Archive for March 5th, 2008

Reuters

MEXICO CITY, March 5 (Reuters) - A convicted Mexican drug cartel boss is free and back in Mexico following his release on parole just weeks after he began serving a U.S. prison sentence, U.S. and Mexican officials said on Wednesday.

Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix, 58 and the eldest of a clan of brothers who ran Mexico’s Tijuana cartel, was deported on Tuesday and crossed to Mexican soil at Ciudad Juarez, entering from El Paso, Texas.

“He does not have any pending charges in Mexico so he was freed,” a source in the Mexican Attorney General’s office, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

Arellano Felix was the boss of the Tijuana cartel when he was arrested in 1993 in Mexico and sentenced to 11 years for drug possession and using illegal weapons.

He remained in prison for two more years while authorities arranged his extradition to the United States, where he was wanted for selling cocaine to an undercover U.S. agent. He was extradited in September 2006 and pleaded guilty to the cocaine charge in June 2007 in San Diego.

He received a six-year sentence, which he began serving in January, and was paroled on Feb. 1, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons said. A U.S. official said Arellano Felix received credit toward his U.S. sentence for time served while awaiting extradition in Mexico. Because his case dates back to 1980, he was eligible for parole under laws that were on the books at that time, the official said. Since then, parole has been eliminated for criminals convicted of federal crimes in the United States.

U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said Arellano Felix’s case “reflects the conclusion of a cooperative effort between the U.S. and Mexico to ensure that he faced justice for crimes he committed on both sides of the border.”

(more…)

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2 arrested in child’s shooting in Harbor Gateway
LA Times
March 5, 2008

Los Angeles police arrested two suspects today in connection with the shooting of a 6-year-old boy wounded Tuesday as his family drove through the Harbor Gateway neighborhood on their way to an auto auction.

The suspects were arrested early this morning, according to police spokesman Richard French, but police have not released their names, and French could not say whether the pair fit descriptions police released Tuesday that identified them as Latino gang members.

Police Chief William J. Bratton and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are expected to release more details concerning the suspects during an 11 a.m. press conference at the Universal Hilton hotel, French said.

Bratton has said the attack began when two Latino males flashed gang signs before opening fire on the family’s red GMC Yukon, which contained six people, including a woman who is eight months pregnant, Bratton said. The rear window of the SUV was shattered by the gunfire, and one of the rounds hit the boy in the head, he said.

Related Immigration Watchdog post: Latino Gang Member Shoots 6 Year Old Black Boy In Head

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No Border Patrol. No National Guard. No reasons given.

KOB

The state said there will be a six month gap of vulnerability at the border when feds pull National Guard troops.

Sate homeland security said the National Guard on the border will leave in July, six months earlier than expected. Officials said border agents won?t take over until December at the earliest, leaving more than 180 miles of border virtually unwatched.

The original plan was to have the National Guard watch the border until 6,000 new agents could be properly trained.

Border patrol officials said that won?t happen until December, but state officials said that?s not stopping the feds from pulling the plug early.

State officials said the feds are not saying what?s behind the early withdrawal of guard troops from across the country.

The state said the withdrawal leaves the New Mexico border vulnerable.

“We’ll create a window where the smugglers and the cartels and the border criminals may try and take advantage of,” said Tim Manning of New Mexico Homeland Security.

Homeland security said heavy patrols and new fencing in Arizona and Texas means there will be a funneling effect of immigrants and smugglers into New Mexico.

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The victim’s family was driving through the neighborhood, known for racial tensions between Latino gangs and black residents. He is in critical condition.

LA Times

A 6-year-old black boy was critically wounded Tuesday when he was shot in the head by suspected Latino gang members as the victim’s family drove through the Harbor Gateway neighborhood on their way to an auto auction, Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton said.

Two Latino males flashed gang signs before opening fire on the red GMC Yukon with six people inside, including a woman who is eight months pregnant, Bratton said. The rear window of the SUV was shattered by the gunfire, and one of the rounds hit the boy in the head, he said.

The victim was rushed by paramedics to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center after the shooting, which occurred about 12:40 p.m. on 227th Street between Halldale and Denker avenues, police said. The boy was listed in critical condition.

The shooting caps several weeks of violent incidents believed to involve gangs around Los Angeles County that have sparked both fear and anger in some neighborhoods. Earlier this week, a Los Angeles High School football player was gunned down in what authorities described as an unprovoked attack by gang members. Last week, a gang member opened fire at a bus stop in South Los Angeles, wounding eight people, including five children. Before that, a gun battle between LAPD officers and gang members outside a Glassell Park school caused much of the community to be locked down for hours.

Some — but not all — of the incidents involved violence between blacks and Latinos.

Read more.

More information on the 204th Street gang in the Harbor Gateway area.

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Cimacnoticias

Mexico - In the southern border of our country, 7 of each ten migrant youth women originating from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, they are attacked in their human rights by officials of customs, agents of the Preventive Federal Police, state and federal courts, municipal police officers and elements of the armed forces.

Thus the president of the Commission of Equity and Gender of the Chamber of Representatives, Maricela Contreras Julián, assured through a document to be given out to the mass media, in which it adds that these central american youths are sold for 200 dollars each one for the purpose of being utilized for sexual exploitation, in bricklaying, walking commerce and pickers of trash in the interior of the Mexican territory.

The legislator, who also belongs to the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), indicated that the report elaborated by the non-governmental organization (NGO) End of Childlike Prostitution, Pornography and the Traffic of Children with Sexual End and well-proportioned data by the Economic Commission of Latin America (CEPAL).

Contreras Julián indicated, “on the one hand the abuses received in the neighboring north country by our people are condemned and, on the other, the same practices are reproduced by some Mexican authorities with the people that cross the southern border of Mexico, conducts that are declared in sex abuses, labor abuses, violence in all their forms and a lack of respect to their rights.

Data of CEPAL registered that in that southern border region of our country “70 percent of the migrants are victims of violence, that 60 percent suffers some type of sex abuse including rape”. But if the migrants manage to arrive at the border with the United States of America, that can become more dangerous since, besides being abused sexually and be forced to be prostituted, they can be murdered.

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SignOnSanDiego

TIJUANA ? A female between the ages of 16 and 18 was among the five shooting victims found early Tuesday on a rural road in eastern Tijuana, the Baja California Attorney General’s Office has reported.

The four others, all males, ranged in age from 18 to 30, according a statement from the state office, in charge of investigating the crimes.

The grisly discovery was reported to police about 8 a.m., the Attorney General’s Office reported Tuesday afternoon in the first official account of the crime. All the victims had been shot, and one had been handcuffed, the statement said.

Authorities said the scene was littered with more than 150 spent shell casings.

The victims had been laid out next to an unpaved road in a rural southeastern area of Tijuana off of the Bulevar 2000, a new highway that links the city to Rosarito Beach.

The discovery comes amid a spike in violence in the region. The weakening of the Arellano Felix drug cartel in recent years has allowed smaller criminal cells to operate with fewer restrictions, analysts say.

Read more.

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WZZM13

Lakeview - Michigan State Police say a 15-year-old Amish girl from Montcalm County was recovered at the Mexican border, and will be reunited with her family.

Investigators say Esther Herschberger left her family’s home near Coral on February 24th. They say the girl left a note in her room telling her parents they should not worry.

Police say Esther called family friends on February 28th, asking them to tell her parents she was okay and in New York State. The next day, the friends received another call from someone crying. They believed the caller was Esther, but they were disconnected before anyone spoke.

Michigan State Police say they determined Esther was actually in Chicago when the call was made. They found out Esther travelled south to Mexico, where Mexican authorities detained her as she attempted to enter the country.

Police say the girl was in the company of 33-year-old Osvaldo Jaimes, a man from the Cedar Springs area. When investigators questioned Esther, she told them she planned to go to Mexico to marry Jaimes.

Police have made arrangements to reunite Esther with her family in Laredo, Texas, within the next 24 hours.

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WFSB

MANCHESTER, Conn. — Authorities discovered a cockfighting ring during a drug bust in Manchester on Monday inside a house along a quiet country road that winds its way through farmland.

Manchester police said the animals were part of a cockfighting ring, an illegal sport in which the birds fight to the death and people bet on which rooster will win. Channel 3 Eyewitness News reporter Len Besthoff reported one of the animals has to be put down because of its ailing health.

“It’s kind of a first for around here,” Manchester police Sgt. Chris Davis said.

Officers seized $46,600 worth of heroin from Efrain Bracero on Monday. Authorities had arranged to meet with Bracero in a parking lot on Buckland Hills Drive at 5 p.m., and said he has in his possession 116 grams of raw heroin.

“That’s a substantial quantity of heroin,” Davis said. “It was a very good bust.”

Bracero, 27, of West Hartford, remains held on $500,000 bond on heroin possession and intent to sell charges. He does not face any charges related to the cockfighting allegations.

Upon executing a search warrant of a house on Woodside Street in Manchester, from which authorities observed Bracero leaving shortly before his arrest, authorities discovered what they deemed to be a cockfighting ring.

Six months ago, police in Bloomfield arrested a person who they said raised 17 fighting roosters and 15 breeding hens in an unrelated case (Full Story). Investigators said it’s hard to tell how widespread the illegal sport is in the state.

“I don’t think they let a lot of outsiders in. So, it’s kind of difficult to infiltrate this type of activity and to find out about it,” Davis said.

Investigators said they seized suspected blood splatters, eight live gamecocks, hypodermic needles, bird supplements, fighting spurs, a scale to weigh the birds and two slot machines. Officers said they saw suspected blood splatters on the basement floor outside the ring.

Authorities seized the animals and suspected drugs and drug paraphernalia, including 4 ounces of suspected cocaine, 2 ounces of suspected marijuana, a scale, suspected drug balance sheets and $4,730 in cash.

Officers arrested the residents of the house, identified as Felix Martinez, 63, and Carmen Gomez, 46. Police charged both with numerous drug charges, eight counts of cruelty to animals and possession of a gambling device.

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Bills would mandate prison time for illegal border crossings and compel English in dealing with federal agencies.


LA Times

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans are set to announce today the hardest-hitting package of immigration enforcement measures seen yet — one that would require jail time for illegal immigrants caught crossing the border, make it harder for them to open bank accounts and compel them to communicate in English when dealing with federal agencies.

Most of the bills stand little chance of being debated in the Democratic-controlled Congress. But the move by some of the Senate’s leading Republicans underscores how potent the immigration issue remains, particularly in a presidential election year.

The bills give Republicans a way to put pressure on the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates to take a tougher stance on immigration. They also reflect a shift toward harsher immigration rhetoric and legislative proposals from both parties since Congress failed to pass a comprehensive overhaul in 2007.

The package — an enforcement smorgasbord assembled by at least eight lawmakers — consists of 11 bills, but it could expand to as many as 14. Some elements echo House bills, but others go beyond House proposals.

One would discourage states from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants by docking 10% of highway funding from states that continue to do so.

Another would extend the presence of the National Guard on the border, and a third would end language assistance at federal agencies and the voting booth for people with limited English ability.

A bill by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who is leading the effort, would impose a maximum two-year prison sentence on someone caught illegally crossing the border a second time.

“The point is to reinforce the idea that most of us here feel that we need to make enforcement and border security a first step to solving the overall problem,” said Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), one of the sponsors.

Although Congress usually avoids tough legislation during an election year, Vitter insisted that he and his colleagues could still get something done. “There are concrete steps we can take. None of us see any reason to waste this time,” he said.

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Border Fire Report

From Brownsville Texas to San Diego California and as far north as Dallas Texas Americans are being kidnapped and killed. All of this is escalating narcotics-related violence across northern Mexico; the State Department has alerted Americans of the dangers of crossing the border. But there are no alerts of Americans being kidnapped right here on U.S. soil and being held as hostages or for ransom and being killed.

A popular internet publication recently told about kidnapping of American citizens along the border by Mexican gangs. The citizens are held in holding areas and it’s carried out in a 4 prong manner, locator’s, abductors, transporters, and holders. It’s very hard to kill a 4 headed snake. The number of kidnappings has risen each year for the last 3 years.

Mexican cartels through there enforcers of Mexican and American gangs order smaller American gangs to kidnap and in some cases murder Americans.

“U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk posed by the deteriorating security situation, along the border” said a statement issued in Mexico City and Washington. “Violent criminal activity, including murder and kidnapping, in Mexico’s northern border region has increased.”

Read more.

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Borat loves these stories!

NBC6

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — A Miami-Dade College student on Tuesday accused immigration authorities of targeting her family for deportation because of her activism on behalf of illegal immigrant students.

Gaby Pacheco, 23, is a native of Ecuador and in the U.S. on a student visa. She has long spoken out in favor of immigration reform and the so-called “dream act,” which would allow students brought to the country illegally as young children to eventually become citizens. Through her activism, Pacheco has traveled to Washington, D.C. and been interviewed on TV.

Her allegations stem from an August 2006 immigration raid at her Miami home. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents told the family then that they were searching for another immigrant with a name similar to several of Pacheco’s relatives. They ended up detaining her parents and two sisters instead. All four are here illegally.

During the interviews with the family, agents made it clear they knew who Pacheco was, she said.

“They told my sister Erica, ‘you’re the girl that goes on TV.’ She said “no, that’s not me. You’ve got me confused with my little sister,”‘ Pacheco recalled.

Pacheco says investigators also later told her directly they had seen her on TV, and that it wasn’t smart to have spoken out. They warned her not to go to the media again, she added. Pacheco says she became frightened when she noticed an agent had two old photos of her lying on top of a file, meaning they had likely been tracking her for a while.

Immigration officials declined to comment on specifics surrounding the case due to pending litigation. But ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said in a statement, “those who are in violation of U.S. law should not be surprised if they are arrested.”

Pacheco family lawyer Ira Kurzban said, “we believe we will be able to prove the Pacheco family was singled out because they were the parents of Gaby Pacheco, who was an activist.”

The 2006 raid came just months after a series of massive demonstrations across the country — many led by students — to protest a harsh immigration bill that later failed in Congress.

Pacheco said she kept quiet about many details of the case for nearly two years because she was initially afraid going public would make things worse.

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Reading Eagle

Reading, PA - An impromptu celebration of the Dominican Republic?s independence day involving as many as 1,500 students outside Reading High School erupted in violence Wednesday afternoon.

A city police captain was injured and at least a half-dozen students were arrested.

An unruly crowd of 1,000 to 1,500 high school students blocked streets around the school and threw rocks and bottles at police when officers tried to disperse them, authorities said.

Deputy Police Chief Mark E. Talbot Sr. said the violent mob was unprecedented and created one of the scariest situations he?s had in his career in Reading.

Some students hit parked cars with baseball bats, and at least one student was reported hurt after someone hit him in the head with a bat, police said.

About 40 police officers ? every on-duty officer in the city ? responded to the melee, investigators said.

Read more.

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The Boston Channel

NewsCenter 5’s Jack Harper reported that Lawrence law officials said they recently had a case where a man tried unsuccessfully to hide his identity by removing his fingerprints.

“In this particular case, an individual came in and all 10 of his fingers had been stitched up at the point where the fingerprints would be. The crude surgery, obviously, it wasn’t done in this country … it couldn’t be done legally,” said Lawrence Police Chief John Romero.

The man told police that his name was Edgardo Tirado, but his hands made police suspicious.

“His story was that somebody cut him with a knife and he was putting his hands up in defense and the individual happened to be precise enough to cut the tip of every finger where the fingerprints are,” Romero said.

A Lawrence detective recognized the man as Gerald Perez. Police said he likely was trying avoid his criminal record and possible deportation.

“It is going to make it more difficult for law enforcement, but clearly that is a red flag when someone comes in and their fingerprints had been altered,” Romero said.

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