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November 14, 2011 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
The manner in which drug traffickers have undermined Mexico's democracy was illustrated Sunday in Michoacan, home state of President Felipe Calderon and site of violent local elections. Dozens of candidates dropped out of their races because of threats from drug-trafficking cartels. A mayor was assassinated a week before the vote as he campaigned on behalf of Calderon's sister, who is running for governor. Luisa Maria Calderon led most polls going into Sunday's vote, and her win could serve as a morale boost for her brother's conservative National Action Party, or PAN, ahead of next year's presidential election.
April 11, 2014 | By Abby Sewell
Elected officials in Los Angeles County and the California Legislature are launching a new push to crack down on pimps who sell underage girls and boys for sex and the customers who purchase their services. County officials announced Friday that signs would go up around the region over the next few months -- on public buses and trains and at rail stations and bus stops, as well as on 20 billboards donated by Clear Channel Outdoor -- bearing messages like, "Teens sold for sex aren't prostitutes.
May 18, 1989 | From Reuters
Iran hanged 13 drug traffickers in public Wednesday, pushing the total number executed this year to 502. Tehran Radio, monitored in Nicosia, said the executions took place in four cities.
April 10, 2014 | By Lisa Girion and Scott Glover
A doctor has been indicted on federal drug trafficking charges for allegedly turning his East Los Angeles and San Gabriel clinics into lucrative mills where he doled out prescriptions for powerful painkillers and other widely abused medications in exchange for cash. Dr. Andrew S. Sun, 78, of La Mirada, surrendered to federal authorities and was expected to be arraigned Thursday. Sun faces 24 counts of prescribing Vicodin, Xanax, a cough syrup with codeine known on the street as "Purple Drank" and other dangerous narcotics to undercover agents who had no medical need for the drugs.
August 8, 2010 | By Tracy Wilkinson and Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
Nearly four years after President Felipe Calderon launched a military-led crackdown against drug traffickers, the cartels are smuggling more narcotics into the United States, amassing bigger fortunes and extending their dominion at home with such savagery that swaths of Mexico are now in effect without authority. The groups also are expanding their ambitions far beyond the drug trade, transforming themselves into broad criminal empires deeply involved in migrant smuggling, extortion, kidnapping and trafficking in contraband such as pirated DVDs.
November 22, 2013 | By Richard Marosi
SAN DIEGO -- Suspected drug traffickers paddling across the border in four marijuana-filled kayaks were intercepted by U.S. authorities Friday near San Diego, resulting in the seizure of 297 pounds of drugs, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said. After Border Patrol agents detected the kayaks off the Imperial Beach coast at 4 a.m., the four suspects jumped out of their kayaks and tried to swim ashore. Their attempted escape was foiled by a  U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter that shined a spotlight on the men, allowing agents to make the arrests.
December 2, 2008 | Times Wire Reports
Mexican and Guatemalan drug traffickers arguing about bets on a horse race in a rural border town fought a series of gun battles in which 17 people died, police said. Guatemala's National Police spokesman, Donald Gonzalez, said the traffickers were drinking in Santa Ana Huista on Sunday afternoon when the argument broke out, leading to a pursuit in which the men shot at one another with automatic weapons from racing trucks. Gonzalez said police found grenade launchers at the scene of the final shootout, along with hundreds of bullet cartridges and a truck with license plates from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
March 22, 2011 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
The Mexican drug gangs rapidly infiltrating Central America call El Salvador "El Caminito," the little pathway. Once a bystander in the region's narco-business, this tiny country now finds itself enmeshed in an expanding drug trade, a shift brought on in part by the presence of a new, U.S.-funded highway that provides an overland route for shipping cocaine north. For years, traffickers used speedboats and small submarine-type vessels to move drugs from Colombia to northern Guatemala or Mexico, using water routes to circumvent much of Central America.
September 28, 2010 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
A mayor who took the job when every other official in his town quit out of fear of drug traffickers was reported slain Monday, the fifth Mexican mayor killed in six weeks. Authorities said Gustavo Sanchez, mayor of the town of Tancitaro in Michoacan state, had apparently been beaten to death with rocks. He had been missing since Saturday and his body was discovered Monday along with that of an aide on the side of a rural road. Large bloodied rocks were found nearby, witnesses said.
December 8, 2008 | Times Wire Reports
Ten suspected drug traffickers and a soldier were killed in gun battles in the southern Mexican town of Arcelia. The violence began with a shootout between two rival gangs that left one dead, according to a statement from Guerrero state's Public Safety Department. Nine more, and the soldier, were killed in a subsequent confrontation between troops and police and heavily armed men traveling in 10 cars. In Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, six people were killed when assailants opened fire inside a pool hall, officials said.
April 5, 2014 | By Richard Fausset
MEXICO CITY - Mexican federal authorities have detained the interior minister of Michoacan state after determining that he has "possible contacts with criminal organizations," according to a statement released by prosecutors Saturday night. The aggressive action against Interior Minister Jesus Reyna, is a sign that the federal government, which has struggled for months to control the drug-plagued state, is considering the possibility that the influence of narcotics trafficking has spread nearly to the pinnacle of state government.
March 30, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO -  If there has ever been a more nauseating corruption scandal in Sacramento, I'm not aware of it. Certainly not in the past 50 years. The notion of a legislator masquerading as a gun control crusader while offering to help a mobster traffic in automatic rifles and rocket launchers is beyond hypocrisy. It's sick. The obligatory insert here: Everyone is presumed innocent until proved guilty in court. But no one I've talked to presumes any innocence in this sordid case.
March 26, 2014 | By Los Angeles Times staff
Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment against state Sen. Leland Yee in court Wednesday, accusing him of conspiring to commit wire fraud and traffic firearms. In all, 26 people, including former school board president Keith Jackson, were indicted on charges related to an extensive crime ring headed by well-known Chinatown figure Raymond Chow, who was also arrested and charged Wednesday. The indictment alleges Yee and Jackson defrauded "citizens of honest services" and were involved in a scheme to traffic firearms in exchange for thousands in campaign donations to the senator.
March 25, 2014 | By Abby Sewell
County officials are exploring a plan to require more intensive training for foster parents and group home workers to help them recognize warning signs that children and teens under their care may be victims of sex trafficking. County supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Don Knabe have pushed for a more aggressive response to the issue of minors being used in the sex trade. In November 2012, the supervisors created a task force focused on the issue of sex trafficking of youths in the foster care system.
March 15, 2014 | By Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times
Last month, after years of futile goose-chasing, Mexican authorities captured the country's most-wanted criminal, the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel boss Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán. But another legendary Mexican desperado remains at large after 40 years, haunting the fantasies of an adoring public. She's Camelia la Texana, a comely San Antonio ingenue turned drug-smuggling queen who shot and killed her lover in a jealous rage. At least that's her story as immortalized in "Contrabando y Traición" ("Contraband and Betrayal")
March 14, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Until about three years ago, federal agents annually intercepted some 8,000 unaccompanied minors entering the United States illegally. By last year, the number had jumped to nearly 26,000. This year's projection: As many as 60,000 youngsters may attempt to cross into this country without parents or papers. This surge of under-age humanity presents two problems. First is understanding the forces propelling it, which experts say include narco-trafficking, Central American gang violence and abusive homes.
August 30, 2010 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
For the second time in two weeks, the mayor of a Mexican city has been slain by purported drug traffickers, authorities say. Marco Antonio Leal Garcia, the mayor of Hidalgo in the violent border state of Tamaulipas, was shot to death Sunday. His young daughter was wounded in the attack. Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, is the same state where a drug gang is suspected in the massacre last week of 72 migrants and where the battle between rival cartels has left a bloody trail of death, cowed authorities and terrified citizens.
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.
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.
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