Stratfor Sources: U.S. Troops in Mexico as Feds Aid Cartels

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Federal authorities in the United States have been quietly supporting certain Mexican criminal empires, especially the Sinaloa drug cartel, in a bid to solidify the syndicates' reign as dominant powerbrokers in particular territories, according to leaked e-mails from a U.S.-based Mexican diplomat to the private intelligence firm Stratfor. If cartel chiefs cooperate with authorities, u201Cgovernments will allow controlled drug trades,u201D the diplomatic source wrote.

Other information unearthed so far in the leak, much of it coming from a variety of sources, was equally explosive. One 2011 e-mail from an individual described by Stratfor as u201Ca US law enforcement officer with direct oversight of border investigations,u201D for example, indicated that American troops were already operating in Mexico under the guise of the drug war. u201CU.S. special operations forces are currently in Mexico. Small-scale joint ops [operations] with Mexico's [special forces], but they are there,u201D the document claimed, citing the federal law enforcement supervisor identified as US714. The allegation in the e-mail was echoed by the Mexican diplomat and served to confirm previous reports of U.S. military operations in Mexico based on other sources. Also troubling were Stratfor documents detailing u201Csurgical strikesu201D by Mexican special-operations troops – backed by U.S. taxpayer money and the Obama administration – which analysts equated with u201Cdeath squads.u201D Essentially, then, Mexican troops have gone on a killing spree taking out certain troublesome u201Ccells,u201D multiple sources, including those working for Stratfor, suggested. Another bombshell uncovered in the leaked e-mails indicated that the U.S. federal government had deliberately allowed cartel hit men to murder people inside the United States if they agreed to offer their services to Washington. u201CRegarding ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] screwing up informants: They [ICE] were handling big hit men from Juarez and letting them kill in the U.S.,u201D the same federal law enforcement supervisor wrote in an e-mail. While the claim is certainly explosive and hard to understand, analysts who follow the drug war closely say it would not be the first time the U.S. government had authorized similar insanity. u201CThough Stratfor source US714's revelation may seem too dark to be true, Narco News has already documented, via the multi-year House of Death investigative series, that ICE, with the approval of US prosecutors, allowed one of its informants to participate in multiple murders inside Mexico in order to make a drug case,u201D wrote investigative reporter Bill Conroy, one of the premier journalists covering the issue. The latest revelations about government support for certain cartels, first reported by Narco News after WikiLeaks released hacked e-mails from Stratfor, would appear to confirm accusations made last year by a top Sinaloa operative. Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, allegedly the u201Clogistics coordinatoru201D for the Sinaloa Cartel, claimed in federal court filings that the U.S. government had offered his criminal syndicate virtual immunity to import multi-ton quantities of drugs across the border. u201CEl Vicentillou201D also suggested that in exchange for information on rival cartels, the U.S. government armed the Sinaloa cartel while helping the organization avoid Mexican authorities. More than a few experts have drawn a link to the Obama administration's Fast and Furious scandal, which put thousands of U.S. weapons into the hands of Mexican cartels under the guise of targeting two u201Cdrug lordsu201D that already worked for the FBI. The unnamed Mexican diplomatic source, dubbed MX1 in the leaked documents, suggested that the reason U.S. authorities were willing to help certain cartels was to minimize the level of violence. In one 2010 e-mail to Stratfor Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton, the Mexican diplomat outlines part of his government's strategy to deal with cartels – essentially a hands-off, “look the other wayu201D approach unless and until violence breaks out. u201C[If] they [a big narco-trafficking group] bring [in] some drugs, transport some drugs, they are discrete, [and] they don't bother anyone, [then] no one gets hurt,u201D wrote MX1, identified by Narco News as a U.S.-educated lawyer and Mexican diplomat stationed in the Southwest named Fernando de la Mora Salcedo. u201C[And the] government turns the other way.u201D On the other hand, if a smaller criminal group arrives on the scene and engages in violence, the Mexican government allows more powerful cartels to u201Cdo their thingu201D before taking down the new arrivals. MX1 goes on to explain that his bosses' official strategy is to not negotiate with the cartel leaders. However, he said the U.S. government does in fact deal with them, oftentimes by sending subtle u201Csignalsu201D urging cartel chiefs to do something.

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