By Michael Webster: Investigative Reporter Could 7, 2008, two:00 PM PDT
In a recent drug bust at the San Diego Point out College Federal agents and SDSU law enforcement culminated a yearlong investigation into drug working all over campus and uncovered it to be much more complex, much more pervasive and much more risky and considerably achieving than they predicted or have viewed right before. These arrests coincided with the initial anniversary of a female university student freshman’s cocaine-linked dying.
According to nearby newspaper stories ninety-six suspects, including 75 SDSU pupils, have been arrested on drug-linked fees as a outcome of the undercover procedure, released just after Jenny Poliakoff, 19, was uncovered lifeless in her off-campus apartment just after a night of celebration.
A single of the primary suspects in this international drug investigation is Omar Castaneda, a gang member from Pomona with ties to the Mexican Tijuana drug cartels, officials explained.
Castaneda, 36, just after his arrest he was arraigned in San Diego Remarkable Courtroom on fees of possession of cocaine for sale. He is suspected of becoming a main hyperlink between medication flowing into California from Tijuana and sales at SDSU and other California campuses.
The violent Tijuana drug cartel also acknowledged as the Arellano-Felix corporation (AFO) has a company and lethal keep on all drug trafficking functions in Baja and San Diego California. Their get to controls drug smuggling in Sinaloa, Jalisco, Michoacan, Chiapas and Baja, and has strong links to San Diego, California. The AFO dispenses an believed $one million weekly in bribes to Mexican officials, law enforcement and Mexican military officers and maintains its individual-very well armed, trained, paramilitary safety pressure. The DEA considers the AFO the most violent and aggressive of the Mexican border cartels. Below is the DEA’s background profile on the AFO and its leaders. Click on or google: Risky Mexican Cartel Gangs
The SDSU Law enforcement Section approached the DEA and county narcotics task-pressure officials for help in December of 07, when it grew to become obvious that the drug trafficking on campus was widespread and involved Mexican arranged crime drug cartels and their gang customers and they feared that it considerably out striped their skill to cope with a possibly quite complex international drug trafficking investigation.
“We have been coming in call with much more styles of narcotics,” SDSU Law enforcement Chief John Browning explained. “If you’re serious about this, you have to go to somebody who has the assets to get it to the upcoming degree.”
As the investigation was unfolding, the campus dealt with a different drug-linked dying. An autopsy showed that Mesa College or university university student Kurt Baker died Feb. 24 at an SDSU fraternity from oxycodone and alcohol poisoning.
“We know there’s drug use in university . . . but when you have an corporation which is in fact primarily based out of a university area, which is a entire distinct matter,” explained Garrison Courtney of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. “You just will not see that.”
Research signifies that profitable college and high university campuses are fertile markets for drug sellers. Mexican drug cartels have acknowledged this for several years and are thought to have infiltrated numerous of America’s university campuses by way of cartel gang customers. Federal authorities place to the Mexican drug cartels who are in the end dependable for border violence by having cemented ties to road and prison gangs like Barrio Azteca on the U.S. aspect. Azteca and other U.S. gangs retail medication that they get from Mexican cartels and Mexican gangs. Mexican gangs run their individual distribution networks in the United States, and they deliver most of the methamphetamine utilized north of the border. They have even bypassed the Colombians several situations to buy cocaine straight from producers in Bolivia, Peru and even Afghanistan. These identical gangs normally work as cartel surrogates or enforcers on the U.S. aspect of the border. Intelligence suggests Los Zetas . Click on or google: They are acknowledged as “Los Zetas have hired customers of different gangs at distinct situations including, El Paso gang Barrio Azteca, Mexican Mafia, Texas Syndicate, MS-13, and Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos to even further their prison endeavors. Authorities on both equally sides of the border consider numerous of these gang customers and other surrogates of the powerful Mexican drug cartels have infiltrated and run brazenly on numerous American university campuses specially in states bordering Mexico including Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
A single suspect, Phi Kappa Psi member Michael Montoya, worked as a group-company officer on campus and would have gained a master’s degree in homeland safety upcoming month. One more university student arrested on suspicion of possessing 500 grams of cocaine and two guns was a prison-justice main.
Authorities discovered 22 SDSU pupils as drug sellers who bought to undercover agents. At least 17 many others allegedly equipped the medication. The rest of the suspects seemingly acquired or possessed unlawful medication.
Authorities explained pupils from seven fraternities have been involved in the drug ring, which operated brazenly throughout campus.
Proof showed that “most of the customers have been conscious of arranged drug working taking place from the fraternity properties,” officials explained. Drug agents confirmed that “a hierarchy existed for the uses of providing medication for dollars.”
Authorities singled out the Theta Chi fraternity as a hub of cocaine working.
A single alleged supplier, Theta Chi member Kenneth Ciaccio, sent textual content messages to his “devoted consumers” saying that cocaine sales would be suspended in excess of an future weekend because he and his “associates” planned to be in Las Vegas, authorities explained.
The identical concept posted “sale” price ranges on cocaine if transactions have been concluded right before the sellers remaining San Diego.
Until eventually yesterday, Ciaccio was highlighted on SDSU’s Website site selling the Compact for Accomplishment plan, which assures certain Sweetwater Union Superior College District pupils admission to the college if they maintain a B typical.
SDSU President Stephen Weber explained that even when campus law enforcement made a decision to inquire for assist from other authorities, “it was not obvious that we have been likely to end up at the place the place we have been currently.”
Ramon Mosler, chief of the narcotics division of the District Attorney’s Business in San Diego California, explained the investigation could have transpired on any university campus in The united states. Mosler explained his unit joined in because the college took the uncommon phase of inquiring for assist.
“Quite often administrations will not want us to do this things, and which is regrettable,” Mosler explained. “I believe it is critical to do this each now and then to wake persons up. It raises everyone’s consciousness to the hazards of medication.”
According to the research-warrant affidavit, Thomas Watanapun bought $four hundred worthy of of cocaine to undercover agents from a Lexus sedan registered to his father in Los Angeles.
Authorities explained some of the suspects designed minor hard work to conceal their functions.
Dealers “were not picky about who they bought to,” Mosler explained.
Also arraigned was Patrick Hawley, twenty, who was arrested on suspicion of armed robbery and providing cocaine around the campus, officials explained.
According to a 2007 analyze by the National Centre on Addiction and Compound Abuse at Columbia College, nearly half of the nation’s five.4 million full-time university pupils abuse medication or alcohol at least the moment a month.
Regulation enforcement officials in San Diego say road gangs listed here proceed to have strong ties to arranged crime teams in Tijuana. A gunman killed not long ago in an attack in Tijuana is thought to belong to both equally a gang in Barrio Logan and the Arellano Felix Drug Cartel. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson documented.
For several years, Mexican drug trafficking teams have recruited U.S. gang customers to do every thing from smuggle medication to murder. Tijuana’s Arellano Felix Drug Cartel and a gang from San Diego’s Barrio Logan community go again at least 15 several years.
Numerous pupils enrolled in American educational institutions are thought customers of gangs numerous are now coming from the U.S. Army as they rotate out of the solutions. Numerous are veterans who the place encouraged to sign up for the U.S Army for battle instruction by Mexican cartels and gang leaders.
The cartels are confronting law enforcement and the military on a normal bases in Mexico and hope that these identical practices will shortly pay off and allow them to confront the U.S Law enforcement in a much much more qualified, powerful and risky techniques.
Richard Valdemar, a thirty-12 months-veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Section, travels the nation lecturing and educating law enforcement about military-trained gang customers. Valdemar and other gang specialists say gangs are encouraging customers to sign up for the military for instruction to learn city warfare and learn the most up-to-date weaponry.
The military’s present emphasis on city warfare plays into the road-fighting mentality of gangs, specialists say.
“When people go into the military, they are taught how to use weapons, defensive practices, and the use of a ton of complex approaches,” explained LaRae Quy, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “They get that again on the streets with them. This is a legit problem for regulation enforcement.”
Valdemar cites former Camp Pendleton Maritime Sgt. Jesse Quintanilla as just one particular high-profile instance. A military court docket sentenced Quintanilla to dying in 1996 for killing his govt officer and wounding his commanding officer.
When interrogators questioned Quintanilla why he dedicated the crimes, Quintanilla explained it was for “his brown brothers,” in accordance to Valdemar. Quintanilla showed them a tattoo on his chest with the word “Sureno,” a reference to a California gang, in accordance to court docket documents.
Army recruiting headquarters in Washington, D.C., dismiss the promises as city fantasy. An Army spokesman explained military background checks are in depth and weed out gang customers.
The ARELLANO-Felix Organization (AFO), normally referred to as the Tijuana Cartel, is one particular of the most powerful and aggressive drug trafficking businesses running from Mexico it is undeniably the most violent. Much more than any other main trafficking corporation from Mexico, this corporation extends its tentacles straight from high-echelon figures in the regulation enforcement and judicial units in Mexico to road-degree people in United States towns. The AFO is dependable for the transportation, importation and distribution of multi-ton quantities of cocaine, marijuana, as very well as massive quantities of heroin and methamphetamine, into the United States from Mexico. The AFO operates mostly in the Mexican states of Sinaloa (their start area), Jalisco, Michoacan, Chiapas, and Baja California South and North.
From Baja, the medication enter California, the most important place of embarkation into the United States distribution network.
The ARELLANO relatives, composed of seven brothers and four sisters, inherited the corporation from Miguel Angel FELIX-Gallardo on his incarceration in Mexico in 1989 for his complicity in the murder of DEA Unique Agent Enrique Camarena. Alberto Benjamin ARELLANO-Felix assumed management of the relatives structured prison organization and supplies a businessman’s method to the administration of drug trafficking operations.
The AFO also maintains complicated communications facilities in several main towns in Mexico and the U.S. to carry out electronic espionage and counter surveillance steps from regulation enforcement entities. The corporation employs radio scanners and gear able of intercepting both equally tricky line, radio and mobile phones to make sure the safety of AFO operations. In addition to technological gear, the AFO maintains caches of complex automatic weaponry secured from a variety of international resources. Click on or google: Mexican drug cartels and terrorist are recruiting for much more fighters to educate as soldiers
A Joint Endeavor Pressure composed of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been founded in San Diego, California to target the AFO the Endeavor Pressure is investigating AFO operations in southern California and linked regional investigations which track drug transportation, distribution and dollars laundering functions of the AFO all through the United States. Click on or google: Dangerous Mexican/U.S. Felony Enterprises Operating Along the Mexican border
San Diego sheriff’s office
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