurately known, it is believed that they could exceed 200.

In the case of weapons that have been reported as stolen or lost, there are high-impact weapons like AK-47, AR-14 and Barret .50.

Easy access
According to official data from the DOJ (US), in have Sinaloa so far have officially recovered eleven weapons that were part of the operation Fast and Furious, which was that ATF agents deliberately let  U.S. weapons into Mexico.

In Culiacan, get a gun is relatively easy, and has to do with money, or at least so says Jorge, who lives in Colonia Loma de Rodriguera.

"You connect with the right people and you get what you want, from a .22 to a AK" said Jorge, who has bought weapons on several occasions "for protection.

The price indicates, vary depending on the type of weapon and the history it has. For example, he says, a AK usually can cost you 35 thousand pesos,  (2,600 USD ) but a .45  ( pistol ) can cost between 3,000 to 15,000 pesos. ( 230 to 1,130 USD )  

"If the gun has killed several and is hot, then the price drops, but if the gun is clean, the price goes up," he said.

The arms sales and surge in Culiacan from late 2008 until early 2011, dates that coincided with the implementation of the Fast and Furious operation and in turn, in an escalation of violence in the country's northwest.




Comment:  This one incident brings up several issues.  

1.    First and foremost:  The underlying situation is entirely due to the failures of the federal govt. to secure the borders.   Sharing the guilt are America's dopers.  Who finance the cartels and the thousands of murders. 

2.  Despite his claim of being a "Minuteman", he seems to be unknown to any of the "regulars".  Their very strict SOP / ROE is to observe and report.  Firearms are carried solely for self defense.

3.   This incident once again points out the need for protocols / procedures between law enforcement and citizens during encounters.  A related issue, here in the SW, law enforcement and the drug gangs often get the wrong address. 

4.   Law enforcement routinely shoots anyone who points a firearm at them.  

5.   Yes, it was a bad idea.  The cartels and associates have warned that citizens and off duty law enforcement interfering with shipments can be held accountable.   That can also apply to citizens who report activities.  
( see nr. 6 )   However the growing  frustration of citizens is understandable.   

6.   In this particular incident, given the increasing infiltration of law enforcement by cartels, how can citizens be sure those they meet with a badge and uniform are not on both payrolls?  Even Sheriff Joe's office has been successfully compromised.  

7.  Remember also, that cartel associates often use acquired law enforcement uniforms, badges and cloned vehicles in their activities.   When able, actual law enforcement personnel and vehicles

8.  Given the current federal government, anyone who might interfere with, or even  harm a drug or human trafficker, may very likely at the least, face federal civil rights charges.  

9.  To many of us lowly locals, it is beginning to look like "public" lands in southern AZ are increasingly reserved for cartel and government personnel only. 


Updated Aug 20, 2013 - 9:51 pm
Sheriff Joe Arpaio: Armed militias beware or be shot
By Associated Press
Originally published: Aug 20, 2013 - 6:39 pm

(note:  photo from 2006)
Chuck Townsend, of Green Valley, Ariz., patrols the southwestern desert near Sasabe, Ariz. Wednesday, April 12, 2006. Townsend is part of the Minuteman Project that is monitoring the border from California to Texas in April. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Tough-talking Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is warning civilians who embark on armed patrols in remote desert terrain that they could end up with "30 rounds fired into" them by one of his deputies.
His unapologetically terse comments came Tuesday after a member of an Arizona Minuteman border-watch movement was arrested over the weekend for pointing a rifle at a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy he apparently mistook for a drug smuggler.

"If they continue this there could be some dead militia out there," Arpaio said.

Richard Malley, 49, was heavily armed with two others dressed in camouflage Saturday night along Interstate 8 near Gila Bend, a known drug-trafficking corridor in the desert about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, when he confronted the deputy who was on patrol conducting surveillance, authorities said.

According to court records, the deputy and his partner stopped their vehicle, then flashed their headlights and honked their horn, a common practice used by law enforcement to trick drug smugglers into thinking the car is there to transfer their narcotics load and lure them out of hiding.

The deputies then got out, also dressed in camouflage but clearly marked with sheriff's patches on their clothing, and began to track what appeared to be fresh footprints, authorities said.

That's when Malley emerged from the darkness with his rifle raised "yelling commands," according to the probable cause statement.

The deputy, illuminated by Malley's flashlight at this point, identified himself as law enforcement, pointing out the "word sheriff across his chest," and ordered Malley to drop his weapon.

"You aren't taking my weapons," replied Malley, who was armed with a semi-automatic rifle, a .45 caliber handgun and a knife, according to court records.

Another deputy eventually arrived and arrested Malley for aggravated assault. He was released on $10,000 bail and is set for a court appearance on Aug. 26. It wasn't clear if Malley had an attorney, and telephone numbers listed for him were disconnected.

Malley claimed "he had the right to point his rifle at the individual because he had reasonable suspicion to believe a crime was occurring," according to the probable cause statement. He identified himself as a "militia Minuteman."

Such Minuteman-type militias of armed civilians patrolling the deserts for illegal border crossers and smugglers grew to prominence in the early 2000s, but the organizations' numbers have since dwindled as they fractured into multiple splinter groups, such as crews like Malley's who were on patrol with just three armed men.

Arpaio, whose county doesn't run along the border but has seen an increase in drug and human trafficking, warned there will be "chaos if you're going to have private citizens dressed just like our deputies taking the law into their own hands."

"I have to commend my deputy for not killing this person, which easily could have happened," Arpaio said. "He's lucky he didn't see 30 rounds fired into him."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Andy Adame also expressed concern for the safety of both the militia members and Border Patrol agents.

Adame said the civilian groups could easily trigger remote sensors operated by Border Patrol to detect illegal crossers.

"And we respond to them in a manner where we expect to encounter illegal immigrants or drug traffickers," he said. "We can encounter them (militia members) out in the middle of the desert, which may result in disastrous personal and public safety consequences."

In short, he noted, someone could get shot and killed, either an agent or a civilian.

Glenn Spencer, president of American Border Patrol, a civilian group which operates from a ranch along the Mexican border in southern Arizona, won't condemn the actions of private armed militia organizations, but he also doesn't recommend it.

"It's a free country. They're not violating any law. They're not trespassing," said Spencer, whose group uses technology, including sensors and unmanned aircraft rather than boots on the ground to monitor the border.

"But I wouldn't do it, and I wouldn't encourage anyone to do it," Spencer added. "Going out there is dangerous."


Note:  latest example

Aug 21, 11:57 AM EDT
Ex-border officer in Ariz. sentenced to 12 years

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- A former Customs and Border Protection officer convicted on charges that he let marijuana be smuggled from Mexico into southeastern Arizona was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Authorities say Luis Carlos Vasquez allowed marijuana loads inside vehicles to be smuggled through a lane that he monitored in June 2011 at the port of entry in Douglas, Ariz.

He was sentenced in federal court in Tucson on Monday.

Prosecutors had requested a 19-year sentence and argued in court papers that a lengthy sentence was needed to reflect the seriousness of his crimes and deter others from abusing the public's trust.

Vasquez's attorney had asked for a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison.

Sunday, August 25, 2013



Note:  The Congressional oversight committee(s) should put pressure on Mex. govt. for make model and s/n of each of those firearms.  Then compare with those delivered via U.S. aid packages and BATFE.  (Extensive paper trail with aid packages)   Check also the UN Registry.  NICS also.  Unbelievable number of investigations if number of weapons and murders is anywhere near correct.    Spain?  

Should also be more than a few stolen firearms show up.  
If memory serves, a few months ago the Mex. Army said it had recovered 10,000 grenades in 2012.  

PGR seized during the six years of Calderon's term 61,193 weapons
El Universal | 25/08/2013 | 12:42 

The Federal District Attorney General's Office (PGR) reported that weapons seized were 61,193, of which 36,623 are handguns and 24,570 long guns, during the administration of former President Felipe Calderon, December 2006 to December 2012.

The information was provided in compliance with a resolution of the Federal Institute for Access to Information and Data Protection (IFAI), and as part of it seized 5,090 grenades, 19 rocket launchers, 237 grenade launchers, 2 missile launchers, 5,429,763 cartridges and 84,405 unspecified artifacts.

The PGR said that most of the seized weapons come from the U.S., Spain and China, and that during this period were recorded 1,327 preliminary investigations, for possession of a firearm for use by the Army, Navy and Air Force, in which 1,536  people were involved.

Initially in response to a request for information, the PGR provided to a citizen four frames with different breakdowns of information related to the seizure of arms from 2006 to 2012.  

But the citizen expressed his disagreement and filed a petition for review before the IFAI, which required that he deliver a unified figures report, because in those pictures was impossible to establish which was the official information of the institution.

Said the agency also failed to deliver on the number of preliminary investigations and appropriated for possession and / or sale of weapons for use by the Army, and the number of people involved in them.

In arguments, PGR reiterated it's answer and said that they gave the information in their files.

After analysis, the IFAI warned that PGR did not follow fully the search procedure established in the Federal Law of Transparency because they did not turn over the request to all its administrative units, such as the Directorate General of Registration Control and Coordination Ministerial Assurances Planning, Development and Institutional Innovation.

Therefore, the House of IFAI determined to revoke the PGR response and instructed a new search to report to total particular weapons seized December 2006 to December 2012, as will work in it's files.

So in compliance with these instructions, the attorney provided to the individual file with long weapons seized, the preliminary and the number of people involved in those events.




Note:  mostly for locals.  
 Have heard that DHS now operates the aerostats in Sierra Vista and Yuma.   Another asset lost?

Man charged after cocaine-filled luggage seized
By Associated Press
Originally published: Aug 23, 2013 - 3:20 pm

DECATUR, Ill. -- Illinois authorities say a man allegedly transporting three suitcases containing cocaine from Arizona to Chicago has been arrested.

Macon County State's Attorney Jay Scott says 42-year-old Enrique Vaughan-Montano was arrested on state narcotics-trafficking charges. Vaughan-Montano was traveling on a Greyhound bus that was pulled over Thursday at a rest stop when Decatur detectives engaged him in conversation.

The Herald and Review in Decatur reports Scott said Vaughn-Montana displayed ``numerous indicators of criminal activity.'' He said the detectives got the man's permission to search his luggage. The detectives discovered cocaine worth $1 million concealed in the suitcases' linings.

Authorities say Vaughan-Montana indicated a man in Yuma, Arizona gave him the luggage, promising him $1,000 when it was delivered in Chicago.

Vaughan-Montana is being held in lieu of $2.5 million bond.

Note:  About 45 miles NW of Cajeme

Posted August 23, 2013, 1:55 a.m.
Armed commando sowing panic and fear in Pótam
A group of heavily armed gunmen escaped noon on Thursday the town of Pótam, after they were discovered hiding in a house in the Indian community of Yaqui Tribe.
Although reported by neighbors they managed to flee police and military 

Martin Alberto Mendoza
Pótam, Sonora - Nuevo Dia

A group of heavily armed gunmen escaped noon on Thursday the town of Pótam, after they were discovered hiding in a house in the indigenous community of the Yaqui tribe, to which it mobilized dozens of police troops and the Mexican Army. 
It was about 12:00 pm, when residents of the town, belonging to the municipality of Guaymas, reported-telephone-that strangers had taken refuge in a house in the neighborhood "Merida".
According to reports, carrying rifles and pistols, so fearing that  they would unleash another attack as occurred last Tuesday, killing one person dead and another injured, called the 066 emergency number.
Thus, authorities in Ciudad Obregon, established communication with Pótam Municipal Police and officers denied that version.
However, elements of the State Police Investigating confirmed the species and called for support to corporations and obregonenses and was mobilized elements of the Federal Police, PEI, Public Safety State Army members 60 / Infantry Battalion, with headquarters in the town of Esperanza.
Due to the remoteness of the community that is located about 70 kilometers northwest of Cajeme, when the military police backup arrived, the subjects were not located, however they "combed" the entire town and surrounding area.
It was not immediately determined that strangers have attacked any of the inhabitants, othe than just sown panic and fear among the many ethnic families from the community that belongs to one of eight Yaqui villages 


With scholarships, police to be trained in U.S. in Washington
Details Published on Friday August 23, 2013,
Written by Cesar Barragan / El Diario
Nogales, Son.

The American Consulate to consider giving course on forgery detection.
Municipal Agents could have scholarships from the American Consulate to come to Washington to receive advanced placement in the detection of forged documents, said the councilor and head of the Public Safety Commission Cabildo, Yanula Orozco. 
The collegial said to have professional and trained elements in the field, the Public Safety Commission City Council has promoted and coordinated staff courses taught by U.S. consulate in this border.
He noted that such courses are taught in C4 facilities, which attract around 300 preventive elements, and several agents of the State Police Investigator, which have been successful, that benefits officers receive more knowledge and therefore the community, which will have a more prepared police.
He announced that staff receive training that currently only a select few receive grant from U.S. diplomatic officials to travel to Washington, DC and receive other training to improve their performance in the detection of false documents.
"The Commission is insisting police have better prepared, we want to continue these courses and workshops because it is an instruction of the Mayor and it is our duty to provide citizens with a prepared police force ," he said.
Finally the respondent announced that on August 29, the same U.S. consulate in this border teach a course for the teaching of oral trials, which will also include the Public Safety personnel.


Executed Cajeme person
Details Published on Friday August 23, 2013,
Written by Editorial Staff / El diario

A young man who allegedly being chased by two men, was shot to death outside a grocery store located in Colonia Benito Juárez better known as (Plano Oriente).
The body lay lifeless on the sidewalk outside the mentioned business called "Ladis", located on the street between Zaragoza and Obregon Revolucion in events recorded at about 17:10 pm yesterday.
Allegedly the victim by the name of Jesus Daniel Martinez Alvarez, 28 (A) El Pit and/or El Pink, who was domiciled in the  human settlement Ferrocarril alley where were the unfortunate events.
Coordinated police operations among the three levels of government, resulted in the arrest of at least one subject possibly involved in the events.
Expert Services secured in place several handgun shell casings for .40 caliber apparently.


AZMEX I3 23-8-13

AZMEX I3 23 AUG 2013  

Join the immigration conversation
Event to feature U.S. Sens. John McCain, Jeff Flake

The Republic |
Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:37 PM

What are the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform now that "Gang of Eight" legislation has stalled in a more conservative U.S. House?

Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake -- Gang of Eight members who were instrumental in crafting and selling the bill -- will address border security, jobs and a path to citizenship during an hour-long conversation at Mesa Arts Center. The event is sponsored by The Arizona Republic, 12 News, and USA Today. 

WHAT: A Conversation on Immigration with John McCain and Jeff Flake.

WHEN: 10-11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27.

WATCH: Seating is limited at Mesa Arts Center, so tickets aren't available to the public. But we'll stream the conversation live and offer a behind-the-scenes look at the event at Check frequently during the event for up-to-the-minute coverage and analysis.

WEIGH IN: Share your thoughts about the event and immigration reform by adding #azbordertalk to your posts on Twitter. We may use your questions during the event and will compile the best, most insightful tweets after the forum.

Set a reminder for the event by entering your e-mail address in the field below.


Note:  and then we have real life.  Almost every day there is a report in Mexican or Central American media of migrants being found or rescued.   computer english 

Totaling more than 10 000 migrants missing: Solalinde
Urges the founder of Hermanos en el Camino shelter to the creation of a Forensic Commission that permits identification of remains found in unmarked graves is only for photo taking

Related News:
Still risks for migrants, accusing AI 08/23/2013
Forensic review the remains of San Fernando 08/23/2013
Reynosa | Friday August 23, 2013
Julio Manuel L. Guzman | The Universal

Father Alejandro Solalinde, founder of the hostel "Hermanos en el Camino", lambasted the act of PRI and PAN governments to punish the criminals who kidnap everyday and migrant massacre, as it ensured that in Mexico there are over 10 thousand undocumented missing and the number increases daily.

In an interview held in this border city, where he attended as a guest of honor for the opening of the newly renovated Casa del Migrante of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Solalinde said that so far all the "work" they have done PAN governments and PRI is only for photo.

And the above said is in reference to the agreement signed yesterday the Attorney General's Office, Jesús Murillo Karam, for independent experts for the creation of a Forensic Commission that permits identification of remains found in mass graves in Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon.

"Governments  the PAN and the PRI are the same, it has nothing to see there is a government formed by the other party, neither have been concerned to defend and protect the rights of migrants, the current government discoloration , the system remains the same, "he complained.

Solalinde who is also coordinator of the Pastoral Care of Migrants Mexican Bishops South Pacific, said that until now the number of foreign migrants missing in Mexico rises to more than 10 000, and these are data that they have been seeking to have their own statistics.

"How could the Federal Government to shield migrants and punish criminals who commit daily abuse, rape and murder of our brothers who leave their countries to seek a better standard of life Be States, whether in the states where they are abused is precisely where PRI rule, "he charged.

"The route of the migrant is a PRI route, then how can you say you are trying to strive, just took office and you say we have a new Mexico wonderfully, but are hesitant to do real research model that his colleagues did, on what happens, especially in Veracruz, no, I am realistic and will spend who knows how many generations to come honest people who come to love the truth and put a stop to it. then the PRI never say bells ringing ".

Solalinde, adding that he will believe in federal government's actions when worthwhile, when victims call, when you call people who are researching, if it is something serious, not just something for the photo desk, have to Inductive really do something.

"The situation of migrants is sad, but sad at all Mexico is the situation we are currently quite delicate, emergency, and we should look at ourselves, ie all human beings find in Mexico a National Pact to curb such aggression" .

"But while this is not done, the actions of our government PRI, the PAN ancestor past and will remain a dead letter because they could not work with the people below, do not know why life has been upright attitude and from the desktop, "he said


Monday, August 19, 2013



Comment:  As predicted last year.  PRI has little tolerance for sharing power.  The zetas were a threat to the State/Establishment/Ruling Class, and were the first target.  EPN and the PRI will work with the devil (USA) to remove that threat.  With that strategy, the next to fall should be the CT and LFM.  El Chapo and the Sinaloa/Pacifico came to  being during the previous PRI reign, and suspect there might be no problemo?

Mexico's new gov't follows old drug war strategy

File-This July 23, 2013 file photo shows armed members of a local self-defense group wearing white T-shirts with the slogan "For a Free Aquila" stand at a street corner in the town of Aquila, Mexico. At least 23 bodies were found in two neighboring states in western Mexico where drug cartels, vigilantes and security forces have been fighting for much of the year, authorities said Saturday Aug. 17, 2013. The state prosecutor in Michoacan said that nine bodies, hands bound and shot, were found on an abandoned property near the town of Buenavista Tomatlan along with a sign indicating they may have been members of the Knights Templar cartel. (AP Photo/Gustavo Aguado, File)

Posted: Sunday, August 18, 2013 2:06 pm | Updated: 4:04 pm, Sun Aug 18, 2013.
Associated Press |

With the capture of two top drug lords in little more than a month, the new government of President Enrique Pena Nieto is following an old strategy it has openly criticized for causing more violence and crime.
Mario Armando Ramirez Trevino, a top leader of Mexico's Gulf Cartel, was detained Saturday in a military operation near the Texas border, just weeks after the arrest of the leader of the brutal Zetas cartel near another border city, Nuevo Laredo.
Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong came to his post last December saying the strategy of former President Felipe Calderon to focus on cartel leadership only made the drug gangs more dangerous. The new administration, he said, would focus less on leadership and more on reducing violence.
Yet the new strategy appears almost identical to the old. The captures of Ramirez and top Zeta Miguel Angel Trevino Morales could cause a new spike in violence with battles for leadership of Mexico's two major cartels.
"The strategy of the military is exactly the same," Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico's National Autonomous University, said Sunday. "It's not a failure of the new government. It's the reality they face ... Changing strategy is a very slow process. In the short term, you have to act against the drug-trafficking leaders."
Ramirez, a drug boss in Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas, had been vying to take over the cartel since the arrest of the Gulf's top capo, Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, alias "El Coss," last September. Some say he succeeded by reportedly killing his main Gulf rival, Miguel Villarreal, known as "Gringo Mike," in a gunbattle in March. Villarreal's death is still disputed by some.
The U.S. State Department also offered a reward of $5 million for the capture of Ramirez for several federal drug violations. 

He was taken down during a major military offensive that involved air and ground forces in Rio Bravo, according to the Tamaulipas state government.

The once-powerful Gulf Cartel still controls most of the cocaine and marijuana trafficking through the Matamoros corridor across the border from Brownsville, Texas, and has an international reach into Central America and beyond. But the cartel has been plagued by infighting since Costilla's arrest, while also being under attack in its home territory by its former security arm, the Zetas. 

The split is blamed for much of the violence in Reynosa, where there have been regular, public shootouts between Gulf factions and authorities in the last six months. The factions are willing to fight for the largest piece of the lucrative business of transporting illegal drugs to the biggest market, the United States. Mexico continues to be the No. 1 foreign supplier of marijuana and methamphetamines to the U.S. An estimated 93 percent of South American cocaine headed to the U.S. travels through Mexico, according to 2010 FBI statistics. 

Before leaving office, Calderon repeatedly touted the fact that his forces had captured 25 of Mexico's 37 most-wanted drug lords, a strategy backed by the U.S. government with hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and close cooperation with American law-enforcement, military and intelligence agencies.
With that strategy, Osorio Chong said, "we have moved from a scheme of vertical leadership to a horizontal one that has made them more violent and much more dangerous." 

The new government also said it was going to limit the widespread and casual access that U.S. agents had to Mexican forces under Calderon.
But security analysts agree that close cooperation between the Mexican military and the U.S. continues along the border, despite messages from Mexico City. The coordinated efforts to track and capture Zeta leader Trevino had started under Calderon and continued, said George Grayson, a College of William & Mary professor who has written extensively on the Gulf and Zetas cartels.
"Enrique Pena Nieto would really like to not be going after capos," Grayson said Sunday. "He wants to change the agenda. He doesn't want the headlines to be about capos. But the situation in Morelos and Michoacan (states), and now the takedowns in the north have kept the capos on the front pages."

Violence also continues in the western state of Michoacan near the border of Jalisco state, where two other cartels fight for territory. 

The administration tactic again has mirrored that of Calderon, sending more troops and federal police to try to regain control of the region, so far with little result.
Nine bodies, hands bound and shot, were found on an abandoned property near the town of Buenavista Tomatlan in Michoacan on Saturday. At least 23 bodies in total were found, counting those in neighboring Guerrero state, where drug cartels, vigilantes and security forces also have been fighting for much of the year.
Meanwhile, the Pena Nieto government continues to say its focus is on crime prevention to bring down violence. But there is very little evidence so far.
"It's a campaign slogan, a political discourse designed to convince the public," Benitez said. "They're giving very few resources to the prevention campaign."


Yuma Proving Ground's aerostat out for repairs
August 17, 2013 11:22 PM

The iconic – and enormous – white aerostat balloon seen floating over Yuma Proving Ground to the northeast of the city of Yuma has temporarily been grounded while the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) assumes control of its operation. The blimp, in use since 1989, had formerly been operated by the U.S. Air Force.

"The Department of Homeland Security accepted Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) operations and executive responsibilities from the U.S. Air Force over the summer," said Bill Brooks, Branch Chief for the Southwest Border Media Division of the Customs and Border Protection Office of Public Affairs.

"DHS will manage and maintain the TARS system for the foreseeable future as part of our comprehensive portfolio of border security and surveillance tools."

When in use, the giant helium and air filled aerostat balloon floats 2 miles above YPG about 50 miles from Yuma. Known as the "eye in the sky," the blimp continuously scans the border area with radar in search of low-flying aircraft that could bring illegal drugs or other contraband into the United States. Tethered to the ground by cable, the 208-foot-long aerostat can detect activity up to 230 miles away. All radar data is transmitted to a ground station where technicians monitor the information and disseminate it as needed.

The surveillance balloon at YPG is one of eight along the southern border of the U.S., with additional aerostats in Texas, New Mexico, the Florida Keys, Puerto Rico and Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

"The TARS system complements numerous other surveillance technologies, such as drones and satellites, to enhance our understanding of events along our borders and to assist our responses as situations warrant," Brooks said. "DHS will continue to seek out ways to enhance the current system to maintain this very important part of our nation's security."

In Dec. 2011, the Deputy Secretary of Defense directed the DoD to end its sponsorship of the TARS program, noting the decision was based largely on budgetary constraints due to the fiscal environment.

In Jan. 2013, Arizona Congressmen Ron Barber and Trent Franks signed a letter with 14 of their colleagues in other states urging Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Office of Management and Budget not to discontinue the program but to pass the reigns over to DHS.

DHS has not commented on exactly when the aerostat will resume operations.

"The Yuma TARS site is critically important for our nation's security," Brooks said. "As such, the Department is now taking necessary steps to restore the Yuma site to full operational capability as quickly as we can."

Note:  not very important, but interesting

NACIÓNSEGURIDAD ¿Qué le fue decomisado a 'El Comandante X-20'?
Además fueron detenidas dos personas que dijeron ser "escoltas" de Ramírez Treviño. (Foto: EFE)
PERFIL El 'x-20', de policía ministerial a narcotraficante

Durante una rueda de prensa, el vocero de Seguridad, Eduardo Sánchez informó sobre la detención del líder del cártel del Golfo y los artículos que le fueron decomisados
Agosto 18, 2013
Por Doris Gómora, Alberto Morales

La detención de Mario Armando Ramírez Treviño, identificado como el X-20, presunto líder del cártel del Golfo, fue el resultado de un operativo con información de inteligencia del gobierno federal, informó el vocero de seguridad, Eduardo Sánchez.

En una conferencia de prensa en Gobernación, el funcionario confirmó que la detención del presunto narcotraficante se realizó el sábado en Reynosa, Tamaulipas, en una acción coordinada por el Ejército y la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR).

Durante la detención de Ramírez Treviño fueron aseguradas tres armas largas de uso exclusivo del Ejército, 9 equipos móviles de comunicación, más de 38 mil dólares en efectivo, más de 25 mil pesos y 11 centenarios.

Además fueron detenidas dos personas que dijeron ser "escoltas" de Ramírez Treviño.

Sánchez Hernández dio a conocer que previo a la detención del líder del cártel del Golfo, el pasado 12 de agosto, en un operativo fueron detenidos 24 miembro de esa organización criminal cuya información sirvió para la localización y captura de "X-20".




Agents respond to traffic, patrol closer to the border
8 hours ago  •  Perla Trevizo Arizona Daily Star


Camp Grip - Yuma Sector/2002
Papago Farms - Tucson Sector/2004
San Miguel Tucson Sector/2004
Sasabe - Tucson Sector/2005 (not in operation)
Boundary – Tucson Sector/2012
Hedglen – Tucson sector/2013

Source: Customs and Border Protection

Apprehensions in the Tucson Border Patrol Sector by distance from the border:
Fiscal Year 2011
0-1 miles: 25,625
1–5 miles : 29,835
5-20 miles: 33,789
More than 20 miles: 29,881

A homeowner grabbed his handgun when he heard noises at about 1 a.m. coming from downstairs at his house in a farming community in Cochise County, about 10 miles south of Willcox.

He found a man standing in front of his open refrigerator who fled when the homeowner yelled at him.

Later, Cochise County sheriff deputies and Border Patrol agents found 14 men in the country illegally hiding on top of a nearby hill. Three had entered the home to look for food and were charged with burglary and theft. Human smuggling charges were also filed against two of them.

As border enforcement increased in urban areas such as Douglas and Nogales, often protected by tall fences and Border Patrol agents driving up and down the roads, trafficking — of people and drugs — started to shift to rural areas.

For years, ranchers and residents in Cochise County asked the Border Patrol to be closer to the actual border.

More than half of the Border Patrol apprehensions in the Tucson sector are made more than five miles from the border. About the same number — nearly 30,000 arrests — are made between one and five miles from the border or more than 20 miles from the border, 2011 data obtained by the Government Accountability Office shows.

In May, the Border Patrol responded to the community's request by opening a new Forward Operating Base southeast of Douglas, about three miles from the border.


Borrowing from the military, the Border Patrol puts modular buildings in remote areas and equips them with video surveillance, bathrooms, kitchens and beds. Agents take turns staying in the bases for a week at a time.

The first forward operating bases were established in Arizona more than a decade ago. Camp Grip, about 75 miles from Yuma, opened in 2002 and Papago Farms in the Tohono O'odham Nation in 2004.

Today, there are five operational forward operating bases. A sixth in Sasabe closed in 2012.

Bases are placed strategically in locations that have high activity levels and difficult access.

Each base costs about $3 million to build, the Arizona Daily Star reported in 2011.

The new Hedglen base, located in a rugged area of Cochise County near the New Mexico state line, was approved and funded through the FY2010 Emergency Border Security Supplement Act. It's equipped with vehicles, a fueling station and stables.

Even though it's only been a couple of months since it opened and it's not staffed at its maximum capacity — it has 32 beds — residents can already see a difference.

The agents working at the base are "instrumental in catching or detouring a lot of people," said Wendy Glenn, who lives with her husband on a ranch seven miles from the forward operating base.

Now, she said, agents don't have to drive as much and can respond within 10 minutes as opposed to sometimes up to an hour if they had to drive from the station in Douglas. "They are working hard out there."

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, whose district covers that area, said the base is a great asset to protect a vulnerable stretch of the border.

"While I agree we've made some progress in securing the border, the people I represent are still waiting for the security they deserve," he said.

The problems of trafficking in the rural areas of Cochise County are not new. It had been escalating for years before Robert Krentz was found slain on his ranch northeast of Douglas in 2010. The case remains unsolved, but authorities suspect a smuggler killed him.

Portal, a small community that sits at the mouth of Cave Creek Canyon on the eastern side of the Chiracahua Mountains, has had its share of home invasions over the years — despite being about 60 miles from the border.

"We were inundated a few years ago," said Jeff Gee a local resident who moved from Detroit 25 years ago.

Residents see people coming through a couple of times a week, although it has slowed since Border Patrol added more resources in the aftermath of Krentz's death.

As of July 31 this fiscal year, the Tucson Sector Border Patrol has apprehended 106,183 people. More than 24,000 of them came from the eastern corridor — which covers arrests made in the Naco, Douglas and Willcox stations. Out of nearly 1 million pounds of marijuana seized, 13 percent come from this corridor.

Glenn said she doesn't see the huge groups of people coming through trampling out vegetation, making trails and leaving trash behind as she did before.

She and her husband Warner bought their ranch 53 years ago.

Drug traffickers remain a problem though.

Her husband spent four days last year finding and fixing all the cuts someone on horseback made on their fences. They think it was someone with two horses hauling drugs.

The Glenns' house is about five miles from the border, yet she said she doesn't feel threatened.

"We know they killed our neighbor," she said. "But every illegal that comes through here is not going to shoot one of us."

She said she's just mindful of her surroundings and relies on her noisy dogs to help keep people away.

The Senate's immigration bill, approved in June, calls for more permanent forward operating bases and upgrading existing facilities to include electricity and potable water.

The Border Patrol Union has said some the bases are not suitable for agents.

Some "agents are housed in conditions worse than for detainees," Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, wrote in an email.

The agency, he said, has come to rely on forward operating bases in areas such as Yuma or El Paso, where it should build permanent stations and pay to move personnel there.

Border Patrol spokesman Brent Cagen said the bases are not as rustic and are far better than they were in the past.

For Barber, forward operating bases are a step in the right direction. He would support having more along the border in places where it makes sense. He said he'll ask the Border Patrol to provide data that shows the effectiveness of the Hedglen base.

"Border Patrol agents will tell you one of the most important things that helps them is to have situational awareness," he said, "to see what's going on at the border."