Friday, October 11, 2013

Four Mexican Drug Cartels Operate in Panama

Panama • Local media reported about four Mexican drug trafficking groups are operating in Panama, using the country as a base for trafficking cocaine from Colombia to Mexico and the United States.

The presence drug trafficking sicarios from Mexican drug cartels are not only detected on the streets of Panama but many have been left behind in Panamanian prisons for the crimes they've committed.

According to intelligence reports cited by the newspaper La Prensa, the Gulf cartel, Beltran Leyva, Los Zetas and Juarez Cartel are the drug trafficking organizations identified as present in Panama. The information indicated that there are 2,500 foreign prisoners incarcerated in Panamanian jails, between 90 and 100 are Mexican nationals, all charged with drug offenses, confirmed by Angel Calderon, Panama's Director of Prisons to La Prensa.

Edgar Valdez Villarreal, aka La Barbie,  when captured in September 2010 in an operation in Mexico's capital said: "all the drugs we transported into Mexico came from Colombia through Panama." In 2007, Valdez Villarreal was mentioned in Panama for the first time when an intelligence report associated the operation with the Beltran Leyva cartel. At that time La Barbie was listed as "Boss and security coordinator" of drug deliveries from Colombia that were transported through Panama.

Public Ministry sources consulted for this report indicated that, at the request of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Interpol, they had investigated in Panama between 2007 and 2008, to determine whether the Beltran Leyva had accounts or assets in the country, but the inquiries were fruitless.

The paper outlined several episodes in the last seven years in which there were crimes directly linked to cartel members. In one of these incidents,in 2007, a Sinaloa Cartel cell was dismantled. 16 Mexicans and 3 Panamanians were arrested with the interception and ultimate seizure of their boat loaded with 19.4 tons of cocaine in the Pacific Ocean.

A week after that large vessel seizure, authorities captured two other members of the cartel with 200 kilos of cocaine and 2.5 million in cash they were intending to bury in the residence in the capital.

While from Los Zetas, in 2009, they seized three cars with drug compartments loaded with cocaine crossing at the Paso Canoas border with Costa Rica. in 2010 four suspected Juárez cartel members were captured at the Tocumen international airport with drugs in their suitcases with false bottoms. 

Besides the activities of drug trafficking, Mexican cartels have also left the country samples of their brand of cruelty by eliminating those who betray or act contrary to their interests.

A local intelligence report  in late 2012, seen by La Prensa, said: "A group of Mexican hitmen were in Panama, and Mexican agents lost track them in Paso Canoas".
According to this information, suspected Sinaloa cartel sicarios " were looking for several members of the opposing Los Zetas cartel operating in Panama and Central America,"
According to the report, this group of gunmen also had several "jobs" in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia and Honduras.

The agents believe that the Sinaloa cartel and Los Zetas have been taking their war to Central America and to meet this objective, each side tries to "disappear" people who washed their drug money.

Another report from the Homicide Division of the Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ) of the National Police indicates, that between 2009 and 2012, 20 Mexicans were killed in Panama linked to drug trafficking cases.

Furthermore, an analysis of the Integrated Criminal Statistics broken down between 2007 and 2012, 4,099 homicides occurred in the country of Panama.

Of this total, 45 murders were credited to cases that involved drug trafficking, 127 mafia style executions, 135 were settling scores and 309 were attributed to gangs. Also according to this report, the homicide rate in Panama rose from 13.0 to 18.0 per 100,000 inhabitants during the same period of time.

A recent report from the Attorney General of Mexico states that in the country eight drug cartels currently operating, who have partnerships in 16 countries in the Americas, from Canada to Argentina.

According to the Mexican intelligence document, there is evidence that at least four of these drug cartels have operations in Panama.

Research maps of Mexico's drug trafficking identifies the cartels as the Pacific, Gulf, Los Zetas, Los Arellano Felix, La Familia Michoacana, the Knights Templar, Beltran Leyva and Juarez.

The report notes that the Pacific cartel expanded its presence to 13 countries of the continent: Canada, United States, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Venezuela.

The Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, are two of the most vicious and territorial organized crime groups who operate in nine countries: United States, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia and Bolivia.

Also documented was the presence of Los Zetas in Honduras, Argentina, Brazil, while there are traces of Gulf cartel in Belize, Costa Rica and Peru.

The rest of these groups also  contribute to criminal activities in some of these countries, but not the same level as the others. For example, the once-powerful members of the Arellano Felix cartel, are present only in the United States and Peru, while Juarez Cartel is in U.S. territory and keeps its alliances in Colombia, as well as Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama and reaches to Argentina.

The Knights Templar, who emerged from La Familia Michoacan in 2011,does operates on U.S. soil, but they are also involved in Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala.
The tentacles of the Beltran Leyva stretch to their own network in the United States, and also Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia.

La Prensa reported assassinations or executions in Panama in recent years are related to these criminal groups transferring some of their operations to Central America.  Panama is considered a transit country for drugs to move from Colombia through several routes to the United States.

Cartels and Gangs Involved with Drug Transit Through Panama!/K_Mennem 

Valle de Colombia Cartel
-Colombian cocaine trafficking group
-One of the most active Cartels in Colombia
-Is responsible for bringing much of the cocaine from South America to Mexico

-Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
-Ties to communist Cuba, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, the ETA of Spain, and other Marxist movements
-Aligned with the remnants of the Tijuana Cartel and the Juarez Cartel for cocaine shipments
-Claims to only supply drugs to support their political movement
-Known for high profile kidnappings

-Colombian cocaine trafficking group
-Partners with the Sinaloa Cartel and the Juarez Cartel for cocaine supplies
-Ariel routes from Eastern Colombia and Southwestern Venezuela for shipments
-Sea routes from the Pacific Coast of Colombia
-Former members of Norte de Valle who are partnered with Ejercito Revolucionario Popular Antiterrorista Colombiano. (Led by Pedro Oliveiro "Cuchillo" Guerrero and Daniel "El Loco" Barrera

-Colombian cocaine trafficking group
-Remaining members of army members of the AUC
-Positioned along the Panama border
-Aligned with the Gulf Cartel for cocaine trafficking

Los Paisas
-Colombian cocaine trafficking group
-3rd generation Medellin based group
-Beltran-Leyva organization in Mexico is a major cocaine buyer from the group

Cartel de Sinaloa
-Major Mexican drug trafficking organization
- Also known as the Sinaloa Cartel, Pacific Cartel, Guzman-Loera Organization, the Federation, and the Golden Triangle.
-This cartel was formed in 1989.
-El Chapo Guzman is the leader of the Sinaloa cartel.
-El Chapo has been featured in Forbes and other lists as one of the richest and most powerful figures in the world.
-The cartel now controls the complete border from Tijuana to western Juarez
-Feuds include fighting with the Tijuana Cartel, the Los Zetas, the Juarez Cartel, and the Beltra-Leyva Cartel.
-Claims are often made that the Mexican government favors the Sinaloa cartel over others. Recent claims have been made that the US Federal Agents have favored Sinaloa as well.

Los Zetas
-Created in 1999 by former special forces deserters who used their skills to work for cartels.
-A major Mexican and Guatemalan drug trafficking organization
-Split from their main employer the Gulf Cartel in early 2010
-They turned from an armed wing into a full fledged drug trafficking organization
-The currently control the Nuevo Laredo corridor into Southwest Texas.
-They have spread their territory stretching from the Texas border to Guatemala.
-They have seized control of much of the human smuggling industry into the US, from Central America all the way into Texas. They are believed to be responsible for the massacre of 72 Central and South Americans in northern Mexico.
-They are currently fighting with the Gulf Cartel mainly, as well as the Sinaloa and La Familia cartels.
-The group is a favorite target by the Mexican and US Government because of their ruthless behavior

Mara Salvatrucha - MS -13
-Central American/ Los Angeles street gang
-They have been known to be employed in Southern Mexico, and in the United States to carry out hits, as well as move large amounts of drugs onto the streets by cartels
-They are involved in human smuggling into Mexico from Central America.
-They also share drug distribution and smuggling into Mexico and Central America

Barrio 18 ( M-18)
-Central American / Los Angeles street gang
-Began as a Mexican and Mexican American street gang in LA
-Now more prominent in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala
-Bitter rivals of MS-13
-Ties with the Los Zetas and Sinaloa Cartel are suspected

El Perrones
-El Salvador drug trafficking organization
-Transit drugs from Panama to Guatemala
-Most prominent Salvadorian trafficking group

Texis Cartel
-El Salvador based drug trafficking organization
-Leaders are prominent and respected businessmen
-Profit off of controlling drug transit routes

El Mendozas
-Guatemalan drug and contraband trafficking organization
-Believed to have brought the Los Zetas into Guatemala as hired guns
-Highly connected to Guatemalan government
-Many members are believed to have fled to Belize

El Lorenzanas
-Guatemalan drug and contraband trafficking organization
-Ties to the Sinaloa Cartel
-Many members believed to be in Belize

El Leones
-Guatemalan drug trafficking organization
-Former cattle rustlers and car thieves
-The group was attacked by the Los Zetas in 2008
-Their territory is now believed to be run by the Zetas

hell on earth blog panama, For more on Central American countries and the drug war read