| NEWS of the Day - February 10, 2012
|on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...
We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
From Los Angeles Times
U.S. travel warning on Mexico is more precise on violent areas
by Hugo Martin
February 9, 2012
The U.S. State Department has issued an updated travel warning for tourists planning to visit Mexico, adding information on drug violence on a state-by-state and city-by-city basis.
The new, more detailed warning comes in response to concerns expressed by Mexico tourism officials, who worried that previous travel warnings scared off U.S. tourists by generalized about the threat of crime violence in Mexico.
"The Mexico Tourism Board has long advocated for travel advisories which abide by three key tenets: context, clarity and specificity," said Rodolfo Lopez-Negrete, chief operating officer for the Mexico Tourism Board. "The revised U.S. State Department travel advisory regarding Mexico adheres to these principles and should serve as model for the rest of the world."
The latest warning notes that 47,515 people were killed in narcotics-related violence in Mexico between Dec. 1, 2006 and Sept. 30, 2011. The number of U.S. citizens reported to the Department of State as murdered in Mexico jumped from 35 in 2007 to 120 in 2011.
But the travel warning says tourist destinations are typically not the center of narco-traffic violence.
The previous U.S. travel warning on Mexico, issued last April, mentioned several states where violence could pose a threat to tourists and generally warned them to stay clear of the northern states bordering the U.S.
In contrast, the travel warning issued Wednesday describes the recent drug-related violence in several individual states and cities.
For example, for the state of Aguascalientes, the warning says: "You should defer non-essential travel to the areas of the state that border the state of Zacatecas. The security situation along the Zacatecas border continues to be unstable and gun battles between criminal groups and authorities occur. Concerns include roadblocks placed by individuals posing as police or military personnel and recent gun battles between rival [transnational criminal organizations] involving automatic weapons."
Josh Powell sons' funeral: It's Westboro church vs. the public
Westboro Baptist Church, which has gained widespread notoriety for publicly opposing homosexuality -- most notably by picketing military funerals, has a new target. Its members will protest outside Saturday's funeral services for the two young sons of Josh Powell, who struck the boys with a hatchet before killing them and himself in a gasoline-fueled inferno.
That announcement was immediately met with howls of outrage and plans for counterprotests.
A new Facebook campaign, "Keep Westboro Church away from Powell Memorial," was launched to encourage the public to "go out in full force to help create a buffer so this memorial can take place peacefully” in Tacoma, Wash. Occupy Seattle also plans a counterprotest to protect the boys' grief-stricken relatives from Westboro's hate-filled message.
Margie Phelps, the daughter of the founder of the Kansas-based church reviled by many for its extremist views, took to Twitter to confirm the funeral protest plans, calling the area where the deaths happened "God's cursed WA-serial-killer-capitol of world" and labeling "beautiful" the headline "Westboro BaptChurch to protest Powell boys' funeral."
Phelps also suggests that blame for the boys' deaths lies with Gov. Christine Gregoire, who is poised to sign a bill approving same-sex marriage: "This is why God's cursed you w Josh Powells blowing up kids," she tweeted, and then pointed to a headline about the pending legal action.
News of the church plans were immediately followed by Occupy Seattle's plans to counterprotest: "Westboro Baptist Church will B picketing a tragic funeral #OccupySeattle will B gathering 2 shield mourners from them," the movement tweeted.
A memorial service for the boys is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Life Center Church in Tacoma, according to the News Tribune of Tacoma.
Josh Powell, believed to be the main suspect in the 2009 disappearance of his wife, Susan, locked himself in his Graham, Wash., home Sunday with his two young sons during what was supposed to be a court-mandated, supervised visit. He took an ax to the boys and then killed them all in a gasoline-fueled explosion.
The Kansas church has made plenty of headlines over the years with its protests, but this latest endeavor seems to have resonated -- and not in a way likely to garner support.
From Google News
Drug And Human Trafficking Violence Making Its Way Into Oklahoma City
by Kelly Ogle, OKLAHOMA CITY -
They're the type of crimes you think of on the other side of the border -- in Mexico -- but beheadings and other drug-related violence are happening right here in the metro.
Last Fall it was Bethany teen Carina Saunders -- killed to send a message to girls involved in human and drug trafficking.
Just last week we told you about an alleged house of prostitution busted on the city's southwest side where poker chips were exchanged for sex. Police say that shows an apparent tie to Mexican human trafficking rings.
News 9 traveled to southern Arizona to see how big the problem with drug cartels really is and why we should be worried about it spreading into the metro even more.
"I wear a bulletproof best at night. I'm scared," said Arizona farmer Scott Blevins. His land is a mile off of Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson. He says the Mexican drug cartels are so dangerous he has to protect himself. That includes a Glock strapped to his ankle.
Blevins said there's nowhere to hide. "It's running rampant throughout our nation. The drug cartels are imbedded in each one of our states."
Chief Deputy Steve Henry with the Pinal County Sheriff's Department says it's nothing new.
"What used to be a trickle has turned into a torrent. The violence in America, in Mexico, is here and it's not going anywhere anytime soon."
Blevins knows all about the Saunders case. He researches crimes with the cartel's calling cards as a way to become more informed. He said, "it coincided with the beheadings, the dismemberments that have happened here and in California."
Henry agrees. "The beheading in Oklahoma, we had a beheading in Chandler which is 19 miles from here. It was a drug cartel execution."
Arizona Police say they seized hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of drugs and just a few months ago busted an organization worth between three and four billion dollars.
"Their product was going north to Oklahoma and other states," said Henry. "Violence follows money and when you're talking about that kind of money, there's a lot of violence."
Oklahoma authorities say the problem has been hiding in the shadows for years.
"I think a lot of people are just becoming aware of it. As long as demand is there they're going to find a way to smuggle it."
Agent Troy Wall has been with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics for eight years, but says it's something the Bureau has fought since 1975. He says we're all impacted by the cartels -- even if we don't realize it.
He said, "I would challenge you to find any family in Oklahoma that's not affected by drugs in some form or fashion."
And police say the Saunders case highlights how bad the violence can be right here in the metro.
"In the end, if you cross the cartel there's only one thing that's going to happen. Your life is going to end."
Police say there are several ways we can detect drug activity in our neighborhood:
-- Traffic to and from the house or business.
-- People not staying long.
-- People acting suspiciously.