Mexico: narco gangs gird with car bombs, submarines

Police officials in Mexico say drug traffickers have built makeshift car bombs to attack police officers, troops and rivals. Soldiers found two car bombs in a safe house in Culiacán, Sinaloa, July 14. One vehicle was packed with cans of gasoline and another stuffed with gas canisters, and both wired to be detonated by cellphones. (Reuters, July 17) On July 17, Mexican naval troops seized a makeshift 33-foot submarine 125 miles off Oaxaca that turned out to be carrying tons of cocaine. The crew had left the Colombian port of Buenaventura seven days earlier. (LAT, July 18)

On July 14, Gerardo Valdés, commander of the Coahuila state police Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Kidnapping was kidnapped after being stopped at a roadblock in Saltillo. The Juárez Cartel claimed responsibility through an anonymous phone call. (El Universál, AP, July 18)

In Mexico City, leaders of the left-opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) in the Chamber of Deputies accused Guillermo ValdĂ©s, director of the Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN), Mexico’s top intelligence agency, of abuse of authority and revealing state secrets after he spoke to the foreign press about the country’s narco crisis. The leader of the PRD bloc, Javier González Garza, called for Mexico’s Prosecutor General of the Republic (PGR) to investigate ValdĂ©s. (CrĂłnica de Hoy, July 18)

In comments picked up by the Financial Times, ValdĂ©s said, “Drug traffickers have become the principal threat because they are trying to take over the power of the state… Congress is not exempt… We do not rule out the possibility that drug money is involved in the campaigns” of some legislators. (BBC, July 14)

See our last post on Mexico’s narco crisis.