Mexico: Cartel Spies Occupy a Top Office
October 29, 2008, 07:28 AM
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It's hard to keep up with the many Mexico-tailspin stories as the corruption and violence continue to become ever more extensive. Just when you think the failing state can't get any worse, it does. For example, in one 24-hour period last week: 21 die in Mexico violence, 4 in crowded park [El Paso Times, Oct 23].

That story gets filed in the category of accumulating deaths due to drug violence. But the news that cartel spies had infiltrated the highest levels of the Mexican government is more ominous, particularly when America is about to send hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Mexico City to help with its internal policing, aka the Merida Initiative.

Members of an elite Mexican anti-drug unit passed information to a drug cartel in exchange for thousands of dollars, prosecutors say.

They said police agents and senior officials gave sensitive information to the Beltran Leyva organisation.

Assistant Attorney General Marisela Morales said those involved had received up to $450,000 (Â?290,000) a month from the cartel.

They allegedly told the cartel about potential raids and surveillance.

Five officials in the anti-crime unit were arrested, four of them weeks ago.

The passing of information is alleged to have lasted for much of the past four years.

'Spy' claims

The security breach is being described as the worst case of infiltration by traffickers of the Mexican law enforcement system in a decade. [Cartel reportedly infiltrated Mexican attorney general's office, BBC, Oct. 27, 2008]

While on the subject of rampant intelligence corruption, there is this item: Mexican officials held for selling intel to drug cartels.
MEXICO CITY (AFP) — Mexican authorities have been holding 35 officials since July for selling intelligence to drug cartels, for payments of up to 400,000 dollars, the federal prosecutor revealed on Monday.

"Thirty-five public officials have been pulled out of the SIEDO (elite anti-organized crime unit) as well as other support staff. The process of the cleaning up and revision of staff and proceedings will continue in a permanent manner," Eduardo Medina Mora told a news conference.

How can Washington possibly consider sending a $400 million aid package this year to such a deeply corrupt country? High-tech military equipment given to Mexico to fight its interior drug war will not work; it be totally wasted at best or at worst will end up in the hands of the criminal syndicates.

Okay, one more; this article notes the drug war moving across the border: FBI warns of drug cartel arming [Washington Times, Oct 26].

The FBI is warning that one of Mexico´s most brutal drug cartels is attempting to violently regain control of drug trafficking routes in the United States and has been ordered to engage law enforcement officers to protect their operations, according to an intelligence report obtained by The Washington Times.

Los Zetas, the enforcer of Mexico's infamous Gulf Cartel, is reinforcing its ranks and stockpiling weapons in safe houses in the U.S. in response to recent crackdowns in the U.S. and Mexico against drug traffickers, said the FBI San Antonio Field Office's Joint Assessment Bulletin. The bulletin was dated Oct. 17 and was sent to law enforcement officials in the Texas region.

The bulletin said the cartel's regional leader, Jaime Gonzalez, has ordered the reinforcements to a tactical operational territory, or "plaza," in the area around the southern Texas towns of McAllen and Mission, about 235 miles south of San Antonio and less than five miles from the border with Mexico.

The worst of the narco-thugs are coming this way in greater numbers. The Zetas have been here for several years already, doing their drug violence in places like Dallas.