A major drug cartel has infiltrated the Mexican attorney general’s office and may have paid a spy inside the US embassy for details of the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) operations, Mexican prosecutors said on Monday.
The DEA’s intelligence chief expressed concern about the alleged spy’s claims but said he couldn’t confirm that the embassy had been infiltrated and that it was too early to pull out undercover agents for fear their identities may have been compromised.
Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora said five officials of his Organized Crime unit were arrested on allegations they served as informants for the Beltran-Leyva cartel. He said there were indications other spies still work inside his agency.
The embassy employee, who also at one time worked for Interpol at the Mexico City airport, is now a protected witness after telling Mexican officials in Washington that he leaked details of DEA operations to the cartel, an attorney general’s official said on condition of anonymity.
“We are not planning changing anyone at the embassy at this point,” DEA intelligence chief Anthony Placido said at a Washington news conference called to celebrate Mexico’s capture of Eduardo Arellano Felix, a leading member of a violent Tijuana-based cartel.
“Law enforcement work anywhere in the world, and certainly in Mexico, can be perilous,” Placido said in response to a question about whether the infiltration endangered undercover agents. “Is it dangerous? Absolutely.”
US Ambassador Tony Garza said the DEA and the US Marshals provided information on Arellano Felix’s whereabouts to Mexican authorities that helped them locate him.
The revelations of corruption inside the control centers of the US-Mexican anti-drug effort were a major blow to Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s anti-drug campaign, in which he has sent tens of thousands of troops and federal police to combat cartels.
Calderon himself has long acknowledged corruption is widespread in police forces, and Placido said that with billions of dollars flowing to the cartels from the US, some corruption is inevitable on both sides of the border.
Monday’s case represents the most serious known infiltration of anti-crime agencies since the 1997 arrest of General Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, then head of Mexico’s anti-drug agency.
In Mexico City, Assistant Attorney General Marisela Morales said two top employees of her organized-crime unit and at least three federal police agents assigned to it may have been passing information on surveillance targets and potential raids for at least four years.
One was an assistant intelligence director and the other served as a liaison in requesting searches and assigning officers to carry them out. The agents and officials each received between US$150,000 and US$450,000 per month for the information, Morales said.
All but one were arrested weeks ago.
HEATED TRAFFIC: As Beijing holds naval drills near Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense said it had a full grasp of the situation and would handle it ‘appropriately’ A Chinese carrier group exercising near Taiwan is part of what are to be regular drills, the Chinese navy said in a statement late on Monday, further escalating tensions between Taipei and Beijing. The group, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, was conducting “routine” drills in the waters around Taiwan, a move to “enhance its capability to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests,” the statement said. “Similar exercises will be conducted regularly,” it said, without elaborating. The statement came after the Ministry of National Defense earlier on Monday issued a statement regarding a rise in the number of incursions by Chinese jets into
AIMED AT TAIWAN? Institute for National Defense and Security Research research fellow Ou Si-fu said chips can be ‘bought off the shelf’ and then used in weapons The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said that chips from Taiwanese semiconductor companies were not making their way into Chinese missiles “to the best of our knowledge.” A report in yesterday’s Washington Post alleged that a Chinese company named Phytium Technology Co (飛騰) used chips made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), along with US software, in advanced Chinese military systems. “TSMC has long placed strict controls on their chips. The export of high-tech products from Taiwan is also highly regulated,” Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said. “According to our understanding, none of the end uses for those products
NO TIME: The driver tried to apply the brakes when he saw the truck, but the train did not have time to come to a full stop, an investigation report said The crane truck that caused last week’s fatal train accident had slid onto the tracks about one-and-a-half minutes before it was struck, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. The board had launched an investigation into the derailment, which killed 50 people and injured 211 people, making it the nation’s most devastating railway accident in decades. Carrying 494 passengers and four Taiwan Railways Administration personnel, the southbound express train to Taitung hit the truck as it was about to enter the Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The train derailed following the collision, with the left side of the eighth
TAROKO INCIDENT: The committee would regulate how public donations for victims of Friday’s train accident, which have exceeded NT$60 million, would be used The government has collected about NT$60 million (US$2.1 million) in donations through Line Pay and convenience stores for victims of last week’s fatal train accident and plans to establish an oversight committee to determine how the funds should be used to help them, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The accident occurred at 9:28am on Friday, when a southbound Taroko Express train traveling from New Taipei City to Taitung hit a crane truck that had slid down a hill from a nearby construction site onto the rails as the train was about to enter the Cingshuei Tunnel