Posts Tagged ‘Marijuana’

Vigilantes Vs. Assassins on Mexico’s Heroin Highway

| May 14th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Daily Beast

By Jeremy Kryt

On patrol with the volunteer police force going AK-47 to AK-47 with the narco-gangs in Mexico’s most dangerous state.

OCOTITO, Mexico — On an early spring morning, in the desert of Mexico’s southwestern Guerrero state, a half-dozen rusty pickups speed toward a line of late-model 4x4s blocking the road.

As armed men leap from the truck beds, the drivers swing across the tarmac, forming an opposing blockade of ancient Nissans and Ford Rangers.

Crouched behind their respective barricades, their elbows propped on hoods and fenders to steady their aim, some 40 men now draw down on each other with every kind of firearm imaginable: bolt-action hunting rifles, automatic shotguns, old-fashioned six-shooters, Uzis and M16s, even a few AK47s.

It’s just a few hours after dawn in these jagged foothills; the temperature is already in the mid-80s and climbing fast—but the tempers of the men ... Read More

Guatemala eyes alternative crop subsidies to dampen poppy allure

| May 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
Yahoo News-01

By Mike McDonald

 ANTIGUA, Guatemala (Reuters) – Guatemala is considering subsidizing alternative crops for poppy farmers in order to curb the production of narcotics and raise funds for social programs, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

The government could offer seeds for potatoes, corn and peas to farmers who grow poppies in northwestern Guatemala along the border with Mexico, where powerful drug cartels buy the plants and convert them into heroin, said Eunice Mendizabal, anti-narcotics deputy minister.

The Central American nation, with tight budget constraints, spends close to $2 million annually eliminating poppy plants. It is struggling to contain cartels that use the isthmus as a transit point to ship drugs to the United States.

“Every time we perform an operation to eradicate poppies, that area becomes more conflictive,” Mendizabal told Reuters at a conference to discuss alternatives to the drug war.

“The idea is to bring together all the commissions (studying drug ... 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

Cocaine Boss’s Capture Signals Progress in Mexico’s Drug War

| February 25th, 2014 | No Comments »


The capture of the world’s most-wanted narcotics boss shows Mexico is making headway in a drug war that has curbed economic growth while helping to leave at least 92,000 people killed or missing since 2006.

Mexican security forces captured Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman early Feb. 22 in the Pacific beach town of Mazatlan after trailing him for more than a week. Thirteen people were apprehended in all, with no shots fired. Authorities also seized guns, a rocket launcher and 43 vehicles.

Guzman’s arrest caps a 13-year manhunt by Mexican and U.S. authorities and marks a victory for President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office in 2012 after pledging to scale back the military’s role in fighting organized crime to curb bloodshed. Further progress against drug trafficking could help boost gross domestic product, according to Alonso Cervera, the chief Latin America economist for Credit Suisse Group AG in Mexico City.

The ... Read More

Legal U.S. Pot Won’t Bring Peace to Mexico

| January 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »


Since Jan. 1, Colorado has had a legal marijuana market. The same will soon be true in Washington State, once retail licenses are issued. Other states, such as California and Oregon, will likely follow suit over the next three years.

So does this creeping legalization of marijuana in the U.S. spell doom for the Mexican drug cartels? Not quite. The illegal marijuana trade provides Mexican organized crime with about $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year. That’s not chump change, but according to a number of estimates, it represents no more than a third of gross drug export revenue. Cocaine is still the cartels’ biggest money-maker and the revenue accruing from heroin and methamphetamine aren’t trivial. Moreover, Mexican gangs also obtain income from extortion, kidnapping, theft and various other types of illegal trafficking. Losing the marijuana trade would be a blow to their finances, but it certainly wouldn’t put them out of business.

But surely Mexico ... Read More

Mexican cartels abet heroin and meth surge in U.S., DEA study says

| November 21st, 2013 | No Comments »
From the Los Angeles Times


MEXICO CITY — The availability of heroin and methamphetamine in the U.S. is on the rise, due in part to the ever-evolving entrepreneurial spirit of the Mexican drug cartels, according to a new study released by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The report, which analyzes illicit drug trends through 2012, also notes that cocaine availability was down across the United States. It offered various possible reasons for the decline, including cartel versus cartel fights over drug routes in Mexico, declining production in Colombia and various anti-narcotics strategies that have put more heat on the groups that control production and shipment of the product.

The yearly report, released Monday and known as the National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, is an effort to describe “the threat posed to the United States by the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs.”

The report is a synthesis of quantitative data and survey feedback from more than 1,300 state and local ... Read More


| August 1st, 2013 | No Comments »
World Crunch-01

SANTIAGO - The recent capture of Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, kingpin of the notorious Zetas gang, deals a serious blow to the most-feared drug cartel in Mexico. It also refutes speculation that President Enrique Peña Nieto is dedicating fewer resources to the war against cartels in an attempt to curb the violence they generate.

As a presidential candidate, Peña Nieto promised to reduce the growing number of homicides and kidnappings in the country. He emphasized public safety rather than the war against drug trafficking. This worried the country’s partners in the North and some locals that military action against the cartels would lose priority under the new government.

Mexican marines captured Morales after intercepting a pickup truck in the outskirts of the border city Nuevo Laredo, where the Zetas’ operations are headquartered. The narco-chief was travelling with bodyguards, an accountant, eight firearms and $2 million in cash.

It is the Nieto administration’s first ... Read More

New push at OAS for US to alter anti-drug approach

| June 4th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


ANTIGUA, Guatemala – Latin American countries frustrated by the United States’ refusal to change its drug war strategy will push at a conference beginning Tuesday for the U.S. government to start discussing alternative approaches to a fight that has killed tens of thousands in a region beset by drug cartels.

Guatemalan Foreign Relations Secretary Fernando Carrera said the subject of drugs will top the agenda at the Organization of American States’ General Assembly, which opens a three-day session in Antigua.

“We have already reached a consensus and agreed that our final declaration will include changes to the current anti-drug model,” Carrera said. “We already have some ideas on how to change drug-fighting policies.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William R. Brownfield are scheduled to attend the meeting, which comes two weeks after the OAS released a report ... Read More

Cannabis Losing Ground to Heroin Poppy in Mexico, Reports States

| April 5th, 2013 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Poppy production in Mexico is overtaking marijuana as the top illicit crop grown in the Latin American nation, according to a new report released by the Mexican government.

Mexican authorities last year eradicated 40 percent more poppy plants than it did marijuana plants, the Mexican defense ministry reported.

Opium and heroin are both derived from poppy and the use of these narcotics has risen in the United States, the largest market for drugs coming from Mexico. While the Mexican cartels provide only 7 percent of the world’s heroin, it is a key supplier of the narcotics flowing into the U.S.

The numbers are a significant change from 2007, when the area with marijuana crops destroyed by Mexican troops was about 50 percent greater than that of poppy – about — 22,965 hectares compared to 11,393 hectares. The gap, however, quickly began to narrow in 2008 and 2009, with a shift occurring last year, ... Read More

‘They stole our dreams’: blogger reveals cost of reporting Mexico’s drug wars

| April 4th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Guardian UK


For three years it has chronicled Mexico‘s drug war with graphic images and shocking stories that few others dare show, drawing millions of readers, acclaim, denunciations – and speculation about its author’s identity.

Blog del Narco, an internet sensation dubbed a “front-row seat” to Mexico’s agony over drugs, has become a must-read for authorities, drug gangs and ordinary people because it lays bare, day after day, the horrific violence censored by the mainstream media.

The anonymous author has been a source of mystery, with Mexico wondering who he is and his motivation for such risky reporting.

Now in their first major interview since launching the blog, the author has spoken to the Guardian and the Texas Observer – and has revealed that she is, in fact, a young woman.

“I don’t think people ever imagined it was a woman doing this,” said the blogger, who asked to use pseudonym Lucy to protect her real identity.

“Who am ... Read More

Guatemala’s president: ‘My country bears the scars from the war on drugs’

| January 22nd, 2013 | No Comments »
The Guardian UK


In any war there are innocent victims. In the 40-year war on drugs, the central American state of Guatemala can lay claim to being just such an innocent casualty. It has been caught in the crossfire between the nations to the south (principally Peru, Colombia and Bolivia) that produce illegal narcotics and the country to the north (America) that has the largest appetite to consume them. Guatemala does little of either.

The problem is that the drugs – principally cocaine – have to be transported from the producing countries to the US, from the south to the north. Unfortunately for Guatemala, it’s in the way.

But Guatemala’s location at the tip of Central America did not always present a problem. As recently as 2008 the US National Drug Intelligence Centre estimated that less than 1% of the estimated 700 tonnes of cocaine that left South America passed through Central America. But that ... Read More

U.N. ruling heartens Bolivian coca growers

| January 17th, 2013 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post


BOGOTA, Colombia — Ever since the Spanish conquest, the Aymara and Quechua Indians of modern Bolivia have been a shadow majority. Banished to the margins of society, they have found relief from toiling in fields for a pittance by chewing an oval-shaped green leaf: coca, cocaine’s raw material, which is a mild stimulant in its unprocessed form.

“Coca is our culture, our food, our medicine. Coca is our life,” said Honorata Diaz, a farmer from El Chapare, one of two Bolivian regions where monitored coca leaf cultivation is legal, albeit under restricted conditions.

For years, producers of the ancient crop, such as Diaz, had fought stubbornly against forcible eradication in endless confrontations with army troops and U.S.-trained anti-drug officials. Now, finally, they have a reason to celebrate. Last week, Bolivia was readmitted to the U.N. anti-narcotics convention with a special dispensation that local coca use is legal.

“This is a historic triumph for ... Read More

AP Interview: Mexico Leader to Continue Drug Fight

| December 11th, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press


Newly elected President Enrique Pena Nieto says he will continue combatting all illegal drug production and trafficking in Mexico, including marijuana, despite its legalization in two U.S. states and liberalized use for medical purposes in others.

In an interview with The Associated Press late Monday on goals for his new administration, Pena Nieto was asked if votes to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Washington state and Colorado would make him rethink Mexico’s drug-war policy.

“The short answer is no,” said Pena Nieto, who added that he remains personally opposed to legalization. “My government will continue mounting a real fight against the trafficking of marijuana and all other drugs.”

He has proposed focusing on reducing violence in Mexico rather than capturing top drug lords, a change from his predecessor, Felipe Calderon. Many have viewed that as a signal that as long as drug gangs don’t attack civilians, they would be left ... Read More

Immigration, security to be topics for Obama, Mexico’s Peña Nieto at White House meeting

| November 26th, 2012 | No Comments »
Dallas News


MEXICO CITY — When President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto visits President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday, the two will begin the process of building trust at a critical time, with their two countries facing dicey issues including border security, immigration reform and even the legalization of marijuana, analysts say.

The top question going into their first meeting is whether the two countries will continue to move closer, particularly through cooperation on security, a process begun 12 years ago with the election of President Vicente Fox, who unseated the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and continued with his successor, Felipe Calderón, analysts say.

“This will be a chance to start a more personal relationship between both presidents while beginning to rebrand and put a new stamp on the relationship,” said Eric Olson, a Mexico expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think tank. “What that new stamp ... Read More

Passage of Marijuana Laws Hurt US Drug War Cred, Mexico President Says

| November 15th, 2012 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

The message to the US from Latin America is simple: Practice what you preach.

Mexican President Felipe Calderón says the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in two U.S. states limits that country’s ‘‘moral authority’’ to ask other nations to combat or restrict illegal drug trafficking.

Calderón says the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado represents a fundamental change that requires the rethinking of public policy in the entire Western Hemisphere.

Calderón spoke in an interview with the newspaper Milenio that was published Tuesday.

Calderón was joined on Monday by leaders of Belize, Honduras and Costa Rica in calling for the Organization of American States to study the impact of the new laws and saying the United Nations’ General Assembly should hold a special session on the prohibition of drugs by 2015 at the latest.

The president will end his term in office on December 1st. Calderón has been one of the most vocal ... Read More

Mexico reports capture of alleged Zetas cartel commander

| November 9th, 2012 | No Comments »
From the Los Angeles Times


MEXICO CITY — An alleged local commander of the Zetas paramilitary cartel in the troubled border state of Coahuila has been captured, the Mexican navy announced Thursday, expressing hope that he might lead authorities to the notorious group’s remaining top leader.

Said Omar Juarez was taken into custody on a prominent street in Saltillo, Coahuila’s capital, the navy said in a statement released as the suspect was presented to reporters in Mexico City. In his possession were weapons and packages containing what may be cocaine and marijuana, the statement said.

Juarez was described by the navy as the Zeta operative in charge of Saltillo, who “presumably” has direct ties to Miguel Angel Treviño, the Zetas’ top leader. Treviño emerged as the undisputed Zetas capo after Heriberto Lazcano was killed in a shootout with navy special forces last month.

Coahuila, which borders Texas and is Mexico’s third-largest state, has recently been the subject of increased ... Read More

Mexico says marijuana legalization in U.S. could change anti-drug strategies

| November 9th, 2012 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post


MEXICO CITY — The decision by voters in Colorado and Washington state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana has left Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto and his team scrambling to reformulate their anti-drug strategies in light of what one senior aide said was a referendum that “changes the rules of the game.”

It is too early to know what Mexico’s response to the successful ballot measures will be, but a top aide said Peña Nieto and members of his incoming administration will discuss the issue with President Obama and congressional leaders in Washington this month. The legalization votes, however, are expected to spark a broad debate in Mexico about the direction and costs of the U.S.-backed drug war here.

Mexico spends billions of dollars each year confronting violent trafficking organizations that threaten the security of the country but whose main market is the United States, the largest consumer of ... Read More

Will Latin America become a higher priority during second Obama term?

| November 8th, 2012 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


MEXICO CITY – There’s agreement across the region that Latin America wasn’t a priority during the first term of President Barack Obama but analysts say there are issues that might raise the profile of Latin America and the Caribbean during the president’s second term.

Among them: trade, potential political change in the region, the potent voting bloc U.S. Hispanics have become, immigration, changing U.S. attitudes toward drug policy and security.

But, in general, regional expectations for meaningful change in U.S. Latin American and Caribbean policy during Obama’s second term were muted.

The campaigns of both Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney “proved that Latin America is not a priority for the United States,’’ said Simon Pachano, a political science professor at the Latin American Faculty for Social Sciences in Ecuador. “Latin America existed when they were looking for Hispanic votes, but it wasn’t present in their foreign policy proposals.”

Anthony ... Read More

Mexico’s new gov to review pot fight after US vote

| November 8th, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press


MEXICO CITY — The legalization of recreational marijuana in the U.S. states of Washington and Colorado will force Mexico to rethink its efforts to halt marijuana smuggling across the border, the main adviser to Mexico’s president-elect said Wednesday.

Luis Videgaray, head of incoming President Enrique Pena Nieto‘s transition team, told Radio Formula that the Mexican administration taking power in three weeks remains opposed to drug legalization. But he said the votes in the two states complicate his country’s commitment to quashing the growing and smuggling of a plant now seen by many as legal in part of the U.S.

“Obviously we can’t handle a product that is illegal in Mexico, trying to stop its transfer to the United States, when in the United States, at least in part of the United States, it now has a different status,” Videgaray said. “I believe this obliges us to think the ... Read More

As Latin America gets short shrift in US election, analysts try to fill in the blanks

| October 25th, 2012 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


BOGOTA – There’s a running joke in Latin America that the region should be allowed to vote for the U.S. president because the outcome matters so much here.

But with less than two weeks to go before the election, the region is feeling left out of the race. With Pres. Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney focused on the U.S. economy and troubles in the Middle East, Latin America is getting short shrift on the campaign trail.

The final presidential debate this week on foreign policy, only underscored the point as Latin America was barely mentioned and both candidates seemed to try to answer every foreign policy question with a reference to the U.S. economy, said Michael Shifter of the Inter-American Dialogue.

“The foreign policy debate turned into a discussion about nation building in the United States — not nation building in Colombia or even Afghanistan,” he said.

Just a few years ago, ... Read More

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