Nov 27, 2019

UPS employees allegedly shipped drugs from Mexico in decade-long scheme

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A group of United Parcel Service employees in Tucson, Arizona, reportedly helped import "thousands of pounds of marijuana and narcotics" from Mexican drug traffickers into the U.S. per week at the peak of its 10-year operation, the Washington Post reports.

Details: "Narco-traffickers" packed cardboard boxes with the drugs, and UPS employees helped move them through the carrier's delivery system, officials told the Post. Among the shipments were black market vaping products that have been linked to thousands of illnesses and dozens of deaths. The investigation involved cooperation from federal, state and local officials.

  • Tucson Police Sgt. William Kaderly told the Post that investigators were "frustrated" that UPS was not more proactive in its efforts to stop the illicit activity that officials suspected.
  • The alleged ringleader Mario Barcelo, who was a 20-year veteran at UPS, ensured drug shipments bypassed security and were delivered to their intended locations.

Where it stands: Four UPS employees were charged in state court, and court records indicate that 11 people, including two supervisors, have been arrested in the last two weeks, according to the Post.

  • Investigators fear Barcelo's tactics for routing the packages and hiding the origin and destination of the shipments could be replicated by other UPS employees or people working for similar delivery systems, the Post reports.

What they're saying: UPS in a statement said the company cannot discuss the arrests, as the investigation is ongoing, but it is cooperating with officials in the probe.

Go deeper: Trump vows to designate Mexican drug cartels as terror organizations

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At least 19 dead in Mexico after police shootout with suspected cartel members

A Mexican Federal Police officer guards an international bridge between Mexico and Texas, Feb. 10. Photo: JCA/AFP via Getty Images

At least 19 people are dead after an hour-long gunfight between Mexican security forces and suspected cartel gunmen broke out on Saturday in Villa Union, a town in Coahuila state about an hour’s drive southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The attack comes days after President Trump said in an interview that he plans to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 1, 2019

Mexico reacts to Trump's vow to mark Mexican drug cartels as terrorists

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and President Donald Trump. Photos: Pedro Pardo/AFP and Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's foreign secretary, said Wednesday that he is in contact with the U.S. government following President Trump's announced plans to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.

What they're saying: Mexico's president characterized Trump's proposal as "interventionism" on Wednesday, emphasizing that he wanted to "avoid a political conflict," per the Washington Post. Ebrard tweeted that "Mexico will never accept any action that violates our national sovereignty," on Tuesday, following Trump's announcement.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019

Mormon family massacre: Mexican authorities detain suspects

The burnt van where five of the nine LeBaron family members were killed, in the Sonora mountain range, Mexico, on Nov. 6. Photo: Herika Martinez/AFP via Getty Images

The Mexican government said in a statement Sunday that authorities detained several people suspected of a cartel shooting massacre of nine members of a Mormon family who held U.S. and Mexican citizenship.

The big picture: Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is under pressure to curb violence in the country. President Trump has vowed to designate Mexico's drug cartels as terrorist organizations.

Go deeperArrowDec 2, 2019