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Friday, 28 November 2008

Jorge Rojas and Juan Gonzalez, two gunmen from the Tijuana drug cartel, have been convicted in a San Diego court

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Jorge Rojas and Juan Gonzalez, two gunmen from the Tijuana drug cartel, have been convicted in a San Diego court in connection with last year's kidnapping of businessman Eduardo Gonzalez:The pair led a group known as Los Palillos (the Toothpicks) that focused its attacks on alleged associates of the Arellano-Felix drug-smuggling organization, which has controlled the flow of narcotics from Tijuana into Southern California for more than 15 years. * * * Law enforcement officials say Rojas organized the gang of disgruntled ex-gunmen believed responsible for as many as 20 kidnappings and a dozen murders in San Diego County beginning in about 2004.
Rojas and Gonzalez face life in prison, and four other defendants allegedly involved with the kidnapping of Gonzalez are scheduled for trial in January.

Two teenage boys face attempted murder charges following a shooting in which two La Salle teenagers were shot and wounded Wednesday night in La Salle.

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Two teenage boys face attempted murder charges following a shooting in which two La Salle teenagers were shot and wounded Wednesday night in La Salle.At 8:48 p.m. Wednesday, La Salle police received several 911 calls reporting shots fired in the 400 block of Central Street.At the scene officers found two male victims who were shot outside of 430 Central St. One victim, age 17, was shot in the abdomen, and the other victim, age 19, was shot in the chest.The victims were taken to Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru and later airlifted to OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. La Salle police report the victims were in stable condition. Police did not release the victims' names in a press release and The Times was told no one was available at the police department for further comment by press time this morning.Witnesses at the scene provided descriptions of suspects and a vehicle, which fled the scene. Officers were later notified several of the suspects were at a Tonica residence on East Fourth Road. With the assistance of State Police, at 9:44 p.m., four suspects were taken into custody. A fifth suspect was taken into custody at the La Salle Police Department at 11:57 p.m.During the course of the investigation, two .22-caliber rifles were recovered.Attempted murder charges were referred to the La Salle County State's Attorney's Office on two La Salle boys, ages 13 and 14. Both boys were taken to the La Salle County Detention Home.The state's attorney's office authorized a felony obstructing justice charge on Dawn C. Pratt, 31, 1246 Crosat St., La Salle. Further charges may be pending, and Pratt was taken to the La Salle County Jail.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Michael Vargas was a captain in the Mexican Mafia gang. His plea resolves allegations involving murder, drug trafficking, extortion, robbery

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alleged member of the state's largest prison gang pleaded guilty in San Antonio to conspiracy in a sprawling case that accused the gang of up to 20 unsolved killings.Federal prosecutors say more pleas are expected.They say Michael Vargas was a captain in the Mexican Mafia gang. His plea resolves allegations involving murder, drug trafficking, extortion, robbery, racketeering and related crimes. He'll be sentenced to 20 years in prison under the plea agreement.A second defendant, Ray Carrasco, has already signed a plea deal. Prosecutors say some of the remaining 20 defendants in the case are expected to follow suit.Authorities accuse members of the Mexican Mafia of peddling heroin and cocaine and taxing other drug dealers in some San Antonio neighborhoods. Up to 20 unsolved murders are attributed by federal prosecutors to the prison gang.

Gambino crime family boss John Gotti is known to have asked Aryan Brotherhood members to murder his attacker

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Aryan Brotherhood (AB) originated in San Quentin prison in 1967. Originally, this gang was established to provide protection for white individuals from black and Hispanic groups, most specifically the Mexican Mafia. Some of the original members of the AB migrated from a 1950s gang known as the "Bluebirds." Other names used in the past were the "Diamond Tooth Gang" and the "Nazi Gang." Today, they number about 15,000 members in and out of prison. In March 2006, four AB leaders were indicted for numerous crimes, including murder, conspiracy, drug trafficking, and racketeering. According to the FBI, although the gang makes up less than one percent of the prison population, it is responsible for up to 26% of murders in the federal prison system. Although members of the AB ordinarily wear numerous tattoos, the true AB tattoo is a shamrock, the letters AB, and three sixes. Three sixes displayed alone are not AB-specific because they are used by several other gangs. Only members of the AB are permitted to wear the "brand" of the gang; individuals found to be wearing the tattoo without consent of the AB are subject to murder. The AB has discouraged newer members from displaying AB specific tattoos to avoid identification from law enforcement officials. As a result, some AB members have removed or disguised their tattoos. Although the Brotherhood is a white supremacist organization, for most AB members crime is their number one priority, with racial hatred being a secondary goal. The true white supremacist’s number one goal is generally racial hatred, which they may or may not achieve through criminal behavior. Since 1972, the Aryan Brotherhood has had an alliance with the Mexican Mafia. It has also used the Odinist religion to conduct gang meetings and disguise illicit business practices. Older AB members learned the American Sign Language to communicate covertly. The AB has spread throughout the nation and in the federal prison system.
Its leadership was recently hit with a federal R.I.C.O. indictment. Although the leadership has been disrupted, law enforcement officials expect the gang to maintain a low profile and continue to contract out their criminal activity to such groups as the Nazi Low riders and Peni (Public Enemy Number One). The AB is separated into two main groups, one in the federal prison system, the other consisting of numerous factions of the Brotherhood in various state prison systems, notably California, which is loosely affiliated to a greater or lesser degree. Each faction is controlled by a three-man commission, which controls and supervises gang activities. These gangs in the state system, splinter groups or copycats, are usually tolerated by members of the federal prison or California factions, but intra-gang violence is not uncommon. Organization at lower levels varies from prison to prison. For example, in the Arizona prison system, members are known as "kindred" and organize into "families". A "council" controls the families. Kindred may recruit other members, known as "progeny", and serve as a mentor for the new recruit.
Membership generally (though not exclusively) consists of white male prisoners and operates on a "blood in, blood out" system. That is, a candidate for membership must assault and kill another prisoner to enter the gang. Membership is for life, and those attempting to leave may likewise be assaulted or killed by other members. Both federal and state members swear the same oath:
An Aryan brother is without a care/He walks where the weak and heartless won't dare/For an Aryan brother, death holds no fear/Vengeance will be his, through his brothers still here.”
The AB has since focused on the economic activities typical of organized crime entities, particularly drug trafficking, extortion, prostitution, and murder-for-hire. According to a recent federal indictment, the Brotherhood has partnered with Asian gangs to import heroin from Thailand.While incarcerated in Marion Federal Penitentiary in 1996, after being assaulted, Gambino crime family boss John Gotti is known to have asked Aryan Brotherhood members to murder his attacker, although the hit was unsuccessful. The overwhelming majority of Aryan Brotherhood members were originally sent to prison for crimes not motivated by racial bigotry, such as robbery, drug dealing, and assault, and join the Aryan Brotherhood out of a need for protection or camaraderie. However, members are expected to continue AB activities after being released, and are known to commit hate crimes after joining the gang.
Until the 1960s, most prisons in the United States were racially segregated. As prisons began to desegregate, inmates organized along racial lines. Prosecutors of cases against the gang say it was formed in reaction to getting raped by other races in prison. The AB may have been derived from or inspired by a previous entity, the Bluebird Gang. In the early 1970s, the Aryan Brotherhood began working closely with the Mexican Mafia and began focusing on drug trafficking and other economic activities.In 1973, the California branch of the Aryan Brotherhood rejected Charles Manson when he asked them for protection against black inmates, because he had murdered a pregnant woman. The AB considered this dishonorable and turned him down initially. However, it eventually realized that Manson's followers could be exploited, so it began protecting Manson while his followers smuggled drugs and weapons into prisons. By 1980, the gang had split into two distinct factions, one within the federal prison system and one outside of state prison systems. In 1982, an anonymous source gave information to the FBI implicating the AB in two high profile murders in the California state prison system. Released or paroled members have smuggled money or drugs into prison, including marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines. The creed by which the Brotherhood members operate under is:
"I will stand by my brother My brother will come before all others My life is forfeited should I fail my brother I will honor my brother in peace and war"
They also live by the motto, "In for life and out by death."

Gang war may be escalating in and around Seattle.

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Gang war may be escalating in and around Seattle. With as many as 200 gangs now operating in Seattle and King County, and shootings happening with alarming frequency, it's hard for police to keep track of all the rivalries. Seattle Police are aware there's a fierce ongoing feud between South End gangs and Central District gangs in Seattle. "It's been a war, not a new war, an ongoing war," he said. "Police are very aware of who the players are." Police suspect the shooting at Southcenter may have happened because members or associates of Central District gangs ran into their bitter rivals, the South End 74 Hoovers. one gang member threw out an insult about a rival gang member who'd been shot previously. "People don't even have to say anything. If they don't like each other, if they've been beefing, fighting before, at war... just a look can set it off," he said. Morales says the Southcenter victims reportedly had ties to the 74 Hoovers, and so did the two people shot the next day at Rainier & Cloverdale in Seattle, which is likely to provoke retaliation.
"There may be a payback soon, may be two or three months from now, maybe a year from now," said Morales. Seattle doubled its gang unit earlier this year in response to increased violence. By summer, six Seattle teens and one young man had died in gang-related shootings, with only one arrest. Then on Halloween, a 15-year-old was gunned down behind Garfield High School and now, this weekend, two more deaths occurred, with possible Seattle gang ties. "Gangs aren't organized the way they once were. It's no longer Bloods versus Crips, red against blue. There are deadly internal feuds and gangs who claim orange, green. But they share a code: They settle their fights with guns and they don't snitch to police

Ciudad Juarez seven bodies were dumped before dawn Tuesday at a school soccer field in a leafy, upscale neighborhood in this Mexican border city.

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Neighbors found the bodies — beaten, choked, in some cases mutilated and then shot — lined up along the field's fence. Alongside were three banners allegedly signed by a Mexican drug gang with messages directed at a rival gang, police spokesman Jaime Torres said.Hours after the bodies were removed, blood stained the curb, yellow police tape hung from the fence and classes continued at Colegio Sierra Madre, a private kindergarten-through-high school in a neighborhood of stucco homes, manicured lawns and palm trees.Only police in ski masks periodically drove past the campus, which posted an armed guard at the metal gate.Alejandro Pariente, a local prosecutor's spokesman, said the victims have not been identified, and they have no suspects.The homicides were the latest of hundreds of gruesome killings in Ciudad Juarez, where drug violence has taken a particularly heavy toll during Mexico's nationwide crackdown on the drug cartels that supply U.S. consumers.Also Tuesday in the border city of Tijuana, gunmen opened fire on a car in the parking lot of a Sam's Club, killing a woman and gravely injuring a man at midday, just as a nearby school prepared to let children out for the day, the state prosecutor's office said.These murders were among more than 4,000 drug-related killings this year in Mexico. Challenged by arrests, deaths, extraditions and new rivals, the cartels are brazenly attacking each other as well as police and the 20,000 soldiers President Felipe Calderon deployed against the drug gangs.Separately Tuesday, a Mexican businessman whose son was recently killed by kidnappers announced the creation of a group to encourage citizens to report crimes, fund security initiatives and compile criminal statistics.Alejandro Marti said his System of Observation for the Safety of Citizens aims to track how many reported crimes go unsolved."Crime has become one of the easiest businesses, with little possibility of getting caught," he said.The death of Marti's 14-year-old son Fernando inspired anti-crime protests across Mexico, particularly because prosecutors alleged that a police detective had been involved. The boy was found dead in a car trunk even though his family paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom.Authorities acknowledge that the vast majority of kidnappings and other crimes go unreported in Mexico because people mistrust police. The government is also reluctant to release homicide figures regularly, making it difficult to grasp the true breadth of kidnappings, homicides and robberies in Mexico.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Kennewick gang fight

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15-year-old was injured Friday evening in what appeared to be a gang fight between the boy and several other males, the Kennewick Police Department said. The teen was not severely injured and didn’t require medical attention, police said. However, he did have a foot-long “slice” from the crown of his head down his back, police said.
Police are not naming the 15-year-old because he is a juvenile. No suspects have been identified in the attack that took place at 10th Avenue and Hartford Street in Kennewick, authorities said.

Banning gun battle that left one person injured

Posted On 11:37 0 comments

Banning police are investigating a gun battle that left one person injured and several others detained Friday evening.Police responded at 9:26 p.m .Friday to reports of a fight involving several people at 456 E. Nicolete Street peppertree apartment complex, said police Staff Sgt. Steve Hobb. As they were responding to that call, they received several others about shots fired at the same address. When officers arrived, they found one victim suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to a hospital where he was treated and released. The fight involved several people and started over a female, Hobbs said.Police so far have interviewed at least 20 people regarding the incident. No arrests have yet been made.

Mexican Mafia practiced their rituals. "Brujeria" (witchcraft) altars with figurines of the bandit saint "Jesus Malverde" or "Santisima Muerte"

Posted On 11:33 0 comments

The Mexican Mafia actually forbade its members from "picking up the Bible" or espousing any form of Christianity. Some members of the Aryan Brotherhood were followers of pagan witchcraft, or worshipers of the devil. In taking on these new belief systems many gang members eschewed the moral codes they had previously ascribed to as part of their religious/superstitious upbringing.
In the 1980s, Cuban "Marielitos" brought Afro-Cuban cult beliefs into the Los Angeles drug and gang culture. Santeria, Voodoo, and Palo Mayombe followers became some of the most violent criminal gang members Los Angeles had ever seen. Across the city, small altars with caldrons or "gangas" of fruit, rum, and cocaine, as well as animal blood sacrifices, dotted the map. "Botanicas" (occult pharmacies) that sold the paraphernalia required for these rituals sprang up in every community.
Drug cartels from Mexico practiced their own rituals. "Brujeria" (witchcraft) altars with figurines of the bandit saint "Jesus Malverde" or "Santisima Muerte" (holy death) were common in cartel drug houses. Cartel members wore amulets and placed figurines of occult symbols in their cars. Some openly worshipped Satan.
During the heavy metal music era of the early- to mid-1980s, a new type of gang began to get the attention of gang cops in Los Angeles. Unlike the common "Cholo" gangs, these new gangs were made up of "Stoners," kids who wore black concert T-shirts, leather jackets adorned with spikes and studs, and long hair. They rejected the classic "oldies but goodies" in favor of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osborne, and Motley Crew.They also rejected the Cholo gang morals and code of conduct. The Hole Stoners, ELA Stoners, MS Stoners (later to evolve into MS-13), and others played by their own rules. Soon these new Stoner gangs outnumbered traditional gang members in East Los Angeles booking cages. In turn, they were ostracized by most Cholo gang members.

Venezuelans pray at the tomb of the notorious thief Ismael Sanchez, believing he and other dead gangsters can protect them against violent attacks

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Venezuelans pray at the tomb of the notorious thief Ismael Sanchez, believing he and other dead gangsters can protect them against violent attacks and robberies. Devotees of the Corte Malandra or Gangsters' Pantheon say the spirits of gangsters who once maintained a reign of terror in Caracas now watch over them in a city where murders and robberies are rife. The Gangsters' Pantheon takes as its symbol a hawk on a motorcycle -- one of Ismael's tattoos -- to honor him, The Rat, Isabelita, Luis, Little Miguel, Antonio and other criminals who once preyed on poor hillside neighborhoods. "The cult started with Ismael, a criminal who robbed the rich to help those who lived in his barrio," said Yamileth, a worshiper who works in a store selling spiritual and religious objects. The roots of the Corte Malandra are unclear. Some say Ismael was Juan Francisco Carrillo, a thief murdered in the 1960s. Some say he died in the 1970s. Believers say the spirits of the dead criminals are trying to make amends for their villainous past by protecting people and helping those who might be tempted into crime. Police register as many as 100 murders each weekend in Venezuela, an oil-rich country where startling poverty sits beside huge wealth. Most crimes occur in ramshackle shantytown neighborhoods in the capital and most murders are settling of scores between criminal gangs. The government last week began a new program to send National Guard troops into Caracas' most crime-plagued areas in an attempt to combat murder and robbery. Polls show many Venezuelans put security as one of their main worries. Venezuela, though mainly a Roman Catholic country, has many cults based on rituals taken from African slaves and indigenous beliefs which count politicians and ex-presidents among their followers. Santeria -- a form of voodoo mixing Christian practices and African mythology -- is common.
Ismael "lived the bad boy life, so I think he can help many people escape from that life too," said Mayra Marin, a 43-year-old who become a devotee a few months ago.
The Gangsters' Pantheon is part of the Maria Lionza cult, which brings together a mysterious trinity of deities -- the mythical Amazonian goddess Maria Lionza, the historic Indian chief Guaicaipuro and the black slave rebel Negro Felipe.
Though based in Venezuela, the Lionza cult is starting to gain recognition in Cuba and Spain. Nina -- who said she become a believer after spending four months in intensive care with a gunshot wound -- said she has seen retirees, army generals and high-ranking police officers paying their respects to Ismael's tomb. Even some modern-day criminals pay homage to the dead thief. "People come to pray for boys who are in prison, kids with bad behavior, drug addicts and those who have strayed. Lots of young girls come to ask why their husbands are beating them," she said. Devotees say anyone can pray at the tomb and pay for the favor with an offering of candles, a cigar, a glass of strong local anis liquor and a hot salsa song. Figurines of the criminal "saints" are found more frequently in the spiritualist and amulet shops common in poor neighborhoods in Caracas. For less than $1 one can buy a statue of a muscular figure armed with a revolver and wearing dark glasses, basketball shirt and cap. "One of the ways to make up for what they did in life is to help people through the cult," said spiritualist shopkeeper Yamileth, hugging a statue of Ismael. But not all the followers of the goddess Maria Lionza believe the Gangsters' Pantheon belongs in the cult. "What type of dark energy can come from this," said Raiza Lopez, a Tarot card reader at another spiritualist store. "We don't sell any of that stuff and we don't use it either. That would put us in touch with really bad vibes."

Caracas has become one of the most violent cities on the planet. Armed gangs competing over turf and drug deals wage ruthless, low-level warfare

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Caracas has become one of the most violent cities on the planet. Armed gangs competing over turf and drug deals wage ruthless, low-level warfare in the slums. Nationally, homicides have soared to more than 13,000 a year, with 2,710 in Caracas alone, according to leaked government figures. That gives a national rate of 48 per 100,000 people. In some Caracas slums the rate rises to 130. The rate in England and Wales is 1.4.In opinion polls Venezuelans consistently rank safety as their main concern, with 64 per cent expressing fear of being attacked in the street. Kidnappings have also surged, especially 'express kidnappings' in which victims or relatives pay an immediate relatively modest ransom.President Hugo Chávez may pay a political price today in local and regional elections. Voters are expected to vent frustration at crime - and shoddy public services - by rejecting some of his mayoral and state governor candidates.'It's mayhem here. And the government does nothing,' said María Elena Delgado, 54, a housewife in Petare, a vast slum in eastern Caracas. 'I have to think about my children.' The four surviving ones, that is. Three of her sons have been gunned down, including one before Chávez came to power a decade ago.Opinion polls suggest el comandante remains popular, with approval ratings well over 50 per cent, but that anger over crime could lose him control of once loyal bastions such as Petare.Chávez speaks in public daily, often for hours, but seldom mentions insecurity. He has blamed crime on capitalism and poverty, and said if his family was starving he would steal. 'The perception that crime has soared is a weak point for him,' said Steve Ellner, a political scientist at Venezuela's University of the East. 'He can't talk about crackdowns because that would contradict his whole discourse.' Some critics claim the President's denunciations of inequality and 'squealing oligarchs' have encouraged youths to ease their poverty the fast way, with a gun. Partly thanks to Chávez's social programmes, poverty levels have dropped from 53 to 37 per cent. Yet crime has spiked. Corrupt and inept policing has been compounded by a flood of cocaine from neighbouring Colombia. Changing the justice minister every year - there have been 10 under Chávez- has wrought institutional havoc.The authorities have expressed interest in fresh strategies. Ken Livingstone, London's former Mayor and Chávez ally, is advising Caracas on community policing. The Justice Ministry, which no longer publishes murder statistics, did not return calls seeking comment for this article.In the hillside slums ringing the capital the bloodiest days are Friday and Saturday. The salsa and reggae beats blaring from bars can swiftly be drowned by gunfire, said Miguel Torres, 52, a taxi driver. 'One second you're sipping a Polar [beer], the next you're under the table.'Some weekends more than 50 corpses make their way to Plaza Auyantepuy. Monday is funeral day, with hearses sometimes getting stuck behind other cortèges. A gang recently ambushed and killed rivals at a funeral home. 'Often they are just 16- and 17-year-olds but already they are psychopaths,' said Jimin Pérez, director of Project Alcatraz, a scheme which tries to rehabilitate gangsters. 'These guys kill for nothing.'Project Alcatraz, which is funded by the Santa Teresa rum company, has had mixed results. Some gang members have renounced violence. Others have been assassinated within days of completing the programme. Some have lapsed back into killing. 'We have to offer them a chance of another life,' said Pérez. 'When they feel abandoned and alone, that is when they have no limits, no controls.'

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Baikal automatic pistol - the gun of choice in gang circles - was unearthed

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Baikal automatic pistol - the gun of choice in gang circles - was unearthed when police searched the teenager's home in New Cross, south-east London, in August, along with a magazine and two silencers hidden in a rucksack. Ammunition was found nearby and a machete and barrel brush for another gun were also found in the convicted robber's bedroom. The boy, who is too young to be named, admitted he was in a gang and told police he was holding it for someone else but would not say who.
Now 14, he pleaded guilty at Inner London Crown Court to possession of a prohibited weapon and illegal ammunition. Prosecutor David Atkins said the case was a "prime example" of the gang and gun crime facing police in London. He said: "The gangs are up to 40 to 60 in number. They will be controlled by young men in their early 20s. "There will be an escalating hierarchy of gang members and the junior members of the gang will start out, like the teenager, by hiding weapons but they will earn their (promotions) in the organisations by taking on shootings and violence." He added: "There is a significant risk to members of the public because there are gangland wars going on and members of the public are being misidentified and shot.
"Gangs are ruthless and have no moral scruples. They will shoot for the sheer fun of it, it seems." Detectives from the Central Criminal Directorate went to the teenager's home and the door was answered by the boy's mother, the court heard.
"She was asked if there was any drugs or firearms on the premises and replied no. The boy was asked the same question and he replied no," he told the court. A search team uncovered a machete in a wardrobe in the boy's bedroom and a white rucksack in the cellar containing the Baikal, magazine and silencer and ammunition nearby. He said the boy told police the gun was not his and added: "He was asked whose it was. He made no reply. He was asked 'are you holding it for someone else?' He nodded."
When he was later interviewed at Lewisham Police Station, he said he had been "storing" the gun since mid-July. He initially said he had been threatened into holding it, the court heard, but later said he had done it as a favour.
Mr Atkins said: "He admits to being a gang member and said the machete was in his room for his protection." Sentencing was adjourned until Jan 30 for psychiatric and pre-sentence reports.

Ricardo Gutierrez Vargas, Mexico's representative to the international police force, Interpol arrested

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Mexican authorities have arrested a senior police official for allegedly working with drug cartels.The arrest Tuesday of Ricardo Gutierrez Vargas, Mexico's representative to the international police force, Interpol was part of a probe into leaks of information to drug gangs.Mexico has seen increasingly brutal drug-related violence, which has claimed thousands of lives.In Tijuana, federal agents and military forces are temporarily replacing hundreds of police officers responsible for patrolling the crime-ridden border town. Five-hundred police officers were sent to training and will undergo background checks.Earlier this month, the top officer of Mexico's federal police force, Gerardo Garay, stepped down following allegations senior officers had helped drug traffickers.President Felipe Calderon has deployed about 36,000 troops around the country to battle violent drug gangs.More than 4,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico this year. Much of the violence takes place in northern Mexico, where traffickers smuggle drugs over the border into the United States.

Clay Roueche is the operational leader as well as the public face of the UN gang.

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UN gang leader Clay Roueche starting buying his cocaine directly from South America after more than 200 kilos and $750,000 cash were seized in the U.S., according to court documents filed Wednesday.In one bugged telephone call, Roueche agreed to "test the water" of a new cocaine route by smuggling more than 50 kilos and said he had a "bunch in Venezuela I've already paid for," the documents say.
Roueche has been held in segregation near Seattle since his arrest last May on international drug-trafficking charges. His lawyer wants a judge to allow the Fraser Valley native into the general prison population pending his trial in January.
But the U.S. Attorney says Roueche is far too dangerous and could retaliate against other inmates who are cooperating with the government in the criminal case.
"Because of Roueche's leadership position in the UN gang, his previous use of another inmate's phone, his gang's violent tendencies toward those who might testify against other gang members and the necessity to separate him from a number of cooperators and co-defendants in the general population, administrators at the Federal Detention Centre made the decision to house the defendant at the Special Housing Unit," says the U.S. Attorney's response to Roueche's motion for free-range status.A major issue is how Roueche behaved in jail when he was briefly held in Oklahoma last May before being sent to the SeaTac Federal Detention Centre, making several illegal calls or getting other inmates to do it for him, the U.S. Attorney said."Oklahoma prison officials realized that he was speaking in code on the phone so denied him phone privileges," the documents say. "At the SeaTac FDC, the defendant convinced another inmate to let him use that inmate's telephone call number."Canadian and U.S. law enforcement agencies have been following Roueche and his UN underlings since 2005 as part of a massive cross-border investigation, the documents say."Working together, the agencies have found evidence of nearly two dozen cocaine exporting trips from the U.S. into Canada and the seizure of three separate cocaine loads," the U.S. Attorney said, adding that 2,000 pounds of B.C. bud was also seized."Clay Roueche is the operational leader as well as the public face of the UN gang. ... Its operations, mostly importing and distributing marijuana, have spread east across Canada to Toronto, Hamilton and Montreal. Working in cells, the organization has become powerful and violent in Canada."The U.S. Attorney also cited information from the B.C. agency investigating the UN, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit."In 2007, after a series of shootings in Chilliwack, Roueche's vehicle was stopped and found to contain a sophisticated hidden compartment in the centre console of the passenger area. That centre console was full of handguns, including an illegal and loaded pistol, several clips from a Sig firearm and a photograph of rival gang members," the documents say."CFSEU has surveilled Roueche consistently for the past few years and found that he routinely has armed body guards. One associate ... was found to have a hidden compartment in his car with a loaded handgun and oversized magazines. This gun was registered to a law enforcement agency in the United States."Roueche's application to get out of segregation has not yet been heard by a judge.The Canadian's lawyer argues that Roueche's ongoing segregation amounts to "cruel and unusual punishment.""He is housed in his cell 23 hours a day. The only time he is allowed out is for one hour each morning at 6 a.m. Other than that, my client is completely isolated, except for visitation by legal counsel or family, who reside in British Columbia, Canada," lawyer Lee Covell said. "I have never known such housing to extend beyond 30 days."

Marcelo Lucero, 37, was stabbed to death Nov. 8 in Patchogue, allegedly by seven teenagers in what Suffolk police labeled a hate crime.

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Marcelo Lucero, 37, was stabbed to death Nov. 8 in Patchogue, allegedly by seven teenagers in what Suffolk police labeled a hate crime. One of the teenagers was charged with manslaughter as a hate crime. The others face gang assault charges.
Schoolchildren in uniforms, girls in blue or red sweaters and plaid skirts, and boys in yellow shirts and black pants, crowded the mile-long processional route as Lucero's childhood friends carried his body. First they stopped at City Hall for a brief ceremony under a blazing sun. Then they made their way to the spacious house Lucero built for his mother, Rosario. Hate and tragedy on Long Island Lucero had planned to finally return to Ecuador soon to live with her and his sister Isabel after 15 years in the United States without ever visiting home."An innocent man had to die so people would realize the racism occurring against Latinos on Long Island," Juan Pablo Jadan, 38, leader of a group of Lucero's childhood friends known as the TUNAS, said in Spanish."A natural death is one thing," the former Patchogue resident added. "Dying because of violence, racism and hate is another."Dressed in black suits, the friends took turns carrying their friend's coffin up the hilly streets of this city of 20,000 people. In front of them, two carried a sign made of flowers that spelled TUNAS, an acronym in Spanish for "Everyone United, No One Walks Alone."
Some schoolgirls held hands and raised them in salute as the coffin passed. Others waved small white flags that said "Paz" - "Peace." Other people threw flower petals on the coffin as it went by, while some mourners watched from balconies.Lucero's mother and sister walked arm-in-arm behind the coffin as hundreds of mourners followed.Later, outside their home and with Lucero's body at rest inside, Isabel came out to a throng of television cameras and microphones to demand severe punishment in the case and an end to racism in the United States."We don't want the criminals who did this to end up laughing because they think it is a joke," she said. "We want justice to be done so my brother can rest in peace."
Lucero's body arrived from New York to the capital Quito late Tuesday, then traveled in a hearse overnight 200 miles south to his hometown of Gualaceo. Hundreds of people waited in the morning at the city's entrance for his arrival at about 9:30 a.m.The city's mayor declared three days of mourning, with flags flown at half-staff and public employees given time off to attend services.Some mourners said Lucero's killing has provoked worries that their loved ones in Patchogue and throughout the United States could be in danger. "This has caused panic because so many people have relatives there," Teresa, 58, said in Spanish. She did not give her last name, saying she feared it could lead to harm against her relatives.
Inside the family's house, Lucero's body lay at rest on the first floor as mourners paid their respects throughout the afternoon. His friends from TUNAS watched over him from chairs next to his coffin. A portrait of Lucero in a baseball hat was propped on a chair.He was finally inside the dream home he wanted to give his mother with his hard work on Long Island, a mission that ended up costing him his life.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Six heavily-armed men, including a suspended Pretoria police officer, were arrested

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Six heavily-armed men, including a suspended Pretoria police officer, were arrested during a sting operation moments before they could carry out a cash-in-transit heist.
The men, who are all from Soshanguve, were arrested on Tuesday by the hi-tech unit and Pretoria crime combating unit without a shot being fired, as they were allegedly preparing to attack guards from Protea Coin, who were about to fill up an ATM at a butchery outside Ga-Rankuwa.The six, including the officer, who is a constable stationed at the protection and security services (PSS) unit, are all out on bail for various crimes, including armed robbery and murder.The PSS includes units such as the VIP protection unit, ports of entry unit and railway police unit.
The six are believed to be part of a heavily armed gang wanted for a spate of cash-in-transit heists across Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West province. A number of policemen are involved. Among the crimes the men have allegedly carried out include Monday's foiled attack on a cash depot in Witbank.During the attack, 11 men, posing as police officers and driving a car fitted with police registration plates, conned their way into the building where they held up staff. A manager raised the alarm and the robbers shot their way out of the depot taking two of the guards' guns.
It is also believed that the six may be involved in a spate of farm attacks in the Kameeldrift area which has left at least four people dead and several seriously injured.Describing Tuesday's sting operation, police said they were staking out Nyanes Butchery after receiving information that the gang was going to rob guards as they were filling up the ATM machine. While some police posed as customers, others hid in several unmarked vehicles waiting for the gang to strike.Police launched their assault as five of the alleged robbers stormed the guards. Two of the gunmen were held trying to hide inside a room.Three others were caught as they tried to escape while the sixth was arrested in the getaway car about 200m away.Describing the arrests, Nyanes Butchery owner, Rudolph Loots, said it was chaos. "There were people with guns running everywhere screaming. Two men ran into the room where I was and threw a gun behind a box before putting their hands in the air."I didn't know what was happening," said Loots, adding that he had not even known the police were staking out his store. He said it was like a movie. "It was crazy. I have never seen anything like that in my life except on TV. It is a miracle that no one was shot or killed," he said, adding that the attack had taken place at the busiest part of the day.A police officer said during the arrests, in which police seized three guns and two cars, officers discovered that one of the suspects was a policeman who is out on bail for armed robbery.Confirming the officer's arrest, spokesperson Director Sally de Beer, said the constable was attached to the PSS.She said the officer was currently on suspension after he was arrested in connection with a similar incident. He is facing departmental and criminal charges. "It is sickening when one of our own are arrested. If he is found guilty we can get rid of him," she said.De Beer confirmed the men were being linked to other crimes.

Stanislao Cantelli was playing cards in a social club on the high street of Casal di Principe when someone walked in and fired 18 bullets.

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Italy's crack Folgore paratroopers could not save 60-year-old Stanislao Cantelli from the Mafia. Two days after Silvio Berlusconi, centre-right prime minister, in October sent 500 troops to reinforce police in the Naples area after a spate of killings, the Mafia delivered their blunt response. Mr Cantelli was playing cards in a social club on the high street of Casal di Principe - a satellite town and stronghold of the Camorra gangs - when someone walked in and fired 18 bullets. Paratroopers were 200 metres away. By the time the police arrived, the killer and all witnesses had fled. Shops were closing their shutters. Police say Mr Cantelli, a retired cheese factory worker, paid the price for being the uncle of Luigi Diana, a Mafia "pentito" or turncoat whose information had led to the arrest of members of the Casalesi clan.There are constant struggles between the Mafia and the policeTwo weeks earlier, suspected Casalesi hitmen shot six African immigrants in Castelvolturno, a derelict zone north of Naples trying to reinvent itself with a coastal golf course. A turf war over narcotics or golf, or simply a cocaine-driven demonstration of power by the mob? Police are not sure. Frightened immigrants protested, accusing the state of abandoning them and Italians of racism. The government's decision to deploy the army has been cautiously welcomed by Italians as a sign that the state is trying to impose an authority that has been absent for years. Critics say it is just for show. Meanwhile, the ministers of interior and defence disagree on the nature of the battle. After Mr Cantelli's murder, Roberto Maroni, the interior minister who believes he is waging a "civil war", said he had never expected "a bed of roses" and victory within hours. "But I am sure we can do it and the people of Campania (the region around Naples) will learn to trust the state," he said on television. Ignazio La Russa, the defence minister, prefers the terminology of a war between gangs, but he agrees on the target. "The only war we are waging is against the Camorra," he said. An editor of a local newspaper who asked not to be named said the government had been obliged to be seen responding to the violence, but he doubted the move would tackle its roots which is the nexus of power between local politicians and the mob. "This war is win-win for Berlusconi," he said. Some local politicians "up to their necks" in the Mafia might be sacrificed but they would be replaced. Further south in Calabria, Nicola Gratteri, an anti-mafia prosecutor, was involved in co-ordinated raids in September against drug traffickers in Italy, the US, Mexico and Guatemala. More than 16 tonnes of cocaine were seized and 200 people held, including 16 suspected members of the 'Ndrangheta Mafia clans based in Calabria who control the flow of Colombian cocaine into Europe.
Mr Gratteri said Colombian drug lords were outsourcing their distribution to Mexican gangs to feed the US and European markets, where in turn the 'Ndrangheta supply the Camorra around Naples. Organised as an impenetrable, cell-like structure of families, the 'Ndrangheta have grown into Europe's most powerful criminal network, controlling businesses and politicians and influencing local elections. Apart from the occasional vendetta exploding into public, the 'Ndrangheta tend to keep a lower profile than the Camorra and avoid direct confrontation with the state.
Sending in the army is not an effective tool, says Mr Gratteri. "Checkpoints are not the answer. It doesn't matter whether it is the Carabinieri police or the army." To make his point, he shows where a bug was found in a store-room next to the guarded office where he and colleagues used to have what they thought were confidential conversations. "The Mafia are different. They organise themselves, create their rules and also have a consensus among part of the population. Checkpoints have a good psychological effect but they do not give results." His biggest weapon is telephone intercepts. They are cheap and simple. He says the city has one of the most effective monitoring systems in the world, tapping more than 1,000 people.
"Investigations are the answer but to carry them out you need time, months, years," he says. "So it is important to raise the number of people employed. "Contrary to checkpoints, to fight against the Mafia one must camouflage oneself, forget to exist, disappear . . not with cameras and journalists who follow you around."

Yaakov Alperon, known as "Don Alperon", was driving his saloon car through a northern suburb of Tel Aviv when the vehicle was torn apart

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Yaakov Alperon, known as "Don Alperon", was driving his saloon car through a northern suburb of Tel Aviv when the vehicle was torn apart by an explosion. Two bystanders were also slightly injured in the explosion, one a 13-year-old boy waiting at a bus stop. The attack has raised concerns that an Israeli mob war could be about to spin out of control. Little was left of the car after the explosion, which was apparently set off by remote control just before midday. Don Alperon's body was seen slumped over the steering wheel. A police spokesman said, with understatement, that the security forces were now assessing the situation to see what would develop in Tel Aviv. This is the latest and most serious attack in an Israeli mob war which some fear may once again be coming to the boil. That is worrying because of the lack of concern shown by the mobsters for civilian casualties. Anti-tank missiles, grenades and bombs have all been used in Israeli mob hits. In one failed attempt to kill a rival gang leader in 2003, three people died when a bomb explosion hit a passing bus. In another attack, a whole building was destroyed while the intended target, another mafia leader, walked away. Don Alperon was a flamboyant figure known for dating famous and beautiful women from Israeli show-business. He was said to run Tel Aviv's third-largest crime family. If Tel Aviv is in for another period of bloody rivalry between the city's mafia gangs, residents will want to know if the police are capable of stopping it. That has not always seemed to be the case in the past.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Four Albanian men aged between 23 and 35 have been arrested in Athens in connection with a turf war between rival drug gangs

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Four Albanian men aged between 23 and 35 have been arrested in Athens in connection with a turf war between rival drug gangs that has led to 11 people being killed and 13 injured since September 2007, police said yesterday.The victims were murdered in various parts of Athens in what was a bloody war between 20 Albanians who had started off as a gang dealing in heroin, cocaine and cannabis.The gang broke up in 2007, leading to months of bloodletting between the rival factions. One of the factions was almost wiped out with only one member surviving, as he had been jailed on drugs charges.Police said that the suspects had a sizeable arsenal of guns in their possession as well as a total of some four kilos of various drugs.

Tijuana police said Saturday they had found a man's severed head bound in duct tape

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Tijuana police said Saturday they had found a man's severed head bound in duct tape beside a sign threatening members of a gang he allegedly belonged to. Three other bodies, all with bullet wounds, were also found on Friday in Tijuana.
In the nearby city of Tecate, an investigative police officer was found shot to death, and the body on another man — apparently an assailant killed while attacking the officer — was found nearby.Also Saturday, Mexico's Defense Department reported that a regional military commander, Gen. Jorge Cardenas Canton, had committed suicide after suffering a sudden depression.Cardenas Canton commanded army troops in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Like all Mexican military officers, part of his duties included combating drug trafficking

Jamaica experienced one of its most hellish days ever with the brutal gang rape of a mute woman

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Jamaica experienced one of its most hellish days ever with the brutal gang rape of a mute woman, the slaying of three other women and the shooting of a fifth who was yesterday in hospital battling for life.The incidents shocked a country already jolted by a string of ruthless murders of children in recent weeks, the latest being that of 11-year-old Christopher Levi Suckra, a grade seven Petersfield High student whose naked, mutilated body was found Thursday morning in a canefield in Banbury,
Westmoreland. Police believe Suckra was also sodomised.
Yesterday's torment started when residents of the middle-class community of Mona in St Andrew found the mute woman naked and traumatised in their community.A resident gave the woman a sheet to cover herself while the police were called. The woman was taken to hospital where she was undergoing a series of tests yesterday.But while officers from the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) strongly suspect that the woman was raped, their investigations are being hampered as she cannot speak and was so shaken by her torture that she refused to use sign language when an expert was called in to communicate with her."She seems to be in shock. The poor thing would not even use sign language, so at this point we are moving slowly along with the investigation," an officer from CISOCA told the Observer yesterday.Police named the murdered women as Rosemarie Smith, also called 'Rasta', of Water Lane in Kingston; Shadel Holding-Witter, 40, of Kintyre in St Andrew; and 45-year-old Judith Lee.Smith was attacked at her home on Water Lane in Kingston about 4:00 am yesterday and shot several times. Her bullet-riddled body was found sprawled out in her yard, police said.Holding-Witter was also at home in the troubled Kintyre community when gunmen struck just before 7:00 am yesterday. Residents reported hearing a barrage of gunshots and when they went to investigate, the woman was found dead on her verandah. She was shot several times.Police say Lee was a prostitute who worked in the vicinity of Seymour Avenue in Kingston. Her badly bruised, nude body was found yesterday morning by residents who called the police. It also appeared that she was strangled, police said.The injured woman was shot by a gang of thugs who kicked in the door to the home she shared with her spouse, 76-year-old Rupert 'Papa' Jones, at John's Road in St Catherine early yesterday morning. Jones was shot and died on the spot.

East Tyrone Brigade of the IRA, the most lethal but least criminally corrupt element of the Provisional IRA during the three decades of Troubles

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East Tyrone Brigade of the IRA, the most lethal but least criminally corrupt element of the Provisional IRA during the three decades of Troubles in the North, ignored its leadership orders and moved against drug dealers in Dungannon in September this year.The move followed the killing of Eamonn Hughes, 48, a local man who was stabbed to death after an evening of celebrations for his daughter Siobhan's 18th birthday. The working class housing estates in Dungannon, such as Lisnahull, where the Hughes family live, had become beset by the anti-social problems associated with heroin addiction in the recent years of the "peace process".This had never happened before in working class areas of the North, where paramilitary groups simply expelled or shot anyone using hard drugs. In the three years since the IRA stopped "punishment" shootings and beatings, heroin and other drugs have flooded into republican and loyalist areas.In places like Belfast, south Armagh and Derry, ex-IRA figures are lining their pockets from providing protection for the drug dealers. Tyrone is a different matter. The Tyrone IRA are old-fashioned, none from criminal backgrounds, and they had become increasingly angry at the influx of heroin into what had previously been largely safe places like Dungannnon.Two nights after the killing, the East Tyrone Brigade acted. In a classic decoy move, the local PSNI station was taken out of operation by a bomb scare -- using an entirely innocent party who found a suspected pipe bomb in his garden and brought it to the station. With police communications down, IRA units then simultaneously visited the homes of nine alleged drug dealers in the town. They were ordered at gunpoint to load up their families and possessions into their cars and leave the town. All did so.Heroin dealing has stopped in Dungannon, and so has much of the torment experienced by its inhabitants.
What the IRA did in Dungannon is illegal and cannot be condoned. But it is very hard to find a law-abiding citizen in the town or county who will condemn it. Heroin dealing, for years restricted to the inner city and troubled suburban estates of Dublin, has reached into every provincial town in Ireland. The killing of Eamonn Hughes was the last straw for the people of Dungannon. Every provincial paper in Ireland is now writing regularly about the social and criminal side-effects of heroin. Last week it was the turn of Kerry's Eye, which led with a story about two local men who had broken into the home of a bachelor farmer at Annascaul and stolen €2,000 to feed their heroin habit. The two drug addicts, Michael O'Driscoll, 29, and Keith Purcell, 34, burgled the farmer's home while he was out, stealing the money from the biscuit tin where he kept his cash. The two accused were given four weeks to pay the farmer €4,000 but when Purcell refused to do so, he was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment. The grim reality is that heroin has now infected every part of Ireland and this has happened during the tenure of a Fianna Fail-led government which placed law and order as its number one priority. The Government did "deliver" on its promises of increasing the size of the garda force by 2,000 members to a record 14,000, providing whatever resources were sought and passing a raft of new criminal legislation, particularly during the tenure of Michael McDowell. It was McDowell who put forward the proposed legislation on allowing covert surveillance intercepts to be used in criminal cases -- legislation for which will come before the Cabinet on Tuesday.All this, however, has apparently done nothing to stop the mushrooming of heroin and other drug dealing in the State. It has singularly failed to stop the increasing violence of the gangs that supply the drugs. It did not prevent two young gangsters from pursuing Shane Geoghegan as he walked home in Limerick in the early hours of last Sunday morning and shooting him up to 15 times.
In the early part of last week, RTE commentators and guests were using the term "tipping point" about the murder of Shane Geoghegan -- comparing it to the murder of Veronica Guerin in 1996. The gang which murdered Shane Geoghegan was last week in the same situation in which John Gilligan's gang found itself in the aftermath of the murder of Veronica Guerin. There is massive public outrage. The identities of the gang leaders have been widely broadcast. Even the identities of the two young gunmen, one from Limerick one from Dublin, are well known to gardai and the people of Limerick. However, there the similarities might end.
In the immediate aftermath of Veronica's murder, the Government dithered, unsure what to do. At first there were vague promises of "crackdowns" on the gangsters but there was no action. The sense of public outrage grew and grew. Wreaths of flowers appeared on the railings outside the Dail. The palpable sense of anger forced the Government into action. They gave the green light to then Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne, who turned to his top investigator, Chief Superintendent Tony Hickey. He set his detectives to work and they methodically and remorselessly began to destroy John Gilligan and his gang. That point -- the direction to Hickey and his squad to go after Gilligan by whatever means necessary -- could be described as a 'tipping point'. The State followed up with criminal assets legislation, which has since become an international model for anti-organised crime operations.
The gang which murdered Shane Geoghegan are similar to John Gilligan's gang. They are uneducated petty criminals who have risen to power through the use of deadly violence against their opponents, including any innocent member of society prepared to give evidence or speak out against them. The Dundon-McCarthys countenance no opposition and have achieved the same status as the Gilligan gang in that they have been allowed to become a dominant force in the drugs trade. As Gilligan controlled the cannabis and cocaine trade in Dublin, so the Dundon-McCarthys control the trade of cocaine and heroin in Munster, reaching into the Dublin and even UK markets now.
With more resources at their disposal than ever before and the identical sense of public outrage throughout the country, there should have been evidence of some kind of 'tipping point' last week. If there was, it swung back the wrong way, in favour of the gangsters. The point may have come some time on Wednesday afternoon when the funeral of the captain of the Garryowen thirds rugby team finished. By teatime on Wednesday, RTE dropped Shane Geoghegan's murder as the lead item on its news bulletin. Strangely, it opted to lead its 5.30pm bulletin with raids by the PSNI on a network of apartments and houses in the North where herbal cannabis was being grown, an interesting story but not one of national importance.
This may be seen as the point at which Shane Geoghegan became an official statistic -- the 127th victim of gangland violence in the past decade for which the clearance rate stands at considerably less than 10 per cent. Last Monday and Tuesday, there were media appearances by Garda Commissioner Murphy, an assurance by Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern that "no stone would be left unturned", and a subdued debate in Dail Eireann on Thursday. A reported 20 houses in Limerick and Dublin were raided and a small amount of drugs recovered. There were no arrests. Embarrassingly, Limerick gang figure Ger Dundon, sought on a warrant since October for failing to appear in court on road traffic offences, handed himself in for committal on a 10-month prison sentence.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Armando Rodriguez, the main police reporter for El Diario newspaper in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua state across from El Paso, Texas, was shot

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Armando Rodriguez, the main police reporter for El Diario newspaper in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua state across from El Paso, Texas, was shot as he was leaving his house to take his daughter to school, the newspaper said on its Web site.Suspected drug gangs shot dead a Mexican crime reporter near the U.S. border on Thursday, the latest journalist victim of a brutal drug war in which traffickers are targeting the media.Relatives of Rodriguez also confirmed his killing. It was not clear why he was targeted."Organized crime in Ciudad Juarez has tried to intimidate the church, schools and now journalists," Pedro Torres, the newspaper's deputy editorial director, told Mexican television.Ciudad Juarez is Mexico's most violent city and security has collapsed since the Pacific-coast Sinaloa cartel declared war on local drug baron Vicente Carrillo Fuentes and sent its hitmen to drive out his Juarez cartel. The Gulf cartel based around the Gulf of Mexico coast has joined the fight.
Mexican journalists reporting on drug gangs are often harassed by traffickers but attacks on the media have mounted since President Felipe Calderon launched an army-led crackdown on the cartels at the end of 2006.Since 2006, 15 journalists have been killed in Mexico, making it one of the world's most dangerous countries for the media, according to the U.S.-based nonprofit organization Committee to Protect Journalists.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Gang war that's spiraling out of control on the Far Northeast Side.

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The Bexar County Sheriff's Office has about a half a dozen officers in their Street Crimes Unit who have to cover the entire county. For the past year, however, their focus has been taking down the gangs they say are terrorizing the Northeast Side.
"I've never seen so many assault weapons," one neighbor told News 4.Just last week, a 3-year old was shot as she slept. The shooting which led parents to question whether or not their children can be safe in their own homes.
"It's picked up a lot over on the Northeast Side of town," said Kris Saxon of the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.During the day, the signs of gang violence are everywhere."You can see the house is riddled with bullets," Saxon said, pointing to a home in the area. "There's bullet holes up there. They returned fire. There's bullet holes up there. And look how many kids are out here."But deputies say the real danger for the children is at night."At night under the cover of darkness, it's a totally different world," explained Saxon.It's a world where two very different groups are constantly clashing. "The gang members from New Orleans and the gang members from San Antonio do not get along. They don't like each other," explained Saxon. "I think that has to do with different lifestyles."Deputies say Hurricane Katrina brought a storm of violence into San Antonio almost immediately after the evacuees arrived."I remember within a week of the evacuees getting here, I arrested three gang members from New Orleans out on the Northeast Side of town in a stolen car with guns, and they just did a burglary," Saxon told News 4.In the year following Katrina, assault calls went up more than 14% in the area."Oh, they're involved in everything," added Saxon. "They fight in the middle of the street. They're involved in burglaries, robberies, homicide. We get drive-by shootings. We get carjackings. They're dealing drugs to further enhance their gang."News 4's crew was in the car as deputies got into a high speed chase with a man. The man later admitted to having drugs, which deputies said he probably bought from a gang member.
The deputies told News 4 the number of Katrina gang members in San Antonio is actually falling. But they said with that, comes another problem."Now you can look around, and you can see for yourself, 95% of them are empty and trashed out," Saxon said, referring to homes in the neighborhood.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Italian shopkeepers pay about 250 million euros (203 million pounds) a day to Mafia protection rackets and loan sharks

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Italian shopkeepers pay about 250 million euros (203 million pounds) a day to Mafia protection rackets and loan sharks and fear the current downturn could allow the mob to further tighten its stranglehold on the vulnerable economy.The warning came on Tuesday from the Italian shopkeepers' association Confesercenti, many of whose members are frightened into paying the "pizzo" -- as protection money is known -- to the various regional crime groups in southern Italy."The economic crisis makes the Mafia even more dangerous," said Confesercenti Chairman Marco Venturi, presenting a study called "Crime's Hold on Business.""Mafia businesses threaten to use the economy's weakness and uncertainty to strengthen their position," he said, urging banks and government to secure credit so that desperate firms do not turn to loan sharks, though an estimated 180,000 already have.The four biggest mafias -- Calabria's 'Ndrangheta, Sicily's Cosa Nostra, Naples' Camorra and Puglia's Sacra Corona Unita -- make up "a huge holding company with total turnover of about 130 billion euros and profits approaching 70 billion euros."This chimes with recent data suggesting that these groups' combined earnings would make them the biggest company in Italy, equivalent to a large chunk of the country's economic output.Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said last month that the 'Ndrangheta alone, which, with its hold on the European drugs market, has outgrown the Cosa Nostra, makes 45 billion euros a year, which he said was "almost 3 percent of GDP."The new study focussed on Mafia activities directly relating to the business world, from protection money and usury to night clubs, restaurants, building, butchers, fish markets, bakeries and even funerals -- a commercial empire worth about 92 billion euros a year or 6 percent of the economy, the association said

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Joseph 'Benbow' Barrett, alleged leader of the Jones Town-based Joe Benbow gang

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Joseph 'Benbow' Barrett, alleged leader of the Jones Town-based Joe Benbow gang, and his three co-accused, held for the recent seizure of four illegal guns, appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court yesterday. Barrett was charged by police early last week following investigations into the seizure of the guns and more than 20 rounds of ammunition. Also charged are Trudy-Ann Warren, 31, of South Anderson Crescent in Kingston, Marsha Marie Alexandria Johnson, 24, and Wayne Johnson, 35, also called 'Howard Johnson', a taxi operator, both of Benbow Street in Jones Town, St Andrew. All are charged with conspiracy to deceive customs, importation of firearms, conspiracy to import prohibited goods, conspiracy to import firearms and ammunition and conspiracy to import restricted goods. Allegations are that Warren went to the Norman Manley International Airport to collect a package. She declared the package contained baby clothes, but police already knew that it contained four 9mm pistols and 26 rounds of ammunition. A sting operation was set up and Warren was seen entering a vehicle occupied by Marsha and Wayne Johnson. The car was intercepted and they told police the package was to be delivered to Barrett in Port Royal. One Glock-40, one 9mm Browning, one Springfield 9mm and one .45 Ruger pistol and ten .45 rounds and sixteen 9mm rounds were seized. Subsequent investigations led to a search for Barrett who surrendered to police the same day in his attorney's presence. Barrett is also charged with breaching the conditions of bail he received in connection with a murder and shooting. The police say he allegedly failed to obey the conditions of the house-arrest order. The matter returns to court on November 21.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Robert Myers, who was convicted in August of first-degree murder, attempted murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle, received two sentences

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Robert Myers, who was convicted in August of first-degree murder, attempted murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle, received two sentences of life without the possibility of parole and other life terms on Thursday. 22-year-old man accused of hunting down rival gang members has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in a three drive-by shootings in 2004. Myers is one of three people charged in separate shootings in the San Diego communities of Linda Vista, Mission Valley and Skyline. The others are brothers Dejon Satterwhite, 19, and Edward Eugene Thomas, 21, both of whom are scheduled to go to trial Nov. 17. All three were juveniles at the time of the shootings but were charged as adults. Prosecutor Michael Runyon has said the defendants were on a “hunting trip” to find and kill rival gang members over a weekend in August 2004. Killed were Richard Wilson, 22, of Lemon Grove and Lee Smith Jr., 16, a Morse High School junior. Others were injured. Runyon said there was no evidence the murder victims were gang members

Three key leaders of two violent Southeast Asian street gangs were arrested

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Three key leaders of two violent Southeast Asian street gangs were arrested Thursday in a series of raids in San Diego and Riverside County, the state Attorney General's Office announced yesterday. Two of the three were arrested in San Diego. Their names were not released. Agents seized rifles, a sawed-off shotgun and a Tec-9 machine pistol while serving seven search warrants Thursday morning. Ammunition and night-vision equipment were found. The San Diego police gang unit and Mid-City officers assisted in the raids. Although the two gangs are based in San Diego, many members have relocated to the Temecula Valley, according to the state Department of Justice gang unit. Before Thursday's raids, police had arrested 27 gang members and associates on suspicion of murder, robbery, burglary, identity theft and other crimes. Last year, one of the gangs was involved in a shootout with agents and police in City Heights. Authorities said Tri Minh Vo and a companion, Cao Lam, entered an apartment and shot six people, killing one of them. Agents who were conducting surveillance on Vo at the time heard the shooting and pursued the gunmen.
In a shootout that followed, a Department of Justice agent was injured and Lam was killed. The agent has since recovered.

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