Andes

Colombia: cops seize ton of para cocaine

Posted on January 30th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

ColombiaColombia's National Police announced Jan. 24 the seizure of 1.2 tons of cocaine allegedly belonging to paramilitary group Los Urabeños in the northwestern department of Córdoba. The find came when police searched a truck at a checkpoint that had been established in Montería municipality. The interception was reportedly planned by police intelligence in advance. The two truck occupants who were arrested apparently tried to bribe the officers with $150,000. The agents also confiscated 6,800 gallons of biodiesel and 3,400 gallons of gasoline, worth around $30,000. The cocaine was reportedly en route to the port of Turbo in Urabá region, the Urabeños' heartland in the northern part of Antioquia department, and was intended for export to the US and Europe. The Urabeños are a "neo-paramilitary" group that remained in arms after the ultra-right paramilitary network was officially "demobilized" some 10 years ago. Authorities now consider the Urabeños Colombia's most powerful drug trafficking organization. (Colombia Reports, Jan. 24)

Colombia: FARC proposal to protect coca, cannabis growers

Posted on January 16th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

ColombiaAt the peace talks with the Colombian government that just re-convened in Havana after a holiday break, the FARC rebels released a proposal Jan. 14 outlining a plan to decriminalize and "regulate the production of coca, poppies and marijuana." The proposal came in a lengthy document entitled "The National Program of the Substitution of the Illicit Uses of Coca, Poppy, or Marijuana Crops,” described in a press release as a "special chapter of rural and agricultural reform, social-environmental reform, democracy reform, and participatory reform." The guerrilla group, said to largely finance itself through the drug trade, agreed that growers should be encouraged "to voluntarily grow alternative crops"—a reference to the largely ineffectual crop substitution programs the US has long funded in Colombia. But FARC negotiator Pablo Catatumbo rejected the model of prohibition and eradication. "Instead of fighting the production [of illicit substances] it's about regulating it and finding alternatives," he said. "The fundamental basis of this plan lies in its voluntary and collaborative nature, and in the political will on the part of the growers to take alternative paths to achieve humane living and working conditions." Catatumbo also said the "medicinal, therapeutical and cultural" uses of the substances should be taken into account. 

Peru claims new blow against Sendero Luminoso, assails Bolivia for narco-baiting

Posted on December 13th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

PeruPeru's President Ollanta Humala on Dec. 9 announced the capture of the new commander of the remnant Sendero Luminoso column in the Upper Huallaga Valley—one of two remaining pockets of coca-producing jungle where the scattered Maoist guerilla movement is still keeping alive a local insurgency. The commander was named as Alexander Fabián Huamán AKA "Héctor"—said to have assumed leadership of the guerillas' "Huallaga Regional Committee" after the capture last year of "Comrade Artemio," the last "historic" Sendero leader (that is, dating back to the insurgency's heyday 20 years ago). Gen. Víctor Romero Fernández, commander of the National Police Anti-Drug Directorate (DIRANDRO), called the arrest a "hard blow" against the guerillas, and predicted that "Sendero Luminoso is disappearing in this zone." (InfoBAE, Andina, Dec. 9)

Peru: 'narco-terrorist' busted; narco-politician exposed

Posted on November 8th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

AndesOn Oct. 23, National Police in Peru apprehended in Lima an accused commander of one of the two surviving remnant factions of the Sendero Luminoso guerilla movement. The Interior Ministry named the detained man as Rolando Pantoja Quispe, and said he was under the orders of Florindo Eleuterio Flores Hala AKA "Comrade Artemio"—the notorious Sendero commander who was captured last year and condemned to life in prison. The ministry said Pantoja Quispe controlled cocaine trafficking in the Yanajanca Valley of Huanuco region, and hailed the arrest as a further blow against Artemio's crippled network. (BBC Mundo, Oct. 23)

Sendero Luminoso in Bolivia?

Posted on November 5th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

AndesOn Oct. 19, a patrol of Bolivia's Joint Task Force, coordinating National Police and army troops in coca-eradication missions, was ambushed by unknown gunmen at  Miraflores pueblo, Apolo municipality, in the coca-growing Yungas region, sparking a gun-battle that left four dead—three troops and a medic. Up to 30 were injured, but all the assailants seem to have escaped. Government vice-minister Jorge Pérez said the attack was "planned by people related to the narco-traffic," adding that the partially buried remains of a cocaine lab had been found nearby. Days later, Leopoldo Ramos, the public prosecutor appointed to investigate the case, said that "by the form of execution, for the Public Ministry it is probable that those who attacked in Miraflores are persons trained by Sendero Luminoso."

Brazil-Bolivia tensions over narco-diplomatic scandal

Posted on September 8th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

AndesBrazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota resigned Aug. 25 in the midst of a diplomatic scandal concerning a Bolivian opposition figure who accused the Evo Morales government of narco-corruption. Bolivian senator Roger Pinto had been holed up in the Brazilian embassy in La Paz for more than a year after he was charged with corruption-related crimes. He claimed the charges agaist him were retaliation for blowing the whistle on a Bolivian cabinet minister's meetings with a Brazilian drug lord. Pinto on Aug. 25 turned up in Brasília, having secretly fled Bolivia in a Brazilian diplomatic car, protected by a detachment of Brazilian soldiers.  According to Brazilian media, President Dilma Rousseff's government did not know of the operation and considered it a "disaster." Pinto on Sept. 3 said that he would decline requests to testify before Brazil's congress on the affair. (EFE, Sept. 3; BBC News, Aug. 26; WSJ, Aug. 25)

Police seize three tons of cannabis in southwest Colombia

Posted on July 29th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ColombiaColombia’s National Police announced the seizure of three tons of marijuana in the southwest of the country on July 28. Units of the traffic and transport police discovered the packets of herb in a truck that was stopped at a checkpoint on a road between the towns of Villarrica and Candelaria, respectively in the departments of Cauca and Valle del Cauca. The bust took place on the same route where police this year have carried out operations resulting in major seizures. When inspecting the vehicle the police discovered 47 packages of plastic fiber, all containing marijuana with a total weight of three tons.

Mixed signals from UN on Drug War

Posted on March 17th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

earthHelen Clark, head of the UN Development Program, speaking ahead of a March 14 presentation of the UNDP's 2013 Human Development Report, offered a surprise critique of the global war on drugs, saying Latin American leaders should develop new policies. "I've been a health minister in my past and there's no doubt that the health position would be to treat the issue of drugs as primarily a health and social issue rather than a criminalized issue," Clark told Reuters. "Once you criminalize, you put very big stakes around. Of course, our world has proceeded on the basis that criminalization is the approach."

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