Posts Tagged ‘DEA’

Here’s the next country ready to throw in the towel on the U.S. ‘war on drugs’

| May 22nd, 2015 | 1 Comment »
FUSION

By Kevin Gray

Add Ecuador to a growing list of countries pushing back against the U.S. “war on drugs.”

A ruling party lawmaker recently introduced legislation that would make Ecuador the second country in the world — and the first in the Americas— to decriminalize the personal use of all drugs, from marijuana to cocaine to heroin.

The bill, presented by a lawmaker allied with President Rafael Correa, would regulate the consumption of over 100 substances and create a state agency to control the importation, exportation, production and cultivation of illegal drugs. Anyone interested in using or obtaining drugs would have to register with the agency.

If approved, the South American country would follow in the footsteps of Portugal, which in 2001 radically shifted its drug policy from prosecution to prevention and rehabilitation. It would also reflect the growing challenge from some Latin America countries to ... Read More

Will the Venezuelan State Fail?

| May 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01

By Carl Meacham

On May 18, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. prosecutors are in the process of investigating a number of high-up Venezuelan officials for their alleged involvement in turning Venezuela into a cocaine-trafficking and money-laundering hub.

Among those being investigated is Diosdado Cabello, president of Venezuela’s congress and arguably the second most powerful person in Venezuela-long suspected for involvement in clientelistic relationships with transnational criminal organizations operating in Venezuela’s borders.

The investigation is being carried out by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and federal prosecutors in New York and Miami – notably, this is not under the White House’s direction or coordination. And the case they’re building has foundations in the testimony of former cocaine traffickers, defectors from the Venezuelan military, and informants who were once close to top Venezuelan officials, including the former head of Cabello’s security detail.

All of this comes to light just months ... Read More

Son of Former Honduras President Arrested in Haiti

| May 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
ABC News

The son of former President Porfirio Lobo was arrested in Haiti in an apparent anti-drug operation carried out by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Haitian authorities, the ex-president and the Honduran government confirmed Thursday.

Fabio Lobo Lobo, 43, was arrested Wednesday night in Haiti and taken to New York to appear before a judge, according to a statement from the Honduran government. Lobo was arrested by Haitian authorities with the support of the DEA.

Porfirio Lobo said Thursday in an interview with the government’s Channel 8 television that he was facing a situation that he would never wish on any parent.

“I cannot say that he is guilty; I cannot say that he is not,” Lobo said.

“Fabio is not a child,” Lobo added. “He is a man with a family and must answer for his actions.”

Lobo said he hopes his son can prove his innocence. As a father, he added, he is very hurt.

DEA ... Read More

Nexos con Farc y pagos de narcos involucran a militares venezolanos

| May 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
El Tiempo-01

Los líos de militares y funcionarios venezolanos con la justicia de Estados Unidos comenzaron con los hallazgos en el computador del extinto jefe guerrillero de las Farc ‘Raúl Reyes’, en los que quedaron en evidencia la relación con militares.

En el 2008, luego de la caída del guerrillero, el Departamento del Tesoro de Estados Unidos incluyó en la llamada Lista Clinton al general Hugo Carvajal, quien fuera el exdirector de Inteligencia Militar en Venezuela; y al exministro Ramón Rodríguez Chacín.

En los documentos aparece que la decisión se tomó ante las informaciones de que habrían colaborado con armar, estimular y financiar a la guerrilla colombiana. A Rodríguez Chacín se le señala de haber tratado de facilitar un préstamo de 250 millones de dólares a las Farc y a Rangel de haber promovió la cooperación del Gobierno con ese grupo.

Los dos no fueron los primeros. En el 2001 ya ... Read More

Estados Unidos centra investigaciones sobre narcotráfico en funcionarios de alto rango venezolanos

| May 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
The New York Times

Por MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

[Traducción por IASW]

WASHINGTON – Autoridades venezolanas de alto rango son objeto de una investigación por parte de autoridades estadounidenses. Esto como parte de una amplia pesquisa sobre la distribución de cocaína en el hemisferio occidental, dijeron funcionarios de procuración de justicia estadounidenses el martes.

La investigación, que involucra acusaciones de lavado de dinero y tráfico de droga, está siendo gestionada por la Administración de Control de Drogas (DEA), y se centra en uno de los políticos más poderosos de Venezuela, el presidente de la Asamblea Nacional Diosdado Cabello, de acuerdo con funcionarios que solicitaron el anonimato para discutir la investigación en curso.

No está claro lo que planean hacer con la evidencia los fiscales en Estados Unidos sobre el Sr. Cabello y otros. Los Estados Unidos y Venezuela han tenido durante mucho tiempo tensas relaciones, por lo que es poco probable que las autoridades de Caracas entregarían a líderes de alto ... Read More

Venezuela Exposed As A Narcosocialist Plague

| May 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
Investor's Business Daily

Narcosocialism: U.S. prosecutors and DEA agents are closing in on Venezuelan leaders for running a narcostate. This is the nation Obama has repeatedly indulged in the name of getting along. Now we know who they are.

Back in March, President Obama startled many by calling Venezuela “the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” as he slapped sanctions on seven corrupt Venezuelan officials for involvement with drug trafficking and human rights abuses.

A month after that, he made a U-turn, making nice with the dictatorship at April’s Summit of the Americas. After tears and flapdoodle about the sanctions from Venezuela’s Marxist dictatorship, Obama declared that Venezuela wasn’t a threat after all.

He was right the first time. A front page story in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. prosecutors and Drug Enforcement Administration officials — acting independently of politics or diplomacy — have put together ... Read More

Funcionarios venezolanos, bajo sospecha de convertir el país en un centro global de la cocaína

| May 18th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

POR JOSÉ DE CORDOBA Y JUAN FORERO

Fiscales de Estados Unidos investigan a varios altos funcionarios venezolanos, entre ellos al presidente de la Asamblea Nacional, bajo la sospecha de que han convertido el país en un centro global de tráfico de cocaína y lavado de dinero, según más de una decena de personas al tanto de las indagaciones.

Una división élite de la Administración para el Control de Drogas (DEA, por sus siglas en inglés) en Washington y fiscales federales en Nueva York y Miami están construyendo casos utilizando pruebas aportadas por ex traficantes de cocaína, informantes que eran cercanos a altos funcionarios venezolanos y desertores de las fuerzas armadas venezolanas, revelaron estas personas.

Un blanco importante, según un funcionario del Departamento de Justicia y otras autoridades estadounidenses, es el presidente de la Asamblea Nacional, Diosdado Cabello, considerado el segundo hombre más poderoso del país.

“Hay amplia evidencia para justificar que él es una ... Read More

Show-down in Jalisco exposes Mexico’s faulty anti-drug efforts

| May 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
By Roger Noriega

Last Friday, Mexican authorities opened a new front in their anti-drug campaign by launching an offensive in the State of Jalisco against two of the country’s most profitable cartels. And, all hell broke loose. Within hours, the New Generation Cartel of Jalisco (CJNG) and Los Cuinis mobilized more than 500 men in coordinated counterattacks, shooting down a military helicopter; burning 11 banks, five gas stations, and 36 buses; and killing 15 people and injuring 20 others. The criminals also blocked 12 highways affecting the central states of Jalisco, Colima, Guanajuato, and Michoacán.

This brazen retaliation by two cartels, which had been far less aggressive than other ultraviolent groups operating in the country, represents a daunting new challenge for Mexico’s federal government. Although it will be difficult to dismantle Mexico’s richest criminal organizations, it is expected that the federal government will mobilize a significant amount of troops and resources in response to their violent defiance.

... Read More

Noriega: EEUU tiene evidencia de nexo entre Cabello y el narcotráfico

| April 30th, 2015 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald

Por Antonio Maria Delgado

Las autoridades estadounidenses, que llevan años investigando los vínculos entre el chavismo y el narcotráfico, tienen amplia evidencia sobre la participación en la actividad ilícita del presidente de la Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela, Diosdado Cabello, y el actual gobernador del estado Aragua, Tarek El Aissami, afirmó el miércoles el ex subsecretario de Asuntos Hemisféricos del Departamento de Estado, Roger Noriega.

Noriega, quien fue de los pocos que brindó información detallada sobre los graves problemas de salud del fallecido presidente Hugo Chávez, agregó que las autoridades estadounidenses también están al tanto del papel de complicidad que ha estado jugando el gobernante venezolano Nicolás Maduro, quien ha utilizado fondos del narcotráfico para financiar sus campañas electorales.

“Mis fuentes establecen claramente que hay en este momento una serie de investigaciones substanciales, que vienen siendo realizadas desde hace algún tiempo, sobre los vínculos con el narcotráfico y altos funcionarios del gobierno venezolano, y ... Read More

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 »
Bloomberg

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 »
MSNBC

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 »
FoxNews.com

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

BY ROGER F. NORIEGA

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

BY JO TUCKMAN

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

By MARGUERITE CAWLEY

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

BY SIERRA RAYNE

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

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