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Home arrow Blog arrow June 2011 arrow June 29, 2011: Mexico and US

June 29, 2011: Mexico and US
June 29, 2011: Mexico and US

Salem-News.com has a staff of 89 volunteer writers based in 20 Countries.


Founder and Editor

Is Los Zetas Military Cartel Planning a Bloody Revolution in Mexico?

Massive numbers of strategically stashed high impact weapons and uniform caches; intelligence breakdowns; a cartel that evolved from Mexican Special Forces. Mexico's in trouble, the U.S. is in trouble

 
mage from a raid in June of the Escondido Ranch raid.
Image from a raid in June of the Escondido Ranch raid. Tosh Plumlee photo first published by Narco News.

(COLOMBUS, N.M.) - There is an ominous feeling associated with writing this story. It might be the most important item I've ever written or published. It's about drug cartels in Mexico taking that country over quickly. It is about the role of the USA and how, if events unfold the way we anticipate, the United States will be in a new position of danger the likes of which it has never been imagined.

 

I will not wage an argument with those who call this piece alarmist; or disagree with anyone who claims the looming projected magnitude of this information would be devastating.

 

This article is a description of events over the last three years on both sides of the U.S./Mexican border that reveal covert relationships between the U.S. and Mexican armed forces, and includes far-ranging implications about the Mexican government's efforts to maintain national control against the deadly cartels without receiving real assistance from the United State government that was not undermined.

 

The information for this article evolves from a number of sources, but the primary witness to the events and circumstances we describe is Robert 'Tosh' Plumlee, a former CIA contract pilot and asset (documented) who today is a Salem-News.com Photojournalist working with a joint American Mexican-military task force that was created by the Pentagon in 2009. (see: Salem-News Photojournalist with Army Task Force 7 in Mexico threatened with arrest by U.S. Border Patrol - Tosh Plumlee Salem-News.com)

 

Wikileaks

 

 

It probably isn't surprising that Wikileaks would play into this. A story we published 5 Sep. 2010 about undisclosed American military forces working south of the border with the Mexican armed forces in anti-drug operations; US Special Forces are Operating in Mexico, brought a sharp response; a total denial, from Ricardo Alday; spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington D.C.

 

He accused Salem-News.com of being completely wrong in spite of the fact that our contact on the ground, Tosh Plumlee, was on the scene working very closely with these teams that believed their efforts were being undermined by others in the U.S. federal government.

 

It is clear that there are significant U.S. government 'projects' taking place simultaneously without mutual cooperation or understanding. Denying that the U.S. was involved in their operation, Mr. Ricardo Alday of the Mexican Embassy, based in Washington D.C. wrote:

 

"The flimsy and single sourced assertion that 'heavily armed' 'U.S. Special Forces' (Your article 'U.S. Special Forces are Operating in Mexico', Sept 27, 2010 are 'taking direct action against narco trafficking organizations' is patently false.

 

"Today, relations between the U.S. and Mexico are based on the premise of shared responsibility and strategic partnership. Our cooperation against the common threat of organized crime has increased and improved substantially but that certainly does not include boots on the ground.

 

"Under the Merida Initiative, Mexico and the US exchange intelligence and the US supports training and institutional building in Mexico, but nothing else.

 

First, there is no requirement for a number of sources when you're working with a person like Plumlee, and that statement is fortified by the fact that everything he said has specifically now been proven by Wikileaks to be the exact case, right down to the maybe not so lucky number seven.

 

After all, Plumlee would know; and the law enforcement teams on the ground do know. I don't think many Americans in their disconnected states of apathy and reality show sensationalism mentality (literally) understand how violent and dangerous the border area has become. This border game of hit and run isn't a creation of sleepy little border towns playing with police work. Its not done by the faint of heart; the men and women, who patrol the Border and area police, their deputies, for the most part are always on guard, prepared to deal with the most violent criminals in history, risking their lives. However there are others in law enforcement that simply go through the motions of being law enforcement *When they aren't hiding behind their badges they smuggling drugs or weapons, they move people for the cartels, and they inform on their brothers. But the idea that a human being could ultimately be killed by a gun sold to a drug cartel member by an American citizen in New Mexico does not set well with those in the know on both sides of the border.

 

An example of this double dealing can be found in Columbus New Mexico, which is a small border town three miles north of Mexico. A suspected gun smuggling ring including a city councilman, a gun store owner, a mayor and police chief, as well as, other town insiders and officials, known as the Columbus 11 were busted by ATF last March. This activity is reprehensible to Tosh and everyone else who still has a heart and is interested in Justice for all.

 

In the Mexican Embassy letter to Salem-News.com, Alday only admitted an exchange of intelligence information and said there are no US Special Forces in Mexico. His attempt to discredit our story and our source are quite frankly, both pathetic and alarming.

 

Mr. Alday is the official Mexican government spokesman in Washington. He either willfully or unintentionally stated something clearly not true. As I demonstrate for you below, I gave him an opportunity for redemption and there was no response. However to be clear I don't think Mr. Alday or the Mexican government are specifically being deceitful or at the root of the very significant problems described in this article.

 

Everything became very clear when this document was published by the Wikileaks cable.

 
 

THE OPERATIONAL CONTINUUM
SSPPEECCIIIAALL RREECCOONNNNAAIIISSSSAANNCCEE
UUNNCCOONNVVEENNTTIIIOONNAALL WAARRFFAARREE
CCOOUUNNTTEERRTTEERRRROORRIIISSMM
WAR PEACE
POST-CONFLICT
PEACE
PRE-CONFLICT
FFOORREEIIIGGNN IIINNTTEERRNNAALL DDEEFFEENNSSEE
DDIIIRREECCTT AACCTTIIIOONN

SOUTHCOM ENGAGEMENT SOUTHCOMENGAGEMENTSOUTHCOM ENGAGEMENT



As directed, 7TH SFG(A) conducts Foreign
Internal Defense (FID) with selected Host Nation
Counter-Terrorism forces in the USSOUTHCOM area
of operational responsibility in order to build
capacity of Host Nation units to conduct unilateral
and regionally coordinated operations.



On order, 7TH SFG(A) conducts other Special
Operations across the area of operational
responsibility.
UNCLASSIFIED//FOUOUNCLASSIFIED//FOUO

Mexico
Mexico
Mexico
Andean Ridge
Caribbean
Central America
Southern Cone
FY09DEPLOYMENTSFY09 DEPLOYMENTS
--USSOUTHCOM/USNORTHCOMUSSOUTHCOM / USNORTHCOM
--USSOUTHCOM/USNORTHCOMUSSOUTHCOM / USNORTHCOM

(see: US Special Forces briefing to Congressman Miller exposes involvement in 19 Latin American countries during 2009 including Honduras, 17 May 2009 ‎ - Wikileaks.ch Category: Mexico)


 

In regard to deployments, Mexico is listed again with a large number of other Latin American countries. The cost for these undisclosed missions must be astronomical. Bear in mind that this is all taking place in 2009 according to the released documents. Mexico's critique of our claims happened 27 September 2010, well after the 'Boots on the Ground' program involving U.S. military in Mexico was up and running.


 
 

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 003573

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR MX
SUBJECT: MEXICAN NAVY OPERATION NETS DRUG KINGPIN ARTURO
BELTRAN LEYVA

REF: MONTERREY 000453

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Gustavo Delgado.
Reason: 1.4 (b),(d).

1. (S) Summary. Mexican Navy forces acting on U.S.
information killed Arturo Beltran Leyva in an operation on
December 16, the highest-level takedown of a cartel figure
under the Calderon administration. The operation is a clear
victory for the Mexican Government and an example of
excellent USG-GOM cooperation. The unit that conducted the
operation had received extensive U.S. training. Arturo
Beltran Leyva's death will not solve Mexico's drug problem,
but it will hopefully generate the momentum necessary to make
sustained progress against other drug trafficking
organizations. End Summary. (see: Viewing cable 09MEXICO3573,
MEXICAN NAVY OPERATION NETS DRUG KINGPIN ARTURO
)


 

Both telephone calls to Mr. Alday last week and emails have brought no return contact. This is unfortunate, because as Tosh stated in his article filed Friday, Homeland Security is now giving this longtime dedicated American a bad time. Even though he has worked very closely with law enforcement and the military in this exact area with their full awareness for three years, he now has been advised he will be arrested if he crosses the border from Mexico into the United States again, without going through a proper border crossing.

The Task Force team he has been working with since 2009, has requested Tosh to accompany them on a few extremely sensitive missions so Tosh could record and document their activities and prove their existence in case their joint exercise with the Mexican military were compromised by unknown forces. A meeting with Tosh and representatives from the Border Patrol Intelligence Unit, as well as agents from the FBI, and the State Department has been scheduled for early July. Tosh has been advised to have an attorney on hand.

I have been in contact with the Mexican Embassy to see if, now that the information we published- that they claimed in no uncertain terms to be false, has been fully vetted and exposed by Wikileaks, they will take the moral high road and admit they were wrong to criticize our report.

Ricardo Alday
Mexican Embassy
Washington D.C.

Dear Mr. Alday,

I explained to Beatrice the nature of my call on the phone and hope you can help. Several things are taking place that relate to the story about U.S. soldiers on the ground in Mexico which we published and you object(ed) to in a communication noted in the second link below. Sir, Robert 'Tosh' Plumlee is a person who cares greatly about your nation and mine. U.S. officials are now planning to arrest him and part of it stems from Plumlee's allegations last year about U.S. soldiers on the ground in Mexico. Since that information is now out publicly, I assume you simply weren't aware last year that this was taking place. No problem. I appreciate any effort you can provide to help Mr. Plumlee. I believe that the right words from you could vindicate Mr. Plumlee from unplaced suspicions or questions about his credibility. Mr. Plumlee has a lifetime of national service behind him and he is important in this world. Please acknowledge for me that we were actually correct in our story last year.
 


Sincerely,
Tim King
Salem-News.com
Online Global News Service
Email:


http://www.salem-news.com/articles/september262010/mexico-us-forces.php
http://www.salem-news.com/articles/october052010/us-mexico-military.php

 

Los Zetas Cartel

 


 

First, we will review the Los Zetas Cartel; described by Wikipedia as a criminal organization in Mexico dedicated mostly to international illegal drug trade, assassinations, extortion, car theft, and other organized crime activities.

 

It is important to understand that the Zeta Cartel is not a band of street thugs, not at all. They were founded by a small band of Mexican Special Forces deserters and according to Plumlee, their breakaway included the seizure of approximately 90% of the Mexican Army's munitions, weapons, etc. The Zeta Cartel now includes corrupt former federal, state, and local police officers, and also ex-Kaibiles from Guatemala.

 

The mainstream media has paid some degree of attention to the developments in Mexico, but then there have been so many murders and killings of Americans in the last couple of years, that even the national press has given it some coverage. Anderson Cooper reviews some of the issues related to the Zetas in this video, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4iSuWzE2Tg

 

"El Lazca" Lazcano - dead or alive?

 

The Zetas' rise to crime began after these highly trained fighters decided to hire out their services out as mercenaries and bodyguards for the Gulf Cartel. After Gulf Cartel leader Osiel Cárdenas Guillen was arrested, the groups merged to became a combined trafficking force. Employing terrorist tactics beyond belief through beheading people, sometimes whole groups of people, and other grisly forms of widespread murder, the Zetas began growing and gaining power, taking a leadership role in cartel drug trafficking.

 

Wikipedia also notes that in February 2010m Los Zetas went independent and became enemies of the group's former employer and partner, the Gulf Cartel.

 

The leader of Los Zetas is Heriberto "El Lazca" Lazcano who is considered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to head what is probably the most violent paramilitary enforcement group in Mexico. There is an unconfirmed report of "El Lazca" having suffered a gruesome death days ago in the war with the Gulf Cartel, however government officials say there is no hard evidence to support this.

 

According to The Monitor, three of their sources in Mexico who are familiar with criminal activity in Matamoros, say Lazcano arrived with a convoy of more than 130 SUVs that consisted of his Zeta followers.

 

Lazcano is said to have fled, attempting to escape gunfire along Avenida Lauro Villar. This apparently triggered widespread gunfire near Los Tomates International Bridge. It is reported that enforcers with the Gulf Cartel took Lazcano’s body, the sources said.

 

A Mexican army official told The Monitor that the regimiento motorizado — soldiers who who head for the action in large trucks, were in downtown Matamoros patrolling the area, but they did not participate in a gunbattle.

 

Like all major crime syndicates, Los Zetas does not operate only in Mexico and the United States. Reports indicate they have expanded their operations to Italy with the 'Ndrangheta, Wikipedia relates.

 

Soldiers Contact Plumlee

 

Tosh Plumlee was contacted by a member of a secret team based in Arizona at both Ft Bliss Texas and Ft Huchuca, which is referred to as 'Task Force 7'... a U.S. Army specialized operational team that is working a secret covert Pentagon assignment.

 

Plumlee's field contact expressed his concern that they believed certain sensitive information they had obtained from operations inside Mexico should be given to the U.S. media because-- in their opinion-- their field reports were not being properly acted upon and they felt their information was being tampered with at the highest levels in Washington D.C.

 

Tosh explains in his current report, "This military contact and friend asked for my help in establishing media coverage of a deteriorating situation, which they were involved with. I, after some hesitation, agreed to become active with them in a civilian capacity and document their movements and activities, while operating in Mexico in conjunction with Mexico’s army and Marines. As a result of this agreement, a complicated three-year odyssey was initiated".

 

Changing U.S. Government

 

Some elements in this story have a persistent type of nature:

 
  • in spite of the fact that the vast majority of Mexico's citizens are doing what they can, deterioration of society in places like Juarez has been consistent;
  • levels of corruption and poverty in Mexico are at the root of why the problems have accelerated;
  • the U.S. drug war perpetuates violence and all of the problems it claims to counter;
  • the joint inter-military teams on the ground, both U.S. and Mexican; are effective and with the right support have a chance.
 

I suspect many would question why the government would turn against Tosh Plumlee; it obviously makes little sense as he is likely one of the sharpest sets of eyes they could possibly have in the area. Turnover is a fact in every business and government agency, and this is part of what seems to be taking place. Steady, reliable people in the federal government that Tosh worked with since the late 1950's, are retired, have moved on, and with them went their pull and assistance from within.

 

But it isn't that simple. Tosh is clearly working for the side that is trying to take the cartels apart; with people willing to put their lives at risk for the betterment of all. The federal government's opposition of him only says one thing; he is too close, he is revealing their inner workings, he likely has many already in hot water, but the water temperature for him is rising too, and it is important that this information is published, because at the rate we seem to be moving, there is little time before there will be big changes in Mexico, which will greatly impact the security of the United States of America in ways that haven't been even imagined.

 

Already Taking and Holding Power

 





 

Perhaps most Americans don't realize that the Zeta Cartel are in many cases, uniformed military forces. They have training bases located all over Mexico. Talk about terrorism; the cartels are guilty of thousands of murders every year and their sexual abuse and murder of girls and women led to the use of the term 'femicide'. We frequently carry tragic reports about the ongoing murders, disappearances; it is happening right next to the U.S.A. and on this side of the border as well. American citizens and the main stream media of the American press seem to be apathetic and not interested in the sinister ongoing events of death and destruction in Mexico.

 

We are talking about crime elements so vast and interconnected that they have made the residents of entire towns in Mexico move away in fear. These crime elements cross back and forth from the U.S. to Mexico constantly and maintain criminal operations on both sides of the New Mexico border.

 

Mercenaries are also being hired, according to reports, and it is possible that could be taking place on both sides. I didn't run this by Tosh, but my belief is that the use of these hired killers; many seasoned from years in Iraq and Afghanistan, is grief and tragedy in the making and an exacerbation of the problem. I can tell you first-hand that some of these paid fighters; people I witnessed abusing bound and hooded Iraqi detainees, are absolutely ruthless.

 

There is no question over whether Los Zetas are well armed, indeed they are heavily armed and these are with both older and new U.S. arms that Tosh refers to as 'High Impact Weapons'. We're talking about rocket propelled grenade launchers and anti-aircraft guns; munitions used to fight a full-scale war. More on this in a moment.

 

Beyond the shipments of brand-new U.S. weapons, those shipped en mass to Nicaragua and other right-wing movements in South America for many years under President Ronald Reagan and well into the 1990's, have been moved north to Mexico and are in the hands of the cartels.

 

While the South America weapon deliveries have been taking place, the U.S. government has been supplying weapons to the cartels from the north. It seems clear from what we know that the U.S. Army 'boots on the ground' operation in Mexico that Salem-News and Narco News reported, as Wikileaks later verified; is an operation being carried out in earnest.

 

The entity within the U.S. federal government who is supplying extraordinary amounts of weapons--which are eventuality filtered to the cartels by illegal means on both sides of the border-- is entirely unknown to the American citizen and taxpayer. There are however, several undocumented but credible reports of campaign money being transfered from the cartels to U.S. politicians, and that is reported to be at the heart of the profitable weapon shipments.

 
This matter caught the attention of Veterans Today Senior Editor and Salem-News.com Staff Writer Gordon Duff in October 2010. He wrote in the article, 'How Drug Money is Buying U.S. Congress: 

There is no secret about it. By June, $200 million in “foreign” contributions had already come into the GOP and Tea Party and not one cent of it is accounted for. It is “corporate” money, money that doesn’t have to be American, doesn’t have to be legal, money that would put any normal American in prison for years if they had one cent in their pockets. The $200 million is laundered drug money, much from Afghanistan but much also from Mexico, those drug cartels that are buying America’s Southwest, the same cartels that did so well during the Bush years when the border with Mexico was open and totally unwatched.

 

From the FOX News Exclusive 27 April 2011: Drug Informant Quits - FOX News

 

I know suggesting that the U.S. government and weapons manufacturers are supplying drug cartels with weapons in return for campaign funding is a stiff accusation, but based on the number of U.S. weapons currently in the hands of cartel 'stash locations', there is no other possibility.

 

Too much top grade brand-new American-manufactured weaponry; stockpiles, have been observed and reported in Mexico by more than one credible sources.

 

In the simplest terms, the sheer number of weapons that have been recovered or observed; types like anti-aircraft guns, rocket launchers, etc., far outweigh what could be a simple case of stolen goods that fell off the back of a truck.

 

Tosh says along with the weapons and ammunition being found, are a lot of phony Mexican Army uniforms, which were apparently manufactured in a Juarez sweat shop.

 

Beyond this allegation, there is no question that Americans have been sending weapons to the cartels. Whether it be by accident are on purpose, the cartels still get the goods.

 

We reported in March that 11 people were arrested in a huge weapons smuggling ring in Columbus, New Mexico; the place famous for Pancho Villa's border raid roughly a century ago.

 

From KOBTV4 11 March 2011: Village officials indicted in weapons smuggling KOBTV4

 

Today Americans in this place live in constant fear of the cartels that have moved into town. There are ridiculous prices on real estate and houses are selling for far more than they are worth. There is no question over the fact that Zetas are increasingly moving in.

 

This is another area where Tosh has worked diligently to gather and report information, but it is as though his informations has fallen on deaf ears these days.

 

In the Columbus ATF raid, those arrested included the mayor, police chief, and two city councilors; one of whom owns, or has access, to a gun shop that has been supplying very high end weapons to the drug cartels.

 

The scary thought right now is that it appears the Federal Government and ATF are going to work out a plea deal, which would prevent the trial from taking place.

 

Now it doesn't take an expert to understand that the trial would bring to light in all likelihood, a lot of additional information implicating, in theory, many people who at this point have not been named.

 

As the videos show in each case, there are dire circumstances at the United States southern border with Mexico. In reality, we will just scratch the surface in this article.

 

Fast and the Furious

 

Award winning investigative journalist and reporter; Bill Conroy with The Narcosphere, writes for one of the few other western news agencies that has followed Plumlee's findings and reports. His article from 25 March 2011 titled U.S. Military has Special Ops "Boots on the Ground" in Mexico.

 

ATF’s PR Gun Busts Perpetuate Drug-War Fairy Tale from 12 June 2011, explains how ATF agents busted the weapons smuggling ring.

 
As part of an operation dubbed Fast and Furious, an ATF whistleblower contends at least 1,800 firearms illegally purchased in the U.S. were allowed to “walk” across the border in an effort to target the kingpins behind Mexico’s gun-running enterprises. The whistleblower, ATF agent John Dodson out of the agency’s Phoenix field office, has gone public via the mainstream media denouncing the practice, out of concern that it is seriously flawed and leading to needless bloodshed. 

In fact, two of the guns linked to the Fast and Furious operation allegedly were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, who was shot to death in Arizona by Mexican border marauders in Arizona late last year.

 

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry

 

This story is not about Tosh, it is about what Tosh has seen, reported, etc. However when reading about his history and discovering so many interesting things, like how he worked with the famous DEA Agent KiKi Camarena who was tortured and murdered in the 80's when Tosh was a Military/DEA contract pilot, attached to Panama and Colombia, Costa Rica Investigative Task Force on Narcotics; this sort of thing; I find myself more intrigued with the fact that Homeland Security has made statements about possible 'illegal border crossing' charges.

 

With regard to what he has seen over his career, it is logical that something like Brian Terry's senseless death would be a sticking point for Tosh, sort of like that line in the sand, only the real deal. One of the most moving statements he offered me, was his reason for going out on a limb to track down the vital information about the connection between the U.S. government supply lines and Los Zetas Cartel.

 

Tosh said, "This isn't about me, or my background with the C.I.A.; this is about Brian Terry, you can write that down. It is about being a witness and doing the right thing, and what we have reported has not been investigated".

 

After all, he would know; and the law enforcement teams on the ground know. I don't think many Americans in their disconnected states, (literally) understand how violent and dangerous the border area has become.

 

This isn't sleepy police work; the Border Patrols and area police and deputies are always on guard and prepared to deal with the most violent criminals in history. When they aren't smuggling drugs or weapons, they move people.

 

But the idea that this man could ultimately be killed by a gun sold to a drug cartel by an American in New Mexico; a ring including a city councilman/gun store owner, mayor and police chief, is reprehensible to Tosh and everyone else who still has a heart and is interested in Justice for all.

 

Agent Terry composed a poem that he entitled “If Today Is to Be the Day…So Be It”. It seems he had some idea of what may come:

 
 

“If you seek to do battle with me this day, you will receive the best that I am capable of giving.

“It may not be enough, but it will be everything that I have to give and it will be impressive for I have constantly prepared myself for this day.

“I have trained, drilled and rehearsed my actions so that I might have the best chance of defeating you.

“I have kept myself in peak physical condition, schooled myself in the martial skills and have become proficient in the applications of combat tactics.

“You may defeat me, but I’m willing to die if necessary. I do not fear death for I have been close enough to it on enough occasions that it no longer concerns me.

“But, I do fear the loss of my honor and would rather die fighting than to have it said that I was without courage.

“So I will fight you, no matter how insurmountable it may seem, to the death if need be, in order that it may never be said of me that I was not a warrior.”
- Brian Terry

 

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's Service

 

15 December 2010; the night Brian Terry, a former U.S. Marine, was killed in the desert outside of Rio Pico, he was was due to complete his shift and then head back to Michigan for a family vacation.

 

In the end he arrived for Christmas, to be buried near his family home. He had already purchased gifts and sent them back. That must have been so difficult. And it is this what drives Tosh Plumlee, and other good people in this struggle, in this twenty-year plus border war raging along our U.S./Mexico border.

 

Brian Terry had already made his travel plans to fly back to Michigan and spend the Christmas holiday with his family. Brian’s attention to detail had insured that all the Christmas gifts he had meticulously selected for his family had already been bought and sent in the mail prior to his arrival. Brian did ultimately come home that Christmas;

 

"we buried him not far from the house that he was raised in just prior to Christmas day. The gifts that Brian had picked out with such thought and care began to arrive in the mail that same week. With each delivery, we felt the indescribable pain of Brian’s death, but at the same time also remembered his amazing love and spirit..." said Brian's cousin at the Senate Hearings on BATF's Operation Fast and Furious. Brian Terry's poem was read into the record.

 

Receding Mirrors and Hand Grenades

 

A Place know as, "The Crater", in Mexico where a number of bodies were
found last year. Photo by Tosh Plumlee.

 

I have been keeping up as well as possible with Tosh's dispatches over the last three years, and what a time it has been for him. I regret not giving all of this a lot more ink and you will be seeing more in the future. One story he relates took place in 2009 during a raid on a warehouse tied to cartel activity.

 

Tosh says the task force entered the building and found a substantial number of cases of brand new American manufactured M-67 hand grenades.

 

"These are the new type, not like what was thrown in Vietnam". In regard to how many cases, Tosh didn't have a number but he says there were a great number of cases of these devices.

 

"The other thing we found, were piles and piles of Fake Mexican army uniforms, or what were supposed to be army uniforms, they were flawed. These were made in a Juarez sweatshop as we later found out. The Mexican Army eventually shut them down" Tosh said.

 

These type of activities are taking place all over Mexico. It really isn't much of a secret either, particularly for the unfortunate people whose lives are constantly victimized by the men who run Los Zetos; the worst, most violent and fastest growing of these criminal syndicates. This cartel, as mentioned above; was military before anything else. Tosh says the amount of weaponry in the warehouse was more than alarming, and that the U.S. grenades and all of it, are part of the cartel's big-scale plan.

 

On another trip with the military group in the same general timeframe, Tosh was taken to a residence that belonged to the same individual, who is a cartel member.

 

"They didn't make it home". Photo by Tosh Plumlee.

 

"This guy was asking how you move the mirrors and I had no idea at first what he was talking about", Tosh said. "Then one of them activated a switch on the floor and the mirrors receded to reveal a huge stash of weapons . They were three anti-aircraft weapons and other high impact weapons. These were not little AK-47's, they were more powerful, more expensive, and more deadly weapons".

 

Los Zetas are on the move and they are more than ruthless. They are the manifestation of all of the terrormongering that the United States has been behind for the past two decades. The U.S. likes to foster the image of a terrorist as a person from the Middle east, but in the words of Bachman Turner Overdrive, "You ain't seen nothing yet". If Los Zetas comes to control Mexico, U.S. policy will, perhaps, be behind it.

 

Written or unwritten, these types of things don't come to pass without a lot of support from specialized political interest on both sides of the border. If we in the end learn that U.S. politicians have received campaign contributions from deadly cartels and returned the favor with loads of American weapons, we may be more deserving of our fate than we would like.

 

The Zeta Cartel is not wasting time, as we learn in the article, 'Mexico Security Memo: Confusing Reports of a Battle in Matamoros', that STRATFOR Global Intelligence reported Friday:

 
Around 5 a.m. on June 17, simultaneous firefights reportedly broke out between elements of the Gulf and Los Zetas cartels in several locations in Matamoros, Tamaulipas state, a Gulf stronghold. The Mexican military has confirmed that a gunbattle did indeed take place in the Colonia Pedro Moreno area but has not confirmed media reports of additional firefights in the Mariano Matamoros, Valle Alto, Puerto Rico and Seccion 16 neighborhoods. The military also has not confirmed a reported gunbattle in the rural area of Cabras Pintas, where six Mexican soldiers are said to have been killed. 

Details of the confirmed firefight remain unclear, but from all indications, a large movement of Zeta forces into a Gulf stronghold did occur, and it suggests a heightened operational tempo in the war between these two cartels. In the coming months, this increasing violence is likely to continue in Gulf-held Reynosa and Zeta-held Monterrey as well as Matamoros.

 

Tosh cuts right to the chase. "If the elections don't go the way Los Zetos want them to go, they are going to launch a full-scale bloody revolution and take over the country".

 

Call in The Marines

 

It is interesting and not unpredictable in my estimation, that the Mexican Marines or 'Marinos' are basically a reflection of the U.S. Marines or the British Royal Marines. In each case we are dealing with a smaller military service that is highly trained and one most people would not approach if they were not quite serious about their military choice. In return the Marines are typically a highly effective fighting unit and loyal as any that ever existed. Tosh says the Mexican Marinos are one element in Mexico that by and large is not corrupt. They were moved up from Mexico City as we have reported in the past, to take on the country's ongoing war against the narco-traffickers.

 

Tosh adds, "Don't get me wrong, there are really good soldiers in the Mexican Army too, very dedicated. But in some cases they simply aren't loyal and they may be doing work with the other side as well".

 

I thought for a second that I was in Iraq interviewing soldiers about working with the locals, and how it was mostly good, but some of the 'Sons of Iraq' were working for the insurgency in their off hours and they never had any easy way to tell who was who.

 

This is the same problem in any corrupt or hard pressed society, and it is the same in Mexico today, but is it truly the fault of the common Mexican? I'd say the answer is 'surely not'. I spent two years in Yuma, Arizona with the NBC station there and anyone who does this learns a great deal about the abject poverty of Mexico. People will do what they have to do in order to feed their children and in places like Juarez, it may be easier and more profitable to join forces with the cartels than hack out an honest living. That is one of the most complicated aspects.

 

Lessons

 

 

These trends are matched by others, like the murders that keep taking place inside drug treatment centers. We have reported this multiple times, and as I recall in every case, all of the people in these facilities were murdered.

 

The lesson is simple, cartels teach the society that they will not seek to better themselves; they will not be allowed to break away or escape from the trapped circumstances they find themselves in.

 

Tosh tells a story that is completely heartbreaking - one that stands out even among the roughly 40,000 Murder victims from Mexico's terrible drug war declared by President Calderon. He sent pictures a few months ago that were taken at a grave site of who turned out to be, a nine-year old girl.

 

I knew that this site was one of many that Tosh had documented and dispatched reports over. I know there are many such sites that he has photographed and documented, that officials have not responded to investigate.

 

It is one thing when a site is reported by someone passing by, something easily explained, but in Tosh Plumlee's case we are talking about visible human remains and he officially notes the locations by setting his GPS (Global Positioning System) device in the picture as you see here.

 

 

What we see in these images are grave photos of a possible skull and a buried forearm, a little girl's bloodstained jacket... and arm bone, which is too large to be from an animal.

 

Tosh says at minimum, each time a discovery is made, the graves are GPS'ed, logged and tagged with brass marker numbers. In this case the remains were sent to New Mexico State University for examination.

 

That is how and why we came to know what we do about this girl's death. We know almost nothing about her life, I hope her nine brief years were good.

 

Tosh says what they do know, is that the girl and her grandmother were traveling from Deming New Mexico south on the highway to see the girl's grandfather in Mexico. Along with the girl and her grandma was a two-year old Labador dog that was the little girls best friend and her teddy bear.

 

"We found out that her older brother had been dealing guns for a rival cartel in Palomas and the Los Zetas received information about this, and knew that he had been supplying another cartel".

 

Tosh believes it was for this reason, that the Zetas apparently pulled over the grandmother's car on the highway.

 

They buried the little girl alive, along with her best friend and the Teddy Bear.

 

From the time I first saw the photo, until just this week, I did not realize that this was a grave that was fully excavated and that is how Tosh and the others working the site had this grim information. It gets worse.

 

Tosh said, "They found her grandmother a mile away, she had been decapitated".

 

They speculate, or are aware of Los Zetas' habits well enough, to conclude that the girl's grandmother likely was forced to watch as they buried her little granddaughter without having killed her first, along with her small dog.

 

It is mind numbing and it defies all logic. Surely one can understand that cartels kill to protect their interests, and that rival's families are targeted, I suppose that is par for the course with the more vicious cartels, but to bury a little girl alive? And why decapitate her grandmother a mile away?

 

 

Tosh answered, "It is because the Zeta boys want to instill fear, they want obeisance, so they put the fear of God into these terrified people, and they respond accordingly".

 

I suppose that when a crime group guts a society by savaging their children and elderly, they do end up with an awfully cooperative public. Of course everyone asked to work with the narco cartels doesn't just jump right in line. Some immigrants last year proved that groups of several dozen have the capability of offering resistance.

 

72 people mostly from south of Mexico, trying to make their way to the United States where they would 'illegally' cross over in search of honest hard work on American soil, told a cartel they weren't going to be pressed into service as drug 'mules', as people who transport are called. This group made a stand, they just said 'no'. And their bond would unite them forever.

 

Those 72 people were all taken into a building and murdered, each and every single one of them. There was a survivor, he actually escaped and survived and was able to relate the horror scene from a hospital bed.

 

Lala Pomavilla, - the only survivor

 

As we reported at the time, in late August 2010, Lala Pomavilla, an Ecuadorean national, escaped the attackers and found his way to a highway checkpoint where he alerted Marines, who responded to the area and ultimately lost one of their own in an extensive firefight.

 

The Marinos made the grisly discovery of 58 male and 14 female bodies, described as Central and South Americans. The word is they were killed by Los Zetas Cartel.

 

Officials called the incident one of the most tragic and vivid reminders of the perils faced by migrants trying to make their way to the US.

 

But whether it compares to what I am about to tell you, I can't be sure. Numerically, the 72 victim murder is by far the most costly and tragic, but the most disturbing thing I have seen, personally, is a video that a cartel recorded and sent out to select police agencies and media groups to show everyone how they can make a person disappear forever without a trace.

 

The scene is recorded on a rolling green hillside in Mexico, the viewer sees a small car pulls up, and the middle-aged male driver; the car's only clearly living occupant, opens the back and removes the lifeless form of a man. We can presume he is already dead but the camera is not right next to him so there is no way to ever really know.

 

It all happens fast. The camera shows a large group of large black birds that I believe were probably buzzards, nearby, watching. A man, possibly the car's driver, (I only watched it once and knew it was something I could always talk or write about, I truly wouldn't publish it here I don't think, it is that bad.) take a bowie knife or something close to that, and begins cutting the presumably dead man's body. He cuts the legs, chest, arms, etc. and then steps away.

 

The birds move in, and I think it takes two to three minutes or so, and they fly away and everything is gone but the spine. This, the man who had the knife, breaks up the spinal cord and then lights what is left, on fire. No DNA; no trace of this man will ever be found.

 

That my dear readers, is terrorism on steroids.

 

The real lesson is that people can never give up or simply hand over their lives. The lesson isn't so much for them; they are already stuck and in dire straights. It is we, the Americans, who must lead the way and find the answers. We must not allow our government to thwart the legitimate efforts of not just the Mexican government, but also the U.S. troops that we now know are actively participating in the anti-narco war, and the Mexican forces, and the U.S. Border Patrol and Customs agents.

 

Love Thy Neighbor

 

Every big story has its bad points, however it would be hard to decide exactly which is the worst about the catastrophic series of past, current and predictable future events at play here. The death of the little girl above is awful, sickening, yet I think the credible information about how deep insiders in Washington really feel about Mexico, might be the ugliest piece of this puzzle.

 

Remember there are elements in the U.S. government right now, this very second, who are responsible for shipping ridiculously large amounts of weapons to Los Zetas Cartel that threaten to annihilate the America we know. The word through our sources is that the everyday reference to the problems south of the border is, "SCREW the Mexicans" and that is reportedly coming out of big agencies in D.C. It is reportedly stated in a way that people in the room don't speak up against such amazingly intolerable sentiments.

 

Part two to this whole federal ineptitude matter might make you weak to hear. Under a corrupt and incompetent arrangement, it gets pretty hard for an enforcement agency on the take to know which LAWS to enforce, and which ones to be a part of. I think most Americans know in their hearts that Homeland Security is an extremely redundant agency and they are not known for communicating with other feds, which is in itself not just a squandering of efforts, but also a terrible waste of important taxpayer supplied revenue. So here it is, in addition to the redundancy and communication issues, the word is that those who should be dedicating their lives to fighting for justice, are sitting on their hands and are very reluctant to take leads, follow up reports or launch investigations.

 

Recent Raid Foiled

 

I have spent time in Mexico but not very much, certainly not enough. I find the border and all Hispanic culture fascinating and while working for KYMA Channel-11, the NBC affiliate in Yuma, Arizona; I had a chance to do a lot of exploring and I also was able to cover what I considered to be some fairly significant news stories in both Sonora and Baja California. So I am not surprised that about 30 miles east of Palomas Mexico and Columbus NM, is an old abandoned ranch known by the Border Patrol as Rancho Escondido, which has come under scrunity by law enforcement.

 

Tosh explains that the Border Patrol has known about this place for a number of years. However, the officials inside Mexico have stated numerous times that this place is vacant and abandoned.

 

 

“...Perhaps you could ask Border Patrol Intel, El Paso or BP Columbus, as well as San Tresa New Mexico about what they know and have known about this place....the joint task has been watching this place for a number of years. The Task Force, as well as additional information obtained from the BP INTEL units located in Deming NM and El Paso Texas, passed information which they had received from sensitive sources within the task force to the Mexican authorities, and it was the information from Border Patrol and the joint Task Force that was responsible for launching the raid on Escondido. My hat is off to the BP El Paso sector, as well as Deming for doing a fine job on INTEL gathering. They have done their job. But in doing so many like Brian Terry had to paid the ultimate price, because of the few who failed him...”

 

***The Ranch is not a town as thought by some, but a Mexican ranch known as El Rancho Escondido by the Border Patrol, and most locals around Palomas Mexico, as well as Columbus N.M. There are two places known as Rancho Escondido. The northern one is the one that was raided 15 June. It is located about 1/4 mile south of the border fence (pictures of helicopter with red tank in background and the pictures of the Mexican army at the border fence after the raid with red tank in background)

 

In this case we are talking about New Mexico, sixty miles southwest of Las Cruces, New Mexico. While we can't prove this allegation with paperwork, we can logically conclude such

 

The Hourglass Pours

It is time for the powers to be to figure out their respective roles are and it seems painfully clear that the agencies have eliminated their liaisons who kept relations and communications between these agencies fluid and alive, not stagnant, or non-existent.

There needs to be no hesitation in launching a serious investigation into who is behind the weapons supplies that have been identified by U.S. military teams in shocking numbers. This isn't partisan, it is scarcely political when you get right down to it. The United States, which has wielded its power in Latin America so ruthlessly, that 50o times in 50 years, according to John Pilger, the U.S. backed right wing government overthrows; coup-d'etat after coup-d'etat; and bloody revolutions in Central and South America. So how did we drop the ball on Mexico.

 

I think sadly, that it is distinctly possible, that the interference from the U.S. federal government has shattered the possibilities for hope here and I know that is a large thing to say, but people might likely just spend the next several years under the political control of Los Zetas.

 

This dashes the hopes of so many in Mexico who will be all the more disheartened to learn that the acts that thwarted major anti-narco operations in their country, were probably planned actions of people on this side of the border. Who? Well, we know that Homeland Security is the agency questioning Tosh's activities instead of trying to take advantage of what he knows so they can do their jobs better.

 

I can't overstress how familiar Tosh is with the local government agents, soldiers, etc. He questions why, after three years, they would 'suddenly' threaten him with possible charges when he has been doing the same thing all along. These same powers are behind weapons traffickers avoidance of sting operations.

 

Tosh says; "When I was in Juarez, Mexico, when the army were to be dispatched to a crime scene, radios were not used, they simply headed in the direction of where the most gun fire could be heard. This was their method of dispatch. The Zetas monitor all radio traffic, they hear everything that is going on. Their intelligence gathering network is ten to one better than ours".

 

Another interesting development is a $4.5 million shipment of high grade U.S. weapons made last week as per existing agreements with the Mexican government. Legal or illegal, its a fact hand guns and high impact military weapons are stored inside Mexico, just waiting to murder more of our dedicated law enforcement agents and those who do not tow the line of the cartels dictated policies

 

Think Big Realities

 

In reviewing all of this, I have so many pieces of history in my mind; I think about the struggle of the immigrant laborers who take the brunt of the anti-immigration hysteria which intermittently raises its head in the United States, and the 'tea party' citizens who oppose these hard working people who seek not just a better life for their families, but an escape from a country with lawless states that has been more than partly ruined by the United States' weapons that have killed so many, including people like Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

 

I consider the immense suffering that took place in Nicaragua where tens of thousands were killed in a U.S. fueled civil war, Guatemala, where Americans murdered civilians in large numbers in 1950; El Salvador, where tens of thousands were killed in the name of American business interests; Colombia, Chile, and so on and so forth, by the CIA and other U.S. groups that destabilized democratically elected presidents and national leaders because their values didn't closely match the interests of the United States. It is the same exact problem that led to Iran's Revolution in 1979.

 

This is a pattern that was broken in Latin America by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who was the first to remove American control over its vast oil supplies. Now Bolivia, Argentina and other countries are forming bonds never imagined and prosperity is everywhere, well; it is a fact with most of the South American countries. But right next to America is a boiling hotbed of terrorists so bad there are almost no words.

 

All of the years Americans have killed and ravaged the oil rich Middle east; this cartel movement has been building and building. They actually are terrorists, whereas most people in the Middle east are simply resistance fighters of an American led occupational war. Any man worth his salt picks up a rifle and fights for his nation. They didn't choose where they were born. The Iraqi fighters have cut the heads off of American soldiers. In Mexico they cut off many heads from many men at one time and make arrangements with them to leave an impression, which they do. For years the cartels have issued threats against the wives and children of police in El Paso and of course they target Border Patrol agents.

 

Maybe this is exactly what American apathy has created. Perhaps this mindless nonsense; the failed drug war, the allowance of hate legislation in Arizona, the tea party rallies; Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reily, and Lars Larson; these guys are high octane fuel for hatred and they direct people's anger toward Hispanic minorities to keep their listeners stirred and angry with their sensationalized opinions presented to the general public as as factual information, when in fact their presentations are nothing more than egos and mostly wild speculations presented as facts to enhance their own stature. Well, I suspect that much of what they have preached and manipulate will come to pass, but it won't happen the way they have suggested.

 

Sources:

  
_________________________________________________________
 

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 91 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address:



   
 
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