Tuesday, December 27, 2016



Note: several photos, etc. at link.

Ruger girl' keeps border ranching heritage alive
By MICHELLE FLOYD Arizona Sonora News Updated 4 hrs ago


Kelly Glenn Kimbro radios the rest of the team working a cattle roundup Nov. 25 at the J Bar A Ranch. With ranch employees spread out throughout the ranch land, they communicate by walkie talkies to get all the cattle together. |

DOUGLAS -- Kelly Glenn Kimbro is early to bed and early to rise — nine or ten o'clock at night and often two or three o'clock in the morning. Ranchers' hours, she explains.

A rancher?s hours: Hard work on the range
You will probably never meet another woman like Kimbro, a fifth-generation rancher in southeastern Arizona. She spends her days with her family and works their two ranches, hunts mountain lions, and works in the community.

"When I was a little girl I just knew I was going to be a rancher, and a hunter," she said. "I love this way of life, and I love everything about it. I love the hard work, sunrises, and sunsets."

Her family homesteaded the ranch near what is now Douglas, Arizona, in 1896, and have stayed ever since. They even acquired another ranch 50 miles away on the Arizona-Mexico border.

One of the aspects that she loves is the time she gets to spend with her family. "I am blessed that I have spent my whole life working with my parents and we always got along," she said.

Kimbro would be out riding with her grandparents and parents, and now, she spends time with her father Warner Glenn and her daughter Mackenzie Kimbro.

She is able to carry on the ranching tradition by bringing in extra money as a mountain lion hunter — among other things.

Working with her father and grandfather growing up, she helped to manage the problem of mountain lions preying on livestock, not for sport but for practical ranching management. The day after Thanksgiving, she said she was called by the state game department to New Mexico to help track and kill a mountain lion that was killing cattle. She then had to be back the next day for separating cattle for market.

"Hunting a lion is a huge challenge," she said, "Every day is a new day. You're covering hundreds of square miles of country within the year."

Another job she has to support her ranching lifestyle is being "The Ruger Girl" for Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc.. Western photographer Jay Dusard approached her in 1988 when the company wanted to experiment with having a hard-working woman who carries a gun in its ads. Kimbro said she "broke the ice" for being the first woman to represent a gun company in advertisements, as most other companies had held back, "unless it was a woman in a bikini with a machine gun," she said.

The first year with the company, the public truly embraced her. She has an approachable personality that encouraged men to bring their wives, mothers and children to different events to meet her. She also relates to many of her fans by her life full of hard work. "A lot of people that are my fans are farmers and ranchers and hard labor type of people who do hunting or shooting as a sport and a hobby," she said. "I was someone they could relate to."

These fans continue following her career. She's now in her 28th year representing Ruger, in their advertisements and at gun shows.

The ranching life certainly does not come without its challenges. The Glenn ranches are under the control of the land, whether there is a drought, floods, or bad weather.

The other challenge comes with their border ranch. "We have been on the front lines of all of the politics involving immigration and illegal entry," said Kimbro.

Her family ranch uses barrier guards, which keep the cattle from going into Mexico, but they still bear the brunt of the initial entry of people crossing the border from Mexico into the United States on her ranch land. She said this also includes, "wear and tear on your land, a lot of garbage, trash, and then you find someone who passed away because of the elements."

Due to her family's history in the hospitality business from hosting guests at their ranches from leading hunts, she has had politicians at her ranch such as Gabrielle Giffords, Martha McSally and Ted Cruz. Kelly believes it is important to show them what is going on at the border. "Somebody has to show them. When you walk out of the city limits of a little town, there's a border, and a country, a wide-open country. And people are struggling to pass though there," she said, referring to the people who are trying to cross the border.

She and her family have no intentions of leaving. "We stay here because we love it. We love the land, we love what it has provided us, we love what we can provide in return to the country, the wildlife, and the heritage of cattle ranching that we carry on," she said.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016



Note: As usual, it is illegal immigration "rights"

Tucson City Council passes immigration rights resolution
Posted: Dec 20, 2016 8:22 PM MST
Updated: Dec 20, 2016 8:43 PM MST
Written By Angelique Lizarde


After going through a contentious presidential election, the City of Tucson wants to reassure all its residents, regardless of immigration status, have rights under the law.

Resolution 2269 passed unanimously during Tuesday's city council meeting, when it comes to supporting immigration rights.

"We will protect every member of our community regardless of status," said Councilwoman Regina Romero. "We will not collaborate on federal deportation initiatives of any kind. TPD is committed to protecting and serving our entire community."

Council members said this decision comes after many immigrant families are currently experiencing high levels of anxiety and fear.

Mayor Rothschild is reassuring people not to panic. He said people should be aware of their rights and resources within the community.

The City of Tucson has provided a four-page, resource guide for immigrant families in English and Spanish.

To review the guide, at the following link:



AZMEX I3 20-12-16

AZMEX I3 20 DEC 2016

40,000 Haitian, African and Middle Eastern immigrants expected to descend on U.S. border
STAFF REPORT Updated 5 hrs ago


An estimated 40,000 immigrants from Haiti, Africa and the Middle East are expected to descend on U.S. borders and try to cross illegally next year, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar said Tuesday.

The estimate comes from the Costa Rican ambassador to the United States, Roman Macaya, who is expecting to receive the immigrants in his country before they attempt to make their way into Mexico and, eventually, the United States, Cuellar said.

"Roughly 40,000 migrants from Haiti, as well as Africa, Asia and the Middle East, will enter Costa Rica through their border with Panama this next year," Cuellar said in a news release. "They will then attempt to work their way up to the U.S.-Mexican border. Currently, migrants in Costa Rica are blocked from moving further north by the Nicaraguan military."

Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott also said that he had been briefed by state intelligence sources to expect an influx of Haitians and immigrants from Africa, particularly Somalia.

These groups of immigrants will add to the complexity of guarding U.S. borders, which are seeing record numbers of Central Americans pour into the United States seeking asylum because of violence in their home countries.

It could also prove to be an early test for President-elect Donald Trump who campaigned on strengthening U.S. borders.

"However, if the Cuban crisis this past year has shown, they will likely soon find their way to our border, putting additional stress on our already thinly-stretched humanitarian resources," Cuellar said, "not to mention our immigration judges, who are working through a backlog of over half a million immigration cases."

Cuellar was referring to an influx of Cubans who are legally entitled to enter this country as long as they do so on land, not waters. The net result of that law, which stems from tensions between Cuba and the United States that go back decades, is that many Cubans found a path into the United States through Cuellaer's hometown of Laredo.

"This past year, we struggled through a surge of approximately 56,000 Cuban migrants running up through Central America to our border, mostly through my hometown of Laredo, Texas, due to the archaic Cuban Adjustment Act policy and unprecedented benefits the U.S. provides exclusively for Cubans," Cuellar said.

"This was in addition to the swell of 137,366 Central American children and families from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Many of the Haitians arriving at our border were previously working in Brazil. However, due to the economic downturn in that country, they are seeking a path to the United States," he said.

"Many have learned from smugglers and through social media that when they arrive at a port of entry or get picked up by the border patrol to claim they are seeking either a refugee status or asylum for a credible fear of persecution in their home country. This allows them to be granted a "Notice to Appear" for an asylum hearing and they are either briefly detained or allowed to enter the U.S. on their own recognizance."


Numbers spike at local respite center
More than 7,500 passed through facility in November


MCALLEN,Tx- Over 30 immigrants from Central America are dropped off by bus at Sacred Heart Respite Center Thursday Nov.3 2016 photo by Delcia Lopez dlopez@themonitor.com

McALLEN — As a group of migrants waited to file information and move onto the next stop in the United States, a woman Monday dropped off a donation of toys for children passing through the center. A stuffed animal started playing a song. A mother laughed next to her kids.

This was a quick, simple distraction from the reality at the Humanitarian Respite Center at Sacred Heart Catholic Church: more than 7,500 immigrants were processed in November, up from 5,600 in October, which was the busiest month since the center opened in June 2014.

The city of McAllen has spent a half-million dollars on local humanitarian aid since 2014. Other local entities have spent as much. But there hasn't been any reimbursement from the federal government.

The conversation about immigration and border security is constant, but doesn't seem to gain much traction nationally, at least enough to make a serious impact. Families are flooding the respite center.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, addressed this on Thursday at an event at the Anzalduas International Bridge, as did McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. Darling has often talked about the federal government needing to change its foreign policy in Central America, and until that policy changes, the families will likely keep coming.

"The mayor is right," Cornyn said. "He's dealing with the consequences of the federal government's failure to deal with these issues and some of them are just very huge. How do you restore our border and a way of life in Central America so people don't feel they have to send their children up through the treacherous journey through Mexico just to end up on our border here in the United States where we try to take care of them as best we can?"

The latest effort by the federal government was the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shifting $167 million from domestic health services to pay for the housing and care of unaccompanied minors. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, who was also here with Cornyn, said on Nov. 30 that shifting the funds would not have been necessary if the Obama Administration had spent money he helped appropriate last year to aid Central American countries that are the source of most of the unaccompanied minors.

Cuellar helped lock in $750 million in appropriations to the State Department during the last fiscal year to provide aid to Central American countries, and he has been complaining for weeks that none of the money that was appropriated has been spent on what Congress intended.

A massive tent has been built by Customs and Border Protection near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge to handle the stream of migrants. The facility, which opened earlier this month, can hold up to 500 people and provide housing, beds, toilets and bathrooms.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

AZMEX I3 17-12-16

AZMEX I3 17 DEC 2016

Lawsuit: Immigration checks at Maricopa County jail unlawful
December 16, 2016 @ 9:24 am

Activist Jacinta Gonzalez Goodman speaks at a news conference in front of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in Phoenix, Ariz. (AP Photo/Astrid Galvan)
PHOENIX — An activist arrested during a protest against President-elect Donald Trump earlier this year has filed a lawsuit accusing the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office of unlawfully holding her overnight for a federal immigration check even though she is a U.S. citizen.

Jacinta Gonzalez Goodman filed the suit in federal court in Phoenix on Wednesday. She said that even though Arpaio has only a few days left in office, the lawsuit is also a way to put pressure on incoming Sheriff Paul Penzone to end an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that allows the sheriff's office to place holds on inmates while ICE checks for immigration violations.

"What we know is that thousands of people are held every day on detainers even though their constitutional rights are being violated," Gonzalez Goodman said. "Even though today we are suing Joe Arpaio, we know that this lawsuit will continue under Penzone and he will have to answer as to whether or not he will continue this unconstitutional practice that's costing the city of Phoenix thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars."

The sheriff's office did not respond to a request for comment.

ICE spokeswoman Yasmeen Pitts O'Keefe said in a written statement that ICE screens everyone at Maricopa County jails and that doing so enables the agency to identify immigrants who may need to be further reviewed.

She said ICE collaborates with law enforcement agencies around Phoenix and nationally on what is called the Priority Enforcement Program, which she said ensures that people who pose a threat to public safety aren't released without an immigration check first.

"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes its resources to target serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a risk to national security or public safety," the statement says.

Activists said at a news conference on Thursday that they hope Penzone, a Democrat who handily defeated Arpaio last month, will end the partnership with ICE.

"So long as these polices, specifically ICE collaboration, are within MCSO power, Sheriff Arpaio will be in control," said Carlos Garcia, executive director of Puente Arizona, an advocacy group for immigrants.

Gonzalez Goodman and two others were arrested on March 19 after they blocked off a road in protest of a Trump rally in Fountain Hills. She was held overnight on an ICE hold while others arrested during the protest were let go.

Gonzalez Goodman, who was born in Mexico but has American citizenship, said she was the only one of her group to be interviewed by ICE and who ended up with a detainer holding her overnight.

Arpaio, 84, became a national figure by cracking down on illegal immigration and jailing inmates in tents. But activists have long said his immigration patrols revolved around racial profiling, and legal challenges have followed.

Arpaio is now facing a trial on a misdemeanor contempt charge for continuing his immigration patrols months after a judge in a racial profiling case ordered them stopped. Arpaio has pleaded not guilty and has acknowledged the violation but says it wasn't intentional.

Growing discontent with the sheriff and his costly legal woes resulted in his ousting in November by a wide margin.

Penzone, a retired Phoenix police sergeant, hasn't said what changes he'll make once in office.


Monday, December 19, 2016



Note: Aerostats, along with aircraft, including drones can have problems when bad weather.

Trump team surveying border
Transition team instructed Border Patrol to suggest locations for border wall


RIO GRANDE CITY,Tx- Eight 55-foot balloons with military-grade surveillance cameras are providing U.S. Border Patrol agents an eye in the sky along the Texas-Mexico border. The blimp-like aerostats, which fly about 3,500 feet above the ground and are tethered to the ground, have 360-degree, infrared surveillance capability that can read a license plate from miles away Wednesday Dec.14,2016. Photo by Delcia Lopez dlopez@themonitor.com
RIO GRANDE CITY — Just a few weeks before taking office, President-elect Donald Trump's transition team has already taken steps toward fulfilling his campaign promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo.

"My understanding is that the sectors have been asked by headquarters at the request of the transition team, 'Tell us where you think we ought to have a wall,'" Cuellar said.

"I can tell you about the one in Laredo; they basically said no wall," Cuellar said referring to the Laredo sector's response. "But, nevertheless, they said 'No, that's not good enough, come back and tell us where we ought to put fence, wall, structure, whatever you want to call it.'"

Cuellar's comments came during a tour of an aerostat, a balloon or blimp equipped with infrared, high-resolution cameras that are used for surveillance along the border.

Some believe that the aerostats could be used to create a virtual wall along the border, lessening the need to build physical barriers.

The aerostats were used previously by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, but five are deployed in the Rio Grande Valley sector and another one in Laredo.

Two of the aerostats, the Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment, are owned by Customs and Border Protection. However, the Persistent Ground Surveillance System aerostats and the Persistent Threat Detection System aerostats are leased from the Department of Defense.

The can fly up to 1,000 feet, 3,000 feet and 5,000 feet above ground, respectively.

Cuellar said the information captured by the devices is also used by Mexican officials.

The cost of operating and maintaining each aerostat ranges from $308,000 to $466,000 per month, Cuellar said during the tour which was attended by officials from the Border Patrol and CBP.

"What we're trying to do in Congress in the appropriations, myself, is to have money in the budget to make it permanent where they can use the operations for the aerostats and for the tower cameras," he said, estimating they would need about 100 aerostats to cover the entire border.

Cuellar said he believed a virtual wall would be enough to secure the border and more cost-effective.

One mile of technology would cost about $1 million dollars while one mile of fencing, with contraction and maintenance, would cost $6.5 million, Cuellar said, citing testimony he received by the Department of Homeland Security.

Along with the aerostats, Cuellar said the use of towers, with cameras with a five-mile range of visibility in either direction, and ground sensors would aid the Border Patrol in securing the border.

He also suggested the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, which have begun to be used in the San Angelo area earlier this year.

Cuellar, once again, expressed disappointment that the $750 million he helped appropriate for border security has not been used.

"Kay Granger and I added $750 million to help the northern triangle," he said referring to the Texas congressman who also sits on the House Appropriations Committee. "That was about a year ago, and as of maybe at least two weeks, they had only used $23 million out of the $750 million while we're still having a large number of unaccompanied kids that are still coming in at this particular time."

Cuellar hoped the funds would be used to provide assistance to Central America but also reiterated the need to secure the border.

"There's some of us that believe that we can't just play defense on the one yard line where we spend over $18 billion a year on border security," he said.

"I'm one of those that believes we ought to look at the right mixture of personnel, technology to provide the security to our border."


How to spot a drug stash house in your neighborhood
Max Darrow
10:28 PM, Dec 14, 2016


TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Two people are behind bars after a suspected meth house raid near Tucson's Northwest side on Wednesday. These drug stash houses can be hidden in any neighborhood, according to the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

"They're out there, they're in every neighborhood that you could possibly imagine," Deputy Cody Gress said. "Some that you'd expect, some that you won't expect."

They say there are a variety of signs that may lead law enforcement and neighbors to believe a home is a drug distribution and stash house.

"People that seem strange to the neighborhood, people that are always different, you're never seeing the same people over and over again," Gress said. "Constant strangers in and out, at all hours of the night as well. Even the owners, being rather distant. Strange activity happening at all hours of the day."

Another one: people not using their front door and garage door to go in and out of their homes.

Last month, a multi-agency drug raid across Tucson ended up putting more than a dozen people behind bars. Gress says the Sheriff's Department is working closely with other law enforcement to bust these drug stache and distribution homes.

"To really crack down on these stash houses, on these distribution centers," Gress said. "Because Tucson is such a hotbed for that with the border."

Gress says these distribution and stash houses are not treated lightly -- and can pose dangerous situations in a neighborhood.
"Those are going to be your most dangerous because someone is there to protect it," he said. "And there might be that expectation that someone is there to protect it."

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, 1,704 pounds (773 kg) of methamphetamine was seized by the DEA in Arizona this year; 207 pounds (95.6 kg) coming from Pima County.




Note: local interest primarily.

Where have all the 'paisanos' gone?
By Paulina Pineda
Nogales International Updated 1 hr ago (2)

Martin Hernandez, left, and Inocencio Quezada Mujica, both of Northern California, are making the more than 37-hour drive to Michoacan, Mexico for the holidays.
Photo by Paulina Pineda

Raul Quevedo, his wife and two children are making the more than 2,100-mile trip from Modesto, Calif. to Mexico City for the holidays. The family stopped at the Circle K convenience store on Mariposa Road Tuesday for a stretch before crossing the border.
Parked outside the Circle K convenience store on Mariposa Road, Inocencio Quezada Mujica chowed down on a burger as he leaned against his truck and chatted with friend Martin Hernandez about their trip to Mexico.

Quezada and Hernandez, ranch hands in Chico, Calif., are making the more than 2,200-mile trip to the west-central Mexican state of Michoacan for the holidays. With their truck bed and a trailer piled high with possessions, the men are among the hundreds of thousands of Mexican nationals living in the United States who head south of the border for the winter season to visit family.

"Paisanos," as the travelers are known, are usually a common sight in Nogales in the weeks leading up to the holidays, easily identifiable by their out-of-state plates and loads of gifts meant for loved ones in Mexico. This year, however, the vehicles have been noticeably less ubiquitous, and a search for paisanos on Tuesday and Wednesday along Mariposa Road and Grand Avenue turned up only a handful.

For Quezada, the political climate and economic situation in Mexico are two reasons why he thought twice about making the trip this year. In addition, the roads are often dangerous and there is little police enforcement south of the border, he added.

"We have no guarantee, no security on the road," he said, adding: "Just arriving at the border makes my hair stand on end. You can't even trust the police anymore."

Quezada also suggested the difficult economy might be discouraging long-distance travelers, while others speculated the political climate in the United States could be playing a role as well.

Local law enforcement and state transportation officials said they have also noticed a decline in paisano traffic this year – especially downtown, where backups from the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry have stretched a mile north in years past.

One such traffic jam stalled southbound traffic on Arroyo Boulevard Wednesday evening, said Sgt. Robert Fierros, a spokesman with the Nogales Police Department. But he added that it was only the fourth time since Nov. 1 that the department has had to set up traffic control in the area, a low number by seasonal standards. The bottleneck, which was backed up less than a half-mile to West Plum Street, only lasted about an hour.

But Fierros wasn't ready to downplay paisano season quite yet. He said that while traffic seems to be slower downtown than in years past, it may be because travelers have become more familiar with traffic flow in the area and are going through the Mariposa Port of Entry on the western edge of the city instead of the Dennis DeConcini crossing.

"Although it's fairly close to Christmas … we can probably still expect a big flux to come through in the days right before Christmas," he said, adding later: "Next week there should be more after most schools start their Christmas breaks and more families make the trip."

In previous years the Arizona Department of Transportation has also set up electronic signs on Interstate 19 encouraging travelers to avoid downtown Nogales and use the Mariposa port instead, but this year it hasn't been necessary.

"I spoke with our maintenance team in Nogales … and while they have discussed using those signs this year we have not seen a need for that so far," said ADOT spokesman Tom Herrmann, adding that the agency will continue monitoring traffic headed toward the border.

Sales down

The slower season has affected area businesses, such as hotels and gas stations, which profit off of paisanos' last-chance gas fill-ups in the United States.

Arun Patel, owner of the El Dorado Inn Hotel on Grand Avenue, said there's usually a couple of paisanos that choose to stay overnight and make the rest of the trip the following morning – but not this year.

At the Fastrip gas station on the corner of Mariposa and Grand, bookkeeper Lupita Gallego said not only have they noticed fewer travelers, their sales are also down this year compared to this same time last year.

Asked if she had any insight on why that was the case, she said: "I assume it's because of the president. People don't want to go because what I've heard is that they're afraid they're not going to be allowed to cross back."

And though some travelers interviewed for this story joked that the incoming Trump administration would make it difficult for them to return after the holidays, others like Raul Quevedo of Modesto, Calif., said that is a genuine fear for his two oldest daughters.

Quevedo, a native of Mexico City who was waiting Tuesday to receive a temporary vehicle import permit in the Circle K parking lot, said he and his family were planning to stay for a month.

Asked if the family made the trip on a yearly basis, Quevedo said when possible, adding that this year he's noticed that it's "much calmer."

"I don't know what is happening because before you would get here and there were so many cars that were headed to Mexico," he said.

However, others like Jose Garcia of Sacramento and Juan Valencia of Santa Rosa, Calif., who were traveling to Guadalajara and Michoacan, respectively, said they haven't noticed a difference.

"We go about four times a year and I haven't had any issues," said Valencia, who was traveling with his wife and three children.


Southbound bus processing changes at ports
Nogales International Updated 3 hrs ago (0)


Southbound cross-border bus traffic will shift from the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry to the Mariposa port between the hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. starting next week.

The change, which takes effect at 6 a.m. Monday, Dec. 19, will remain in effect until further notice, the U.S. General Services Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

"Bus operators are advised to plan ahead and use the Mariposa crossing during these hours when traveling southbound into Mexico," the agencies said in a news release Thursday.

Southbound buses can still cross into Mexico through the west side lane at the DeConcini port during the nighttime hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Anthony Kleppe, lead asset management specialist at the U.S. General Services Administration, said that buses are being rerouted so that the GSA can increase the weight limits on all four lanes at the DeConcini port. He said GSA and CBP will revisit whether or not buses can once again cross through DeConcini after improvements are made.


Friday, December 16, 2016

AZMEX Son of F&F 14-12-16

AZMEX Son of F&F 14 DEC 2016

Note: Once again: Meanwhile none of those behind the "Fast & Furious" scheme have yet to be brought to justice. Not dozens of weapons, well over a thousand.
Mexican Lives didn't Matter.

Army sergeant in Texas admits funneling weapons to cartel
Published December 14, 2016

A former Army sergeant from San Antonio, Texas is facing up to 30 years in prison after admitting in a federal court that he funneled dozens of assault rifles to operatives of Mexico's Gulf Cartel.

Sgt. Julian Prezas acknowledged acquiring and selling 42 firearms, the San Antonio Express-News reported, but a co-defendant turned informant said just last year Prezas sold him 13 AR-15s, some 50 to 60 AK-47s and a shotgun.

The unnamed informant said he told Prezas that the guns were going to Mexico, the newspaper said, citing a plea deal formalized on Monday.

Prezas, 36, worked as a military recruiter.

The co-defendant, one of four charged, told agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that he met Prezas via Facebook after he posted he had 1,000 magazines of ammunition for sale in the Rio Grande Valley.

He bought that ammunition and more, as well as rifles with the serial numbers obliterated, court documents said.

Prezas told prosecutors he ran the operation with the assistance of three servicemen he met in the military – they bought the firearms for him.

According to the San Antonio Express, when he was arrested in September 2015 Prezas had 17 guns he was taking to an undercover agent posing as cartel operative. Once in custody, he told agents he figured the firearms were going to Mexico, probably to a "cartel or something."

Sentencing is scheduled for March in federal court.




Tuesday, December 13, 2016



Note: a busy AZMEX Sunday.

Note; Meanwhile none of those behind the "Fast & Furious" scheme have yet to be brought to justice.
Mexican Lives didn't Matter.

Men sentenced for trying to smuggle ammo into Mexico


McALLEN — A U.S. magistrate sentenced two men earlier this week who pleaded guilty to attempting to smuggle ammunition into Mexico, according to court records.

Gerardo Cavazos, 20, of Pharr, and Gerardo Rosales, 20, of Hidalgo, pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempting to export more than 500 rounds of ammunition into Mexico, according to court records.

Officers working the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge detained Rosales during a secondary inspection after they discovered 540 rounds of ammunition in his vehicle, according to the complaint.

"As Rosales exited the vehicle (an officer) immediately noticed a large bulge and inconsistencies with the formation of the floor mats located underneath the driver's seat," according to the criminal complaint. "A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed several boxes of ammunition concealed underneath the floor mat, in the glove compartment and center console of the vehicle."

A total of 27 boxes of ammunition was discovered in Rosales' vehicle: 17 boxes of .308 caliber bullets, and 10 boxes of 7.62x51 caliber bullets, the complaint states.

Rosales told agents he was promised $200 to smuggle the ammunition and was given another $500 to purchase the ammunition, the complaint states. Rosales told agents he paid Cavazos to buy the ammunition at a local sports store in McAllen, the complaint states.

The duo, who were arrested back in July, admitted to Homeland Securities Investigations agents they intended to export the ammunition for unknown associates who worked in the U.S. and Mexico, according to the criminal complaint.

Rosales was sentenced to serve 12 months in federal prison while Cavazos received a sentence of 18 months, according to court records.


Naco teens charged in air cannon drug smuggling
Curt Prendergast 41 min ago


Photos by Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star

A U.S. Border Patrol agent has a better view from the high ground to watch a stretch of the border fence east of Naco.

Border Patrol agents arrested two teenagers in Naco on Wednesday after an air cannon fired bundles of marijuana over the border fence into the United States.

The teenagers were found with a bundle that weighed 34 pounds and was molded into a cylindrical shape, the Border Patrol said in a news release Friday.
Agents seized the marijuana and referred the teenagers to the Cochise County Attorney for prosecution through Operation Immediate Consequence. They face up to 18 months in prison, the agency said.

In an effort to deter juveniles from getting involved with drug smuggling. Cochise County authorities may prosecute them as adults, the Arizona Republic reported in August.
"Smuggling organizations often take advantage of teens, lying to them about their chances of being prosecuted for their roles in smuggling attempts," Patrol Agent in Charge of the Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station Michael Hyatt said in the news release. "In many cases, they do not realize the true consequences of their actions."

In September, authorities found a roughly 10-foot-long air cannon inside a van in Agua Prieta, Mexico, which they believed was used to shoot packages of marijuana into Douglas, Arizona.


Note: Rayon in the boonies, roughly between Hermosillo & Santa Ana.

Seize 7 tons of marijuana and poppy seeds
Details Posted on Saturday December 10, 2016,
Written by Editor / El Diario

The Ministry of National Defense through the Command of the 4 / a. Military Zone, it informs the public, the seizure of 7 tons of marijuana, as well as 965 kg. of marijuana seed and 5.7 kg of poppy seed.
The seizure was made on December 8 when military elements in surveillance patrols in the municipality of Rayon, Sonora; Approximately 15 kilometers to the northwest of said municipality.
The drugs were placed at the disposal of the Federal Public Ministry.
With the support of the Armed Institute and State Police, the Mexican Army and Air Force endorse their commitment to the Mexican people to safeguard and safeguard their welfare, providing security and confidence to the country.


'El Mochomito', son of Alfredo Beltrán Leyva arrested
Details Posted on Saturday December 10, 2016,
Written by Editor / El Diario

The National Security Commission captured Alfredo Beltrán Guzmán, 'El Mochomito', son of Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, and Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán's nephew in Zapopan, Jalisco. Officials at the national security cabinet confirmed that the detention occurred after an operation in Ciudad Granja of the municipality.

An elite group of the Federal Police led the arrest after months of intelligence work ordered by commissioner Renato Sales Heredia.

'El Mochomito' is considered one of the leaders of the Beltrán Leyva cartel, now an enemy of the Sinaloa cartel. Federal officials said the capture is a blow to the criminal group, which is responsible for a wave of violence in Mexico.

'El Mochomito' was arrested in a barbershop, next to his escorts, of four people, before they could use their firearms.


Note: Hwy 2 toward Caborca.

Federal Police arrest five with weapons and drugs in Sonora
By: SUN | 12/11/2016 13:02


The Federal Police in Sonora detained five people carrying large-caliber weapons and marijuana.

Elements assigned to the National Security Commission detected a suspicious vehicle on the Santa Ana - Altar road and asked the driver to stop.

The driver fled and unleashed a chase that stretched for 20 kilometers to where they were stopped, at kilometer 12.

Inside the vehicle the agents found large-caliber weapons and noticed that the driver was carrying a revolver.

The five passengers were arrested and transferred to the agent of the Public Ministry of the Federation.

During the complete inspection of the vehicle were found five long weapons, a handgun, 16 magazines and 330 cartridges and 22 packages made of cinnamon tape with 190 kilos of marijuana.

Two radios and tactical equipment were also found.

The vehicle in which they were detained has a theft report in force at the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Note: a report in Milenio on the past ten years of the drug war. Spanish


Note: 10 arrested in Michoacan with 14 long guns, 8 AR's and 6 AK's and a grenade.
(spanish) http://tribuna.com.mx/nota.php?n=26292


AZMEX I3 10-12-16

AZMEX I3 10 DEC 2016

Note: Many were not aware that legal immigrant students needed "protection".

Arizona universities ask Trump to protect immigrant students
Posted: Dec 09, 2016 12:39 PM MST
Updated: Dec 09, 2016 2:31 PM MST
By Bob Christie, Associated Press


The board that oversees Arizona's three state universities has voted to urge president-elect Donald Trump to protect students who were illegally brought into the county when they were children.

The Board of Regents voted unanimously Friday to send a letter to Trump applauding his efforts to boost border security but saying that he should work with Congress to protect the students.
The board rejected any effort to designate the universities as "sanctuary campuses."

Trump campaigned on ending President Barack Obama's immigration actions, including the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA.

That program has given work permits and relief from deportation to more than 700,000 young immigrants, about 27,000 in Arizona.

The three universities currently have 240 DACA students but many more are likely in coming years.

- This story has been corrected to reflect the number of DACA approvals in Arizona is about 27,000, not 53,000.


Board of Regents asks Trump to protect DACA students
Phil Villarreal
1:21 PM, Dec 9, 2016
2 hours ago

DACA Students Uncertain About Future Under Trump Administration

TUCSON (KGUN9_TV) - The Arizona Board of Regents drafted an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump Friday, asking him to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students.

"Students who were brought to our country when they were children in most cases lacked the capacity to violate our immigration laws and they desire to better themselves through the opportunities that higher education provides," Regent Jay Heiler said in a statement. "While the board remains committed to complying with all state and federal laws while protecting the civil and legal rights of all students, we respectfully ask President-elect Trump and his administration to work with Congress to design and provide relief for these students within the overall approach to immigration enforcement and reform."

The board drafted the letter due to concerns that the Trump administration will take away rights of DACA students. Currently, DACA students who reside in Arizona pay in-state tuition rates.


Arizona regents to Trump: Here's how to keep 'Dreamers' here as in-state students
By Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services
Updated 3 hrs ago (0)


PHOENIX — Arizona regents voted today to tell President-elect Trump how he can legally allow "dreamers" to remain in this country while avoiding the whole hot-button question of amnesty.

The letter makes the legal argument that those who were brought to this country illegally as children "lacked meaningful capacity to have violated our immigration laws."
"Therefore, the case for deportation would be legally weak,'' the letter reads.

But regent Jay Heiler, who crafted the letter the board unanimously approved, made it clear he believes that any relief has to come from Congress. He contends President Obama acted illegally in 2012 in creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The issue for the board is more than academic. It goes to the question of how much universities — and community colleges for that matter — have to charge students for tuition.

A 2006 voter-approved law says anyone who is "not a citizen or legal resident of the United States or who is without lawful immigration status is not entitled to classification as an in-state student" and denies them any type of financial assistance that comes from state funds.

In 2015, however, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson said the federal Department of Homeland Security considers those accepted into the DACA program to be here legally. He said DHS issues them Employment Authorization Documents permitting them to work — documents Arizona law says are a form of permissible identification for certain benefits.

And that, Anderson said, makes DACA recipients "lawfully present" in this country and therefore eligible for in-state tuition.

That ruling most immediately affected students in the Maricopa Community College system. But the regents voted almost immediately to offer the same in-state tuition to those with DACA status.

Regents staffers said today the best figures they have show 240 students who meet that qualification.

The problem is that Trump, who railed against illegal immigration during his campaign, can immediately rescind Obama's program when he takes office Jan. 20. That would leave the dreamers without that protected status, forcing the regents to rescind the in-state tuition.

Today's letter is designed to give Trump a legal option, at least for the dreamers, but in a way that does not force him to renege on his promise there will be no amnesty.

The president-elect has given indications he's amenable to such a plan.
"We're going to work something out that's going to make people happy and proud," Trump told Time magazine.

"They got brought here at a very young age, they've worked here, they've gone to school here," he said. "Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they're in never-never land because they don't know what's going to happen."




Note: Rocks have a centuries long history of often being lethal.

Ex-internal affairs chief criticizes Border Patrol training
December 9, 2016 @ 12:51 pm


PHOENIX — The former head of internal affairs at U.S. Customs and Border Protection says in a Supreme Court filing that an agent who killed a Mexican teen in a cross-border shooting should be held accountable.

James Tomsheck said in a brief submitted Friday that poor screening and inadequate training has resulted in an environment in which Border Patrol agents use unnecessary lethal force.

Tomsheck was the assistant commissioner of the CBP Office of Internal Affairs from June 2006 to June 2014, overseeing use-of-force investigations.

The brief was filed in the Supreme Court case involving an agent who fatally shot 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca in 2010. A lower court ruled that the boy's family couldn't sue because he was in Mexico at the time of the shooting and wasn't constitutionally protected.

A spokesman for CBP said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

"As security along the border has increased, criminal organizations seeking inroads into the United States have attempted to infiltrate the Border Patrol. And pre-hiring screening programs have been inadequate, leading the Border Patrol in some instances to hire actual cartel members as agents," the brief, which also includes Tomscheck's second-in-command, James Wong, states.

Tomscheck says in the brief that the agency has become increasingly militarized.

"Combined with inadequate field training on appropriate uses of force, these factors have led to an environment in which Border Patrol agents have unnecessarily employed lethal force on the U.S.-Mexico border," the brief states.

Tomscheck was removed from his post in June 2014 amid concerns about use-of-force investigations of Border Patrol agents. He has been vocal in his criticism of the way the agency handles investigations.

The Supreme Court in October agreed to hear an appeal from Hernandez Guereca's family that challenges the rights of people who are harmed by U.S. authorities on foreign soil to have their day in court.

A federal appeals court earlier had ruled that the teen's parents couldn't sue because the teen was on foreign soil. U.S. Border Patrol agent Jesus Mesa Jr. shot him in June 2010 near a bridge between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. Authorities said Mesa was trying to arrest immigrants who had illegally crossed into the country when he was attacked by rock-throwers. Mesa fired his weapon.

The justices stepped into the case in October.

The Obama administration, while calling the death tragic, had urged the justices to stay out of the case.

The case parallels one from Nogales, Mexico, in which a Border Patrol agent assigned in Arizona fatally shot a 16-year-old boy through the border fence.

Agent Lonnie Swartz was charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was hit about 10 times by cross-border gunfire.

The Border Patrol has said Swartz was defending himself against the rock-throwers.

The boy's family says Elena Rodriguez was not involved and was walking home after playing basketball with friends.

Swartz is on leave and his trial is pending.

Swartz is also facing a civil rights lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of Elena Rodriguez's mother. The suit does detail what damages the family is seeking.

Swartz's attorney and the government argue that Elena Rodriguez was not constitutionally protected because he was a Mexican on foreign soil without any ties to the U.S. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case in October but said it wouldn't issue a ruling until the Supreme Court made a decision in the Hernandez Guereca case.

The high court is expected to hear that case in February or March.


Friday, December 9, 2016



Note: Justified and by law enforcement, homicides included?

Heroin-Related Causes Are Killing More Americans Than Gun Homicides
Briana Altergott , Katie Link
8:21 AM, Dec 9, 2016
2 hours ago


For the first time in American history, heroin-related causes are killing more people than gun homicides.

According to data obtained by multiple media outlets from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 12,989 heroin deaths in the U.S. in 2015. That's just slightly higher than the number of gun homicides, which totaled 12,979.

That's a pretty big jump from just a few years ago. In 2007, gun homicides outnumbered heroin deaths by more than 5 to 1.

Heroin isn't the only opioid causing a spike in fatalities. Overdose deaths from powerful synthetic opioids jumped more than 73 percent in 2015, and fatal overdoses involving prescription opioids went up 4 percent. More than 33,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2015.

As Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said in a statement: "Prescription opioid misuse and use of heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl are intertwined and deeply troubling problems. We need to drastically improve both the treatment of pain and the treatment of opioid use disorders and increase the use of naloxone to reverse opioid overdose."

Heroin deaths have been rising for years in the U.S. In June, the Drug Enforcement Administration found that heroin-related deaths more than tripled between 2010 and 2014.

That sharp increase has had lawmakers scrambling to find solutions. Congress passed several bills in 2016 to help combat the U.S.' opioid problem. And in mid-December, President Barack Obama plans to sign the 21st Century Cures Act, which will invest $1 billion in expanded access to drug treatment.

This comes at a time when health and well-being in the U.S. aren't looking as good as they used to. Researchers recently found American life expectancy has decreased for the first time in decades.






Note: despite the drug & human trafficking cartels, still way behind that city of corruption - Chicago, IL.

Slayings in Juárez in 2016 on pace to pass 500
Lorena Figueroa , El Paso Times
7:19 p.m. MST December 8, 2016


JUÁREZ — Slayings in Juárez in 2016 are on pace to surpass the more than 500 killings recorded three years ago, despite efforts to prevent a surge in violence.

By Wednesday, homicides already were over 490, surpassing the total body count of 311 in 2015 and 438 in 2014, according to the Chihuahua attorney general's office.

There were 514 slayings in 2013, the agency's data show.

The increase in violent deaths this year has prompted law enforcement officials to redesign security operations.

It also put Juárez on a list of the 50 most violent Mexican municipalities in which Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration, in coordination with local authorities, is implementing a strategy to combat violence and crime.

Announced in late August during the National Council for Public Security in Mexico City, the strategy includes strengthening security and law enforcement agencies that are at the forefront of combating criminal groups.

Secretary of the Interior Miguel Angel Osorio Chong visited Juárez last week and met privately with military, federal, state and local officials to get an update on the city's security strategy.

"We have reversed the incidents (of homicides) and we are trying to keep lowering that rate with, of course, a long-term plan," Osorio Chong said in a brief news conference after the meeting.

He was referring to a significant drop in homicides in the past few weeks after a surge of violent killings since July, when execution-style slayings and shootings in broad daylight spiked.

Fifty-one slayings were reported in July after an average of 30 each month since the start of 2016.

October, however, was the bloodiest month this year. Official data show there were 98 slayings that month, although different news outlets have reported there were as many as 104.

Officials from the state attorney general's office have said the surge in slayings was related to disputes over small-scale drug deals involving crystal methamphetamine.

The increased violence also coincided with political changes in Mexico, experts have said.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, Mexico's ruling party, was booted from power in Juárez and Chihuahua during June elections. Juárez elected independent Mayor Armando Cabada, while Chihuahua state Gov. Javier Corral of the National Action Party, or PAN, carried the state. Cabada and Corral took office in early October.

The death toll that month prompted law enforcement officials to change their operations, with the federal government again cooperating with local officials in those efforts.

Osorio Chong did not discuss the security strategy implemented in Juárez.
"What we had this year was clearly an increase of homicides and what we are doing again is take actions so we do not return to that complex and difficult moment that Juárez lived a few years ago," he said.

Local and state authorities have said they worked on the return of mixed police units to patrol the city as they did during the most violent years in Juárez. The units are made up of local, state and federal police, as well as members of the military.

"It is a coordinated action of the three levels of government. We have to participate in these type of strategies that include the federal police, the Mexican armed forces, the state's attorney general's office with its police and, of course, the municipality," Chihuahua state prosecutor César Peniche recently told reporters.

Juárez Chief of Police Jorge González Nicolás added there was an increase in arrests, seizures and "frontal combat" against small-scale drug trafficking.

Police data show that within a month authorities arrested 361 drug-trafficking suspects and seized almost 4,000 illegal drug dosages, mostly crystal methamphetamine.

González Nicolás also noted the implementation of a program between the community and emergency services to prevent crime and arrest criminals was a major factor in trying to bring down the death toll.

And it did. In November, the number of homicides dropped drastically to only 35, according to data from the state attorney general's office.

Although violence subsided significantly, it has not gone away.

After Osorio Chong's visit to the city, two execution-style deaths were reported Wednesday in south Juárez and the naked body of a woman wrapped in a blanket was found a few feet from Camino Real Boulevard in the Juárez Sierra.

Those deaths increased the number of slayings in December to nine, while the tally for 2016 rose to 492, according to the state attorney general's office.




Marines secure more than one ton of methamphetamine in Sinaloa
7 December 2016
By Editorial Staff


Marine elements secured in Sinaloa more than a ton of methamphetamine, as well as material and equipment for its production.

According to Semar, this is the second seizure of that amount of drug so far this year, after the first assurance was reported in Michoacán last August.

On that occasion, agents of the PGR went to the company Autotransportes de Carga Tres Guerras, where they secured 1,020 kilos of methamphetamine and phenylacetone.

The Navy reported Tuesday that during a ground surveillance patrol it dismantled a clandestine laboratory, where it secured material and chemical precursors for the manufacture of synthetic drugs.

In the action, registered in Algodones, the Marines also secured six cookers, 15 gas cylinders, three centrifuges, three freezers, five fans, an electric plant, 20 tanks, 40 cylindrical coolers and 23 gallons of acetone.

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Protests extradition to Alfonso Limón, accused of distributing cocaine in California


Note; fighting over retail drug trade.

The night of terror that left 9 dead on Monday
Unveils narcomenudeo violence in Mazatlan
For the Attorney General's Office of the State, the dispute is between the Cartel del Pacifico and the Beltran Leyva, State Public Security Secretariat states that there are groups from other states that want to infiltrate
Noroeste/ Writing
07/12/2016 | 02:00 AM SHARED 12 TIMES


Unveils narcomenudeo violence in Mazatlan

Veladoras appeared yesterday in the area of ​​Colonia Francisco Villa where three men were killed.
MAZATLÁN.- For the state authorities, the violence that Mazatlán experienced in a few hours late Monday night, which left at least nine people dead and three more detained, is a dispute over the territorial control of narcomenudeo in the port.

And while Attorney General Antonio Higuera Gomez blamed the cartels of the Pacific and the Beltran Leyva, State Secretary of Public Security Genaro Garcia Castro said that people from other states are trying to "invade" the square.

Separately, the state prosecutor said in Culiacán that four members of a Beltran Leyva criminal cell are responsible for killing eight people in the Francisco Villa, Lico Velarde and Valle del Ejido colonies in the port on Monday. "They had a week working in that area and dedicated precisely to the dispute over narcomenudeo control," he said.

"We consider, as far as we have, it's the Pacific cartel, and the Beltran Leyva cartel," he said.

The prosecutor said that one of the detainees confessed to work for a subject who is nicknamed "El Martin de la Zapata", who receives instructions from the Beltran Leyva cartel.

Interviewed in Mazatlan, Genaro Garcia Castro, Secretary of State Public Security, said that the economic growth and tourism of the port makes it attractive for criminal groups.
"Surely with the development that Mazatlan has had now is very attractive for people who are committed to commit the crime of narcomenudeo, you better know that, here we have had the arrival of up to four cruises in a single day, imagine all Those people who come from various parts of the world, for them it is attractive (for those who engage in narco-trafficking), it is a market, then it became attractive, groups from other states come, they want to venture into the drug market in Mazatlan, specifically , And obviously those of other plazas because they do not want to leave, "he said.

Same group carried out all the murders
Garcia Castro said that on the testimony of two detainees, that cell committed three attacks hours earlier in the colonies Francisco Villa, Federico Velarde and Valles del Ejido, events that killed eight people, before facing marines in the Fraccionamiento Real Pacífico, where a delinquent was shot down.
"It was not fortuitous, it was a pursuit because they made the mistake of doing three events, so that gave us time to identify vehicles and make a chase and make a stop, in Valles del Ejido where they were identified," said Garcia Castro.

Deny use of grenades

Although during the Real Pacifico clash, citizens reported detonations of grenades and bazookas, the State Secretary of State Security said that only AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles and pistols were used.
He warned that there may be more members of that armed group that have not been detected.
He denied that security has gone out of hand with the administration of Mario López Valdez because of the violent events that have occurred in different parts of Sinaloa, but it is worrisome what happens.

Mazatlan enjoys good safety, says Felton

For Mayor Carlos Felton, Mazatlan continues to enjoy "good levels of safety, despite the violent night we recorded on Monday.
"Mazatlan enjoys good levels of safety, this has to be repeated a lot. Although the authority can not predict situations like last night (Monday), it can coordinate and find those responsible, and that is a great achievement that in Mazatlan the last two events of insecurity were resolved in a satisfactory manner, "he said. .
"I walked in the street until 11:00 at night and there is no problem, of course cause some alarm, but people can walk quietly, Mazatlan is a safe place and we will be very aware."

When questioned on the subject, Governor Mario López Valdez was very brief.
"The response yesterday was given, a coordination between the civilian forces, the federal forces, and those who tried to break the peace yesterday were made available to the authority and will be paying for those events," said Lopez Valdez.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016



Note: Photo at link

They were caught with arsenal and marijuana
Details Posted on Wednesday December 07, 2016,
Written by Editor / El Diario



Agents of the Federal Police insure three 'goat horns' and almost 200 kilos of drug.
Agents of the Federal Police detained 5 subjects with an arsenal and a strong shipment of marijuana.
This is part of the Strategic Actions

Implementing in the State. Officers assigned to the Regional Security Security Division as they were carrying out their patrol service on the Santana - Altar Road (2410) were marked off by a 2003 Chevrolet pickup pickup truck, green with no license plates and the driver Exceeded speed limits in contravention of the provisions of the Federal Highway Traffic Regulations.

The presumed delinquent ignored printing a greater speed so that a chase was initiated at high speed carrying out a tactical maneuver they stopped the flight; Managing to stop the driver named José R. and companions who respond to the names of Luis Angel; Alexis, Marcos Alejandro; And José Leonardo; All Mexicans.

The detainees were secured with three "goat horns" (AK's), a Chevrolet Avalanche pickup, reported stolen, a Bush Master long gun, a handgun, 5 rifle magazines, 107 rife cartridges, two handgun magazines, and 26 handgun Cartridges

Also 22 rectangular packages containing marijuana with a weight of 190 kilograms of marijuana, as well as communication equipment and tactical clothing.

For the above and before the commission of conduct sanctioned by the law; Reading the bill of rights that assist the persons in detention and they were placed at the disposal of the Federal Attorney attached to the Attorney General of the Republic in the State. Who will continue with the inquiries and criminal proceedings against them. With these actions the Federal Police ratifies the unwavering commitment to recover and guarantee the safety of Mexicans in the State of Sonora.


Saturday, December 3, 2016



Note: of local interest mostly.

20-to-1 exchange rate is unsavory threshold
By Paulina Pineda
Nogales International Updated Dec 2, 2016

Carlos Covarrubias exchanges money Thursday at the Kayro "casa de cambio" on Mariposa Road in Nogales, where the U.S. dollar was selling for 19.90 Mexican pesos. Thursday's interbank peso-dollar selling rate rose as high as 20.88

Shoppers walk past an exchange house on Grand Avenue in Nogales where the dollar was selling for 19.95 pesos on Thursday.

Richard Cho, owner of Paradise and Baby World on Morley Avenue, said he set the peso-dollar exchange rate at his stores at 18 to remain competetive.

At the Food City grocery store in downtown Nogales, a handful of people were shopping Tuesday morning as store employees stocked shelves and cleaned the floors. Sales have been sluggish of late, said store manager Daniel Zuniga, and he laid a large part of the blame on the weak Mexican peso, whose value is teetering around the psychological barrier of 20 to the dollar.

Though he has yet to set the in-store exchange rate higher than 19.80, if the peso continues to weaken, Zuniga said he might not be able to avoid increasing his rates.

"Are we going to break that?" he asked, referring to the 20-per-dollar mark. "We've never had to. We're trying to hold off as much as we can but I think the second the foot drops, probably come January, we'll try to sustain it, but it might be impossible.

"Twenty is like the glass ceiling," he added. "It's scary."

Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election Nov. 8 sent the already weak peso plummeting past the 20-per-dollar mark in world currency markets, reaching record lows in the process. Since then, the daily interbank selling rate has ranged between 20.1 and 20.98, according to tracking data on the Bank of Mexico website. On Thursday, the interbank peso-dollar selling rate rose as high as 20.88. A year earlier, it was at 16.54.

But in Nogales, where businesses like Food City depend heavily on customers from Mexico, the peso-dollar rate at many exchange houses and stores has stubbornly remained under 20, with just a few exceptions during the Black Friday weekend.

Economists and business owners say there are a number of factors that keep the peso-dollar exchange rate lower in border communities such as Nogales, including informal and unregulated trading mechanisms. There's also significant anxiety over the psychological impact the 20-to-1 mark could have on shoppers.

Barclays strategist Andres Jaime Martinez, formerly with the Bank of Mexico, said the same pattern can be seen at airports in Mexico. He said because bank rates are regulated and set by the international market, banks will always have higher rates. However, an independent merchant at the airport or border community doesn't have to play by the same rules and can buy and sell pesos at a discount.

Tough time

At the Nogales Walmart, the peso-dollar selling rate was 20.90 on Tuesday, at least a peso higher than at many other outlets in town. Store manager Miguel Garcia said unlike his competitors, his store's exchange rate is dictated by the banking industry.

"Other independents throughout Nogales have the luxury of being able to set it according to whatever they want," he said. "I don't have that luxury."

Despite the higher-than-normal exchange rate, Garcia said, many customers are still using pesos to buy goods. Still, there is a noticeable decline from previous years. He estimated that about 85 percent of his business comes from Mexico and the weak peso has had an impact on sales.

"Customers are really watching their money so a lot of them are purchasing in Mexico," he said. "It's better for the Mexican economy and the Mexican consumer because right now there are more benefits for the Mexican consumer to shop there."

Zuniga, the manager at Food City, said about 40 to 50 percent of his customers come from Mexico and he tries to set the store's exchange rate lower than at the local exchange houses to attract more customers.

"We're local, we cater to our community, and I know it's a tough time right now so we kind of want to absorb as much of that burden as we can – also since we do depend a lot on their trade," he said. "We want them to spend their money here so we try to make it as cheap as possible for them and we try to stretch their peso.

"We were at 18.90, 19.20 as of five days ago, and we've been holding it as much as we can but with that last push here up to 20 we kind of had to change that," he added. "But it seems like we've been changing every three days, which I really don't like only because our prices are everyday low prices and we like to keep that image, so with our money exchange rate we like to keep that steady, too. But unfortunately the bank moves and everybody moves with them."

He said that the lack of customers Tuesday morning was also worrisome.

"Typically we get that slow day after (Thanksgiving) but it hasn't really picked up since then, which is alarming for us because we typically have our regular customers or our regular traffic that comes back after that Friday," he said, adding that he thinks things will only get worse come January.

Fears of closure

Compared to national retailers and larger chain stores like Walmart, the locally owned shops along Morley Avenue and elsewhere in downtown Nogales have more flexibility when setting the rate at which they'll accept pesos.

At the Baby World clothing shop on Morley Avenue, owner Richard Cho said his exchange rate is 18-to-1, not only so he can remain competitive, but also because he understands the struggles his customers face.

"We know the Mexican customer doesn't have the money," Cho said, adding that he relies on those customers to help keep his shop open. "We want to keep it low."

Despite the unfavorable exchange rate, many customers still pay in pesos, he said, joking later that he was waiting for a better rate before exchanging the approximately 200,000 pesos he has stashed away.

The nearby Factory 2-U discount retailer is doing its best to keep up with the locals. The chain store boasted one of the best peso-dollar exchange rates Wednesday afternoon, and while many stores downtown were empty, dozens of shoppers searched for jeans, coats and other outerwear inside the Terrace Avenue storefront.

Assistant store manager Karla Beltran said in the three years she's worked at the store, the current exchange rate of 18, which has held steady for months, is the highest she's ever seen it. She said one reason the store has a more favorable exchange rate than its competitors is because it's one of the first shops border crossers see when they come up Terrace.

"So all the people think, 'Oh it's 18, let's buy right here,'" she said, adding that she didn't foresee the rate increasing come the holidays.

The weak peso has also affected exchange houses on both sides of the border. And though many have tried not to reach the 20-per-dollar mark, some surpassed it after Thanksgiving, only to drop it again after business suffered.

In Nogales, Sonora, about 10 exchange houses have closed because of the increasing value of the dollar against the peso and the lack of business, according to the Sonora-based newspaper Expreso.

In Nogales, Ariz., many of the exchange house owners expressed concern that the weakening peso could also put them out of business.

By mid-afternoon on Wednesday, Zobeyda Coronel said, only one customer had stopped by her shop, Coronel Money Exchange on Grand Avenue near the border, where the peso-dollar exchange rate was 19.95.

Coronel said she set the rate at 20 earlier in the week but quickly lowered it the following day to see if she could attract customers.

"It's been slow all year, but particularly slow in the last month," she said, adding that things are so bad people only buy between $5-20 at a time. "If you were here all day you'd see how slow we are."

Though the shop is her primary source of income, Coronel said, the rent is too high to afford. If things don't turn around by the end of December, she's contemplating closing the exchange house, which she's owned for 15 years.

"I'm walking on a tightrope," she said. "At the end of December we'll see what direction we take."

'Not anymore'

On the street above at Casa de Cambio La Esquina, Efrain Ceron said they also raised the rate to 20 during the Black Friday weekend because there was a greater demand for dollars. However, after the weekend was over they lowered the rate due to a lack of customers. As of Wednesday the peso-dollar exchange rate there was 19.90.

"In December, dollars always sell even though the price is very expensive, but this year business is much lower than in previous years," he said.

Speaking of hitting the 20-per-dollar mark, Ceron said: "It's totally psychological because if you set it at 20, people no longer want it, but if you put it at 19.90 they'll buy it. But 10 Mexican cents is not even half a penny. It's nothing."

However, a few cents does make a difference to shoppers.

Estella Miranda of Magdalena, Sonora, who was looking for school uniforms for her granddaughter on Morley Avenue, said she used to make the trip to Arizona every two months to visit friends and go shopping, but now that the economy is so bad it's not worth it.

"Before one would come to do grocery shopping and things like that, but not anymore. It's not convenient, it's more expensive here than it is there," she said, adding that in addition to the price of goods, shoppers also have to wait in long lines at the border crossing.

Asked if she would keep coming to Nogales if the peso hit the 20-per-dollar mark on the border, Miranda said no, especially now that she's retired.

Fellow shopper Guadalupe Campos of Nogales, Sonora echoed Miranda's sentiments, adding that she bought two blankets for $15 each but everything else was out of her price range.

Martinez, the Barclays analyst, said economists believe that in 2017, the dollar will continue outperforming the Mexican peso as well as currencies of other emerging markets. The peso, however, is projected to stabilize at 21.50.

Though many local merchants said they believe the battered peso will continue to plummet once Trump takes office, Martinez said it's hard to say for sure what type of impact the inauguration will have on exchange rates, especially because the president-elect has already softened his tone on many of the promises made during his campaign, such as imposing stiff tariffs on Mexican goods and deporting millions of illegal immigrants.

"I don't think the policies that Trump promised before getting elected are going to be implemented completely," he said in a phone interview Thursday. "We don't see meaningful tariffs being imposed on Mexican imports but the risk is going to be there. It's going to take a while until we get more clarity on how his policies will affect the peso."


Saturday, November 26, 2016

AZMEX EXTRA 26-11-16


Border gun-smuggling arrests 'just scratching the surface'
By Julianne Stanford
For the Arizona Daily Star Updated 1 hr ago


U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers inspect a Mexico-bound sedan passenger vehicle at the DeConcini Port of Entry on Nov. 2, 2016, in Nogales, Ariz.
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer R. Hernandez uses a density-measuring device on the rear quarter-panel of a Mexico-bound passenger vehicle at the DeConcini Port of Entry on Nov. 2, 2016, in Nogales, Ariz.

CBP inspections
Mexico-bound traffic queues as U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers screen certain vehicles at the DeConcini Port of Entry on Nov. 2, 2016, in Nogales, Ariz.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers R. Hernandez, right, and Adrian Morales stand by as a handful of Mexico-bound vehicles at a time are allowed to proceed without screening through the DeConcini Port of Entry on Nov. 2, 2016, in Nogales, Ariz.

Border gun ATF traces
Border gun seizures
When Ariana Ramirez and Andrian Alvarez tried to cross the border from Nogales into Mexico, customs officers discovered their car was loaded down with firearms and ammunition bound for a drug cartel.

Officers found two assault rifles and six high-capacity magazines under the seat where Ramirez's two infants sat, court records show. In the center console were more than 1,500 rounds of ammunition and a $930 receipt from the United Nations Ammo Company in Glendale. Another 1,500 rounds were tucked under the Ford Explorer and a dismantled .50-caliber machine gun tripod mount was stashed in the back seat.

Ammunition-smuggling busts at Arizona ports of entry — like this one – jumped 600 percent over the past two years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics show. A total of 54,000 rounds and 25 firearms were seized at the state's ports in fiscal year 2016, statistics obtained by the Arizona Daily Star through a public records request show.

But that's a small fraction of what's actually getting across the border.

"It's just scratching the surface," said Jose Wall, a retired Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent who worked on arms trafficking into Mexico from 2000 to 2013.

Thousands of cars cross the border every day, and it's impossible for agents to tell which ones have guns and ammo, Wall said.

CBP seized 297 firearms and 282,000 rounds at Arizona ports of entry since 2005, while 1,135 guns and 764,000 rounds of ammunition were seized border wide.

Many more guns than that slipped through the border during that time.

Police at crime scenes in Mexico recovered 120,000 firearms that originated in the United States, annual reports from the ATF's International Firearms Tracing System show. Firearms from the United States accounted for 70 percent of the 173,000 illegal guns recovered by the Mexican federal police at crime scenes since 2007.

Authorities also found receipts showing that Alvarez purchased more than $11,000 worth of ammunition between March 1 and his March 27 arrest. He told investigators that he smuggled guns and ammunition during four previous trips across the border that month. Each load was bound for a drug cartel and typically consisted of two assault rifles and several thousand rounds of ammunition, he said.

Based off of those receipts, federal prosecutors estimated that Alvarez alone smuggled more than 36,000 rounds of ammunition and at least 10 assault rifles into Mexico that month, which is equivalent to two-thirds of the total seizures at Arizona ports in fiscal year 2016.

Alvarez claimed he was smuggling to save his brother, who was being held hostage by the cartel for stealing $1 million. Every time Alvarez crossed the border, the cartel would deduct $1,000 from his debt, he told authorities.

Alvarez was sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a charge of smuggling goods from the United States. Ramirez pleaded guilty to the same charge, but has not been sentenced yet.

Mark Hammond made it through U.S. customs' southbound inspections on June 20, 2015, but apparently panicked when Mexican customs officials tried to inspect his backpack.

Rather than hand it over, Hammond dropped the pack and ran to the front of the inbound U.S. inspections line, court documents show. All the while, Mexican customs officials were yelling that Hammond had a gun.

Inside the backpack, CBP officers discovered five mini AK-47 pistols, five high-capacity magazines and a receipt showing he paid $2,600 for the guns and ammunition from J & G Sales in Prescott.

Hammond claimed he had no intention of smuggling guns into Mexico. Court records show police found a mini AK-47 in Mexico that Hammond had purchased a week before, indicating an earlier successful smuggling attempt.

He pleaded guilty to one count of exportation of firearms in connection with the backpack incident and was sentenced to more than two years in federal prison.

With thousands of people crossing the border every day, finding smuggled firearms and ammunition is almost impossible, said CBP spokeswoman Teresa Small.

Authorities are "literally having to look for that needle in the haystack," Small said.

Officers are trained to look for signs of nervousness or something amiss inside a vehicle. But from smuggling guns to smuggling fruit, nothing really distinguishes which crime is in progress, she said.

Just south of the border in Sonora, Mexican federal police recovered more than 6,700 firearms from January 2006 to March 2016, the newspaper El Imparcial reported.

In one case from February 2015, police reported finding 10,000 rounds of ammunition, nine magazines and seven assault rifles in compartments built into a truck's side paneling on Highway 15, the federal route that leads south from Nogales.

In another case, a man was arrested in August on the highway between Sonoyta and San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora with 10 assault rifles and eight high-capacity magazines inside a hidden compartment in his vehicle, according to Mexican newspaper El Universal.

Most of the guns and ammunition smuggled across the border are headed to organized crime operations in Mexico, like drug cartels, retired ATF agent Wall said.

Wall was a whistleblower in the ATF gun-walking scandal Operation Fast and Furious, when the agency's Phoenix field office allowed weapons purchased in the U.S. across the border so agents could trace them to drug cartels. However, the guns disappeared and were found at crime scenes on both sides of the border — including the 2010 shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Bryan Terry.

The types of weapons seized at the border and the caliber and quantity of ammunition are characteristic of the weapons used by criminal networks, Wall said.

"Unless you're doing some serious dove hunting, you're not going to need more than 100 shotgun shells or, if you're going deer hunting, you might take 20 rounds," he said.

"Your large purchases of AK-47s and AR-15s are going to organized crime," Wall said. "Any type of weapon or ammunition that has a similarity to the military, any trafficking of those are going to organized crime."

Cross-border solutions

As was the case with Hammond's and Alvarez's smuggling attempts, most of the weapons recovered by Mexican police were legally purchased at gun shops and gun shows in southwestern border states, a U.S. Government Office of Accountability report released in January found.

The high volume of weapons in Mexico is the result of gun policies in the United States, said Sarah Kinosian, an arms-trafficking policy analyst for the Washington Office on Latin America, a research and human rights advocacy organization.

"It's, without a doubt, the lax U.S. gun laws that contribute to the high levels of gun violence down in Mexico," Kinosian said. "It's so easy to get a gun in the United States and move it across the border."

However, retired ATF agent Wall said the gun laws in Mexico created the conditions for the thriving cross-border gun trafficking industry.

Mexico has strict firearm regulations. Citizens are constitutionally entitled to possess a small-caliber firearm that must be registered with the government. Most types of guns are exclusively restricted to use by the military.

Guns can be only kept in a residence, and a special permit must be obtained to take it outside for activities like hunting.

The only place to legally obtain a gun in Mexico is a government-operated store in Mexico City, tucked away on a military base.

"There's always going to be gun traffic to Mexico, always, because of just the necessity," Wall said. "If it's not narcos, it's criminals who want a gun, or it's the guy who tells his buddy, 'Hey, can you bring me a gun because I want to go shoot rabbits, or I want a gun for protection.'"

Kinosian said a policy change in Mexico is needed, but such a change could be far off.

"I don't get the sense that there is a really big push to do anything about the problem of trans-border trafficking," she said.

One way to discourage smuggling is for Mexico to increase its border security, Wall said.

"It's not going to be popular," he said. "We all love to go to Mexico and not have to stop at the border and just get waved on through."

Kinosian advocated for the Mexican government to crack down on gun-trafficking networks, as well as more proactive policing and detection by U.S. customs officers looking for smugglers.

As it stands right now, "if they don't break any laws, then they won't be pulled over," she said.

Wall said the best way to combat the cross-border smuggling is a 'see something, say something' approach.

"If you're a guy in a gun store and you're buying a gun, and you see someone buying 10 AK-47s, report it, the same way you report suspicious narco activity," Wall said. "Because ultimately, if we can reduce the flow of guns, it helps the American gun owner because there's less crime and less pressure on the politicians to do stuff."

Julianne Stanford is a University of Arizona journalism student and apprentice at the Star. Contact her at starapprentice@tucson.com.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016



Comment: As usual, no concern for the actual victims of ID theft.
Can't use I-9 form as evidence? Imposing a very difficult condition?
"almost exclusively immigrant workers." Meaning illegal immigrants.
Some very biased coverage.

Judge upholds laws used to justify Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's work-site raids
Megan Cassidy , The Republic | azcentral.com
9:55 p.m. MST November 22, 2016


A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the laws used to back Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's workplace raids will remain on the books, capping off a two-year lawsuit that claimed Arizona's identity-theft statutes targeted immigrant workers.

In his decision, U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell found that while the laws did largely affect undocumented immigrants, they also served as a legitimate law-enforcement tool in combating identity theft.
"The laws were passed in part for their effect on immigration by unauthorized aliens," he wrote, "but the legislature was also addressing a pressing criminal problem that adversely affected Arizona residents."

Arpaio's brand of illegal-im
migration enforcement sparked various legal challenges throughout the last several years, and Tuesday's ruling serves as one of the lawman's rare victories.

"I have taken a lot of criticism for going into the businesses, arresting workers that are here illegally," Arpaio said Tuesday evening. "I said from the beginning my main objective was to enforce the ID laws, so I'm very happy that the judge ruled in our favor."

Unlikely that workplace raids will return

It is unlikely the ruling will resurrect the workplace raids, however. Arpaio recently lost his bid for re-election, and his successor, Paul Penzone, has denounced many of his predecessor's more controversial policies.

Judge weighs whether to halt Arpaio's workplace raids

The decision also comes with a caveat. Campbell ruled that state attorneys cannot use I-9 employment forms to investigate or prosecute state identity-theft or forgery violations. Campbell said such use is pre-empted by federal law.

Annie Lai, a plaintiffs' attorney with the University of California at Irvine School of Law's Immigrant Rights Clinic, said this portion of the ruling "reaffirms the notion that state and local officials may not appropriate the federal employment-verification system to target undocumented workers."

Lai noted that the court said additional details will be briefed at a later date.
"In the meantime, we are considering all available options," she said.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in court: Attorneys defend ID-theft statutes backing workplace raids

Tuesday's filing stems from a 2014 lawsuit leveled by civil-rights group Puente Arizona, which challenged two identity-theft laws Arizona legislators passed that made it a felony to use false information to gain employment. The laws applied regardless of whether the fake identity was attached to a real person.

Puente's attorneys contended the laws were less about law enforcement and more designed to purge illegal immigrants in the state. The plaintiffs also argued immigration enforcement was the sole responsibility of federal, rather than state, government.

Plaintiffs cited the bills' sponsors to bolster their arguments. During one of the bills' hearings, then-state Sen. Russell Pearce said Arizona needed to do more to address the problem of illegal immigration, and that "attrition starts through enforcement," according to court documents.

Sting operations in Valley

The lawsuit was primarily inspired by Arpaio's sting operations on local businesses.

Largely acting on tips, deputies would raid restaurants, car washes and other places of employment, arresting mostly low-level employees suspected of using false identities to gain employment. Between 2008 and 2014, the agency conducted more than 80 raids and arrested more than 800 people, almost exclusively immigrant workers.

Workers ask judge to halt Arpaio raids pending lawsuit

The suit also challenged the prosecution of the law, as well as the law's underlying constitutionality, a tactic that roped in the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and the state of Arizona as defendants.

Though Arpaio eliminated the work-site operations in December 2014, Campbell issued a preliminary injunction the following month effectively outlawing prosecution under the laws.

That injunction was reversed by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in May of this year. The panel acknowledged that while some applications of the laws may conflict with the federal government, the state and federal authorities didn't overlap when the laws were used to prosecute U.S. citizens.

Judge: Arpaio in contempt of court
Key moments in contempt case
Profiling case costs taxpayers $13M on top of $41M
Arpaio has always done it his way
Arpaio through the years
The man judging Sheriff Joe
Arpaio: PI investigated judge's wife
Arpaio's legal fate hinges on intent
Arpaio charged in criminal contempt
Our view: Sheriff Joe Arpaio must go
See full azcentral coverage

The parties last met in October, when plaintiffs' and defense attorneys both argued that Campbell should rule in their favor without the case going to trial.

Attorneys representing Arpaio and prosecutors argued that the laws offered legal protection for the victims of identity theft. According to court documents, nearly 50 percent of the forgery and identity-theft prosecutions under the Maricopa County Attorney's Office "had at least one identifiable victim."

Mia Garcia, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General's Office, said the ruling means state attorneys can resume prosecuting individuals accused of job-related identity theft.

"The court refused to accept that they could hide behind the equal-protection clause, which protects against race and discrimination," she said.

Tuesday's ruling has no bearing on another racial-profiling case that has resulted in Arpaio being charged with criminal contempt of court. In that case, another federal judge ruled that Arpaio's deputies had racially profiled Latinos during traffic operations. The judge later found that Arpaio refused to abide by the court's orders that banned the practice.

In a statement on Tuesday, Puente Director Carlos Garcia said that Arpaio lost his re-election bid because of his "unjust immigration policies."

"We will continue to fight — using all tools at our disposal — to make sure that the rights of our community are protected," he said. "The workplace raids began in 2007 and our years-long battle against local politicians' efforts to tarnish our community has only made us stronger. We will not rest until Arpaio's legacy has been thoroughly rejected."

Campbell has asked for both sides' input on the case's remedies to be filed in the coming weeks.