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


CHARLOTTE – Three years ago a meth lab in a second floor apartment across the street from City Hall exploded, extensively damaging the building. Today, the property is an eyesore for city officials and anyone driving or walking near the entrance to the city’s downtown.

But later this year city officials may get the chance to demolish the structure and build a small pocket park in its place.636005418775553602-IMG-5999

It could cost the city as much as $50,000 to demolish the structure and develop the park, but this month the City Council signed off on an agreement to take ownership of the building and demolish it.

Their commitment to the project is contingent on private donors raising $35,000 by the end of July to purchase the building, which occupies 108 and 110 E. Lawrence Ave. Nearly all of the funds have been pledged. Donations are being solicited privately.

If they succeed and after an initial environmental study of the land there is completed, local developer Anthony Faulkner said he’ll buy the building and deed the land over to the city.

Officials say the project would get rid of an eyesore and replace it with an inviting open space likely to draw people into the city.

“What it does is open up the entryway into downtown,” said Gregg Guetschow, Charlotte’s city manager.

Removing an eyesore

Right now the windows of the building on East Lawrence Avenue, vacant except for one tenant living in a second-floor apartment, are dark, and a “For Sale” sign is taped to the inside glass.

Tim Lewis, Charlotte’s mayor, said you can ask anyone in the city about the structure. They’ll all tell you the same thing.

“People refer to that building as the ‘meth building,'” he said. “Having that building there is hindering the progress the city is making in revitalizing the downtown.”

In March of 2013 Derek Ayers, 31, was cooking methamphetamine in an apartment on the second floor when the volatile concoction exploded. The west wall of the structure was severely damaged. Ayers was later sentenced in Eaton County Circuit Court to three to 20 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay $18,000 in restitution to the city and the building’s owner at the time, Bruce Fox.

Faulkner, an Olivet resident and the owner of Precedent Properties, owns an office building next door at 112 E. Lawrence Ave. and last spring he wanted to buy 108 and 110 E. Lawrence Ave. to develop seven or eight parking spaces.

But his vision shifted in the fall when he realized there was community support for turning it into something more beneficial. With support from other business owners and city officials he entered into an agreement to buy the property for $35,000. Then he started collecting donations and pledges toward the purchase price.

“I want to make sure we can rally people around the concept of making a change,” Faulkner said. “It’s for the good of the community.”

Grant money will help pay for the cost of initial environmental studies of the property. Eight years ago a dry cleaning business operated there and chemicals may have contaminated the soil, said Guetschow,

Tangible proof of progress

Jason Vanderstelt is co-owner of Dutch Brothers Development Group, which has offices just a few doors down from the blighted building, and Vanderstelt is helping to raise money to buy it.

He said the pocket park effort is the perfect example of a collective community desire to revitalize the city. Once it’s finished he said it will be an example of progress.

“What better way is there to spark the rebirth of the downtown?” Vanderstelt said. “This is going to be a tangible project that people can look to for excitement. I believe the community wants a project like this to be proud of. This is something they can see that they pass every single day.”

And Guetschow said it could happen by the end of the year.

If the purchase price funds can be raised and the city takes ownership of the building this summer, Guetschow said the demolition and park development will probably take place in tandem with the reconstruction of a large city parking lot located directly behind it. The city has already budgeted about $500,000 for that work.

Vanderstelt said it’s the perfect way to remove a blighted property.

“We want to erase that and put something there that’s beautiful.”







The U.S. Postal Inspection Service noticed as early as October 2013 that a lot of mail was disappearing from collection boxes, home mailboxes and group mail rooms in the Wichita area.

Now, two and a half years later, charges have been brought against 13 people alleged to have conspired in an identity-theft ring that resembled a small, coordinated business. This is one of the largest identity theft cases that the U.S. attorney in Kansas has ever prosecuted, according to spokesman Jim Cross.

The group is suspected of dividing the work into several tasks, according to a news release issued by the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall. Some allegedly specialized in stealing mail. Jeremy Peterson is cited as having more than 100 pieces of mail belonging to other people.

Other members are suspected of altering checks, creating fake checks and applying for credit cards. ID experts allegedly created fake Kansas driver’s licenses. Others in the group are accused of buying goods with stolen identities. And some have been accused of wielding firearms to buy and sell methamphetamine.

The fraud was profitable, bringing in an estimated $3.5 million of stolen money and goods, including a $43,500 Jaguar and a $62,000 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, according to the release.

The 13 suspects face 50 federal charges. The most serious penalties include 11 counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which can lead to up to 30 years in jail and $1 million in fines for each charge.

In addition to the identify theft charges, the group faces nine firearms charges and several charges of possessing and distributing methamphetamine. If they were to be convicted on all charges and receive the maximum penalty, the group would collectively face more than 500 years in jail.

The group was tracked by a joint task force that included the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department, the Wichita Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“This case highlights the importance of the strong working relationships among federal, state and local law enforcement,” Inspector in Charge Craig Goldberg of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said in a news release. “The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is committed to working with our partners to ensure the continued trust people place in the mail and protecting the public from financial victimization by enforcing the laws that defend the nation’s mail system from illegal use.”


According to the indictment, here’s how the group allegedly worked:

Check cashing: The suspects allegedly added names to checks, removed the original names and created new counterfeit checks based on stolen checks.

Profiles: Based on stolen mail, the members are suspected of creating profiles of real people that included names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and credit information.

People targeted: The indictment gives only the initials of people whose identities were stolen.

Cars purchased: Jacob Michael Martin is accused of using fake identity information to obtain a loan from Wells Fargo Bank and then purchasing a 2012 Jaguar from CarMax for $43,599.47. Martin is also accused of obtaining a loan from Skyward Credit Union of America and purchasing a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS from Eddy’s Chevrolet valued at $43,231.85. Chad Michael Abildgaard is accused of applying for a loan for a BMW.

Banks targeted: Golden Belt Bank, Bank of America, Skyward Credit Union, Meritrust Credit Union, Farmers, Campus Credit Union, Merchants State Bank, Capitol Federal Savings and Loan, Citi Bank and Wells Fargo were named in the indictment as banks that the alleged ring tried to withdraw money from.

Guns cited: Hi Point Firearms model CF-380, Browning Arms Company model Buck Mark .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol, Ceska Zbrojovka 40B semi-automatic pistol, Bond Arms Snake Slayer Derringer, Winchester 1500 XTR shotgun, Sig Sauer Model P556 pistol, Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm pistol.

The suspects

  • Samuel Below, 29, Phoenix
  • Chad Michael Abildgaard, 25, Goddard
  • Krysalias Lynn Bernhardt, 20, Clearwater
  • Jacob Michael Martin, 31, Wichita
  • Melanie Marie Morey, 41, Wichita
  • Jillian N. Parker, 34, Wichita
  • Jeremy Peterson, 42, Wichita
  • David Allen Babedew, 24, Wichita
  • Dustin Michael Reida, 28, Wichita
  • Thomas Rye, 36, Phoenix
  • Daniel Christian Thomas, 31, Wichita
  • Justin Alan Vanley, Rose Hill
  • Jacey Jane Vidricksen, 27, Goddard








Posted by DD Republished from The Daily Beast

They go from one hell to another, from the nightmare of sexual abuse, to living with hate, ending up part of organized crime as eager, angry children ready to do anything

ACAPULCO, Mexico — Elena met Rafita a few years ago on the malecón, the sexabused_childrenbreakwater along the port of Acapulco. His shyness and his eyes like the eyes of an injured puppy stole her heart, she remembers.  Tourists were throwing coins off their boats and yachts and they were amazed to see him prance along the dock, then nail a dive that seemed almost impossible in order to retrieve their money.

At night, his body went through a different kind of test, used by rickety gringos or Canadians who paid a pimp to do with it what they wanted.

At the time, Rafita was eight.

He was like many others Elena has seen. He had come from the neighboring state of Morelos to this one, Guerrero, which, by 2015, had the highest homicide rate in Mexico, with 54.5 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. (By contrast deadly Chicago—“Chi-raq”—has a murder rate of 15.09.) And he had wound up in Acapulco.

Here, the violence has grown steadily worse. Last April 24, the main avenue of the port, the Costera Miguel Alemán, became a battlefield contested for more than two hours by Mexican federal forces and the organized crime cells that control the non-tourist zones of the municipality.

“I told Rafita he could get away from all this, go to our house,” says Elena, a woman who speaks with reticence and suspicion—who asked that her real name not be published because she fears for her life and for those she protects—but who claims to have helped more than 150 child victims of sexual exploitation at the hostel she runs.

“Rafa lived with his biological mother and stepfather,” Elena told us. “It was the stepfather who sexually exploited him and offered him to friends.  He was with us two years … and then he returned to his family. His case is the one that has most affected me. I never thought I’d see a child in such vulnerable conditions.”

Since 2000, Elena has been working to rescue as many children as she could. “We decided to help these little ones—help them have a home, an identity, and respect,” she told me. “They wouldn’t be street kids anymore, they’d have a roof over their heads.”

But something happened in 2007. After the declaration of war on drugs launched by former President Felipe Calderón at the start of his administration, the social climate in Acapulco changed totally. Violence began to increase dramatically, according to figures from INEGI, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (PDF).

Before, there was no war between drug traffickers in the poorer neighborhoods of this warm-water port that was sometimes a world-class tourist destination. Elena and other volunteers could take food to the kids and move about without problems. But now, suddenly, there were shootouts, executions, and decapitations to contend with. In the deadly July of 2015, in less than 30 hours, 14 people were killed.sexabused_children_2

Thanks to Los Rojos, Los Ardillos and the Cártel Independiente de Acapulco fighting for territory, the municipality got a reputation as “Mexico’s Iraq.” It became the most violent city in the country and the fourth most violent city in the world, according to a study by Mexico’s Citizen Council for Public Justice and Criminal Justice.

This profoundly affected the work of Elena and her team at the hostel, who had to dial back their efforts to rescue child victims of sexual exploitation because of the murderous violence in the more remote neighborhoods of the coast.  There were children who ought to have been rescued, she knows, but who were abandoned to their fate.

“What we were doing for the little ones was about finding them, caring for them, giving them shelter and schooling—protecting them and making them good people—that was the purpose,” said Elena, again asking that her name not be used, such is the long reach of the narcos and the terror they impose. In Acapulco today, opening your mouth can have mortal consequences.



Borderland Beat Reporter dd Posted at 7:17 AM





Members of the Gulf Cartel in Matamoros interrogates an alleged group of kidnappers and extortionist who will kill their victims to leave no evidence. They were at the end killed with a shot in the head. narco-tortura

On a video uploaded to several social network sites specialized on warning people of danger in Tamaulipas, armed men can be seen in military uniforms questioning six alleged kidnappers who are tied and blindfolded.

The video begins with the image of a large narco banner ensuring that the  “Old School CDG” is not involved in any of all the robberies, kidnappings and extortion’s that have arisen lately in this plaza.

“We will not tolerate or allow such atrocities in our group,” the statement said.

The six alleged kidnappers, who were recorded kneeling with a blindfold and their hands tied behind their backs, responded to the interrogation of suspected members of the CDG. hWRGSGSZGSWA

They confess to have engaged in kidnapping and extortion and they identified the ringleader as “Pancho”.

During the interrogation they described a kidnapping victim who was held captive for a million pesos in ransom, but they only received 40 thousand pesos.

One of the alleged kidnappers described that they killed their victim by placing a plastic bag over her head to suffocate her and then she was buried.

Each of the alleged kidnappers talk about their role in the group and why they were engaged in extortion. At the end of the video you can see the six bodies with bloodstains and apparently lifeless.

At the end of the video a text signed by “Gulf Cartel from H. Matamoros, Tamaulipas” can be seen.


“The Gulf Cartel Task Force in Matamoros, Tams has taken down a group of kidnappers and extortionists who had been operating in the area. Proving that our priority is first and foremost the welfare and safety of the people of Matamoros. We will not allow such actions, “concludes the text.

The “Old School CDG,” which is also similar at Los Zetas group, are now saying that the organized crime groups are returning to their original business: drug trafficking, and to stop kidnapping, robbing and extorting money from the population.

However, most of the fractions of both groups continue to commit such crimes and they refuse to stop other businesses such as the lucrative fuel theft. I

n recent months, Ciudad Victoria and Matamoros averaged a total of 14 kidnappings per month according to figures from complaints filed with the State Office of Justice.

This article was translated from Proceso







MARION, NC (WSPA) — A North Carolina couple was arrested after a toddler in their home tested positive for methamphetamine, officials say.

Kirk William Biddix and Ellen Marie Pritchard, both 27 and both of Marion, were greiagj[wqercharged with negligent child abuse inflicting serious injury and misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said they received a report from the McDowell County Department of Social Services about possible drug use in the Shea Drive home of Biddix and Pritchard, who live with two children, ages 2 and 3.

The 3-year-old child tested positive for methamphetamine, deputies said. The 2-year-old tested negative for methamphetamine, according to officials.








A Whitley County woman gave birth without medical assistance at a wooded campsite where police later found items used in making methamphetamine, according to a news release.

Police charged the mother of the infant girl, 25-year-old Meagan Helton, and the father, David Osborne, 42, with manufacturing meth and possession of meth precursors, said Sgt. Jeff Anderson of the Whitley County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident happened Thursday.

Anderson said police received information about meth being made at a camp off Barton Hollow Road, which is near Woodbine and Rockholds.

There was no one at the makeshift tent when Anderson arrived, but police learned an ambulance crew had taken a woman to the hospital from the site after she had given birth, according to a news release.

Anderson said either Helton or Osborne had called for an ambulance.

Anderson found the couple at Baptist Health Corbin hospital. Police arrested Osborne and took him to the Whitley County Detention Center.

Helton was charged but not taken to jail because she was admitted to the hospital.

The baby was taken to the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. She was low-weight and in critical condition Saturday, but was stable, Harrell said.

“My heart goes out for that baby,” he said.

Anderson said Helton and Osborne would not talk to police, so he didn’t know why they had been in the woods.

Social workers are involved in the case and will figure out where to place the baby after she is released from the hospital, police said.






SABINE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) – Deputies with the Sabine County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 19-year-old woman on a felony child endangerment charge after her 11-month-old son tested positive for methamphetamine.

Alissa Craig, of Hemphill, was arrested in May on the endangering a child charge. East 10704714_GTexas News obtained copies of the arrest and probable cause affidavits Friday.

A Sabine County Sheriff’s Office deputy was assigned the Child Protective Services case after Craig’s son tested positive for meth.

Craig also tested positive for meth, the affidavit stated.

The affidavit stated that Craig put her son in “imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment” by manufacturing, possessing, or ingesting meth in the child’s presence.