June 3, 2012 |
The white sport utility vehicle was first spotted winding its way through the rugged desert mountains of southern Arizona about 4:30 a.m. Saturday. Federal and local authorities gave chase, but by the time they found it, it was too late for five people aboard. Four hours after the initial spotting by a Border Patrol agent, authorities found the smoldering wreckage of the Ford Expedition where it had gone off the road in the Vekol Valley. The five bodies inside were burned beyond recognition.
May 19, 2012 |
SAN DIEGO - Alleged drug kingpin Victor Emilio Cazares, among the most wanted trafficking suspects in the United States, has been arrested in Mexico, U.S. and Mexican officials say, despite having changed his appearance through plastic surgery. A senior U.S. law enforcement official in Mexico confirmed this week that Cazares was captured April 8 at a highway checkpoint near the western city of Guadalajara. Mexican authorities on Friday confirmed Cazares was in custody. Mexican authorities did not make the arrest public at the time, and it has not been previously reported.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 26, 2012 |
The man with eight pounds of methamphetamine in his carry-on bag stood in the snaking security line at Los Angeles International Airport's Terminal 4, inching toward the checkpoint, when a TSA screener approached. But it wasn't to stop the contraband, according to prosecutors. It was to make sure it got through. The screener, John Whitfield, allegedly told the man to get to the back of the line so he and his luggage would get to the X-ray machines when Whitfield's shift started.
April 21, 2012 |
WASHINGTON — Police and federal agents pulled the car over in a suburb north of Denver. An FBI agent showed his badge. The driver appeared not startled at all. "My friend," he said, "I have been waiting for you. " And with that, Jesus Audel Miramontes-Varela stepped out of his white 2002 BMW X5 and into the arms of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Over the next several days at his ranch in Colorado and an FBI safe house in Albuquerque, the Mexican cartel chieftain — who had reputedly fed one of his victims to lions in Mexico — was transformed into one of the FBI's top informants on the Southwest border.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 17, 2012 |
They were sellers of pastel-toned huggable plush toys with names like "Baby Frenz Forever" and "Jungle Pals. " At the same time, authorities say, they were receiving bricks of U.S. dollars wrapped in cellophane that were drug proceeds to be laundered into clean pesos for drug lords in Mexico and Colombia. On Monday, authorities announced charges against the City of Industry-based Woody Toys Inc. and seven owners, employees and customers in what marks the second case in two years involving toy exporters allegedly acting as conduits for the drug trade.
April 15, 2012
The Summit of the Americas is more often a photo opportunity than a forum for bold policy initiatives. When issues of substance are discussed, the meeting of the hemisphere's 34 leaders has generally yielded more clashes than regional pacts. But some saw a chance for a little more action this year when leaders from several Latin American countries came to this weekend's summit in the Colombian seaside city of Cartagena complaining of drug war fatigue. Over the last six months, that weariness has been spreading throughout Latin America.
April 14, 2012 |
CARTAGENA, Colombia - President Obama sought Saturday to emphasize the robust economic relationship between the United States and Latin America, and he flatly ruled out legalizing drugs as a way to combat the illegal trafficking that has ravaged the region. Facing calls at a regional summit to consider decriminalization, Obama said he is open to a debate about drug policy, but he believes that legalization could lead to greater problems in countries hardest hit by drug-fueled violence.
March 26, 2012 |
Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday told Mexican Catholics that renewed faith and a pure heart will help them stand up to "distressing times of human suffering" in a nation stalked by drug violence, crime and uncertainty. At a vast, sunbaked open-air Mass, with several hundred thousand people arrayed before him, the pope said Mexico faced "times of sorrow as well as hope" and he reiterated a call for the special protection of children. Of particular significance here, Benedict repeatedly invoked the Virgin of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico and Latin America.
March 7, 2012 |
A lawmaker and former federal prosecutor from Los Angeles has drafted proposed new penalties for criminals who illegally purchase and smuggle firearms into Mexico , saying he hopes his measure will bring "something positive" out of the uproar over the Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation on the Southwest border. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said he will introduce legislation Thursday to create a two-year prison sentence for so-called "straw purchasers" who currently receive probation or very little jail time for acquiring weapons under false pretenses and then selling them to Mexican gun smugglers.
March 4, 2012 |
In a race widely deemed his to lose, Enrique Peña Nieto's greatest hurdle may be his own party. Mexico'sformer ruling party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, hopes to ride back to power behind its handsome young presidential candidate and a rejuvenated image. But new allegations of drug payoffs to a former PRI governor have shoved the party's often-shady legacy to the forefront of the campaign, reminding voters of the sort of graft that marked the party's rule before it was booted in 2000 after seven decades of near-absolute control.