Category Archives: Drug Cartel’s

Zetas gang threatens Mexico’s shale gas near border

September 26, 2012 at 12:25 am
by FuelFix.com

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico — The brutal Zetas gang poses one of the most daunting challenges to the development of Mexico’s abundant shale gas reserves near the Texas border.

The gas fields extend from the booming Eagle Ford play of South Texas deep into the ranch and coal country stretching inland from this violent border city. This is Zetas country, among the most fearsome of Mexico’s criminal badlands.

U.S. and Mexican energy companies long have been besieged by the gangsters here – their workers assaulted, extorted or murdered – despite a heavy military and federal police presence. Now, with feuding Zetas factions bloodying one another and fending off outside rivals, what has been a bad situation threatens to get much worse.

Northern Mexico’s gas production has suffered for years as gangland threats or attacks have kept workers from servicing the wellheads, pipelines and drilling rigs in the Burgos Basin, the territory between the Rio Grande and the city of Monterrey, which now provides up to 20 percent of Mexico’s natural gas.

Petroleos Mexicanos has problems with security … principally in Burgos,” Guillermo Dominguez, a senior member of the National Hydrocarbons Commission, told the Mexico City newspaper Reforma.

And now the surging Zetas bloodletting pits the gang’s top bosses – Heriberto Lazcano and Miguel Angel Treviño – against Ivan Velazquez, a former underling known as “El Taliban.” From his base in the western state of Zaca­tecas, Velazquez reportedly has allied with the remnants of other gangs to launch a challenge for control of Coahuila state, which holds most of the shale gas reserves.

Challenge to control

Banners recently hung by both Zetas factions have accused one another of treason and other transgressions that will be avenged with death. Fighting has rattled Nuevo Laredo, the Zetas stronghold that also is the busiest land port for U.S.-Mexico trade, killing scores this month alone.

Still more banners appeared in Nuevo Laredo Tuesday, reputedly written by beleaguered civilians, promising all the gangster factions further bloody vengeance.

“Zetas are pretty much in control, but they have been challenged,” said a U.S. official in Mexico who monitors the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity. “You have all these groups fighting one another, shifting alliances and internal fights … It’s a wilderness of mirrors.”

The Zetas’ spats with rivals already have turned Coahuila’s other large cities – Torreon in the west, Monclova in the center and Saltillo in the east – into fierce gangland battlegrounds. State officials are blaming the Sept. 17 escape of 131 prisoners from a Piedras Negras prison on the Zetas seeking to replenish their ranks for new battles.

The insecurity in Mexico’s gas fields contrasts sharply with the drilling and production frenzy seizing the ranchlands just north of the border. Oil field pickups and semi-trailer fuel tankers choke Highway 83, the once-desolate ranch-country highway that cuts northwest from Laredo though the lower reaches of the Eagle Ford.

Some 6,000 drilling permits have been issued for Eagle Ford shale in Texas, and 550 wells are producing there. By comparison, Pemex so far has drilled five exploratory shale gas wells, but hopes to drill 170 more in the next four years. The company plans to spend $200 million on exploration in the short term.

Those first exploratory wells have been drilled to the west of Nuevo Laredo and below the border at Piedras Negras, ranch and coal country that remains relatively violence free for now. But that tranquility may owe more to the now-threatened dominance of the Zetas bosses than to rule of law.

“They are in control,” said a U.S. official. “They are pretty much just doing their thing.”

Workers disappearing

At least eight Pemex and contract employees vanished in May 2010 near a gas facility near Falcon Lake, territory under the Zetas’ firm control. Last March, two men working for a Mexican company doing contract work for Houston-based Halliburton disappeared outside Piedras Negras.

Halliburton spokeswoman Tara Mullee-Agard said employees get regular security briefings, but the company declined to comment on the contractors’ disappearance.

“Many companies that were active in the areas have stopped until Pemex or the government can provide security,” said an employee of one Reynosa-based company. “In places where there have been incidents we don’t operate anymore. When darkness falls, we stop wherever we are.

dudley.althaus@chron.com

ICE agents sue own agency over deferred deportations

By Alan Gomez, USA TODAY

A group of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents filed a lawsuit against their own agency Thursday, arguing that the Obama administration is not letting them fully identify and deport illegal immigrants.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano says her department does not have the manpower or money to deport the 11 million illegal immigrants in the USA, so she issued a memorandum last year ordering immigration officials to focus their efforts on dangerous illegal immigrants. In June, Obama announced a program that will allow up to 1.7 million illegal immigrants brought to the USA as children to have deportations deferred for at least two years.

The 10 ICE agents suing Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton say those directives violate the Constitution and federal immigration law. “We are federal law enforcement officers who are being ordered to break the law,” said Chris Crane, an ICE agent and president of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, a union for ICE employees. “This directive puts ICE agents and officers in a horrible position.”

ICE spokesman Ross Feinstein did not comment on the lawsuit but said more than half of the nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants deported in 2011 had been convicted of crimes, the largest number in the agency’s history. He said that shows the decision to focus on the most dangerous illegal immigrants is a policy that works, and June’s decision to defer deportation for young illegal immigrants enhances that strategy.

A spokesman for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Obama may have overstepped his authority by ordering the deportation deferments, and Romney would forge a long-term solution with Congress instead of relying on Obama’s “stop-gap measure.”

“The courts will have to sort this out, but this kind of uncertainty is unacceptable as these young people brought here as children are seeking clarity on their long-term status,” spokesman Ryan Williams said.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in a Dallas federal court, requests that a judge strike down the two directives and protect the agents from any retribution for their lawsuit.

The suit is funded by NumbersUSA, a group that proposes lower levels of legal and illegal immigration, and the attorney is Kris Kobach, the secretary of State of Kansas who has helped Arizona and Alabama craft strict anti-illegal-immigration laws. His work on this lawsuit is not part of his official state duties.

The lawsuit was supported by some GOP legislators who have criticized Obama’s immigration plans as “backdoor amnesty.”

“These agent’s mission is to keep our borders secure, but the head of their agency is directing them otherwise, telling them to undermine their missions and contradict immigration law,” Sen. David Vitter, R-La.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said the program actually helps ICE officials by allowing them to focus on the most dangerous illegal immigrants. “Deferred action is a major boost to law enforcement who do not have to waste time on honor students and can do the harder work of actually tracking down and deporting criminals,” he said.

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Lacking Courage, Politicians Not Moving on Fast and Furious Scandal

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A handful of Republicans are pursuing the biggest scandal in American history, but guess what: House Speaker Boehner isn’t one of them, and that puts him on par with Democrats like Jim Costa, who think “Issa and Holder should sit down and work it out.”

West Virginia Democrat Nick Rahall wants Holder to turn over the subpoenaed documents but is “not ready to go as far as contempt yet, no. Not yet.”

Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana explained why he thinks Boehner, along with Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), are going along to get along.

With the other issues, the economy and everything else, I think they would like to focus on that. I don’t think they’re opposed to going ahead with the contempt citation; it’s just that if we can get the Justice Department to move without having to move it, they would probably prefer that.

Americans would probably “prefer” that career politicians grow a spine and stand up to one of the most corrupt attorneys general in recent history and hold everyone responsible for the murders of innocent people accountable.  Not gonna happen, according to an insider.

From Roll Call:

A GOP aide also warned against a racial backlash if Republicans are seen as unfairly targeting the first black attorney general, who is serving under the first black president. “Especially after Trayvon,” the aide said, referring to slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

How about an attorney general targeting Hispanics?  “The term Hispanic, as dominated [sic] by the Office of Management and Budget, is used in the United States for people with origins in Spanish-speaking countries, including Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica.”

Over 300 Mexican citizens have been murdered by weapons trafficked by our own government, with “more to come” according to Holder’s testimony.  Many Mexican-Americans have relatives south of the border.  Where is La Raza?

Bloggers, journalists, and investigators have chronicled this mess from the beginning.  They’ve uncovered evidence leading first to the Department of Justice, then straight to the White House.

How about the three Os?  Ogden, O’Reilly, and Obama.

In March 2009, Former Deputy Attorney-General David Ogden said, “The president has directed us to take action to fight these cartels and Attorney General Eric Holder and I are taking several new and aggressive steps as part of the administration’s comprehensive plan.”

A September 2010 e-mail from ATF Phoenix Special Agent in Charge Bill Newell to White House National Security Staffer Kevin O’Reilly showed an “arrow chart reflecting the ultimate destination of firearms we intercepted and/or where the guns ended up.”  The chart shows arrows leading from Arizona to destinations all over Mexico.

In March 2011, on the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, Sarah Brady met with Jay Carney to discuss the need for tougher gun control laws.  The president joined them, and Mrs. Brady recalled him saying, “I just want you to know that we are working on it[.] … We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

Agent Brian Terry died nine months after Obama’s “under the radar” statement.

Issa has indicated that he will seek a contempt citation if Holder doesn’t turn over the remaining documents by Memorial Day.  We’ll see.  In the meantime, I suggest that both Democrats and Republicans read the following words from the Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society.

Of course there are many courageous individuals but they have no determining influence on public life.

Political and intellectual bureaucrats show depression, passivity and perplexity in their actions and in their statements and even more so in theoretical reflections to explain how realistic, reasonable as well as intellectually and even morally warranted it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice.

And decline in courage is ironically emphasized by occasional explosions of anger and inflexibility on the part of the same bureaucrats when dealing with weak governments and weak countries, not supported by anyone, or with currents which cannot offer any resistance. But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists.

Should one point out that from ancient times a decline in courage has been considered the beginning of the end?

Somebody needs to get on with it.  Charge Holder with contempt now.

Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report.

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