Gunrunners Weekly Update: March 5-11, 2011
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Cyber Crime in Mexico
InSight's Hannah Stone reports Mexico leads the world in reported cyber crime. This news was delivered by lawmaker Rodrigo Perez-Alonzo, who heads Mexico's Commission on Digital Access. He says the police received almost 1,400 complaints of cyber crime in 2009. Top of the list were those dealing with fraud, threats and harassment, and sexual exploitation of children.
Stone reports there's a strong connection between cyber crime and the cartels, citing a UN Office on Drugs and Crime claim that "criminal groups are increasingly using developments in information technology to 'coordinate activities and enhance the commission of crimes.'" This includes moving money across borders and counterfeit goods commerce.
The "Fast and Furious" Fallout
Sen. Charles Grassley [R-Iowa] called for an independent watchdog to investigate charges uncovered last week by The Center for Public Integrity [CPI] and CBS News that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives [ATF] allowed hundreds of U.S. weapons to be knowingly sold to straw buyers as part of "Fast and Furious," an operation aimed at building a case and prosecuting cross-border gunrunners. Two of these weapons were found at the scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent's murder last December.
The Justice Department appointed its acting inspector general to head the probe. According to CPI, "the senator cited several possible conflicts, noting the IG's office failed to act on the allegations when they were first brought to its attention by frontline agents."
Meanwhile, Mexican officials have demanded additional information on Fast and Furious and its investigation.
According to suspected Oaxaca Zetas leader Marcos Carmona Hernandez, his cartel is part of a four-way non-aggression pact with the Juarez Cartel, the Beltrán Leyva Organization and the Arellano Félix Cartel. The four cartels have a common enemy: the powerful Sinaloa Cartel.
Carmona Hernandez's revelations followed his arrest on March 7.
Mayor Flees to U.S.
Marisol Valles García, a 20-year-old town police chief in Ciudad Juárez, has asked for asylum in the United States, according to The New York Times. Valles García, a criminal justice student and mother, was named police chief of border town Práxedis Guatalupe Guerrero in October 2010.
According to the Associated Press, Valles García reportedly received death threats. Her predecessor was kidnapped and decapitated in 2009.
Mexico's Violence: Recent Incidents