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Central America

Costa Rica: the next narco-state?

Posted on December 23rd, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

Central AmericaCosta Rica's authorities announced 17 raids by the elite Drug Control Police across the Caribbean provinces of Limón and  Cahuita as well as locations in the capital San José Dec. 17, that they boast resulted in the dismantling of the most important narco-trafficking operation in the country to date—with ties to Colombia and Jamaica as suppliers of cocaine and cannabis, and Europe as an export destination. Prosecutor General Jorge Chavarria said that among the 12 arrested were two officers of Public Force, the country's national police, and an officer at the Bank of Costa Rica who facilitated laundering of proceeds. The ring was reportedly led by one Rivas Bonilla AKA "Tito" or "Patrón"—who kept ahead of the law for at least three years through tip-offs from his pal on the police force. Chavarría said that the ring was the largest yet run by Costa Ricans, instead of Colombian or Mexican networks operating within the country. "History has changed," Chavarría said. "We now have Costa Rican groups who want to be entrepreneurs in drugs: owners of the drugs, the organization and the routes."

Gulf Cartel's Guatemalan jefe busted in Chiapas

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

Central AmericaMexican federal police on Oct. 4 announced the apprehension of a fugitive Gulf Cartel operative, Eduardo Francisco Villatoro Cano AKA "Guayo"—wanted in Guatemala for a bloody attack on police earlier this year. Guayo was captured in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital of southern Chiapas state, bordering Guatemala. Guatemalan authorities hold him responsible for a June armed attack on a National Civil Police post in Salcajá, Quetzaltenango, in which nine officers were killed.  He was arrested along with his cousin, Édgar Waldiny Herrera Villatoro AKA "El Gualas." Although both men are Guatemalan nationals, they were said to be serving as agents of Mexico's Gulf Cartel. They were turned over to authorities in Guatemala, where President Otto Perez Molina said the Gulf Cartel network in the country has now been dismantled.

'Drug war' dissent at OAS summit

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

Central AmericaMore than 160 civil society organizations representing hundreds of thousands of citizens in Mexico, Central America and the United States, sent an open letter to the OAS General Assembly meeting in the Guatemalan city of Antigua this week,  calling for alternatives to the "war on drugs" that guarantee respect for human rights. "Our organizations have documented an alarming increase in violence and human rights violations. While we recognize that transnational crime and drug-trafficking play a role in this violence, we call on our governments to acknowledge that failed security policies that have militarized citizen security have only exacerbated the problem, and are directly contributing to increased human suffering in the region," the letter states.

Will OAS summit broach drug decrim?

Posted on June 3rd, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

Central AmericaAs the  Organization of American States (OAS) summit opens under tight security in the historic Guatemalan city of Antigua—some 2,000 army and National Police troops deployed—fighting narco-trafficking is certain to top the agenda. Secretary of State John Kerry will be in attendance, with US Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske—prepared to oppose initiatives to reconsider the "war on drugs," including from Guatemala's otherwise arch-conservative President Otto Pérez Molina. But it remains to be seen if the summit will take up the iconoclastic recommendations of a draft report on drug policy released by the OAS last month. When the ground-breaking report was issued, OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza asserted, "this is not a conclusion but only the beginning of a long-awaited discussion." As the Guatemala summit opened June 3, he reiterated that the report will not be officially adopted by the international body, but that "it will be only a platform for discussion." This equivocation will doubtless be welcome in Washington, given the report's open dissidence from generations of "drug war" dogma.

Honduras: police seize $50,000 gold-plated AK-47

Posted on January 14th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Central AmericaAuthorities in Honduras on Jan. 7 announced the seizure of a gold-plated, jewel-encrusted AK-47 assault rifle, complete with two silver magazines. The rifle, estimated to be worth more than $50,000, turned up in a raid along with other military equipment at a ranch in Choloma, some 300 kilometers from Tegucigalpa, where two security guards were detained. Authorities said the gold-plated rifle had an engraving associated with the Malverde drug gang, which is allegedly in league with Mexico's notorious Zetas. "It's an exclusive design and a fine carving," said National Police chief Leo­nel Sau­ce­da.

Blood Ganja

The most enlightened cannabis connoisseurs—those who still have a link back to the values that defined the hippie culture—tend to be conscious consumers when it comes to food or computers or whatnot. They may buy organic tomatoes, boycott Taco Bell to support exploited farm workers in Florida, and petition Apple about the brutal conditions in their Chinese assembly plants. But do they pay as much attention to the source of their preferred smoking herb? 

Is there blood on your ganja?

Honduras: record coke bust as US pledges Drug War support

Posted on December 2nd, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Central AmericaHonduran authorities seized 15 tons of illegal drugs buried beneath a clandestine laboratory in the northern department of Yoro, officials said Nov. 29. "According to what the experts say, the drugs found would amount to some 15 tons of cocaine paste or synthetic drugs," Elvin Guzmán, spokesman for the prosecutor's office in the northern city of San Pedro Sula, told reporters. (This is an ambiguous statement, as the proportion of paste to finished cocaine is approximately 2 to 1, according to a DEA analysis.) The drug lab was found in a village lying between the towns of Santa Rita and El Negrito. National Police and army troops are scouring the area for more labs.

Honduras: Miskito Indians declare DEA persona non grata

Posted on May 21st, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Central AmericaResidents of the villages of Ahuas and Patuca, in the remote Miskito Coast of northeast Honduras, took to the streets May 11 to protest a deadly DEA raid, demanding the US agency leave their territory—and burning down four government offices to make their point. In the incident in the pre-dawn hours that morning on the Río Patuca, four were killed—including two pregnant women—and another four wounded when DEA agents and Honduran National Police agents in a US State Department-contracted helicopter piloted by Guatemalan military men fired on a boat they apparently believed was filled with drug traffickers. Local residents—backed up by the mayor of Ahuas municipality (Gracias a Dios department), Lucio Baquedano—say they were humble villagers who were fishing on the river, and had nothing to do with drug trafficking.

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