Tag Archives: mexican cartels

Mexican organized-crime groups have branched out into octopus theft

More than a dozen trailers transporting multi-ton shipments of frozen octopus have been reported stolen in Mexico in the last month, illustrating how crime groups are constantly seeking new revenue streams, even in seemingly unlikely places.

Since a devastating earthquakerocked Mexico City on September 19, 14 trailers carrying multi-ton frozen octopus shipments have been robbed on federal highways leading from the Caribbean state of Yucatán to other parts of the country, El Diario de Yucatán reported.

According to the local publication, each trailer carried 25 tons of octopus, an amount worth some $3 million. It’s estimated that the total losses accumulated from the robberies have now totaled more than $40 million.

Read Full – http://www.businessinsider.com/mexican-organized-crime-groups-have-branched-out-into-octopus-theft-2017-10

How a Federal Crackdown on Marijuana Could Affect Mexican Cartels

President Donald Trump campaigned on making the United States “great again,” but if his administration follows through on a threat to crack down on legal marijuana, it’s Mexican drug cartels that could be restored to their former glory.

TOM ANGELL – MARIJUANA.COM

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that states with legal recreational marijuana will likely “see greater enforcement” of federal laws, which prohibit all use of cannabis. Spicer’s statements echo what Attorney General Jeff Sessions said during his confirmation hearings: “It is not so much the attorney general’s job to decide what laws to enforce. We should do our job and enforce laws effectively as we are able.”

The Department of Justice declined to comment.

Eight states and the District of Columbia currently allow the retail sale of marijuana for recreational use, all thanks to voter referendums.

In Colorado, where in 2012 voters were the first in the nation to back retail sales, the marijuana industry generated over $1.3 billion in revenue last year, adding about $200 million in taxes to the state’s coffers. In California, the first state to legalize the medical use of cannabis, marijuana has become the state’s leading agricultural commodity, according to the Orange County Register, which estimated its value at $23.3 billion — even before voters legalized recreational sales last November.

Most people think that’s a good thing. A poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University found a majority of the U.S. public now supports marijuana legalization, and 71 percent oppose a federal crack down on states that have legalized it already.

The rise of the homegrown weed industry has come at a cost, though: In 2016, U.S. Border Patrol reported that “marijuana seizures along the southwest border tumbled to their lowest level in at least a decade,” The Washington Post reported. Between 2011 and 2015, seizures dropped 39 percent, according to Fortune.

Read Full – http://www.attn.com/stories/15170/how-president-trump-could-affect-mexican-drug-cartel

How a Mexican drug cartel banked its cash in NYC

NEW YORK — In the photos, Alejandra Salgado and her little brother Francisco look like ordinary tourists strolling the streets of midtown Manhattan. He carries a shopping bag. She wears a white dress, a necklace and a leather tote slung over one shoulder.

But the outings were hardly innocent.

Over two hours, federal agents snapped pictures as the pair visited seven banks, stopping at each one to make cash deposits of just under $10,000 — all from piles of drug money stashed in their bags.

Prosecutors say the flurry of modest deposits was one of the many schemes hatched by Mexican crime cartels trying to bring billions of dollars in drug proceeds back from the United States without attracting scrutiny from banking regulators.

The cartels collect much of their cash proceeds from the U.S. market much the way the cocaine and other drugs come in, by sneaking it across the border.

But using regular banks remains in the mix, said James Hunt, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York City office. The trick is keeping deposits small, because banks are required to report cash deposits of $10,000 or more to the government. The benefit, he said, is that if investigators do catch onto such a scheme, less cash gets confiscated. The bagmen also often face less jail time.

“It’s a little more time-intensive but it’s not as heavy a hit if you get caught,” Hunt said.

Before they went to prison late last month, the Salgados were paid to launder up to $1 million a month collected from drug wholesalers doing business with the notorious Sinaloa cartel, prosecutors said.

Investigators say Alejandra Salgado, 59, who has a Mexico City address and was in the U.S. on an expired visa, was supervised by a high-ranking member of the cartel.

Agents began watching her in New York after her name came up in an investigation of money-laundering cells in southern California, Michigan and Arizona being conducted by investigators from the DEA Drug Enforcement Task Force, Department of Homeland Security, the IRS and local agencies.

Details from the case files of federal agents and narcotics prosecutors provided to the AP offer a look inside how the Salgados operated.

At one point she had been a courier who would drive drug money over the border.

But later, she was assigned by cartel leaders to deposit funds into multiple bank accounts held under fake names, then write checks to a produce company in San Diego controlled by the cartel.

An undercover investigator wearing a wire recorded her calling the assignment a “hassle,” but safer than her previous gig.

After her handler told her there was “a lot of work” for her in New York, she and her brother, a legal resident with an Alaska address, set up shop at a Manhattan hotel in the summer of 2013.

She preferred to collect payments from local drug dealers in midtown, rather than in their home territories in the Bronx or Washington Heights, for security reasons.

“Like a friend of mine said: ‘This is a business for tough people,’” she said in a conversation with the undercover agent. “And it’s all based in trust.”

While under investigation, the siblings made at least two dozen deposits in amounts ranging from about $8,100 to $9,600 at banks located from the Upper West Side to Canal Street.

Following the money trail was worthwhile to “gain insight into the practices” of the cartels, said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan, whose office prosecuted the case.

Sourced From  – http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-a-mexican-drug-cartel-banked-its-cash-in-nyc/

Ohio sheriff says family massacre not linked to drug cartel: report

Officials investigating the execution-style killings of eight family members in rural Ohio six months ago have ruled out the involvement of a Mexican drug cartel and now believe whoever committed the crimes was likely from the area, local media reported.

Eight members of the Rhoden family, ranging in age from 16 to 44, were shot to death in the Appalachian foothills on April 22. Local media previously quoted unidentified law enforcement officials saying a Mexican drug cartel could have been involved after marijuana cultivation sites were found at one of the crime scenes.

“Absolutely not,” Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader told a local TV station on Monday when asked if he believed Mexican cartels were involved in the murders.

“With the nature of the investigation and the things that have been revealed when conducting the investigation there would be no indication to me as to any type of Mexican drug cartel being involved,” he said in an interview with ABC affiliate WCPO Cincinnati.

The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Hannah Gilley, 20; Christopher Rhoden Sr, 40; Christopher Rhoden Jr, 16; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Dana Rhoden, 37; Gary Rhoden, 38; Hanna Rhoden, 19; and Kenneth Rhoden, 44, were killed in what officials said was a planned, “sophisticated operation.” Many of the victims were shot in the head as they slept. Three young children were found alive.

Tim Reagan, a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officer in Cincinnati, told the TV station he also believed there was no link to the Mexican cartel.

“If there was a strong Mexican cartel connection, I’d feel more comfortable telling you, and I don’t see it,” he said.

The DEA directed questions on the case to the Ohio Attorney General’s office.

Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the Ohio attorney general, said the office would not comment on motives prior to an arrest being made but does believe the crimes were committed by multiple people who were familiar with the property.

Full Read – http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ohio-shooting-idUSKCN12I2CS