Comments Off on Child Protective Services worker, Stephenie Chism, 39, of West Point, accused of smoking Methamphetamine with her 14-year-old son

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A woman who works for Child Protective Services has been arrested after she was allegedly caught with heroin in her possession and admitted to regularly smoking methamphetamine with her 14-year-old son.

According to detectives, 39-year-old Stephenie Chism of West Point, Kentucky, was stopped by detectives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as she was leaving her home at the corner of Main Street and South Fifth Street in West Point.

Police said West Point Police discovered about a 1/2-gram of heroin in her possession.

Chism was read her Miranda rights, which she waived. When confronted about the heroin, she said she found it in her vehicle on Saturday and did not know what to do with it, so she kept it.

Police said they obtained a warrant to search her home, and executed it hours later. Upon entering the home, police said they saw Chism’s 14-year-old son throw a bag of meth and a meth pipe out the window.

During the interview with the teen, he told detectives that he and his mother smoked meth together on “multiple” occasions.

“He stated that she was also aware and allowed him to smoke meth without her,” the arrest report states. “The child also stated that his mother offered him meth … numerous times that he declined.”

Chism has been employed as a case worker with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services since July. A spokesperson said she was still in training and not yet doing field work. The cabinet is now in the process of terminating her employment.

“It’s disturbing. It’s disappointing,” said Greater Hardin County Drug Task Force director Ron Eckert. “It’s not good for sure.”

Chism was arrested and charged with engaging in an unlawful transaction with a minor and possession of a controlled substance (heroin).

“When you have different agencies working together,” Eckert said. “You accomplish a whole lot more working together.”

It’s unclear if the cabinet drug tests its workers during employment or the hiring process.



Comments Off on Newly released reports provide details on how torture suspects, Franco “Beast” Ochoa, 50, and his wife, Amalia Lopez, 42, took over Crystal Tenner’s apartment in Oxnard

In June, Crystal Tenner said, a neighbor introduced her to a friend of his and said the man would be living in her apartment to provide protection.

The friend, Franco “Beast” Ochoa, stayed with Tenner for two days. During that time, he beat her, sliced her with a machete and set her apartment on fire, according to court documents.

Ochoa, 50, and his 42-year-old wife, Amalia Lopez, who Tenner said was present and participated in at least one assault, are charged with crimes including torture and face life in prison if convicted. Each is being held on $1 million bail.

According to newly released court documents, Tenner, interviewed by sheriff’s investigators while recovering from her injuries, said the neighbor introduced her to Ochoa on June 23. She let Ochoa inside her apartment in the 300 block of Troy Street because he was “being nice” to her.

Once inside, his demeanor changed.

Tenner said Ochoa started putting on clothing owned by her cousin, Jovan Taylor, the documents said. She told him to stop and he became angry.

Ochoa forced Taylor to leave, Tenner told investigators, threatening him with a machete. She said she didn’t call law enforcement because her cellphone didn’t work.

Later, Ochoa grabbed Tenner by the neck and punched her four or five times, the documents said. Tenner said she believed Ochoa was high on methamphetamine at the time as she had earlier smoked meth with him.

After beating her, Tenner said, Ochoa left the apartment. He soon returned with Lopez, who he introduced as his wife, and said she would also be staying in the apartment, the documents said.

Tenner refused. Ochoa then told his wife to beat her, according to the documents.

Lopez punched her several times as she tried to block the blows, Tenner told investigators. She said Ochoa threw a glass jar containing pickled peppers at her, and it shattered on her shoulder, spraying pepper juice in her eyes.

After that, Lopez forced her to clean the bathroom and, along with Ochoa, confined her to the apartment, the documents said.

During the afternoon of June 24, Ochoa sharpened a machete, Tenner told investigators. Around 10 p.m., she said, he attacked her with it, swinging at her repeatedly she tried blocking the blade with her arms.

Cut numerous times and bleeding profusely, Tenner fell to the ground. Ochoa poured an off-white powder on her and told her she was the devil, she said.

Ochoa then piled up some of her belongings in the apartment and set them on fire, according to the documents. She said she believes he meant for the fire to destroy evidence.

After Ochoa and Lopez left, Tenner kicked out a window and escaped the burning apartment, the documents said. She was later found in a parking lot and rushed to a hospital.

She suffered a number of deep cuts to her arms and hands, and doctors said some fingers might have to be amputated, according to the documents.

Ochoa and Lopez were arrested July 30 in Oxnard. They are next due in court on Sept. 13.




Lying bleeding from multiple cuts to her body, some so deep they exposed bone, the woman explained what happened.

“Frank sliced me up with a sword and left me for dead and caught me on fire,” a recently filed court document said she told a man who spoke with her before medical aid arrived.

“Frank” is Franco “Beast” Ochoa, sheriff’s officials said. He and his wife, Amalia Lopez, are charged with holding the woman captive and torturing her in late June at her apartment north of Edison Highway and west of Fairfax Road.

Ochoa, 50, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges including attempted murder and torture. He’s being held on $1 million bail.

Lopez, 42, pleaded not guilty last week to the same charges. She and Ochoa are next due in court Aug. 14.

According to a probable cause declaration filed in the case, deputies were dispatched to a residence in the 300 block of Troy Street and found a woman, identified in documents as Crystal Tenner, lying on the ground suffering from numerous cuts and bruises.

Her right hand was cut, damaging the pinky, ring and middle fingers, the document said. There were deep cuts to the top of her left hand, and a gash to her left elbow exposing the bone. There was bruising to the left side of her face around the eye, and cuts to her left ear and shin.

She was taken to Kern Medical Center, where she was unable immediately to speak with investigators due to the severity of her injuries.

Detectives learned Ochoa held Tenner hostage for several days after forcing his way into her apartment, the Sheriff’s Office reported. She knew Ochoa, but it’s unclear from the probable cause declaration what the relationship was between the two.

Ochoa later moved Lopez into the apartment and ordered her to assault Tenner multiple times, sheriff’s officials said.

The night of June 24, Ochoa assaulted her with a sword — or what a witness in the court document described as a machete he had seen Ochoa carrying. Ochoa then, sheriff’s officials said, stacked clothing and paper items in the living room and lit them on fire.

He and Lopez fled the apartment with some of Tenner’s property. Authorities in Oxnard took them into custody July 30.

After they left, Tenner was able to kick out a window and escape the burning apartment, according to the Sheriff’ s Office. Deputies said in the probable cause declaration she hid under a couch and mattress outside until she was found hours later.

A neighbor told deputies she heard screams coming from a nearby apartment the evening of June 24. She said she fell asleep, but awoke around 1 a.m. as several people alerted her an apartment was on fire.

Multiple witnesses identified Ochoa from a recent booking photo as the man who had been staying with Tenner, the probable cause declaration said.

One witness said he saw Ochoa the afternoon of June 24. Ochoa went to his apartment carrying a machete, the witness told deputies, and asked for a bandage because he cut one of his fingers.

The witness said Ochoa joked he cut himself while sharpening the machete, according to the document.


Comments Off on Jeremy A. Perkins, 27, was on Methamphetamine and throwing rocks at cars in Kansas City; said ‘The Purge’ was coming

A Missouri man was arrested for throwing rocks from a rooftop because he thought “The Purge” was about to happen, police said.

Jeremy A. Perkins, 27, admitted to Kansas City Police that he had done methamphetamine before the incident on Saturday, according to WDAF.

Police arrived on the scene after receiving a report about someone throwing rocks at vehicles from atop an abandoned building. Perkins then hurled a brick at an officer, which missed, WDAF reported.

Perkins later told police he did meth the night before and was told by someone “The Purge” was happening, referencing the 2013 fictional film where the world erupts in chaos when all criminal acts are legal for 12 hours.

He also claimed he saw a sniper and that everyone was his enemy, WDAF reported.

Perkins was charged with two counts of second degree attempted assault and two counts of armed criminal action.



Comments Off on 66 pounds of Methamphetamine seized during traffic stop in Modesto – Erik Felixborquez arrested

(KCRA) — A California Highway Patrol officer and his K9 partner seized 66 pounds of crystal meth after a traffic stop Tuesday night in Modesto.

The K9 unit pulled over a Chevy SUV around 9:15 p.m. on southbound Highway 99 near Kansas Avenue. The driver, Erik Felixborquez, was acting suspiciously, prompting the CHP officer to search the SUV, CHP spokesperson Thomas Olsen said.

During the search, K9 Officer Pakito found 66 pounds of crystal meth inside.

Olsen said while not confirmed, the quantity and way the meth was packaged suggested the driver was planning on selling the drugs.

“Clearly, not one person is going to use that much methamphetamine,” he added.

Felixborquez was booked into Stanislaus County Jail.




Comments Off on U.S. Border Patrol agents find $10.7 million worth – more than 300 pounds – of liquid Methamphetamine heading through the Sarita checkpoint in Kenedy County

SARITA (KIII NEWS) – U.S. Border Patrol agents stopped a massive narcotics shipment from heading through the Sarita checkpoint in Kenedy County Monday.

Agents stopped a vehicle heading north with two U.S. citizens inside and asked them to pull off to the side for a search. Officials found more than 300 pounds of liquid methamphetamine, worth more than $10.7 million, inside the gas tank.

Both the driver and passenger were taken into custody and are now facing drug charges.



Comments Off on Adria Regn, 28, of Mount Holly, and Christopher White, 19, of Eastampton, Pretend to Hire 17-Year-Old Girl as Sitter, Makes Her Escort

A 19-year-old New Jersey man and his 28-year-old girlfriend have been indicted for allegedly forcing a 17-year-old girl into prostitution at local motels, where she was sometimes made to sleep with up to five men a day, and snort crystal methamphetamine, the state attorney general’s office said Tuesday.

A state grand jury indicted Christopher White, of Eastampton, and Adria Regn, of Mount Holly, Monday on charges of conspiracy, human trafficking of a minor, promoting prostitution of a minor and offenses related to child pornography and other crimes.

Prosecutors say the couple has been held in the Burlington County jail since their arrests in May.

The investigation began after the victim reported she was forced by White and Regn to work as a prostitute at various hotels where the defendants lived in Burlington County for a period of 10 days in October 2016.

Regn has two young children, and the victim, who knew White, went to the first motel believing she would be babysitting the children, prosecutors said. Instead, White and Regn allegedly gave her drugs, including crystal methamphetamine and marijuana, and told her that she needed to work as an “escort” for them so that they could make money.

They allegedly said that if she did not work for them, it would be her fault if Regn’s children ended up on the street. White allegedly threatened to beat the victim if she did not take crystal meth, and he also allegedly threatened to find her and beat her if she did not continue to work for them as a prostitute.

White and Regn allegedly placed a number of ads on with photos of the victim in various states of undress, including completely nude, advertising the girl’s services as an escort, according to prosecutors. White and Regn, who would stay in the same room as the victim or an adjoining room, would arrange for clients to meet the victim for sex and then collected all of the money paid by the clients, the indictment alleges. The victim did not receive money.

During a three- or four-day stay at a motel in Wrightstown, White and Regn allegedly made the victim have sex with at least five men each day. The victim ultimately fled while White and Regn were asleep and contacted authorities.

“This is a classic case of human trafficking where these defendants allegedly trapped an underage girl in dehumanizing circumstances in which they gave her drugs and forced her to have sex with multiple men per day,” New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino said in a statement. “It’s terrible for anyone to be exploited in this manner, but it’s especially heartbreaking when the victim is so young and vulnerable.”

White and Regn face 20 years to life in state prison without parole, and a fine of $200,000, if convicted of the top trafficking count against them. A message was left with their public defenders’ office in New Jersey.


MOUNT HOLLY — A Burlington County man and woman face charges of human trafficking after allegedly forcing a 17-year-old girl to work as a prostitute in multiple motels for more than a week straight last fall.

Christopher K. White, a 19-year-old from Eastampton, and Adria Regn, a 27-year-old from Mount Holly, face charges stemming from the incident that include trafficking of a minor and promoting prostitution of a minor, according to a statement from the Attorney General’s Office.

They could face additional charges for posting nude photos of the victim on the internet, authorities said

White was arrested Monday by the Mount Holly Police Department. Officers from the department picked up Regn on Thursday.

“This is a classic case of human trafficking where these defendants allegedly trapped an underage girl in dehumanizing circumstances in which they gave her drugs and forced her to have sex with multiple men per day,” Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said in a statement Friday. “It’s terrible for anyone to be exploited in this manner, but it’s especially heartbreaking when the victim is so young and vulnerable.”

Covenant House New Jersey, which serves 1,000 homeless youth annually, completed a study about the prevalence of human trafficking among the young people it helps.

The two are currently being held at the Burlington County Jail.

Authorities began to investigate the couple last fall, after the alleged victim reported that White and Regn forced her to work as a prostitute for a 10-day period in October.

The victim, who knew White, told authorities she met White and Regn at a Burlington County motel, where she expected to babysit Regn’s two young children.

When she arrived, White and Regn allegedly gave her marijuana and methamphetamine, telling her that she needed to work as an “escort” for the couple, threatening to track her down and beat her if she refused to work and telling her they needed the money to feed Regn’s children, according to the statement.

White and Regn then took photos of the victim, including some that were nude, authorities said. They then allegedly posted them to, where they advertised her as a prostitute. The couple arranged for clients to come to various motels to meet the teen for sex, often staying in the same room or an adjoining one, according to the AG’s office.

The couple allegedly took all of the money from the clients, sometimes keeping her in the same motel for up to four days and forcing her to have sex with five men in one day. She was able to flee while White and Regn slept.

“I would like to commend the staff of our Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit, and our partners from the local and state law enforcement agencies that participated in the investigation, for their dedicated police work in bringing this couple to justice,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina said in a statement.



Adria Regn, 27, of Mount Holly, and Christopher K. White, 19, of Eastampton, charged with pimping 17-year-old girl as sex slave, forcing her to use Methamphetamine

Comments Off on Anna M. Vest, 39, and Christopher W. Lewis, 36, of Bay County, smoked Methamphetamine with juvenile neighbor girl

Anna M. Vest, 39, and Christopher W. Lewis, 36, are being held on bonds of $29,000 and $23,000, respectively.

PANAMA CITY — Two Bay County residents are being held in jail after allegedly letting their juvenile neighbor smoke methamphetamine with them, according to arrest reports.

Anna M. Vest, 39, and Christopher W. Lewis, 36, are being held on bonds of $29,000 and $23,000, respectively. The Bay County Sheriff’s Office arrested them Aug. 7 after the juvenile, who has not been identified, came forward to report that while visiting Lewis and Vest’s home next door on Harvey Street, she smoked methamphetamine with them. Vest and Lewis remain in custody and have been ordered to not have contact with the minor, court records show.

They could not be reached for comment.

The juvenile came to authorities after failing her probationary urinalysis. She “stated she was on her knees in the floor of Vest and Lewis’ bedroom, attempting to plug in her cellphone, when Vest offered her a ‘hit’ from a glass pipe,” officers wrote. The minor “stated she took the butane torch lighter from Vest and attempted to consume the methamphetamine inside.”

Vest then allegedly told her she was doing it wrong and heated the methamphetamine for the girl until it was time to inhale, BCSO reported. According to the alleged victim, she smoked the methamphetamine, then a cigarette, then more methamphetamine.

After the minor reported the incident, officers obtained a search warrant for Lewis and Vest’s home, where they reported finding narcotics and paraphernalia. Vest and Lewis each was charged with delivery of methamphetamine to a juvenile, child abuse without great harm, possession of methamphetamine and possession of paraphernalia. Their arraignment has been scheduled for Sept. 9.


Comments Off on Panama City Beach man got “so high that he forgot” about his Methamphetamine

PANAMA CITY BEACH — The conventional wisdom is marijuana use leads to memory loss. That certainly came true for one Florida man, who was so high he apparently forgot he also had methamphetamine on him.

The Panama City Beach man was arrested Thursday by a police officer after he was spotted sitting in the parking lot of a church. The officer noted the man had a “green leafy substance” on his shirt and it wasn’t the type of grass that grows in the front yard.

“Through my training and experience as a law enforcement officer I recognized the substance … to be marijuana,” the officer wrote in an incident report. “I asked (the man) to exit his vehicle and I placed him under arrest.”

While searching the man, the officer said he found a small bag that contained a crystal-type substance that tested positive for methamphetamine. More marijuana also was found in the man’s car and front pocket, according to the report.

The man was seated in the cop’s car and advised of his Miranda rights, the officer wrote.

The man “stated he would speak with (the deputy) and later said that he forgot about the meth but knew about the marijuana in his pocket,” the report stated.


Comments Off on Held at knife point by Methamphetamine-addled boyfriend Peter Vang, 33, of St. Paul, woman gets help via Facebook

While her boyfriend held a knife to her neck for hours inside her St. Paul apartment, a woman stealthily took a selfie of the incident as a cry for help.

Shortly afterward, the St. Paul police showed up to arrest him, authorities say.

The incident leading to his arrest started around 10 p.m. Friday while the woman and Vang were at her apartment on the 1300 block of Ames Avenue, according to the criminal complaint.That’s the account outlined in a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court charging Peter Vang with one count of second-degree assault and another for domestic assault.

It was around that time that Vang, a habitual methamphetamine user, started to act paranoid, the woman later told police, the criminal complaint said.

The 33-year-old St. Paul man reportedly started accusing his girlfriend of letting people into her apartment and began repeatedly calling the police.

After the last police visit, the woman said she fell asleep on the living room floor. When she woke around 4 a.m. Saturday, Vang was behind her, gripping her in a “bearhug” with a knife pressed to her neck, the complaint said.

He held her there for about six hours, pressing her to reveal why she let “the people” into her apartment, the woman told police. At some point, she managed to surreptitiously use her cellphone to snap a selfie of what was happening and sent it to Vang’s brother in Milwaukee, legal documents say.

The photo prompted him to reach out to his brother’s girlfriend via Facebook, using the social networking site’s video messenger application, the complaint said.

Using the video application, Vang’s brother could reportedly see Vang assaulting the woman and begged him to stop. When he refused, the brother called police, the complaint said.

Officers arrived at the woman’s apartment around 10 a.m. Saturday and arrested Vang shortly after he answered the door.

Police found the woman inside her apartment, shaking, and with numerous red marks across her neck, authorities say.

She told officers she thought Vang intended to kill or seriously injure her, particularly when he responded to her pleas for him to stop with laughter, the complaint said.

Police found a knife shaped like a gun inside the apartment, as well as a baggie of suspected methamphetamine.

In a subsequent interview, Vang allegedly told police that the drugs were his and that he and his girlfriend had both smoked methamphetamine the previous evening.

He went on to admit to holding the knife to his girlfriend’s neck as a means to protect both of them from “gang bangers” he said were looking for him, the complaint said.

Vang made his first appearance on the charges Tuesday afternoon in Ramsey County District Court. No attorney was listed for him in court records.


Comments Off on Sergio Alexander Salas, 30, Found Dead in Tree in Chaves County, Died From Methamphetamine

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator has determined that a man who was found dead in a tree died from complications of methamphetamine toxicity.

The Roswell Daily Record reported ( ) Tuesday that the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office found 30-year-old Sergio Alexander Salas suspended in a tree in a “very difficult position” six days after his mother reported him missing June 2.

The office found no evidence of trauma in Salas’ death.

Salas was 15 feet (4.6 meters) above the ground in the tree on a farm.


Comments Off on Ronald Wayne Trasher, 47, of Madras, and Talina Shantel Ortiz, 43, of Prineville, arrested after 16.9 pounds of Methamphetamine found in Madras home

A multiagency investigation which began in May led to the seizure of nearly 17 pounds of methamphetamine and the arrest of a Madras man and a Prineville woman.

The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team, which is composed of law enforcement officers throughout the region, began investigating Ronald Wayne Trasher on May 19 after receiving word he was trafficking several pounds of meth into Central Oregon, a CODE news release said.

According to federal court documents, Des­chutes County Sheriff’s Office Detective Kent Vander Kamp learned Thrasher was buying several pounds of meth from California and transporting it to Central Oregon for sale. Vander Kamp also learned through a criminal informant that Thrasher was on parole for a felony firearm conviction.

The informant told CODE officers where Thrasher lived and that he had bought large quantities of meth multiple times in the past two months.

Police attempted to find Thrasher, 47, and thought they had when they pulled over his car on U.S. Highway 26 near SE Dover Lane in Jefferson County at 7:46 p.m. May 19. But Thrasher’s girlfriend, Talina Shantel Ortiz, 43, was driving his 2008 blue Pontiac Grand Am. Thrasher then showed up at the traffic stop in a different vehicle, and an Oregon State Police sergeant arrested him on a charge of delivery of meth. Ortiz was arrested on an outstanding warrant and drug charges.

At 10:35 p.m. that day, police searched a house at 8109 NW Deschutes Drive in Madras where Thrasher rented a room and found 16.9 pounds of meth, $16,965 in cash, a stolen handgun, brass knuckles, packaging materials, scales and drug ledgers, federal court records show.

Both were taken to the Jefferson County jail.

The CODE news release said information about Thrasher’s and Ortiz’s arrests was withheld because of an ongoing investigation, but does not state any arrests or investigation work that took place in connection with the case after May 19, the day the investigation was opened.

Thrasher was charged in Jefferson County District Court, but the local charges were dismissed, and Thrasher was charged federally. He is scheduled to stand trial Sept. 27.

Ortiz pleaded not guilty to her charges of possession and delivery of meth on May 26 and had a trial scheduled for July 10; however it was canceled. She has a resolution conference scheduled for Thursday.



Comments Off on Philippines: 21 alleged drug offenders killed in single day

MANILA, Philippines — Simultaneous anti-drug operations in a northern province have left 21 alleged drug offenders dead, police said Tuesday. They called it the highest death toll in a single day since President Rodrigo Duterte launched his ‘war on drugs’ in July last year.

Senior Superintendent Romeo M. Caramat Jr. said operations in various parts of Bulacan province in the past 24 hours left 21 dead and 64 others arrested. Police said the suspects had offered armed resistance against arresting officers.

Caramat said police seized 21 firearms and more than 100 grams of methamphetamine, more popularly known in the Philippines as shabu, worth 500,000 pesos ($9,800). Cash and assorted drug paraphernalia were also recovered.

Police records show since the crackdown started, 3,264 alleged drug offenders have been killed in gunbattles with law enforcers. More than 2,000 others died in drug-related homicides, including attacks by motorcycle-riding masked gunmen and other assaults.

Human rights groups report a higher toll and demand an independent investigation into Duterte’s possible role in the violence.


Comments Off on Criminally Charged: Texas police Chief, Geovani Hernandez, 43, of La Joya, in collusion with Cartel del Golfo leader

A tiny town with big problems… 

La Joya  is a tiny Texas town which dots the southern border having  a population of 4000.  It appears that  Hernandez hoped to use his police chief position to bump-start a political career. He was a candidate for Hidalgo County sheriff, with unsuccessful bids for the Democratic Party nomination in 2012 and 2014. He later attempted an unsuccessful write-in campaign in November’s general election.Hernandez replaced former chief Julian Gutierrez, who was fired by the La Joya Mayor. Gutierrez had worked as a lieutenant in the department before he replaced former chief Jose Del Angel, who committed suicide in 2011. In the criminal complaint against Hernandez, it is alleged that Hernandez told an informant that he was “close friends” with CDG leader “El Toro”. Read details in the complaint at bottom. 

El Toro was killed in April in a massive shootout with the Mexican Marina. -Note Chivis-

Article from The Monitor by Lorenzo Zazueta

A former La Joya Police Chief faces federal drug charges after a more than yearlong investigation revealed he was allegedly working as a member of a drug trafficking organization.

Federal agents arrested Geovani Hernandez, 43, of La Joya, over the weekend in connection with a federal investigation that revealed the former head of the La Joya Police department had been working with a go-between contact for an unidentified drug trafficking organization, according to court records.

Hernandez stood before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos on Monday morning for his initial appearance where he heard the charges against him.

He is set for a detention hearing Friday where it is possible he could be released on bond.

Hernandez, who resigned from the La Joya police department in January 2015 to pursue business interests, faces three federal charges, attempt to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute more than five kilos of cocaine, and aiding and abetting, according to court records unsealed Monday.

Hernandez, Progreso Police officials said, was employed as a “provisionary sergeant,” but did not specify how long he had been with the department.

During an extraordinarily brief news conference Progreso Police officials announced Hernandez, who was being investigated during his time at Progreso, was no longer with the department effective Monday.

They said they received word of his arrest on federal drug charges but refused to take questions from members of the media.

He ran unsuccessful bids for Hidalgo County Sheriff in 2012 and 2014.

The complaint details Hernandez’s communication and meetings with confidential informants working with the government on at least six different occasions.

Special agents with Homeland Security Investigations in McAllen received word in Aug. 2016 that Hernandez was helping move drugs as a member of an unidentified drug trafficking organization, the complaint states.

On May 30 Hernandez met with a confidential informant to discuss an “illegal business venture.”

During the meeting Hernandez allegedly told the informant that he needed money for his Hidalgo County Constable campaign. He also told the informant that he was a close friend of Gulf Cartel Plaza boss Juan Manuel Loza-Salinas, aka “El Toro,” who ran a plaza in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, the complaint states.

“ (The confidential informant) told Hernandez that his organization was sending vehicles north and that they needed to run record checks on vehicles. Hernandez told the CI to find him the vehicles’ identifiers and that he would get him the information they needed in exchange for $1,000,” the complaint states.

Hernandez met with the CI days later where he handed the CI a document that contained detailed information regarding the vehicle license plate.

In late June, Hernandez met again with the CI; this time the CI handed Hernandez a note with a person’s name and date of birth and asked him to run a background check on the person to see if they were working as an informant.

He was paid approximately $2,000 to do this, records show.

In another instance just last month the CI met with Hernandez again and said they needed to drive a vehicle for the trafficking organization from Progreso to Pharr. The CI told Hernandez that they would drive to a warehouse in Progreso where they would load the trafficking organization’s “items” and transport them to Pharr.

The CI told Hernandez that he would receive half of the $10,000 they were receiving for the job.

“Hernandez told the CI not to tell him what the vehicle would be transporting, not to discuss any details on their current cell phones and to buy new cell phones,” court records show.

A month later the two met again.

“On July 15, 2017, based on phone calls, meetings and payments to Hernandez, HSI agents in anticipation of the operation, loaded 10 bricks of a white powdery substance weighing approximately 10 kilograms into an undercover vehicle,” the complaint states. “Only 1 brick weighing approximately 1.1 kilos contained cocaine hydrochloride — subsequently (the CI) took possession of the vehicle.”

The CI told Hernandez during that meeting that the organization needed his help to make sure the vehicle got through Progreso without being stopped; Hernandez allegedly agreed and told the CI to get into his own personal vehicle, the complaint states.

Later that day Hernandez was paid $5,000 for his services.

The investigation into Hernandez, dubbed Operation Blue Shame, was a collaborative effort between several law enforcement agencies including Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and IRS Criminal Investigations, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The former Progreso sergeant appeared as an actor in a narco-corrido music video that focused on drug-running cocaine from Mission to Houston. The video, published in November, re-surfaced the same day news broke about Hernandez’s arrest.

Gerardo Hernandez, the musical talent, sings about the smuggling of 6,000 kilos through the checkpoint near Encino — more commonly referred to as the Falfurrias checkpoint.

It’s unclear if Geovani Hernandez and Gerardo Hernandez are related

The song appears to reference a deal between narcos and law enforcement officers to successfully transport 10trucks filled with 600 kilos of cocaine each. The former Progreso sergeant appears to represent a law enforcement officer in the video.

“In a lapse of 30 minutes, each truck was arriving,” the song stated in Spanish. “They would put them in the warehouse and they would unload them. Each bundle accounted for — replete with white powder.”



Comments Off on Mexican Drug Cartel Uses Social Media to Spread Terror near Texas Border

CIUDAD VICTORIA, Tamaulipas — Cartel gunmen captured one of their rivals, tortured him, and used social media to disseminate a threatening video where they beat and behead their victim.

In the video, a group of hooded gunmen carrying various rifles stand before a kneeling, blindfolded victim and issue a short threat to the leadership of the Cartel Del Noreste faction of Los Zetas. The gunmen claimed to be part of the Vieja Escuela Zeta or the “Old School” splinter of Los Zetas.

Soon after the gunmen issue the threat, they beat their victim with their rifles and another hooded man runs in with a machete to begin hacking away at their victim’s head. The victim has been only identified as “La Conequilla” a member of the CDN operations in Ciudad Victoria. Photos and videos of the beheading were via social media. The various messages issued threats against Raul “Borrego” Gamez Moreno and Elvis “Morelos” Santiago, as well as their families living in Ciudad VIctoria.

For more than a year, Vieja Escuela Zeta has fought with CDN forces for control of lucrative drug trafficking and distribution territories in the border states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and most recently Coahuila, Breitbart Texas reported. Factions of the Gulf Cartel also joined forces with Vieja Escuela Z in their fight against the CDN. The ongoing fighting led to bouts of violence with executions, kidnappings, gun battles, and other attacks.

Editor’s Note: Breitbart Texas traveled to the Mexican States of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Nuevo León to recruit citizen journalists willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities.  The writers would face certain death at the hands of the various cartels that operate in those areas including the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas if a pseudonym were not used. Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and in their original Spanish. This article was written by “M.A. Navarro” from Tamaulipas. 



Comments Off on White supremacist, Aryan Brotherhood of Texas gang member, Jeremy Weatherall, 29, sentenced to 20 years for selling Methamphetamine

Aug. 14 (UPI) — A member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for selling methamphetamine in what federal officials call the largest prosecution of a white supremacist gang in U.S. history.

Jeremy Weatherall, 29, became the 89th member to be convicted in a 7-year-long investigation into the gang. Weatherall was convicted on one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, which he pleaded guilty to in March.

Other members of the white supremacist gang combined for a total of 736 previous convictions — 234 drug-related offenses; 76 violent offenses; 36 gun offenses; 37 burglaries; seven sex or child abuse offenses; and one murder conviction, the Department of Justice said.

More than 1,070 years in federal prison were handed out during sentencing.

“The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas and the Aryan Circle have essentially been decimated in north Texas,” said U.S. Attorney John Parker. “The outstanding collaborative work of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Dallas Police Department helped ensure that each of the 89 defendants who were arrested have now been convicted and sentenced.”

Two more Aryan Brotherhood members were charged, bringing the total to 91, but one died before trial and another fled and is believed to be in Mexico.

Federal prosecutors’ efforts against the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas goes back to 2008, when the FBI investigated a different motorcycle gang. But an informant in that investigation tipped them off about the Aryan Brotherhood, and that turned into a years-long investigation involving several state and federal law enforcement agencies.

The gang has been suspected in several murders and assaults, including the torture of a man with a blowtorch, reported the Houston Chronicle.


Aryan Brotherhood in ‘chaos’ after federal takedown

The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas wanted a pound of Albert Parker’s flesh and they took it with a blowtorch.

The blue flame melted the large, dark tattoo on his rib cage – the gang’s badge of honor, a declaration that Parker was a made man in a group where membership is for life, orders must be obeyed, and respect means everything.

Everything, that is, until it came time for some to save their own skin. 

“God forgives. Brothers don’t,” is the gang’s mantra, and Parker had dared to question the authority of a higher-up. In retribution, he was beaten, burned and left for dead in the North Texas countryside.

But Parker survived, and the brutal tribunal that tried to kill him got swept into a landmark criminal case now considered to be the largest federal punch ever landed against a Texas crime syndicate.

Nearly 75 of the gang’s leaders and associates were charged and convicted in the wide-ranging conspiracy case. Half of those charged eventually cooperated with authorities in exchange for leniency, even if it meant being marked for death forever by their former brothers.

The turmoil it left behind has virtually stopped the Aryan Brotherhood’s reign of terror in Texas, federal authorities said.

At least for now.

“They are in chaos, absolute chaos,” said David Karpel, the Department of Justice organized crime lawyer who spearheaded the prosecutions. “It has reduced their power; they don’t know who to trust.”

Some of the men who cut their teeth in the Texas prison system – criminal royalty in some cell blocks – will never again step foot on a public street or into a prison in the Lone Star State.

And the very discipline wielded by the gang’s leaders to keep the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas strong was used by federal investigators to dismantle it.

“They are still trying to figure out who cooperated and who didn’t,” Karpel said.

A Chronicle review of court documents, transcripts, records and interviews shines a new light on the inner workings of the notorious gang and the Houston-based investigation that sent it reeling.

It also found emerging signs that the gang is struggling to rebuild.

“The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, like any other large gang with strong street presences, is not going to go away because of a single bust, even if it is a very large one,” said Mark Pitcavage, senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League.

“One thing they have is resiliency,” he said. “It is hard to decapitate major crime networks of any kind; you arrest a bunch of Mafia leaders and more come up.”

The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas wasn’t the original target of the federal probe that launched in 2008 – authorities were going after the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, a legendary outlaw group that started in Houston 50 years ago.

But investigators shifted their attention to the Aryan Brotherhood when an aging felon started talking.

The felon, who dabbled in tattoo artistry and firearms, was cornered. He had been caught with a gun he could not legally own and was facing about 15 years in federal prison. It would be a slam-dunk conviction.

His only shot at leniency was joining what Karpel called Team USA.

The man, whose identity remains protected, talked for hours. He knew Bandidos, he told authorities, but he also knew a general in the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas who lived in Tomball.

Armed with the new information from the man and other sources around the state, the federally backed task force launched Operation Wheel Confinement, a reference to the gang’s circular internal structure.

By then, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas had become one of the largest and most violent white supremacist gangs in the United States, with about 2,000 members.

Formed in the 1980s in the Texas prison system, its members are all white, heterosexual felons. They can never have served in law enforcement, been an informant or been convicted of child molestation.

Nicknames abound: There’s Dutch, Polar Bear, Dirty, Slick, Ruthless, Magic.

The gang operates as a paramilitary organization, with leaders holding such ranks as general, captain and major, and those in the trenches referred to as soldiers.

There are five generals, each in charge of a region of the state, who form a committee known as The Wheel. Most of the top leaders have been behind bars so long, and so often, that they’ve never even met each other in person, according to insiders.

Members of The Family, as the gang is known, wear tattoos, known as patches, that signify their membership. They are worn on the rib cage and usually include a swastika and the letters “A” and “B” and Texas.

Many members have said they were drawn to the gang as a way to protect themselves in state prison against other inmates who wanted to steal from them or abuse them.

Recruits are required to learn the gang’s constitution, sign “blind faith commitments” in which they accept that all orders must be obeyed, and provide a report on their criminal backgrounds, including where and when they have been convicted and served prison time.

Members who are no longer in prison must attend monthly meetings known as “church” to pay their dues and a portion of any proceeds from drug deals or other crimes. If they don’t pay dues or can’t recite sections of the gang’s constitution, they are subjected to internal discipline, such as beatings or worse.

And while race has been a rallying cry for gang members, racism takes a back seat to business, federal authorities learned.

“I’ve seen (members) that will of course deal with folks of a different color, and they’ll particularly do it on the outside when making money,” according to testimony in a court hearing in Houston by Richard Boehning, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Boehning led the Houston-based task force that went after the gang.

“It just depends on the day of the week as to whether or not they’re white supremacist/white separatist,” he said.

Murder and mayhem

The gang has long history of crime and violence in Texas – robberies, drug deals, burglaries, kidnappings, assaults and murders.

Among the most notorious cases involving the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas – years before the federal indictment – was the 2006 murder of Robert McCartney, a longshoreman who was kidnapped from a Wal-Mart parking lot in Baytown by gangsters who wanted his 14-year-old truck for parts needed by their gang captain.

McCartney was stripped, had his throat sliced and was dumped in a Liberty County soybean field. His killers were eventually tracked back to Houston.

But the brotherhood often saved the harshest violence not for minorities or other race-based gangs but against its own members and associates.

Gang member David “Super Dave” Mitchamore and his girlfriend, Christy Rochelle Brown, were marched into the woods near Nacogdoches and blasted in the head with a shotgun over an unpaid debt to a general.

Prospective member Mark Byrd was beaten and shot near San Antonio after stealing drugs from the gang. He was kidnapped and beaten, his throat slit, before he was blasted with a shotgun at close range. Gang members were ordered to take turns pulling the trigger so they’d all be equally involved.

And a man in Tomball was nearly beaten to death – and suffered permanent physical damage – after being tossed into the center of a group of fellow gang members who stomped and punched him.

Parker, who was burned with a blowtorch, endured about 30 minutes of torture before the gang’s tattoo was gone forever.

He was then driven several miles away and dumped along a county road. The next morning, a passing motorist spotted Parker, who was taken by a helicopter to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas and treated for severe burns as well as extensive brain damage.

The attack inspired a 2014 episode of the “Sons of Anarchy” television series.

The criminal cases were compiled and analyzed by the task force – which included the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Department of Criminal Justice – during regular meetings at the ATF Houston division’s headquarters.

They learned about the cases, saw photos of the victims and mapped out the locations. And while it became clear that Houston and Dallas were among the gang’s strongholds, they realized it also operated in towns large and small across the state.

The goal was to roll a grocery list of crimes into a federal charge known as racketeering, which means that even a beating, when committed on behalf of a criminal enterprise, can bring heavy federal prison time.

Rounding them up

The sweep began before sunrise on Nov. 12, 2012, as hundreds of officers and federal agents closed in on the homes and hangouts of the gang’s members and associates.

The indictment spelled out the mayhem in graphic terms: the murders of Mitchamore and his girlfriend, the killing of Mark Byrd, the kidnapping and assault of Parker, and other attempted murders, kidnappings and beatings.

Some of the gangsters stared in silence as they were swept up. Others cursed. One tried to run and was shot in the leg. Another tried to flee on a motorcycle before being captured by Houston police in the Third Ward.

A special weapons and tactics team moved in for the arrest of Rusty Duke, a major methamphetamine dealer in the Dallas area who surrendered without resistance.

Arrests continued for several days.

Some of those indicted were already in custody. Chad Folmsbee, known as “Polar Bear” for his hulking size, was behind bars after being arrested in 2011 outside a Conroe gun show where he had traded a wad of cash for four military-style rifles.

Larry Bryan, the gang’s most senior general, was in state prison when the new charges emerged – and just months from his release date after serving 21 years on a heroin distribution charge.

Bryan eventually admitted leading the group from inside the prison walls, telling authorities he once used a smuggled cellphone from his high-security cell in the Coffield Unit to address a “church” meeting in San Antonio.

Jamie “Dutch” Loveall, a gang member from Houston, was also in state prison on an organized crime conviction when the federal indictment came down. He admitted in federal court to participating in two killings and pleaded guilty to racketeering. He was sentenced to 32 years.

In a series of letters he exchanged with the Chronicle, Loveall said the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas is misunderstood. He said he is a man guided by morals who owns up to his actions.

“I would like you to know along with any who might listen that we aren’t all a bunch of murdering, racist savages as how we are portrayed by many,” Loveall wrote. “I just don’t like being judged by my ink or actions unless (people) are actually knowledgeable about all of it, not just the end results.”

Loveall did not cooperate with authorities and defends the gang’s methods.

“There are always reasons,” he wrote. “I just wish people would look at them all before judging. … I’m not some cuddly or friendly type but all I do or did had a reason behind it.”

Making a snitch

The biggest success in the federal operation was perhaps convincing gang leaders to testify against their brothers, said Assistant U.S. Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, who leads the Justice Department’s criminal division in Washington, D.C.

“The same thing happened with Italian organized crime: When the first members started cooperating, it lost a lot of its luster,” Caldwell said.

As for the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, she said, “One of the things they prided themselves on is discipline and loyalty, but it turns out half of them cooperated with the government. The whole purpose of the organization was to be strong, ruthless, impervious to law enforcement, not afraid of anything.”

Threatening them with prison time is not enough to get them to talk, since most grew to prominence behind bars, said Texas Ranger Brandon Bess.

“You have to understand their lifestyle, why they are a member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas,” Bess said. “I honestly believe that for every one of them, it brought a sense of family they might not have had. Some of those guys have good, solid families, but the majority have some type of family issue to where the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas became their family.”

Perhaps the highest profile gangster to flip from brother to informant was a general named Terry Sillers.

He is tattooed from head to toe with Aryan Brotherhood of Texas pride, including an image of Texas tattooed across his throat and “B-E-T-R-A-Y-E-D” across his knuckles.

He spoke in court during his sentencing in 2014 that the gang betrayed him and its purpose by unleashing so many attacks on women and its own members.

A death warrant for Sillers is inked into the neck of another gangster, James “Chance” Burns, who sports a tattoo of Sillers wearing a hangman’s noose. Burns was the gang captain from the Dallas area who ordered that Parker be burned with a blowtorch. He was later sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for the attack.

Overall, the federal case had led to convictions of the 73 gang members charged. All but two pleaded guilty; the others were convicted in federal trials.

They received a combined total of more than 900 years in federal prison without parole.

Looking ahead

Today, the gang’s criminal activity appears to have dropped sharply, with fewer arrests of the gang’s known members.

Authorities believes it has accepted no new members since 2009, as part of an ongoing internal effort to better control who is in its ranks.

“Before these indictments, they would have church meetings with 70 or 80 people,” said one official close to current monitoring efforts. “Now they will get 10 people and three of them are cooperating with law enforcement. We are deep into them.”

In the wake of the federal prosecution, there has been an increasing awareness that those who step into leadership positions are not only closely watched by law enforcement but could be subject to further federal charges. During gatherings outside prisons, cellphones are often temporarily confiscated to avoid surveillance by potential informants.

Paranoia runs rampant, but with good reason. Law enforcement has concentrated on reading mail, listening to phone calls and turning members into informants, and investigators have captured rosters, stacks of paperwork, flash drives and other material that enabled them to build a database of members, including their past and present activities.

The violence seems to have abated.

“We are always going to have a brush fire we have to put out, but we aren’t going to have a forest fire for a long time,” the official said. “There is not going to be that systematic level of horrible violence that existed before we tackled these guys.”

Some, however, question the effort.

“I can understand why the Department of Justice hopes and thinks they advanced mankind’s goals ,but in reality the only thing they accomplished was transferring prisoners from state prisons to federal prisons,” said Houston attorney James Stafford, who represented Bryan. “They did nothing to break the back of the brotherhood organization.”

Federal officials, however, say much of the top leadership has been dispersed around the country, including at least two top generals now serving out their time in special witness protection programs.

Steven “Stainless” Cooke, the Tomball general identified by the initial informant, never took a deal but was convicted for killing a major in a rival faction. He is serving life in a federal prison in Kentucky. His wife – who turned against him – disappeared into the federal witness protection program.

Bryan, the general who used the cellphone from prison, likewise refused to cooperate with law enforcement and is serving 25 years at a federal prison in Colorado for racketeering.

And Kenneth Hancock, who used the blowtorch on Parker, did not cooperate and was sentenced to 15 years for racketeering.

“I take credit for what I did,” Hancock told U.S. District Judge Sim Lake in a Houston courtroom during his sentencing in 2014. “But understand that this is a certain type of individual. It’s not just some law-abiding citizen that this happened to.”

Even after the federal indictment, however, the gang’s death warrant remained on Parker.

In 2014, he was lured into a field in North Texas under circumstances never fully disclosed, and stabbed to death by Dalton Clayton, who wanted to be a member of the gang and was trying to impress them with the killing.

Clayton never quite made membership in the gang, it appears, but he followed a path trod by many of the brothers. In March, he was sentenced to life in state prison for Parker’s slaying.

Now behind bars, he is being treated as a full-fledged member of the brotherhood, locked away 23 hours a day in a one-man cell.



Comments Off on Curtis Brownlee, 60, of Jonesboro, accused of hiding Methamphetamine inside stuffed rabbit

Police say a 60-year-old Arkansas man is in custody after he tried to hide methamphetamine inside a stuffed rabbit.

Jonesboro officers drove to Curtis Brownlee’s house on National Road around 5 p.m. Friday to conduct a probation search after reports that he was selling meth there, according to the department.

The officers said they found a green pipe in a drawer, 26.4 grams of marijuana in two baggies and the rabbit on top of Brownlee’s bed.

The rabbit was blue and white and reportedly contained 6.2 grams of meth.

Brownlee was arrested and taken to Craighead County jail, where he was charged with possession of meth with purpose to deliver, possession of controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released Monday afternoon, records show.



Comments Off on Major Methamphetamine lab raided in Madison County – Nicole Delfino, 30, of Syracuse, Alan Blake, 55, and Brain James, 33, both of Oneida, arrested

ONEIDA, N.Y. — Two men arrested Thursday in connection with operating a major meth lab in Madison County now face additional charges, according to Madison County Sheriff’s deputies.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team conducted the raid at 1720 Canal Road in Oneida just after 5 a.m. Thursday after investigating reports of meth being made on the property.

From left: Alan Blake, Brian James, and Nicole Delfino.

Officials said deputies found an active meth lab in a large storage shed on the property. They described the lab as “very explosive and hazardous,” but said the structure was set away from neighboring houses and that the public was not in danger.

Alan Blake, 55, of Oneida, was originally charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a felony, and second-degree manufacture of methamphetamine with a prior conviction in last 5 years, a felony.  In addition, Blake has now been charged with criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine, a felony; seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor; and second-degree criminal possession methamphetamine manufacturing material, a misdemeanor, deputies said.

Brain James, 33, of Oneida, was originally charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a felony, and third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine, a felony.  In addition, James has also been charged with criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine, a felony; seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor; and second-degree criminal possession methamphetamine manufacturing material, a misdemeanor, deputies said.

Charges for Nicole Delfino remain the same. Delfino, 30, of Syracuse, was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.

Blake and James were arraigned in Oneida City Court and sent to Madison County jail without bail. Delfino was issued a ticket to appear in Oneida City Court.





Comments Off on Oregon State Police seize 45 pounds of Methamphetamine after Douglas County traffic stop – Malori Elizabeth Nelson, 23, and Rafeal Sanchez Valencia, 24, arrested

Police seized approximately 45 pounds of methamphetamine from two California residents after law enforcement stopped the duo on Interstate 5 in southern Douglas County.

Troopers from the Oregon State Police stopped a 2011 Nissan for a traffic violation on the highway near milepost 85, north of Glendale, at approximately 8:15 p.m. on Aug. 11.

During the stop, a K-9 trained to detect drugs alerted law enforcement that the vehicle contained a controlled substance.

Police searched the vehicle and located approximately 45 pounds of “suspected methamphetamine” in the vehicle.

The vehicle’s two occupants, Rafeal Sanchez Valencia, 24, and Malori Elizabeth Nelson, 23, both of California, were arrested and lodged at the Douglas County Jail.

Both were charged on suspicion of methamphetamine possession and methamphetamine delivery and held in lieu of $150,000 bail.




Comments Off on Fremont County K9 Assists In Finding 18 Pounds of Methamphetamine – Javier Romero-Ochoa, 33, of Kansas City, arrested

SIDNEY – Fremont County sheriff’s deputies assisted in a traffic stop Sunday that led to the confiscation of 18 pounds of methamphetamine.

The Fremont County sheriff’s K9 unit was dispatched around 2:22 p.m. on Sunday to a traffic stop on Interstate 29 near the six mile marker.

The vehicle had been stopped for multiple traffic violations. When the K9 Unit was deployed, a search of the vehicle uncovered the methamphetamine with a street value of $230,000.

The driver, Javier Romero-Ochoa, age 33, of Kansas City, Kan., was arrested for suspicion of possession with intent to distribute over 5 kilograms of methamphetamine, failure to affix drug stamp and driving without a valid license.

Romero-Ocoha is being held at the Fremont County jail on $100,000 cash bond.



Drug cartel violence in Cancun and Los Cabos

Posted: 15th August 2017 by Doc in Uncategorized
Comments Off on Drug cartel violence in Cancun and Los Cabos
n January, a lone gunman entered the trendy Blue Parrot nightclub in the upscale Mexican resort town of Playa del Carmen and opened fire. Chaos ensued as the crowd scrambled for cover as the gunman traded shots with another man inside the club and security working the annual BPM music festival tried to suppress the melee.
When the bullets stopped flying in what is believed to be a drug cartel-related gunfight, five people were dead – including a Canadian bodyguard caught in the crossfire and an American teenager who was trampled to death as panicked partiers fled the club.
On Sunday, sunbathing tourists were forced to take cover on the white sand beaches of Los Cabos – a popular getaway at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula – as gunmen unloaded and left three people dead.
These two incidents bookended a bloody eight months for the resort towns of both of Mexico’s coast, heightening concerns that the country’s ongoing drug war could leave more tourists dead and threaten Mexico’s multibillion dollar tourism industry.
“We’re in a period of disequilibrium and it will take some time to get back to equilibrium,” Christopher Wilson, the deputy director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, told Fox News.
In Quintana Roo, the Mexican state that is home to both Cancún and Playa del Carmen, the government has recorded 134 homicides this year, which is nearly equal to the 165 the state saw in the entirety of 2016. The Benito Juárez municipality, which includes Cancún, has already surpassed last year’s homicide total of 89 when it ended June with 95 murders and in nearby Solidaridad has registered 21 slaying through June, closing in on last year’s total of 26. In Los Cabos, homicides in the famed beach area are up 400 percent this year.
The U.S State Department, which last updated its Travel Warning for Mexico last December, cautioned travelers of the dangers of travel in Baja California, but so far has no advisory for Quintana Roo.
Mexico’s drug war, which began in earnest in 2006 when then-President Felipe Calderón declared an all-out military offensive on the country’s narcrotraffickers, has left at least 200,000 dead. While current President Enrique Peña Nieto came into office in 2012 at time when violence was on the decline, the bloodshed continues and in June the country saw a record number of killings with the 2,566 homicides victims being the most in a month since the Mexican government started releasing that data in 2014.
The skyrocketing demand for heroin in the United States due to the opioid crisis – cartels are believed to make somewhere between $19 and $29 billion annually from the U.S. drug market – and the splintering of major drug trafficking organizations following the arrests or deaths of their leaders are believed to be the main factors for the spike in violence in places like Cancún and Los Cabos.
The arrest and extradition of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to the United States has created a massive power struggle within the Sinaloa Cartel, once the country’s largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization, and is believed to be the main cause of violence along Mexico’s Pacific coast. Disparate factions of the Sinaloa Cartel, along the rising Cartel Jalisco Nuevo Generación, are also known to be active in Quintana Roo.
“The overall rise in violence in Mexico is due to the extradition of “Chapo” Guzmán,” Wilson said. “Simply because of internal criminal group dynamics there is a natural waxing and waning of violence. The one constant is that there is no governmental structure to respond effectively and until that is implemented these types of flare-ups will continue to happen.”
Mexico’s tourism officials are undeniably concerned with the spike in killings and the accompanying bad press. Tourism is the fourth largest source of foreign exchange for Mexico, with visitors doling out an estimated $20 billion a year to visit the country’s beaches, clubs and famed archeological ruins.
Drug war violence has already turned one of the country’s preeminent tourist hotspots, Acapulco, into one of the country’s most dangerous cities with dead bodies being hung from bridges, human heads being left in coolers outside city hall and shootouts occurring at posh hotels.
At least in regards to Cancún and other Caribbean resort towns, however, both Mexican officials and outside experts attest that while violent crime may be on the rise there is little chance of it reaching the endemic levels seen in Acapulco and other towns along the country’s Pacific Coast – home to the traditional trafficking routes used by the cartels.
“Tourist security has been a constant priority for the authorities,” Daniel Flota Ocampo, director of Riviera Maya Tourist Promotion, told USA Today, adding that the violence is between “criminal groups settling scores among themselves” and that authorities are taking action against them. He also noted that the majority of the violence has occurred far from the all-inclusive resorts frequented by tourists.
For now, it appears that the violence has not deterred tourists from vacationing along Mexico’s coasts. Occupancy rates at hotels in Cancún are at 90 percent and 74 percent in Los Cabos.
Mexico also saw a record 35 million international travelers visit the country last year – a 9 percent jump compared to 2015. The Mexico Tourism Board aims to reach 50 million international visitors by 2021.
Republished from New York Times
Comments Off on Crisleah Roach of Bartlesville Charged With Possession of Methamphetamine

A Bartlesville woman appeared in front of a judge at the Washington County Courthouse on Friday. Crisleah Roach is facing multiple charges including possession of marijuana, possession of methamphetamine and obstructing an officer for an incident that occurred earlier this week.

According to an affidavit, an officer began chasing Roach on foot on North Kaw. After placing Roach in handcuffs the officer located a black pouch that contained substances that the arresting officer believed to be marijuana and methamphetamine. The officer also found two empty syringes and a small metal pipe with black residue inside of the bag.

Roach’s bond was set at $56,000 with her next court date scheduled for August 28.


Comments Off on Jennifer Pena and Joel Romero, working at Eubank Walmart, caught stealing cell phones from the store

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A couple working at Walmart was busted for stealing from the store.

Albuquerque Police says on Thursday, a Walmart Loss Prevention employee from the store at Eubank near I-40 contacted officers.

He told officers he watched recent surveillance video and saw two employees, Jennifer Pena and Joel Romero, steal two cell phones from the store.

Pena used her employee key to access the phones, then put them in her pants.

Romero was the alleged ‘lookout’ as the crime happened. The two are said to be dating.

When Pena was arrested for embezzlement at Walmart on Friday, police say they found meth on her. She appeared in court on Saturday.

“I do find it unfortunate, Ms. Pena, that you have absolutely no criminal history and your first encounter with law enforcement, you now have a felony pending. You may need to reconsider, Ms. Pena, the choices that you are making,” said Judge Christine Rodriguez.

Because of that lack of criminal history, the judge released Pena on her own recognizance.


Comments Off on April Joy Bussey, 38, and Nicholas Kyle Townsend, 27, of Lindale, Found with Methamphetamine with Children Nearby

April Joy Bussey, 38, and Nicholas Kyle Townsend, 27, both of Lindale, were arrested over the weekend after they were allegedly found to be in possession of methamphetamine with children nearby.

Reports said that Bussey was pulled over at the intersection of Old Rockmart Road at Spur 101

Police said that they found two glass pipes containing the suspected meth as well as one rock of the drug.

Police added that two small children were in the backseat where the drug was located.

Bussey is charged with possession of meth, two counts of reckless conduct, possession of dangerous drugs, two counts of possession of drug related objects, concealing the identification of a vehicle, driving without insurance and two seat belt violations

Townsend is charged with possession of meth, possession of drug related objects and probation violation.


Comments Off on Methamphetamine trade a persistent problem in Erie

The opioid addiction crisis figures as the most pressing drug problem plaguing Erie and the nation.

Not that long ago, fears and resources focused on methamphetamine.

Prominent in the 1960s and 1970s, the dangerous stimulant re-emerged here in the mid-1990s. Authorities blamed a Titusville man, Roger Coulter, who they said learned how to produce, or “cook,” meth in the western U.S., then brought his know-how back to northwestern Pennsylvania.

Meth is a menace. It can be produced at home or on the move with what are known as one-pot labs. Meth “cooks” combine household chemicals that explode if mishandled. The manufacture generates hazardous waste. The drug addles brains and induces psychosis.

Titusville Police Chief Gary Thomas, upon his retirement in 2016, recalled addicts he’d encountered.

“People just lived in squalor. They didn’t care what they ate; they didn’t care if they ate; they didn’t care if they fed their children; they didn’t care about housing. All they cared about was their next high, ” he told Erie Times-News reporter Tim Hahn.

New regulations in the mid-2000s, especially controls on the sale of cold pills that contain a meth ingredient, pseudoephedrine, helped curb the problem.

But it never went away. Hahn has delivered a steady drumbeat of reports of meth raids, meth fires and explosions, and meth-related child neglect. In 2013, two girls, ages 2 and 5, were removed from a suspected lab in Washington Township, suffering from open sores and breathing problems.

In early 2016, investigators told Hahn that rather than large home-based labs, dealers were favoring the one-pot method and ratcheting up production. The Clandestine Laboratory Response Team at that time had responded to about 30 incidents over the space of six months.

As new charges announced Thursday in Erie by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro indicate, this deplorable trade persists. Fifteen people have been accused of making meth over a two-year period in Erie County. In one case, investigators found what appeared to be a meth-cooking site in a hole behind Elk Valley Elementary School.

In July, NBC News reported that several states, including neighboring Ohio, were witnessing a meth resurgence “in the shadows of the opioid epidemic.” The deadly heroin and opioid crisis deserves every shred of attention it receives. We have no doubt local investigators so familiar with the meth trade will continue to work hard to root out meth, along with heroin.

The public must be alert to the sights and telltale chemical odors of meth labs. Any warnings to kids about opioids should include warnings about meth.

The last thing this region needs is a renewed meth epidemic piggybacking on the uphill battle against opioids.



Comments Off on El Chapo: Inside the Hunt for Mexico’s most notorious drug king

 By  for Rolling Stone Magazine

Rush hour starts early on Heroin Highway, generally by 6 a.m. Hockey dads in sport-utes; high school teens in car pools; commodities brokers and pensioners making their early-morning runs into Chicago on I-290. The Eisenhower Expressway – the Ike, as locals call it – is a straight shot in from the western suburbs to the mob-deep blocks of West Chicago. So Gangster Disciples and Vice Lords are up with the sun to pitch their work to the early birds, hugging the corners under the Ike’s offramps to do much of their day’s business by 8 a.m. Since cheap, potent heroin flooded Chicago 10 years ago and addicted a bell-cow demographic – middle-class whites – those corners off the Ike have become bull markets for gangs strong enough to hold them down. “They serve you in your car, quick-out in under a minute, and you’re back home in Hinsdale before the kids wake,” says Jack Riley, the ex-special agent in charge of the Chicago office of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “That’s why gangsters kill for those corners. They’re the Park Place and Boardwalk of the drug game.”

Riley, the town’s most famous federal agent since the days of the Untouchables, put together a strike force that jailed the major kingpins and left the gangs rudderless and scrambling. “We knocked down the big guys – the suppliers and OGs – but the young ones started killing their way up. That’s what happens when you get your targets: The gangsters don’t know who they work for.” Actually, even before his strike force rolled up the leaders, no one here knew who they really worked for. Riley estimates that Mob City has 150,000 gangsters in residence – and though most are in endless wars with one another, they’ve all blindly served the same master for 10 years: Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known as El Chapo. The king of all kings has likely never set foot here, though he made this city his American office, trucking heroin (and coke) from Mexico by the metric ton and taking billions of dollars out in small bills. Chicago has been a most congenial hub for Chapo. Centrally located and braided by interstates, it is a day’s drive, or less, from most of America – and from the Mexican border.

For 15 years, Chapo has been Riley’s white whale, the object of an obsession that teetered on derangement and sidelined everything else, including his family. “I love my wife and kid, but I was never home for dinner,” says Riley, who fought Chapo’s proxies in five different cities while rising through the chain of command at the DEA. Seven years ago, when he returned to Chicago for a third (and final) tour of duty, his charge was to quash Chapo’s deadliest gambit: a species of heroin spiked with fentanyl that killed seasoned addicts by the hundreds. Riley stormed in, knocked a bunch of heads together and brought everyone – the DEA, FBI, state troopers and Chicago PD – under one roof to chase the “choke-point guys”: brokers who were buying in bulk from Chapo and selling wholesale weight to the gangs.

By most measures, Operation Strike Force was a smash success; arrests and seizures soared, the local drug lords fell and the busts netted many millions in cash forfeitures, enough to pay the salaries of strike-force adjuncts. But by the only metric that mattered – the price of heroin on the street – Riley’s mission was a wash. “It was 50K a kilo when we started this, and 50K a kilo” three years later, he says.

And so, in 2013, Riley summoned his stagecraft and pronounced Chapo public-enemy number one. At a press conference carried by hundreds of outlets, Riley and members of the Chicago Crime Commission proclaimed Chapo the greatest threat since Al Capone, a mass poisoner of the city and its suburbs. The fallout from Riley’s broadside surprised everyone, Riley included. “At most, I hoped they’d find some corrupt colonel to go after him down there,” says Riley. Instead, the Mexican government was barraged with phone calls from infuriated business leaders. “They screamed that Chapo was disgracing their country” and demanded his arrest, says Riley. Authorities in Mexico changed their tack, offering new levels of cooperation. That included a firm commitment to use SEMAR, Mexico’s tactical corps, to hunt down Chapo in the hills. Working hand in glove, the DEA and SEMAR closed the net on Chapo. A year after Riley’s announcement, they chased him to Mazatlán and arrested him, without resistance, in his hotel room. His escape from prison in 2015 merely prolonged the ending: He was busted by SEMAR (using DEA leads) five months after he’d fled. Thus fell the dragon: After a 30-year reign of murder and terror, Chapo was caught fleeing a sewer tunnel in a shit-stained tank top and chinos.

Last spring, I flew out to sit with Riley, who retired after Chapo’s arrest. At 59, he’d moved with his long-suffering wife, Monica, to a resort town whose name I can’t divulge. (For 10 years, Chapo has had a price on Riley’s head, a threat confirmed in recent interviews with captured traffickers.) A ruddy, white-haired bruiser who holds court from a bar stool, Riley seemed dispatched from the days of fedoras and cops lighting Luckies at crime scenes. Born and raised in Chicago, he joined the DEA out of college and moved his family 12 times as he climbed the ladder. By the time he had quit last fall, he was the nation’s number-two drug cop, having been at or near the center of nearly every major mission to catch foreign kingpins since the early Nineties. (It was his squad in Washington that built the intel platform to bring down Pablo Escobar in Medellín, Colombia; that helped catch the leaders of the Cali cartel and, later, the overlords in the Mexican mobs.) Riley recites their names, but they mean nothing to him now. Only Chapo endures, though he’s being held at the Manhattan Correctional Center, where he awaits his trial of the century in New York.

“Part of me understands it – he’s done, he’ll die in jail,” said Riley. “But the other part says, ‘No, he’s still out there.’ All those routes he opened, all that fentanyl he shipped – he’s gonna kill our kids for years to come. This monster he built, this Sinaloa thing: It’s too big to fail now, thanks to him.”

“Explain it to me,” says one retired DEA agent. “How did this mope become El Chapo?”

In the months we talked, either in person or on the phone, Riley spoke of Chapo in the present tense, as though he were still at large at his mountain retreat, running the world’s largest supplier of illicit drugs from a town without power or plumbing. Twice, Chapo had famously escaped maximum-security prisons, traveling Mexico in bulletproof cars to dine and frolic with call girls in seaside towns. Since 2001, when he launched a crusade to corner Mexico’s $30-billion-a-year drug trade, he’d been everywhere and nowhere, growing the parameters of his empire and leaving defiled corpses as deed of ownership. He waged war by atrocity in Juárez and Tijuana, bribed generals and governors to feed him intelligence, and sent his lieutenants to the DEA, ratting on both his enemies and his allies. “Other bosses you waited out ’cause they always make mistakes,” said Riley. “But this guy? Invisible. You couldn’t find him.”

He grunted and drained the last of his beer. We’d been at this bar for hours and hadn’t looked at menus; Riley flagged the bartender and ordered lunch. Since retiring, he had spent his time knocking tee shots into tree lines and starting early on the day’s first cold one. Maybe it was just his nervous system resetting, but six months after he left, he still mooned over Chapo, the enigma he never fully worked out: “He’s on top for 30 years, has billions of dollars hidden – and he’s a second-grade dropout who can barely read and write and has to dictate love letters in prison. So explain it to me, ’cause I don’t get it: How did this fucking mope become El Chapo?”

If you wanted to create a nursery for narco princelings, you’d probably build your greenhouse in the mountains of Sinaloa, where the conditions for pathology are peak harvest. A dirt-poor ribbon of rivers and farmland on the southwest shank of Mexico’s coastline, Sinaloa was largely ignored by the central government from the moment it became a state, in 1830. Roads went unpaved, villages did without schools, and no self-respecting official would visit the plazas of those remote, no-horse towns in the Sierra Madre. And so the peasants, left to their own devices, developed a shadow economy. In the 1920s and Thirties, they ran booze to Tijuana, where Hollywood’s darlings blew in for the weekend to flee the dry torpor of Prohibition. Marijuana grew wild in the pastures; farmers trucked their bales five hours down the road to market in Badiraguato. In time, some harvested the poppy fields that Chinese tradesmen planted in the 1860s. Sons were taught by fathers how to bleed the bulbs for their vile-smelling opium gum. You couldn’t make a killing, but you could make a sort of living if your kids didn’t waste their days learning how to read.

That was Chapo’s boyhood, and the boyhood, by degrees, of most of Mexico’s drug lords of the past half-century. He grew up with, or close to, kids who became his partners and, eventually, his mortal foes: the Beltrán Leyva brothers, five cutthroat charmers who would one day be his enforcers and political fixers; the Arellano-Félix brothers, seven legendary sadists who roasted their victims alive in vacant fields. Even Chapo’s mentors were from Sinaloa, first-gen capos like Don Neto and El Padrino, who turned a backwoods sideline into a multinational machine that stretched from Cancún to San Diego. To this day, Sinaloa’s hills are to gangsters what western Pennsylvania is to frac pads and NFL quarterbacks.

“He came of age in the Eighties, when everyone got rich moving coke,” explains one former Mexican operative.

Chapo was one of seven kids born to Emilio, a rancher, and Maria, a devout Catholic, in La Tuna, population 200. The family raised cows and grew sustenance crops behind a two-room house with dirt floors. What money they laid their hands on was earned uphill, where Emilio tended his poppies and marijuana. Once a month, he took the yield to Badiraguato. There he’d be paid for his contraband, then drink and whore all weekend and go home broke. A mean little man, he beat Chapo and his brothers; Chapo fled, for good, in his early teens. He stayed at his grandma’s, grew his own weed and sent some of the proceeds home to feed his siblings.

Chapo (Spanish for “Shorty”) was a small, squat teen who burned to spit his nickname in people’s faces. He wore hats with tall crowns that lent him an inch or two, rocked on his tiptoes when talking to friends and later, as a boss, only posed for photos while standing on a custom-built stool. His will to power sprang from being the picked-on runt despised and driven off by his father. That’s not junk science; it’s the finding of the psychiatrist who assessed him as an adult in prison. While jailed for eight years in the 1990s, Chapo sat for therapy sessions. The psychiatrist filed a report on the man he treated. Chapo’s “tenacity” and “disproportionate ambition” were wound to a sense of inferiority. To compensate, he craved “power, success and [beautiful women],” orienting his “behavior toward their obtention.”

No farm was going to hold a kid like that, and at 15 or 16 (early details are murky) he won an introduction to the don of Badiraguato, Pedro Avilés Pérez. Avilés, the first of the air smugglers in Mexico, hired him to do odd jobs for his lieutenants. Chapo rode along on their runs to the U.S. border, soaking up knowledge of roads and checkpoints and befriending dispatchers and truckers. Though he couldn’t read or write, he had a head for numbers and a steel-trap memory for detail. Best of all, he didn’t have an ounce of mercy in him. Ordered to kill a man, he’d calmly walk up to him and put a bullet in his head.

Avilés’ lieutenants were a dream team of smugglers. After Avilés was killed in a shootout with cops, they moved the operation to Guadalajara and named it the Federation. Chapo learned logistics from Amado Carrillo Fuentes, an avid flier who bought a fleet of planes and was nicknamed “Lord of the Skies.” From Ismael Zambada, the silent assassin called El Mayo, Chapo learned to leverage violence just so, using only enough to send a message. And from Arturo Beltrán Leyva, he learned bribes were the grease that kept the wheels of power turning. “He was around smart guys and paid attention,” says Alejandro Hope, a former senior operative with CISEN, Mexico’s version of the CIA. “And his timing was perfect: He came of age in the Eighties, when everyone got rich moving coke.”

Chapo’s first big break was a quirk of history: the U.S. war on Colombia’s cartels. In the 1970s, when Escobar and his counterparts in the Cali mob swamped Miami with coke, they put themselves in the crosshairs of the DEA. “They got rich, then they got lazy – they talked on their phones, which was how we finally took them down,” says Riley. By the middle of the 1980s, U.S. Coast Guard cutters had sealed off the cartels’ sea lanes in the Caribbean. The Colombians had no choice but to transship over land, sending their coke through Mexico to America. This arrangement wasn’t new – they’d used Mexicans for years and paid them flat fees to serve as mules. But now all the leverage was with the Federation, and Chapo was the first to see it. “He said, ‘Screw you, Pablo, I’ve got the smuggling routes. From now on, pay me in coke,’ ” says Carl Pike, a former special agent in the Special Operations Division, an elite unit created by the DEA that brings together the resources of a couple of dozen agencies to attack the cartels from all sides. “The Colombians took Chapo’s terms because he was the best at what he did: getting their drugs off the plane and up to L.A. in 48 hours or less.”

“Chapo was creating a new kind of cartel,” says one expert.

Then a second piece of luck fell into Chapo’s lap. El Padrino, his cartel leader, ordered the kidnapping and killing of a DEA agent named Kiki Camarena. It was a blunder that brought the hammer of God down: a tenacious offensive by the Mexican army, at the behest of the U.S. government. Padrino was arrested and sentenced to 40 years, handing off his kingdom to his capos. In 1989, Chapo’s peer group divvied up the country: Amado Carrillo Fuentes took the routes through Juárez; the Arellano-Félixes got Tijuana and the coast, and Chapo took the run straight north to Arizona, sharing Sonora with El Mayo and the Beltrán Leyvas. He had recently turned 30 and was still wrapping his head around the burdens of excessive wealth. But he was already investing in creative fronts: “He bought a fleet of jets for ‘executive travel,’ and a grocery business to can cases of peppers that actually contained cocaine,” says professor Bruce Bagley of the University of Miami, a cartel expert who’s written six books on the narco-economy. “He was so sure of his supply lines that he guaranteed shipment. If any of his loads got seized by the cops, he paid the Colombians in full.”

While the other capos got drunk on plunder, building villas with waterfalls and private zoos, Chapo lived like a handyman, sequestering himself on a dusty ranch 20 miles clear of Culiacán. (He was by then twice married, with at least seven kids; he’d go on to have 11 more by five women.) But it was his vision that firmly set him apart. “Chapo was creating the new cartel, a decentralized, hub-and-spoke model,” says Bagley. “He saw what was happening to the top-down version: If you chopped the head of the snake off – Pablo being an example – the rest of his operation fell apart.” Chapo formed alliances with local gangs and cut them in on his profits. He planted cells in new cities and left his staff alone to run them, and happily shared power with his closest partners, El Mayo and El Azul, a former cop. They were men like him: discreet and coolheaded, occupied only by business. The other lords’ loud lifestyles were an affront to them. The only fit response was to take their routes from them – and Chapo knew whose turf to grab first.

The other capos got drunk on plunder – Chapo lived like a handyman on a dusty ranch.

There are roughly two kinds of agents who go to work at the DEA. The Type A’s – Jack Riley, for one – are moral avengers who wage their war on drugs in a fissile rage. Then there’s the second type: the behind-the-scenes mechanic who patiently builds a case for weeks or months, and goes home to his wife and kids at a decent hour.

Miguel Q. is a Type-B plugger who chased Chapo almost as long as Riley did. (Still on the job, he asked that I change his name; active agents risk their safety going public.) He’s done multiple missions, on war-zone footing, in cities south of the border. He was on the scene for Chapo’s arrest in 2014 – and his escape from prison a year later. “Most ridiculous engineering I ever saw,” he says of the trench dug under Chapo’s cell from a half-built house a mile away. “I mean, a dead-plumb line” from end to end, and “a hole just big enough for him to ride that cycle” and be out and on a plane back to the hills. “Who even thinks that, let alone does it?”

Well, Miguel, for one: He’d seen it up close as a young agent in the early Nineties. At the time, he was focused on truckloads of coke coming through major checkpoints out west. “It was Arellano-Félix dope, or so we thought,” Miguel says – the cartel owned these particular checkpoints. Then his team started hearing chatter about a tunnel underneath the fence. A tip led them to a warehouse on the Mexican side, where miners were digging a quarter-mile tube, with rail cars, strong rooms and ventilation piping. It was a stroke of audacity and technical smarts far beyond the prowess of the Arellano-Félix Organization, who were brutal cocaine cowboys with a penchant for boiling rivals in acid and pouring their remains down a drain. “We’re like, ‘Who is this guy, and how many tunnels has he got?’ ” says Miguel. Hundreds more have been discovered in the decades since.

What vexed Miguel wasn’t that he knew so little of Chapo; it was that no one in Mexico seemed to know him either. Since co-founding the Sinaloa cartel in 1989, Chapo had run it, yet there wasn’t a single recent photo of him on file. It wasn’t till his arrest, in June 1993, that the public got a glimpse of him. He’d been caught in Guatemala after fleeing the country in connection with a gunfight at an airport. The shootout had left several bystanders dead, including Juan Jesús Posadas, the cardinal of Guadalajara. Posadas’ murder was an inflection point: the day that Mexico was forced to come to terms with the narco-state growing under its feet.

Chapo was convicted in a closed-door trial and given 20 years, hard time, for narco-trafficking. He treated this as a senseless inconvenience. At Puente Grande, a supermax facility 50 miles west of Guadalajara, he bought off everyone from wardens to washerwomen and settled down to do his business. He received his lieutenants in a sumptuous parlor and sent them away with detailed orders on where to ship his tonnage. He brainstormed markets with his older brothers, whom he’d deputized to manage his affairs. They were easy enough to reach; he had cellphones smuggled in. He was partial to BlackBerry, a Canadian company whose hardware was hellish to crack, says Pike.

But Chapo wasn’t all work. He paid guards to round up hookers in town for orgies he threw in the mess hall. He kept up his spirits with fiestas and concerts: Chapo loved to dance with pretty chicas. The first feminist drug lord, he ordered the prison’s integration with a select group of female convicts; one of them, Zulema Hernández, became his muse and in-house lover. He sent her schoolboy mash notes in hothouse prose that he dictated to his steno, a fellow convict. All the while, he juggled conjugal visits from his girlfriends, wife and ex-wife. The wear and tear of a multivalent love life took its toll on Chapo. Cocaine had previously been his drug of choice, but in jail he renounced it for Viagra. His people brought it in big batches, along with steak, lobster, booze and tacos – Chapo’s weakness, besides women, was food. Eventually, the overindulgence levied its toll: At the time of his rearrest, in 2014, he’d been scheduled to meet with a specialist – “the penis-pump doctor to the stars,” says Riley. “The vitamin V didn’t cut it anymore.”

“We knew he was moving tons while he was still in jail, ” says one agent. “Turned out he had hired the warden”

In the end, though, he mostly used his time in jail to learn from the errors of other bosses. “Rule one: Don’t talk on phones or send texts,” says Miguel, who walks me through Chapo’s communications methods. A densely complex system of encrypted squibs and Wi-Fi pings between lieutenants, it was built around a network of offshore servers that bounced the posts off mirrors in other countries. “We found 60 iPhones and hundreds of SIM cards when we raided his house in Guadalajara – and still we couldn’t track where his calls came from,” says Miguel. Chapo hired experts to constantly revise his tactics, and always made sure to toss his phones after a couple of days of use. He was an early adopter of social media, deploying hackers to mask his instructions to staffers on Snapchat and Insta-gram. “After years of trying to track him, we moved on in 2012 and got up on his tier-two guys – the bodyguards and cooks,” says Miguel. Still, it took two years to divine his “pattern of life” – the small corps of people who served Chapo closely and could point to his general location.

Rule number two: Be a nimble supplier. He fitted tractor-trailers with elaborate traps – fake walls and subfloors that hid hundreds of kilos of product (and millions in shrink-wrapped cash on the trip back). He bought jumbo jets and filled them with “humanitarian” goods for drops in Latin America, then flew the planes back, bearing tons of cocaine, to bribed baggage handlers in Guadalajara. There were fishing vessels and go-fast boats and small submarines that could lurk underwater till the Coast Guard passed above. “We knew he was moving tons while he was still in jail, but we didn’t find out how till later on,” says Miguel. “Turned out he had literally hired the warden” to work as his logistics guy. That warden, Dámaso López, would vanish from sight shortly before Chapo escaped. Over the next 15 years, López rose through the cartel ranks, overseeing much of the daily churn while el jefe traveled the country dodging cops. Though Chapo trusted no one but family members and the men he came up with in Sinaloa, he made two exceptions to that rule. The first one was for López; the second, a pair of brothers who became his distributors in the States. In both cases, he’d have cause to deeply regret it.

Given his honeycomb of routes and the tonnage he pushed through, there wasn’t much point in warring for turf. But something happened to Chapo during those eight years in prison, some fundamental shift in his sense of self. Once happy being the wizard behind the curtain, he now seemed intent on announcing to the world who the real boss had been all along. “He broke out of Puente Grande with an S on his chest, thinking, ‘I’m the baddest motherfucker on the planet,’ ” says Dave Lorino, a retired DEA cop who helped mastermind the case against Chapo in Chicago. “He’d learned he could buy anyone, get out of any jail – and there was nothing that us gringos could do about it.” “Prison made him hard, at least in his own mind, and all the other bosses were soft,” says Riley. “He thought, ‘Why should I settle for a chunk of the pie when I can have the whole thing?’ ”

After escaping Puente Grande in 2001, either crouched in a laundry cart or strolling out the door – “official” versions vary; none are confirmed – Chapo lost no time planting his flag. He paid Tejano pop bands to spread the news, crafting narcocorrida ditties that sang his praises and warned rival capos to leave town. Stories began running in the Mexican papers about Chapo’s generosity to the poor. “He was building roads here and sewage plants there and schools in the pueblos and all that crap,” says Riley. “But the hell of it is, we never found those schools – and if he ever built a road, it was for his trucks.” The thesis of these ploys was always the same: Chapo was the great exception. He was the honorable capo who would swell peasants’ hearts with his derring-do defiance of los Yanquis. “Please,” says Riley. “This is a guy who chops heads off and leaves ’em in coolers.”

In 2002, Chapo launched a war on the Gulf Cartel; he sent his death squad, Los Negros, into Nuevo Laredo to bang it out in the streets. The Gulf returned fire with its own band of crazies, a U.S.-trained group of army deserters who called themselves the Zetas. The Zetas were (and are) a special slice of hell, terrorists who happen to deal drugs for a living and are as happy killing citizens as narcos. To defeat them, Chapo upped his cruelty quotient. His assassins stormed a nightclub and rolled severed heads across the dance floor. Body parts were stuffed in the mouths of dead Zetas as dumb-show warnings to his foes: “A hand in the mouth meant you’d stolen from him; a foot meant you’d jumped to the other team,” says Riley.

By 2006, Chapo’s violence was general in Mexico. He pushed his fight with the Zetas into Juárez, where the gutters ran red for years. Tens of thousands of people were slaughtered in Murder City, as Juárez came to be known. Riley was the agent in charge of El Paso, Texas, when the worst of the carnage erupted. “We’d intercept calls from the other side of the fence” – Chapo’s hit squads checking in with their bosses. “They’d say, ‘We took care of that thing on Calle so-and-so; what else you got for us tonight?’ ”

Being two miles from bedlam – with no jurisdiction – drove Riley to desperate measures. He broke with protocol and phoned the local papers, calling Chapo a “coward” and a “butcher.” Chapo took the bait: He put a hit out on Riley. One night, Riley was at a gas station refueling when two men in a pickup pulled in. They got out of the truck and came at him in the dark. He drew his pistol first. They turned and fled. “Maybe that was a warning: ‘Back off and shut up,’ ” he says. “I hope he knew better than to have me whacked. He’d seen what happens when you shoot DEA.”

History bears this out: Chapo has never killed a fed or declared war on the U.S. government. But it’s clear now that he entertained the option. According to multiple witnesses who’ll testify at trial, Chapo went looking for heavy ordnance in 2008 to attack the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. He was furious at extraditions of cartel leaders, who were getting long sentences in U.S. courts and dispatched to spend their days in federal pens. Many of them were sent to Supermax, a facility in Colorado where inmates live in near-total isolation. It was one thing to do time at Puente Grande, where a man of Chapo’s means could live like a pimp while waiting for his crew to dig him out. It was another to go to Supermax, where anyone wishing to pay him a call would be subject to extreme vetting by U.S. Marshals.

In 2007, Chapo tipped the DEA off to a coke shipment coming from a man he’d grown up with. “Chapo was basically saying, ‘No more friends,’ ” says one agent.

Still, that Chapo would consider buying a bomb suggests that he’d lost his bearings. In 2007, Miguel was stationed in Guadalajara when he got a hot tip from Chapo’s camp. A ship from Colombia was bound for Manzanillo with an enormous cache of coke onboard. Of even greater interest was the name of the cocaine’s owner: Arturo Beltrán Leyva, or ABL. Chapo and ABL had been like brothers since their teens in Badiraguato. They’d made each other rich with their complementary gifts: Chapo the genius at blazing new routes – ABL the master of pervasive bribes. To be sure, there’d been tensions building between them – but what made Sinaloa the world’s biggest drug gang was its settling of internal disputes. Its bosses had stuck together while Chapo was away, then welcomed him back, without a squawk, when he returned to his seat of power in 2001.

“For Chapo to reach out about ABL’s dope – yeah, I was shocked,” says Miguel. “All those years together and all the money they made? Chapo was basically saying, ‘No more friends.’ ” One morning in the fall of 2007, Miguel and 120 heavily armed troops descended on the freighter. Unsealing the shipping pods, they found double what was promised, almost 25 tons of cocaine. Gathered end to end, it ran four basketball courts in length. Street value: $2 billion. “When we loaded it out to burn on the Army base, it was the biggest fire you ever saw,” says Miguel. “And I had to stick around for every minute, make sure no kilos went out the door.” With the exception of El Mayo, Chapo had burned all his bridges; he was now, like Macbeth, so steeped in blood that there was no going back, only forward.

Somewhere in America, in the witness-security wing of an undisclosed federal prison, sit the two men whose testimony will seal Chapo’s fate. Margarito and Pedro Flores, identical twins in their thirties, are two of the least fearsome thugs on the planet, nerds who somehow noodled their way to the center of Chapo’s circle. “They’re, like, five-foot-five and a buck-40,” says Lorino, who spent months debriefing them when they surrendered, in 2008. “I laugh when I read that they’re Latin Kings. Real Kings would eat ’em for lunch and still be hungry.”

In 2005, while launching his quest to monopolize Mexico’s drug trade, Chapo was told about a pair of Chicago natives with the best broker network in the country. For years, the Flores brothers had been buying in bulk from one of Chapo’s lieutenants near the border. They were smart and street-avoidant, faithfully paid on time and looked like they worked at a Wendy’s in La Villita, the barrio on Chicago’s West Side. Chapo was intrigued. Set a meeting, he told his guy. The twins were brought to Mexico for the rarest of honors: a face-to-face with Chapo at his compound.

Chapo was impressed when he sat with them: They were all about business, not bravado. He and his principal partners, El Mayo and ABL, came to an agreement on a deal. They would front as much dope as the twins could handle and give them a break on the price. They would also allow them to buy on terms instead of cash on delivery for each load. For the twins, it was like cashing a Powerball ticket. In the summer of 2005, they swamped Chicago with Chapo’s H. Almost immediately, the city’s hospitals were packed with ODs: Newbies and junkies abruptly stopped breathing after snorting or spiking the product. The Chicago DEA went to wartime footing, scrambling to interdict the lethal batch that would kill a thousand people in less than a year. Agents traced the dope to a lab near Mexico City. “Chapo had brought in chemists to make it extra-super-duper,” says Riley. How? By adding fentanyl, a synthetic narcotic that looks (and cooks) like heroin. “It’s 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin, and you can’t tell which from which when you cut ’em up.” In May 2006, authorities raided the lab and arrested five employees. One of them had been busted in California for manufacturing fentanyl.

But Chapo shrugged off the takedown. He had a vise grip on Chicago – and Milwaukee, Detroit, Cincinnati, Columbus, Ohio, and cities farther east that the twins supplied. From 2005 to 2008, they moved $2 billion of Sinaloa’s product. The arrangement worked smashingly for the cartel. It was supplying half the coke and heroin in America, according to reports by the Justice Department. It had partners in West Coast cities, was moving heavily into Europe and planting new cells in South America. With cash pouring in from every port, it was paying hundreds of millions a year in bribes to Mexican officials, and getting white-glove service in return. Attempts by the DEA to catch Chapo and his partners were subverted time and again by intel leaks. “Outside of SEMAR, there was no one we could trust,” says a frustrated DEA hand. “We’d feed them information and our informant would turn up dead.” Often, Chapo would saunter away minutes before a raid, as if to thumb his nose at the pinche gringos.

He’d become, in short, the man he dreamed up as a pudgy teen in La Tuna. No one could touch him, and everyone feared him. He even had the requisite beauty-queen wife: In the summer of 2007, he married Emma Coronel, Miss Coffee and Guava. Their wedding was virtually an affair of state. Drug lords and ladies flocked to the event, dancing to Tejano combos playing songs of praise for the groom. For added amusement, the Mexican army swooped down to finally corner Chapo. This time, he didn’t even make it exciting. He skipped out a full day early, having fed the generals a phony wedding date.

In May 2008, Chapo called the Flores twins to a summit at his compound in La Tuna. Pedro couldn’t make it, but Margarito went, taking the five-hour car ride up the mountain. He’d done this once before, but something was different this time: As he glanced out the window, he saw bodies chained to trees, their flesh being eaten by coyotes. He’d been in the game long enough to know what that meant – there was a tree along that road reserved for him.

At the meeting in La Tuna, Flores was given an ultimatum: Stop buying ABL’s dope now, or else. “Chapo told him to pick a team – and he only warned people once,” says Lorino, the retired DEA agent. “He liked the twins personally – they’d made him a lot of money,” but he was prepared to kill them and forfeit billions to settle his accounts with the Beltrán Leyvas. This put the Flores twins in a desperate fix: Soon after, ABL called and told them not to buy from Chapo. Caught between two killers, the twins weighed out the options, then phoned their lawyer in Chicago. Reach out to the DEA, they told him – “We’ll give them Chapo and ABL if they protect us.”

In June 2008, DEA agents flew to Mexico to sit with the Flores twins. “We needed a lot of convincing; we’d been promised Chapo before,” says Lorino, who was at the meeting. “But the twins, man, they had the bona fides.” There were stacks and stacks of logbooks listing every drug shipment, four dozen cellphones with texts and voicemails saved from Chapo’s lieutenants, and flowcharts of brokers back in the States who were buying hundreds of kilos apiece. It was one of the greatest caches of court-admissible evidence in the history of the War on Drugs, but the DEA wanted more: It wanted Chapo himself on tape. In exchange for reduced sentences in a witness-protection wing, the twins agreed to stay in Mexico for several months and record their every phone call with the cartel. They also promised to tip the DEA to each major shipment going north. Lorino returned to Chicago and assembled a team of agents to obtain warrants, tap phones and stage raids. Then he sat and waited, holding his breath.

“In two weeks, we got the first call,” says Lorino: a quarter-ton of coke in a produce truck. He alerted state troopers, who pulled over the semi a half-hour south of Chicago. Major takedowns followed for the next four months. Stash houses, count houses, tractor-trailer loads – three tons of cocaine and heroin were seized, $22 million in cash was recovered, and 68 people were arrested in Chicago, many of them brokers and gang chiefs. By November, the feds had their sweepstakes ticket: two crystal-clear audio recordings of Chapo and Pedro Flores discussing a 20-kilo order of heroin on the telephone. “I was putting my daughter to bed when my cellphone rang: ‘Dave, we got the big guy on tape,’ ” says Lorino. “I said, ‘Dude, if you’re fucking with me, I’ll end your career.’ But he said, ‘Nope, it’s over. We got him cold.’ ”

In the following years, Mexican soldiers and marines killed or caught dozens of the 37 tier-one drug lords on the country’s kingpin list. Chapo was the 33rd to be nailed. He was first busted in February 2014 in Mazatlán. But the following summer, he was gone again, vanishing down the wormhole below his cell. Riley, who’d left Chicago for Washington, D.C., to take the number-two job at the DEA, let himself seethe for 10 minutes. Then he made calls to Mexican officials, demanding they dedicate a SEMAR unit to a third, and final, arrest. SEMAR is the unicorn of Mexican law enforcement: a bribe-proof corps of tactical fighters trained by U.S. soldiers in Colorado. Small in relative numbers (there are just 16,000 marines), they rarely stay in one place long, racing from fire to fire. But the government, mortified by Chapo’s escape, agreed to Riley’s terms. It dispatched 100 marines to track down Chapo, using leads from the special-ops group in D.C.

“We went back to what we knew – get up on his people,” says Riley, meaning the cooks and drivers who serve him. Pings from their phones suggested Chapo was in the hills, moving nightly between a cluster of farms in and around La Tuna. SEMAR rallied for an all-out raid, then got orders from the top to stand down. “I was furious,” says Riley. “What’s the fuck-up this time?” He learned after the fact that the actor Sean Penn, on assignment from Rolling Stone, had gone up the mountain to see Chapo. SEMAR was instructed to wait till Penn and his associates left, then go in hot and heavy. This it certainly did, storming La Tuna in a shoot-’em-up, weeklong siege. Eight people perished, none of them Chapo. Reportedly, a SEMAR marksman had him in his sights as he ran from one of his ranches. But Chapo was carrying a small child, and the marine declined to fire. Chapo slipped into the bush and disappeared.

When Chapo was caught, one agent couldn’t believe it. “I wanted pictures of that prick in cuffs,” he says.

For weeks, he and his henchmen went zero-dark silent: No calls or BlackBerry messages hit the wire. Then someone saw Ivan, Chapo’s son and security chief, scouting neighborhoods in salty Los Mochis. A sweatbox of a city on the Sinaloan coast, it had everything Chapo lacked while he hid out in the hills: fiery taquerias, underage hookers and an easy in-and-out by land and sea. SEMAR sent spies in civilian clothes to check out the report. They fixed on a bloc of condos getting aggressive renovations – loads of steel and concrete were arriving daily. For weeks, the spies lunched at a corner bodega and heard chatter among the workmen that “Grandpa” was coming. Late one January night, sitting vigil across the street, they saw a white van leave the complex. There were three men inside it; one of them looked like Chapo. “They were going out for burritos and porn – who else would need both at that hour?” says Riley.

Before dawn on the morning of January 8th, marines stormed the condo. Inside was a maze of reinforced doors designed to blunt and confuse them. By the time they crashed the right one and killed Chapo’s gunmen, he’d bolted down an escape hatch under a closet. Accompanied by El Condor, his lieutenant and chief assassin, he slogged through thigh-deep water in the sewers. Emerging a mile later, he was barefoot and filthy; none of his men were there to scoop him up. Chapo jacked a car, ordered its occupants out at gunpoint, then raced through town, heading south. He made it a couple of miles before police cut him off; the prolific killer went meekly. For the third and last time, he’d surrendered without a shot after his men fought and died to protect him.

Riley was at a ceremony in Quantico, Virginia, presenting badges to a class of new agents. His cellphone, on vibrate, kept growling in his pocket; it all but killed him not to answer for an hour. When at last he ducked out, he got the word from his team: Chapo was being held by the cops. “I refused to believe it till they sent me proof. I wanted pictures of that prick in cuffs.” An hour or so later, a photo came through: Chapo sitting disheveled, in a dirty wife-beater, his hands bound tightly behind him.

Riley informed his chief, thanked his counterparts at SEMAR, then rounded up the boys to celebrate. They all piled out to a bar in Crystal City – a dozen senior DEA agents roared like pledges at the final keg party of rush week. News of Chapo’s capture flashed across the television. From then on, none of them could pay for drinks; fellow patrons bought toast after toast. “We were badly overserved,” Riley recalls, still basking in the glow of that night. Alas, he was so excited that he did it again the next day, and the day after, and the day after that. Finally, his wife said enough. “Chapo never managed to kill you,” she said. “But keep this up and you sure will.”

A year and a half later, Chapo sits in his cell, quietly losing his mind in solitary. He is denied human contact, except with his lawyers; his wife and kids are barred from seeing him. One hour each weekday, he leaves his cage for a slightly bigger enclosure. There, he can either ride an exercise bike or watch a nature program; the TV isn’t viewable from the bike. His hair is falling out and his “mental health” declining: He suffers “auditory hallucinations,” per his lawyers. “We run a real risk of him going crazy,” says Michael Schneider, a senior public defender on Chapo’s team.

Chapo faces 17 counts in Brooklyn’s federal district, including charges of narco-trafficking. A conviction for narco-trafficking would get him life without parole under federal kingpin sanctions. In no known universe does he stand to beat those charges. Among dozens of witnesses on the government’s list are fellow narcos who’ve pleaded out for shorter terms. The most crucial, of course, are the Flores twins, whose encyclopedic records are damning to the point of overkill. “His lawyers can attack them till the cows come home – there’s nothing they can do about those tapes,” says a U.S. attorney. Adds Riley, with a sprig of Gaelic glee, “How great that the rap he can’t get out of is for 20 lousy keys of smack. He wipes out Chicago and kills tens of thousands of people – and his smallest deal is the one that does him in.”

Then there are the indictments in five other cities, though no one thinks those trials will happen. The likeliest outcome, say those close to the case, is that Chapo pleads guilty to an omnibus proffer that settles all counts, Brooklyn’s included. Says the U.S. attorney, “He can’t win at trial, but he has assets he could trade” for better conditions in prison. It’s presumed that Chapo’s hiding billions of dollars in cash and business holdings. If the feds want that money, they will need his help to find and claw it back. A second bargaining chip is his years-long log of bribes paid to Mexican officials. Under the Obama administration, that log would be worthless – but in the age of Trump, it’s priceless. Vicente Fox, the ex-president who compared Trump to Hitler, has long been accused of taking money from Chapo in exchange for going easy on Sinaloa. President Enrique Peña-Nieto, who vowed never to fund Trump’s wall, lost close colleagues to bribery charges after Chapo fled in 2015. If Chapo has any proof that he paid those people, he’ll be holding a set of aces when the dealing starts.

Finally, there’s the question of his legacy. For years, experts thought that the syndicate he built would stand long after he fell. “If you kill the CEO of General Motors, General Motors will not go out of business,” said a Mexican official to The New Yorker. But 20 months after Chapo’s final arrest, his monolith is falling apart. His sons – the “Chapitos” – are at war with Dámaso López, the ex-prison warden who helped Chapo flee and became his key lieutenant for 15 years. In February, López lured the sons to a narco summit in Sinaloa. Gunmen broke in and tried to kill the Chapitos, who fled, on foot, into the brush. “This was weeks after Chapo was extradited – the war to replace him was on,” says Alejandro Hope, the ex-intelligence officer for the Mexican CIA. It was a bold betrayal and a sign of the chaos to come.

Ten years ago, five cartels ran Mexico. Now there are 80 splinter sets, all of them vicious and unstable. Beheadings are banal, civilians are being slaughtered and the government hasn’t the faintest clue how to stem the havoc. Mad as it sounds, we may mourn the passing of Chapo. He was the Assad of cartel bosses, but he kept the carnage bottled, stopping at his side of the fence. What replaces him – chaos – respects no borders. We could wake one day and find we’re next door to Aleppo, with flames overleaping our beautiful wall.

Watch our exclusive interview with El Chapo from 2016.