Ganging up on the drug gangs

Valley Morning Star:


Landín-Martinez’s case could serve as a model for future cases against international organized criminals.

Authorities built their case against the Reynosa drug boss from the bottom up, working with low-level smugglers caught in Mexico and the United States who divulged information that slowly led to the top.

For two and a half years, local law enforcement shared information on busts in their communities, and their federal counterparts pointed the locals to new sources of drugs, cash and information, Glaspy said.

During the height of his power, Landín-Martinez ran a network of compartmentalized U.S. cells that smuggled marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine north and money and guns back into Mexico. And it was those same cell leaders that eventually brought him down.

During last week’s trial, Edinburg smuggler Ricardo Muñiz testified that, like Landín-Martinez, he never moved drugs or cash himself. He took steps to limit his own criminal liability by sending his employees and even members of his own family to handle each shipment.
But through hours of wiretapped phone conversations, agents linked Muñiz to his small network of smugglers, who eventually turned on others in the group with the hope of getting leniency in their own sentences.

In Hidalgo, police randomly stumbled across cocaine shipments abandoned near a drainage pipe in 2005. By monitoring that entry point for two years, investigators traced the shipments to destinations such as a Las Milpas stash house, where they found loads of cocaine, methamphetamine and weapons.

Smugglers linked to that operation also provided valuable information that led to a separate indictment in which Landín-Martinez still stands charged.

“By no means did the criminal activity stop with the initial seizure,” Glaspy said. “The drugs had to have been pushed there by someone higher up.”

Landín-Martinez currently awaits his sentence and a jury’s decision in a separate case linked to the Hidalgo tunnel.

The story also describes the cooperation with Mexican authorities since the 2006 election of Calderon that has made these cases possible. The drug insurgents are under unprecedented pressure at this time that is also complicated by the tighter border security on at least the US side. Mexico needs to also tighten its border to catch the smugglers bringing weapons intot he country.


  1. Anonymous10:19 AM


    Have you considered that whatever drug dealers we catch will be instantly replaced? Prohibition is a failed policy because, inter alia, dealers are instantly replaced.



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