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Mexico: “Why Is Uncle Sam Covering For Ye Gon?”

Posted by Colin Brayton on July 19, 2007

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Today in Rumbo de Mexico — which reads sort of like a Pravda for Mexico’s PAN: “PAN lawmakers demand international criminal trial for Chávez for interference in Mexico.”

And he just walked along, alone,
With his guilt so well concealed,
And muttered underneath his breath,
“Nothing is revealed.”

– Bob Dylan, “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest”

Rumbo de México, a publication of the Grupo Mac, editorializes.

The bottom-line talking point: “Ye Gon is Calderón’s Carlos Ahumada!”

[UPDATE, July 20: "Ye Gon not protected by U.S.": Mexican PANhandler. Translation to come. The DEA subsequently charged the guy, who has now been indicted by a grand jury. Maybe compared to being in the Tijuana jail, that feels like "protection."]

I translate merely because I am very interested in speculation for speculation’s sake — and arguments from implausibility and plausible deniability in particular — in this case.

I expect to see the networks humming with conspiracy theories. These sorts of people are into that Swift Boat sort of thing (“ETA did 11-M!”) in a big way, in my observation. This has many of the hallmarks of one.

Es un hombre acusado de narcotráfico, fichado en 289 naciones vía la Interpol, a quien se le hizo el decomiso de dinero en efectivo más grande en la historia. ¿Resulta creíble que pueda andar libre, dando entrevistas televisivas, en el país más poderoso del mundo

He is a man accused of narcotrafficking, with an Interpol alert in 289 [sic] nations, from whom was seized the largest [mountain of money] in history. Is it really credible that he can walk around free, giving interviews on TV, in the most powerful country in the world?

NMM Maxim No. 13 is triggered: Arguments from [mere] implausibility are the first refuge of a David “Fear and Misinformation Abound” Sasaki-style FUD artist.

La respuestta [sic] parece estar en la misma pregunta y es muy clara: las autoridades de Estados Unidos lo están protegiendo. Lo que no se sabe es la razón por la cual los americanos, que durante más de dos décadas han pretendido ser los pontífices del combate al narcotráfico, están respaldando al chino Zhenli Ye Gon.

The answer seems to be implicit in the question and is very clear: The U.S. authories are protecting him. What is unknown is why the American, who for more than two decades have tried to be the Popes of the war on drugs, are backing the Chinese Zhenli Ye Gon.

Given that my freaking taxpayer dollars appear to gave gone into putting Calderón into office by hook or by crook, with help from Dick Morris and, I suspect, Rob Allyn– see Dicking Democracy, Down South American Way — I could see why PAN propagandists might be preoccupied with this question.

That is, of course, pure speculation on my part as well. But at least I make no bones about it: I am just some blogger. So caveat lector.

A question which implies the answer is sometimes called “rhetorical question” and is a form of rhetorical tautology. Assuming the consequent as part of the antecedent is actually a specious form of reasoning, but is here celebrated as a prodigious feat of intellectual prowess.

A cambio de qué lo protegen no se sabe –y quizá siempre sea una incógnita–, pero la historia del chino, a quien en el vecino país del norte llaman Charly, acaso puede dar una serie de pistas para entender parte de los oscuros intereses internacionales que se mueven detrás de este personaje, prófugo de la justicia mexicana, a la que ha retado e intenta chantajear, para que no se le enjuicie por narcotráfico y se le devuelvan los más de 205 millones de dólares que le fueron decomisados.

What they are protecting him in exchange for is not known — and perhaps shall always be unknown …

Another classic David “Fear and Misinformation Abound” Sasaki, (Hearing) Global Voice Online moment: “The Truth is Nowhere.”

… but the story of the Chinaman, whom in our neighbor to the North they call “Charly,” might provide a series of clues for understanding part of the obscure international interests maneuvering behind this personage, a fugitive from Mexican justice, who has plotted and attempted blackmail in order not to be tried for narcotrafficking, and to get back the more than $205 million seized from him.

The technical contact for this newspaper’s Web site — Hugo Caviedes Karam — also turns up as the representative of a company contracted to do a digital video surveillance for Mexico’s Treasury department, by the way. What does that mean? Hell if I know.

Disfraz de honorable

Disguised as an honorable man

Hasta antes del 15 de marzo pasado, día en que le incautaron el dinero, Ye Gon era simplemente un empresario chino, naturalizado mexicano en 2002; con una buena casa en las Lomas de Chapultepec, pero cuyo nivel y estilo de vida no despertaba la menor sospecha de que tuviese escondidos en su casa más de 205 millones de dólares, ni que tuviera relación con el narcotráfico.

Up until 15 March 2007, the day they seized his money, Ye Gon was simply a Chinese businessman, naturalized as a Mexican citizen in 2002; with a nice house in Las Lomas de Chapultepec, but whose lifestyle did not awaken the least suspicion that he might have hidden in his house more than $205 million, or have some relation to the narcotraffic.

Es más, se sabe que regularmente acudía a la escuela de sus hijos, que participaba en las juntas de padres de familia, en las ceremonias y festivales y, por supuesto, que su español no era tan bueno, porque continuamente prefería hablar en inglés.

More, it is known that he regularly went to the school his children attended, that he was [active in the PTA] and went to school ceremonies and celebrations and, of course, that his Spanish was not that good, because he always preferred to speak English.

Odd, then, that he reportedly spoke [really terrible] Spanish in his teleconference appearance yesterday.

En el mundo de los negocios, Ye Gon tampoco despertaba la menor sospecha de dedicarse a actividades ilegales. Se sabía que era un importador de productos farmacéuticos, y como tal se identificaba, lo que lo llevó a tener acercamientos con legisladores, y hasta una credencial de Enlace Legislativo, de esas que le dan a cualquiera en el Senado de la República o la Cámara de Diputados, simplemente con llevar la carta de solicitud de parte de alguna empresa constituida, como era el caso del chino, quien representaba a su propio consorcio: Unimed Pharm Chemde, fundado en 2004.

In the business world, Ye Gon also did not awaken the slightest suspicion that he might be involved in illegal activities. It was known that he was a pharameceuticals importer, and that is how he identified himself, which led him to have relationships with lawmakers, and even a pass to get into the building at Congress, such as those they hand out to anyone at the Senate or House, simply by presenting the business card of any registered corporation, such as was the case with the Chinaman, who represented his own consortium: Unimed, founded in 2004.

En esta etapa, es posible que el chino se haya reunido con personajes de la clase política y empresarial mexicana, pues finalmente sus actividades, hasta ese entonces, no despertaban ninguna sospecha, tal como ocurrió hace poco más de un lustro con el argentino Carlos Ahumada, quien cuando gozaba de buena fama se reunía con personajes de primer nivel, y después todo mundo tuvo que deslindarse de éste.

At this stage, it is possible that the Chinaman might have meeting with Mexican political and business figures, because after all his activities, up until then, did not awaken any suspicion, much as occurred more than five years ago with the Argentine businessman Carlos Ahumada, who started out with a good name, met with high-ranking persons, and then later everyone had to distance themselves from him.

Los Bribiesca Sahagún

The Bribiesca Bros.

Entre las relaciones más cercanas a Zhenli Ye Gon destaca el nombre del ex procurador General de la República, Ignacio Morales Lechuga, quien como notario público certificó el inició de su empresa en el año 2004 y la compra de la casa de Sierra Madre 515, en las Lomas de Chapultepec, donde se decomisó el dinero el pasado 15 de marzo. Curiosamente, Morales Lechuga también era el notario personal de Carlos Ahumada.

Among those closest to Zhenli Ye Gon the name of former federal attorney Ignacio Morales Lechuga, who as a notary public certified the founding of his business in 2004 and the purchase of his house at 515 Sierra Madre, where the money was seized on 15 March. Curiously, Morales Lechuga was also the personal notary of Carlos Ahumada.

On Ahumada, see

Las autoridades mexicanas tienen indicios de una posible relación entre el chino y Manuel Bribiesca Sahagún, el mayor de los hijos de la ex primera dama, Marta. Presuntamente, a través del ex administrador General de Aduanas, José Guzmán Montalvo (amigo de los Sahagún), habría apoyado a Zhenli Ye Gon en la introducción de pseudoefedrina al país, durante el gobierno de Fox.

The Mexican authorities have indications of a possible relationship between the Chinaman and Manuel Bribiesca, the older son of the former First Lady, Marta Fox. Allegedly, through former Customs director Guzmán Montalvo (a friend of the Sahagún family), he may have helpled Ye Gon introduce (pre-Sudafed goo) into Mexico during the Fox government.

Guzmán is, I read, — Proceso: “More Quaint Customs in Ye Gon Case” — a current Calderón appointee, in charge of “innovation,” at Treasury.

Esta versión cobra credibilidad si se observa que, entre diciembre de 2005 y enero de 2006, el chino logró importar 60 toneladas de pseudoefedrina, a pesar de que la Comisión Federal para la Protección de Riesgos Sanitarios (Cofepris, dependiente de la Secretaría de Salud), le había cancelada la licencia de importación desde el 1 de julio de 2005.

This version gains credibility if one observes that, between December 2005 and January 2006, the Chinaman managed to import 60 tons of psuedoephedrine even though the [Mexican FDA, sort of] had canceled the import license starting on July 1, 2005.

The Chinaman — if the “Chinese tale” really is the work of the Chinaman — says it was (Hydroxy Benzyl-N-Metylacetetamtne [sic]) or phenylephrine, if I am reading this right.

17 años en México

17 Years in Mexico

A principios de 1990, el joven Zhenli Ye Gon salió de su natal Shangai hacia México, para reencontrarse con su prometida Tomoiyi Marx Yu, cuya familia poseía una empresa –Yumarx Hermanos S.A. de C.V.–, dedicada a la importación de herramientas, textiles y juguetes provenientes de China.

In early 1990, young Ye Gon left his native Shanghai for Mexico, to be reunited with his promised wife, Tomoiyi Marx Yu, whose family had a company — Yumarx Bros. — that imported tools, textiles and toys from China.

He’s a Yumarxist! I knew it!

En territorio mexicano, la pareja contrajo matrimonio y Zhenli Ye Gon se incorporó como promotor de la empresa de la familia de su esposa, pero los malos manejos que realizó de esta firma llegaron a tal punto, que tuvo que abandonar la compañía en 1995, lo que también originó que se tensarán las relaciones con los hermanos de su esposa, en particular con Tomintat Marx Yu, quien está detenido.

On Mexican soil, the couple married and Ye Gon joined the family business as a marketing guy, but his mismanagement of the firm was so great that he had to leave the company in 1995, which also gave rise to tensions with his wife’s brothers, especially with Tomintat Marx Yu, who was arrested.

Con esta experiencia, Zhenli Ye Gon creó a principios de 1996 una pequeña empresa dedicada a la importación de productos chinos, y después de químicos farmacéuticos, de donde se derivaría su negocio ilícito y, al mismo tiempo, su fortuna.

With that experience, Ye Gon created a small firm in early 1996 that imported Chinese goods, and later pharmachem materials, from which his illegal business, and at the same, his fortune may have derived.

Sí, el chino vio en la importación de pseudoefedrina una mina de oro, pues este químico se utiliza para la fabricación de mentanfetaminas, la droga que está de moda entre los jóvenes estadounidenses, al grado de que es más popular que la cocaína, según información de la Procuraduría General de la República.

Yes, the Chinaman saw the importing of pseudoephedrine as a gold mine, because this chemical is used to make methamphetamine, the drug that is in fashion among young Americans, so much so that it is more popular than cocaine, according to the Mexican PGR.

It is?

That would be alarming.

Kids, remember what Fat Freddy says: Peed skills. I mean, skeed pills.

Las ganancias del chino

The Chinaman’s fortune grows

De acuerdo con estimaciones de la PGR, en los más de tres años que el chino se dedicó a importar pseudoefedrina a México, pudo lograr ventas que le produjeron ingresos por más de 400 millones de dólares. Esta versión es congruente, si se recuerda que el chino era uno de los más fuertes apostadores en Las Vegas, donde en un periodo de tres años perdió más de 120 millones de dólares. Era tan famoso, que todo el tiempo lo paseaban en un vehículo Rolls Royce. También fue conocido porque en una sola mano de bacará perdió 150 mil dólares. Todos estos datos los sabe en la actualidad la Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA, Agencia Antidrogas Estadounidense), así como la Central Intelligence Agency (CIA, Agencia Central de Inteligencia). Pese a todo, el chino no ha sido detenido en aquel país.

According to PGR estimates, in the more than three years in which the Chinaman was imported pseudoephedrine into Mexico, he might have earned as much as $400 million. This story is consistent, if it is recalled that the Chinaman was one of the highest rollers in Vegas, where in a period of three years he lost more than $120 million. He was so famous that the whole time they drove him around in a Rolls Royce. He was also known for having lost $150,000 on a single hand of baccarat. All of these data are known by the DEA and by the CIA. Despite all that, the Chinaman has not been detained there.

It’s legal to gamble like a jackass in Nevada. On the DEA factoid, see also Mexico: Reputed Meth Mandarin Was a High Roller, Says DEA.

It is not encouraging to find that the top Google result for a DEA agent named Gaddyss [Welsh, presumably, or misspelled by Mexican SIEDO cops] is this very blog you are reading.

Y más sospechas de protección del gobierno americano: de acuerdo con la PGR, la organización de Zhenli Ye Gon iniciaba el tráfico de pseudoefedrina en Hong Kong y Shangai, China, donde los cargamentos eran enviados a Long Beach, California y tenían como destino final los puertos de Manzanillo, Colima y Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán. Es decir, todo pasaba por la aduana estadounidense. ¿Cómo es que nunca lo detectaron los americanos

More suspicions of protection by the U.S. government: according to the PGR, the Ye Gon organization started trafficking pseudoephedrine in Hong Kong and Shanghai, where the shipments were sent to Long Beach, California and then on to Manzanillo and Lázaro Cárdena. That is to say, it all passed through U.S. customs. How is it that the Americans never detected it?

Well, there is still the theory that there was nothing to detect, of course. We await clarification.

It would be great if the PGR would release the contested lab results, for example, to show how it concluded that the stuff that the Chinaman denies was a Schedule I narcoprecursor actually was a Schedule I narcoprecursor.

The same goes for absurd proposition that the final destination of the $205 million (the LA Times reports $207 million) in banknotes does not matter.

Of course it matters! Bank notes have serial numbers. Government money printers keep records of those numbers. Or at least one hopes they do, for moments just like this one.

Otro punto que ya lleva al ridículo a las autoridades estadounidenses, es que fueron éstas, a través de la DEA, quienes filtraron información a la PGR, para lograr el decomiso de 19 toneladas de pseudoefedrina, en el puerto de Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, en diciembre pasado, y fue lo que a la postre llevó a las autoridades mexicanas a la residencia de las Lomas de Chapultepec.

Another point that makes the U.S. authorities look ridiculous is that they were the ones, through the DEA, who leaked information to the PGR to get the 19 tons seized in the port of Lázaro Cárdenas last December,which was what later led Mexican authorities to the Chapultepec house.

Okay, so the DEA put the PGR onto this guy, and now the cabal of U.S. high officials regrets it because he is their guy. Sure, I guess so. Why not? Got anymore of that Sudafed?

‘Es un chingo de lana’

“A fuckload of dough”

El 15 de marzo, un comandante de la Policía Federal Preventiva (PFP) llamó a su jefe, el secretario de Seguridad Pública Federal, Genaro García Luna, con quien se dio el siguiente diálogo, de acuerdo con fuentes de la dependencia.

On 15 March, a PFP commander called his bosses, the federal secretary of public security, Genaro García Luna, and had the following conversation, according to sources inside the agency.

On García Luna, director of federal police intelligence under Zedillo, see also Mexico: The Return of the Hard Men With the Dirty Hands.

—Jefe, en una casa encontramos un chingo de dinero.

Boss, we found a fuckload of dough in a house.

—Bueno, pues asegúrenlo y me reportas más tarde.

Great, well, seize it and report back to me later.

—¡Es que es un chingo de dinero, jefe!

I’m saying it is a fuckload of money, boss!

—¿Cómo cuánto es

Like how much?

—No, jefe, mejor véngase para acá, porque es un chingo, un chingo de dinero.

No, boss, you better get down here because it is fuckload, I mean a fuckload of money.

El comandante de la PFP tenía razones de sobra para estar sorprendido, porque nunca en su vida, ni él ni ningún otro policía en el mundo, había visto tantos billetes juntos. Cuando llegó al lugar Genaro García Luna constató que se trataba del decomiso de dinero en efectivo más importante en la historia: 205 millones de dólares.

The PFP director had more than enough reasons for surprise, because never in his life, or in the life of any policeman in the world, had anyone seen that much cash. When he got there, García noted that this was the biggest cash seizure in history: $205 million.

The LA Times says it was $207 million. The Treasury says it was less than $205 million. How much was it, exactly?

Ese mismo día, junto con el efectivo, se detuvo a la esposa del chino, y a su cuñado. Pero también al personal que laboraba en la casa, como el jardinero, Giovanni Delgado González, quien pese a decir que tiene 17 años, está recluido en el Penal de Máxima Seguridad del Altiplano.

The same day, along with the cash, the Chinaman’s wife and brother-in-law were detained. But also the peopleworking at the house, like the garden, who though he says he is only 17 is locked up on the Altiplano maximum security prison.

Sin embargo, el chino Ye Gon no se encontraba en su casa ese día, pues presuntamente alguien le informó del operativo. Extrañamente –se sabría después–, pese a ser perseguido por las autoridades mexicanas y fichado vía la Interpol, logró ingresar a territorio estadounidense e incluso ir a jugar a los casinos de Las Vegas. No se sabe si entró con su pasaporte mexicano, con el chino, con documentación falsa y un nombre apócrifo, o tutelado por la CIA o la DEA.

However, the Chinaman Ye Gon was not home that day, so presumably someone tipped him tothe operation.

Now there’s a leap of faith-based logic.

Oddly — as it would be discovered later — despite being pursued by Mexican authorities and subject of an Interpol alert, he managed to enter U.S. territory and even go gamble at the Las Vegas casinos. It is not know nwhether he entered under a Mexican passport, a Chinese one, with false documents under a phony name, or helped by the CIA or DEA.

I read a report that he entered under his Chinese passport, got pulled over for centralized scrutinization (Zappa, Joe’s Garage), and was then released into the wild.

‘Copela o cuellos’

“Coopelate or [thloat-srashing gesture]“

El asunto se torna más sospechoso si se considera que, siendo prófugo de la justicia mexicana, estando boletinado con la ficha roja de la Interpol en 189 país, Ye Gon estuvo en San Francisco, cruzó al otro lado de los Estados Unidos, a Nueva York; viajó a Vaoncouver, Canadá, y volvió a Nueva York, donde contrató un abogado; concedió entrevistas a la agencia de noticias AP, así como al afamado programa de televisión, 60 Minutes. ¿Quién lo protege en aquel país

The case gets more suspicious if you consider that, though a fugitive from Mexican justice, and subject to an Interpol red flag in 189 countries …

It was a higher number of countries a few paragraphs above.

… Ye Gon had been in San Francisco, crossed the continent to New York, traveled to Vancouver,then returned to New York, where he hired a lawyer; he gave interviews to the the AP as well as the famous TV program 60 Minutes. Who is protecting him in that country?

I seem to have missed that episode of 60 Minutes. Have you seen it?

Como parte de su discurso absurdo en la entrevista que le dio a AP, Zhenli Ye Gon dijo que el dinero que tenía en su casa de Lomas de Chapultepec era del PAN, y que se lo dio a guardar por la fuerza el hoy secretario del Trabajo, Javier Lozano. “Copela o cuellos”, supuestamente le dijo el panista.

As part of his absurd spiel in the interview with the AP, Ye Gon said the money in his house belonged to PAN and was given to him to safeguard by Lozano. “Cooperate or [throat-slashing gesture],” the PAN member supposedly said.

Lozano did not join PAN until June of this year, I read. He was in the Gordillist PRI before.

Y aunque el gobierno federal se muestra firme, Zhenli Ye Gon ya amenazó con dar la batalla y, de entrada, sus abogados amenazaron que el próximo 18 de julio darán a conocer los pormenores de este asunto. “Son hechos dramáticos. Se va a develar todo lo que hay en el caso, pues a penas se conoce la punta del iceberg. Le pediremos al gobierno que revise de la primera a la octava prueba que le vamos a presentar”, advirtió su abogado Ning Ye desde Nueva York.

And althoug the federal government stood firm, Ye Gon has threatened to go to war and, for starters, his lawyers are threating to reveal all the details of this affair on July 18. “These are dramatic facts. They will reveal all there is in the case, because only the tip of the iceberg is now known. We will ask the government to review from the first to the eighth proof we are going to present,” warned Ning Ye from New York.

This op-ed was published the morning of the press conference.

De acuerdo a la PGR, la red que encabezaba Zhenli Ye Gon tenía nexos con empresas chinas, europeas y de Hong Kong. Una de las líneas de investigación es que las empresas exportadoras con las que trabajaba Unimed Pharm Chem de México, en los países asiáticos eran empresas fantasmas.

According to the PGR, the network headed by Ye Gon has ties to Chinese, European and Hong Kong firms. One of the lines of investigation is that the export firms with which Unimed Pharm Chem of Mexico worker were shell corporations.

Zhenli Ye Gon, dicen las indagatorias de las autorida-des mexicanas, tenía vínculos con el Cartel del Milenio, pues varios de los jefes de esta organización de narcotraficantes asentada en Michoacán están identificados entre los principales distribuidores de drogas sintéticas: Don Chava, Juan José Farias Álvarez El Abuelo, Salvador Revueltas Ureña El Chava Lentes, quienes presuntamente se encargan del traslado de cocaína y anfetaminas hacia Estados Unidos.

Ye Gon had ties to the Milennium Cartel, say Mexican investigators, for various narcos in Michoacán are pointed to as principal distributors of designer drugs … [names]

The federal freedom of information agency is supposedly releasing the numbers on total pseudoephedrine imports so we can see how much comes in and whether Ye Gon’s alleged 90 tons is accounted for or not.

But it is not releasing the names of firms that import the stuff.

That, my friends, is Mexican freedom of information for you. It’s a form of Freedom of Information 2.0. Of gabbling doublespeak, that is.

See also Mexico’s IFE: Open-Ended Exceptions to Transparency.

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