Wednesday August 15, 2018
SNc Channels:

Search
About Salem-News.com

 

Mar-12-2011 07:04printcommentsVideo

A Searing Indictment of American Government Officials in Mexico's Drug Cartel Wars

95 years after Pancho Villa, the polarity of the threat against civilians reverses.

Weapons connected to Columbus bust

(SALEM, Ore.) - City and police officials in New Mexico are behind bars and facing federal charges for smuggling deadly weapons to Mexican drug cartel members. It happened in Columbus; a small town associated with a historic border raid by Pancho Villa.

The hands of officials may well be drenched in blood, but the trail isn't supposed to lead north. Just how wide and deep this crimson river flows can only be a matter of speculation at this point.

A few months ago Salem-News.com was reprimanded by the Mexican Consulate in Washington D.C. for a story we published titled: US Special Forces are Operating in Mexico [1].

It turns out our primary contact in Mexico, Robert 'Tosh' Plumlee, was right all along, and new developments, nothing less than sinister, may show that the involvement of American officials goes well beyond training the Mexican Army, which was the reported connection to the U.S. military presence.

In February, Erin Rosa wrote the article US Teaching "Counterinsurgency" Courses To Mexican Military in Drug War, confirming without question with the inclusion of a released government document in PDF form, that the U.S. government has indeed had been sending forces in Mexico.

Along with listing the training of Mexican forces outside of Mexico, the report details the usage of “mobile training teams,” or, “mobile education teams,” generally used for military courses inside of Mexico. In August 2009, a mobile training team with the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), a military school that teaches special forces tactics, trained the Mexican Army and Navy, the report shows. Unlike reports in previous years, the document does not detail the exact location where these trainings took place[2].

The first article was followed by a reaction piece titled: Mexico Denies US Special Forces Presence South of the Border[3].

Pancho Villa

This story evolves from Thursday's arrest of officials in Columbus, New Mexico, a place ironically synonymous with a deadly 1916 border raid involving General Francisco 'Pancho' Villa.

Columbus, in the early spring of 1916, was a sleepy little border town much like it is for the most part today. New Mexico State University maintains a page on the event that took place almost exactly 95 years ago, that left 18 local residents dead; and also claimed the lives of 70 to 75 troops under the command of Villa known as 'Villistas'. He and his men attacked Columbus from the southwest at approximately 4:20 a.m.

Though they pillaged more than they killed, the sounds of the attack caught the attention of a contingent of U.S. Army officers and soldiers, awakened by the commotion, In response to the attack on Columbus, the soldiers directed streams of lead from a Benet-Mercier machine gun in front of the Hoover Hotel and produced what NMSU writers deemed, "a murderous rain of bullets." [4]

Images from the smoking aftermath of Pancho Villa's raid on Columbus.

I find it interesting that in 1916, the U.S. government was able to summon the resources to maintain 350 soldiers at a camp adjacent to Columbus. Their counterattack the night Villa and his men invaded Columbus dealt a strong blow to the Mexican border raider and folk hero's efforts to terrorize the American border population. Today, as billions are spent maintaining wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also a command in Africa, there apparently aren't 350 soldiers left to reestablish the army camp at Columbus.

Instead it was provided with a police station staffed by four human beings. Four cops, for a town located on the edge of the battlefield of a deadly Mexican drug war, which has led to the largest groups of murder victims ever discovered in the nation's history; that was 2010.

Cartel Influence

The cartel members give their soldiers white drugs that rot their brains, essentially turning them into obedient zombies of addiction.

Though there is integrity in Mexican police and military forces, there is also rampant corruption that is no secret to the world.

The indictment of the Columbus law enforcement officials is the result of an intensive year-long investigation initiated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), that later expanded to include the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney's Las Cruces Branch Office.

Background on Raid

Mayor Eddie Espinoza

Chief Angelo Vega

What we know is that the Columbus, New Mexico police chief, mayor, a person described as a 'village trustee' and 8 other people, were charged with crimes related to firearms trafficking to Mexico.

Reports describe their initial federal court appearance in tragic terms; around 60 family members of the accused tried to hide their anguish as the former officials were marched in with shackles, wearing jail jumpsuits. Columbus police officers Robert Valenzuela and Derek Smith attended the court proceeding. They were not among those charged.

The accused officials include Columbus Mayor Eddie Espinoza, Columbus Chief of Police Angelo Vega.

Espinoza was quoted in a USA Today article this week saying, "But Mayor Espinoza says people have moved to Columbus from Palomas, people with no apparent source of income and nice homes, big cars and plenty of spending money."

As this article indicates, the connections between Pancho Villa in 1916 and today is not as distant as one might think:

From the article Pancho Villa now celebrated in New Mexico:

Yet Villa is admired by many in this town of about 1,800 people — especially among those of Mexican descent, who make up a majority of the population. Sheriff Raymond Cobos' grandfather was a young orderly in Villa's army. Municipal Court Judge Javier Lozano, whose great-uncles were officers under Villa, knew Villa's widow, who was made an honorary citizen of Columbus.[5]

Mayor Pro Tem Roberto Gutierrez's son Blas Gutierrez, was one of the defendants. In a Deming Headlight report, Ashley Meeks explained that suspects were taken down in two raids that were executed Thursday morning. Federal authorities served ten search warrants at homes, one business and the Columbus Police Department. According to the 84-count federal indictment, the group is charged with a conspiracy to smuggle approximately 200 weapons that are favored by Mexican drug cartel members. The weapons were reportedly purchased at Chaparral Guns, owned by one of the defendants, 50-year old Ian Garland of Chaparral, New Mexico[6].

Garland is charged with making false statements to acquire the weapons over a 14-month period that is said to have started in 2010, and lasted through this year.

During the raids Thursday, more than 40 weapons were seized by authorities who say the guns were in the process of being shipped into Mexico. Twelve weapons recovered in Mexico, have been connected to the alleged illegal purchases in New Mexico.

A Hero for Today

Marine Colonel Jim Sabow

Many of our readers, particularly those familiar with the extremely controversial death of Marine fighter pilot Colonel Jim Sabow at MCAS El Toro in Southern California, recognize the name Tosh Plumlee. Associated with the CIA for many years, Tosh filled a shadowy role in American history; flying missions to support the covert Iran/Contra drugs for weapons smuggling program under former President Ronald Reagan.

Jim Sabow's death happened six years after the Iran/Contra hearings, yet it was connected to the program's continuance long after it was exposed and supposedly halted. The ranking Marine officer learned about C-130's landing with drug shipments in the middle of the night on his California Marine base, raised attention over it and ended up dead in a 'suicide'. I am serious when I say that all forensic evidence supports murder[7].

After flying in support of CIA operations in the 80's, Tpsh Plumlee would later contact Senator Gary Hart's office, who in turn advised Senator John Kerry of Plumlee's role in the covert Iran/Contra operations. Plumlee brought the information about his role in the drug and weapons operations to light in February 1991, one month after the suspicious death of Col. Jim Sabow. At the time, Kerry served as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Communications. Details about Latin America and the delivery of drugs to the United States as part of the covert Iran/Contra operations in the 1980s, are now a matter of public record[8].

Let's rewind to a 2009 Narco News article published by Bill Conroy titled: Drug-war virus spreading like the Swine flu

Plumlee points to a small U.S. border community of some 2,000 people where this infection can be seen running its course. Columbus, N.M., is located in southern Luna County, about 70 miles west of El Paso, Texas; some 32 miles south of Deming, N.M.; and just across the border from Palomas, Mexico.

And, according to Plumlee — and a recent report by the Associated Press — this high-desert border town has become a haven for narco-traffickers[9].

Recently, Plumlee says he spent some time in Columbus, on a hill overlooking the small town with a group of Border Patrol agents who had set up surveillance cameras from afar to keep an eye on two adjoining houses in the community.

Plumlee claims the homes were purchased by narco-traffickers, who paid cash. He adds that as he looked on with the Border Patrol, a group of men at the homes were unloading cargo from two trucks parked near the abodes.

Plumlee says the Border Patrol agents said the cargo was a shipment of weapons.

“How do you know,” Plumlee says he asked the Border Patrol agents.

“Because we have it on tape,” one of the Border Patrol agents responded, according to Plumlee.

Plumlee says the Border Patrol agents have reported the incident to ATF. Unfortunately, he adds, Columbus’ local law enforcement doesn’t have the manpower, firepower or willpower to confront the extent of the problem that now exists in the community[10].

A person, once involved in covert government operations who still has endless connections in the spook world, can be a great asset to the present day crime fighting setting. Tosh has released his findings to reporters like Bill Conway and myself, and the information has been widely read and republished on blogs all over the world. The Mexican Consulate really freaked out over this story, and it seems now, that everything may have just become clearer. I am not making accusations, but reporting the U.S. military connection really irked Spokesperson Ricardo Aklay in his letter to us, and he was clear that he was bothered by the reference to weapons.

This is the letter dispatched to Salem-News.com by the Mexican Consulate in
Washington D.C. The language used seems even more interesting in light of developing
events. Though addressed to Mass., it eventually reached us.

Border mayor, cop charged as gunrunners: kxan.com

It seems impossible to assume that these officials in Columbus were operating without support from other governmental entities. We can leave it at that.

No matter what, feeding 'favored' weapons to the Mexican cartels is about as inhumane of an act as anyone could name.

The information goes out and nobody can reel it back in.

Today one small town is back in control of people loyal to the U.S. side; people who are not directly supporting the rampant murderous violence.

You ask how bad it can be?

I only need to reference the article: Bodies of 72 Migrants Discovered Near US Border[11].

The federal government is wise to pay close attention to the information published regularly by a handful of sources that operate with a level of knowledge and integrity that is sadly lacking in the money-driven mainstream media world.

It is a testimony to both new online media, and the dedication to justice that lurks in the souls of even the most shadowy former government operatives.


[1] US Special Forces are Operating in Mexico - Salem-News.com

[2] US Teaching "Counterinsurgency" Courses To Mexican Military in Drug War by Erin Rosa - the narcosphere

[3] Mexico Denies US Special Forces Presence South of the Border

[4] HISTORY Of THE COLUMBUS RAID - nmsu.edu

[5] Pancho Villa now celebrated in New Mexico - By Rick Hampson, USA TODAY

[6] Alleged Columbus gun-smuggling conspirators face federal judge by Ashley Meeks - Deming Headlight

[7] Former CIA Pilot Tells of Guns and Drugs Shipments - Robert O'Dowd and Tim King Salem-News.com

[8] Plumlee information to John Kerry - toshplumlee.info

[9] Drug smugglers allegedly move into N.M. town - MSNBC

[10] Drug-war virus spreading like the Swine flu - the narcosphere

[11] Bodies of 72 Migrants Discovered Near US Border - Tim King Salem-News.com


Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 65 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




Comments Leave a comment on this story.
Name:

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.



Anonymous March 14, 2011 8:29 am (Pacific time)

Let the will of the American people be carried out. It does not matter where any firearm comes from, it is the culture (individuals) who decides how they will be used. Mexico has strict gun laws and one of the highest murder rates in the world. We need to keep them away from us and enforce the laws we have. By sealing our borders, they will be no different than they are now, they are what they are.
"{67%} Favor Automatic Police Immigration Checks, Most Support Sanctions on Employers and Landlords. Most voters continue to favor strong sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants and landlords who rent to them. Voters also feel strongly that police should check the immigration status of drivers during routine traffic stops. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 67% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that when a police office pulls someone over for a traffic violation, he should automatically check to see if that person is in the country legally.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/immigration/67_favor_automatic_police_immigration_checks_most_support_sanctions_on_employers_and_landlords


allan March 13, 2011 2:54 pm (Pacific time)

I think Tim that it is importnt to note that recently killed US agent Jamie Zapata, shot in an ambush near Monterrey, Mexico was killed by rounds from a weapon smuggled into Mexico by the ATF.

Thanks for continuing the drug war coverage brother!

Tim King: OMG Allan, that just caught me off guard, I knew it was bad and that the weapons surely lead to the deaths of innocents, but one of our own guys?  Sad, terrible.  But the information could not be more vital than it is; we are always so quick to point to Mexico and say 'corrupt', myself included; but this all plays out in a way more ugly and shameful than one could have predicted.  When Bonnie and I were with the NBC station in Yuma, Az, KYMA, I used to go into Mexico for different stories and these included working with both the Mexican Army and different police agencies.  My heart is with the good people there, we are talking about ways to beef up the coverage.  Great to hear from you and thanks for the encouragement along with the important connection. 


Tim King March 12, 2011 1:58 pm (Pacific time)

Note: Columbus police officers Robert Valenzuela and Derek Smith attended the court proceeding this week but they were not among those charged. In the original version of this report it was mistakenly stated that these two men were among those charged. This was an error on my part and I offer my sincere apologies to the above mentioned officers and their families.


Peacenik March 12, 2011 10:12 am (Pacific time)

What's the big deal about training Mexican military or any other military group? We have been doing that for time immemorial. As far as firearms going down to Mexico, once again, big deal. Most of these Cartel thugs have automatic weapons and other military grade ordinance that cannot be bought here on the open market. Most of the heavy types of weapons the cartels use come from places like China and Russia. Semi-automatics are actually kid's toys in comparison. We as a country have been providing weapons and sophisticated military training all over the planet, so what. Naturally some officials in different countries may deny receiving U.S. arms and training, once again, so what? Our main concern should be on the domestic front when these thugs violate our borders and kill/injure our citizens and break our laws. They should be treated as gterrorists (that's what they are) and be tried by our military and have swift and no-nosense punishment. Any illegal committing a felony shold receivea harsh sentence, and any violent felony should have the death penalty. Anyone who aids an illegal should be tried as a felon. By the way, the above is all a matter of existing law, look it up. Ollie North is an American hero, even though he served in an inferior miltary branch, he showed courage and heart. Should have gone into the Airborne, but then Marines never could really make it with us. Just compare accomplishments and casualties to verify that reality. Sorry 'bout that. Heh heh.

Editor: There probably isn't anything wrong with the US armed forces helping in Mexico, the point is that they do fervently denied it.  As to the notion of deadly rounds that pierce standard police kevlar being dubbed 'kid's stuff' - well that is sort of out there.  But then you like Ollie North, so...

[Return to Top]
©2018 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


Articles for March 11, 2011 | Articles for March 12, 2011 | Articles for March 13, 2011
Tribute to Palestine and to the incredible courage, determination and struggle of the Palestinian People. ~Dom Martin

Since 1985, Tattoo Mike is one of the most reputable tattoo artists in Oregon.

Annual Hemp Festival & Event Calendar

googlec507860f6901db00.html
Your customers are looking: Advertise on Salem-News.com!

Golden West Winds Tour Oregon