- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
I don’t have any issues with Mexicans, or Mexican immigrants. I do, however, have an issue with Mexican criminals, just like I have an issue with any criminals, serious felons, black, white or indifferent.
I spent my life putting bad people in dark places, and from time to time, in gassy chambers, hot chairs, and at the end of a needle. I have no regrets except I would change my view on the death penalty, not because I think it is cruel and unusual but because I don’t think it is cruel enough.
When a dirt bag dies his/her suffering ends. The families of their victims will live with their crimes for years to come. Better we lock capital criminals up in an 8×10 for the rest of their lives. That is punishment and it is also cheaper to lock someone away for life than it is to execute them, so it is more economical and that’s what we’re all about these days.
Anyway, I digress. Read the story from The Daily and maybe you’ll get my point. In any case let me know in your comments what you really think.
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A brutal new crime wave from Mexico is hitting America’s suburbs. Drug cartels and their heavily armed henchmen are moving into the house next door, torturing and imprisoning victims for profit in middle-class neighborhoods. Law enforcement agencies from Texas to Northern California report being overwhelmed by the surge of violence.
“Mexican drug cartels are in well over 200 cities here in the United States,” Gil Kerlikowske, the White House drug czar, told The Daily. When his boss, President Obama, meets with President Felipe Calderón of Mexico today in Washington, violence from the drug war will be at the top of the agenda.
One of the most disturbing and least discussed aspects of this new crime wave is the “drop houses” — rented homes that function as makeshift prisons where criminal gangs and human smugglers hold large numbers of victims for ransom. The phenomenon is centered in the Southwest, often in foreclosure-devastated suburbs, but is spreading across America.
“What we’re talking about is nightmares, the stuff of nightmares,” said Los Angeles-based special agent Jorge Guzman of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ”[It’s] playing out in suburban America — playing out all over America.”
Hundreds of police reports and thousands of crime scene photographs obtained by The Daily expose a startling pattern of torture, rape and murder.
The victims are mostly illegal immigrants who have paid smugglers, or “coyotes,” to bring them across the U.S. border. But instead of letting their clients begin a new life, the cartel-connected smugglers rob them, strip them naked and pack them — sometimes by the dozens — into small bedrooms where the windows are boarded shut and the doors are padlocked from the outside.
“These coyotes treat people like product. That’s all they are to them, vicious and ruthless and don’t really care about human life,” said Lt. Joe Sousa, division commander for the human smuggling unit of the Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff’s Office.
The kidnappers typically force the captives to call family members and beg for ransom payments.
“They’ll have the relative come on the phone and then they’ll torture the [captive] so the other person can hear the screams,“ Guzman said, “blood-curdling screams saying, ‘Help me, help me, help me.’ ”
If they’re lucky, the hostages will be released upon payment of their debt or rescued by police. But many remain victims indefinitely, beaten and tortured until their families pay off the debt.
“They are crimes against humanity,” Guzman said.
Sousa said he has seen victims shocked with Tasers, pistol-whipped, raped and murdered. The 14-year veteran recalls uncovering one drop house full of traumatized, naked victims and one person lying on the floor of the closet with a bullet wound in his head.
“I did not know if I was going to live another day,” said Renan Fernandez-Rivera, who survived nearly four weeks in a Phoenix drop house like the one described by Sousa. “There were four coyotes with machine guns. It was a house of torture.” There were about 16 other captives in the house with him.
Because the drop houses blend into the backdrop of suburban America, they’re difficult for law enforcement to uncover. Cartel leaders often take advantage of poor real estate markets, renting from desperate landlords willing to accept cash and ask few questions.
Still, the numbers are staggering: In Phoenix alone, investigators have uncovered more than 800 drop houses.
Federal law enforcement officials say the drop house phenomenon is spreading from the Southwest to Colorado, Kansas and Georgia.
The federal government does not track drop house locations. The Daily had to rely on statistics from local law enforcement and the courts.
Many victims never speak up, fearing their captors will make good on promises to kill them and their families if they cooperate, Guzman said. “Is that a chance you’d want to take?”
Former drop house captive Fernandez-Rivera was an exception. After being freed, he testified as a key government witness. Based on the strength of his account and other evidence, Efrem Sanchez-Plaza, Milton Guzman-Lopez, Jose Meza-Hernandez and Ulises Mora-Alcantar were indicted on felony kidnapping and extortion charges.
Fernandez-Rivera, who lives and works in southern Florida, regrets the entire journey. “I don’t recommend this to anyone,” he said. “It’s better to stay poor your whole life.”