Mexican Drug Lord linked to 5.5 ton-cocaine bust

Six months ago, the LAPD was telling reporters the decapitated head found underneath the Hollywood Sign was the result of a "gay lovers triangle." 

Six months later, they were still pursuing the gay "thing," only instead of a gay boyfriend in Hollywood, their chief suspect was the now-notorious Canadian Cannibal.  Their efforts at disinformation were successful, and widely disseminated.

But it also created a teachable moment about the Mexican drug war.  The reason for all the disinformation about Hervey Medellin’s head, found beneath the Hollywood Sign in January 2012, has to do with the identity of Medellin’s longtime boss:

Jose Serrano Segovia is one of Mexico’s wealthiest oligarchs. He owns Mexico’s biggest shipping line, whose fleets of cargo ships,  trucks and planes bring goods from Central and South America into the U.S.  He even owns a railroad, that goes all the way to Kansas City.

And he is known as one Mexico’s biggest Drug Lords.

In APRIL 1998 The Wall Street Journal revealed that the FBI was investigating Jose Serrano Segovia for drug trafficking and money laundering,  after a huge shipment of cocaine from Colombia was found on one of his cargo vessels.

The next year, Serrano hired a lobbying firm to block a bill in Congress which aimed to impose sanctions on companies linked to drug trafficking. And even though a top staffer to Republican Senator Richard Shelby resigned in protest, the effort was successful.

Much more recently, Hervey Medellin‘s boss was connected with the American drug trafficking operation in St Petersburg which was exposed when 5.5 tons of cocaine were found on an American-registered DC9.

The company that owned the busted DC9, Skyway, was itself owned by its biggest shareholder, a shady investment bank in Texas called  Argyll Equities.   Argyll was said in the business of providing “creative financial solutions globally,” which can look a lot like money laundering.

One of Argyll’s creative financial solutions was arranging a a $17 million “loan”  to Mexican” businessman” Jose Serrano Segovia’s shipping line,  Grupo TMM.


Daniel Hopsicker

Daniel Hopsicker is an investigative journalist and the author of two books on transnational crime, Welcome to Terrorland and Barry & the Boys.

3 Responses

  1. Roy Birchard says:

    I attended this, and your name was mentioned. — Roy Birchard, San Francisco Fellowship of Reconciliation
    Oakland, CA: Ending the War on Drugs: People's Movement Assembly
    End U.S. Military Aid to Colombia
    This event is sponsored by FOR
    Sunday, June 17, 12:30 PM – 9:00 PM
    Humanist Hall
    390 27th Street, between Telegraph and Broadway
    Contact information: to register online. Further information: 510-282-8983
    The “War on Drugs” is fracturing families, damaging children, stigmatizing people, fueling violence, and damaging communities. Join us for a day long community gathering where together we will develop ways to end the war on our communities and invest in people instead of prisons.
    Community speak-out, working groups, and a panel of speakers including John Lindsay-Poland (FOR), Dorsey Nunn (All of Us Or None), David Moss (ACLU-Northern California), Vylma Ortiz (National Lawyers Guild) and others.
    9:30 – Coffee and refreshments
    10:00 – Welcome and opening
    10:30 – Community Speak-­Out
    11:30 – Plenary: The Drug War at Home and Abroad
    1:30 – Community Lunch Break
    2:30 – Working Group Session
    4:30 – Working Group Plenary
    5:30 – Next Steps & Closing
    Sponsored by End Prohibition in California (EPIC), which includes organizers from Break the Chains; ACLU-NC, Fellowship of Reconciliation; SOA Watch, Drug Policy Alliance; East Bay Social Forum; and others.

  2. Tony Ryals says:

    Well my,uh,head, is spinning.

  3. adam says:

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