Friday, December 11, 2015



Note: Local interest mostly.

From $300 to $50,000 USD per load, smuggling wages range widely
By Murphy Woodhouse
Nogales International Updated 23 hrs ago Comments

County Probation Officer Hugh Odom looks at the cases he's managing this year, which he catalogues on sticky notes and mostly involve drug smuggling.

On Nov. 9, 2014, Jorge Alberto Saracho Velarde, 37, approached the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry with 26 pounds of cocaine, which was eventually found in his Chevy truck's tires by port officials.

Before being sentenced to 2.5 years in prison at Santa Cruz County courts, the Caborca, Sonora resident told a probation officer that he had been promised $2,000 for the load if he was successful in delivering it.

Just over a year later, then-Border Patrol agent and Rio Rico resident Juan Pimentel, 47, was pulled over on Interstate 10 northwest of Tucson with more than 100 pounds of the same drug hidden in several suitcases. Pimentel allegedly told one of the arresting officers that he had known about the drugs and was taking them to Chicago in exchange for $50,000, meaning he was expecting 25 times the payout for just four times as much coke as Saracho had carried. Pimentel, of course, had a much longer drive than Saracho and a federal badge to boot.

When it comes to moving drugs in the local area, or out of it, the payment smugglers receive ranges widely, according to testimony provided by suspects sentenced in local courts over the last year.

A number of factors are at play behind the compensation offered, including age, nationality, the type of drugs and their weight, the experience of the smuggler and the sort of smuggling work being done, several law enforcement officials who work on local drug cases said.

But for a lot of would-be smugglers, the payouts, coming under $4,000 for most and under $1,000 for many, especially minors, pale in comparison to the legal consequences faced by those who are caught, said Hugh Odom, a long-time adult probation officer in Santa Cruz County.

Odom, who conducts pre-sentence interviews with adults convicted at Superior Court for drug-smuggling offenses, noted that many cite "serious economic problems, of support of their family, wife and children, sometimes an invalid mother or father," as their motivation for the crime.

"And they do this, and they get caught, whatever the problem was before, they've compounded it, made it much worse," he said.

Short-lived success

Most of the people Odom speaks with are first-timers, people with limited or no previous criminal background who get talked into smuggling by recruiters on both sides of the border, often because their economic circumstances have recently worsened. Some, he said, aren't even told what it is they'll be carrying, either on their person or in a vehicle.

The most common offer for what Odom called "greenhorns" is $1,000, though he qualified that by saying that larger loads or more valuable drugs can drive the wage upward.

He said, "$1,000 impresses people, I guess," adding that he has come to trust the reported figures because those who have already pleaded guilty "have no reason to lie."

Francisco Burrola, assistant special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigation's Nogales office, said cartel operatives will scout the ports of entry, looking for frequent pedestrian and vehicle crossers and marking them for recruitment.

A first-time offer for a 20- to 25-pound vehicle-carried load of hard drugs, such as meth, cocaine or heroin, is often between $3,000 to $4,000, he said. But Burrola and Odom said that with a few successful deliveries, smugglers can start commanding higher wages, with Burrola citing upwards of $8,000 per load.

Those good times don't often last long, Burrola said, adding that few captured smugglers say they had more than a half-dozen successful carries before their luck ran out.

The highest reported offer found in a search of sentencing stories published in the NI was $5,000 offered to a Nogales man for smuggling nearly 15 pounds of meth through the DeConcini port in January. While most arrangements delay payment until delivery, Burrola and Odom said those overseeing the load pay the promised amount on time if things go well.

"That's why they go up to bat on the second run," Burrola said, adding that those in charge of the loads have an incentive to recruit talented smugglers because they are often on the hook for lost product.

However, Kismet Flores, a Santa Cruz County juvenile probation officer, said that minors sometimes get less than they were promised, and are sometimes even physically abused by their handlers if things don't go well.

Mostly Mexicans

Toward the lower end of the smuggling pay scale are those who cross marijuana in 50- to 60-pound backpacks out in the desert or small amounts of harder drugs on their persons at ports. Many of the desert crossers are migrants who are offered free or reduced-cost human smuggling services in exchange for carrying a load. Those who do it for money earn between $500 and $2,000 due to the lower profit margins on relatively small marijuana loads, Burrola said.

Body carriers can earn between $500 and $1,500, Burrola said. For example, a young Nogales woman carrying 2.4 pounds of heroin through the Morley Avenue pedestrian crossing last fall told a probation officer she was offered $700, with which she hoped to help her grandmother with bills.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the worst money is made by minors, though they are normally entrusted with marijuana or the smallest loads of hard drugs, usually as body carriers. Burrola said that teens as young as 13 have been caught at Nogales ports.

"It's rare that we get a juvenile over $1,000," Flores said, adding $400 is about as low as it goes for minors carrying drugs across the border.

Flores said many young smugglers are told they will face minimal legal consequences if they get caught. For U.S. citizen minors with no prior convictions, getting caught trafficking usually results in probation, but Mexican national minors can end up serving time even if they have no record, Flores said.

Most of those caught locally, minors and adults alike, are Mexican nationals, Odom and Flores said, though Flores said that more local youths are being recruited.

Port officers are constantly learning about new smuggling methods and finding ways to catch those employing them, Burrola said. However, a more vexing challenge for federal officers is the seemingly endless supply of people in challenging economic circumstances, especially in Mexico, who are willing to roll the dice with a load.

"Until the Mexican government makes a change in the way they take care of their people, we'll be battling that day in day out," he said.


Arizona authorities seize 1,382 pounds of pot, arrest 14 in five days
KTAR NEWSROOM | December 8, 2015 @ 1:46 pm

Seized bales of marijuana are shown. (Pinal County Sheriff's Office Photo)
PHOENIX — In what turned out to be a busy five days for deputies, more than 1,300 pounds of pot was seized and 14 people were arrested in multiple incidents in Arizona's Pinal County.

The busts began Nov. 29, when a Pinal County Sheriff's Office deputy tried to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation. The driver, Guadalupe Acosta Gutierrez, allegedly sped off before ramming into some trees and attempting to run away. He was chased down and arrested.

Deputies said they found 20 bales of marijuana in Gutierrez's vehicle.

The next day, deputies were contacted by U.S. Border Patrol to help them chase a possible smuggler. After the vehicle was abandoned by all but the driver, German Nunez-Mojarro, an estimated 500 pounds of marijuana was found inside.

On Dec. 2, a deputy was involved in a short chase with a vehicle on Highway 84, north of Interstate 8. After the car came to a stop, three people fled into the desert while three others were caught at the car.

Deputies found two assault-type rifles and what appeared to be survival supplies. The driver and the two other people were arrested.

Later that evening, deputies spotted a minivan driving down a highway with its door open. A deputy pulled the vehicle over and seven people ran into the desert. Four people, including the driver, were arrested after 502 pounds of marijuana was found in the vehicle.

On Dec. 3, a deputy pulled an SUV over and nine men wearing camouflage jumped out. Five of them were captured.

Later that day, a deputy saw two drivers driving erratically and both vehicles were pulled over. Six people fled the vehicles and, though none were caught, two bales of marijuana were seized.


Border Patrol seizes $1M in drugs so far this month
A canine team seized nearly 14 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in the rear bumper of this vehicle, the Border Patrol said. The driver was attempting to travel through the Wellton Station checkpoint on Interstate 8, east of Yuma.

Related Stories
Related: Border Patrol seizes $1M in drugs, arrest 24 so far in December
Related: 3 women arrested, $522K in drugs seized by Border Patrol
Related: Border Patrol has busy holiday week on Arizona border

Posted: Wednesday, December 9, 2015 9:46 am
Staff Reports

YUMA — Border Patrol agents patrolling the Interstate 8 corridor have seized more than $1 million in drugs and arrested 24 suspected smugglers during the first week of December.
Several incidents during the weekend resulted in the seizure of 1,658 pounds of marijuana, worth $829,000, and the arrest of 12 illegal immigrants, authorities said.
Also in the last five days, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office reported that deputies have arrested 14 suspected smugglers and seized 1,382 pounds of marijuana in separate incidents. The interdictions were the efforts of PCSO deputies working on regular patrol or assisting Border Patrol agents working in western Pinal County.
On Friday, Wellton Station Border Patrol agents seized 469 pounds of marijuana, valued at an estimated $234,500, and arrested five suspected illegal immigrants in the Sonoran Desert.
The following morning, Yuma Station Border Patrol agents seized a vehicle and an estimated $359,500 worth of marijuana after its occupants illegally crossed into the U.S. through a shallow point of the Colorado River and the vehicle became inoperable. Six people evaded arrest by running back to Mexico, abandoning 719 pounds of marijuana.
That afternoon, Wellton Station Border Patrol agents seized two abandoned bundles of marijuana weighing 45 pounds and valued at an estimated $22,500, discovered by Air and Marine Operations Yuma Branch pilots.
On Sunday, Border Patrol agents assigned to Camp Grip, Yuma Sector's forward operating base, seized an abandoned ATV and 247 pounds of marijuana. The drugs are valued at an estimated $123,500.
Also on Sunday, Wellton Station Border Patrol agents arrested seven suspected illegal immigrants and seized 178 pounds of marijuana valued at an estimated $89,000.
On Thursday, two incidents resulted in the arrest of 12 individuals and the seizure of more than 400 pounds of drugs. The drugs had an estimated value of $280,674.
A Border Patrol canine team seized nearly 14 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in the rear bumper of a vehicle. The driver was attempting to travel through the Wellton Station checkpoint on Interstate 8, east of Yuma. The drugs had an estimated value of $68,674.
Border Patrol agents arrested 11 suspected illegal immigrants and seized 424 pounds of marijuana while patrolling in Yuma Sector's remote southeast area of operations. The agents were assigned to the sector's forward operating base, Camp Grip. The drugs had an estimated value of $212,000.


Note: some good news, although overall numbers not good.

No local cases of dengue fever
Tribune San Luis
December 8, 2015
By Joel Olea Galindo

San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora.- So far this year, in San Luis Rio Colorado has not been presented so far no cases of dengue fever, so the continuing need for action to avoid the presence of the mosquitoes, following the recommendations for prevention based on hygiene.

That was announced by the director of the General Hospital of the Ministry of Health, Government of the State of Sonora, Dr. Joel Godinez Lopez, who noted that despite some cases not presented this year in the municipality will remain a constant operational for prevention and control of mosquito breeding dengue transmitter.

The state official addressed the importance of always keeping at home the four steps that are being promoted among the population to prevent this disease, the same consisting of "washing, cover, turn and throw."

He was emphatic Dr. Godinez Lopez in having a lot of attention in the vacant lots and report them to the authorities, in order to prevent the spread of the Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae, transmitter of the disease.

"The alert is real, but fortunately so far not presented any case of dengue fever in San Luis Rio Colorado, fundamental actions taken in health in the towns of the valley and the city remain, highlighting dengue control, so a deployment of health teams working hard to achieve the goal "is performed.

Joel Godinez Lopez said it's important that the sanluisina population aware of the risk of occurrence of dengue, even though there is no record of any, we insist to take precautions and follow the preventive measures that we issued in the Secretariat Bless you".

Interviewed reiterated that the main recommendations to prevent dengue are based on hygiene, so reminiscent of sanluisinas families keep their homes and yards clean and provide proper treatment for batteries, buckets, vases and basins, where many often is the larva of the mosquito Aedes aegypti.

Finally, just seven days ago, Health Secretary in the state, Gilberto Beltran Ungson reported that so far this year there have been at Sonora 2,015 dengue fever cases against 2,874, which had the same week 2014, ie about 850 cases less.

Health minister said that in the case of hemorrhagic fever have occurred in Sonora 523 cases in total this year, giving a total of 2,538 dengue cases with five deaths to date.


Note: But we are Told That Rocks are not dangerous? Or just not when delivered north of the line? SLRC, Son. Just south of Yuma, AZ.

Two minors hit with stones in serious condition
Very serious Davy brothers were hospitalized Josia and Sergio David Avila 17 and 15 years, because of gang attack in Chulavista II.
Tribune San Luis
December 8, 2015

Fredy Mejia

San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora.-Yesterday at noon during a quarrel in the neighborhood Chulavista II, were seriously injured and feet beaten with stones by a gang Davy Josiah gang brothers Sergio and David Avila, 17 and 15 years.

Because of the traumatic head injury the family proceeded to make the necessary arrangements with the authorities of the United States for the transfer of David Josiah to Yuma Regional Medical Center.

The family made the transfer of injured from both the General Hospital Chulavista II aboard a 1998 Mercury Mystique white car with Arizona plates BPB9740, driven by stepfather Jeffery Alberto García Cruz.

García Cruz revealed unknown facts as they occurred, since at the time since they were awakened at home.

And stepchildren are students attending US schools where they originated.

Traffic police officers and to detect the car circulating on la Libertad , and proceeded to intercept because of the immoderate speed and were informed it was carrying two children who had been injured in Chulavista II.

With siren and escorted the unit to the General Hospital, seen by medical staff immediately after being brought.

Their mother said she would make the appropriate arrangements for them to be hospitalized in the United States, as the doctor said Josiah Davy was unconscious.

Later in intensive operation in the colony made possible the arrest of four of the participants of the assault identified as Jesus Eduardo, 15; Christian Alberto Macias Cervantes; a Jesus Alejandro Ortega Vidaña, 20, and Luis Antonio Garcia Alamillo, 21.

All were placed behind bars and available to the Office of the Public Prosecutor's Office for investigations.


Yaquis lift blockade Vícam
Details Published on Monday December 7, 2015,
Written by Drafting / El Diario

The state government managed by the Yaqui ethnicity lifting the roadblock at Vícam, after complying with the agreements with the tribe and was described by Sonora Governor Pavlovich Claudia Arellano as a reconciliation.

After talking with leaders on a satellite link that had the company of the Secretary of Government, Miguel Ernesto Pompa Corella alongside traditional authorities they admitted that no more blockades, said he was very satisfied with the work of the team, to also highlight the phrase 'Before like before and now like now. '


Drugs Drugs Drugs

Seize drug plane in Magdalena
Details Published on Monday December 7, 2015,
Written by Drafting / The Journal

The National Defense Secretariat through the Commander of the Second Military Region (Mexicali, BC) and 45 / a. Military Zone (Nogales, Son.) Report that this date, approximately 9 kilometers southeast of the Municipality. . of Magdalena de Kino, Son, personnel of the Mexican Army, said:

➢ A Cessna plane.
➢ 500 kilograms of marijuana.

The aircraft and the drugs, were made available to the Federal Public Ministry of Nogales, Son.


PESP seize the marijuana cargo equivalent to one hundred thousand doses
Details Published on Tuesday December 8, 2015,
Written by Cesar Barragan / El Diario


Being distributed in small portions drugs may have reached a value of 2 million pesos.
Members of the State Police Public Safety PESP, made the seizure of more than 68 kilos of marijuana in a vehicle abandoned near the ranch "El Bellotoso" of the border.

According to official reports elements (PESP) conducted surveillance patrols on the road leading to the property mentioned, where at kilometer 5, they saw a white Chevrolet, Suburban that was in apparent condition of abandonment.

After taking appropriate safety measures, they proceeded to check the vehicle, finding inside 9 packages wrapped in tape, which contained the herb known as marijuana.

The officials took the narcotics weighing approximately 68 kilograms of the drug, which amount to over 100 thousand doses with value in excess of 2 million pesos on the black market.
The agents conducted drug seizure which was made available to the Federal Public Ministry, in the premises of the PGR of this city, where they continue with the investigations.

In another case of police agents of the Unified Command in the town of Tubutama, managed to secure a backpack with about 4 kilograms of drugs.

The weekend events around 15:00 occurred when members of the State Public Security Police (PESP) patrols conducted surveillance on the main road from Saric to the town of Sasabe.

In the place they saw a man who threw a backpack to run and avoid arrest, the person threw a camouflaged backpack to escape, which contained a package wrapped in tape, which contained marijuana with an approximate weight to 4 kg drug.

The drug was secured, leaving it to the Public Prosecutor's Office for appropriate inquiries.


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