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Mexico’s new leftist leader puts presidential plane up for sale

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

Mexican Air Force Presidential Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner | REUTERS

The big, luxurious airplane used to ferry Mexico‘s former president around the globe is about to fly away permanently in one of the first moves by new president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to rid the country of what he has derided as a towering symbol of excess.

Photographers and camera crews were ushered into the aircraft to see for themselves the spacious interior emblazoned with official government seals on the walls and flat-screen monitors, as well as the presidential bedroom and what appeared to be a marble-lined bathroom.

The $218 million presidential jet acquired in late 2012 is one of 60 government planes that will be sold, in addition to 70 helicopters.

It will be flown on Monday (December 03) to the Victorville airport in southern California at Boeing’s recommendation as it awaits a new owner, according to a statement by the finance ministry.

The veteran leftist won a landslide election victory in large part by seizing on wide-spread disgust with Mexico‘s governing elite, viewed by many as out-of-touch and deeply corrupt. — Reuters

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No survivors found in Mexico crash of jet carrying 13 people

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

The wreckage of a Challenger 601 plane that took off from Las Vegas on May 5, 2019 and crashed in a remote mountain region in northern Mexico | Courtesy: Reuters

A plane crash in a remote mountain region in northern Mexico claimed the lives of all 13 people on board, including a family of five that were flying back from watching a boxing match in Las Vegas, authorities and local media said on Monday (May 6).

The wreckage of the plane that took off from Las Vegas on Sunday (May 5) was found via aerial surveillance in the northern municipality of Ocampo, the government of Coahuila state said in a statement.

Mexican media reported that the passengers had been to a boxing match between Mexican boxer Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and U.S. fighter Daniel Jacobs in Las Vegas on Saturday (May 4).

The nationalities of the victims were not immediately clear. The surnames of the three crew and 10 passengers published by the Coahuila government were all Hispanic.

In a statement, Canada’s Bombardier Inc identified the jet as a Challenger 601 and said the plane had gone missing about 150 nautical miles from the northern Mexican city of Monclova.

Expressing its condolences to the victims, the company said it had been in touch with Canada’s transportation safety board and would work with the investigating authorities.

Mexico’s civil aviation authority said the aircraft departed Las Vegas shortly before 3 p.m. local time. Nearly two hours later, Monterrey lost track of the jet and was unable to make contact with pilots, it said in a statement.

Mexican broadcaster Televisa said that the pilot had intended to descend to avoid a storm. (REUTERS)

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Mexican Navy chase down boat with 700 kilos of cocaine haul

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, March 1st, 2019

Mexican authorities retrieve drugs that have been thrown out to sea | Reuters

Mexico’s navy chased down a boat off the coast of its southern state of Chiapas that was transporting over 700 kilos (1,500 pounds) of cocaine and other drug substances, in a dramatic bust.

The seizure of drugs was part of an operation to patrol this coastal area of Mexico that connects through to Central American nations.

Crew on the boat were arrested and officials are investigating the origins of the drug haul, which included not only cocaine but other drug-making substances.

Officials have retrieved drugs that had been thrown out to sea, indicating that the crew had sought to unload as authorities closed in.

The Central American corridor of nations and surrounding waters is a major trafficking route for South American cartels seeking to reach the United States. – REUTERS

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Violent, colorful drug lord ‘El Chapo’ convicted in U.S. court

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

Sketch of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in court on February 12, 2019 | Jane Rosenberg sketches via Reuters

The world’s most infamous cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who rose from poverty in rural Mexico to amass billions of dollars, was found guilty in a U.S. court on Tuesday (February 12) of smuggling tons of drugs to the United States over a violent, colorful, decades-long career.

Jurors in federal court in Brooklyn convicted Guzman, 61, head of the Sinaloa Cartel, on all 10 counts brought by U.S. prosecutors.

Richard Donoghue, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said he expected Guzman to receive life without parole when sentenced on June 25. “It is a sentence from which there is no escape and no return,” Donoghue told reporters.

More than 250,000 homicides have been registered in Mexico since the government launched an aggressive war on cartels in 2006, during which Guzman and his exploits became almost legendary. About 150,000 of those deaths were tied to organized crime.

Guzman staged two dramatic escapes from Mexican high-security prisons and cultivated a Robin Hood image among the poor in his home state of Sinaloa.

Guzman sat and showed no emotion while the verdict was read. Once the jury left the room, he and his wife Emma Coronel, put their hands to their hearts and gave each other the thumbs up sign. His wife shed tears.

The 11-week trial, with testimony from more than 50 witnesses, offered an unprecedented look at the inner workings of the Sinaloa Cartel, named for the state in northwestern Mexico where Guzman was born in a poor mountain village. The U.S. government said Guzman trafficked tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine into the United States over more than two decades, consolidating his power in Mexico through murders and wars with rival cartels.

Guzman’s lawyers say he was set up as a “fall guy” by Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, a powerful drug lord from Sinaloa who remains at large.

Jeffrey Lichtman, a lawyer for Guzman, told reporters after the verdict that the defense faced an uphill fight, given the amount of evidence the government presented, and the widespread perception that Guzman was already guilty.

“Of course we’re going to appeal.”

Guzman, whose nickname means “Shorty,” was extradited to the United States for trial in 2017 after he was arrested in Mexico the year before.

Though other high-ranking cartel figures had been extradited previously, Guzman was the first to go to trial instead of pleading guilty. — Reuters

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