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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 24, 2011 | By Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Never lose track of the load. It was drilled into everybody who worked for Carlos “Charlie” Cuevas. His drivers, lookouts, stash house operators, dispatchers -- they all knew. When a shipment was on the move, a pair of eyes had to move with it. Cuevas had just sent a crew of seven men to the border crossing at Calexico, Calif. The load they were tracking was cocaine, concealed in a custom-made compartment inside a blue 2003 Honda Accord. The car was still on the Mexican side in a 10-lane crush of vehicles inching toward the U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection station.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
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.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 27, 2011 | By Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times
John Charles Ward would take flight in the half-light before dawn, when he could race down the runway without headlights and ascend into the cloaking embrace of an overcast sky. This feature requires that JavaScript be enabled and the Flash plug-in be installed. John Charles Ward would take flight in the half-light before dawn, when he could race down the runway without headlights and ascend into the cloaking embrace of an overcast sky. Soaring above the crowded California freeways in the single-engine aircraft, he'd relax, pour himself a whiskey and Seven and plan his hopscotch route to Pennsylvania.
WORLD
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.
WORLD
December 24, 2008 | TIMES WIRE REPORTS
A Mexican beauty queen from the drug-ravaged state of Sinaloa was arrested with suspected gang members in a truck filled with guns and ammunition, police said. Miss Sinaloa 2008 Laura Zuniga, 23, was arrested late Monday at a military checkpoint in Zapopan, Jalisco state, police said. She told police that she was planning to travel to Bolivia and Colombia with the men to go shopping.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 26, 2011 | By Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Gabriel Dieblas Roman took orders from cartel bosses in Mexico, hard men who ruled by fear, but he wouldn't approve a shipment without talking to a plucky, middle-aged woman from Compton. Guadalupe "Lupita" Villalobos ran a storefront botanica where Virgin of Guadalupe statuettes sat beside grinning Saint Death skeletons. She would threaten to turn neighbors into toads, and her clients believed she could divine the future by studying snail shells scattered on a tabletop. Roman, a client, called her one day for advice on an important matter.
WORLD
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.
WORLD
November 18, 2013 | By Richard Fausset
MEXICO CITY -- For the second time in two months, the Mexican border city of Juarez is reeling from a harrowing massacre, the victims this time a religious family of eight, including three children, whose bound, lifeless bodies were found with multiple stab wounds, according to state officials and local media reports. The victims, discovered Sunday, include two girls, ages 4 and 6; a 7-year-old boy; three women, ages 25, 30 and 60; and two men, ages 30 and 40, according to the Chihuahua prosecutor's office.
NEWS
June 28, 1986 | DAN WILLIAMS, Times Staff Writer
Alongside a railroad track that runs through Culiacan, the steamy capital of Sinaloa state, there is an ornate shrine to a turn-of-the-century bandit. Legend has it that this bandit was a kind of Robin Hood who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. People here all but worship him, and pilgrims come to the shrine in search of miracles. They rub his plaster head.
WORLD
February 27, 2014 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY -- Hundreds of Mexicans marched in support of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the criminal mastermind captured last weekend after eluding authorities for 13 years, witnesses said. Chanting slogans in English such as “I love Chapo,” the demonstrators demanded his freedom during marches Wednesday evening in three cities in Sinaloa, the state that was the birthplace of Guzman's vast multibillion-dollar drug empire. Guzman was Mexico's most-wanted fugitive and one of the largest drug traffickers in the world.
WORLD
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.
WORLD
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.
WORLD
February 23, 2014 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY -- Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has spent his first night in prison, confined to an underground cell in a maximum-security facility with fellow accused drug traffickers with names like El Hummer, officials said Sunday. The capture on Saturday of one of the world's leading drug traffickers and Mexico's most-wanted billionaire fugitive ended a manhunt of more than a decade. Reporters at the Altiplano prison in the state of Mexico, outside Mexico City, said Guzman did not apparently receive family or lawyers as visitors, although officials were present to begin reading to him some of the many charges against him. The United States has offered a $5-million bounty on him and may seek his extradition.
WORLD
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.
WORLD
February 4, 2014 | By Richard Fausset and Cecilia Sanchez
MEXICO CITY - President Enrique Peña Nieto said Tuesday that his government would invest the equivalent of about $3.4 billion in social and infrastructure programs for the beleaguered Mexican state of Michoacan, where armed vigilante groups have been clashing with a drug gang. The program, which Peña Nieto announced in Morelia, the state capital, represents a significantly larger investment in Michoacan than the one unveiled last month by his social development secretary, Rosario Robles, who promised to spend about $225 million.
WORLD
January 9, 2011 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
The bodies of at least 25 people, 15 of them with their heads cut off, were discovered Saturday in the resort city of Acapulco, authorities said. Drug cartel violence has increasingly plagued Acapulco as rival gangs fight for control of the local market, occasionally spilling into the tourist areas of the city. Even though most of Saturday's killings appeared to have steered clear of those sections, the violence damages the reputation of a once-glamorous city struggling to make a comeback amid President Felipe Calderon's drug war. The grimmest discovery came as police were investigating a burning car in a shopping center parking lot early in the morning: the decapitated bodies of 15 people.
WORLD
February 23, 2014 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY -- Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has spent his first night in prison, confined to an underground cell in a maximum-security facility with fellow accused drug traffickers with names like El Hummer, officials said Sunday. The capture on Saturday of one of the world's leading drug traffickers and Mexico's most-wanted billionaire fugitive ended a manhunt of more than a decade. Reporters at the Altiplano prison in the state of Mexico, outside Mexico City, said Guzman did not apparently receive family or lawyers as visitors, although officials were present to begin reading to him some of the many charges against him. The United States has offered a $5-million bounty on him and may seek his extradition.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 12, 2013 | By Richard Winton
Federal prosecutors unsealed indictments Thursday against two dozen members and associates of a Pasadena-based gang that worked with the Sinaloa cartel to sell methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin from Mexico, officials said. Dubbed Operation Rosebud, the 18-month investigation targeted members of Varrio Pasadena Rifa, a multi-generational gang known to sell drugs in the city with operations in the Antelope Valley and Kern County, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said in a news conference Thursday.
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