Sinaloa Cartel May Resort To Deadly Force In US

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the reputed head of Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, has instructed associates to use deadly force north of the border to protect trafficking operations.Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the reputed head of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, has instructed associates to use deadly force north of the border to protect trafficking operations.Authorities say Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, the reputed leader of the Mexican cartel, has given his associates the OK, if necessary, to open fire across the border.

Reporting from Sells, Ariz. — The reputed head of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel is threatening a more aggressive stance against competitors and law enforcement north of the border, instructing associates to use deadly force, if needed, to protect increasingly contested trafficking operations, authorities said.

Such a move by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted fugitive, would mark a turn from the cartel’s previous position of largely avoiding violent confrontations in the U.S. — either with law enforcement officers or rival traffickers.

Police and federal agents in Arizona said they had recently received at least two law enforcement alerts focused on Guzman’s reported orders that his smugglers should “use their weapons to defend their loads at all costs.”

Guzman is thought to have delivered the message personally in early March, during a three-day gathering of his associates in Sonoita, a Mexican town a few miles south of the Arizona border, according to confidential U.S. intelligence bulletins sent to several state and federal law enforcement officials, who discussed them on the condition of anonymity.

The Sonoita meeting is considered one of several signs that Guzman is becoming more brazen even in the face of a Mexican government crackdown on his activities and continued turf rivalries with other traffickers.

Information from informants, wiretaps and other sources have prompted a flurry of warnings to authorities in U.S. border states, instructing them to use extreme caution when confronting people suspected of smuggling drugs and illegal immigrants from Mexico or ferrying weapons and cash south from the United States, officials familiar with those warnings said.

Some U.S. intelligence officials suggested Guzman was on the defensive because of enforcement efforts on both sides of the border and because he can no longer afford to ditch valuable cargoes when challenged by rivals or authorities.

Michele Leonhart, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said Mexican smugglers were also under pressure because their Colombian partners were no longer extending them credit. “There’s a need to get the cash back itself quicker and faster,” Leonhart said.

U.S. authorities say Guzman has become increasingly intent on gaining dominance over smuggling routes in Mexico and the United States. To do so, they say, he has escalated his assault on some rival smugglers while forging alliances with others.

“Chapo is at the forefront of the efforts to control the routes into the United States,” said Thomas M. Harrigan, the chief of operations for the DEA.

He said virtually all of the violence remained in Mexico, but U.S. authorities were alarmed that attacks on police, soldiers, government officials, journalists and other potential opponents had intensified near the border.

How much risk that poses to U.S. authorities “depends on how desperate the cartels become to move their cargo in the U.S.,” said Dan Wells, commander of the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence Bureau.

So far, the contrast has been stark — near-daily violence in Mexican border towns with relative tranquillity on the U.S. side, according to data and interviews with law enforcement officials in the region.

For example, Ciudad Juarez had 100 times as many homicides in the 14 months ending in February as neighboring El Paso, which is roughly half its size. In 2008, Nogales in Mexico’s Sonora state had 40 times as many homicides as Nogales, Ariz., which is roughly one-ninth as populous.

Deeper into the United States, narcotics agents say they have seen little evidence of spillover from Mexican drug war violence beyond an increase in ransom kidnappings related to collection of drug debts.

But near the Mexico-Arizona border, Robert W. Gilbert, chief patrol agent for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Tucson sector, said confrontations between law enforcement and suspected traffickers — and among traffickers themselves — had grown more violent.

A shootout occurred several weeks ago when one group allegedly tried to hijack another’s load of drugs on one of the main roads leading north to Phoenix. Two of the suspected traffickers were wounded.

“Times have changed,” Gilbert said. “The tactics, the aggressiveness. We’re victims of our own success.” Now, he said, “they’ll fight us.”

An internal report from the agency, obtained by the watchdog group Judicial Watch, appears to support Gilbert’s assessment. It shows reported weapons-related assaults against border officers rose 24% last fiscal year, compared with 2007, and assaults involving vehicles rose 7% in the same period.

Among areas with sharp increases in assaults was the Tucson corridor, the report said. Mario Escalante, a spokesman for the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector, said there were 113 assaults against agents in the sector between October and March, and an additional 26 last month.

“They’re losing money and they are frustrated, and they are using other tactics to get their loads across,” Escalante said.

The tactics include throwing barrages of rocks at agents, ramming their cars into agents’ vehicles and sometimes shooting. He said the Guzman warning had put agents on edge.

When authorities stopped a vehicle in Douglas, Ariz., several weeks ago, traffickers on the Mexican side of the border “laid down suppressive fire” to stop U.S. officials from advancing, enabling the vehicle to make it back across the border with a load of marijuana intact, one Immigration and Customs Enforcement official said in an interview.

Arizona Atty. Gen. Terry Goddard said there appeared to be a shift in the rules of engagement on the part of traffickers affiliated with Sinaloa and other cartels.

“They’ve got to get the dope through, or they won’t get paid. . . . These guys are under orders. . . . They have rules of engagement and they follow this direction.”

One member of the Shadow Wolves, American Indian trackers who patrol the Tohono O’odham reservation for the Department of Homeland Security on the Arizona border, said that in the past, weapons were largely used by traffickers to protect themselves from bandits.

“But lately, [the bulletins have warned]that they’ve been carrying them to engage law enforcement,” the tracker said.

– Article from The Los Angeles Times.

Comments

12 Comments

  1. Interested Observer on

    History has already proven many times over that prohibition of human vices only leads to corruption and violence. Those who choose to ignore this do so at their own peril.

    A shift in the political culture regarding drugs will not occur until a sufficiently large number of white Americans are dying as a result of drug-related violence. American politicians don’t care how many Mexicans die; they are not a part of their constituency. Also, given that the drug laws are racist in origin and in application, they probably don’t care how many black or hispanic Americans die as a result of drug-related violence either. They’ll only start caring when so many white middle-class Americans die that they simply can’t avoid the political fall-out.

    I wish the US the best of luck in trying to break their addiction to the morally bankrupt policy of prohibition. If they can do it, many Western countries will follow suit. Just be aware the junkies (cops, judges, politicians and media loudmouths) will fight like hell to prevent you from weaning them off their favourite drug: POWER.

    Power grows from the barrel of a gun; pot grows from the Earth.

  2. Anonymous on

    well its about time police had to earn thier money and those mexicans will make them. its nice to see them face a gun toting bandito instead of a peace loving pot smoker .the tide is turning and police are about to taste thier own medicine and believe me its bitter

  3. Anonymous on

    we should all be fighting for the prohibition of assault rifles in the United States, or at least some regulation. How are Americans so blind to the monster they are feeding with their current gun laws.

    If cocaine and heroin were legal and required you to go to a dispensary and fill out forms, I’m pretty sure it would curb a lot of crime. I can do coke and not kill my girlfriend and pawn off here jewelerry for more coke. However, if indeed we had dispensaries it would allow for health officials to distuingish addicts from recreation. If somebody came back to the dispensary health workers could try to help the individual curb and maybe even quit using. The situation now is an unregulated system that rewards coming back for more, and rewards stealing before you do come back.

    I was first offered coke while grabbing weed, and it was free. I think some people have addictive minds and go looking for any way to alter their reality. However I most likely would never have even tried it if it was not for being offered it trying to grab a little weed. I think we should take this power out of the hands of criminals and tax it.

  4. Anonymous on

    I’d guess it has something to do with the fact that Emery is Canadian and has no army whereas this Guzman character is in Mexico and has a serious amount of power. Shipping Emery to the US = lots of angry internet posts. Shipping Guzman = bloody war

  5. NewWorldOrphan on

    Excellent point.

  6. TILT on

    You won’t ever eliminate the desire of people to use cocaine, and probably not heroin either; although it is more likely you could remove that by promoting opium over heroin. However I do feel you have a very good point with regards to meth, but as for drugs you can’t make under your sink there’s always going to be demand.

  7. Spawkum on

    Amazing how our government would rather throw away our tax dollars trying to extradite and trial Marc, a man I see that if anything his own country should have the final say.
    While Guzman is killing hundreds probable even thousands of people and our government openly knows he’s sending out orders to kill on our land, yet he’s sitting back in Mexico not even thinking about a US trial. don’t you think it’s amazing, You ship pot seeds over the border and our government is ready to basically bring your life to an end, but you pump out a whole bunch of drugs, violence, and organized crime in your country and ours and it’s no big deal. Our government sickens me. I did not read one thing about actions being carried out for Guzman. I think the US is just trying to bully Emery, and is genuinely afraid of Guzman. That’s just my opinion though.

  8. Not Sure on

    the whole “competing businesses” aspect of this is interesting, but i could care less about whats happening with some shipments of nasty mexican bricks. or coke thats only gona be 30 percent pure by the time it gets to me and cost twice as much as back in the day.

    SUPPORT YOUR COUNTRY, BUY HOME GROWN.

  9. Anonymous on

    That’s the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard regarding reforming drug laws, wow.

  10. Anonymous on

    the united states created el chapo

    fucking good thing they are starting to take down officers

    good fucking thing

    keep up the war on drugs
    the war on your brothers

  11. Anonymous on

    They need to legalize all drugs so this stops.As good as a business man as Guzman aparantly is,why doesn’t the United States partner with him,legalize drugs,regulate drugs,and give perscirptions of herion,meth,and cocaine to people who are addicted to keep the addiction in one generation of people thus killing the craveings,business intrests,and addictions following the creation of such drugs while keeping Marijuana legal to use for recreational uses for adults 21 and over.They should also make Marijuana legal for medical uses in patients 16 and older.They also need to legalize MDMA,LSD,and all related chemicals for psychiatric uses.This would kill the addictions,take the drugs off the streets,and keep them out of the hands our of nations youth.The United States government needs to wake up and smell the pot smoke.