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July 30, 2010 | By Ken Ellingwood and Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times
In a significant blow against the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel, Mexican troops on Thursday killed one of the group's top figures during an arrest raid in western Mexico. The raid came as troops in Tijuana rounded up dozens of police officers in a separate operation targeting organized crime. Ignacio Coronel Villarreal is described as one of the three most important bosses in the cartel, which is based in Sinaloa state and run by the country's most-wanted drug suspect, Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman.
April 16, 2014 | By Richard Fausset and Cecilia Sanchez
MEXICO CITY - Mexico's drug and corruption crackdown intensified this week with the arrests of the reputed second in command of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel and the mayor of a Michoacan city once controlled by the Knights Templar criminal gang. The detention Tuesday of Uriel Chavez Mendoza, the mayor of Apatzingan, could help government officials persuade the “self-defense” militias in the western state of Michoacan to comply with a newly minted agreement to disband by May 10. Tension between the armed citizen militias and the Knights Templar, a cult-like criminal organization, has made Michoacan one of the most sensitive security problems for the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto.
July 15, 2013 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY -- The top leader of the vicious Zetas drug-trafficking paramilitary cartel was captured Monday, Mexican authorities announced. Mexican naval special forces seized Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, alias Z-40, in Nuevo Laredo, a border city across from Laredo, Texas, in the state of Tamaulipas, long a Zeta stronghold, government security spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said. This is the most significant blow to organized crime since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office more than seven months ago. His government will certainly attempt to use the arrest to prove its commitment in the drug war -- a commitment that has been questioned in many circles, including among U.S. officials who had previously worked extremely closely with their Mexican counterparts but found the rules changing under the new administration.
April 9, 2014 | By Diana Marcum, Scott Gold and Marisa Gerber
RICHGROVE, Calif. - In March 2013, a man with brooding, mahogany eyes and a walrus mustache traveled from his home in California to visit relatives in Alabama. The trip did not end well. When a business acquaintance insulted Jose Manuel Martinez's daughter, Martinez put two bullets in the man's head, officials said. It was a matter "of family honor," Errek Jett, an Alabama prosecutor, said Wednesday. But it was not, it turned out, the first time he had killed - far from it, authorities believe.
December 16, 2009 | By Ken Ellingwood
The leader of one of Mexico's most notorious drug cartels was killed during a shootout with Mexican forces Wednesday, authorities said. Arturo Beltran Leyva, who heads a Sinaloa-based gang, died along with four gunmen during a gunfight with Mexican navy forces in the city of Cuernavaca, south of Mexico City, the navy said in a statement. One of the gunmen committed suicide during the clash. The Beltran Leyva group has been singled out by U.S. authorities as a major trafficker of cocaine into the United States.
July 28, 2011 | By Richard Marosi and Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Calexico, Calif., and Badiraguato, Mexico - The towering iron gates opened onto a palm-lined driveway that led past the family church, a twisting water slide and two man-made lakes, one stocked with fish, the other with jet skis. With its soaring twin bell towers, each topped by a cross, the estate in the emerald hills outside Culiacan, Mexico, had an almost surreal grandeur. It reminded Carlos "Charlie" Cuevas of Disneyland, without the smiles. Cuevas, a drug trafficker from Calexico, Calif., had been summoned there by Victor Emilio Cazares, allegedly a top lieutenant in the Sinaloa cartel.
October 19, 2013 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY -- Gunmen dressed as clowns burst into a children's party and shot to death the eldest brother of one of Mexico's erstwhile largest and feared drug-trafficking families, Mexican officials and press said Saturday. Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix was killed in the Baja California city of Cabo San Lucas while attending the party at a local hotel on Friday, the reports said. Arellano Felix was the oldest of seven brothers who ran the Tijuana drug cartel that once dominated that border city.
July 21, 2009 | Richard Marosi
Federal authorities announced indictments Monday against the reputed leaders of Mexico's Gulf cartel and its paramilitary force, the Zetas, accusing them of trafficking tons of cocaine and marijuana from South America through the Texas-Mexico border. Three of the men are identified as the "triumvirate" that manages the far-flung enterprise, dividing its territories among themselves.
February 2, 1989 | From Associated Press
Vice President Dan Quayle, arriving Wednesday on his first visit to Latin America, discussed anti-drug efforts with Colombia's president and declared U.S. opposition to any Latin "debtor cartel." The vice president arrived a day before inaugural ceremonies for Venezuela's new president, Carlos Andres Perez. His met first with President Virgilio Barco Vargas of Colombia.
November 22, 2013 | By Richard Marosi
SAN DIEGO -- The son of one of Mexico's most wanted drug kingpins has been arrested while trying to cross into the U.S. with his wife in Nogales, Ariz., federal authorities said Friday. Serafin Zambada, who was arrested on Wednesday, is expected to be transferred to San Diego where he is wanted on drug trafficking charges, according to Amy Roderick, a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego. Authorities said Zambada is the son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, a top leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel , which is believed to smuggle more drugs into the U.S. than any other Mexican organized crime group.
March 20, 2014 | By Richard Marosi
California has emerged as the major gateway for methamphetamine into the country, with Mexican organized crime groups smuggling an estimated 70% of the U.S. supply through state border crossings, according to a report released Thursday by state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris. The 98-page report on trends in transnational organized crime also cites maritime smuggling, money laundering and criminal alliances between Mexican drug cartels and Southern California gangs as growing public safety threats.
March 10, 2014 | By Richard Fausset
MEXICO CITY - If nothing else, the slaying of cartel boss Nazario Moreno Gonzalez by Mexican soldiers may have burst the bubble of mysticism that had made him one of the stranger figures to emerge in the country's drug war. Moreno, whose nicknames included "El Mas Loco" ("The Craziest"), was a founder of Michoacan state's La Familia drug cartel and its offshoot, the Knights Templar - groups that have moved massive amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs north to the United States.
March 2, 2014 | By Richard Fausset and Richard A. Serrano
MEXICO CITY - With the arrest of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the leadership of Mexico's largest and most sophisticated illegal drug operation has probably transferred to Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, a 66-year-old former farmer with a knack for business - and maintaining a low profile. But Zambada is likely to discover, much as Guzman did, that inheriting the throne of top capo comes with a series of complications worthy of a Shakespearean king. Like his predecessor, Zambada is a country boy made good who hails from the badlands of Sinaloa, the traditional heart of Mexican drug-smuggling culture.
February 24, 2014 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - As Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman sits locked in the basement of a Mexican prison, the U.S. Department of Justice is debating whether to seek the drug lord's extradition to face prosecution in one of several American communities that have indicted the violent Sinaloa cartel on charges of pushing millions of dollars of heroin and cocaine. Federal prosecutors in at least four U.S. cities would like to bring the cartel leader to trial. In Chicago, Guzman and 10 others have been indicted by a federal grand jury in the most sweeping case, accusing the cartel of shipping tons of drugs and threatening to behead the agent in charge of the local Drug Enforcement Administration office.
February 24, 2014 | By Richard Fausset and Tracy Wilkinson
BADIRAGUATO, Mexico - Now that the Mexican government has nabbed the country's most-wanted drug lord, Fernando Antonio Robles is worried about the future. Robles is a 16-year-old bricklayer's apprentice in the wild drug-producing municipality where Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman grew up. In this hardscrabble patch of mountainous Sinaloa state, more than 74% of the people live in poverty. And yet the tiny county seat is full of fine new, freshly painted houses. Robles knows that many of them were built by El Chapo's men. "A lot of people are going to be unemployed," Robles said while loitering with a friend on the handsome town square, "because a lot of people worked for him. " The arrest of Guzman on Saturday in the resort city of Mazatlan, a few hours' drive and a world away from Badiraguato, was greeted with delight by the Mexican government.
February 23, 2014 | Tracy Wilkinson, Don Bartletti and Richard A. Serrano
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, one of the world's biggest drug traffickers and Mexico's most-wanted fugitive, was captured Saturday in a joint U.S.-Mexican operation after more than a decade on the run, officials of both countries announced. Guzman was arrested by agents who burst into the seaside condominium in the Sinaloa resort of Mazatlan where he had moved just two days earlier. His capture was a huge symbolic blow to Mexican drug trafficking, a world in which he had reached folk hero status, and an important victory for the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto.
July 16, 2013 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY -- The capture of the top leader of Mexico's savage Zetas cartel will likely have surprisingly little effect on the trafficking of cocaine and other illicit substances to the United States, or on the violence that has claimed tens of thousands of lives here in recent years. If anything, the violence, at least in the short term, could surge as rivals and potential successors of Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, alias Z-40, battle to take his place or his turf. But for President Enrique Peña Nieto the capture is a small coup.
January 13, 2014 | By Richard Fausset
MEXICO CITY - Federal authorities rushed Monday to head off a mini-civil war in the "hot land" of Mexico's Michoacan state, urging rural vigilantes to lay down their arms and go home rather than attempt to seize a city of 90,000 that has become a stronghold of a drug cartel calling itself the Knights Templar. The armed peasant groups emerged last year to fight off the cartel, which had metastasized throughout the southwestern state, coordinating the lucrative methamphetamine trade and extortion rackets and wielding significant control over the major container port of Lazaro Cardenas.
February 22, 2014 | By Richard Fausset and Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY -- From his naming on the Forbes magazine list of the world's richest billionaires, to his frequent supposed sightings and magical escapes, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been a larger-than-life drug lord who reached mythical proportions in Mexican “narco” folklore. He rose from a simple low-level trafficker from Sinaloa, the cradle of Mexico's opium and marijuana trade, to become the nation's most powerful and elusive fugitive. For Mexicans, the capture of Guzman, reported Saturday to have occurred in a joint operation by Mexican marines and U.S. federal agents in the Sinaloan coastal city of Mazatlan, is somewhat akin to Colombia's killing of Pablo Escobar -- or even the U.S. elimination of Osama bin Laden.
February 16, 2014 | By Richard Fausset
CHILPANCINGO, Mexico - On a cool evening in February, Pioquinto Damian, the head of the Chamber of Commerce here in Guerrero's capital city, was locked away in his downtown apartment, afraid to step outside. He was convinced that the mayor had tried to kill him in an ambush just a few days before. In response, the governor had assigned him 18 heavily armed police officers as bodyguards. A few miles outside town, hundreds of members of autodefensas - vigilante "self-defense" militias composed largely of fed-up farmworkers - were patrolling the streets of semirural suburbs with ancient rifles and shotguns, hoping to rid them of the drug cartel thugs who had terrorized them for years.
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