Los Algodones, Baja California; Mexico

This is not the End of the World, but you can see it from here!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Federal appeals court rules for Mexican on torture claim

 A federal appeals court on Friday overturned decisions that put the burden of proof on foreigners who claim they were tortured in their home countries to show they cannot safely return to another part of the country they fled.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it is neither the responsibility of the petitioner nor the government to determine if it is safe for the person to return to another part of the country than where the torture occurred.
An expanded panel of judges in San Francisco ruled for Roberto Curinsita Maldonado, who appealed a finding by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals that he didn't qualify for a reprieve from deportation under the U.N. Convention Against Torture because he failed to prove he would be unsafe in any part of Mexico. A U.S. asylum officer had found that Maldonado's allegations of being tortured by police in the central Mexican state of Michoacan were credible.
The judges returned Maldonado's case to the Board of Immigration Appeals, an administrative panel in the U.S. Justice Department,
It was not immediately clear how much impact the ruling would have on others seeking to remain under the U.N. convention. Kathryn Mattingly, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review, said the agency had no comment on the decision.
Bill Hing, a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, said the decision is potentially significant for Mexicans escaping drug-fueled violence and police corruption and Central Americans who flee strife in their countries. Expecting them to show they would be unsafe in any part of their home countries is too high a bar, he said.
"How can someone do that because they haven't lived in every part of the country often?" he said.
Dan Kowalski, an Austin, Texas, attorney and editor of Bender's Immigration Bulletin, a newsletter of immigration-law analysis, said the decision "represents a small, technical, but important step forward in the protection of (Convention Against Torture) applicants from any country, but especially from Mexico."

Oaxaca, Mexico, Man Dead Needs Identified

Police release sculpture of man killed in Santa Cruz County, asks public for help identification

Santa Cruz County sheriff s deputies commissioned an artist to make this model of a man found dead near Casserly Road in 2010. (Sheriff s Office --
More than four years since a man was found dead near Casserly Road in 2010, Santa Cruz County sheriff's detectives said Tuesday they are still trying to identify him.
Authorities said that recently discovered disabilities in the man's arms could lead to more clues in the cold homicide case.
"We're hoping that will jar someone's memory," said Santa Cruz County sheriff's Sgt. Kelly Kent.
"It appears that it was something that he was born with."
The man was found dead Sept. 9, 2010 on a dirt road between a plant nursery and an agricultural field near the 300 block of Casserly Road, said sheriff's Sgt. Roy Morales. The man was buried under brush and had been (Died about August 8 and 22, 2010) dead for two to four weeks before he was discovered by field workers.

He was in his mid to late 20s, wore tailored jeans and was 4-feet-11 to 5-feet-4, authorities said.
In a test recently conducted by the Sheriff's Office forensic anthropologist, it was determined that the man had limited motion in his arms that prevented him from extending them straight. He also would have had trouble rotating his forearms, authorities said.
"It was considered a handicap," Morales said.
Authorities said it remains unclear if the man's disability played a role in his death; authorities also don't know what the man was doing in the field prior to his death.
Morales said the man died from blunt force trauma to his head. Sheriff's Sgt. Kelly Kent said he died "violently."
The man is Latino and may have been born in Oaxaca, Mexico, authorities said. Morales said that was determined in part from the man's compact features and because there has been a large migration of Oaxacan farmworkers to the Central Coast.
Morales said it was not clear if the man was a field worker in Santa Cruz County.
The Sheriff's Office earlier commissioned an artist to make a model of the man's head and torso to try to generate leads in the case. A photo of the model again was released Tuesday.
Morales said he hoped the new information about the man's disability is "specific enough that someone will remember a person with the described condition." He said he was reaching out to Mexican police and Mexican diplomatic leaders to drum up leads.
"Hopefully this will bring closure for the family and bring in a suspect," Kent said.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office asks anyone with information to call 831-471-1121 or 831-454-7630.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Australian woman Ms. Sarmonikas died after Butt Procedure

It has been revealed the Australian woman who died from a 'simple medical procedure' in Mexico was in the country to have buttock implants by a doctor who was once threatened with legal action by television celebrity Kim Kardashian.

The Gold Coast Bulletin has spoken to Ms Sarmonikas' cousin Nick Tsagalias, who confirmed her surgery was for buttock implants. This has been verified by a second family member.
Evita Sarmonikas has died in Mexico during surgery.
Plastic surgeon Victor Ramirez is understood to be the man who operated on Ms Sarmonikas. It was a procedure expected to go for 2½ hours, and then require two months of recovery, according to his website.

Dr Ramirez was involved in a legal dispute with Kardashian in 2012 after using a picture of her on a billboard to promote his business.
The billboard showed Kardashian lying down, with a slogan which when translated read: "Don't risk your beauty or your health."
Evita Sarmonikas was not strong enough in a world that constantly bombarded her with an urgency to demand more from her self and her body, her family said.
Dr Ramirez did not ask Kardashian if he could use the photo, which prompted her to threaten legal action, mainly because she has denied ever having had plastic surgery or implants.
His website describes the perfect candidate for buttock surgery as someone with "lack of volume of the buttocks."
"Currently, the safest way to achieve the desired results through buttock augmentation is using silicone implants," says a procedure outline on Dr Ramirez' website.
"Although it might seem easy and economical, never allow anyone to inject substances that increase the volume of the buttocks through the injection of oily substances because the damage that they cause is irreversible due to the fact that the modelling agents cannot be extracted from your body and will generate serious problems the rest of your life."
Ms Sarmonikas' family, who have set up a Facebook page for her, wrote that she travelled to Mexicali, the capital of the Mexican state of Baja California, with her boyfriend to have a cosmetic procedure.
Without saying what type of procedure, the family wrote that Ms Sarmonikas, who grew up on the Gold Coast, was "filled with certain inadequacies".
"Her perfect and whole soul was not strong enough in light of a world that constantly bombarded her with an urgency to demand more from her self and her body," the family wrote on Facebook.
"This was not the way to go home, no woman should risk death to improve on perfection."
The family has been notified of the autopsy results.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian woman who died in Mexicali, Mexico.

Diocese of Nogales, Mexico,

Pope Francis erects Diocese of Nogales, Mexico, just south of U.S.

A welcome sign is seen on a road leading from Nogales, Ariz., into the Mexican state of Sonora in this 2014 photo. Pope Francis has erected the new Diocese of Nogales in Mexico, the Vatican announced March 19. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)
A welcome sign is seen on a road leading from Nogales, Ariz., into the Mexican state of Sonora in this 2014 photo. Pope Francis has erected the new Diocese of Nogales in Mexico, the Vatican announced March 19. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis has erected a diocese in northern Mexico, located along the border of Arizona.
The Diocese of Nogales is in the northern part of Sonora state and includes territory from the Archdiocese of Hermosillo, Mexico, the Vatican announced March 19.
The pope appointed Bishop Jose Leopoldo Gonzalez Gonzalez, 60, to head the new diocese. He had been auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara.
The Catholic population of the new diocese totals 381,398 people and includes 25 parishes, 44 priests, 62 sisters and 13 seminarians, according to the Vatican announcement. The diocese is about 17,000 square miles in size.
Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., blesses people on the Mexican side as he distributes Communion through the border fence in Nogales, Ariz. in this April 2014 file photo. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., blesses people on the Mexican side as he distributes Communion through the border fence in Nogales, Ariz. in this April 2014 file photo. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Among the municipalities in the new diocese are Agua Prieta, Altar, Atil, Bacoachi, Caborca, Cananea, Fronteras, Imuris, Naco, Nacozari de Garcia, Nogales, Oquitoa, Pitiquito, Santa Cruz, Saric, Trincheras and Tubutama.
The Sonora-Arizona border is a desert area used by Mexicans to enter the United States seeking employment opportunities and a better life. Numerous church ministries and outreach programs serving the migrants exist in the region.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Death Voodoo ritual slaying

Mark Kilroy was a nice, normal kid who, in March 1989, headed south to Mexico for spring break.
Hundreds of thousands make the same kind of pilgrimage each year. Most return to school suffering from nothing more than the wages of too much merrymaking sunburns, bad hangovers, or romances gone sour.
Kilroy was not so lucky. He stumbled into a world of drug cartels and nightmare religion, a mishmash of superstitions derived from Santeria, African voodoo, and ancient Aztec rites of human sacrifice.
Kilroy, 21, who was pre-med at the University of Texas, and three friends parked their car in Brownsville, on the U.S. side, and walked across the bridge over the Rio Grande to the Mexican border town of Matamoros, a top spring break hangout.
For a few days, the boys lolled on the beach, drinking and flirting with Miss Tanline contestants. In the early morning of March 14, Kilroy’s three buddies decided they had had enough and were ready to stroll back across the bridge. They found Kilroy and started to walk.
Crowds of young revelers had the same idea, so the streets were packed. Somehow on the way back to the car, Kilroy got separated from the group. His friends waited at the border, then they searched, and then they headed back to the car and waited some more. By morning, when Kilroy had not arrived, they contacted police.

There was no trail to follow until April Fools Day, when Serafin Hernandez Garcia, 20, a narcotics gang lackey known as “Little Serafin,” busted through a drug checkpoint. He led police to a place called Rancho Santa Elena, a collection of worn-down filthy shacks owned by his druglord uncle. Police at the time did not suspect that Little Serafin had anything to do with Kilroy’s disappearance. They began to watch the ranch, hoping for a big pot bust, and they closed in, snatching family members and workers.
One of the workers said that he recalled seeing a “young gringo” tied up in the back of a truck, but did not know what had happened to him.
Presented with this bit of evidence, Little Serafin calmly admitted that he had helped kidnap the American student and that the boy had been killed.
“It was our religion, our voodoo,” Serafin told police. “We did it for success. We did it for protection.”

During a five-hour interrogation, Little Serafin described how gang members had lured the drunken college student into their truck. After a night of torture and sodomy, they lopped the top of his head off with a machete and boiled his brains. It was all part of the rituals of a religion known as palo mayombe, a violent voodoo cult that originated in Africa.
Police found this horrific bit of evidence in a kettle that had all the earmarks of being a cauldron for black magic potions in a shack filled with bloody relics of ritual slayings.
The rest of Kilroy’s body turned up in a shallow grave. His heart had been ripped out.
Remains of a dozen other lost souls eventually turned up in graves all around the ranch.
The high priest of this bloody cult, Little Serafin said, was “El Padrino,” Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, a man with his bloody fingers in the dark worlds of drugs and voodoo. Constanzo grew up in Miami, the son of a woman who had a reputation as a practitioner of witchcraft — if tossing headless poultry and goats on your neighbor’s doorsteps can be considered a form of magic.

Looks good enough for modeling work brought Constanzo to Mexico City, where he plunged deeper into the dark arts. He opened an occult protection business. Mexican businessmen, including members of drug cartels, paid steep fees to have the young conjurer sacrifice animals to keep them safe from evil spirits. Soon, Constanzo moved on to more powerful magic, the kind you could get only from human blood.
His little band of ritual murderers grew. A priestess joined, a stunning Mexican woman, Sara Aldrete. She possessed all the outward appearances of a wholesome up-and-comer, a physical education student at a Texas college and an aerobics instructor.
But she also had deep ties with the drug cartels and a fascination with strange religions. The couple’s favorite movie was “The Believers,” a 1987 film about voodoo.
A year after that movie, Constanzo’s crew was snatching all kinds of people from the streets and fields around Mexico and subjecting these strangers to the most horrific torture. Some were skinned alive.
In a short period before Kilroy’s kidnapping, 60 missing persons were reported in the region.

Mark Kilroy happened to stumble across their path just when Constanzo decided he needed more power, the blood of a gringo who had to die screaming.
Constanzo fled as the investigation turned up the bodies and his connection to them. He holed up in Mexico City until May, when police were called to an apartment building with reports that a man was throwing money out the window and shooting at people who tried to grab the bills.
After a 45-minute gun battle, Constanzo and a male companion were dead.
As to the other gang members involved with the murders at the ranch, five were given sentences of 30 to 60 years. Investigators believe, however, that the actual number of El Padrino’s disciples was 10 to 15 times higher, and that they are still out there.

Mexican Wrestler Dies After Hit in the Ring

 Mexican Wrestler Dies After Hit in the Ring

Other wrestlers continued fighting before realizing Ramirez wasn't moving.

Mexico’s Pedro Aguayo Ramirez, a popular member of the country’s ‘Lucha Libre’ wrestling world, died Saturday after a blow during a bout in Tijuana. He was 35.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Woman Killed, two with major injuries from Whale vs. Boat Crash.

35-year-old Canadian woman died and two other tourists suffered "considerable" injuries when a surfacing whale crashed into the side of their boat, Mexican authorities said Thursday.
The Attorney General's Office for Environmental Protection said the boat was carrying nine tourists on a snorkel tour and was near shore when the collision occurred Wednesday.
Photos showed the open boat, about 25 feet (7.5 meters) long with twin outboard motors, apparently undamaged after the collision.
In a statement to prosecutors, the company that operated the boat, Cabo Adventures, said it was returning from its excursion when the whale suddenly appeared. It said the captain tried to turn, but the whale struck the vessel. Contacted by telephone, a company employee said the firm had no further comment.
The Baja California Sur state prosecutor's office said the collision near the beach resort of Cabo San Lucas tossed the victim who died into the water.
A crew member and a passenger lifted her back onto the vessel and Mexican navy personnel moved her to shore. She was taken to a clinic, where she was pronounced dead.
In this Tuesday, March 3, 2015 photo, a grey whale calf expels air through it's blowhole as a boat filled with visitors watches in the San Ignacio lagoon, on the Pacific Ocean near the town of Guerrero Negro, in Mexico's Baja peninsula. Mexican authorities said Thursday, March 12, 2015, that a 35-year-old Canadian woman has died and two other tourists were injured near the beach resort of Cabo San Lucas, when a surfacing grey whale crashed onto their boat as they came back from a snorkel tour. The Attorney General's Office for Environmental Protection said that two other tourists suffered "considerable" injuries. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
Prosecutors' spokesman Sergio Villarreal said the woman died from head trauma. He said it was the first death in this type of accident he knew of.
The woman's hometown was not released. John Babcock, a spokesman for Canada's Foreign Affairs Department, said that "to protect the private and personal information of the individual concerned, further details on this case cannot be released."
While it did not say excessive speed played a role in the accident, the port captain's office for Cabo San Lucas issued a circular Thursday saying it had ordered its employees to ensure boats respect the 4-knot speed limit in San Lucas bay.
The office said that due to the presence of whales, it was advising vessels to operate with greater caution. The office also announced a temporary, 15-knot speed limit on boats in open water outside the bay, which it said will last as long as the whales are in the area.
The local representative of the attorney general for environmental protection, Jesus Tesemi Avendano, said the boat was not in a protected whale reserve area and it had not been on a whale-watching tour. He said the large number of whales sighted in Baja California Sur this year "may have played a role" in the collision.
While officials identified the animal as a gray whale, Jorge Urban, a professor of biology at the Baja California State University who specializes in whales, said it was almost certainly a humpback whale.
Urban said such accidents are not common. "This is the first time in 30 years of studying whales that I have heard about an accident like this ... in which passengers are pitched into the sea, and one dies," he said
Whales surface to breathe, often unexpectedly. Collisions between whales and boats are not unknown in Mexico, where whales come to breed in coastal lagoons in winter. In January 2014, a boat and a humpback whale collided off the coast of Baja California, injuring a U.S. tourist and three other people on board.