Thursday, May 1, 2014



Note: One (1) in Phoenix, and ten (10) in Tucson. No, we did not make this up.

Homeland Security arrests over 600 gang suspects, 11 in Arizona
By Associated Press
Originally published: May 1, 2014 - 3:11 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than 600 suspected gang members have been arrested in the Homeland Security Department's largest crackdown on street gangs, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Thursday.

ICE agents, along with local authorities in 179 cities, including Phoenix and Tucson, arrested 638 suspected gang members over a monthlong period in March and April.

One arrest was made in Phoenix and 10 in Tucson.

ICE said 78 suspected gang members were arrested on federal charges while 447 others currently face only state charges. ICE arrested 113 others on administrative immigration charges.

More than 400 of those arrested had violent criminal histories, including seven people wanted on murder charges. ICE did not identify all those arrested or the charges they face.

"These are bad people with bad motives from bad organizations," said Thomas Winkowski, the principal deputy assistant secretary for ICE.

Other citiies involved included Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The latest crackdown, dubbed "Project Southbound," is part of a larger initiative started in 2005 to target street gangs with international ties. Since the effort, ICE says it has arrested more than 33,000 suspected gang members.

Winkowski said nearly three-quarters of the suspected gang members arrested in the latest operation belonged to the Surenos, or Sur 13, street gangs.

The Surenos, an umbrella group of street gangs with ties to Latin America that includes gangs such as the ultraviolent Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, originated in Southern California and has members across the country. Its members and affiliates are considered "foot soldiers" for the Mexican Mafia criminal organization, Winkowski said.

In its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, the Justice Department said the Sur 13 gangs are expanding faster than any other national gang. The government said Sur 13 members are responsible for crimes that include murder, extortion and drug trafficking.

The crackdown also included several members of MS-13, the Salvadoran gang known for using machetes to hack and stab victims.

According to a 12-count racketeering indictment unsealed in March in federal court in Greenbelt, Md., nine of the gang's members are accused of crimes including murder, extorting high school students, running brothels, witness tampering and obstructing justice. At least three MS-13 members charged in the indictment were already in jail during the latest gang roundup.

Last year the Obama administration levied financial sanctions against six leaders of the gang, which the U.S. government previously designated as an international criminal group.

MS-13 was founded more than two decades ago by immigrants fleeing El Salvador's civil war. Its founders built a reputation as one of the most ruthless and sophisticated street gangs, as they took lessons from the brutal war to the streets of Los Angeles.

MS-13 also has a strong presence in Southern California, Washington and Northern Virginia, all areas with substantial Salvadoran populations, and as many 10,000 members in 46 states. The gang is also allied with several of Mexico's warring drug cartels.


Note: Cartel operators in that area of Chihuahua also known for make offers you can't refuse, especially when defenseless. Area also some very nice farm land, large LDS settlements to the north.

Mennonite ties to Mexican drug cartels years in the making
Alliances formed after Alberta Mennonite farmers' migration to Mexico several decades ago

By Meghan Grant, CBC News
Posted: Apr 30, 2014 3:00 AM MT
Last Updated: Apr 30, 2014 7:27 AM MT

Coutts is a village in Alberta and one of the busiest Canada–U.S. border crossings in Western Canada. Authorities in Canada and the U.S. say some Mennonites are bringing Mexican cartel drugs into Alberta through the crossing.

Canadian and American authorities are concerned about Alberta Mennonites bringing Mexican cartel drugs into Canada.

How a Mennonite trucker was caught smuggling cocaine​
Mexican flown to Calgary to face murder charge​
Alberta man gets 7 years for smuggling cocaine into Canada

Cocaine worth millions of dollars has crossed over the border and violence associated with the criminal activity is likely to ramp up, according to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Jim Schrant in Colorado.

"Because of the lucrative nature of the drug trade, and to make sure that people pay on time and to make sure that people aren't being double crossed, it's a very violent enterprise," he said.

Mexico to Alberta
Many prairie Mennonite farmers migrated south for large land grants offered to farmers. In the last couple years, though, social hardships have brought hundreds back, but some brought cartel connections with them. (Google Maps)

Schrant is quick to point out most of the Mennonite community members are hard-working, law-abiding citizens — but, like in every group, he says there are a few bad seeds.

Cocaine is costly in Canada, and Schrant says its value increases with every border it crosses.

"At the end of the day, the drug business, as vile and poisonous as it is, is a business," said Schrant. "And what they're going to look at is the most successful business model that they can and when you have high demand for a product, in this case cocaine, the further you get away from source of origin, the higher the prices go up."

Strong ties with Mexico

Members of Canada's Mennonite communities began migrating to Mexico in the first few decades of the 1900s.

Several factors influenced the exodus: Canadian laws required children to attend school, keeping key farm hands out of the fields, and at the same time the Mexican government was trying to ramp up agricultural production in Mexico.

"They offered large land grants to farmers in North America," said Schrant. "Some of the finest farmers in the world are [from] the Mennonite community, so around the turn of the century there was a large immigration from the U.S. and Canada into northern Mexico, particularly the state of Chihuahua."

Schrant says eventually the cartels cozied up to their Mennonite neighbours, forming an alliance with some. But social problems, economic hardship and violence have driven hundreds back to the Canadian Prairies over the last two to three years.

With connections already generations deep, the cartels now have trusted allies in the north.

Farmer caught with cocaine

Several recent cases highlight the problem.

Jacob Fehr was sentenced last week to seven years in prison for bringing cartel cocaine from his former home in Chihuahua, Mexico, to Calgary.

Fehr moved to Peace River in 2007, but he was caught smuggling the drug at the Coutts border crossing in January 2011.

Jacob Fehr
Jacob Fehr was working for a cartel when he was caught with cocaine at the Canada-U.S. border. He told border officials at the time that he had been forced into it, and that cartel members had threatened his wife and four daughters. (CBC)

The 38-year-old testified in his own defence, telling the judge armed cartel members threatened his family. He said it was his third trip to Alberta, which would have completed his commitment to the cartel, when he was caught with two kilograms packed into his SUV. His wife and four daughters were in the vehicle at the time.

"Cocaine is considered a pernicious drug and the effects on society are extremely detrimental," said Crown prosecutor Frank Polak after Fehr was sentenced. "It is not indigenous to Canada, so it has to be brought in, so the importation charge is particularly concerning."

Polak is in the middle of another drug trial involving two defendants in Lethbridge.

Authorities charged Abram Klassen and Jacob Dyck with importing cocaine, possessing cocaine for the purposes of trafficking, and conspiracy to import cocaine after they seized 16 kilograms of pure cocaine at Coutts and Great Falls border crossings.

The seizures and charges were the result of a 15-month, cross-border investigation.

Seven people were charged last year after U.S. officials seized thousands of kilograms of cocaine headed for the small southern Alberta town of Grassy Lake where about 600 people, mostly Mennonites, live.

Manslaughter guilty plea

Luis Alfonso Ochoa-Gamez will also be sentenced in the fall after pleading guilty to manslaughter for the killing of Mauro Hernanzez-Renteria after a drug deal went wrong.

Grassy Lake
Seven people were charged last year after U.S. officials seized cocaine headed for the small southern Alberta town of Grassy Lake, where about 600 people, mostly Mennonites, live. (Allison Dempster/CBC)

Both Ochoa-Gamez and Hernanzez-Renteria are from Mexico and the crime is connected to one of southern Alberta's Mennonite communities.

In a statement, Canadian Border Services officials wrote that they recognize "the importance of proactive intelligence-based approaches to monitor the cross-border movement [of] contraband, including narcotics, and to enhance interdiction support."

"Regardless of a method of concealment, whether in a traveller's suitcase, the load of a commercial shipment or in the dashboard of an automobile, by using contraband detection equipment, training and experience, CBSA officers are able to locate drugs and other contraband even when the most unusual and sophisticated concealment methods are used."

The DEA works closely with RCMP, Canadian Border Services and other local police agencies, but Schrant acknowledges tackling the problem in Alberta means tracing the criminal organization to its violent and well-established network back in Mexico.

"It's like eating a horse, you do it one bite at a time," he said. "It's important work. You look at the violence that's spread throughout Mexico as a result of these cartel activities, the violence that we've experienced here in the United States in this case and others some of the drug-related violence that's extended to Canada and it's the motivation for maintaining this fight."


Menonitas canadienses en México, utilizados por cárteles de droga

Grupos de menonitas están cooperando con cárteles de la droga mexicanos para introducir cocaína en el país, dijo la televisión pública canadiense CBC

COMPARTIR 01/05/2014 06:25 EFE

Grupos de menonitas están cooperando con cárteles de la droga mexicanos para introducir cocaína en el país, dijo la televisión pública canadiense CBC. Foto: Archivo

TORONTO, Can. 1 de mayo.- Grupos menonitas de Canadá, un movimiento cristiano conocida por su fe pacifista, están cooperando con cárteles de la droga mexicanos para introducir cocaína en el país, dijo hoy la televisión pública canadiense CBC.

CBC dijo que las autoridades de Estados Unidos y Canadá están preocupadas por la vinculación de algunos menonitas de la provincia canadiense de Alberta con narcotraficantes del norte de México, donde grupos de este movimiento cristiano se asentaron a principios del siglo XX.

En los últimos años, cientos de menonitas de origen canadiense que vivían en el estado de Chihuahua han vuelto a Canadá ante la violencia generada por la guerra entre narcotraficantes y las autoridades mexicanas, que se estima que ha causado decenas de miles de muertos entre la población civil del país.

Grupos de menonitas están cooperando con cárteles de la droga mexicanos para introducir cocaína en el país, dijo la televisión pública canadiense CBC

Jim Schrant, un agente de la Agencia Antidrogas de Estados Unidos, dijo a CBC que algunos menonitas que han vuelto a Canadá tenían relaciones con los cárteles de la droga que operan en el norte de México, mientras que los narcotraficantes mexicanos están aprovechándose para ampliar sus operaciones en Canadá.

Un ejemplo es el caso de Jacob Fehr, que la semana pasada fue condenado a siete años de prisión por un tribunal canadiense por transportar cocaína de México a Canadá.

Fehr, de 38 años de edad, residió en Chihuahua hasta 2007, cuando se trasladó a vivir a Calgary (Canadá). En 2011, fue arrestado en la frontera entre Estados Unidos y Canadá con varios kilogramos de cocaína ocultos en su vehículo, en el que también viajaban su mujer y sus cuatro hijas.

Durante el juicio, Fehr reconoció que era su tercer viaje a Canadá para transportar drogas y dijo que se vio obligado a ejercer de correo porque narcotraficantes mexicanos habían amenazado a su familia.

Otros dos menonitas canadienses, Abram Klassen y Jacob Dyck, están siendo juzgados por el transporte de cocaína, tras su arresto en 2012 con 16 kilogramos de la droga.

El éxodo

Canadá ha sido patria de una comunidad menonita desde 1786:

Los primeros menonitas migraron desde Pennsylvania para escapar de la hostilidad que resultó cuando se negaron a participar en la guerra contra el rey inglés, la que comenzó en 1776.
Canadá les ofrecía una nueva frontera agrícola y la posibilidad de tener más libertad como un grupo minoritario, mientras que el ambiente revolucionario en los nuevos Estados Unidos les hacía difícil la vida.
Entre 1786 y 1825 unos dos mil menonitas se trasladaron de Pennsylvania a la provincia de Ontario.
Una segunda ola de menonitas llegó a Canadá en 1870, cuando varios millares de ellos, los que vivían en Rusia, buscaron un nuevo hogar en las sabanas de Norteamérica.


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