The alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington using a member of a Mexican drug cartel, was discovered thanks to a DEA informant who infiltrated the cartel of the Zetas.
A rather bizarre episode (since the alleged Iranian agent, is a more frequent visitor of whiskey bottles than mosques), which could have very dangerous consequences. Several commentators have striven to investigate the Iranian side of the deal, but we we want to highlight some aspects of the Mexican side, in particular the strange connections between US intelligence agencies and Mexican drug cartels.
In the United States the controversy surrounding the operation “Fast and the Furious” (as named from the film) has not yet quelled; it was launched in October 2009 by ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a federal agency created the years of Prohibition, which currently operates in the control of traffic in small arms), aimed at identifying the weapon smuggling channels from the U.S. to Mexico.
Mexican authorities, in fact, have long complained that drug cartels are arming themselves in the United States and called on Washington to take action to block this traffic. The ATF has, therefore, facilitated the delivery to Mexico of about 2,000 firearms in order to get to those in charge of this traffic.
The problem is that all traces of these weapons have been lost such that the U.S. federal agency has de-facto collaborated in arming the cartels.
But it gets worse.
Some of these weapons were purchased on behalf of the powerful Sinaloa cartel by undercover informants working for the FBI and the DEA (U.S. Drug Federal agency), using funds donated by the respective agencies to which they belong.
Once again, one of the bosses of the Sinaloa cartel, Zambada Niebla, who is currently facing trial in Chicago (where he was extradited from Mexico), said that some U.S. agencies have reached an agreement with his organization, such that American authorities would close an eye on the cartel’s trafficking in exchange for information on the operations of rival cartels.
In practice, the Sinaloa cartel would have a sort of laissez-passer at the expense of its rivals or competitors. Such claims still need to be verified – however, the U.S. government has appealed to the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), which amounts to hiding behind a state secret.
In this framework, the CIA would surely make its own appearance, (sometimes nicknamed the Cocaine Import Agency for its links with drug trafficking), and because in some cases, DEA and CIA use the same informants (but the latter is the one that prevails in their control) and because an aircraft used by the spy agency in the past for the “extraordinary rendition” crashed in Mexico in late 2007 with a load of 4 tons of cocaine, belonging to the Sinaloa cartel.
The plane had been purchased two weeks before the incident on behalf of Mexican drug traffickers by two people, one of whom had previously worked for various law enforcement agencies and U.S. intelligence.
As for the “Zetas,” the cartel that was presumably hired by the Iranians, even while being a rival of the Sinaloa, has, in turn, strange acquaintances of its own, if only for its origin: a group of deserters from a special unit of the Mexican army trained at at Fort Benning, at the notorious School of the Americas (now renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation).
It therefore seems remarkable that the Al Quds Force, an intelligence and covert operations unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, would have sought contacts in an environment penetrated to such an extent by the various US police and intelligence forces.