"Narco gangster reveals the underworld…kidnapping bus passengers for gladiatorlike fights to the death"

Hi Gang:
I have been sent the extremely disturbing news report by a number of friends and colleagues and have decided to write a commentary about the reported violence that has become all too commonplace in Mexico as the drug cartels ramp up their crimes in the nation that is separated from our country by a very thin and extremely porous border.
This news report appeared yesterday in the Houston Chronicle.
Here is how this report about the horrific violence in Mexico begins:
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The elderly are killed. Young women are raped. And able-bodied men are given hammers, machetes and sticks and forced to fight to the death.

In one of the most chilling revelations yet about the violence in Mexico, a drug cartel-connected trafficker claims fellow gangsters have kidnapped highway bus passengers and forced them into gladiatorlike fights to groom fresh assassins.

                                                                                                                      **************************************************
If today’s commentary enrages you, then I ask that you forward it to as many folks as possible and ask them to do the same!
My goal, as I have often noted, is to create a “bucket brigade of truth!”
Before we delve further into the report I want to make a couple of points.
Rational people take precautions against all sorts of threats and risks.  
Our government on all levels are even getting into the “act” enforcing drunk driving laws and requiring, for example, that in most states motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets when they are out riding.  Virtually every state requires motorists and their passengers to wear seat belts.  During flu season we are urged to get our flu vaccines that are intended to enable our body’s immune system to better combat the virus responsible for the influenza.  Most states now how strict laws about cigarette smoking to minimize “second hand smoke.”  The list goes on and on about how we are supposed to protect ourselves against all sorts of threats to our well being.
Recently many local governments have become “food police” seeking to impose restrictions as to how much saturated fat is used in the preparation of food in restaurants and to minimize salt, sugar and other such.  Of course scant attention is paid to the extreme dangers involving other “additives” cocaine, heroin. meth, marijuana and a slew of other such illegal drugs!
(With all of the concern our political leaders voice about the issues I noted above and many others, most of these “leaders” mock anyone who thinks that we should do more than create the illusion of border security but actually secure our nation’s borders and enforce our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States to backstop the Border Patrol and the Customs and Border Protection inspectors at international airports and other ports of entry.  These politicians and those who work for them as administrators of law enforcement agencies in all levels of government refuse to accept the commonsense principle that it is vital to prevent criminals and terrorists from entering our country and, when we fail to keep them out of our country, take commonsense measures to prevent them from setting up shop in towns and cities across our nation and embed themselves thereby hiding in plain sight.)
On a personal level many folks are careful about what they eat, making certain to get enough exercise and safeguarding their homes from the intrusion  of burglar and other unwanted “guests.”  In some areas, gated communities seek to help protect those who live behind those tall gates. In neighborhoods that have high crime rates some houses have gates over their doors and windows.  I have even seen houses where porches have top to bottom gates to protect the house and its occupants.  Often you can, in fact, tell if crime is of particular concern in certain neighborhoods when you see many homes sporting gates and signs indicating that the house has a burglar alarm system that alerts a private security company if an attempted break in occurs.
Nearly every mansion has all sorts of security systems both physical as well as technological because of the accumulated artifacts, paintings, etc., that would attract potential burglars and thieves.  
Many years ago the notorious bank robber Willy Sutton was asked why he robbed banks.  His response was to the point.  He said, “That’s where the money is!”
The point is that serious robbers do not waste their time robbing from the poor- the pickings would be slim, indeed.  They rob from the rich because, as Mr. Sutton said, “That’s where the money is.
The relationship that exists between the United States and Mexico is unique in all the world.  Someone once astutely noted that the US / Mexican border is where the Third World collides with the First World along a border that is more than 2,000 miles long. 
If you have ever walked across the border from the United States into Mexico you immediately know that you have entered the Third World.  The contrasts are immediately apparent.  Crossing from the United States into Canada does not evoke the same sort of visceral reaction that crossing the border into Mexico provides.
To impoverished Mexicans the border that divides the two countries also has provided a contrast in standards of living that is just as unmistakeable to poor Mexicans as it is to citizens of the United States.
Those few who comprise the extremely wealthy oligarchy of Mexico live lives of incredible opulence while economically, the great majority of Mexicans can barely get by.  The opportunity to work in the United States acted as an escape valve as Mexicans headed north to find work and send money home.  Each year more than 20 billion dollars is wired from the United States to Mexico by these illegal aliens.  It is estimated that at least ten percent of Mexico’s citizens now live in the United States.  This is why when there is a presidential election in Mexico, the candidates for the Mexican presidency campaign in the United States!  Many of the illegal aliens who live and work in the United States are young men who earn some money that, while meager by American standards is far more than they could earn in Mexico. If they were enable to get to the United States it is entirely possible that they would cause political upheavals in Mexico.
Today, however, the nightmare levels of violence in Mexico, as reported in the extremely disturbing Houston Chronicle article, creates more incentives for Mexican citizens to want to flee the insane violence that plays out in many towns and cities of that country.  Additionally, the cartels are also eager to get to the United States to sell the illicit drugs that provide them with increasing levels of wealth that represents more than money- the wealth that the cartels have amassed and continue to amass, represent power- the power to purchase ever more quantities of weapons and all sorts of vehicles to smuggle their drugs into the United States.  That money also buys corruption in Mexico on all levels and is, increasingly, buying corruption in the United States.
If ever there was a need for our country to create a truly secure border, it is this moment in time!  Yet President Obama mocks those who are extremely concerned about the failures of our nation to secure our borders.  Janet Napolitano continually tells us that the borders have never been more secure than they are today but admits that more than 230 cities in the United States have become infested by the Mexican drug cartels, not to mention other transnational gangs and criminal organizations from the four corners of this planet.
Simply stated, given the extreme levels of violence that have become commonplace on the other side of that border, being told that the border is more secure is not good enough!
The child who comes home with failing grades and then brags that he is doing better because he went from a 40% on the previous exam to a 45% on the latest exam is not successful student even if his grade had gone up!
A failing grade where border security is concerned has already cost American lives and will cost more lives in the future.  
Gene Kranz was the Flight Director at NASA during the early days of the space program.  He became a flight director when Project Mercury was literally first getting off the ground and remained the Flight Director through the Apollo Program.  (I had the distinct privilege of meeting him several years ago.)  When Apollo 13 suffered a massive explosion as it hurtled towards the moon, NASA’s ingenuity and capabilities were stretched to new limits when incredibly the engineers, technicians and a small army of all sorts of experts worked feverishly to bring those three valiant astronauts safely back to earth.  (I also had the privilege while I was attending Border Patrol Academy in Texas to meet Commander James Lovell, the commander of the Apollo 13 mission.)
Gene Kranz is remembered for rallying his team as they overcame one obstacle after another by telling those under his command, “Failure is not an option!”  In fact, he wrote an amazing book about the challenges they had to confront and overcome to bring those astronauts home, alive!
Either they would be successful or the three astronauts would die in a number of ways.  They would have died if their spacecraft failed to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere and they ran out of oxygen in the cold depths of space, or they would have died if it missed the narrow entry corridor in the upper atmosphere and burned up or ran out of electricity and oxygen before the re-entered the atmosphere in which case they might have died before they splashed down in the ocean.  None of those possibilities were acceptable.
This was a case where almost would not have been good enough!
Where our nation’s border security is concerned, once again, to borrow Flight Director Kranz’s phrase, “Failure is not an option!”
Our military has made great strides in minimizing “collateral damage” where the loss of civilian lives are concerned when our nation has deployed troops in the Middle East and elsewhere.  This is important progress.  Every reasonable measure should be taken to minimize civilian casualties that result from our military actions.
Here is something to think about- what is our government, on all levels doing to minimize collateral damage where our nation’s wars on terrorism and drug trafficking are concerned?  When the Secretary of Homeland security can calmly stand in front of microphones and cameras and mention the fact that a couple of hundred cities in the United States of America have become infested by members of the extremely violent Mexican cartels that should give us all cause for pause!  Consider the sort of violence that the cartel members perpetrate daily in Mexico where they strive to find ever more horrific ways of tormenting, torturing and killing civilians for the apparent joy of it and as a way of intimidating anyone who would stand in their way whether they are children, innocent civilians or members of the police, military or the government.
Clearly not nearly enough is being done!
It is infuriating that Mr. Obama demonstrated the unmitigated chutzpah when he stood before the media in El Paso, Texas several weeks ago and talked about how there are some folks who will never be satisfied with the level of border security and said that there are those who want a moat on the border that is stocked with alligators, mocking Americans who know just how dangerous the situation is!  What was particularly disturbing about that image of President Obama in El Paso is that, as you probably know, El Paso is just north of arguably the most violent city in all of Mexico, Ciudad Juarez!
Check out this headline that ran nearly one year ago in the El Paso Times!
Click on the link below the headline to see the entire article:

Gunfire hitting City Hall prompts Texas AG to ask for more troops on border

Times staff reports

In case you forgot that outrageous statement by President Obama, here is a link to a video of Mr. Obama’s comments on May 10th when he went to El Paso to once again, push for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (When you watch this please note that he made the claim that the fence is nearly complete!):

“Alligators in the Moat”: Obama Mocks Concerns About Border Security:

Now that you have seen and heard what Mr. Obama has had to say about the state of our borders I want you to take a few minutes to watch an excellent video that aired on Fox News on May 12th of this year:

Hannity

Terror on the Border

May 12, 2011

– 9:32 – 

Exclusive: Border patrol agents fight drug smuggling war spilling
into the U.S.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4692389/terror-on-the-border/?playlist_id=86924

Next I would like you to take the time to go to the links I have provided to you that relate to some truly disturbing news articles that have appeared recently in several newspapers.


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Brutal Mexican drug gang crosses into U.S.

Zetas butcher victims to spread message of fear



– Pajamas Media – http://pajamasmedia.com –
.

(PJM Exclusive) DOJ Memo Confirms Terrorists Have Crossed the Border

Posted By Patrick Poole On March 23, 2011 @ 12:00 am In Crime,Homeland Security,Immigration,US News | 45 Comments

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/doj-memo-confirms-terrorists-have-crossed-the-border-pjm-exclusive/?singlepage=true


 FEATURES Weak Link

By Katherine McIntire Peters kpeters@govexec.com Government Executive 

Drug cartels are working hard to corrupt federal agents and drive a hole through border security



Exclusive

Feds finding it harder and harder to combat escalating presence of Mexican drug cartels in New York

A number of years ago, while meeting with a number of members of Congress and their staffers, I was asked about the issue of morale at the former INS.  I quickly asserted that morale was not a problem!
The folks who were in attendance at the meeting seemed really surprised.  Then someone asked me, “Mr. Cutler, with all of the problems at the INS how could you possibly say that morale is not a problem?”
I answered by saying “That which does not exist could not possibly be a problem!
Maybe this is why Obama and company are so sanguine about border security- that which does not exist must not be a problem (for them!)
The sort of violence playing out in Mexico is likely to be perpetrated on the streets of American cities and towns if something is not done to confront this threat to the lives of Americans.  A line must be drawn and that line should be the borders of our nation whether they exist along the land borders of our nation, the coaslines of our nation or the international airports to be found throughout the United States because these all provide entry points into our country.
The bottom line- Dead is dead!
When you consider how we have lost virtually all of our expectations of privacy and freedom in the name of national security and yet our borders serve as little more than speed bumps to smugglers and transnational criminals and terrorists, what is the point to anything our government claims to be doing to provide for the security of our nation and the survival of our citizens?
The effective enforcement and administration of our nation’s immigration laws are, arguably, among the most important of all missions that are supposed to be carried out by our federal government.  
Nothing less than the security of our nation and safety of our citizens hang in the balance!
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!

I

our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!

We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.  
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same.  We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”

The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.

The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!


The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians.  I implore you to get involved!
I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world.  However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!

If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation! 

All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!

We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.

This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!

You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!

-michael cutler- 


Please check out my website:

     Top Story
Narco gangster reveals the underworld

Cartels have taken cruelty up a notch, says one drug trafficker: kidnapping bus passengers for gladiatorlike fights to the death

By DANE SCHILLER
HOUSTON CHRONICLE

June 13, 2011, 12:26AM



photo
AFP/Getty Images

ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata was killed in the line of duty Feb. 15 when he was ambushed while driving between Monterrey, Mexico, and Mexico City.



The elderly are killed. Young women are raped. And able-bodied men are given hammers, machetes and sticks and forced to fight to the death.

In one of the most chilling revelations yet about the violence in Mexico, a drug cartel-connected trafficker claims fellow gangsters have kidnapped highway bus passengers and forced them into gladiatorlike fights to groom fresh assassins.

In an in-person interview arranged by intermediaries on the condition that neither his name nor the location of his Texas visit be published, the trafficker also admitted to helping push cocaine worth $5 million to $10 million a month into the United States.

Law enforcement sources confirm he is a cartel operative but not a fugitive from pending charges.

His words are not those of a federal agent or drawn from a news conference or court papers.

Instead, he offers a voice from inside Mexico’s mayhem — a mafioso who mingles among crime bosses and foot soldiers in a protracted war between drug cartels as well as against the government.

If what he says is true, gangsters who make commonplace beheadings, hangings and quartering bodies have managed an even crueler twist to their barbarity.

Members of the Zetas cartel, he says, have pushed passengers into an ancient Rome-like blood sport with a modern Mexico twist that they call, “Who is going to be the next hit man?”

“They cut guys to pieces,” he said.

The victims are likely among the hundreds of people found in mass graves in recent months, he said.

In the vicinity of the Mexican city of San Fernando, nearly 200 bodies were unearthed from pits, and authorities said most appeared to have died of blunt force head trauma.

Many are believed to have been dragged off buses traveling through Mexico, but little has been said about the circumstances of their deaths.

The trafficker said those who survive are taken captive and eventually given suicide missions, such as riding into a town controlled by rivals and shooting up the place.

The trafficker said he did not see the clashes, but his fellow criminals have boasted to him of their exploits.

Killing ‘for amusement’

Former and current federal law-enforcement officers in the U.S. said that while they knew Mexican bus passengers had been targeted for violence, they’d never before heard of forcing passengers into death matches.

But given the level of violence in Mexico — nearly 40,000 killed in gangland warfare over the past several years — they didn’t find it tough to believe.

Borderland Beat, a blog specializing in drug cartels, reported an account in April of bus passengers brutalized by Zeta thugs and taunted into fighting.

“The stuff you would not think possible a few years ago is now commonplace,” said Peter Hanna, a retired FBI agent who built his career focusing on Mexico’s cartels. “It used to be you’d find dead bodies in drums with acid; now there are beheadings.”

Even so, Hanna noted, killing people this way would be time-consuming and inefficient. “It would be more for amusement,” he suggested. “I don’t see it as intimidation or a successful way to recruit people.”

Hidden behind designer sunglasses and a whisper of a beard, the trafficker interviewed by the Houston Chronicle talked at a restaurant’s back table. He had silver shopping bags filled at Nordstrom, but seemed anything but a typical wealthy Mexican on a Texas shopping trip.

As a condition of the interview, he asked that he be referred to only as Juan.

He has worked as a drug-trafficker in Northern Mexico for more than a decade, he said, but has grown tired of gangsters running roughshod over each other and innocent civilians.

Juan, who has worked with the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, the two major drug organizations that control territory along the South Texas-Mexico border, said that back home, he sleeps with a semiautomatic rifle by his bed and a handgun under his pillow.

“It is like the Wild West. You can carry a gun and you are Superman,” he said of gangsters and killing at will. “Like everybody says, it is out of control now. We have to put a stop to it.”

A recent U.S. Senate report contends the Zetas are the most violent of Mexico’s cartels. Its members are believed to be responsible for the recent killing of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who was shot on a Mexican highway.

‘They brag about it’

Just on Thursday, authorities in Mexico said they arrested members of the Zetas and seized 201 automatic weapons, 600 camouflage uniforms and 30,000 rounds of ammunition.

“I am not defending the Sinaloa or the Gulf Cartel,” Juan said of the Zetas’ main rivals. “I earn more money with the Zetas, but I know the (crap) they do,” he said. “They brag about it.”

With the recent killing of the ICE agent and perhaps other attacks, the Zetas also are breaking the golden rule for Mexican traffickers: Don’t kill Americans, he said. It brings too much heat.

If the Zetas are crushed, violence will lessen, he said, and Mexico’s older cartels will go back to the older way of doing business – dividing up territory and agreeing not to clash with each other.

Death toll has exploded

Mike Vigil, a retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was the chief of international operations, said Mexican gangsters used to understand that violence should be used sparingly.

“They love brutality,” Vigil said of the Zetas. “They do not care whether you are a police officer, a trafficker or an innocent bystander.

“The drug-trafficking organizations are eventually going to have to deal with the Zetas.”

The death toll has exploded since Mexican President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006 and dispersed military troops throughout the country to fight the cartels. The resulting battles have wrought carnage among local politicians, soldiers, gangsters and civilians alike.

As for the military, Juan said, “They are not helping,” noting that the soldiers, like the gangsters, seem to kill whoever they want.

He also discussed some of the finer points of drug trafficking.

Checkpoints no problem

“We don’t hide it,” he said, telling stories of openly off-loading tractor-trailer rigs of cocaine in parking lots. “These are not lies. Everybody in Mexico knows it.”

Even the checkpoints Mexican officials operate along the highways between Central Mexico and the border do not pose much of a problem, Juan said.

The trick, he confided, is to send someone in advance to bribe a commander so a drug load won’t be bothered.

“It is better to tell them,” he said. “It will cost you more if they catch it.”

Tries not to be flashy

As for how he’s been able to survive a decade, Juan said the secret is not being greedy or flashy enough to draw attention from other gangsters, who these days show no hesitation to cut down rivals.

He said he can quickly size up in a bar or cafe who is likely to be a trafficker, from the money they spend to the way they talk, sit or eat.

“You can tell in a restaurant or anywhere – that guy is moving dope,” Juan said.

Other keys to longevity in the business: knowing your place in the Mexican under world’s hierarchy and not giving the impression you are making more money or interested in taking a chunk out of another gangster’s livelihood.

“You keep doing the work you do,” Juan said. “Stay at your level.”

dane.schiller@chron.com

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