Sunday, September 22, 2013
AZMEX UPDATE 20-9-13
AZMEX UPDATE 20 SEP 2013
Note: As the summer storms end for the year, things getting busy again.
The AZMEX ACTIVITY reports will resume on Monday. There is a lot of activity than never seems to make the press releases or media.
BP arrest 9 suspected smugglers, seize pot
September 20, 2013 10:31 PM
FROM STAFF REPORTS
Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents arrested nine suspected drug smugglers and seized 508 pounds of marijuana Thursday in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. The pot has an estimated street value of $254,000.
Agents patrolling in the area found footprints and followed them to the nine Mexican citizens who were hiding at a location 30 miles west of Ajo, Ariz., and 10 miles north of the international border.
After their arrests, the men were turned over the U.S. Attorney's office, and the drugs were seized for destruction.
2 arrested after heroin found in their shoes
September 19, 2013 10:35 PM
FROM STAFF REPORTS
Two Mexican citizens were arrested Wednesday at the Interstate 8 checkpoint east of Yuma after agents allegedly discovered nearly five pounds of heroin hidden in their shoes. The heroin has an estimated street value of about $150,000.
Last month, two other alleged smugglers were caught with heroin in their shoes while trying to pass through the same checkpoint.
According to the Yuma Sector Border Patrol, during the current seizure the two Mexican citizens had been traveling in a shuttle bus when they were referred to a secondary inspection area after a working dog indicated the possible presence of contraband on the shuttle.
Agents then reportedly discovered the heroin hidden in the men's shoes. The men and heroin were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
In another incident, agents arrested three Mexican citizens and seized 116 pounds of marijuana south of Gila Bend after tracking their footprints through the desert. The pot has an estimated street value of $58,000.
The smugglers and marijuana were turned over to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Note: Elfrida, a very small town is north of Douglas / AP. Just to west of the Chiricahua Mountains. On a major drug & human trafficking route know as the Chiricahua Corridor.
Sep 20, 1:39 PM EDT
Sheriff's office says 3 shot, wounded in Elfrida
ELFRIDA, Ariz. (AP) -- Authorities are trying to piece together what led to three people being shot and wounded in Elfrida (ell-FREE'-duh), a rural community in Cochise County in southeastern Arizona.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Carol Capas says deputies responding early Friday morning to report of shots fired found a 34-year-old Douglas woman, a 25-year-old Elfrida man and a 29-year-old Elfrida man with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.
The three victims were airlifted to a Tucson hospital where Capas says they're listed in stable condition.
Capas says investigators don't yet know what preceded the shooting and are interviewing several people.
However, Capas says deputies have had previous contacts with several of the people involved and that the incident is not regarded as an active shooter case.
Gulf Cartel distributor slashes own throat, misses drug sentencing; group moved ton quantities out of Port of Brownsville
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 9:01 pm
Ildefonso Ortiz | The Monitor
McALLEN — The sentence for a drug trafficker for Gulf Cartel who led a trafficking cell that moved 40 tons of marijuana per month was reset after he tried to kill himself by slashing his own throat Thursday morning. But several of his associates, including his wife Lineth Guerra, were sentenced.
On Thursday morning, U.S. District Court Judge Randy Crane reset the sentencing of Israel Garcia Mejia for a later time once his medical condition improved. Garcia, 50, pleaded guilty Jan. 8 to various drug trafficking charges.
Garcia was the leader of a drug trafficking group that worked for the Gulf Cartel to get ton quantities of marijuana from various cities in the Rio Grande Valley into the Port of Brownsville, where they were loaded into cargo ship containers that were moved to Florida and from there to other cities in the northern part of the country, court records show.
The case against Garcia began Jan. 22, 2011, when a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper staying at the Renaissance Hotel in McAllen stumbled onto a domestic disturbance. The trooper found an intoxicated Garcia arguing with Lineth Guerra, who was naked and lying on the floor. In the room, authorities found cocaine, $375,000 in cash and a firearm
But among the items they seized, the crown jewel was a detailed set of electronic records and ledgers that described the ins and outs of the organization, which was made up mostly of family members and a few friends.
According to information discussed in court by Judge Crane and the defense attorneys of six other defendants, Garcia was arrested on other pending charges but remains in contact with his wife through notes that he gave to an attorney.
Soon after Garcia's arrest, Guerra held a meeting at Tony Roma's restaurant in McAllen, where she rallied the troops and tried to do damage control by moving several tons of marijuana and a weapons cache from one warehouse to the D.M. Roth warehouse in Pharr. With the help of her brother, Carlos "Guero" Guerra, and her husband's associates — Jose Guadalupe "Monstro" Rangel and Alberto "Beto" Aguirre — the group coordinated the loading and transporting of the drugs. To avoid capture and seizure, the group managed to get 26 kilograms of cocaine back to the Gulf Cartel cell that had supplied it to them for safekeeping.
During Lineth Guerra's sentencing hearing, her attorney, Manuel Guerra, tried to minimize her role, stating that she only ran things for a short time and the organization was not successful because it suffered many seizures and no attempt was made to move any shipments north.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James Sturgis pointed out that lack of success does not diminish one's involvement in an enterprise.
"For that matter," Sturgis said, "Jerry Jones leads the Cowboys, but that doesn't mean they are successful."
After a brief conference in the judge's chambers, Lineth Guerra was sentenced to 13 years and five months.
When Carlos "Guero" Guerra was called before Crane for his sentencing hearing, it was briefly delayed after he fell ill and appeared to vomit. Once Guerra's condition improved, he was sentenced to 17 1/2 years for his leadership role in the organization.
Guadalupe "Monstro" Rangel, 51, of Miguel Alemán, Tamps., was given the stiffest sentence because he was a career drug trafficker with the Gulf Cartel who had been in and out of prison; he was sentenced to 24 years and four months for his role as the warehouse manager of one of the distribution points. During his hearing, Rangel said he was a financially poor man who made a mistake.
Crane said he didn't believe Rangel because his wife had a luxury vehicle and didn't doubt that he had stashed away his earnings and tried to live in a modest fashion.
Alberto "Beto" Aguirre, 49, of Weslaco was sentenced to close to 20 years for his role as a midlevel manager in the organization.
Guy Oshiro Lugo, 48, of Mission had left the group weeks before it was caught but had overseen the movement of ton quantities and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. When he was arrested, Lugo was working at an El Tigre gas station in Mission. He wore the same store shirt to court.
Israel's sister, Deborah Garcia Mejia, 46, was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison for her role in overseeing the packing of various drug loads that were placed in the shipping containers.