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1 Mexico: Cardinal Cleared Of Money-LaunderingSun, 28 Dec 2003
Source:Miami Herald (FL) Author:Castillo, E. Eduardo Area:Mexico Lines:51 Added:12/28/2003

MEXICO CITY - Mexico dropped a money-laundering probe against a Roman Catholic cardinal, one of a handful of clerics overseeing Vatican finances, officials said Friday.

The government pursued the investigation after a former attorney general alleged that Cardinal Juan Sandoval of Guadalajara or his subordinates may have accepted donations from drug traffickers.

Deputy Attorney General Jose Vasconcelos said Friday that investigators found no evidence of wrongdoing.

''It has been concluded that there's nothing to support the accusations of money-laundering, use of illicit funds and tax fraud,'' Vasconcelos said at a press conference.

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2 Mexico: Joint Mexico, U.S. Colombia Raid Dismantles ColombianWed, 24 Dec 2003
Source:Daily Camera (CO)          Area:Mexico Lines:58 Added:12/26/2003

MEXICO CITY - Working in a joint operation, U.S., Mexican and Colombian police arrested nine men, most Colombians, who allegedly ran the main distribution platform for Colombian drugs in Mexico, breaking what one prosecutor described Tuesday as "the backbone" of the drug trade here.

The raids dismantled the organization and cut off one of the main sources of supply for Mexican druglords, Mexico's top organized crime prosecutor, Jose Santiago Vasconcelos, told reporters.

"This is strangling their sources of supply," Vasconcelos told a news conference in Mexico City. "It is a very serious blow to all these (drug) organizations." Most of the drugs apparently were sent to Mexico for shipment to the U.S. market.

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3Mexico: Peyote's Draw: Blessing or Curse?Mon, 17 Nov 2003
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Sandoval, Ricardo Area:Mexico Lines:Excerpt Added:11/19/2003

A Mexican City Strives To Preserve Itself As Visitors Seek A Tribe's Culture - And Its Drug

REAL DE CATORCE, Mexico -- Hawk feathers tucked into the band of his dusty hat serve as proof that Rico is a serious shaman in training.

The feathers were earned, he said, after he completed religious rituals, in the presence of Huichol Indian teachers, on his path to a higher consciousness.

But Rico is not Huichol. Nor is he Mexican. His full name is Enrico Baldella Pettinari.

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4 Mexico: Colombia Detains Drug SpecialistFri, 14 Nov 2003
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Lloyd, Marion Area:Mexico Lines:84 Added:11/15/2003

MEXICO CITY -- One of Mexico's leading specialists on drug trafficking was detained and interrogated by Colombian police last week while returning here from an academic conference in Bogota, the professor and diplomatic sources said.

Luis Astorga, a sociologist and author of three books on drug trafficking in the region, had boarded his return flight to Mexico on Nov. 3 when agents from Colombia's Administrative Security Department forced him to disembark, he said.

During a three-hour interrogation, the agents rifled through his luggage and wallet before confiscating a Colombian army report on the alleged links between the country's most powerful guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and Mexican drug traffickers, he said.

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5 Mexico: Turf War Rages in Mexican CitySat, 11 Oct 2003
Source:Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA) Author:Stevenson, Mark Area:Mexico Lines:99 Added:10/11/2003

Soldiers Join Drug Gang

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico - Members of an elite Mexican army unit have deserted and formed a drug gang, using their military training to launch a violent battle for control of this border city, Mexico's top anti-drug prosecutor said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The war for Nuevo Laredo is unlike other recent drug conflicts. It is a turf war involving most of Mexico's major cartels in broad alliances not seen in a decade. It has the Mexican army fighting an organized unit of former comrades, and it has cost American lives.

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6 Mexico: Wire: Anti-Drug Official Cites 'New Era' In MexicoThu, 09 Oct 2003
Source:Associated Press (Wire)          Area:Mexico Lines:59 Added:10/10/2003

MEXICO CITY (AP)--Mexico kept wiretaps and other intelligence secret for nearly a year as part of a joint U.S.-Mexico anti-drug operation, a feat Mexico's top anti-drug prosecutor cited Thursday as proof of "a new era" in the country's once leak-prone law enforcement.

Top organized crime prosecutor Jose Santiago Vasconcelos said more long-term drug probes like July's successful Operation Trifecta are in the works, and more arrests are expected soon.

"This marks a new era in anti-drug cooperation," Vasconcelos said of Trifecta, a joint drug bust that resulted in more than 240 arrests after a 19-month investigation of the Zambada-Garcia drug cartel.

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7 Mexico: Mexico Imprisons Canadian On Drug ChargesMon, 06 Oct 2003
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Oziewiz, Estanislao Area:Mexico Lines:84 Added:10/06/2003

A Canadian-U.S. missionary credits the "hand of God" for protecting him while he languishes in a Mexican prison on what he and his supporters say are trumped-up drug charges.

"I want to get out of here so bad you wouldn't believe it," Steve Frey, 48, said from his cell in a federal prison in Reynosa, Mexico. Although conditions are difficult, Mr. Frey said, he is not being abused or mistreated.

Mr. Frey, a citizen of Canada as well as the United States, spoke by cellphone in a call arranged and broadcast last week by Listen Up, a religious television program based in Burlington, Ont.

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8 Mexico: Cardinal In Mexico Under SuspicionSun, 28 Sep 2003
Source:San Jose Mercury News (CA) Author:Rice, John Area:Mexico Lines:81 Added:09/28/2003

Money-Laundering Allegations Affect Vatican Finances

MEXICO CITY - The Mexican government is squabbling with the Roman Catholic church over a money-laundering probe involving Cardinal Juan Sandoval of Guadalajara, one of a handful of clerics who oversee Vatican finances.

The affair has drawn in a wealthy friend of Fidel Castro's, renewed allegations of murder and coverup, and raised questions about the role and rights of the church in a changing nation.

It pits the church against prosecutors in the government of President Vicente Fox who, despite being divorced and remarried, is the most openly and devoutly Catholic head of state Mexico has had in 140 years.

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9 Mexico: Progress Made In Mexico's Drug War, But Key Battles RemainWed, 24 Sep 2003
Source:Miami Herald (FL) Author:Sandoval, Ricardo Area:Mexico Lines:118 Added:09/25/2003

President Vicente Fox Has A Good Record, But The Narco-Business Realignment Brings In New, Dangerous Players.

MEXICO CITY - Drug traffickers are scrambling like never before to get around stiffened Mexican law enforcement and carve new smuggling routes to reach the illegal-drug consumers in the United States, according to U.S. and Mexican drug-enforcement officials.

The narco-business realignment has brought in new, dangerous players to fill voids left by suspected kingpins now either dead or in Mexican or U.S. jails.

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10 Mexico: Man's Medicine Lands Him In JailThu, 18 Sep 2003
Source:Calgary Sun, The (CN AB)          Area:Mexico Lines:29 Added:09/20/2003

WINNIPEG -- Supporters of a Manitoba missionary nurse say he has been in a Mexican penitentiary for nearly a month after driving into the country with cough syrup and over-the-counter cold medicine.

Steve Frey, 47, faces charges of transporting a prohibited controlled substance. Family and friends say he was carrying medicine for a clinic that helps impoverished Mexican families.

"This is frustrating, but we are not without hope," said Frey's father, Alvin, a pastor.

"He must be exonerated. It doesn't make sense. If you can go to jail for years for cough syrup, something must be wrong."

Frey's family believes Mexican officials are concerned about the medicinal ingredient pseudoephedrine, which is common in allergy medicine.

[end]

11 Mexico: Medicine Puts Missionary In JailMon, 08 Sep 2003
Source:Oklahoman, The (OK) Author:Stogsdill, Sheila K. Area:Mexico Lines:129 Added:09/08/2003

An American missionary is in a Mexican prison after what was supposed to be a routine border crossing to deliver medicine to the poor. Steve Frey has made the slow, harrowing trek from El Paso, Texas, through mountains into central Mexico for the past five years. He typically drives a van loaded with medicine, bandages and other medical supplies for clinics in Valles, Mexico.

But Frey's medical mission abruptly ended Aug. 20 when police stopped his van in Reynosa, Mexico, and checked the medications. He was headed for the medical clinic in Valles run by medical missionaries, said Mark Russell, the director of Benito Juarez Orphanage in Reynosa, in a telephone interview.

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12Mexico: Mexico Cracks Down, But Drugs Still FlowTue, 26 Aug 2003
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Sandoval, Ricardo Area:Mexico Lines:Excerpt Added:08/26/2003

Success Against Kingpins Clears Path For New Cartel Leaders

MEXICO CITY - Drug traffickers are scrambling like never before to get around stiffened Mexican law enforcement and carve new smuggling routes to reach the illegal drug consumers in the United States, according to U.S. and Mexican drug enforcement officials.

The narco-business realignment has allowed in new, dangerous players to fill the void left by suspected kingpins now either dead or in Mexican and U.S. jails. And the bloody fallout has been a round of skirmishes throughout Mexico - - and especially along the Texas-Mexico border - as drug gangs vie for power and turf.

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13 Mexico: Foggy Results In Mexico Drug WarSun, 24 Aug 2003
Source:Newsday (NY) Author:Tayler, Letta Area:Mexico Lines:137 Added:08/24/2003

Mexico City - Swap tequila for Chianti and the scene could have been lifted from a Godfather movie. On Aug. 15, as alleged members of a top Mexican drug cartel toasted their successes at an open-air restaurant in a hillside village, soldiers stormed in and nabbed them before they could finish uttering "Salud!"

Mexican and U.S. authorities immediately hailed the arrests of suspected kingpin Armando Valencia Cornelio - sought by U.S. prosecutors as a major drug supplier to cities including New York - and seven lieutenants as a major blow to the drug trade from Mexico to the United States.

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14 Mexico: Raves Become All The RageThu, 14 Aug 2003
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Chavira, Ricardo Jr. Area:Mexico Lines:100 Added:08/14/2003

PACHUCA--Through the darkness, young people stumble along an uneven path into the thick forest of Mineral del Chico, a national park 60 miles northeast of Mexico City.

Flashes of neon-green and fuchsia-pink lights illuminate the rock- strewn trail and the Technicolor hair and multiple piercings of the hipsters. Police at the entrance to the trail frisk everyone who passes through, as smoke from marijuana joints and the pyrotechnic machine waft through the dense brush.

Suddenly, the trees give way to a gigantic pit, where 4,000 to 5,000 kids sway to syncopated music booming from a DJ booth.

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15 Mexico: Mexico Captures 'Cartel Kingpin'Sat, 09 Aug 2003
Source:Herald Sun (Australia)          Area:Mexico Lines:49 Added:08/09/2003

DOZENS of special agents and soldiers today escorted alleged kingpin Jose Ramon Laija onto a federal plane and flew him to Mexico City to face charges he ran a powerful drug smuggling syndicate after its two top leaders were arrested.

Anti-narcotics investigators say Laija, known as "Coloche", stepped in and took control of the ruthless Sinaloa cartel after gang leaders Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Hector Luis Palma were arrested.

Laija and three other suspected drug smugglers was arrested in Tepic, the capital of the small Pacific Coast state of Nayarit, yesterday.

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16 Mexico: Mexico Seeing Surge in Drug UseThu, 07 Aug 2003
Source:Miami Herald (FL) Author:Chavira, Ricardo Area:Mexico Lines:121 Added:08/08/2003

MEXICO CITY - Scores of small stores dot the seedy Santa Julia neighborhood near downtown, serving the restless youths who shamble up throughout the day. But they're not selling chips and soft drinks.

The shops are among the city's estimated 2,000 tienditas -- little stores -- that sell illegal drugs like crack, cocaine, methamphetamines and even heroin, authorities say.

Mexico, once largely a stop in the pipeline for illegal drugs bound for the United States, is confronting a rise in domestic drug use.

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17Mexico: Nuevo Laredo Targets Corrupt CopsTue, 05 Aug 2003
Source:San Antonio Express-News (TX) Author:Zarazua, Jeorge Area:Mexico Lines:Excerpt Added:08/06/2003

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico - Drug tests were administered here Monday to more than 500 municipal police officers, firefighters and transit enforcers to further weed out corrupt personnel from the city's public safety forces, Mayor Jose Manuel Suarez Lopez announced.

The testing was another example of how this border city was stepping up efforts to battle corruption just days after it saw one of the most violent shootouts between federal agents and drug smugglers play out on its streets.

Three known narcotraficantes were killed in the early morning melee Friday, and six suspects were wounded and taken into custody. An unknown number escaped.

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18 Mexico: Russion Gangs Reportedly Aiding Cartels In MexicoTue, 05 Aug 2003
Source:San Jose Mercury News (CA) Author:Hayward, Susana Area:Mexico Lines:96 Added:08/05/2003

As Drug Networks Weakened, 'Red Mafia' Stepped In

MEXICO CITY - Russian crime syndicates, including former KGB agents and ex-Soviet military men, have infiltrated Mexico's weakened drug cartels and are helping them smuggle illegal narcotics to the United States, according to U.S. and Mexican officials and independent drug experts.

Russian mobsters have been most effective in penetrating drug gangs in the San Diego-Tijuana-Baja region, according to Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, the head of the Mexican Attorney General's Special Unit for Organized Crime. He described the Russians as highly skilled and ``extremely dangerous.''

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19 Mexico: 5 Killed In Drug-Gang ViolenceSat, 02 Aug 2003
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Sandoval, Ricardo Area:Mexico Lines:51 Added:08/02/2003

MEXICO CITY -- At least five people were dead and several injured after a day of what police believe is an outbreak of drug-gang violence in Nuevo Laredo, a bustling commercial city on the Mexico-Texas border.

Three people died in an early morning shootout yesterday between groups of heavily armed men in an area near downtown Nuevo Laredo. Two were killed when a pickup truck was struck in the shootout and caught fire, police said. Another died of gunshot wounds at the scene.

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20 Mexico: Arrests a Setback to Drug CartelFri, 01 Aug 2003
Source:San Jose Mercury News (CA) Author:Hayward, Susana Area:Mexico Lines:79 Added:08/01/2003

U.S., Mexico Say Raids Caught Network Leaders

MEXICO CITY - U.S. and Mexican officials announced Thursday that they had captured the alleged kingpin and many top deputies of a major drug cartel believed to be behind the 1985 torture and slaying of an agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

In joint news conferences in Mexico City and Washington, Mexican Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said agents had virtually dismantled a major cell of the organized-crime group allegedly led by Ismael Zambada Garcia.

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21Mexico: Chula Vista Man Still in Custody in MexicoThu, 17 Jul 2003
Source:San Diego Union Tribune (CA) Author:Cearley, Anna Area:Mexico Lines:Excerpt Added:07/18/2003

TIJUANA - Mexican federal investigators are expected to decide today whether to file charges against a Chula Vista man who claims he didn't know a car he purchased from a U.S. auction contained drugs.

Adrian Rodriguez, 25, said he took the 1991 Volkswagen Passat to a Tijuana auto shop because it was making noises. Mechanics found a secret compartment with about 15 kilos of marijuana packed in plastic, and Rodriguez said he and the mechanics decided to call the police.

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22Mexico: Raves Find Plenty Of Takers In MexicoMon, 14 Jul 2003
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Chavira, Ricardo Jr. Area:Mexico Lines:Excerpt Added:07/16/2003

European Import Attracts Growing Number of Youths Who Mix Music, 'Club Drugs'

PACHUCA, Mexico - Through the darkness, young people stumble along an uneven path into the thick forest of Mineral del Chico, a national park 60 miles northeast of Mexico City.

Flashes of neon-green and fuchsia-pink lights illuminate the rock-strewn trail and the Technicolor hair and multiple piercings of the hipsters. Police at the entrance to the trail frisk everyone who passes through, as smoke from marijuana joints and the pyrotechnic machine waft through the dense brush.

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23Mexico: No Longer Merely a Pipeline, Mexico Watches Drug UseMon, 14 Jul 2003
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Chavira, Ricardo Jr. Area:Mexico Lines:Excerpt Added:07/14/2003

New Users Are Mostly Lower-, Middle-Class Youngsters, Officials Say

MEXICO CITY - Scores of small stores dot the seedy Santa Julia neighborhood near downtown, serving the restless youths who shamble up throughout the day. But they're not selling chips and soft drinks.

The shops are among the city's estimated 2,000 tienditas - little stores - that sell illegal drugs such as crack, cocaine, methamphetamines and even heroin, authorities say.

Mexico, once largely a stop in the pipeline for illegal drugs bound for the United States, is confronting a rise in domestic drug use. "Colombian drug lords began paying Mexican traffickers in drugs about three or four years ago, and that has led to an increased drug presence," said Daniel Lund, a pollster for MUND Americas in Mexico City. In a March survey by MUND Americas, 39 percent of 1,506 Mexicans polled nationwide said drug use had "increased a great deal" in the last few months, and an additional 23 percent said it had increased some. Only 1 percent said drug use had "decreased a lot."

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24 Mexico: U.S., Mexico Indict Brothers On Money, Drug ChargesWed, 09 Jul 2003
Source:San Jose Mercury News (CA)          Area:Mexico Lines:30 Added:07/09/2003

Attorney General John Ashcroft and his Mexican counterpart, Rafael Macedo de la Concha, unveiled a new criminal indictment Tuesday against three brothers accused of heading one of Mexico's most violent and powerful drug gangs.

The Arellano Felix brothers -- Benjamin, Eduardo and Francisco -- and eight of their subordinates are accused of ordering a series of killings to consolidate their control of the flow of narcotics into the United States.

The 11 suspects are charged with racketeering, conspiracy to import and distribute drugs, and money laundering. U.S. authorities also are seeking $289 million in cash and property allegedly acquired through the drug trade.

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25 Mexico: Heroin Production Surges In MexicoSun, 29 Jun 2003
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Lloyd, Marion Area:Mexico Lines:143 Added:06/29/2003

Crop a hedge against poverty

CENTRAL GUERRERO STATE, Mexico - The latest strategy for warding off starvation in the highlands here is a bulb-shaped plant that farmers innocuously refer to as ''round corn.''

This is not some miracle food crop. It is a high-yield variety of opium poppy, whose deadly byproduct - heroin - is destined for the streets of US cities from Los Angeles to New York. Mexican heroin accounted for 30 percent of the drug sold in the United States in 2001, according to the most recent survey from the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

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26Mexico: Mexico's AG Is Restructuring Ranks of Law EnforcementThu, 26 Jun 2003
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Sandoval, Ricardo Area:Mexico Lines:Excerpt Added:06/27/2003

Fewer Departments Intended to Ease Fight Against Trafficking

MEXICO CITY - Despite a string of successes in the war on drugs, Mexican authorities face new threats from traffickers - threats that have spurred the nation's top law enforcement official into overhauling his vast agency.

Rafael Macedo de la Concha, Mexico's attorney general, on Wednesday detailed a restructuring of his ministry, a legion of agents and police once believed to be overwhelmingly corrupt. Under Mr. Macedo de la Concha, the agency - known as the PGR in its Spanish acronym - has begun to right itself.

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27 Mexico: Child's Killing Shocks Troubled Mexican Border CitySun, 01 Jun 2003
Source:Pueblo Chieftain (CO) Author:Stevenson, Mark Area:Mexico Lines:112 Added:06/01/2003

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico - The people of Juarez have grown nearly numb to the killings and violence that have tormented this border city for years. But the brutal murder of 9-year-old Ricardo Aquino - bound and killed after he was kidnapped while playing soccer on May 17 - has even top officials wondering what has gone wrong in Juarez.

Residents complain that the industrial hub across from El Paso, Texas, has seen a systematic break down in social values after waves of migrants began arriving in the 1970s. But a recent rise in drug use appears to have contributed to a growing culture of violence and lawlessness.

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28 Mexico: Gunmen Kill Brother-In-Law Of Suspected Drug MoneySun, 01 Jun 2003
Source:Pueblo Chieftain (CO) Author:Haro, Sergio Area:Mexico Lines:51 Added:06/01/2003

MEXICALI, Mexico - Gunmen shot and killed a rancher whose brother-in-law had suspected ties to Mexico's most-violent drug smuggling gang as he drove his pickup down a crowded street in this sweltering border city, authorities said Tuesday.

Witnesses told investigators that 51-year-old Manuel Sanchez was shot several times in the head in broad daylight as he passed a government building Monday.

Seconds later, a white sport-utility vehicle sped away from the scene, witnesses said. It was discovered hours later, abandoned in another part of the city, its floor and seats littered with bullet casings, said Diana Escalante, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general's office in Baja California, where Mexicali is located.

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29Mexico: Report Blames Drug Lords for Mexico DeathsSat, 31 May 2003
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Corchado, Alfredo Area:Mexico Lines:Excerpt Added:05/31/2003

Police Dismiss Assertion That Hundreds Of Women Died In Sex Ring

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- Federal authorities are revisiting possible motives such as organ trafficking to explain the brutal killings of 258 Juarez women over the last decade, but three independent investigators have come to a more controversial conclusion.

A sex ring controlled by drug lords is systematically abducting many of the victims, forcing them into sex orgies followed by ritualistic killings, they say.

One of the three investigators, Sergio Gonzalez Rodriguez, says in a new book, Bones in the Desert, that the women were often murdered in front of a group he believes includes powerful politicians, businessmen and even police officials involved in the orgies. Those people are involved in a massive cover-up, he said.

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30 Mexico: 42 Police Held In Drug Sales To YouthsSat, 12 Apr 2003
Source:San Jose Mercury News (CA)          Area:Mexico Lines:23 Added:04/14/2003

Federal and state agents arrested 42 police officers in central Mexico for allegedly selling drugs to schoolchildren, government officials said Friday.

The arrests were made in Ecatepec, a city of nearly 3 million people on the outskirts of Mexico City, state Attorney General Alfonso Navarrete said.

The officers allegedly were selling marijuana and cocaine to students at elementary and high schools, as well as in some small convenience stores, investigators said.

[end]

31 Mexico: War Doesn't Slow Spring Break In CancunTue, 25 Mar 2003
Source:New York Times (NY)          Area:Mexico Lines:95 Added:03/25/2003

CANCUN, Mexico (AP) -- Even as war raged in Iraq, spring break life took its alcohol-fueled course in Cancun, where the party trail sometimes stretches from all-night discos to jail cells.

Most college students were on the beach or at the bar instead of glued to hotel TVs to watch the war's early developments. While some here expressed concern, U.S. bombs falling on Baghdad didn't prompt the cancellation of any wet T-shirt contests or force all-you-can drink night clubs to close their doors.

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32 Mexico: Arrests, Deaths May Spell End To Reign Of Drug LordsSun, 16 Mar 2003
Source:North County Times (CA) Author:Stevenson, Mark Area:Mexico Lines:89 Added:03/16/2003

MEXICO CITY (AP)- The arrest of reputed drug cartel leader Osiel Cardenas, nearly a year after the death of a notorious drug lord and the arrest of his brother, could mark the end of an era for the narcotics kingpins who have dominated the nation for two decades.

Smaller, more businesslike gangs, which fight less among themselves but react violently to police pressure, appear to be taking the place of the big "corporate" cartels.

"These cartels have changed, they have fragmented, they have become more rationalized in some aspects," Mexican Defense Secretary Gen. Gerardo Vega said. "Obviously, this makes it harder to detect who their leaders are."

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33Mexico: Mexico Arrests Alleged Drug LordSat, 15 Mar 2003
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Dickerson, Marla Area:Mexico Lines:Excerpt Added:03/16/2003

The Reputed Capo Of The Gulf Cartel Is Seized After A Savage Firefight In City On Border With Texas

MEXICO CITY -- Soldiers from the Mexican military seized reputed narcotics kingpin Osiel Cardenas in a wild shootout near the Texas border Friday, striking a blow at one of this nation's most brazen drug cartels.

At least three soldiers were injured in the firefight that raged for more than an hour on the streets of Matamoros, a gritty industrial city across the border from Brownsville, Texas. Cardenas was taken by plane to an undisclosed location after his capture, the result of a six-month investigation, according to Mexican authorities.

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34 Mexixo: Mexico Arrests Alleged Drug Lord After ShootoutSat, 15 Mar 2003
Source:San Jose Mercury News (CA) Author:Stevenson, Mark Area:Mexico Lines:77 Added:03/16/2003

MEXICO CITY - Reputed drug lord Osiel Cardenas was arrested Friday after a shootout with Mexican soldiers, cutting short the career of a man so bold he once threatened U.S. federal agents, leading the FBI to offer a $2 million reward for his capture.

Allegedly the leader of the gulf drug cartel and the third major drug boss to fall in the last year, Cardenas was arrested in Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas, Defense Secretary Gen. Gerardo Vega Garca told a news conference.

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35 Mexico: Mexico Seizes Reputed Drug LordSat, 15 Mar 2003
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Sullivan, Kevin Area:Mexico Lines:69 Added:03/15/2003

Arrest Is Latest Blow Against Traffickers by President Fox

MEXICO CITY, March 14 -- Mexican soldiers today arrested reputed drug lord Osiel Cardenas Guillen after a shoot-out in the border city of Matamoros. U.S. and Mexican officials said it was the most significant drug bust since last year's arrest of alleged kingpin Benjamin Arellano Felix.

Cardenas was captured during a morning raid in which heavily armed soldiers surrounded several homes in Matamoros, Defense Secretary Gerardo Vega Garcia said at a news conference. Vega said three soldiers were wounded, two of them critically, when Cardenas's associates opened fire with automatic weapons. They also tossed a hand grenade at the soldiers, according to media reports.

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36 Mexico: 5 Drug Agents KilledTue, 11 Mar 2003
Source:Detroit Free Press (MI)          Area:Mexico Lines:22 Added:03/11/2003

MEXICO CITY - Two helicopters from Mexico's Attorney General's Office were shot down during an anti-narcotics operation, killing all five drug agents on board.

The copters had just lifted off to fumigate poppy plants Monday when they were hit by high-powered weapons fired by unidentified gunmen, the Attorney General's Office said.

The aircraft crashed in the western state of Guerrero near the town of Tlapa, about 60 miles east of the state capital, Chilpancingo.

[end]

37Mexico: Corridos That Idolize Bad Guys BannedMon, 10 Mar 2003
Source:San Antonio Express-News (TX) Author:Sevigny, John Area:Mexico Lines:Excerpt Added:03/11/2003

LOS RAMONES, Mexico - Crime is rare, and there no longer are any rough-and-tumble cantinas in this small town wedged between a railroad line and the twisting, green Rio Pesqueria.

But for decades, there were enough barroom brawls, shootouts and cold-blooded killings here to inspire countless musicians to write gritty songs about the mayhem they saw.

"It was a violent life," said Higinio Flores, 77, who grew up in Ramones and began belting out corridos, as the bouncing, accordion-driven ballads are known, when he was just 15.

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38 Mexico: Web: First Latin American Anti-Prohibition Summit ConvenesFri, 21 Feb 2003
Source:The Week Online with DRCNet (US Web) Author:Smith, Phillip S. Area:Mexico Lines:377 Added:02/22/2003

FIRST LATIN AMERICAN ANTI-PROHIBITION SUMMIT CONVENES IN MERIDA, YUCATAN, MEXICO

The first hemispheric conference organized to call for an end to prohibition and the drug war took place in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, Wednesday, February 12 through Saturday, February 15. Some 300 academics, activists, government officials, journalists and legislators from the United States, Latin America and Europe gathered at the Out from the Shadows: Ending Drug Prohibition in the 21st Century conference to seek new approaches to drug policy centered on regulation and legalization of drug consumption and the drug trade.

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39 Mexico: Mexican Drug Agent Crossed The Line Once Too OftenTue, 18 Feb 2003
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Weiner, Tim Area:Mexico Lines:112 Added:02/20/2003

REYNOSA, Mexico, Feb. 13 - The border is its own country. The Mexicans go to work "al otro lado," on the other side. The Texans come south to drink. The men wear the same kinds of cowboy boots, speak the same Spanglish and mix Miller Lite with their tequila in the border bars that double as bordellos.

Guillermo Gonzalez Calderoni was partly reared here. He started crossing over to the other side, to McAllen, Tex., when he was a schoolboy. Thirty years ago, he became a Mexico drug policeman. By 1985, he was a unnaturally powerful one.

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40Mexico: Drug Violence Suspected In Nuevo Laredo DeathsSat, 08 Feb 2003
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Sandoval, Ricardo Area:Mexico Lines:Excerpt Added:02/08/2003

Police Believe Slayings Of 5 Are Result Of Gangs' Dispute Over Territory

MEXICO CITY - At least five people were dead and several injured after a day of what police believe is an outbreak of drug-gang violence in Nuevo Laredo, a bustling commercial city on the Mexico-Texas border.

Three people died in an early-morning shootout Friday between groups of heavily armed men in an area near downtown Nuevo Laredo. Two were killed, police said, when a pickup truck was struck in the shootout and caught fire. Another died of gunshot wounds at the scene.

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41Mexico: Mexico Determined to Root Out Corruption in Drug WarSun, 26 Jan 2003
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX) Author:Tuckman, Jo Area:Mexico Lines:Excerpt Added:01/26/2003

MEXICO CITY -- President Vicente Fox's administration has stepped up its campaign to show that Mexico is finally ready, willing and able to root out the corruption that undermines the country's war against drug traffickers.

Over the past few months, the administration has exposed with unusual openness a collection of corrupt police agents and soldiers who made it easier to smuggle cocaine and marijuana into the United States. And last week, the attorney general's office began touting the imminent creation of an agency charged with ushering in a cleaner era of narcotics operations.

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42 Mexico: Citing Corruption, Mexico Shuts Drug UnitTue, 21 Jan 2003
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Sullivan, Kevin Area:Mexico Lines:90 Added:01/24/2003

Military Raids Offices in 11 States; 200 Employees Being Questioned

MEXICO CITY, Jan. 20 -- For the second time in six years, the Mexican government has dismantled an elite federal anti-drug unit after discovering evidence that it had been corrupted by drug traffickers.

Closure of the Federal Special Prosecutor's Office for Drug Crimes followed simultaneous military raids last week on the agency's offices in 11 states. The raids began in Tijuana, where seven agents are accused of offering to return nearly five tons of seized marijuana, and two captured drug dealers, to drug lords in exchange for $2 million.

[continues 559 words]

43 Mexico: Mexico Shuts Down Its Anti-Drug OfficesSat, 18 Jan 2003
Source:San Jose Mercury News (CA) Author:Hayward, Susana Area:Mexico Lines:105 Added:01/22/2003

Agency Accused Of Collusion With Traffickers

MEXICO CITY - Soldiers and police in battle gear Thursday raided anti-narcotics offices in 11 Mexican states where narcotics agents are suspected of colluding with drug traffickers.

Ordered by Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha, the operation to disband Mexico's top drug-fighting agency -- the Federal Prosecutors Office for Drug Crimes, or FEADS -- was the largest anti-corruption strike in recent Mexican history.

Justice officials said Friday that they had confiscated documents from the agency's offices in the states of Sonora, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, Chiapas, Guerrero, Baja California, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Yucat=E1n and Jalisco.

[continues 613 words]

44 Mexico: Anti-Drug Office Closed Over CorruptionTue, 21 Jan 2003
Source:San Jose Mercury News (CA)          Area:Mexico Lines:25 Added:01/21/2003

For the second time in six years, the Mexican government has dismantled an elite federal anti-drug unit after discovering evidence that it had been corrupted by drug traffickers.

Closure of the Federal Special Prosecutor's Office for Drug Crimes followed simultaneous military raids last week on the agency's offices in 11 states. The raids began in Tijuana, where seven agents are accused of offering to return nearly five tons of seized marijuana to drug lords in exchange for $2 million.

Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha, whose office oversees the agency, said over the weekend that all 200 of the agency's employees are being questioned.

[end]

45 Mexico: Mexico Raids Drug OfficesSat, 18 Jan 2003
Source:Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC) Author:Hayward, Susana Area:Mexico Lines:56 Added:01/20/2003

State's Workers Said In Cahoots With Traffickers

MEXICO CITY - Soldiers and police in battle gear Thursday raided anti-narcotics offices in 11 Mexican states where narcotics agents are suspected of colluding with drug traffickers.

Ordered by Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha, the operation to disband Mexico's top drug-fighting agency, the Federal Prosecutors Office for Drug Crimes, or FEADS, was the largest anti-corruption strike in recent Mexican history.

Justice officials said Friday that they had confiscated documents from FEADS offices in the states of Sonora, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, Chiapas, Guerrero, Baja California, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Yucatan and Jalisco.

[continues 244 words]

46Mexico: Crackdown In Mexico Points To New PolicySat, 18 Jan 2003
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Johnson, Reed Area:Mexico Lines:Excerpt Added:01/19/2003

With anti-drug agents having been raided in 11 states, a stricter tack on corruption seems underway. Agency is likely to be closed.

MEXICO CITY -- After years of investigations compromised by crooked agents and bureaucratic inefficiency, raids on anti-drug agents in 11 Mexican states Thursday suggested that the government may be taking a more methodical and effective approach to combating drug-related corruption, experts said Friday.

Atty. Gen. Rafael Macedo de la Concha said that the raids were a watershed and that the agency targeted Thursday and in other recent raids probably will be dismantled, with many of its functions reassigned to other departments. It "is going to disappear," Macedo told a radio interviewer.

[continues 765 words]

47 Mexico: Mexico Disbands Anti-Drugs Force In Drive Against CorruptionSat, 18 Jan 2003
Source:Independent (UK) Author:Murray, Kieran Area:Mexico Lines:57 Added:01/19/2003

Mexican soldiers have raided and closed the offices of a federal anti-drugs force in a crackdown on agents who work for or protect drug traffickers.

Rafael Macedo, the Attorney General, who ordered the raids, said the 200-strong narcotics unit, Feads, will be shut down and its agents investigated.

He said the government of President Vicente Fox had launched an all-out war on police corruption and scored some major successes but more work was needed.

"We have to admit there are people who have not understood that this [tolerance of corruption] is over, and we are going to finish with them," he said yesterday. "We have to clean up our house. We will not rest until we have totally cleaned up these federal police forces, and we will insist that every police force at the state and local level is also in the same shape."

[continues 248 words]

48 Mexico: Offices Of Narcotics Cops Raided In ProbeSat, 18 Jan 2003
Source:Detroit Free Press (MI)          Area:Mexico Lines:23 Added:01/18/2003

MEXICO CITY -- Justice officials said Friday that they had confiscated documents from antinarcotics offices in 11 Mexican states where narcotics agents are suspected of colluding with drug traffickers.

There were no arrests in the Thursday raids, but hundreds of officers and employees were placed under military control while they are investigated for possible offenses ranging from bribery to abuse of authority.

President Vicente Fox, Mexico's first president from an opposition party in 71 years, said the attorney general and the secretary of defense were key players in his administration's vow to combat corruption.

[end]

49 Mexico: Mexican Army, Cops Raid Police Drug OfficesFri, 17 Jan 2003
Source:Arizona Daily Sun (AZ)          Area:Mexico Lines:87 Added:01/17/2003

MEXICO CITY - Mexican army troops and police inspectors raided offices of the federal anti-drug police in 11 of Mexico's 31 states Thursday, and investigators said hundreds of police agents are under investigation for corruption.

The massive anti-corruption raid came after seven drug agents were arrested over the weekend for holding unregistered drugs and drug suspects, one of many documented cases in recent years of police protecting drug traffickers in Mexico.

Hundreds of federal police agents or employees are under investigation for possible offenses ranging from bribery to abuse of authority, Angel Buendia, a top Justice Department inspector, told a news conference, noting that 1,180 such cases have been investigated since 2000.

[continues 458 words]

50Mexico: Mexico Shutters Anti-Drug Office, Detains 7Sun, 12 Jan 2003
Source:San Diego Union Tribune (CA) Author:Cearley, Anna Area:Mexico Lines:Excerpt Added:01/14/2003

TIJUANA - Members of a Mexican federal anti-narcotics squad were detained and their office abruptly closed Friday night after soldiers found almost five tons of unreported marijuana in their building.

According to the Mexican Attorney General's Office, at least seven agents with the group known by its Spanish acronym FEADS were being questioned, as well as two civilians who are believed to be linked to the 1,897 packets of drugs.

The civilians had apparently been held at the group's office for three days, a federal law enforcement source said.

[continues 751 words]


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