Mexican news roundup
DEA touts efforts in drug war
A roundup of news coverage from the Mexican side of the border since Tuesday, with stories from newspapers in Sonora, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, and Mexico City.
Elements of the Mexican army, working with Mexican customs personnel, seized 1,000 pounds of marijuana headed for the United States over the Zaragoza bridge between El Paso and Juarez, El Diario de Juarez reported Wednesday. Authorities in Agua Prieta, Sonora, seized more than 100 pairs of counterfeit shoes on their way to the United States, reported El Periodico de Agua Prieta.
DEA's Sensitive Investigative Unit
A report by the Drug Enforcement Administration to the U.S. Congress said that the work of a bilateral intelligence group, known as the Sensitive Investigative Unit, led to the arrest of five "high value" operatives in Mexico's drug cartels since 2010, El Universal reported Wednesday. Among those arrested were Edgar Valdez Villareal, known as La Barbie; Nazario Mendez, known as El Chango; and Carlos Ramon Castro Rocha, known as El Cuate. Members of the SIU are Mexican law enforcement personnel trained in the United States to fight drug trafficking in Mexico. The SIU operates in countries around the world, according to the DEA's website.
The evolving drug war
While the DEA touts their achievements by capturing major players in the drug cartels, the drug war itself keeps evolving. "The Zetas continue to fight a long and multifront war that runs the length of Mexico," according to a report from Stratfor, a research company based in Austin, Texas, that has monitored the drug wars in Mexico for the past several years, El Diario de Juarez reported on Wednesday.
The report "identifies the existence of a conflict at three levels: cartel against cartel, the Government against the cartels, and these against the civilian population." However, there are two organizations "around which all the rest orbit: the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas cartel," reported El Diario. The report said that the Zetas are working with the Juarez Cartel to remove Chapo Guzman's forces from the state of Chihuahua.
A former DEA agent in El Paso said that the U.S. government maintains paid informants in Mexico, although official U.S. policy is to not interfere directly with law enforcement in Mexico. "The toughest force that we have in Mexico is the informant who is involved in the cartels," Phil Jordan, former director of the El Paso Intelligence Center of the DEA, told El Diario de Juarez in a report published Wednesday. "And the cartels have no idea. The danger is incredible when someone puts themselves in that situation, but the pay is good." He said that using paid informants was nothing new on the U.S.-Mexico border, saying that it has been done since the times of Pancho Villa.
The bodies of three men were found on the Sonoran side of the border with Chihuahua early Tuesday morning, reported El Imparcial. The men appeared to have been executed in Chihuahua and then transported to Sonora. The Periodico de Agua Prieta reported that the bodies were dismembered, with the feet, hands and arms amputated.
Six more bodies were found on Tuesday morning at a different location. Authorities found these bodies by the highway that connects Puerto Peñasco and Sonoyta, Sonora, reported El Imparcial. Authorities found casings for ammunition for an AK-47 and a car that was "completely incinerated" at the scene.
Politics and community
Members of the Partido Accion Nacional in the state assembly of Chihuahua asked Mexican customs and the Secretary of Defense to make it easier to cross the bridges that unite Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, El Diario de Juarez reported on Wednesday. Chihuahuan Congressman Alejandro Perez Cuellar said that the drivers on the bridges are upset with the fact that only a few vehicle-inspection lanes are open at any one time, which slows down the crossing.
Food for migrants
On Saturday, the communities of Agua Prieta and Cananea, Sonora, combined to donate more than 45 metric tons of food for migrants, reported El Periodico de Agua Prieta. The Migraton 2011 was the 4th annual food drive for migrants.
New health office
The United States-Mexico Border Health Commission opened a new office in Nogales, Nuevo Dia reported on Tuesday. The new office will help medical professionals on both sides of the border monitor obesity, tuberculosis, and other diseases that affect residents north and south of the border.
Investing in Mexico
A group of investors from the Dominican Republic is considering Nuevo Laredo as the future home of the Tecolotes baseball team, El Mañana reported Wednesday. However, the investors still are looking for the most financially attractive situation, including going to Campeche.
Eyes on Canadian dollars
The governor of Sonora spoke at a meeting with mining companies in Toronto, Canada, Nuevo Dia reported Wednesday. Gov. Guillermo Padres said that his administration was interested in attracting investment, but with "mutual benefits," such as more, and better, jobs for families in his state. Among the other attendees were the Mexican ambassador to Canada and representatives of Silvermex, Torex Gold, Mincore Inc., Yaman Gold, NB Financial, and TD Securities.
More foreign money to Chihuahua
The state of Chihuahua received $670 million in foreign investment, which created 13,000 jobs, in the past year, El Diario de Juarez reported Tuesday. The list of companies that invested in Chihuahua includes Hawker Beechcraft, Kamman Aerospace, and Bloom Energy. Ciudad Juarez received the highest level of investment, followed by the state capital of Chihuahua. Juarez attracted investment in automobile and electronics manufacturing, while Chihuahua is focusing on aerospace industries.
Curtis Prendergast also writes for The Sonoran Chronicle.