Engineered with 4-by-6 beams, plywood walls, ceilings and floors, and a lighting and ventilation system, the fully operational tunnel was used to smuggle methamphetamine and possibly other drugs, the DEA said.According to the DEA and Arizona Department of Public Safety, on July 6th, an Arizona State Trooper pulled over a Ford F-150 on US Route 95 in the Yuma, AZ area. A search of the vehicle turned up nearly 40 pounds of methamphetamine wrapped up in packaging in the bed of the truck.
"From what I've heard and in my experience, this is probably the most sophisticated tunnel that they've probably found in Arizona," said Doug Coleman, special agent in charge of the DEA's Phoenix field office.
"It's really a piece of work," he said. "It looks like it was designed to be on a pulley system where you could just download the drugs in San Luis (Rio Colorado, Sonora) and use a pull cart to pull them all the way through and then pop them up on this side."
Coleman said he does not believe the tunnel was in operation for more than a week, based on the "pristine" condition of the shaft and the fact that drums filled with dirt removed from the tunnel were on pallets still inside the building. "I think it was very new," he said.
After contacting the DEA, a search warrant was obtained for the warehouse in San Luis where the tunnel was discovered. The tunnel reportedly led to a recently-constructed ice distribution warehouse on the Mexican side of the border.
MEXICO- Police in the outskirts of Mexico City have arrested a number of men who were accused in attacking and robbing more than 90 youths from a church group who were on a camping retreat at an ecological preserve at the base of the Popocatepetl volcano. Even in nation that has grown increasingly jaded over brazen acts of murder committed in broad daylight, the crime shocked Mexico's general public.
Police arrested 17 men Wednesday on suspicion of attacking youths and raping five women and girls who were on a church camping trip outside Mexico City, a brutal assault that shocked much of the country.The attacks, robberies, assaults and rapes took place over a period of several hours on Friday the 13th in the park which straddles the border of the states of Mexico and Puebla. At least 7 girls in the church group were sexually assaulted before their assailants left in stolen vehicles.
The attorney general for the State of Mexico, Alfredo Castillo, said 11 of the gang members were identified by some of the victims. In interrogation videos played for reporters, three of the suspects confessed that they sexually abused the women and girls because fellow attackers told them to.
Two of the suspects were local police officers and another had served in the military, Castillo said, speaking two days after authorities announced the arrest of a man who was described as not directly involved in the assault on the camp-out but who allegedly provided information to the assailants.
According to Mexico's state prosecutor, 12 of the 17 men in custody were identified by the victims as taking part in the assaults and robberies. Reportedly, none of the men in custody have any ties to the major organized crime organizations that have been locked in an ongoing bloody turf-wars since 2006.
DISTRITO FEDERAL- Authorities in Mexico's capitol city say they have arrested one of three Federal fugitive policemen who are wanted in the connection with a shootout where they killed three colleagues at Mexico City's international airport in late June. Mexican authorities say they've captured one of three rogue federal police officers who allegedly took part in a June 25 shootout that killed three of their colleagues at Mexico City's international airport.
Federal Police regional security chief Luis Cardenas Palomino says suspect Bogard Felipe Lugo de Leon was caught at a Mexico City apartment after police received a tip.However, many in the Mexican press have questioned the official version of events leading up to the June 25th deadly shootout at Benito Juarez International Airport.
Cardenas Palomino says Lugo de Leon confirmed that one of the two officers who opened fire on their colleagues was about to be handcuffed for purportedly trafficking drugs through the terminal.
He says the bust was not pre-planned, but occurred when one of the rogue officers was caught in the act.
Mexican media have begun to question the official account, asking whether the gunfight could have been the result of a falling-out among co-conspirators. If it was an operation to capture traffickers in the act, some said, why did it take 20 minutes for additional police officers to appear after the shooting began? Why were only three police officers sent to arrest two armed fellow officers in a crowded airport?Two other Federal Police officers are wanted for their role in the airport terminal shooting.
“Tricks, lies, inventions!” the columnist Manuel J. Jauregui wrote in the Reforma newspaper Wednesday, adding that the operation was an embarrassment and that federal authorities were scrambling to get their stories straight. “They don’t even know who were the good guys and who were the bad guys,” Jauregui wrote.
TAMAULLIPAS- Two police officers were killed and another 7 people were wounded when a powerful car bomb was detonated outside of the home of the top police official in Tamaulipas earlier this month.
Tamaulipas state Interior Secretary Morelos Canseco said Public Safety Secretary Rafael Lomeli wasn't injured in the blast, but that three neighbors were injured by glass fragments from shattered windows.The bomb went off just outside a security checkpoint in the capital city of Tamaulipas. No organization has claimed responsibility for the bomb. Two years ago, a car bomb killed three police officers in Ciudad Juarez across the border from El Paso, TX.
Canseco said the bomb was detonated with a cellphone soon after Lomeli arrived at his home. He said the car bomb showed an increased sophistication, both in the detonator and explosives used. It apparently exploded in a car parked just outside a security barrier on a street on which the official's home is located.
TEXAS- Drug traffickers may be taking advantage of a boom in natural gas drilling in the Lone Star state to help move their product and circumvent Border Patrol checkpoints around the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas.
Map courtesey of Houston ChronicleDrug traffickers have discovered that private roads sturdy enough to accomodate tractor-trailer and heavy duty pickup traffic serving drilling sites for companies like Exxon Mobil [NYSE- XOM], Halcon Resources [NYSE- HK] or Apache [NYSE- APA] can accomodate their vehicles and payload of contraband. Moreover, many of these private roads also bypass fixed Border Patrol checkpoints in South Texas.
Hefty roads running through once-remote ranchlands now enable loaded-down tractor-trailers and pickups to avoid Border Patrol highway checkpoints that have long been the last line of defense for stopping all traffic headed farther into the United States.In some boder areas in the USA, the Border Patrol sets up additional checkpoints along highways further away from the Mexican border where they can stop and inspect passing vehicles. On some maps, the private roads bypass some of these checkpoints where the contraband can continue on to the interstate highway system and metropolitan areas like Dallas or Houston.
Traffickers are seeking to use the southwest-most stretches of the massive Eagle Ford shale formation, which stretches from Mexico all the way to East Texas, to their advantage by trying to corrupt truck drivers, contractors and gate personnel. Authorities also speculate that they are trying to make "cloned" copies of legitimate trucks and use contractor-like vehicles to avoid standing out among fleets of oil-field service vehicles working for energy companies. In some cases, vehicles have been stolen and believed to have been used by smugglers.
"They are using those roads to transport drugs, guns, ammo, you name it," said Albert DeLeon, chief deputy of the Dimmit County sheriff's office.
"Our biggest concern is how law enforcement is going to attack the threat. We cannot move Border Patrol checkpoints into those positions," said Tony Garcia, director for the South Texas HIDTA [High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area- NANESB!]. "It is pretty much up to your imagination what they could be moving through there. ... It is a bit of a dicey situation for us to deal with. We are putting our heads together."
For energy companies, the roads are critical to moving heavy drilling and related equipment in and out of the ranchlands where the work is done.
"Once they get past the checkpoints, they are pretty much free," said Javier Pena, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Houston division, which includes San Antonio and reaches to the Mexican border.
"It is very much on our radar," Pena said of smugglers. "We have been gearing up for it."
He declined to discuss the use of sensors, cameras or other tactics to monitor possible narcotics routes. Authorities also suspect that gate guards, drivers or other workers might succumb to bribes.
On a weekday morning in early March, 18,665 pounds of marijuana were caught being smuggled aboard two trucks, one a flatbed, the other a tanker truck driving through the Briscoe Ranch on a road that circumvents a Border Patrol checkpoint.
They were on a private road leased to energy companies and carrying what looked like supplies typically used in oil field operations but were instead loaded with marijuana. The two trucks yielded the most pot ever caught in one day by the Border Patrol's Del Rio Sector.
One of the truck drivers, who was not an employee of the energy industry, later admitted to agents that he was to be paid $7,500 to deliver the load, according to an affidavit at the federal courthouse in Del Rio.
Other big South Texas catches came in July last year when Border Patrol agents stopped a bogus oil field truck carrying 1,373 pounds of marijuana, and in June when they found 3,529 pounds of the drug stashed in a truck driven by an energy company worker.