El Chapo – In Custody, World Wide Network Exposed

By Denise Simon, Associate Editor, SUA

It appears that the United States worked with the Mexican Marines for many months to affect the capture of “El Chapo” Guzman who was taken without resistance in a condo he owned in Mazatlan, Mexico.

A senior U.S. law enforcement official said Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was taken alive overnight in the beach resort town. The official was not authorized to discuss the arrest and spoke on condition of anonymity.Guzman1

Guzman, 56, faces multiple federal drug trafficking indictments in the U.S. and is on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s most-wanted list. His drug empire stretches throughout North America and reaches as far away as Europe and Australia. His cartel has been heavily involved in the bloody drug war that has torn through parts of Mexico for the last several years.

Known as a legendary outlaw, Mexico’s Osama bin Laden and the world’s most powerful and elusive drug lord, Guzman had been pursued for weeks, the official said. (read the rest at the CSMonitor.)

Now, there are many items that remain quite chilling in this case, not the least of which are his sons who are desperately awaiting further orders to continue to run the cartel and global narcotics network. (From Borderland Beat)

El Chapo HelicopterOn twitter accounts, allegedly belonging to Ivan Achicaldo and Alfredo Guzman, sons of El Chapo, the two expressed their thoughts regarding the apprehension of their father, along with a couple of promises to settle accounts with those who are responsible for his capture.

Both indicate that they are waiting for “orders”.

The Twitter pages found at @ IvanArchivaldo and @ _AlfredoGuzman_ Chapo’s sons express their anger, grief, and their eagerness for revenge. Perhaps an apology from them to their father is in order, since authorities gleaned photographs and information from their social networks pages to assist in the capture.

@ _AlfredoGuzman_ has published the following messages:

“This is not the end”

“My father has not perished, the Guzman era is just beginning”

“I just want to communicate that we are not losers, the cartel is my father’s and will always be. GUZMAN LOERA FOREVER”

“and we are children of the Chapo, not like those fucking accounts that boast, we are humble like my father”

“For my father, whatever will be, will be but no one is going to help as my father helped, I’m going to hold accountable those who should and will pay .”

“The word is always the word, you should learn it because it is worth more than a signature.”

“Do not deny that I cried, also men mourn what we love most, God bless you father.”

‘One does not appreciate what you have until you don’t have it”

@IvanArchivaldo has published the following messages:

“Awaiting orders, a big hug to my father” (retweeted by Alfredo)

“My father’s words… “He who is not brave enough to take risks, is not going to achieve anything in life” (@ElChap0Guzman)

@ElChap0Guzman the twitter page reportedly belonging to Chapo,

On this page there is a mix of tweets, from the romantic, the poetic, animal and child advocacy, he laughs at Miley Cyrus and refers to the hanged alleged Zetas in Nuevo Laredo as “piñatas”.

In one tweet, he posts a graphic foto of a bullfighter as he is having his eye gorged by the bull’s horn, in a complete impalement of the eye socket.

His tweet refers to it as “Karma”.

In another he depicts a foto of a La Tuna “welcome” sign, he writes how “at ease” he is while at his ranch.

One tweet was a photograph of a child “orange vendor”. Chapo’s caption:

“When he was a child he had no limits. He who perseveres, achieves” Chapo himself was an orange vendor as a child. (Read the rest and see the images here.)

To begin to understand how Guzman operated and the major threat he imposed on America, this video must be seen:

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Globally, Guzman operated without any impediment worldwide to the point where the U.S. government (associated agencies including the FBI, DoJ, and DEA) actually provided assistance to the Sinaloa cartels in an effort to create a turf war with rival cartels, where one is supported to take down others. (From Fusion.Net)

GuzmanMap

Joaquín Guzmán Loera or “El Chapo” has taken the Sinaloa Cartel from a regional operation to a worldwide criminal enterprise. Yearly profits for meth, marijuana and cocaine trade are estimated at $3 billion. The success of Chapo’s international business is built on a system of criminal franchises that run different parts of the drug trade. These interactive maps show some of the known routes he uses and the renowned criminals he’s been linked to.

See the interactive maps and a video here.

Add into the U.S. government assistance to the Sinaloa cartels – weapons.

This is hard-headed, cynical law enforcement; let some drugs in to keep more drugs out. But seeking out and negotiating an “arrangement” with these cold blooded monsters is sickening. We’ve seen how totally ruthless and barbaric their methods are and how they don’t care if innocents are caught in the crossfire or not.

This information sheds further light on the Fast and Furious caper.

Apparently, the DEA didn’t care how many guns ended up in the hands of Sinaloa cartel members – didn’t care who they killed, including border agents. They were only concerned about guns that ended up in rival cartel hands. The story validates reports from last August – totally ignored by most media – that Fast and Furious was meant as a program to supply arms to Sinaloa.

While hundreds of thousands have been killed in Mexico by the Sinaloa Cartel, we cannot deny the fact that some on our own soil have either died or gone missing. But sadly, this points to the highest levels within our own Justice Department headed by Eric Holder, who does have blood on his hands.

There are numerous U.S. courts now seeking extradition of Guzman from Mexico, but with the proven confidential secret deals made with the Sinaloa cartel and their operatives for immunity, will Eric Holder even work earnestly for extradition, or will Eric Holder leave office before this case comes to any U.S. court?

*************

Additional court documents are found here:

Police – A new form of the military in our streets?

Editorial Note – In 1878, the Posse Comitatus Act gained the force of law and by subsequent acts of Congress prohibits the armed forces of the United States to be directed to enforce civilian law within the United States and its territories. This came in response to the Compromise of 1877 over the election of President Rutherford B. Hayes (Who actually had less Electoral votes) to end the Reconstruction Period in the southern states after the Civil War. However, despite the prohibition to use military assets and personnel in law enforcement, our civilian law enforcement are increasingly employing military tactics and technology.

Different times call for different tactics, but a lot of Americans are becoming increasingly alarmed over the transformation of many large and small police and sheriff’s departments in the use of new tactics and resources. In the wake of the infamous North Hollywood bank robbery shootout of 1997, where the police were out gunned by two men wearing extensive body armor, the constant threat of terror, Mexican drug cartels cross-border incursions, and the rise of Gangs acquiring similar weapons, it is understandable that police must ‘armor up.’

You be the judge, is law enforcement now a military unit? Have they crossed that imaginary line, or are many folks just afraid that government in general is getting way too strong, way too invasive, and way too militant?

How the War on Terror Has Militarized the Police

The Atlantic

By ARTHUR RIZER & JOSEPH HARTMAN – Arthur Rizer, a former Washington state peace officer who earned a Bronze Star and Purple Heart while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq, currently works at the U.S. Department of Justice. (The views expressed by Mr. Rizer are entirely his own, and he does not speak for the Department of Justice.) Joseph Hartman, a Ph.D. candidate in government at Georgetown University, practices law in Arlington, Virginia.

Over the past 10 years, law enforcement officials have begun to look and act more and more like soldiers. Here’s why we should be alarmed. 

At around 9:00 a.m. on May 5, 2011, officers with the Pima County, Arizona, Sheriff’s Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) team surrounded the home of 26-year-old José Guerena, a former U.S. Marine and veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq, to serve a search warrant for narcotics. As the officers approached, Guerena lay sleeping in his bedroom after working the graveyard shift at a local mine. When his wife Vanessa woke him up, screaming that she had seen a man outside the window pointing a gun at her, Guerena grabbed his AR-15 rifle, instructed Vanessa to hide in the closet with their four-year old son, and left the bedroom to investigate.

Los Angeles Airport Police officers stand in front of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX airport in Los Angeles May 2, 2011.

Within moments, and without Guerena firing a shot–or even switching his rifle off of “safety”–he lay dying, his body riddled with 60 bullets. A subsequent investigation revealed that the initial shot that prompted the S.W.A.T. team barrage came from a S.W.A.T. team gun, not Guerena’s. Guerena, reports later revealed, had no criminal record, and no narcotics were found at his home.

Sadly, the Guerenas are not alone; in recent years we have witnessed a proliferation in incidents of excessive, military-style force by police S.W.A.T. teams, which often make national headlines due to their sheer brutality. Why has it become routine for police departments to deploy black-garbed, body-armored S.W.A.T. teams for routine domestic police work? The answer to this question requires a closer examination of post-9/11 U.S. foreign policy and the War on Terror.

Ever since September 14, 2001, when President Bush declared war on terrorism, there has been a crucial, yet often unrecognized, shift in United States policy. Before 9/11, law enforcement possessed the primary responsibility for combating terrorism in the United States. Today, the military is at the tip of the anti-terrorism spear. This shift appears to be permanent: in 2006, the White House’s National Strategy for Combating Terrorism confidently announced that the United States had “broken old orthodoxies that once confined our counterterrorism efforts primarily to the criminal justice domain.”

In an effort to remedy their relative inadequacy in dealing with terrorism on U.S. soil, police forces throughout the country have purchased military equipment, adopted military training, and sought to inculcate a “soldier’s mentality” among their ranks. Though the reasons for this increasing militarization of American police forces seem obvious, the dangerous side effects are somewhat less apparent.

Undoubtedly, American police departments have substantially increased their use of military-grade equipment and weaponry to perform their counterterrorism duties, adopting everything from body armor to, in some cases, attack helicopters. The logic behind this is understandable. If superior, military-grade equipment helps the police catch more criminals and avert, or at least reduce, the threat of a domestic terror attack, then we ought deem it an instance of positive sharing of technology — right? Not necessarily. Indeed, experts in the legal community have raised serious concerns that allowing civilian law enforcement to use military technology runs the risk of blurring the distinction between soldiers and peace officers.

This is especially true in cases where, much to the chagrin of civil liberty advocates, police departments have employed their newly acquired military weaponry not only to combat terrorism but also for everyday patrolling. Before 9/11, the usual heavy weaponry available to a small-town police officer consisted of a standard pump-action shot gun, perhaps a high power rifle, and possibly a surplus M-16, which would usually have been kept in the trunk of the supervising officer’s vehicle. Now, police officers routinely walk the beat armed with assault rifles and garbed in black full-battle uniforms. When one of us, Arthur Rizer, returned from active duty in Iraq, he saw a police officer at the Minneapolis airport armed with a M4 carbine assault rifle — the very same rifle Arthur carried during his combat tour in Fallujah.

The extent of this weapon “inflation” does not stop with high-powered rifles, either. In recent years, police departments both large and small have acquired bazookas, machine guns, and even armored vehicles (mini-tanks) for use in domestic police work.

To assist them in deploying this new weaponry, police departments have also sought and received extensive military training and tactical instruction. Originally, only the largest of America’s big-city police departments maintained S.W.A.T. teams, and they were called upon only when no other peaceful option was available and a truly military-level response was necessary. Today, virtually every police department in the nation has one or more S.W.A.T. teams, the members of whom are often trained by and with United States special operations commandos. Furthermore, with the safety of their officers in mind, these departments now habitually deploy their S.W.A.T. teams for minor operations such as serving warrants. In short, “special” has quietly become “routine.”

The most serious consequence of the rapid militarization of American police forces, however, is the subtle evolution in the mentality of the “men in blue” from “peace officer” to soldier. This development is absolutely critical and represents a fundamental change in the nature of law enforcement. The primary mission of a police officer traditionally has been to “keep the peace.” Those whom an officer suspects to have committed a crime are treated as just that – suspects. Police officers are expected, under the rule of law, to protect the civil liberties of all citizens, even the “bad guys.” For domestic law enforcement, a suspect in custody remains innocent until proven guilty. Moreover, police officers operate among a largely friendly population and have traditionally been trained to solve problems using a complex legal system; the deployment of lethal violence is an absolute last resort.

Soldiers, by contrast, are trained to identify people they encounter as belonging to one of two groups — the enemy and the non-enemy — and they often reach this decision while surrounded by a population that considers the soldier an occupying force. Once this identification is made, a soldier’s mission is stark and simple: kill the enemy, “try” not to kill the non-enemy. Indeed, the Soldier’s Creed declares, “I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.” This is a far cry from the peace officer’s creed that expects its adherents “to protect and serve.”

The point here is not to suggest that police officers in the field should not take advantage of every tactic or piece of equipment that makes them safer as they carry out their often challenging and strenuous duties. Nor do I mean to suggest that a police officer, once trained in military tactics, will now seek to kill civilians. It is far too easy for Monday-morning quarterbacks to unfairly second-guess the way police officers perform their jobs while they are out on the streets waging what must, at times, feel like a war.

Notwithstanding this concern, however, Americans should remain mindful bringing military-style training to domestic law enforcement has real consequences. When police officers are dressed like soldiers, armed like soldiers, and trained like soldiers, it’s not surprising that they are beginning to act like soldiers. And remember: a soldier’s main objective is to kill the enemy.

AG Abbott Letter to Obama – ‘I Told You So’

Editor’s Note – When we ask if we are secure on our borders, the current administration tells us we are safer than we have ever been. The arrests are up and the illegal immigration is down. Janet Napolitano said:

“There is a perception that the border is worse now than it ever has been,” Napolitano said at the Bridge of The Americas border crossing in El Paso, Texas, the Associated Press reports. “That is wrong. The border is better now than it ever has been.”

However, the people who live in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California know better. Just ask Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County Arizona who is calling for Holder’s resignation, or in this case, the Attorney General of Texas. Read what the AG of Texas has to say to Obama:

Greg Abbott Tells Obama to PROTECT US NOW after Texas Officer Shot by Mexican Drug Cartel on Border

By David Bellow

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Obama on November 2nd, 2011. The letter had a clear message.

I TOLD YOU SO!

Greg Abbott has been pleading for the Obama Administration to take action to protect the Texas Border from these violent Drug Cartels. The Drug Cartels have killed tens of thousands of innocent victims and now the Drug Cartel violence is spilling onto the American side. Earlier this year I posted a video of a battle that happened on the border across from Roma, TX. The explosions and gunfire were easily seen and heard from the Texas side. I have also written articles detailing shootouts between the Drug Cartels and Texas Law enforcement and also about how Texas children are being recruited and killed by Mexican drug cartels.

Greg Abbott warned President Obama that soon these Drug Cartel bullets will harm Americans on the Texas side of the Border.

Sure enough, Greg Abbott was right.

A Texas Deputy was shot 3 times in a shootout last weekend.

Following this recent incident, Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Obama pleading for him to take action to protect Americans by protecting the Border. He used this recent incident as his example.

Below is the Letter that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent to President Obama on November 2nd, 2011:

Dear Mr. President,

Over a year ago, I wrote to you warning of the increasing threat of cartel-related violence spilling across our border with Mexico. At the time, gunfire from cartels in Juarez had crossed over the border into El Paso. Fortunately for El Pasoans, those bullets struck only buildings, rather than bodies. But as I warned back then, we cannot simply rely on good fortune to protect American lives from the ever-present threat of cartel violence on our southern border. Since the incident in El Paso, the threat from the cartels has only grown—and now the bullets have struck Americans. Just last weekend, in a deadly shootout with cartel operatives, a deputy sheriff in Hidalgo County, Texas, was shot three times. Thankfully the officer survived, but the Hidalgo County Sheriff confirmed that the shooting spilled over from ongoing drug wars involving the Gulf Cartel in Mexico.

Unfortunately, last week’s gun battle in Hidalgo County was not an isolated incident. In January of this year, highway workers repairing a road near a known drug-smuggling route were fired upon from the southern side of the border near Fort Hancock, Texas. In June, Texas law enforcement officers near Abram, Texas, exchanged fire with drug smugglers who attacked them from across the border. In May, U.S. Border Patrol agents near Mission, Texas, also came under fire under similar circumstances. And in September, one man was killed when cartel operatives exchanged gunfire between vehicles driving down a highway in McAllen, Texas.

Within just the last two weeks, three high-level cartel leaders have been arrested inside the United States. Reports indicate they were hiding in Texas in an attempt to avoid violence in Mexico. But the violence is already starting to follow these criminals to the United States, as the increasing cartel activity in South Texas demonstrates. Their presence in our country is more evidence that the cartels increasingly view the porous border as no more than a line on a map. And if your Administration continues to fail to secure the border against this threat, it is only a matter of time before American lives are lost.

I implore you to aggressively confront this escalating threat. The safety and security of the Americans you have pledged to defend is at risk because of the cartel battles spilling across our border. To protect American lives, your administration must immediately dedicate more manpower to border security—especially along the 1,254 mile Texas border, which remains unacceptably porous. Texas and its law enforcement personnel at the state, county and local levels remain committed to working with your Administration to maintain the highest level of public safety. We ask that you collaborate with us to accomplish that goal before more American blood is lost.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Greg Abbott

Attorney General of Texas

Mexican Drug Cartels in over 1,000 US Cities

Editor’s Note:

Honesty comes in small drips from the Department of Justice, but when it does release a statement and document revealing that drug cartels operate in more than 1000 American cities, we need to stand up and take notice. There really is a war on narco-terrorism in key Southern states, yet there is no official declaration of war and it takes place on our soil. There is a true corporate style distribution network in over 230 cities in America and the fight against this industry takes Federal, state and local dollars that add up to a sum that is unknown and probably better left that way, as it has become a failure as it has annual growth and an increase in murder rates.

DHS uses a megaphone with the replay of the same words, the border has never been more secure, but given the numbers, the formal reports at all levels, how can the word ‘secure’ even be printed or spoken? We have a real military style operation going on at the border and a little revealed fact that the FBI, CIA and Special Forces are operating as boots on the ground in key countries below our southern border. Texas has taken an aggressive position with a military strategy that is explained in this 182 pg. report.

The cartels are fully integrated with Middle Eastern terror networks and banks worldwide move the dollars to keep the laundry mission of money as clean and untraceable as possible.

DOJ says Mexican cartels operating in over 1,000 U.S. cities

From the Daily Caller

Mexican-based transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) were “operating in more than a thousand U.S. cities during 2009 and 2010, spanning all nine Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) regions,” according to the U.S. Justice Department’s National Drug Threat Assessment of 2011.

Mexican Drug Cartels abound across the uSA

According to the report, the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) assesses with “high confidence” that Mexican-based TCOs “control distribution of most of the heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine available in the United States” and production of these drugs in Mexico “appears to be increasing.”

However, the report says that an “analysis of law enforcement information reveals variations in the primary type of illicit drugs trafficked by each of the seven main Mexican-based TCOs and the regions of the United States where their operations are concentrated.”

The primary regions where the TCOs have been operating are Florida/Caribbean, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, New England, New York/New Jersey, Pacific, Southeast, Southwest and West Central.

“Mexican-based trafficking organizations control access to the U.S.–Mexico border, the primary gateway for moving the bulk of illicit drugs into the United States,” says the report.

“The organizations control, simultaneously use, or are competing for control of various smuggling corridors that they use to regulate drug flow across the border.”

In October 2010, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said the almost 2,000 mile long southwest border is “more secure than ever before.”

“We have devoted unprecedented amounts of manpower, infrastructure and technology to the southwest border under this administration,” Napolitano said.

“Over the past two years, our seizures of illegal drugs, currency and weapons have increased significantly — helping to make the southwest border more secure than ever before.”

On May 25, 2010, President Obama deployed 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. In May 2011, Obama visited the border and said the security there has improved.

“We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement,” Obama said. “But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I gotta say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time.”

Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas disagreed with Obama, saying that the amount of crime at the southwest border spilling over into the U.S. is “underreported.”

“Before we start talking about reforming our immigration policy we need to prioritize our national security and gain operational control of the border,” he said in a statement. “Despite the president’s rhetoric that he has gone ‘above and beyond’ to secure the border, this mission is not accomplished.”

Two retired Army generals, Maj. Gen. Robert Scales — former commandant of the U.S. Army War College — and Gen. Barry McCaffrey — former national drug policy director under President Bill Clinton — co-authored a new report funded by the Texas Departments of Agriculture and Public Safety that urges the federal government to devote more resources to quell the violence on the border.

“Conditions within these border communities along both sides of the Texas-Mexico border are tantamount to living in a war zone in which civil authorities, law enforcement agencies as well as citizens are under attack around the clock,” the report says.

“In addition to gun battles and other violence at ports of entry, southwestern border communities have been subject at times to the massive influx of evacuees and casualties from Mexico — a mix of innocent civilians as well as criminals — all of whom may be fleeing violence.”

Fast & Furious – Mexico still waiting for answers

Editor’s Note: We have a State Department, a CIA, and a DoJ that have ignored any and all responses to Mexico and their leadership when it comes to running guns and murders south of the border as a result of the broken and ill-managed operation known as “Gunwalker”, also named “Fast and Furious”. The DoJ is at the core of this operation and has been under Congressional investigation due to at least two murders of Border Agents and perhaps up to as many as 250 murders of innocent Mexican victims. It is a curious wonder why there has been no criminal investigation launched as this is, in fact, murder on an international landscape. What is more puzzling is the United Nations has not asked any questions. Fast and Furious is/was a program financed by Stimulus money, which is managed by Vice President Joe Biden and requires the full support and attention of citizens is aiding the Commission chairperson, Congressman Darrel Issa of the Oversight Committee.

Sacramento Bee

By KEN ELLINGWOOD, RICHARD A. SERRANO AND TRACY WILKINSON

Last fall’s slaying of Mario Gonzalez, the brother of a Mexican state prosecutor, shocked people on both sides of the border. Sensational news reports revealed that cartel hit men had tortured Gonzalez, and forced him to make a videotaped “confession” that his high-powered sister was on the take.

Mario Gonzalez - Tortured Brother of Former Mexican Atty. General

But American authorities concealed one disturbing fact about the case from their Mexican counterparts: U.S. federal agents had allowed AK-47 assault rifles later found in the killers’ arsenal to be smuggled across the border under the notorious Fast and Furious gun-trafficking program.

U.S. officials also kept mum as other weapons linked to Fast and Furious turned up at dozens of additional Mexican crime scenes, with a reported toll of at least 150 people killed or wounded.

Months after the deadly lapses in the program were revealed in the U.S. media – prompting congressional hearings and the resignation of the acting chief of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – top Mexican officials say American authorities have still not offered them a proper accounting of what went wrong.

Marisela Morales, Mexico’s attorney general and a longtime favorite of American law enforcement agents in Mexico, told the Los Angeles Times that she first learned about Fast and Furious from news reports. And to this day, she said, U.S. officials have not briefed her on the operation gone awry, nor have they apologized.

“At no time did we know or were we made aware that there might have been arms trafficking permitted,” Morales, Mexico’s highest-ranking law enforcement official, said in a recent interview. “In no way would we have allowed it because it is an attack on the safety of Mexicans.”

Morales said she did not want to draw conclusions before the outcome of U.S. investigations, but that deliberately letting weapons “walk” into Mexico would represent a “betrayal” of a country enduring a drug war that has killed more than 40,000 people.

Concealment of the bloody toll of Fast and Furious took place despite official pronouncements of growing cooperation and intelligence-sharing in the fight against vicious Mexican drug-trafficking organizations. The secrecy also occurred as Mexican President Felipe Calderon and other senior Mexican officials complained bitterly, time and again, about the flow of weapons into Mexico from the U.S.

Patricia Gonzalez, the top state prosecutor in Chihuahua at the time of her brother’s 2010 kidnapping, noted that she had worked closely with U.S. officials for years and was stunned that she did not learn until many months later, through media reports, about the link between his death and Fast and Furious weapons.

“The basic ineptitude of these officials (who ordered the Fast and Furious operation) caused the death of my brother and surely thousands more victims,” Gonzalez said.

Fast and Furious weapons have also been linked to other high-profile shootings. On May 24, a helicopter ferrying Mexican federal police during an operation in the western state of Michoacan was forced to land after bullets from a powerful Barrett .50-caliber rifle pierced its fuselage and armor-reinforced windshield. Three officers were wounded.

Authorities later captured dozens of drug-gang gunmen involved in the attack and seized 70 weapons, including a Barrett rifle, according to a report by U.S. congressional committees. Some of the guns were traced to Fast and Furious.

Email traffic and U.S. congressional testimony by ATF agents and others make clear the existence of a determined, yearlong effort by American officials to conceal from Mexico’s government details of the operation, launched in November 2009 by the ATF field offices in Arizona and New Mexico.

In March 2010, with a growing number of guns lost or showing up at crime scenes in Mexico, ATF officials convened an “emergency briefing” to figure out a way to shut down Fast and Furious. Instead, they decided to keep it going and continue to leave Mexico out of the loop.

Communications also show that the U.S. Embassy, including the ATF office in Mexico, at least initially, was also kept in the dark.

In July 2010, Darren Gil, the acting ATF attache in Mexico City, asked his supervisors in the U.S. about guns in Mexico, but got no answer, according to his testimony before a U.S. congressional committee investigating the matter.

“They were afraid that I was going to either brief the ambassador, or brief the government of Mexico officials on it,” Gil said.

Part of the reason for not telling Mexican authorities, Gil and others noted, is widespread official corruption in Mexico that has long made some U.S. officials reluctant to share intelligence. By late last year, however, with the kidnapping of Mario Gonzalez and tracing of the AK-47s, some ATF officials were beginning to tell their superiors that it was time to come clean.

Carlos Canino, an ATF agent at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, warned headquarters that failure to share the information would have dire consequences for the U.S.-Mexican relationship.

“We need to tell them (Mexico) this, because if we don’t tell them this, and this gets out, it was my opinion that the Mexicans would never trust us again,” Canino testified to congressional investigators in Washington.

Attorney General Morales said it was not until January that the Mexican government was told of the existence of an undercover program that turned out to be Fast and Furious. At the time, Morales said, Mexico was not provided details.

In March, after disgruntled ATF agents went to congressional investigators, details of Fast and Furious began to appear in the Times and other U.S. media. By then, two Fast and Furious weapons had been found at the scene of the fatal shooting of a U.S. border agent near Rio Rico, Ariz., and a second agent had been killed near the Mexican city of San Luis Potosi.

The latter death, of federal ICE agent Jaime Zapata, sent ATF hierarchy into a “state of panic,” ATF supervisor Peter Forcelli said, because of fears the weapons used might have arrived in Mexico as part of Fast and Furious. So far, all the U.S. government has said in the Zapata case is that one of the weapons was traced to an illegal purchase in the Dallas area.

In June, Canino, the ATF attache, was finally allowed to say something to Attorney General Morales about the weapons used by Mario Gonzalez’s captors, thought to be members of the powerful Sinaloa cartel.

“I wanted her to find out from me, because she is an ally of the U.S. government,” he testified.

Canino later told congressional investigators that Morales was shocked.

“Hijole!” he recalled her saying, an expression that roughly means, “Oh no!”

Canino testified that Fast and Furious guns showed up at a total of nearly 200 crime scenes.

Mexican Congressman Humberto Benitez Trevino, who heads the justice committee in the Chamber of Deputies, said the number of people killed or wounded by the weapons had probably doubled to 300 since March, when he said confidential information held by Mexican security authorities put the figure at 150. The higher number, he said, was his own estimate.

A former attorney general, Benitez labeled the operation a “failure,” but said it did not spell collapse in the two nations’ shared fight against organized-crime groups.

“It was a bad business that got out of hand,” he said in an interview.

Many Mexican politicians responded angrily when the existence of the program became known in March, with several saying it amounted to a breach of Mexican sovereignty. But much of that anger has subsided, possibly in the interest of not aggravating the bilateral relationship. For Mexico, the gun problem goes far beyond the Fast and Furious program. Of weapons used in crimes and traced, more than 75 percent come from the U.S.

“Yes it was bad and wrong, and you have to ask yourself, what were they thinking?” a senior official in Calderon’s administration said, referring to Fast and Furious. “But, given the river of weapons that flows into Mexico from the U.S., do a few more make a big difference?”

Still, Mexican leaders are under pressure to answer questions from their citizens, with very little to go on.

“The evidence is over there (north of the border),” Morales said. “I can’t put a pistol to their heads and say, ‘Now give it to me or else.’ I can’t.”

(Los Angeles Times staff writers Ellingwood and Wilkinson reported from Mexico and Serrano from Washington.)