Wednesday, December 18, 2013



Note: The busy AZMEX days and nights continue

Note: This one addresses F&F, related and others issues

Authorities announce drug arrests, seizures
By Associated Press
Originally published: Dec 18, 2013 - 7:42 am

PHOENIX -- Authorities said 12 people have been arrested as part of a yearlong multi-agency investigation into drug trafficking in Arizona.

The Drug Enforcement Administration along with U.S. Border Patrol and the Internal Revenue Service have been conducting an investigation into the Luis Armando Cruz drug-trafficking organization. Authorities said the group worked on behalf of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel.

Officials accused the Phoenix-based organization of being responsible for importing thousands of pounds of marijuana from Mexico into the U.S., while smuggling the proceeds back across the border.

Authorities said in addition to the arrests, they seized thousands of pounds of marijuana, weapons, homes, vehicles and more than $200,000.

The suspects face counts including intent to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to launder money.


Note: Rocky Point, mucho coverage on this one in AZ media, the mayor says don't worry be happy

Puerto Peñasco shootout leaves at least five dead
This image, posted to Mexican news websites and credited to "social media," reportedly shows a truck that was destroyed during Wednesday morning's shoot out in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora.

Posted: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 2:14 pm | Updated: 4:07 pm, Wed Dec 18, 2013.
Nogales International

Five people are reportedly dead in the aftermath of a gun battle with federal authorities Wednesday in the Sandy Beach area of Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, also known as Rocky Point.
The Sinaloa-based newspaper El Debate, citing unnamed official sources, is reporting that Gonzalo "El Macho Prieto" Inzunza, a high-ranking enforcer for the Sinaloa Cartel, is among the dead.
Carlos Navarro Sugich, attorney general for the state of Sonora, confirmed the number of deaths in an announcement on his Twitter feed, but did not offer the names of the dead.
According to the Hermosillo daily El Imparcial, Navarro Sugich said during a subsequent news conference that two civilians were killed during an early morning shootout in front of a Sandy Beach hotel, and two more died when the truck they were fleeing in crashed into a wall and caught fire. The civilians were apparently all armed, he said.
Navarro Sugich said the details of the fifth death were still unclear, El Imparcial reported.
Gunfire from the confrontation can reportedly be heard on this video posted to YouTube.
Puerto Peñasco is popular vacation destination for U.S. tourists, and the Sandy Beach area is home to high-rise hotels and condos frequented by Americans.
The U.S. Consulate in Nogales, Sonora used its Twitter feed during the shootout to advise citizens "to shelter in place until gunfire is over."
In a message posted later to its website, the consulate alerted all U.S. citizens of the incident, and offered this general advice:
"In the event of gunfire, take shelter immediately and stay clear of doors and windows. Additionally, you should review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security."


Federal agents make 2 meth busts on Arizona border
Border Patrol agents at the checkpoint on Interstate 19 on Monday night arrested one woman and seized nearly 30 pounds of methamphetamine valued at more than $460,000.

15 hours ago • Arizona Daily Star
Related Galleries

Federal agents made two large methamphetamine busts on the Arizona border:

Border Patrol agents at the checkpoint on Interstate 19 on Monday night arrested one woman and seized nearly 30 pounds of methamphetamine worth more than $460,000, according to a Customs and Border Protection news release.

Agents found 27 packages of meth during the inspection of a Mercury sedan driven by a U.S. citizen. A drug dog alerted agents to the vehicle, leading to the discovery of meth, which was wrapped in clear packaging tape between the back seat and trunk of the vehicle, the release said.

The car and drugs were seized. The driver was arrested.

In a separate incident in Nogales, Ariz., two female Mexican nationals were arrested Saturday for attempting to smuggle about 41 pounds of meth, worth an estimated $635,500, across the border, the CBP said in a separate news release.

CBP officers sent the driver and passenger of a 2006 Jeep Liberty for secondary inspection when the driver tried to cross at the Mariposa Port of Entry. During the inspection, officers found 30 packages of meth in the vehicle's gas tank.

The drugs and vehicle were seized.

The driver, Rosalinda Salazar-Lopez, 21, and her 19-year-old passenger, were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.


Note: Update

Attorney General Horne Indicts Nine Members Of Money Laundering Operation
Group Laundered $1.1 Million in Cash from 2010 through Beginning of 2013

Phoenix, AZ (Wednesday, December 18, 2013) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is today announcing the indictment of nine members of the Manuel Duarte, Jr. Money Laundering Organization in Tucson. Manuel Duarte, Jr., Jesus Roberto Urrutia-Ramirez, Justine Calderon, Geraldine Calderon, Alexis Goevanni Cervantes, Kathleen Duarte, Manuel Flores Duarte, Englantina Burrola Duarte, and Glenda Duarte Moreno were all indicted by a Pima County Grand Jury for charges relating to their involvement in the laundering of drug proceeds.

These individuals have been charged with Illegally Conducting an Enterprise, Assisting a Criminal Syndicate, and various counts of Money Laundering.

In 2012, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration began an investigation into a cocaine trafficking organization operating in the Tucson area. As a result of that investigation, the Border Crimes Enforcement Section of the Arizona Attorney General's Office began an investigation into possible money laundering activities of Manuel Duarte, Jr. and his friends and family. That investigation uncovered that this group laundered approximately $1.1 million in cash from 2010 through the beginning of 2013 utilizing various bank accounts.

The head of this operation, Manuel Duarte, Jr., was responsible for laundering over $500,000 in his own bank accounts from 2010 through 2012 alone.

In addition, this group also laundered drug proceeds through real estate purchases. This investigation identified nine properties that were involved in money laundering transactions conducted by this group. Racketeering liens have been placed on these properties by the Arizona Attorney General's Office. Any property or cash forfeited as a result of this investigation will go towards supporting further law enforcement efforts targeted at investigating and prosecuting other racketeering offenses.

This case was investigated by the Border Crimes Section of the Arizona Attorney General's Office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Photos of those indicted are attached. Defendants are innocent until proven guilty.


2 illegal immigrants arrested after high-speed chase
by Christina O'Haver
Posted on December 18, 2013 at 5:20 PM
Updated today at 5:24 PM

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- Two illegal immigrants were arrested Tuesday after allegedly leading a Pinal County Sheriff's deputy on a high-speed chase in Southern Arizona.

About 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, a deputy in an area northwest of Casa Grande saw a Chevrolet Tahoe driving at a high speed, the sheriff's office said.

According to the sheriff's office, the vehicle ran a stop sign as it turned south from Miller Road onto Anderson Road.
The driver allegedly failed to stop for the deputy and a pursuit was initiated. The Tahoe reportedly accelerated to 100 mph.

The pursuit continued along Highway 84 and southbound on Montgomery Road, where another deputy set up spike strips.

The Tahoe ran over the strips, and its right rear tire and front left tire were deflated when it reached Interstate 8, the sheriff's office said.

The vehicle then reportedly crossed the center medium and two eastbound lanes of traffic, and drove through a fence. It continued south through a dirt field, where it came to a stop, the sheriff's office said.

The driver and passenger doors opened and two men ran from the vehicle in a southeast direction, the sheriff's office said.

The driver, Jesus Lozano-Vicarra, 35, of Mexico, reportedly stopped running as a deputy approached him. He was taken into custody.

The passenger, Gustavo Ramirez-Zavala, 24, of Mexico, was found hiding underneath a mesquite tree, the sheriff's office said. He allegedly resisted the arrest and was Tased by the deputy.

The sheriff's office said Lozano-Vicarra admitted to driving the vehicle, and said he fled from the deputy because he did not want to be deported to Mexico again.

The man reportedly told the sheriff's office he had been in the United States illegally for more than a month, paying his way across the border by backpacking marijuana from Mexico. The sheriff's office said Lozano-Vicarra admitted to smuggling marijuana to enter the country in the past.

He was booked into Pinal County Jail on suspicion of felony flight.

The sheriff's office said Gustavo also admitted to being in the U.S. illegally and was turned over to Border Patrol.

The Tahoe was seized, and the sheriff's office said it would request forfeiture.

Note: Roundup

Wellton Border Patrol arrests 21

Posted: Monday, December 16, 2013 5:55 pm | Updated: 5:59 pm, Mon Dec 16, 2013.
By Darin Fenger Features Editor
Posted on December 16, 2013
by Amy Crawford

U.S. Border Patrol agents from Yuma Sector's Wellton Station arrested 21 individuals and seized a combined 846 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $423,000, in separate weekend incidents.
On Friday, agents were tracking a group of suspected illegal immigrants near the Granite Mountains on the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range when they found 12 makeshift backpacks of marijuana weighing 548 pounds, the agency announced Monday.

A Mexican national hiding near the backpacks was arrested. Agents continued tracking the footprints until they found and arrested an additional 11 Mexican nationals on Sunday. Agents seized the marijuana for destruction.
Saturday, agents arrested 9 Mexican nationals discovered on the west side of the Sierra Pinta Mountains, located on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge; all of whom were in the U.S. illegally. In close proximity to the apprehension site, agents located six bundles of marijuana weighing 298 pounds. The suspects and marijuana were turned over to the Yuma County Narcotics Task Force.
Citizens can help the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling 1-866-999-8727 toll-free to report suspicious activity. Callers can remain anonymous.


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