drugs

Drug lord 'El Chapo' Guzman escapes from Mexican prison

MEXICO CITY — In a scheme befitting a crime novel, Mexico's most powerful drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, escaped from a maximum security prison...

The elaborate, ventilated escape hatch built allegedly without the detection of authorities allowed Guzman to do what Mexican officials promised would never happen after his recapture last year — slip out of one of the country's most secure penitentiaries for the second time.

Eighteen employees from various part of the Altiplano prison 55 miles west of Mexico City have been taken in for questioning, Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said in a news conference without answering questions.

A manhunt began immediately...

Associated Press journalists near Altiplano saw the roads were being heavily patrolled by Federal Police with numerous checkpoints and a Blackhawk helicopter flying overhead. Flights were also suspended at Toluca airport near the penitentiary in the State of Mexico, and civil aviation hangars were being searched.

Guzman was last seen about 9 p.m. Saturday in the shower area of his cell...   Upon checking his cell, authorities found it empty and a 20-by-20-inch hole near the shower.

Guzman's escape is an embarrassment to the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto...

Guzman faces multiple federal drug trafficking indictments in the U.S. as well as Mexico and was on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's most-wanted list.

After Guzman was arrested on Feb. 22, 2014, the U.S. said it would file an extradition request, though it's unclear if that happened.

The Mexican government at the time vehemently denied the need to extradite Guzman, even as many expressed fears he would escape as he did in 2001 while serving a 20-year sentence in the country's other top-security prison, Puente Grande, in the western state of Jalisco.

Former Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam told the AP earlier this year that the U.S. would get Guzman in "about 300 or 400 years" after he served time for all his crimes in Mexico. Murillo Karam said sending Guzman to the U.S. would save Mexico a lot of money, but keeping him was a question of national sovereignty.

He dismissed concerns that Guzman could escape a second time. That risk "does not exist," Murillo Karam said.

It was difficult to believe that such an elaborate structure could have been built without the detection of authorities. According to Rubido, the tunnel terminated in a house under construction in a neighborhood near the prison....

Guzman is known for the elaborate tunnels his cartel has built underneath the Mexico-U.S. border...

He was first caught by authorities in Guatemala in 1993, extradited and sentenced to 20 years in prison on drug-trafficking charges. Many accounts say he escaped in a laundry cart...

Guzman was finally recaptured in February 2014...

During his first stint as a fugitive, Guzman transformed himself from a middling Mexican capo into arguably the most powerful drug trafficker in the world. His fortune grew to be estimated at more than $1 billion...

Guzman has long been known for his ability to pay off local residents and authorities, who would tip him off to operations launched for his capture. He finally was tracked down to a modest beachside high-rise in the Pacific Coast resort city of Mazatlan, where he had been hiding with his wife and twin daughters. He was taken in the early morning without a shot fired.

But before they reached him, security forces went on a several-day chase through Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state. They found houses where Guzman supposedly had been staying with steel-enforced doors and the same kind of lighted, ventilated tunnels that allowed him to escape from a bathroom to an outside drainage ditch.

Even with his 2014 capture, Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel empire continues to stretch throughout North America and reaches as far away as Europe and Australia....

Altiplano, which is considered the main and most secure of Mexico's federal prisons, also houses Zetas drug cartel leader Miguel Angel Trevino, and Edgar Valdes Villarreal, known as "La Barbie," of the Beltran Leyva cartel.

An interconnected tunnel in the city's drainage system that infamous drug boss Joaquin Guzman Loera, "El Chapo" used to evade authorities, is shown, in Culiacan, Mexico, Sunday Feb. 23, 2014. A day after troops narrowly missed infamous Guzman in Culiacan, one of his top aides was arrested. Officials said he told investigators that he picked up Guzman from a drainage pipe and helped him flee to Mazatlan but a wiretap being monitored by ICE agents in southern Arizona provided the final clue that led to the arrest of one of the world's most wanted men.
 

Portland labor activist Francisco Aguirre-Velasquez wants U.S. immigration charge dismissed

Portland labor activist Juan Francisco Aguirre-Velasquez asked a federal judge Monday to dismiss charges that he illegally re-entered the United States after he was convicted of drug delivery charges and deported in 1999.

Aguirre-Velasquez, who twice escaped the brutal regime of his native El Salvador, claimed in court papers that the immigration judge who handled his 1999 deportation proceedings violated his due process by failing to correctly explain the range of options available to him.

"Only because (Immigration Judge Michael) Bennett incorrectly informed Mr. Aguirre-Velasquez that he would be detained indefinitely if his request for suspension of deportation was granted, did Mr. Aguirre-Velasquez withdraw his request for relief and acquiesce to be removed (from the U.S)," his lawyer, Ellen C. Pitcher, wrote in court papers.

"Because there is no other basis for the prosecution," Pitcher wrote, "the indictment must be dismissed."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory R. Nyhus, representing federal immigration officials, disagreed with Pitcher's argument. In legal papers, he asked Senior District Judge Robert E. Jones to deny Pitcher's motion.

"Simply put," Nyhus wrote, "as an aggravated felon, the defendant was not entitled to the relief requested and had no other plausible method of relief available to him. Therefore, his removal would still have occurred even if the immigration judge had provided correct information."

Jones took the matter under advisement and is expected to file a written opinion.

Aguirre-Velasquez, who received three years of probation on the drug charges, faced new travails last summer, after he was stopped for drunken driving. He blew .12 on the blood-alcohol test, higher than the legal limit in Oregon of .08.

He took refuge last September in Augustana Lutheran Church in Northeast Portland, where congregants took him in as part of the sanctuary movement. Later that month, a federal grand jury indicted him for illegally re-entering the U.S. after his deportation.

The sanctuary movement protects immigrants such as Aguirre-Velasquez, who made a name for himself standing up for oppressed workers after facing the horrors of war as a youth in El Salvador...

The nation's sanctuary movement came under criticism after Francisco Sanchez, a 45-year-old repeat drug offender from Mexico, was arrested in San Francisco following last Wednesday's shooting death of Kathryn Steinle.

News accounts suggested that Sanchez, deported five times, came to the city because of its status as a sanctuary, opening criticism of the movement by the U.S. immigration officials and others.
 

San Francisco Killing Sparks Illegal Immigrant Detention Debate

The fatal shooting of a woman in San Francisco last week, allegedly by an illegal immigrant man convicted of seven felonies and previously deported to Mexico, has sparked a debate about the extent to which local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities should cooperate.

At issue is the Department of Homeland Security’s practice of seeking to identify potentially deportable individuals in jails or prisons nationwide by issuing a “detainer,” a request rather than an order to extend the individual’s detention.

Kathryn Steinle, 32 years old, was walking with her father along Pier 14 on the evening of July 1 when she was shot in her upper torso, police said. She later died at a hospital.

With the help of people who had snapped photos of him on their phones, police tracked down the suspect, Francisco Sanchez, 45, a few blocks away. Mr. Sanchez was booked into San Francisco County Jail on suspicion of homicide.

...“Our officers lodged an immigration detainer asking to be notified before his release; that detainer was not honored,” said ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice. “As a result, an individual with a lengthy criminal history, who is now the suspect in a tragic murder case, was released onto the street rather than being turned over to ICE for deportation.”

A San Francisco ordinance adopted in October 2013 “deemed him ineligible for extended detention” after the local charges were dismissed, the sheriff’s department said, adding that “detainers are requests and not a legal basis to hold an individual.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee called Ms. Steinle’s death “tragic and senseless,” while defending the city’s policies...

At least 300 localities, including San Francisco, in recent years have stopped honoring detainer requests due to concerns that individuals are remaining jailed without probable cause.

In April 2014, in what is considered a landmark case, a federal judge ruled that an Oregon county had violated an immigrant’s Fourth Amendment rights by holding her without probable cause.

Between Jan. 1, 2014, and June 19, 2015, there were 10,516 detainer requests declined in California and 17,193 declined nationwide, ICE said...

“What happened in San Francisco is tragic,” said Jennie Pasquarella, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of California. “But to the extent there is any question about whether a person should have been held, it was simply a form and there was no warrant signed off by a judge.”

San Francisco’s sheriff department said there was no active ICE warrant or judicial order of removal for Mr. Sanchez, “only a request for his detention.”

Last month, ICE announced that it would use detainers only in “special circumstances.”...

Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, who has been criticized for making derogatory remarks about Mexican immigrants, described Ms. Steinle’s death as “a senseless and totally preventable violent act committed by an illegal immigrant.”

Civil rights groups and critics of the detainer policy counter that immigration hard-liners are trying to capitalize on the slaying.

“During a time of unspeakable tragedy, there is something fundamentally wrong about demagogues who quickly seek to exploit tragedy for political gain,” said Chris Newman, legal director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

Honduran man called 'high-level heroin dealer' gets 5 years in prison

A Honduran man described as high-level heroin dealer was sentenced to five years in prison Monday for conspiracy to distribute heroin.

Alex Ovidio Rodriguez-Elvir could have faced a longer sentence. One of Rodriguez-Elvir's customers, a lower level dealer, sold heroin to an Estacada man, David Bessey, who died from an overdose....could not conclusively be linked to the death.

Clackamas County deputies arrested Rodriguez-Elvir in July 2014 after he agreed to deliver heroin to a police informant. He was carrying about 4 ounces on him when he was arrested, said prosecutor Matt Semritc...

Rodriguez-Elvir, 26, was born in Honduras and worked on his family's farm. He came to the United States in 2012 or 2013 to put down "roots" and start a family, said his attorney David Celuch.

He worked as a landscaper in the Portland-area, Celuch said. He also fathered a child, a girl born this year.

Although Rodriguez-Elvir had been in Oregon for a relatively short time, he was a "high-level heroin dealer, selling substantial amounts of the drug, Semritc noted...

Rodriguez-Elvir said he was not fully aware of how deadly heroin could be and tried to distance himself from any responsibility for Bessey's death.

The judge said she found it hard to believe that Rodriguez-Elvir did not know the consequences of his actions...

Rodriguez-Elvir also was placed on three years probation and fined $1,000.

Rodriguez-Elvir's immigration status is unclear, but he faces deportation when he is released from prison.
 

Sheriff Joe Arpaio to visit Salem Sat. June 27

Alert date: 
2015-06-19
Alert body: 

Plan to attend a very special Grassroots Rally in support of your 2nd Amendment Rights, limited government, less taxes, getting tough on crime, Official English and E-Verify

Join the crowd Saturday, June 27 from 3 - 5pm on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Arizona will be the featured speaker at the rally.

Sheriff Arpaio has been profiled in over 4,000 national and foreign newspapers, magazines, and TV news programs. His leadership and the excellent work of his staff have catapulted the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office into the ranks of elite law enforcement agencies.

Invite your friends and bring your children.  Bring along an American flag - large or small and a patriotic sign, if you can!

To help offset costs of this event a special raffle will be held.

$5 gets a door prize ticket for the cool and even collectible items described below (multiple tickets can be purchased).

DOOR PRIZES

1. A pair of Maricopa County’s PINK inmate shorts.

2. Book written and signed by Sheriff Arpaio.

3. Sheriff Arpaio personal coin.

4. Book written and signed by Sheriff Arpaio

5. Private Dinner with Sheriff Arpaio at Representative & Mrs. Greg Barreto’s home in Keizer, OR.

While OFIR is a non-partisan, single issue organization, we appreciate the ORP's focus on the immigration issue and the visit of their very special guest.

BREAKING: US CBP Chopper Down at Texas Border, Fired on from Mexico

Breitbart Texas has learned that a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) helicopter was shot down or forced to initiate an emergency landing in Laredo, Texas due to receiving gunfire from the Mexican side of the border. The helicopter was interdicting a narcotics load and working alongside agents from the U.S. Border Patrol, who operate under the umbrella of the CBP. The helicopter was operating in the Laredo Sector of Texas, immediately across the border from the Los Zetas cartel headquarters of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

The helicopter was in U.S. airspace and participating in the interdiction of a narcotics load coming from Mexico into the United States.

A federal agent who spoke with Breitbart Texas on the condition of anonymity said, “U.S. Border Patrol agents were attempting to intercept a drug load. A law enforcement chopper was assisting Border Patrol agents. The chopper received gunfire from the Mexican side of the border. The chopper had to do an emergency landing due to the gunfire.”..

UPDATES:

The shooting occurred in an area known as La Bota Ranch, a subdivision of Laredo, Texas....

Another source close to the matter told Breitbart Texas that “at least five shots were fired from Mexico ...

The Federal Bureau of Investigation released this statement to Breitbart Texas:

On June 5, 2015, at approximately 5:00pm during an operational flight near the Rio Grande River in Laredo, Texas, a US Customs and Border Patrol (USCBP) helicopter was struck several times by ground fire.  The rounds penetrated and damaged the aircraft, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing.   The pilot sustained no injuries and no individuals on the ground were affected.   USCBP, FBI, Texas Rangers, Homeland Security Investigations and Laredo Police Department responded to the scene.  The FBI has initiated an investigation and will continue processing the crime scene with the Texas Rangers.  Since this is an ongoing matter, no further details will be provided at this time. 

Canadian admits trying to smuggle 100 pounds of cocaine from Portland to Canada

Kevin Landers shook his head as a federal judge sided with a prosecutor and ordered he remain in jail pending a trial on cocaine possession charges...

Landers had been at the Multnomah County Detention Center since he was arrested Dec. 5. Prosecutors say police found him driving a van with nearly 100 pounds of cocaine that he picked up in Portland and planned to transport back to his native Canada.

"I'm a good man," Landers, 51, told Acosta in U.S. District Court...

...But he was also a "good cocaine smuggler" with no ties to Oregon and plenty of incentive to flee back across the border to his wife and six children and escape a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, Keirn said.

... he was a stay-at-home dad who had been driving cocaine from the U.S. into Canada 20 times in the last 12 months and was paid $10,000 each time...

...Landers was leaving a Red Lion hotel near the Portland International Airport in December, when he committed a traffic violation...

A police drug dog detected narcotics in Landers' Nissan Quest and four duffle bags with a total of 42 kilograms of cocaine were found in a hidden compartment in the back of the van, the affidavit said. The drugs were estimated to have a value of $1.3 million...

Acosta agreed that Landers was a flight risk and a possible community risk if he was released. The judge ordered he remain detained on a charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Landers pleaded not guilty..
 

Men caught with meth, heroin worth $1.3 million get 7 years in prison, face deportation to Mexico

Two men caught with 30 pounds of methamphetamine during a traffic stop in March were sentenced to 7½ years in prison this week.

On March 30, Portland police began following a truck driven by Juan Hernandez-Sanchez and stopped the vehicle....near Clackamas Town Center.

Hernandez-Sanchez gave police permission to search the vehicle...

The dog, Nikko, indicated the presence of drugs in a large toolbox in the truck bed.

There, officers found 30 pounds of meth and a pound of heroin; they arrested Hernandez, a Northeast Portland resident, and Canela-Perez, a transient. Police estimated the value of the narcotics at $1.3 million.

Hernandez-Sanchez and Canela-Perez quickly reached a plea agreement...

Hernandez-Sanchez and Canela-Perez are not U.S. citizens and face deportation to Mexico after they complete their sentences.

 

Suspect in OSP meth stop will face federal charges

A Medford man caught with a pound of meth during a traffic stop in April has been indicted on federal drug charges.

A federal grand jury Thursday indicted Miguel Navarro-Martinez on a charge of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Medford. Navarro-Martinez, 44, already faces state charges of possession, delivery and manufacture of methamphetamine and identity theft in Jackson County Circuit Court stemming from his April 3 arrest.

Navarro-Martinez was arrested after a state trooper pulled over the red Cadillac he was allegedly driving 20 miles over the speed limit on Interstate 5 near milepost 13 outside Ashland. According to a probable cause affidavit, Navarro-Martinez originally gave the trooper another man's drivers license and produced an insurance card with the name and address of a woman in Klamath Falls.

It turned out that the real owner of the driver's license had a warrant out of Florida on a cocaine possession charge, and Navarro-Martinez said he didn't know the last name of the woman who owned the car, the affidavit said. After noting a strong smell of soap in the vehicle, the trooper suspected Navarro-Martinez was trying to hide drugs in the car. A search of the car turned up a pound of meth in a box hidden under the driver's seat, the affidavit said.

Under questioning by troopers and an agent from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Navarro-Martinez allegedly confessed that he was being paid $700 to transport the drugs to Tacoma, Wash. Court records show he has a previous federal conviction for illegal re-entry after deportation in 1995.

Navarro-Martinez is being held in the Jackson County Jail on a federal hold. He's scheduled for a pretrial conference on the state charges May 11, court records show.
 

3rd man sentenced in fatal overdose of Keizer woman, apologizes to her family


A 35-year-old man described by prosecutors as a lieutenant in a four-state heroin trafficking organization was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison for helping supply the drug that killed a 21-year-old Keizer woman.

Sergio Quezada Lopez, dressed in a blue and pink Multnomah County jail uniform, apologized to the family of Laurin Putnam for her 2012 overdose death and to his children and their mother in Mexico for not being able to provide for them....

Quezada Lopez is the third of seven people convicted on federal charges to be sentenced in Putnam's death. His brother, 40-year-old Gerardo Chalke Lopez, was sentenced Tuesday to 18 years in prison on the same charges: conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in the death of another person and for illegal re-entry.

The brothers are required to together pay the Putnam family $1,670 in restitution.

They were prosecuted under the Len Bias law, named after a University of Maryland basketball player who died of a cocaine overdose in 1986. The law enables prosecutors to seek stiffer penalties against people involved in the distribution of a drug that leads to a fatal overdose.

Four days after Putnam was found dead in her Keizer apartment, authorities arrested at least half a dozen drug dealers ...

Putnam was a West Salem high school graduate whose addiction to painkillers from a back injury while playing softball eventually led to heroin use, prosecutors said.

Jose Aldana Soto, 33, was sentenced on April 8 to three years and 10 months in prison for his role in Putnam's death.

The remaining four defendants, Christopher Wood Jr., Rigoberto "Jose" Romo Gonzalez, Julian Hernandez Castillo and Carlos "Braulio" Acosta Mendoza, also have pleaded guilty to charges linked to her death. Their sentencings are set later this year.

Quezada Lopez has been deported to Mexico four times since 2000...

He had planned to permanently stay with his wife and two children when he returned to Mexico in 2009, but money troubles led to him come back across the border at his older brother's suggestion, according to a sentencing memo written by his attorney, Ryan Scott...

Scott had requested 10 years in prison and prosecutors asked for 17 years...

"I do sincerely wish that after you serve your time and repay your debt to society that you are able to turn your life around and lead a law-abiding life," Simon said.

After the hearing, Ron Putnam said he will return to court in May for the sentencing of the next defendant in his daughter's death.

"None of this is going to bring her back, but it's nice to see this coming to an end," he said.
 

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