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Category: Americas

February 25, 2016

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Geolocating Mexican Sicarios in Chihuahua

On April 08 2015, the person behind the “La Polaka” Youtube profile posted this video (YouTube). It features an unidentified cameraman walking alongside a resting convoy of about 15 vehicles and 50 heavily armed men wearing assault gears, military fatigues or civilian clothing. As the cameraman is cheering the column, radio communications can be heard between a group leader and “Meny” – likely an advanced element of the commando, scouting for possible enemies or security forces. One can hear the cameraman repeating “Animo, sicarios” which can be translated as “let’s go get them, hitmen”. The scene was reportedly filmed during late fall 2014, prior to clashes with a rival gang. Based on what can be observed in the video, it is possible to pinpoint the exact location of the deadly convoy.

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August 22, 2015

By Aliaume Leroy

Rastreando Relojes Suizos en Sinaloa: Las 5 Marcas Más Populares Entre Los Narcotraficantes Mexicanos

François Pilet (L’Hebdo) and Aliaume Leroy. English to Spanish by Diego Recinos .  For the article in English In the old days, discretion was the rule to follow for drug kingpins in Mexico. Take the example of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, known as “the world ‘s most powerful trafficker.” The 60 year old man appears…

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August 7, 2015

By Aliaume Leroy

Tracking Swiss Watches in Sinaloa: Top 5 Luxury Brands Among Mexican Drug Lords

By François Pilet (L’Hebdo) and Aliaume Leroy Spanish Version In the old days, secrecy and discretion were the rule for Mexican drug lords. Take Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, for example. Known as “the world’s most powerful trafficker,” the 60 year old only appears on a handful of pictures. He does not need to cultivate his fame,…

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May 3, 2015

By Chris Biggers

Venezuela’s Aframax Tanker Still at Iran’s Sadra Shipyard

Looks like Iran was unable to deliver the Sorocaima, its first indigenously-built Aframax tanker, to Venezuela after all. Previously, we thought that Iran may have pulled it off. Historical imagery from April to October 2014 did not show the vessel berthed at the shipyard suggesting it had been delivered. But instead, it apparently dropped anchor off…

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March 20, 2015

By Aliaume Leroy

Assessing Mexico’s Guerra al Narco

A week ago, the Mexican government celebrated another success in its Guerra al Narco: the capture of two drug kingpins. Servando Gómez Martínez (picture above), a.k.a “La Tuta” was arrested in a somewhat peculiar manner in Morelia, Michoacan state. The Mexican security forces located the leader of the Knights Templar cartel, a former primary school teacher, in…

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February 21, 2015

By Aliaume Leroy

Mr Simon and the Queen Bee: Traffickers Above Suspicion at HSBC

From 2002 until 2007 at least, HSBC Private Bank was the scene of an alliance between Atlanta-based ecstasy dealers and an Israeli arms trafficker, former Al-Qaeda supplier and money launderer for Mexican cartels. By François Pilet, Marie Maurisse and Aliaume Leroy Night was falling over an Atlanta suburb on Monday 22 March 2004 when Sergeant…

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December 17, 2014

By Aliaume Leroy

Mexico’s Guerra al Narco: A Disaster Rooted in Misinterpretations

With the recent disappearance of 43 students in the Mexican city of Iguala, that highlighted once more the country’s profound issues with corruption and drug cartels, three questions require answers: Why did Mexico’s Guerra al Narco fail? What are the reasons? What is the extent of this failure? Shortly after taking office on the 1st of…

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December 6, 2014

By Aliaume Leroy

Inside The World of Arms Trafficking: The 2001 Otterloo Incident

In the paper termed “The Mechanics and Beauties of Gunrunning: The Otterloo Incident,” I analyze the 2001 Otterloo Incident, an illegal gunrunning case, in order to provide a clear picture of the global small weapons market and its mechanics. Between 1999 and 2002 two Israeli arms dealers (Shimon Yelinek and Ori Zoller along with their…

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