Archive for the ‘Trans-Border Crime’ Category

Posted: 2014-06-11

Sean Holstege, The Republic | azcentral.com 7:42 p.m. MST June 11, 2014 AZ Republic 6-11-14

FBI and ATF agents responded to a Nogales power plant after a makeshift bomb went off Wednesday.

A makeshift bomb exploded at a Nogales, Ariz. power plant Wednesday, rupturing a large fuel tank and prompting the FBI and federal bomb experts to respond.

Local officials were alerted at 9:30 a.m. to a call of “suspicious activity” at the UniSource Energy Services Valencia Plant. An explosion had ruptured a diesel storage tank and caused what Nogales Police Lt. Carlos Jimenez described as a relatively small spill that was confined to the immediate area.

Officials closed off the power plant and an adjacent car dealership on North Grand Avenue. The FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Arizona Department of Public Safety were called.

Agents were still processing the scene at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Arizona Corporation Commission spokesman Rebecca Wilder said there were no power disruptions related to the explosion and the plant sustained only minor damage.

“The reason for the high-scale response is the plant is an electrical substation and critical to the area,” Jimenez said, explaining that as many as 30,000 customers in the area – the entire town of Nogales and its environs – depends on the plant for power.

“The whole city of Nogales could have been compromised,” he added.

There were no reports of injuries and authorities said they knew of no suspects or witnesses.

They described the explosive as “a suspicious device,” but would not elaborate. The fuel did not ignite, Jimenez said.

The investigation continues.

Staff Writer Mary Jo Pitzl contributed to this report.

 

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/arizona/2014/06/11/nogales-explosion-power-plant-arizona-abrk/10351107/

The “marijuana cannon” (Mexicali Public Safety Department)

Mexican police have confiscated an improvised cannon that they say was used to fire packages of marijuana across a border fence into California.

The makeshift cannon was made of plastic pipe and powered by compressed air sourced from an old car engine, police in the border city of Mexicali said. The device was able to fire cylinders packed with up to 30 pounds of pot.

The cannon was discovered on Tuesday after U.S. officers told Mexican police that they had been confiscating a large number of drug packages that appeared to have been fired over the border, the Associated Press said.

It’s not the first time drug traffickers have used a cannon to transport marijuana across the border. In December, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials recovered more than 30 cans of marijuana scattered in Yuma, Ariz., near the Colorado River.

According to NBC, an investigation of the area “determined that the cans were fired from about 500 feet away with a pneumatic-powered cannon” and that a “carbon-dioxide tank was found nearby.”

In that case, the cannon was not found. But Mexican border police said on Tuesday that they have confiscated similar devices in recent years.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/marijuana-cannon-pot-border-mexico-us-141040996.html

Christian Action Network: For more information call 434-237-8201

FOREST, VA—An informant with the New York Police Department (NYPD) , who worked for eight years undercover in Muslim American compounds, reveals that the group known as Muslims of the Americas has been training its members to wage jihad—holy war—against American citizens for decades, and has created a secret jihadi army within the United States.

The undercover informant, Ali Aziz of New York, was drafted by the NYPD to inform on Muslims of the Americas (MOA) as part of a long-term, ongoing surveillance program of potential Islamic terrorist activity conducted by the NYPD.

Aziz, who said he wants to tell his story and put an end to his double life, insists he has given enough information of criminal activity—including guerilla training exercises; stockpiling illegal weapons; welfare fraud; physical abuse of women, children and elderly MOA members; forced polygamous marriages—to law enforcement to shut down the camps.

Aziz’s story is told in a new book published by PRB Publishing, Twilight in America: The Untold Story of Islamic Terror Training Camps in America, by Christian Action Network President Martin Mawyer. In it, Aziz reveals that MOA has established a secret army of well-trained Islamists who are ready to attack “at one word” from their leader in Pakistan, Sheikh Mubarik Ali Gilani.

“It’s very simple,” Ali says in the book. “MOA is asleep. They are asleep. They are a bomb.” 

MOA was founded in the 1980s by Sheikh Gilani as a front group for the more radical terrorist network known as Jamaat Al Fuqra (“community of the impoverished”).  The group has recruited mostly from the black community, beginning in New York City where Gilani began cementing power. Since then, Al Fuqra has been linked to at least 17 terrorist-related crimes in the United States going back to the 1980s, among them welfare fraud, white-collar crimes, gun running, firebombing, drug crimes, weapons crimes and murder.

An Al Fuqra member was convicted in 2009 of murdering a rival imam in Tucson, Ariz., in 1990, after stabbing him at least 19 times. The group was also involved in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and the Day of Terror plot in 1993—in which numerous New York City landmarks, including the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, were targeted for attack.

In Twilight in America, Aziz describes his work as an undercover informant for the NYPD, how they promised to make his immigration problems go away if he would provide them with information about his associates within MOA.

“This is what the NYPD had wanted for the past 20 years,” Aziz said of his move to the Hancock, New York, headquarters of MOA. “They wanted someone living inside the Hancock camp who’s an undercover informant.”

Aziz’s martial arts skills were highly valued within MOA, and they drafted him to help train recruits and members. Because of his education and ability to speak both Arabic and English, Aziz worked closely with the MOA leadership, including Hancock leader Barry (Hussein) Adams, who Aziz says will one day become the leader of MOA worldwide.

Crimes committed by MOA members go beyond financial, drug running and thievery, Aziz revealed. “A lot of the children that grow up there become drug dealers. Some become murderers …

“I was providing information to the NYPD about people who committed some very serious crimes. I’m talking about  … What is the worse crime you can commit?

“I have evidence … bad people. And people got hurt very badly. And guess what? The crimes haven’t been solved. The NYPD can solve these crimes. They could solve them. They have the evidence.”

It’s unclear how many MOA compounds are in existence today. At one time the State Department identified 35 compounds in rural areas of the United States, including: Philadelphia, Pa.; Fairfax, Va.; Redhouse, Va.; York, S.C.; Commerce, Ga.; Jessup, Ga.; Buena Vista, Co. (raided and shut down in 1992); Baladulla, Ca. (raided and shut down in 2002); and more.

As noted above, several compounds been shut down after law enforcement raids discovered illegal activity being conducted. Others have purposely disbanded, according to Aziz, with members assimilating into nearby neighborhoods. This is what Aziz meant when he said “they are asleep,” according to the author.

The most shocking revelation came when Aziz told the author of Twilight in America that MOA has formed a secret army within the United States ready to carry out Sheikh Gilani’s orders. Although he said MOA no longer does “mass military training” at its camps—because they know they are being watched by law enforcement—they still have members ready to be called up.

“It’s like a formed military squad,” Aziz says in the book. “It’s certain groups. Certain individuals. Certain names. Certain guys. It is a very, very select group they have. It’s a lot of people. But it’s not like they train every day. It’s various people training in different positions.”

Twilight in America also delves into the kidnapping, beheading and dismemberment in 2002 of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Pearl was in Pakistan investigating links between the shoebomber (Richard Reid) and Al Fuqra/MOA. Pearl was on his way to an interview in Pakistan with Sheikh Gilani when he was kidnapped. Although Gilani was briefly detained and questioned in 2002 in Pakistan following Pearl’s death, he was released and never charged. In his book, Mawyer researches the links between the self-confessed murderer of Pearl, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, Gilani and other terrorists involved in the kidnapping.

“Muslims of the Americas pretends to be a peaceful organization of poor Muslims who want to live separated from the rest of the world, free to practice their religion away from American influences,” says author Mawyer. “Nothing could be further from the truth. There are so many connections to terrorist activity, not to mention connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and proven, prosecuted acts of terrorism, white-collar crime and outright murder, that law enforcement needs to shut these camps down.”

Mawyer believes the information provided by Aziz, as well as other undercover informants, is more than enough to raid the camps, rescue the abused members, and shut them down—but law enforcement at all levels is afraid to act against them for fear of being labeled anti-Muslim.

“I hope this book is a wake-up call to American citizens,” said Mawyer. “It is not a question of being anti-Muslim to investigate and shut these camps. It is a question of being anti-terrorism … and keeping America safe.” 

Mawyer is the founder and President of Christian Action Network, a non-profit public advocacy and education group based in Lynchburg, Virginia. Mawyer has authored several books, including Silent Shame, The Pro-Family Contract With America and Pathways to Success. He has also produced a number of documentary films, including Homegrown Jihad, Islam Rising, Sacrificed Survivors and America’s Islamic Threat. He has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, Larry King Live, Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, NBC’s Today Show and Entertainment Tonight.

Co-Author Patti A. Pierucci is an award-winning journalist and documentary scriptwriter. She has worked as a ghostwriter for numerous national personalities, including members of Congress.

Martin Mawyer is the Founder and President of Christian Action Network, a non-profit public advocacy and education group based in Lynchburg, Virginia. He began his career as a freelance journalist and has authored several books, including “Silent Shame,” “The Pro-Family Contract With America,” “Pathways to Success,” and his most recent, “Twilight in America: The Untold Story of Islamic Terrorist Training Camps Inside America.” He has produced a number of documentary films, including Homegrown Jihad, Islam Rising, Sacrificed Survivors and America’s Islamic Threat. Mawyer has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, Larry King Live, Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, NBC’s Today Show, Entertainment Tonight and Fox and Friends.  His latest book, “Twilight in America,” co-authored by Patti A. Pierucci, details the activities of Islamic terrorist training camps scattered throughout the United States. It can be purchased at TwilightInAmerica.com or Amazon.com in book or Kindle version

http://www.christianaction.org/new-book-twilight-in-america-just-released/

AYUTLA, Mexico (AP) — The young man at the roadside checkpoint wept softly behind the red bandanna that masked his face. At his side was a relic revolver, and his feet were shod in the muddy, broken boots of a farmer.

Haltingly, he told how his cousin’s body was found in a mass grave with about 40 other victims of a drug gang. Apparently, the cousin had caught a ride with an off-duty soldier and when gunmen stopped the vehicle, they killed everyone on the car.

“There isn’t one of us who hasn’t felt the pain … of seeing them take a family member and not being able to ever get them back,” said the young civilian self-defense patrol member, who identified himself as “just another representative of the people of the mountain.”

Now he has joined hundreds of other men in the southern Mexico state of Guerrero who have taken up arms to defend their villages against drug gangs, a vigilante movement born of frustration at extortion, killings and kidnappings that local police are unable, or unwilling, to stop.

Vigilantes patrol a dozen or more towns in rural Mexico, the unauthorized but often tolerated edge of a growing movement toward armed citizen self-defense squads across the country.

“The situation Mexico is experiencing, the crime, is what has given the communities the legitimacy to say, ‘We will assume the tasks that the government has not been able to fulfill,'” said rights activist Roman Hernandez, whose group Tlachinollan has worked with the community forces.

The young man and his masked cohorts stop cars at a checkpoint along the two-lane highway that runs past mango and palm trees to Ayutla, a dusty, sun-struck town of concrete homes with red-tile roofs. Pigs, chickens and skinny dogs root in the dirt while the mountains of the Pacific Coast range loom above.

The men wear fading t-shirts, leather sandals and most are armed with old hunting rifles or ancient 20-gauge shotguns hanging from their shoulders on twine slings as they stop cars and check the IDs of passing drivers.

The reach of drug gangs based in Acapulco, about 45 miles (75 kilometers) away, had intensified to the point that they were demanding protection payments from almost anybody with any property: truck and bus drivers, cattle ranchers, store owners. In a region where farmworkers make less than $6 per day, the situation grew intolerable for everyone.

“When they extorted money from the rancher, he raised the price of beef, and the store owner raised the price of tortillas,” said a short, stocky defense-patrol commander who wore a brown ski mask and a black leather jacket. Because the patrols are not formally recognized by the courts, the law or the government — and they fear drug cartel reprisals — most members wear masks and refuse to give their full names.

An example of the danger came in late July when the city’s official police chief was found shot to death on the edge of town.

It was another attack by criminals that sparked the movement in Ayutla: In early January, gang members kidnapped a commander of an existing community police force in a nearby town.

“Maybe they wanted to intimidate us, but it backfired. They just awakened the people,” said one of the older vigilantes, a straw-hatted man without a gun.

Since then, the upstart self-defense movement has spread to other towns and villages such as Las Mesas and El Pericon. On a recent day, Associated Press journalists saw 200 to 300 masked, armed men patrolling, manning checkpoints and moving around in squad-size contingents. Some had only machetes, but most had old single-shot, bolt-action rifles.

Waving guns, they stop each vehicle, and ask for driver’s licenses or voter IDs, which they check against a handwritten list of “los malos,” or “the bad guys.” They sometimes search vehicles and frisk the drivers.

The commander of the Las Mesas vigilantes explains their motives. “We are not against those who are distributing drugs. That’s a way for them to earn a living. Let anyone who wants to poison themselves with drugs do it. What we are against is them messing with the local people.”

The movement so far seems to be well-accepted by local residents fed up with crime that plagued this stretch of mountain highway.

“In less than a month, they have done something that the army and state and federal police haven’t been able to do in years,” said local resident Lorena Morales Castro, who waited in a line of cars at a checkpoint Friday. “They are our anonymous heroes.”

One vigilante passed sheepishly down the line of waiting cars with a jar asking for donations. Some people tossed in coins or small bills.

Housewife Audifa Miranda Arismendi showed up at the vigilante checkpoint in El Pericon with a vat of chilate, a local beverage made of rice, cocoa beans and cinnamon, for the masked men. “It’s good to help out here, because this is for the good of all,” she said.

Some officials, too, have cautiously approved of the do-it-yourself police. Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre offered to supply them with uniforms so they wouldn’t be confused with masked gang members, but he also said he is trying to eliminate the need for vigilantes by beefing up official forces.

Community and indigenous rights activists often see citizen patrols as a good alternative or addition to standard rural police forces that are considered corrupt or repressive.

But clearly, the vigilante squads here present problems even in their first few weeks. The vigilantes in Guerrero are holding, by their own account, 44 people accused of crimes ranging from homicide to theft. Nobody outside the village of El Zapote, where they are being held in a makeshift jail, knows what conditions they are being held in, or what charges, if any, there are against them.

When the head of the Guerrero state Human Rights Commission, Juan Alarcon Hernandez, showed up to check on the prisoners’ condition, he was met by about 100 angry villagers who said they didn’t want anyone to visit the prisoners. “No, no, no. We want justice!” the crowd shouted.

“We wanted to see what condition these people are in, as a human rights issue and as a humanitarian issue,” said Alarcon Hernandez. Eventually, he and his aides turned around and left, unsure how to proceed, because the self-defense squads exist in legal limbo.

Still, the idea of citizen patrols is spreading in Mexico.

In 2011, townsfolk in the pine-covered-hill town of Cheran in neighboring Michoacan state began armed patrols in the face of what they said were the killings of farmers by illegal loggers in league with drug traffickers. In the northern state of Chihuahua, a community of farmers and ranchers known as Colonia Lebaron — most of whom hold dual U.S. citizenship — set up self-defense squads following the 2009 killings of two of its members.

And in the drug-plagued northern state of Sinaloa, the mayor of Concordia, Jose Elijio Medina, responded to a massacre, which forced everyone in a remote hamlet to flee, by calling for the Mexican army to revive the Rural Self Defense Corps, units of armed farmers it once helped train and supervise. While the army did not respond to requests to say how many of the units remain, local media have reported the army has been trying to wind down the few remaining units.

Since 1995, about 80 villages in Guerrero state have organized legal “community police” forces in which poorly armed villagers detain and prosecute people.

With their own jails, “courts” — actually village assemblies that can hand down verdicts — and punishments that can include forced labor for the town or re-education talks, the community police are recognized by state law, though rights activist Hernandez said there is still friction when community rules intersect with the formal legal system.

He pointed to one incident in 2012 where a judge and a detective in the Guerrero town of San Luis Acatlan arrested a community police leader for exceeding his authority. Villagers responded by arresting the judge, the detective and an assistant.

Members of the vigilante squads in Guerrero say what they want from the government is some kind of salary, not modern weapons. What counts, they say, are their ties to the community and resistance to corruption.

“When the people are united, it doesn’t matter if it’s a .22, a 16-gauge shotgun or 20-gauge. It’s that when we are united, not even bullets from an AK-47 can defeat us,” said the self-defense commander in Las Mesas. “They can’t kill us all.”

http://news.yahoo.com/mexico-self-defense-squads-battle-violence-082925460.html

Hunting in Arivaca is a tradition for the Ybarra family. Bill Ybarra grew up in the Rio Rico area and was out hunting with his son and brother-in-law last weekend.

“I remember coming on horseback in the day,” Bill said. “It’s a tradition.”

Living Southern Arizona their entire lives, they’ve been coming to these parts for decades. The familiarity keeps them coming back. “We’re local. Been hunting it for 20 years.”

Gregg Rath and his friend, Mike Shirey are from Phoenix and like the terrain Arivaca has to offer.

“We keep coming back because we love it,” Rath said. “We stop in Arivaca to eat or stop at the Longhorn or other place. It’s a nice break.”

But they’re in the minority. Fewer and fewer hunters are coming to border areas because of illegal immigrants and smugglers. Arizona’s game and fish has seen the drop off.

“Our hunting license and game tag sales in the borderland areas have been down for the last 15 years,” Mark Hart, the public information officer of the Game and Fish Department in Tucson, said.

The biggest change in the last 15 years is the security along the border. Hart attributes it to the Clinton administration’s focus on San Diego, California and El Paso, Texas forced immigrants and smugglers to funnel their way through Arizona..

“For many years now we have had left over game tags specifically for deer and javelin — specifically in the borderland areas,” Hart added. “Probably the place that has had the most left over is from Arivaca South to Sasabe.”

With all the illegal activity on the border, hunters are chasing game elsewhere. Making it tough for establishments down South who are starving for business.

Lyndel Caswell has been the manager of Cow Palace restaurant and bar for the last five years. She’s noticed a drop off in business. “Yes we’ve seen a decline even from last year,” she said. “There’s been a decline in hunters. They used to come in for lunch and dinner or go to the bar but not so much.”

Scott Skober manages the bar at Cow Palace for the last three years. “Business has been down,” he agreed. “But I don’t know if it’s because of the illegal activity or not.”

Last summer, The Longhorn Grill went out of business. It’s likely the result of the recession but fewer hunters didn’t help either.

The BK Outlaw Barbecue is across the street and has several signs outside inviting hunters inside. Co-owner Vickie Wandfluh gives hunters a free sandwich if they get a deer. “We cater to them,” she said. “We offer camp fire meals they can take with them… but, business has definitely been down.”

“Some hunters are concerned about the activity on the border. But the one that have been hunting here for years are not concerned.”

You are sure to see border patrol agents stop by BK Outlaw Barbecue, but their increased presence can sometimes scare away even the locals.

Wandfluh recalls a time the Border Patrol loaded up body bags in her parking lot. “When a Black Hawk helicopter lands at your restaurant and doesn’t let anyone out of the building or off the freeway exit, it scares people. New visitors don’t want to come back. It’s bad for business.”

The hunters that are still coming admit they have to make allowances for the beefed up border presence. “We know they’re just doing their jobs and we notice the migrant traffic is down because of it,” Gregg Rath said.

Mike Cotton lives in the Three Points area and doesn’t even try to hunt the area anymore. Instead, he gets his shooting in on the range. “It’s not as safe as people say,” Cotton said. “It’s pretty bad out there.”

Game and Fish is aware of hunters’ reluctance to frequent the borderlands, but say those areas can still offer a positive experience.

“We believe you can still recreate safely there you just have to be safe about it,” Hart said. He suggests taking the following precautions:

– Let others know where you’re going and when you’re returning.

-Carry a GPS unit and know how to use it.

-Avoid suspicious areas where there’s lots of garbage.

-Avoid abandoned cars and back into spots.

-Be reluctant to render aid to someone who appears injured.

-Contact Border Patrol if you see suspicious activity at 1-800-BE-ALERT.

Bill Ybarra knows things have changed. But, that doesn’t mean he has to. “This is my hunting ground, no one’s going to push me out.”

by Scott Kilbury at tucsonnewsnow.com

Posted by Jim Hoft on Thursday, May 5, 2011

The terrorists are setting up shop across the border in Mexico.  But don’t worry.  They’re only partnering with the drug cartels. 10 Newsreported:

A terrorist organization whose home base is in the Middle East has established another home base across the border in Mexico.

“They are recognized by many experts as the ‘A’ team of Muslim terrorist organizations,” a former U.S. intelligence agent told 10News.

The former agent, referring to Shi’a Muslim terrorist group Hezbollah, added, “They certainly have had successes in big-ticket bombings.”

“We are looking at 15 or 20 years that Hezbollah has been setting up shop in Mexico,” the agent told 10News.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. policy has focused on al-Qaida and its offshoots.

“They are more shooters than thinkers … it’s a lot of muscles, courage, desire but not a lot of training,” the agent said, referring to al-Qaida.

Hezbollah, he said, is far more advanced.

“Their operators are far more skilled … they are the equals of Russians, Chinese or Cubans,” he said. “I consider Hezbollah much more dangerous in that sense because of strategic thinking; they think more long-term.”

Hezbolah has operated in South America for decades and then Central America, along with their sometime rival, sometime ally Hamas.

Now, the group is blending into Shi’a Muslim communities in Mexico, including Tijuana. Other pockets along the U.S.-Mexico border region remain largely unidentified as U.S. intelligence agencies are focused on the drug trade.

“They have had clandestine training in how to live in foreign hostile territories,” the agent said.

The agent, who has spent years deep undercover in Mexico, said Hezbollah is partnering with drug organizations, but which ones is not clear at this time.

He told 10News the group receives cartel cash and protection in exchange for Hezbollah expertise.

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2011/05/report-hezbollah-has-set-up-base-camp-in-mexico-near-border/

By SHAYA TAYEFE MOHAJER | Associated Press – 11-19-12

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Four Southern California men have been charged with plotting to kill Americans overseas and in the United States by joining al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, federal officials said Monday.

The defendants were arrested for plotting to bomb government facilities and public places after federal authorities uncovered their plans to engage in “violent jihad,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

According to a federal complaint unsealed Monday during their initial appearances, Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34, introduced two other California men to the radical Islamist doctrine of Anwar al-Awlaki, a deceased al-Qaida leader.

The two, Ralph Deleon, 23, and Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales, 21, converted to Islam in 2010 and began engaging with Kabir and others online in discussions about jihad, including posting radical content to Facebook and expressing extremist views in comments.

In one online conversation, Santana told an FBI undercover agent that he wanted to commit jihad and expressed interest in a jihadist training camp in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

The complaint also alleges the men went to a shooting range several times, including a Sept. 10, 2012, trip in which Deleon told a confidential FBI source that he wanted to be on the front lines overseas and use C-4, an explosive, in an attack. Santana agreed.

“I wanna do C-4s if I could put one of these trucks right here with my, with that. Just drive into, like, the baddest military base,” Santana said, according to the complaint, adding that he wanted to use a large quantity of the explosive.

“If I’m gonna do that, I’m gonna take out a whole base. Might as well make it, like, big, ya know,” Santana said.

At the shooting range that day, both Santana and Deleon said they were excited about the rewards from becoming a shaheed, Arabic for martyr, according to the complaint.

Authorities allege Kabir traveled to Afghanistan and communicated with Santana and Deleon so he could arrange for their travel to join him and meet with his contacts for terror organizations. They later recruited 21-year-old Arifeen David Gojali.

It wasn’t immediately known if any of the men has an attorney. The FBI didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.