News From the Border

Providing the news from a different front but from a war that we must win as well! I recognize the poverty and desperate conditions that many Latinos live in. We, as the USA, have a responsibility to do as much as we can to reach out to aid and assist spiritually with the Gospel and naturally with training, technology and resources. But poverty gives no one the right to break the laws of another sovereign nation.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

ICE to illegals: We'll 'find you and send you home'

13 teams of agents bust more than 900 criminal aliens in California

Posted: May 30, 2008 11:55 pm Eastern
WorldNetDaily

More than 900 illegal aliens have been sent packing after a three-week U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation in California.

Half of the criminal aliens and fugitives arrested during the statewide sting have already been sent to their home countries. Since a large number of the illegals have faced previous deportation, immigration authorities immediately ousted them from the U.S.

The rest remain in police custody, awaiting travel arrangements for deportation or hearings before an immigration judge.

Brian DeMore, acting field officer director for ICE detention and removal operations in Los Angeles, issued a press release about his team's success.

"ICE is committed to protecting the integrity to this country's immigration system and that means ensuring that the removal orders handed down by the nation's immigration courts are carried out," he said. "As a country, we welcome law-abiding immigrants, but foreign nationals who violate our laws and commit crimes in our communities should be on notice that ICE is going to use all of the tools at its disposal to find you and send you home."

Immigration authorities sought out and detained a total of 905 illegal alien criminals in California – 327 in Los Angeles alone. Of the 327 arrested in L.A., 244 were fugitives aliens who have dodged deportation orders or who have returned to the U.S. after being evicted by authorities. Approximately 25 percent of L.A. illegals in custody have criminal histories, and one person has been convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14.

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18 slayings push death toll in Juárez past 400

By Adriana M. Chávez / El Paso Times

Article Launched: 05/30/2008 10:47:00 PM MDT

Juárez officials say federal police will take over the city's emergency 066 hot line next week in an effort to better coordinate response to a wave of violence that continued Friday.

This year's death count surpassed 400 this week, fueled by an ongoing war between drug traffickers from Juárez and Sinaloa.

From Thursday morning to Friday evening, there were at least 18 slayings, and unverified totals discussed among media outlets in Juárez and El Paso have put the total death count at more than 400.

Two men were fatally shot Friday afternoon near a park when someone fired multiple shots from a green car, state police said. The men, identified as Manuel Estrada Arrendondo, 38, and Roman Isidro Zamudio Ugarte, 39, died at a hospital.

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Border agents find entrant's bones and 2,600 pounds of marijuana

ARIZONA DAILY STAR

U.S. Border Patrol agents on Thursday discovered the skeletal remains of a suspected illegal immigrant southwest of Three Points and found 2,600 pounds of marijuana in an abandoned pickup on the Tohono O'odham Reservation.

At about 8 p.m. Thursday, agents following footprints came upon an incomplete set of human bones about two miles south of Arizona 86, southwest of Three Points, said Rob Daniels, Border Patrol Tucson Sector spokesman. The bones appeared to have been there for some time, he said.

Officials couldn't determine whether it was a man or woman, and no identification was found near the body. The Pima County Sheriff's Department and the Mexican Consulate were notified, he said.

The drug seizure occurred Thursday morning at about 9:30 in an area north of the village of Pisinimo, about six miles south of Arizona 86, Daniels said.

A National Guard helicopter helped agents on the ground follow vehicle tracks to an abandoned pickup covered in a tarp in thick brush.

They found 115 bundles of marijuana inside that weighed 2,600 pounds, Daniels said.

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Mexican investments plentiful on U.S. side of border

CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN

Published: 05.28.2008

McALLEN, Texas - While poor Mexicans cross the border to take advantage of higher wages and a social safety net, their wealthy countrymen are seizing on the slowing U.S. economy to achieve their own American corporate dream.

Anyone unfamiliar with the U.S.-Mexico border region might expect that private investment only flows from north to south. The Mexican side of the border in south Texas is loaded with factories that American companies have opened since NAFTA cleared the way for them to take advantage of inexpensive labor.

But between the two countries, billions of dollars are moving in both directions each year. In South Texas' Rio Grande Valley, Mexicans and their corporations are pouring their money into real estate, businesses and retail shopping on the U.S. side.

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Mexico police arrest 2 accused of buying babies

The Associated Press

Published: 05.28.2008

MONTERREY, Mexico - Police in northern Mexico have arrested two people accused of buying Mexican babies to sell to U.S. couples.

Officials say Amado Torres and his wife Maria Isabel Hernandez are believed to have bought more than a dozen children aged 2 or younger.

Investigator Oralia Mancha says the child-trafficking ring came to light when the grandmother of one of the babies reported the child missing Monday in Reynosa. While making the declaration, she spotted Torres in the police station and claimed he had the baby.

Police later arrested Torres and Hernandez after finding them with the baby at a house in nearby Rio Bravo.

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Border governors head to Mexico as violence rises

JULIET WILLIAMS

Published: 05.29.2008

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Governors from both sides of the border are meeting in Mexico City to push for more crime-fighting and border security amid unprecedented violence in Mexico.

The governors of California, Texas and New Mexico planned to offer support to Mexican President Calderon on Thursday for his crackdown against the drug trade, in which he has deployed more than 20,000 federal troops across Mexico.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano is also part of the coalition but won't attend Thursday's meetings because of a scheduling conflict, spokeswoman Jeanine L'Ecuyer said.

Cartels have responded with increasingly bold attacks against police and other security officials. On Tuesday, seven federal officers were killed in a shootout at a suspected drug safe house.

Beyond policy talks, it's not clear what the U.S. governors and the governors of the six Mexican states will be able to accomplish, because many of the actions they are seeking require congressional approval.

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8 tons of cocaine, 3 machine guns, 25 years

The Associated Press

Published: 05.30.2008

A man was sentenced in Tucson on Thursday to 25 years in prison in the funneling of more than 17,000 pounds of cocaine through a drug tunnel on the Arizona-Mexico border, officials said.

Francisco Valle-Hurtado, 38, of Naco, Son., guarded cocaine loads with a machine gun after they passed through the tunnel in Naco between 1996 and 1999, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The 200-foot tunnel connected a mobile home on the Arizona side with a walled-in space between two houses on the Mexican side.

During the investigation, an additional 2,600 pounds of cocaine, three machine guns and $1.5 million were seized, the office said.

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16 migrants, hidden pot found by agents

FERNANDA ECHÁVARRI

Published: 05.31.2008

Sixteen illegal immigrants, two with criminal records; 2,600 pounds of marijuana; and human skeletal remains were found by Border Patrol on Thursday, authorities said.

Agents with the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector found an abandoned Chevrolet truck on the Tohono O'odham Nation Thursday morning, U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Rob Daniels said.

The truck was hidden under thick desert brush and had 2,600 pounds of marijuana inside, Daniels said.

Though agents searched the area for a driver, nobody was found.

In the afternoon, agents found 15 illegal immigrants northwest of Sasabe, Daniels said.

Agents took them into custody and database checks showed one had a warrant for his arrest in Alabama, he said.

The man, originally from El Salvador, was wanted on accusations of sexual assault and rape in 2006, Daniels said. He was turned over to Tucson police for extradition to Alabama.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

In Miami, Spanish is becoming the primary language

May 29, 4:38 AM (ET)

By GISELA SALOMON

MIAMI (AP) - Melissa Green's mother spoke Spanish, but she never learned - her father forbid it. Today, that's a frequent problem in this city where the English-speaking population is outnumbered.

The 49-year-old flower shop owner and Miami native said her inability to speak "espanol" makes it difficult to conduct business, seek help at stores and even ask directions. She finds it "frustrating."

"It makes it hard for some people to find a job because they don't speak Spanish, and I don't think that it is right," said Green, who sometimes calls a Spanish-speaking friend to translate for customers who don't speak English.

"Sometimes I think they should learn it," she said.

In many areas of Miami, Spanish has become the predominant language, replacing English in everyday life. Anyone from Latin America could feel at home on the streets, without having to pronounce a single word in English.

In stores, shopkeepers wait on their clients in Spanish. Universities offer programs for Spanish speakers. And in supermarkets, banks, restaurants - even at the post office and government offices - information is given and assistance is offered in Spanish. In Miami, doctors and nurses speak Spanish with their patients and a large portion of advertising is in Spanish. Daily newspapers and radio and television stations cater to the Hispanic public.

San Luis, AZ, just south of Yuma, has over 30,000 people, 98% of whom are Latino. Try finding someone to wait on you who speaks English! It will be a long wait! -mm

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Abandoned vehicle concealed $1 million in cocaine

FROM STAFF REPORTS

May 27, 2008 - 10:27AM

Vehicles abandoned along the road are nothing new, but few drivers ever leave behind a $1 million stash of cocaine in the gas tank.

Local authorities encountered exactly that scenario Monday when an abandoned vehicle was spotted on Highway 95 just north of Gadsden, according to a press statement from the Yuma County Sheriff's Office.

"I think there is a real possibility that with that much drugs in the gas tank he probably ran out of gas before he got where he was going," said Capt. Eben Bratcher, YCSO spokesman.

A deputy stopped to check out the vehicle, which was partially in the roadway, creating a traffic hazard. But prior to removing the vehicle a U.S. Customs canine unit checked out the vehicle for contraband. That's when the 22 kilos of cocaine were discovered hidden inside the gas tank, according to the statement.

The vehicle was registered to an owner in Mexico, but Bratcher declined to release the name pending further investigation.

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Feds Seize Cocaine Jesus Statue on Texas Border

Thursday , May 29, 2008

Fox News

Federal agents have arrested a man on charges of drug trafficking after finding a statue of Jesus made of cocaine at a Texas border crossing.

Bernardino Garcia-Cordova, 61, was arraigned Tuesday on charges of cocaine importation, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy after an investigation by Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

According to the criminal report filed by U.S. officials Tuesday, Garcia-Cordova offered a woman $80 to transport two religious statues across the border and deliver them to him at a bus station in Laredo, Texas.

A drug-sniffing dog alerted Border Patrol agents of the presence of drugs in a box that contained two religious figurines. One of those statues, a Jesus figure weighing 3 kilograms, was found to be made of cocaine.

"This seizure goes to show what extreme measures people will go through to smuggle drugs," said Janice Ayala, deputy special agent-in-charge of ICE's investigations office.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Violation of Constitution is alleged; County joins suits opposing barrier

By Erica Molina Johnson / El Paso Times

Article Launched: 05/28/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

The federal government may be violating the Constitution as it proceeds with plans to build a fence between the United States and Mexico, the County Commissioners Court said Tuesday as it voted to join two lawsuits challenging the border fence construction.

"The County of El Paso is taking a leadership role, from my perspective, saying we believe the rights of our citizens should be honored and respected regardless of where we live," Commissioner Veronica Escobar said. "It seems because we live on the U.S.-Mexico border, our rights mean less than those who don't live on the U.S.-Mexico border."

The Commissioners Court voted during a special meeting Tuesday to join two lawsuits against the federal government regarding the construction

"Neither lawsuit seeks to deprive the federal government of building the fence," County Attorney José Rodríguez said after the meeting. "What the lawsuits seek is to require the federal government to follow procedures and due process, and to observe the constitutional rights individuals and the community have in these matters."

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Juárez cartel war waged on Internet

By Daniel Borunda / El Paso Times

Article Launched: 05/28/2008 12:51:35 AM MDT

The e-mail circulated last week that warned of a violent weekend in Juárez is part of a larger trend in which the Internet has become another front in the war among Mexican drug traffickers.

Videos showing the supposed "confessions" of captured hit men, airing allegations of corruption by government officials and allegedly identifying the mysterious leader of the Juárez drug cartel for the state of Chihuahua can all be found on popular Web sites such as YouTube.com.

Mexican drug traffickers and others have used videos posted online, often accompanied to the music of narco-corridos, to taunt rivals, brag and pay homage to cartel leaders for years.

But in recent months, other videos have been popping up in the Internet that name allegedly corrupt police and government officials in Juárez and Chihuahua state.

"Ya basta de tantos ejecutados. Ya basta de tantos muertos inocentes. Ya basta de tanto dolor en Juaritos," stated text saying "enough" to the executions, innocent victims and the pain in Juárez on a video claiming to have been posted by a small group of honest police.

The video, which is mostly text set to music, lists the names of police supervisors allegedly paid $5,000 a month to look the other way. It ends by stating that Chihuahua residents should protect themselves. "La policia no existe." (The police doesn't exist)

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Coyotes' millions harder to move

Smugglers find higher hurdles to entrants' payoffs

By Mark Flatten

EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE

MESA — A truck loaded with 10 illegal immigrants is worth about $25,000 to a human-smuggling organization. A successful operation can move three or four truckloads of immigrants from the Mexican border to metro Phoenix every day.

A drop house with 50 immigrants locked inside represents about $125,000 worth of cargo.

With numbers like those, it doesn't take long to add up to the estimated $2.5 billion smugglers generate annually by moving human cargo through Arizona. That figure, which comes from court records, only counts the upfront costs to the immigrants, which typically run about $2,500 a head.

So much cash is generated by human smugglers that one of the toughest parts of running their business is moving the money, according to a series of police affidavits related to state efforts to seize the illicit profits.

Beyond prosecuting hundreds of people involved in human-smuggling rings on criminal charges, police and prosecutors are going after the money generated by the criminal organizations.

The Arizona Financial Crimes Task Force, made up of agents from federal, state and local agencies, has seized about $17 million in wire transfers believed to be linked to the human-smuggling trade since the force was created in 2000. The task force has also brought criminal charges against the owners and employees of several car dealerships and travel agencies that, according to the indictments, supplied smugglers with vehicles and airline tickets to move the migrants through Arizona.

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6 killed in shootout with cartel

The Associated Press

Published: 05.28.2008

MEXICO CITY - Five federal police and a suspected hit man were killed in a shootout Tuesday as authorities surrounded a house in Culiacan, home to the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Four other federal police were hospitalized. Police took several suspected cartel members into custody, according to a federal police official who wasn't authorized to give his name.

At least three banners threatening 21 local police officers by name were hung in Chihuahua over the weekend.

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Some US farms outsourced to Mexico

By JESSICA BERNSTEINWAX,Associated Press Writer AP - Tuesday, May 27

IRAPUATO, Mexico - Antonio Martinez used to pay smugglers thousands of dollars each year to sneak him into the United States to manage farm crews. Now, the work comes to him.

Supervising lettuce pickers in central Mexico, Martinez earns just half of the $1,100 a week he made in the U.S. But the job has its advantages, including working without fear of immigration raids.

Martinez, now a legal employee of U.S.-owned VegPacker de Mexico, is exactly the kind of worker more American farm companies are seeking. Many have moved their fields to Mexico, where they can find qualified people, often with U.S. experience, who can't be deported.

"Because I never moved my family to the U.S., I was always alone there," said Martinez, 45, who could never get a work permit, even after 16 years in agriculture in California and Arizona. "When I got the opportunity to be close to my family, doing similar work, I didn't even have to think about it."

American companies now farm more than 45,000 acres of land in three Mexican states, employing about 11,000 people, a 2007 survey by the U.S. farm group Western Growers shows.

There were no earlier studies to document how much the acreage has grown. But U.S. direct investment in Mexican agriculture, which includes both American companies moving their operations to Mexico and setting up Mexican partnerships, has swelled sevenfold to $60 million since 2000, Mexico's Economy Department told The Associated Press.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Out of Mexico—A British Journalist Survives The Lawless Mountains Of Mexico

By Bellamy London

The British have always been an adventuring people. Since they are a literary people also, it is not surprising that they should excel at the art of travel writing. In modern times, George Borrow, Richard Francis Burton, Charles Doughty, T.E. Lawrence, Gertrude Bell, Evelyn Waugh, and Graham Greene spring to mind as exemplars of that art. And now there is Richard Grant, a British citizen residing in Tucson, Arizona, who came to the United States as the British correspondent for an American magazine and stayed on to write books about the kind of nomadic misfits in which America has always abounded.

Fifteen years ago, Mr. Grant developed a fascination also for misfits south of the border who, by the success they have achieved in the northwestern states of the People’s Republic of Mexico, are misfits no longer but rather the dominant majority.

These are the denizens of the Sierra Madre Occidental who grow the fabulously lucrative drug crops raised in the sierra, smuggle them within Mexico and into El Norte, defend these growers and smugglers against their rival narcotraficantes, and battle that portion of the police and the federal army that remains unbought by them. Together, they have created the drug culture that has become the mainstream culture of Chihuahua, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Durango states.

Rashly—almost insanely—Richard Grant decided that he must and would travel the length of the Sierra de la Madre to experience the reality of this surreal region for himself.[Watch a clip in Youtube.]

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Mexican troops make marijuana haul in Sharp unit premises

REUTERS

8:48 p.m. May 22, 2008

TIJUANA, Mexico – Mexican troops Thursday uncovered more than 1.5 metric tons of marijuana hidden in a truck inside an installation of a unit of Japanese electronics firm Sharp Corp.

Gen. Sergio Aponte, in charge of a crackdown on drug trafficking in the northern state of Baja California, told a news conference the marijuana was in 336 packets behind boxes carrying TV screens bound for Canada.

Sharp's local lawyer, Marco Antonio Esconda, said the company had no knowledge the drugs and Sharp was not the owner of the truck. He declined to give the name of the company that had been contracted to move the TV screens.

“The (drugs) cargo belonged to one of our local contractors, the drugs appeared inside the premises,” he said. ”What we have to do is to increase security.”

The haul of 1,586 kilos of marijuana was found on the premises of a Sharp subsidiary in the town of Rosarito, close to this gritty border city. One man was arrested at the scene.

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Mexican cops seeking refuge in the States

08:41 AM CDT on Friday, May 23, 2008

By Angela Kocherga

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- The drug war along the Mexico border has become so violent that some police officers are going into hiding.

In fact, two officers from Ciudad Juarez are in so much danger they’ve left Mexico and are seeking protection in the U.S.

Cops in Juarez have come well-acquainted with grim crime scenes in which the targets were law enforcement officials.

Gunmen have killed a dozen city cops this year alone. Ten more were attacked, but survived.

The most recent case involved a police officer who fled to Texas after a shooting on a bridge.

The officer was crossing the bridge with his family when gunmen reportedly opened fire on his car. He abandoned the vehicle and ran across the border.

Then, just days after the second in command of the Juarez Police Department died in a hail of bullets, the police chief resigned. His whereabouts are unknown.

The mayor of Juarez named a retired military officer as the new police chief this week.

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11 more bodies found in Juárez

By Adriana M. Chávez and Darren Meritz / El Paso Times

Article Launched: 05/24/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

Juárez recorded at least 11 more homicides linked to organized crime Friday, leading U.S. law enforcement officials to urge El Pasoans to use caution when traveling across the border.

The deaths included the discovery of five bodies wrapped in blankets in an empty lot in an upscale east Juárez neighborhood about a mile from the border, near Prolongación Vicente Guerrero and Antonio J. Bermúdez streets.

The grizzly find came less than a day after an anonymous e-mail warning predicted this would be the "bloodiest and deadliest" weekend in the city's history.

Two of the bodies were decapitated and wrapped in white plastic. Attached to them was a note calling them "traitors" who were associated with a reputed leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

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Immigration sting nets 905 arrests in California

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN DIEGO — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says agents have arrested more than 900 people in California on immigration violations during a three-week sting targeting people who ignored deportation orders.

The agency said Friday that 495 of the 905 people arrested were targeted in the operation. The other 410 just happened to be on the scene when agents arrived.

Northern California accounted for the most arrests, with 441. The Los Angeles area followed with 327 arrests. The San Diego area accounted for the other 137.

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Drug czar: Face problem internationally

By Eric Swedlund

ARIZONA DAILY STAR

Southern Arizona faces the "double problem" of drug abuse within its own communities and the devastating effects of the violent international drug trade as it slices through the region, the U.S. "drug czar" said Friday.

John P. Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, met privately with law-enforcement officials before joining U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Tucson Police Chief Richard Miranda and community leaders in a forum to discuss legislation aimed at combating illegal drugs. At the core of the proposed Merida Initiative is a $1.4 billion multiyear commitment to provide equipment, training and technical assistance to authorities in Mexico and Central America.

"You pay the price for the demand for drugs everywhere north of here in the United States," Walters told the group, gathered at the Tucson Police Department's Downtown headquarters.

"When you challenge powerful criminal organizations, their result is to turn to violence. They're willing to do anything. You are not going to bargain with them. They have to be stopped and apprehended," he said.

Walters said the aid south of the border is crucial to reducing the violence associated with drug trafficking. He said Mexican President Felipe Calderón has shown a willingness to work with the United States.

"These killers, these people willing to do anything, can't be stopped by me or President Bush or Representative Giffords or any of you," Walters said. "They have to be stopped by President Calderón. Ultimately, Mexico has to solve Mexico's problem."

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More entrant criminals face deportation

BLOOMBERG NEWS

The U.S. this year will mark for deportation more than 200,000 illegal immigrant criminals, a 22 percent increase from 164,000 in 2007, a senior Bush administration official said.

The planned removals reflect a stepped-up enforcement effort, said Julie Myers, the Homeland Security assistant secretary who runs Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The number marked for deportation last year was more than double the 64,000 in 2006.

"It means these folks won't get off onto the street and back into the community," Myers told reporters in Washington.

Immigration officials have been criticized by Democrats such as Rep. David Price of North Carolina, chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that funds enforcement, for not doing more to send violent felons back to their home countries.

Myers said her agency is screening all criminals in federal and state prisons for potential immigration violations and is doing more to check on those kept in community jails.

Immigration authorities also are tracking down more illegal immigrants who have violated court orders to leave the country, she said.

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Day-labor bill rejected; may resurface

The Associated Press

Published: 05.23.2008

PHOENIX - The Arizona Senate dealt at least a temporary setback to efforts to place new restraints on day laborers.

The Senate narrowly rejected a bill Thursday prohibiting day laborers from seeking work on public streets and sidewalks and private property under some circumstances.

With seven senators absent before the long Memorial Day weekend, supporters fell one vote short of the number needed for passage. A reconsideration vote could be held next week when more senators are on hand.

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Mexican town's police force resigns

The Associated Press

Published: 05.23.2008

ACAPULCO, Mexico - A southern Mexican town's 15-member police force has quit for fear of being assassinated in retaliation for a shootout with gunmen, a security official said Thursday.

Zirandaro was the second town in less than two weeks to be left without its police force as Mexico's drug cartels wage increasingly bold attacks against security forces. On Monday, the military took over a town near Texas after all 20 of its police officers were either killed, run out of town or quit.

Eight members of Zirandaro's police never returned to work after a May 13 shootout with gunmen that left a 32-year-old man dead, said Juan Heriberto Salinas Altes, the public safety secretary of the southern state of Guerrero.

The other seven officers - including the police chief - quit days later.

"The Zirandaro police quit the service because they feared the criminals would return to seek revenge," Salinas Altes said.

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Officials: Mexico killings way up

The Associated Press

Published: 05.24.2008

MEXICO CITY - Homicides related to organized crime jumped 47 percent in 2008, Mexico's attorney general said Friday in a rare confirmation of how bad violence has become.

Police later made two gruesome discoveries in northern Mexico. Five bodies - two of them decapitated - were found wrapped in blankets in a city on the border with Texas, along with two heads in sacks. In another state, police found four severed heads in ice chests along a highway.

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Border schools get tough on Mexican students

May. 22, 2008 03:26 PM

Christian Science Monitor

CALEXICO and SAN DIEGO - If you cross the U.S.-Mexican border at the town of Calexico you might run into a photographer named Daniel Santillan. But he's not likely to be shooting pictures of tourists. He only has eyes for Mexican schoolchildren who want an American education.

Santillan is a residency enforcer, assigned by local education officials to make sure students live in the U.S., not Mexico. When he's not tracking students on weekday mornings at the border crossing, he visits local homes to make sure children live where their parents say they do.

Santillan isn't thrilled about busting youngsters for living south of the border, but he accepts his job. "The bottom line is that these kids are taking up room," he says.

It's impossible to know how many Mexican students cross the border daily to attend school in the U.S., sent by parents who think they'll get a better education. Still, border communities have fretted over their presence for more than a decade.

Some schools are now doing more to enforce residency requirements under pressure from politicians and activists concerned about wasted taxpayer money.

Calexico's schools, however, have gone further than others by sending Santillan to photograph students at the border and requiring parents to provide proof of residency twice a year.

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Phoenix police to ask all suspects about immigration status

by Casey Newton - May. 22, 2008 03:31 PM

The Arizona Republic

Phoenix police may now contact Immigrations and Customs Enforcement when they suspect a person to be in the country illegally, a shift in policy that is expected to increase the number of illegal immigrants deported from the state.

Chief Jack Harris announced changes Thursday to Operations Order 1.4, the police policy on immigration that previously prevented officers in most cases from asking about a person's citizenship status.

Under the new policy, everyone arrested in Phoenix will be questioned about his or her citizenship. If an officer makes contact with someone who did not commit a crime but is still believed to be in the country illegally, the officer can give ICE that person's contact information over the phone or via a one-page form.

“It provides Phoenix officers with additional tools to aid them in the performance of their job and will further enhance criminal investigative efforts attributed to illegal immigration in this city,” Harris said.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Illegal Mexican Cop Killer gets life instead of death

Quintero's life sentence shocks victim's family

By BRIAN ROGERS and DALE LEZON
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

One juror said Juan Leonardo Quintero's life still has value.

Another said a convicted cop killer, even one in the country illegally, deserves mercy.

Neither sentiment offered much consolation to family members of murdered Houston police officer Rodney Johnson, who were stunned Tuesday when a jury spared Quintero and sent him to prison for life with no chance of parole.

Asked by state District Judge Joan Campbell if he had anything to say before he was sentenced, the 34-year-old Quintero replied, "I'm sorry."

Johnson arrested the landscaper from Mexico during a Sept. 21, 2006, traffic stop. The 12-year police veteran didn't notice Quintero was hiding a gun, which, while handcuffed in the patrol car's back seat, he used to shoot Johnson seven times.

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Illegal Alien's Defense Attorney Works for Mexican Government

By Penny Starr
CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
May 21, 2008

(CNSNews.com) - An illegal alien is facing the death penalty after being convicted May 8 of capital murder in the 2006 death of Houston police officer Rodney Johnson. The attorney who tried and failed to have him found not guilty by reason of insanity was paid by the Mexican government, according to newspaper and television reports.

The Mexican government retained Danalynn Recer to defend Juan Leonardo Quintero through its Mexican Capital Legal Assistance program, which pays for the defense of Mexican citizens whose conviction in U.S. courts could result in a death sentence -- even those, like Quintero, who confess to the crime.

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Stripping amnesty from Iraq plan 'right thing'

'I am pleased Democratic leaders realized there would be opposition'
Posted: May 21, 2008 11:55 pm Eastern

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate have stripped 100 pages of controversial immigration provisions added as amendments to the supplemental Iraq war funding bill after a flood of e-mails and phone calls organized by amnesty opponents.

"The American people have been clear that they want us to restore the rule of law to our immigration system before legalization programs are considered, but I guess this Congress didn't get the message," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said yesterday.

"I am pleased Democratic leaders realized there would be significant opposition to these controversial provisions," Sessions continued. "Stripping it was the right thing to do."

Among the provisions removed from the war funding bill was a special path to citizenship for four subgroups of immigrant agriculture workers: goat herders, sheep herders, dairy workers and horse herders. It is unclear why the groups were selected for special treatment.

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Relatives of man who dies after shootout reportedly threaten doctor

By Angelica Martinez

UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

5:24 p.m. May 21, 2008

TIJUANA – Relatives of a man wounded in a fierce April shootout threatened a doctor Wednesday after they learned the man had died in a hospital, officials said.

Luis Humberto Moreno Rodriguez died at 10:40 p.m. Tuesday when several of his organs stopped functioning because of an infection, a spokesman for Tijuana's General Hospital said.

Later Wednesday, doctors and others gathered at a busy traffic circle in the city to call attention to the threats.

Moreno was among nine injured April 26 in a gunbattle between rival criminal gangs that left 13 people dead.

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Marijuana found in truck; driver arrested

El Paso Times Staff

Article Launched: 05/22/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

Border Patrol agents on Tuesday seized 1,105 pounds of marijuana found in 22 duffel bags in the sleeper cab of a tractor-trailer rig at the Interstate 10 checkpoint west of Las Cruces, officials said Wednesday.

The marijuana load was found in a search with a drug-sniffing dog. Truck driver Martin Garcia Murillo, 44, told agents he was a U.S. citizen, but it was later found that he was from Mexico and in the country illegally. He was booked into the Doña Ana County jail.

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ATF agent says cartel hit men's guns from El Paso

By Daniel Borunda / El Paso Times

Article Launched: 05/22/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

High-powered rifles and handguns used by drug cartel hit men waging a bloody war in Mexico have been traced to suspected gun smugglers in El Paso, an ATF agent testified Wednesday at a federal detention hearing in El Paso.

Money and weapons flowing from the United States fuel drug trafficking and organized crime in Mexico, to the tune of about $10 billion a year, Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, Mexico's deputy federal attorney general for international affairs, said Wednesday as representatives from the U.S. and Mexico gathered in Austin to discuss border security.

It was the profits from illegal gun sales that allegedly motivated Juan Carlos Meza, 23, to sell at least 19 firearms bought at El Paso gun stores to suspected hit men, an ATF agent testified at the detention hearing for Meza in the federal courthouse in El Paso.

Meza, who is a citizen of Mexico but a legal resident of El Paso, was denied bond Wednesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Norbert Garney, who described Meza as a potential flight risk and a "danger" because of the nature of the crime.

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U.S.-trained forces reportedly helping Mexican cartels

By STEWART M. POWELL

Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — As many as 200 U.S.-trained Mexican security personnel have defected to drug cartels to carry out killings on both sides of the border and as far north as Dallas, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, told Congress on Wednesday.

The renegade members of Mexico's elite counter-narcotics teams trained at Fort Benning, Ga., have switched sides, contributing to a wave of violence that has claimed some 6,000 victims over the past 30 months, including prominent law enforcement leaders, the Houston-area Republican told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The slaughter has gained urgency amid high-profile assassinations of law officers in Mexico since May 1, claiming six senior officers, five of them with the federal police.

Poe held aloft a dramatic, poster-board-size photograph that he said showed guerrilla-style commandos crossing into the United States.

He said the Department of Homeland Security had documented "over 250 incursions by suspected military forces" into the United States over the past decade.

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Measure seeks to keep Guard on the border

Mitchell amendment would extend its presence till Patrol is up to speed

By Josh Brodesky and Tom Beal

ARIZONA DAILY STAR

Over the last two years, thousands of National Guard troops have assisted U.S. Border Patrol agents along the Mexican border, and most of Arizona's congressional delegation wants to keep it that way.

A proposed amendment by Rep. Harry Mitchell, a Demo-crat who represents much of Maricopa County in Arizona's 5th Congressional District, would extend the National Guard presence indefinitely until the Border Patrol is fully staffed along the border.

Since 2006, 17,300 National Guard soldiers and airmen have voluntarily deployed to the Mexican border to support the Border Patrol under a program known as Operation Jump Start, said National Guard spokeswoman Capt. Kristine Munn.

Their primary mission, said Munn, has been aviation support, including search and rescue, but the Guard has also put in roads, fences, vehicle barriers and wells. It has observed the border, "acting as the eyes and ears of the Border Patrol," but has "no law enforcement duties whatsoever," Munn said.

At the program's peak, 6,000 soldiers were stationed along the border, 2,400 of them in Arizona.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Amnesty update: Feinstein/Craig illegal alien farmworker measure “jettisoned”…for now

By Michelle Malkin • May 21, 2008 10:33 AM

Last night, I told you about the GOP letter to Harry Reid pressuring the Dems to strip the Feinstein/Craig illegal alien farmworker amnesty from the Iraq emergency supplemental appropriations bil.

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, it happened:

President George W. Bush’s request to fund U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan until his successor can take office hit a rocky patch in the Senate.

Democratic leaders were forced to jettison provisions to award work permits for immigrant farm labor and seasonal workers just hours after beginning debate Tuesday on legislation to add domestic programs to President Bush’s war request.

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Two policemen shot, bodies dumped on Mexico highway

By Cyntia Barrera Diaz

REUTERS

12:24 p.m. May 21, 2008

MEXICO CITY – Two Mexican policemen were shot and their bodies dumped in a car on a busy Mexico City-bound highway, police said Wednesday, the latest in a spurt of brutal drug gang murders near the capital.

The bodies, which showed torture marks, were left with death threats directed at anyone backing powerful drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, Mexico's most wanted man.

They were found late Tuesday in the trunk of a car abandoned on the Cuernavaca-Mexico City highway, a route used by commuters between the capital and the small colonial city where many have weekend homes.

“This is what will happen to those hanging out with El Chapo and El Mayo Zambada,” one of the messages left with the bodies read, according to the daily Reforma. The newspaper said the victims' hands and feet were bound.

Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada is a key aide of Guzman's Sinaloa cartel that controls smuggling turf in northwestern Mexico.

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Mexican military takes over town's police force

The Associated Press

Article Launched: 05/20/2008 07:55:23 PM PDT

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico—There are no police anymore in Villa Ahumada. Even the mayor has fled.

Drug gangs have virtually seized this town of 1,500 not far from Texas, as Mexico's cartels grow increasingly audacious.

The Mexican military took over the police department this week because all 20 officers on the force have either been killed, run out of town or quit, officials said Tuesday.

Mayor Fidel Urrutia took refuge in the state capital of Chihuahua City—600 miles (1,000 kilometers) away—where he's waiting for the soldiers to recover his town.

"Security will be in the hands of the army and the state (police) ministries, and it will remain like that indefinitely," Chihuahua state police spokesman Marco Antonio Moreno said.

Late Saturday, some 70 assailants barged into town and killed the police chief, two officers and three residents. At least eight people were kidnapped.

The killings came a month after soldiers arrested eight men, including a police officer, during the burial of an alleged drug hit man in Villa Ahumada, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of El Paso, Texas.

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Americans Shot Dead Near Rosarito Beach

POSTED: 11:11 am PDT May 19, 2008

UPDATED: 5:55 pm PDT May 19, 2008

SAN DIEGO -- Mexican police found the bodies Sunday evening of four American citizens who had been shot to death near their car, according to a Mexican newspaper.
The bodies three men and a woman, all shot to death execution-style, were discovered at about 6 p.m. Sunday in a ravine near Rosarito Beach, the newspaper Frontera reported on its Web site. Two African-American men were found in a green Cadillac with California license plates, the paper reported. Police found the body of a third African-American man in a group of trees near the car.

Officials said the white woman was about 50 yards from the car. She, like the other victims, had been shot in the head, Frontera reported. Identification belonging to a woman from La Mesa was found near one of the bodies.


14-year-old boy among latest slain in Juárez

By Daniel Borunda / El Paso Times

Article Launched: 05/21/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

Juárez's newly appointed public safety secretary, Roberto Orduña Cruz, urged residents to get involved to help stop a crime wave that has left more than 300 dead this year.

Orduña Cruz on Tuesday asked residents to report crime anonymously, even as the killings continued with four more homicides reported, including the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy.

"The citizenry should have confidence in authorities, confidence we are looking to gain," Orduña Cruz said in a statement. In coming days, he added, changes to the police force will be announced.

On Tuesday, Chihuahua Sen. Ramon Galindo, who is a former mayor of Juárez, responding to complaints that the military crackdown on drug gangs spurred the violence, said that state and local authorities had not done enough to address the problem in the past.

"I will repeat it until it gets tiresome: There is not enough federal police or military to fight crime in a determined location if É municipal and state police are completely infiltrated by narco-traffickers," Galindo said.

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Holiday travelers: Feds will ask for citizenship proof at crossings

The Associated Press

Published: 05.19.2008

Travelers heading to Puerto Peñasco, Son., for Memorial Day weekend should be prepared with the documentation they'll need to come back.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say being prepared before arriving at the Lukeville border crossing will help ease the waits caused by holiday traffic.

The Lukeville crossing is a gateway to Puerto Peñasco, a popular weekend destination for Arizonans that is commonly referred to as Rocky Point.

A law requiring travelers ages 19 or older to show both a government-issued photo ID and proof of citizenship when coming back into the country went into effect Jan. 31.

Those 18 or younger will also need proof of citizenship.

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ICE teams up with Palm Beach Sheriff's Office to identify 182 foreign-born criminals detained

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A ten day comprehensive effort by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention and removal officers and officers from the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office yielded the identification of 182 foreign-born criminals for deportation.

The operation dubbed "Secure Shores", which is part of ICE's Criminal Alien Program, began on May 5 and culminated Friday. The focus of the program is on identifying criminal aliens who are incarcerated within federal, state and local facilities to ensure that they are placed into removal proceedings so that they are not released into the community upon the completion of their criminal case.

During this operation, ICE officers screened foreign-born nationals detained at the Palm Beach County jail to determine which individuals were eligible for deportation. Among those identified, was Elias Toledo-Nasario, of Mexico who was charged with sexual assault and Roy Kennedy Cunningham who was charged with premeditated murder.

ICE officers placed 157 criminal illegal aliens into deportation proceedings, identified 19 immigration fugitives and six who illegally re-entered after being deported.

"Whether on the street or in jail, foreign-born criminals should know that ICE will track you down and ensure that you don't have another opportunity to hurt our law-abiding citizens, said Michael Rozos, ICE field office director for the Office of Detention and Removal in Florida. "We were glad to team up with PBSO in this great effort."

Last year under CAP, ICE charged a record 164,000 aliens in law enforcement custody with immigration violations and deported approximately 95,000 aliens with criminal histories. ICE estimates that approximately 300,000 to 450,000 convicted criminal aliens who are removable are detained each year at federal, state and local prisons and jails.

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Three men charged following takedown of human smuggling drop house

Smuggled aliens in home were allegedly threatened and sexually assaulted

LOS ANGELES - Three men, all Mexican nationals, made their initial appearance in federal court here this afternoon to face charges stemming from their role in operating a human smuggling "drop house" dismantled by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in South Los Angeles earlier this week.

The three men were taken into ICE custody Wednesday along with 57 illegal aliens from Central and South America after ICE agents executed a search warrant at a trash filled two-story home at 10318 South Normandie. In addition to the arrests, agents recovered a .22 caliber pistol and stun gun inside the residence that the smugglers had reportedly used to threaten the smuggled aliens. Agents also seized several ledgers and notebooks containing information related to the smuggling operation.

In a criminal complaint filed today, the three defendants are charged with harboring illegal aliens, a violation carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. There are additional sentencing enhancements if the defendants committed sexual assault or brandished weapons during the crime. Those charged in the case are Jose Teul, 23; Daniel Pena, 18; and Saul Mendez, 35.

According to the affidavit filed in the case, the defendants often brandished weapons to intimidate their smuggled aliens. Several of the women recounted how Pena and Tuel attempted to force them to have sex, relenting only when the women's young children began to cry.

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ICE operation targeting criminal aliens and illegal alien fugitives nets more than 39 arrests in Phoenix area

PHOENIX - More than 35 criminal aliens, immigration fugitives, and immigration violators have been removed from the United States or are facing deportation today, following a special enforcement action carried out over the past week by an interagency task force led by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Fugitive Operations Team in Phoenix.

During the operation, ICE officers worked with partners from the U.S. Marshal's Service and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to locate, identify and arrest 39 illegal aliens. Of those taken into custody, 21 were immigration fugitives, aliens who have ignored final orders of deportation or who returned to the United States illegally after being removed. Seven of those arrested had criminal histories in addition to being in the country illegally.

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Weekend Seizures Net More Than $700,000 Worth of Marijuana

Monday, May 19, 2008

Del Rio, Texas – Enforcement activities by Border Patrol agents assigned to the Del Rio sector resulted in the seizure of 915 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated value of $732,624, this past weekend.

On Friday evening, agents from the Eagle Pass South Station found a large stash of marijuana hidden in a 1998 Freightliner tractor-trailer. The discovery was made as agents at a highway checkpoint performed a routine immigration inspection on the driver. During the inspection, a service K-9 alerted to the exterior of the sleeper section of the vehicle. Closer inspection revealed 200 bundles of marijuana, weighing over 416 pounds, hidden under the bed in the sleeper. The driver, a 32-year-old Eagle Pass man, vehicle, and marijuana were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Saturday night, Eagle Pass South Station agents responded to a report of several individuals carrying large backpacks away from the Rio Grande. Agents arrived at the location and found a 2002 Dodge Neon with several large bundles inside. Agents searched the area and detained two male subjects, ages 15 and 21, both Eagle Pass residents. Agents removed nearly 260 pounds of marijuana from the vehicle. The two suspects, vehicle, and marijuana were turned over to the Maverick County sheriff’s office.

Also over the weekend, Eagle Pass agents assisted the Department of Public Safety in an incident that netted 240 pounds of marijuana. A trooper reported he apprehended two subjects loading marijuana into a vehicle near a highway checkpoint. Border Patrol agents provided assistance and apprehended three additional suspects.

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Border Patrol Agents in Texas Seize Half Ton of Marijuana During Past Week

Friday, May 16, 2008

Del Rio, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Del Rio Sector seized nearly 1,000 pounds of marijuana, in five separate incidents, over the past week.

On May 9th during a routine immigration inspection at a highway checkpoint, Border Patrol agents from the Eagle Pass South Border Patrol station discovered 88 pounds of marijuana hidden in the back of a station wagon. The marijuana had an estimated street value of $70,592.

On May 12th Eagle Pass South Border Patrol agents apprehended two men, who were found to be in the country illegally. While searching the area a service K-9 discovered two tires. Border Patrol agents removed nearly 153 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $122,304 from the tires.

A trail of footprints led Border Patrol agents to a group of men carrying duffle bags near Eagle Pass, on the evening of May 14. The bags contained nearly 224 pounds of marijuana, valued at approximately $179,040. On the same day while following tracks on a ranch near Carrizo Springs, Border Patrol agents encountered four men from Central America who had entered the country illegally by crossing the Rio Grande River. A search of the surrounding area turned up several bundles of marijuana, weighing nearly 154 pounds with an estimated street value of $122,800.

On May 15th Del Rio station Border Patrol agents encountered footprints leading away from the Rio Grande. The Border Patrol agents, assisted by a service K-9, followed the trail and discovered five large sacks hidden in the brush. The sacks contained nearly 375 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $299,520.

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CBP Officers in Arizona Stop Heroin, Marijuana Smuggling Attempts; Prevent Illegal Entry

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tucson, Ariz. — In a series of events yesterday at several ports of entry along the Arizona/Sonora border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers stopped a $700,000 heroin smuggling attempt, seized 436 pounds of marijuana hidden inside a speaker box in a truck, and arrested a 52-year-old woman attempting to enter using a U.S. passport that didn’t belong to her.

The heroin incident began at 6 p.m. last night at the Dennis DeConcini port of entry in Nogales, when officers screening pedestrians coming into the United States stopped a 63-year-old man to ask routine questions. When officers became suspicious during the questioning, they decided a search should be performed on the man’s luggage. After noticing anomalies in a suitcase during a quick search using an X-ray machine, officers discovered 11 packages of heroin hidden between the panels inside. The heroin, which weighed almost 17 pounds, was seized and the man was arrested. He was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further investigation and prosecution.

A little earlier in the day, at around 2:30 p.m., officers screening people entering by foot through the same port of entry arrested a 52-year-old woman from Jalisco, Mexico on suspicion of attempting to enter the United States illegally after discovering the U.S. passport she presented was not hers. The woman was arrested and turned over to special agents with the Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security for further investigation and prosecution.

At 10:45 a.m. at the Douglas port of entry, officers stopped the driver of a 2002 Dodge Ram 2500 and, due to suspicions raised during questioning, decided to perform an inspection of the vehicle. While looking through the truck, officers opened a speaker box in the back and discovered 436 pounds of marijuana hidden inside. The 22 bundles of marijuana and vehicle were seized and the driver, a 26-year-old man from Hermosillo, was arrested and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In addition to these incidents, CBP officers at the ports of entry stopped six additional attempts at entering the country using fraudulent documents or false claims to U.S. citizenship. They also apprehended nine people with warrants for their arrest, and recovered one stolen vehicle. Officers seized an additional 340 pounds of marijuana during four other smuggling attempts.

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CBP Officers at Calexico, Calif. Port Seize $900,000 Worth of Cocaine in 2 Busts

Thursday, May 15, 2008

San Diego — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico, Calif. downtown port of entry foiled two cocaine smuggling attempts worth almost $900,000 and arrested two drivers earlier this week, officials announced today.

The interceptions come on the heels of three other major narcotic seizures that occurred last weekend.

The most recent interception occurred at 11 a.m. Wednesday when a 28-year-old U.S. citizen driving a 2000 Chrysler Sebring was referred to the secondary inspection area for examination.

While in secondary, a human/narcotic detector dog alerted to the rear backseat area of the vehicle. Further inspection of the backseat rest area revealed a non-factory compartment that contained 20 packages of cocaine wrapped in brown postal tape.

The packages weighed a total of 49 pounds and have a street value of approximately $400,000.

The male driver, a resident of Mexicali, was placed under arrest and released to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for further disposition.

The other smuggling attempt occurred at about 3 p.m. on Tuesday when a 21-year old female resident of Calexico, driving a red 2000 Chrysler 300M, was referred to the secondary inspection where a CBP officer observed a metal plate within the rocker panels of the vehicle. A detector dog alerted to this area, which contained 24 packages of cocaine wrapped in clear cellophane, aluminum and electrical tape. The weight of the packages totaled 58 pounds with a street value of approximately $470,000.

The driver, a U.S. citizen, was arrested by I.C.E agents and transported to the Imperial County jail to await arraignment for the alleged importation of narcotics.

Last weekend CBP officers seized 93 pounds of cocaine and 18 pounds of methamphetamine valued at $1 million at the downtown and east Calexico facilities.

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Border Patrol agents have a busy few days

Rattlesnake bite, smugglers keep agents hopping

By Brady McCombs

ARIZONA DAILY STAR

A U.S. Border Patrol agent was airlifted out of the Huachuca Mountains west of Sierra Vista Thursday after being bitten by a rattlesnake.

The snakebite comes on the heels of a hectic Wednesday along Arizona's stretch of U.S.-Mexican border that included a 63-year-old Tucson man facing charges of smuggling heroin in Nogales, three discoveries of marijuana in hidden vehicle compartments and the arrest of 11 illegal immigrants in the parking lot of Marana High School.

In the snakebite incident, the agent called the Border Patrol station about 10:15 a.m. saying he had puncture wounds in his boots and his toes were starting to turn discolored from being bitten by a rattlesnake, said Rob Daniels, Border Patrol Tucson Sector spokesman.

The agent was on routine patrol in a steep area of the Huachuca Mountains west of Sierra Vista when he was bitten, Daniels said.

Authorities launched a rescue effort that included a pair of helicopters and three search and rescue teams.

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Human-smuggler industry well-organized, like cartels

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

MESA — Human smugglers have built sophisticated criminal enterprises generating an estimated $2.5 billion annually through their Arizona operations alone, authorities say.

Working in league with Mexican drug cartels, human-smuggling kingpins have set up networks of drivers, warehouse operators, distribution specialists and enforcers to move their loads from northern Sonora through the Phoenix metropolitan area and to their final destinations throughout the U.S.

The smugglers, or coyotes, call the illegal immigrants pollos — chickens — human cargo without value beyond what it can bring on the open market, the East Valley Tribune reported in a series on the human-smuggling industry.

"For a while, I think there was a sense that the coyotes were sort of freedom fighters, that they were one step removed from the Humane Borders people who provide water and transportation out of the goodness of their hearts," said Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, whose agency has gone after the money generated by human-smuggling rings.

"The people we are dealing with are well-organized, very well-armed, and apparently will stop at nothing to maximize their profit from human beings.

"That includes examples of severe brutality and murder. It makes the drug business look almost good by comparison."

Police and federal immigration agents on the American side of the border acknowledge they don't know much about the inner workings of the human-smuggling organizations, particularly about their upper echelons in Mexico.

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Governor balks at assuming border burden

By Howard Fischer

CAPITOL MEDIA SERVICES

PHOENIX — Gov. Janet Napolitano is balking at putting Arizona National Guard units along the international border at state expense to replace troops from across the nation who are being withdrawn.

Napolitano said Tuesday that U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has ignored her request to delay the planned end this summer of Operation Jump Start.

That federally funded program, started in 2006, was designed to put 6,000 Guard soldiers in support roles along the border — 2,400 in Arizona — to do projects ranging from surveillance and office tasks to building fences. The idea was to free up Border Patrol officers to get out in the field.

All those troops,are scheduled to be gone by July 15.

The governor said that while the deadline may have made sense when the program started, it does not make sense now.

"I think given the delays in getting the 'virtual fence' operational, given the delays in getting the Border Patrol staffed up to the numbers that were predicted, removing the Guard is premature and unnecessary," she said.

The governor said the number of people being apprehended trying to cross the border illegally has been decreasing, "and we think one of the reasons is because they know the Guard is there to back up the Border Patrol."

Napolitano acknowledged there is an alternative. As commander of the Arizona National Guard, she has the power to order the soldiers under her command onto active duty to replace Guard units that are being withdrawn.

But she said one big difference is who picks up the bill.

"Since I believe the federal government has not put enough federal resources on the border to begin with, to put yet another burden on Arizona taxpayers would be a hard thing to swallow," she said.

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Hispanics Sue Over English-Only Rule at Catholic School

Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan.

Four Hispanic families are suing St. Anne's Catholic School over a policy that requires students to speak English at all times while at school.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, calls for an end to the policy and asks for an order barring similar policies at other diocese schools. It seeks the return of one student to the school who was allegedly kicked out for refusing to sign the "English only" pledge. And it asks for court costs and unspecified damages for discrimination and emotional suffering.

"Language is an essential characteristic of one's national origin," according to the complaint filed in the case. "The ban on Spanish at St. Anne's created an atmosphere of intimidation, inferiority and isolation for Hispanic students."

The lawsuit was filed by parents Mike and Clara Silva, Maria and Fermin Fernandez, Guadalupe Cruz-Tello and Alma Contreras on behalf of themselves and their minor children. It names as defendants St. Anne Catholic School, Principal Margaret Nugent, St. Anne Catholic Parish and the Catholic Diocese of Wichita.

"I think if one school is granted their wish by not allowing their students to speak another language, then other schools will follow suit," Mike Silva said.

Diocese spokesman Fred Solis called the lawsuit unfortunate, saying the church has historically offered support and services to minorities and spoken out for immigrant rights.

The diocese has said the school enacted the policy in response to four students who were using Spanish to bully others and to put down teachers and administrators.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Iowa immigration raid is largest in U.S. history

May. 13, 2008 01:07 PM

The Des Moines Register

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Federal officials said Tuesday that they had detained 390 illegal immigrants after a raid on a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, in what they described as the largest single-site raid of its kind nationwide.

The detainees include 314 men and 76 women, according to figures released Tuesday by federal authorities. Fifty-six detainees - mostly women with young children - have been released under the supervision of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A similar factory raid in New Bedford, Mass., last year netted 361 arrests, most of whom faced deportation and were separated from their families.

"We're here to discuss not only the largest operation of its kind ever in Iowa, but in fact the largest single-site enforcement operation of its kind in the country," U.S. Attorney Matt M. Dummermuth said.

The detainees included 290 who claimed to be Guatemalans, 93 Mexicans, three Israelis and four Ukrainians. Among the detained were 12 juveniles, six of whom have been released.

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Yuma Customs officer arrested in conspiracy to bring illegal aliens into U.S.

FROM STAFF REPORTS

May 13, 2008 - 7:48PM

A Yuma Customs officer has been arrested for allegedly conspiring to bring illegal aliens to the country.

Arrested along with Jose Magana, 44, of Yuma, on Monday were Jesus Gastelum-Rodriguez, 41, of San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., and Guadalupe Milan de Gastelum, 38, of San Luis Rio Colorado, Son.

Magana, an officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Yuma, Gastelum-Rodriguz, and Milan de Gastelum, were arrested by officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General and the FBI.

All three have been charged with conspiracy to bring illegal aliens to the United States. They all made an initial appearance in Yuma federal court this morning in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Jay R. Irwin and were detained pending a detention hearing.

"The arrests and charges in this complaint demonstrate our commitment to confront allegations of corruption at all levels of government," said Diane J. Humetewa, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. "We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to root out public corruption and prosecute those who put personal greed ahead of public service."

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Ariz. Sheriff Accuses Gov. of 'Dirty Politics' for Ending Illegal Immigration Contract

Associated Press

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

PHOENIX —

Gov. Janet Napolitano ordered the state to end an anti-illegal immigration contract with a high-profile sheriff Tuesday so she can pay for a larger effort to track down thousands of felons around Arizona.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Tuesday criticized the governor's decision as a maneuver to thwart his efforts against illegal immigrants.

"Dirty politics are at work right now," Arpaio said at a news conference.

Arpaio, who describes himself as "America's Toughest Sheriff" and is best known for feeding jail inmates green bologna sandwiches, clothing them in pink underwear, and making them work on chain gangs, received praise for his anti-immigration efforts from many who believe the federal government isn't doing enough to remove people in the U.S. illegally.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In A Double Whammy, McCain Sticks It To The Base On Cinco De Mayo

Memo From Mexico, By Allan Wall

Last week, on May 5th , Cinco de Mayo, Senator John McCain once again showed his contempt for the Republican base by hitting it with a double whammy.

In the same statement (see here) McCain announced that 1) he was opening a Spanish language website, and 2) he was going to the convention of the Hispanic chauvinist agitator group the National Council of La Raza [NCLR].

Why did McCain choose Cinco de Mayo to announce his double whammy? As I pointed out recently , Cinco de Mayo is not even a big deal in Mexico. It’s hardly celebrated. My school didn’t even suspend classes for it.

But in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo has become a big Mexican-American drinking fest and de rigueur occasion for pandering by U.S. politicians—chief among them being Panderer-in-Chief George W. Bush.

John McCain’s Spanish-language website is called Estamos Unidos (We are united). If you only changed one letter, the "m" to a "d", then is would be Estados Unidos (United States). Clever, eh? You can see the website here.

The website so far has links to articles. Some of the articles are in Spanish, but some are in English. As time goes by, we can expect the McCain camp to hispanify more of the website.

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Thousands protest drug violence in Mexican border city after police director killed

ASSOCIATED PRESS

4:26 p.m. May 11, 2008

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – Thousands of white-clad people marched silently Sunday to protest a surge of drug-related violence in a Mexican city across from Texas where the No. 2 police officer was shot dead.

The crowd of several thousand students, church leaders, businessmen and politicians walked for about four miles (six kilometers) across Ciudad Juarez to a park near a border crossing, breaking the silence in a burst of speeches, dancing and singing.

More than 200 people have been killed so far this year in Ciudad Juarez. The city of 1.3 million across the border from El Paso, Texas, is home base for the powerful Juarez drug cartel.

The assassination of police director Juan Antonio Roman Garcia on Saturday came despite the deployment of more than 2,500 soldiers and federal police to the city and surrounding Chihuahua state in March.

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War on smugglers no pleasure cruise

Federal agents patrol county's coastal waters
By Greg Gross
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
May 11, 2008

The newest battleground between Mexican smugglers and federal agents isn't on the ground. It's on the water.

Frustrated by anti-smuggling measures along the U.S.-Mexico border, smugglers increasingly are running up the Pacific coast from Baja California to San Diego County, delivering their cargoes of illegal immigrants, and sometimes narcotics, by the boatload.

In some ways, it's a throwback to America's Prohibition era, when “rumrunners” tried to outwit or outrun Coast Guard patrols to smuggle in liquor.

“We believe these are some of the same smuggling organizations that have been out there (along the land border),” said Michael Carney, deputy special agent in charge for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Diego.

“With the land border tightening up, they're now looking to the marine environment.”

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Mexico police say drug cartel killed No. 2 cop

By ALEXANDRA OLSON

The Associated Press

May 12, 2008

A police officer and four other suspects with ties to a powerful drug cartel have been arrested in the assassination of Mexico's acting federal police chief, authorities said Monday.

The five _ three men and two women _ belonged to a criminal cell acting on the orders of the Sinaloa drug cartel, said Gerardo Garay, the anti-drug coordinator for the federal police. Police captured all five suspects hours after the assassination of Edgar Millan Gomez on Thursday.

The alleged leader of the group, Jose Antonio Montes Garfias, had been assigned to a federal police unit in the northern state of Sinaloa since February, though he was on medical leave during that period and never reported to work, Garay said. He is suspected in the killing of another federal police officer just days before Millan's death.

Millan was one of at least four high-ranking officers killed since May 1 in attacks the government has blamed on gangs resisting its crackdown against drug trafficking. The assassinations have prompted stepped up calls from the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush for Congress to approve a US$1.4 billion (euro910 million) proposal to help fight drug crime in Mexico and Central America.

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Juárez killings surge, 9 dead as violence spreads to Palomas

By Daniel Borunda / El Paso Times

Article Launched: 05/10/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

A gunbattle on the Avenida Juárez tourist strip left two men dead and wounded five others, including three bicycle police officers, as part of a resurgence of violence in Juárez.

The violence, possibly linked to a war between drug cartels and government forces across Mexico, continued Friday with a double homicide in the town of Palomas and an attempt on the life of a Juárez police commander and his bodyguards. In Juárez, there were five other separate homicides as of 8 p.m. Friday.

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