Author Archives: admin
Mexico is settling into a violent status quo
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We thank the Lord for you and deeply appreciate your faithful prayers and financial support for the work in Mexico.
Susie and I are doing well and in good health except for the arthritis pain and discomfort that always seems to be hanging around. We are so thankful for the Lord’s many blessings in the churches. There have been over 52 souls saved and 8 baptisms!
Children’s Day was one of the special events that many churches participated in. There were piñatas, candy, and clowns for the children, and many adults as well as the children responded to the Gospel.
We praise the Lord for the Bible Institute students and their involvement in ministry. The students have won more 38 to Christ these two months. They are finishing up their studies in April and will be preparing for the school’s graduation during the first week of May. Graduation day is May 5th.
We did a brief furlough time of three weeks and are grateful to the churches for their hospitality and fellowship. The love offerings helped us to pay $4,000 on a new loan for the roof on our house. We still need $5,500.00 to finish the loan. Then we will need help with legalizing a van for the Bible Institute. The van legalization will cost $900 to $1,000. If there is a church or individual that would be interested in donating a van in good mechanical condition for our ministry, please let me know. Thank you and God bless you all.
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support.
Yours in Christ,
Rick and Susie
MEXICO CITY — A mass grave discovered in the Mexican state of Veracruz contained more than 250 human skulls, most likely the victims of criminal drug cartels, the state’s attorney general said on Tuesday.
“For many years, the drug cartels disappeared people and the authorities were complacent,” Jorge Winckler, the state attorney general, said in a television interview with the Televisa network.
Veracruz, on Mexico’s Gulf coast, has been the epicenter of battles among the country’s drug gangs. The remains found at the site indicated that the victims might have been killed years ago, Mr. Winckler said.
Describing the crime-ridden state as a “giant grave,” Mr. Winckler said the state authorities would match D.N.A. samples at the scene to a database from the relatives of the missing.
Mr. Winckler did not say when or by whom the pits were discovered, but the first graves in the area were found in August with the help of members of Colectivo Solecito, a group of women whose children are missing.
The federal police and state prosecutors later discovered 125 clandestine graves over eight months across a large area known as Colinas de Santa Fe, said Lucía Diaz, a spokeswoman for the collective.
On Mother’s Day last year, some of the collective’s members were approached at a street protest by cartel members who handed them a map indicating the locations of the graves, Mrs. Diaz said.
With the new information, the collective raised money by holding bake sales and raffles to finance the searches, including paying for excavators.
Among the remains recovered in the last six months and already identified were the bodies of a former state prosecutor and his secretary, who were kidnapped by police officers working for a drug gang in 2013.
“What we have found is abominable and it reveals the state of corruption, violence and impunity that reigns not only in Veracruz, but in all of Mexico,” Ms. Diaz said.
“A reality that speaks of the collusion of authorities with organized crime in Veracruz, for it is impossible to see what we found without the participation of authorities,” she said.
Susie and I are doing well with good health and many blessings on the ministry. We praise God for His blessings in the churches. There have been over 38 souls saved and several presented for baptism! Friend Day was one of the special events that many churches participated in by passing out thousands of fliers and invitations to the communities. Dozens of new adults and children arrived and heard the Gospel. Many of them trusted in Jesus, and the children were given candy and surprises.
We praise the Lord for the Bible Institute students and their involvement in ministry. The students have won more than 25 to Christ these two months. They had a great missions trip to Los Fresnillos (‘fresneeyos’) for a week and spent several days at a pastors’ conference there singing, doing dramas, teaching, and soul winning. Several pastors were encouraged to send their prospective Bible Institute students to our school starting in September.
The students funded most of their trip through the pies they made and sold in the churches and communities months before. This annual trip is one-third of their missions grade, so all students must participate in order to pass the missions course.
We are very thankful for the churches that contributed to paying off the loan to repair the staff and married dorm roofs damaged by the earthquakes last September. Now we can work on the roof for our house that was also damaged. Also, we thank a dear friend for his special gift that allowed us to buy lawn tractors and equipment for the college and youth camp. Thank you and God bless you all.
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support.
Yours in Christ,
Rick and Susie
After eluding prosecution in the United States for decades and escaping from prison twice in Mexico, the crime lord Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known as El Chapo, appeared on Friday in federal court in Brooklyn and pleaded not guilty to charges that he had overseen a multibillion-dollar drug empire.
Prosecutors said the operation had moved at least 200 tons of cocaine into the United States, had earned $14 billion in profits and had been protected by an army of assassins who killed thousands of people.
Mr. Guzmán’s arraignment, in Federal District Court, was both a news media spectacle and a pro forma counterpoint to his sudden extradition from Mexico on Thursday afternoon, when a police jet flew him from the border to MacArthur Airport in Islip, on Long Island. The brief court proceeding took place under tight security, with police vehicles, heavily armed guards and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolling the grounds outside the courthouse.
Dressed for his arraignment in a blue V-neck T-shirt, blue pajama pants and blue sneakers, Mr. Guzmán, 59, stood with his court-appointed lawyers in front of Magistrate Judge James Orenstein in a fourth-floor courtroom packed with prosecutors, federal agents and reporters.
At the briefing, Robert L. Capers, the United States attorney in Brooklyn, called the extradition of Mr. Guzmán, whose nickname means Shorty, a milestone in the pursuit of a trafficker who achieved mythic status in his homeland as a Robin Hood-like outlaw and a serial prison escapee.
Saying that Mr. Guzmán now faced life in prison on a charge of running a continuing criminal enterprise, Mr. Capers sought to play down Mr. Guzmán’s role as a folk hero and promised that he would not escape his American jailers.
“Who is Chapo Guzmán?” Mr. Capers said, flanked by a phalanx of law-enforcement officials from local, state and federal agencies. “In short, he is a man who has known no other life than one of crime, violence, death and destruction.”
Even at a courthouse that has seen the prosecution of Mafia dons like John J. Gotti, the onetime Gambino family boss, and corrupt public officials like Meade Esposito, the former Brooklyn Democratic leader, the arrival of Mr. Guzmán sent a charge through the building, where scores of international reporters were on hand.
In an extraordinary confluence of events, Mr. Guzmán was taken from Mexico by plane on the eve of the inauguration of Donald J. Trump and was arraigned in Brooklyn only hours after Mr. Trump was sworn in. After the hearing, he was returned to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, a high-security federal jail that has housed some of New York’s highest-risk federal defendants, including many facing terrorism charges.
As the day began, prosecutors in Brooklyn issued a memo laying out their arguments for keeping Mr. Guzmán in custody. They noted his vast wealth and asserted his propensity for violence and his penchant for escaping Mexican prisons — most notably, the maximum-security Altiplano prison, where he lived in isolation under 24-hour surveillance. Nonetheless, he managed to flee after his associates dug a tunnel directly into his shower.
Speaking at the news conference, Angel M. Melendez, the special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations in New York, said he had been at the airport Thursday night when Mr. Guzmán arrived. Mr. Melendez said he looked into Mr. Guzmán’s eyes and saw “surprise, shock and even a bit of fear” now that he was facing “American justice.”
Mr. Guzmán’s escapes in Mexico came while he was serving a long sentence on drug-related offenses.
Although officials at the gathering refused to discuss details about security measures, Mr. Melendez said, “I can assure you no tunnel will be built to his bathroom.”
Mr. Guzmán is facing charges in six federal districts, and Mr. Capers said the decision had been made to prosecute him in Brooklyn, with the assistance of federal prosecutors in Miami, because the two offices working together could bring “the most forceful punch” to the case against the leader of the Sinaloa cartel. Mr. Capers added that cases in Texas, in California, in Illinois and elsewhere would, for the moment, remain open. The investigation into Mr. Guzmán’s crimes was conducted by a host of agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In its memo filed Friday, Mr. Capers’s office said it would seek a criminal forfeiture of $14 billion against Mr. Guzmán and announced that it planned to call dozens of witnesses to testify about the staggering scope of Mr. Guzmán’s criminal enterprise: its multi-ton shipments of drugs in trucks, planes, yachts, fishing vessels, container ships and submersibles, as well as its numerous killings of witnesses, law enforcement agents, public officials and rival cartel members.
The memo also said the government had a vast array of physical evidence, including seized drug stashes and electronic surveillance recordings.
The 26-page memorandum of law — supplemented with photographs of seized drugs and the planes, boats and submersibles used to smuggle them — reads like a history of the modern narcotics business. Prosecutors contend that Mr. Guzmán transformed the drug trade with unchecked brutality, remarkable efficiency and brazen corruption.
The document tracks his progression from the 1980s, as a smuggler who transported Colombian cocaine to the United States and returned the profits to traffickers there so efficiently that he earned the nickname El Rápido, through the ’90s, when he began consolidating his control in Mexico.
As Colombian traffickers faced increased enforcement of extradition laws, and thus greater threat of prosecution in the United States, they ceded elements of the distribution networks in the United States to Mexican cartels, according to the memo. As Mr. Guzmán’s operations grew, prosecutors say, they became increasingly sophisticated.
Mr. Guzmán also established a complex communications network to allow him to speak covertly with his growing empire without detection by law enforcement, according to the memo. This included “the use of encrypted networks, multiple insulating layers of go-betweens and ever-changing methods of communicating with his workers.”
Mr. Guzmán also established distribution networks in New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Illinois, Texas and California and created “massive money-laundering efforts that delivered billions of dollars in illegal profits generated from the cocaine sales in the United States to the Mexican traffickers and their Colombian partners,” the memo said.
“These changes,” it added, “enabled Guzmán to exponentially increase his profits to staggering levels.”
1. January 16 – students return to classes from Christmas Break
2. January 23-27 – modular week of classes
3. February 13-17 – Missions Trip to Fresnillo, Zacatecas
4. February 11-12 – – Friend Day celebrations in the churches
5. March 6-10 – modular week of classes
6. March 16-April 19 – furlough in Florida and Indiana
7. April 9-16 – Semana Santa (Easter Week and Spring Break)
8. April 24-28 – last week of classes (final exams week)
9. April 29-30 – churches celebrate Children’s Day (churches celebrate the kids with special services and celebrations as an outreach ministry to their families)
10. May 1-5 – Graduation Week
11. May 5 – Graduation Day – Morning Session – 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Lunch
Evening Session – 6:00 pm (dinner after meeting)
12. May 13-14 – Mother’s Day celebrations in the churches
13. June 17-18 – Father’s Day celebrations in the churches
14. June_August – summer S.E.N.D. Groups
15. July_August – VBSs in the churches
16. July_August – junior and senior youth camps
17. August 14-21 – married students arrive at campus to enroll children in local public schools
18. September 4 – 9:00-11:00 am. students arrive at campus, Convocation at 6:00 pm
19. September 5 – first day of classes for the 2015-2016 school year
20. September 11 – first day of classes for BA students
21. September 28-October 18 – Furlough in Florida
22. October 23-27 – modular week of classes
23. November 3-5 – Missions Trip with Bayshore Church
24. December 4-8 – modular week of classes
25. December 12 – Christmas Party with staff and students
25. December 14 – last day of classes before Christmas Break
26. December 15-January 14 – Christmas Break
The Mexican Cartels’ Christmas Slaughter
Extraordinary violence has become perfectly ordinary in Mexico, and it takes no break for the holidays.
“Merry Christmas,” the note added.
’Tis the season to be jolly, but for many in Mexico, fear still outweighs joy this week, as violence proves to be a sinister gift that just won’t stop giving.
For a country now celebrating its 10th year embroiled in a brutal militarized drug war, the best present this season, greatest regalo de Navidad, would be a few days of rest from unending violence and horror.
But as millions of children in Mexico hope and wait for piles of colorfully wrapped presents to be delivered this weekend, some of the grown-ups have delivered less joyous packages:
Six nude male corpses wrapped in garbage bags were discovered on Sunday in Jalisco, on their way to be publicly abandoned by 10 men traveling in two pickup trucks. Among the near-dozen men who were arrested, authorities found an investigator with the state attorney general’s office, a former state official tasked with assisting in missing women’s cases, and the local leader of an organized crime cell, in addition to seven other criminals, and the half-dozen dead men.
Hours later, in Sinaloa, three men were found murdered execution-style outside a children’s day care center, in the sort of killing that has become mundane in Mexico. The following day, two more were found executed in a taxicab—an example of the sort of killing that barely makes the news in Mexico these days.
Just in the cartel-rattled border state of Chihuahua, at least 16 people were murdered in similar violent fashion in less than 24 hours between Sunday and Monday—some bodies showing signs of torture and mutilation.
In Guerrero, a state known for its heroin production and as the site of the disappearance and probable mass-execution of 43 teaching students, authorities confirmed on Tuesday that seven alleged poppy growers were killed in gun battles over the weekend, but the bodies were retrieved by family members before the authorities arrived.
In the coastal state of Oaxaca, an elderly woman was hacked to death on Tuesday with a machete inside her home in Xoxocotlán—another in a string of murdered women across the state, and country at large.
A 40-minute drive down the road takes you to Ocotlán de Morelos, where Mayor José Villanueva was assassinated on Sunday while eating outside with his brother, who has been hospitalized for gunshot wounds.
He is just one more Mexican politician taken out by cartel violence. But it isn’t just the bad guys putting influential people out of commission.
Just two weeks after assuming his position as city councilman in the border city of Tijuana, local politician Luis Torres Santillán was arrested at the San Diego crossing on 10 counts of money laundering a week ago Friday. At his arraignment Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty.
Although U.S. authorities accuse the politician of participating in a scheme to send dirty money north across the border, before wiring the funds back into Mexico, his lawyer told the San Diego Union Tribune that there is nothing illicit about the money, which he claims his client, who also manages a grain import business, sent to “distributors of rice, lentils and beans.”
The state’s complaint against Torres Santillán remains sealed, and he will remain jailed over Christmas with a $5 million bail set until a January reduction hearing. Things could be worse for him. As anyone who has ever played Monopoly can attest, sometimes it is safer in jail than it is to try to pass GO.
But not always.
A shootout early Thursday morning during a prison transfer in Tamaulipas was caught on video. Gunmen with the Zetas cartel attempted to regain custody of one of their men as authorities moved 12 inmates to a federal prison. One of the prisoners, Victor “El Karate” Becerra García, is thought to control the Ciudad Victoria jail, ordering hits from within the confines of the facility.
The escape attempt was unsuccessful, and no deaths have been reported so far. But for those still playing the game this week, Christmas-time has brought no mercy.
On Wednesday, the same day as the handless “extortionists” turned up with season’s greetings in Mexico State, a corpse was discovered wrapped in a blood-soaked blanket there. With it was a narcomanta allegedly signed by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
Proving more reliable than postal workers, criminal groups in Mexico keep delivering through the holidays, come rain or shine—Christmas be damned.
But while crime does not let up, this season does bring festive overtones to its typical displays of cartel violence, and criminals—who are known to play the part of do-gooders on occasion—show a penchant for spreading holiday cheer in unlikely places.
In 2012, then just six years into the drug war, messages directed to then-President Felipe Calderon, the intellectual father of Mexico’s cartel crackdown, repeatedly wished him a “Merry Christmas,” and said the president could “count on” these “well-meaning” criminals in their fight toward a common goal.
Today, this seasonal trend has not ended. A dead man was found with his body parts strewn around him in Boca del Rio, Veracruz, on Wednesday. The young man, whose ears and other extremities were removed, was sitting on a colorful blanket, under a sign that read: “This happened to me for robbing banks and stealing cars […] Merry Christmas.”
He is one of at least three young men found under similar circumstances this week in Veracruz. In the case of another such murder, a disembodied hand belonging to a partially skinned man held down a sign calling for a safer “rat free” Veracruz, and featured a drawing of a broom, indicating that his death had been a form of housekeeping. These victims’ signs also displayed holiday greetings.
A star-shaped piñata full of candy was discovered in Acapulco a week ago Friday, along with a sign: “This is what will happen to all of those who switch to the Progreso gang.”
“Merry Christmas, prosperous New Year,” the sign added, with a nudge to look inside the piñata. Buried in the candy, a bloody heart.
One could wish for a prosperous New Year. One might pray for it in this violence-rattled country, now winding down its most violent year since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office, following Calderón in 2012.
Hopes run thin, however, as—following the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States—2017 promises economic uncertainty in Mexico, stagnant growth, and a weaker peso, which does nothing to help curb the poverty that encourages organized crime and furthers violence.
Already the hope of “prosperity” is out the window, before the year has even begun. As for the “new year,” pundits have already begun predicting that violence in 2017 may surpass this year’s gruesome tally—which is more than 20,000 dead, so far, and counting.
We praise God for His blessings in the churches. There have been over 35 souls saved and several presented for baptism! The churches continue discipling new converts and training future church leaders. The newest work, Los Jardines, is going well and being led by Cirilo de la Rosa.
In November a church group of men from Bayshore Bible Ch. came to work on some closets and other things for the Bible Institute dormitories. They did a tremendous amount of work in just a few days and also raised money to buy water heaters for the dorms. The students were thrilled to finally have hot water!
The Bible Institute students have won more than 16 to Christ these two months. Along with the maintenance and cleaning work they do in the afternoons, they also are involved with soul winning, discipling, their studies, and making pies to sell in order to raise funds for their annual missions trip in February to Fresnillo, Zacatecas.
Susie’s “Christmas Kids” was a great success due to the participation of several churches sending offerings to buy candy and toys for the church kids and Bible students. She was able to prepare over 500 bags of candy and presents for them in at least eight of the churches. Thank you for your participation in sharing the love of God with them. God bless you all.
Yours in Christ, Thank you for your faithful prayers and support.
Rick and Susie
Dear Friends in Christ, September/October 2016
Susie and I are doing well and in good health, although both of us recently have been sick with a bronchial infection.
We praise God for His blessings in the churches. There have been more than 38 souls saved and thousands of fliers have been distributed during evangelistic efforts in several churches! The Garcia Church is experiencing new growth, and the remodeling of the building is going well.
We thank the Lord for the new work getting started in Los Jardines de Cadereyta. The first month (September) saw 30 saved! Several new discipleships are now on going. In October we won 12 to Christ and a Saturday morning “Kids Club” has been started! Bro. Cirilo will be the pastor of the new work.
The Bible Institute is going well with a great group of students this year. They have won 30 to Christ these two months over the weekends when they return to their area churches.
Please pray for these two married couples at the institute. They have sold what belongings they had, paid their debts, left their homes, and came to study for the ministry. Both young ladies are with child and have certain needs. They are receiving very little help outside what we can do for them. Would a Sunday School class or someone consider supplying them with a scholarship to pay their monthly tuition and book fees?
Tuition is $40 per month for each couple. The book fees for each couple is a one-time payment of $55 (the couple shares each book). Thank you for your consideration to help these worthy students study for the ministry. God bless.
Yours in Christ, Thank you for your faithful prayers and support.
Rick and Susie