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HoustonHusker
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Posted: 3/8/2009 8:05:27 PM

THE IMAGE ABOVE IS A PAID ADVERTISEMENT
I'm glad we moved out to the 'burbs last year.

HH
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Mexican cartels infiltrate Houston

Recent arrests in a mistaken killing point to the perilous presence of gangs

By DANE SCHILLER

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6299436.html

March 7, 2009, 9:28PM


Family photo
Jose Perez was enjoying a night out with his wife, Norma, in 2006 when hitmen with a Mexican drug cartel mistook him for a rival trafficker and gunned him down.

The order was clear: Kill the guy in the Astros jersey.

But in a case of mistaken identity, Jose Perez ended up dead. The intended target — the Houston-based head of a Mexican drug cartel cell pumping millions of dollars of cocaine into the city — walked away.

Perez, 27, was just a working guy, out getting dinner late on a Friday with his wife and young children at Chilos, a seafood restaurant on the Gulf Freeway.

His murder and the assassination gone awry point to the perilous presence of Mexican organized crime and how cartel violence has seeped into the city.

Arrests came in December when police and federal agents got a break in the 2006 shooting as they charted the relationship and rivalries between at least five cartel cells operating in Houston. A rogue’s gallery of about 100 names and mug shots taken at Texas jails and morgues offers a blueprint for Mexican organized crime.

Houston has long been a major staging ground for importing illegal drugs from Mexico and shipping them to the rest of the United States, but a recent Department of Justice report notes it is one of 230 cities where cartels maintain distribution networks and supply lines.

At Chilos, the real crime boss was sitting at another table, as were two spotters. The hitman waited in the parking lot for Perez to leave the restaurant.

“I just remember that guy coming up to us and he started shooting and shooting and shooting and never stopped,” said Norma Gonzalez, Perez’s widow. He was hit twice.

“I know they will pay for what they have done, maybe in the next life,” she said of Perez’s killers. “I don’t know what is going to happen to them in this life.”


Problem ‘far-reaching’

The gangster — captured on surveillance video — blended in with other customers as they gawked at the aftermath. A few months later, he was dead too, gunned down two miles from the restaurant.

“It is here and it has been here, but people don’t want to listen,” Rick Moreno, a Houston police homicide investigator working with the Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI, said of the cartels’ presence in Houston. "It is so far-reaching>"

Washington is taking notice, even if the toll on U.S. streets is nowhere near as pervasive as in Mexico, where cartels are locked in a war against one another and with the government.

“International drug trafficking organizations pose a sustained, serious threat to the safety and security of our communities,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said. “We can provide our communities the safety and the security that they deserve only by confronting these dangerous cartels head-on without reservation,” he said.

When it comes to tearing into the cartels in Houston, an investigation later code-named Operation Three Stars got quietly under way three years ago, as an undercover DEA agent stood in line at a McDonald’s in north Houston. He listened to a drug trafficker using a two-way radio to set up delivery of $750,000; the man was with his wife and kids, ordering Happy Meals while making the deal.


Shifting alliances

Since then, more than 70 people in Houston have been prosecuted as a result of the ongoing operation and more than $5 million has been seized, as well as about 3,000 pounds of cocaine, according to court documents and law enforcement officers.

How many people are involved in cartel business is unknown, authorities said. Alliances shift quickly, as can the need to shut down to evade the law. Federal agents concede that numbers garnered by the operation pale compared to the cash and drugs pumped through Houston, but contend they’ve headed off countless crimes.

“The public never gets the full picture, they don’t understand these murders, these kidnappings, these violent crimes are directly tied to these organizations,” said Vio­let Szeleczky, spokeswoman for the DEA regional office in Houston. “A lot of these guys are just real dirtbags.”


Hard to spot connections

In the murky underworld, it takes time and luck to connect dots.

The accused mastermind of the Chilos attack, Jaime Zamora, 38, is charged with capital murder. He lived modestly, worked for Houston’s Parks and Recreation Department and was a Little League volunteer. State prosecutor Colleen Barnett said in court that such a profile was how he avoided detection.

Paul Looney, Zamora’s lawyer, contends the government can’t prove his client has ever touched drugs or drug money, or that he is a crime boss. He added that Zamora had never before been arrested.

“I don’t think there is a chance in hell (the prosecutor) is right about her theory of the case,” Looney said.

Court documents indicate Steven Torres, 26, one of the men charged with helping Zamora with the 2006 killing, confessed “his part involving arranging the murder.” In 2002, he was sentenced to 10 years probation after being convicted of a murder he committed when he was 16.

His lawyer could not be reached.

Authorities, saying it’s tough to spot cartel connections because the gangsters work in several jurisdictions, point to at least seven homicides in the Houston area since 2006, as well as nine home invasions and five kidnappings tied to cartels. They believe there are many more.

Among the unsolved local killings is the death of Pedro Cardenas Guillen, 36, whose last name is considered trafficking royalty. He was shot in the head and left in a ditch off Madden Road, near Fort Bend County.

His uncle is Osiel Cardenas Guillen, reputed head of the powerful Gulf Cartel. He was extradited from Mexico and awaits trial in Houston on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and threatening to kill federal agents.


Third attempt succeeded

Other victims of what authorities believe are cartel-related murders include a husband and wife who were tortured and shot in the head on Easingwold Drive, in northwest Houston. About 220 pounds of cocaine were later found in their attic.

Some victims were in the drug business and may have owed money; others could be relatives of criminals or innocent victims, authorities say. Santiago “Chago” Salinas, 28, the crime boss who escaped death at Chilos, was killed six months later.

High on cocaine as he answered the door of a room at the Baymont Inn on the Gulf Freeway, he was shot three times in the head.

It was the third and final attempt on the life of the man who’d once been shot in the neck and left for dead in Mexico. His killing may have been the latest payback between rivals slugging it out.

Chago’s brother-in-law was killed in Mexico, as was Zamora’s younger brother, who was known as “Danny Boy” and who was a lieutenant in a trafficking organization, according to authorities. Danny Boy’s boss, a major player in the Sinaloa cartel, also was murdered in Mexico.


Survivors remember

Those who survive the wrath of cartel gangsters don’t forget.

“I thought I was going to die for sure,” recalled David DeLeon, a used-car dealer who was kidnapped on Airline Drive and severely beaten while being held for ransom, also in 2006. He was rescued by Houston police, but not before he was punched, kicked and thrown across a room so much that his face was unrecognizable.

Authorities say the kidnappers were low-ranking thugs working for a cartel cell.

In another instance, men armed with assault rifles attacked a Houston home. The resident used a handgun to kill one and wound another before the survivors left.

Norma Gonzalez, whose husband was killed at Chilos, said she believes he used his body to shield his 4-year-old daughter and infant son. Leaning over her husband in the parking lot, she whispered, “Everything is going to be OK.”

He died minutes later.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

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Tromatic
Citizens! Prepare to defend yourselves!
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Posted: 3/8/2009 8:13:16 PM
This is how the shooting will start. Americans will have enough, and do what Federal LE is supposed to be doing, but does not. Feds will be shooting at Americans trying to defend themselves and get rid of these scum all so as not to oppress the "rights" of the Mexican gangsters.
The question is not how far. The question is, do you possess the constitution, the depth of faith, to go as far as is needed?

Ass, gas or brass. Nobody rides for free.

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THR-Thumper
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Posted: 3/8/2009 8:16:33 PM
In another instance, men armed with assault rifles attacked a Houston home. The resident used a handgun to kill one and wound another before the survivors left.


Shrug.
You want an ecomomic failure? The mental, social, and character flaws that currently hinder you under a protective society will only be magnified in the coming apocalypse. I and my friends look forward to taking your stuff and pleasing your women.
Matthew_Q
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Posted: 3/8/2009 8:28:32 PM
Fuvly. I wonder how long until the assholes start coming up 290 to Austin.

I keep a gun in the car and one within reach at home.
Who is John Galt?
threefeathers
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Posted: 3/8/2009 8:48:20 PM
This is shocking. Glad we don't have that stuff in AZ.
Scouts Out
Billy-the-Man
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Posted: 3/8/2009 9:04:41 PM
Originally Posted By Matthew_Q:
Fuvly. I wonder how long until the assholes start coming up 290 to Austin.

I keep a gun in the car and one within reach at home.


noted
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Posted: 3/8/2009 9:22:41 PM
Originally Posted By HoustonHusker:
I'm glad we moved out to the 'burbs last year.

HH
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––-

Mexican cartels infiltrate Houston

Recent arrests in a mistaken killing point to the perilous presence of gangs

By DANE SCHILLER

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6299436.html

March 7, 2009, 9:28PM


Family photo
Jose Perez was enjoying a night out with his wife, Norma, in 2006 when hitmen with a Mexican drug cartel mistook him for a rival trafficker and gunned him down.

The order was clear: Kill the guy in the Astros jersey.

But in a case of mistaken identity, Jose Perez ended up dead. The intended target — the Houston-based head of a Mexican drug cartel cell pumping millions of dollars of cocaine into the city — walked away.

Perez, 27, was just a working guy, out getting dinner late on a Friday with his wife and young children at Chilos, a seafood restaurant on the Gulf Freeway.

His murder and the assassination gone awry point to the perilous presence of Mexican organized crime and how cartel violence has seeped into the city.

Arrests came in December when police and federal agents got a break in the 2006 shooting as they charted the relationship and rivalries between at least five cartel cells operating in Houston. A rogue’s gallery of about 100 names and mug shots taken at Texas jails and morgues offers a blueprint for Mexican organized crime.

Houston has long been a major staging ground for importing illegal drugs from Mexico and shipping them to the rest of the United States, but a recent Department of Justice report notes it is one of 230 cities where cartels maintain distribution networks and supply lines.

At Chilos, the real crime boss was sitting at another table, as were two spotters. The hitman waited in the parking lot for Perez to leave the restaurant.

“I just remember that guy coming up to us and he started shooting and shooting and shooting and never stopped,” said Norma Gonzalez, Perez’s widow. He was hit twice.

“I know they will pay for what they have done, maybe in the next life,” she said of Perez’s killers. “I don’t know what is going to happen to them in this life.”


Problem ‘far-reaching’

The gangster — captured on surveillance video — blended in with other customers as they gawked at the aftermath. A few months later, he was dead too, gunned down two miles from the restaurant.

“It is here and it has been here, but people don’t want to listen,” Rick Moreno, a Houston police homicide investigator working with the Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI, said of the cartels’ presence in Houston. "It is so far-reaching>"

Washington is taking notice, even if the toll on U.S. streets is nowhere near as pervasive as in Mexico, where cartels are locked in a war against one another and with the government.

“International drug trafficking organizations pose a sustained, serious threat to the safety and security of our communities,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said. “We can provide our communities the safety and the security that they deserve only by confronting these dangerous cartels head-on without reservation,” he said.

When it comes to tearing into the cartels in Houston, an investigation later code-named Operation Three Stars got quietly under way three years ago, as an undercover DEA agent stood in line at a McDonald’s in north Houston. He listened to a drug trafficker using a two-way radio to set up delivery of $750,000; the man was with his wife and kids, ordering Happy Meals while making the deal.


Shifting alliances

Since then, more than 70 people in Houston have been prosecuted as a result of the ongoing operation and more than $5 million has been seized, as well as about 3,000 pounds of cocaine, according to court documents and law enforcement officers.

How many people are involved in cartel business is unknown, authorities said. Alliances shift quickly, as can the need to shut down to evade the law. Federal agents concede that numbers garnered by the operation pale compared to the cash and drugs pumped through Houston, but contend they’ve headed off countless crimes.

“The public never gets the full picture, they don’t understand these murders, these kidnappings, these violent crimes are directly tied to these organizations,” said Vio­let Szeleczky, spokeswoman for the DEA regional office in Houston. “A lot of these guys are just real dirtbags.”


Hard to spot connections

In the murky underworld, it takes time and luck to connect dots.

The accused mastermind of the Chilos attack, Jaime Zamora, 38, is charged with capital murder. He lived modestly, worked for Houston’s Parks and Recreation Department and was a Little League volunteer. State prosecutor Colleen Barnett said in court that such a profile was how he avoided detection.

Paul Looney, Zamora’s lawyer, contends the government can’t prove his client has ever touched drugs or drug money, or that he is a crime boss. He added that Zamora had never before been arrested.

“I don’t think there is a chance in hell (the prosecutor) is right about her theory of the case,” Looney said.

Court documents indicate Steven Torres, 26, one of the men charged with helping Zamora with the 2006 killing, confessed “his part involving arranging the murder.” In 2002, he was sentenced to 10 years probation after being convicted of a murder he committed when he was 16.

His lawyer could not be reached.

Authorities, saying it’s tough to spot cartel connections because the gangsters work in several jurisdictions, point to at least seven homicides in the Houston area since 2006, as well as nine home invasions and five kidnappings tied to cartels. They believe there are many more.

Among the unsolved local killings is the death of Pedro Cardenas Guillen, 36, whose last name is considered trafficking royalty. He was shot in the head and left in a ditch off Madden Road, near Fort Bend County.

His uncle is Osiel Cardenas Guillen, reputed head of the powerful Gulf Cartel. He was extradited from Mexico and awaits trial in Houston on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and threatening to kill federal agents.


Third attempt succeeded

Other victims of what authorities believe are cartel-related murders include a husband and wife who were tortured and shot in the head on Easingwold Drive, in northwest Houston. About 220 pounds of cocaine were later found in their attic.

Some victims were in the drug business and may have owed money; others could be relatives of criminals or innocent victims, authorities say. Santiago “Chago” Salinas, 28, the crime boss who escaped death at Chilos, was killed six months later.

High on cocaine as he answered the door of a room at the Baymont Inn on the Gulf Freeway, he was shot three times in the head.

It was the third and final attempt on the life of the man who’d once been shot in the neck and left for dead in Mexico. His killing may have been the latest payback between rivals slugging it out.

Chago’s brother-in-law was killed in Mexico, as was Zamora’s younger brother, who was known as “Danny Boy” and who was a lieutenant in a trafficking organization, according to authorities. Danny Boy’s boss, a major player in the Sinaloa cartel, also was murdered in Mexico.


Survivors remember

Those who survive the wrath of cartel gangsters don’t forget.

“I thought I was going to die for sure,” recalled David DeLeon, a used-car dealer who was kidnapped on Airline Drive and severely beaten while being held for ransom, also in 2006. He was rescued by Houston police, but not before he was punched, kicked and thrown across a room so much that his face was unrecognizable.

Authorities say the kidnappers were low-ranking thugs working for a cartel cell.

In another instance, men armed with assault rifles attacked a Houston home. The resident used a handgun to kill one and wound another before the survivors left.

Norma Gonzalez, whose husband was killed at Chilos, said she believes he used his body to shield his 4-year-old daughter and infant son. Leaning over her husband in the parking lot, she whispered, “Everything is going to be OK.”

He died minutes later.


9/12/01 would have been the perfect time to resrict the border... but OH NO! Cheap illegal labor and ignorant voters are worth more than US Citizens lives

Thanks GW



marksman121
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Posted: 3/8/2009 9:23:15 PM
Totally shocked

happycynic: "I couldn't care less about spelling on the internet. Feel free to be my secretary and correct my typos if you like."
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rexydg7
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Posted: 3/8/2009 9:30:07 PM
Originally Posted By threefeathers:
This is shocking. Glad we don't have that stuff in AZ.


WOW..!!... extremely shocking... I am glad it has not moved from there to <<<HERE>>> within the last few year...

my God to think illegal alien mexican drug smugglers killing people...
Fuckin shit has got to end..

"Just when I think your last statement has plumbed the nether regions of the logical abyss, there's yet another eruption of sledgehammered shit that eclipses it."

Jarhead_22
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Posted: 3/8/2009 9:36:36 PM
Originally Posted By Matthew_Q:
Fuvly. I wonder how long until the assholes start coming up 290 to Austin.

I keep a gun in the car and one within reach at home.


Bad news, they got to Austin a long time ago.
The IH35 corridor was one of the first.
If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our Country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin. - Samuel Adams
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Posted: 3/8/2009 9:44:56 PM
Originally Posted By rexydg7:
Originally Posted By threefeathers:
This is shocking. Glad we don't have that stuff in AZ.


WOW..!!... extremely shocking... I am glad it has not moved from there to <<<HERE>>> within the last few year...

my God to think illegal alien mexican drug smugglers killing people...
Fuckin shit has got to end..



You asked me once why I moved out of FL...

There is one reason..and that it is surrounded by OCEAN on 3 sides..

Fuck FL..Never again..Not to live!

I suggest you do the same!...Run!
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The PEOPLE are the LAW of the UNITED STATES!
Bubbatheredneck
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Posted: 3/8/2009 9:48:56 PM
With the successful US .gov crackdown on illegal immigrants AND the way the .gov has taken care of the gang problem, gangs of illegal drug dealers should be a cake walk.



Why would anyone be worried?







Zan
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Posted: 3/8/2009 9:52:04 PM
Isn't diversity wonderful
Saiga12GB
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Posted: 3/8/2009 9:56:54 PM
[Last Edit: 3/8/2009 9:57:24 PM by Saiga12GB]
is it time for the Houston Area arfcommers to get together ? possible fire mission ?
_DR
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Posted: 3/8/2009 9:58:57 PM


Anybody still care to spout the line that drug users are not hurting anyone?
GUNSFORHIRE
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Posted: 3/8/2009 10:02:12 PM
Originally Posted By _DR:


Anybody still care to spout the line that drug users are not hurting anyone?


"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."-- Thomas Jefferson

The PEOPLE are the LAW of the UNITED STATES!
_DR
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Posted: 3/8/2009 10:07:44 PM
[Last Edit: 3/8/2009 10:11:11 PM by _DR]
Originally Posted By GUNSFORHIRE:
Originally Posted By _DR:


Anybody still care to spout the line that drug users are not hurting anyone?




You honestly think these drug cartels would be in the US killing people if American drug user money was not flowing into Mexico by the truckload? Cause and effect.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the authorities incarcerating or killing all and any drug cartel members in the US, but this is a problem many Americans created coming home to roost.
Citabria7GCBC
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Posted: 3/8/2009 10:16:25 PM
[NO TEXT]
dirtyboy
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Posted: 3/8/2009 10:18:39 PM
Amen, drug users are the cause of this problem.
FreeFloater
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Posted: 3/8/2009 10:22:24 PM
The only solution now is to legalize drugs. Take away the cartel's reason for existance.
Rock7
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Posted: 3/8/2009 10:26:27 PM
What ever happened to "Don't mess with Texas"???

Just tough talk?

You bad asses are actually letting this happen???

ASS CRACK or GTFO!!1!
(In the BOTD forum of course)
zyx5432
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Posted: 3/8/2009 10:26:33 PM
Originally Posted By Saiga12GB:
is it time for the Houston Area arfcommers to get together ? possible fire mission ?


We do, every Tuesday night!
The only reason you're still conscious is because I don't feel like carrying you!
كافر
RABIDFOX50
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Posted: 3/8/2009 10:27:03 PM
[Last Edit: 3/9/2009 10:32:21 AM by RABIDFOX50]
I'm still carting these fucking illegals to Jail yet the FUCKING FEDS will not deport their worthless asses out of my Jail back to Chicken Coop Hollow, Mexico. Marked increase in drugs among these tards in my area (Florida) along with the usual robberies, thefts, drunk driving, Etc.

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MauserMark
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Posted: 3/8/2009 10:36:45 PM
[Last Edit: 3/8/2009 10:36:52 PM by MauserMark]
Originally Posted By zyx5432:
Originally Posted By Saiga12GB:
is it time for the Houston Area arfcommers to get together ? possible fire mission ?


We do, every Tuesday night!



not to mention the handful of shoots we do every year.

maybe you should visit the hometown forum.
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howitzer33
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Posted: 3/9/2009 12:23:58 AM
Originally Posted By Bubbatheredneck:
With the successful US .gov crackdown on illegal immigrants AND the way the .gov has taken care of the gang problem, gangs of illegal drug dealers should be a cake walk.



Why would anyone be worried?









The Mexican military has been kicking their asses in every fire fight too. These narcos don't stand a chance in the US.
Scrumpy777
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Posted: 3/9/2009 1:25:28 AM
Originally Posted By Zan:
Isn't diversity wonderful



No.

Special privledges for minorities who don't deserve them isnt wonderful.
sherrick13
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Posted: 3/9/2009 1:56:55 AM
Originally Posted By FreeFloater:
The only solution now is to legalize drugs. Take away the cartel's reason for existance.


But it won't.

It is simple: FBO
vanilla_gorilla
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Posted: 3/9/2009 2:11:17 AM
[Last Edit: 3/9/2009 2:11:46 AM by vanilla_gorilla]

Originally Posted By sherrick13:
Originally Posted By FreeFloater:
The only solution now is to legalize drugs. Take away the cartel's reason for existance.


But it won't.


But...but...Ron Paul said things would get better if we did!
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Posted: 3/9/2009 2:40:03 AM
[Last Edit: 3/9/2009 2:40:44 AM by pcsutton]

Originally Posted By FreeFloater:
The only solution now is to legalize drugs. Take away the cartel's reason for existance.

How about we just start executing drug users like they do in other countries like Turkey? Same end effect...no reason for the Cartels. Problem solved.
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tehar15
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Posted: 3/9/2009 2:42:30 AM
Originally Posted By pcsutton:

Originally Posted By FreeFloater:
The only solution now is to legalize drugs. Take away the cartel's reason for existance.

How about we just start executing drug users like they do in other countries like Turkey? Same end effect...no reason for the Cartels. Problem solved.


oooh the la-aaaaand of the freeeeeeeeeee
and the hooooooooooome of the braaaaaaaaaaaaaave
stealbear
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Posted: 3/9/2009 2:53:44 AM
Originally Posted By sherrick13:
Originally Posted By FreeFloater:
The only solution now is to legalize drugs. Take away the cartel's reason for existance.


But it won't.



These are your mobsters before legalization.



These are you mobsters after legalization.



Any Questions?

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Posted: 3/9/2009 3:00:41 AM
Originally Posted By Rock7:
What ever happened to "Don't mess with Texas"???

Just tough talk?

You bad asses are actually letting this happen???



I sense undue angst. Why so angry with your betters?

Guess you missed the part where Texans are leaving them ventilated on the floor.

Texan with a handgun vs. multiple assault rifle toting gangsters FTW.

RIF

You want an ecomomic failure? The mental, social, and character flaws that currently hinder you under a protective society will only be magnified in the coming apocalypse. I and my friends look forward to taking your stuff and pleasing your women.
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Posted: 3/9/2009 3:02:27 AM
Originally Posted By ORIGINAL-Waterdog:
9/12/01 would have been the perfect time to resrict the border... but OH NO! Cheap illegal labor and ignorant voters are worth more than US Citizens lives

Thanks GW


Who would have thought it would get this bad
Sleepy1988
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Posted: 3/9/2009 3:16:01 AM
Originally Posted By _DR:
Originally Posted By GUNSFORHIRE:
Originally Posted By _DR:


Anybody still care to spout the line that drug users are not hurting anyone?




You honestly think these drug cartels would be in the US killing people if American drug user money was not flowing into Mexico by the truckload? Cause and effect.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the authorities incarcerating or killing all and any drug cartel members in the US, but this is a problem many Americans created coming home to roost.


Fuck that, I don't use illegal drugs, and neither do most Americans. We shouldn't have to suffer because of the actions of a minority.

It's time to pull out all the stops and start targeting the cartels with airstrikes. If Mexico bitches about their airspace being violated, well, tough shit.

Good luck getting that done with Obama in office though.
JT_26
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Posted: 3/9/2009 8:13:29 AM
They're in Atlanta too.


http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-03-08-mex-cartels_N.htm


Mexican cartels plague Atlanta

By Larry Copeland and Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
ATLANTA — In a city where Coca Cola, United Parcel Service and Home Depot are the titans of industry, there are new powerful forces on the block: Mexican drug cartels.
Their presence and ruthless tactics are largely unknown to most here. Yet, of the 195 U.S. cities where Mexican drug-trafficking organizations are operating, federal law enforcement officials say Atlanta has emerged as the new gateway to the troubled Southwest border.

Rival drug cartels, the same violent groups warring in Mexico for control of routes to lucrative U.S. markets, have established Atlanta as the principal distribution center for the entire eastern U.S., according to the Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center.

In fiscal year 2008, federal drug authorities seized more drug-related cash in Atlanta — about $70 million — than any other region in the country, Drug Enforcement Administration records show.

This year, more than $30 million has been intercepted in the Atlanta area — far more than the $19 million in Los Angeles and $18 million in Chicago.

Atlanta has not seen a fraction of the violence that engulfs much of northern Mexico, but law enforcement officials are increasingly concerned about the cartels' expanding operations here.

"The same folks who are rolling heads in the streets of Ciudad Juárez" — El Paso's Mexican neighbor — "are operating in Atlanta. Here, they are just better behaved," says Jack Killorin, who heads the Office of National Drug Control Policy's federal task force in Atlanta.

The same regional features that appeal to legitimate corporate operations — access to transportation systems and proximity to major U.S. cities — have lured the cartels, Atlanta U.S. Attorney David Nahmias says.

Explosive Hispanic growth

An added attraction for the cartels, say Nahmias and Rodney Benson, the DEA's Atlanta chief, is the explosive growth of the Hispanic community.

Nahmias calls northeast suburban Gwinnett County, about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta, the "epicenter" of the region's drug activity.

Gwinnett's Hispanic population surged from 8,470 in 1990 to 64,137 in 2000, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Now, 17% of the county's 776,000 people are Hispanic.

"You see Mexican drug-trafficking operations deploying representatives to hide within these communities in plain sight," Benson says. "They were attempting to blend into the same communities as those who were hard-working, law-abiding people."

The cartel representatives here range from the drivers, packagers and money counters to senior figures in the drug trade.

"We've got direct linkages between cartel representatives who take their orders from cartel leadership in Mexico," Benson says.

From the border, shipments of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin are routed over land to Atlanta for storage in a network of stash houses. They are then moved to distribution operations in the Carolinas, Tennessee, the Mid-Atlantic, New York and New England.

Cash is generally moved over the same routes back to the Atlanta area, where balance sheets are reconciled. The bundles of money are turned over to transportation units for bulk shipments back to Mexico, Benson says.

Concern over violence

Although the level of drug-related violence in Mexico has not surfaced in the Atlanta area, recent incidents have raised concerns among law enforcement officials.

Last July, for example, a Rhode Island man who allegedly owed $300,000 to Atlanta-based traffickers was found chained to a wall in the basement of a Lilburn, Ga., home, located in western Gwinnett County.

Benson says the man had been blindfolded, gagged and beaten. Federal investigators, who were alerted to the location, later found the man alive but severely dehydrated. Three Mexican nationals fled the house when authorities approached. All three were captured and a cache of weapons, including an assault rifle, was seized.

"There is no doubt in my mind that … we certainly saved his life," Benson says.

About the same time last year, another man was kidnapped in Gwinnett County for non-payment of drug proceeds. When traffickers went to pick up what they thought was a $2 million ransom, shots were exchanged between the traffickers and police who were working with the victim's family. One of the suspects was killed and the other arrested, Benson says.

Killorin says much of the violence has been related to similar incidents of "intra-cartel discipline" and has not spilled into the streets.

There is no mistaking the groups' influence.

"We know they're here," Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Illana Spellman says, adding that the area's access to interstate highways is a major lure. "Geographically, it's set up perfectly for these kinds of activities."
"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt. That's the first thing they teach you-
I don't remember, that's the second thing they teach you."
rugerp345
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Posted: 3/9/2009 4:08:33 PM
Originally Posted By pcsutton:

Originally Posted By FreeFloater:
The only solution now is to legalize drugs. Take away the cartel's reason for existance.

How about we just start executing drug users like they do in other countries like Turkey? Same end effect...no reason for the Cartels. Problem solved.


Death penalty in Turkey for using- I don't think so.................


You might want to consult a source before spouting lies.

As long as we execute those convicted of DUI, including politicians, MIL/LEO too.

Or do you believe some intoxicants are more equal than others ?







Silas
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Posted: 3/9/2009 4:18:47 PM
[Last Edit: 3/9/2009 4:20:24 PM by Silas]
Originally Posted By _DR:
Originally Posted By GUNSFORHIRE:
Originally Posted By _DR:


Anybody still care to spout the line that drug users are not hurting anyone?




You honestly think these drug cartels would be in the US killing people if American drug user money was not flowing into Mexico by the truckload? Cause and effect.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the authorities incarcerating or killing all and any drug cartel members in the US, but this is a problem many Americans created coming home to roost.


Do you honestly think these drug cartels would be in the U.S. killing people if the losing WOD was ended by making them legal?


peallens13
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Posted: 3/10/2009 6:40:41 PM
I feel like I must comment since I’m planning on seeking refuge in TX as soon as I can afford to make the move. I noticed that Dallas, Houston, and Austin are all Sanctuary Cities. I hope voters regret that decision.







Btw I agree that your buddies ‘innocent’ pot habit is directly funding this crap.
ceverett
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Posted: 3/10/2009 6:58:01 PM
Originally Posted By sherrick13:
Originally Posted By FreeFloater:
The only solution now is to legalize drugs. Take away the cartel's reason for existance.


But it won't.



O really?!?!

Phillip Morris would drive out the 'cartels' so stinking fast it would make your head spin. And the taxes could damn near pay for all these bailouts.

And for the record, I've never used illegal drugs, barely even drink, and yet I still support ending the war on pot.
Alacran
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Posted: 3/10/2009 7:18:11 PM
Has the US Government issued a travel warning for Houston yet?
He who rises up to kill us, we will pre-empt it and kill him first. - Ariel Sharon, 2002

My ar15.com quote in WorldNetDaily - http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?pageId=45823
Going_Commando
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Posted: 3/10/2009 7:39:52 PM
Originally Posted By ceverett:
Originally Posted By sherrick13:
Originally Posted By FreeFloater:
The only solution now is to legalize drugs. Take away the cartel's reason for existance.


But it won't.



O really?!?!

Phillip Morris would drive out the 'cartels' so stinking fast it would make your head spin. And the taxes could damn near pay for all these bailouts.

And for the record, I've never used illegal drugs, barely even drink, and yet I still support ending the war on pot.


But but but, the cartels will come and tell Phillip Morris what to do! It will still be cheaper to buy it illegally, just like alcohol!
NRA lifer
"By combining ignorance with desire you can produce an alloy which is impenetrable to all logic and reason" -PAEBR332
"Plata o plomo." -Pablo Escobar
FlyingIllini
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Posted: 3/10/2009 7:45:35 PM
All they have to do is shut down the border, however we know Obongo will never do that.
USGI_45
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Posted: 3/10/2009 7:46:42 PM
[Last Edit: 3/10/2009 7:47:10 PM by USGI_45]
Hope they kill lots of people. Then the feds can pass a new round of gun control.
Cant have mobsters buying tommy guns....We need more laws!
22bad
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Posted: 3/10/2009 7:47:14 PM
Originally Posted By Alacran:
Has the US Government issued a travel warning for Houston yet?


Won't be long