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    Drug cartel ‘eye-opener’ Authorities warn Mexican kingpins extending reach to New En

    Drug cartel ‘eye-opener’
    Authorities warn Mexican kingpins extending reach to New England

    By Matt Stout And John Zaremba/Boston Herald

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Mexico’s ruthless drug cartels are stepping out from the shadows of New England’s criminal underworld, abandoning their traditional role as background players and setting up shop directly in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, authorities said — an alarming trend that could flood the local narcotics market and spark a spike in street crime.

    Revere cops said they’re busting street thugs with cartel tattoos. Feds said local dealers now have cartel cellphone numbers — not just contacts for middle men — and that cartels have hit their radar hard in Lynn, Worcester and Manchester, N.H. Even kingpins are getting collared in connection with stepped-up New England trafficking, as shown in last month’s indictment of three high-up Sinaloa syndicate players charged with trying to funnel 750 pounds of cocaine from Mexico to New Hampshire via Spain.

    “We’re not seeing the second or third middle man anymore. We’re seeing the direct contact with Mexico,” said Bruce Foucart, agent in charge of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement’s investigations unit in Boston. “Their tentacles are getting stronger and spreading out.”

    Foucart said authorities in New England so far haven’t seen the murderous mayhem that defines the cartels’ reign in Mexico — where hundreds of people are regularly tortured and executed, and police, government officials and journalists have been murdered. But he said their business here goes beyond long-distance deals.

    “Are they being sent up here to traffic? Absolutely,” he said. “Before you may find a U.S.-based organizer that is moving it up here. Now we’re seeing it more direct.”

    Revere police Lt. John Goodwin, whose department helped the feds with a 2010 bust that took 200 pounds of coke off the streets, said that case had Mexican drug lords using a distribution network long dominated by gangs from the Dominican Republic. He called that “scary stuff” that recalls the crack crisis of the early 1990s.

    “It’s the same thing, it’s all the crimes that come along with it,” he said. “When a neighborhood gets inundated with an illegal drug, your prostitution goes up. Street robberies go up. House breaks, armed robberies, everything.

    “Whenever an area gets inundated with narcotics, and you have people who are getting hooked on this drug, they commit crimes.”

    Mexican cartels are powerful players in the drug world — well-financed, grotesquely violent syndicates with high-tech tools. As of 2010, they operated in more than 1,000 U.S. cities, federal authorities said.

    “It’s an eye-opener, and definitely when you look at the quality of life, it affects Manchester and the entirety of New England,” said Manchester, N.H., police Capt. Kevin Kelly, whose department three years ago took part in an FBI-led raid netting about 100 pounds of coke and six cartel-connected suspects. Competition in the drug market, he said, leads to “addiction issues, home invasions, robberies.”

    The FBI reports the Sinaloa cartel — the group named in the recent New Hampshire bust — is linked to 17 different gangs including the Hell’s Angels and Aryan Brotherhood, “purely for financial gain.” Cartels have recruited local gangs in Los Angeles to deal drugs and kidnap people, the FBI’s 2011 Gang Threat Assessment says.

    New England, where Colombian and Dominican gangs have dominated the drug trade, offers a new market, said drug-war analyst Sylvia Longmire. “Just like a business, they’re expanding their franchise,” she said. “What do you have to do to get more customers? You want to open up new stores in new markets.”

    Drug cartel ‘eye-opener’ - BostonHerald.com

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    Cartel’s incursion in Boston raises alarm

    By Matt Stout
    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    The rise of Mexico’s ruthless cartels as direct players in the New England drug scene should set off alarm bells around the Hub, according to one youth worker, who said he hasn’t seen their presence around Boston’s neighborhoods, but cautioned, “Let’s pay attention.”

    “When it comes to gangs, it’s all one giant city,” said Emmett Folgert, executive director of the Dorchester Youth Collaborative.

    “In Quincy, in Chelsea, in Revere, in Lynn, (gang members) don’t respect these borders. We can never say it’s a non-locality, that we’re OK. We’re not OK. We’ve got to pay real serious attention to this.”

    The Herald reported yesterday that federal authorities say Mexican cartels are now ditching the middle men and hooking directly into New England, where local police say they’re busting street-level dealers with cartel tattoos and federal agents are finding cartel contact info in suspects’ cell phones.

    Bruce Foucart, head of the Customs and Immigration Enforcement’s investigative unit in Boston, said the cartel members have hit their radar in Revere, Lynn and Manchester, N.H.

    Earlier this month, authorities helping bust three Sinaloa cartel members said they tracked them through Boston and the Granite State.
    “I haven’t heard any evidence of this in Boston,” Folgert said. “But this will be taken very seriously.”

    Lynn Police Chief Kevin Coppinger said cartel ties haven’t “jumped out” to local cops in his city, but noted authorities have long known much of the country’s drugs eventually funnel through Mexico.

    “What they see at the federal level could be different than what we see at the street level,” he said.

    “We’re doing street enforcement as opposed to big trafficking stuff.”

    Cartel’s incursion in Boston raises alarm - BostonHerald.com

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