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David Farrington, a U.S. Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) service agent, has been vexed by a troubling question for the past several years. He has reason to suspect a colleague deliberately failed to warn an American working at a U.S. consulate in Mexico that she was targeted for assassination by a drug cartel.
Farrington, a former Marine and 10-year veteran of the State Department’s security service, was the first agent to get to the scene of the March 13, 2010, Juarez murders—another car carrying a consulate employee was attacked as well—and caught the case, as they say in police lingo. But his revulsion quickly turned to consternation, and then obsession, when he began asking questions about the whereabouts of the consulate’s chief security officer that day. Eventually, he was taken off the case, according to State Department emails obtained by Newsweek, relieved of his badge and gun, and ordered to undergo a psychological fitness review. But he hasn’t given up.
Leslie Enriquez and her husband were gunned down as they drove away from a birthday party in the drug-and-violence-wracked border city of Juarez four years ago last month. Nearly simultaneously, another car leaving the party was sprayed with bullets, killing the husband of a Mexican employee of the U.S. consulate. A senior Mexican police official said later that a drug cartel enforcer who confessed to the murders claimed Enriquez was targeted because she was helping a rival gang with U.S. visas—an allegation denied by U.S. officials. MORE
U.S. federal agents have uncovered two drug-smuggling tunnels underneath the U.S.-Mexico border, both surfacing in San Diego-area warehouses and equipped with rail systems for moving contraband, officials said on Friday.
The discovery led to the arrest of a 73-year-old woman accused of running one of the warehouses connected to a drug smuggling operation, according to a joint news release by four federal agencies.
The tunnels were discovered as part of a five-month investigation by the so-called San Diego Tunnel Task Force.
Federal law enforcement officials said the first tunnel, which connects a warehouse in Tijuana, Mexico, with one in an industrial park in the border community of Otay Mesa, is about 600 yards long and is furnished with lighting, a crude rail system and wooden trusses. The passageway is accessed via a 70-foot shaft secured by a cement cover and includes a pulley system on the U.S. side apparently intended to hoist contraband up into the warehouse.
The second tunnel was even more sophisticated, built with a multi-tiered electric rail system and an array of ventilation equipment.
Photo credit: Ice/Reuters
Brad Will always turned up where things were happening. Even to write that in the past tense seems strange, almost laughable, and nobody would laugh about it more than he would, with his conspiratorial raised-eyebrow chuckle, a laugh that let you in on a secret joke. To write it in the past tense negates the immortality that we often felt around each other. But he’s dead now, and so I have to write it that way, because it seems the only way to believe it enough so as to set some part of his story down. I still half-expect him to come rolling around the corner on his bike, dirty from traveling, eating a dumpster-dived bagel while gesticulating theatrically, recounting his latest adventures in Brazil or the South Bronx.
In a decade of living in New York City, time and again I would run into Brad in the middle of the action, whatever that action happened to be: a street protest at the Republican National Convention, a guerrilla dance party on the subway, a crowd of thousands fleeing the collapse of the Twin Towers. I once saw him, while being chased by the police among hundreds of bicyclists on a protest ride through Times Square, shoulder his bicycle and run right over the top of a taxi to freedom. He always gravitated toward the conflict and conflagration, loved getting close enough to touch before leaping back. He was fearless, and he usually got away with it, coming back with stories of how the cops were just inches from grabbing him, how the railroad bull walked right by his hiding place without spotting him. And later, as he went further, to countries where tectonic social conflicts rumbled just below the surface, drawn by that same impulse, some junk-craving of conscience and adrenaline, he spoke of how the bullets whizzed by without hitting him.
So when a friend of ours called me one morning in late October 2006, her voice cracking in that tone that conveys the worst news: it’s Brad … I already knew, but still didn’t believe. Everything else was mere detail, whens and wheres, unmoored fragments of fact: Oaxaca. Filming a street demonstration during the teachers’ strike down there. Twice in the chest. Never made it to the hospital.
He filmed his own assassination.
The Sinaloa criminal syndicate was given a jolt when its head, Joaquin Guzman Loera, known as El Chapo, was captured on Saturday. Ismael Zambada Garcia, nicknamed “El Mayo,” is viewed by experts as a natural successor.
Like Guzman, Zambada began his drug-smuggling career in the 1990s, working as a coordinator for several organizations. The 66-year-old, who according to the U.S. State Department is 5 foot 9 and 160 pounds, amassed power quickly and formed strong relationships within the drug trade. When Guzman was captured in 1993, security experts say, he handpicked Zambada — both are from the northwestern state of Sinaloa — to run his business until he escaped from prison in 2001. Since then, analysts say, the two have been trusted allies.
“The Sinaloa cartel is very structured, with a clearly defined succession line,” said Jorge Chabat, a drug and security expert at CIDE, a Mexico City research university. “The fall of its leader won’t affect its operations. It will be business as usual.”
Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, Leader of the Sinaloa Drug Cartel, Is Arrested in Mexico.
Newsweek profiled Loera, Mexico’s “Most Powerful Drug Lord”, aka the Most Wanted Man in Mexico, several times over the years. His cartel has had an impact on everything from the country’s musicians to the imagination of its children.
But those who know of Chapo’s powers say that no matter where he’s kept in Mexico, he’ll receive special treatment: his cartel runs the country’s prisons as efficiently as it crosses the U.S.-American border.
Out with the old, in with the new. In 2014, Iran — and the related cruel war in Syria — will dominate Middle East headlines; tensions between China and Japan will top that region on America’s list of national security concerns; and the splintering of al Qaeda will force Washington to further rethink the war on terror.
As the immigration debate rages in Washington and Congress pushes for a $46.3 billion border-security surge, undocumented immigrants continue to perish in Arizona’s harsh wilderness. In this week’s Newsweek, Terry Greene Sterling tells the story of one mother’s attempt to bring her family to America.
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“For sure, he was killed because of his work as a reporter. Over his at least 17 years at the newspaper, he made a long list of enemies, many of whom I imagine would love to see him dead. But he denounced so many people and so much corruption that it is impossible to say who was behind his murder.” — O Estado do Maranhao state affairs editor Silvia Moscoso • Discussing the death of Decio Sa, one of his co-workers at the Brazilian newspaper. The political reporter was killed Monday night, gunned down while eating dinner. Brazil is a particularly dangerous part of the world for journalists — four journalists have been killed just this year alone, along with 21 since 1992.
Rest in peace, brother.
From his morning-time perch above the southbound lanes of Highway 85 in Monterrey, Mexico, photographer Alejandro Cartagena catches images of people on their way to work.