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Haiti: ex-coup leader busted for coke trafficking

Posted on January 15th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

HaitiGuy Philippe, a former paramilitary boss and coup leader who was elected to Haiti's Senate in November, was arrested by the DEA on Jan. 5—just days before he would have been sworn into office and obtained immunity. Philippe had been wanted by the US since 2005 on charges of conspiracy to import cocaine and money laundering.

Colombia: FARC narco-factions refuse to lay down arms

Posted on December 19th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

ColombiaThe historic peace process in Colombia is finally resulting in demobilization of the country's FARC guerilla fighters, who are now gathering at designated points in the countryside to turn over their arms. The effort has won President Juan Manuel Santos a Nobel Peace Prize. But FARC leaders admit that five regional commanders—said to be those most co-opted by the narco trade—are refusing to lay down arms, and have been officially expelled from the guerilla army.

Venezuelan First Family scions convicted of trafficking

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

VenezuelaAfter a high-profile but very quick trial in a US federal court in Manhattan, two young scions of Venezuela's First Family were convicted on Nov. 19 of conspiring to traffick more than 800 kilograms of cocaine into the United States. The two men, Efraín Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas, are nephews of Cilia Flores—wife of Venezuela's embattled President Nicolás Maduro. The case came amid massive anti-government protests in Venezuela, and Cilia Flores charged that her nephews had been "kidnapped" by the DEA for political reasons. Popped just over a year ago in Haiti, they now face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Obama drug war sentence commutations reach record 944

Posted on November 8th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

ObamaPresident Barack Obama on Nov. 5 commuted the sentences of 72 more drug war inmates, bringing his total commutations throughout his two terms to 944. The pace of Obama's commutations is picking up as he approaches the end of his time in office. In a similar move one month earlier, he commuted the terms of 102 federal prison inmates—breaking all prior records. "The vast majority of today’s grants were for individuals serving unduly harsh sentences for drug-related crimes under outdated sentencing laws," White House counsel Neil Eggleston said in a statement Oct. 6. "With today's grants, the President has commuted 774 sentences, more than the previous 11 presidents combined. With a total of 590 commutations this year, President Obama has now commuted the sentences of more individuals in one year than in any other single year in our nation’s history."

New York cocaine trial opens of Venezuelan political scions

Posted on November 8th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

VenezuelaWith Venezuela deep in political crisis, the trial opened in US district court in Manhattan this week of two scions of the country's First Family charged with cocaine trafficking. The two men, Efraín Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas, are nephews of Cilia Flores—wife of embattled President Nicolás Maduro. In opening statements, Assistant US Attorney Emil Bove said the pair were secretly recorded planning to ship 800 kilos of coke from Venezuela to Honduras for re-export to the United States.

Rio de Janeiro to get pro-legalization mayor?

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

BrazilLeft-wing populist candidate Marcelo Freixo made it past the first round in the race for mayor of Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 2, and now goes on to face an ultra-conservative rival in a run-off at the end of the month. In recent days, drug legalization has emerged as a key issue in the race. Freixo, of the Socialism and Freedom Party (POSL), is currently chair of the Human Rights Defense Commission of Rio de Janiero state's Legislative Assembly. He is now running against evangelical senator Marcelo Crivella of the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB) for the mayoralty. But another right-wing contender bounced out in the first round, Flávio Bolsonaro of the Social Christian Party (PSC), has thrown his support to Crivella—and is attempting to use the drug stigma against Freixo, exploiting his call for legalization as a means to de-escalate Rio's violent gang wars.

Bolivia tilting back to prohibitionist stance?

Posted on September 19th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

AndesPresident Barack Obama once again singled out Washington's biggest political adversaries in Latin America for censure in this year's White House report on global anti-drug efforts. The annual memorandum to the State Department, "Major Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries," released Sept. 12, lists 17 Latin American countries out of a total of 22 around the world. As has now become routine, Bolivia, Venezuela and Burma are blacklisted as countries that have "failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to the obligations under international counternarcotic agreements." (InSight Crime, Sept. 13)

'Re-narcotization' feared in Colombia

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

ColombiaDespite progress in peace talks with the FARC guerillas, Colombia can't seem to escape endemic narco-violence. On Sept. 14, a street gun-battle sparked panic in the tourist district of Cartagena, the Caribbean resort city. The clash began as sicarios (hired assassins), in broad daylight, tried to kill a paramilitary honcho being held by police. The three sicarios, wearing prison guard uniforms, attempted to enter the building where Jhon Jairo Jimenez AKA "Pichi" is held under house arrest. Two assailants were wounded and apprehended, while a third escaped. Wanted for coke trafficking, Pichi turned state witness after his arrest last year, ratting out his former cohorts in the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, popularly known as "Los Urabeños." (Colombia Reports, Sept. 14)

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