when drug wars collide with u.s. foreign policy, no one is safe
A TALE OF TWO CARTELS
if i were a little more callous or jaded, i’d publish more horrific images with this post, but they are trauma-inducing. the violence of the mexican-cartel dominated phase of the drugwar is on a level of brutality that can only be characterized as psychotic and insane – sadistic is an understatement, considering the torture for days, often with propane torches, the beheadings, the bodies hacked to pieces and left in piles, the bloody torsos…just do an image search for “cartel violence” if you’re interested, but it’s difficult to take. and there’s so much of it. so much pain, so much suffering, so many bodies, so much money, so many crimes, so many levels…
one of the consequences of active cooperation between a drug cartel and intelligence agencies of the u.s. has been an increase in over-the-top, insanely bloody violence. to be sure, once it is known that a certain group of people cooperate with the authorities to incarcerate or otherwise eliminate cartel members, the cartels seek to set an example of what people who cooperate with the authorities can expect when the cartels catch up with them. it doesn’t matter to the cartels that some people might be responsible for doing away with a rival gangster. what’s important to them is that some people have cooperated with the law.
sadly enough, the law can’t always protect people from cartels: not their informants, not the bystanders in the streets, not even the police are safe from the violence of the cartels. the one thing an informant cannot expect from the cartels? mercy.
This is the story of two drug cartels. one is comprised of a long-standing mexican cartel based out of sinaloa mexico. it is currently headed by El Chapo (“Shorty’) Guzman, who has been in a leadership position with the sinaloa federation for a long, long time. long enough to have ties to elements within the u.s. government. how cozy is the united states government with the sinaloa federation? enough to sell them weapons – tens of thousands of small arms since 2006. if you can call it selling. many of the weapons were acquired by undercover intelligence assets, with money provided by the taxpayers of the u.s.a.
the u.s./sinaoloa coalition:
from the l.a. times:
When the ATF made alleged gun trafficker Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta its primary target in the ill-fated Fast and Furious investigation, it hoped he would lead the agency to two associates who were Mexican drug cartel members. The ATF even questioned and released him knowing that he was wanted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
But those two drug lords were secretly serving as informants for the FBI along the Southwest border, newly obtained internal emails show.
More proof that drug kingpins were paid FBI informants
According to the LA Times today, Congressman Darrell Issa, R-CA, and Senator Charles Grassley, R-IA, stated in a memo to the their respective committees in the House and Senate that the ATF should have known that the drug kingpins in question were FBI informants and shut down the operation immediately.
But regardless of whether or not the ATF agents on the ground knew that the kingpins were informants, top level Administration officials knew as indicated by hundreds of documents previously released by the Department of Justice.
Further, an internal Congressional memo made public in February shows that most if not all of the Mexican drug cartel suspects supposedly targeted by the ATF were paid FBI informants.
How, then, could a scheme such as Fast and Furious be described as a ‘sting operation’ when the very suspects it was designed to ‘catch’ were working for our own government?
The problem with the House investigation of Fast and Furious as it moves forward is that it is too narrowly focused. It has become obvious that multiple levels of the federal government were involved in the scandal, including the FBI, the State Department, and Homeland Security.
there’s more, from the examiner; More proof that drug kingpins were paid FBI informants
in exchange for protection from arrest, the sinaloas have provided the u.s. with information on rival cartels, thus enabling spectacular busts, while keeping the cocaine, heroin and pot flowing into the u.s., courtesy their partners.
this arrangement could go back quite a while, seeing as how elusive “el chapo” guzman has been over the years.
while still an up-and-coming lieutenant for the guadalajara cartel, el chapo was captured in guatemala, after narrowly escaping an attempted assassination that instead killed a roman catholic cardinal. he was extradited back to mexico and held at a maximum security prison in guadalajara until 2001, when he escaped in a laundry truck – allegedly with the aid of prison officials and guards.
since then, his sinaloa-based operations have thrived, with el chapo taking over smuggling routes along the mexico/u.s. border in both tijuana and ciudad juarez. despite his notoriety – there is an entire genre of nacrocorridors, inspired by his status in sinaloa as a modern-day robin hood, forbes magazine lists him as one of the world’s most powerful billionaires, ahead of former president sarkozy of france and current ruler of venezuela, hugo chavez – he continues to expand his operations. his wife even crossed the border into l.a. to have twin girls.
co-incidently enough, since his jaibreak, many of his rivals have suffered defeat after defeat at the hands of mexican president felipe calderon’s aggressive war on drugs. calderon was elected on a promise to utilize the military to destroy the cartels, after former president vincente fox’s top narco-cop was found to have taken almost $500,000 from one of el chapo’s allies.
both the united states of mexico and america state publicly that capturing el chapo is their number-one priority, but the evidence points to the contrary conclusion – in short, that el chapo is in collusion with powerful people in the u.s.a. and mexico.
in 2001, just months after his escape from prison, some rival druglords in colombia attempted to give the u.s. DEA information on el chapo, in return for lenient treatment. shortly thereafter, el chapo eluded capture in los cabos, baja california. that first year out was quite eventful for him, as he was constantly on the move, the mexican police hot on his trail. in the ensuing chaos, his brother was captured.
el chapo is purported to have helped mexican authorities imprison one of his former rivals and sometime partner alfredo beltran, then launched an attack upon the remainders of the beltran leyva gang.
the current, real, horrific drugwar began in earnest bloodiness on may 8th, 2008, when the beltran leyva gang killed el chapo’s son, edgar. in retaliation, el chapo began a bloody war of attrition that spread slowly from his homebase until it has engulfed people from texas to colombia. in the first three months of fighting, 500 people died, including dozens of police.
the main rivals to the u.s./sinaloa coalition are the zetas – an insanely violent cartel that specializes in committing atrocities against their opponents, be they journalists, recalcitrant addicts, informers, police, judges, or gangstas not under their control.
there are a couple of minor players in this tale – like the juarez, michoacan, and gulf coalitions – who had been involved in the drug trade for longer. the zetas were a gang of military deserters who became hitmen for the gulf coalition, though the two are currently in a bloody dispute – along with the u.s./sinaloa coalition – over control of drug traffic along the u.s./mexico border, particularly along the texas border.
the gulf coalition has been around long enough that they are firmly entrenched in some places, like veracruz, matamoros, and reynosa. yet, the zetas are attacking their rivals in 23 mexican states. they are such a feared enemy, the former leader of the juarez cartel moved to colorado, turned himself in, and demanded protection in return for information. he likely sold out his former employees in exchange for protection from them.
in central america, meanwhile, 15 members of the michoacan/la familia cartel have been busted – including the leader Gabriel Maldonado Soler, a former federal police agent – and the cartel effectively shut down. courts in nicaragua and costa rica have been busy prosecuting cartels, as has mexican president calderon.
with each bust or death, a power vacuum is created for the survivors to fight to fill. though the zetas have been quick to snatch up the spoils, the sinaloa federation has been busy building alliances with other old-school cartels, including the remnants of la familia, the gulf cartel, leftovers of the juarez cartel. the tijuana cartel has also been alarmed about the appearance of zetas in their domain and are alleged to be in alliance with the u.s./sinaloa coalition.
for more on the drug war, see