Great Lakes

Chicago cops run 'black site'?

Posted on February 25th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

ChicagoChicago is abuzz with explosive claims in The Guardian Feb. 24 that police in the Windy City operate a CIA-style "black site" where arrestees are held incommunicado, subject to harsh interrogations without being formally booked—and therefore with no paper trail, and no means for attorneys or kin to determine their whereabouts. The facility, in a nondescript West Side warehouse known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of "secretive work by special police units," The Guardian writes, where beatings and abuse can be carried out with impunity. Detainees are held there up to 24 hours before being sent to a precinct to be formally processed. Kids as young as 15 have been held at Honan Square, and at least one man was found unresponsive in an "interview room" at the facility and later pronounced dead, according to a February 2013 Chicago Tribune story cited by The Guardian.

Another sentencing in Sinaloa-Chicago connection

Posted on January 28th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

Identical twin brothers Pedro and Margarito Flores on Jan. 27 were the latest to be sentenced in a series of high-profile federal cases targeting the Sinaloa Cartel's operations in Chicago. Accused of running a continent-spanning trafficking ring, they each received 14 years in prison after US District Judge Ruben Castillo agreed to sharply reduce their term in recognition of their work as government informants. Castillo called the Flores twins, natives of Chicago's West Side, the "most significant drug dealers" he'd dealt with in two decades on the bench, stating that they had "devastated the walls" of US national security by bringing at least 70 tons of cocaine and heroin into the country from 2005 to 2008. Prosecutors also charged the twins smuggled $1.8 billion back to Mexico—wrapped in plastic and duct tape. But it was federal prosecutors who pleaded for leniency, hailing the twins for gathering evidence against the Sinaloa Cartel's long-fugitive kingpin "El Chapo" Guzmán, who was finally busted in Mexico last year. 

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."

Minnesota medical marijuana law gets mixed reviews

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

medical marijuanaGov. Mark Dayton signed a bill into law May 29 that makes Minnesota the 22nd medical marijuana state. Patient advocates celebrated the passage of SF 2470, which will protect qualified patients from arrest, prosecution and discrimination, and license two manufacturers and eight distribution centers. However, advocates voiced concern that the law prohibits smoking medical marijuana, as well as the use and possession of cannabis in herbaceous form. The bill empowers "health care practitioners" to recommend marijuana to patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, seizures, and a range of other medical conditions. However, the law limits medical marijuana use to oil that is extracted from the plant using a state-licensed manufacturing process. The law requires the state to start supplying patients with medical marijuana oil by July 1, 2015.

Illinois governor signs medical cannabis law

Posted on August 2nd, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

IllinoisGov. Pat Quinn signed HB1 into law Aug. 1, making Illinois the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana. Nearly 40% of people in the US now live in states that have adopted such laws. The Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act creates a framework to protect physicians and certain qualified medical marijuana patients from arrest and prosecution. HB1 was passed 35-21 by the Illinois House in April, and 61-57 by the Senate in May. HB1, which is scheduled to sunset in four years, was called one of the most restrictive laws in the country by its Senate sponsor Bill Haine (D-Alton). The new law is set to take effect on January 1, 2014.

Michigan high court guts state dispensary system

Posted on February 12th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

cannabisIn a decision that may shutter most of the state's medical marijuana dispensaries, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled 4-1 Feb. 8 that the private sale of medical marijuana is illegal. The court granted an injunction enjoining the defendants' business, Compassionate Apothecary, from selling medical marijuana on the grounds that such sales constitute a public nuisance.

Chicago votes to decriminalize cannabis

Posted on June 28th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

The Chicago City Council on June 27 voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis. Under the new ordinance, police officers may issue tickets to individuals found to be in possession of 10 grams of cannabis or less. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel earlier this month expressed his support for the ordinance, which he said would "ultimately [free] up police officers for the street." Emanuel said he consulted with police authorities before endorsing the ordinance. The new law will take effect 30 days from its passage, and supporters say it will raise revenue for the city as well as allow police more freedom to pursue violent criminals. (Jurist, June 27)

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