Drug Smuggling Twist: Innocent Mexicans Allegedly Duped By Mennonite Suspect…Fronteras Desk

It is seldom that we see reports from the rural parts of the border and this one gives a small taste of what things are like and how a lot of drugs get into the US–through the ports of entry. I was also struck by this statement from the young Mexican man who was tricked into driving the drugs across:
“They treated me well in the U.S.,” he said in Spanish. “No one pressured me, no one attacked me. I have nothing against the U.S. prosecutors or police.”
The subtext: Had he been arrested IN Mexico, the police or army would have beaten and tortured a confession from him.  Also, the men caught in this scheme and deported back to Mexico are very fearful to be identified because they would be targeted by the smugglers and their suppliers for failing to deliver their product in the US.  -Molly
Lorne Matalon | Fronteras

CHIHUAHUA, Mexico —Federal prosecutors in Texas and New Mexico are dealing with a series of unusual cases.

Ten drug smuggling crimes have been traced to a man from a Mennonite community in Mexico who is alleged to have duped the victims.

The seduction starts with a classified ad in the paper, one that 23-year-old named Juan was drawn to. He asks that his last name not be revealed; he’s frightened there may be retribution if the man who placed the ad — identified by U.S. attorneys and the victims as David Giesprecht Fehr — finds him.

The ad reads, “Si tienes visa laser recienmente americano, contratación inmediata.” Translated, “If you have a recent U.S. visa known as a laser visa, there’s immediate work available.”

The man who placed the ad is from the Ciudad Cuauhtémoc area, a 40,000-strong Mennonite community of ranchers and farmers in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua.

They’re members of a conservative Christian church with European roots. Mennonites were invited by Mexico’s post-revolutionary government to settle here in the 1920s in part to populate Mexico’s border twith the United States.

The Mennonites in Chihuahua today trace their ancestry to Canada, and prior to that Germany and the Netherlands.

Juan answered the ad. And a man called back.

“The man said ‘I’ll pay you $500 a week to drive my truck to the U.S. and back,’” Juan was making $70 a week as a security guard.

The would-be employer, David Giesbrecht Fehr, goes by different aliases and imports American farm equipment. It’s now alleged he ran narcotics.

Mennonites enjoy a deserved reputation as prolific farmers and ranchers. This image was taken near Casas Grandes, Chihuahua where Mennonites have made the desert bloom.

He pitches non-Mennonite Mexicans who respond to his ad by saying that he imports farm equipment from the United States.

What he allegedly did not add is that the trucks he gave people to enter the U.S. with were loaded with large quantities of marijuana.

Juan thought the job offer was too good to be true. The caller was offering to quadruple his salary and give Juan steady work with health benefits.

So he told the caller he needed time to consider the offer.

The same offer was made to Juan’s father. They discussed it together. The father declined while Juan accepted, to his enduring dismay.

Liz Rogers was the federal defender in West Texas whose office represented Juan and five other Mexicans. The other three were arrested crossing into New Mexico.

“Whenever the person that is a Mennonite that the government has identified, whenever he showed up he could talk to them very professionally over exporting and importing farm equipment,” Rogers said. “And so it would be no wonder that they’d believe it was a legitimate job.”

It was anything but. When Juan hit the Texas border at Presidio, a customs agent told him to get out of the truck.

“They didn’t tell me what was happening,” he said in Spanish. Then another customs officer approached.

The officer said a DEA agent would explain everything. When that agent arrived, the conversation continued.

A Mennonite father and son at work in a field near Casas Grandes, Chihuahua.

“Are you carrying drugs?” the agent asked Juan. ‘Absolutely not,’ he replied. He couldn’t digest what he heard next.

“The DEA agent told me I had 57 kilograms (125 pounds) of marijuana in the gas tank,” Juan related. “I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe.”

Rogers says one of the cases showed how sophisticated the operation was.

“The marijuana was hidden very professionally in an I-beam,” she recounted. “It was welded into the I-beam of this big flatbed. And the government found it is because there’s x-ray equipment that can find very well hidden marijuana.”

At least seven of the people allegedly duped by Giesprecht, including Juan, live near a cluster of Mennonite villages near Ciudad Cuauhtémoc located about 60 miles southwest of the state capital, Ciudad de Chihuahua.

One non-Mennonite I spoke with outside Ciudad Cuauhtémoc — a man who says he greatly who respects the Mennonite culture — says his neighbors are hard-working farmers. But he says there are exceptions.

“They plant corn. Sometimes plant some marijuana too,” he said in English.

For Juan, arrested with 125 pounds of drugs, and the others in New Mexico and Texas, the prospect of serious jail time was real. But as evidence tied to David Giesbrecht Fehr mounted, the state of New Mexico dismissed all the cases.

In Texas, three defendants were allowed to plead guilty to time served and immediately deported. The defendants’ visas were revoked, and that revocation lasts for three years.

A man drives a cotton harvester on a Mennonite farm near Lopez Mateos, Chihuahua.

As a practical matter, however, none of the now-former defendants will find it easy to return to the United States, even for a visit with family. Juan, for example has aunts and cousins in Denver and Los Angleles.

If Juan to present himself at a border crossing, a computer check of his documents would show that he faced serious drug charges and accepted a plea deal which included immediate deportation.

But Juan’s just happy to be home.

“They treated me well in the U.S.,” he said in Spanish. “No one pressured me, no one attacked me. I have nothing against the U.S. prosecutors or police.”

The alleged drug trafficker, David Giesprecht Fehr, remains at-large. (Lorne Matalon / FRONTERAS)

He helped capture EU in ‘El Chapo’ ; now his family faces deportation…El Diario de El Paso

A doctor who treated members of the Sinaloa cartel injured in the state of Chihuahua crossed the border to provide crucial information to US federal authorities that led to the capture of “El Mayito” (Mario Núñez Meza) and also to the capture of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera. He was promised protection and reward money for himself and his family, but his wife is now in deportation proceedings and he is also in danger of being deported. If returned to Mexico, they would be in danger because of his work as an informant in the US. Article from El Diario de El Paso.  A google translation is also posted below

He helped capture EU in ‘El Chapo’ ; now his family faces deportation

Luis Chaparro

The Journal | 23:00

A man who was a key witness for the capture of Mario Nuñez Meza , alias “El Mayito ” or ” M-10 ” and Joaquin “El Chapo ” Guzman Loera, now faces deportation to his wife and says that no give more information to U.S. federal authorities , he will be the next to be expelled from the country , along with the other three members of his family, with the risk of being killed in Ciudad Juarez.

According to the evidence shown to The Journal by the informant and corroborated by members of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA ) in charge of his case, ” Alfonso ” – the name acquired as a protected witness the U.S. government – was the one who handed the cell phone using which could be located at “El Chapo ” Guzman in Mazatlan.

” Alfonso ” was until last August attending a doctor at a hospital in Ciudad Juarez to members of the Sinaloa Cartel injured in the state of Chihuahua.

However, he said he decided to do what he thought was right and provide information on the exact location of ” The Mayito ” Guzman Loera course lieutenant , arrested two days after the meeting the informant with U.S. officials .

Now says U.S. authorities have turned their backs and ” Alfonso ” awaiting deportation of his wife, retained in a processing center from Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE acronym ) for seven weeks . If deported , reports ” Alfonso ” , your entire family could be murdered in Ciudad Juárez.

” Alfonso ” maintained relations with several leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel and Juarez who operated in the state of Chihuahua, through their families involved with one of them for 13 years. This relationship gave him direct access to the cell phones, social networking sites and Mario Nuñez Meza and Emma Coronel, the current wife of Joaquin “El Chapo ” Guzman .

Until the end of last August ” Alfonso ” was called to treat the injured Sinaloa Cartel statewide , and even made ​​him the offer to work directly with Hermosillo Guzman writes.

” I began to treat the wounded in a hospital in Juarez and it never died and neither recognized me as a good doctor, why Emma Coronel wanted to take me Hermosillo ” he says.

However, a confession of Núñez Meza in 2013 lit the alerts ” Alfonso ” and he decided to surrender to U.S. authorities , there starting a collaboration with federal agencies in the United States.

” Last July I was asked to be the ‘ M- 10′ to bring a Chihuahua and Ciudad Juarez. On the way back he told me that he had come to assemble the ‘ chingazos ‘ again , that was going to be another strong violence because he wanted time to regain control of Ciudad Juárez. This I did not like , I do not want to replace Juarez violent and so I thought it was right to give it , before I started the riot , “says ” Alfonso ” from a location in El Paso, Texas.

It was then called the number of anonymous reporting of the DEA in El Paso to provide information leading to the capture Nuñez Meza . According to his version, supported by documentation in the hands of the Drug Enforcement Administration and stamped on his immigration permit , the first meeting between the agents and ” Alfonso ” occurred on August 18 at the premises of the bridge “Free” around 12 Noon .

” At that meeting people was Interpol , the FBI and the DEA. I told them ‘The Mayito ‘ was in a hotel in Juarez , I gave them the phone he had, because that’s how they find them , the plates of their trucks and everything, “says the protected witness .

Ten days later, on August 28 , Mario Nuñez Meza was arrested by agents of the State Single Police Chihuahua in this hotel located on the Panamericana, ” thanks to a citizen complaint and intelligence work ,” as described by the press release at that time.

That same day around 4 pm ” Alfonso ” along with four members of his family crossed the border under the immigration form I-94 SPBP , delivered to reviewers or ” snitches ” by U.S. authorities .

Delivery of ‘El Chapo ‘

“The officers asked me if I had more information and I said yes , I could give them information on how to find the Chapo ” says ” Alfonso ” .

The doctor says he met Colonel Angelica Ortiz , cousin Emma Coronel, a U.S. citizen married to Guzman Loera .

” She gave me the phone to Emma Coronel, a fixed and a mobile phone, I knew she could find by Chapo and indeed it was ,” says ” Alfonso ” .

The informant showed Diary messages sent to the agent Muñoz cell phone contact with the pair of “El Chapo” . After a phone call to the agent Daniel , case manager , after Muñoz retired a few weeks ago , the version of ” Alfonso ” regarding the information provided was confirmed .

The special agent said not to talk to the reporter , however , be confirmed by agent “Alphonse ” as a protected witness DEA .

According to phone messages and documents submitted in possession of the lawyer ” Alfonso ” , on January 15 the first information to capture “El Chapo” began. 22 of the same month, ” Alfonso ” met with the special agents in charge Saul , Daniel and DEA supervisor John W. Jewett on the premises of the Department of Justice , located on Calle Mesa Hills on the west side El Paso, Texas, to make an official report on the information provided.

Joaquin “El Chapo ” Guzman was captured on 22 February in an apartment complex in the city of Mazatlan , Sinaloa, then the authorities will track the cell phone of the couple who accompanied him up before he was arrested by the Mexican Army , according to U.S. officials who spoke to the Associated Press news agency .

the reward

” Alfonso ” says Special Agent of DEA intelligence “Joe” confirmed the existence of a million dollar reward for information leading to the capture of Guzman. However, note in return gave his wife ‘s arrest by agents of Immigration and that if the judgment did not provide more information about the drug lords ” have no more money, more protection , not more permission to be in the United States. “

” What they did was become a protected informant witness but without pay . The reward is a lie , I never got anything and all I ask is support to get a permit to work here and support my family , “says the man.

But a DEA agent , who asked not to be identified , said in an interview to have delivered more than $ 50,000 in about seven months, ” Alfonso ” by the information provided.

” Yes I have given money to eat , to rent an apartment , but instead of leaving my job in Juarez, risking my family and now we can deport all ; that is not worth $ 50,000 also are to survive five people in the United States , “says the protected witness .

According to the records of the Bureau of Immigration (ICE ) , the wife of ” Alfonso ” was arrested on 26 February and has since been awaiting resolution of his case.

Currently seeking political asylum after he was yesterday the credible fear interview , according to the same unit . ( Luis Chaparro / The Journal)

 

Planners Network 2014 Conference: Jun 5 – Jun 7

Via Planners Network 2014 Conference: Jun 5 – Jun 7.

For the first time in its history, the Planners Network conference will take place in Mexico, in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, in the State of Chihuahua, from June 5th to June 7th, 2014 at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ). Ciudad Juárez is an international crossroad of free trade, and social change in the Americas. It is also part of the Borderplex, a transbordermetropolitan area consisting of three cities (Ciudad Juárez, El Paso, and Las Cruces), located in three different states (Chihuahua, Texas, and Nuevo Mexico), and in two different countries (México and the United States).”

Book presentation. Elia Hatfield: Por los caminos del norte: relatos de mujeres de la frontera

BOOK PRESENTATION AT NMSU CENTER FOR LATIN AMERICAN AND BORDER STUDIES/NASON HOUSE / flyer attached

Tuesday December 10, 6:45-7:30 pm
NMSU Nason House / (University Ave and Espina St., across from FedEx/Kinko’s)

The book will be presented by Prof. Jesus Barquet, with commentary from Prof. Gabriela Moreno, Department of Languages & Linguistics, NMSU. All of the presentations will be in SPANISH. Q&A in English or Spanish. Books will be available for sale. Reception to follow the presentations.

Elia Hatfield: POR LOS CAMINOS DEL NORTE: RELATOS DE MUJERES DE LA FRONTERA

Este libro teje su trama a partir de los relatos de mujeres que intentan cruzar hacia Estados Unidos. Aunque no todas logran su propósito, consiguen levantar su voz para defender lo que perciben como justicia, denunciando lo visible e invisible de una frontera siempre presente en los relatos asociados a la aventura de cruzarla. A través de Ana, los lectores conocerán las historias de algunas mujeres que, al intentar cruzar la frontera norte de México, han quedado varadas en ese lugar liminar representado por Ciudad Juárez, y se convierten en testigos cotidianos, e incluso víctimas, de la violencia y el conflicto del narcotráfico.

Presentador: Dr. Jesús J. Barquet, profesor, NMSU

Comentarista: Dra. Gabriela Moreno, profesora asistente, NMSU

Con esta actividad, CLABS celebra el final del semestre de Invierno 2013.

Place/Lugar: NASON HOUSE (University Ave and Espina St., across from FedEx/Kinko’s).

Day/Día: Martes, 10 de diciembre, 2013 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013.

Time/Hora: 6:45 – 7:30 pm.

El libro estará a la venta.

Entrada gratis y abierta al público de NMSU y la comunidad.

La actividad es en español, pero el público puede expresarse en inglés.

Habrá una recepción al final de la actividad.

elia flyer.pdf

160,000 children of deported Mexican parents under state custody in the US…report

A report from the Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI) in Mexico reports that some 160.000 children of Mexican parents who have been deported are now in state custody in the US and may be offered for adoption. An article below from La Jornada gives a brief summary. The full report from IMUMI is available at this link:
http://uf.imumi.org/recursos/ahora_hacia_donde_completo.pdf

More from IMUMI here: http://imumi.org/

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ultimas/2013/12/01/bajo-custodia-oficial-de-eu-cerca-de-160-mil-hijos-de-mexicanos-8740.html

Bajo custodia oficial de EU cerca de 160 mil hijos de mexicanos

Why so many people in Mexico still go missing…Deborah Bonello in Global Post

Deborah Bonello of GLOBAL POST sent this excellent video on the missing in Mexico. The video is about 7 minutes and worth the time.

On Location: Why so many people in Mexico still go missing

By: Deborah Bonello
September 20, 2013 – 12:41am

COAHUILA STATE, Mexico — The federal government says 26,000 people have been reported missing across Mexico since 2006, and yet just two states have a local prosecutor’s office dedicated to the investigation of such cases.

Even there, those who have disappeared are rarely found. Some have been caught up in the drug trade; others forcibly recruited to work for the gangs. Cases of mistaken identity are also common, and some are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Across the country, very few cases are properly investigated, and reports of the involvement of authorities are frequent.

Flooding in Ciudad Juarez

For those on the list far from the borderland, the news of the rains and floods has probably not been much reported. We have had days of rain now and we are thankful for it always in the desert. BUT, the lack of infrastructure and adequate roads, housing and flood control makes any rain events into disasters in Juarez. Yesterday there were terrible photo of floods all over the rural communities in the Juarez Valley… In Juarez there are hundreds of families who have been flooded out of their homes. Many of the outlying neighborhoods are built on floodplains, so when we do get the rare rains that we are having now, the water rushes down from the hills and these neighborhoods flood. Sometimes it is a slow rise of water, but in many cases, the water rushes down from bare hillsides in torrents. Today one of the lead stories in El Diario is of a primary school in an older central neighborhood that completely collapsed after the walls were weakened by rising flood waters. The article lists 14 other schools that have been severely damaged. Another article posted below has the headline: THE WORKS NEVER DONE… Basically, all those flood control plans never paid for and never carried out… The city and state politicians blame the federal government. No one seems to question the huge salaries of any of these officials nor the corruption that fills pockets and leaves poor people completely unprotected in their homes. If they had homes. molly

Se derrumba primaria; 14 más están cuarteadas

70 Juárez families evacuated after reservoir flood

Las obras que no se hicieron

A Drug War Informer in No Man’s Land…NYTimes

This long piece in the NYTimes is worth a look. Keep in mind that the DEA is famous for not protecting informants but merely using them. During the time period that the former informant portrayed here was police chief in Zapopan, Guadalajara, it was well-known to be a town sheltering many high-level traffickers. I’m particularly interested in the phone call Mr Lopez receives from an aging and sick General Rebollo Gutierrez recently. I have probably missed it, but I have not seen anything in the press about him being released from prison and transferred to a military hospital with his rank restored.  In fact, I talked to a person recently who claims to have met and talked to the general in prison. Here is a long piece from 1995 about the arrest of El Guero Palma…

The figure of 60,000 dead seems to be the official number, despite the fact that the toll surpassed that easily more than one year ago and that people are still being killed in many places in Mexico… The weekend in Chihuahua state was especially violent, though spread out in rural areas.   molly

U.S. role at a crossroads in Mexico’s intelligence war on the cartels…Washington Post

I recommend careful reading of this article by Dana Priest of the Washington Post…  A few paragraphs are highlighted. There is also an excellent graphic at the link showing the very small number of Mexican military and police killed since 2006…the number is significant, but not when compared to the 100,000+ civilians killed and the 25,000+ disappeared.

After reading this article, I’m struck by this sub-headline below: Violence deepened ties

I think we should ask: “Did the violence deepen tie (between Mexican and US security forces) OR did the deepened ties increase the violence??

The article confirms many of the operations revealed by the Wikileaks files on Mexico and covered in detail by Narco News Bulletin. The article also describes some detail about the long-standing and extremely close relationship between Mexican security forces (especially CISEN) and the CIA dating back to the 1980s. The information on US drones being used in Mexican security operations is especially interesting and troubling…I highlighted the paragraphs on the lack of effects on the supply and price of heroin, cocaine and other drugs in the US, despite the extremely high number of Mexican deaths. The main thing missing from the article is any hint that there is no information to be able to determine that the dead are indeed cartel criminals. But, we can’t have everything.
Read the article… comments welcome.  molly

 

CSUN journalism professor José Luis Benavides interviews Charles Bowden

Cal State Northridge, journalism professor, José Luis Benavides, interviews journalist and author Charles Bowden, April 22, 2013.

Over the last twenty years Bowden has authored several books on the violence occurring on the border between the United States and Mexico, focusing on Ciudad Juárez. Benavides and Bowden discuss the factors that led to his decision to start writing about the atrocities that Mexico’s powerful and, well-connected, elite carry out against the poor citizens of the country. At the forefront of his decision were the local street photographers that he encountered during a murder story he was investigating in Juárez in 1995. Bowden continues to tell the true story of why such an overwhelming amount of violence exists in Juárez.

After writing a piece about the exceptional work of the Juárez photographers, he discusses the origins of his friendship and collaborative working relationship with Juárez photographer, Julián Cardona. Bowden and Cardona have collaborated on several books. In “Juárez: Laboratory of our Future” Bowden shares how “American generated poverty in factories owned by American companies that pay slave wages,” are not enough for Mexican citizens, working in maquiladoras (foreign owned factories along the US/Mex. border), to survive. The book “Exodus/Éxodo” documents the emigration of Mexican citizens.