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The report above is entirely misleading. The Mexican military controls the town of Apatzingan. Mexican revolutionaries (a.k.a., self-defense groups or vigilantes) control the countryside. So it’s not the Knights Templar drug cartel vs. government troops protecting the locals. It’s the Knights Templar allied with government troops vs. inhabitants. To regain control of the region from the locals, the Government has pacified the drug thugs – by secret agreement – and called for the revolutionaries to register their members and arms. So far, only eight out of twenty such groups have cooperated. Allegedly. The Government plans to bide their time, withdraw quietly and let the drug thugs exact retributions as and when. Then it’s business as usual for the cartels and the Government gets its vig. What if the revolutionaries don’t put down their guns? Will the Mexican Government turn on the them? Count on it. Meanwhile, Borderland Beat reporter J writes on the endless War on Drugs . . .

As violence, insecurity, with a glimmer of hope consume Michoacan, several hundred miles away, and Chino Antrax awaits extradition from Holland to San Diego, across the Atlantic, the integral parts of the business remain.  Sometimes lost in the headlines, substantial or interesting seizures continue, in timeless fashion, with shipments of product moving north, and money and weapons heading south.

January 22nd 2014: In the mid afternoon a 52-year-old San Diego man was stopped as he attempted to cross the San Ysidro border into Tijuana. He was driving a 2011 Sienna minivan, and carrying 17 high-powered weapons parts, and 64 boxes of ammunition, about 2500 bullets total, and seven magazines. He was placed into the custody of Homeland Security, with an immigration hold.

That same week in Tijuana, a man linked to Caballeros Templarios, a weapons broker and buyer for the troubled cartel, was arrested Manuel Alejandro Zuniga Garcia, ‘El Pelon’. He made statements to the PEPOS (Special Police for organized crime), saying in essence he was in Tijuana to buy weapons to take to Michoacan, coordinated by his two uncles, one in the States, and on in Michocan. He was in Tijuana to receive a shipment of weapons.

January 23rd 2014: Last week at the San Clemente U.S Customs & Border Patrol checkpoint, between Tijuana and Los Angeles, officers intercepted 670 pounds of cocaine, from a 2011 Hyundai Elentra. It was nearly 1:30 am when the compact car rolled into the station, likely eerily vacant, with piercing floodlights and tired agents, on their third cup of stale coffee from the break room. The man, 54 was dressed in a suit and tie, which is odd for the hour, and after discovering he was not an US citizen, as claimed, he was pulled over for inspection.

K-9 units alerted on the car, and officers pulled out 45 cardboard boxes, each neatly packed with wrapped kilos of cocaine, 304 in all. His name was not released, and he was turned over to the DEA. The San Clemente station is known to be open sporadically, perhaps between the late hour, and the haphazard details of a large shipment, it could be speculated that someone assumed the stop would be closed. Yet, there was no front car, or run through to check, on the smuggler’s part? At that late hour? A suit & tie works for early morning, or evening, even midday…yet stands out at 1:15 AM. Likely nothing will ever be known about the driver, or his case, or the origin of the seized drugs. It is very possible this wasn’t a random interdiction.

January 28th 2014: Less than a week later, a Uzbekistan national, permanent US resident was stopped, driving a car carrier, northbound.  National Guard members, after a K-9 alert, performed an X-Ray inspection, which led the Guardsmen to irregularities in the bumpers of two Acura MDX’s on the back of the carrier.  The bumpers held 49 bundles of cash, with markings indicating amount, and covered in silver duct tape.  The packages held 1.5 million in US currency.  The money, the cars, and the driver were all detained and held.

The same day in Pine Valley, interstate 8, 15 pounds of cocaine were seized from the frame of a vehicle.

Two days later, a U.S. [Customs and Border Patrol] unit patrolling the I-5, stopped a vehicle headed south, and discovered a 39-year-old Mexican national, with a valid Visa.  Also, carrying 10,000 in his pockets, and 49,900 in a jacket, and a bag in the vehicle.  He claimed the 10,000, as his, denying knowledge of the other stash.  He was remanded to the custody of the Department of Homeland Security.

Are there links and interconnected webs of commerce, investigations, and alliances?  Certainly.  I cannot begin to unravel them here, leave the readers to their own conclusions.  Is the Uzbekistan national and the 1.5 million, headed north linked to organized crime in Mexico, and the US? Or different syndicates at play?  Money from down the coast, prostitution, drugs, stolen goods, headed to Russian bosses in LA?  Or was it related to drug sales and Mexican TCO’s?  Going to LA to be laundered, or transported south, via ship or plane?  Invested in property?

There are rumors in San Diego, and unofficial statements pertaining to the triple murder of three San Diego young adults, in late December.  Two were found murdered on Christmas Eve, at a mall, in a violent late night shooting.  A brother of one of the victims, and fiancée of the female victim was found weeks later, decomposing in the trunk of his Camry.  Italians from Utah with no record, who worked in a small Italian restaurant, owned by family members, nonetheless drugs and money are the whispers.

Blood, drugs, money, investigations, arrests, articles, it all wears on in a tireless, endless, existence, for everyone involved.  A civil war rages in Michoacan, the crystal crosses the border, and an addict burglarizes a home, or steals a car, high on meth.  7.62’s rip through birthdays, school clothes, flesh, bone, and leave nameless victims laying in a burning state.  Prices rise, spokesmen and women give statements to the press, people get their 35 years, and final words to the District judge.  And, it all means nothing, or everything, dependent upon your perspective.

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  1. A civil war and humanitarian crisis is coming to Mexico right on our doorstep the Mexican government has shown how evil and corrupt they are. When full blown skirmishes break out between the army and the people both sides will ask America for help and drag us into that quagmire

        • The FBI and DHS turn a blind eye to the people streaming across the border. The ATF sends them weapons. the DEA rides in Federale vehicles. The CIA and NSA support them all, and everyone’s retirement is more than you or I make working.

          Yeah, we picked a side. When they asked us 30 years ago. This is a serious business for our Government. Not the kind you think…

        • Damn, that’s the most brilliant single-line summation of the 40 year War on Drugs I think I’ve ever seen.

    • The Mexican government corrupt? You have seen that the American gov has been trafficking drugs for decades. The “Fast & Furious” guns. Thousands of dead Mexicans as “Sinaloa Cartel” AKA American gov’s drug dealers.

      Also this has been going on for years! The drug dealers AKA Knights Templar started taking wives and daughters. You know “we are taking your wife (or daughter)” and after me and 20 of my pals get done with her we will drop her somewhere and you can have whats left back. Don’t like it? I have a gun and you don’t. That was the final straw for the Farmers. They had been handing over their cash, that is when they started to fight back. They knew the Mexican gov was backing that cartel 60 reporters are dead reporting on the American govs connections with the Sinaloa Cartel as well.

      • One of my personal favorites is “J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.”

        Mosty the Knights Templar use a weirder-than-usual flavor of Christianity to justify violent suppression of dissent, extortion, torture, murder, and other generally unsavory acts.

        If you read many history books, you’ll know this really isn’t anything new when it comes to ‘reasons for being douchebags’.

        Either it’s money or it’s “I’m righteous and you’re not”.

        Or both.

    • They are Catholic and chose the name as they validate their working with the gov. There is a section of road down there along the beach a close friend warned me you only drive that road on Sunday. The Banditos are in church as the Mafia was they need to go to confession. Vatican City was built using “indulgences” pay offs for absolution for sins some paid in advance of the sin. I am a Bible type not church type. Big difference.

  2. If all Americans would stop drug use/abuse, all this would collapse in a month. The fuel for all of this is American dollars and the organized groups bribe each other, but would rather give a bullet than a dollar to the Mexican citizens.

    • Where have you been for the past 40 years?

      I was gonna say something about being stoned, but plainly that’s not it.

      “If the sun would stop shining, I’d quit getting these damn sunburns.”

      You, sir, just flunked the logic exam.

    • You have persons voluntarily buying a product that other persons are willingly selling. The issue is not that drug misuse and/or abuse is or isn’t bad (it is); the issue is that drug prohibition is worse. The prohibition directly helps organized crime, since legitimate businesspeople won’t participate, but the demand is still there. And the demand will almost certainly always be there.

      As a side note, trying to treat a medical problem with the criminal justice system is just plain dumb.

      • +1 for a rational explanation.

        Sorry, Paul, but I get a little carried away when old gringos (male and female) make policy based on statements like yours.

        Replace the drugs in Chips’ explaination above with “guns” and “gun violence” and you’ll see what I mean.

      • You say it is dumb, but that is a matter of perspective. Criminalizing even popular drugs provides an excellent framework for criminalizing the users and dealers….at least the ones you choose to go after and prosecute. And as a result one out of three urban minority men are now “proscribed persons.” Others can be turned into proscribed persons easily enough just by watching them closely, or using a provocateur or confidential informant.

        The result is a much more manageable population. The press regularly documents the governments efforts to back away from upper and upper middle class users, just as long as they don’t make trouble. I know of no government in history (and no financial/power elites) that have not relied on these or similar tactics to neutralize opposition. When you watch the superbowl, just remember that Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas has a mother and grandmother in jail for 20 years and for life, respectively, for drug dealing. Yet JP Morgan was fined 1.5 billion dollars for, essentially, fraud… and no one went to jail. Hell, those JPM guys are at the superbowl in super boxes. “It’s only money….”

        • Fair point …

          I’ll say if the real objective is to get people who are abusing or misusing drugs some help, then trying to “treat” them with the criminal justice system is dumb.

          If, on the other hand, the real objective is to stigmatize and dehumanize an entire group of people by declaring them to be criminals, then it’s a rousing success.

      • Wouldn’t it make more sense to legalize marijuana so that it is regulated and taxed like tobacco. We would still have stiff penalties for import but the demand for imported weed dwindles while the govt gets a new source of tax revenue. Jobs are created and everyone is happy. heck it might even reduce some of the drug related violent crime.

        • “Wouldn’t it make more sense to legalize marijuana so that it is regulated and taxed like tobacco.”

          Denver has done exactly that, now we only have to observe. I seem to recall reading where the tax revenues are astonishing. Haven’t heard anything about the impact on the cops’ jobs (like they have to nail real criminals to get their quota).

    • Stopping drug use; not gonna happen. However, it would seriously
      help is the US Government stopped overtly supporting drug users
      and by default the drug trade. How? Ask your local LE and ERs etc
      just how many career users get full SSI benefits and welfare. After
      all willful drug use is a disability. And the only way to solve this
      problem is to throw massive amounts of your money at the problem.

        • Rich, stop it. Seriously.

          The policies you suggest are (almost always) intelligent, simple to implement, and with wide-reaching benefits.

          How come I never see any of these proposals from the two-party system?

          I just might vote for you, and everyone knows that voting for a third party candidate is practically throwing my vote away.

          Too bad I haven’t reached the age cutoff yet. I’d be down to run as your veep, just as long as I get to borrow Air Force Two whenever I want, personally disband at least half of the alphabet soup agencies, and lead the charge in converting our suddenly empty prisons into vast organic greenhouses.

        • But I’m so obviously crazy! I believe that the government should be forced to follow the Constitution! That makes me the a dangerous radical! 😀

        • You’re right the Gov should just end it all, especially as long as
          they don’t take the war seriously. If someone wants to pump
          dangerous chemicals into themselves it’s their business. It’s only
          at the moment that it impacts someone else (DUI etc.) that it
          becomes everyone’s problems.

          What I take issue with is the government actively enabling willful
          drug users. I’ve seen far too many users that are given enough
          aid so they don’t have to work. Many aren’t even made to get
          treatment let alone get clean, simply sit at home and collect tax
          payer funded checks.

        • Well, you can’t actually buy drugs with food stamps, but I bet you could get your dealer to trade a glad-bag for some steaks. 😉

          For the record, I’m against welfare, too.

        • Oh, but you can. Many cards let you simply withdraw cash. I used
          to sit with some LEO friends near a local bank and on “payday”
          we’d watch all the area users withdraw everything and promptly
          go to the nearest dealer. Some dealers are openly using EBT
          cards either through a front or simply taking the cards in trade.
          Again for me, the problem is that the government knows this is
          happening (at the expense of taxpayers and those that actually
          need help no less) and they deliberately bury their heads in the

        • Well, there you go. Legal drugs wouldn’t be food, so they couldn’t get them with stamps. I found out recently that I couldn’t put cough syrup on it. Yes, I’m a hypocrite – I get food stamps, but I claim it’s because of the Obammunomics.

          And they shouldn’t allow people to get cash for their stamps. Or just fire the damn government, privatize everything, and people would be able to afford stuff.

    • If we could all just live and let live and let people smoke their joints and drink their whiskey in peace, we could dissolve this problem. Mexico makes oceans of tequila and mezcal every year and you never hear about roving bands of alco-terrorists executing mexican farmers. That is because alcohol is legal in America. Mexico prohibits drugs because America prohibits drugs.

  3. Seems to me the Mexican .gov is making lots of money with and because of the cartels. Why would the mexican elites care if someone has a crack problem in Houston? All they care about is some grease money from drug profits to pay for the villa in Acupulco. Face it their elites are no better than ours.

  4. There’s obviously plenty of government officials in Mexico corrupted by the cartels, but I don’t get this idea that TTAG has been pushing that the government and the cartels are one-in-the-same and that the militias are really rebelling against the government.

    • It’s only my opinion, take it for what it’s worth. But the cartels couldn’t operate so freely and literally take over whole towns without the support of the government or governments(US).

      For the mexican people, fighting the cartels means fighting at least their government. And quite possibly ours as well.

      • I find such talk alarming. Of course it is easy to hide in a large free country. Security forces are far fewer in Mexico than in the US. That isn’t all bad. On the one hand folks here like to smirk at Mexican security forces (in an implicit comparison with our own), and on the other hand complain about how ubiquitious, how vigorous, and how forceful ours have become. I’m not sure we can have it both ways.

        These same things were said in the 30’s when John Dillinger and Machine Gun Kelley were robbing banks and visiting their families for dinner before resuming their shenanigans and embarrassing local police forces. FDR and JE Hoover solved that with a war on crime, including an omnibus crime bill (part and parcel of the New Deal), and a vast expansion of a federal police force that soon went by the name FBI. How has that worked out for us?

        Every nation faces or has faced the choice Mexico is facing now. We’ve made our choices and you’d never know our solution is now threatening our very freedoms at their most basic level in this sort of smug and cynical knowingness displayed towards Mexico. But oftentimes that is the primary purpose (besides getting ad revenue).

        • But the cartels aren’t hiding. They’re right out in plain sight, conducting executions and terrorizing whole towns. And if the Mexican government was earnest they have an army to go against these thugs. But they’re trying to disarm the self defense groups.

        • Exactly right, jwm. AND the cartels are openly running towns and offing officials in broad daylight, while the Federales watch TV in their enclave in the next town.

        • But my point is that if your view doesn’t even rise to the level of enlightened cynicism, as opposed to full cynicism without explanation, what is the point of uttering these platitudes?

          Look, you talk to Mexican citizens and you’ll find the same dynamic you will anywhere with criminality. You’ll find those who think the way to go is to avoid a “head on” or “direct war” and to slowly act, and those that favor a full-on no-hold war, whatever you want to call it. That type of “high noon” reasoning is apparent in any confrontation.

          Whether conflict is open or not, that is the psychological dynamic in all conflict, anywhere, foreign or domestic. But to evade politics entirely, and not bring anything to a debate other than the imputation of your own simplistic cynicism onto the actors is just not really informative in any way. Why bother? Oh, right. It’s always enjoyable to sneer at the perfidy of others. All I see is ignorance of politics. I don’t see any real interest in Mexico or even this type of conflict.

        • And while I’m single-handedly injecting some actual information (as opposed to generic nihilistic pessimism) to this aspect of the debate, do you not realize that the other part of the equation is that the violence is extreme because the government went after the Narcos vigorously under Calderon?

          To put it bluntly, aside from the shifting of drug corridors decades earlier, the main reason we are seeing such extreme violence in recent years in because the government cut the head off the snake. Them are the facts folks. It is not altogether clear to me the strategy of the new administration, but it was purported to be increased accommodation. Whether that was campaign rhetoric or not, and the degree to which we can see Calderon/Nieto as a form of the Bush/Obama idealist/realist divide electoral flip-flop, which is a natural aspect of the “high noon” psychological aspect I mentioned earlier remains to be seen. In time we’ll know.

          But the fact is a lot of blood and treasure were expended to do something that was highly controversial and politically risky, and the public debate over it raged exactly as it does in the US over foreign interventions, at least since or while our organized crime wars are seen to have been suppressed. Crudely stated, accommodation because of fear of consequences of direct and vigorous conflict, or direct and head on opposition or war.

          I really can’t understand why such sophisticated people really recognize that things can be so complex at home, and yet so simple as to match their self-serving dark fantasies elsewhere. Sorry to be so blunt, but I’m just not seeing a lot informed opinion on this issue. Nothing wrong with reported the facts as reported to us, but the speculation just isn’t informed enough to rise above the level of bias.

    • Because of significant numbers of substantiated reports for the last decade or so that essentially every level of the Mexican government has been compromised by bales (and boxes and crates) of drug money.

      • That is hopelessly universalistic and strident hyperbole. They’re all equally insert_your_metric of_moral_equivalence_here, blah, blah, blah.

        Name any nation where people who don’t really know or care about it wouldn’t say the same thing. It isn’t knowledge we’re dealing with here.

        • I dunno. I don’t think I’m being overly alarmist, but I should specify that it’s my impression that there are no real friends between the cartels, the gov’t in Mexico City, and the people on the ground.

          It’s essentially same thing that happened to Columbia, Nicaragua, and Guatemala in the 80’s and 90’s as far as I can tell. When the whole of the municipal police in towns or small cities are simply bought, it’s a safe bet that corruption extends significantly higher on the food chain as well.

          I’m not trying to hate on Mexico – I’ve spent a little time there and really enjoyed the culture and the people, and I know some of the language – but with upwards of $40bn a year in illicit income from the American market alone, you can be sure that some of that money is greasing skids at every level. It’s just good business.

        • >> It’s essentially the same thing that happened to Columbia, (Colombia)

          Exactly! And did you have conservatives opposing military cooperation with Colombia civil authorities? Did you have conservatives opposing such cooperation because it was “foreign aid”? Did you have conservatives imputing moral equivalence to both sides? No, no, and no. That was what the Libs did over and over.

          You’re making my point for me. What is happening in Mexico is exactly what happened in Colombia, and for the same reasons. Namely, that the drug trafficking corridors were squeezed out of other areas (the Caribbean ocean routes are largely closed off) and now corridors through Mexico are the primary path.

          My point is that conservatives now display the same smug knowingness about moral equivalence, the same political cynicism as the Libs used to do on Colombia, or any other given area. Why is that? And don’t tell me that they don’t want American troops used. It is perfectly reasonable and sensible not to want that. That would be a mistake, and isn’t necessary. The strange thing is why conservatives oppose what they supported in Colombia and elsewhere, and think militarizing the world’s most highly trafficked border is really a solution, and when Mexico is one of our largest trading partners.

      • The American gov is just as greased with drug money do not kid yourself. They are also greased with Pharmaceutical drug money for election campaigns. The “War on drugs” like prohibition is about power, cut supply to inflate prices. The Constitution does not give the feds the authority to criminalize anything. They had to pass an amendment to the Constitution to criminalize alcohol. They would have to for MJ or anything else! This gov is entirely corrupt from the FBI, CIA, BATF, IRS,DEA when do we fight back? We created this government TO SECURE OUR RIGHTS.


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