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METH Inc.: The route to Minnesota(Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel in MN)
MPLS Star Tribune ^ | 7-9-06 | Paul McEnroe

Posted on 07/09/2006 9:55:24 AM PDT by Rakkasan1

In the eyes of the federal agents who secretly watched him, Alberto Zatarain was a drug dealer who made all the right moves. He had at least three aliases. He switched cell phones every month and drove ugly old cars to avoid notice. After dark, he holed up and watched TV inside a rented matchbox house in Richfield that rattled from low-flying jets. No clubs, no parties, no women.

And every few months, when another runner came up from Mexico, Zatarain handed off suitcases of cash -- profits from a booming business that stretched from metro suburbs to farm towns in the Red River Valley to Fargo.

He was selling methamphetamine, and demand never let up.

Operating a network of stash houses from Richfield to Brooklyn Park, and often delivering meth hidden inside jars of instant coffee to customers, Zatarain and his band of couriers at times in recent years reeled in $250,000 a month.

"He controlled Minnesota and North Dakota," a federal drug-enforcement agent said.

Zatarain, 23, wasn't an independent operator. He was a point man for a shadowy, cunning cartel in Mexico that federal authorities say now dominates the illicit meth trade besieging Minnesota and the Midwest.

The cartel, rooted in Mexico's Sinaloa region, is producing a highly addictive form of the drug in large clandestine labs south of the border, then shipping stockpiles of it here to dealers such as Zatarain through a cross-country smuggling system.

(Excerpt) Read more at startribune.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events; US: Minnesota
KEYWORDS: albertozatarain; aliens; amnesty; border; borders; calderon; cartel; drug; family; illegal; immigration; liberaltarians; libertarians; medicalmeth; meth; methasota; methico; mexico; minnesota; mn; mrleroybait; nasco; obl; open; values; wodlist; zatarain
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Federal authorities say Mexican cartels now control at least 80 percent of the meth sold in Minnesota and are filling the supply void being created by the demise of mom-and-pop dealers. The cartels are ever more responsible for a drug scourge costing the state several hundred million dollars a year.

Just doing the dealing Americans are unwilling to do.

1 posted on 07/09/2006 9:55:28 AM PDT by Rakkasan1
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To: Rakkasan1

And they want to build a highway to speed things up from Mexico - - -


2 posted on 07/09/2006 9:58:49 AM PDT by RoadTest (Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, and this be our motto: in God is our trust.)
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To: Rakkasan1

That Super Highway will bring his 'supplies' faster, better, more convenient. Right through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas City and north.

How convenient for him.


3 posted on 07/09/2006 9:59:42 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: Rakkasan1

¡VIVA METHICO!


4 posted on 07/09/2006 10:00:49 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: RoadTest

yep, I call the highway 'the highway to he!!.'


5 posted on 07/09/2006 10:01:12 AM PDT by no-to-illegals ('No' worked so well, perhaps another word is in order?)
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To: Rakkasan1; potlatch; ntnychik; Smartass; Boazo; Alamo-Girl; PhilDragoo; The Spirit Of Allegiance; ..


6 posted on 07/09/2006 10:02:44 AM PDT by bitt (NY Times to New York: Drop Dead!)
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To: TomGuy
The OBL is all about making life convenient for them.
7 posted on 07/09/2006 10:07:15 AM PDT by Rakkasan1 ((Illegal immigrants are just undocumented friends you haven't met yet!))
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To: TomGuy

You're right. We should pass a law to abolish/ban all cars and trucks so drug dealers can't use them.


8 posted on 07/09/2006 10:11:35 AM PDT by AmericaUnited
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To: Rakkasan1

Even when reporting on criminal, drug dealers, MSM rags like the "Red Star" avoid mention of the filthy scum's immigration status.


9 posted on 07/09/2006 10:12:39 AM PDT by ncountylee (Dead terrorists smell like victory)
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To: Rakkasan1

Even when reporting on criminal, drug dealers, MSM rags like the "Red Star" avoid mention of the filthy scum's immigration status.


10 posted on 07/09/2006 10:13:55 AM PDT by ncountylee (Dead terrorists smell like victory)
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To: Rakkasan1
Just doing the dealing Americans are unwilling to do.

Actually this is attributable to the success of the law enforcement in this country. I know someone who retired from "cooking" due to repeated arrests. He was paid handsomely to teach "border brothers" about meth. What was once a one pot lab in the U.S. may now be a manufacturing plant in Mexico.

11 posted on 07/09/2006 10:18:02 AM PDT by oldbrowser (Good news is no news.)
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To: ncountylee

yeah, I was searching for that ,too.


12 posted on 07/09/2006 10:18:08 AM PDT by Rakkasan1 ((Illegal immigrants are just undocumented friends you haven't met yet!))
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To: Rakkasan1

Even when reporting on criminal, drug dealers, MSM rags like the "Red Star" avoid mention of the filthy scum's immigration status.


13 posted on 07/09/2006 10:23:49 AM PDT by ncountylee (Dead terrorists smell like victory)
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To: Rakkasan1

Very sporting of them to point out all the mistakes. I'm sure the cartel will revise their operations manuals.


14 posted on 07/09/2006 10:24:32 AM PDT by proxy_user
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To: oldbrowser
I know someone who retired from "cooking" due to repeated arrests.

Friend or relative?

15 posted on 07/09/2006 10:24:45 AM PDT by Rex Anderson
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To: Rakkasan1

Ok, but the meth trade is still a demand driven market.

No demand=no drug trade.

Ask yourself who is on the demand side.


16 posted on 07/09/2006 10:28:06 AM PDT by staytrue
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To: Rakkasan1

this is going to sound a little funny, but for the past several months or perhaps the past year, i have noticed an uncanny number of people traveling n-s on I-35 with minnesota plates. the majority are white, but a fair number are hispanic. i dont typically see a lot of kansas plates, or nebraska plates, or iowa plates, or plates from the dakotas. but i do see A LOT of plates from minnesota. i have often thought that perhaps it was drug related, as i see no other possible explanation for so many minnesotans to be traveling this way. then i see this story...


17 posted on 07/09/2006 10:28:44 AM PDT by GodfearingTexan
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To: GodfearingTexan
Just returned from a week "Up North" in Minnesota on vacation. Traveled through the Twin Cities both up and back. Our whole family noticed the HUGE increase in the number of Mexican restaurants and people who appeared to be of Hispanic origin in and around the parts of the state we drove through, even as far north as Leech Lake area.

What brings them all that way from Mexico? Meat packing? Mining operations? No one seemed to know.

18 posted on 07/09/2006 10:36:33 AM PDT by PLK
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To: AmericaUnited
There was a 4 part series on the History Channel last night about prohibition in 4 different regions of America, NYC, Chicago, Detroit and someplace else that escapes my memory, Miami perhaps. Quite good actually.

Shows how retarded we are as a nation collectively concerning the War On Drugs. A remarkable success, like LBJ's War on Poverty.

US could stop this tomorrow with a stoke of a pen. Give the doctors back the ability to prescribe "diet" pills, mothers little helpers, amphetamines like they had before the DEA edict of 1973. There wasn't any meth cooking in America then, and the users MOST of the time, had responsible doctors monitoring them.

This meth scourge is just like bathtub gin during the prohibition...

19 posted on 07/09/2006 10:39:17 AM PDT by bigfootbob
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To: bigfootbob

Get your flameproof shorts on quickly!

Don't defy the moral absolutists, the GOP party line and the federal government in one fell swoop using common sense and think there won't be consequences.

Nobody sees the connection that if we throw out all the illegal Mexicans, we won't have illegal Mexicans here running dope! Furthermore, if there were no or low profits in doing it, they wouldn't be selling dope anyhow and would revert to stealing and robbery.


20 posted on 07/09/2006 10:54:41 AM PDT by 308MBR ( Somebody sold the GOP to the socialists, and the GOP wasn't theirs to sell.)
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To: martin_fierro

: )


21 posted on 07/09/2006 11:10:18 AM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Taglines for sale or rent. Good "one liners", 50 cents.)
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To: GodfearingTexan

You nailed it!


22 posted on 07/09/2006 11:11:36 AM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Taglines for sale or rent. Good "one liners", 50 cents.)
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To: Rex Anderson
Friend or relative?

Neither. Cooking meth for years without protection damaged his heart and he died several years ago. His widow is a recovering addict and she told me the story.

23 posted on 07/09/2006 12:44:49 PM PDT by oldbrowser (Good news is no news.)
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To: martin_fierro
¡VIVA METHICO!

LOL

You need a capital punishment for guys like that if you ever hope to stop this plague.

24 posted on 07/09/2006 12:49:39 PM PDT by Barnacle (Happy Birthday America!)
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To: Rakkasan1

My only surprise is that the Star & Sicle make the Mexxies look bad.


25 posted on 07/09/2006 1:19:37 PM PDT by AmericanChef
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To: 308MBR

40 or 50 kilos a year wouldn't touch the total market for the drug in Minnesota or any state.

Probably half the blue collar workers in the construction industry in our country use a little crank to get their day 'kick started' and maybe another hit at noon to carry them through the day.


26 posted on 07/09/2006 1:21:03 PM PDT by wildbill
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To: bitt; Czar; nicmarlo; texastoo; Kenny Bunk; EternalVigilance; jer33 3; janetgreen; hedgetrimmer; ...

Just wants a job gang that an Americans won't do...

 

27 posted on 07/09/2006 5:33:16 PM PDT by Smartass ("In God We Trust" - "An informed and knowledgeably citizen is the best defense against tyranny")
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To: PLK
What brings them all that way from Mexico?

"Jobs Americans Won't Do."

Otherwise known as jobs Americans held before they were replaced.

28 posted on 07/09/2006 6:19:15 PM PDT by Pelham (McGuestWorkerProgram- Soon to serve over 1 billion Americans)
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To: bitt

This one sounds legitimate, lol, no more tricks!

We've had our cell phone 'cloned' twice in Mexico.


29 posted on 07/09/2006 7:03:11 PM PDT by potlatch (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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To: Smartass; Kenny Bunk

like the "X" - nice touch.


30 posted on 07/09/2006 7:11:57 PM PDT by bitt (NY Times to New York: Drop Dead!)
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To: Smartass

Looks like some of the people that have started showing up here on Holiday Weekends driving $250 - $500,000 boats.


31 posted on 07/09/2006 7:44:02 PM PDT by Arizona Carolyn
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To: Arizona Carolyn
Hi AZ Carolyn...
Law enforcement estimates that there are about 15/20 thousand MS-13 gangsters in the U.S.!   By any standards, a spread out, but small army.   Of course, one size fits all, and the FROBL must be supporting MS-13 too!   Meaning, what see (ughhh) and choose, is what you get!


 

32 posted on 07/09/2006 8:01:42 PM PDT by Smartass ("In God We Trust" - "An informed and knowledgeably citizen is the best defense against tyranny")
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To: potlatch

potlatch: what is cell phone "cloning"? (I've had some strange cell phone "missed calls" recently is why I ask). thanks.


33 posted on 07/09/2006 8:03:17 PM PDT by hispanarepublicana (Don't fall for the soft bigotry of assuming all Hispanics are pro-amnesty. www.dontspeakforme.org)
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To: Rakkasan1
He was selling methamphetamine, and demand never let up.

That's the problem - "and demand never let up".

Not Mexicans, not sudafed, not the laws - demand.

34 posted on 07/09/2006 8:04:59 PM PDT by Jim Noble (And you know what I'm talkin' 'bout!)
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To: hispanarepublicana

Hi, haven't talked to you in awhile!

Twice when we went to Progresso we used our cell phone. After we were home again we got calls from our 'server' asking about all the long distance calls being made from Mexico!!

They use technology and manage to get the information from your cell phone and can make calls from their cell phones using our number!

No, the missed calls arent attributed to something like that.

We no longer turn our cell phone on when down at the border.


35 posted on 07/09/2006 8:08:26 PM PDT by potlatch (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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To: potlatch

Thanks for the info. You're braver than me, actually traversing the border. Keep your powder dry!


36 posted on 07/09/2006 8:18:49 PM PDT by hispanarepublicana (Don't fall for the soft bigotry of assuming all Hispanics are pro-amnesty. www.dontspeakforme.org)
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To: bitt; potlatch; devolve; ntnychik; Smartass; Grampa Dave
Gee, the noble "new arrivals" trash America and Americans with the most destructive drug on earth, send the proceeds out of America to enrich Mexico and Mexicans, all so they can "buy a ranch in Mexico".

Huh, and we're told they're looking for citizenship, and "willingly doing the work Americans won't do."

Mr. President, you're feeding us a Texas-sized serving of bullcrap.


37 posted on 07/09/2006 11:57:07 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: bitt; Rakkasan1; potlatch; ntnychik; Smartass; Boazo; Alamo-Girl; PhilDragoo; ...
Bitt, according to my local fuzz, the Mexicans have vastly "improved," the product.

Whereas the local rubes were once content with a meth content of 30-35%, the Mexicans have upped the ante to a product that is often close to 100% pure, crystalline chemical.

Thanks to Mexican Marketing savvy and advanced ideas about racial equality, small-town NASCAR America now has its very own answer to the ghetto dwellers' crack. Guess what, results are the same.

So let's give our industrious neighbors to the South credit where credit is due. They are making Meth that Americans apparently cannot. Customers get higher faster, stay higher longer, ruin their lives, and devastate local economies so efficiently, that more Mexicans than ever are required to do the work they are too wasted to do.

38 posted on 07/10/2006 8:56:01 AM PDT by Kenny Bunk ( Vote Fraud: The Democrats' Secret Weapon .... Well, secret to the RNC, anyway.)
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To: Rakkasan1

I thought if we surrendered our freedom to buy allergy medicine, meth would instantly disappear. Boy, I'm really surprised to find out that didn't work.


39 posted on 07/10/2006 8:59:26 AM PDT by mysterio
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To: bigfootbob
This meth scourge is just like bathtub gin during the prohibition...

bingo.
40 posted on 07/10/2006 9:02:22 AM PDT by mysterio
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To: Kenny Bunk
"So let's give our industrious neighbors to the South credit where credit is due. They are making Meth that Americans apparently cannot. Customers get higher faster, stay higher longer, ruin their lives, and devastate local economies so efficiently, that more Mexicans than ever are required to do the work they are too wasted to do."

Sounds like a comprehensive win, win situation.
/Sarc


 

41 posted on 07/10/2006 9:17:47 AM PDT by Smartass ("In God We Trust" - "An informed and knowledgeably citizen is the best defense against tyranny")
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To: Rakkasan1
They just doing the drug dealing that American druggies demand.

The problem isn't so much about Mexico, but about our own society that considers drug adicts as "disabled" victims.

42 posted on 07/10/2006 9:32:57 AM PDT by Redleg Duke (ˇSalga de los Estados Unidos de América, invasor!)
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To: mysterio

I see all you druggies have shown up on this thread.


43 posted on 07/10/2006 9:37:13 AM PDT by Redleg Duke (ˇSalga de los Estados Unidos de América, invasor!)
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To: Redleg Duke
I see all you druggies have shown up on this thread.

I don't use illegal drugs. Try again, statist.
44 posted on 07/10/2006 9:49:38 AM PDT by mysterio
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To: mysterio
"I don't use illegal drugs. Try again, statist."

Sure you don't. You guys think that there isn't such a thing.

45 posted on 07/10/2006 10:03:12 AM PDT by Redleg Duke (ˇSalga de los Estados Unidos de América, invasor!)
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To: Redleg Duke

Weak, just like your entire failed war on some drugs.


46 posted on 07/10/2006 11:18:58 AM PDT by mysterio
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To: mysterio; Rakkasan1; bigfootbob; Kenny Bunk

FYI - Meth isn't the only thing being manufactured by our neighbors from Mexico.


Millions made on counterfeit documents

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2006

(Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News delivered by Newstex) --
Forgers are making tens of millions, and possibly billions, of dollars selling counterfeit Social Security cards, driver's licenses, immigrant registration cards and other papers to an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

The dominant forgery-and-distribution network in the United States is allegedly controlled by the Castorena family, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say. Its members emigrated from Mexico in the late 1980s and have used their printing skills and business acumen to capture a big piece of the booming industry.

Only trained experts can spot the fakes, and the Castorena Family Organization -- or CFO, as officials call it -- has spread to at least 50 cities in 33 states.

At a sentencing hearing for one family member in December, U.S. District Judge Lewis T. Babcock of Denver said the CFO's criminal reach is "simply breathtaking" and strikes "at the heart of the sovereignty of the United States of America."

The threat of terrorism has made document forgers even more menacing since 9-11. Two 9-11 hijackers used fraudulent notarized forms to obtain valid Virginia ID cards, which enabled them to board the two airliners that crashed into the World Trade Center.

Julie Myers, ICE assistant secretary, calls document forgery an "epidemic." Her agency, a branch of the Homeland Security Department, is waging a nationwide crackdown on forgery rings and in early April, announced the formation of multiagency task forces in 10 cities: Atlanta; Boston; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Los Angeles; New York; Newark, N.J.; Philadelphia; and St. Paul, Minn. Other participating agencies include the Justice Department, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Labor Department, the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the State Department and the Secret Service.

Competition from rivals

Investigations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement have hobbled many CFO operations, indicting and convicting family members and senior subordinates. But the CFO's fugitive chieftain, Pedro Castorena-Ibarra, still controls operations from Mexico, agency investigators said, and the family enterprise continues to dominate the illicit document trade in the United States.

Agents are conducting more than 3,500 investigations nationwide into document forgery. They have closed document mills in Los Angeles, Denver, Charlotte, N.C., and several other cities in recent months. But CFO cells continue to operate in many cities, including Dallas; Houston; Miami; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; New York; Chicago; Atlanta; and Newark, N.J.

Federal authorities said that calculating the financial scope of document forgery is virtually impossible but that illicit profits easily amount to millions of dollars, if not billions. One investigation of CFO operations in Los Angeles alone resulted in the seizure of 3 million documents with a street value of more than $20 million.

"We've hit them pretty hard, but have we shut down the entire operation? I don't think we can say that yet," said Scott A. Weber, chief of the agency's Identity and Benefit Fraud Unit. "We know there are many different cells out there, and they are still providing documents."

In recent years, the CFO has faced competition from rivals, including a group called the Los Acapulcos Organization, which has cells in Denver and Phoenix. Scores of operatives in both organizations have been arrested and deported to Mexico and other countries in Latin America.

An unintended consequence

The rise of illegal document vendors is an unintended consequence of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which is widely considered a failure. It put the burden on employers to ensure that a job applicant has legitimate papers, such as a Social Security card, driver's license or voter-registration card.

Employers complain that they often can't tell real documents from phonies and that they risk being charged with a discrimination violation if they reject a qualified applicant. The 1986 law imposes civil penalties on employers of illegal immigrants, but the sanctions have been enforced haphazardly at best.

Unscrupulous employers also exploited the statute, authorities say. In mid-April, ICE agents raided the nationwide operations of Houston-based IFCO Systems, a pallet-recycling firm, after an undercover investigation led to allegations that midlevel managers were recruiting illegal immigrants and helping them obtain phony documents. Top company officials have said that they thought the documentation was legitimate.

Illegal immigrants are often given packages of phony documents as part of a $2,000 smuggling fee. Others can easily make contact with vendors who operate on street corners or at flea markets in immigrant communities in virtually every city.

In Washington, vendors operate openly in the city's ethnically diverse Adams-Morgan neighborhood, only a few miles north of the White House, said James Spero, an agent in ICE's metropolitan Washington office. Peddlers attract potential customers by forming a C shape with their thumbs and forefingers, a sign widely recognized among illegal immigrants that the peddlers have documents for sale.

A typical transaction includes key papers such as a Social Security card, a driver's license and a "green card" granting immigrants permanent U.S. residency. Fees range from $75 to $300, depending on quality.

After a customer places the order, a runner takes the money and a photo to a document mill, typically in a nondescript house or apartment. The false documents are often in the customer's hands within an hour.

Some fakes are laughably amateurish. Analysts at the ICE document lab in northern Virginia said they occasionally come across ironed-on laminated cards that have imprints of the irons. One forger trying to replicate a document from a foreign country used a picture of his uncle as a stand-in for the country's president.

Forgers often use their own fingerprints when documents require them. They also routinely make up or use Social Security numbers that can match many numbers held by legitimate citizens and can be a first step toward full identity theft. Knight Ridder (NYSE:KRI) reported last month that the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service routinely receive evidence of people using bogus Social Security numbers but refuse to share that information with ICE officials, who want to use it to search for illegal immigrants and their employers.

Lawmakers are struggling to craft a new immigration law to correct the last law's shortcomings with tamperproof identity cards and a nationwide databank, but skeptics fear that resourceful criminals will still find ways to beat the system.

The gold standard for document forgeries, investigators said, comes off the assembly line of the Castorena network. The organization built its fortune by employing the same principles used by successful legitimate corporations: a superior product, franchises in major cities and a coast-to-coast sales force.

CFO counterfeiters microscopically study relevant U.S. documents and replicate virtually every detail, including some security features that are embedded into the laminate.

Analysts using high-tech equipment at the ICE document lab unfailingly spot forgeries, but the Castorena-produced documents can easily fool employers and even the trained eyes of police officers.

'Intricately orchestrated'

Castorena-Ibarra, one of ICE's 10 most-wanted fugitives, allegedly started the operation with three brothers and two sisters after they entered the country and settled in the heavily Hispanic MacArthur Park section of Los Angeles.

In-laws and trusted lieutenants became part of the leadership as the network expanded across the country by charging "franchise fees" of up to $15,000 per month to run document mills.

Key CFO operatives routinely use phony documents to mask their identities. In some cases, they're known only by nicknames, such as "Gabby," the suspected leader in Kansas City, and "Coyote," the Houston cell leader. The leader in Dallas is believed to be Alberto Soto-Ronquillo, who has been part of the CFO for more than a decade, ICE agents say.

For years, the organization supplied most of the nation's print stock of phony documents. Later, it distributed computer templates after the high-tech era opened the door to computerized counterfeiting, investigators said. Court documents from a Denver investigation describe the network as "intricately orchestrated and exceptionally well-organized."

The Castorenas forbid local operatives from trafficking drugs and engaging in other sideline trades that would attract increased scrutiny from law enforcement, investigators said. They also regularly update their products to keep pace with government-mandated changes in official documents.

Castorena-Ibarra, 42, who fled to Mexico to escape federal indictments, still runs the organization, passing orders through surrogates in the United States, said Cory Voorhis, an ICE special agent in Denver.

ICE officials said that they're working with Mexican authorities to return him to the United States but that the mustachioed fugitive moves frequently and changes cellphones every few days.

At one point, he was thought to be living with his wife and son in a lavishly furnished home in Zapopan, a suburb of Guadalajara. He travels often to Mexico City and is thought to have several mistresses. ICE also has received information that Castorena-Ibarra and other family members have invested in legitimate businesses such as real estate and taxi companies.

"He's pretty comfortable," Voorhis said. "He believes he's safe."

------------

Dave Montgomery, (202) 383-6016 dmontgomery@krwashington.com


Newstex ID: KRTB-0070-8511999


 

47 posted on 07/10/2006 11:21:24 AM PDT by Smartass ("In God We Trust" - "An informed and knowledgeably citizen is the best defense against tyranny")
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To: PhilDragoo; devolve; ntnychik; bitt; JustPiper; Smartass; La Enchiladita
Trash in so many forms!


48 posted on 07/10/2006 12:11:09 PM PDT by potlatch (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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To: potlatch


49 posted on 07/10/2006 12:46:59 PM PDT by devolve (fx 9125_AMERICANS_KILLED_2003_BY_ILLEGALS MEX_ILLEGAL_GOT_911_TERRORISTS_ID NO_NUEVO_TEJAS)
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To: devolve

VERY nice. You - using small images? Impossible!


50 posted on 07/10/2006 12:51:31 PM PDT by potlatch (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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