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Mexico's Drug Lords Are Dropping Like Flies

longknife

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by The Economist @ Mexico's Drug Lords Are Dropping Like Flies - Business Insider


Mexico Cartel Arrest Joaquin Guzman

The most wanted men in Mexico are tumbling. Will crime follow suit?

IN MARCH 2009 the Mexican government published a list of 37 men believed to be running drug gangs. The alleged bandits were named and rewards of up to 30m pesos ($2m) each were offered for their capture. The government's normally stodgy official gazette listed the villains by their nicknames: Monkey, Beardy, Taliban and so on. It was a risky decision: the list could have become an embarrassment if its members had remained free.

But most have not. Three and a half years on, security forces have arrested 16 of them and killed seven. Two more have been murdered by rivals. That leaves just 12 at large--though among them is the leader of the Sinaloa "cartel", Joaquín Guzmán (known as El Chapo or "Shorty"), who is the most wanted of all.

On October 7th the marines killed the latest target, Heriberto "The Executioner" Lazcano, who was allegedly head of the Zetas, one of Mexico's two most powerful mobs. In an embarrassing twist, government officials thought they had merely dispatched a common criminal until a group of gunmen--presumably fellow Zetas--entered the funeral home where the body was kept and drove off with it in a hearse. Conspiracy theorists now wonder if Mr Lazcano faked his own death and is living out his days under a parasol in Cancún. Fingerprints and photos of the corpse suggest otherwise.

Snatched bodies aside, the downing of so many drug lords is a success for Felipe Calderón, whose presidency will end on December 1st. The Gulf "cartel", one of the region's oldest and most powerful mafias, has been virtually wiped out. (Its boss, Jorge Costilla, was arrested last month.) The Beltrán Leyva organisation, once so formidable that it infiltrated the attorney-general's office, is all but gone. The Zetas have been hurt by a series of arrests this year. Even Sinaloa, the strongest and canniest group, has lost important members.
What is it good for?

Despite it all, the murder rate is nearly twice as high as it was when Mr Calderón took office six years ago. In some cases the capture of kingpins has led to feuds among their deputies, fuelling the violence. Mr Calderón admits that the fall of Mr Lazcano might not immediately calm things down, though he says he expects a "period of stabilisation" to follow a "readjustment of the criminal organisations".

But when? It is nearly three years since the killing of Arturo Beltrán Leyva, and his old fiefs of Guerrero and Morelos now see 60% and 180% more murders than they did when he was alive. "It is precisely because there has not been an authority to replace that hegemony," Mr Calderón says. "If a cartel is weakened and made vulnerable, as the Beltrán Leyvas were, but there is no authority to assume the roles of leadership and enforcement, clearly that prolongs the situation." The blame, he implies, lies with state and local governments. "I would like nothing more than to be mayor of Acapulco [in Guerrero] as well...but the truth is that there is a local government and there is a governor of Guerrero, who between them have 5,000 police, and the desirable thing is that those police work. And while that doesn't happen, well, evidently a process of instability will continue."

A national vetting scheme has weeded out some of the worst police. But so far ten of the 31 states (including Guerrero) have not evaluated even half their forces. The federal police, by no means completely clean, enjoy greater public confidence: 55% think they do a decent job, versus 42% for state police and 36% for local police. Enrique Peña Nieto, the president-elect, has promised to swell the federal police's ranks by drafting in 40,000 soldiers.

Some individual captures do seem to have helped. José Antonio Acosta, who has admitted to planning hundreds of killings for the Juárez gang in Chihuahua, was arrested in 2011. So far this year murders in the state have fallen by about a third. The removal of bloodthirsty lieutenants such as Mr Acosta may be less destabilising than the falls of capos. "If you're taking out the middle layer, the risk of succession fights might be diminished," says Alejandro Hope of IMCO, a think-tank. The recent captures of various mid-ranking Zetas, such as "El Lucky" and "the Squirrel", might limit the infighting following the death of their leader.

Mexico's national murder rate has fallen by 8% this year, the first decline since drug-related violence took off in 2008. Mr Peña, who vowed to lead a "government that keeps its promises" during his campaign, says he aims to reduce it by half during his six-year tenure. (He will take last year's rate as the base, giving him a small head start.) That is an ambitious goal. But as the dwindling most-wanted list shows, unlikely targets can sometimes be hit.

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waltky

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Mexican Beauty Queen Killed in Shootout...
:eusa_eh:
Mexican state beauty queen killed in shootout between suspected traffickers, soldiers
Nov 27, 2012 : 20-year-old may have fired back at army
A 20-year-old state beauty queen died in a gun battle between soldiers and the alleged gang of drug traffickers she was traveling with in a scene befitting the hit movie "Miss Bala," or "Miss Bullet," about Mexico's not uncommon ties between narcos and beautiful pageant contestants. The body of Maria Susana Flores Gamez was found Saturday lying near an assault rifle on a rural road in a mountainous area of the drug-plagued state of Sinaloa, the chief state prosecutor said Monday. It was unclear if she had used the weapon. "She was with the gang of criminals, but we cannot say whether she participated in the shootout," state prosecutor Marco Antonio Higuera said. "That's what we're going to have to investigate."

The slender, 5-foot-7-inch brunette was voted the 2012 Woman of Sinaloa in a beauty pageant in February. In June, the model competed with other seven contestants for the more prestigious state beauty contest, Our Beauty Sinaloa, but didn't win. The Our Beauty state winners compete for the Miss Mexico title, whose holder represents the country in the international Miss Universe. Higuera said Flores Gamez was traveling in one of the vehicles that engaged soldiers in an hours-long chase and running gun battle on Saturday near her native city of Guamuchil in the state of Sinaloa, home to Mexico's most powerful drug cartel. Higuera said two other members of the drug gang were killed and four were detained.


In this April 26, 2012 photo, Maria Susana Flores Gamez poses for a photo for a story about upcoming representation of Mexico at a beauty pageant in China, in Culiacan, Mexico.

The shootout began when the gunmen opened fire on a Mexican army patrol. Soldiers gave chase and cornered the gang at a safe house in the town of Mocorito. The other men escaped, and the gunbattle continued along a nearby roadway, where the gang's vehicles were eventually stopped. Six vehicles, drugs and weapons were seized following the confrontation. It was at least the third instance in which a beauty queen or pageant contestants have been linked to Mexico's violent drug gangs, a theme so common it was the subject of a critically acclaimed 2011 movie.

In "Miss Bala," Mexico's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of this year's Academy Awards, a young woman competing for Miss Baja California becomes an unwilling participant in a drug-running ring, finally getting arrested for deeds she was forced into performing. In real life, former Miss Sinaloa Laura Zuniga was stripped of her 2008 crown in the Hispanoamerican Queen pageant after she was detained on suspicion of drug and weapons violations. She was later released without charges. Zuniga was detained in western Mexico in late 2010 along with seven men, some of them suspected drug traffickers. Authorities found a large stash of weapons, ammunition and $53,300 with them inside a vehicle.

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Soldiers: Mexico beauty queen had gun in her hands
Nov 27,`12 -- Mexican soldiers say beauty queen Maria Susana Flores Gamez had a gun in her hands when she was killed in a hail of gunfire over the weekend.
A federal official says soldiers described the confrontation in a military report. The official had access to the report but is not authorized to be quoted by name.

The report says the gunmen she was traveling with lined up behind Flores Gamez as they descended from vehicles and shot it out with soldiers, suggesting she may have been used as a human shield.

The federal official said Tuesday that investigators were still awaiting tests to determine whether she fired the assault rifle found near her body. Two other gunmen were killed in the hours-long gunbattle Saturday in the northern state of Sinaloa.

Source
 
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Katzndogz

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g5000

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When a power vacuum is created in Gangsta's Paradise, there will be a lot of blood while everyone fights to become the new Boss.

A federal prison I used to do volunteer work in learned this the hard way.

.
 

PredFan

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When a power vacuum is created in Gangsta's Paradise, there will be a lot of blood while everyone fights to become the new Boss.

A federal prison I used to do volunteer work in learned this the hard way.

.
This too saying pretty much the same thing.
 

PredFan

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This is just someone new taking over.

If the police take out your competition, you can become the kingpin. So why not give the police your rivals?
 

g5000

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This is just someone new taking over.

If the police take out your competition, you can become the kingpin. So why not give the police your rivals?
Or give the American military your tribal rivals to send to Gitmo...

.
 
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longknife

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How quickly all of this would disappear if the USA legalized drugs!!!
 

waltky

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Even though it might start new cartel violence in retaliation, as bad as things are in Mexico - can ya blame `em?...
:eusa_eh:
Armed vigilante groups policing 2 Mexican towns
January 12, 2013 — Several hundred civilians have taken up arms in two towns in a southwestern Mexico state and are arresting people suspected of crimes and imposing a curfew, leading authorities to promise to reinforce security forces in the area.
People wearing ski masks or bandanas and carrying small arms this week began manning checkpoints on roads into the municipalities of Ayutla de los Libres and Teconoapa in Guerrero state's Costa Chica area about 75 miles southeast of the Pacific resort of Acapulco. Leaders said they were acting against crime and insecurity. Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre Rivero responded Friday by announcing that security in the region would be bolstered by sending in Mexican soldiers and marines and federal and state police officers.

People in the area said about 800 residents were participating in the armed groups acting as unofficial police. The vigilantes ordered a 10 p.m. curfew for the two towns and are looking for suspected criminals. Schools have suspended classes. In Ayutla, Romualdo Remigio Cantu, one of the coordinators for the civic group Union of Peoples and Social Organizations of Guerrero, said that more than 30 people had been arrested. The detainees are accused of drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping, he said.

A man in a ski mask at one roadblock told reporters that townspeople had to act against criminals. "They kill, extort, rape. You do not know if they are drug dealers, thugs, who want to grab everything," he said. "We want to return peace and tranquility to the entire population. Only the people can restore order."

Armed vigilante groups policing 2 Mexican towns
 
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whitehall

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Actually Mexico's citizens have been "dropping like flies" since the US A.G. authorized 3,000 illegal weapons to be shipped to the drug cartels. The approximate death tally is around 400 Mexican citizens and one US Border Patrol officer. A couple of arrests might take the pressure off.
 

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