News / USA

    US Cracks Down on Suspected Drug Dealers Linked to Mexico

    Soldiers escort Julian Zapata Espinosa, fourth right, alleged member of the Los Zetas drug cartel, and other suspects during a presentation for the media in Mexico City, February 23, 2011
    Soldiers escort Julian Zapata Espinosa, fourth right, alleged member of the Los Zetas drug cartel, and other suspects during a presentation for the media in Mexico City, February 23, 2011
    Cindy Lavanderos

    Federal authorities in the United States have arrested hundreds of people with suspected ties to Mexican drug cartels, following the shooting death of a U.S. law enforcement agent in Mexico last week. 

    More than 3,000 federal, state and local law enforcement personnel conducted raids in major U.S. cities this week, arresting nearly 700 suspects, and confiscating large quantities of drugs, weapons, and at least $8 million in cash.

    The sweep occurred just days after Jaime Zapata, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, was gunned down February 15 on a highway in Mexico's San Luis Potosi state.  Fellow agent Victor Ávila was wounded in the ambush, by suspected drug cartel members.

    U.S. authorities  said they would not tolerate attacks against its agents, and threatened to take strong action against the perpetrators of such violence.  Zapata was the first U.S. agent to be killed in Mexico since Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was kidnapped, tortured and murdered while working with the Drug Enforcement Administration 26 years ago.

    When the roundup began in the United States, Mexican authorities announced they had detained Julian Zapata Espinosa, the alleged leader of a cell of the Zeta drug cartel, and eight others believed to be connected to Zapata’s death.

    According to Ricardo Trevilla, a spokesperson for the Defense Secretariat, the suspect confessed to having killed Zapata after mistaking the officials for members of a rival gang.

    Trevilla said the alleged hitmen confused the agents’ armored sport utility vehicle they were chasing with that of an enemy cartel.

    Political commentators have raised questions about the investigation, since the agent and his partner clearly identified themselves as diplomats and their car had diplomatic plates.  Also, they said, it is odd that the alleged killers would have remained in San Luis Potosí where they were arrested, had they committed the high-profile murder.

    Mexico’s attorney general’s office  later said the detained cell leader had been arrested by the military in December 2009 after being found with assault weapons, camouflage uniforms and fake badges, but was eventually released on insufficient evidence.

    Mexican President Felipe Calderón called U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday to inform him of the arrest.  Admiral James Winnefeld, head of the U.S. Northern Command, said President Obama thanked President Calderón for Mexico’s efforts to bring the attackers to justice.

    “President Obama expressed appreciation for the strong investigative work of the Mexicans to arrest one of special agent Zapata’s alleged killers and President Calderon expressed appreciation for the cooperation of American agents that made the arrest possible," he said.

    Since President Calderón took office in 2006, more than 34,000 people have been killed in his crackdown on organized crime.  In contrast to the Zapata killing, few of these cases, however, have been investigated.

    Tension between the two governments has increased over the past weeks.  The Mexican president expressed anger over State Department cables obtained by the website WikiLeaks, calling Mexican law enforcement agencies corrupt, inefficient and unwilling to cooperate with each other.

    In an interview with the Mexican daily El Universal this week, President Calderón accused the U.S. government of not doing enough to curb drug distribution in the United States and failing to stop the flow of arms into Mexico.  He said U.S. law enforcement agencies competed with each other, failing to work together and that U.S. diplomats tended to “distort” what is going on in Mexico, harming U.S.-Mexican relations.

    Mr. Calderón’s comments came just days after the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly against a measure that would have required licensed firearm dealers to report multiple sales of assault weapons - a new way to catch gunrunners to Mexico.  Ninety percent of arms confiscated from drug traffickers come from the United States.

    President Calderón will travel to Washington this coming week to meet with President Obama.  Talks are expected to focus on security issues and other matters.  Admiral James Winnefeld also discussed the upcoming meeting with the media.

    “President Obama also said he was looking forward to welcoming President Calderon to the White House on Thursday, March 3 to discuss our important bilateral relationship and key global issues," he said.

    This will be the fifth time the two leaders have met since January 2009.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora