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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Cartels in America

The Los Angeles Times is running a four part series about how the Mexican cartels distribute drugs in the United States. Today's installment is about an American pilot who moved cocaine from Southern California to Pennsylvania. It's titled 'Flying high for the Sinaloa drug cartel.' John Charles Ward used small airports across the country and flew below an altitude where he would be required to file a flight plan. He was assisted by Tom George Kontos, a former federal prosecutor from Los Angeles, who was skilled at cutting good deals and laundering money. Gee, I wonder if any of the airports in Texas are used for drug smuggling.

Tuesday edition profiled an operation based in Los Angeles:
'The Sinaloa cartel, Mexico's most powerful organized crime group, has its version of a corporate headquarters in gaudy mansions and hilly estates that dot the state of Sinaloa. But its U.S. distribution hub sits 1,000 miles northwest, in the immigrant neighborhoods that line the trucking corridors of Southern California.

Drugs move from Colombia to Mexico, then across the Imperial Valley to stash houses and staging areas around Los Angeles. There, scores of distribution cells take over, packaging the cocaine and concealing it in tractor-trailers headed across the United States.

As one of dozens of transportation coordinators for the cartel, Roman bought tractor-trailers, hired drivers and arranged for loads of frozen chickens as cover. He received the drugs from Eligio "Pescado" Rios, who operated a string of stash houses.

Together they formed part of a pipeline that extended across the country to a distributor living near Yankee Stadium in New York.'
Some of sicarios working for the cartels are U.S. citizens. The Juarez cartel uses the Barrios Aztecas, a vicious El Paso gang. And here's a really chilling story, about a 15 year old who tortured and slit the throats of enemies of another cartel:
'A Mexican judge on Tuesday sentenced a 15-year-old U.S. citizen to three years in prison for organized crime, homicide, kidnapping, and drug and weapons possession.'
In the U.S. he could have been certified as a adult and sent off for life. Mexico really is a cesspool.

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