A team of about 125 police officers set about dismantling a methamphetamine production and trafficking ring Wednesday morning, and Laval police arrested 16 people.jsdrsdryhsrhythwrhs

Police in Laval teamed up with officers from the Sûreté du Québec and Montreal Police to carry out the raids and make the arrests. They raided 10 locations in Montreal, Laval and Val-Morin, where the drug lab was uncovered.

Police found 100,000 pills, 11 kilograms of methamphetamine powder, crystal meth, cocaine and cannabis.

Complaints made by citizens in March led to the operation, Laval police said.







Two men are in the Lubbock County jail with bonds set at $1 million each after a multi-agency drug investigation yielded more than a pound of methamphetamine early this month.

Juan Carlos Lara-Ochoa, 22, was booked into the Lubbock County Detention Center fdwrjaf[pbj[sfdaon June 3 on a first-degree felony count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver more than 400 grams of methamphetamine.

Christopher Andrade was booked June 1 into the detention center on a first-degree felony count of possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, weighing more than 400 grams.

First-degree felonies are punishable with five to 99 years or life in prison.

Andrade also faces additional charges of aggravated assault on a public servant in connection with the investigation.

Lubbock police investigators believe Lara-Ochoa brought more than 480 grams of methamphetamine from Littlefield to Lubbock on June 1 and handed it to Andrade at a parking lot in the 2100 block of Clovis Highway, according to an arrest warrant.rupSRZjzwfierwja9w

Lubbock narcotics investigators received information Lara-Ohcoa was bringing methamphetamine to Lubbock from Littlefield.

DPS agents told Lubbock investigators they learned Lara-Ochoa planned to meet Andrade on June 1 to hand over about 2 pounds of methamphetamine.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives followed Lara-Ochoa from Littlefield to Lubbock while Lubbock narcotics investigators staked out the parking lot of the La Michoacana grocery store where the handoff was planned.

According to the warrant, Lara-Ochoa arrived in a black Volkswagen Jetta and Andrade arrived in a black pickup truck with red wheels.

Investigators reported Andrade entered the Jetta and returned to his pickup after less than a minute and drove away.

Lara-Ochoa drove back to Littlefield as ATF agents followed him. LPD officers followed Andrade to the parking lot of the 3002 Fourth Street Heritage Apartments, where officers in a marked police vehicle tried to make a traffic stop.

The pickup fled and police officers began a chase. According to the warrant, a marked police vehicle carrying two officers approached the pickup westbound. The pickup reportedly sped toward the police vehicle then turned and drove across a median that divided the parking lot and the street.

Officers followed the pickup through the 3000 block of Baylor Avenue, where the driver of the pickup threw out a small package wrapped in plastic. According to the warrant, the package contained 483.9 grams of methamphetamine.

The pursuit ended in the 3200 block of Second Street, where an officer used his vehicle to crash into the pickup truck.

Andrade was taken to University Medical Center where he was treated for minor injuries.

ATF agents arrested Lara-Ochoa in Littlefield once officers determined the package thrown out of the pickup truck contained drugs.







Hawaii Public Radio’s Noe Tanigawa invited three women, all former meth users, to share their experiences.

It was a Saturday afternoon when we all got together: Hannah Ii-Epstein, the author of the play, “Not One Batu;” Lelea’e Kahalepuna Wong, known as Buffy, who plays Ma in the play; and Michele Navarro Ishiki, a substance-abuse counselor, who took her daughter to the play the night before. All are former meth users. Buffy began:

“Everybody says that weed is the gateway drug.”

“Do you think so?” Hannah said.

“No,” said Michelle. “It’s not even drugs, it’s behaviors. Behaviors are the gateway.” Michele said liquor, always present, begins the pattern.

The Trigger

When I asked for their drug history, Hannah began.

“I was addicted with putting stuff up my nose, really, from when I was 14 to when I was 19. I really used meth between the time I was 17 to 19.”

Just kind of a progression?

“There’s always a thing that happens in each person’s life that really triggers them to go for that pipe, even though they know better. You know it’s not good; but then there’s that thing that hits you as a person that you just feel you cannot handle, so you use,” Hannah said.

“It’s a coping mechanism,” said Michele. “You spoke of sexual abuse, physical abuse? I went to alcohol because I started being physically abused at a very young age, and I hid that.  I was 15.”

The First Time

Asked whether they remembered their first meth experience, all said they did, comparing it to the first time you have sex: something you don’t forget.

Buffy said, “I took that first hit, and whoa, that was cool. Let’s do that again. With meth, for me, it was like this rush of energy where you could just go on for days and days and days without stopping. But I didn’t use all the time. Once every two weeks, maybe. I did a lot of other drugs, but eventually it always came back to the meth. That was definitely one I could rely on.”

Was it as great when you went back every time?

“Honestly, yes. At first.” Even just one time a week, Buffy said, can be a problem; because it’s something she knew she shouldn’t be doing, but she did it anyway because she enjoyed the feeling.

Bad Company

“Once I graduated, unfortunately, I met somebody,” Buffy said. “I had met a man who moved from the mainland to Hawaii on the day of my graduation. He had no place to live, so I invited him to come home. My mom took one look at him and said ‘No.’ So I moved out with him and we were living on the streets, at Kapiolani Park.

“We would smoke in our van. At first it was great and then it got violent. Quick. We would have yelling matches across the park, just yelling at each other. Eventually it became physical. He’d hit me; I’d hit him back. He’d slam me against the wall; I’d slam him on the ground. It was a back and forth thing. It got to the point where I couldn’t even recognized myself in the mirror anymore. Then it got even worse. The physical fights became really, really bad.

“One day I woke up and I said I had enough. I’m done. My boyfriend and I were having an argument at my family’s house. I remember going into the kitchen, grabbing a knife, and going upstairs to my room. I closed myself in my closet, just thinking, ‘I’m done, I cannot do this anymore. I cannot be this person that I am. I don’t want to feel this way anymore.’

“Well, they locked me up in 24 hour suicide watch at Kahi Mohala [a behavioral health clinic]. I was in there just thinking about, ‘you used to be somebody before, and now you’re nothing. So you either try and fight this or you’re going to die.’

Tutu Steps In

“So after 24 hours were up, my grandmother was there. She just hugged me. She hugged me and said, ‘I’m here for you,’” said Buffy. “So she took me home. My boyfriend and I broke up. My grandma helped me through it. She knew it was hard for me, and she said, ‘All I want to do is be there for you. I just want to take care of you.’ I was her only grandchild, so, it was because of my grandmother.

‘I struggled a little bit. I would be OK, then I would relapse again; and then I’d be OK; then I’d relapse again. It took a couple of tries, but I’ve been clean and sober, well, not exactly sober because I still drink, but I’ve been clean for six, seven years now.

“I lost my grandmother in 2014. But without her and without the love and support of my family, I wouldn’t be here right now. And I wouldn’t have been able to do this amazing story that Hannah wrote.”

Michele spoke next.

“Addiction is a family disease. It doesn’t affect just the person who’s using because whoever’s around you, has to adapt to your behaviors, everything. It’s a family disease,” she said.

The Family Circle

Hannah said that when it came time to quit, her family was there.

“My parents took me back in. My cousins, they were like, ‘Oh you wanna use? Let’s go surf instead. You wanna use? Why don’t we just talk story in the lanai. You can smoke your cigarettes; we’ll just talk story. Why don’t we enroll you in community college? And you just take one class. Take English, you love English.’ They just kept me busy doing things they knew I loved. I started doing poetry; I started doing all kinds of things; and I found myself again. I was like, ‘Oh, this is me! I’m back!’”

Georgianna DeCosta has been the executive director of the Meth Project, a rehabilitation program. She remembered her years on meth, her incarceration and the day she was released.

“By the time they processed the papers, it was dark, so I’m sitting outside OCCC [Oahu Community Correctional Center] in the dark at the bus stop. Is this how it works? They put you out here? Isn’t this kinda counterproductive? So I had not seen my kids until this day. This is what happens with meth to the families,” DeCosta said.

“What I had put my mom through was so incredible. I had stolen from her. I had lied to her. I had just screamed at her. I had done so many things, and she had fought tooth and nail for my kids.

“And when they started to call her mom, she said, ‘No, I’m not your mom; I’m your grandma, I’m your Tutu.’ And so what she did, I was a hula dancer when I was little. She said, ‘I’m not your mom, I’m your Tutu.’ So she got the pictures of me dancing hula and she blew them up like posters. So I come home and I see poster-size pictures of me all over the house. At first it was a little creepy, but then it was absolutely adorable because that’s what families do.

“And I think this is the kind of thing families all over Hawaii are doing, that grandparents are doing for grandkids, because the parents are all messed up on meth.”

Meth Rising

Would the level of meth use in Hawaii — if it is, as estimated, four times the national average — be impossibly chaotic if it weren’t for the families we have here? Hawaii is still a place where many people have ties, close ties.

Lack of funding has closed down the Meth Project, but DeCosta said she hopes that seeds planted with youth over the past seven years will have some residual effect. At least for a while.

DeCosta said that while the prevalence of crystal meth remains high, there have been fewer sensational cases like those that drove publicity in the past. She said that U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni has said federal drug cases are 50 percent of her caseload, and that “97 to 98 percent of those are meth related and they are exponentially higher than they were five years ago, 10 years ago, volume wise.”







SALISBURY TWP., Pa. – A Schuylkill County woman faces drug charges after police said she brought methamphetamine and hundreds of hypodermic needles with her to Lehigh Valley Hospital Cedar Crest.

Eryka Frew faces misdemeanor charges of drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, stemming from a search last month that turned up the meth and syringes. District Judge Robert Halal arraigned the 47-year-old Monday night, initially setting bail at $25,000.

Her bail was later changed to $25,000 unsecured because she underwent major surgery, according to court records.

Salisbury Township police were dispatched to the hospital sometime last month after Lehigh-Valley-Hospital---28262035Frew allegedly became violent and threatened to harm herself, prompting staff to alert security. Her husband reportedly gave security permission to check her bags and they found two packages of meth totaling just over 7 grams and hundreds of syringes.

Frew, of Pine Grove, called township police on June 2 to turn herself in once she was discharged from the hospital. She allegedly told police that the needles were to inject medication, not meant for injection, for pain management, according to court records.

Her next court date is a preliminary hearing tentatively scheduled for June 13.







A Raleigh man and Garner woman were arrested Tuesday morning for running a meth lab out of the woman’s home.

Yvonne Michele Higgins, 50, of 224 Weston Road, and Jason Robin Ristuccia, 31, of anywhere in Raleigh, were each charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of precursor chemical with the intention to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Higgins was also charged with maintaining a dwelling to sell or distribute methamphetamine, while Ristuccia was charged with maintaining a vehicle to sell methamphetamine.

The two were arrested at 224 Weston Road, where Higgins lives. The one-story single-family home is said to be owned by Peggy Higgins, according to real estate records.

Lieutenant Lori Smith said the State Bureau of Investigations and Wake County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Garner Police Department in executing the search warrant of the home. She said the two were arrested without incident.

Higgins was held on $250,000 bond. Ristuccia was held on $300,000 bond.







A man arrested after being found on the roof of a Costa Mesa business may have been on a methamphetamine binge, according to authorities.

Officers responded around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday to Road Runner Sports in the 1800 block of Newport Boulevard, where they found a man on the roof, Costa Mesa police Sgt. Mike Manson said.

The man was uncooperative and incoherent as officers tried to communicate with him, Manson said.

Police said the man eventually told them he had been using meth for the past nine days and had just had a bad batch of the drug.

After about a half-hour, police asked firefighters for help, and crews used a ladder truck to get the man down, Manson said. Paramedics took him to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach for treatment, authorities said.

Police arrested the man on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance and trespassing.

Manson identified the suspect as Joseph Kaltz, a 46-year-old transient.







BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) —The U.S. Forest Service has released warning signs that you might be near a methamphetamine cooking site, after several were spotted in areas around Francis Marion and Sumter national forests.National-Forest-Service-meth-jpg

Meth is the easiest illicit drug to make using household ingredients, the Forest Service said.

The chemicals used to produce meth are extremely hazardous. Some are highly explosive if they are mixed or stored improperly.

“Simply being exposed to the toxic chemicals used to make the drug can cause a variety of health risks,” a news release from the agency said.

If you think you have come in contact with a meth lab, or a meth lab trash dump, leave it alone and report it immediately to police or a Forest Service district office.

The Forest Service advises you to be cautious if you come in contact with the following, because they may be signs that you’re near a hazardous meth site:

  • Flammable solvent in large containers or with other waste, including camping fuel, paint thinner, engine starter fluid, heat, or paint thinner.
  • Any containers with “bi-level” liquids or residue
  • Any containers with plastic tubing or hoses
  • Quantities of coffee filters or paper towels with unusual, often reddish stains
  • Drain openers, muriatic acid, Red Devil lye, Crystal Drano, iodine, hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol
  • Propane tanks with painted or corroded brass fittings
  • Large quantities of glass and plastic containers, buckets, plastic hoses
  • Batteries that have been opened to get the lithium strips
  • Syringes found in dump site area
  • Light bulbs found near dump site area
  • Trash bags with an ether, solvent or ammonia odor







Jimmy Clouette, a longtime Little Rock attorney, has accepted a sentence of five years of probation for methamphetamine possession and will have to surrender his law license.

Clouette, 69, pleaded no contest before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Tuesday, court filings show.

It is the second time in 6½ years that Clouette has been put on probation for methamphetamine possession.

In both cases, he was arrested after bank surveillance videos showed small packets falling from his pants pocket. The packets later were identified as containing methamphetamine.

Clouette has been a licensed attorney since 1975. His law license was suspended in June 2015 after his arrest on the most recent charge, a Class D felony that carries at most a six-year prison sentence.

He will serve his probation in Harrison, court records show. He had enrolled in a recovery program after he was arrested, court records indicate.

Conditions of his probation require that he report to his probation officer weekly for the first six months and attend four Narcotics Anonymous meetings every month. For the second six months, he must report to the probation officer twice a month, which will drop to monthly reporting after that.

Clouette will be subjected to random drug testing while on probation and will have to pay for the tests.

While the terms of his probation require that he give up his law license, he can petition to have it reinstated after he completes his sentence. Also he will be eligible to have his record expunged if he stays out of trouble with the law during the course of his sentence.

Clouette was arrested in April 2015 after a security manager at the One Banc branch on North Rodney Parham Road in Little Rock reported to police finding a small plastic bag containing a crystalline substance on the floor in front of a bank teller after Clouette had cashed a check there, according to an arrest affidavit.

A review of the bank surveillance video showed Clouette standing in front of the teller window. According to the affidavit, he’s seen reaching into his front-left pants pocket, and a white object drops to the floor when he pulls his hand out of his pocket. After completing his banking business, Clouette walks away, leaving the object on the floor, the affidavit says.

Testing showed that the material in the bag was methamphetamine.

In November 2008, Clouette was also arrested after dropping a small bag of methamphetamine in the lobby of the Iberia Bank branch at South Broadway and Capitol Avenue in Little Rock.

In that case, a video showed Clouette reaching into his right pants pocket as he walked through the lobby and a small object appearing on the ground behind him. A customer picked up the thumb-sized bag and gave it to bank officials.

At a November 2009 bench trial, he was sentenced to two years on probation for methamphetamine possession. The judge found sufficient evidence to convict Clouette but said he would withhold registering a conviction if Clouette could serve his sentence without getting into more trouble.

The next year, the state Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct cautioned Clouette. Nine months later, the high court found that sanction to be too lenient and ordered the committee to reconsider.

The panel then issued a reprimand that required Clouette’s work to be monitored by another lawyer for two years. The Supreme Court rejected disbarment as a punishment.

Clouette’s last appearance as an attorney in Pulaski County Circuit Court was in April 2015, a week after his arrest.

Clouette was appearing with a client when Circuit Judge Herb Wright ordered Clouette to be drug-tested. Instead of submitting to the test, Clouette left the courthouse, and Wright issued an arrest order for contempt of court that required that Clouette be jailed until the end of that month.

Clouette was not arrested, and subsequently returned to court after a week and passed a drug test, court records show. He passed another test for the judge two weeks after that, and the judge dropped his contempt case after Clouette withdrew from representing his client and had his license suspended.







Another delegate for the 2016 presidential election has stepped down because of a previous criminal charge, but this time it’s a delegate for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.

At the Minnesota’s Democratic Farmer Labor Party convention on June 4, John Dillonneitze%20mugshot Wood Neitge of Mankato, Minnesota told Democrats they should support the Vermont senator rather than Hillary Clinton. He described himself as “Venezuelan and Native American and I’m queer as hell,” according to the Independent Journal.

Officials chose him as an at-large delegate for Sanders.

Neitge was previously arrested on nine charges related to the sale and possession of drugs in March.

The 22-year-old was contacted by an agent of the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force on March 22 to purchase “two hits of acid” and two ounces of marijuana for $505, according to the arrest report. Neitge later sold both the acid and marijuana to the agents in a car in a store parking lot, which was near a school zone, park, public housing, or a drug treatment facility.

Law enforcement later obtained a search warrant for Neitge’s residence and found 2.3 grams of methamphetamine, $3,766 in cash and a total of about 400 grams of marijuana.

After the charges came to light, Neitge was asked to step down as a delegate and complied.AP_16158143756563

Neitge told the Independent Journal that a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party asked him to step down, but he wasn’t sure who the member represented. He said he had no official contact from the Sanders campaign.

“That being said a great person who was originally elected to be an alternate took my place,” Neigte wrote, “and I’m happy to send strong Sanders supporters like him and the others to Philly to represent Minnesota!”






Shasta County Interagency Narcotics Taskforce (SINTF) shutdown a methamphetamine trafficking ring and busted the alleged leader and seven co-conspirators after a series of drug buys by undercover officers, the agency announced Tuesday.BE16D2234DBB15A26414F4798A3F82B8_787_442

Rafael Pahua Martinez, 40 of Orland, is believed to be operating the drug trafficking organization, responsible for the distribution of methamphetamine from Mexico into Shasta, Tehama, and Glenn counties.

SINTF worked with agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency, Homeland Security, California Highway Patrol and Tehama and Glenn county drug agents to rein in the meth traffickers.

In February 2014, agents seized about two pounds of methamphetamine, five pounds of processed marijuana, and a revolver, from one of the suspects in Shasta County. Agents also seized about $32,000.00 in cash money from an associate of the suspect.

Drug agents utilized undercover personnel to conduct controlled buys of methamphetamine and on one occasion, heroin, from the suspects.

In June 2015, based upon information obtained through the on-going investigation, agents seized about ten kilos (twenty-two pounds) of methamphetamine being sent to suspects brought in from Mexico.

In July 2015, agents began surveillance of Martinez in efforts to observe the delivery being made and to seize the methamphetamine.

As part of the investigation, at the end of July 2015, SINTF, DEA and Homeland Security agents located and arrested several members of Martinezes co-conspirators: Ramon Fuentes, 52; Miguel Mejia-Servin, 20; and Rafael Pahua-Mejia, 27 all of Corning on federal charges related to the transportation and sales of controlled substances. In addition, Pahua-Mejia was found to be in possession of about 61.6 grams of methamphetamine and about $4,800 in U.S. currency.

All three were later booked into federal custody. The three suspects were runners for the suspect’s organization and had been involved in the delivery and sales of methamphetamine to undercover agents.






A man allegedly stalked a police officer and told him he had enlisted the help of the Russian Special Forces to kill him after a liquor license was refused at his family’s Daylesford cafe, a court heard.

Perry Kalofolias, 44, appeared at the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court for a contest mention hearing on Wednesday. He faced a string of charges including trafficking gah3e5yeaegmethamphetamine, making threats to kill, stalking and conspiracy to commit indictable offence.

Detective Senior Constable John Hageman told the court he believed Kalofolias’s behavior was sparked by police refusing to grant him permit a permit to serve alcohol at his cafe in Daylesford on May 6. The police informant said after the permit was refused, Kalofolias became fixated on Daylesford police officer Sergeant Barry Hills. He told the court Kalofolias approached Sergeant Hills on the main street of Daylesford on May 27. The court heard Kalofolias followed Sergeant Hills as he walked down the street and yelled obscenities at him before he told him “you’re going to die” and “the Russians are going to get you.”

Police alleged Kalofolias also told a witness who contacted police he planned on using his contacts in the Russian Special Forces to kill Sergeant Hills.

Detective Senior Constable Hageman said Kalofolias also harassed Sergeant Hills as he was undertaking police duties in Daylesford and in another incident, he waited for him out the front of the police station.

He also told the court Kalofolias met with two undercover police officers on May 19 and took money off them under the pretext of purchasing them methamphetamine but Kalofolias never purchased the drugs for the officers and refused to return the money.

The court heard Kalofolias was addicted to crystal methamphetamine and may have been under the influence of drugs during the alleged offending. Ballarat magistrate Andrew Capell said the alleged offences lead him to believe Kalofolias may have been “mentally deranged” at the time.

Kalofolias’s defense barrister Hayden Rattray said the threats were “fanciful” and caused by anger due to the acrimonious relationship between Kalofolias and Sergeant Hills. “There is no evidence other than the angry utterances by him (Kalofolias) that he has any links whatsoever to the Russian Special Forces,” he said. He was remanded in custody to reappear on July 12.







A presentation offered to the Brainerd lakes area community Tuesday had a clear message: nothing about sex trafficking is as clear-cut as popular culture portrays.

Dave Pinto, Ramsey County prosecutor and DFL state representative for District 64B, said neither a film like “Pretty Woman” nor “Taken” are representative of the serious 0b5w8dpkrotkaw81yxg4cfphu0uproblem of commercial sexual exploitation. Instead, Pinto said traffickers seek “highly vulnerable” targets and spend time grooming and breaking them down.

“This is a little more complicated than we might have thought,” Pinto said. “Traffickers are very, very motivated by money. … They target, they trick, they turn and then they traumatize (victims).”

Pinto presents on the issues of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation all across Minnesota as part of the state’s Safe Harbor initiative, training more than 1,500 law enforcement officers to date. He’s prosecuted numerous traffickers in Ramsey County and said those efforts are just some of several initiatives across the state—including those in the Brainerd lakes area.

“Your community has been a real leader around the state,” Pinto said to a small crowd Tuesday morning including the Crow Wing County Board, other elected officials and local advocates.

The presentation also included the perspectives of Hayley King, a woman who survived commercial sexual exploitation, and Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted, who offered an overview on local efforts to combat trafficking. The group spent the whole day in Brainerd Tuesday, presenting to the Rotary Club of Brainerd, area law enforcement officers and for a community forum with nearly 50 people attending in the evening. The evening forum was sponsored in part by the Brainerd Dispatch.

Pinto said traffickers are attracted to human trafficking because of some of its advantages over drug trafficking—there’s less risk of being caught, they can resell the “product” over and over and the product can be replaced more easily.

Traffickers identify those vulnerable to coercion: the young, the drug addicted, the homeless, the runaways, the pregnant, those in foster care and those who have experienced sexual molestation or physical abuse. Pinto added young people of color and those in the LGBT community are particularly at risk, but any young person lacking relationships, support or engagement with school or work is vulnerable. And this can happen anywhere, Pinto said, including rural communities often thought of as immune to these types of problems.

“Any community that has runaways or internet access has sex trafficking,” he said.

Pinto mixed documentary clips, 911 call audio and excerpts from books along with his informational presentation, offering a multimedia approach to accompany the first-person account shared by King.

King said her work in the industry began as a legal nude escort in San Diego and evolved over the course of six years to include sex acts in exchange for money. Since leaving “the life,” as so many involved in commercial sexual exploitation refer to it, King brought her experiences to working at the Heartland Girls’ Ranch in Benson. She worked specifically with a youth population who’d experienced exploitation.

King said at the group home, she worked with a young girl from Brainerd who was vulnerable to exploitation because of an addiction to methamphetamine. She became addicted after a neighbor supplied the drug to her for free, and then expected the girl to have sex with him in exchange.

“She got hooked on it very quickly and had no money to buy it,” King said. “She ended up doing all sorts of really unpleasant, painful things.” The girl then ran away to another state, immersing herself into the commercial sex industry.

The harm, King said, is both external and internal—ranging from mutilation to lifelong diseases, from the loss of self-worth to mental health consequences leading to severe depression or death. She added that many of those who are in the industry have such low self-esteem and care about their bodies, often from previous life experiences, that it is difficult to distinguish between selling one’s body for sex or selling a piece of garbage.

Both Pinto and King sought to extinguish the thought that buyers of commercial sex are not culpable in the system of sexual exploitation. Pinto said buyers feel entitled to the women’s bodies and without the demand, sex trafficking would not persist.

“It’s an artificial distinction between johns and pimps,” Pinto said. “They are both exploiters.”

King said many of the men who purchased sex from her were “nice guys,” but she was even more uncomfortable with these buyers than those she knew were sadistic or abusive.

“I hated the ‘nice guys,’ but I could never put my finger on why it is so unpleasant to be with them,” King said. “When they pay you, they pay you to smile and be believable and have it be real to them, and it’s nauseating.”

Buyers were buying much more than an hour of her time, she explained. All of her time was dedicated to booking her next “trick,” going on calls or showering afterward—and it was generally spent alone.

“If you were going to open up to anybody about your own life, nobody would want to be your friend,” King said.

She said this forced her to live on the margins of society and created more and more barriers to leaving the life, including a lack of social skills, no resume or job references, a lack of typical intimacy skills and many others.

Exsted spoke on the local efforts to crack the problem of commercial sexual exploitation, noting his department witnessed a marked decrease in responses to its fake advertisements since it began sting operations in May of 2015. The buyer stings are the beginning stages of addressing the problem, which is wide-ranging and takes a tremendous amount of resources and time, he added.

“Probably every hotel in our city of Baxter, on any given day, you probably could find some kind of sexual act going on with money exchanged,” Exsted said.

One goal Exsted identified was for area law enforcement agencies to find and arrest traffickers in the area, of which there is much anecdotal evidence of their existence. In February of 2015, the Rochester Police Department arrested a man who was later convicted for attempting to bring an undercover officer to Brainerd to work for him selling sex. Exsted said this arrest jumpstarted local efforts and revealed an area where a spotlight was needed.

“We haven’t found a trafficker yet, but we’ve been told by our partners across the state to be patient,” Exsted said. “We’re just going to continue to fight the fight here.”

Exsted said coalitions with area advocates have informed the police work, and together, they are advancing the common goal of ending sexual exploitation. Lutheran Social Service of Brainerd recently became the host organization for a regional navigator, which is a position intended to connect survivors with resources established through state law. It also developed the Saving Grace program, which offers specialized foster care for youth victims.

King ended Tuesday morning’s presentation by reminding everyone that all of those involved—traffickers, buyers and the exploited—are people, something that often gets lost in the discussion, she said.

“I very much believe in helping people be raised well, growing up to not buy,” King said. “Women are people, you can’t just buy whatever you want because you have the money to. For girls to grow up and be raised to have confidence so that they don’t get into it. I feel like helping people is a great angle to come at this with, rather than only focusing on shutting down what’s happening.”






The man sitting in a cheap hotel room made it clear that he would not be described physically, though there wasn’t anything remarkable about his appearance. Nor would it be possible to reveal the exact location of the meeting, and any idea of using his real name, or usual alias, was clearly out of the question.

Instead, the chief of a cell of hitmen for the Zetas cartel in Veracruz, one of Mexico’s deadliest states, created a name for publication that he thought represents his career — El Sangres, from the Spanish word sangre, which means blood.

It is very rare to get the chance to talk to an active Zeta commander. El Sangres agreed to the interview, it seemed, because he was keen to talk about the way the influence of his notoriously bloody cartel in Veracruz has risen and fallen with the strength of its ties to the state government.

The Zetas, he admitted, have lost presence in recent years because of a turf war with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG in Spanish) which, he insisted, have a deal with the current governor Javier Duarte. But, he added, he was sure that the Zetas will find a way of returning to dominance again.

“Duarte is a puppet,” he said. He did not sound angry. His tone suggested he was simply stating a fact, that the rules of the game have changed from the days when it was the Zetas who had the loyalty of the governor. “Duarte wants to finish off the Zetas, but that’s never going to happen. They kill one of us and three or four are coming right back at them.” The hitman’s claims about the governor, who has been in office since 2010, are not verifiable. Even so, few serious observers of Mexico’s drug wars explain the rampant violence in Veracruz today without reference to narcopolitics.

‘They kill one of us and three or four are coming right back at them’

At the same time both Sangres’ cool, and his bravado, suggest that — as elections approach on Sunday to replace Duarte — the terror suffered in Veracruz and other Mexican states is going to continue.

VICE News confirmed with three credible sources that Sangres is who he claims to be, an active Zeta for the past five years and the leader of a cell of hitmen in the center of the state.

In the interview he said he has nearly a dozen assassins working beneath him. He called them his angelitos, or little angels.

“They are a family, my family is the group I manage, straight up assassins,” El Sangres stated. He insisted that though “people think we are the worst,” there are good reasons why he is ordered to kill. His victims “owed something” or had got involved in things they shouldn’t have. With what seemed like pride, he said he does not commit other kinds of crimes, such as extortion or theft.

‘I get my orders to go to a particular place, find a particular person, abduct them, and ensure they are never seen again’

“I’m not going to take your wallet or your phone, I’m not going to take your watch,” he said. “I get my orders to go to a particular place, find a particular person, abduct them, and ensure they are never seen again.”

The Zetas origins trace back to the northeastern border state of Tamaulipas in the late 90s. The Gulf cartel recruited elite Mexican military deserters to form an armed wing of their criminal organization. The group of highly-trained former soldiers later began to operate independently, and the Gulf-Zeta alliance finally split in 2010 leading to a particularly violent turf war in Tamaulipas.

In the meantime, the Zetas had carved out an especially bloody reputation, hanging bodies from bridges, leaving heads in front of schools, dismembering women on video and then publishing them online.

“We weren’t here in Veracruz. We entered because the government of Fidel Herrera let us and this I guarantee you,” said El Sangres, referring to Duarte’s predecessor.

El Sangres said that “Fidel” initially invited the Zetas in to Veracruz, just south of Tamaulipas, in 2005 to take care of “problems” he had. But, the hitman added, the group soon got beyond the governor’s control.

Zeta influence in Veracruz once seemed so unchallenged locals joke darkly that it explained the “z” in the state’s name, and in so many other of its major cities — the state capital, Xalapa-Enriquez, Orizaba, Coatzacoalcos, Ciudad Mendoza, Zongolica, Aculztingo, and others.

Fernanda Rubí Salcedo was one victim of Zeta horror.



The Zetas, it seems, kidnapped the pretty 21-year-old on September 7, 2012, because one of their leaders wanted her to be his girlfriend.

Rubí and several friends had gone out to a trendy bar called the Bulldog in Orizaba, an important city in central Veracruz and a stronghold of the cartel. Near midnight, four armed men entered the bar and headed directly for her.

Even though the bar was busy, and guarded by private security, nothing prevented the group from pulling the young woman from the dance floor by her hair. They bundled her into a truck that disappeared into the night. The bar was just 50 yards from the municipal police headquarters and only a few hundred yards from a state police base.

Since then Rubí’s mother has become the driving force behind efforts to find the missing young woman.


The Zetas abducted Fernanda Rubí Salcedo. Her mother marches in Mexico City holding a poster with her photo.


“I investigated very deeply and gave the authorities addresses, names, clues. And why didn’t they act?” Araceli Salcedo said last month. “Because they know the Zetas, they know who is involved and you can’t beat these people.”

Salcedo was speaking while on a march in Mexico City on May 10 this year — Mexican Mother’s Day — along with hundreds of other families who are also missing loved ones from across the country.

‘Because they know the Zetas, they know who is involved and you can’t beat these people’

Her fearlessness is well known in Veracruz where last October a local paper filmed her as she shouted “where’s my family” at Governor Duarte when he visited Orizaba with his.

The governor initially ignored her and smiled at a poster Salcedo was holding of Rubí.

“Don’t mock me, wipe that smile off your face,” the determined mother said. “You’re all the same. Pure corruption.”

Salcedo’s cries resonated in Veracruz where many believe the politicians are the biggest criminals. The first sign that the Zetas’ political control in Veracruz might be slipping came in a YouTube video posted in July 2011 featuring a large group of armed and hooded individuals calling themselves Los Matazetas — The Zeta Killers. They named former governor Herrera as the Zeta leader, calling him “Z 1”

Los Matazetas, aka CJNG, pose in a YouTube video released in 2011 threatening the Zetas.


The Matazetas were actually a branch of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, and their video announced their attempt to take the state from Zeta control. It was the beginning of the battle between the cartels that continues today.

The Jalisco cartel has since been recognized as the fastest growing cartel with their presence felt in states throughout Mexico.

In 2015, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published a map with the most recent distribution of cartels in Mexico and they labelled CJNG as the owners of central Veracruz. Another DEA report from the same year, puts the CJNG and its partners The Cuinis, as the world’s richest drug traffickers over the legendary Sinaloa Cartel and its now detained leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. The report labelled Veracruz in red, as a key to their economic superiority, because through it the CJNG can smuggle cocaine and methamphetamine to Europe, Canada, and Asia. El Sangres says that the intruders have also been aided by Duarte switching loyalties after he took office in 2010. “We are losing ground, presence, respect, everything,” he said. The hitmen said the Zetas are losing members to the CJNG. He also bemoaned the unraveling of the group’s famed, if brutal, professionalism that was the norm when he joined la última letra, which means the final letter in Spanish — Z.

‘They are sending kids who are not trained to the front, to the battles… Some of these kids are 15 years old, and never more than 20’


“Unfortunately, the organization of la letra is hiring people who don’t know what they are doing. They are sending kids who are not trained to the front, to the battles,” he said. “Some of these kids are 15 years old, and never more than 20. There are very few people left who are older and who understand what our work is.”

However inexperienced the killers, the violence continues in Veracruz.


In the month between the interview and publication three incidents made national headlines. In Xalapa-Enriquez, five people were executed in a bar. In Amatlán de los Reyes five dismembered bodies were discovered. A message with the bodies alleged the dead were Zetas, killed by operatives of the CJNG. In the Bulldog — the bar in Orizaba where Rubí was abducted — an important cartel member was gunned down in the early morning hours.


The turf war with Jalisco is one of the reasons why El Sangres only agreed to an interview if we kept it to under half an hour.

His explanation was that his “work” requires him to change locations every 60 minutes or be killed. His nervousness was evident. He sat stiffly in a chair in the corner of the room. His hands tightly gripped the arms of the seat. His knuckles were white throughout.

The decline of the Zetas, however, has not brought security for the inhabitants of Veracruz.

For the Quevado Orozco family, life under the control of CJNG was even worse.

Kidnappers took Gerson Quevado, a 19-year-old architecture student, from outside a convenience store in the town of Medellin de Bravo in March 2014. They demanded 80,000 pesos, about $4,300, from his family who paid the ransom exactly as they were told.


Gerson’s father, mother, sister, brother, girlfriend, and girlfriend’s brother waited at the family home for a call that didn’t come to say he had been released. Instead, a supposed friend of the family gave them an address where he said Gerson was being held.

‘Why did they kidnap my son? Why did they kill my other son? He only wanted to see his brother… These people don’t have mothers? They don’t have children?’ The family sent Gerson’s brother, Alan, a promising 15-year-old goalie on a popular Veracruz soccer team. They also sent Miguel, his girlfriend’s brother and an accomplished taekwondo fighter. They didn’t tell the authorities. They were nervous the police had links to the kidnappers. Alan and Miguel were met by gunfire when they arrived and died instantly. Gerson is still missing today.

Gerson, Alan, and Miguel are all missing or dead. Family members march in Mexico City on Mother’s Day holding their images.

The family are convinced that the kidnappers were part of the CJNG and have police protection because they did not act on evidence they gave them.

“Not only did our relatives disappear, the evidence disappeared too. What do you do with so much corruption?” said Marisela Orozco, Gerson and Alan’s mother. “The fucking government is the one that is finishing us.”

Orozco, her husband, and her daughter marched with the mother of Rubí on Mother’s Day in Mexico City, still trying to bring awareness to the violence in a state they have now fled.

“Why did they kidnap my son? Why did they kill my other son? He only wanted to see his brother,” she said. “Don’t these people have mothers? Don’t they have children?”

El Sangres said he does have an ex-wife and kids. He claimed his ex knows what he does, but his children do not, though he no longer sees any of them.

“The family doesn’t exist to me anymore, I’m alone,” he said. For a moment he seemed unable to choose his words. His voice shook. “They don’t know what’s going on with me. I know about them, but no… ”

El Sangres would only agree to a photo if we provided a mask. He decided to cover his head with a sheet and took aim at the camera.

The self-confessed mass murderer also described his decision to join the cartel as the product of the abuses of authority he witnessed as a municipal police officer. He said he left his job because of “all the injustices” that he saw and then joined the cartel when “they offered the right price.”

But Sangres also said life as a hitman was not easy.

“Your life gets worse in all aspects,” he said. “You don’t sleep well. You feel the need to keep moving from one place to the other all the time. Why? Because even your own organization wants to bring you down.”

Just before leaving the hotel, El Sangres told us that we could take a single photo, but only if we provided him with a mask. We had brought one with us in case he made this demand.

The hitman took a white sheet and covered the rest of his head. Standing in front of a white wall he raised his hand and pointed it at the camera. The movement made his shirt rise slightly revealing a real gun tucked neatly into his pants.


By Oscar Balderas and Nathaniel Janowitz Vice News

Borderland Beat Reporter Texcoco De Mora Posted at 8:27 PM








Images, multiple messages, and videos, depicting a man being interrogated in video footage and a death photo was posted and distributed yesterday on social media.wenceslao_1

The dead man is José Wenceslao Gasnares González, who was a high ranking official in the Tamaulipas State police in 2005, later a ministerial police commander in Nuevo Laredo, and several other cities of Tamaulipas. At the time of his murder, he was a high ranking member of Cartel del Noreste (CDN), a Zetas splinter group at war with Old School Zetas.wencslao_2

Gasnares closely worked with premier Zeta leaders, Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano aka El Lazca or Z3, and Miguel Trevino aka Z40.

In July 2012, multiple narco message banners (mantas) were hung in Tamaulipas, some of the mantas featured images of the three men with a message from “citizens of Nuevo Laredo”.  In the message they condemned the terror implemented by the three men upon citizens/innocents.

They also denounced people in government lazca_wenceslao_z40_manta_july_2012positions who helped the criminals, “such as the mayor of Nuevo Laredo, Benjamin Galvan, rumored to be in collusion with Los Zetas, left office in 2013.

But not before, the decapitated bodies of 14 people, were left in a van in front of City Hall. Accompanying the bodies was a manta message signed by El Chapo Guzman. In another event, a car bomb was detonated in Galvan’s parking spot.The 14 bodies were a part of “Black Friday” an intense clash between Los Zetas, and El Chapo. On that day, 23 were killed in two events. Zetas hanged 9 and Chapo the 14.



To read about that bloody conflict, use this link, warning VERY GRAPHIC photos.

nine-bodies nl

ogi6V nlIMG-20120504-00246 nl

In 2014, after he left office, Galvan and a business partner of Galvan, were kidnapped and missing for weeks.  The government would not even confirm the kidnapping, until a month later when the bodies were found in car trunk abandoned in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.

Of the men named in the manta from the citizens; Galvan, Lazca, and now Gasnares González were killed, and Miguel Trevino is incarcerated in Mexico.

The images and videos of the Gasnares González kidnapping and killing, were releasedtamps_state_policia_CDN_GASNARES by social media through a new account.



Borderland Beat Reporter Lucio Posted at 9:46 AM








TOPEKA — The Kansas Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Lawrence woman who stole two KU championship rings from her father-in-law and sold them for methamphetamine.championship_ring_03-lead_t650

According to court records, in December 2013 and January 2014, Mandy Hurd and her husband at the time, Blake Hurd, were living with Blake Hurd’s father, Timothy Hurd, facility supervisor for the Kansas University Athletics Department.

As an employee of the department, Timothy Hurd had received championship rings commemorating the KU Jayhawks’ 2008 Orange Bowl victory and their 2008 men’s NCAA basketball championship, which he kept in a dresser drawer in his locked bedroom.

At one point, Blake Hurd broke into the bedroom, removed the rings, and showed them to his wife. He later testified that he broke into the room looking for a pack of cigarettes. The couple then agreed to sell the rings for methamphetamine.

They drove to a shopping mall in Overland Park where they met another person, Ian Wolverton, and sold him the football ring for 3.5 grams of methamphetamine. A few days later, they sold him the basketball ring for 7 grams of methamphetamine.

The theft came to light on Jan. 31, 2014, when someone contacted Timothy Hurd, saying he had been asked to buy the rings but wanted to know first whether they had been reported stolen.

Mandy Hurd was convicted of misdemeanor theft and was sentenced to 12 months’ probation. Douglas County District Court records do not show that Blake Hurd was charged in connection with the theft.

On appeal, Mandy Hurd argued there was insufficient evidence to show that she knew the rings were stolen at the time she sold them. She also argued that certain evidence should not have been admitted at the trial.

But in an unpublished opinion released Friday, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals rejected those arguments, saying there was ample evidence to show she knew the rings were stolen and that she was the one who sold the rings in exchange for drugs.

According to the opinion, Kansas City, Missouri, police recovered the Orange Bowl ring during a drug raid and returned it to Timothy Hurd. The NCAA basketball championship ring was also recovered at some point, but it had not been returned to Timothy Hurd at the time of the trial.






ALLENTOWN, Pa. – A Lehigh County couple faces drug charges after authorities caught the boyfriend allegedly selling methamphetamine and the girlfriend tried to flush evidence down the toilet.nelson-soler-and-aysha-dejesus-a356a33ad54a6f0c

Investigators with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office filed a host of drug and conspiracy charges against Aysha Marie DeJesus and Nelson Soler Jr., following a nearly month-long investigation. DeJesus is being held on $500,000 bail, while Soler does not appear to be in custody. Court records show that he has yet to be arraigned.

Investigators with the attorney general, Allentown police and the Lehigh and Carbon County Drug Task Force had been investigating Soler since May 11. Police said the 23-year-old made four drug sales a confidential informant, the last coming on Friday.

After Friday afternoon’s meth deal, Soler, of the 2300 block of Route 309 in Orefield, ran from authorities in his Toyota Camry as police tried to conduct a traffic stop, according to court records.

Investigators identified DeJesus as Soler’s girlfriend and went to her home in the 2200 block of Baker Drive about 1 p.m. The 20-year-old slammed the front door as she saw agents approaching and could be heard running upstairs, according to court records.

Police found her in a second-floor bathroom trying to flush heroin and Toilet-jpgmethamphetamine, according to records. She allegedly admitted that Soler called her and ordered to her destroy drugs that he had in a bedroom.

After obtaining a search warrant, authorities found 97 grams of meth, 31 bags of heroin, a .40 caliber Glock 23 handgun with the serial number destroyed, $2,800 in cash and paraphernalia for packaging drugs.

Authorities charged DeJesus with two counts of possession with intent to deliver, four counts of conspiracy, tampering with evidence, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal use of a communication device. District Judge Robert Halal arraigned her Saturday morning, and she was sent to county jail after failing to post bail.

Her next court date is a preliminary hearing scheduled for June 10.

Soler, meanwhile, faces 11 felony counts of possession with intent to deliver, three counts of conspiracy and single counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and altering a serial number.







MCCLAIN COUNTY, Okla. —A nurse contracted to work at the McClain County Jail is accused of bringing meth and a cellphone into the jail.kristi-stricklen-jpg

After a cellphone with her number was found at the jail, McClain County deputies said Kristi Stricklen, 39, of Harrah, admitted to bringing the drugs and cellphone into the jail.

Deputies arrested Stricklen and searched her vehicle, where they said they found a pipe with meth in it.

The investigation of Stricklen is ongoing.







A Dallas woman was arrested on more than 20 charges after crashing a van with five child passengers into a tree while allegedly under the influence and in possession of methamphetamine early Saturday morning, officials said.

Catrice Pittman, 27, was arrested on accusations of DUI, delivery of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, reckless driving, five 636008013346879774-324069counts of first-degree child neglect, six counts of reckless endangerment, three counts of third-degree assault and three counts of second-degree assault after Saturday’s crash.

An arrest report known as a probable cause statement recounted the following:

Pittman was travelling with five children, three of them her own, and an adult passenger along the 1000 block of Commercial Street NE shortly after 2 a.m., when she drove her van off the road, onto a sidewalk and crashed it into a tree.

A 3-year-old boy sustained rib fractures, a bruised lung and an air pocket in his chest. A girl, 8, who was sharing a seat belt, suffered a broken leg. Both were taken to Oregon Health & Sciences University for treatment.

A 2-year-old boy sharing a seat belt cut his forehead and sustained intestinal and abdominal injuries. He was taken by helicopter ambulance to OHSU due to the severity of his injuries. A 5-year-old boy, the only child in a child-restraint seat, suffered a large ligature mark across his chest from the seat belt. A 10-year-old girl sustained chest trauma and was taken to a hospital. Pittman’s adult, pregnant passenger, Venus Hayes, 36, of Portland, broke her elbow. Hayes had a warrant out for her arrest and was detained.

Pittman initially said Hayes was driving, then said another person was the driver but had left the scene. Police found a pair of sandals underneath the accelerator and brake pedals, and Pittman was the only occupant without shoes.

Pittman was also injured and taken to Salem Hospital for treatment. Witnesses reported her behavior as erratic and unresponsive. While in the emergency department, hospital staff found a glass pipe and bag of white powder in her bra. Officers determined the bag contained 10.8 grams of methamphetamine and found about $1,200 in cash in her purse.

A toxicology report found she had methamphetamine in her system and a blood-alcohol content of .01. Pittman was arrested by Salem police officers at the hospital and taken to Marion County jail. She was scheduled to appear for arraignment at the Marion County Circuit Court Annex at 3 p.m. Monday.







A 21-year-old Phoenix man and a juvenile have been arrested after law-enforcement officers located a “large quantity” of methamphetamine in a Tupperware container in their vehicle near Camp Verde, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.636008404171712481-Barrera-Guitierrez-Victor

Inside the plastic container was 5 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of more than $225,000, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement issued Monday.

Arrested Saturday were Victor Barrera-Gutierrez, of Phoenix, and an unnamed 16-year-old passenger, the statement said. Both were taken to the Yavapai County Adult and Juvenile Detention Centers.

Yavapai County sheriff’s deputies and detectives from the Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking task force had been searching the area for a silver “SUV-like” vehicle based on a tip from the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office, said sheriff’s spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn.

“The amount of meth is not necessarily common,” he said. “Hopefully, this pans out and we can find where it came from. Getting this amount of meth off the streets is definitely a good thing.”

Police found the car at a fast-food restaurant, D’Evelyn said. He said law-enforcement636008408082058613-5-lbs-meth officials are seeing increased trafficking coming off Interstate 40.

“We’re seeing more meth lately, but in much smaller quantities than this,” D’Evelyn said. “This is a fairly large seizure.”

Both suspects face multiple felony charges, including possession of dangerous drugs for sale, transportation of dangerous drugs for sale, involving or using minors in drug offenses, and participating in a criminal syndicate.

Barrera-Gutierrez is being kept in custody on a $100,000 bond.







Federal officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continue to seize dangerous methamphetamine smuggling shipments at border ports of entry.

CBP officers working at the San Luis Port of Entry seized over fifty pounds of the illicit substance as man driving a Ford sedan attempted to enter the U.S. from Mexico on 06032016-TFO-SLU-Meth-2-640x480Thursday, according to information provided to Breitbart Texas by CBP officials.

The U.S. citizen was returning to the U.S. from Mexico when CBP officers were alerted by a drug detection K-9 officer. A more invasive search of the vehicle revealed fifty-two pounds of methamphetamine hidden in the vehicle’s rocker panel below the doors.

The drugs, valued by CBP officials at $156,000, were seized along with the man’s car. The driver was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit for the processing of possible smuggling charges.Meth-in-Del-Rio

That same day, in Del Rio, Texas, CBP officers searched a 1999 Chevy Tahoe returning from Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico. During the search, officers discovered 7 ounces of meth hidden in a container of hand sanitizer, the statement from CBP officials revealed.

The movement of narcotics in Coahuila is tightly controlled by the Los Zetas drug cartel. Breitbart Texas has reported extensively on the activities of this dangerous criminal organization.

The meth was found in the cargo area of the Tahoe which was seized by CBP officials.

The hidden methamphetamine was valued by officials at $8,593. The driver, a U.S. citizen from Del Rio, was arrested and turned over to Homeland Security Investigations agents for processing and possible prosecution.

“CBP officers display exemplary vigilance in keeping narcotics from reaching our communities,” Del Rio Port of Entry Director Alberto D. Perez said in the statement. “This seizure is yet another example of the dedication and professionalism our frontline CBP officers put forth on a daily basis.”







PUEBLO, Colo. — A year-long investigation conducted by the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration discovered a major drug trafficking operation with ties to Mexico.cbsFbWWA

Benito Granado-Valenzuela, 46, and Aleyda Lopez, 33, were arrested on May 19 after police found cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine in a home in the 2100 block or East Ninth Street.

Granado-Valenzuela, a Mexican citizen, has been deported several times and is currently in the United States illegally. Lopez has an address in Arizona.

Detectives from the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Narcotics division started investigating Granado-Valenzuela’s ties to the drug-trafficking operation over a year ago and requested help from the DEA with the investigation as part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program.ryjryjsryjr

The arrest of both individuals came after detectives learned Lopez was on the way to Pueblo from Arizona with a supply of illegal drugs that were to be delivered to Granado-Valenzuela at the home on East Ninth Street, police said.

Investigators executed a search warrant once Lopez arrived at the home and found two pounds of methamphetamine, 8 ounces of cocaine and 10 ounces of heroin hidden inside a bag of dog food at the residence.

Police said the drugs seized on May 19 were the third shipment in a span of 8 months that authorities intercepted from couriers traveling along the I-25 to deliver to Granado-Valenzuela.

Two similar traffic stops along the I-25 in September and October of 2015 led to the discovery of methamphetamine in vehicles to be delivered to Granado-Valenzuela in Pueblo. The first traffic stop unearthed 12 pounds of methamphetamine in the lining of a car seat. The second traffic stop led investigators to 8 pounds of methamphetamine wrapped in 15 plastic packages in the gas tank of the vehicle.

Granado-Valenzuela was arrested on charges of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance and three counts of conspiracy to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance.

Lopez was arrested on a charge of possession of a controlled substance.

Since September 2015, investigators have seized 21 pounds of methamphetamine, 8 ounces of cocaine, 10 ounces of heroin, nearly $21,000 in cash and a handgun during three separate drug busts related to a trafficking operation originating in Mexico and traveling through several states.






LAWRENCEVILLE, GA — A Gwinnett County meth trafficker who admits to having been deported from the United States four times has been sentenced to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Marcos Benitez Camacho was stopped on Interstate 85 at Pleasant HIll Road in Duluth on April 17, 2015.2016065755868b6c1f5

During a search of his Ford Fusion, police found a hidden compartment that contained more than 96 pounds of methamphetamine, which had a street value of more than $1.5 million.

At trial, Camacho maintained that he had no idea the meth was there.

“At one point in his testimony, the Defendant folded his hands as if he was praying and swore on his mother’s grave that he did not know about the drugs contained in the vehicle,” Gwinnett County prosecutors said in a news release.

Camacho was stopped at the request of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Assistant district attorney Mike Morrison countered that Camacho, who freely admitted to being deported four times and using fake names to return to the United States, could not be trusted.

He argued that Camacho was part of a drug-trafficking operation and was being paid to transport the meth to an unknown location in Gwinnett County.

Superior Court Judge George Hutchinson sentenced Camacho Friday to 30 years in prison, with 27 to serve, and a $1 million fine.







Drug trafficker Jesus Hector Palma Salazar, “El Guero Palma”, one of the main leaders of the Sinaloa cartel in the 90s, will be released next Saturday 11, it was confirmed this Monday by the Federal Bureau of Prisons BOP of the United States. 29F9D56100000578-3139335-El_Guero_Hector_Luis_Palma_Salazar_was_famed_for_his_ruthlessnes-m-50_1435311462592

He became an inmate at the Atwater high security prison in the San Joaquin Valley, California in 2007, and will be set free from the maximum security prison after serving time for drug trafficking. His sentence was reduced for good behavior. The original sentence was 16 years.

‘El Guero Palma’ gained notoriety for their alleged involvement in the murder of Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo at the airport in Guadalajara, Jalisco, in 1993.

The murder was in the midst of war that Palma and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman held with the Arellano Felix cartel in Tijuana. a9ef8d51-61dc-4478-8bb5-c3d878f3c170

Palma’s wife and two of his sons were killed by Enrique Rafael Clavel Moreno, who was an operator of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo.

Jesus Hector Palma Salazar was captured in Nayarit, when his aircraft went down in 1995.


This article was translated from Proceso







The incoming Philippine president urged citizens to fight crime by turning in and even killing suspected drug dealers.

“If they are there in your neighborhood, feel free to call us, the police or do it yourself if you have the gun,” President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said late Saturday night in a nationally televised speech in Davao City, Agence France-Presse reported. “You have my support.”35tq8h0892y2

Duterte continued, according to the Associated Press, that members of the public can kill drug dealers who resist arrest or threaten citizens with weapons.

Shoot him and I’ll give you a medal,” Duterte said, according to the wire service.

Filipino president-elect and longtime Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte has stirred up contention with his brash, off-color statements on rape, extrajudicial killings and more.

The former mayor won last month’s presidential election in a landslide, campaigning on an anti-crime and anti-corruption platform. But the brash politician, dubbed the “Death Squad Mayor” by Human Rights Watch, has been the subject of international scorn, particularly for incendiary comments about journalists and about the 1989 rape and killing of an Australian missionary during a prison riot.

He will be sworn into office June 30.

Duterte has previously offered bounties to military and police officials for every drug lord they turn in or capture. “I’m not saying that you kill them, but the order is dead or alive,” Duterte said in a May televised news conference.

On Saturday, he said that his anti-crime campaign would be a “bloody war,” according to AFP.

It’s unclear what his pledges will mean in practice. He reportedly said on Saturday that he would offer $107,000 for dead drug lords, and there have been reports of local elected leaders paying police officers for killing drug traffickers.

The Philippines has become both a destination and a transit point in the methamphetamine drug trade. Large shipments of the drug, known locally as “shabu,” go through the country.

According to official Philippine government data, most people in residential and nonresidential drug treatment and rehabilitation facilities are there for methamphetamine hydrochloride.

Corruption has made it difficult to battle the nation’s drug problem; law enforcement officials and members of the media have accused politicians and government officials of receiving kickbacks from drug traffickers, according to a U.S. State Department report.

On Saturday, Duterte spoke about corrupt police officers and demanded that three police generals, whom he did not identify, resign.

“[To] all police who have cases and are wanted now, if you are still involved in drugs, I will kill you,” he said, according to a CNN Philippines translation. “Don’t take this as a joke. I’m not making you laugh.”

Human rights groups have expressed alarm over Duterte’s rhetoric and positions. He has publicly backed death squads and has previously threatened to kill suspected criminals.

After his comments last month that most assassinated journalists deserved to be killed, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines declared the incoming president had essentially “declared open season to silence the media, both individual journalists and the institution, on the mere perception of corruption.”







By: Jaime Luis Brito | Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat

With the face of their missing on their shirts or on a sign, relatives of missing persons work with the state attorney, The Autonomous University of Morelos, and federal corporations in the clandestine graves of Tetelcingo. They carefully record the removal of bodies in order to help identify them and to help alleviate the pain of the relatives, as Concepción and Lina narrate, two of the searchers who, thanks to them, helped with the reopening of the graves.

Tetelcingo, Morelos— This morelense town “represents the confirmation that the State also has its clandestine graves”, says Javier Sicilia, founder of the Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad (Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity).   At least here, the local district attorney dug two or “maybe three”, where they irregularly tetelcingo_17deposited more than 100 bodies. The authorities say it is a “common practice” of the district attorneys in the country, even if it’s illegal.

During the recent exhumations, in addition to the forensic teams of the Attorney General of the State of Morelos (FGE), The Autonomous University of the State of Morelos (UAEM), the Attorney General’s Office of Mexico and the federal police, a group of mothers and relatives of the disappeared have had to use Tyvek suits, such as those used by forensics, to witness and record everything that happens in the graves.

In this case, the work of María Concepción Hernández Hernández, mother of Oliver Wenceslao, a merchant from Cuautla who was kidnapped and killed by criminals in 2013 and whose body was illegally buried along with the other bodies in these graves, has been instrumental.

After recovering the body of her son in December 2014, María Concepción and her sister, Amalia, began a legal and civil battle in order for the graves to be reopened and to identify the other bodies.

She was born in Cuautla and is 55 years old. “I never imagined that this would happen. But my son gives me the strength, because I love my children too much, that’s why I’m here, because I couldn’t stop thinking about what was happening to the mothers of the people who are in the graves,” she says during a break from the work.

Under her special white suit, she has a shirt with the image of Wenceslao. She wears a hat that shades her face. She has a shy gaze; during the interview, she looks the other way on several occasions. From the beginning of the interview, she requests that they don’t ask her anything about what is happening in the graves, since she doesn’t want to give information that may endanger the diligence.

She is part of the team that records the conditions in which the bodies are recovered from the grave. One of the coordinators of the UAEM had told the reporter that the lady wouldn’t be directly in the graves and she admits that she’s often afraid: “I know I’m not brave.” In any case, she raised her hand to participate and has not missed any stage of the proceedings.

When she is asked why she’s here, her gaze blurs. She says that Oliver Wenceslao, who was “like a knife stick,” now keeps on insisting: “He tells me: ‘Have you seen about the office? Have you already pressured this authority?’ And so it remains. He talks to me through the ideas that I have. He is the spokesman of the disappeared, that’s why we fight until the graves were opened. Now we hope that all of the people here find their families.”

This petite, white-haired woman accompanied the rector of the UAEM, Jesús Alejandro Vera Jiménez, and the poet Javier Sicilia, whom had informed that the judge ordered the opening of the graves, in the field El Maguey. The area was cordoned off and had seals of the PGE, but Vera and Sicilia went to the center to announce from the inside, with the help of María Concepción and other people.

This had cost them accusations from the government of Graco Ramírez who accused the whole group of sabotage and abuse of authority. It’s not the first time it happens; it’s a victim that for more than two years was re-victimized and is now criminalized by the authorities, in their opinion, they decide not to do their job. When she is reminded about the charges of the government, she replies: “If they put me in jail, I only ask for you to take me some cigarillos. I don’t smoke, but I can learn.” Although the Morelos government pledged to withdraw the complaint, it is unclear at what stage it’s in.

On Monday, May 23rd, the first day of work with a backhoe, the authorities realized a mistake: the graves were next to the hole that they spent all day opening. “What do I tell you? It’s unbelievable. And they still dare to say that there are no irregularities,” says the interviewee as she moves her head disapprovingly and fixes her suit, that unravels the image of her son, because in a few minutes, the exhumation work will resume.


Young Mireya

Tranquilina Hernández Lagunas is the mother of Mireya Montiel Hernández. On September 13, 2014, this young woman, then 18, went out with her boyfriend, but he left her alone for a moment and when he returned, she was gone. Since then, Tranquilina began to look for her.

A month ago, upon hearing the case of the Tetelcingo graves, she asked a judge to instruct the FGE so that the UAEM could participate in the exhumation and identification of the bodies as her representative. She achieved it. These exhumation jobs with observers and technical equipment owe a lot to her intuition.

This young single mother didn’t lose a good humor despite this tragedy. Previously, her biggest concern was to bear support to Mireya and her other daughter, 13, who studies in high school. She was a domestic worker “in the homes of Jews,” but since her daughter disappeared, her daughter stopped working and dedicated herself to investigate her whereabouts. To “go on supporting herself”, she recycles newspapers and makes crafts.

Apart from contributing to the opening of the graves of Tetelcingo, a few weeks ago, Hernández Lagunas was part of the National Brigade in Search of Disappeared Persons that went to Veracruz, where they located graves with human remains. Her strength was noted when speaking.

She recalls her beginning as a searcher: “I started teaming up with other mothers. I know that the disappearance of my daughter isn’t the only one, that there are many more who are like me, searching under rocks. One day I knew I had to seek training in searching graves. It’s very difficult to accept that the daughter of one can be in a grave; one wants to think that you will find them alive. But I went anyway.”

“They taught me how to scrape the dirt, how to use a pick and shovel. They taught me how the smell is when people are buried. I learned. Then came the (National) Brigade and at first I thought I couldn’t go, because of my other child. But my family has been very supportive; they know that I need to do that, so I ended up going to Veracruz.”

Searching there is different: “Fear, real fear, I have felt it in Veracruz. Here in Morelos, it isn’t fear, it’s rather anger, pain, sadness.”

Wrapped in her Tyvek suit with the UAEM logo on the back, Hernández Lagunas is located on the edge of the graves, recording every detail. One by one, the bodies come out and she listens, records, observes. “I don’t have an education (she finished high school), but honestly, we could teach some of the forensic experts how to do their job,” she says.

For the fourth day of exhumation, she looks tired. She has dark circles, but doesn’t quit. “We need to continue. The people who are in the graves are not trash, they aren’t animals, we need to hurry up and get everyone out of there,” she says, despite the work having to take another 15 more days.

“The pain I feel is the same that other mothers and families have. I want to contribute to search for others. I brought this canvas with my daughter’s face, I put it there because I want, if it comes out in the cameras (of television), maybe someone has seen her and will advise me. But I also want that if she sees the pictures, she’ll realize that I’m looking for her, that despite the time, I have not stopped looking for her, or stopped missing her,” she explains as she lowers her face.

Her phone drops. “That phone! I don’t want it anymore, it always falls,” she says smiling; she picks it up, says goodbye, and returns to work.

Next to the UAEM tents, an ambulance is used for sampling. About 40 people have come because they heard that they are preparing the genetic profile of the relatives for free. With a sad face, with sharp pain in their eyes, men and women, young and old, with a photograph of their missing, go telling their story, repeated a thousand times and ignored a thousand times.

The backhoe is heard in the background. Cameramen and photographers fight for a place along the UAEM pipe that serves as a lookout at the edge of the perimeter. Others settle in between security gates. Mothers look with hope at the scene. The machine has exhumed another body. While some women sing the Ode to Joy or paint a beautiful mural on paper, others rush to welcome the body rescued from the abyss: “What time did it come out?” They write down the date, hour, and number of the body on a card; then, they tie the perimeter.

In the east, the Popocatépetl exhales another plume of smoke.


Source: Proceso

Borderland Beat Reporter Valor Posted at 9:10 PM