Narco News '02
"Hank Bank," Laredo National, Tries
Estévez to Reveal Her Source
of a Free Press
A Narco News Global Alert
of the narco-banking industry to silence scrutiny upon its operations
is coming to a head in yet another lawsuit in the United States;
the effort by Gary
Jacobs, the Mexican Hank family and the Laredo National Bank to abuse the court system
to harass, now, at least four journalists and academics who have
reported on their activities.
and their lawyers began with a vicious campaign against author
and expert on Mexican finance Christopher Whalen, hauling him
into court and then getting caught in an
that preceded the suspicious exit of the Washington law firm
Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld from the case. Whalen has since counter-sued.
Then, the same
bankers had their lawyers send a threatening letter to journalists
in California, demanding $10 million dollars from the small magazine
that covers Latino-American news and issues. El Andar
and its reporter Julie Reynolds courageously pressed on with
same bankers sued a mild-mannered professor, Donald Schulz, accusing him -- without
solid evidence -- of leaking a joint report by five U.S. law
enforcement agencies on connections between the Hank family (an
infamous Mexican political empire), drug trafficking and drug
money laundering. The bankers don't deny the existence of the
report. They simply blame Schulz for its publication in El
Financiero of Mexico City and the Washington Post.
Now, the Mexican
news agency Notimex reports that the bankers are trying
to subpoena Mexican journalist Dolia Estévez of the daily
business newspaper El Financiero of Mexico City -- who
first reported on the joint allegations by the FBI, Customs,
the DEA, the CIA and Interpol linking the Hank family with narco-banking
and trafficking -- to force her to reveal her source for the
and the Laredo National Bank of Texas are using their questionably-earned
financial might to attempt to bully and silence the press by
abusing the U.S. court system. They seem hell-bent on reversing
more than two centuries of free speech law. Jacobs and Laredo
wish to halt the right of the press to print government documents.
They wish to erase established protections for reporters to protect
their sources. They file expensive legal suits that have, in
our opinion, zero chance of succeeding, with the sole goal of
harassing and intimidating journalists from reporting on their
In other words,
Gary Jacobs and the Laredo National Bank are desperate to prevent
you, the public, from knowing about their questionable behavior
in the banking industry.
It is important
to note that, like
Banamex-Citigroup in its failed attack on Narco News, Jacobs and Laredo National
Bank haven't sued the real source of their problems: the Federal
Reserve Board; the agency that, after a long series of legal
proceedings, forced Carlos Hank Rohn to resign as chairman of
the Laredo National Bank after the Fed revealed that he had bought
the bank by laundering massive amounts of mysterious money through
Instead of facing
the music on the official enforcement actions against them, the
bankers use their billions to go after journalists. And even
there, they don't attack the large newspapers like the Washington
Post or El Financiero who have published the stories
and who have pockets deep enough to defend themselves. They instead
target individual journalists and academics who, they know, don't
have the financial resources to mount a full legal defense.
This is an abuse
of the court system. It reveals the unwillingness of the bankers
to live within an open society of press freedom and free speech.
It attempts to purchase impunity and immunity from public scrutiny.
It also reveals
how dirty the narco-banking industry is in our era: Only those
with big secrets to hide fear public scrutiny. And these secrets, if disclosed, could
stop the source of illicit billions: the insincere prohibition
and the Laredo National Bank have thus revealed themselves as
enemies of the United States Constitution and of every authentic
journalist in our América.
against Whalen, Reynolds, El Andar, Schulz and, now, Estévez
are threats against all of us.
Narco News expresses its solidarity
with each of these persecuted journalists and academics, and
reiterates our continued commitment to cover this story about
the systematic attacks on press freedom by Gary Jacobs and the
Laredo National Bank.
We urge our
colleagues throughout the news media to provide greater coverage
of this story. If enemies of freedom like Gary Jacobs and Laredo
National Bank are allowed to continue this campaign of high-powered
abuse of the Courts, who will they target next? Silence, in this
case, is complicity.
Today we provide
a translation of the Notimex report on the persecution
of Mexican journalist Dolia Estévez, and a series of background
links for other journalists to use in covering this story.
in a country called América,
The Narco News
published U.S. intelligence report that
Hank's group with the narco
From the NOTIMEX news
agency and La Jornada of Mexico City
February 7, 2001
United States judicial story of the
Hank family opened a new chapter with the subpoena of a Mexican
journalist who published a report of intelligence agencies from
that country that connects them with narco-trafficking.
Attorneys for Dolia Estévez, correspondent
of the Mexican daily El Financiero, sought to have the subpoena
quashed on First Amendment grounds according to the United States
Constitution, that protects reporters against having to reveal
their information sources.
The District Court judge of the State
of Virginia must decide on February 22nd whether to grant or
not the motion by Estévez's attorney to annul the citation.
"This is unquestionably a case of
abuse... of violation of the First Amendment of the constitution,"
said Lucy Dalglish, president of the Reporters Committee for
Freedom of the Press, an organization that backs and brings legal
help to Estévez.
"It's about a fishing expedition,"
in which the accusors want to cause pain to whoever exposes their
story in public, Dalglish emphasized.
Last January 9th, a District Court in
the State of Virginia presented - on the petition of Laredo National
Bank (LNB) - a subpoena to Estévez to testify in the case
of Laredo National Bankshares, LNB and Gary Jacobs against Donald
Jacobs is the president of Laredo National
Bank - property of the Mexican businessman Carlos Hank Rhon -
and Shulz is the academic that LNB accuses of having conspired
to have a branch of the Justice Department of the United States
emit a report about presumed connections of the Hank group with
The National Drug Intelligence Center
(NDIC) elaborated the report, and the case is now known as Operation
Estévez was the first Mexican journalist
to reveal the fact - in May 1999 - some months after a Washington
Times reporter published aspects of the story and days before
the Washington Post published its version.
The lawsuit against Schulz, filed in the
state of Ohio - where he lives - also accuses him of having "disseminated"
the report to the press, and among the journalists to whom he
leaked the document was Estévez.
The June 7, 1999 Washington Post
Hank Owned Bank Violated Election Laws:
Hank Bank's Entrapment Scheme Foiled:
Mark Schapiro on Narco Bankers vs. the
Press from The Nation:
History and Archives of the Drug War on
more Narco News, click