The continuing problem of Mexico

Shelby County, Alabama had the wake up call from hell this week, when they found five dead men in a stash house just outside of Birmingham, in Alabama’s wealthiest county.

Victims of the Gulf Cartel, these men were bound, gagged, tortured and finally killed. And before the assassins left, they slit the dead men’s throats. All because money came up missing.

Five illegal, Mexican immigrants and the now arrested perpetrators, all in the Shelby County Jail charged with capital murder.

Nice.

The Associated Press reported that the Atlanta DEA chief said, “One reason for that shift is the ability these days to “blend in in plain sight,”…. The flood of Hispanic immigrants into American communities to work construction and plant jobs helped provide cover for traffickers looking to expand into new markets or build hubs in quiet suburbs with fewer law officers than the big cities.”

These poor men apparently did not come here and find a better life. Neither the deceased nor the arrested. No, their lives are pretty much over.

But for the Sheriff of Shelby County, the nightmare has just begun. The Associated Press reports the sheriff believes, “”This is not an isolated incident. It is a standard business practice with this group of people, and it is simply going to be repeated,” he says. “I can’t predict whether it’s going to be repeated here or not, but it’s going to be repeated in communities throughout the United States whenever these disagreements occur.””

Shelby County, Alabama had the wake up call from hell this week, when they found five dead men in a stash house just outside of Birmingham, in Alabama’s wealthiest county.

Victims of the Gulf Cartel, these men were bound, gagged, tortured and finally killed. And before the assassins left, they slit the dead men’s throats. All because money came up missing.

Five illegal, Mexican immigrants and the now arrested perpetrators, all in the Shelby County Jail charged with capital murder.

Nice.

The Associated Press reported that the Atlanta DEA chief said, “One reason for that shift is the ability these days to “blend in in plain sight,”…. The flood of Hispanic immigrants into American communities to work construction and plant jobs helped provide cover for traffickers looking to expand into new markets or build hubs in quiet suburbs with fewer law officers than the big cities.”

These poor men apparently did not come here and find a better life. Neither the deceased nor the arrested. No, yjeir lives are pretty much over.

But for the Sheriff of Shelby County, the nightmare has just begun. The Associated Press reports the sheriff believes, “”This is not an isolated incident. It is a standard business practice with this group of people, and it is simply going to be repeated,” he says. “I can’t predict whether it’s going to be repeated here or not, but it’s going to be repeated in communities throughout the United States whenever these disagreements occur.””

On another note – there’s the flu.

The first cases of the new flu strain surfaced in Mexico in March, but the government believed it was just cases straggling at the end of the flu season. Then in April, more cases popped up in Mexico City and three other regions. When people began dying from it, Mexico realized it had a problem.

April 2, there was a 15% increase in flu cases in Veracruz, Mexico. Still no outreach for assistance from WHO or CDC.Characteristics of this flu were gastroenteritis and upper respiratory disease. There were also increases in pneumonia.

By April 6, according to Veratect, a biosurveillance company,

La Gloria, Perote Municipality, Veracruz State, Mexico. Sources characterized the event as a “strange” outbreak of acute respiratory infection, which led to bronchial pneumonia in some pediatric cases. According to a local resident, symptoms included fever, severe cough, and large amounts of phlegm. Health officials recorded 400 cases that sought medical treatment in the last week in La Gloria, which has a population of 3,000; officials indicated that 60% of the town’s population (approximately 1,800 cases) has been affected. No precise timeframe was provided, but sources reported that a local official had been seeking health assistance for the town since February.

It has only gotten worse since then. As widely reported, over 1400 cases have been detected in four regions of Mexico. Tourists returning from Mexico to the United States, Spain and New Zealand, are now showing signs of this new flu, which is a combination of swine, avian, and human flu.

In Mexico over 86 people have died.

Proactive Latin American countries are stopping travelers from Mexico and the United States in the airports and refusing entry to anyone with flu-like symptoms or fevers.

We are not doing that. Our “legal” border crossings with Mexico are in full swing. We are told not to worry, though there are people affected in five states here – Ohio, Kansas, Texas, California and New York. In at least three of these states, at least one infected individual had been to Mexico, some as tourists, one on business.

Though the CDC has now raised the health alert, the WHO has not yet banned travel to Mexico. No one in the U.S. has died yet, but it seems cases keep cropping up.Seems to me if you are a tourist or a businessman,  you shouldn’t catch the flu from the locals unless it is really easy to catch.

If Mexico’s first cases were in March and early April, could spring break travel have anything to do with their reluctance to seek help? Why are we not being more proactive, not politically correct?

For a timeline, visit the blog Biosurveillance and read why residents at the center of the outbreak, believe a local pig farm owned by Smithfield, is at the heart of the matter.

I have emailed the CDC and WHO to ask if it is wise to have the immigrant march on May 1 go through as planned, considering tens of thousands will be in close contact with one another, and the vast majority, at least in Chicago, are Mexican.

Updates if I hear from them.

You can go to the CDC website, the World Health Organization or the Pan American Health Organization to read the differing opinions which are nothing more than spin. WHO seems to be the most honest.

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Once again – Obama dodges marijuana legalization question

In the first ever virtual town hall meeting from the White House, President Obama answered questions posed to him by the American people on the White House website. According to the website, 92,932 people have submitted 104,093 questions and cast 3,606,268 votes.

The moderator chose the most popular question, one from each of 11 categories, and asked the President who gave thoughtful, and for the most part, lengthy answers.

With the exception of one repeatedly answered question. Would you legalize marijuana, end the war on drugs, and allow states to benefit from the revenue.

Though over 7,000 people asked this question in four different categories, and it was the top question in each, the answer was flippant, and the answer was no, we will not grow our way out of this problem.

Tom Amianao, an assemblyman from San Francisco, has proposed AB390,


not only to address California’s growing economic crisis but, more importantly, to begin a rational public policy discussion about how best to regulate the state’s largest cash crop, estimated to be worth roughly $14 billion annually. Placing marijuana under the same regulatory system that now applies to alcohol represents the natural evolution of California’s laws and is in line with recent polls indicating strong support for decriminalizing marijuana.

To understand the reasoning behind AB390, it is helpful to understand how we got here. The state first prohibited marijuana in 1913. When Congress later passed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, marijuana was temporarily labeled a “Schedule I substance” – an illegal drug with no approved medical purposes.

But Congress acknowledged that it did not know enough about marijuana to permanently classify it as Schedule I, so it created a presidential commission to review the research. In 1972, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse advised Congress to remove criminal penalties on the possession and nonprofit distribution of marijuana.

“Neither the marijuana user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety,” concluded the commission, led by then-Gov. Raymond Shafer of Pennsylvania. President Richard Nixon and Congress ignored the report. Since then, more than 14 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges and marijuana has remained listed as a Schedule I substance – actually treated by federal law as more dangerous than cocaine and methamphetamine.

Here in California, enforcement costs for marijuana offenses had become so high by 1975 that the Legislature decriminalized possession of small quantities in the Moscone Act, saving the state $100 million each year. In 1990, the California Research Advisory Panel urged further decriminalization, noting that “an objective consideration of marijuana shows that it is responsible for less damage to society and the individual than are alcohol and cigarettes.” By 1996, the medicinal benefits of marijuana had been well documented and California voters legalized the medical use of marijuana by passing Proposition 215. Thirteen states across the nation have since followed suit.

With U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announcing last week that the federal government will end raids on marijuana dispensaries in California and other states with medical marijuana laws, it is clear that the tide is turning. Fact regarding marijuana is finally overcoming fiction.

There may be disagreements about what direction to take, but it is clear to everyone involved that our current approach is not working. Regulation allows common-sense controls and takes the marijuana industry out of the hands of unregulated criminals.

I find Obama’s stance puzzling. This is the second time it was the top question, the first was during the transition, and the same thing happened then. Thoughtful answers to every question, but a terse, President Obama does not advocate legalization of marijuana.

Is this a democracy? Really?

Read the whole editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle.

CEO of drug enterprise busted in Winnetka – updated

Yes, the darlings of Winnetka have done it again. a mere two blocks from New Trier High School, the training ground for the future CEO’s of America, an enterprising 21 year old, Mark Elliot Mansheim, was arrested Wednesday and charged with “production of marijuana plants, marijuana possession and manufacture of marijuana, all felonies,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Officers executed the search warrant on the home about 3:45 p.m. Wednesday and found 75 marijuana plants “and further evidence of the production, use and distribution of [marijuana],” the release said. Also found in the home, according to the release, were growing stations, including tents equipped with lighting, irrigation and ventilation systems.

This was a breaking news story. When they get around to investigating further, like, for example, why this kid has a setup like this in his house and his parents weren’t arrested too, they will find more interesting information.

The house has been transferring hands nearly every year since 2003 when it was bought by Evelyn A. Liberis for $770,000 and quit claimed to 384 Hawthorne LLC for $0.00 in 2003, and then quit claimed and mortgaged nearly every year between Evelyn, 384 Hawthorne LLC, multiple banks,  Thomas and Melissa  Mansheim, who bought it from 384 Hawthorne LLC for $2.57 million in 2006, Steven and Constance Fapka (who took out a $1.5 million mortgage in 2008 while the Mansheim’s owned it) and somehow it ended up back with the LLC and corrected to show the Mansheim’s as owners.

The LLC lists Lloyd Gussis as the agent and the principal office as 1101 Fisher Lane in Winnetka. The managers are Kasey Tamara, Leslie Struthers and, you got it, Evelyn A. Liberis.

Makes you wonder if young Mark may be taking the fall for  what would seem to be a criminal enterprise involving Mom, Dad and who knows who these other people are.

Lovely living in the North Shore. Great neighbors. Wonderful place to raise your kids.

The newpaper’s forums are betting he gets 100 hours of community service.

I’d have the FBI investigate the whole enterprise. I’d bet it doesn’t stop there.

Wilmette Police press release

****Update****

A poster, dotherightthing, has this first hand account to offer.

first of all it wasn’t 75 plants. It was 4 plants and 71 germinated–which is basically the seed in soil. People are making it sound like he had a forest growing in his basement.

Always good to hear both sides of the story. You decide.

Amnesty for illegal immigrants? Solve this first…

USA Today had a story Monday about Mexican drug cartels setting up shop in 195 cities in the United States. They said the DEA seized more drug related cash in Atlanta ($30 million) than in Chicago ($18 million) or LA ($19 million).

And that’s not the half of it. The violence is in Atlanta too.

A Rhode Island man who owed the cartels $300,000 was found in the basement of a Georgia home, chained to a wall. He had been beaten, gagged and was dehydrated. The police captured his attackers as they fled the house.

Another man was kidnapped in Gwinett County but the family was working with police and when traffickers went to pick up the $2 million ransom, they were greeted by police.

Speaking of ransom, Reuters reports that Phoenix, Arizona is now the kidnap capital of the United States.

Hit men dressed in fake police tactical gear burst into a home in Phoenix, rake it with gunfire and execute a man.

Armed kidnappers snatch victims from cars and even a local shopping mall across the Phoenix valley for ransom….Execution style murders, violent home invasions, and a spiraling kidnap rate in Phoenix — where police reported an average of one abduction a day last year linked to Mexican crime — are not the only examples along the border.

In southern California, police have investigated cases of Americans abducted by armed groups tied to the Tijuana drug trade. One involved a businesswoman and her teenage daughter snatched in San Diego last year and held to ransom south of the border.

In south Texas, a live hand grenade traced back to a Mexican cartel stash was tossed onto the pool table of a bar frequented by off-duty police officers in January. The pin was left in it and the assailant fled.

The drug war is so bad in Mexico, Arizona State Police told Reuters that last November, “Mexican police officers pinned down in a raging gun battle in Nogales, Sonora, reached out to them with an urgent request for more bullets.”

And while we’re halfway across the world searching for training camps for al Qaeda, we need to look no further than our own doorstep for training camps that are bound to impact us on a fairly regular basis.

Dallas News reports that the training has taken place

at locations southwest of Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville; near the town of Abasolo, between Matamoros and Ciudad Victoria; just north of the Nuevo Laredo airport; and at a place called “Rancho Las Amarillas” near a rural community, China, that is close to the Nuevo León-Tamaulipas border.

Two other ranches used as training camps, both east of Matamoros, have clandestine landing strips for cocaine shipments originating in Colombia and destined for the United States via Texas, according to the officials and testimony.

They are used

to train cartel recruits – ranging from Mexican army deserters to American teenagers – who then carry out killings and other cartel assignments on both sides of the border, authorities say.

More frightening is that Mexican officials say the camps are heavily fortified and can even bring down planes. But the idea that American teenagers are trained as assassins is just plain scary.

In small towns along the Texas-Tamaulipas border, the Zetas operate with seeming impunity, driving late-model SUVs and carrying gold-plated rifles. Roadside altars are appearing that pay tribute to “Santa Muerte,” the Saint of Death, adorned with candles and Grim Reaper figurines. Residents regard them as a sign of cartel activity.

According to the witness testimony and interviews with U.S. and Mexican officials, training in the camps may range from a few weeks to months, and trainees have included American teenagers.

One of them is Rosalio Reta, 18, who was sentenced last year to 40 years in prison for a murder in Laredo. Mr. Reta’s career as a cartel hitman began at age 13, he told investigators. Authorities say he may have been involved in as many as 30 execution-style murders in the U.S. and Mexico.

Last year, Mr. Reta gave Laredo police Detective Roberto García an account of how he and other high school-age boys were trained as teenage hitmen for the Zetas. Mr. Reta told Laredo authorities he spent months training under Mateo Díaz López, “Comandante Teo,” an alleged top Zeta member arrested last year in the state of Tabasco on drug and weapons charges.

Mr. Reta’s confession led to the discovery of three clandestine cells in Laredo, allegedly carrying out assignments for reputed cartel leader Miguel Treviño.

“I know we’re fighting terrorism throughout the world … but here along the border the narco-terrorists operate on both sides of the border, and so far it’s gone largely unnoticed by Washington,” said Webb County Assistant District Attorney Jesús Guillén, who prosecuted Mr. Reta.

Must be largely unnoticed because I don’t see how you’ll do a background check on these people. And they pay well.
According to the Dallas News,

Mr. Cárdenas used the ranch to raise cattle as well as to train his personal militia, many of them former army soldiers lured by promises of higher pay, according to the testimony. Pay started at about $300 a week but would double within six months – far higher than salaries for soldiers or police. Pay for hitmen and bodyguards began at $1,000 per week, according to testimony.

They also execute and dispose of their enemies there.

And if you’d like a comprehensive picture of this problem, go no further than our own government’s Congressional Resource Service, where you will find a 21 page report for Congress on the problem entitled Mexican Drug Cartels.

I think the Webb County Assistant District Attorney Jesús Guillén used the wrong adjective. Unnoticed isn’t the problem. I think ignored would be far more accurate. Guess stopping this problem just doesn’t fit into the grand scheme of things.

I hate to foretell the future to our illustrious congresspeople, but like neighborhoods where gangs slowly take over unnoticed, countries are the same way.

I’d prefer the United States didn’t turn into Columbia, and since Guzman, the head of one of the drug cartels in Mexico was just put on the billionaire list by Forbes, I would suggest the only way to quickly take the wind out of the sails of this pirate ship from south of the border, is to legalize the stuff they sell (90 percent of the cocaine, 80 percent of the methamphetamine and half of the marijuana), and be done with it.

Let Americans reap the benefits of the drug trade – legally, and keep our cities safe, cheaply.

And as for amnesty? Don’t even raise the topic until you solve this problem, and can guarntee the American people that the only people you are helping to gain citizenship, are the ones who are truly here to get a better life, want to work, pay taxes, raise their children, and assimilate.

I can handle your poor, huddled masses but I can’t forget when Castro decided to let people leave Cuba if they wanted to, and the ones he let leave were the inmates from his prisons and mental hospitals.

Get real people, we need a plan and amnesty ain’t it.

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