cartels

Colombia: freed cartel hitman demands protection

Posted on August 28th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

ColombiaJhon Jairo Velásquez Vasquez AKA "Popeye" is notorious in Colombia as former personal enforcer for late drug lord Pablo Escobar—and is now a free man after 22 years behind bars, two-thirds of his original sentence. But he seems to be more troubled than relieved about his release on parole—just before getting popped from the top-security Cómbita prison in Boyacá, Popeye asked Colombia's official human rights office, the Defensoría del Pueblo, for protection. "Please grant me police security from the moment I leave the prison gate," he wrote. We can imagine that Popeye has made a few enemies over the years. In jailhouse interviews with journalists, he boasted that he personally killed around 300 people and helped arrange for the murder of 10 times that many. A judge granted nonetheless his parole application, and he was sprung on a bond of 9 million pesos ($4,700) Aug. 27. "In his own hand he asked [authorities] to protect his right to life," the Defensoría said of the request, adding that the office has contacted the appropriate authorities to arrange security measures.

Colombia: FARC meets army brass, coke flow uninterrupted

Posted on August 24th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

ColombiaColombian military brass held their first meeting with FARC guerilla leaders at peace talks in Havana Aug. 22. The meeting focused on the specifics of implementing a ceasefire and the eventual demobilization of the guerillas.  Earlier in the week the guerilla leaders met, also for the first time, a group of war victims to discuss formation of a truth commission for the conflict. But Colombia's Prosecutor General Alejandro Ordoñez sent a letter to President Juan Manuel Santos criticizing creation of the Historical Commission on the Conflict and its Victims, fearing an outcome favoring the FARC’s version of events. (BBC News, Aug. 22; Colombia Reports, Aug. 21)

International manhunt after Haiti prison break

Posted on August 13th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

HaitiOfficials in Haiti on Aug. 12 announced that police have re-captured Clifford Brandt, a disgraced businessman who seems to have been the intended beneficiary of an armed prison break two days earlier. Brandt was reportedly taken at a town on Haiti's border with the Dominican Republic. In the audacious raid on Haiti's main Croix-des-Bouquets prison, gunmen attacked the facility from within and without, seemingly allowing the entire population of inmates to escape—more than 800. But Brandt, a scion of one of Haiti's most prominent families, is believed to have organized the attack. Brandt had been imprisoned since 2012 on charges of kidnapping at least two children. Two guards suffered bullet wounds in the prison shoot-out. Haitian officials have alerted authorities in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica to help in hunting down the escapees, who may have fled abroad. Some reports indicated Brandt was actually intercepted by the Dominican army as he tried to cross the border at Cornillon/Grand Bois, and then turned over to Haitian authorities.

Aruba frees Venezuelan 'narco-general' wanted in US

Posted on August 4th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

VenezuelaVenezuela has scored a win in its ongoing diplomatic and propaganda war with Uncle Sam. The most recent flare-up started July 24, when authorities in Aruba arrested Gen. Hugo Carvajal, a top Venezuelan official wanted in the US on drug trafficking charges. Carvajal had been military intelligence chief under the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, and was accused by the US Treasury Department of using his position to protect cocaine shipments for Colombia's FARC guerillas. He had just arrived in Aruba after being appointed Venezuela's consul there—and was promptly detained at Washington's behest. Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro called the detention a "kidnapping," and demanded Carvajal's immediate release. And three days later, a judge on the island found that since Carvajal had a diplomatic passport, his arrest was illegal. He was sprung and quickly made the short flight back to Venezuela. "He's returning free and victorious. It's a triumph for sovereignty and legality," president Maduro said, praising the "bravery" of the Dutch government. (The Guardian, July 28; BBC News, July 27; Maduradas, July 24)

Sinaloa Cartel kingpin prevails in prison hunger strike

Posted on July 29th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoMedia reports in Mexico indicate that the notorious Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Joaquin Guzmán Loera AKA "El Chapo"—who evaded authorities for over a decade before being captured earlier this year—has claimed victory in a hunger strike at the top-security Altiplano prison at Almoloya de Juárez, México state. Chapo reportedly started the strike July 16 with fellow imprisoned kingpin Édgar Valdez Villarreal AKA "La Barbie"—who had once been his comrade-in-arms but later became his bitter enemy when Barbie defected to the rival Beltran-Leyva cartel. The hunger strike rapidly spread throughout the prison, with at least 1,000 other inmates joininig. Authorities quickly capitulated on some of the key demands. Prisoners will be given new shoes and clothing, and they will be served more food (although it will be the same mediocre quality). Inmates will also be allowed to purchase more items such as toilet paper from the prison store. They will be allowed three attempts to make phone calls to their families; previously, if the call was not connected or the line was busy they had to wait nine days to try again. Although other demands were not met, Chapo and Barbie called off the strike. It should be noted that Altiplano is the most elite prison in Mexico, with state-of-the-art security measures modelled after the "supermax" facilities in the United States. But conditions are far worse at the country's many overcrowded and corrupt state facilities—which have witnessed a series of bloody uprisings in recent years. (Hispanically Speaking, July 28; Borderland Beat, July 21; Proceso, July 19)

Mexico: still more 'narco-fosas' uncovered

Posted on July 22nd, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoMexican authorities unearthed five recently buried bodies from a clandestine grave in the rural pueblo of Mochicahui, El Fuerte municipality, Sinaloa state, officials announced July 21—the latest in a long string of such gruesome finds that the press in Mexico has dubbed narco-fosas, or narco-graves. Sinaloa state prosecutors were tipped off by a local resident whose family member was among the disappeared. Peasants in the region are terrorized by the Sinaloa Cartel, which makes a grisly example of those unwilling to cooperate in its drug-running operations. (EFE, July 21)

Medellín kingpin busted in Spain

Posted on July 20th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

SpainSpanish authorities on July 19 announced the arrest of wanted Colombian kingpin Hernán Alonso Villa AKA "El Ratón" (The Mouse), who was apprehended on a highway outside the Mediterranean port of Alicante. Alonso Villa is said to have been a top European operative for the Oficina de Envigado, now Colombia's most powerful criminal organization, and is held responsible for exporting massive amounts of cocaine to Spain, the Netherlands, and elsewhere on the continent. He is also accused of having led the Oficina's paramilitary enforcement wing in Colombia. The Oficina has been linked to nearly 400 murders, according to authorities. Spain's National Police said Alonso Villa has been transfered to Madrid pending extradition to Colombia. (The Guardian, July 20; Latino Post, El Tiempo, July 19)

Narco wars drive migrant kids to US borders

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

Central AmericaUS authorities report a record flood of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border, a wave that has been escalating since 2011. About 52,000 have arrived since October, about 112% more than the entire prior year, Alejandro Mayorkas, deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department, said June 20 in a conference call with reporters. Up to 90,000 are expected to come in 2014, according to the White House—more than twice as many as last year, and three times as many as in 2012. President Barack Obama this month directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to address the "urgent humanitarian situation," and asked Congress for funding. Courts and social-service agencies have been overwhelmed, and guidelines on processing and detention thrown into disarray, Bloomberg reports. "It's been a humanitarian crisis since long before Obama called it that," said Kimi Jackson, director of the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project, which aids children in immigration court.  

Who's new

  • Karr Young
  • John Veit
  • YosephLeib
  • Peter Gorman
  • jpproject