“Run for the border, no more”
The Old Mexico of myth and some historical fact is dead.
A “run for the border” was de riguer for American criminals of any sort as long as they had cash in their pockets to spread around to local cops who made more money with “mordidas” (more-dee-dahs, bites) than in salaries.
I recall the lament of a leading San Diego bail bondsman who was offering a $100,000 bounty for one of his clients who had skipped town costing him $500,000 court bond. He knew the man was just 40 miles south in the beach town of Rosarito partying in an ocean front high rise with local cops standing guard at his front door. They were armed with automatic weapons. American bounty hunters don’t like to tangle with machine gun carrying cops. That was before Old Mexico died when Vicente Fox led the National Action Party (PAN) to victory in 2000.
Fox ordered the Mexican justice system from the Attorney General down to local patrol officers (who made $100 dollars a month) to drop the hammer on criminals hiding in Mexico that had run there from the U.S. Since 2000 and through the Fox and Felipe Calderon Presidencies, over 3000 Mexican nationals plus fugitive Americans have been extradited from Mexico to the United States.
To supplement this about face on extradition American prosecutors can ask the Mexicans to file charges, arrest and try Mexican nationals in Mexican courts for crimes in America with an American prosecutor working as a prosecutor and use evidence gathered in the United States by American investigators in Mexican trials.
Now comes the notorious billionaire Sinaloa drug Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. El Chapo means, Shorty.
Forbes Magazine annually listed El Chapo as a billionaire on its top richest people. His organization grew from the rich agricultural state of Sinaloa about 400 miles south of the American border on the Pacific Ocean. Marijuana and opiate poppies were and are grown in the Sinaloa Mountains by small farmers who sell their production to Cartel representatives.
The Cartel does not produce much, it buys from small farmers thus providing a “peso” foundation to the local economy which could not survive otherwise. In recent years, the Cartel has violently frozen out the traditional Colombian cocaine smuggling into the U.S. It has entered the methamphetamine (meth) industry and produces larger amounts every day in clandestine laboratories. The meth is smuggled by the ton into the U.S. by men with backpacks, vehicles, airplanes and even drones. A pound of meth is worth far more than a pound of marijuana.
Moreover, Colorado and Washington state have made use of marijuana legal and California will vote in November on the question and most observers concede that the largest marijuana market in the world, California, will go marijuana legal.
Back to El Chapo. He was arrested years ago, sent to prison and escaped. He was free for 13 years. He was arrested and sent to Mexico’s high-security prison, Altiplano. He escaped last year through a million-dollar tunnel dug from a mile away to his cell. The Mexican government of new President Enrique Pena Nieto was totally embarrassed by the escape. President Pena Nieto ordered the Mexican government to run down El Chapo at any cost.
American intelligence efforts made up of the National Security Administration (NSA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) fed in formation into the President Felipe Calderon-created 3000-person intelligence coordination hi-tech complex in Mexico City. Standing by was the trustworthy Mexican Marines ready 24/7 to fly anywhere in the country to do what American Marines cannot do, arrest people.
The Marines were sent to the mountain state of Durango where El Chapo was hiding. He wasn’t there; the Marines missed him by minutes. Next came tips from the Americans that Guzman was in the Pacific Ocean front town of Los Mochis in Sinaloa state.
The Marines flew to Los Mochis commandeered the local police forces and surrounded the house El Chapo was supposed to be hiding in guarded by half-a-dozen pistoleros.
A firefight started that lasted a long time. The pistoleros died, while they were dying El Chapo was crawling through an escape tunnel. He and a pistolero made it out, stole a car and ran. The Marines had the area totally suffocated. El Chapo gave it up. He was sent back to Altiplano prison and secretly moved to a prison in Juarez on the American border. In short order a Mexican judge approved extradition of El Chapo to the U.S. subject to federal government approval. A second judge also approved extradition and the federal government issued its approval of extradition.
News that El Chapo is negotiating a plea deal with the United States Department of Justice is one more proof that the Old Mexico is dead, dead as in “seriously dead.”