Italian police score hashish mega-haul in Mediterranean

Posted on June 8th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

ItalyItalian police staged a joint operation in the Mediterranean with Turkish, French, Egyptian, Spanish, Moroccan and Europol forces June 5, intercepting a Turkish cargo ship that was found to be loaded with 12 tons of hashish, valued at an estimated 40 million euros. The 10 Turkish crew members were detained, according to Turkey's BGN News. The Italian Coast Guard received a tip-off from Turkish authorities that there were drugs aboard the vessel Meryam, which was sailing from a Moroccan port. Troops intercepted and boarded the ship in the Strait of Siciliy, which separates Italy from Tunisia. Maritime Executive reports that the ship and crew are being held at the Sicilian port of Palermo.

Mexico: more violence in lead-up to elections

Posted on June 4th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoThe wave of assassinations of candidates in the upcoming Mexican elections claimed yet another victim June 2, when Miguel Angel Luna, running for Congress in a district just outside Mexico City, was shot dead as gunmen stormed his campaign office. Miguel Angel Luna, a former mayor of Valle de Chalco in the state of México, was running with the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). A candidate for the local town council was also wounded in the attack. (The Guardian, June 3; Milenio, June 2) Accounts offered no motive, but it is assumed that such victims are targeted for not playing ball with the local narco-gangs—or for playing ball with the wrong narco-gang.

Congress passes amendments to stop DEA from undermining state marijuana laws

Posted on June 4th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

capitolLegislators on Capitol Hill passed three amendments June 3 to bar the DEA and Department of Justice from undermining state marijuana laws, as part of the US House of Representatives' consideration of the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill. "There’s unprecedented support on both sides of the aisle for ending the federal war on marijuana and letting states set their own drug policies based on science, compassion, health, and human rights," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "The more the DEA blocks sensible reforms the more they will see their agency's power and budget come under deeper scrutiny."

Colombia: peace talks resume—as war escalates

Posted on June 2nd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

ColombiaSince Colombia's FARC guerillas called off their unilateral ceasefire following a military air-strike last month, peace talks with the government have resumed in Havana. As the new phase of talks opened May 25, FARC leaders appealed to the government to instate a bilateral ceasefire. (EFE, May 25) But the very next day, government forces carried out a mixed land and air assault on a camp of the FARC's 18th Front along the Río Chimirindó, in Riosucio municipality, in the Pacific coastal region of Chocó—leaving 41 guerillas dead. Among the dead was the 18th Front's commander, Román Ruiz, authorities said. (El Teimpo, May 26) The day after that, Colombia's air force carried out a new bombardment, targeting the 4th Front of the FARC's Magdalena Medio Bloc at the hamlet of Alto la Cruz, Segovia municipality, in the inland region of Antioquia. Ten guerillas were killed in the air-strikes—which came as the climax of a three-day operation in the area that authorities said left 36 guerillas dead. (El Tiempo, May 27) 

Mexico: new 'massacre' in Michoacán

Posted on May 31st, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoMexican authorities boasted another take-down of a top narco lord May 29, with the arrest in Jalisco state of Manuel García Orozco, a leader of the New Generation cartel. García Orozco was detained "without a shot fired" at a road checkpoint in Tlajomulco de Zuniga municipality. He is accused of overseeing operations in Jalisco's Cienega region along the border with Michoacán state, including drug smuggling, fuel theft and extortion. He is also accused of involvement in "various attacks" against security forces, including the abduction and murder of two federal police officers in Michoacán in November 2013. The investigation into their disappearance led to the discovery of 37 clandestine graves containing 75 bodies in the Jalisco municipality of La Barca, near the state line. (AFP, May 29) 

Colombia: FARC break off ceasefire after air-strike

Posted on May 22nd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

ColombiaAt least 18 FARC fighters were killed May 22 in an air-strike on a camp near the coastal village of Guapi in Colombia's southwest region of Cauca. The strike came little more than a month after President Juan Manuel Santos ended a suspension of aerial bombing in response to a guerilla attack that killed 11 soldiers. The army said the aim of the air-strike was intended to kill "Javier el Chugo," second-in-command of the FARC’s 29th front, although it wasn't immediately clear if he was among the dead. (Colombia Reports, May 22) The FARC responded to the bombardment by announcing its own suspension of a unilateral ceasefire the guerillas had declared in December. A statement from the FARC command said: "We did not seek the suspension of the unilateral and indefinite ceasefire proclaimed on Dec. 20, 2014 as a humanitarian gesture to de-escalate the conflict, but the incoherence of the Santos government has done it, through 5 months of ground and air offensives against our structures throughout the country." (Colombia Reports, May 20)

Peru: Sendero links to Colombian cartel claimed

Posted on May 19th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

PeruPeru's authorities can't seem to put out the last flicker of the Sendero Luminoso insurgency. A generation ago, the Maoist guerillas seemed capable of toppling the government but are now largely confined to a remote pocket of jungle known as the Apurímac-Ene-Mantaro River Valley (VRAEM). But that happens to be a top coca cultivation zone, affording the insurgency access to funds. Now, authorities claim to have uncovered evidence that the neo-Senderistas are in league with one of the re-organized Colombian cocaine cartels, ironically known as the "Cafeteros" (coffee-producers). "For the first time in an objective and concrete manner, the state can corroborate the link between drug trafficking and terrorism in the VRAEM," Ayacucho regional anti-drug prosecutor Mery Zuzunaga told Cuarto Poder TV.

Narco angle in Guatemala political crisis

Posted on May 18th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Central AmericaThousands of Guatemalans took to the streets May 16, demanding the nation's President Otto Pérez Molina step down amid a scandal that has already forced the resignation of his vice president, Roxana Baldetti. Despite rain, protesters marched in 13 cities. Throngs filled the capital's central plaza, where a giant banner read "We are the people." The mobilization was largely leaderless, organized by social media under the hashtag #RenunciaYa  (Resign Already). It all blew up in April, when the UN International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala released findings of an investigation into a customs bribery ring uncovered by Guatemalan prosecutors. Baldetti's  private secretary, Juan Carlos Monzón, was named as the ringleader, forcing Baldetti to step down May 8—despite protesting her innocence. Pérez Molina likewise pleads ignorance about the ring, dubbed "La Línea," and pledges a crackdown on corruption. Monzón is on the lam and an Interpol warrant has been issued.

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