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US freeze assets of top drug cartel leader with ties to Los Zetas

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) designated Guatemalan national Horst Walter Overdick Mejia, as a narco trafficker with dangerous ties to Colombian and Mexican Los Zetas drug cartels.

The action taken by the U.S. government falls under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) that prohibits U.S. citizens from managing any financial or commercial transactions with Mr. Overdick Mejia and moved to freeze any assets within U.S. jurisdiction.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Guatemalan national a kingpin after the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed Overdick Mejia’s indictment for narcotics trafficking, money laundering as well as firearms activities.

The Guatemalan authorities arrested Overdick Mejia on April 3. Authorities charged the leader of Guatemalan’s principal drug trafficking organization with multiple drug-related crimes.

A statement from the DEA alleges Overdick Mejia was “a veteran spice buyer, that he used his local contacts and his business acumen to smuggle thousands of kilograms of cocaine to Mexico and on into the United States.” Informants and officials contend Overdick Mejia was responsible for introducing Los Zetas into Guatemala sometime in 2008. Authorities also revealed the kingpin wanted to eliminate a fellow drug trafficker who became Guatemala’s most influential ally. The drug kingpin is also suspected of laundering millions of U.S. dollars in illicit narcotics sales generated by both of his cartel affiliations.

U.S. federal agencies have stepped up their drug cartel enforcement and added new tools that will enable federal agents to indict kingpins and confiscate their assets. This drug trafficker exhibited a knack for moving drugs between countries easily and laundering funds effectively.

“By designating Overdick Mejia, OFAC is demonstrating its support for the Guatemalan government in its struggle against the threats and violence posed by these international drug gangs,” said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. “Overdick Mejia’s drug trafficking activities and close ties to the Los Zetas makes him a dangerous and critical figure in the Central American narcotics trade.”

The high-value drug cartel designation/sanction was attributed to the cooperation between the DEA and OFAC agencies. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York also played a role in the successful apprehension of Overdick Mejia.

“Today’s action is part of ongoing efforts pursuant to the Kingpin Act to apply financial measures against significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations worldwide,” the DEA explained. “The Treasury Department has designated more than 1,000 individuals and entities pursuant to the Kingpin Act since June 2000.”

Under Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act, financial penalties can be $1.075 million per violation. The criminal penalties for corporate cartel officers include a 30-year prison sentence and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations knowingly working with drug cartels can reach $10 million and other individuals involved with narco traffickers face up to 10 years in prison.

Click here for a chart of the Mejia network:

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© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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Swimsuit model charged for selling illicit drugs worldwide

A magazine swimsuit model, Simone Farrow (stage name Simone Starr), wanted in the U.S. for drug trafficking was caught in an Australia beach community.

Farrow escaped capture from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Australia authorities for more than a month. However, the blonde swimsuit model was located and extradited to Sydney, Australia and will face multiple drug trafficking charges.

According to the DEA, the model ran a worldwide drug ring from her Hollywood apartment using 19 different aliases and moved crystal meth to a number of countries using the United States Post Office and FedEx.

Authorities in Australia apprehended Farrow at a motel without incident. The model claimed that she fled law enforcement officers because cartel leaders wanted her dead.

“The only reason I’ve done this is because someone was trying to murder me,: Farrow said to Australia’s Sunday Telegraph. “I’ve been in… relationships with numerous underworld figures or whatever you want to call them and I feel that maybe they feel threatened by my situation.”

The DEA contends the 37-year-old model divvied up large amounts of crystal meth in her Sunset blvd. apartment and disguised the drugs by using a variety of bath salts or fountain kits. The DEA also collected drugs and documents proving the model was trafficking drugs in her apartment.The Australian Sunday Telegraph also reported that a known associate of a drug syndicate recently committed suicide in Hollywood after U.S. law enforcement officials contacted the man’s involvement with Farrow.

Farrow is best known for her Ed Hardy swimsuit advertisements, Penthouse “pet” status and FHM’s three-year run on their “Sexist Women in the World” list.

Farrow faces numerous drug trafficking charges and is due in court this week.

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© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Swimsuit model charged for selling illicit drugs worldwide – National Homeland Security |

France looks to ICE to combat transnational gangs

More than one million gang members call America home and with that namesake comes exploding prison populations. These gang members have adopted violent behavior similar to their Mexican cartel competitors.

In fact, transnational gangs are commonplace in 80 percent of American communities. As a result, law enforcement officers must now devote more resources to combat gang-related violence in order to provide safety in communities throughout the United States.

“Transnational gangs are a worldwide problem, not confined to any single country,” according to Mark Selby, unit chief for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) National Gang Unit.

As America competes in a new global marketplace, ICE points to dozens of reports that indicate transnational gangs operate in a growing number of countries. France’s Gendarmerie Nationale, a leading law enforcement agency, face gang-related crime on a daily basis.

French gangs are typically affiliated with Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. These gangs are trafficking narcotics and implementing violence as a way to resolve their issues.Just like America these gangs are territorial and fiercely control criminal activity in their neighborhoods.

After listening to an ICE’s gang-related presentation at a EUROPOL meeting, Captain Benjamin Suzzoni of the Gendarmerie Nationale convinced his superiors to let him learn more about ICE’s strategy to combat transnational crime.

While the French shadowed the ICE HSI team, they learned about common gang practices and new strategies to combat transnational gangs. The French officers witnessed real-life scenarios while on a ride along with the Dallas Police Department’s Gang Unit.

“That evening, Gendarmerie Nationale personnel observed firsthand some ICE HSI strategies used to combat gangs, ranging from field interviews with known gang members to how agents utilize confidential informants.”

The French officers were impressed with the effectiveness of Operation Community Shield, a national gang enforcement initiative where ICE HSI partners with international, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to combat gangs.

“We rely on all of our law enforcement partners. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to successfully conduct the targeted anti-gang enforcement actions or long-term criminal enterprise investigations that we do,” Selby said. “In the majority of cases, we know who we’re going to arrest before we arrest them. Information sharing and intelligence from the local police departments that work with us allow us to do this.”

The French officers said they would implement some of the tactics used by U.S. law enforcement in an effort to curb transnational gang activity in French communities.

Learn more about ICE’s efforts to combat transnational gangs.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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