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The report, further below, is dated, but so are Putin and Trump’s alleged and apparent ties to Russian organized crime. While we do not want to underestimate the role which land grabs related to mining, oil and gas, and agribusiness play in illegal immigration to the US from Latin America, a sudden spike in illegal immigration of both unaccompanied children and family groups occurred shortly after Russia invaded-annexed Crimea in February to March of 2014 (See charts at blog post bottom). Perhaps this is a mere coincidence? Or, perhaps not? Because smuggling illegal immigrants is so lucrative, it is of interest to organized crime. It’s not just a matter of push factors, but a way to make the journey north is needed. And, Russian organized crime has long been present in Mexico, and elsewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Chaos on the US border would fit in with the apparent modus operandi, M.O., of both Trump and Putin.

Recalling some of Putin and Trump’s alleged and apparent ties to organized crime:
In the 1990s Mr Putin oversaw foreign trade in St Petersburg and some of his associates from that time have been linked to organised crime.” “Putin, power and poison: Russia’s elite FSB spy club” 3 February 2018 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42636245
See more links at bottom of this blog post

Recall that US Airforce General Breedlove accused Russia of weaponizing migration: “Russia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponizing migration from Syria in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve, … https://www.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/673338/breedlove-russia-instability-threaten-us-european-security-interests/

Recall that Putin spent much of his life as a KGB agent, as the KGB is mentioned below.

Excerpted from “ORGANIZED CRIME AND TERRORIST ACTIVITY IN MEXICO, 1999-2002 A Report Prepared by the Federal Research Division, Library of Congress under an Interagency Agreement with the United States Government February 2003” Researcher: Ramón J. Miró:

A variety of Russian criminal organizations, operating through dozens of small cells, are engaged in a wide range of illegal activities in Mexico. Some Russian criminal organizations based in southern California have entered into drug trafficking partnerships with Mexican drug cartels

The Arellano-Felix Organization

Since the mid-1980s, the Arellano-Felix Organization (AFO) has been one of the most powerful and aggressive drug trafficking networks in Mexico….The AFO has also developed ties to Russian organized crime …


Alien smuggling from Mexico to the United States is a US$300 million-a-year business, second only to Mexico’s illicit drug trade in terms of revenues from criminal activities.56 The criminal organizations involved in alien smuggling through Mexico are highly efficient movers of people across national frontiers. Unlike other international criminal organizations, some of which smuggle illegal aliens as an adjunct to other criminal activities, alien smuggling groups typically are less hierarchical and more characterized by loose networks of associates to facilitate the movement of illegal migrants across regions and continents. These networks typically include local agents who recruit people interested in illegal immigration to the United States and elsewhere and bring them together for departure; travel processors who arrange for identification and any necessary travel documents; and international “brokers” along the way who facilitate intermediate passages and make arrangements for arrival at final destinations. The widespread dispersion of associates gives alien smuggling groups the flexibility to quickly and easily shift routes or call upon different operatives if law enforcement or other conditions disrupt their operations. The fact that groups of illegal aliens are typically handed from smuggler to smuggler during portions of their journey makes it difficult to target and disrupt alien smuggling networks.

Mexico’s alien smuggling networks include an abundance of smugglers and escorts, fraudulent document vendors, safehouse keepers, corrupt airline and bus company employees, and corrupt officials. Although many alien smuggling groups are highly specialized, the growing profitability of this criminal business has increased the involvement of larger polycrime syndicates. Some groups have engaged in moving both drugs and people, although not necessarily at the same time.

Exactly how many alien smuggling organizations are operating in Mexico is unknown, but the number is believed to be substantial. According to an INS intelligence report cited in a recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report, various sources have estimated that there may be up to 300 alien smuggling rings in Mexico.57 Mexican media have widely cited a report by Mexico’s intelligence service that claims there are about 100 Mexican alien smuggling rings linked to half a dozen core networks.58 The core networks are believed to have operatives throughout the Central American isthmus as well as in parts of South America. Some of the larger networks are also believed to have partnerships with East Asian alien smuggling groups and possibly Russian or Ukrainian organized crime groups….

The Iglesias Rebollo Organization/Titanium Group

This prostitution and human trafficking ring traffics in women from Central Europe Central America, and South America.70 Through a network of 16 nightclubs in Mexico City, the Titanium Group operates a criminal enterprise that colludes with foreign organized crime syndicates, possibly the Russian or Ukrainian mafias, to traffic in women from Hungary for purposes of sexual exploitation.71 Allegations have also been made that the Titanium Group properties have served as a haven for drug traffickers and other criminal elements. Titanium Group owner, Alejandro Iglesias Rebollo, became a fugitive from Mexican justice shortly after one of his nightclubs, the Lobohombo, burned down in October 2000, killing 22 people. Despite his status as a criminal fugitive, Iglesias continues to operate his criminal enterprise from an undisclosed location and was allowed to open a new nightclub in Mexico City in the summer of 2002…


Russian Organized Crime Groups

Interpol reports indicate that a variety of Russian criminal organizations, operating through dozens of small cells, are engaged in a wide range of illegal activities in Mexico.82

Russian mafia groups such as the Poldolskaya, Mazukinskaya, Tambovskaya, and Izamailovskaya have been detected in Mexico.83 The Moscow-based Solntsevskaya gang is also reported to be present in the country, as are other mafia gangs from Chechnya, Georgia, Armenia, Lithuania, Poland,d Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Albania, and Rumania. Their major activities include drug and arms trafficking, money laundering, prostitution, trafficking in women from Eastern and Central Europe and Russia, alien smuggling, kidnapping, and credit card fraud.84

Russian criminal organizations have discovered that linkages with one or more of the seven principal Mexican criminal organizations allow them to obtain drugs at low prices and under relatively secure circumstances. In order to maintain a low profile, Russian mafia groups in Mexico often operate out of resorts, hotels, or houses protected and owned by their Mexican associates. Beginning in the late 1990s, the growing importance of the Pacific route as the most reliable maritime corridor for Colombian cocaine bound for Mexico created a demand for the types of open-sea transportation services that Russian mafia organizations were well positioned to provide.

During the summer of 1997, the Mexican media began to report widely on the ties between Russian Organized Crime (ROC) groups and Mexican polydrug trafficking organizations. According to these reports, Mexican drug traffickers established formal alliances with Russian organized crime groups as early as 1992.

In a July 1997 story, the Mexico City daily Reforma reported that narcotics kingpin Amado Carillo Fuentes had traveled to Moscow in February 1997 to explore the possibility of expanding his operations into Russia. The Reforma story also claimed that Russian and Armenian crime groups based in southern California had entered into distribution arrangements with Mexican drug traffickers in the mid-1990s.85

In December 1997, Reforma reported that U.S. intelligence agencies had detected a partnership between the Tijuana-based Arellano-Felix Organization (AFO) and Russian mafia groups based in southern California.86 In a separate story, Reforma reported that members of the KGB-affiliated Kurganskaya group in San Diego had met with AFO operative Humberto Rodríguez Banuelos as early as January 1992.87

In February 1998, Reforma reported that the Russian mafia was supplying Mexican drug traffickers with radars, automatic weapons, grenade launchers, and small submersibles in exchange for cocaine, amphetamines, and heroin. It cited a 1996 sting operation in which undercover DEA agents posing as Russian mafia members sold Carillo Fuentes operatives 300 AK-47s and ammunition in Costa Rica.88

In July 1997, ten Russians, including four known members of the Russian mafia, were arrested at Mexico City’s international airport when they arrived on a KLM flight from Amsterdam. The mafia members included Aleksandr Zakharov, one of the leaders of the Moscow mafia and founder of the Uralinvest, known to have a principal role in organized crime in Russia. Another detainee was Nicolay Novikov, a Uralinvest director who had been imprisoned on three previous occasions for arms trafficking. A third was Yevgeniy Sazhayev, who had been arrested on two previous occasions for drug trafficking. The fourth was Vladimir Titov, wanted for various assassinations and who had escaped from several Russian prisons with the help of the mafia. The four men, who were traveling with six women, were apparently en route to Acapulco and Cancún. The group was reportedly deported. The Interpol head in Mexico, Juan Manuel Ponce, corroborated accounts that the group had been carrying arms and a substantial amount of cash.

According to Mexican analyst Jorge Fernández Méndez, the Russian mafia bosses had come to Mexico in order to mediate in the gang war being fought between the CFO and various other groups for control of drug trafficking routes through Mexico in the wake of the death of Amado Carillo Fuentes.89 Fernández Méndez claims that the Russians were invited to Mexico by Enrique González Quirarte, a lieutenant of Carillo Fuentes who had been put in charge of negotiations with the Russian mafia.

During the spring of 2001, the seizure of approximately 19 tons of cocaine from two fishing boats manned by Russian and Ukrainian crewmen further raised concerns that Mexican drug smugglers are doing business with the Russian mafia. In March 2001, U.S. authorities seized between seven and eight tons of cocaine hidden on the ship Forever My Friend, manned by a crew of eight Russians and Ukrainians. In May 2001, the 152-foot Belize-flagged ship Zvezda Maru, carrying about 12 tons of cocaine, was towed to San Diego after it was intercepted by the Coast Guard on the high seas in the country’s largest-ever maritime drug seizure. The Zvezda Maru and its crew of 12 Russians and Ukrainians were taken into custody after U.S.

Coast Guard officials discovered cocaine in a secret compartment beneath the ship’s holds. At the time of the Zvezda Maru bust, the DEA’s San Diego chief, Errol Chávez, stated that the nationalities of the crew were an “indication that there is direct involvement or some kind of association between Russian organized crime and members of the Arellano-Felix organization.”90

Ukrainian Criminal Organizations

Ukrainian criminal organizations have used Mexico as staging area for human smuggling activities directed at the United States. One such smuggling ring, which was broken up in May 2001, lured hundreds of Ukrainians—including women forced into prostitution—to Los Angeles and several other U.S. cities.91 The ring, which charged up to US$7,500 per person, generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal profits for its organizers.92 The Ukrainian smugglers allegedly gave instructions to the illegal immigrants on what to tell U.S. Border Patrol agents if they got caught and how to walk across the U.S.-Mexican border. Tetyana Komisaruk, the alleged ringleader, was in charge of the inflow of trafficked Ukrainians and collecting payment from them. Her husband, Valery Komisaruk, “helped operate staging points in Mexico” that included a villa near the California border where the trafficked Ukrainians were housed until they arrived in the United States. The third key player was Serhiy Mezherytsky, a Ukrainian immigrant who once ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the city council in West Hollywood. He provided boats and cars for smuggling illegal immigrants and allegedly cooperated with Mexican guides to traffic smuggled immigrants into the United States
56 “Study Says Mexico Migrant Traffic Is a $300 Million a Year Trade,” Reuters, 14 June 2001.
57 United States, General Accounting Office, Alien Smuggling: Management and Operational Improvements Needed to Address Growing Problem (Report GAO/GGD-00-103), 1 May 2000.
58 Héctor López Cruz, “Autoridades de 23 estados están involucradas en tráfico de ilegales” [Authorities in 23 States Are Involved in Alien Smuggling], Crónica [Mexico City], 23 July 2001.
70 “The Lobohombo Case: Drugs and Human Trafficking,” The News [Mexico City], 11 January 2000.
71 “Hungarian Ambassador Denounces Women Smuggling,” The News [Mexico City], 26 November 2000…
82 Gretchen Peters, “Drug Trafficking in the Pacific Has a Distinct Russian Flavor,” San Francisco Chronicle, 30 May 2001.
83 Bruce Michael Bagley, “Globalization and Transnational Organized Crime: The Russian Mafia in Latin America and the Caribbean,” School of International Studies, University of Miami, 31 October 2001.
84 Doris Gomora, “Las redes de la mafia globalizada en Mèxico” [The Networks of the Global Mafia in Mexico], Reforma [Mexico City], 16 May 2001, 9.
85 Alejandro Paez, “Buscaba Amado nexos con rusos” [Amado Sought Links to Russians], Reforma [Mexico City], 28 July 1997, 1.
86 “Versión confirmada” [Report Confirmed], Reforma [Mexico City], 7 December 1997, 1.
87 Inder M. Bugarin, “De Moscú a Tijuana” [From Moscow to Tijuana], Reforma [Mexico City], 7 December 1997, 26.
88 Inder M. Bugarin. “Arma la mafia rusa a narcos mexicanos [The Russian Mafia Arms Mexican Drug Traffickers], Reforma [Mexico City], 3 February 1998, 1.
89 Jorge Fernández Méndez, Narcotráfico y poder (Mexico City: Rayuela Editores S.A. de C.V., 1999), 78.
90 Peters.
91 Josh Meyer, “11 Held in Immigrant Smuggling Operation,” Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2001, B1.
92 Federal Bureau of Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office, Press Release, “19 Linked to Eurasian Crime Ring Named in Federal Complaint for Alien Smuggling,” 3 May 2001.

Read the entire document here: https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/pdf-files/OrgCrime_Mexico.pdf

Immigration spike on southern border in 2014