*** Jorge Rojas and Juan Gonzalez, two gunmen from the Tijuana drug cartel, have been convicted in a San Diego court in connection with last year's kidnapping of businessman Eduardo Gonzalez:
The pair led a group known as Los Palillos (the Toothpicks) that focused its attacks on alleged associates of the Arellano-Felix drug-smuggling organization, which has controlled the flow of narcotics from Tijuana into Southern California for more than 15 years. * * * Law enforcement officials say Rojas organized the gang of disgruntled ex-gunmen believed responsible for as many as 20 kidnappings and a dozen murders in San Diego County beginning in about 2004.
Rojas and Gonzalez face life in prison, and four other defendants allegedly involved with the kidnapping of Gonzalez are scheduled for trial in January.
*** Ron Hager, the former Bureau Chief of the Detention Division in Cochise County, Arizona who abrupty resigned in November 2007, has received a subpoena from prosecutors to testify in the trial of Carlos “El Caliche” Molinares-Nunez on federal racketeering and drug trafficking charges scheduled to commence on January 9:
According to a report in Benson’s San Pedro Valley News-Sun newspaper, which first broke the news of Hager’s involvement in the Molinares-Nunez case, Hager is the target of a public corruption investigation by the FBI. The information about the corruption probe was attributed to Anthony Coulson, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s assistant agent in charge in Tucson. In an interview, Coulson would not confirm that Hager was the target of an FBI probe. But he did say that the subpoena raised troubling questions about Hager’s potential relationship with Molinares-Nunez. “It’s absolutely of concern,” Coulson says. He also did not rule out a possible future indictment of Hager.
Molinares-Nunez was arrested in December 2006 as the alleged leader of an enterprise "responsible for smuggling and distributing multi-ton loads of marijuana into Southern Arizona." Hager’s wife, Eugenia Aguirre, a former employee of the Cochise County Jail, also has been subpoenaed to testify in the Molinares-Nunez trial.
*** Mexican President Felipe Calderon "said today that half of the police recently tested are unqualified to do their jobs":
Calderon, in a written response to questions from legislators, said 49 per cent of 56,000 local, state and federal cops evaluated this year scored "not recommendable." Mexico's poorly trained and underpaid police are widely viewed as incompetent, and rampant corruption has hampered Calderon's campaign against wealthy drug smuggling gangs.