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Philippines: military camps for drug users?

Posted on August 4th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

South East AsiaIn his increasingly draconian anti-drug crackdown, the new Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, actually sent National Police troops to arrest a local mayor—resulting in a shoot-out that left six of the mayor's bodyguards dead. On Aug. 1, Duterte ordered Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera town on Leyte island to surrender within 24 hours—and added: "Otherwise, an order of 'shoot on sight' will be given if they resist and endanger the lives of arresting police officers." Espinosa surrendered to police the next day—but his son, wanted as a suspected drug-dealer, remained at large. The day after that, the gun-fight broke out between the body-guards and police who were on patrol near Espinosa's house. Police of course said the body-guards fired first. The affair began July 28, when five other of Espinosa's body-guards and staff were busted in a sting operation for a street sale of shabu (methamphetamine).

SCOTUS deals new blow to Fourth Amendment

Posted on June 20th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

SCOTUS The Supreme Court on June 20 ruled that evidence discovered in a police stop found to be illegal may still be used in court—with the caveat that the officers conducted their search after learning that the suspect had an outstanding arrest warrant. In a 5-3 ruling, the Supremes found that such searches do not violate the Fourth Amendment. The case, Utah v. Strieff, concerned Edward Strieff, who in December 2006 was stopped by an officer staking out a suspected drug-dealing location in South Salt Lake. Grounds for the stop were later ruled inadequate because it was not based on reasonable suspicion. During the stop, the officer ran a check and discovered Strieff had an outstanding warrant for a minor traffic violation, and conducted a search—finding a baggie full of methamphetamines and a pipe that was deemed paraphernalia. A district court later ruled that although the cop didn't have the right to stop Strieff, the evidence was admissible. The highest court in the land has now agreed.

Obama signs draconian new drug law

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Shadow WatchTo little fanfare, President Barack Obama on May 16 signed into law the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act—further extending the global reach of US narcotics enforcement. The law criminalizes manufacture of drugs anywhere in the world if the producers "intend, know, or have probable cause to believe" the substances will be illegally imported into the United States. The language has been attacked as overbroad, potentially applying to any link of the production chain—down to lowly peasant growers of cannabis, coca leaf or opium.

Iran under pressure to drop death penalty for drug offenses

Posted on April 15th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Middle EastUN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on April 14 issued a statement appealing to Iran to halt executions for drug offenses until the country's parliament debates a new law that would eliminate the mandatory death penalty for drug-related crimes. The statements came in response to the hanging of five men over the weekend, three of them on charges of narcotics trafficking. In at least one of those cases, a man sentenced to death in 2012 for possession of crystal meth, there were serious concerns about the fairness of the trial and denial of the right to appeal. The statement noted lthat ast year, at least 966 people were executed in Iran—the highest rate in more than two decades. The majority were hanged for drug offenses. At least four of those executed in 2015 were juveniles.

Giving new meaning to the word 'bust'

Posted on February 18th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

OceaniaAustralian police on Feb. 15 announced the seizure of 720 liters of liquid methamphetamine with an estimated street value of A$1 billion (about US$700 million)—hidden in gel bra inserts. The laundered bra shipment, which also included art supplies similarly used to hide the meth, were found in a storage unit in Sydney. Four were charged: three men from Hong Kong and a Chinese national. The joint operation involved the Federal Police, New South Wales police and Australian Border Force. "This has resulted in 3.6m individual hits of ice being taken off our streets," boasted NSW Justice Minister Michael Keenan. Officials said the operation began in December when Border Force examined a shipping container that had arrived from Hong Kong.

Beheaded for hashish in Saudi Arabia —again

Posted on February 17th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Middle East Saudi Arabia's relentless campaign of beheadings continued Feb. 17 with the execution of three drug convicts, AFP reports—bringing to 63 the number of people put to death so far this year. Two Yemeni nationals accused of bringing hashish into the kingdom were were executed in the southwestern city of Jazan, near the border.  A Saudi national was meanwhile executed in the northern region of Tabuk after his conviction for smuggling amphetamines. The desert kingdom seems set to make a new record in beheadings this year—having executed 47 people in a single day on Jan. 2 for "terrorism."

Was Chapo's overture to Hollywood fatal?

Posted on January 10th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

ChapoThe story of the capture of Chapo Guzmán—Mexico's top fugitive drug lord—took a turn for the surreal Jan. 9 with the relevation that Hollywood heavy Sean Penn had interviewed the kingpin when he was on the lam last year for Rolling Stone magazine. In the account, Penn describes the complicated process of estabishing contact, with encrypted communications and such, before being flown from an unnamed location in central Mexico to a "jungle clearing" for some face time. We have to be a tad skeptical here. Chapo was tracked down by Mexican federales to a luxury condo in a Sinaloa seaport—nowhere near any jungle. Even if the meeting was arranged at a remote location, it was still likely to be in Chapo's northern stronghold state of Sinaloa—and the only real jungle in Mexico is in southern Chiapas state, hundreds of miles away. Taking some liberties for dramatic effect perhaps, Sean?

Mexico: narco hand in assassination attempt on ex-governor?

Posted on October 17th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

MexicoBeing the governor of Mexico's Pacific coastal state of Colima seems to be high-risk proposition —even once you're out of office. Two gunmen shot Fernando Moreno Peña, Colima's governor from 1997 to 2003, as he ate breakfast in a restaurant in the state capital on Oct. 12. He was struck six times, although doctors say he will likely survive. In 2010 another Colima ex-governor, Silverio Cavazos, who held office from 2005-2009, was slain outside his home. Gustavo Vázquez Montes, Cavazos' predecessor, met his fate in a plane crash while returning from meetings in Mexico City in 2005. The cause of the crash was never determined, but mysterious plane crashes appear to be a favored way of getting rid of members of Mexico's political elite. All three men were members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)—Mexico's generations-ruling political machine, which once again holds the presidency after finally losing it for two terms starting in 2000.

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