3rd Mexican Mayor Slain by Hit Men This Month – Bodies of Police Detectives Investigating Slaughter of 72 Migrants Found

3rd Mexican Mayor Slain by Hit Men This Month

Another Mexican mayor slain; Clinton angers Mexico by comparing it to Colombia decades ago

The third Mexican mayor in a month was slain by suspected drug gang hitmen on the same day the U.S. secretary of state raised hackles in Mexico by saying the country is “looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton and other U.S. officials pointed to Mexican drug cartels’ use of three car bombs, a tool once favored by cartel-allied rebels in Colombia, as evidence that the gangs “are now showing more and more indices of insurgency.”

While the Mexican government quickly condemned the killing of the mayor of the northern town of El Naranjo, it rejected the comparison with Colombia, where the Medellin drug cartel waged a full frontal assault on the state, endangering its very integrity with attacks on police, politicians and judges and terror attacks against civilians.

More worrisome to Mexican legislators, Clinton suggested the United States was looking to implement some type of Plan Colombia for Mexico and Central America, referring to a U.S. anti-drug program in which American special forces teams trained Colombian troops and U.S. advisers are attached to Colombian military units.

 
 
 

Edelmiro Cavazo Mayor of Santiago, Mexico - Kidnapped from Home & Assassinated By Cartel

McAuley’s World: As in Columbia, hundreds of Politicians and Police are in the pay of the Mexican Cartels.

The reaction was swift.

Mexico — which has suffered at least three U.S. invasions — has always rejected allowing American troops on its soil, except for a single symbolic presence: Mexico’s Senate has authorized a U.S. detachment to march in next week’s Bicentennial parade.

“Starting right now, we have to say this clearly. We are not going to permit any version of a Plan Colombia,” said Sen. Santiago Creel, a member of President Felipe Calderon’s National Action Party. “We cannot permit a Plan Colombia in Mexico.”

Sen. Ricardo Monreal of the leftist Labor Party said U.S. aid to Colombia hadn’t stopped drug trafficking there. “Whoever thinks Colombia is a cure-all, and if the United States thinks it is necessary to apply the same model to us they applied to Colombia, they are mistaken,” he said.

Plan Colombia has been widely credited for helping Colombia diminish the rebel threat…

Clinton made her statements Wednesday in Washington at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she said drug cartels are “morphing into, or making common cause with, what we would consider an insurgency in Mexico and in Central America.”

Clinton also suggested that “we need to figure out what are the equivalents” for Mexico and Central America of Plan Colombia, acknowledging “there were problems and there were mistakes, but it worked.”

Edgar Valdez Villarreal, alias the "Barbie"

Mexican cartels are becoming increasingly violent — federal police reported Wednesday they had found four bodies in a clandestine grave linked to arrested U.S.-born drug hitman Edgar Valdez Villarreal, alias “La Barbie” — and are carrying out more attacks on government officials in Mexico.

Hooded gunmen burst into Mayor Alexander Lopez Garcia’s office in the northern Mexico state of San Luis Potosi on Wednesday and shot him to death.

President Felipe Calderon’s office issued a statement condemning the killing — the third mayor slain in less than a month — calling it a “cowardly and criminal” act.

There was no immediate information on the motive in the attack, but the style of the slaying resembles methods used by Mexico’s drug cartels.

On Aug. 29, the mayor of a town just across the state line in

Hidalogo Mayor Mayor Marco Antonio Leal Assassinated by Cartels 08.30.2010

Tamaulipas was shot to death and his daughter wounded. [Marco Antonio Leal Garcia, 46, was shot dead while he was driving his car, the source said. His four-year-old daughter was seriously wounded in the attack, the source said.] The mayor of Santiago, a town in the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon, was found murdered Aug. 18, a crime for local police officers allied with a drug gang are suspected.

The San Luis Potosi state prosecutors’ office said Lopez Garcia was killed by a squad of four hitmen. The rural township of about 20,000 people borders the violent-wracked state of Tamaulipas, where 72 migrants were massacred by drug gunmen in August.

On Wednesday, the Mexican government announced that marines had arrested seven gunmen suspected of killing 72 Central and South American migrants last month in the worst drug cartel massacre to date.

Four of the suspects were arrested after a Sept. 3 gunbattle with marines, and the other three were captured days later, spokesman Alejandro Poire said at a news conference.

Poire alleged the seven belong to the Zetas drug gang, but he gave no further details on their identities or what led to their arrests.

Investigators believe the migrants were kidnapped by the Zetas and killed after refusing to work for the cartel.

San Luis Potosi Central Square - City Hall in Background

The arrests “will help determine exactly what happened in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, and it’s a significant step toward ending the impunity surrounding assaults on migrants by organized crime,” Poire said.

An eighth suspect already was in custody. Marines arrested a teenager after a shootout with gunmen at the ranch the day they discovered the bodies. Three gunmen were killed during that battle.

A Twitter account linked to Calderon’s website said two youths aged 14 and 17 had also been detained for allegedly participating in the massacre, but offered no details. The president’s office was not immediately available to clarify the report.

In addition, marines last week found the bodies of three other men suspected of participating in the massacre after an anonymous caller told authorities where to find them. Officials say they have no information on who made the call, but in the past drug gangs have handed over suspects in especially brutal killings that draw too much attention.

Zetas Dump 12 Bodies Outside San Louis Petosi

A Honduran man who also survived the slaughter and is under police protection in Mexico later identified the three dead men as having been among the killers.

The latest arrests were announced one day after authorities found the bodies of two men believed to be those of a state detective and a local police chief who participated in the initial investigation of the massacre. [Prosecutor Roberto Jaime Suarez]

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wirestory?id=11589288&page=1

 

Reputed Mexican Cartel Boss Captured: Edgar Valdez Villarreal (the Barbie) Taken Into Custody

Edgar Valdez Villarreal, alias "the Barbie", taken into custody

MEXICO CITY—Texas-born fugitive Edgar Valdez Villarreal, alias “the Barbie,” is the third major suspected drug lord to fall in Mexico in the past 10 months and a coup for President Felipe Calderon in his embattled war on powerful cartels.

Valdez, who got his improbable nickname from his fair complexion, is wanted in the United States for allegedly smuggling tons of cocaine and inside Mexico is blamed for a brutal turf war that has included bodies hung from bridges, decapitations and shootouts as he and a rival fought for control of the divided Beltran Leyva Cartel.

Calderon called Valdez “one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and abroad” in a Tweet. He vowed that operations to bring down the rest of his gang will continue following his arrest Monday in Mexico State, an area that borders Mexico City.

The arrest was the culmination of a yearlong intelligence operation, the Public Safety Department said in a statement.

The statement offered no other details, but included a photograph of Valdez sporting stubble as he kneels on the ground, a police officer’s hand on his shoulder.

SEE: Mexican Drug Cartel Violence: Mexican Marines arrest presumed leader of Beltran Leyva Cartel – Sergio Villarreal Barragan taken into custody

Valdez was charged in May in U.S. District Court in Atlanta with distributing thousands of pounds of cocaine from Mexico to the eastern U.S. from 2004 to 2006.

U.S. authorities had offered a reward of up to $2 million for information leading to his capture, and the Mexican government offered a similar amount.

There was no word from Mexican authorities on any extradition plans.

Aturo Beltran Leyva

Mexican authorities say Valdez has been battling for control of the Beltran Leyva Cartel since its leader, Arturo Beltran Leyva, was killed in a December shootout with marines in Cuernavaca, a favorite weekend getaway south of the Mexican capital.

The fight against Hector Beltran Leyva — a brother of Arturo — has made a battleground of what was once a relatively peaceful pocket of the country and brought the drug war ever closer to Mexico City. Their fight has spread westward toward the resort city of Acapulco.

The U.S. State Department says Valdez headed a group of assassins for the Beltran Leyva gang. He “is the person most responsible for pushing the battle into central and southern Mexico,” the department says on its website.

Carlos Beltran Leyva

Valdez’s capture is the government’s latest victory against the crumbling Beltran Leyva Cartel. Two other Beltran Leyva brothers have been arrested under President Felipe Calderon, who in 2006 deployed thousands of federal police and soldiers to fight drug traffickers in their strongholds.

Drug-gang violence has surged since the offensive began, claiming an unprecedented 28,000 lives. But the crackdown has brought down several major traffickers.

Aside from the Beltran Leyvas, drug lord Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel was killed in a gunbattle last month when soldiers raided his home in Guadalajara. Coronel was the No. 3 in the Sinaloa cartel, one of the world’s most powerful drug trafficking gangs.

Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel - The "King of Crystal"

Valdez, 37, was born in the border city of Laredo, Texas, and belonged to the Sinaloa cartel until its split from the Beltran Leyvas in 2008 — one of many divisions among Mexican cartels in recent years that have fueled the country’s gruesome gang violence.

Experts said Valdez’s capture could be especially valuable because of the intelligence he might provide on other top traffickers, including Sinaloa chief Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted drug lord.

“Because they caught La Barbie alive, he will be a very important source of information against El Chapo,” said Raul Benitez, a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico who studies the drug trade. “La Barbie was once the bodyguard of El Chapo Guzman.”

Much of the most recent violence in central Mexico has been directed at Valdez’s allies.

The decapitated bodies of four men were hung from a bridge in Cuernavaca last

Joaquin Guzman, El Chapo

week, along with a message threatening allies of “La Barbie” and signed by the gang led by Hector Beltran Leyva. Two more bodies were hung from bridges near Acapulco later in the week, although no gang claimed responsibility.

Benitez said the violence in the region could drop over time, as the government has disrupted Valdez’s crusade to create a new cartel from his split with the Beltran Leyvas. But it won’t initially, he added, because the lieutenants in the gang always fight for control immediately after a big boss is brought down.

And Mexico’s violence overall is not expected to drop because other, more powerful gangs are fighting in the border city of Ciudad Juarez and along the northeastern border with the U.S., where 72 migrants were found massacred last week in what is believed to be the deadliest drug cartel attack to date.

La Barbie’s “arrest will be a public relations coup for the Mexican government, even though it will do little to quell the violence in places like Juarez and Monterrey,” the U.S.-based security think tank Stratfor said in a report.

U.S. prosecutors say they used a federal wiretap of a related case in Atlanta in January 2008 to identify Valdez as the source of thousands of kilograms of cocaine that were imported into the U.S. from 2004 to 2006.

Cartel Beheadings in Baja

Gamaliel Aguirre Tavira

Witnesses said some truckloads traveling from Laredo to Atlanta carried more than 650 pounds of cocaine. The workers sent shipments of money, often containing several million dollars in cash, back to Mexico in tractor-trailer trucks, according to the court records.

Mexican authorities had been closing in on La Barbie’s allies in recent weeks. On July 10, marines raided a house in Acapulco and captured Gamaliel Aguirre Tavira, suspected regional chief of the Valdez faction.

http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2010/08/31/mexico_says_drug_lord_the_barbie_captured/?page=1

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