Thursday, June 29, 2017



Spouses of twins who turned on 'El Chapo' tell story of 'Cartel Wives'
BOOKS 06/17/2017, 08:07am
Brothers Pedro (left) and Margarito Flores rose from street-level Chicago drug dealers to the top of the cartel world, federal prosecutors say. | U.S. Marshals Service
Frank Main

Their friends think they're "average soccer moms" separated from their husbands.

In reality, Olivia Flores and Mia Flores are in protective custody to avoid coming into contact with the hit men — sicarios — of the Sinaloa cartel.

They're the wives of Chicago's biggest drug traffickers — Pedro Flores and Margarito Flores Jr. — identical twins who cooperated with prosecutors against Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

In their new book "Cartel Wives," the women describe once living in a Mexican mountaintop estate with servants and a menagerie of animals including horses, monkeys, even a tiger cub.

"Cartel Wives, A True Story of Deadly Decisions, Steadfast Love, and Bringing Down El Chapo" (Grand Central Publishing, $27), on sale Tuesday.

Olivia says she rubbed shoulders with Kanye West in New York as she tried to launch a musical career. Her husband played basketball with R. Kelly in Chicago, she says.

But the wives' access to unimaginable riches and fame evaporated when their husbands surrendered to U.S. drug agents in 2008 and became the government informants they'd always despised.

The Flores twins and their spouses all grew up on the Southwest Side. The women were daughters of Chicago cops. The husbands learned the drug trade through their dad. And they learned well: In their heyday, they imported more than a ton of cocaine a month into Chicago and other cities through their cartel connections.

Now, they're all in protective custody after the twins pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges and were sentenced to 14 years in prison.

"For the rest of your life, every time you start a car, you will be wondering, 'Will this car start, or will it explode?' " U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo warned the brothers in 2015 at their sentencing in Chicago.

In this courtroom sketch, Pedro Flores, left, and Margarito Flores appear before U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo in 2015. | AP

Their wives, who used pseudonyms in the book, say they carry the burden of that warning every day.
"Living in fear is a curse. You can't sleep and you jump out of bed at even the smallest noise," Olivia writes.

The book provides glimpses at life at the top of the drug world.

In 2005, Margarito Flores — whom his wife Olivia calls Junior — met with El Chapo at his mountaintop headquarters in Mexico to secure his twin's release from kidnappers there.

The problem for Junior: He owed the kingpin $10 million.

"You know people that come up here don't go back," the book quotes El Chapo. "I could kill you and your brother right now and go about my day."
Junior responds: "Yes, señor, I'm very aware. But I am here because I only have my word."

Junior hands the drug lord a stack of ledgers detailing his payment history to the Sinaloa Cartel — proving he wasn't shirking his debts to El Chapo.

Convinced, El Chapo orders the kidnappers to release Pedro Flores, and the twins go on to forge a lucrative partnership with the kingpin, who'd been scouting for talented businessmen with U.S. drug connections, like the twins.

In the end, though, they all wound up behind bars in the United States. El Chapo is now awaiting trial in New York on related charges, and the twins could be the star witnesses.

The Flores' wives seem to struggle with whether their husbands were good guys or bad guys. They note their husbands forgave debts — and even a Chicago kidnapping and beating of Pedro that was orchestrated by a drug dealer working with a dirty Chicago cop — to put business ahead of revenge.

The wives say their husbands showered them with the best: red roses by the dozens, a 10-carat diamond wedding ring and getaways at luxury resorts in Puerto Vallarta.

But they also speak of the dark side of their husbands' profession.
"We fell in love with criminals," they acknowledge.

The wives write that their husbands witnessed men tied to trees, skinned alive, in Mexico — victims of the savage cartels with whom they worked. The fortune the twins amassed, according to their wives, was "dirty money with a trail of bodies behind it."


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

AZMEX I3 28-6-17

AZMEX I3 28 JUN 2017

Note: As always, "immigrant" really means illegal immigrant.

Community colleges to take in-state DACA tuition to Arizona high court
JUNE 28, 2017 AT 1:58 PM

PHOENIX — A community college district that serves the Phoenix area voted Tuesday to take the matter of in-state tuition for young immigrants with deferred action status to the Arizona Supreme Court.

The Maricopa Community Colleges District board voted 4-3 to challenge last week's Arizona Court of Appeals ruling that removed the lower tuition costs for young immigrants granted deferred deportation status under a program started by former President Barack Obama.

"I move that the board approve the legal appeal to the Supreme Court in the matter of in-state tuition for DACA students," board member Alfredo Gutierrez said prior to the vote.

There was no immediate timeline for the district's challenge to be filed.

In a Facebook post, the district said last week's ruling would affect about 2,000 students.

"We are a very unique small amount and they (the board) are willing to put that support in us and that belief," student Allie Aguilar said. "That makes me feel so great. I can't even explain how well it feels to have a board believe in you."

Without the challenge, a 2006 voter-enacted law known as Proposition 300 would be in control. That law prohibits public benefits for anyone living in Arizona without legal immigration status.

Gutierrez said the district should expect pushback from state officials because of the board's decision.
"It has not been without consequence that we defy the governor, the Legislature and the voters," he said. "The consequence has been the cut of millions of dollars into this system."

KTAR's Tom Perumean and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


Thursday @ 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5: Black market passports
Posted: Jun 28, 2017 2:32 PM MST

CBS 5 investigates an alarming new trend in human smuggling. We take our hidden cameras south of the border to see just how quick and easy it is to obtain a black market passport. See the story Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5 News.




Note: from the folks at The Daily Signal

Fast & Furious - Mexican Lives didn't Matter

Fast and Furious Whistleblower Says He Became an 'Enemy of the State'
June 26, 2017

It's one of the longest-running congressional investigations of our time: the probe into Fast and Furious. It was the government's secret operation to watch as thousands of weapons were trafficked to Mexico's killer drug cartels.

In many respects, the story began when federal agent John Dodson agreed to an interview with investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson in March 2011. It was highly unusual, if not unprecedented, for a sitting federal agent to speak out in such a strong way.

In the latest episode of "Full Measure," Attkisson catches up with Dodson six years later.

Dodson: Part of my mission with the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] in Phoenix was to combat a legal firearms trafficking to the Mexican drug cartels. Somehow, in order to achieve that goal, the strategy that had been adopted was to facilitate and allow the illegal firearms trafficking to the Mexican drug cartels. We were essentially flooding the border region with firearms from the U.S. civilian market, and then tracking and tallying the results as they were used in crimes on both sides of the border.

Attkisson: "We" meaning federal agents, who are supposed to be stopping the trafficking?

Dodson: Yes, ma'am, meaning the federal agency that was in charge of combating that very thing.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can't be done alone. Find out more >>

Dodson had objected internally to the dangerous practice of "gunwalking" secretly allowed by the ATF. But his objections fell on deaf ears.

Attkisson: Was the final straw Brian Terry's murder?

Dodson: Yes. When Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed, I immediately noticed that my agency was attempting to cover up any link between the investigation and the strategy that we employed and the death of Agent Terry.

Illegal immigrants armed with Fast and Furious rifles gunned down Terry in Arizona in December 2010 near the Mexican border. Dodson says Department of Justice officials frantically worked to cover up the killers' links to weapons trafficked as part of the secret federal case. He agreed to an interview with Attkisson for CBS News in March of 2011.

(Attkisson's interview with Dodson on CBS aired March 3, 2011.)

Attkisson: Dodson's job is to stop gun trafficking across the border. Instead, he says he was ordered to sit by and watch it happen. Investigators call the tactic letting guns "walk." Dodson's bosses say that never happened. Now, he's risking his job to go public.

Dodson: I'm boots on the ground here in Phoenix, telling you we've been doing it every day since I've been here. Here I am. Tell me I didn't do the things I did. Tell me you didn't order me to do the things I did. Tell me it didn't happen. Now you have a name on it. You have a face to put with it. Here I am. Someone now, tell me it didn't happen.

Attkisson: When you stepped forward, what did you think and hope would happen?

Dodson: When I stepped forward, I thought it would all come to a screeching halt, and that the case would be shut down, the policy would be abandoned, and it would pretty much be over with very, very quickly, as soon as word got to the right people. I was very surprised to learn otherwise.

Attkisson: What did happen?

Dodson: Well, originally the Department of Justice issued what was a letter denying the allegation, categorically denying the allegations. And from that point on, there was a congressional hearing and obstruction and document hiding and it seemed like everything that the United States government could do at the time to avoid showing the allegations that was alleged and proving them and … still continuing to deny that there was any nexus between the investigative strategy and Agent Terry's death.

The supposed goal of the government's gunwalking was to see where the weapons ended up and make a big case that took down Mexican cartel leaders. That never happened. Instead, the guns were used in crimes on both sides of the border. Attkisson identified a dozen other federal cases in which agents allegedly allowed guns to walk in places like Florida, New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona, with names like Too Hot To Handle, Wide Receiver, and Castaway.

In a bipartisan vote in 2012, the House of Representatives held Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents in the Fast and Furious case. President Barack Obama blocked Congress from getting the documents by using executive privilege the one and only time of his presidency. Eighty thousand pages were later released under a court challenge.

At a little-publicized hearing earlier this month, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said Congress is still trying to convince the Justice Department to hand over outstanding documents.

Chaffetz: Litigation is ongoing as it continues its unprecedented stonewalling and I'm sorry to report under the Trump administration this has not changed. This has not changed.

Dodson testified at the hearing alongside Terry's mother, looking back at his decision to blow the whistle.

Dodson: That single action … went from being an agent of the government … to enemy of the state.

Members of both parties, including Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and the incoming chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said they still don't think they have all the answers as to what was really behind Fast and Furious.

Gowdy: I'm just struggling to understand how this ever could have turned out any other way. As soon as the gun leaves the parking lot, unless you're maintaining constant surveillance, then you've lost the gun. And then if it crosses the border, God knows what you're going to do with it. And then when you learn they didn't even let our Mexican counterparts in law enforcement know what was going on. This is the most imminently predictable tragedy that I've been connected with since I've been in Congress.

Attkisson: What are some of the outstanding questions today?

Dodson: Well, I think that some of them, and they all might not pertain directly to the Terry family, is the amount of homicides or murders that have been caused by the firearms that we allowed to be trafficked, what the ultimate cost of this strategy was, I think those numbers have been kept and held.

Although the government won't release information delineating the crimes that have been committed by criminals using guns trafficked during Fast and Furious, Attkisson found evidence of at least 43 killings, including two U.S. federal agents, three Mexican police, and a terrorist torture kidnapping and murder in Mexico.

Attkisson: Do you think people are still in place in government who are part of what you call the obstruction or the cover-up?

Dodson: I think they are. I think maybe not in the same exact positions. I think many of them moved around. But there is still a good portion of that system, that mechanism that is still in place.

Attkisson: It sounds like your takeaway is that the public should understand it holds the power and use it.

Dodson: Yes, the public does hold the power. They're supposed, that's how our entire system is designed, but if we don't ask the questions, if we don't hold people accountable, if we don't get the explanations that we deserve and the answers that are entitled to us, then we don't. We, we give those reins of power away, alright? And we're also subjected to a bureaucracy that is so big and so uncontrollable that it answers only to itself, no longer to us.

In case you're wondering, Dodson still works at ATF today, though he says he's been marginalized, retaliated against, and transferred around 11 times in six years.

In April, U.S. officials arrested one of Terry's alleged killers. Five others have pleaded guilty or been found guilty by a jury in the case. One suspect is still on the loose. Hundreds of guns that the feds allowed to be trafficked to criminals are still missing and unaccounted for.

A Note for our Readers:

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017



Note: From our friends at Borderland Beat

Thursday, June 22, 2017
MAY 2017 : The Most Violent Month in 20 Years
Translated by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from Zeta

June 21, 2017

According to data released Wednesday by the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP) of the Ministry of the Interior, in May of this year there were 2 thousand 186 intentional homicide cases, which surpassed the record figure of this crime in the last two decades, since the compilation of data is made monthly from 1997 to date.

The level of intentional homicide in May 2017 is greater than the maximum recorded, which was the number of 2,112 intentional killings in May 2011 during the last leg of the government of Felipe de Jesus Calderón Hinojosa.

The 2 thousand 186 records of intentional homicide cases of May of this year, signify 2 thousand 452 victims of violent acts. The figures are different because in a same preliminary investigation, open in state procurator's offices and state prosecutors, more than one death may be included.

The highest number of intentional homicides in May occurred in the State of Mexico, with 225 cases. It is followed by Guerrero, with 216 and Baja California with 197.

But considering the number of inhabitants of each entity, the highest percentage of intentional homicides occurred in Colima, with 31.69; Followed by Guerrero, with 26.47, and the states of the Baja California Peninsula, with 20 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.

June is getting off to an equally grim start: On June 14 their were six murders and six attempted murders in less than 24 hours in Tijuana.


Note: as this comes from AP, be aware that the correct info is young illegal immigrants, not "young immigrants".
No problems for young legal immigrants to get the lic. Reminder, the drivers license is the primary govt. ID for purchase of firearms.

The U.S. Supreme Court wants more information before deciding on whether to deny driver's licenses to young immigrants who are shielded by Obama-era program.

Associated Press , KPNX 9:56 PM. MST June 26, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday failed to make decision in the lawsuit involving Arizona's attempt to deny driver's licenses to young immigrants who are shielded from deportation through an Obama-era program.

The court instead asked the U.S. Solicitor General for more information regarding the lawsuit.

Arizona must provide driver's licenses to young immigrants who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that shields them from deportation and allows them to legally work for two-year periods. That's because of a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Arizona is appealing that decision to the high court.

DACA recipients have been able to get licenses in Arizona since December 2014. The state is the only one who is still waging a legal battle over them.


Nearly 200 possible opioid overdoses reported in Arizona last week
BY KTAR.COM | JUNE 26, 2017 AT 11:41 AM
UPDATED: JUNE 26, 2017 AT 1:48 PM

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
PHOENIX — Arizona health officials reported nearly 200 suspected opioid-related overdoses in the last week.

In a press release, the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services said 15 of the 191 people treated died.

The information was released as part of a new initiative spearheaded by Gov. Doug Ducey that gets real-time data about opioids into the hand of health professionals.

"This new, real-time data gives us a clear picture we didn't have before," he said in the release. "One life lost to these highly addictive drugs is too many."

Earlier this month, Ducey declared a health crisis because of opioids. Data released in May showed 790 people died of an opioid overdose last year, an increase of 16 percent over 2015.

Ducey also signed an executive order that requires opioid overdoses and deaths be reported to state health officials within 24 hours.

"We're going to do everything that we can from a government perspective here," Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM's Mac & Gaydos after signing the order.

"We've limited first-fill of opioids to prescriptions that the government is paying for. We're working with Walgreens so people can return their unused opioids so that they don't get out into the system."

Ducey said a big problem is that when people are facing pain and their prescription drugs run out, they sometimes turn to heroin to help. In turn, the number of heroin deaths in Arizona is up three times as much as last year and they are at the highest level since 2012.




Note: photos at links Major bust? Have not yet learned source of the weapons. Fast & Furious link?
Mexican govt. "leakage"?
Fast & Furious - Mexican Lives didn't Matter.

Decommissioning arsenal and thousands of bullets in Sonora


Sonoyta Sonora.-
Elements of the State Coordination of the Federal Police in Sonora secured an arsenal that included 18 long arms, including a Barret and over a hundred thousand cartridges, which were transported hidden in a lead-lined compartment in a tractor trailer truck.
The facts were recorded when and at kilometer 226 + 800 of the Altar-Sonoyta highway, Caborca-Sonoyta section, had contact with a semi-trailer, which was driven in an irregular manner, That they proceeded to stop the truck.
When questioning the driver, identified as Luis "N" 44, was nervous and said that the unit was from Tijuana and was destined the city of Torreon.

The members of the Federal Police requested a inspection of the truck, where they located a hidden compartment lined with lead to avoid the x-rays, in the center and along the platform, which concealed firearms and cartridges of different calibers.
Therefore, the driver was arrested, who was read the Card of Rights that Assist the Persons in Detention.

18 long arms were counted,
12 of them with grenade launchers,
1 Barret 50 caliber rifle,
A .38 caliber handgun,
Magazines of different sizes and
16 20 liter( 5 Gal.) buckets filled in total of more than 100 thousand cartridges of caliber 7.62.

The detainee, the vehicle and the materials were placed at the disposal of the Agent of the Public Prosecutor of the Federation, an authority that will follow up the investigation and assign responsibilities.



Sunday, June 18, 2017



Note: It is, as always, about illegal immigration.

SUNDAY, JUNE 18, 2017

Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus to Stand in Solidarity with Texas Latino Community in Wake of SB 4 Legislation at NALEO Annual Conference in Dallas

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Less than seven weeks after Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 4 into law, the Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus will join the nation's largest gathering of Latino policymakers for a discussion on next steps during the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials 34th Annual Conference in Dallas.

The three-day event, which will take place June 22-24, 2017, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, will bring together the Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus with Texas lawmakers and colleagues from across the country as Latino policymakers join forces to strategize on how best to protect and support the immigrant community in the current political climate.

"In Arizona, we know the fight Texas has on its hands. We have seen similar harmful legislation when Arizona enacted SB 1070, which was one of the most destructive pieces of legislation that oppressed an entire community and which had a devastating economic impact in Arizona," stated Rep. Diego Espinoza, D-Tolleson (District 19). "The Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus stands in solidarity with those who oppose SB 4 in Texas and look forward to joining colleagues in Texas to discuss a plan of action."

On Saturday, June 24, Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus members will participate in a special plenary session devoted to the newly signed legislation entitled, "Supporting the Lone Star State Post SB 4: How Latino Leaders Can Unite to Combat Anti-Immigrant Laws and Practices." This plenary session will explore how different communities are responding to this new paradigm and how lessons learned from California's Proposition 187 and Arizona's SB 1070 can be applied to best support the immigrant community today and to mobilize toward increased civic participation.

Following the plenary session, Arizona Latino Legislative Latino Caucus members will join Latino policymakers from California, Texas and across the nation for three working group break-out sessions focused on key issues relating to SB 4 and other similar anti-immigration measures. The meetings will focus on policy and legal tools that Latino policymakers can use to support immigrants, strategies for ensuring the immigrant community knows its rights, and an examination of the negative impact these laws have on state and local economies.

A number of Texas Latino elected officials who led the fight against the SB 4 legislation will be in attendance with the Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus during the three-day event, including NALEO President and Dallas County Treasurer Pauline Medrano, Texas State Senator and Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus Chair Sylvia R. Garcia, Texas State Representative and Mexican American Legislative Caucus Chairman Rafael Anchia, Texas State Representative Cesar Blanco, Texas State Representative Armando Walle, Harris County Sherriff Ed Gonzalez and Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

More information on the NALEO 34th Annual Conference can be found at

The bipartisan Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus has 17 members from both the state House and Senate. Members hold strategic leadership positions and promote legislation and policies that directly affect Latinos in Arizona. The caucus also encourages more Latinos to engage in the political process through public policy and community events.



Note: photos at link. "Red Migrante" is Migrant Network.

Comment: "stems from border militarization and immigration policy in the United States, which has created a flow of people attempting to cross the border illegally " Apparently it is the fault of the U.S. for wanting to control it's own border?

Group's report decries impunity for abusers of migrants in Sonora
By Kendal Blust
Nogales International Jun 16, 2017

A panel of leaders from migrant aid organizations in Sonora discuss the report "Y la impunidad continua" during a press conference on Thursday. From left: Rev. Samuel Lozano de los Santos, Alba Gloria Andrade Murieta, Perla Del Angel, Maria Engracia Robles Robles, Rev. Prisciliano Pereza and Bishop José Leopoldo González González.

Sister Maria Engracia Robles Robles of the Kino Border Initiative detailed the Red Migrante Sonora's recommendations to address violence and abuse of migrants in Sonora.

Nogales, Sonora Mayor Cuauhtemoc "Temo" Galindo speaks about the importance of sharing the report with federal authorities.
"Todo pasa y no pasa nada," said Rev. Prisciliano Pereza, using a phrase that roughly translates as "Things happen but nothing gets done" to decry what he and a group of fellow migrant advocates say is near-complete impunity for human rights abuses of migrants in the Mexican state of Sonora.

"(Migrants) won't even report crimes because no one will listen to them, and the last thing they want are more problems," said Pereza, director of a migrant assistance organization in Altar, Sonora, which is part of the Red Migrante Sonora, or the Sonora Migrant Network.

During a press conference Thursday morning at the Nogales, Sonora art museum, the group presented a report called "Y la impunidad continua," or "And the Impunity Continues," which details abuses experienced by migrants and deported people who arrive at shelters in the Sonoran cities of Nogales, Altar, Caborca and Agua Prieta on a daily basis, and the lack of recourse victims have to bring their abusers to justice.

U.S.-bound migrants, who are often fleeing violence, poverty and persecution at home, are vulnerable not only because of their desperation but also because they often have to rely on others to reach and cross the border, a fact that can easily lead to exploitation, said Sister Maria Engracia Robles Robles of the Ambos Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative.

"The deported and journeying migrant has become a dollar sign, not only taken advantage of by criminals, but by Mexican citizens and some authorities," she said.

Migrants who make their way to northern Sonora are regularly robbed, extorted, kidnapped and tortured, said Perla Del Angel, who works with migrants in Agua Prieta. And the report offers first-hand accounts of migrants who have been beaten, burned, starved and raped by human traffickers, law enforcement officials or gangs.

But while these abuses are commonplace, little is done by federal, state or local governments to address the problem, allowing abusers to go free, while migrants remain an easy target for exploitation, she said.

"They are not even treated as human beings," she said, describing how authorities routinely set aside complaints of abuse or even threaten migrants who dare to come forward.

Part of that problem stems from border militarization and immigration policy in the United States, which has created a flow of people attempting to cross the border illegally and contributing to the costly, dangerous and violent nature of the journey, according to the report. However, Red Migrante Sonora focused on the injustices that not only take place in Sonora, but are perpetuated by local, state and federal authorities who are either complicit in abuse of migrants or do not seriously investigate and prosecute those crimes.

"We excuse ourselves," Pereza said. "But we have also experienced this impunity that's so detrimental to our society."

To address that impunity, the report suggests six steps that can be taken, including honest and vigorous defense for migrants by authorities; the implementation of security measures in areas identified as especially dangerous for migrants; the creation of secure routes for migrants; human rights workshops for law enforcement and social service organizations; and better communication and follow-through from all levels of government in protecting the rights of migrants and prosecuting those who abuse them.

"At the moment, our goal is to make this reality visible," Robles said of the latest report, a follow-up to information the Red Migrante Sonora released in 2015.

And while the number of deportations and migrants crossing the border has decreased in recent years and months, the level of abuse continues to increase, Robles said.

"There hasn't been any improvement. On the contrary, things have gotten worse," she said.
"It's an inverse function ... the fewer the migrants, the greater the exploitation."


Wednesday, June 7, 2017



Fast and Furious hearing rips Holder, DOJ for deception in gun-running scandal
By William La Jeunesse, Andrew O'Reilly
Published June 07, 2017 Fox News

Members of a congressional committee at a public hearing Wednesday blasted former President Barack Obama and his attorney general for allegedly covering up an investigation into the death of a Border Patrol agent killed as a result of a botched government gun-running project known as Operation Fast and Furious.

The House Oversight Committee also Wednesday released a scathing, nearly 300-page report that found Holder's Justice Department tried to hide the facts from the loved ones of slain Border Patrol Brian Terry – seeing his family as more of a "nuisance" than one deserving straight answers – and slamming Obama's assertion of executive privilege to deny Congress access to records pertaining to Fast and Furious.

More on this...
Fast and Furious scandal: Suspected triggerman in border agent's murder arrested
Medellin Cartel Gets Fast and Furious Guns

Former Border agent testifies in case of 2 suspects charged in Fast and Furious slaying
"[Terry's death] happened on Dec. 14, 2010, and we still don't have all the answers," Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, committee chairman, said of Terry's death. "Brian Terry's family should not have to wait six years for answers."

Terry died in a gunfight between Border Patrol agents and members of a six-man cartel "rip crew," which regularly patrolled the desert along the U.S.-Mexico border looking for drug dealers to rob. The cartel member suspected of slaying the Border Patrol agent, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, was apprehended in April of this year by a joint U.S.-Mexico law enforcement task force.

Terry's death exposed Operation Fast and Furious, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operation in which the federal government allowed criminals to buy guns in Phoenix-area shops with the intention of tracking them as they were transported into Mexico. But the agency lost track of more than 1,400 of the 2,000 guns they allowed smugglers to buy. Two of those guns were found at the scene of Terry's killing.

Related Image
This undated photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry. Terry was fatally shot north of the Arizona-Mexico border while trying to catch bandits who target illegal immigrants, the leader of a union representing agents said Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010. (AP Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection, File)Expand / Collapse

This undated photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry. Terry was fatally shot north of the Arizona-Mexico border while trying to catch bandits who target illegal immigrants, the leader of a union representing agents said Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010. (AP Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection, File) (AP Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection, File)
"More than five years after Brian's murder, the Terry family still wonders about key details of Operation Fast and Furious," the committee's report states. "The Justice Department's obstruction of Congress's investigation contributed to the Terry family's inability to find answers."

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, testified Wednesday in front of the committee, accusing DOJ and ATF officials of obstructing the investigation and working to silence ATF agents who informed the Senate of Fast and Furious.

"The Department of Justice and ATF had no intention of looking for honest answers and being transparent," said Grassley, now chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a staunch supporter of whistleblowers.

"In fact, from the onset, bureaucrats employed shameless delay tactics to obstruct the investigation."

One of those silenced ATF agents, John Dodson, testified Wednesday that he remains "in a state of purgatory" since objecting to Fast and Furious and has been the subject of reprisals and ridicule at the agency.

"That decision, the single act of standing up and saying, 'What we are doing is wrong'… instantly took my standing from being that of an agent of the government – to an enemy of the state," Dodson said. "ATF and DOJ officials implemented an all-out campaign to silence and discredit me… Suffice to say, the last six to seven years at ATF have not been the best for me or my career."

Grassley's and Dodson's testimony reinforced findings of the report, which states that the Justice Department knew before Terry's death that the ATF was "walking" firearms to Mexico and knew the day after the agent's death that Fast and Furious guns were involved in the shootout -- despite denying these facts to the media. It goes on to state that the Justice Department's internal investigation focused more on spinning the story to avoid negative media coverage than looking into lapses by either the DOJ or ATF.

Several emails revealed in the report appear to indicate that some Justice Department staffers were working to keep information from political appointees at the department.

"I don't want to jinx it but it really is astounding that the plan worked -- so far," former Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote in an email to Holder, according to the report.

The report also says that Holder's Justice Department stonewalled inquiries from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and deceptively told him that the "ATF makes every effort to interdict" firearms purchased by straw buyers. The controversial act of straw purchases – where a person who is prohibited from buying firearms uses another person to buy a gun on his or her behalf – has been a popular method that Mexico's drug cartels use to obtain guns.

"There are important reasons for not giving Grassley everything he is asking for: it would embolden him in future fights and would 'use up' a lot of the material that we will eventually need to release to (California Rep. Darrell) Issa . . . as the oversight struggle continues," the Office of Legislative Affairs Assistant Attorney General Ron Welch said in an email to DOJ colleagues.


Sunday, June 4, 2017



Agreement: Rocky Point to be 'port of Arizona'
By HOWARD FISCHER Capitol Media Services
Jun 2, 2017 Updated 16 hrs ago (0)

Critics said the port could have a harmful impact on the locals, wildlife, environment and biodiversity in the area.

Rocky Point Cruises
This map shows a number of possible cruise destinations from Puerto Penasco.

But a new agreement signed here Friday at the annual summit of the Arizona-Mexico Commission is designed to pave the way for residents of the region to have easy access to cruises — easier, at least than now having to drive to southern California or Texas.

The deal inked between Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Claudia Pavlovich, his Sonora counterpart, would have Arizona firms service the ships that the Mexican government hopes will soon be docking in Puerto Penasco.

Hector Platt Mazon, Sonora's tourism director, said construction of the necessary pier and terminal, which has been stalled at about 50 percent completion, is now expected to resume.

And Pavlovich told Capitol Media Services that the agreement she signed with Ducey, assuring the cruise companies they will have access to needed services, should help loosen up the federal dollars.
"I think it will make it easier," she said, predicting that the community, known on this side of the border, will become "the port of Arizona."

Platt Mazon said he intends to deliver the signed "memorandum of understanding" to Mexican federal officials on Monday.

Pavlovich said the idea has everything going for it.

She noted that Hermosillo, Sonora's largest city and its capital, is six hours from Puerto Penasco, too far to be a steady source of everything from linens to flowers for cruise ships that routinely need supplies for 3,000 passengers at a pop. By contrast, she said, Phoenix is just half as far away.

And there's something else.
Platt Mazon said he sees it as becoming "the home port of Arizona."
He cited figures that about 1.2 million Arizonans take a cruise each year. Add to that New Mexico, Nevada and California, the potential cruise audience approaches 7 million.
"This is within driving range of Rocky Point," Platt Mazon said. "This causes a very interesting market for it."

He said talks already are underway with Carnival cruise lines which operates ships under several banners. The timing, said Platt Mazon, is excellent because cruise companies are planning voyages that far out.

Platt Mazon said the assurance that goods and services will be available from Arizona is crucial to making the port a success. He said the cruise companies already have relationships with U.S. suppliers.
"So it will be easier for them to continue making business with the ones they already have business," he said.

Still, he acknowledged, there are other potential hurdles. One is the time it can take for people to cross back into the United States.

Platt Mazon said some of that is within the control of Sonora, like widening the road between Puerto Penasco and the border. The rest, however, may require the cooperation of — and funding from — federal governments in both countries.

Ducey said he sees having a cruise port within three hours of the state's largest city as a new — and what might be unexpected — economic benefit.
"We talk about the quality of life here," he told Capitol Media Services. "We think our geographic location to a port like Puerto Penasco ... just provides another tourism opportunity for people in our state."

Ducey called it "a big win" for the state. And even for those who may not be interested in cruises, the promise of improved roads and a better border crossing has benefits.
"As beautiful as it is here in the desert, we need an easy, convenient way to get to the beach," the governor said.

"There's tourism opportunities on both sides of the border," Ducey continued. "And this is one that Angela (his wife) and I and our family will certainly take advantage of."

Still, there is no absolute guarantee that the port, now half built, will happen.
Plans and construction began four years ago, with progress in fits and starts.



Friday, June 2, 2017



New leaders for two Border Patrol stations
Craig Smith
7:50 PM, Jun 1, 2017

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - There are two new leaders taking on the challenge of two busy Border Patrol stations.

The 500 agents at the Nogales Border Patrol station will be led by Sabri Dikman.  

John Scanlon will be commanding about 180 agents at the station in Willcox.

They've both seen a lot of changes in their 19 years as agents.
John Scanlon says drug smuggling used to have more small operations.  Now they're large, criminal networks.

He says, "Now one of the challenges we come across in Willcox is adjusting quickly to changes in smuggling tactics.  So where as maybe ten or fifteen years ago we would see ten or fifteen aliens in a car, now we see one or two aliens in the trunk, vs a more packed car.  As far as narcotics smuggling we get cases like a hearse that has a coffin full of narcotics, that came out in the news so as the smuggling tactics change we need to adjust quickly to adapt to that."

The agents say illegal crossing have been going down but border concerns mean recruitment for new agents is going up.

"It's a phenomenal job, great career and once they are hired and are on duty at the station we set them up with peer mentors to help them assimilate to the local environment."

And the agents hope civilians understand they are your neighbors working to keep the community safe.


Feds don hazmat suits during suspected fentanyl bust in Rio Rico
By Arielle Zionts 
Nogales International 14 hrs ago  (0)

Fentanyl is so dangerous, law enforcement officers use personal protective equipment to handle it, as seen here in a photo taken after a seizure in April at a Nogales port of entry.
A Rio Rico home suspected of housing a dangerous narcotic was searched by federal agents wearing hazmat suits last month while local first responders stood by in case of an emergency.

Ray Sayre, director of emergency management in Santa Cruz County, said in situations like this where the synthetic opioid fentanyl is suspected to be present, it's a "no-brainer."

"We're going to use the highest level of protection that we have," he said.

The Santa Cruz County Regional Hazmat Team – consisting of personal from the Rio Rico, Tubac and Nogales fire districts – was dispatched to the site during the May 8 search in case they needed to decontaminate an agent exposed to the substance, Sayre said. A paramedic team with naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid effects, was also on standby.

Yasmeen Pitts O'Keefe, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, confirmed that agents from ICE's Homeland Security Investigations executed a federal search warrant for drug possession at the home on Paseo Cieneguita. However, because the warrant is sealed, she could not say if there were any arrests or what substance or scenario (a laboratory, distribution site, etc.) they were looking for.

Sayre said the home was suspected of housing fentanyl, a painkiller 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine that can cause respiratory distress and eventual cardiac arrest. He noted that fentanyl can be used safely and legally when administered by medical professionals.

According to the DEA, fentanyl comes in several forms including powder, blotter paper, tablets and spray. Its dosage amount is a microgram, about the same as a few granules of table salt, and can be deadly even at very low doses.

Sayre said the identity of the substance at the home was not confirmed on site because there is no field test for the drug. In case it was indeed fentanyl, he said, HSI agents wore hazmat suits with self-contained breathing systems because the drug may have been airborne and can be ingested via the mouth and skin.

The DEA has warned law enforcement, public health workers and first responders about the deadly hazards of contact with fentanyl, and two cases last month show the reality of that danger and the growing concern over exposure. In Ohio, a police officer accidentally overdosed when he came into contact with powdered fentanyl while searching a vehicle, and in Manitoba, Canada, a postal worker refused a paramedic's 911 instruction to perform CPR on an unresponsive woman because he feared the woman had overdosed on fentanyl.

Neither Sayre nor Genaro Rivera, assistant fire chief at the Tubac Fire District, who was at the Rio Rico home on May 8, knew how much of the drug was found there or whether it was being manufactured, sold or used for personal consumption.

Sayre said after the HSI agents completed their search, they locked the house and covered it with signs and stickers warning not to enter. If the substance is confirmed to be fentanyl, the homeowner would need to hire a professional decontamination company to clean the property, he said.

Nationwide trend

As a synthetic opiate painkiller, fentanyl is being mixed with heroin to increase its potency, exacerbating the opioid crisis in the United States and Canada. That crisis has largely bypassed Santa Cruz County – overdose deaths were so uncommon in 2014 that the Arizona Department of Health Services could not provide a reliable statistic for the county – but local authorities are concerned that the trend could change.

"If we look at it from a nationwide perspective, it looks like everybody is seeing traces of (fentanyl)," Rivera said, adding: "I think there's more of it to come (in the local area)."

Sayre agreed, saying: "We suspected that we were going to have this issue come forward because it's happening all over the United States and that's what's called the opioid crisis."

He said while fentanyl and similar opioids have been apprehended at the border in Nogales, this was the first time his office responded to an instance where the substance was suspected of being stored in a local home.

In late April, a man was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for smuggling 23 pounds of fentanyl worth $378,000 through the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry. Early that month, CBP officers used protective equipment to remove five pounds of the drug from a woman smuggling the substance in her infant's stroller at the Morley Avenue pedestrian crossing.