cartels

Colombia: cocaine mega-busts keep coming

Posted on July 6th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Colombia Amid moves toward peace in Colombia, the goad of the war—the country's lucratice cocaine trade—clearly remains robust. In an international operation announced June 30, Colombian police joined with US and Italian authorities to confiscate a whopping 11 tons of cocaine in refrigerated containers ostensibly shipping tropical fruits to Europe. The stuff was mostly seized in Colombia, but was bound for the US and Europe. Of the 33 arrested in the operation, 22 were popped in Colombia and the rest in Italy. (El Tiempo, June 30)

This year's other gay bar massacre —in Mexico

Posted on June 16th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

MexicoFollowing the weekend's horrific massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Latin American media are noting a similar deadly attack earlier this year that failed to make world headlines—in Xalapa, capital of Mexico's Gulf Coast state of Veracruz. That happened on May 21, when a group of heavily armed men opened fire on patrons at the city's La Madame gay bar, killing seven and wounding 12. As in the far bloodier Orlando attack, an AR-15 rifle was used. Some of the gunmen were also armed with AK-47s. The Veracruz Public Security Secretariat said this was just another massacre in the wars between rival drug cartels that have been convulsing Mexico for a decade now. But, as the Yucatan Times points out, the fact that the shooters seemed to fire randomly into the crowded bar may point to another motive.

Mexican judge approves Chapo extradition

Posted on May 11th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ChapoA federal judge in Mexico ruled May 9 that drug lord Joaquín "Chapo" Guzmán may be extradited to the US—where he faces numerous federal charges of drug trafficking, kidnapping, money laundering and murder in Chicago, Miami and New York. Mexico's Exterior Secretariat has 30 days to decide whethe to approve the extradition, but Guzmán's lawyers say there are multiple appeals pending against extradition, and that to extradite him before these are exhausted would be a violation of his human rights. Mexico's Third District for Penal Processes, which approved the extradition, says that all legal requirements have been met. The identity of the judge in the case remains secret under special rules in place for prosecution of cartel bosses. (JuristBBC News)

El Salvador deploys new military unit against gangs

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Central AmericaEl Salvador has deployed a new special unit to fight criminal gangs that are now said to be operating not only in the cities but in rural areas throughout the country. The 1000-strong Specialized Reaction Force is equipped with helicopters, armored cars and assault weapons. A mixed unit of 600 military troops and 400 National Police agents, it is charged with "pursuing and neutralizing" the gangs, which are said to have 70,000 members in the country. At an April 20 ceremony to unveil the new force, Vice President Oscar Ortiz said:"The moment has come to stop the scale of violence which has imposed itself in the last few years on our country and which has created so much blood and sacrifice... We are going to go after them in the countryside and in the city." He added that human rights will be respected. (BBC News, Reuters)

Cannabis interceptions on Mexican border down —again

Posted on March 20th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , .

MexicoFor a second year running, the US Border Patrol reports drastically reduced cannabis seizures along the Mexican border—and even the mainstream media can't help making the connection to the growing trend toward legalization and tolerance in the United States. In reporting the findings, the Washington Post uses the headline, "Legal marijuana is finally doing what the drug war couldn't." Last year, border agents confiscated some 1.5 million pounds—down from a peak of nearly 4 million in 2009. Increased domestic production in California, Colorado and Washington have driven prices down, especially at the bulk level. "Two or three years ago, a kilogram [2.2 pounds] of marijuana was worth $60 to $90," a Mexican cannabis farmer recently told NPR. "But now they're paying us $30 to $40 a kilo. It's a big difference. If the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they'll run us into the ground." 

Empire strikes back against Belize?

Central America OK, we don't want to get too paranoid here. But last month, after years of studying the matter, the government of Belize took a big step toward cannabis decrim. On Feb. 19, the  cabinet formally handed recommendations made by the Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee, assigned to assess the matter, over to the office of the Attorney General for final review. This means introduction of a decrim bill is almost certainly imminent. Sources say the proposed legislation would allow for persons in possession of 10 grams or less to face a fine or community service. The fine is named as 15 Belizean dollars (US$7.50) per gram. The law would also be retroactive, expunging the records of those convicted in the past for possession within these limits. Former National Security Minister Doug Singh, who has pushed for a more lenient policy, said, "Too many young people have this following them, those who are seeking jobs."

Mexico's manufactured cataclysm

Posted on February 15th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

narco historyIt takes a strong stomach to wade through the relentless parade of horror that is A Narco History. But if you really want to grasp "How the United States and Mexico Jointly Created the 'Mexican Drug War'," as the subtitle promises—this is the book to read...

Co-authors Carmen Boullosa and Mike Wallace open with a chillingly detailed depiction of the grisly end met by 43 student protesters in Guerrero state, who were in September 2014 abducted by police and turned over to a mass-murdering narco-gang. What authorities believe to be their burnt remains were left in garbage bags at the bottom of a canyon.

UN finding increases pressure on Mexico to free 'community police' leader

Posted on February 14th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoPressure is increasing on Mexico to free imprisoned community activist Nestora Salgado since the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a ruling earlier this month that her imprisonment is illegal. The International Human Rights Clinic at Seattle University Law School had been pursuing her case before the Geneva-based panel for about two years. In the decision—reached in December, but only released Feb. 2—the five-member panel called her arrest arbitrary, and called on Mexico to immediately free and compensate her for the violation of her human rights. The panel found that she was arrested for her leadership of a local "community police" group, which is protected under Mexican law. Additionally, the panel charges that she was denied contact with her lawyers and family for almost year, and has been denied adequate medical care and access to clean water in prison. Finally, the finding charged that she was improperly arrested by the military, and her US passport was ignored. "In the first place, there is no doubt that the arrest and detention without charges is illegal and thus arbitrary," reads the finding. "Furthermore, the military arresting civilians for presumed crimes when national security is not at risk is worrying."

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