Showing posts with label Children Trafficking in TIJ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Children Trafficking in TIJ. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

More Information on the Children Trafficking Bust in Tijuana on 09/22/15

Okay , Freida aka "The Muffin" is recovering and has been scheduled to go through tests up in San Diego next week to rule out any possibility of nasal tumors. Meanwhile I'm afraid to leave her alone in case she has another nose bleed, which was really scary.  Poor little thing. I'll try to catch up a bit here.

Initially I wanted to wait on the story of the child trafficking bust in Tijuana for more information to become available and to see if the people arrested were actually charged after the 96 hour holding period.  At this moment, there has been no information if the eleven in this particular network have been formally charged or released. What is clear however is that this problem is insidiously huge, it is ongoing, it is not only dangerous and deadly to the victims but also can be to the investigators, it involves international players, it involves Baja California and specifically Tijuana, it involves sex slavery of children, it involves extortion and it involves the drug cartels.  It appears that a permanent resolution if ever achieved or any further operations to curtail the trafficking as the operation in Tijuana on 09/22/15 will require bi-national cooperation on all levels.

The Ines Garcia Ramos report from yesterday describes the raids in Playas de Tijuana and other locales in Tijuana and the arrest of eleven people, the rescue of two Salvadoran infants and the closure and review of eight homes in both exclusive an marginal neighborhoods as just the first stage of an international operation to dismantle a network of human traffickers. It was the family of Catalina aka "Dona Cata" who  led this particular band and who had ties with representatives of the drug cartels of Colombia, El Salvador and Peru. According to the authorities, this particular network was made up mostly of women.  "Dona Cata" is described as being fond of gambling, and perhaps that is where much of her income went as the interior of her exclusive home was not lavish, although obviously money had been poured into the expansion of the house.

The spouses of the arrested women were not arrested themselves because the houses were not in their names.  They and other family members continue living at some of these exclusive properties, coming and going as they please.  Only one house was actually seized where two minor Central American children were located by the PGR. The image we receive from this report on the women involved and their relatives is that they lived very fluid materialistic lives in Tijuana unashamedly wearing the finest clothes and jewelry, driving the most expensive vehicles and everything else that comes with extremely successful financial returns.   One of those still wanted is a brown haired woman called "La Michelle" who was seen on the day of the raids entering a house used by the network in Alta Brisa. That day she was driving a BMW with California license plates accompanied by another woman and a man. This is frightening:  it was a Zeta photographer on the scene who snapped their pictures and was approached by the male who demanded the photographer identify himself and also demanded the photographer leave the area; still Zeta has posted at least one of the pictures taken on their report.

Initially it was the DHS who began research and intelligence on this network believing at first it was a group dedicated to smuggling migrant children to be united with their families in the United States. As their investigation proceeded and more intelligence data became available there was information of a case of girls being sexually abused.  Note that this is different from the San Diego news report, but still at that point of discovery, it became a case of human trafficking according to Juan Ibarguren, Special Agent for Immigration and Customs (ICE).  Special Agent Ibarguren has extensive experience in the operation and dismantling of trafficking networks.  In 2009 he was awarded for his participation in operation "Coffee Country" which involved a network dedicated to document forgery and the trafficking of undocumented persons.

According to Agent Ibarguren the US authorities had a very active participation in this recent case of identifying victims and arrests although they were not involved in the actual arrests on Mexican soil.  In this respect he believes it was a very coordinated operation between  the PGR (Unidad de Inteligencia Regional), SEIDO (Investigacion de Trafico de Menores, Personas y Organos)  and ICE.  Altogether Zeta reports more than forty Municipal and Federal Mexican agents - all heavily armed and some hooded - participated in the raids where vehicles, communication equipment and US currency were seized. However, this operation is not over, it is not finished.

It has not been ruled out that US citizens are among network operatives, or members.  Special Agent Ibarguren pointed out that if a US citizen commits a crime in another country, he or she is responsible for that crime when they return to the United States.  The US Consul Willam Ostick said that "...we will pursue those responsible on our side of the border who are transporting victims to the United States." He also confirmed that at least one of the Salvadoran girls was sexually abused while in Tijuana and that it is possible that there have been more victims of the trafficking. He continued, " is not a problem that happens just one time, it is a constant problem of the migrants who are trying to cross into the United States, it is dangerous, particularly for the most vulnerable people."

Zeta quotes the 2015 UN report which states that Tijuana is the principal city of origin, transit and destination for trafficking people in Mexico.  Alma Tucker, Director of the Red Binacional Corazones, a civil group dedicated to combating human trafficking in Tijuana noted that this particular group raided on 09/22 had been operating in Tijuana for two years.
She said that the dismantling of this band shows that the United States and Mexico can work together as they have in this instance and when they do the outcome is successful - however she encourages all of us to organize and report suspected anomalies anonymously, especially if this bi-national unification is not constant.

We are given more statistics:

 - 09/01/15:  ICE announced the arrests of 36 traffickers in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and the United States.

 - In Operation Lucero 22 properties two of these in Mexico, more than two million dollars in cash and bank accounts, 22 vehicles, 6 guns, 14 boats, bank cards, communications equipment and various documents are seized.

 - In the summer of 2014 there was an increase in the flow of unaccompanied migrant children.

 - From 2013-2014 USBP captured 68,631 unaccompanied minors.

 - Testimonials of migrant refugee children in the US reflect the living conditions in Central America, particularly in El Salvador. There the children are bullied and harassed by gangs and forced to join them.  Girls are victims of rape or trafficking by criminal groups.

 - Baja California and Chihuahua have been identified as the two main traffic routes of people in Mexico.

 - The US Attorney General reported that since 2007 drug cartels already trafficking in arms move into the arena of human trafficking.  This report states that the Mexican drug cartels control the trafficking routes of people, drugs and weapons. They also control the US gangs therefore their US contacts are unlimited.  They dominate the space, joining forces for trafficking victims across the border from Mexico into the United States.  Further, the report states that these alliances provide both global reach and local knowledge to the criminal networks to move people and to evade the law.

Full report here:

Familia y narco en trata de menores migrantes
por, Ines Garcia Ramos


Meanwhile, Police Chief Llares was admonished by the local press for taking more or less an opportunistic advantage of this situation to garner acclaim and to "...highlight participation in intelligence and operational procedures..." and Dr. Victor Clarke Alfaro adds that this type of trafficking is nothing new.

However, one of the important aspects of this latest operation is the massive amount of news coverage that is has received in a time when both the authorities of Mexico and the United States are not entirely viewed with confidence. Unfortunately, the one San Diego report I read didn't really cover all the bases as far as the seriousness and tragic scope of this problem.  Still at this hour we don't know for sure if the eleven people have actually been charged, and being a network one would assume that like most criminal organizations it has tentacles; will this operation turn out to be  just another case of fracturing? How many more networks are in operation in Baja California, Tijuana specifically ?

  Over the years we have heard from Rosy Orosco, Padre Solalinde, Lydia Cacho and others including Dr. Victor Clarke Alfaro whose messages have largely been ignored or swept aside and even ridiculed because what they have to say is bad for business and the promotion of Baja California.  Of course it is true that this type of trafficking is nothing new, but perhaps this time around what will be new is that people might start paying attention to the profoundly immoral beast which surrounds them both in Mexico and the United States.  Maybe this time around, their awareness will be heightened, maybe.


Today there was more coverage from Zeta regarding a sentencing in the United States of US citizen Zakov Nicholas George who attempted to smuggle two men into the US (for $3,500) in the trunk of vehicle 08/12/14. Both of the undocumented men died from hypothermia and suffocation, despite their pleas to be let out because they could not breathe. The Federal court overseen by Judge Anthony J. Battalia handed George a seven year sentence.

Seven years for a double murder?

Traficante recibe 7 anos de carcel por muerte de 2 indocumentados
por, Ines Garcia Ramos