Saint of Death Not So Powerful, After All

middleeye

Santa Muerta is featured on the cover of my first thriller, The Middle Eye (above)

Santa Muerta, the Saint of Death, accompanied Juana Romero Reyes, 41, as she tried to smuggle more than $1.2 million in cocaine through the El Paso, Texas ports of entry on September 16. She was wearing two necklaces with pendants of Santa Muerta under her clothes. The saint is revered among drug smugglers for protection from death itself.  Santa Muerta, generally depicted as a robed skeleton, wears a mask, and has a growing number of worshippers, such as housewives, the unemployed and the sick, as well as Mexico’s gang members. Her likeness can be purchased in cities on both sides of the border.

After an x-ray scan U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers allegedly found 15 packages of cocaine in the spare tire of Romero’s vehicle. The packages weighed 39 pounds.

Officials reported that a drug sniffing dog named, “Cesar” alerted them to Romero’s Dodge Durango, as she waited in line to cross the border at the Bridge of the Americas.  Romero’s fate will probably be like the hundreds of other female mules who find themselves incarcerated in the El Paso County Jail awaiting trial.  No one from Mexico shows up to help the women.

I know this because I’ve visited the jail and seen them languishing in their cells awaiting hearing, trial and sentencing. It’s one of the border’s dirty little secrets. Romero has allegedly risked her future for a few hundred dollars. Will anyone care what happens to her in the ensuing months? Probably not.

What Does a NARCO-Terrorist Have to Do with Me?

article-2387531-1B354720000005DC-983_634x631

In recent months, the number of heroin-related deaths in the United States has nearly quadrupled. Heroin is an opiate derived from morphine.  It takes nearly 1,000 poppies to produce one pound of raw opium, which means it’s harvested on the backs of farm workers and delivered to the U.S. by young men and women forced to work for the drug cartels or die. Users smoke, inject or snort it, and it is one of the most addictive drugs out there. When Heroin is injected into the blood stream, it finds a home in the brain stem, where automatic functions such as breathing are controlled. This is perhaps why there are so many overdoses. It appears that the Narco dealers of Central and South America, and even in countries like Afghanistan, are killing us with it.

We are so addicted that a community of heroin users is now glorifying their use of it on Instagram under the hashtag #junkieofig, or Junkies of Instagram. I’ve posted one in this blog. There is no indication that the illegal importation of drugs is slowing down even with the legalization of marijuana in some parts of the U.S.

AKA 47’s and other semi or automatic weapons may be shooting us in the streets, but Narco-terrorists are killing us softly with kindness.

 

 

WELL-OILED MEXICO GETS FEW BIDDERS AT AUCTION OF ITS RESOURCES

oil-pumping-factory

This past week the government of Mexico stepped out of its comfort zone and offered by auction 14 of its oil exploration fields. Perhaps low oil prices kept heavy hitters from bidding.  Mexico sold only two oil fields. Others conjecture that bidders did not want to pay the government’s minimum prices.

In spite of decades of poor performance, the government’s oil company, known as Pemex, has survived. In recent years, Pemex, however, has been brought to its knees by falling prices and thefts by drug cartels.

The two parcels sold in the auction went to Sierra Oil and Gas, a Mexican owned-company. They purchased two shallow water fields. Bidders were promised a 30-year contract. Those who registered but did not bid, included ExxonMobil, Chevron, Statoil from Norway, and ONGC Videsh Limited from India.

This is just the first step in the auctioning plans for Mexico’s oil and mineral resources. More than 169 fields are available and are expected to be auctioned over the next several  years.

El Mencho Has Declared War Against Mexico

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 08_31_29

For some time now, www.thrillersontheborder has been reporting about the emerging New Generation Cartel, which is proving to be more deadly and outrageous than El Chapo’s well-oiled organization ever was. Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, or El Mencho, has risen in power in the world of Mexican narcotrafficking, by doing whatever it takes to grab control.  He is nimble and smart, and fully taking advantage of the expansion of the drug supply chain from heroin to meth, and from the United States to China and Europe.

While El Mencho hasn’t received as much coverage outside of Mexico, the Mexican and U.S. governments are taking him very seriously.  The U.S. government, which froze his assets in April, reports that El Mencho did  time in prison for conspiracy to distribute heroin.

For more information about El Mencho and the New Generation Cartel you can review some of this blogger’s previous stories, or click here for a very well written story by Meghan Walsh: http://news.yahoo.com/forget-el-chapo-meet-el-080000149.html     

Drug Cartel King Pin Takes Flight

CNN is reporting the escape of Joaquin Guzman, from his Mexican prison. His escape route, a hole in his cell, led to a ventilated tunnel and a motorcycle track more than one mile long.

Guards at the Altiplano Federal Prison discovered during a routine check on Saturday that Guzman, known as “El Chapo,” was missing, a statement from the commission said.

You can read more about it here: http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/12/world/mexico-el-chapo-escape/index.html

Mexico’s Hell Hole Prison System the Object of Reform

jails

Yahoo News is reporting that the Mexican  government is instituting a number of reforms in prisons which includes the system that incarcerates individuals in the first place. By fall of 2015, changes will occur in the way trials are conducted, adding more due process for defendants. Another law taking effect is one that protects the rights of inmates, and upgrades the living standards within prisons.

The practice of placing every person in prison who has committed a crime is reportedly ending in Mexico because of prison overcrowding.

Anheuser-Busch Investing $325 million in Mexico

modelocorona_33_cl_fl

Salud!

According to the St. Louis Business Journal article by Jacob Kim, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Grupo Modelo unit will invest heavily in building an aluminum beer can factory just south of the state of Yucatan, Mexico.
This is Modelo’s eighth brewery in Mexico, and be able to produce up to one billion cans of beer per year. Corona Extra, Mexico’s best-selling beer, will be produced at the brewery.This is Modelo’s eighth brewery in Mexico, and be able to produce up to one billion cans of beer per year. Corona Extra, Mexico’s best-selling beer, will be produced at the brewery.

Mexico Tops Canada for Luxury Auto Production

rcf

Canada’s Windsor Star newspaper is reporting that Mexico is winning in the battle to produce more luxury cars than its counterpart in Canada.

According to the Windsor Star, Canada’s auto industry specializes in the production of minivans, muscle cars, crossover utility vehicles and pricey nameplates, like Lexus and Lincoln. Manufacturers bet on profits being made from the value-added extras that come with these mid-and-full-sized vehicles.  Apparently, this investment has not been as profitable as hoped.

Autoworkers in Mexico earn about a tenth of the hourly wages of their Canadian counterparts and it appears Mexico still wins in this competition.  Read more at: http://blogs.windsorstar.com/business/mexico-beating-canada-for-luxury-auto-production-the-game-has-changed