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It’s been a year since ICE Agent Zapata has been killed-RIP

It’s been a year since Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jamie Zapata was killed in Mexico. This somber day is a reminder that Mexico remains a dangerous country for American law enforcement officers who serve south of the border.

The heavily armed-drug cartels continue to operate freely in Mexico, while U.S. agents are still forced to investigate cartel activity without any firearms- in other words, it’s business as usual.

One year ago Special Agent Zapata was traveling along a major highway in Mexico when his suburban was boxed-in by alleged cartel members, forced to the median where he lowered his window slightly to identify himself as an ICE agent, and was ultimately killed when the cartel opened fire leaving behind some 90 rounds of AK-47 bullets.

Several alleged killers have been arrested, and one, Julian Zapata Espinoza aka “Piolin” or “Tweety,” has been extradited to the U.S. to face murder charges.

While “Tweety” awaits trial, ICE headquarters released a statement regarding Agent Zapata’s death. The agency explained the loss has touched all who knew Mr. Zapata, but they also wanted to remember how courageous and honorable he was.

It’s widely believed by agents and law enforcement agencies that Zapata was killed with a gun from the botched ATF Fast and Furious program. Mexican officials have already confirmed the gunwalking operation has killed hundreds of Mexican nationals, but the U.S. hasn’t said a Fast and Furious gun killed Zapata.

“He was the type of person who wanted to contribute something significant to this world,” said ICE Director John Morton.

ICE headquarters said Zapata joined the agency in 2006 and was assigned to the Deputy Assistant HSI office in Laredo, Texas, where he served on the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit, as well as the Border Enforcement Security Task Force.

“He was detailed to ICE’s attaché office at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City at the time of the tragedy. By extending his service across the border, SA Zapata put his life on the line to keep this country safe,” a statement read. “Having lived and worked along the Southwest border, Zapata was familiar with the challenges of being a law enforcement officer in that area.”

The ultimate sacrifice Agent Zapata made for America has not been forgotten. During National Police Week in May 2011, ICE honored SA Zapata’s life and legacy with a plaque on the ICE Wall of Honor.

His hometown in Texas also honored Zapata in April 2011, when they renamed a street after him. “This street, close to his parents’ home, was named Jamie J. Zapata Avenue. Zapata’s family was the first to drive on it.”

ICE also said other memorials for Zapata include a criminal justice training facility named after him at Kaplan College in McAllen, Texas; a resolution passed in the Texas Senate in his honor; and federal law enforcement legislation sponsored in his name.

Director Morton said he would be spending the day with Zapata’s family in Texas.

“No one will ever be able to replace Jaime,” said Morton. “He lives on in all of us. He inspired each of us on a personal level to be the best we can be – as a son or daughter, brother or sister, a public servant, or any other role.”

Among those who are remembering Agent Zapata are the retired Border Patrol Agents at NAFBPO. “As a retired Border Patrol Agent, I pray there is justice for both Jaime Zapata and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, both killed because of Fast and Furious. Those responsible must be held accountable. Honor First,” Alan Ferguson of NAFBPO concluded.

While it is right to honor the fallen ICE agent, one must wonder why the same treatment has not found its way to murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who died after a shootout in Arizona by a drug smuggler using a Fast and Furious ATF gun?

Rest in peace…agents… rest in peace.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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Mexican Cartel calls for a truce during Pope’s visit

Who knew the ruler of the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI, could broker a peace deal between rival Mexican drug cartel members, but that’s what the Knights Templar, a vicious so-called religious drug trafficking organization has called for during the Catholic leader’s visit to Mexico on March 23.

The Associated Press posted a photo they received from Mexico Municipal Police department that suggested a truce should be honored ahead of the archdiocese March visit.

“We just want to warn that we do not want more groups in the state of Guanajuato. Confrontations will be inevitable. You have been warned, New Generation, we want Guanajuato in Peace, so don’t think about moving in and much less causing violence, precisely at this time when His Holiness Benedict XVI is coming,” the banner read. (Story here)

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Who knew the ruler of the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI, could broker a peace deal between rival Mexican drug cartel members, but that’s what the Knights Templar, a vicious so-called religious drug trafficking organization has called for during the Catholic leader’s visit to Mexico on March 23.

The Associated Press posted a photo they received from Mexico Municipal Police department that suggested a truce should be honored ahead of the archdiocese March visit.

“We just want to warn that we do not want more groups in the state of Guanajuato. Confrontations will be inevitable. You have been warned, New Generation, we want Guanajuato in Peace, so don’t think about moving in and much less causing violence, precisely at this time when His Holiness Benedict XVI is coming,” the banner read. (Story here)

The carefully placed banners asking for a rival cartel truce were discovered by police on heavily –travelled Mexico City bridges. The narco banners were also found and removed in several locations throughout central Mexico.

“Police spokesman Gabriel Cordero said in an e-mail that the banners had been taken down and handed over to federal prosecutors. On Jan. 22, Leon Archbishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago called on drug cartels to observe a sort of truce during the Pope’s visit,” according to the Associated Press.

“To those who do evil, if my words can reach them, I would tell them to realize that we are living times of grace and peace, and that they should help by allowing all these people to come to an event that is totally respectable and not to take advantage to do anything that could lead to an experience of mourning and death,” Leon Archbishop Rabago said. “I trust that in their hearts, they are human in the end, there is enough sensitivity to respect people’s lives.”

The Knights Templar (it’s name came from medieval religious warriors) have self-described their religious beliefs in a training manual and reportedly have included a “code of conduct” for their members. One of the so-called rules prohibits cartel members to kill people for money or drugs. However, most experts agree that cartels follow no rules in the gruesome, dark world of narco violence.

Rabago asked the cartels to “collaborate at least to allow that all these people to attend a totally respectable act. Don’t take advantage (of the situation) to do something that will take us to a place of sorrow and death.”

Mexico’s law enforcement officials say they are ramping up security ahead of the Papal leader visit. The country’s leaders have also reassured the Vatican as well as Mexican residents that they will be able to honor Pope Benedict safely.

More than 50,000 deaths, many victims were women and children, can be attributed to the brutal drug cartel turf-war over the past five years.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Dozens of suspected drug-cartel members arrested in San Diego

A multiagency criminal sweep in San Diego arrested dozens of alleged Mexican drug-cartel members today.

The task force titled, “Operation Second Sole,” arrested 43 “high value” drug-cartel suspects trafficking drugs, weapons and stolen property. Authorities said these assailants engaged in “incredible acts of violence” throughout San Diego communities.

“Many of the suspects arrested today have significant criminal histories and were considered to be armed and dangerous,” San Diego Police Lieutenant Kevin Ammon said. “The success of today’s operation rid the county of a serious threat to the safety and security of our citizens.”

Federal, state and local law enforcement officers used search warrants to take down and arrest 43 cartel suspects. The morning raids captured criminals without incident in and around San Diego County.

Ammon explained the joint task force was successful in “disrupting criminal enterprises.”

Law enforcement agencies launched ‘Operation Second Sole’ to “interrupt and prevent dangerous individuals from committing acts of violence in furtherance of narcotics trafficking,” said John Torres, ATF special-agent-in charge in Southern California.
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“As a result of this joint effort, suspects implicated in criminal activity ranged from homicide to armed robbery. (All) have been taken into custody along with (the) seized contraband, including illegal firearms and methamphetamine,” Torres said.

The Mexican cartel sweep is part of an effort to disrupt criminal gangs along the U.S. border and break up illicit drug rings.

The multi-agency taskforce included, San Diego Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms & Explosives (BATFE), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), California Border Protection Alliance Group (HIDTA), San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and finally the Chula Vista Police Department.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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Tip from informant leads authorities to an abandoned million-dollar drug load

A confidential informant tipped Pinal County Sheriff’s Office that a possible “load vehicle” carrying illicit drugs was spotted in the Vekol Valley, a known-drug smuggling corridor.

A multi-agency effort including Pinal Regional SWAT, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, Search and Rescue as well as the Maricopa County HIDTA worked together to seize the drug-laden truck. Authorities located the abandoned truck in a rugged desert area roughly eight miles from Interstate 8.

The Sheriff’s Office reported the abandoned truck showed signs the occupants left within the hour. Evidence also suggested the truck carried at least three occupants who escaped arrest.

Despite the triple-digit heat the drug smugglers fled into the desert and remain at large.

A Sheriff spokesperson, Tim Gaffney said the 4-door GMC truck had been stolen.

“Located in the cab and bed of the truck was approximately 1,849 pounds of marijuana,” he said. “The marijuana had a street value of over one million dollars.”

Pinal County Arizona is the number one “pass through” corridor for drugs in the country and Sheriff Paul Babeu has been an outspoken critic of former Arizona Governor-turned Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano.
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“Last week myself and several officials met with Secretary Janet Napolitano regarding our southern border. Secretary Napolitano told our group we are never going to seal the border, and since the beginning of time, we’ve always had contraband going through it,” Sheriff Babeu explained. “Myself along with most Americans wonder how the person in charge of securing the border can say we can’t do it.”

Pointing to the Yuma border sector, Babeu stated; “The border can be secured. It has already happened in the Yuma Sector where border crossings have been reduced by 96 percent. Why can we put 28,000 soldiers in Korea to secure and protect their border but we can’t put 6,000 here to protect our own border?”

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/kimberly-dvorak

Or http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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Ex Tijuana Mayor with cartel ties, Hank Rhon released from custody

Tijuana’s popular former Mayor Jorge Han Rhon was released for a second time today. Rhon was arrested in his Tijuana mansion on June 4 by Mexican military forces for stockpiling weapons. At the time of the raid, Rhon was in possession of 78 unregistered firearms.

Mexico does not have a Second Amendment and residents must undergo a painstaking application process in order to legally possess a firearm.

Nevertheless, the federal judge determined the wealthy ex-mayor could no longer remain in the court’s custody.

Rhon’s release came 10 days after his initial detention. However, the state prosecutor’s office wasted no time and immediately brought Rhon in for questioning about a murder weapon that allegedly matched two of his guns.
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The federal judge also freed 10 of Rhon’s staff members who were arrested during the initial raid.

Speculation from Mexico insiders contends the arrest may have been motivated by politics as Rhon belongs to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) who looks to regain the presidency in Mexico next year.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Ex Tijuana Mayor with cartel ties, Hank Rhon released from custody – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/ex-tijuana-mayor-with-cartel-ties-hank-rhon-released-from-custody#ixzz1PJdUS7sb

San Diego Border Patrol nets $1 million worth of marijuana on a panga boat

Over the weekend, San Diego Border Patrol agents arrested three Mexican nationals in the early morning hours that were smuggling more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana worth about a million dollars inside a panga-style boat.

It was the National Guardsmen, who were posted by the Obama Administration, that spotted the panga boat with three people aboard roaming the California coastline without navigation lights near Camp Pendleton Marine base. With the support of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents (CBP), the Guardsmen monitored the panga boat until it came ashore near San Onofre State Beach approximately an hour later.

Agents met the drug-filled panga boat and arrested all three illegal aliens, as they were unloading 21 cellophane-wrapped bundles of marijuana with a total weight of 1,543.04 pounds and an estimated street value of $925,821.60.
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The men, the narcotics and the boat were turned over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who will lead the investigation.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agencies maintain a strong enforcement position along the coastal borders to detect and arrest smugglers of humans, drugs and other contraband and are a member agency of the Maritime Unified Command (MUC). The public is encouraged to report any suspicious maritime activity by calling the Joint Harbor Operations Center at 1-800-854-9834.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com San Diego Border Patrol nets $1 million worth of marijuana on a panga boat – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/san-diego-border-patrol-nets-1-million-worth-of-marijuana-on-a-panga-boat#ixzz1PCXnXPk6

BREAKING: New video of drug smugglers loading drug-filled inside Arizona borders

Several days before the murder of New Mexico resident Larry Link, Border Invasion Pics caught illegal smugglers carrying loads of drugs inside the U.S. borders loading dope filled backpacks into a waiting pickup truck; not once, but twice in the same day, on the same trail.

The daring event unfolded under the cover of daylight- yes daylight. Cartels have become so brazen with their ability to smuggle drugs, they are not even waiting for the cover of darkness.

An obvious question American citizens should be asking is where are the Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel, or even local law enforcement?

Southern Arizona residents know the answer; without a secure southern border fence, there is simply too much territory to cover and not enough resources to apprehend all the bad guys.

The new video was captured by longtime southeastern, Arizona resident. “My family came to Arizona in 1878. This is my state, and these people (illegal aliens and smugglers) are invading it. Drugs are illegal, and they ruin lives.”

Not one to claim the limelight, the videographer of Border Invasion Pics would like to protect his anonymity for those outside his home town. However, he wanted to share the shocking video with outsiders who are not familiar with the seriousness of drug smuggling and the daily barrage of illegal trafficking of people along the porous southern borders.

“Drug smuggling has taken dangerous criminal activity and violence to a new level all over the country,” he explains. “As an American citizen and Viet Nam vet, I see intervening wherever I can as my responsibility – especially since I have the necessary skills to do so.” The video does not lie.
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The Border Invasion videos show a long line of drug cartel members quietly ambling towards their load drop-off point. Without stopping and asking the “mules” (a common name used for those who transport drugs) there is no evidence of which cartel they belong to.

Video clip 1; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpoTHSFxoZk&feature=player_embedded

Video clip 2; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z89fIrk8ofE

The footage was taken near Bisbee, Arizona. It is 50 miles (as a crow flies) west of the New Mexico state line and location of the Stein Ghost Town murder of Larry Link. Residents in both states have described similar events that are shown in these “You Tube” videos. To read about the June 6 murder of businessman/ghost ranch owner Larry Link; read here.

To see more video at Border Invasion Pics; http://www.borderinvasionpics.com/index.html#FeaturedTop

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Video clip 1; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpoTHSFxoZk&feature=player_embedded

Video clip 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z89fIrk8ofE

Continue reading on Examiner.com BREAKING: New video of drug smugglers loading drug-filled inside Arizona borders – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/breaking-video-of-drug-smugglers-loading-pot-inside-arizona-borders#ixzz1PAP3qwXy

UPDATE: New Mexico rancher Larry Link murdered by illegal alien

New details are emerging about the murder of a New Mexico rancher, Larry Link, 68, who was killed yesterday on his property.

Link’s ranch/ghost town is located approximately 47 miles from the U.S./Mexico border, and he moved to Stein, New Mexico to get away from the hustle and bustle of Phoenix.

“My uncle was a good man who deserved better,” Bill Link said.

Reacting to the murder, Los Cruces, New Mexico resident, Tammy Hopkins said the government continues to tell the American public, “We have no problem. I give one of them one night alone on my property, and they would damn sure change their minds!”

As word spread yesterday about Link’s murder, groups from around the country shared their thoughts about the senseless crime and porous borders.

“NCFIRE extends our condolences to you and your family. All of our states are saturated with illegal alien crime – murders. So many U.S. families are suffering unnecessarily. In order to not allow these loved ones to die in vain, it is imperative that we take action to change legislation and participate in protecting the border… This must end and only we can force this to happen.”

Hidalgo County Commissioner Ed Kerr told the Los Cruces Sun-News there has been recent illegal immigrant and drug activity near Link’s property.

“Last summer in August, I found five bundles of marijuana on my ranch land about 50 feet from the freeway. That can’t be more than eight or 10 miles from Larry’s,” he told the Los Cruces Sun-News. “They were scattered about. One was under the billboard, one was beside the fence. Illegals with empty backpacks had dropped their load. I-10 is, obviously, a connecting point. We’re getting a lot of traffic, more than what we’ve seen in the past couple of years. They have ultra-light planes flying out of Mexico and dropping off bundles and then illegals walking and picking them up.”
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New Mexico State Police, who are investigating this case, haven’t released any new information regarding the Link murder.

Link celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary last year, and he is survived by children and grandchildren.

Continue reading on Examiner.com UPDATE: New Mexico rancher Larry Link murdered by illegal alien – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/breaking-new-mexico-rancher-larry-link-murdered-by-illegal-alien#ixzz1OheDotSj

U.S. Border Patrol seizes $3.5 million drug load near San Diego

Interior Border Patrol Agents did it again; they snagged $3.5 million in cocaine and marijuana behind a false wall located in a tractor trailer headed to San Diego.

U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to an Interstate 8 checkpoint just east of San Diego arrested a 25-year-old male, U.S. citizen, for smuggling more than 315 pounds of cocaine and 570 pounds of marijuana.

“Agents encountered the man, a resident of Los Angeles, on Friday, at about 11:15 p.m., as he arrived at the checkpoint driving a 1998 Freightliner truck with a trailer. A Border Patrol K-9 team performed a cursory inspection of the truck which resulted in a positive alert to the trailer and the driver was then referred for a secondary inspection,” according to Border Patrol Agent Michael Jimenez.

It was during secondary inspection when agents searched the front of the trailer and discovered a false wall made of metal and plywood. Agents discovered the drugs behind the plywood.
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The drugs were wrapped in cellophane. The agents collected 115 bundles of cocaine with a total weight of 315.59 pounds and an estimated street value of $3,156,000. “Agents also discovered eight metal boxes containing 570.22 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of $342, 000,” Jimenez said.

The suspected drug smuggler was taken into custody and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for further investigation. The Freightliner truck and trailer used by the suspected smuggler were seized by Border Patrol.

Since October 1, 2010, San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents have seized more than 62,000 pounds of marijuana and 1,270 pounds of cocaine.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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U.S./Mexico Border States continue to disrupt drug cartel activities

In a multi-agency operation, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office teamed up with Border Patrol’s “BORTAC Team 5” to deny, degrade, disrupt and dismantle drug and human-trafficking operations in Pinal County.

The week-long joint task force agencies arrested 60 suspects, seized 5,433 pounds of marijuana, collected $115,630 in cash, recovered five stolen vehicles and confiscated firearms.

“These multi agency details have a much greater impact than just in Pinal County,” Sheriff Paul Babeu explained. “Pinal County is the number one pass through county in America for drug and human trafficking because of the roadways and terrain.”

The Arizona Sheriff’s Office reported that the Mexican cartels have 75 to 100 lookout posts inside a known-drug and human-smuggling corridor.

“They (drug cartels) use these high vantage points to ensure their loads, whether they are humans or drugs, make it through,” Babeu said.
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While the final destination for some of these drug loads are Phoenix, many are headed to large cities throughout the United States.

“I appreciate the assistance provided by all of these law enforcement agencies to disrupt the cartels activities. We need this continuous law enforcement presence to help protect America until the border is truly secured,” Sheriff Babeu finished.

There were more than 15 state and federal law enforcement agencies participating in the Arizona crackdown on drug cartels.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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