Drug war news also includes: more on the struggle of teachers in Acapulco to obtain security from the state of Guerrero, how virtually unlimited ammunition shipments from the U.S. supply the cartels, how the strategy of extraditing cartel leaders to the U.S. for trial and imprisonment may actually feed cartel violence, how the cartels have expanded into previously quiet Belize and how the new Mexico federal police -- touted to be the answer to corrupt state and local police -- are losing recruits almost as fast as they are hired.
Finally, we present two commentaries on the alleged 'Iran-Zetas plot' that has received so much media attention this week. The Americas Program commentary finds the allegations contradictory and weak, and warns that they serve to strengthen a growing redefinition of cartels as "terrorists" among hawks in Washington, while InSight Crime pokes holes in the logic and the details of the plot itself.
On the immigration front, an internal report from Immigration and Customs Enforcement paints a picture of neglect and abuse of detainees inside the nation's immigration detention system, which is run primarily by private contractors and local governments.
The Myth of a 'Good Guy' Drug Cartel in Mexico
InSight Crime: Oct. 7, "The use of coy vigilante messages ("I killed them to protect you") is a fixture in the Mexican cartel conflicts. Some groups -- notably the big Sinaloa Cartel (but less so the rapacious Zetas) -- seek to curry public favor by claiming that hits on rivals are done to safeguard the citizenry. In analyst jargon, the Sinaloa Cartel has long presented itself as being only a "transactional" drug smuggling corporation (i.e., seeking only to smuggle drugs through Mexico and not prey directly on Mexican citizens), while the Zetas, using naked force, make no bones about being a "territorial" cartel (claiming ownership of everyone and everything on Zeta turf, and mercilessly exacting tribute).
When put that way, the best option for Mexico might seem clear: Leave the good-guy smugglers alone to clean up the bad-guy predators, in hopes of an imperfect peace."
Americas MexicoBlog: Oct. 13, "On close examination, the plot thins. It turns out that the Zeta connection never was a connection with the Zetas, but a direct connection between the bumbling Iranian car salesman supposedly masterminding the multiple terrorist attacks and a DEA informant.
The Zetas have no record of engaging in international terrorist activities or anything having to do with geopolitics. The reasons they would divert attention from their efforts to increase their share of a multi-million dollar drug trade for a $1.5 million-dollar international hit man job are more than unclear. Why they'd be interested in bombing Israeli embassies utterly defies explanation according to what we know of cartel activities. Risking a major challenge to the U.S. government is also not high on their list of priorities."
'Iran-Zetas Plot' Reveals Sketchy Knowledge of Mexican Underworld
InSight Crime: Oct. 13, "The alleged Iranian plot to pay the Zetas drug gang to murder a Washington ambassador sounds like the idea of someone who has little knowledge and even less contact with criminal groups in Mexico.