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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

More bad apples in the Big Apple, a major drug corruption scandal brews in Tulsa, the city of Oakland pays big for bad cops, a Georgia deputy cops a plea, and a South Carolina state trooper goes down. Let's get to it:

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, five current and former Tulsa police officers were indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday in an ongoing probe into drug corruption in the Tulsa Police Department. Officers Jeff Henderson, 37, and Bill Yelton, 49, were indicted together in a 61-count indictment alleging myriad drug trafficking and conspiracy offenses, with Henderson named in 58 counts and Yelton in seven. Retired Officer Harold Wells, 59, was separately indicted on 10 counts that include conspiracy and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Officer Nick DeBruin, 37, was charged with six counts, including crack cocaine distribution and conspiracy to steal money. Officer Bruce Bonham, 52, was indicted on five counts including crack cocaine and methamphetamine distribution and conspiracy to steal US government funds. Henderson and Yelton face one count of threatening a former federal agent, Brandon McFadden, at gunpoint. McFadden has already pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge and is cooperating with prosecutors. He admitted that he, Henderson, and other officer stole drugs and money, falsified reports, and perjured themselves. He also admitted that he and Henderson framed a father and daughter with a fake drug buy in 2007. That pair are among 11 people who were either released from prison or had prosecutions dropped because they were framed by Tulsa police. They are not through digging up the dirt in Tulsa -- prosecutors said more indictments could be coming soon.

In Oakland, California, the Oakland City Council voted Tuesday night to pay $6.5 million to more than a hundred people whose homes were searched by police officers who obtained search warrants by providing false information to judges. The payouts bring an end to two federal lawsuits filed by people who claimed a group of officers had lied on search warrant affidavits by saying seized substances had been confirmed by police laboratories as drugs, when no such tests had occurred. The city agreed to the settlement "to avoid the risk of an adverse verdict should this matter proceed to trial," wrote City Attorney John Russo in a document submitted to the council. The city fired four officers in connection with the case, but allowed seven others to keep their jobs after they argued they had been poorly trained or inadequately supervised.

In New York City, two NYPD officers were indicted July 15 for lying to cover up unlawful stops, searches, and seizures in Manhattan. NYPD Sgt. William Eiseman, 41, a 13-year veteran of the force, and Officer Michael Carsey, 29, are charged with perjury, offering a false instrument for filing, and official misconduct. Prosecutors portrayed Eiseman as a "renegade" who routinely stopped people for no justifiable reason, searched their vehicles, then arrested them when he found drugs or weapons. In one case, Eiseman and Casey unlawfully searched a van, testifying they smelled marijuana smoke and that the driver later told them he had drugs and weapons in his apartment. In fact, said prosecutors, the pair only learned of drugs by seizing the man's cell phone and looking at photos on it. They also lied in the search warrant application for the man's apartment. The pair have been released on bail. They face up to seven years in prison for perjury and up to four years on the false instrument charges.

In Atlanta, a former Fulton County sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to taking bribes to protect what he thought were drug dealers. Anthony Atwater, 33, is accused of providing protection for two different 500 kilogram loads of cocaine, but the people he was protecting it for turned out to be undercover FBI agents. Atwater got $4,000 for protecting the "dealers" during two drug transactions in January and March and was arrested in April. He originally faced five felony corruption, drugs, and gun charges, but ended up pleading to attempting to aid and abet the possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, as well as bribery. He's looking at up to 20 years for corruption and up to 40 years on the drug count.

In Conway, South Carolina, a South Carolina Highway Patrol officer was arrested last Friday night on felony drug charges. Lance Cpl. Bobby Lee Spurgeon is charged with manufacturing, distribution or possession of a schedule II product, cocaine or a cocaine derivative. He made $10,000 bail on Saturday. He has been fired from the Highway Patrol. No further details were available.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

In Philadelphia, three Philadelphia police officers were charged Tuesday with plotting to rip off 300 grams of heroin from a drug dealer and then sell it to another drug dealer. The problem was that the intended recipient was actually an undercover DEA agent. Officers Robert Snyder, 30; Mark Williams, 27; and James Venziale, 32, are charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and related counts. Four other people, including Snyder's wife Christal and three alleged drug dealers are also charged. The plot began when Venziale met with a drug dealer in April and discussed a rip-off plan in which police would stage a vehicle stop to make it seem the drugs were being seized by law enforcement. The actual rip-off went down on May 14, when Williams and Venziale pulled over a vehicle occupied by the plotting drug dealer and an undercover agent. They pretended to arrest the drug dealer, then let the undercover agent drive off with the heroin. Later, they met up with the dealer, who paid them $6,000 for their work, as well as paying Christal Synder an unknown sum.
too much drug cash can corrupt cops
In Springfield, Tennessee, a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper was arrested Monday night as he delivered illegal prescription drugs to a female acquaintance. Trooper Cesar Maldonado, 36, faces one felony count of delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance. He was caught delivering a quantity of Dilaudid to a woman waiting at the Springfield Inn. He is now on administrative leave and faces termination. He made $12,500 bond Tuesday morning.

In Morganton, North Carolina, a Caldwell County probation officer was arrested July 8 after being caught illegally delivering prescription pills. James Franklin, 44, is charged with felony trafficking in drugs, opiates by possession. He went down after a five-week investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation that ended with him delivering 120 hydrocodone tablets to an undercover officer. Bail was set at $100,000.

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a Pennsylvania parole officer was charged July 8 with trying to extort a parolee into stealing cash from a drug dealer's home and giving him the money. Paul Dschuhan, 44, is also accused of threatening to kill the parolee if he told authorities about the plot. Dschuhan is also a former state trooper. He faces federal charges.

In Williamsburg, Kentucky, a former Williamsburg police officer pleaded guilty July 8 to being a participant in a drug ring that peddled 10,000 Oxycontin tablets and burglarizing a pharmacy to score more. Kenneth Nighbert, 32, copped to a federal conspiracy charge and now faces up to 20 years in prison. He admitted to using his police cruiser to go to a pharmacy in February 2006, removing electrical meters in a bid to disable the alarm system, helping another man hook a chain to his SUV to pull the doors out of the pharmacy, and then stealing drugs. Nighbert resigned from the force in April 2006 after running into a woman's car in his cruiser while under the influence of drugs. He was arrested in Laurel County in May 2007 carrying a police badge, a loaded pistol, Oxycontin tablets, and $32,000 in cash, which he admitted he planned to use to pay drug debts and buy more pills. He's already done state jail time for that arrest.

In Roanoke, Virginia, a former Pulaski and Radford police officer pleaded guilty July 8 to federal charges he sold and used methamphetamine in his patrol car while in uniform and on duty. Christopher Bond, 32, copped to conspiring to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. Federal prosecutors alleged that Bond smoked meth in his patrol car with other users and at the homes of other users while in uniform, and that he bought large quantities of meth with other users. He faces a mandatory minimum five-year sentence and up to 40 years. He's free on $100,000 bond until his October 4 sentencing date.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Texas cop hangs with meth dealers, a Utah cop rips-off the drug buy money, and a Florida trooper has the DEA on his case. Let's get to it:

In Moab, Utah, a former Moab police officer was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in jail and probation for stealing cash from the department. Edward Guerrero, 43, was charged with third-degree felony burglary and Class A misdemeanor theft for stealing about $900 from two envelopes stored in the office of a police lieutenant. The funds were to be used to make drug buys. Guerrero pleaded guilty last month to the theft count, and the burglary charge was dropped. He could have faced up to a year in jail, but instead will do just a month, with two years of probation. He also has to pay a $958 fine.

In Kemp, Texas, a Kemp police officer was arrested June 30 for stealing property from the department, exchanging it for drugs, and providing protection for local meth dealers in return for product, which he sold. Officer Damon Smith, 34, is currently charged with two counts of abuse of official capacity, but officials said more charges are pending. At last report, Smith was being held in the Kaufman County Law Enforcement Center and was awaiting a bail hearing.

In West Palm Beach, Florida, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper has been put on administrative duty while he is being investigated by the DEA. Trooper Gary Bach has not been arrested and officials would not provide details about the nature of the allegations against him. Bach has been on administrative duty since mid-May.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Virginia sheriff is under investigation for dipping into asset forfeiture funds, a Dallas-area narc's credibility is under question, a small-town Missouri cop gets caught buying coke to replace coke he pilfered, and, of course, two more jail or prison guards get busted. Let's get to it:

In Chesapeake, Virginia, the Middlesex County sheriff is under investigation for embezzlement. Last week, investigators filed search warrants for two bank accounts, one a personal account for Sheriff Guy Abbott; the other, the sheriff's asset forfeiture account. Investigators said they found evidence to support allegations of embezzlement and misuse of county and state funds. No charges have yet been filed.

In Garland, Texas, a Dallas County judge last Friday threw out two drug indictments after coworkers challenged the credibility of former Garland narcotics Detective Dennis Morrow. Two co-workers and a police supervisor testified that Morrow lied in police reports to strengthen his cases and that the lies were part of a pattern of behavior by Morrow.

In Winfield, Missouri, a Winfield police officer fired last month was charged June 17 with evidence tampering and theft of evidence for stealing cocaine and marijuana from the department's evidence room. Former officer Bud Chrum's career unraveled last month when he and his brother were arrested as they attempted to buy cocaine to replace some of what Chrum had stolen from the department. During the arrest, police seized two evidence envelopes from Chrum's vehicle. According to court documents, the evidence bags were supposed to contain a black pipe and marijuana and cocaine. At the police chief's request, the Missouri Highway Patrol is now investigating departmental evidence-handling policies and procedures.

In Atlanta, a Fulton county sheriff's deputy was arrested Wednesday for allegedly bringing marijuana into the Fulton County Jail to sell to inmates. Deputy Raheim Lowery, 30, was arrested when caught with pot as he arrived for work on the night shift. He is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and crossing the guard lines of a jail with prohibited items. He is now an inmate in the jail and will be fired Friday, the sheriff's office said. He was a probationary employee hired in December.

In La Tuna, Texas, a guard at the Federal Corrections Institution there was arrested June 16, accused of smuggling heroin into the facility. Guard Randy Smith, 28, went down in a sting after agreeing to smuggle an ounce of smack into the prison in exchange for $5,000. He was arrested after taking money and heroin from an undercover federal agent.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

And the beat goes on: A Phoenix cop gets busted for robbing drug couriers, a Texas deputy gets nailed for selling smack to prisoners, a Louisiana deputy goes down on hundreds of counts, and a former NYPD narc heads for federal prison. Let's get to it:

In Phoenix, Arizona, a Phoenix police officer was arrested June 10 for allegedly robbing drug couriers of their cash. Officer James Wren, 23, faces four felony counts including conspiracy, attempted theft, attempted money laundering, and being a public servant participating in a criminal syndicate. Wren went down after a snitch told Avondale police Wren was stealing money from drug couriers while on duty. Police set up a sting and arrested Wren as he attempted to steal $40,000 in what he thought was drug money. Wren has reportedly confessed his involvement in two other cases as well. He has now resigned from the department.

In San Antonio, Texas, a Bexar County sheriff's deputy was arrested last Friday for selling heroin to inmates at the county jail. Deputy Robert Falcon, 48, a 20-year-veteran, is charged with possession of heroin and intent to deliver heroin. Falcon went down after someone snitched him out and authorities set up a sting, delivering drugs to Falcon while on duty. He took them and some cash and then was arrested. Falcon is still at the Bexar County Jail, only now he's wearing an inmate's garb, not a jailer's. He's looking at up to 20 years in prison.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, an Assumption Parish sheriff's deputy was arrested last Friday on hundreds of counts of evidence tampering, drug offenses, and weapons violations. Deputy Louis Lambert, 47, faces 538 counts of malfeasance in office, 17 counts of illegally carrying a weapon while possessing narcotics, and one count of possession with intent to distribute a Schedule I narcotic. Authorities have released no more details. Oops -- Lambert is now a former deputy. He was fired after being arrested.

In New York City, a former NYPD detective was sentenced June 10 to 15 years in federal prison for helping to protect a cocaine dealing organization from the law. Luis Batista, 37, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and obstruction of justice. Batista befriended a major cocaine dealer shortly after joining the force as an undercover narcotics officer in 1997 and for years warned him of impending police actions and provided him with information from law enforcement data bases. When the dealer got busted in 2006, he ratted out Batista. Batista then persuaded a member of the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau to access a secure database and give him details of a report on his relationship with the dealer. He used his knowledge from that report to falsely claim the dealer was a confidential informant for him.

Police Corruption in the Egyption war on drugs

Egypt is facing growing calls for an independent probe into the police killing of a young man who was reportedly preparing to expose police corruption. According to family members, the alleged victim, twenty-eight-year-old Khaled Mohammed Said, was about to release a video showing officers dividing up narcotics and cash seized in a drug bust. The Egyptian police claims Said died after choking on a marijuana cigarette he had swallowed when policemen tried to arrest him. But eyewitnesses say he was dragged into the street and beaten to death. Pictures have also emerged of Said’s shattered face. On Sunday, Egyptian security forces beat and arrested dozens of protesters in downtown Cairo at a rally calling for justice in Said’s case and the resignation of Egypt’s interior minister, who controls the police force. On Tuesday, Egyptian prosecutors said they’ve ordered a second autopsy to determine the cause of Said’s death. From The photos of the badly beaten corpse are terribly moving.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

It was judgment day for two cops and a jail guard this week, and another jail guard just found out his judgment day is coming. Meanwhile, new corrupt cop cases showed up at a rate of one a day this week. Let's get to it:

In El Paso, a US Customs and Border Protection officer was arrested Monday on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Officer Daniel Ledezma, 33, is accused of knowingly allowing trucks filled with marijuana to pass through the Bridge of the Americas. He was in the El Paso County Jail pending a hearing this morning.

In Los Angeles, an LAPD officer was charged Tuesday on federal methamphetamine distribution charges. Officer Yoshio Romero, 28, a five-year veteran, is accused of arranging to sell 111 grams of meth last December for $42,000. He allegedly placed the drugs in a box in a pick-up truck, then told the buyer where the truck could be found.

In Providence, Rhode Island, a fourth Providence police officer has been arrested in a massive drug sting that in March resulted in the arrest of three more Providence police officers. The fourth officer, whose name was not revealed, turned himself in Wednesday. Twenty people have been indicted so far in "Operation Deception," with two still being sought on warrants.

In McAllen, Texas, the Sullivan City police chief was indicted Thursday on federal drug and conspiracy charges as part of the massive "Project Deliverance" sweep that netted more than 2,200 people nationwide. Police Chief Hernan Guerra had been arrested by FBI agents the day before the indictment was unsealed. He is accused of being part of a conspiracy that moved at least two tons of marijuana through the Rio Grande Valley in the last year. The chief is now on administrative leave.

In Franklin, Indiana, two Franklin police officers have been hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit from a former informant. The lawsuit claims Franklin Detective Bryan Burton made a deal with the victim to help with her DUI and child custody problems in exchange for her help busting drug dealers. She wore a wire and a concealed camera, but Burton began behaving inappropriately, the lawsuit alleges. It says he entered her home, photographed a sex toy, put it in her car when she didn't know it was there so she would sit on it. The lawsuit also claims Burton exposed himself to her and that his partner, Officer Ryan Mears, went along with it. Burton was already in trouble this year, having been demoted in March for drinking on duty, providing alcohol to minors, and making suggestive remarks to female informants.
DRUGS INSIDE: Baltimore City Detention Center
In Craig, Colorado, a former Craig Police detective was sentenced Tuesday in Moffat County District Court to serve 60 days in jail for his corrupt relationship with a Craig woman with past convictions for drug distribution and possession. Former detective Ken Johnson was arrested last September for providing the woman information about ongoing police investigations and helping her break probation. He also gave her a laptop belonging to the department. He was originally charged with embezzlement of public property, and accessory to a crime -- both felonies -- as well as attempting to influence a public servant, a lesser felony. He copped to the latter in return for a plea agreement where prosecutors stipulated no more than 60 days in jail. Johnson will do all but a week on work release. He must also do 150 hours community service, pay $1700 in fines and costs, undergo psychotherapy and DNA testing, and write letters of apology to the department, the Moffat County Drug Court and the All Crimes Enforcement Team of which he was a member. He starts his sentence today.

In Baltimore, a former Baltimore City Detention Center guard was sentenced Monday to two years in prison after pleading guilty to smuggling drugs and a cell phone to a prisoner there. Lynae Chapman, 21, went down last October after prison officials found her DNA on drugs and a cell phone discovered during the search of a prisoner's cell. She was convicted of six charges, including conspiracy to distribute marijuana and professional misconduct in office.

In Platte City, Missouri, a former Weston police officer was sentenced June 3 to four years in prison for stealing drugs from the department's evidence room. Kyle Zumbrunn, 27, had pleaded guilty to stealing a controlled substance. He had already pleaded guilty in Atchinson County, Kansas, to selling the dope he stole and was sentenced to 16 months there. The four-year Missouri sentence will run concurrently with the Kansas sentence. He had been looking at up to seven years in prison.

In Paterson, New Jersey, a former Passaic County Jail guard was convicted last Friday on charges he smuggled heroin and homemade weapons into the jail. Former guard Marvin Thompson was acquitted of bringing escape implements into a jail, but convicted of heroin possession and filing false police reports. Thompson went down in a bizarre effort at self-aggrandizement: He smuggled the contraband into the jail with plans to then "discover" it and blame it on a gang leader in a bid to earn a permanent position, but an inmate snitched him out, and instead of a permanent job at the Passaic County Jail, he is now a temporary resident of a nearby county jail awaiting a probable transfer to the state pen. He faces five to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced July 9.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

This week we have three cops whose drug habits got them into trouble. It is Chronicle policy not to include police officers whose only offense is drug possession in this column. Dope-snorting cops may be hypocrites, but that doesn't make them corrupt. But in all three cases below, officers who used drugs also did something crooked. Let's get to it:

In Troy, Missouri, a Winfield police officer was arrested May 25 on suspicion of arranging to purchase cocaine. Officer Bud Chrum went down after investigators with the Lincoln County Narcotics Enforcement Team received information that Chrum and his brother, Tony, were trying to score in Winfield to replace two grams of cocaine Bud Chrum had taken from the Winfield Police evidence room. The narcs busted Tony after he made a purchase, then convinced him to snitch out his own brother, which he did. Officer Chrum was arrested when he arrived in uniform to meet his brother to pick up the coke. He is charged with conspiracy to distribute, deliver or manufacture a controlled substance, and was being held on $25,000 bond at last report.

In Mansfield, Louisiana, a Mansfield police officer was arrested May 25 after allegedly buying cocaine from an undercover officer. Officer Todd Brewer, 31, is charged with cocaine possession with intent to distribute it, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, malfeasance in office and possessing a gun during a drug transaction. Brewer went down after the local drug task force got reports he was involved in the buying and selling of drugs. He was busted after buying 10 grams -- possibly a sign of a really bad coke habit, but more likely a sellable quantity.

In Williamsburg, Kentucky, a former Williamsburg police officer will plead guilty to conspiring to sell drugs. Kenneth Nighbert's attorney filed a motion last Friday to set a plea hearing date. Nighbert and six others were indicted by a federal grand jury with conspiring to sell pain pills from December 2005 to May 2007. Nighbert was a police officer during part of that time -- until he was arrested on state charges of trafficking in Oxycontin. He did jail time for that already. The federal indictment also alleged that Nighbert burglarized a pharmacy while he was an officer in order to get more pain pills. Nighbert is the son of former state Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Oh, lord, where to begin? The tweaker deputy sheriff stealing his supply from the evidence room? The sticky-fingered narc who got stung? The cop so cozy with his informant he was providing her with drugs he stole from his own wife? There's all that and more, this week -- including, of course, a crooked jail guard. Let's get to it:
Is something missing from the evidence room?
In Chaska, Minnesota, a Carver County sheriff's deputy was charged Tuesday with stealing methamphetamine from the department's evidence room for his own use. Daniel David Kahlow, 47, is charged with removing evidence and second degree drug possession of six grams or more of meth. He was arrested after being videotaped entering and leaving the evidence room on May 9, a day he was not scheduled to work. Kahlow admitted dressing in baggy clothes in a bid to hide his identity and that he had been using for about a year. Police found 23 grams and a glass pipe on him when he was arrested. The 18-year-veteran deputy is now sitting in the Wright County Jail awaiting a bond hearing.

In Norristown, Pennsylvania, a Montgomery County jail guard was arrested last Saturday along with a prisoner and the inmate's mother for delivering drugs to the inmate. Guard Mathew Knowles, 31, and the mother and son all are charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, criminal attempt, criminal use of a communication facility, conspiracy, possession of drug paraphernalia, controlled substance contraband to confined persons, and several other charges -- as if the first batch weren't enough. Prosecutors said Knowles got Oxycontin from the inmate's mother on several occasions and began smuggling it and other contraband into the jail in February. He went down after another inmate snitched the operation out and authorities listened in to phone and visitation calls between the inmate and the mother that confirmed the snitch's tale. Further confirmation came when prison officials searched the inmate's cell and found Oxycontin. Knowles has not made bail and is on the other side of the bars at the Lehigh County Prison.

In Manhattan, Kansas, a Riley County Police narcotics officer was arrested May 20 on official misconduct and theft charges. Officer Mark Bylkas, a four-year veteran, is charged with of two felony counts of official misconduct and two felony counts of theft. He was released on $10,000 bond. The County Police provided no information on the specifics of what Bylkas is alleged to have done, except to say that the arrest came as part of an ongoing investigation involving the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the state attorney general's office.

In Pass Christian, Mississippi, a Harrison County sheriff's deputy was arrested May 20 on what look to be drug-related charges, although the sheriff's office is staying mum. Deputy Ronald Roach, 34, was charged with felony counts of extortion and hindrance of prosecution by rendering criminal assistance. He went down after an investigation by the department, the Harrison County Narcotics Unit, and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. Roach was jailed on a $50,000 bond pending an initial appearance.

In Duncan, Oklahoma, a former Marlow police officer was indicted May 20 on two counts of perjury by a multicounty grand jury. Rodney Richards, who was fired in February, is charged with lying in an affidavit and on the witness stand in a methamphetamine trafficking case last October. Prosecutors accuse Richards of lying about facts involving jurisdictional issues, allegations a police radio had been tampered with, and confiscated meth that had gone missing. He's now out on a $10,000 bond.

In Madison, Wisconsin, a state Justice Department narcotics officer pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to taking the bait in an FBI sting operation. Johnny Santiago stole about $1,100 that FBI agents had planted in a vacant Milwaukee storefront that he was sent to search, then led FBI agents on a chase to the Milwaukee High Intensity Drug Task Force building, where he was arrested. That was in March, he resigned as a narc in April, and now, he's copped a plea. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In Boulder, Colorado, a former Longmont police officer was sentenced last Friday to probation for giving prescription drugs to an informant. Jack Kimmett, 54, has to report to authorities for two years, perform 80 hours of public service, pay a $750 fine, write a letter of apology to the Longmont Police Department, and obey a "no contact" order regarding the informant. The informant, a separated married woman, denied a sexual relationship with Kimmett, but later acknowledged that he paid her rent and bills. Fellow officers watched Kimmett give Vicodin to the informant, then arrested him. He was originally charged with two counts of felony drug possession, two misdemeanor theft counts and first-degree official misconduct. Those charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement, which also stipulated he would not serve jail time.

Latin America: Mexico Drug War Update

by Bernd Debussman, Jr.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations make billions each year smuggling drugs into the United States, profiting enormously from the prohibitionist drug policies of the US government. Since Mexican president Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and called the armed forces into the fight against the so-called cartels, prohibition-related violence has killed over 20,000 people, with a death toll of nearly 8,000 in 2009 and over 4,000 so far in 2010. The increasing militarization of the drug war and the arrest of dozens of high-profile drug traffickers have failed to stem the flow of drugs -- or the violence -- whatsoever. The Merida initiative, which provides $1.4 billion over three years for the US to assist the Mexican government with training, equipment and intelligence, has so far failed to make a difference. Here are a few of the latest developments in Mexico's drug war:

Wednesday, May 19

In Chihuahua, police discovered five mummified bodies in the bed of a truck. The five, two women and three women, were left in a pickup truck alongside a desert highway south of Ciudad Juarez, and were mummified by the desert conditions. In Ciudad Juarez itself, a local university student was discovered murdered and wrapped in a blanket at the fairgrounds.

Thursday, May 20

In Tamaulipas, four gunmen were killed and four arrested after a raid by elements of the Mexican Navy. Three of the detainees were Guatemalan nationals. In Torreon, Coahuila, two police officers and three gunmen were killed in a firefight.

Outside Culiacan, Sinaloa, police announced the capture of the Sinaloa Cartel's operations chief for the greater Mexico City area. Jose Manuel Garcia is also being accused of coordinating cartel operations with local officials.

Sunday, May 23

In Tijuana, soldiers discovered $729,000 dollars during a raid in La Libertad neighborhood of northwest Tijuana. No arrests were made during the operation.

In Jalisco and Zacatecas, the army and gunmen fought six gun battles in 12 hours. No casualties were reported in the fighting, which was nonetheless described as "intense." According to the army, the gunmen used large caliber Barrett sniper rifles and fragmentation grenades and the engagement. At least 50 gunmen fled into nearby mountains on vehicle and on foot.

In Sinaloa, a federal police agent and his drug-sniffing dog are missing after being kidnapped alongside four other men and a woman near the town of Los Mochis. Three of them, including the woman, were later found dead. Afterwards, police searched for men traveling in three vehicles in relation to the incident. The area around Los Mochis is a known drug trafficking area.

Nine people were murdered in the city of Chihuahua, and a man was killed in the city of Durango. Three young women who were traveling in his car were wounded after being ambushed by gunmen wielding high-powered weapons. In Tampico, two gunmen were killed after a shootout with the army. In Morelos, gunmen forced a man out of a bar and shot him just outside. One person was killed in Tabasco.

Monday, May 24

In Zapopan, Jalisco, the operations chief of the municipal police was shot and killed. Witnesses told police that Jose Nicolas Araujo Baldenegro ran out of his house after hearing a truck smash into his car, only to be gunned down when he stepped onto the street. The truck used in the attack was later found abandoned.

Tuesday, May 25

In a suburb of Monterrey, an ex-police officer from an elite unit of the municipal police was killed in a shootout between gunmen and soldiers. The incident, which took place in the affluent suburb of San Pedro Garza Garcia, took place in the early morning after the army received reports of armed men at a party. After a brief firefight, soldiers discovered the body of ex-municipal police officer Pedro Valezquez Amador. It was later reported that he is a high-ranking member of the Beltran-Leyva organization, although the organization has been split in recent months.

Wednesday, May 26

In Cancun, the mayor was arrested on suspicion of protecting the Beltran-Leyva and Zetas organizations. Gregorio Sanchez now faces charges of drug trafficking and money laundering, a year after a Cancun police chief and several deputies were taken into custody. High-level corruption is rampant in many parts of Mexico.

In Chihuahua, a large group of armed men took over a small village near Ciudad Juarez. Reports indicate that a group of at least 60 men traveling in 16 vehicles took over the small town of El Porvenir and executed two people before withdrawing. The local headquarters of a police intelligence unit was also burned. Several police were reported to have fled into nearby forests.

In Culiacan, three people were executed, including a woman who was thrown into a canal after being shot. Two murders occurred in Ciudad Juarez.

Thursday, May 27

In Ciudad Juarez, two policemen were shot dead in the parking lot of a shopping center. Five people were shot in different incidents across the city of Chihuahua, and two people each were killed in Sonora, Sinaloa, and Durango.

In the Durango incident, two suspected drug traffickers were killed after being stopped at a fake checkpoint. A four year old child was left alive in the backseat.

Total Body Count for the Week: 405

Total Body Count for the Year: 4,357

[Editor's note: We have decided to no longer include the overall death toll since Calderon began his drug war. There are too many problems of definition to be confident of any exact tally. We will, however, note when the official tally clicks over another thousand dead. Currently, it's at 23,000.]

Read the last Mexico Drug War Update here.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School