Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mexican special forces kill drug kingpin in Cuernavaca

Mexican President Felipe Calderone accepted the Global Legislators Organization (GLOBE) Award for his leadership on the environment at the Copenhagen climate conference on Thursday.  Xinhua (China) reports:
President Calderon said it was a great honor to receive this award and he considered it as recognition of the efforts of the Mexican government and people in protecting the environment, including fighting climate change.

Before presenting the globe-shaped award to President Calderon, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown praised his efforts in addressing climate change, especially his proposed Green Fund, aimed at increasing funding to fight climate change.
That's all very nice.  But I propose another award for a truly meaningful contribution to the world by Special Forces of the Mexican Army and Navy.  From the New York Times:
Special Forces from the Mexican military surrounded and killed one of Mexico’s top drug cartel leaders, Arturo Beltrán Leyva, in a firefight that began late Wednesday as part of President Felipe Calderón’s longstanding battle against drug traffickers, the Mexican military said.

Beltrán Leyva died in his apartment in a luxury complex in the southern city of Cuernavaca after a two-hour gun battle with some 400 Special Forces troops from the Navy and the Army. Six other drug traffickers were killed, one as he jumped out the window, and one member of the Navy’s Special Forces died in the shooting.

Even by the gruesome standards of Mexico’s drug lords, Mr. Beltrán Leyva’s capacity for violent revenge was especially brazen, the authorities said. Since September, he has carried out brutal retaliatory attacks against rivals, leaving decapitated heads and tortured bodies across two states with notes left from “el jefe de jefes,” the boss of bosses.

The operation against him was based on intelligence that the Navy had been gathering for some time to track his movements, the authorities said. Six days ago, Special Forces raided a party Mr. Beltrán Leyva had planned to attend, but he managed to escape. With information from that raid, they tracked him to the Altitude apartment complex, a luxury condominium development not far from the center of Cuernavaca.
From NPR:
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says the Beltran Leyva cartel is key in the importation and distribution of tons of cocaine in the United States, as well as large quantities of heroin. Mexico considers the group one of its six major cartels. [snip]

U.S. officials say the Beltran Leyva Cartel has carried out heinous killings, including numerous beheadings. The gang also has had great success in buying off public officials, police and others to protect their business and get tips on planned military raids.

The U.S government added Beltran Leyva and his cartel to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act last year, a movement that denied him access to the U.S. financial system.
According to news reports, more than 16,000 people have been killed in drug related violence since Calderone launched his drug war in 2006.  Just last week, drug killers dumped the severed heads of five police officers and a government prosecutor outside a church in northern Mexico.  The Houston Chronicle recently recalled a single day of violence last summer:
In June, at least 11 bodies were found chopped to pieces and stacked like cordwood in a sport-utility vehicle abandoned in the border state of Sonora.

With no one band strong enough to overcome the others, and the government targeting all of them, chaos has replaced what was once a fairly well-regulated illicit trade.

“It is kind of like Rome; we need a Caesar here,” said Scott Stewart, a vice president for Stratfor, an Austin-based global-intelligence company that monitored the fighting in producing a report published Wednesday.
“In a situation where you have so much violence, the people who rise to the top are those who are exceptionally violent,” Stewart said of what makes a cartel leader. “The warfare skills are more important than the business skills at this point.”
Today the warfare skills of Mexican Special Forces prevailed.  Give those brave men and women an award.

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