Monday, August 29, 2016



Smugglers or local criminal?
Ramsey Canyon focus of law enforcement effort after two break-ins
By Eric Petermann 7 hrs ago 0

Immigrants trek county
Photo provided by the Cochise County Sheriff's Department

Groups of alleged illegal immigrants are spotted crossing a camera along a trail in the Huachuca Mountains. Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels has issued a warning to hikers and others who traverse the area to be wary of armed smugglers.

HEREFORD — Sheriff Mark Dannels has issued a warning of increased illegal traffic through the Huachuca Mountains and is urging people to stay away from armed smugglers.

Two candidates in upcoming elections — from opposite political parties — are urging people to be aware of the threat, but also asking for more information to verify the Sheriff's claim.

Supervisor Pat Call, a Ramsey Canyon resident and Republican candidate for the Cochise County Board of Supervisors in District 1, confirmed he received a notice from the Ramsey Canyon Firewise Community urging residents to be aware of increased smuggling traffic, and reports of two burglaries in the mountainside subdivision.

Call questioned why the notice wasn't received first from the Sheriff.
"We hear there are two burglaries, but we don't have any information about them. There are similar crimes every day throughout Cochise County," Call said.

Dannels said the Southern Arizona Border Regional Enforcement team has recorded 24 trespassing events through the Huachucas since May, including both drug and human smugglers, usually in groups of eight to 10. "We have camera footage," Dannels said. "We can confirm that some of these smugglers are armed and people should use extreme caution when they are in the wilderness around Ramsey and Brown canyons."

Ramsey Canyon is located in Hereford, about one mile south of the Sierra Vista city limits on Highway 92, at the intersection of East Ramsey Road. Brown Canyon begins about where the Brown Canyon Trailhead is located, 2.1 miles up the road from the highway. Residents received an email Thursday advising them that two break-ins recently occurred at vacant homes, the most recent being Wednesday on the west end of the Ramsey Canyon subdivision.

The break-ins resulted in property "being disturbed," in an apparent attempt search for valuables, according to the Firewise email.

Bill Witschi, who helped to author the email, said he was told that the two break-ins, and others reported in the area, may not be related to the smuggler traffic. "We haven't seen diddly-squat," Witschi said Saturday about reports of more illegal immigrants and drug "mules" walking through Ramsey Canyon.

He was told by authorities that the two break-ins and other incidents may be the work of a criminal, or it could be illegal immigrants returning south to Mexico after dropping off either drugs or people.
"We are seven miles directly north of the border, so it would be possible to carry something that distance," Witschi said.

The primary purpose of the email, Witschi said, was to create awareness on what residents should notice and how they should respond. He urged people to pay attention to anything unusual and not to be casual about reporting to the authorities. "It's a beautiful place to live, so it's not completely unusual for people to drive slow through the neighborhood looking at deer, but seeing the same car driving slow is something to take notice of," he said.

State Senate candidate Jaime Alvarez, a Democrat challenging Republican Gail Griffin in the Nov. 8 general election, said he wants to "see some statistics," to verify the Sheriff's claim.

Alvarez said he served on the staff of the commanding general at NETCOM on Fort Huachuca before retiring and reviewed briefing material provided by federal agencies monitoring the border.
"I'd like to see the statistics that the federal government is looking at," Alvarez said.

Dannels said the SABRE team consists of six to 10 members from three agencies who specialize in handling smuggling traffic. The group is under the command of the Cochise County Sheriff Department and includes Border Patrol and Arizona Department of Public Safety agents.

He said hikers and people who visit the Huachuca Mountains need to be aware that smugglers may be armed and groups traveling through the area are dangerous.
"Get away, that's the best advice I can offer," Dannels said. "Don't confront these people, but call 911 and let us handle it."

The Sheriff said resources from his agency and the Border Patrol are properly equipped to track and apprehend smugglers, including the use of helicopters in the mountainous areas.

He said his agency is well-aware of the two break-ins and is investigating. At least one Sheriff's deputy lives in the area and State Sen. Gail Griffin is also a nearby resident.

Miller Canyon resident Tom Beatty said he hasn't seen an increase in smugglers this summer, but he has in the past. Beatty operates a guest ranch, providing accommodations to bird watchers and nature lovers. His property is surrounded by U.S. Forest Service land, about four miles south on Highway 92 from the city limits. The guest ranch is located another two miles up the mountain from the highway.

In past encounters, he said, groups of smugglers have left behind travelers who are then reported by Beatty to authorities.


Note: Corruption at all levels of law enforcement has contributed to the city's violence, he said.
In this case, Cd. Juarez, not Chicago. Photos, etc. at link.

Execution-style deaths, shootings return to Juarez
Lorena Figueroa, El Paso Times
2:04 p.m. MDT August 27, 2016

A surge in execution-style deaths and shootings in broad daylight have riddled Juárez the past month after a two-year respite that had made some in the city feel relatively safer.

Experts attribute the increase in slayings to a number of factors, including an upcoming change in government and the break up of major crime organizations after the arrest of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán. The drug lord is being held in a federal prison in Juárez.

Homicides spiked sharply in July with 51 slayings — a number not seen since May 2014 — after an average of 30 each month since the start of 2016.

The trend seems to be continuing in August with at least 36 slayings as of Thursday, according to unofficial numbers from the Chihuahua Attorney General's Office and news reports.

Most murders have been execution-style deaths and drive-by shootings.

The murder of a businessman in front of the Mexican federal court house, another one in the parking lot of the popular Los Arcos restaurant in Américas Avenue, and of a U.S. Citizen near the Paso Del Norte international bridge have been among the most notorious.

Anthropologist Howard Campbell, an expert on national security at the University of Texas at El Paso and author of the book, "Drug War Zone," said it's too early to consider the spike of murders as an emergence of another bloody drug war in Juárez.

The turf war between the Sinaloa and Juárez drug cartels left a toll of more than 10,000 deaths between 2008 and 2012.

"It is too early to say that," he said. "However, it is clear that with the change of government, there also comes a struggle for control among criminal rackets, especially in Juárez and Chihuahua City."

The PRI, Mexico's ruling party, was booted of power in the Juárez and Chihuahua state governments during elections in June. Juárez elected an independent mayor who will take office in October, while Chihuahua state elected PAN-party affiliated governor.

Campbell said organized crime is in many ways linked to political changes in Mexico because of the corruption problem that still plagues the country. Criminals bribe police and officials in exchange for protection. Others use their positions of authority to assist or overlook criminal activities, he said.

"When a new regimen comes, there usually is a 'cleaning of the house' in the criminal world," he said.

And that cleaning is often translated into murders that, in Juárez, are becoming worrisome again.

From January to July, 241 homicides were reported, up from the 189 murders during the same period in 2015 according to statistics from Mesa de Seguridad y Justicia de Juárez, a civic organization that works with authorities on strategies to reduce violence.

May, June and July have been the most violent months in 2016, with 38, 38 and 51 homicides, respectively, the statistics show.

The number of homicides in July had not been as high since May 2014, when there were 52 homicides, data shows.

"This is a red flag that authorities, who up to last year did a good job to reduce the number of murders to 21 in December, need to address immediately," Jorge Contreras Fornelli, the coordinator of Juárez's Mesa de Seguridad, told the Times in a recent interview.

Mexican authorities have attributed the increase in killings to disputes over small-scale drug dealing of crystal methamphetamine and seizures of the drug that also have increased.

This week alone, the Juárez police seized 9.5 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, valued at $100,000, in the black market. The drug was hidden inside an empty steel cylinder of butane gas in an abandoned house in the Senderos de San Isidro neighborhood in southeast Juárez.

"We cannot pinpoint a specific cause of the rise of killings, but there is a strong link that a vast majority of them had to do with drug trafficking," said Chihuahua state prosecutor in Juárez Enrique Villarreal in an interview late July.

The Juárez police agrees that the increasing murder rate is due to drug disputes.

"The outcome of the loss of a (drug) load is someone being arrested or killed," Juárez police spokesman Adrián Sánchez said.

The fragmentation of major criminal organizations, including the Sinaloa Cartel after the arrest of its leader El Chapo, likely also prompted the drug-related violence, authorities said.

Guzmán is being held at the Ceferso No. 9 federal penitentiary located on the outskirts of Juárez. He was moved there in May from Altiplano prison in Mexico City.

Chihuahua attorney general Jorge González Nicolás said in July that Mexican drug kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero is trying to take control of the Juárez corridor to ship drugs into the United States.

The 63-year-old international fugitive in a videotaped July interview with the political magazine Proceso said that statement was false.

As a way to curb the violence, the Juárez police and the traffic department, in coordination with the Chihuahua state prosecutor's office, began holding random security checkpoints last week.

"We are going to find the most efficient way of not being a burden to law-obeying citizens. We are more the ones that are worrying of not casing more harm to society and their patrimony," Juárez mayor Javier González Mocken said. "The only purpose is protect the lives of the Juarenses, of the citizens."

He said representatives of the Chihuahua state Commission for Human Rights will be stationed at the checkpoints.

Sánchez said that officers will check for guns and drugs, as well as drunk drivers and stolen vehicles, among other things.

Campbell doubts that will work.
Corruption at all levels of law enforcement has contributed to the city's violence, he said.
"It is ominous, because people know what has happened before. It only creates a more dangerous environment," he said.

González Mocken said that until Friday, the response to the security checkpoints from Juarenses had been a positive one.

He said the security checkpoints will be temporary and "will end the instant the rate of murders drop."

Lorena Figueroa may be reached at 546-6129;; @LFigueroaEPT on Twitter.


Discover underground tunnel that connects Arizona Sonora
The finding was reported by Federal Police; the excavation is 31.5 meters long and according to reports, the tunnel is unfinished

28/08/2016 13:03 AP / PHOTO: Cuartoscuro

Mexican authorities reported on the collaboration of the US Border Patrol in the inspection.

Mexican Federal Police reported on Sunday that found illegal construction of a tunnel passing under the border between Mexico and the United States.

Drug traffickers use tunnels to smuggle drugs into the United States. The Pacific Cartel is known to be particularly adept at constructing tunnels.

The tunnel entrance is on the wall of a manhole on the Mexican side of the border, authorities said in a statement.

The discovery was made in collaboration with the US Border Patrol in Nogales, Sonora and Arizona, police said.

The tunnel is 31.5 meters (103 feet) long and went to a vacant lot on the Arizona side.

The first half of the tunnel was reinforced with beams but the other part was incomplete. It had not yet surfaced on the US side.


Note: Were headed our way.

Drone found 13 tons of marijuana in the State of Mexico
Details Published on Friday August 26, 2016,
Written by Editorial / El Diario

A total of 13 tons of "grass", with the characteristics of marijuana were located in two areas in the municipality of Zumpahuacán by staff of the Commission of Public Safety State of Mexico, with the use of drones.
After conducting overflights in the southern part of the state with UAVs in the mountainous area, at the area known as Coatepec, community San Gaspar, they located the crops, so they sent a team on the ground to confirm the find.
328 million pesos is the value of the herb seized.


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