Mexico AG: Unhappy with Zambada-Niebla Deal, No Plan to Extradite El Chapo

Murillo Karam, Attorney General for Mexico, gave an interview today to Radio Fórmula during which he expressed displeasure with DOJ‘s recent plea deal with Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, son of Sinaloa co-leader Ismael Zambada-Garcia. (The details of Zambada-Niebla’s plea agreement are here.)

He also said Mexico presently has no intention of extraditing Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the U.S. (“no tenemos ninguna intensión de mandarlo a Estados Unidos.”) He added that Mexico still hasn’t received a formal extradition request for Chapo’s extradition. [More...]

He also said Mexico presently has no intention of extraditing Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the U.S. (“no tenemos ninguna intensión de mandarlo a Estados Unidos.”) He added that Mexico still hasn’t received a formal extradition request for Chapo’s extradition. Continue Reading →

House Hearing on Cartels and Extraditing El Chapo

The House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on “Taking Down the Cartels” this week. Predictably, several committee members called for the quick extradition of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

There were four witnesses at the hearing: James Dinkins, a director of Homeland Security Investigations for ICE; John Feeley, a deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Dept; Alan Bersin, an assistant secretary of international affairs and diplomatic officer at Homeland Security; and Christopher Wilson, from the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

I just read the transcript of the hearing (available on Lexis.com). A Republican from Georgia named Paul Broun really stood out — and not in a positive way — repeatedly referring to El Chapo as “an animal.” Here are some of his remarks: Continue Reading →

Feds Approve $54 Million for New High Security Prison

The Bureau of Prisons has announced renovations will commence on the Thomson maximum security prison in Illinois. The funding was approved in January in the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2014.

The “state of the art” unoccupied state prison was built in 2001 and purchased by the U.S. from Illinois as a possible place to house Guantanamo inmates when Gitmo closed. Then Congress killed the transfer of Guantanamo inmates to the U.S.

Check out the gleeful response of Illinois senator Richard Durbin:

This is the news we’ve been waiting for. The funding that the Bureau of Prisons reported to Congress today is a significant investment in the economic future of Northern Illinois,” said Durbin.

Continue Reading →

Obama and Deportation Relief

Republican intransigence over immigration reform may result in President Obama easing Homeland Security’s removal (previously called deportation) policies. Two measures are under consideration.

Obama met with various Latino groups yesterday. After the meeting:

Obama announced late on Thursday that he had decided to review deportation practices to seek a more “humane” way to enforce immigration laws.

Immigration law experts have said Obama could use his executive authority to also stop deporting parents of those children to keep families together.

Continue Reading →

Wednesday Morning Open Thread

larger version here.

It sure is cold outside, but the view from my living room was very pretty yesterday.

I’ve been mostly reading news from Mexico today. The papers there have been filled the past few days with revelations that the DEA made deals with top Sinaloa cartel members to provide information about rival cartels in exchange for immunity and the freedom to continue their illegal activities. This is about the case of Jesus Vincent Zambada-Niebla, awaiting trial in Chicago. I’m not sure why the Mexican papers are just picking it up now — it was news in the U.S. in 2011. The reporter does a good job though, and includes references to some of the pleadings. Here’s a long post I wrote about the case and the DEA’s “snitch and carry on” policy. It’s an interesting question whether Humberto Loya-Castro, the Sinaloa lawyer who became a DEA informant and provided information about rival cartels for years to the DEA, and who set up a meeting in Mexico City between the DEA and Zambada-Niebla, at which Zambada-Niebla claimed the DEA offered him the same deal as Loya — become a snitch against rivals and continue on without fear of busts — was not so much an informant as an agent of the Cartel doing business with the U.S. Government.

Snitch and receive a get out of jail free card pales in comparison to snitch, stay in business and be free from arrest. The  DEA used the same strategy in Colombia when targeting Pablo Escobar. It’s called “Divide and Conquer.” [More...] Continue Reading →

DOJ Spending $544k to Recruit on Linked-In

The Department of Justice signed a contract in late December to pay $544,000 for an “enhanced profile” on the social networking site “Linked In” to “increase its branding” and improve its ability to recruit prosecutors. The recipient of the contract is Carahsoft Technology Corporation, and you can view the contract details here.

Here is DOJ’s justification for avoiding the open-bidding process and what it gets for its money. Among the benefits: full access to every Linked-In profile.

This will include an enhanced company profile within a large-scale, professional networking platform, and targeted online job advertising to attract highly qualified Criminal Division employees and intern applicants as well as use the already existing Criminal Division presence,” the document said.

I find this particularly inappropriate when sequester cuts are still in effect for federal defenders and indigent defense counsel. Federal defenders have been hit with lay-offs and furloughs, while indigent defense counsel had their payment vouchers delayed for four weeks this fall and their already reduced rates cut $15.00 an hour. The pay cuts will last at least until September, 2014.

Here is Chief Justice John Roberts’ 2013 end of year State of the Judiciary report. The judiciary cuts from sequester amounted to $350 million.

NY U.S. Attorney and John Yoo Banned From Russia

Russia has responded to the U.S. issuing a list of sanctioned Russians yesterday by putting out its own list of U.S. officials engaged in human rights violations.

The list includes Bush torture memo author John Yoo and Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, David Addington, and some Guantanamo officials. I wonder why they left Dick Cheney off the list.

Russia's list also includes Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who prosecuted Viktor Bout and pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko (African drug sting case.) Continue Reading →

CA Federal Court Threatens Gov. Brown With Contempt

In a strongly worded 71 page opinion, a three judge panel from the Eastern District of California has threatened California Governor Jerry Brown with contempt for failing to come up with a plan to reduce California's prison population. The court has given Brown and the state numerous chances. The Supreme Court denied Brown's appeal and he still refuses to comply.

The April 5 opinion is here. The docket with links to other court orders is here. Continue Reading →

Pre-Dawn Raid at Guantanamo, Detainees Rebel

Guards at Guantanamo this morning conducted a pre-dawn raid of Camp 6, the communal housing block where most of the inmates are on a hunger strike. The purpose was to move the hunger-striking inmates to maximum security cells.

The detainees fought back. According to Guantanamo officials:

“Some detainees resisted with improvised weapons, and in response, four less-than-lethal rounds were fired,” according to a statement issued by the prison camps at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba. “There were no serious injuries to guards or detainees.”

….“In order to reestablish proper observation, the guards entered the Camp 6 communal living spaces to transition detainees into single cells, remove obstructions to cameras, windows and partitions, and to assess the medical condition of each detainee,” the prison said.

Yesterday, Guantanamo's prison camp Commander was replaced. Continue Reading →