Archive for the ‘drugs’ Category

Venezuela: El Pollo as big fish

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Mary O’Grady on today’s WSJ:
A Terrorist Big Fish Gets Away
The Netherlands refuses to extradite FARC ally Hugo Carvajal Barrios to the U.S.

While O’Grady contradicts herself on the criminals’ intent, saying, on the one hand, “America’s voracious appetite for illegal drugs has allowed violent political actors to create powerful transnational criminal organizations”, while on the other hand stating, “All of this terror is done in the name of social justice for Colombians,” the effect of current U.S. foreign policy is clear: The bottom line? (emphasis added)

Yet it’s not surprising that the Netherlands decided it would be less costly to be on the good side of the bad guys than to be on the bad side of the good guys. After six years of the Obama global retreat, any leader would be crazy to expect the U.S. to go to the mat for an ally, even one that stuck its neck out for Uncle Sam. So when Venezuela threatened military and economic retribution at the Netherlands Antilles if Carvajal was extradited, the Dutch foreign affairs minister relented.

Read the whole thing here.

Mexico: Knights Templar chief La Tuta’s on YouTube

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

. . . and everyone’s watching.

La Tuta’s touting.

I mentioned this on yesterday’s Carnival, and the WSJ today reports on it,
Alleged Mexican Drug Lord’s Videos With Officials Lead to Arrests
After more than six months on the run from federal troops, Servando Gómez, who allegedly heads the Knights Templar syndicate, is striking back with videos purporting to link officials and their relatives to his gang.

The videos, which in recent months have emerged online, show politicians and their family members meeting with Servando Gómez, known as “La Tuta”—the teacher—who heads the Knights Templar syndicate. Federal officials say Mr. Gómez dominates organized crime and terrorizes residents of Michoacán state.
. . .
In another video posted to YouTube last week, Mr. Gómez accuses some leaders of the rural guards of links to a rival gangster band, the Jalisco Cartel-New Generation, which produces methamphetamine for the U.S. market, officials say.

Walter White would not have allowed himself to be videotaped.

Here are some of the YouTubes:

With Rodrigo Vallejo Mora, son of former Michoacán mayor Fausto Vallejo (206,335 views as of the writing of this post),

With the mayor of Pátzcuaro (4,023 views),

And here he claims the vigilantes owe him drug money, but he offers no proof (28,389 views),


Colombia’s narco-subs

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Prensa Libre reports that a gang that manufactures and operates submarines has been nabbed. They worked for the Úsuga clan. The subs are used for transporting cocaine to Honduras, the U.S., and Europe.

It’ll be interesting to see what information comes about from the seizure of the shipyard; their subs could carry a crew of four, and seven tons of drugs.

Certainly, the technology has evolved immensely since the days of Pablo Escobar.

The Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) reports on narco-subs:
CAPABILITY ANALYSIS, SOUTH AMERICA
NARCO-SUBMARINES: DRUG CARTELS’ INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY
(emphasis added):

In fact, as of June 2012, maritime drug smuggling accounts for 80% of the total illicit flow from the Andean region into Honduras, Mexico and other mid-way transportation regions prior to entry into the U.S. About 30% of the maritime flow is estimated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to utilize narco submarines. Overall, however, maritime interdiction rates are very low.

The numbers of these vessels which now exist is also highly debatable with potentially dozens of them being produced every year by criminal organizations in Colombia such as the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), Rastrojos, and Urabeños. One point greatly influencing the numbers of these vessels which exist at any specific time is if they are utilized once and then scuttled after their delivery (the traditional U.S. military viewpoint) or if they are utilized multiple times (the traditional Colombian military viewpoint). Depending on the perspective held, greater or lesser numbers of narco subs would be required to be produced each year to replenish the vessels lost due to capture, accidental sinking, intentional-scuttling to avoid capture, and, potentially most importantly, at the end of a delivery run.

The CIMSEC will be releasing a paper,

Narco-Submarines – Specially Fabricated Vessels Used For Drug Smuggling Purposes”, soon to be released by the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) and intended to be an initial primer on the subject of narco-submarines.
. . .
Finally, it is important that we collectively consider the potential of these types of vessels to transport more than just narcotics: the movement of cash, weapons, violent extremists, or, at the darkest end of the spectrum, weapons of mass destruction.

The study will appear on the FMSO website. I’ll link to it when it does.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Silvio Canto. Thank you!


Chicken run: The curious case of Venezuela’s Pollo Carvajal

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog, Chicken run: The curious case of Venezuela’s Pollo Carvajal, on the released general, is up. Please read it and hit the tip jar!

El Pollo and Venezuela’s game of chicken: Venezuela exerted military pressure on Aruba

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

In today’s WSJ, Aruba: Venezuela Pressured It Militarily
The Netherlands’ release of a former top Venezuelan official wanted by the U.S. for alleged drug trafficking came after Venezuela raised economic and military pressure on two Dutch islands in the Caribbean, officials said.

Aruba’s chief prosecutor Peter Blanken said that Venezuelan navy ships neared Aruba and Curaçao over the weekend as Dutch officials were debating what to do with Hugo Carvajal —Venezuela’s former chief of military intelligence who was jailed in Aruba last week on a U.S. warrant.

“The threat was there,” Mr. Blanken said. “We don’t know what their intentions were, but I think a lot of people in Aruba were scared that something would happen.”

Holland is a member of NATO and as such Aruba would be protected, as WSJ commenter Donald Hutchinson points out, but, in the Obama administration’s era of “smart diplomacy”, the Dutch couldn’t count on that:

Assuming that US intelligence was not asleep, all,it would take would be a fly over by US Navy jets and a notification that any offensive action would be met by the immediate destruction of their ships. Holland is a member of NATO and such actioned would clearly be sanctioned,
It would also be a devastating set back to the former bus driver running Venezuela for bringing shame to their military.
But what one might expect from a timid White House and a preoccupied State Department?

Then there’s the oil,

Mr. Blanken said Venezuela’s government also had threatened to sever Venezuela’s vital commercial air links to Aruba and Curaçao. Venezuela’s state oil company also threatened to withdraw from a contract to manage Curaçao’s refinery, Mr. Blanken said, which would have put at risk some 8,000 jobs.

To put that number of jobs in perspective, Aruba’s total population is 103,009.

In the “no sh*t, Sherlock” file, the U.S. State Department spokeswoman’s reaction was, “This is not the way law enforcement matters should be handled.” At least they didn’t #hashtag it.

Hugo Carvajal a.k.a. “”el Pollo” is one of the guys who took part in Hugo Chávez’s unsuccessful 1992 military coup, later rising to the rank of general, but with a sideline,

Mr. Carvajal’s role as one of the Chávez government’s key liaisons to guerrillas from Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, emerged after computers belonging to a slain guerrilla leader were captured by Colombian security forces in 2008.

Here’s the indictment in the U.S. District Court accusing Carvajal of coordinating the transport of 5,600 kilos (6.17 tons) of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico.

In addition to good’ol military thuggery, Miguel Octavio asserts that the Netherlands caved in (emphasis added):

Clearly, everyone applied pressure, but the weak link did not turn out to be Aruba as I suggested on my first post, but rather The Netherlands, as reportedly even Russia played a role, exchanging concessions on the Ucraine plane for helping release Carvajal. No matter what anyone says or how this is interpreted, it was a severe blow to the US, who would have loved to get Carvajal onshore.

One of my sources also mentions that team Obama had about 30 days to hand over its Extradition Request to Aruba but failed to; the Treasury Dept, the DEA and a U.S. District Court (mentioned above) had indicted him last year. It reminds me of drug kingpin Walid Makled, who was released to Venezuela by Santos of Colombia after the U.S. dragged its feet.

We’re in the best of hands.

PS,
While the Dutch allow Carvajal diplomatic immunity, the Egyptians search Secretary of State John Kerry, which was no biggie, but he fumes over Israel’s criticism.

Aruba: El Pollo flew the coop

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Well, that didn’t take long!

Hugo Carvajal, a.k.a. “El Pollo” (the chicken), the Venezuelan consul candidate accused of providing weapons to the FARC, working with Iranian intelligence, and who’s under investigation for his role on the attacks to the Colombian consulate and the Jewish center in Caracas, was released by Aruban authorities, after Holland decided he did qualify for diplomatic immunity but declared him person non-grata.

This is yet another instance where America is perceived as weak, since

The arrest was based on a formal request from the United States. [Aruba’s chief prosecutor Peter] Blanken said Aruba was “obliged to cooperate” because of a treaty with the United States.

Carvajal immediately flew back to Caracas, in time to attend the PSUV congress and walk into Nicolas Maduro’s arms:

Daniel Duquenal:

The thing is that the swift, I repeat the word, retrieval of Carvajal means that not only the army has acted but also the drug traffickers, and all the thugs that could be affected

Raúl Stolk, in a post titled Chicken Run,

This, of course, raises a bunch of questions:

  • Has the US anything to say? What about the request for extradition?
  • Jose Ignacio Hernandez explained at Prodavinci that immunity alone would not suffice to protect Carvajal if the reason for his detention was not related to his functions as head of the Venezuelan Consulate in Aruba. Then, why would the Dutch just go with Venezuela’s lame arguments to release the man?
  • Does everybody fear Diosdado? (Damn!)
  • Is dealing drugs ok now?

Miguel Octavio has a lot more questions:

-Why did Maduro want to name Carvajal as Consul to Aruba specifically? Is it related to the island being an offshore financial center?

-Why would a legal resident of the US, lend or lease his US company’s jet to someone in the US drug kingpin list in the Patriot’s Act era?

Juan Cristobal Nagel asks, Is there a link between Petrocaribe and Carvajal?

The Caribbean economies are mighty fragile. The last thing the US, the Netherlands, and other colonial powers need … is for Maduro’s instability to spill over into the islands.

Interesting question, but I think Nagel may overestimate U.S. influence on this issue.

UPDATE:
More from Venezuela-Europa:

So: the man in charge of the foreign relations for the  Kingdom of the Netherlands took the decision to liberate a man who

  1. came in with a false passport,
  2. had over $20000 with him and had not declared that money
  3. had not received the placet to become a consul,
  4. was accused by the US of having tortured and murdered two Colombian officials, of having helped a terrorist organisation and being responsible for cocaine trafficking.

Why?

To keep the caged bird from singing?

Smart diplomacy!:

A senior U.S. official said the U.S. had been blindsided by the Dutch

Aruba: Venezuelan consul detained on drug charges

Friday, July 25th, 2014

The other pollos.

Three chavistas indicted for conspiring with Colombian FARC drug traffickers to export cocaine to the U.S.:

  • Hugo Carvajal, a.k.a. “”el Pollo,” a former chief of Venezuelan military intelligence, detained in Aruba while awaiting confirmation as Nicolás Maduro’s consul-general to Aruba,
  • former Venezuelan judge, Benny Palmeri-Bacchi, arrested last week in Miami,
  • and the former head of Interpol in Venezuela, Rodolfo McTurk, whereabouts were unknown.

Daniel Duquenal speculates,

If indeed Carvajal is sent to the US, beyond diplomatic implications that this will entail, the local consequences will be high. There are possibly dozens and dozens of chavista high officials with dossiers under investigation and the reality for them has suddenly changed. Never mind that if Carvajal is indeed sent to the US, he may add a lot to these dossiers.

In addition to providing weapons to the FARC, Carvajal had been allegedly working with Iranian intelligence, and is under investigation for his role on the attacks to the Colombian consulate, and the Jewish center in Caracas.

WSJ:

In the Miami indictment unsealed Thursday, Mr. Carvajal is accused of taking bribes from late Colombian kingpin Wilber Varela, who was killed in 2008, and in return allowing Mr. Varela to export cocaine to the U.S. from Venezuela and avoid arrest by Venezuelan authorities.

Carvajal directly dealt with one-time of the world’s top three drug kingpins, Walid Makled, according to Makled himself,

“For example, I used to give a weekly fee of 200 million bolívares (about $50,000 at the time), and 100 million was for General Hugo Carvajal,” Mr. Makled said.

Makled went on trial in Venezuela since the Obama administration dragged its feet; I do not know the outcome of the trial.

Carvajal is now seeking diplomatic immunity in Aruba.

Bolivia reduces coca production

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

along with Peru and Colombia:

Bolivia’s Coca Production at Lowest Since 2002, UN Says
Peru, Colombia Have Also Had Decreases in Recent Years in Fight Against Cocaine Trafficking

The U.S. State Department said in a statement on Monday that it “acknowledges Bolivia’s progress in reducing its coca crop.” But the statement said Bolivia should tighten controls over the coca leaf trade “to stem diversion to cocaine processing” while enhancing efforts to prosecute drug traffickers.

Those, like Mary O’Grady who believe the whole fault for the drug trade falls on the “U.S.’s insatiable appetite for drugs” ought to consider this,

UNODC reported last year that consumption of cocaine in the U.S. has steadily gone down in recent years while rising in South America.

Peru is way ahead of Bolivia,

Peruvian President Ollanta Huma’s government has relied on crews of workers paid to rip up coca plants. In its main coca-growing area—known as the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers—the Agriculture Ministry is in charge of a new program that calls on coca farmers to switch to legal crops with the government’s assistance.

Colombia had 118,611 acres planted with coca leaf in 2012, down 25% from 2011, the last year for which data is available, the UNODC says.

WH blames cartels for immigration surge

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Bridget Johnson reports that White House Domestic Policy Council director Cecilia Munoz stated on a call with reporters,

The administration is blaming “misinformation that is being deliberately planted by criminal organizations, by smuggling networks, about what people can expect if they come to the United States” for the influx of Central Americans.

“That is misinformation that is being promulgated and put forward in a very deliberate way,” said Munoz.

Certainly the cartels have the money and the muscle for the logistics involved in this invasion.

The most recent statistics from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) show that narcotics seizures have fallen across the entire border with Mexico this year, with the drop being worse in Texas than the average.

The cartels also have no scruples on possibly kidnapping and/or paying off orphanages for hundreds of toddlers to make the situation more critical for U.S. authorities.

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

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…