Central America

Rights violations seen in federal Mara crackdown

Posted on August 2nd, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Central AmericaCivil rights organizations in New York are trying to determine if police and school officials on Long Island helped federal authorities detain students illegally in the country on the basis of dubious claims of ties to Central American gangs. The controversy comes days after President Trump's inflammatory speech before law enforcement officers in Long Island's Suffolk County on July 28. There was a major outcry over Trump's urging of police to be "rough" with suspects in the speech. This outrage nearly eclipsed media coverage of his pledge in the speech to "destroy" the MS-13 gang network, calling its members "animals."

El Salvador: Barrio 18 'Revolutionaries' sentenced in massacre

Posted on May 26th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

Central AmericaA judge in El Salvador on May 24 sentenced seven accused members of the country's feared mara gang networks to 390 years in prison each for the March 2016 massacre at the town of San Juan Opico. Authorities say the maras kidnapped three day laborers and eight electric company workers at the town, just outside the capital San Salvador—and then killed them, without waiting for a ransom. The mara networks have been factionalizing in a struggle over the cocaine trade through Central America, as well as the lucre from their new sidelines of extortion and kidnapping. The seven sentenced are said to be from a new faction with the disconcerting name of the Barrio 18 Revolutionaries—implying they actually seek to challenge  the state, in the style of Mexico's Zetas.

Sessions pledges crackdown on Latin gangs

Posted on April 21st, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

Shadow WatchAttorney General Jeff Sessions, speaking to the Justice Department's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) on April 18, pledged that the Trump administration will have "zero tolerance for gang violence" from "transnational criminal organizations"—particularly singling out MS-13, the Central American narco-network that has its roots on the streets of Los Angeles.

Guatemala: Barrio 18 gang in deadly prison siege

Posted on March 21st, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

Central AmericaAt least three guards were killed when riot police were sent in to storm the Etapa 2 juvenile detention center outside Guatemala City, where members of the notorious Barrio 18 narco-gang had seized cell-blocks and taken hostages March 20. Riot troops were ordered to take the facility despite desperate pleas from guards being held hostage. Latin American Herald Tribune reports that before the bloody climax, hostages had shouted from windows, urging authorities to negotiate with their captors. "We are begging and the government doesn't want to do anything," one reportedly cried. "They give no attention to our lives."

Nicaragua nabs cocaine lord of Miskito Coast

Posted on February 28th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Central AmericaA Colombian cartel operative who established Central America's remote and lawless Miskito Coast as a major cocaine transfer point, building a mini-empire in the region of jungle, savanna and offshore cays, has since Feb. 7 been cooling his heels in Managua's notorious El Chipote prison, according to a Feb. 26 report in Nicaraguan daily La Prensa. Although his capture was confirmed by his attorney, Nicaraguan authorities failed to announce the arrest of the country's most-wanted crime lord, Amauri Carmona Morelos AKA Alberto Ruiz Cano.

Deported to Honduras for a joint?

Posted on February 23rd, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

border wallThat's what almost happened to Josue Romero, a 19-year-old art student in San Antonio who had received a work permit under Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—which is now threatened by Trump. Picked up on a minor pot bust Feb. 21, Romero was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), held for two days—and told by ICE agents that he would be deported to Honduras. Instead, he was released, without explanation. "I can't describe how I feel. I just want to break down and cry," Romero told the San Antonio Express-News after his release.  "I was kind of devastated. Because I’ve never known a life outside of San Antonio."

Central America: tri-national task force against gangs

Posted on November 16th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

Central AmericaA joint security force bringing together the three nations of Central America's Northern Triangle officially began operations to fight narco-gangs and organized crime on Nov. 15. The force is made up of military, police, intelligence and border officials from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—which all face growing internal violence from criminal networks. The force was officially inaugurated at a ceremony in the Honduran border town of Ocotepeque, near the point where the three countries meet. The presidents of all three nations were in attendance.

Honduras: son of ex-prez guilty on coke charge

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

Central AmericaThe 2009 coup d'etat in Honduras has recently been in the news due to revelations that it was lubricated by then-Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Now comes the embarassing news that the son of Honduras' ex-president Porfirio Lobo has pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking charges in a federal court in Manhattan, and faces a mandatory 10-year prison term. Fabio Lobo, 44, admitted to scheming to import a “multi-ton load” of cocaine into the US. Federal prosecutors said the younger Lobo was snared by DEA informants who went undercover as traffickers and started collecting evidence against him in 2013. They popped him in Haiti a year ago, and put him on a plane to New York. Said US Attorney Preet Bharara: "Whether you are a street-level dealer, a member of a cartel, or the son of a former foreign president, drug dealing is drug dealing. It is a serious federal crime for which you will be prosecuted."

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