Interpol agent was spy for Mexican drug insurgents

Times:

One of the most dangerous drug cartels in the world has infiltrated the US Embassy in Mexico and America's top anti-trafficking agency, it emerged last night.

A captured informant codenamed Felipe admitted to Mexican prosecutors that he used his job as an Interpol agent working at the US Embassy in Mexico City and at the international airport in the city to feed classified information about anti-drug operations to the feared Beltrán-Leyva cartel.

The revelation came as prosecutors also admitted that two staff in the Mexican Attorney-General's Office for Organised Crime - a government unit that fights the drug mafia — had been found to have been in the pockets of the cartel for four years, as were at least three federal policemen with inside information on surveillance targets and potential raids. Each were paid between $150,000 (£97,000) and $450,000 a month by the cartel.

It was the worst known case of law enforcement in Mexico being compromised by drug lords since the arrest in 1997 of General Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, the head of the country's anti-drug agency, who was convicted of assisting Amado Carrillo, a kingpin.

“This doesn't say much for US security — it's as embarrassing as hell for this to come out and I suspect heads will roll within the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration],” said Bruce Bagley, an expert in Latin American drug trafficking, from the University of Miami in Florida.

The scandal came five days after Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, travelled to Mexico City to discuss the $400 million Mérida Initiative, a package to help Mexican and Central American law enforcement agencies to fight organised drug crime. “We've already achieved an outstanding level of co-operation in our efforts to fight drug trafficking and organised crime... the United States considers this important initiative and its implementation an urgent task,” she said.

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The Independent reports that the corruption did not stop officials from capturing one of the drug insurgents biggest head choppers.

He didn't look much like a doctor, the scruffy, grey-haired man bundled by armed police off a flight to Mexico City, but then he didn't really resemble one of central America's most powerful criminal masterminds, either.

Eduardo Arellano Felix, one of seven brothers who founded the notorious Arellano Felix drug cartel in the 1980s, was arrested in his unwashed jeans and tracksuit after a weekend gunfight in Fraccionamiento Pedregal, a hillside suburb of Tijuana, the Mexican border city where his empire was built.

It marked a suitably dramatic end to the career of a man known locally as El Doctor, thanks both to his previous life as a medical student and the famously clinical manner in which he despatched anyone unfortunate enough to land on the wrong side of his massive cocaine smuggling network.

...

The fight with the drug insurgents is still a desperate battle on both sides, but the bad guys are losing some big ones and even this case of corruption is another loss for them.

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