Tag Archives | Mexico

Mexican Drug Lords Vs. Cybervigilantes & Social Media

John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus write:

The Mexican drug war cannot be understood without reference to the virtual dimension. Cartels are seeking to aggressively shape the use of information within the drug war to promote an image of themselves as a source of unstoppable power and influence. Their methods range from the classic “propaganda of the deed” — killing for intimidation and effect — to psychological operations against Mexican police, military, and the public. By doing so, cartels struggle for information dominance. Civil society and press coverage of the cartel war have been quite literally silenced, pushing reportage to the margins of social media. However, the entry of cyber-vigilante organizations and use of new media by cartel gangsters have created a new dynamic that could change the rules of the game.

First, it is essential to understand that advances in information, while hailed as revolutionary, also tend to be excellent tools for facilitating the violent coercion and destruction of human life.

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Theme Park Offers Experience Of An Illegal Border Crossing

The undisputed highlight of Parque EcoAlberto, a nature and water park located in formerly sleepy El Alberto, Mexico, is an immersive experience called the "Caminata Nocturna" simulating the clandestine crossing of the U.S. border. The grueling adventure lasts up to eight hours and involves a journey through "mud, tunnels, canyons, poisonous plants, snakes, and spiders", with actors appearing as "coyote" human traffickers and U.S. border patrol agents. EcoAlberto has been accused of belittling the deadly perils faced by actual migrants, but perhaps deserve credit for offering a window into this world:
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Mexican Drug Cartel Kingpin Revealed As FBI Informant

Cocaine BricksRichard A. Serrano writes in the LA Times:
Police and federal agents pulled the car over in a suburb north of Denver. An FBI agent showed his badge. The driver appeared not startled at all. "My friend," he said, "I have been waiting for you." And with that, Jesus Audel Miramontes-Varela stepped out of his white 2002 BMW X5 and into the arms of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Over the next several days at his ranch in Colorado and an FBI safe house in Albuquerque, the Mexican cartel chieftain — who had reputedly fed one of his victims to lions in Mexico — was transformed into one of the FBI's top informants on the Southwest border. Around a dining room table in August 2010, an FBI camera whirring above, the 34-year-old Miramontes-Varela confessed his leadership in the Juarez cartel, according to 75 pages of confidential FBI interview reports obtained by The Times/Tribune Washington Bureau.
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Eight Santa Muerte Followers Arrested For Occult Sacrifices In Mexico

SantaMuerte deathMormonism or worship of the goddess of death? Which of the two major fast-growing religions will you pick? Via the Daily Mail:

Eight people have been arrested in northern Mexico over the killing of two 10-year-old boys and a woman in what appears to be ritual sacrifices. Prosecutors have accused the suspects of belonging to the La Santa Muerte (Holy Death) cult, which has been growing rapidly in the last 20 years, and now has up to two million followers.

The victims’ blood has been poured round an altar to the idol, which is portrayed as a skeleton holding a scythe and clothed in flowing robes. ‘They sliced open the victims’ veins and, while they were still alive, they waited for them to bleed to death and collected the blood in a container,’ said Jose Larrinaga, spokesman for Sonora state prosecutors.

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Was Mexican Earthquake Pre-Planned?

Accusations of a man-made earthquake in Mexico are flying around the Internet as a result of a planned emergency management exercise coinciding with an actual 7.4 Richter scale earthquake. From the Dutchsinse blog:
This is profound and disturbing. There was a “drill” planned for March 20, 2012 in Mexico for a 7.9M earthquake “simulation”…. also on a separate note.. Barack Obamas daughter was at the epicenter on spring break: WTH is going on?!
Might there be anything more than coincidence here? Dutchsinse explains his thoughts further on his blog. (Thanks to Andrew H. for the tip.)
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‘Knights Templar’ Drug Cartel Calls For Truce During Pope’s Visit to Mexico

Knights Templar CartelReports the AFP via the Herald Sun:

The Knights Templar drug cartel is calling a short truce — but only to welcome Pope Benedict XVI to Mexico. They did put up signs announcing this,” a Guanajuato state government source told AFP privately on Sunday.

The Knights Templar are holding off on all violent action, we are not killers, welcome to the Pope,” the official said paraphrasing one of the signs put up in the town of Irapuato, Guanajuato state. The signs were seen in at least seven towns statewide.

The Pope arrives March 23 in Leon, in the neighbouring state of Michoacan, where the Knights Templar were founded. President Felipe Calderon has launched a military crackdown against the cartels battling it out for control of the lucrative drug trade, in which some 50,000 Mexicans have lost their lives since 2006.

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Drug Cartels Building High-Tech Tunnels Below U.S.-Mexico Border

drugtunnel-afp1Gives new meaning to “underground economy.” The Globe and Mail writes:

When architect Felipe de Jesus Corona built Mexico’s most powerful drug lord a 200-foot-long tunnel under the U.S.-Mexican border with a hydraulic lift entrance opened by a fake water tap, the kingpin was impressed. The architect “made me one [expletive] cool tunnel” Joaquin (Shorty) Guzman said, according to court testimony that helped sentence Mr. Corona to 18 years in prison in 2006.

Built below a pool table in his lawyer’s home, the tunnel was among the first of an increasingly sophisticated drug transport system used by Mr. Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel. U.S. customs agents seized more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine that had allegedly been smuggled along the underground route.

In the past five years, a crackdown on drug smugglers in Mexico and tighter U.S. border security above ground has led to a dramatic increase in the use, and the sophistication, of tunnels under the border.

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300-Acre Marijuana Farm Found In Mexico

WO-AG289_MEXPOT_G_20110714185102The Mexican military says it is the the biggest pot farm ever uncovered. The crop will likely be cut and burned — one wonders about the effects on residents in nearby areas. Via the Wall Street Journal:

Mexican soldiers discovered one of the largest marijuana plantations ever found in the country, just 200 miles south of San Diego, Calif., the Mexican Defense Ministry said. The plantation, in Baja California, stretched as far as the eye could see—totaling some 296 acres. The crop would yield about 120 metric tons and be worth an estimated $160 million.

Video of the plantation showed a sophisticated system of piped-in irrigation to support the plants, some of which were several feet tall, according to the Associated Press. The plantation was shielded by a black screen.

Mexico’s army hailed the find as the biggest marijuana plantation ever found in the country, saying the field was four times the size of a notorious bust in 1984 at a ranch called “El Bufalo” in northern Chihuahua state.

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