Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

Mexican Drug War Inside The U.S.: Phoenix Now Kidnap Capital

February 12, 2009
Juan Francisco Perez-Torres was abducted last month in front of his home and ransom demanded. Hundreds of such incidents occur each year in Phoenix, and Mexican drug-smuggling is usually involved.
By Sam Quinones
Los Angeles Times
February 12, 2009
Reporting from Phoenix — In broad daylight one January afternoon, on a street of ranch-style houses with kidney-shaped swimming pools, Juan Francisco Perez-Torres was kidnapped in front of his wife, daughter and three neighbors.

Two men with a gun grabbed the 34-year-old from his van and dragged him 50 yards to a waiting SUV. His wife threw rocks at the car, then gave chase in her own SUV. Neighbors in northwest Phoenix called police. Yet when police found her later, she at first denied there was a problem.


Arizona has become the new drug gateway into the United States. Roughly half of all marijuana seized along the U.S.-Mexico border was taken on the state’s 370-mile border with Mexico.
One result is an epidemic of kidnapping that many residents are barely aware of. Indeed, most every other crime here is down. But police received 366 kidnapping-for-ransom reports last year, and 359 in 2007. Police estimate twice that number go unreported.

In September, police spun off a separate detective unit to handle only these smuggling-related kidnappings and home-invasion robberies. Its detectives are now considered among the country’s most expert in those crimes.

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Mexico: Drug gang clash with army kills 21
Torture, Murder of Top Mexican Anti-Drug Man; “Out of Control” Drug War


Poll: Economy, Jobs Top Americans’ Priorities (Global Warming Last); Obama Solutions?

January 23, 2009

The American people gave Barack Obama a mandate to solve the problem.

And the problem is clearly jobs and the economy, a new Pew Research Poll says.

“That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood,” the President said during his Inaugural Day Address.

Former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell said, “The American people, I think fundamentally, bet on President Obama because of the economic situation we are in.”
“The stock market dropped another 300 points on this glorious Inauguration Day and people are losing jobs, and that will be No. 1 for him,” Powell said.

America is inching each day closer to an economic stimulus that will give our children and grandchildren more than $2 Trillion in debt.

Yet no one is certain the stimulus will work.

Will Obama Stimulus Create Jobs? Many “Experts” Can’t Say (Or Say No…)

If there is doubt that the American economy will recover as a result of the actions we are taking, we are either taking the wrong actions or we need to ask ourselves “what else should be done? What should we do differently?”

There will be no national security without a strong American economy.  No social security.  No health care. No war on global warming.

A news story this week  said the only segments of the California economy showing “growth” were in the sectors of government and  medical services.  That won’t produce “wealth” for future investment….


As Barack Obama takes office, the public’s focus is overwhelmingly on domestic policy concerns – particularly the economy. Strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the job situation stand at the top of the public’s list of domestic priorities for 2009. Meanwhile, the priority placed on issues such as the environment, crime, illegal immigration and even reducing health care costs has fallen off from a year ago.

PEW Survey

While it is not unusual for the public to prioritize domestic over foreign policy, the balance of opinion today is particularly one-sided. Roughly seven-in-ten Americans (71%) say that President Obama should focus on domestic policy, while just 11% prioritize foreign policy. By comparison, last January, 56% cited domestic policy as most important while 31% said Bush should focus on foreign policy.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 7-11 among 1,503 adults on cell phones and landlines, finds that strengthening the economy and improving the job situation are higher priorities today than they have been at any point….

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Iran Conducting Mass Hangings

January 22, 2009

Iran hanged 22 convicted criminals in mass executions on Tuesday and Wednesday in Tehran and few other cities, official news media reported.

By Nazila Fathi
The New York Times

Iran has the highest number of executions in the world after China. Crimes such as murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and adultery are punished by execution.

The state run television news reported Thursday that 10 men were hanged in Tehran’s Evin prison on Wednesday. The semi-official Fars news agency reported that an 11th man, scheduled to be executed in February, witnessed the hanging of the 10.

The Iranian press accounts said the convicts included a drug addict who murdered his aunt and a robber who killed a cab driver.

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Mexico: Too Dangerous for U.S. Marines

January 22, 2009

For tens of thousands of U.S. Marines in Southern California, new orders from the brass amount to: Baghdad si, Tijuana no.

Citing a wave of violence and murder in Mexico, the commanding officer of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Pendleton has made the popular military “R&R” destinations of Tijuana and nearby beaches effectively off-limits for his Marines.

By William Welch
USA Today

The order by Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland restricts travel into Mexico by the 44,000 members of the unit, many of whom have had multiple tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and other combat zones under their belts — or are there now.

The limits were first put in place for the Christmas holiday. Last week the commander extended the order indefinitely, said Mike Alvarez, civilian public information officer for the unit at Camp Pendleton.

“The situation in Mexico is now more dangerous than usual,” he said. “The intent is just to look out for the Marines’ safety and well-being.”

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President-elect Barack Obama meets with Mexico's President Felipe ... 
President-elect Barack Obama meets with Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, January 12, 2009.(Larry Downing/Reuters)


Indiscriminate kidnappings. Nearly daily beheadings. Gangs that mock and kill government agents.

This isn’t Iraq or Pakistan. It’s Mexico, which the U.S. government and a growing number of experts say is becoming one of the world’s biggest security risks.

Mexico: Obama Can’t Ignore Elephant on the Continent
 Drugs, Crime Make Mexico “Under Sustained Assault”
Mexico: “under sustained assault”; Could “collapse” — U.S. Military

Obama: Meet Mexico, Drugs, Another “Fundamental Threat to U.S. National Security”

January 11, 2009

Barack Obama meets Mexican President Calderon this week.  When he does so, he will come face to face with a chilling idea: the Mexican war against drugs that the government is losing is a “fundamental threat to U.S. national security.”


By Diana Washington Valdez / For the Las Cruces Sun-News

Former U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey contends that millions of people from Mexico may overrun the border attempting to cross if security conditions worsen and lead to a governmental collapse in that country.

“A failure by the Mexican political system to curtail lawlessness and violence could result (in) a surge of millions of refugees crossing the U.S. border to escape the domestic misery of violence, failed economic policy, poverty, hunger, joblessness, and the mindless cruelty and injustice of a criminal state,” said McCaffrey in an after-action report based on the Dec. 5-7 International Forum of Intelligence & Security Specialists in Mexico. The report portrays a scenario eerily reminiscent of ex-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger’s 1998 fictional book “The Next War,” which includes a chapter on a U.S. military intervention in Mexico following a regime collapse due to warring drug cartels.

McCaffrey, a retired four-star general who visited Juárez in 1999 while he was the White House drug czar, recommends in his report for the incoming Barack Obama administration to “immediately focus on the dangerous and worsening problems in Mexico, which fundamentally threaten U.S. national security.”

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Battling with spiraling drug murders and an economic crisis, Mexico’s Felipe Calderon will urge U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on Monday to support his drug war and stick to the NAFTA trade deal.

Their meeting in Washington, days before Obama takes office, comes after years of complaints of neglect from Mexico and much of Latin America as President George W. Bush’s foreign policy focused on the Middle East and the war on terror.

By Catherine Bremer, Reuters

Members of a drug gang are shown to the media at the Attorney ... 
Members of a drug gang are shown to the media at the Attorney General’s office in the suburb of Escobedo, on the outskirts of Monterrey December 20, 2008. The Mexican army arrested 13 men in a wealthy neighbourhood of this northern city early Saturday in possession of drugs, weapons and uniforms of the federal agency of investigations, according to local media. The capture is part of the Nuevo Leon-Tamaulipas joint operation against drug trafficking.REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (MEXICO)

With Mexico’s drug violence exploding and fears that Obama could tamper with the North American Free Trade Agreement to protect U.S. workers, Calderon will try to persuade the Democrat to give Mexico some attention.

Following a tradition that new U.S. presidents meet their Mexican counterparts, Calderon will be the first foreign leader that Obama sits down with since he was elected in November.

Calderon, a dour and strong-willed conservative, is expected to ask Obama for more help fighting the drug cartels who worry foreign investors and are destabilizing Mexico, especially along the U.S. border.

Mexico wants Washington to do more to curb drug-taking in the United States and gun smuggling from north of the border because drug hitmen buy automatic weapons and other guns legally in the United States and bring them back to Mexico to use in the turf battles that killed 5,700 people last year.

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Plaxico Burress: Armed, Dangerous and Stupid (Apparently)

December 24, 2008

Plaxico’s house was searched and guns, ammo and other objects were seized, police said on Christmas eve….

In our opinion, Pro Players should leave their ego and their guns at home an enjoy their cushy, highly paid life and perform as expected.

Plaxico may have ruided his NFL career by playing with guns….He wouldn’t be the first “star” too risk everything…

From Michael Vick to Jim Brown there is a parade of “Bad Boys” from the NFL, other sports and Hollywood.  We are not saints; just people.  Now Plaxico Burress gets 15 minutes of fame not for a Super bowl touchdown but for shooting hemself in the foot, er, leg….

Suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick(R) leaves ... 
Suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick(R) leaves Surry County Circuit Court after entering a guilty plea on two felony counts connected to dog fighting in Sussex, Virginia. Under a plea agreement, Vick, who is currently serving a term in prison for federal dog fighting charges, will serve one-year of probation for the state charges.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Geoff Burke)


The weekend self-injury of New York Giants star badboy Plaxico Burress, who sustained a personal injury gunshot in the leg when an illegally concealed weapon accidentally went off may have a few others in hot water.

In New York state, it is a misdemeanor for a hospital not to report a gunshot wound to the police, and according to reports, that is exactly what happened.  It appears that several employees of New York-Cornell Hospital, who treated Burress, did not contact the police. The New York State Department of Health is investigating to see if information was deliberately hidden to protect Burress. Additionally the hospital itself has admitted it has suspended an employee for not following procedure.  The hospital says it is their policy to contact the police in regards to all gunshot patients.

New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, center, arrives ... 
New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, center, arrives in Manhattan Supreme Court in handcuffs, Monday, Dec. 1, 2008, in New York. Lawyer Benjamin Brafman says Burress planned to plead not guilty to a weapon possession charge during a Monday afternoon court appearance. Burress accidentally shot himself at a Manhattan nightclub Friday evening.(AP Photo/David Karp)

Meanwhile Antonio Pierce, another New York Giant who was with Burress at the club Latin Quarter during the injury and aftermath, is being sought for questioning by police.  It appears, however, that he ditched the cops yesterday in favor of a paid radio appearance.  Pierce also is reported to have spoken to NFL security about the incident without a lawyer present which could get the league itself tangled up in the investigation.

Link to:

Above: Mug shots of Ryan O’Neil and son Redmond when they were booked by police on drug charges….

Jim Brown was my hero when he played for the Cleveland Browns and he is again my hero now.  But there was a time there when he was just about nobody’s hero…..

A 9 mm handgun, a rifle, ammunition and clothing were confiscated during a search of the home of New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, police said Wednesday.

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In this Dec. 1, 2008 filep hoto, New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, second from left, is escorted from a police station in handcuffs in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig/FILE)

In this Dec. 1, 2008 filep hoto, New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, second from left, is escorted from a police station in handcuffs in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig/FILE) (Seth Wenig – AP)

China plans new anti-gang effort

December 22, 2008

China plans to launch a special campaign to combat mafia-style gangs, according to a state newspaper.

As well tackling drug trafficking and prostitution, the campaign will target crimes caused by rising unemployment, the China Daily newspaper reports.


A migrant worker carries his bag as he leaves the Beijing Railway Station, Tuesday, 16 Dec, 2008
Many migrant workers are already suffering from the slowdown

The paper says police will also focus on rooting out corrupt government officials who shelter gangsters.

Analysts say China’s economic downturn may lead to higher crime rates as thousands of people face unemployment.

‘Threat to stability’

Organised crime is on the rise in China, and courts across the country saw a 160% annual increase in gang-related crime in 2007.

“Gang-related crimes have become a threat to our social stability and the economy,” one un-named official from the Public Security Bureau told the China Daily.

“Murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, assault… they dare do anything,” the official said.


With the economic downturn, Chinese authorities are worried that the problem will get even worse, and the new campaign aims to make sure this does not happen.

The official said the authorities would “keep a close eye” on crime resulting from the slowing economy.

Migrant workers are the backbone of China’s economic success, and these farmers-turned-factory workers have been the first to feel the effects of the economic slowdown.

To make matters worse, more than six million students will try to enter China’s workforce during 2009, half a million more than last year.

As many as 10 million people are expected to lose their jobs, and thousands of factories have already closed, says the BBC correspondent in Beijing, Quentin Sommerville.

The government is expecting trouble during 2009, and China’s huge security apparatus is signalling it is prepared to crackdown on anything that disrupts social stability, our correspondent says.

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China Faces Social Unrest As Up To 150 Million Migrants Go Home Without Work

China plans crackdown as economic crisis spurs crime

December 22, 2008

China plans to set up a special police division to tackle organised crime and gang-related violence as the global economic crisis deepens social unrest, state media reported Monday.

“In the foreseeable future, gangs will remain active as the country undergoes dramatic social and economic changes,” the China Daily quoted an unnamed public security ministry official as saying.

“Gang-related crimes have become a threat to our social stability and the economy,” the official said. “They dare anything,” he added, citing murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping and assault.

He said the public security ministry plans to set up a special division to fight such crimes, including organised prostitution, gambling and drug trafficking.

File photo shows a Chinese paramilitary police officer in Beijing. ... 
File photo shows a Chinese paramilitary police officer in Beijing. China plans to set up a special police division to tackle organised crime and gang-related violence as the global economic crisis deepens social unrest, state media have reported.(AFP/File/Liu Jin)

Figures from China’s supreme court show that gang-related crime in 2007 was up by 161 percent year-on-year, the newspaper said.

Police will also keep a close eye on problems stemming from unemployment caused by the ongoing economic downturn, especially in China’s export-oriented industries where workers are being laid off, it said.

Social changes that the country is going through are behind gang crimes,” the paper cited Liang Huaren, a criminal law expert at the China University of Political Science and Law, as saying.

The large number of laid-off workers and migrants, as well as a widening gap between China’s rich and poor, was also leading to more gang-related crimes, he said.


Sex Workers Criticize Law Enforcement

December 18, 2008

Dozens of sex workers marched through the streets of downtown Washington yesterday, demanding better treatment from law enforcement officials of prostitutes who become crime victims.

Clutching red umbrellas and carrying signs that read, “Sex Work Is Real Work” and “Stop Shaming Us to Death,” the men and women came from San Francisco, New York and other cities across the country to publicize a rarely discussed issue that they say is not taken seriously.
Women work in the red light district, Amsterdam (file pic)

Amsterdam’s famous sex workers, where the red light district has been popular for 700 years

The rally and march was organized by the Sex Workers Outreach Project, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, and coincided with today’s fifth anniversary of the sentencing of Gary Leon Ridgway, a Seattle man known as the “Green River Killer” who was convicted of murdering 48 prostitutes in 21 years. The lowly status of prostitutes in society, rally participants said yesterday, explains why the crimes went unsolved for so long.

“I’m just so tired of hearing, ‘If I choose to do X, then I put myself on the line,’ ” said Charmus, 34, a transgender woman who gave only her first name. She lives in Maryland and said she has worked as a prostitute. “Transgender women, prostitutes, you have a right to fight for due process,” she said to the crowd assembled at a downtown park.

As professional workers filed out of buildings in suits and ties on their way to business lunches, the rally crowd marched from Franklin Square at 14th and I streets NW to the Justice Department in the 900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Along the way, the marchers encountered some bemused looks at signs reading, “Be Nice to Sex Workers.”

A 33-year-old man from New York City who gave his name as Wally said he works as an escort in Manhattan. He has been fortunate not to be a crime victim, he said, but he made the trip to show solidarity.

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Legal Hurdle: Blagojevich Has A Big Mouth But Was A Crime Completed?

December 16, 2008

When Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney in Chicago, announced the arrest of the Illinois governor, Rod R. Blagojevich, Mr. Fitzgerald said he had acted to halt a political crime spree that included what he called an “appalling” effort to sell off the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

By Dvid Johnston
the New York Times 

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich leaves a downtown office building Monday, Dec. 15, 
AP Photo By Spencer Green
But now some lawyers are beginning to suggest that the juiciest part of the case against Mr. Blagojevich, the part involving the Senate seat, may be less than airtight. There is no evidence, at least none that has been disclosed, that the governor actually received anything of value — and the Senate appointment has yet to be made.

Ever since the country’s founding, prosecutors, defense lawyers and juries have been trying to define the difference between criminality and political deal-making. They have never established a clear-cut line between the offensive and the illegal, and the hours of wiretapped conversations involving Mr. Blagojevich, filled with crass, profane talk about benefiting from the Senate vacancy, may fall into a legal gray area.

Robert S. Bennett, one of Washington’s best-known white-collar criminal defense lawyers, said Mr. Blagojevich faced nearly insurmountable legal problems in a case that includes a raft of corruption accusations unrelated to Mr. Obama’s Senate seat. But Mr. Bennett said the case raised some potentially thorny issues about political corruption.

“This town is full of people who call themselves ambassadors, and all they did was pay $200,000 or $300,000 to the Republican or Democratic Party,” said Mr. Bennett, referring to a passage in the criminal complaint filed against the governor suggesting that Mr. Blagojevich was interested in an ambassadorial appointment in return for the Senate seat. “You have to wonder, How much of this guy’s problem was his language, rather than what he really did?”

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