As Fulano blogged on Saturday, the former Mayor of Tijuana, Jorge Hank Rhon, was arrested at his house and a cache of illegal weapons were discovered.
The Mexican press is covering every minute detail of what is going on, and politicians have lined up along party lines on the issue. As Hank Rhon is a powerful member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI for its initials in Spanish) every PRI politician has voiced strong opposition to Rhon’s arrest, claiming politics and dirty tricks as the motivation for his arrest.
There is a cacophony of competing accusations and rebuttals endlessly streaming across the wires. One island of clarity in all this is a Wikileak of a consular message from former American consul in Tijuana Richard Kramer. In it, Kramer accuses Hank Rhon of harboring criminals and using Mexican police on his payroll. Here is 09TIJUANA709:
R 082351Z JUL 09
FM AMCONSUL TIJUANA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8977
INFO AMEMBASSY MEXICO
ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
SUBJECT: LAW ENFORCEMENT HIGH JINKS IN TJ: HOW NARCOTRAFFICKERS EVADE AUTHORITIES
CLASSIFIED BY: ARADETSKY, Political Officer, Pol/Econ, STATE. REASON: 1.4 (d)
1. (C) Mexican state and federal authorities have made impressive numbers of arrests and narcotics seizures over the last two years in Baja California, weakening, but not defeating, the organized crime syndicates that operate in the state. Despite these successes, the complex interactions among the various local and federal law enforcement agencies and local powerbrokers make Baja California, and Tijuana in particular, still a relatively safe place for narcotraffickers to ply their trade.
2. (C) This fact was demonstrated by a June 30 incident in front of Consulate Tijuana. Acting on information from the law enforcement community (LEC), Post’s ARSO requested Baja California State Preventative Police (PEP) appear at the Consulate to arrest an American citizen who had a U.S. arrest warrant for drug trafficking and was scheduled to come in to renew his passport that day. PEP forces, as they have done in similar cases in the past, duly stationed an unmarked car outside the Consulate and waited for the subject to exit the building. However, when the subject walked out, he entered a Crown Victoria vehicle with two body guards which quickly sped off and entered the parking lot of the Agua Caliente Racetrack, across the street from the Consulate, which is owned by Tijuana former mayor Jorge Hank Rohn. (NOTE: it is unclear if the bodyguards inside the Crown Victoria were policemen offering protection to the subject or part of Hank’s security apparatus, but the Crown Victoria is a typical car used by policemen who provide protection for drug traffickers or government officials). As soon as the vehicle entered the Racetrack, the PEP forces stopped their (half-hearted) pursuit and told ARSO that they “could not enter” the racetrack. And that was that.
3. (C) Hank is widely believed to have been a corrupt mayor and to be still involved in narco-trafficking. Post usually receives exceptional cooperation from the PEP, but our normal liaison declined to involve himself in this case, and ARSO also found it odd that the PEP stationed outside the Consulate did not use normal police situational awareness procedures to notice the Crown Victoria before the subject’s escape. Despite Hank’s political defeat in the 2007 Baja California gubernatorial race, he still enjoys wide influence in Tijuana, and state law enforcement officials appear unwilling to meddle on areas considered his turf. This is not the first time law enforcement agencies from outside Tijuana have rubbed up against Hank. Just a month ago, Mexican military forces were involved in a standoff with local security at Hank’s racetrack. There are still plenty of safe havens for organized crime in the border region.
Half a million dollars worth of marijuana was seized from smugglers who used a portable truck ramp to illegally enter the U.S. from Mexico early Thursday morning.
Border Patrol agents assigned to Yuma Station were patrolling near the southern most end of Foothills Boulevard and the international boundary on the Barry M. Goldwater Range just before dawn when they encountered a 2001 Jeep Cherokee driving northbound from the fence at a high rate of speed.
“The hours of darkness are always more busy than during the daylight,” said Kenneth Quillin, supervisory Border Patrol agent for the Yuma Sector Communications Division.
Agents attempted to initiate a vehicle stop when the vehicle suddenly changed directions and headed back toward Mexico. The vehicle’s occupants abandoned the vehicle in the U.S. and fled to Mexico.
“Where they returned back south is where the fence is up against a natural barrier – a mountain range – and they went around the fence,” Quillin said.
Inside the SUV, agents discovered 1,000 pounds of marijuana.
The Cherokee had entered the United States over a large ramp placed over the fence to create a portable bridge. The fence is about 12 feet tall.
MEXICO CITY — Mexicans are in a funk over their president, and a majority of them think that he’s losing control of the country, an opinion poll released Tuesday found.
Six out of 10 Mexicans think that organized crime gangs are getting the upper hand in the war that President Felipe Calderon launched against drug trafficking when he came to office in late 2006, the poll by Demotecnia found.
Fulano had stopped posting the gory photos of what is really going on in Mexico for awhile. There was concern that people would just become desensitized to it all, and turn it all off from information overload. But, it’s time for a refresher. Here is an event that happened yesterday evening around 9PM in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. This scene is at the intersection of Paseo Colón and Leandro Valle, in Nuevo Laredo. This is one-mile from the United States. One mile. This is not some isolated event. This is happening every single day all over Mexico.
A group of heavily armed men arrived at the site where, according to witnesses, they took their own sweet time positioning the bodies and staging the scene.
The four men, who were decapitated and with their pants pulled down to their ankles, were seen by hundreds of people passing through the area before authorities arrived on the scene.
The narco banner next to them reads:
“ESTO ME PASO POR RELAJE Y PANOCHON PERO LES JURO QUE NO LO VUELVO HACER. ATENCION CDG SIGUE MANDANDO MAS PENDEJOS DE ESTOS PINCHE BOLA DE PANOCHONES IGUAL QUE SU PATRON OSIEL”.
“This happened to me for being a snitch and a pussy, but I swear I won’t do that again. Attention CDG [Gulf Cartel]: Keep sending more assholes from that bunch of fucking pussies just like your boss Osiel.”
Don’t watch the video if you are squeamish:
We know it’s not an insurgency because the Mexican government tells us so.
Look what the Mexican Army is finding. These weapons were pulled out of a car on the freeway in Reynosa. Rocket propelled grenade launchers, fragmentation grenades as well as gas grenades, and enough AK-47 ammunition for an infantry company.
La Familia drug cartel is selling not just drugs, but also counterfeit Microsoft Office computer software, according the Redmond, Wash., tech giant.
Microsoft showed off unauthorized copies of its Office 2007 software in Paris today which the company said it found for sale in Mexico. The pirated copies of Office were marked with La Familia cartel’s rectangular “FMM” logo that the Microsoft says proves the link between the counterfeiting and the organized crime group, according to a Bloomberg report.
“This is the real side, the scary side of counterfeiting and it plagues the world,” said David Finn, Microsoft’s associate general counsel for anti-piracy, according to Bloomberg.
Finn displayed the bootleg Microsoft software Friday at the Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy, the report said.
Finn, Microsoft’s attorney, wrote in a company blog post that, according to an analysis by Mexico’s attorney general, drug cartels in Mexico have a “sophisticated distribution network of 180,000 points of sale in stores, markets and kiosks, earning more than $2.2 million dollars in revenue every day.”
A retired army general who took over a month ago as police chief of the violence-wracked Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo has been shot to death along with two of his bodyguards.
A spokesman for the Nuevo Laredo public safety department says Manuel Farfan was shot to death in the center of the city, which is located across the border from Laredo, Texas.