Skip to comments.Mexico nabs Zeta gang leader in Matamoros
Posted on 04/30/2009 3:22:48 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch
Man is one of Mexico's 24 most-wanted drug traffickers
MEXICO CITY Mexican police on Wednesday arrested suspected Zeta gang leader Gregorio Sauceda Gamboa, one of Mexico's 24 most-wanted drug traffickers.
Sauceda Gamboa appears on a list of 24 alleged drug traffickers published by prosecutors in March. Authorities have offered rewards of up to $2.1 million for each suspect. Together with a list of 13 lower-ranking drug suspects, the group covers Mexico's most powerful cartel operators.
With Sauceda Gamboa's arrest Wednesday at a home in the border city of Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, authorities have arrested five of the 37 whose names appeared on the lists.
Sauceda Gamboa, 44, was a former investigative police officer who played a founding role in the Gulf cartel starting in 1996, federal police said.
``Because of his violent character, he was assigned ... to fight off the (rival) Pacific cartel,'' said Assistant Public Safety Secretary Gen. Javier del Real Magallanes.
The Public Safety Department said the raid on the home was the result of intelligence work and tips.
In a reflection of the current swine flu epidemic sweeping Mexico, Sauceda Gamboa was wearing a surgical mask as he was paraded before reporters by police, who also were wearing the masks in addition to the black ski-masks they normally use to hide their identities.
(Excerpt) Read more at themonitor.com ...
Been to Mata many times. Dodgy place.
If you want on, or off this S. Texas/Mexico ping list, please FReepMail me.
Note: The following text is a quote:
YOU ARE HERE: Home > Reports > Crime and Safety Reports > Report
Mexico 2009 Crime & Safety Report: Matamoros
CRIME & SAFETY
Americas - Mexico
4 May 2009
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30 Apr 2009
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Overall Crime and Safety Situation
Matamoros is located along the U.S.-Mexico border, sharing busy international bridges with Brownsville, Texas, and is only 50 miles from the Reynosa-McAllen border area. Matamoros and its surrounding areas have seen a spike in violent incidents over the past year associated with narcotics trafficking. Visitors traveling in these border areas have also been victims of armed robberies, sexual assaults, auto thefts, and kidnappings. Although there is no indication that U.S. citizens are being specifically targeted, they are frequent victims of such crimes.
Drug-related violence has increased dramatically over the past year in the Matamoros-Reynosa region and shows no sign of abating. While U.S. citizens not involved in criminal activities are generally not targeted, innocent bystanders are at risk due to the increase in violence in the streets of border cities and nearby towns.
U.S. citizens are urged to be especially aware of safety and security concerns when visiting the border region and to exercise common sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours.
The overall crime and safety situation in Mexico varies widely depending upon location. Armed robberies, sexual assaults, auto thefts, and kidnappings have been reported in and around Matamoros, in some cases within close proximity to the US Consulate. There is no evidence to indicate that criminals are specifically targeting U.S. citizens. Criminals select victims based on an appearance of vulnerability, prosperity or inattentiveness. While Mexico employs strict gun-control laws, thieves and robbers do not comply and are usually armed with knives or handguns.
Road conditions are poor, and roads are not maintained as they are in the U.S. Military and police checkpoints are common in and around Matamoros and Reynosa.
American interests in Matamoros are generally not targets of political violence. Some small, peaceful, demonstrations have taken place in and around Matamoros.
While there do not appear to be any Middle Eastern terrorist groups currently active in Mexico, lax immigration controls, the ease with which fake Mexican travel documents can be obtained, and Mexicos geographic location make the country an attractive transit point for potential transnational terrorists.
Matamoros is located approximately 30 miles from the Gulf Coast. Hurricane watches and warnings for the area are common during August to November.
Kidnapping for ransom is an established criminal activity in Mexico. Most incidents go unreported to police. Unofficial estimates of kidnapping levels vary wildly, from 600 to 5,000 per year countrywide. In most cases, the ransom is paid and victim is set free. The usual victim practice is not to notify police authorities, as the popular belief is that the police may be involved in the crime or certainly are unable to resolve the situation. Affluent residents in Mexico City often have bodyguards and armored vehicles for their families to protect them against kidnapping.
Express kidnappings are a common type of abduction and are based on the 24-hour withdrawal limit placed on ATM cards industry-wide. The victim is generally held for 24 to 48 hours and is forced to withdraw funds from a series of ATMs. Official Americans have also suffered this type of crime, but, anecdotally, many Mexican employees of the embassy either have been victimized themselves or personally know a victim. The term express kidnapping is also still applied to the kidnapping of random victims held for brief periods where only small ransom amounts are demanded. A typical scenario may last for several hours and be settled for the peso equivalent of a few thousand dollars.
Another kidnapping tactic used is the telephonic kidnapping threat, a.k.a. virtual kidnapping. Although the calls vary in style, the methodology is invariably the same. The virtual kidnapping call includes a crying/pleading voice immediately after the call is answered and before the alleged kidnapper gets on the phone. In this manner, the caller hopes to confuse the victims to get them to give away important information; for example, if the crying voice sounds like a child in any way, and the victim calls out that child’s name, the caller now knows the name of the child that could potentially be a kidnap victim, and will use this knowledge against the victim, claiming the child has been kidnapped. The voice of the supposed kidnap victim will usually be crying and/or hysterical. This makes it difficult to identify and increase the likelihood that the victim will believe it is a loved one. Criminals will try to use fear, tact, and timing against possible victims. For example, they plan their calls to coincide with times when it will be difficult to contact the child or another adult immediately (e.g. when child is either on their way to or from school). All calls demand money for the release of the loved one and stipulate no police involvement. Oftentimes the callers will give statements to suggest surveillance. They are very vague but imply they have been watching the victims family and use fear and everyday routines against the victim to reinforce the threat of the kidnapping, when no one, in fact, has been kidnapped. One of the most important things for one to be aware of are the details of any family travel and destination (where are they supposed to be, who are they supposed to be with, etc.). In addition, it is equally important that one ensures good communication by leaving landline and cell phone numbers with family members.
Drugs and Narcoterrorism
The increase in drug-related violence continues to be a concern for visitors traveling to Matamoros. Mexico is well known for its illegal drug trade and the violence and corruption the industry fosters. Mexico is the primary route or conduit for bringing illegal drugs into the United States. Matamoros and the surrounding areas have been the scene of many violent, uncontrolled incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured and killed. Mexican security forces and police have not been effective in maintaining security in these cities along the U.S. Mexican border. Many have been corrupted and are working for the drug cartels as enforcers, body guards, and mules.
ATM and Credit Card Crime
Cloning or counterfeiting of ATM cards and credit cards occurs in Mexico, and travelers are advised to check their account activity online while in Mexico to detect fraudulent charges early. All ATMs are not the same, and travelers are encouraged to plan their cash needs in advance using only reputable ATMs in secure areas.
Here are some things that you can do to lessen the chances that you will become a victim of ATM or credit card fraud:
-Closely monitor anyone who handles your card. To protect against skimming, closely watch anyone to whom you give your card for processing, such as a waiter, clerk, attendant, etc. If at all possible, do not let them out of your sight. If a clerk makes a hardcopy, retrieve the carbons.
-Keep low-limit credit cards. Keeping a low limit on your credit cards restricts the amount of money that thieves can steal. Although not exactly a prevention tactic, it will help if you fall victim.
-Sign all credit cards. Sign all credit cards immediately upon your receipt of them. You can also write “Check ID” so that the clerk, if they actually read the back, will ask for ID for verification during a transaction.
-Cancel credit cards that you do not use. It is important to cancel all credit cards that are not used and to monitor the ones that are.
-Be aware of your surroundings. The first step to prevent skimming is to understand what is going on around you. When at an ATM, cover the key pad when entering your pin. Prior to inserting your ATM card, check the ATM card reader to make sure that it looks appropriate and is not altered.
-Take receipts. Do not leave receipts at ATMs, teller windows, gasoline pumps, or with a clerk.
-Protect your PIN and commit it to memory.
Police corruption and police involvement in criminal activity is common in Mexico. Consequently, citizens are often indifferent to police authority, adding to the sense of lawlessness in Mexico. The general perception is that the majority of crime victims do not report crimes against them due to fear of reprisals by the police, the belief that police are corrupt, or the feeling that nothing would come from such reports.
Matamoros police are widely considered to be underpaid, poorly trained, and corrupt. From senior police in league with narco-traffickers and/or organized crime elements, to routine bribes paid daily by motorists, Mexican police enjoy little respect from the general population. Reporting crime is an archaic, exhausting process in Mexico, and is widely perceived to be a waste of time except for the most serious of crimes or where a police report is required for insurance purposes.
Travelers may contact the Consular Section or the Regional Security Office at U.S. Consulate Matamoros for assistance in dealing with the Mexican Police (numbers listed below). U.S. citizens are advised to cooperate with the police if stopped or questioned. If involved in a traffic accident or victimized by crime, one may be required to accompany the investigating officer to the local police station to file a complaint or respond to questions. Should a police report be required for an insurance claim, a nominal fee will be charged. The Mexican police emergency telephone number is 066, whether they arrive in a timely fashion or at all is questionable.
Mexico has health concerns. One should take normal tourist precautions with regard to drinking water, eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and salads.
Health insurance is also an important consideration. Travelers are responsible to ensure that they have adequate health coverage while in Mexico.
The Red Cross (Cruz Roja) can be reached at 065. This medical service may not be reliable.
Travelers can also contact private ambulance services, who do charge a fee, usually around $500 pesos.
Life Ambulance Service: 011-52-868-812-3049
Other Health Information
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, “Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad,” available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or fax: (202) 647-3000
CDC International Traveler’s hotline: (404) 332-4559, http://www.cdc.gov.
For international treatment and medical insurance: AEA International, (206) 340-6000.
Air ambulance service (recommended for severe injuries or illnesses best treated in the U.S): AEA International, (800)752-4195.
Prior to road travel, ensure that your vehicle is in good operating condition, paying particular attention to the engine, tires, brakes, head and tail lights, spare tire and jack, horn, and fluid levels. Particularly on long trips to remote areas, try to travel in tandem with other vehicles, and advise someone of your travel plans, including anticipated arrival and departure times and contact numbers.
The following items are recommended for extended road trips:
Cellular telephone with charger (although some areas between cities lack coverage);
An extra spare tire;
Portable gas can of gasoline with funnel;
Non-perishable food items;
First Aid kit;
Camping gear (sleeping bag, blanket, stove, etc);
Flashlight with additional batteries;
Battery operated radio;
Extra fan belt/drive belt;
Extra fuses spark plugs, and light bulbs;
Duplicate ignition key;
Screw driver (regular and Phillips head);
Socket wrench set;
How to Avoid Becoming a Victim
Protecting Your Vehicle
-Make sure that headlights and tail lights are held in place by easily accessible screws. Install grills around the lights, or simply tap out the heads of the screws holding the lights in place.
-If your tire is mounted on the outside of the vehicle, secure it in place with chain and padlock, or similar device. If this is not possible, remove the spare tire and keep it at home, reinstalling it only for extended trips outside the city.
-Theft of the vehicle’s operating computer is a common crime, as is the theft of car sound systems. The installation of a car alarm is strongly recommended. Also, if you purchase a car radio, look for models that can be removed from the dash and locked in the trunk. Finally, keep your vehicle sterile, storing anything that would entice a thief out of plain view.
-Replace one lug nut on each wheel with a specially keyed bolt that locks or can only be removed with a special attachment to the tire iron.
-Secure emblems with rivets.
-Avoid leaving your vehicle on the street. It is recommended to park inside a residential compound, in a parking lot with an attendant, or within view of the location of your visit. If this isn’t possible, leave your car at home and take a taxi. When parking within a shopping facility lot, be sure to park as close as possible to the store entrance and away from dumpsters, bushes, or large vehicles. Be sure to lock your doors, close windows and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.
-Installing a car alarm is a necessary precaution in deterring vehicle thefts and thefts of interior contents.
-Avoid wearing jewelry and carry a clutch or neck purse instead of a shoulder bag. Carry a wallet in the front trouser pocket or front jacket pocket.
-Never leave shopping bags or merchandise unattended.
-When hiring domestic help, vet them to the greatest extent possible. Ensure that they are trained not to volunteer information to strangers or to allow access of workers without prior authorization.
-Maintain a low profile. Do not advertise the fact that you are American. Dress casually, keep valuables out of sight, and do not draw attention to yourself with your actions.
-Vary routines. Be unpredictable and vary the routes from home to the office as well as your departure and arrival times.
-Be alert to possible surveillance. Note any individual who appears out of place along your routes to regularly scheduled activities, such as going from home to the office.
-Avoid sitting outside at restaurants. Instead, try to find a seat in an area not clearly visible from the street.
-Be alert to surroundings. Minimize valuables and do not carry large sums of money while in crowded, urban areas. Be aware of popular scams and robbery tactics used to distract your attention.
For Further Information
Mexico country code: 52
Matamoros area code: 868
U.S. Consulate Matamoros
Calle Primera 2002
Regional Security Office
8:15 a.m. -5:30 p.m., M-F
RSO Duty Officer can be contacted 24/7 by calling the consulate switchboard operator
Calle Sexta y Avenida Longoria #9
Calle Primera y Gonzalez y Morelos 1105
Police Emergency: 066
OSAC Matamoros-Reynosa Country Council
For information on OSAC and future Matamoros OSAC events, contact Michael Flynn at 011-52-868-812-4402, ext. 384.