Posts Tagged ‘DEA’

Venezuela’s political crisis grows more explosive

| February 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

As Venezuela drifts toward repression, the Obama administration has failed to “name and shame” human rights violators, as mandated by Congress last December. Robust U.S. action is more critical than ever, as authorities in Caracas last week approved the use of deadly force against Venezuelans protesting food shortages and fresh revelations on the criminality of regime leaders.

Career diplomats managing Venezuela policy have a record of favoring stability over freedom in that country. They fiercely resisted Congress’ call for sanctions against individuals using violence to quell student-led demonstrations last spring—giving regime gangs time to crush the unrest, leaving 44 dead, hundreds jailed, and thousands injured.

In the midst of the crackdown last March, Assistant Secretary Roberta Jacobson told a U.S. Senate hearing that opposition leaders opposed human rights sanctions against the regime—an assertion she was forced to recant within days. In an effort to forestall Congressional action last July, the Administration revoked ... Read More

Mexico’s Gulf Cartel Drug Kingpin Captured in Texas

| October 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »

By Laurel Brubaker Calkins

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) –The head of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel drug trafficking ring was arrested by federal agents during a shopping trip in south Texas in the latest in a series of arrests this year on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The capture of Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez, 23, on Oct. 9 follows that in February of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who was the world’s most-wanted drug boss and the alleged head of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Hector Beltran Leyva, who allegedly took over a third cartel that bears his family name after his brother, Arturo, was gunned down by Mexican forces in 2009, was captured in a seafood restaurant without a shot fired in the central tourist town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico’s Attorney General’s office said Oct. 1.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said in September that his administration’s security efforts have led to the capture or removal ... Read More

Why Bolivia could be the new hub for regional drug trafficking

| October 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in The Christian Science Monitor

By Jeremy McDermott

Transnational organized crime likes opportunities and little resistance. Bolivia currently provides both and finds itself at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens national and citizen security in this landlocked Andean nation.

This new criminal dynamic centers on the changing patterns of drug consumption in the region. Mexico’s dominance in the regional drug trade owes much to its position alongside the world’s largest drug consumer, as well as its ability to produce drugs like heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine.

Bolivia now sits alongside the second biggest consumer of illegal drugs in the world: Brazil. Bolivia also borders the world’s principal producer of cocaine, Peru, and South America’s primary producer of marijuana, Paraguay. Meanwhile, Argentina is experiencing ballooning domestic drug consumption, particularly of “basuco” or “paco,” a form of crack cocaine which can be produced in Bolivia. Even the domestic drug markets in Chile and Peru are growing.

Bolivia is now literally at the heart of South America’s illegal narcotics trade. ... Read More

After More Than 50 Years, USAID Is Leaving Ecuador

| October 1st, 2014 | No Comments »

By John Otis

BOGOTA, Colombia — Under pressure from Ecuador’s left-wing government, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is shutting down its operations in the South American nation after 53 years.

In a telephone interview with GlobalPost, Adam Namm, the US ambassador to Ecuador, called the decision “very disappointing.”

But it was no surprise. The government in Quito had refused to allow Washington’s aid agency to renew its programs or start any new activity in the country.

President Rafael Correa is a fierce US critic who has already pulled the plug on US counter-narcotics operations at a Pacific coast base and expelled Namm’s predecessor as well as 14 US military advisers, whom he claimed were infiltrating Ecuador’s security forces.

Analysts say that the closure of the Agency for International Development, the US government foreign aid wing known as USAID, is part of a broader effort ... Read More

Peruvian police seize 8.5 tons of cocaine in raid

| September 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »

LIMA, Peru –  Peruvian police displayed in a Lima airport police hangar on Monday what officials called the largest cocaine haul ever in the Andean nation, 8.5 tons.

Seized in a raid last week, the drugs were flown to the capital Monday and unloaded in boxes from an Antonov police transport plane by officers wearing white jackets and surgical masks.

Interior Minister Daniel Urresti, flanked by the police chief and counternarcotics commander, touted the seizure from a stage set up in the hangar, a banner behind him proclaiming “Historic Blow to Illegal Drug Trafficking.”

Authorities last week found the plastic-wrapped cocaine bricks inserted and sealed inside chunks of coal in a rural home near the northern port of Trujillo. Six Peruvians and two Mexicans were arrested.

Police said the drugs had been destined for Spain and Belgium and said agents of the U.S. Drug ... Read More

Dozing U.S. Diplomats Let Venezuelan Narco-General Slip Away

| July 30th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Foreign Policy


Although a retired Venezuelan general and confidante of President Nicolás Maduro just managed to evade U.S. extradition to face drug smuggling charges, the unsealed indictment in his case reveals that U.S. prosecutors have gathered compelling evidence of widespread criminality at the highest levels of the Maduro government. Dozing U.S. diplomats let Major General Hugo Carvajal slip away this past weekend, but the fact that Caracas pulled out the stops to keep him from facing U.S. justice has exposed a regime with a very guilty conscience.

U.S. diplomats were caught off-guard on Sunday when the Netherlands decided to recognize the dubious claims of “diplomatic immunity” by Carvajal, who was being held in Aruba since his arrest last Wednesday at the request of U.S. law enforcement authorities. In court proceedings last Friday, Aruban authorities dismissed Carvajal’s claims of immunity, arguing that he had never been accredited as Venezuela’s consul general ... Read More

Netherlands Says Venezuelan Detained in Aruba Has Immunity

| July 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By JUAN FORERO And DAN MOLINSKI CARACAS—Authorities in Aruba on Sunday freed a powerful former Venezuelan general, wanted by the U.S. on drug-trafficking charges, from jail on the Caribbean island after a ruling that he is protected from prosecution by diplomatic immunity.

Hugo Carvajal, who had headed the Venezuelan military-intelligence service and had been named consul general in Aruba, was escorted to the airport and flew to Venezuela on Sunday night.

His release comes four days after Aruban authorities had detained him at the airport on an American warrant, generating angry accusations from Venezuela’s government that Mr. Carvajal had been “kidnapped” and warnings that tiny Aruba would suffer economic consequences for cooperating with the U.S.

“We were ready to do whatever it took to defend the dignity and honor of Venezuela,” President Nicolás Maduro said Sunday night, hailing Mr. Carvajal’s release as a diplomatic victory for the South American country.

“We rescued him through the political, diplomatic operation ... Read More

Mexico drug kingpin Juan José ‘el Azul’ Esparragoza believed to have died

| June 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Guardian UK


Juan José Esparragoza, one of the architects of Mexico‘s global drug trafficking empire – and a key figure in the Sinaloa cartel – has reportedly died of a heart attack at 65.

The investigative weekly Río Doce, based in the northern state of Sinaloa,reported the death late on Sunday on its website, citing anonymous police sources and people close to the family of the trafficker known as “el Azul”, or the Blue One.

Radio Formula reported on Monday that the attorney general’s Office had started an investigation into “rumours” of El Azul’s death. The FBI’s website retained the crime boss on its most wanted list, alongside a five million dollar reward for information leading to his capture.

The death of Esparragoza would be the second blow to the Sinaloa cartel this year, following the February arrest of its most famous kingpin, Joaquín “el Chapo” Guzmán. It would leave Ismael “el Mayo” Zambada, as the only ... Read More

Fraying Relationship With Ecuador a Blow to U.S. Counternarcotics Efforts

| May 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
World Politics Review

By Eric Auner

Last month, Ecuador expelled 20 U.S. Defense Department employees from the country. Less than two weeks later, the U.S. announced it would withdraw its anti-narcotics personnel from Ecuador, dealing a further blow to America’s ailing counternarcotics partnerships in the Western Hemisphere.

Ecuador’s expulsion of U.S. military personnel “reflects the increase in capacities and resources of Ecuador to directly assume security and defense efforts independently,” said a statement from the Ecuadorean Embassy in Washington. The statement pointed in particular to  Ecuador’s own counternarcotics efforts from the previous year.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that while the United States would respect Ecuador’s decision, “we regret that the outcome will severely limit our bilateral security partnership.” She said that military cooperation between the two nations over four decades “has resulted in significant advances against drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism and other transnational crime.”

The moves come in a context of a generally strained U.S. relationship with Ecuador ... Read More

US Highlights Argentina Drug Problem as Local Crime Evolves

| May 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
From In Sight


US authorities have expressed concern over rising drug consumption in Argentina and the growth of local organized crime, drawing attention to a problem that is now seeing increasingly sophisticated criminal structures begin to migrate.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson said in a press conference that domestic drug use in Argentina had “increased very dramatically,” reported La Nacion.

Her comments came shortly after the US State Department published its “Country Reports on Terrorism 2013″ (pdf). The document cited both northern regions and the Triple Frontier between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay as hubs for drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime, a phenomenon facilitated by inadequate police monitoring.

In light of these comments, Argentine Security Minister Sergio Berni said the government would increase cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to “share information and organize training courses,” reported Infobae.

InSight Crime Analysis

Although some Argentine authorities — including Berni — continue ... Read More

Bolivia and the Drug Cartels

| April 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Canada Free Press


Since 2006, Evo Morales has been the president of Bolivia. As an active campaigner against the war on drugs, a coca grower himself, and an admirer of Che Guevara, controversy has swirled about his administration.

Morales promoted international decriminalization of the coca leaf and has expelled US counter-narcotic agents, leading senior international officials to express concern that the nation is vulnerable to drug cartels and could be becoming a narcostate.

The concerns appeared to be validated by reports emerging from this South American nation in late 2009. Rival drug factions were fighting over smuggling routes and the cartel-linked gangs were developing more advanced cocaine production facilities—including mobile labs. Even the Bolivian police acknowledged that removing the US-DEA may not have been the best choice. According to Colonel Oscar Nina, the director of the anti-narcotics police, “the withdrawal of the DEA has affected our work, they provided fast, direct access to a certain kind of information.” Nina ... Read More

Central American Criminal and Terrorism Nexuses are Maturing

| April 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Mexi Data

By Jerry Brewer

As Central America’s northern cone nations set records for willful deaths, Honduras leads the world with a murder rate of 90.4 per 100,000. El Salvador, Guatemala and Belize’s homicide rates are averaging, collectively, 42 percent per 100,000, as people literally fight for their lives.

These seemingly unabated rates of murder, plus the kidnappings and assassinations of public figures, police, members of the armed forces and journalists, are the continuing and expanding product — and chosen role — of transnational organized criminals (TOC). And much of their achieved movement would not have been possible without facilitation and nurturing by rogue leftist political regimes, and paramilitary and guerilla-like forces, within this hemisphere.

Each of the countries in the northern cone of Central America, as well as Mexico and the United States, have shared borders within the regions of hostile operational activities that witness fluid and seemingly unstoppable encroachment by the criminal insurgent-like actors. These ... Read More

The Drug Cartels Long March on El Salvador

| April 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Canada Free Press

By Sierra Rayne

More than two decades after the civil war in El Salvador ended, the nation remains fractured—a situation being worsened by increasing drug cartel presence and influence. In its recent presidential election, Salvador Sanchez Ceren of the governing left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) barely defeated Norman Quijano of the right-wing National Republican Alliance (Arena). With more than three million votes cast, the margin of Ceren’s victory was only 6,364 votes, or 51.1 to 49.9 percent.

Despite fraud allegations and a subsequent legal challenge by Quijano, an electoral court upheld the narrow victory for Ceren and the UN monitors certified the election results as valid. There are concerns that El Salvador could become another Venezuela, with American support for Arena over the past decade potentially leading to fresh political instability in light of their close loss in the latest election. The memories of paramilitary groups and death squads are ever-present.

While it has dropped significantly over the past ... Read More

NORIEGA Y CARDENAS: Washington no debe olvidar a Venezuela

| March 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times


La anexión rusa de Crimea es una violación flagrante a las normas internacionales que exige una reacción internacional concertada. No obstante, mientras los  ‘expertos’ en política exterior se acomodan en su zona de confort eurocéntrica , Washington no debe descuidar sus intereses estratégicos en un mundo cada vez más interconectado.

Tome en consideración a Venezuela. Un país con una gran riqueza petrolera, con lazos históricamente profundos con Estados Unidos y estratégicamente situado en medio de las principales rutas de contrabando de drogas hacia Estados Unidos. Por más de 30 días, Venezuela ha estado rodeada por protestas callejeras que han sido reprimidas brutalmente por el gobierno. Desafortunadamente, parece que sólo un pequeño grupo en el Congreso de EE.UU está interesado en una respuesta eficaz por para lidiar con el caos que se vive en Venezuela.

Existen muchas razones por las cuales el gobierno de EE.UU debe poner ... Read More

Honduras y EEUU: Socios en la Guerra contra las Drogas

| March 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
PanAm Post


A los narcotraficantes “se les acabó la fiesta”, según el Presidente de Honduras Juan Orlando Hernández. Desde su investidura el pasado enero, Hernández ha concentrado todos sus esfuerzos para luchar contra el narcotráfico en su país. Honduras, como otros países de Centroamérica, se ha convertido en un centro logístico y en lugar de tránsito para el tráfico de estupefacientes, provenientes de Sudamérica con destino a México y a los Estados Unidos. Por esta razón, el primer mandatario ha accedido a trabajar de cerca con el gobierno de Barack Obama, a través de una operación de bloqueo naval y aéreo en las costas hondureñas.

El Ministro de Defensa de Honduras, Samuel Reyes anunció la semana pasada que el Comando Sur de los Estados Unidos reactivaría su servicio de guardacostas en aguas internacionales cerca de Honduras, y de esta manera, fortalecer el escudo naval hondureño. Desde esta semana, el gobierno estadounidense enviará cuatro buques armados, ... Read More

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman: The rise and fall of Mexico’s drug lord

| March 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

It was nighttime in May of 1990, in the heyday of the cocaine boom across America. Twenty Mexican federal police officers and a handful of U.S. Customs agents, acting on a tip, descended on a stucco home on the edge of Agua Prieta, Mexico — a stone’s throw from Arizona. “Policia,” they yelled, guns drawn, before busting down the front door.

The house was empty but looked lived in, with dishes in the kitchen and toys in the backyard. The officers moved quickly to a spacious game room, complete with a bar and a pool table, set atop a three-metre-by-three-metre concrete panel on the floor.

An informant had told them that what they were looking for was under the pool table. They moved it aside and went to work with a jackhammer. Then, a stroke of luck: One of them turned the knob of a faucet and suddenly the floor panel rose into ... Read More

‘El Chapo’ not likely to be leaving Mexico soon

| February 26th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman appears set to remain in Mexico’s highest-security prison for the foreseeable future, as the government puts off U.S. extradition in a move that could bolster President Enrique Pena Nieto’s nationalist credentials but also shine a spotlight on the country’s woeful judicial system.

Experts say Pena Nieto’s administration and those of his predecessors have proven unable to match headline-grabbing arrests like Guzman’s with complex, long-term investigations and prosecutions of deep-rooted criminal networks. Cases have stalled and cartels have continued to operate. Last year, one of Guzman’s closest allies walked out of the prison where the U.S. said he was running drugs from behind bars.

The Mexican government says there is no way Guzman will repeat the 2001 escape that let him roam western Mexico for 13 years as he moved billions of dollars of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin around the world. Authorities here say they want ... Read More

How Mexico Nabbed a Drug Kingpin

| February 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal BY JOSÉ DE CÓRDOBA & SANTIAGO PEREZ

Before dawn this month, a convoy of Mexican marines quietly surrounded a house in the Spanish colonial city of Puebla and arrested an alleged drug trafficker also wanted for questioning over the kidnapping of a Mexican politician.

Little did the marines know then, but his capture would become a vital piece of the puzzle that would help Mexican and U.S. officials several days later to nab the world’s most sought after drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

U.S. and Mexican crime-enforcement officials hailed Saturday’s arrest as the biggest blow to organized crime since the 1993 killing of Colombian capo Pablo Escobar.

Mr. Guzmán’s capture ends a 13-year manhunt ever since his daring 2001 escape from a Mexican federal prison. U.S. officials say his Sinaloa Cartel is probably the world’s biggest drug-trafficking group, responsible for as much as a third of the cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamines smuggled into the ... Read More

US drone, phone taps used to hunt Mexican drug lord

| February 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
From AFP


Mexico City – US authorities announced plans to seek the extradition of Mexico’s most powerful drug lord after his capture in a US-backed operation that included a drone, cellphone intercepts and elite Mexican marines.

As prosecutors in New York prepared their request, new details emerged Sunday from the manhunt that led to the capture of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, whose empire has smuggled drugs to the United States, Europe and Asia.

The US surveillance drone was used for two weeks between mid-January and mid-February to back up a massive operation in the northwestern city of Culiacan, a US government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Guzman eventually slipped out of Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, after escaping through tunnels under one of his safe houses as the marines closed in on him, Mexican and US officials said.

Under pressure, the 56-year-old drug capo, who had ... Read More

¿De qué servirá la captura del Chapo Guzmán?

| February 24th, 2014 | No Comments »


Primero, lo obvio: Joaquín Guzmán era un prófugo de la justicia. El Estado estaba obligado a detenerlo. Su captura indudablemente representa un triunfo para el presidente Peña. La pregunta es si dicho arresto ayudará o no a resolver el problema de la violencia en México.

De ninguna manera puede menospreciarse lo logrado por el presente gobierno. La de Guzmán era una cuenta pendiente que tenía el Estado mexicano frente a un delincuente que se había fugado de un supuesto penal de máxima seguridad. Cada año que pasaba se incrementaba la vergüenza pública de no poderlo atrapar. Capturarlo es una reivindicación para las autoridades y un triunfo paraPeña.

Sobre todo para su imagen. Recordemos que hace unas semanas, el Presidente fue a Davos a presumir las múltiples reforma aprobadas durante el primer año de su sexenio. Al terminar, la primera pregunta que le hicieron fue sobre el tema de seguridad. Peña se incomodó. Quedó claro que a los ... Read More

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