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Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Narcas: The Secret Rise of Women in Latin America's Cartels

NARCAS: The Secret Rise of Women in Latin America's Cartels
The Secret Rise of Women
in Latin America's Cartels

You’ve heard of Pablo Escobar, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, and Rafael Caro Quintero. Their names conjure ghoulish images of bloody streets, white powder, bundles of weed, and a particular flavor of machismo unique to ruthless druglords. But what of the drugladies, las narcas? For the first time, investigative reporter Deborah Bonello takes you behind the curtain to introduce the women at the helm of organized crime south of the US-Mexico border. These women are the powerhouses behind violent cartels; masterminds of extortion rackets; right-hand ladies to El Chapo’s cocaine flow to the US; and matriarchs of major drug trafficking families. In these pages, you will meet women like Doña Digna, the leader of the Valle cartel, and Guadalupe Fernandez Valencia, one of “El Chapo” Guzman’s closest confidants.

Narcas: The Secret Rise of Women in Latin America's Cartels, for the first time, gives voice to the women of notorious drug-trafficking monarchies, meticulously documenting the variety of roles they play. Bonello chronicles the complexity of their actions and their desires, the grey chasm between victims and victimizers, co-option and agency, and right and wrong. She examines why women’s experiences are under-reported, emphasizing the importance of understanding women as fully capable beings who are often as ambitious, innovative, ruthless, and violent as their male counterparts.

With careful detail, comprehensive research, and groundbreaking storytelling, Narcas paints a vivid picture of the women behind some of the most notorious drug cartels. You will not see Sebastiana Cottón or Marixa Lemus in the stereotypical portrayals of beautiful narco wives or girlfriends, or in the faces of trafficking survivors or drug mules. Rather, you’ll encounter—at staggering rates—the female cartel killers, money launderers, logistical heads, and transporters of Latin America’s infamous crime syndicates

VICE journalist Deborah Bonello reports from the trenches in this first-ever in-depth exploration of the hidden power women wield in Latin American drug cartels.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Final Aryan Circle White Supremacy Gang Member Sentenced to Prison for RICO Conspiracy

A Missouri man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations (RICO) charges stemming from his membership in the Aryan Circle (AC), a white supremacy prison gang.

According to court documents, Timothy Long, aka Timmy, of Mountain Grove, was a member of the AC, a violent, race-based, and prison-based gang with hundreds of members operating inside and outside of state and federal prisons throughout the country. The AC enforces its rules and promotes discipline among its members, prospects, and associates through threats, intimidation, and acts of violence including murder, kidnapping, and narcotics trafficking. Members are required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members without question.

“This is the final sentencing in a multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency effort to dismantle the Aryan Circle, which terrorized local communities and perpetuated a cycle of gang violence in federal prisons for far too long,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This case represents the Justice Department’s continued dedication to working with our partners across the country to pursue and eradicate criminal enterprises like the AC.”

In 2018, as part of his membership in the AC, Long stabbed two separate victims while all were housed at U.S. Penitentiary (USP) Lee, a federal prison in Lee County, Virginia. Long stabbed each victim at the direction of AC leadership as retaliation for an attack on a higher-ranking member of the AC by a rival white supremacist gang.

“Violent gangs like the Aryan Circle present a growing threat to our communities in the Eastern District of Texas and the type of violence associated with these organizations is alarming,” said U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs for the Eastern District of Texas. “The Eastern District of Texas will continue to investigate and prosecute those who do harm to others. And we’ll specifically target the leaders of these violent gangs.”

In 2022, two of Long’s co-defendants, AC leaders William Glenn Chunn and Jesse Blankenship, were both sentenced to life in prison for RICO conspiracy and related racketeering charges.

Trial Attorney Rebecca Dunnan of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Rapp for the Eastern District of Texas prosecuted the case.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Genaro Deleon, Leader Of Southwest Florida Drug Ring, Sentenced to Federal Prison #Florida #Meth

U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber has sentenced Genaro Deleon, III of Lehigh Acres, Florida to 11 years and 3 months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. He is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2023. Earlier, co-defendants Michael Lee Faz, Abel Deleon, and Genaro Deleon, Jr. were sentenced for the same offense. Faz was sentenced to 10 years and 1 month in federal prison, Abel Deleon was sentenced to 7 years and 8 months in federal prison, and Genaro Deleon, Jr. was sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in federal prison. Each of the four defendants had previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge.

According to court documents, Deleon, III was the leader of a drug ring distributing large quantities of methamphetamine in the Florida counties of  Lee and Hendry. To hinder law enforcement investigations into the organization, Deleon, III buried and otherwise obscured the organization’s stash of methamphetamine in multiple locations in the woods around his secluded property, which was protected by loose dogs and a network of motion sensing cameras.

Deleon, III employed his father, Deleon, Jr., and his two uncles, Abel Deleon and Faz, as dealers for the organization who typically made sales to customers and collected the drug proceeds. Over the course of a year, law enforcement made more than nine undercover purchases from the group, yielding hundreds of grams of nearly pure methamphetamine. In October 2021, law enforcement officers arrested the defendants and executed a search warrant at Deleon, III’s house resulting in the additional seizure of multiple firearms.

Friday, June 02, 2023

MS-13 Gang Member Sentenced to 26 Years in Federal Prison for Racketeering Conspiracy Involving a Violent Murder and for Drug Distribution and Firearms Violations #MS13

MS-13 Gangster Going to Prison
Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced El Salvadoran national Jose Lopez Rivera, age 27, of Elmont, New York, formerly residing in Maryland, to 26 years in federal prison for a racketeering conspiracy involving a violent murder connected to his participation in La Mara Salvatrucha, a transnational criminal enterprise also known as MS-13, and for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm and ammunition by an illegal alien, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

MS-13 is a national and international gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador and other central American countries. Branches or “cliques” of MS-13, one of the largest street gangs in the United States, operate throughout Frederick County, Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County, Maryland. Since at least 2015, Lopez Rivera was a member of the Fulton Locos Salvatruchas (“FLS”) MS-13 clique.

At all times of this conspiracy, members of MS-13 were expected to protect the name, reputation, and status of the gang from rival gang members and other persons. To protect the gang and to enhance its reputation, MS-13 members were expected to use any means necessary to force respect from those who showed disrespect, including acts of intimidation and violence. MS-13 had mottos consistent with its rules, beliefs, expectations, and reputation, including “mata, viola, controla,” which translates as, “kill, rape, control,” and “ver, oir y callar,” which means, “see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing.” One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, often referred to as “chavalas,” whenever possible. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence both to maintain membership and discipline within the gang, as well as against rival gang members. Participation in criminal activity by a member, particularly in violent acts directed at rival gangs or as directed by gang leadership, increase the respect accorded to that member, resulting in that member maintaining or increasing his position in the gang, and opens the door to promotion to a leadership position.

As detailed in his plea agreement, on August 31, 2015, while Lopez Rivera and other MS-13 gang members were drinking in Wheaton, Maryland, they went to a coffee shop where they saw Victim 5. Victim 5 was wearing Nike Cortez sneakers, which according to MS-13 rules, were only to be worn by gang members. A MS-13 member had previously warned Victim 5 about wearing those sneakers. As they walked past Victim 5, he spit on one of the gang members who then punched Victim 5 in the mouth. Victim 5 threw a beer at one of the MS-13 gang members and ran. Lopez Rivera and another gang member chased Victim 5 away from the coffee shop and Victim 5 was then stabbed to death. Following the murder, the gang members reported to their leadership that they had killed a rival gang member.

According to his plea agreement, on July 22, 2021, investigators searched an apartment in Elmont, New York, where Lopez Rivera was living at the time and recovered a shotgun, ammunition, and a brick of packed white powder, which tested positive for cocaine. Lopez Rivera admitted that he possessed the cocaine to distribute it and possessed the firearm in furtherance of his drug distribution. Further, Lopez Rivera knew that he was in the United States illegally and therefore was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition.

More than 30 MS-13 gang members and associates have been convicted in this and related cases.

Anyone with information about MS-13 is encouraged to provide their tips to law enforcement. The FBI and Homeland Security Investigations both have nationwide tiplines that you can call to report what you know. You can reach the FBI at 1-866-STP-MS13 (1-866-787-6713), or you can call HSI at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Founding Member of Latin Kings Sentenced To 27 Years In Prison #NewYork #LatinKings

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Diego Mateo, a/k/a “Casa,” was sentenced to 27 years in prison in connection with his participation in the Black Mob set of the Latin Kings and their distribution of narcotics, including heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine. Mateo pled guilty on February 23, 2022, before U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni, who imposed the sentence.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “For two decades, Mateo ran the largest and most violent set of the Latin Kings in the New York area. He recruited hundreds of young men into his gang and used them to run a massive drug operation that committed countless acts of violence. Today’s sentencing — along with the other significant sentences that have been imposed in this case — proves that gang life is not glamorous and will lead to years in prison.”

According to public filings and statements made in court:

  • The Black Mob is a New York-based set, or “tribe,” of the nationwide Latin Kings gang. In order to enrich the enterprise, protect and expand its criminal operations, enforce discipline among its members, and retaliate against members of rival gangs, members and associates of the Black Mob committed, conspired, attempted, and threatened to commit acts of violence; distributed and possessed with intent to distribute narcotics, including heroin, fentanyl, and crack; committed robberies; and obtained, possessed, and used firearms.
  • Mateo was the highest-ranking member of the Black Mob. He founded the gang in 2002 and then grew the Black Mob into the largest Latin Kings set in the New York area with a power base built on massive amounts of drug trafficking and a reputation for violence. Prior to the instant prosecution, the Black Mob had approximately 300 members. The fear and power wielded by the Black Mob amplified Mateo’s own personal reputation, making him, at one point, the highest-ranking Latin King in the entire East Coast. As the leader of the Black Mob, Mateo oversaw the Black Mob’s operations and also ordered and participated in acts of violence and narcotics trafficking. This violence included multiple arsons and a November 18, 2012, shooting at a gang rival’s funeral that was ordered by Mateo. Three of the deceased’s family members were shot.
  • In December 2019, 17 members and associates of the Black Mob were charged with racketeering offenses, narcotics conspiracy, and firearms offenses. In April 2021, seven additional members and associates of the gang were charged, including Mateo. The defendants in this case have included the entire senior leadership of the gang and its most violent members. 
  • Mateo pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute narcotics. In connection with his guilty plea, Mateo further stipulated to his involvement in multiple acts of violence: the November 18, 2012, shooting at a gang rival’s funeral and a 2016 arson of a commercial wedding venue in Connecticut.

In addition to the prison term, Mateo, 46, of the Bronx, New York, was sentenced to five years of supervised release.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department.


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