Archive for the ‘drugs’ Category

The new twist in illegal immigration: Children as human shields for the cartels

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Please read my latest article, The new twist in illegal immigration: Children as human shields for the cartels at Da Tech Guy Blog, and hit Da Tip Jar while you’re there.

Related, from Drudge,

Diseases at border becoming crisis…

Scabies, chicken pox… 

Amnesty protesters block entrance to ICE faciity…

ADELSON: LET THEM STAY…

Known Gang Members Released…


Mexican meth kingpin busted at World Cup

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Apparently he didn’t keep himself up-to-date on the latest most-wanted posters:

“He was low-profile and used real documents to enter the country because he thought that nobody was looking for him,” said [Luiz Cravo Dorea, head of international cooperation at the Brazilian Federal Police].

Mexican ‘drug lord’ arrested on way to World Cup match
Jose Diaz-Barajas arrested at Rio de Janeiro airport boarding flight to Fortaleza after booking ticket to Mexico match under his own name

Jose Diaz-Barajas, 49, was attempting to board a flight to Fortaleza, where Mexico was due to play hosts Brazil on Tuesday night, when he was arrested at Rio de Janeiro’s Tom Jobim airport on Monday.

Fifa had passed on information regarding Diaz-Barajas’s ticket purchases to Brazilian police following an Interpol arrest warrant, said Luiz Cravo Dorea, head of international cooperation at the Federal Police.

He entered Brazil over land from Paraguay (surprise surprise!) on June 11.

Mexico: Drug gangs with tanks attack shale wells

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Drug Gangs Attacking With Tanks Block Mexican Shale Boom

War Zone

Even though considerable, those obstacles pale in comparison to levels of violence in Tamaulipas that sometimes resemble a war zone. While Chestnut would be interested in looking at opportunities in Mexico at some stage, it won’t be among the first to enter, Chairman Mark Plummer said from Dallas. Security is one of the turnoffs.

“There’s a big difference between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, but once you get underneath the ground, it’s all the same,” he said, referring to the cities on either side of the border. “Hopefully over time some of that will subside.”

Gun battles raged this spring, with dozens shot dead on highways and businesses burnt down in the Gulf of Mexico port city of Tampico. The capture of a Gulf Cartel founder and arrest last year of Zetas chief Miguel Trevino left a power vacuum that’s renewing fighting between the two groups, and within the Gulf Cartel.

I’ve said it time and time again: Border security is national security.

Uruguay: High hopes

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Uruguay Has Big Hopes for Pot Industry
Uruguay hopes that its status as the only country to fully regulate the cannabis industry will turn it into a magnet for investment in medical and other applications of the plant

No word as to whether Uruguay hopes that its status as the only country to fully regulate the cannabis industry will turn it into a magnet for investment in the snack food industry.

Cheetos, anyone?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . .


President Mujica makes a sartorial statement.

Puerto Rico: rising volume of drugs coming from Venezuela UPDATED

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

The Economist has a report on Drugs trafficking in the Caribbean
Full circle
An old route regains popularity with drugs gangs

The final destination is likely to be North America or Europe, sometimes via West Africa. Puerto Rico is a way-station, physically in the Caribbean but within United States’ customs barriers. The French territories of Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana do the same for Europe

Clink on the map for the full article:

UPDATE:
One thing that has been bothering me since I posted this is how the map shows no information on Cuba. Are we to believe Cuba is not involved in drug trafficking?

Mexico: Vigilantes not disarming

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Imagine, if you may, that you live in a country with some of the most stringent firearms laws in our hemisphere. A country with police so corrupt that the government over the drug enforcement function to the marines. A police so impotent with the local drug lords that you and your neighbors, out of desperation, have armed yourselves illegally, and driven out the local drug gang.

Now the government wants you to turn in your guns.

Would you?

Hell, no.

So the compromise was to register the weapons and an invitation to join a new rural police force:

Mexico vigilantes register weapons, are to disband

For the first time in modern Mexican history, an armed civilian band has ejected a drug cartel from its environs. For now, members of the so-called Knights Templar are lying low, challenged by rebelling citizens — including some who have returned to their families’ homes from California — finally fed up with unrelenting extortion, kidnapping, arson, rapes and killings.
. . .
Saturday was the federally imposed deadline in Michoacan for thousands of “self-defense” forces, as they call themselves, to register their weapons and formally disband. They are being allowed to keep their handguns and assault weapons (but no rocket launchers or bazookas) and will be invited to join a new rural police force. As of the weekend, at least 3,316 people had signed up and more than 6,000 weapons were registered.

That too is unprecedented; no other Mexican state allows ordinary citizens to legally retain AK-47s and other military-style assault weapons.

Mexico Tries to Demobilize Vigilante Movement
Mexico is trying to demobilize a vigilante movement of assault-rifle-wielding ranchers and farmers that succeeded in largely expelling the Knights Templar drug cartel from their area when authorities couldn’t.

The new rural forces are designed to be a way out of an embarrassing situation, in which elected leaders and law enforcement agencies lost control of the state to the pseudo-religious Knights Templar drug cartel. Efforts to retake control with federal police and military failed. Eventually government forces had to rely on the vigilantes because of their knowledge of where to find the cartel gunmen.

Since the commissioner, Alfredo Castillo, was named in January, federal forces have arrested or killed three of the main leaders of the Knights Templar. The fourth, Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, is in hiding and rumored to be in the rugged hills outside his hometown of Arteaga.

But the vigilante movement has been plagued by divisions, and its general council dismissed one of the founders, Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles, as its spokesman earlier this week because of an unauthorized video he released directed at President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Meanwhile, no one is giving up their guns, even assault weapons prohibited under Mexican law.

Here’s Mireles’s YouTube (in Spanish):

Mireles alleges that his police protection was ceased due to his criticisms of the government.

Meanwhile, this local report alleges that some of the vigilantes are protecting and transporting Servando Gómez Martínez “La Tuta”, leader of the Knights Templar (video in Spanish). Allegedly a meeting of the Knights and “los Viagras” – yes, really – vigilantes took place on May 5th, at a place the federal police knew about (9:00 into the video).

The man being interviewed alleges that Mireles was dismissed for not colluding with the Knights.

Slide show here.

Colombia: Santos campaign chief resigns

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Today’s top news in Latin America:
J.J. Rendón, who has managed some of the most successful political campaigns in Latin America (and the failed campaign for Henrique Capriles in Venezuela, which he did pro-bono), has resigned as campaign manager for Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos on allegations that Rendón had negotiated with drug traffickers an offer to surrender in 2011 and shut down their operations.

Who is J.J. Rendón?

Rendón is THE topmost campaign advisor in Latin America. He plays to win, and plays hardball. Here’s his talk on neo-totalitarianism:

Who is the accuser?
The man making the accusations, Javier Antonio Calle, was one of Colombia’s most hunted drug traffickers. He turned himself in to the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2012 and is now in jail in the U.S.

The firestorm:
Since Colombia is holding a presidential election on May 25, this has generated a political firestorm.

Adding to the fire, there’s also the 18-month old FARC negotiations in Havana, Rendón’s opposition to Chavismo (he’s Venezuelan), and speculation as to what role international players may have had in the release of this news. One may also have to consider Calle’s motivations, too.

The Espectador story:
Last Sunday El Espectador newspaper published an article claiming that Rendón was given $12 million for submitting a proposal to end 90% the country’s lucrative drug trade

According to El Espectador, the former drug lord, Javier Antonio Calle, alias “Comba,” has told prosecutors that several of the country’s drug traffickers made ​​a deal in 2011 with Rendon in order to submit the proposal to the government.

The proposal outlined a route to shutting down 90% of Colombia’s drug trade, with the surrender of top capos and their henchmen. Among those who participated in the proposal were some of Colombia’s top drug lords, such as Luis Enrique Calle, alias “Comba,” alias “Cuchillo,” Diego Rastrojo, and Loco Barrera.

The 2011 document called ”Agenda for solving the problem of drug trafficking and the violence it generates,” allegedly shows that Rendon officiated as a general strategist for the proposal, which was facilitated by former ELN guerrillas Francisco Galan and Jorge Castañeda. Other sources consulted by El Espectador confirmed that Rendon was actively involved in creating the plan.

Rendon subsequently told El Espectador that there was no exchange of money, that he “acted as a simple messenger”. He insists that he only recently learned the details of the proposal, adding that he will take legal action in response to the allegations.

In the dossier held by El Espectador, Rendon is described as the “general strategist” charged with “damage control, crisis management and facilitator of the negotiations.”

When asked by the journalist Daniel Coronell of Semana Magazine if money had been involved, Rendon replied that, “if there was money involved it must have been in the hands of those who put him in touch with representatives of the narcos: the then senior presidential advisor for political affairs German Chica.”

Rendón has tweeted seven points in response, which I translate (Rendón’s tweets posted below the fold)

1. I received from F[rancisco] Galán a request to communicate to the Government the illegal groups’ proposal to submit to justice.

2. I communicated to Mr. President @JuanManSantos in the presence of prosecutor @Viviane_Morales and General Naranjo their intention.

3. Mr. President @JuanManSantos requested that I channel to the Prosecutor’s Office the documents of that intention to submit to justice.

4. So I did: transparently and officially. With the document # 2011-100-001832-3 dated 7/5/2011 at the General Prosecutor’s Office (Despacho de la Fiscal General).

5. The document was on the hands of the competent authority, for study and follow-up. That was the extent of my part in that matter.

6. I firmly insist that I have not received any money, stipend or benefit, and I dare anyone who says I have to prove it.

7. I am fully willing to collaborate with the competent authorities to clarify anything they may consider relevant, as always!

Uribe’s tweets:
Former president Álvaro Uribe, who is staunchly opposed to negotiations with the narcoterrorists, in turn tweeted,

Pres. Santos has been carrying a long dialogue with ELN in spite of that terrorist organization’s continuous crime, adding it to the FARC’s impunity.”

and,

Pres. Santos announces reform to Prosecutor’s [Office] on the day they ordered to investigate him.”

My question:
Never mind Santos; Who gains the most by taking down Rendón?

(more…)

Ecuador: Adiós, Security Cooperation Office

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Ecuador Expels Pentagon Group Attached to U.S. Embassy
Move Further Strains Relationship Between Correa, Obama Administrations

Ecuador has ordered 20 U.S. Defense Department employees attached to the U.S. Embassy in Quito to leave the country next week, U.S. officials confirmed, further straining an already rocky relationship between President Rafael Correa and the Obama administration.
. . .
In January, Mr. Correa had said that Pentagon workers were used to “infiltrate” Ecuador. The order ousting the Americans came days after Mr. Correa wrapped up a U.S. tour that included talks at Yale and Harvard universities and television interviews where he described himself as a “modern socialist” who wanted to improve relations with the U.S.

While the above article mentions that

Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas policy group in Washington, said the number of embassy officials Ecuador ordered to leave is noteworthy. “In the past, it has been limited to kicking out an attaché or a couple of officials but this is clearly designed to get attention,” Mr. Farnsworth said. “There will have to be a tit-for-tat retaliation. There will have to be some kind of response.”

the AP reporter says

As there is no accusation of espionage, U.S reciprocation is not anticipated.

Correa threw them out because there were ‘too many of them.’

A lack of response from the U.S. will signal further erosion of American influence in our hemisphere.

In other Ecuador news, Correa is refusing to accept more funding from USAID, since they are required to utilize the funds to promote gay marriage acceptance in the predominantly Catholic country.

Over in Germany, police have 265lb of cocaine hidden among crates of bananas in a container shipped from Ecuador – their second big seizure of the drug from South America this year.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!


Colombia: Santos throws the towel

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Methinks he’s really hankering for a Nobel Peace Prize:
Colombian President Santos Seeks New Path on Drug War
Leader Says He Hopes for Breakthrough on Drug War in Peace Talks With FARC Guerrillas

The Colombian leader, who faces a critical re-election test in May, said that an important breakthrough in the war on drugs would be achieved if, as expected, negotiators for his government and for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, reach an agreement on stamping out drug trafficking by the guerrillas, the third point in a proposed peace plan.

The FARC, which the U.S. considers to be a terrorist and drug trafficking organization, relies heavily on cocaine trafficking to finance its activities. The two sides have been locked in tough negotiations for the last 17 months in Havana to end the five-decade guerrilla insurgency.

“I expect to reach an agreement on that third point in the near future,” he said. If the FARC stops drug trafficking and becomes a partner with the government in eradicating drugs, it would have “enormous implications repercussions for Colombia and the world,” he said.

It sounds like Santos believes that the FARC will throw away its hugely profitable main source of revenues, everybody will hold hands, and a choir of potheads stoned on legal pot will Kumbaya as peace breaks out all over the land.

Forgive my cynicism, dear reader, but I visualize a slightly different scenario: The FARC signs whatever agreement will get them into congress (since Santos wants them in congress without being elected), legalizes all its drug activities consolidating power, and Colombia kisses the rule of law good-bye.

Álvaro Uribe’s not buying Santos’s tripe:
Pres. Santos forgot to tell the BBC that he promised secure democracy and he has allowed terrorism to advance

Mexico’s Radio Tecnico: How The Zetas Cartel Took Over Mexico With Walkie-Talkies

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Fascinating article in Popular Science on Radio Tecnico: How The Zetas Cartel Took Over Mexico With Walkie-Talkies
Inside the communications infrastructure of the ultraviolent syndicate

Why walkie-talkies? To enable communication even in locations without cellular service.

How Jose Luis Del Toro Estrada was tapped to develop the covert radio network also remains a mystery, but as his system grew, it supplied the Zetas with what’s called a command-and-control capacity. “It essentially linked all the different members of the cartel—the people doing the trafficking and the people doing the protection—so there was a communication between them,” says Pike, the DEA special agent. Armed with handheld radios, the cartel’s street-corner halcones, or hawks, could help commanders avoid arrest by alerting them whenever police set up checkpoints. A midlevel boss in Nuevo Laredo could monitor a semitruck carrying several tons of cocaine as it trundled across the border into Texas. Most crucially, Zetas gunmen could use the system to attack and seize plazas, or smuggling corridors, held by other drug gangs.

And,

The Zetas’ military training and ultraviolent tactics were crucial for propelling their rise to power, but one other factor was essential: After splitting from the Gulf Cartel, it was the Zetas who maintained control of the radio network.

Read the whole thing.