Skip to comments.Increasingly sophisticated, drug cartels are camouflaged as Mexican security forces
Posted on 05/15/2012 12:34:11 PM PDT by robowombat
Increasingly sophisticated, drug cartels are camouflaged as Mexican security forces Monday, May 14, 2012 By Martin Barillas
Jorge Domene, a spokesman for the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, said on May 14 that 49 headless corpses found over the April 12-13 weekend near the city of Monterrey were probably brought from elsewhere to the place where they were found. Of the bodies, said Domene, None have a head, and their upper and lower extremities were mutilated, thus complicating their identification. Nuevo Leon prosecutor Adrián de la Garza said in a press conference that no missing person reports have been issued in recent days, which may mean that the dead may have come from other states in the Mexican union or from neighboring Central American republics. De la Garza said, We cannot discount any possibility because the bodies have been here only 48 hours.
Of the 49 corpses, 43 appear to be male adults while 6 appear to be female. Some may have been dead for less than 48 hours. This most recent find is similar to other recent incidents in which narcoterrorists have dumped bodies in plain sight. In Nuevo Leon, before this incident, 23 corpses were found discarded on the ground or hanging in Nuevo Laredo just across the border from Laredo TX, and 18 more were found on the highway leading south to Guadalajara. In September 2011, 35 bodies were found in the state of Veracruz, and another 36 were found in November in Guadalajara.
Forensic examination of the corpses appeared to show that the bodies were transferred to the outskirts of Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon, from elsewhere via non-refrigerated transport. Found at the scene was a banner that attributed the killings to Los Zetas, one of Mexicos powerful narcoterrorist groups. The bodies have been taken to a location in Monterey for examination. The governor of Nuevo León, Rodrigo Medina, has asked for assistance from federal law enforcement.
Complicating the Mexican governments armed struggle against the heavily-armed criminal organizations are reports that criminals are now masquerading as law enforcement officers and military. Recently, Francisco Córdova Celaya, who heads public security for the state of Guadalajara, reported that narcoterrorists wear uniforms very similar to those used by the Mexican military and local government jurisdictions so as to confuse the public. He also noted that law enforcement has seized three vehicles that had been modified to resemble those used by the government. One of them was a Hummer military vehicle equipped with a Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle. In armed confrontations with security forces on April 28 and May 10, the presumed narcoterrorists who were killed were wearing military-style camouflage uniforms, boots and helmets. In a presentation last month in Washington DC, William Weschler - Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats - said in a presentation that Mexico's narcoterrorists are increasingly sophisticated, decentralized and adaptable, thus resembling other terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and Iran's covert operations.
(Mexican special forces armed with U.S. made .50 caliber Barrett sniper rifles)
One of these incidents took place on the highway between Mexico City and Nogales and the state of Sinaloa, where five presumed narcoterrorists wearing military and police gear were killed in an armored truck. The five members of a narcoterrorist cartel were manning a checkpoint on a federal highway when they were discovered by state police on their way to the city of Los Mochis. After a firefight, the five criminals were killed and partly incinerated in their burning vehicle. Law enforcement in Guadalajara is examining the uniforms, armaments, and other gear found on the scene to determine their origin and whether they may have been used in other criminal activities. Córdova Celaya gave assurances that all state police and other law enforcement can be easily identified by their uniforms and badges. He called on the public to report suspicious behavior citizens observe, or any doubts they may have about the identity of supposed law officers, to an anonymous tip line.
It was thanks to a tip line, said Córdova Celaya, that soldiers were called to Estación Bamoa in Guadalajara where they took fire from armed men holed up in a local hotel. In that incident, 11 criminals were killed. The army captured numerous weapons, including a several Barrett sniper rifles, grenade launchers, and automatic assault rifles. Previous such firefights and raids have yielded weapons such as U.S. made LAW rocket launchers, body armor, assault rifles and squad-level automatic weapons.
On May 14, the Attorney Generals office of Mexico and the Secretariat for Government issued a statement condemning the violence in Nuevo Leon and promised swift action. Once again, the Mexican government offered a hefty bounty to information leading to the capture of the leaders of narcoterrorist organizations that are increasingly international in scope. Currently, the Mexican government is offering a bounty of 30 million pesos (US$2.19 million) in exchange for information leading to the arrest of Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, Ismael El Mayo Zambada, Joaquin El Chapo Guzmán Loera, and Miguel Treviño Morales, all of whom are leaders of various criminal organizations.
Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.
What you mean "camouflaged" Gringo?
Maybe that’s because they ARE Mexican Security Forces?
Why isn’t this war a constant front page story in the American media, why isn’t the media making heroic films and news stories about the incredibly brave heroes in Mexico who are facing these monsters?
Soldiers, police, even mayors and Judges are displaying bravery beyond belief, yet our media is relatively neutral and indifferent, and Hollywood is silent.
This isn't a new problem. Mexican police/military and others dressed like them have been a problem for a long time. Several years ago a group of Humvees crossed the border and engaged Border Patrol with belt fed weapons before moving back across the border.
Five dead, 17 injured in Bogota bombing believed targeted at ex-minister
Last Updated: 5:17 PM, May 15, 2012
Posted: 5:17 PM, May 15, 2012
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Police inspect the scene after a bomb exploded in Bogota, Colombia. A bomb targeting former Colombian interior minister Fernando Londono killed two of his bodyguards and injured at least 31 others in the heart of Bogota's uptown commercial district, authorities said.
BOGOTA, Colombia — Five people were killed and 17 injured in the Colombian capital Tuesday when a bomb exploded in what President Juan Manuel Santos said was an assassination attempt against a former interior minister.
“I've just learned that an attempt was made on the life of Mr. Fernando Londono. He was in his armored car,” said Santos in a speech from the presidential palace.
“Fortunately, Dr. Londono is stable condition in the hospital,” the Colombian leader said, adding Londono’s driver and a police guard were among the dead.
Bogota's mayor, Gustavo Petro, said via Twitter that “one suspect has been arrested” and there is surveillance video of the crime scene.
“The entire city should stay alert,” he added in his message.
The Red Cross said 17 people had been injured.
Witnesses said the blast, which occurred just after 11:00am local time (1600 GMT), appeared to have been triggered by a bomb placed on a public bus, but officials could not immediately confirm that.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred on Bogota's busy Calle 74 and Avenida Caracas, a bustling intersection in the northwest of the city filled with foot traffic from businesses and students from nearby universities.
Witnesses described an ear-shattering explosion followed by scenes of carnage.
“It was horrible,” said one witness who reported the grisly disaster scene included a body torn in half by the force of the blast.
The witness said Londono’s bodyguards brandished their firearms as they removed the injured minister from the shattered vehicle and rushed him to a nearby hospital.
Londono, 78, served in the cabinet of former president Alvaro Uribe, a hardliner who governed from 2002 to 2010.
Bogota Explosion Escalates Colombia's Civil Conflict
May 15, 2012 | 2039 GMT
Police at an explosion site May 15 in Bogota
An explosion at 11 a.m. May 15 in northern Bogota, Colombia, at the intersection of 74th Street and Caracas Avenue killed five people, including a Colombian police superintendent, and injured at least 35, including former Interior Minister Fernando Londono. This is the first explosive attack in Bogota since October 2011, when an explosive device in a garbage can killed two police officers. Details are still emerging, but police are reporting that a person on a motorcycle threw an explosive device at Londono’s car, which may indicate a targeted assassination attempt.
There are also reports of two or three explosive devices that had been stuffed inside potatoes detonating May 15 at Universidad Nacional, about 4 kilometers (about 2.5 miles) away from the site of the 11 a.m. attack. The reports say the university had been evacuated before the “potato bombs” went off and that only one police officer was injured in the incident. Also, a device containing 38 kilograms (84 pounds) of explosives in a car was reportedly deactivated the morning of May 15 in central Bogota's Eduardo Santos neighborhood.
Bombings in Bogota are not rare, and it is common for the city to have a few attacks a year. However, assassination attempts against individuals are less common. The latest was in 2007 when a letter bomb was sent to the deputy education minister. The Colombian Public Ministry has told Radio Caracol that it is hypothesizing that the attack was carried out by either the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to protest the U.S.-Colombian free-trade agreement or by neo-paramilitary groups in retaliation against the extraditions of former paramilitary leaders to the United States.
Initial speculation noted the timing of the bombing (the U.S.-Colombian free-trade agreement went into effect May 15). However, the likelihood of this being an assassination attempt on Londono, the minister responsible for former President Alvaro Uribe Velez's security plan, increases the possibility that the motivation behind the attack is related to Colombia's ongoing Espada de Honor operations against the FARC and neo-paramilitary groups known as bandas criminales, or bacrim. It is unknown if the incident at Universidad Nacional was related to the attack on Mr. Londono, but there is a relationship between leftist student groups at the university and the FARC. One person was arrested in the foiled car bomb, and initial reports blamed the FARC.
The three incidents show that the perpetrators of the attacks are able to coordinate attacks in Bogota, the core of Colombia's security imperatives, and to strike at targets protected by a security detail, as Londono was. That level of capability in Bogota will be a concern for Colombian security forces since the cities have remained relatively free from attacks even though the conflict has heated up, especially in the past year.
If ex-paramilitary members carried out this attack, it would be the first time any of these groups had carried out attacks against state interests in Bogota and would be a major escalation by the criminal organizations. The choice of Londono as a target would be curious, because he was known as a hardliner against the Marxist guerrillas during his time in charge of domestic security. Also, the fact that there were multiple attempted attacks indicates this was meant to be a political statement in addition to an assassination attempt, which points to the FARC as the perpetrators.
Regardless of who perpetrated the attacks, the attacks represent an escalation in the conflict between government forces and what it deems to be criminal organizations, such as the FARC and bacrim. The attacks are a direct message to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos that increased operations by security forces in Colombia will be met with attacks in urban centers such as Bogota. This capability to attack urban targets will be taken seriously by the government, and it is possible operations against the FARC and bacrim will become more frequent and intense and will increase the chances of further retaliatory attacks against urban targets.