Bird's of Prey - Men's Vogue, June 2008
On a sunny fall day 300 miles off the west coast of Guatemala, Coast Guard pilot Dan Roberts readied for combat from the front seat of his MH-68A Stingray helicopter. In the back of the chopper, gunner Andrew Kramer — 30 years old and tightly wound — loaded his .50-caliber rifle, each bullet as thick and long as a hot dog and strong enough to rip through two inches of steel...
Cocaine Harbor - Penthouse, December 2007
"Everything is cool," says the man at the wheel of our speedboat, high on rum. "Unless the police find out - they may try to steal it." Alfonso Bolanzo (not his real name) wears a silver bandanna and the widening shit-eating grin of a freshly mented player. What Bolanzo would like to keep from the cops is the treasure he and three friends recently stumbled upon: 35 kilos of pure Colombian cocaine, perfectly sealed in a thick plastic bag and washed up on a local beach. "We sold it for $5,000 a kilo," Bolanzo says. "If you find cocaine, everyone on the boat shares." Bolanzo draws his long black fingers across his mouth. "And you keep quiet."
Calderon's Plan for Mexico
"Plan Mexico" is a term circulated behind closed doors in Mexico City and Washington. Both the Bush and Calderón administrations will admit closer cooperation between the two countries is necessary to defeat the undeniable power of Mexican organized crime, a power that is in large part fuelled by US drug demand.
In this report, Ashley Morse and I have presented an overview of Calderón's recent push to take the fight to Mexican organized crime. We touch on a range of issues, including the US' position and Mexican connections with Colombia. Careful consideration has also been placed on Calderón's use of extradition and how deconstructing one drug trafficking organization, namely the Gulf Cartel, may create a vacuum for the Sinaloa Federation to fill.
MS-13 Organization & U.S. Response
It is not our intent to make strong predictions, but given the information we've sourced, it is clear that violence in Mexico will get worse before security improves. The level of US involvement, as of May 2007, remains a topic of casual discussion and off the record interviews. We look forward to the possibility of closer cooperation between the two countries but are not hopeful that it will make the agenda before the end of the Bush administration or Calderón's six-year term in office.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) considers the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) the most dangerous street gang in the United States. The violent nature of MS-13 members results in a number of murders and vicious beatings. Already a number of cases, tried in Maryland, New York, and Tennessee, have resulted in hefty prison sentences, even life in prison for MS-13 gang members.
The MS-13, even as a criminal organization, is far from a national security threat, but its presence in US cities and towns, along the US border, and its connections with Mexican organized crime and a number of criminal elements in Central America designate the MS-13 as one of the latest groups to threaten the well being of US citizens across the country.
In this special report, we present an in-depth review of the information that suggest the MS-13 has potential to be much more than a street gang.
The FARC'S International Presence
For many years, the FARC has supplied Mexican organized crime with cocaine. This is no secret. The FARC has developed Venezuela into a significant cocaine transshipment point. Peru and Ecuador have become places of retreat, recruitment, and coca cultivation.
In this special report we present an overview of the FARC's activity in Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Mexico, giving special attention to the FARC's deepening presence in the borderlands hardly controlled by Colombia's neighbors. Maps will accompany the discussion.
The Reality of a Mexican Mega Cartel
Mexican organized crime has become known around the world as the source of smuggling into the United States. The various factions that battle over control of the busiest border crossings into the United States are extremely adept at smuggling drugs, chemicals, humans, or just about anything across the border to the north. They smuggle weapons and bulk money back south.
From the Tijuana-San Diego crossing to the Matamoros-Brownsville crossing, the Mexico-U.S. border is more porous now than ever before. As Mexico’s organized criminal factions fight over control of the border, it is inevitable that one gang will rise to the top.
When this happens, the US-Mexico border, already a soft-under belly will be controlled by one Mega Cartel with the potential to earn over 50 billion dollars a year. It is a reality that is not far off in Mexico’s future and very well could emerge during the term of Mexico’s next president, Felipe Calderon the hand-picked successor of out-going president Vicente Fox.
City of Death - Maxim Magazine, May 2005
We walk with guns drawn, fingers just off triggers, M-16s in combat-ready position. The policeman in front has so many 30-bullet cartridges across his chest it's a wonder he can stand. Other officers carry pistols on their thighs, armpits, and waists. Along with his rifle, the cop behind us is packing slings of cartridges, two pistols, a 16-inch knife, and a few other surprises.just in case. Welcome to life on the street as a beat cop in one of the Western Hemisphere's most dangerous neighborhoods...
Read the whole article here.
Publications posted here are in print magazine feature-length articles or short- to mid-length e-books that cover a range of issues related to security, politics, and energy in Latin America. They are designed to be informative and descriptive of trends you consider worth following.
My sources for this information are varied, from off-the-record interviews with security officials, to white papers and primary source documents. Where applicable, I will use footnotes in the text to support my argument, or add more material where I consider necessary.
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