In today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern,
Highlights from the Houston Chronicle’s report on the Insidious rise of Gulf Cartel
Interviews, files and court records trace a syndicate’s growth from small-time pot smuggling to a mega-empire with a hub in Houston
RAW NUMBERS TELL A NUMBING STORY
$18 to $39 billion: Drug proceeds from all cartels sent to Mex-ico and Colombia each year.
545 to 707: Metric tons of cocaine headed from South America to U.S in 2007.
230: Estimated number of U.S. cities with Mexican cartel operations.
220,000: Low-end estimate, in pounds, of cocaine smuggled into the U.S. by the Gulf Cartel over 16 years in the 1980s and ’90s
Sources: The National Drug Intelligence Center; U.S. Department of Justice
THE EVOLUTION OF THE GULF CARTEL
1984: Juan Garcia Abrego takes command after his rival is killed in a Mexico hospital.
1986: Cartel attempts to bribe an FBI agent with $100,000.
1989: Stash house hiding 9 tons of cocaine is discovered in Harlingen.
1994: Two American Express bankers are convicted of laundering $30 million in cartel money.
1996: Juan Garcia Abrego — on the FBI’s Most Wanted list — is captured and deported to Houston for trial.
1998: New boss Osiel Cardenas Guillen turns to a friend in Mexico’s special forces to launch Zetas, a private army.
1999: Cardenas threatens to kill two U.S. agents in Matamoros.
2001: Cartel branches out; $41 million found at stash house in Atlanta; $2.3 million in Houston.
2003: Cardenas is imprisoned after a gunbattle with the Mexican army; he continues to run the cartel from behind bars.
2005: Nuevo Laredo is plunged into a major cartel turf war; a new police chief is gunned down within hours of taking office.
2007: Cardenas is extradited to Houston.
2009: U.S. government offers a $5 million reward for the capture of cartel’s new bosses, including Cardenas’ brother.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice
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The Carnival of Latin America will be posted later this afternoon.
Special thanks to Maggie for the link
Related to the issue of drug trade and legalizing drugs, read Todd Bensman’s article, Legal Trade of Khat in UK Funding Terror in Yemen?
Britain is the only Western country that hasn’t banned the stimulant. They should do so now, as sales likely fund al-Qaeda.