Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Drug murders and gold machine guns in Mexico

Mexican police acting on a tip have found nine bodies partially buried in the desert on the outskirts of the city of Ciudad Juarez. Investigators are searching the desert site south of the city to see whether there are any more bodies
An official with the state prosecutor's office who declined to be named in line with department policy says a police officer's badge was found at the site. Authorities were working to identify the nine bodies, seven male and two female, all of which had been tortured, that have been found so far
Ciudad Juarez, a city of 1.3 million people across the border from El Paso, Texas, has been hit by a wave of drug-fueled violence, prompting federal authorities to dispatch thousands of soldiers
Farther east, in the border city of Reynosa, federal police announced Saturday that they had arrested a man who allegedly led operations there for the feared Zetas, a group of hit men for the Gulf drug cartel. Sergio Pena Mendoza, 39, is also suspected of participating in an unsuccessful plot to free an imprisoned Zetas leader from jail in neighboring Guatemala, as well as killing a police official and a businessman in southern Mexico, authorities told a news conference in Mexico City
Alleged members of a drug traffickers gang, under heavy custody, are shown with seized military armaments at a press conference at the hangar of the Mexican Federal Police in Mexico City

Mexico's most wanted man Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman Loera, who is also on America's most wanted list with a $5 million dollar reward on his head and is listed in the Forbes Magazine list of the world's richest people with an estimated $1 billion fortune, is blamed for thousands of deaths in the increasingly bloody Mexican drug conflict

Mexico's cartels are increasingly desperate due to a cross-border crackdown and a shift in the cocaine market from the US to Europe. A record 85 extraditions from Mexico to the US in 2008 has contributed to a power vacuum that sparked an all-out war among the cartels as they battle for routes to the US and control of Mexico's growing domestic drug market with twice as many deaths in Mexico last year and more than 1,000 people killed in the first eight weeks of this year
Today, 90 percent of all cocaine that ends up in the US moves through Mexico, according to the US State Department, and the gangs make an estimated $10 billion in annual profits, which some are more than ready to kill over. The Mexican defence ministry now has a 10 room museum dedicated to telling the story of its war with the cartels. Exhibits include guns decorated with gold and jewellery...
...including one decorated with the golden image of San Judas Tadeo, the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes...
....and a gold plated AK-47 assault rifle

So much money was being made by Mexican drug cartels that nothing was beyond coating in gold

While less flashy, other drug dealers used guns that were equally efficient at dealing death....
....some of the examples of confiscated weaponry taken from drug traffickers include military arms such as A Barrett M82A1 .50 calibre sniper rifle, a hand missile launcher, heavy calibre machine guns....
....and the M16 assault rifle of the drug lord Héctor Luis "El Güero" Palma Salazar, former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel alongside Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, whose supposed replacement was feared Zeta hitman Sergio Pena Mendoza

The drug museum includes containers of samples of the vast variety of drugs being produced and transported through Mexico....

....as well as a display showing the length the cartels will go to to protect their drug crops....

....such as leaving US currency and messages with their crops to bribe searching police officers....
....before they tackle the task of smuggling their product across the border by a variety of means

And while he may not be officially recognised as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, Mexican drug traffickers have their very own patron saint, in the form of the Saint Jesus Malverde whose outlaw image caused him to be adopted as the "narco-saint"

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