Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mexico's Juarez Cartel Gets Desperate

Via STRATFOR (Security Weekly) -

On Aug. 3, the U.S. Consulate in Juarez, Mexico, reopened after being closed for four days. On July 29, the consulate had announced in a warden message that it would be closed July 30 and would remain closed until a review of the consulate’s security posture could be completed.

The closure appears to be linked to a message found on July 15, signed by La Linea, the enforcement arm of the Juarez cartel. This message was discovered at the scene shortly after a small improvised explosive device (IED) in a car was used in a well-coordinated ambush against federal police agents in Juarez, killing two agents. In the message, La Linea claimed credit for the attack and demanded that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and FBI investigate and remove the head of Chihuahua State Police Intelligence (CIPOL), who the message said is working with the Sinaloa Federation and its leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera. The message threatened that if the intelligence official was not removed by July 30, La Linea would deploy a car bomb with 100 kilograms of high explosives in Juarez.

The deadline has now passed without incident and the consulate has reopened. Examining this chain of events provides some valuable insights into the security of U.S. diplomatic facilities as well as the current state of events in Juarez, a city that in recent years has experienced levels of violence normally associated with an active war zone.


One other intriguing point about the security at the U.S. Consulate in Juarez and its closure due to La Linea’s VBIED threat is that the incident did not occur at a diplomatic post in a far-away terrorist hotspot like Yemen, Iraq or Pakistan. The U.S. Consulate in Juarez is located less than seven miles from downtown El Paso, Texas.

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