After a just a couple of weeks of work, Mexican President Felipe Calderón has sent some pretty strong messages to rioters, kidnappers, arsonists and now to the drug traffickers. He launched a combined assault on the state of Michoacan, which was in danger of falling completely under the influence of the narcotraficantes (no pun intended).
At a news conference yesterday, his military men who are spearheading this offensive gave an update on their progress. In fact, they've been so busy that they didn't mention everything they've accomplished and I'm not sure I can keep track of it all, but I'll try. Here goes:
2160 marijuana plants destroyedNow for some fine detail: The police and military uniforms included everything from bullet resistant vests down to military and police issued T-shirts.
6.7 tons of marijuana seized and destroyed
300 pounds of marijuana seeds seized and destroyed
8.8 ponds of poppy seeds seized and destroyed
500 acres of marijuana fields destroyed
107 illegal weapons seized
19 vehicles confiscated
2.2 ponds of gold bullion confiscated
33 complete military and police uniforms seized
At least $1.8 million US in cash
At least 1.8 million pesos in, well, pesos
The 4 kilos of poppy seeds alone represented about 9 acres of plantings which would have yielded 32 kilos of opium gum - 4 kilos of heroin - value 1,482,400 pesos ($136,000 US)
The sum total of all the plants, harvested crop, seeds and acreage destroyed is, so far, 6,749,826,400 pesos (620 million dollars).
The arrested so far include:
Alfonso Barajas Figueroa, "Poncho el Feo" (Poncho the Ugly One), head of the "Zetas" in Michoacan. The Zetas are ex-military, many trained in the US, who have left the Mexican Army, most through desertion. The Zetas under The Ugly One also included 3 ex-members of the Guatemalan special forces, the Kaibil, trained in the US. The narcotraficantes pay better . . . a whole lot better.In addition to the actions in Michoacan, the feds seized 2 houses and a ranch in Jalisco (Guadalahara) along with 6 vehicles, 3 motorcycles, arms, ammunition and cash. In Guerrero the feds siezed 3 more properties and hauled in arms, ammo, military and police uniforms and 4 more vehicles.
Armando Valencia Cornelio, leader of theMillenniumm cartel.
Elías Valencia Valencia, son of Armando Valencia Cornelio.
Jesús Raúl Beltrán Uriarte, a lieutenant in the Sinaloa cartel, along with just about his whole family. His wife, his brother, his lawyer and 6 others were also arrested.
I think I'll open a used car lot featuring late model pre-owned vehicles. I'll advertise "Had your vehicle confiscated lately? Never fear, Mark in Mexico is here. Next time, don't risk a new car. Let the government confiscate the crap I sell."
This is just a thought, and if any of you have an idea as to the whys and wherefores, please let me know. While operations of this type take months, if not years, of planning, why didn't Fox's administration make any of these moves? Just askin'.
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