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Saturday, 28 February 2009

Third Gang related slaying to take place in Salinas in the past 24 hours

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third homicide to take place in Salinas in the past 24 hours happened Friday afternoon when a man was fatally shot in front of an apartment complex, police said.
The 24-year-old received multiple gunshot wounds to the torso at about 12:45 p.m. at 945 Del Monte Ave.He was pronounced dead a short time after police officers arrived at the scene. Officials are currently looking for the shooter who fled on Del Monte Avenue to an apartment complex on N. Sandborn Road.There is no word at this time if the shooting was gang-related and dozens of people who gathered around the crime scene gave little information to police about the gunman or gunmen, officials said.
The victim is the latest in a string of homicides -- nine in all -- to hit Salinas, a city of about 140,000.Less than 24 hours earlier, two teenagers were shot dead in the parking lot of 918 Acosta Plaza at about 8 p.m.Carlos Mejia, 17, and Francisco Alfaro, 16, were approached by two men who pulled out handguns and fired multiple gunshots, authorities said.Police Chief Dan Ortega said he isn't sure if Friday's shooting was in retaliation the shootings of Mejia and Alfaro.The chief did say, however, that the streets of Salinas would be heavily protected Friday evening and into the weekend."The gang task force is in town tonight (Friday) and we will still have operation Cal Grip with the CHP going on. So we're going to have the streets saturated tonight and this weekend," Ortega said.Police are investigating Thursday evenings shooting as gang-related, but the mother one of the teenagers gunned down said her son wasn't involved with gangs.Carlos Mejia was a bass player in the school band for years and was going to graduate from Everett Alvarez High School, his family said."There is nothing we can do. We were trying as hard as we can, he was always refusing, he was never trying to get in that (gangs). I don't know what to say," said Mejia's mother, Marta.Mejia's dad took him and his sister to school every day to watch his activity, and the family said Carlos refused gang life despite the pressures.Mejia's sister told KSBW Action News 8 she has no idea why anyone would go after her brother."They're going to regret what they did to him, because he didn't do anything bad," Vanessa Mejia said. "I don't know why they went after him if he never did anything to them, and I hope they get what they deserve for doing that to my brother."The rash of homicides comes just one day after Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue attended a summit in Santa Rosa along with officials from 12 other gang-plagued cities to talk about the need for sustained state and federal support.

Donahue said the $2.6 million he learned would be directed to Monterey County pales next to the $14 million he must cut from the Salinas general fund over the next three years.

At the current pace, 2009 would shatter the previous homicide record for Salinas that was set in 2008 with 25.


Sunday, 22 February 2009

“Dead Rat” and “Military Justice.” The confessed shooter, retired general Alejandro Flores, was widely hailed as a hero for firing at the 30-year-old

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Graphic photos of the alleged thief’s corpse were splashed over the front pages of Mexican tabloids beneath headlines such as “Dead Rat” and “Military Justice.” The confessed shooter, retired general Alejandro Flores, was widely hailed as a hero for firing at the 30-year-old man who had tried to force his way into the military man’s Mexico City home. “Of course he did the right thing,” wrote Felipe Alcocer in one on-line forum on the incident. “I wish everyone would act in the same way and get rid of this anti-social scum.” Given Mexico’s widespread breakdown in security, the praise for Flores’ Feb. 5 act of self-defense is unsurprising. The conviction rate in the thousands of murders and kidnappings afflicting the nation every year is estimated to be as low as 5%. Women and children are also increasingly among those killed by criminal gangs. And the limits on the legal system’s ability to stem the tide of violent crime has produced a growing, shadowy movement for vigilante justice. In recent months, at least three new clandestine groups have promised to hunt down and murder criminals to help restore order. As in the killing of the alleged thief by Flores, such groups have been cheered on in public forums. “My sincerest congratulations to these brave men with their courage and determination,” wrote a reader of Mexican newspaper Milenio. “God help them with their noble cause.”

It is too early to say whether these self-proclaimed avengers will become a significant force in Mexico’s battle with crime. Some of them may simply be angry citizens sending out messages not backed by any action. Others could be fronts for drug gangs, who want to present themselves as public guardians while running their own criminal rackets. But whomever is really behind these particular groups, the growing demand for justice by any means necessary raises concerns about the security situation in Mexico if the government remains unable to suppress the crime wave.
The most widely publicized vigilante campaign has emerged across the Texas border in Ciudad Juarez, which has become Mexico’s deadliest city with 1,600 murders last year. A self-styled Juarez Citizens’ Command sent an e-mail to local media in January saying it will give the government until July 5 to restore order or execute one criminal a day. Signed by “Comandante Abraham,” the group claims it is financed by local businessmen, and includes university students, entrepreneurs and professionals in its ranks. It offers to cooperate with military intelligence and says it supports the government, but argues that the elected politicians have failed.A second shadowy group, called the Popular Anti-Drugs Army, materialized among farming towns in the southern state of Guerrero in November. Displaying blankets with written messages on bridges and buildings, the group claims to be made up of family men who have come to together to force drug dealers off the street. “We invite the people to join our struggle and defend our children who are the future of Mexico,” it said on one of the blankets. Unlike the Juarez group, the Guerrero “Army” has been linked to several killings, including the decapitation of an alleged drug dealer in December. Local press allege the group is commanded by a rancher whose children were targeted by the gangs.Sociologist Rene Jimenez notes that vigilante justice has already become a reality in several parts of the country. “The state is failing to keep control in certain areas so people take justice into their own hands,” he said. “This vigilantism shows that the conflict is entering a new phase. Violence will breed more violence.”
There are certainly some unfortunate precedents: Self-proclaimed anti-gang vigilantes became a key part of the civil war in Colombia, where they morphed into paramilitary armies with thousands of members. These groups fought leftist guerrillas and allied with the government to bring down major drug traffickers such as the notorious Pablo Escobar. Many of the paramilitary leaders later confessed they had funded their own activities by dealing drugs, but claimed they virtually stopped anti-social crime in areas under their control. Gustavo Duncan, who authored a book on the Colombian paramilitaries, says similar organizations could emerge in Mexico amid the breakdown in state authority. “While Mexico may not ever get as bad as Colombia, some of the factors are very similar,” Duncan notes. “When the state cannot keep control in certain areas, it leaves a vacuum for these type of organizations to step in and in many ways they become the state.”


Gunmen killed a police officer and a jail guard Friday and left signs on their bodies saying they had fulfilled a promise to slay at least one officer

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Gunmen killed a police officer and a jail guard Friday and left signs on their bodies saying they had fulfilled a promise to slay at least one officer every 48 hours until the Ciudad Juarez police chief resigns.The slayings were a chilling sign that criminal gangs are determined to control the police force of the biggest Mexican border city, with a population of 1.3 million people across from El Paso, Texas.Ciudad Juarez police have long come under attack, and many officers have quit out of fear for their lives, some after their names appeared on hit lists left in public throughout the city.Police officer Cesar Ivan Portillo was the fifth officer killed this week in Mexico's deadliest city.Police already were on "red alert" — meaning they could not patrol alone — after cardboard signs with handwritten messages appeared taped to the doors and windows of businesses Wednesday, warning that one officer would be killed every 48 hours if Public Safety Secretary Roberto Orduna does not quit.Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz insisted Friday that he would not back down."We will not allow the control of the police force to fall in the hands of criminal gangs," he said.More than 6,000 people have been killed in drug violence across Mexico over the past year as gangs battle each other for territory and to fight off a nationwide crackdown by the army. Nearly a third of the slayings have taken place in Ciudad Juarez, and more than 50 of those dead are city police officers.Violence also has spilled across the border into the U.S., where authorities report a spike in killings, kidnappings and home invasions connected to Mexico's murderous cartels.Homeland Security officials have said they will bring in the military if the violence continues to grow and threatens the U.S. border region.
"The violence is spreading like wildfire across the Rio Grande," said George Greyson, a Mexico expert at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. "It's a major national security problem for us that is much more important than Iraq and Afghanistan."Also Friday, the U.S. State Department renewed a travel advisory warning Americans about the increased violence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Some Mexicans have questioned whether President Feline Caldron's two-year, nationwide crackdown on drug gangs was worth all the killings.But Caldron and his administration have defended the fight, with Economy Secretary Gerard Ruin Mattes saying on Wednesday that if Mexico gave up its fight against the cartels, "the next president of the republic would be a drug dealer."Portillo and city jail guard Juan Palo Ruin were killed as they left their homes before dawn to head to work, city spokesman Jaime Toreros said.
Three days earlier, assailants fatally shot police operations director Sacramento Peruse, the chief's right-hand man, and three other officers who were sitting with him in a patrol car near the U.S. consulate.The bodies of Peruse and one of the officers were sent to their home states Thursday to be buried, and the city planned to hold a ceremony Friday for the two others from Ciudad Juarez.City spokesman Jaime Toreros said police have been asked to patrol with their guns in their hands.Reyes Ferriz earlier ordered police to travel in groups of three patrol cars, with two officers in each vehicle.Orduna has not spoken publicly since the threats. A retired army major, he took over as chief in May after former Public Safety Secretary Guillermo Prieto resigned and fled to El Paso following the slaying of his operations director.For Orduna's protection, the city has built his bedroom at the police station so he does not have to go home. He also travels in different vehicles when he does go out.


Gang related shooting in Ogden late Friday night

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Man was shot while driving down a road in Ogden late Friday night. Police say the man was headed west in the 600 block of 7th Street around 10:50 p.m. when a Durango filled with people pulled up next to him. Someone inside the Durango started shooting, hitting the man once in the shoulder. The victim then drove to an apartment complex near 600 North and Lincoln Avenue, where he passed out and crashed into several parked cars. He was taken to the hospital but is expected to survive.
Police believe the shooting is gang related.


Mexican Narco gangsters hurled two grenades at a police station in the Pacific resort town of Zihuatanejo

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Narco gangsters hurled two grenades at a police station in the Pacific resort town of Zihuatanejo on Saturday, wounding one officer and four civilians.Police and soldiers stepped up patrols and set up extra checkpoints after the attack in the popular beach town north of Acapulco, according to the Guerrero state Public Safety Department.Three taxi drivers, a woman and a policeman were hurtGrenade attacks have become a fixture in Mexico's brutal cartel-related violence. Last week, five civilians and an officer were wounded in a grenade assault on a police patrol in western Michoacan state.In central Mexico, gunmen wielding AK-47s opened fire on two restaurants Saturday, killing two people. The first attack occurred in the town of Acelia and the second in at a highway eatery south of Mexico City.Police were trying to determine the motive and whether the two attacks were related.Gang violence is surging in Mexico despite the deployment of 45,000 soldiers across the country to root out drug cartels. Beheadings, attacks on police and shootings in clubs and restaurants are a daily occurrence in some regions.Last year, 6,000 people died in violence related to organized crime.Federal police, meanwhile, arrested a man suspected of directing drug dealing in Mexico City suburbs for the Beltran Leyva drug cartel. Gerardo Gonzalez Benavides was arrested Friday at a Mexico City shopping mall and was being questioned Saturday, the Attorney General's Office said.


All-out Dublin gang war sparked by the murder on Wednesday of Johnny 'Champagne' Carroll

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Gardai in Dublin were working last night to head off an all-out gang war which was sparked by the murder on Wednesday of Johnny 'Champagne' Carroll, one of the city's top drug dealers.Eight men and three women were being questioned by detectives in five separate stations around the city centre yesterday evening and arrests are expected.The republican splinter group, the Irish National Liberation Army, is at the centre of the threatened war and its members are believed responsible for murdering Carroll, 33, in Grumpy Jack's pub in the Coombe.The gang suspected of carrying out the murder is headed by the INLA leader in Dublin, a man aged in his 30s who currently lives in Finglas, and his close associate, a major Dublin criminal figure who has been involved in drug smuggling since the Eighties. Carroll was killed because the gang wished to take over his drug-dealing turf on the north side of the city.Last night, gardai were on high alert as Carroll's associates, who include some of the most violent criminals in the south inner city, were swearing to avenge his murder.


Friday, 20 February 2009

still identifying the victims of a series of gunbattles Tuesday that left several dead and more injured amid a scene of shot-out cars

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Mexican officials Wednesday said they were still identifying the victims of a series of gunbattles Tuesday that left several dead and more injured amid a scene of shot-out cars, homes and businesses.Pedro Sosa López, a chief of Tamaulipas state police department, said six men were confirmed dead. One was identified as Jose Alejandro Rivera Torres, a civilian. On Tuesday, reports of injuries and deaths varied widely, with some reports of as many as 12 people killed.Sosa said no others had been identified and that he could not confirm reports that a high-ranking Gulf Cartel boss was among those killed or possibly captured.He said seven alleged assailants were being detained but did not have further details.
The gunfire volleys between federal police officers and suspected gang members occurred in six parts of the city and were attributed to the Gulf Cartel's struggles to maintain control of one of the key pathways for smuggling drugs into the United States.This city is said to be key territory for the cartel's drug-smuggling organization and its assassins, the Zetas. It is across the Rio Grande from McAllen and is one of Mexico's most important manufacturing centers.The violence involved automatic weapons and grenades and began when police stopped a vehicle at a checkpoint in an upscale neighborhood of Reynosa, witnesses said. That set off running gunbattles through the streets, with gangsters commandeering vehicles and using them to block intersections.
Witnesses said the battles raged on for more than an hour Tuesday morning. Civilians ran for cover and children crouched under desks.
“We were hearing the gunfire,” said Enrique Marquez, assistant director of a middle school near one of the gunbattles. “I was there with my microphone, telling everyone to be calm, to exit calmly.”All got out safely, he said, but that school and at least one other remained closed Wednesday for fear of more violence.
The gunfire was over when Martin Marquez arrived to open his florist shop Tuesday, but evidence of the violence lay everywhere.
The front window was a lattice of bullet holes, broken glass filled the show room, and a mirrored door in a back room was shattered.
“We came to see this,” he said. “Total disaster.”He marveled at the one thing that had survived unscathed — a shelf with small statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.“Not even touched,” he said.


Thursday, 19 February 2009

Denmark’s Gang Wars Hells Angels versus Immigrant gangs

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Denmark’s national police has proposed employing an extra 140 officers to be deployed in the six police districts hardest hit by gang warfare between bikers and immigrant gangs. The 140 officers will solely be involved in containing the continuing violence between the two groups. Financing for the special units is to be taken from the DKK 850 million funding passed by Parliament last year, and which is designed to strengthen the police force. “It is extremely important that we pull the criminal gangs up at the roots. But it will need a lengthy and insistent effort. So we are satisfied that that extra resources are to be made available. It will be a major benefit if the responsibility for the effort is placed in special police units,” says Parliamentary Legal Committee Chairman Peter Skaarup of the Danish People’s Party. Over a third of the new officers are to be located in Copenhagen, where continuing open street shootings and attacks are causing serious concern.
“This is certainly something that all of the police districts will be happy about,” says Copenhagen Police Spokesman Flemming Steen Munch. Apart from the extra officers, the Prosecutor’s Economic Crime Unit is also to be given added resources in order to strengthen its Al Capone operations – hitting gang members by investigating tax issues and economic crime. The National Investigation Centre is also to be strengthened with eight officers while the Security and Intelligence Service can expect a further 10 employees.


Nicole Marie Alemy was driving her husband's Cadillac in suburban Surrey when she was shot.

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Nicole Marie Alemy was driving her husband's Cadillac in suburban Surrey when she was shot.The 23-year-old White Rock, B.C., resident's son was unhurt, though traumatized when the car coasted into a tree by the side of the road Monday morning.Vancouver and its suburbs have been under attack as criminals trade shots in an undeclared gang war that's taken as many as half a dozen lives and wounded several people in the last few weeks.Another killing took place Tuesday as federal Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Peter Van Loan met local mayors, police officials and relatives of two innocent victims caught in a gang-style execution that claimed six lives in 2007.Vancouver police would not confirm details but witnesses told reporters a man was killed and his intended victim wounded in what appeared to be a botched murder attempt at a south Vancouver basement suite.


Vancouver is a major import and export point for the international illegal drug trade the city's recent violence centers around the illegal drug trade

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"They're hitting people in broad daylight in shopping centers," he said, adding the body count is similar to a surge in the fall of 2007. "There were gun battles with armored vehicles in the streets."
Vancouver is a major import and export point for the international illegal drug trade the city's recent violence centers around the illegal drug trade.Criminologist Rob Gordon said gangs have become far more brazen in the past few months, gunning down people in public.Gordon said gangs are likely gearing up for an increase in business during the Olympics. He specifically cited the marijuana business in Whistler where alpine events will be held. And, that he, said, could lead to greater violence as gangs fight over their share of the drug market at that time."Vancouver is not going to look particularly good while the world is watching if we have another one of these outbursts during Olympic events," Gordon said.Royal Canadian Mounted Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass said the province's criminal justice and bail systems need to be reformed.Last week, the provincial government announced initiatives to employ more police and prosecutors, introduce tougher laws and build more jails and courts. The government also promised to crack down on illegal guns and owning armored vehicles and body armor."Recent gang violence has been both shocking and appalling, and British Columbians have had enough," Premier Gordon Campbell said.


Thursday, 12 February 2009

Mexican authorities found five abandoned bullet-riddled and bloodstained vehicles

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Mexican authorities found five abandoned bullet-riddled and bloodstained vehicles on Wednesday, fueling their hunt for drug gang killers following a wave of border-region slayings and clashes with soldiers that left 21 people dead, an official said.The hours-long skirmishes around the town of Villa Ahumada on Tuesday were part of a wave of drug violence that has engulfed parts of Mexico _ and has even spilled across the border _ as the army confronts savage narcotics cartels that are flush with drug money and guns from the U.S.President Felipe Calderon says more than 6,000 people died last year in drug-related violence, and U.S. authorities have reported a spike in killings, kidnappings and home invasions linked to the cartels _ some of it in cities far from the border, such as Phoenix and Atlanta.
Investigators on Wednesday were searching for assailants after finding five abandoned vehicles near Villa Ahumada, where gunmen a day earlier had kidnapped nine people, starting the violence.
They executed six of the kidnap victims along the PanAmerican Highway outside of the town, said Enrique Torres, spokesman for a joint military-police operation in Chihuahua state.Villa Ahumada is 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of the border city of El Paso, Texas.An army convoy heading toward Villa Ahumada to investigate reports of the kidnappings Tuesday came across gunmen who had just executed the six kidnap victims, Torres said.A shootout between gunmen and soldiers ensued in which seven gunmen and one soldier died, Torres said. Another soldier was wounded.Soldiers rescued the three remaining kidnap victims and took them into custody for questioning, Torres said. The men say they are businessmen and were wrongly accused by their captors of belonging to the Sinaloa cartel.In the meantime, other gunmen fled on foot as soldiers rappelled down from military helicopters to chase them through the snow-covered desert.Further down the highway, a series of other shootouts left seven more assailants dead.Villa Ahumada, a town of 1,500 people, was virtually taken over by drug gangs last year when attackers killed two consecutive police chiefs and two officers. The rest of the 20-member force resigned in fear, forcing the Mexican military to take over for months.Unable to hire new recruits, the town hired unarmed residents to keep watch and alert state police about crime.The army was patrolling the town's streets Wednesday.Also Wednesday in the town of Reforma in Chiapas state, three suspected drug hitmen died during a shootout with police. Assailants opened fire after police raided a safe house for arms and drugs, a Reforma municipal police spokesman said. He was not authorized to give his name.


Manila Gang Wars

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Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim has ordered the Manila Police District to put an immediate end to the gang wars in the city citing records of the Presidential Anti Organized Crime Commission that over 30 street gangs caused trouble in Metro Manila. PAOCC Commissioner Grepor Belgica’s report named the notorious among the over 30 street gangs as Trece Hudas, Tau Gamma Phi fraternity, the Bulabog Boys, and Walang Sawa sa Alak (Wasalak).
Most of these gangs are involved in crimes like robbery and even drug trafficking.


Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Francisco Velasco Delgado is being questioned by prosecutors in the AG office's organized-crime division.

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Francisco Velasco Delgado is being questioned by prosecutors in the AG office's organized-crime division.They said prosecutors planned to ask a federal judge to allow them to hold the police chief without bail.Retired Gen. Mauro Enrique Tello Quiñones, 63, was found dead last week inside a van on the Cancun-Merida highway together with army Lt. Gertulio Cesar Roman Zuñiga and a civilian, Juan Dominguez Sanchez
."The result of the autopsy shows that they were tortured before being riddled with bullets,"
the Quintana Roo state Attorney General's Office said.Velasco's arrest followed the arrival at police headquarters in the municipality of Benito Juarez, which includes Cancun, of some 25 soldiers who locked down the station for about an hour Monday morning.Before he was taken into custody, Velasco told reporters the soldiers were conducting a routine inventory and inspection of police weapons and that the military presence did not mean the army was taking charge of public safety in Cancun, as it did earlier in violence-wracked Tijuana, which lies near San Diego, California.Tello Quiñones, who served as military attache at the Mexican Embassy in Spain and as commander of the military zone of the western state of Michoacan, was laid to rest with full military honors after a ceremony attended by Mexican President Felipe Calderon.The mayor of Benito Juarez, Gregorio Sanchez, said that Velasco was "comparing information" with federal prosecutors, and named Gumercindo Jimenez Cuervo acting police chief.Since taking office in December 2006, Calderon has deployed more than 30,000 soldiers and federal police to nearly a dozen of Mexico's 31 states in a bid to stem the wave of mainly drug-related violence blamed for more than 8,000 deaths over the past two years.
The anti-drug operation, however, has failed to put a dent in the violence due, according to experts, to drug cartels' ability to buy off the police and even high-ranking prosecutors.


Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, has declared war .Bodies were strewn across the desert outside the nearby town of Villa Ahumada

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Mexican soldiers fought gun battles with drug cartel hitmen near the U.S. border on Tuesday after gangsters abducted local police in violence that killed 21 people, including an army sergeant.Soldiers pursued the hitmen through freezing desert in the northern state of Chihuahua after they dragged nine people, including some police, out of houses and shot six of them at a ranch in the early hours of Tuesday, the army said.Heavily armed soldiers burst into the ranch, near the Texan border, and shot dead several of the hitmen, later chasing another group by helicopter before killing them too, army spokesman Enrique Torres said from the area.
"The bodies were strewn across the desert outside the nearby town of Villa Ahumada," said Torres.

It was one of the bloodiest scenes this year in a spiraling drug war that killed more than 5,700 people across Mexico in 2008.
President Felipe Calderon deployed the army and federal police to tackle drug violence at the end of 2006, triggering a series of vicious turf battles. Daylight shootouts are on the rise in northern border cities.Chihuahua state and its main border city Ciudad Juarez have become the deadliest flashpoints in the drug war as cartels fight over trafficking routes into Texas and murder police accused of working for rival gangs.Residents in Villa Ahumada, a cattle ranching community in the state, said they saw a convoy of SUVs ride through the snow-covered town before dawn on Tuesday and several people were abducted from their homes. Some people later heard shots in the countryside.
"People are really afraid of a revenge attack by hitmen after this violence," a local journalist who asked not to be named told Reuters from Villa Ahumada.More than 2,000 of the drug war deaths recorded last year were in Chihuahua state, including the murder of 13 people at a party in August.The presence of more than 3,000 troops and federal police in Chihuahua has done nothing to contain the violence. Ciudad Juarez, a manufacturing city in the desert across from El Paso, Texas, has seen beheadings, daily shootouts and a surge in kidnappings and extortion.Mexico's army and drug trade analysts say the country's most-wanted man, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, has declared war on Chihuahua's drug baron Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, and the Gulf cartel based around the Gulf of Mexico has joined the fight.


Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Deadly shootouts between police and organised crime gangs are now a defining feature of police work and life in South Africa.

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New war on the streets. Deadly shootouts between police and organised crime gangs are now a defining feature of police work and life in South Africa.In the past two weeks in and around Durban, more than 16 criminal suspects, and an innocent bystander, it seems, have been killed in shootouts with police, bringing to the fore the use of deadly force in apprehending suspects.Do these incidents reflect a new, tougher, if not gung-ho approach to combating crime? Have some policemen interpreted too literally the recent shoot-to-kill utterances of some leading politicians?
'Mkhize opened fire when police tried to pull his car over' And how do we know that vital witnesses are not being deliberately taken out by cops on the take? These are just some of the questions various commentators, including violence monitor Mary de Haas, are asking in the wake of yet another suspect killed in Durban this week.
Police said former Maphumulo taxi boss Bongani Mkhize, 44, had been "positively linked" to the recent murder of inkosi Mbongeleni Zondi in Umlazi, and had opened fire when police tried to pull his car over. He was killed when police returned fire.
The Mercury disclosed this week that Mkhize had applied to the Durban High Court in October last year for an interdict restraining police from "killing, injuring, threatening, harassing or in any way intimidating" him.In applying for this order, Mkhize claimed he was being sought by the organised crime unit in connection with the murder of Kranskop policeman Supt Zethembe Chonco.At the time seven other suspects wanted for Chonco's murder had been killed in separate incidents, either allegedly resisting arrest or while accompanying police on investigations.
Police consider the Chonco murder case closed, with all suspects killed, but could there be a link between the Chonco case and Zondi's murder?Head of the provincial organised crime unit, Johan Booysen, would not elaborate on this, but said two suspects in the Zondi murder were in custody, and one had made a full confession.
The day before Zondi's murder, five alleged criminals died in a shootout on the N3 near Camperdown after police received a tip-off about nine men headed to Pietermaritzburg to commit a robbery.Ordered to pull over at a roadblock, the suspects opened fire on the police, who returned fire in self-defence, killing five men, said SAPS spokesperson Director Phindile Radebe."This serves as a warning to everybody that the police are serious about fighting fire with fire," responded KwaZulu-Natal Safety and Security MEC Bheki Cele.Since then another 11 suspects have been gunned down in separate incidents in and around Durban, described as "Wild West-style" clashes.In reality, though, such shootouts bear little resemblance to the Wild West.
They are more violent, involving sub-machine guns, AK47s, R4 rifles, hijacked vehicles, criminal syndicates operating with military-style efficiency and elite police units often operating undercover.

"Indeed, it is a war out there," said Institute for Security Studies (ISS) director Johan Burger.Burger said the number of suspects killed had risen significantly recently, as had the number of policemen killed.He said this was despite the actual number of attacks on police having decreased over the past few years.He said concerns that police had become "trigger happy" were understandable, but needed to be seen in the context of the dangers of combating organised crime, and legislation governing use of deadly force."The legislation is very clear. Police can shoot to kill to protect lives, but any incident where police do kill someone is independently investigated by the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), irrespective of the circumstances."Burger said he shared editors' concerns that "shoot-to-kill" rhetoric from politicians might have led to a perception that police were "protected and entitled to use more force than they were legally entitled to"."If they are implying that the police must use deadly force when justified, that's fine, but when it is interpreted by police on the ground that they have wider authority to use more force than legally empowered, it becomes very dangerous."He said incidents where police did shoot to kill also needed to be balanced against the realities of crime in South Africa, particularly the fact that criminal gangs had becoming organised, dangerous, and prepared to kill.
Burger said it was a fallacy that police had to wait until they were being shot at before resorting to deadly force."The moment they judge that their lives are in danger, or members of public are threatened, they are entitled to shoot to kill," said Burger.And it's happening - a new era in the war on crime has begun. Who is winning remains to be seen.


Monday, 9 February 2009

Vancouver-area gang wars gained national attention in October 2007, when two innocent bystanders were murdered along with four men with gang ties

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Six shootings in six days have prompted British Columbia's attorney general to appeal to the public for help in stemming the gang violence plaguing Vancouver-area streets.Wally Oppal said members of the public have a large part to play in ending the gang strife behind the six shootings - four of them fatal."We're very concerned, very, very concerned with what's going on," Oppal told reporters in Victoria on Monday."The fact is we've got a number of factors at play; One, you have a public out there that apparently wants drugs. Drugs are illegal. They are not governed by any laws, so you have a bunch of outlaws out there who are selling drugs. They are fighting for territory."Oppal said the police need the public to come forward with information instead of clamming up about the outlaw gangs that are fighting a deadly turf war on the streets of Metro Vancouver."The police go to these scenes and they get no help from anybody," he said."There are people out there who know what's happening. People out there who are privy to information, yet nobody goes to help the police. Everybody abides by this code of silence."The gang war has been going on for years but the latest carnage began a week ago when a man was found shot dead in an apartment in Surrey.Within 24 hours another man was gunned down while in his truck at a busy mall in Surrey, while a woman was found shot to death in her pick up truck in Coquitlam.Then on Friday a man was shot in his truck at a mall in Langley. He died over the weekend.It appears most, if not all, of the shootings were gang-or drug-related, although a shooting in Coquitlam on Saturday that left a man wounded was a robbery.The sixth shooting happened Sunday night and targeted a man on Vancouver's west side, with one report suggesting the victim had gang ties.Over the last couple of years the area has seen dozens of gang-related shootings, including brazen daylight attacks in crowded public places.The murder in the mall parking lot in Langley took place during the day, and a stray bullet shattered the window of one nearby vehicle.The Vancouver-area gang wars gained national attention in October 2007, when two innocent bystanders were murdered along with four men with gang ties in a Surrey apartment building.Oppal said the government, from Premier Gordon Campbell on down, is concerned about rising gang violence in British Columbia."We all need to get involved. We have to take back the streets from these people who are out there." We need to help the police."


Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Jersey City police said that two teens were stabbed at the Newport Centre Mall

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Jersey City police said that two teens were stabbed at the Newport Centre Mall Saturday night during a melee that involved at leat 18 persons and was reported to be a gang fight.Responding to a disturbance on the first floor of the mall around 8:53 p.m., police and mall security found a 15-year-old boy who had been stabbed in the stomach, reports said.Another juvenile, of unknown age, ran from the mall after being stabbed and went to the Jersey City Fire Department station on Marin Boulevard.
Firefighters said that he had stab wounds in the shoulder.Additional police units responded to the area and rounded up some of the teens.One of the victims told police that he was with three 15-year-old friends when around 15 males approached them. One youth wearing a ski mask and with his forearm in a cast asked if he was affiliated with a certain street gang and then stabbed him, reports said.


Outlaw bikie gangs warring for dominance in the illegal drug market could be a motive for the bombing of a Sydney Hells Angels base

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Outlaw bikie gangs warring for dominance in the illegal drug market could be a motive for the bombing of a Sydney Hells Angels base, police say.Officers said it was lucky no one was killed by the powerful explosion about 4am (NZ time) yesterday, which left sheets of roofing iron, rubble and shattered glass scattered across Crystal Street at Petersham.As investigators look into the bombing, police fear revenge attacks may follow."Tit-for-tat revenge attacks are not unknown obviously within outlaw motorcycle gangs," Gang Squad Detective Superintendent Mal Lanyon told reporters.Furthermore, he said investigating incidents which involved the gangs often proved difficult."One of the problems with investigating any outlaw motorcycle gang incident is the code of silence that operates within the actual gang structure itself," he said."People ... within gangs are reticent to come forward and provide information to the police and that's why we have to be dedicated and professional in the way we investigate so we can make arrests."Supt Lanyon said detectives were keeping an open mind about the motive for the bombing, but said involvement in the illicit drugs trade was a big part of bikie gang culture."There is obviously a large number of factors that may influence people or may influence other gangs to come in conflict, obviously drug supply and the proceeds from drug supply is something that fuels outlaw motorcycle gangs ... and that would certainly be a motive," he said.
Witnesses have told police they saw two men in a dark four-wheel drive leaving the scene of the bombing on Wednesday, Superintendent David Eardley said.Investigators are also looking at any links between the blast and shots fired into a nearby tattoo parlour."The cause of the explosion is still being determined, but we are satisfied it is as a result of a deliberate act," Supt Eardley told reporters.He was unclear about what role the Petersham building played in the Hells Angels operation and did not say what police had found inside the property."Whether it is the headquarters I'm not quite sure, but it is certainly a premises that's linked to the Hells Angels motorcycle group," Supt Eardley said."I believe it is a premises that has come under notice previously."Nearby resident Kenneth Goodman told News Ltd the explosion damaged windows in his building."I heard the four explosions which we figured were gunshots, then approximately two minutes after, we heard the loud explosion," he said."I came out, walked up the street and then saw all the glass, rubble and carnage, pieces of tin, all across the road."There was heaps of smoke. It smelt like a gun powder, plastic-like smell."Supt Eardley said he was concerned about the potential harm the explosion could have caused."It was probably by sheer luck that no person was killed in the incident ... that no innocent bystanders were killed," he said.


Sunday, 1 February 2009

Earnest “Bama” Edwards, a known leader of the Bloods street gang arrested at a notorious East Broadway nightclub

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Gangbanger was arrested at a notorious East Broadway nightclub early Saturday morning, after hiding from police for days.Sheriff’s deputies, village police and state troopers said they found Earnest “Bama” Edwards, a known leader of the Bloods street gang, hanging out in the back of the Cinco Estrella Club about 2:30 a.m. Edwards, 26, was wanted on a felony warrant for brandishing a handgun at another man on Broadway last Tuesday.Edwards disappeared into the crowd when he saw police inside the club. He had been wearing an oversized red sweatshirt, but when police next spotted Edwards trying to sneak out of the club he had ditched the sweatshirt for a blue shirt, police said.The wanted man put up a 10-minute fight when police tried to cuff him. Edwards shoved, bit and threw punches at officers who used a Taser and pepper spray to subdue him.“My guys said it was one of the worst fights they’ve ever seen,” said Monticello police Sgt. Mark Johnstone.The fight escalated when Edwards began shouting what police believe were gang commands, prompting others in the club to throw bottles and food at the officers. None of the others was arrested.The Sheriff’s Office charged Edwards with resisting arrest and then turned him over to Monticello police, who were after him on weapon possession and menacing charges. He was being held in police lockup. Edwards had been released Dec. 1 from a New Jersey jail after serving six months on a drug charge.Many violent incidents in Monticello had centered around Edwards these past four years, including several shootings and a tussle with police. The Cinco Estrella nightclub has also been a nest of violence. Over the past two years, police have responded to the club for several gang-related stabbings and beatings.


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