Mexico

DEA chief: Mexican cartels move into Colorado, Washington

Posted on April 5th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

leafDrug Enforcement Administration chief Michele Leonhart, in testimony before a House Appropriations subcommittee April 2, went on the offensive against the cannabis legalization initiatives in Washington state and Colorado. "What was explained to the voters was how much money that they'd be raising," Leonhart said. "What was explained to the voters was that this was good for law enforcement, because then police could go after the real crimes. What was told to the voters is that this would collapse the Mexican drug cartels." Instead, Leonhart asserted, Mexican drug cartels are "setting up shop" in Washington and Colorado in anticipation of a cannabis boom. "Whatever the price will be set in Washington and Colorado, criminal organizations are ready to come in and sell cheaper," she said. She also claimed, without offering evidence, that many cannabis shops get their supplies from grow operations controlled by cartels. 

Michoacán: 'community police' out of control —already?

Posted on March 23rd, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoJust weeks after the Mexican government signed an accord with the "community police" vigilante network in Michoacán, ostensibly bringing the anti-narco militias under control of the armed forces, it is looking more and more like they have been transformed into a lawless paramilitary force—even acting against Mexico''s federal authorities. On March 19, "community police" forces at La Placita, on Michoacán's Pacific coast, launched a blockade of the entrance of a Mexican naval outpost, apparently in protest of the disarming of 14 of their gunmen by Mexican marines stationed there. The blockade continues as we got to press, with hundreds of armed vigilantes from neighboring towns converging at the base. (El Sol de Leon, March 21)

Michoacán: cannibalization of 'community police'?

Posted on March 13th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoHipolito Mora, a top leader of the "community police" self-defense network in Michoacán, was detained by state police March 10 as a suspect in the slaying of two members of the movement. The detention comes amid an armed stand-off between rival factions of the self-defense network in the town of Buenavista Tomatlán. Hundreds of police and soldiers have been sent to the town as factions have seized turf and drawn lines across the municipality. Mora was helicoptered from Los Palmares ranch, in an outlying area of  Buenavista, where he and his armed followers were holed up againt rivals. The rival outfit, based in Buenavista's hamlet of La Ruana, is said to be led by Luís Antonio Torres González, who goes by the nom de guerre "Simón El Americano," because he grew up in the US. Torres González told local media that the two dead men were part of his defense group. Their bodies were found inside a pick-up truck that had been set on fire.  

Michoacán cartel boss 'killed' —again!

Posted on March 11th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoHere we go again. Mexican authorities announced March 9 the death of Michoacán's top drug lord Nazario Moreno AKA "El Chayo" in a shoot-out that erupted when a mixed force of military and federal police troops raided his 44th birthday party in the pueblo of Apatzingán. Also known as "El Más Loco" (the Craziest One), "El Macho Loco" and "El Doctor," Moreno was the founder of both La Familia cartel and its offshoot, the Knights Templar. But there is an all-too-familiar sense of deja vu here: this is the second time that El Chayo was reported killed in a shoot-out with federal cops in Apatzingán. The first time was in December 2010, although authorities didn't produce the body. This time they have, and boast positive forensic identification. (Univision, March 10; BBC News, La Jornada, AP, Milenio, March 9)

Michoacán crackdown on narco-mineral nexus

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

MexicoMexican authorities on March 4 announced the seizure of 119,000 tons of iron ore—with an estimated value of $15.4 million—along with 124 bulldozers, backhoes and trucks at Michoacán's Pacific seaport of Lázaro Cardenas, following tips about drug cartels exporting black-market ore to China.  More than 400 federal police and military troops were involved in the coordinated raids on 11 processing facilities in the port city. Six Chinese workers at the sites were arrested, apparently on immigration charges. The federal security commissioner for Michoacán, Alfredo Castillo, told Periódico Digital that the ore is being tested to determine which mines it came from in order to crack down on the operation. In November 2013, the Mexican Navy took control of Lázaro Cardenas to cut off illicit exports for the Knights Templar drug cartel. (Metal Miner, March 7; Mining.com, Port Technology, March 4)

Mexican feds: 'Got Shorty!' El Chapo busted —at last

Posted on February 22nd, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoMexican authorities on Feb. 22 announced the arrest of the country's top drug lord, the notorios Joaquin Guzmán Loera AKA "El Chapo" (Shorty)—who had eluded capture for over 10 years, despite a supposed manhunt and a massive price on his head. Chapo was detained in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, and immediately transfered by Federal Police helicopter accompanied by an escort of two armed forces helicopters to the top-security Federal Center for Social Rehabilitation No. 1 at Altiplano, México state. The prison has since been under escalated security measures, ringed by armed troops, with nearby highways patrolled by convoys of Federal Police vehicles. (La Jornada, Feb. 22)

Cannabis decrim bills introduced in Mexico

Posted on February 21st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

MexicoLawmakers from Mexico's left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) introduced legislation last week to decriminalize cannabis in an effort to curb cartel violence. One bill, introduced in the federal Congress, builds on the partial decrim passed in 2009, increasing "personal use" quantities from five to 30 grams. It also includes provisions allowing for use of medical marijuana. Another bill in the Federal District's Legislative Assembly would instruct police and judges in Mexico City to deprioritize prosecution of cannabis violations. It would also create "tolerance zones," where cannabis could be sold openly, and "dissuasion commissions" to which violators could be assigned in lieu of criminal charges.

Calabria connection broken in NYC-Italy cocaine sting?

Posted on February 11th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

ItalyA 15-count indictment was unsealed Feb. 11 in a Brooklyn federal court, charging seven defendants with narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and firearms offenses based on what an FBI press release calls their participation in a "transnational heroin and cocaine trafficking conspiracy involving the ‘Ndrangheta, one of Italy's most powerful organized crime syndicates." Italy's Polizia di Stato simultaneously announced the arrest of another 17 in the southern province of Reggio di Calabria by troops of the elite Central Anti-Crime Directorate. The coordinated international operation for two years monitored narco-trafficking networks between Latin America, Italy, Canada and the US. The Italian hub of the ring was identified as the port of Gioia Tauro in Reggio di Calabria. 

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