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I am a consultant and analyst with eight years of military law enforcement experience, six years of analytical experience covering Latin America, and over seven years of analytical experience covering Mexican TCOs and border violence issues. This blog is designed to inform readers about current border violence issues and provide analysis on those issues, as well as detailed focus on specific border topics. By applying my knowledge and experience through this blog, I hope to separate the wheat from the chaff...that is, dispel rumors propagated by sensationalist media reporting, explain in layman's terms what is going on with Mexican TCOs, and most importantly, WHY violence is happening along the US-Mexico border.


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April 02, 2012


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Hi Sylvia,

You might want to check out the mug shots of those arrested. They are certainly not caucasian.


@Scott - Ha ha! Wow, did my brain hit a speed bump this morning, or what? That's what I get for blogging before my morning caffeine dose :). It's been corrected to say "African-American non-Hispanic." Thanks!


The claim that the SGT could train 40 men in a few weeks is obviously a bit "hopeful" at best; but I wouldn't doubt his ability to carry out the task in general. We've had members of our military working with Iraqi and Afghan forces for nearly a decade now taking them through everything from individual tasks such as basic marksmanship to squad level training in room clearing procedures and L shaped ambushes.

As a former security NCO who inspected arms rooms (for a decade) I can tell you for a fact that if units are following the regulations then those arms are under basically 3 levels of lock and key control procedures to prevent any one person from having sole access to those weapons. Not easy to plan or accomplish, although it is plausable in certain circumstances such as during a field rotation or excercise etc.

A friend of mine sent me this interesting press release today; guess it's not THAT hard to steal military weapons after all...

26 Stolen Military Machineguns Lead To Indictments And Convictions In Fresno Federal Court
CONTACT: Lauren Horwood

April 3, 2012

PHONE: (916) 554-2706

Docket #: 1:11-cr-298 AWI

FRESNO, Calif.-- United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today that Chief United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii sentenced Mark Nino de Rivera, 22, of Fresno, California to 30 months imprisonment for making false statements to federal agents. That sentence is the latest in a series of indictments, convictions, and sentencings resulting from an intensive investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

According to court documents, on or about July 15, 2011, twenty six fully automatic AK-74 machineguns were stolen from the Fort Irwin Military base. Thirteen of the stolen machineguns were recovered and thirteen defendants have been charged in the Fresno division of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California with a variety of charges related to this theft. The U.S. Army soldiers accused of conspiring to steal the weapons are currently being prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

In this case, Nino de Rivera was convicted of making false statements to federal agents. He admitted that on August 31, 2011, he lied when he told ATF Special Agents that he had never owned a cell phone, had not spoken with a co-defendant in years, and did not know anything about the stolen firearms. In fact, about a month earlier, Nino de Rivera discussed firearms that had been stolen from the military base with that co-defendant, and the defendant did own a cell phone.

Several of Nino de Rivera’s co-defendants have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced. Several await sentencing and six await trial. As to the individuals who are under indictment, the charges against them are only allegations and all the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Considering the money Z has at their disposal, purchasing weapons would make more sense then attempting to steal them from an armory, unless of course we're talking about automatic weapons. And then, smuggling out a bunch of M249/M240/M2's? That would be a feat.

If these guys had any training, I could bet it isn't anything more than regular entry level training. Sure, maybe they were on a MTT team, but you could get that same level of training by watching Black Hawk Down a couple times. These guys weren't operators. We're not facing an exodus of our best trained and lethal like the Zetas did in Mexico, not yet anyway.

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