- ‘Welcome to the edge of freedom’: Biden’s boots touch down in DMZ
- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
Mexican drug cartels ‘hide in plain sight’ in U.S.
“We’re not seeing shootouts in the streets,” Mr. Porter said. “In fact, they’re doing their best not to draw attention to themselves.”
Violence, after all, brings police attention, and that can be very bad for business.
A low-key lifestyle
Since 1986, James Boltz has lived in a house, shadowed by towering power lines, across the street from where Mr. Haro-Perez was arrested. The neighborhood has changed drastically over the past two decades, he says, and is now predominantly Mexican.
He has no recollection of Mr. Haro-Perez and “never knew” a sophisticated drug operation was apparently run out of the house across the street.
“We’ve had so many people living in that house,” said Mr. Boltz, a production manager for a window company.
It’s a neighborhood of modest houses with drab, peeling paint, and every fifth or sixth home appears vacant, with foreclosure notices posted on doors or front windows.
On a recent weekday afternoon, children on bicycles roamed the streets and a pair of boys on dirt bikes zipped around the neighborhood, always on the lookout for police. Teenagers huddled around mailboxes or on porches.
Law enforcement officials say it’s exactly the type of neighborhood the drug cartels favor.
“You would see Miami in the ‘80s, the jewelry and all that,” said the DEA’s Mr. Benson. “[Now] I see cars that are very nondescript. I think there’s a conscious effort to be nondescript, low on the radar screen.”
Mr. Nahmias agrees the cartel workers, whose numbers authorities cannot be sure of, do not share the ostentatious lifestyles of many street-level dealers. The U.S. attorney notes the irony in the case of the Black Mafia Family, a violent street gang.
“They would live large and have limos and stuff, but they were getting their drugs from the Mexican cartel,” Mr. Nahmias said. “Probably the guy that was selling them 20 kilos was living in some little house, sleeping on a mattress on the floor.”
Federal authorities say Mexican drug cartels bring in as much as $38 billion annually, but little of that money stays in the U.S.
Smuggling cash back across the border is as important to the cartels as sneaking drugs in. The two sides of the operation are often kept separate for security reasons, and the overall sophistication of the cartels requires law enforcement to employ equally intricate investigative techniques.
It was a sprawling investigation using wiretaps that eventually led authorities to Mr. Haro-Perez. On transcripts included in court documents, the man authorities say is Mr. Haro-Perez is called “Ace” and appears to be very much in charge.
About the Author
Ben Conery is a member of the investigative team covering the Supreme Court and legal affairs. Prior to coming to The Washington Times in 2008, Mr. Conery covered criminal justice and legal affairs for daily newspapers in Connecticut and Massachusetts. He was a 2006 recipient of the New England Newspaper Association’s Publick Occurrences Award for a series of articles about ...
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Obama tries to calm Israeli fears over Iranian nuke deal 'not based on trust'
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- A Mandela remembrance
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Behind Andy Reid, Chiefs enjoying a resurgence
- Study suggests link between gun ownership, racism
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Opinion, analysis, and musings on politics, pop culture, reinvention, and the resultant flotsam and jetsam floating around the right-of-center quadrant of the Left Coast.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!