cartels

Mexico: cops arrested in 'disappearance' of journalist

Posted on January 9th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoMexican authorities on Jan. 8 detained 13 members of a local police force in the state of Veracruz in connection with the Jan. 2 abduction of journalist Moisés Sánchez. The detained constitute a third of the police force in the town of Medellín. State prosecutor Luis Ángel Bravo said the men could be held for 30 days while an investigation is underway.  Sánchez was taken from his home by unknown gunmen in civvies. Tests are underway on a body found in the town, to determine if it is the remains of the missing journalist. Sánchez edited a local weekly in Medellín, La Unión (it appears not to have a website), with a reputation for fearless coverage of drug-related violence. The arrests came in the case hours after a group of journalists interrupted a session of the Veracruz legislature in state capital Xalapa with placards reading "7 DAYS WITHOUT MOISES."

Are the FARC narco-traffickers?

Posted on December 21st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ColombiaAmid peace talks in Havana, Colombia's FARC guerillas issued an angry communique Dec. 14, insisting "We are a rebel group, not narco-traffickers." This was in response to President Juan Manuel Santos'  suggestion that FARC drug-trafficking could be considered a "political crime," potentially sparing guerilla leaders prosecution. This of course won Santos howls of outrage from the right; now he gets it from the other side. The FARC statement accused the government of trying to "confuse the minds of Colombians" with a "distortion," and decried the existence of a "capitalist narco-trafficking business" in the country. (El EspectadorEl Tiempo, Dec. 14)

Chicago link to Mexican mass abduction?

Posted on December 15th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Reuters on Dec. 10 reported that the alleged Chicago jefe of Mexico's Guerreros Unidos narco-gang faces federal charges with seven others for a plot that involved moving heroin and cocaine to the Windy City in passenger buses. Pablo Vega Cuevas and his brother-in-law, Alexander Figueroa, both of Aurora, Ill., were arrested in Oklahoma; three suspected accomplices were busted in the Chicago area. Warrants have been issued for three others, including one believed to be in Mexico. The investigation led to the seizure of 68 kilos of heroin, nine kilos of cocaine and more than $500,000 in cash. "These arrests will have a significant impact on the supply and distribution of heroin and cocaine throughout the Midwest," Dennis Wichern, the DEA's Chicago special agent-in-charge, said in a statement.

Sentencing in Sinaloa Cartel's Chicago connection

Posted on December 9th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

MexicoThe sentencing last month in a case related to the Sinaloa Cartel's Chicago connection provided further fodder for the increasingly plausible conspiracy theory that the DEA protected Mexico's biggest criminal machine. Federal Judge Ruben Castillo sentenced Alfredo Vázquez Hernández, who had been extradited after serving a sentence in Mexico, to 22 years in prison for shipping 276 kilograms of cocaine to Chicago hidden in railway cars. Federal  prosecutors said Vazquez was a top-ranking operative of the Sinaloa synidcate, who arranged airplanes, submarines, trains and trucks to move cocaine from Colombia to Chicago via Mexico. Vazquez was characterized as a lifelong friend of the cartel's now-imprisoned top kingpin "Shorty" Guzmán. Judge Castillo said this hadn't been proved, but stated:  “Given the amount, it’s nonsensical to think this was this defendant’s inaugural voyage into cocaine trafficking."

Colombia: corrupt cops caught in crackdown

Posted on December 5th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

ColombiaNineteen officers of Colombia's National Police force have been arrested this week in Medellín, the latest busts in an ongoing sweep of corrupt officers. Another 27 were arrested along with the officers, accused of being their handlers for criminal bosses. The targetted officers, associated with the downtown Candelaria police station, are accused of collaborating with Los Urabeños narco-paramilitary gang. Prosecutors say the officers were paid to turn a blind eye to criminal activity in the plazas of downtown Medellín, and to provide tip-offs on planned raids. The arrests come under the National Police force's new "Transparency Plan." National Police commander Rodolfo Palomino tweeted:  "They deserve to be treated like Judas, public officials of any institution that are thrown into the maw of corruption." Last month, 25 National Police agents were arrested in the crackdown nationwide. (Colombia Reports, Dec. 4; Colomba Reports, Nov. 20)

Mexico: massive march against narco-state

Posted on November 21st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoOn Nov. 20, the anniversary of Mexico's 1910 revolution, tens of thousands of protesters filled the streets of downtown Mexico City in a massive demonstration of public anger over government corruption and the abduction of 43 college students at Iguala in southern Guerrero state. The marchers converged from three directions on the capital's enormous central plaza, the Zócalo, where President Enrique Peña Nieto was burned in effigy and clashes erupted. Some protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at police in the plaza. Similar clashes were reported near Mexico City's airport. The march was part of a national mobilization. Three caravans, led by family members of the missing students, travelled throughout the country before uniting in the capital for the march on the Zócalo. In southern Chiapas state, the caravan met with leaders of the Zapatista rebel movement, which issued a statement in support of the protesters. At an earlier march on the Zócalo Nov. 9, protesters managed to burn down the door of the National Palace.  A general strike has been called across Mexico.

Terror interminable in Tamaulipas

Posted on November 3rd, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoMexico's northeastern border state of Tamaulipas, right on the South Texas border, continues to suffer the worst of the narco-violence that has been tearing the country apart for years—but with little media attention, as the local press is too terrorized by the cartels to even cover them. Now, courageous "citizen journalists" who have been taking up the slack are being targeted. Daily Beast on Oct. 21 noted the case of a crusading micro-blogger in the border town of Reynosa who went by the handle "Felina" (@Miut3) and used a photo of Catwoman as her Twitter avatar. Felina was an administrator of reader-generated Valor por Tamaulipas, which aggressively reports the frequent shoot-outs, slayings and abductions—in defiance of threats from the narcos. Last year, one narco-gang even distributed leaflets throughout Tamaulipas offering a reward of 600,000 pesos (about $48,000) for anyone who would reveal the names of the site's administrators. Finally, on Oct. 8, Valor por Tamaulipas received the following tweet: "We're coming very close to many of you watch out felina." It proved not to be a bluff...

Colombia: Guajira crime lord falls, para links revealed

Posted on October 27th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

ColombiaColombia's President Juan Manuel Santos on Oct. 22 announced the capture of one of the country's top fugitive crime lords—Marcos de Jesús Figueroa AKA "Marquitos"—in the Brazilian jungle city of Boa Vista. The extraordinary operation was coordinated by police forces in both Colombia and Brazil. "Marquitos" was considered the reigning boss of the lucrative narco trade in Colombia's northern region of La Guajira, with access to both the Caribbean Sea and the porous Venezuelan border. He is held responsible for a long reign of terror by criminal gangs and their paramilitary allies in the region—personally culpable in at least 100 deaths, according to authorities. Santos took the apprehension of Marquitos as an opportunity to crow: "With this, we say to criminals that it makes no difference where you are, we are going to catch you." (El Tiempo, Oct. 23; El Espectador, El Tiempo, Oct. 22)

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