Mexico

World's most powerful drug lord, 'El Chapo' Guzman, captured in Mexico

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican authorities captured the world's most powerful drug lord in a resort city Saturday after a massive search through the home state of the legendary capo whose global organization is the leading supplier of cocaine to the United States.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, 56, looked pudgy, bowed and much like his wanted photos...

Guzman was arrested by the Mexican marines at 6:40 a.m. in a high-rise condominium fronting the Pacific in Mazatlan....

Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam described an operation that took place between Feb. 13 and 17 focused on seven homes connected by tunnels and to the city's sewer system....

Guzman faces multiple federal drug trafficking indictments in the U.S. and is on the DEA's most-wanted list. His drug empire stretches throughout North America and reaches as far away as Europe and Australia. His cartel has been heavily involved in the bloody drug war that has torn through parts of Mexico for the last several years....

Vigil said Mexico may decide to extradite Guzman to the U.S. to avoid any possibility that he escapes from prison again, as he did in 2001 in a laundry truck — a feat that fed his larger-than-life persona...

Guzman's play for power against local cartels caused a bloodbath in Tijuana and made Juarez one of the deadliest cities in the world...

In 2013, he was named "Public Enemy No. 1" by the Chicago Crime Commission...

An estimated 70,000 people have been killed in drug violence since former President Calderon deployed thousands of soldiers to drug hotspots upon taking office on Dec. 1, 2006. The current government of Pena Nieto has stopped tallying drug-related killings separately.

 

Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros, convicted in Forest Grove fatal crash, taken to Tacoma immigration detention center

...The 19-year-old woman convicted of felony hit and run in the Oct. 20 crash that killed two young stepsisters in Forest Grove will be held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., while she waits for a bond hearing in immigration court...

If she is released, a Washington County judge ordered her to return to the county and begin her sentence of three years of probation and 250 hours of community service...

At her sentencing hearing in Circuit Court last week, immigration attorney Courtney Carter said: “She is in grave danger of being deported.”

 

Colorado pot shops likely targets of cartels, say experts

As the smoke settles from the first week of legal marijuana sales in Colorado, experts are warning that sanctioned pot dealers could become targets for the very folks they put out of business.

Taking over a trade once ruled by drug cartels and turning it into an all-cash business could make pot shops prime targets for extortion, black-market competition and robbery. One veteran border narcotics agent told FoxNews.com Colorado's legal pot industry will find it hard to keep the criminals from horning in on a lucrative business they once controlled.

"What is quite possible is that cartels will hire straw owners who have clean records who can apply for a license, then sell large quantities both legally and on the black market."

- Denver DEA office spokesman Albert Villasuso

"Mexico is already in Colorado without the risks," the agent, who requested anonymity, said of the state's heavy pre-existing cartel presence. "Legal businesses will likely see a rise in extortion attempts while law enforcement will see a lot of backdoor deals being made."

Cartels, especially the Juarez and Sinaloa, who have a strong presence in Colorado, could not have been happy with the estimated $1 million in sales Jan. 1, the first day of legalized retail sales. In 2012 the Mexican Competitiveness Institute issued a report saying that Mexico’s cartels would lose as much as $1.425 billion if Colorado legalized marijuana. The organization also predicted that drug trafficking revenues would fall 20 to 30 percent, and the Sinaloa cartel, which would be the most affected, would lose up to 50 percent.

Faced with such losses, the violent cartels could force their way in as black market wholesalers or simply rob pot dispensaries, which take only cash and have not been able to establish accounts with banks because of lenders' fears of violating federal laws. But the general consensus is that the Mexican cartels will not quietly relinquish the Denver market.

The owner of the Colorado Springs dispensary told the Denver Post he is planning to get a concealed-weapons permit, for protection when he has to move money out of the store.

"Any way you plan it out, there's going to be a large amount of cash around," he said. "And that's extremely scary."

Denver police are taking a wait-and-see posture as to what may emerge.

“It’s only been a week, so we still have to sit back and see how this will play out,” Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson told FoxNews.com. “We’re a police department, we’re always concerns about what may happen.”

Jackson said he would not speculate as to if or which cartels may decide to infiltrate the legitimate businesses or how.

“We’re concerned with the public consumption right now,” Jackson said.

The Marijuana Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue, the primary enforcement office responsible for overseeing the production and sale of the retail marijuana, did not return repeated attempts by Fox News.com for comment.

Denver DEA office spokesman Albert Villasuso said with some 50 retail outlets in operation, the agency can only monitor if, how and when the cartels decide to move in to the legalized retail industry in Colorado.

"What is quite possible is that cartels will hire straw owners who have clean records who can apply for a license, then sell large quantities both legally and on the black market," Villasuso said. "We still don't know what the fall out will be but when there is this much money involved the potential is great for groups to want capitalize."

Villasuso also said that even if legal stores do face extortion efforts by cartel groups it is unlikely law enforcement will even be made aware of it if merchants are too frightened to come to police. Extortion has proven to be a lucrative ancillary enterprise for cartels in Mexico resulting in thousands of businesses closing rather than pay the quota, as it is called, or the store owners face the threat of death, which too has occurred.

One group who hopes to mitigate any risks is the Blue Line Protection Group, which specializes only in security for the marijuana stores.

Seeing a growing market, Ted Daniels started the company and uses ex-military and law enforcement to provide security for the stores' money and supply shipments, and the growing operations. The highly-trained and combat-experienced guards are heavily-armed with assault rifles and protective vests.

"This was an industry here that created a lot of challenges," Daniels told WDVR television news in Denver Jan. 7. "This group I put together is designed specifically to protect product, people, and money."

Hillsboro police officer justified in fatal shooting of man during traffic stop, DA says

Court records indicate that Victor Torres-Elizondo, killed by a Hillsboro police officer after he fired a shot at police during a traffic stop, had a criminal history that involved multiple drug-related crimes but no violent offenses....
 

...Torres-Elizondo, 30, who also goes by Victor Torres, had multiple drug-related convictions in Oregon and Washington state during the past 10 years, according to court records....

Read more about Victor Torres-Elizondo.
 

Mexico kidnappings for ransom surge to unprecedented levels with estimates of victims in the tens of thousands per year.

MEXICO CITY — Even amid an unprecedented rash of kidnappings in Mexico, the snatching of John Jairo Guzman stood out.

Assailants shoved the 41-year-old Colombian into a waiting vehicle in broad daylight on a recent Friday. Luckily, a passer-by used a cellphone to make a video and posted it on YouTube. Within days, three of the assailants were identified as Mexico City policemen.

The officers are now fugitives. Their boss, a supervisor in the internal affairs unit tasked with cleaning up police corruption, denied knowledge of the crime.
But investigators tracked the GPS trail from his radio and his vehicle, putting him at the scene as well. Another video taken by a passer-by later surfaced in which the chief's vehicle is visible at the Sept. 20 crime scene. The supervisor is now jailed. Guzman, the victim, is still missing.

Related: Police linked to mass killing

Guzman's abduction is one of 1,205 kidnappings that had been reported this year in Mexico through the end of September, marking a sharp rise in such crimes. But since the vast majority of Mexican families refuse to report abductions to authorities, in part due to fear of police involvement or dread that criminals will exact revenge for reporting the crime, experts believe the reality is far worse than the official tally.

"The problem is, I would say, almost out of control," said Juan Francisco Torres Landa, a Harvard-trained lawyer who is secretary general of Mexico United Against Crime, a pressure group.

Not only are kidnappings becoming much more common, abduction rings slay more of their victims after they receive a ransom payment than ever before.
"The only thing they want is to get their money," said Jose Antonio Ortega Sanchez, president of the Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, another advocacy group. Once payment is made, Ortega Sanchez said, "they just murder them."

The spokesman for President Enrique Pena Nieto on crime issues, Eduardo Sanchez Hernandez, wasn't available Thursday for comment, but he's said previously that authorities have broken up 70 kidnapping rings this year, and that a TV and radio campaign of public service ads urging citizens to tip police to abductions was reaping results.

"At the end of the day, they have substantially increased reports of kidnapping and extortion in comparison to other administrations," Sanchez said.
Sanchez noted, however, that many victims still fail to report kidnappings, and that the real level of abductions is a "black number," or unknown.

A glimpse at the magnitude of the kidnapping surge came Sept. 30, when Mexico's national statistics institute issued an annual report based on extensive house-to-house polling about how often citizens suffer from crime.

The survey found that just over 1 percent of those who'd suffered an abduction reported it to authorities. It estimated the number of kidnappings in the previous year to be 105,682. This includes not only lengthy abductions for ransom, but also what Mexicans term "express kidnappings," in which victims are taken at knife- or gunpoint to ATMs and forced to withdraw cash and turn it over, usually going free after a few hours or a day.

The number also includes migrants taken hostage by organized crime as they travel toward the U.S. border and victims of "virtual kidnappings," in which callers telephone residences, often at random. As screams erupt in the background, callers tell those answering that a child or loved one has just been snatched off the street and demand an immediate bank deposit or payoff.

"The methodology that (the statistics institute) follows is flawless," said Torres Landa. "That number, 105,682, means that there are 12 kidnappings per hour. Twelve kidnappings per hour is credible. ... I frankly believe it."

Even going by official reports of those who file complaints to state and federal authorities, kidnappings are up more than 60 percent this year, Torres Landa said.

Victims range from tycoons to owners of corner businesses.

"Anybody can be kidnapped. In Guerrero (state), you're seeing ranchers being kidnapped who only have six or eight head of cattle," said Eduardo Gallo y Tello, who has been active on the issue since his daughter was abducted and slain 13 years ago.

Anti-crime activists lament both a sharp rise in reported kidnappings and what they say is a lack of government response to the crime wave.
"I've not heard a single authority raise their hand and say, 'I'll be responsible for this problem,' " said Francisco Rivas, head of the National Citizens Observatory, an umbrella group of civil society organizations.

Kidnappings, which arose around 1970 in Mexico, spiked in the latter part of the 1990s but then fell at the turn of the century. They began to rise again around 2007, when organized crime groups took to kidnapping as an alternative revenue source to drug trafficking, and some activists say the groups may be behind roughly half of all abductions.
Pena Nieto came to office 11 months ago promising to reduce soaring homicides, kidnapping and extortion that coincided with his predecessor's all-out war on organized crime. In his state of the union address Sept. 2, Pena Nieto said the murder rate had dropped 13.8 percent. But the figure has been questioned, and his aides have urged Mexican media to downplay coverage of crime.

Ortega Sanchez, of the Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, accuses Pena Nieto of engaging in a cover-up.
"The policy of President Pena Nieto is not to talk about (kidnappings) because this frightens investors and frightens Mexicans as well," said Ortega Sanchez. "Mexican media believe this and have stopped talking about it."

Even as officials trumpet new arrests of alleged kidnappers, scattered signs of involvement by corrupt police in kidnapping gangs continue.
In early October, the government announced the arrest of 13 federal police officers in Acapulco, saying they were among an 18-member criminal gang behind four kidnappings and seven murders.

"Almost always in kidnappings, there is a police officer or former police officer involved. This is indisputable," said Isabel Miranda de Wallace, head of a group, Stop the Kidnappings, that she formed after the 2005 abduction of her 25-year-old son. A former state policeman was among those convicted in that case.

She said one of the reasons citizens are reluctant to file reports about kidnappings is the fear that some police are in cahoots with criminals.
"The victims feel vulnerable because they know that whatever they tell police goes straight to the criminals," Miranda de Wallace said.

Another reason is that investigations rarely unfold with rigor, and prosecutions are commonly bungled, experts and activists said. Police have been known to urge victims to lie to help convict presumed kidnappers in other cases by saying they were involved in their own case.

Some 12,000 people are now in prison on charges of taking part in kidnappings, but most are lower-level members of gangs, like guards or food couriers, said Ortega Sanchez.
"They don't catch the leaders, and they form new gangs and keep on kidnapping," he said.

The surge in kidnappings has prompted calls for the government to designate an "anti-kidnapping czar" to force coordination among city, state and federal law enforcement agencies and increase convictions.

"With the creation of an anti-kidnapping czar, we will not see results immediately," Alejandro Marti, father of a kidnapping victim and founder of an activist group, Mexico SOS, wrote in a column in mid-October. But over the longer term, he said, it may help "reduce this crime by a significant amount."

U.S. Immigration Officers Give Frightening Warning

Chris Crane, president of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council, which represents immigration enforcement officers, recently called on Congress to resist immigration reforms that harm his officers’ ability to do their jobs:

ICE officers are being ordered by [Administration] political appointees to ignore the law. Violent criminal aliens are released every day from jails back into American communities. ICE Officers face disciplinary action for engaging in routine law enforcement actions. We are barred from enforcing large sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act, even when public safety is at risk. Officer morale is devastated.

If this were the U.S. Capitol Police, the Secret Service, or the military, Congress would be outraged, the President would react firmly and swiftly, and pundits and groups from across the country would be demanding this problem be fixed. Sadly, though, nothing is being done to fix this broken and dangerous state of affairs.

In fact, the situation is even scarier. As the ICE letter points out, President Obama continues to order ICE officers to ignore ever-growing sections of immigration law and undertake actions that create a risk to public safety. The Senate has passed a gargantuan immigration bill that includes mass amnesty, tons of handouts to special interests, and enough waivers and exemptions to make Obamacare officials jealous.

Notably, the Senate bill does little to actually support the hard-working men and women of ICE and other immigration enforcement agencies. Even worse, amnesty would make the work of ICE even more difficult by encouraging more illegal immigration and adding new classes of provisional immigrants who have special rules that apply to them.

It is sad that it has come to this: “ICE officers are pleading with [Congress] to…stand with American citizens and the immigration officers who put their own personal safety at risk each day to provide for public safety.” U.S. law enforcement officers should not have to beg Congress just to enforce existing laws.

Congress should reject amnesty, which would only further harm our immigration officers’ effort, and instead use the budget process to give ICE and other immigration agencies the resources they need to do their jobs effectively. Then Congress should demand that President Obama uphold immigration law, not selectively enforce it.

Michael McCaul opposes immigration talks

A key House Republican said Wednesday that he was urging his leadership to back off any formal negotiations with the Senate on immigration reform, reflecting a growing refusal from the GOP to reconcile the Gang of Eight legislation with any immigration bill that the House may pass.

Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, has been advocating for a bipartisan border-security bill that cleared his panel with unanimous support in May. That bill has lagged on the way to the House floor since, but McCaul indicated that his legislation isn’t meant to be a jumping-off point for broader discussions on overhauling the nation’s immigration laws.

And McCaul said he has relayed that message to the chamber’s top Republican — Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) — directly.

“I am not gonna go down the road of conferencing with the Senate [comprehensive immigration reform] bill,” McCaul said on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham’s show Wednesday. “And I told Boehner that he needs to stand up and make that very clear that we are not going to conference with the Senate on this. We’re not going to conference with the Senate, period.

“I am not pushing for immigration reform, I’ve been against amnesty my entire career,” McCaul continued. “I’m just interested in getting the security piece done. And we have to do that, first and foremost.”

A handful of conservatives in the House Republican Conference have said for several months that they would oppose going to a conference committee with the Senate over immigration, going as far as warning that they would vote against any reform bill on the floor to deny it the votes it needs to pass. But that opposition appears more fervent now, particularly after a fiscal battle this month that left House Republicans bruised: Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), who has worked on immigration reform, has said it would be “crazy” for his party to negotiate with Democrats after the shutdown fight.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), one of the Senate bill’s authors and arguably its most valuable conservative backer, also distanced himself this week from the legislation he helped write and threw his support behind the House Republicans’ piecemeal approach to immigration reform. His office has said any House-Senate conference committee should limit its scope to whatever the House passes.

McCaul also said he was invited to the White House to discuss immigration with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, but he declined. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), who has been working for years on immigration legislation, had also been slated to head to the White House — but that meeting was abruptly cancelled with no clear reason.

“I saw it as a political trap,” McCaul said of a meeting with Obama.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters earlier Wednesday that those meetings didn’t happen Tuesday because of “some genuine scheduling challenges on both ends.”

“But we’re going to continue to be in touch with House Republicans,” Earnest continued. “And whether that is a meeting with the president or a meeting at the staff level, we’re going to continue to solicit ideas from House Republicans about how we can move this ball forward.”

Still, those advocating for a sweeping comprehensive bill got some good news Wednesday when a third House GOP lawmaker broke ranks to co-sponsor Democratic immigration legislation that the party has been circulating to pressure Republicans.

Rep. David Valadao, a freshman Republican from California whose district is 70 percent Latino, said the move was a way to bolster his message: “Addressing immigration reform in the House cannot wait.”

“I am serious about making real progress and will remain committed to doing whatever it takes to repair our broken immigration system,” Valadao said in a statement.

Hillsboro police shooting: Court records indicate Victor Torres-Elizondo had warrant

Court records indicate that Victor Torres-Elizondo, killed by a Hillsboro police officer after he fired a shot at police during a traffic stop, had a criminal history that involved multiple drug-related crimes but no violent offenses.

Police say Torres-Elizondo, 30, fired a shot from a .22 caliber revolver during a traffic stop on Friday, Oct. 25, before a Hillsboro police officer fired six shots back, striking Torres-Elizondo. He was taken to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, where he died, authorities say. Torres-Elizondo died of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the state medical examiner's office.

Read the entire article about the police shooting of an alleged criminal illegal alien drug dealer.   Read more about Mr. Torres-Elizondo.

5% Think Feds Very Likely to Seal Border if New Immigration Law Passes

Most voters continue to put more border control first in any immigration reform plan, but fewer than ever trust the federal government to actually control the border if a new plan is passed. Voters also lean toward a go-slow piece-by-piece approach to immigration reform over a comprehensive bill.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 25% of Likely U.S. Voters think it is even somewhat likely that the federal government will actually secure the border and prevent illegal immigration if that’s part of new immigration legislation. Sixty-five percent (65%) consider it unlikely. This includes only five percent (5%) who say the government is Very Likely to secure the border if it’s part of legislation that would give legal status to those already here illegally and 24% who feel it’s Not At All Likely. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Confidence in the likelihood of the federal government actually securing the border fell to a previous low of 28% in late June from a high of 45% in January. This skepticism continues to be perhaps the biggest problem immigration reformers face.

Republicans want proof that the border has been secured to prevent further illegal immigration before allowing legalization of those now here illegally to go forward. The president believes the legalization process and the implementation of more border security should take place at the same time.

But only 18% of voters believe those who are now in this country illegally should be granted legal status right away. Sixty-two percent (62%) disagree and think legalization should come only after the border is secured. Nineteen percent (19%) are not sure. These attitudes are unchanged from past surveys.

Voters are evenly divided over the immigration plan passed by the U.S. Senate that would further secure the border and give most of those who entered the country illegally legal status to stay here. Forty percent (40%) favor such a plan, while 40% oppose it. Twenty percent (20%) are undecided.

Support for the plan stood at 53% in early September when voters were asked, “If you knew that the border would really be secured to prevent future illegal immigration, would you favor or oppose this plan?”

Twenty-nine percent (29%) think the House of Representatives should pass the comprehensive immigration reform plan already approved by the Senate. But 44% believe the House should review that legislation piece by piece and approve only the parts it likes. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are undecided.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 20-21, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Sixty-four percent (64%) of voters agree with the president that it is at least somewhat important for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation this year, with 33% who say it’s Very Important. Twenty-nine percent (29%) don’t share that sense of urgency, including 12% who say it’s Not At All Important to pass immigration reform legislation this year.

Just 28%, however, think it is even somewhat likely that comprehensive legislation will pass the Senate and the House and be signed by the president this year.

As with most major issues these days, there are sharp partisan differences of opinion. Fifty-two percent (52%) of Democrats, for example, favor the comprehensive plan passed by the Senate that includes more border security and a pathway to citizenship for those here illegally, but 69% of Republicans oppose it. Voters not affiliated with either major party approve of the plan by a much narrower 45% to 39% margin.

Eighty-four percent (84%) of GOP voters and 70% of unaffiliateds feel legalization should come only after the border is secured to prevent future illegal immigration, but just 40% of Democrats agree.

Most voters in all three groups think the federal government is unlikely to follow through and actually secure the border if the new law is passed. But Republicans and unaffiliated voters are a lot more skeptical than Democrats are.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of the Political Class believe the government is likely to secure the border, but 71% of Mainstream voters disagree.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters who favor the Senate bill want the House to pass it as is. Seventy-two percent (72%) of those who oppose that bill want the House to go through it piece by piece and approve only the parts it likes.

California recently became the latest state to authorize driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, but 68% of voters think illegal immigrants should not be eligible for driver’s licenses in their state.

Only 32% now believe that if a woman comes to this country illegally and gives birth to a child here, that child should automatically become a U.S. citizen. That's the lowest level of support for the current U.S. policy to date.

But 45% say if a family is not in the country legally, their children should still be allowed to attend public school. Forty-two percent disagree.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) believe that immigration when done within the law is good for America.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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Banks man convicted of Aloha revenge killing set for new trial in 2014

An aggravated murder case that returned to Washington County Circuit Court on appeal in 2011 is scheduled to be retried in April.

The Oregon Supreme Court overturned the case against Petronilo Lopez-Minjarez, of Banks, in August 2011 because of a bad jury instruction. The instruction incorrectly stated the law on accomplice liability, the court decided.
 

Read more about the kidnapping, assault and murder.

NOTE: Petronilo Lopez Minjarez - ICE HOLD
 

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