Guatemala

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.

Empire strikes back against Belize?

Central America OK, we don't want to get too paranoid here. But last month, after years of studying the matter, the government of Belize took a big step toward cannabis decrim. On Feb. 19, the  cabinet formally handed recommendations made by the Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee, assigned to assess the matter, over to the office of the Attorney General for final review. This means introduction of a decrim bill is almost certainly imminent. Sources say the proposed legislation would allow for persons in possession of 10 grams or less to face a fine or community service. The fine is named as 15 Belizean dollars (US$7.50) per gram. The law would also be retroactive, expunging the records of those convicted in the past for possession within these limits. Former National Security Minister Doug Singh, who has pushed for a more lenient policy, said, "Too many young people have this following them, those who are seeking jobs."

Narco angle in Guatemala political crisis

Posted on May 18th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Central AmericaThousands of Guatemalans took to the streets May 16, demanding the nation's President Otto Pérez Molina step down amid a scandal that has already forced the resignation of his vice president, Roxana Baldetti. Despite rain, protesters marched in 13 cities. Throngs filled the capital's central plaza, where a giant banner read "We are the people." The mobilization was largely leaderless, organized by social media under the hashtag #RenunciaYa  (Resign Already). It all blew up in April, when the UN International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala released findings of an investigation into a customs bribery ring uncovered by Guatemalan prosecutors. Baldetti's  private secretary, Juan Carlos Monzón, was named as the ringleader, forcing Baldetti to step down May 8—despite protesting her innocence. Pérez Molina likewise pleads ignorance about the ring, dubbed "La Línea," and pledges a crackdown on corruption. Monzón is on the lam and an Interpol warrant has been issued.

Honduras: new anti-narco force claims blow against Sinaloa Cartel

Posted on October 27th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

Central AmericaIn an operation dubbed "Saturn II," a unit of the new Honduran National Police elite anti-narco force, the Intelligence Troop and Special Security Response Groups (TIGRES), joined with DEA agents Oct. 2 to raid a house in the pueblo of El Porvenir Florida, near Copán on the Guatemalan border—scoring the arrest of one the country's reigning kingpins, José Inocente Valle Valle. The Valle Valle family is said to control the greatest share of cocaine passing through Honduras. Three other brothers of José Inocente remain at large, and face trafficking charges in the United States. Troops from the Guatemalan National Civil Police also participated in the raid. Among the items recovered in the house were 12 pieces of solid gold each impressed with the inscription "Sinaloa"—presumably indicating commerical ties between the Valle Valle family and Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel. (Tiempo, Honduras, Oct. 2)

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.  

Central America: 'narco-deforestation'?

Posted on April 8th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Central AmericaCentral America's rainforests are being destroyed by drug traffickers who cut roads and airstirps on officially protected lands, according to a paper in the journal Science. The phenomenon, called "narco-deforestation," is occurring across large swaths of Guatemala and Honduras, and perhaps elsewhere. Erik Nielsen, an assistant professor in the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability at Northern Arizona University, said: "Not only are societies being ripped apart, but forests are being ripped apart." He added that cattle ranches are being established on cleared land as fronts to launder drug money.

Guatemala considers legal opium cultivation

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

opiatesGuatemala has emerged as a major opium producer in recent years, and now President Otto Pérez Molina—a conservative who is increasingly breaking with the US-led "drug war" consensus—is considering legalized and regulated cultivation of the poppy as an alternative to eradication. "We started exploring the capacity that we could have for controlled planting," said Pérez Molina. "What that means is that we would know exactly what extensions are being planted, what the production would be and that the sale would also be well controlled, especially for medicinal use." Interior minister Mauricio López added: "There are two paths; one is cultivated substitutes, and the other is the alternative which is controlled cultivation. This is what is already being done in other countries such as India and China, that is to say identifying hectares clearly, seeing how they are grown, carrying out the harvest, taking control of the commercialization and above all making sure this serves mainly the pharmaceutical industry."  

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."

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