Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

Venezuela: Aftermath of the Spears murder

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Killers arrested:

Beauty queen’s killers nabbed, Venezuela says

EXCLUSIVE: Father of Miss Venezuela shot dead in brutal robbery vows to win custody of granddaughter, 5, and take her to the US as it is revealed brave girl ‘will attend funeral’
-Maya Spear was orphaned when her mother Monica Spear Mootz and father Thomas Berry were gunned down in front of her in their broken down car in Venezuela
-Her father, Rafael, today told MailOnline he will fight to take her out of the country and to the US
-But parents of beauty queen’s husband, who live in Venezuela, say plans are still to be decided
-Maya was also shot, but has left hospital and is expected to attend her parents’ funeral after being told the shattering news
-Monica, who won the Miss Venezuela title in 2004, had joined her 39-year-old estranged husband on a drive holiday
-The killings have convulsed the crime-ridden country and sparked protests
-Police revealed that Spear’s camerabag was today found in possession of a woman believed to be in gang behind the murders


Opponents also cite what they call the government’s efforts to limit press coverage of the problem. Courts in August fined newspaper El Nacional the equivalent of 1% of a year’s revenue for publishing a gruesome picture of a Caracas morgue in 2010 to underscore the country’s crime problem.

The government said the images violated decency laws designed to protect children.

Advocacy groups blame corruption in the police ranks, widespread availability of arms and impunity for rising crime.

Streets of major cities such as Caracas are typically barren at night, their residents fearing crimes such as muggings and kidnappings for ransom, which are common.

How did Venezuela become so violent? Fusion panel:

At Da Tech Guy Blog, Venezuela: Killing beauty

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

My new article, Venezuela: Killing beauty, on the horrible murder of Mónica Spear and ex-husband Henry Thomas Berry.

Mexico: Another Fast & Furious gun found

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Hundreds of Mexicans continue to die,
ANOTHER FAST & FURIOUS GUN TURNS UP AT MEXICAN CRIME SCENE on an attack on the Rocky Point resort area near the Arizona border.

Whether the ATF has “accepted responsibility” or not, Congress has continued to attempt to try and get to the bottom of the failed program despite repeated attempts by Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder to stonewall the investigation led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA).

And Holder appealed a judge’s ruling allowing the House of Representatives to continue with a contempt case stemming from his refusal to turn over documents related to the Justice Department’s response to the Operation Fast and Furious gunwalking controversy.

Feds consider new gun regsin the USA, after sending thousands of firearms to Mexico, a country with some of the most strict gun laws in our hemisphere (h/t Instapundit).

Italy: Latin American thieves pick the wrong town to hide

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Italian police caught the gang behind the 2012 Buccellati heist (emphasis added):
Gang of Latin American jewelry thieves busted in Italy
‘Behind 2mn-euro Milan heist, others throughout Europe’

Police from Novara, west of Milan, were executing warrants for suspects from Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico.

A 53-year-old Venezuelan woman is said to be the head of the gang. She is still on the loose.

I can’t imagine why would any foreigners think Novara is a good place to hide. I lived in Novara briefly years ago, and, unless the town has drastically changed since, it was a small industrial town, rarely visited by tourists, where almost no one would speak anything but Italian, unwelcoming to strangers, and where any foreigner would stick out (quite literally, since I was taller than nearly any of the locals) like a sore – and alien – thumb.

H/t Gates of Vienna.

Colombia: Don’t fire the mayor yet! And how about the GPS?

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

says a judge, after much to-do over garbage mishandling by a former guerrilla who’s mayor of Bogota:
Mayor’s Firing Should be Postponed: Colombia Chief Prosecutor:
Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez Ordered Gustavo Petro’s Removal

Colombia’s chief prosecutor is urging President Juan Manuel Santos to postpone a controversial decision by the inspector general to fire Bogotá’s left-leaning mayor over alleged mismanagement of trash collection, saying the decision’s better left for courts or voters.

And here’s the thing,

The fate of the mayor of the city of eight million is being closely watched in Havana, Cuba, where Colombia’s government is engaged in 13-month-old peace talks with the country’s main Marxist rebel group FARC. A key outcome of any peace deal would likely include allowing leftist rebels who lay down their weapons to run for political offices, including that of mayor.

In other Colombian news, front-page, WaPo, finally, a bit of good news:

U.S. aid helps Colombia kill rebels

Covert action in Colombia
U.S. intelligence, GPS bomb kits help Latin American nation cripple rebel forces

The 50-year-old Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), once considered the best-funded insurgency in the world, is at its smallest and most vulnerable state in decades, due in part to a CIA covert action program that has helped Colombian forces kill at least two dozen rebel leaders, according to interviews with more than 30 former and current U.S. and Colombian officials.

The covert program in Colombia provides two essential services to the nation’s battle against the FARC and a smaller insurgent group, the National Liberation Army (ELN): Real-time intelligence that allows Colombian forces to hunt down individual FARC leaders and, beginning in 2006, one particularly effective tool with which to kill them.

That weapon is a $30,000 GPS guidance kit that transforms a less-than-accurate 500-pound gravity bomb into a highly accurate smart bomb. Smart bombs, also called precision-guided munitions or PGMs, are capable of killing an individual in triple-canopy jungle if his exact location can be determined and geo-coordinates are programmed into the bomb’s small computer brain.

Meanwhile, After Killing 8, Colombian Guerrillas go on Christmas Truce

Colombia: Maicao, Hezbollah money-laundering center

Friday, December 20th, 2013

In the Colombia-Venezuela border town of Maicao, which is also near the Caribbean and has a free-trade zone and the third-largest mosque in the Americas, Hezbollah financing evolves beyond Colombia’s Muslim communities

Today, Hezbollah is the most powerful political movement in Lebanon — and its influence stretches all the way to Maicao. Each year, millions of dollars of drug money are laundered in Maicao, where some community members openly proclaim their support for Hezbollah. Recent U.S. Treasury Department actions have slowed the flow of cash to terrorist groups, but financiers have fled and new networks have reconstituted that are harder to identify.

This mirrors, as Spain’s ABC has reported, chavismo’s alliance with the FARC Colombian guerrilla becoming an essential factor of the illegal trade,

The way it works is a money launderer today may work for 5-10 different drug trafficking groups. Those groups in turn pay taxes or fees to terrorist groups to operate in their territories, proliferating terrorism and violence in Colombia and the Middle East. Likewise, sympathizing launderers may make sizable voluntary donations to Hezbollah.

The article states,

The launderers may not even realize they are ultimately funding terrorism organizations.

And yet, “the conversation switches to Arabic when it involves transferring drug money to terrorist groups abroad.”

It makes perfect sense for Maicao to be a location for this:

  • a commercial center because of its free-trade zone,
  • large Muslim population where Hezbollah operatives may go unnoticed
  • geographic location near both the Caribbean and Venezuela, the departing point for much of the drugs.

I wonder how this fits in with the FARC negotiations in Havana, considering the links to Colombia’s FARC, El Salvador’s FMNL, and their connection to Hezbollah.

Venezuela: Diplomats confirm Venezuelan links to drug trafficking

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Spain’s ABC: Diplomats confirm Venezuelan links to drug trafficking

Information published by ABC regarding negotiations between Nicolás Maduro’s staff—when he was foreign minister—in an FMLN drug trafficking operation in El Salvador, has corroborated suspicions that existed in Venezuelan political and diplomatic circles.

“This news confirms what many already knew about the significant and growing presence of drug trafficking in Venezuela and its important relations with the top echelon in the government and the Armed Forces,” former Venezuelan ambassador to Sweden and Guyana, Sadio Garavini commented. “Venezuela has become a center of command and control of international drug trafficking since the expulsion of the DEA (U.S. anti-drug agency) of the country and the indefinite suspension of the effective partnership with former United States cooperation in the fight against drugs.”

This should come as no surprise to Fausta’s Blog readers.

Additionally, the links extend to Colombia’s FARC, El Salvador’s FMNL, and Hezbollah:

leaders of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador are linked to the Colombian guerrillas, while stressing the massive financial backing from Venezuela to the FMLN, which has been done to take complete control of the country.

“The FMLN and Alba Petroleos of El Salvador – the entity that funnels Venezuelan aid – has taken over the country in ways the United Fruit Company would have never imagined: from airlines to mass purchases of land in the capital, coffee crops above price, pharmacies, banks, and media outlets. Montsant also points to reports and studies by the University of Salamanca, demonstrating the influence of Venezuelan oil through Alba Petróleos on Salvadorans leaders, enabling a patronage policy that seeks votes in the popular sectors.

The ABC article is titled Diplomáticos confirman la conexión de Venezuela con el narcotráfico
Destacan que la tradicional alianza del chavismo con la guerrilla colombiana de las FARC ha sido un factor esencial en ese comercio ilegal

(Diplomats confirm Venezuela’s links to drug trafficking
They assert that chavismo’s alliance with the FARC Colombian guerrilla is an essential factor of the illegal trade.)

Last week, ABC had reported that Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro’s mediated an FMLN deal with the FARC back when he was vice-president (link in Spanish) allowing drug flights landing in the state of Apure, Venezuela.

Linked by Babalu. Thanks!

Kerry Gives $17 Million to Vietnam to Fight Global Warming

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

John Kerry Gives $16 Million to Vietnam to Fight Global Warming (h/t Frontpage); The AP reported

Kerry pledged $17 million to a program that will help the region’s rice producers, shrimp and crab farmers and fisherman [sic] adapt to potential changes caused by higher sea levels that bring salt water into the delicate ecosystem.

Don’t know about the “higher sea levels”, but some of the water was frozen on its way down:

Some of the rice producers, shrimp and crab farmers and fishermen may need to get themselves some goretex with the $17 million, as Heavy Snowfall Causes Damage In Vietnam’s Lao Cai Province

According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Sa Pa, more than 100 hectares of chayote and another 100 hectares of flowers were buried under snow.

School kids got a snow day off from school, perhaps for the only time in their lives.

In other global warming news to warm your heart, Climate change expert’s fraud was ‘crime of massive proportion,’ say feds (h/t Babalu)

The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change deserves to go to prison for at least 30 months for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job, say federal prosecutors.

He even got his shrink to say the scam was “fueled by his insecurities.”

Tellya what: John Kerry gives me $17 million, and my (financial) insecurities will not only vanish, I’ll even put some of that money towards clearing the waters rising outdoors in the form of snow.


Winter hasn’t even started.

Mexico: Border tunnels “significant and growing threat to border security”

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported that tunnels along the southwest border are a growing and significant threat to security.

According to a report by the DHS OIG released December 11, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, charged with protecting the U.S. borders, lacks the technological capability to detect subterranean tunnels.

“Illicit cross-border tunnels along the southwest border are primarily used by criminals to transport illegal drugs into the United States, and they are a significant and growing threat to border security,” noted the report. “In an effort to counter this threat, CBP has modified its operations through patrols, intelligence gathering, and closing of illicit cross-border tunnels, but it does not yet have the technological capability to detect the tunnels routinely and accurately.”

Drugs, and what else?

Video below the fold since it starts right away,


Mexico: The border-crossing “tax”

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

The Economist blog, America’s View, reports on Extortion in Latin America
Death and taxes
. One has to pay a $40 airport tax to leave the country at San Pedro Sula airport; crossing the US-Mexico border illegally is controlled by the cartels, and the “tax” is heavier,

In Nuevo Laredo, several migrants recount how, in addition to paying a “coyote” to guide them across the Rio Bravo (Texas’s Rio Grande), they have to pay a “tax” of about 4,500 pesos ($350) to the drug gang (remnants of the Zetas) who control access to the river. One migrant had his picture taken when he paid his extortionists. They said the payment gave him the right to two attempts; on the third, if he didn’t pay again, he would be killed. The photo was the Zetas’ way of keeping records.

Take it away, Hyman,