Explorations in Policing, Faith and Life (With a hint of humor, product reviews, news and whatever catches my attention)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Biggest Drug Case in DEA History


Thursday, August 20, 2009
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Ten Alleged Mexican Drug Cartel Leaders Among 43 Defendants Indicted in Brooklyn and Chicago as Part of Coordinated Strike Against Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations
WASHINGTON – Forty-three defendants in the United States and Mexico, including 10 alleged Mexican drug cartel leaders, have been charged in 12 indictments unsealed yesterday and today in U.S. federal courts in Brooklyn and Chicago, the Department of Justice, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced. The alleged leaders and other high-ranking members of several of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels are charged with operating continuing criminal enterprises or participating in international drug trafficking conspiracies.

"Breaking up these dangerous cartels and stemming the flow of drugs, weapons and cash across the Southwest border is a top priority for this Justice Department," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "The cartels whose alleged leaders are charged today constitute multi-billion dollar networks that funnel drugs onto our streets and what invariably follows is more crime and violence in our communities. Today’s indictments demonstrate our unwavering commitment to root out the leaders of these criminal enterprises wherever they may be found. We will continue to stand with our partners in Mexico to dismantle the cartels’ insidious operations."

"Realizing that neither of our two countries can win over drug traffickers on its own, we have built up the bilateral cooperation between the United States and Mexico to allow us to combine our investigative and legal resources to dismantle these transnational drug organizations and bring the leaders to justice," said Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora. "We can only protect the right of our societies to live in peace and harmony through our governments’ mutual trust and shared responsibility."

Three of the suspected leaders were charged in both Brooklyn and Chicago. Joaquin "el Chapo" Guzman-Loera, Ismael "el Mayo" Zambada-Garcia and Arturo Beltran-Leyva, who are allegedly among the most powerful drug traffickers in Mexico, are alleged to be present and former heads of an organized crime syndicate known as the "Sinaloa Cartel" and "the Federation." Each of these three is designated as a Consolidated Priority Organization Target or CPOT by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

Also charged in the Brooklyn indictments were seven other cartel leaders, including CPOT Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel Villarreal, Hector Beltran-Leyva (Arturo’s brother) and Jesus Zambada-Garcia (Ismael’s brother), each alleged leaders within the Federation; CPOT Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, the alleged head of the Juarez Cartel; CPOT Luis and Esteban Rodriguez-Olivera, alleged leaders of Los Gueros; and CPOT Tirso Martinez-Sanchez, the alleged head of his own international drug trafficking organization.

Together, the four Brooklyn and eight Chicago indictments charge that between 1990 and December 2008, Guzman-Loera, Ismael Zambada-Garcia, Arturo Beltran-Leyva and others were responsible for importing into the United States and distributing nearly 200 metric tons of cocaine, additional large quantities of heroin, and the bulk smuggling from the United States to Mexico of more than $5.8 billion in cash proceeds from narcotics sales throughout the United States and Canada.

The indictments unsealed today collectively seek forfeiture of more than $5.8 billion in drug proceeds. Also, more than 32,500 kilograms of cocaine have been seized, including approximately 3,000 kilograms seized during the Chicago investigation, approximately 7,500 kilograms seized during the New York investigation and 22,500 kilograms seized previously that were later linked to the activities of the Federation. The indictments also detail seizures of 64 kilograms of heroin and more than $22.6 million in cash during the course of the investigation.

As part of the coordinated actions, eight defendants have been arrested in the Chicago and Atlanta areas in the last week. Earlier this year, 10 additional defendants, all customers of or couriers for the organizations, were charged separately in Chicago. Five defendants, all New York-based wholesale distributors or logistics coordinators for the cartels, were charged separately in Brooklyn. In all, 58 individuals have been charged in the investigation coordinated between the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in Brooklyn and Chicago. All but one of the defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of the charges against them.

"The indictments announced today are the result of a sweeping national and international effort to stem the flow of drugs across the U.S./Mexico border and into our communities," said Benton J. Campbell, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. "We will apply all available resources to win this battle." Mr. Campbell extended his grateful appreciation to ICE and the DEA Task Force in New York, the agencies responsible for leading the Eastern District’s investigation, and to the assistance provided by ICE and DEA in Miami, Houston, Mexico and Colombia.

"These indictments are among the most significant drug conspiracy charges ever returned in Chicago," said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. "They charge two major international supply organizations with importing many tons of cocaine and large quantities of heroin into the United States, often to wholesale distribution customers in Chicago, as well as to customers in other major cities. The defendants allegedly used practically every means of transportation imaginable to move these large amounts of drugs and to funnel massive amounts of money back to Mexico. I applaud the efforts of the DEA investigators who worked hard to put these cases together." Mr. Fitzgerald also thanked the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division agents in Chicago and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Milwaukee for their assistance.

"Today’s indictments are yet another strike against the leadership of the Mexican drug cartels," said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. "Our relentless investigations penetrated deep into these pervasive criminal organizations, connecting street operations in U.S. communities like Chicago and New York to the top drug kingpins calling the shots in Mexico. Make no mistake; along with our courageous partners in Mexico, we will break these cartels and pursue their leaders."

"Law enforcement agencies in the Americas are working closer than ever before and setting up a united, borderless offense against drug cartels," said Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE John Morton. "This is a significant step in breaking down the infrastructure of these criminal organizations."

According to one of the Brooklyn indictments, between 1990 and 2005, Guzman-Loera, Ismael Zambada-Garcia and Arturo Beltran-Leyva, together with Hector Beltran-Leyva, Jesus Zambada-Garcia and Villareal as leaders of the Federation, conspired to import more than 120 metric tons (264,000 pounds) of cocaine into the United States through the cooperative arrangements and coordination that the Federation provided. Members of the Federation shared drug transportation routes and obtained their drugs from various Colombian drug organizations, in particular, the Colombian Norte Valle Cartel. For example, in 2004, two shipments totaling 22,500 kilograms of cocaine were seized by the U.S. Coast Guard off the coast of Mexico. The indictment alleges that the defendants employed "sicarios," or hitmen, who carried out hundreds of acts of violence in Mexico, including murders, kidnappings, tortures and violent collections of drug debts, at their direction.

The indictments in Chicago allege that in approximately early 2008 Arturo Beltran-Leyva split his alliance with Guzman-Loera, Ismael Zambada-Garcia and the Federation due to various issues, including control of lucrative narcotics trafficking routes into the United States and the loyalty of wholesale narcotics customers, including the alleged leaders of a Chicago distribution cell. The indictments charge that Guzman-Loera and Ismael Zambada-Garcia, together with seven other high-ranking associates, including two of their sons, Alfredo Guzman-Salazar (Guzman-Loera’s son) and Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla (Ismael Zamada-Garcia’s son, who is in custody in Mexico), coordinated their narcotics trafficking activities to import multi-ton quantities of cocaine from Central and South American countries, through Mexico, and into the United States using various means of transportation, including Boeing 747 cargo aircraft; submarines and other submersible and semi-submersible vessels; container ships; go-fast boats; fishing vessels; buses; rail cars; tractor trailers; and automobiles

Guzman-Loera and Ismael Zambada-Garcia allegedly coordinated their cocaine and heroin smuggling activities to wholesale distributors throughout the United States, including a large distribution cell in Chicago of which 16 individuals were charged in an indictment unsealed today. On average, the Chicago cell allegedly received 1,500 to 2,000 kilograms of cocaine per month, at times obtaining all or a large portion of that quantity from Guzman-Loera and Ismael Zambada-Garcia and the factions of the Sinaloa Cartel they controlled, while also obtaining a substantial portion of that quantity from the Arturo Beltran-Leyva Cartel. From Chicago, the indictments allege that large quantities of cocaine and heroin were further distributed to customers in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Milwaukee; New York; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Vancouver, British Columbia; and elsewhere.

Guzman-Loera, Ismael Zambada-Garcia and the factions of the Sinaloa Cartel they controlled allegedly used various means to evade law enforcement and protect their narcotics distribution activities, including obtaining guns and other weapons; bribes; engaging in violence and threats of violence; and intimidating with threats of violence members of law enforcement, rival narcotics traffickers and members of their own drug trafficking organizations. According to the indictment, Guzman-Loera, Ismael Zambada-Garcia and his son, Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, discussed obtaining weapons from the United States and using violence against American and/or Mexican government buildings in retaliation for each country’s enforcement of its narcotics laws and to perpetuate their narcotics trafficking activities.

In one of the indictments unsealed today in Brooklyn, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes is alleged to be the leader of the Juarez Cartel, which operates in the Juarez-El Paso corridor, one of the primary drug smuggling routes along the border between the United States and Mexico running from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to El Paso, Texas. The DEA estimates that approximately 90 percent of the cocaine that enters the United States comes through Mexico. The Juarez Cartel allegedly received multi-ton cocaine shipments in Mexico from the Colombian Norte Valle Cartel and from the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), a Colombian paramilitary organization and a major drug trafficking organization. According to the indictment, the Juarez Cartel maintained its power through the payment of bribes and through numerous acts of violence, including murder.

In another Brooklyn indictment, brothers Luis and Esteban Rodriguez-Olivera are charged with leading Los Gueros, a drug trafficking organization that rose to prominence within the Federation. According to court documents, Los Gueros operated a narcotics supply route that originated in Mexico, stretched into Texas and then branched off to various points, including the New York metropolitan area. Between 1996 and 2008, Los Gueros allegedly imported more than 100,000 kilograms of cocaine into the United States. The DEA estimates that between 2004 and 2006, the organization was responsible for shipping more than 2,000 kilograms of cocaine to New York City alone. In January 2006, Mexican authorities seized approximately 5,200 kilograms of the organization’s cocaine destined for the United States.

Tirso Martinez-Sanchez is alleged in one of the Brooklyn indictments to be an organizer and leader of an extensive international narcotics importation, distribution and transportation organization that is responsible for the distribution of multiple tons of cocaine in the United States. Martinez-Sanchez’s organization allegedly imported cocaine into the United States from Mexico through California and Texas, and then transported the cocaine overland to large distribution centers, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. In addition to coordinating the distribution of his own organization’s cocaine, Martinez-Sanchez also allegedly transported and distributed narcotics for members of the Juarez Cartel and the Federation.

The cases in the Eastern District of New York are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrea Goldbarg, Claire Kedeshian, Bonnie Klapper, Stephen Meyer, Walter Norkin, Patricia Notopoulos and Carolyn Pokorny.

The cases in the Northern District of Illinois are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Shakeshaft, Michael Ferrara, Greg Deis, Lindsay Jenkins, Renai Rodney, Angel Krull and Halley Guren.

The cases were investigated by the DEA, ICE and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, in cooperation with Mexican and Colombian law enforcement authorities. Additional assistance was provided by U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Milwaukee, Miami and Houston. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance in these cases. The investigative efforts were coordinated with the Special Operations Division, comprised of agents, analysts and attorneys from the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS); DEA; FBI; ICE; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Marshals Service; and Internal Revenue Service. Certain individuals named in indictments unsealed today have also been charged by other U.S. Attorneys’ Offices around the country and by NDDS.

An indictment is a formal charging document notifying the defendant of the charges. All persons charged in an indictment are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Copies of indictments can be found at: http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/cartel-indictments.htm



A Primer on High Level Drug Investigations

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Press Conference to Announce Mexican Cartel Indictments
Washington, D.C.
Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good morning. Joining me today are U.S. Attorney Pat Fitzgerald from the Northern District of Illinois, U.S. Attorney Ben Campbell from the Eastern District of New York, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration Michele Leonhart, and Assistant Homeland Security Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Morton.

Today, we are announcing, in a coordinated action, major drug-trafficking charges against 43 individuals, including cartel leaders, members and associates in two federal districts. Specifically, we allege that these defendants shipped multi-ton quantities of narcotics into the United States through various established smuggling corridors, and then, through a network of affiliated distributors, dispersed these drugs into cities and neighborhoods across the country.

The defendants whose indictments we announce today include alleged leaders of the Sinaloa and Beltran-Leyva cartels, such as:

•Joaquin Guzman-Loera – also known as "Chapo";
•Ismael Zambada-Garcia – also known as "el Mayo"; and
•Arturo Beltran-Leyva.
The indictments unsealed today outline nearly two decades of criminal activity by these cartels and their leaders here in the United States, as well as in Mexico and other countries.

These cartels are not abstract organizations operating in far-off places. They are multi-billion dollar networks funneling drugs onto our streets. What invariably follows these drugs is more crime and more violence in our communities. The audacity of the cartels’ operations is matched only by their sophistication and their reach.

But today, because of the dedicated work of our DEA and ICE agents, the diligence of our prosecutors in Chicago and Brooklyn, and the support of our courageous law enforcement partners in Mexico, we are able to charge leaders and members of these insidious cartels for their heinous crimes here in the United States. Our friends and partners in Mexico are waging an historic and heroic battle with the cartels as we speak. This is not a fight that we in the United States can afford to watch from the sidelines. The stakes are too high and the consequences too real for us. We will continue to investigate, charge, and arrest the cartel leaders and their subordinates, and we will continue systematically to dismantle and disrupt their far-reaching and dangerous operations.

I will let the two U.S. Attorneys with us today describe the charges in more detail, but suffice it to say that the criminal conduct alleged in these indictments did not take place solely in Mexico. Rather, it played out right here in our own backyards. For example, in Chicago we have arrested and charged individuals who allegedly worked directly with Mexican cartels to receive thousand kilo shipments of drugs, and then dispersed those drugs into the Chicago community and throughout the country.

We have learned from previous successful experiences in fighting organized crime that we must not only go after the leaders of these cartels, but also seize the money that funds their operations. That is why in these indictments, we are seeking forfeiture of more than $5.8 billion in illegal drug proceeds. If we can suffocate their funding sources, we can cripple their operations.

Breaking up the Mexican drug cartels and stemming the flow of drugs and illegal firearms across the Southwest border is a top priority for this Justice Department. And we have made important strides in this fight:

•Earlier this year, an extensive investigation of the Sinaloa Cartel known as Project Xcellerator led to the arrest of more than 750 people in the United States and Mexico and the seizure of more than $59 million in illegal drug proceeds.
•We have rolled out the President’s National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy to stem the flow of illegal drugs and their illicit proceeds across the border.
•We have directed much-needed resources to break up the cartels and to support border-related initiatives. Just last month, for example, I announced $8.7 million in Recovery Act funds for California communities to use in fighting crime and drug trafficking as part of our Southwest Border Strategy.
•We have formed an arms trafficking working group, led by the Criminal Division, to tackle the critically important problem of weapons flowing across the border into Mexico.
•We have formalized agreements with our partners at the Department of Homeland Security and with the government of Mexico to increase cooperation as we carry out our fight on several fronts.
•And we have brought charges against high-level Mexican leaders of the Gulf Cartel, now known as the "Company," and 15 of their top lieutenants for drug trafficking-related crimes.
All of these efforts have been in addition to the numerous investigations, prosecutions, arrests, and interdictions that our prosecutors and agents carry out across the country every day.

Today’s charges demonstrate that we will not stop until these violent criminal enterprises have been eliminated. And we will continue to stand with our partners in Mexico as we carry on this vital fight. On that note, I would like to acknowledge President Calderon and his administration for all that they continue to do in leading Mexico’s fight against violent narco-traffickers. I would also like to thank the brave professional agents and prosecutors here in the United States who have made the indictments announced today possible. Their hard work, courage, and sacrifice make all the difference in our ongoing fight. They have shown in the past that we can defeat international narco-traffickers; I am confident that, with their help, we will do so again.

With that, I will turn it over to Pat Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Cast

My new smaller black "sleeper cast". I will be revaluated in three weeks to see if the rods will be pulled and cast removed.

Colossians 3:8
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I even found this a little creepy

A picture of my wrist with the first cast off and before they put the second cast on. I was told this looked excellent! I wonder what horrible would look like. The pictured rods had gauze put over them and then the cast placed over them, so what is in the picture is exactly what is under my cast. I asked how the rods would be taken out and the answer was...we wiggle them and pull them out. I have a lot of fun waiting for me in my future. Hopefully back to full duty in three months, right now light duty.

Ecclesiastes 7:9
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Good reason for delay in recent posts

Well a reason anyway not a good one...video explains all.

Well not all, Platypuses still confuse me.

What production quality!

Proverbs 29:11

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.