Baja California

Sinaloa kingpin captured at Calexico

A 29-year-old man believed to be the godson of imprisoned Mexican narco lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán was indicted on drug charges in a San Diego federal court on Aug. 7. Damaso López Serrano AKA "Mini Lic" was charged with smuggling unspecified quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. He'd turned himself in to US border agents several days earlier, and is said to be the highest-ranking Mexican kingpin ever to surrender in the territory of the United States.

Mexico: fugitive narco-governors snared

Javier Duarte, the fugitive ex-governor of Mexico's Veracruz state, was detained in Guatemala on April 15 in a joint operation by Interpol and Guatemalan police. He's now awaiting extradition back to Mexico, where he is wanted on charges of money laundering and protecting organized crime. Duarte was governor of Veracruz from 2010 until he stepped down last October, shortly before the end of his term. He was doing so in order to face the allegations against him—but then he disappeared and went on the lam.

Mexico: Zapatistas support striking farmworkers

Striking farmworkers in the San Quintín Valley of Mexico's Baja California blocked the main highway through the peninsula and clashed with police May 9. At least 70 protesters were injured as state police fired rubber bullets. The rioting came a day after the cancellation of a meeting between Mexican federal government officials and farmworker leaders. The farmworkers received a statement of support from the Zapatista rebels in southern Chiapas state. At the closing session of an international activist meeting in the Chiapas town of San Cristóbal de Las Casa, "Critical Thinking Against the Capitalist Hydra," the rebels' Subcommander Moises said on the day of the Baja clashes: "We have to see what we can do, compañeros and compañeras. What is happening in San Quintín enfuriates us."

Mexico: Monsanto pushes for more GMO corn

As of April 26 environmental activists still hadn't learned the Mexican government's response to requests that the Missouri-based biotech giant Monsanto Company filed on March 26 for permission to expand the sowing of transgenic corn in four northern and western states. Monsanto asked for clearance to sow commercial crops in 28 municipalities in the state of Chihuahua, 11 in Coahuila and nine in Durango. These requests were in an addition to filings it made in January and February to carry out noncommercial pilot projects in the same municipalities and in ComondĂș in Baja California Sur. Another biotech company, Swiss-based Syngenta AG, filed on March 26 for permission to carry out pilot projects in the state of Sinaloa. People opposing the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) for crops say the total requests would affect 12 million hectares.

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