Posts Tagged ‘Narco-trafficking’

Is Nicolás Maduro Latin America’s New Man at the United Nations?

| September 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
Foreign Policy

Representatives of Latin America and the Caribbean have chosen the troubled government of Venezuela to represent them in the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member whose term begins next January. When the U.N. General Assembly elects new UNSC members in mid-October, Latin America’s nominee to debate matters of “peace and security” will be a country that is among the least peaceful and most insecure in the Americas. Although the region’s image may suffer as a result, at least President Nicolás Maduro’s regime will be conspicuous as its economic mismanagement collapses Venezuela’s oil-rich economy and as its repression intensifies in a desperate bid to hold to power.

The Security Council has five permanent members (France, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States) and 10 non-permanent members, elected to represent one of five regional groups of countries. Venezuela seeks to be one of two members representing the ... Read More

Crisis in Venezuela worsening

| September 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY MARK SCHNEIDER

The lull in the street battles that raged across many of Venezuela’s cities this spring belies the violent civil conflict still threatening the country. From February to June, dozens of people died, hundreds were wounded and several thousand more were detained during conflict between protesters and government security forces.

Repression, exhaustion and disorganization have quieted protesters for the moment, but they will certainly return given the government’s failure to address the causes of the country’s polarization. With its vast oil reserves — by some measures the world’s largest — and its complex network of regional relations, Venezuela’s meltdown would be a disaster not only for its people but for the entire hemisphere.

Hugo Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro, has largely clung to his controversial policies, worsening the country’s multifaceted economic, social and governance crises. Recent opinion polls show that President Maduro is losing popular support, ... Read More

US Targets Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, Seizing $100 Million in Cash

| September 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
Latin American Herald Tribune

LOS ANGELES — In a major takedown in Los Angeles, nearly 1,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers seized approximately $100 million in cash, arrested nine subjects, and searched dozen of businesses in the city’s downtown fashion district alleged to have laundered money for Mexican drug cartels.

The ongoing investigation—three indictments have been unsealed — is specifically aimed at the Sinaloa Cartel and its activities, including narcotics trafficking, hostage taking, and money laundering in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the U.S. and Mexico.

In one case, the cartel used a fashion district business to funnel ransom payments related to a kidnapped U.S. citizen who was held hostage and tortured by cartel members in Mexico.

“The victim, who worked as a distributor for the Sinaloa Cartel, was kidnapped after 100 kilograms of cocaine he was supposed to distribute were seized by U.S. law enforcement,” said Bill Lewis, assistant director in charge of our ... Read More

Mexican drug cartels are expanding their reach in Peru

| September 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
Global Post

LIMA, Peru — When police here unearthed nearly 8 tons of cocaine — a national record — hidden inside lumps of coal late last month, it was little surprise that two Mexican citizens were also arrested.

The brutal Mexican cartels that control the drug routes from remote Andean villages where raw coca plants grow to the world’s largest consumer market, the United States, are known to have been present in Peru since the 1990s.

Nevertheless, the haul found in a small seafront warehouse in Huanchaco, a fishing village known for its surfing on Peru’s northern coast, stood out for another reason: It was bound not for the US but, in two separate shipments, for Spain and Belgium.

“What is surprising is that this implies a change in the criminal map,” said Peru’s former anti-drug czar Ricardo Soberon. “For Mexicans to be running drugs from Peru to Europe, ... Read More

Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers join forces in Guatemala, paper says

| September 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Drug cartels from Colombia and Mexico have formed an alliance to produce designer drugs and cocaine in Guatemala that will later be smuggled into the United States, the Prensa Libre newspaper reported Tuesday.

Drug traffickers are focusing on Guatemala because of its geographic location, the war being waged by the government on the cartels in Mexico and the increasingly global nature of the narcotics trade, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified source in the special drug enforcement prosecutor’s office.

Colombians supposedly trained in chemistry and biology have entered the Central American country to plan, design and build drug labs, as well as to teach people to produce synthetic drugs, Prensa Libre said.

The newspaper, however, did not identify the Colombian cartel involved in the Guatemalan venture.

The majority of the drug laboratories are run by Mexicans who belong to the Gulf, Sinaloa and Caballeros ... 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

Mexico Turns to Army, Drones for Security

| September 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

By MARK STEVENSON Associated Press

The Mexican government says it is increasingly turning to the use of the army and drones in security patrols, reducing the role of the once-successful Marine forces.

In an annual report on the state of the nation submitted to Congress Monday, the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto said army patrols had increased 52.2 percent between September and July as compared to the same period of the previous year.

The number of marine patrols decreased 28.3 percent in the same period. The marines have carried out some of the biggest take-downs of major drug lords.

The government also gave one of its first detailed accountings of the use of drones, saying it had flown 149 security drone missions with over 581 hours of flying time.

The report said homicides, especially those relating to organized crime, had dropped over the last year. It said Mexico’s homicide rate for all of 2013 ... Read More

Farc rebels accused of committing horrific crimes ‘with impunity’

| July 31st, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Andres Schipani in Bogotá

Last year, two teenage girls and a young woman vanished in an area dominated by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (or Farc) – the Marxist rebel group locked in peace talks with the government to end halt a century of insurgency.

The guerrillas killed all three and refused to hand over their bodies or disclose their whereabouts, according to the victims’ families.

“I always feel sick, really sick. I cannot sleep, thinking about whether it’s true that they raped her, that they tied her up, and that they killed other people in front of her,” said a relative of one of the girls. “Could it be true that they did all this, without me being able to do anything? I want them to return her to me, or to know the truth.”

Human Rights Watch says the guerrillas are committing such abuses “with impunity” ... Read More

Colombia president says ‘demented’ FARC attacks could end peace talks

| July 31st, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

(Reuters) – Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos warned on Tuesday that continuing attacks perpetrated by leftist FARC guerrillas, many of which target infrastructure, could bring an end to peace negotiations with the government.

The threat was made weeks after Santos’ successful re-election campaign, which made much of agreements he had reached with the rebels on more than half the agenda for peace talks that he initiated in late 2012 to end a half-century of war.

“What we are saying to them is, keep this up and you are playing with fire and this (peace) process can end,” Santos said at an industrial event.

He referred to infrastructure attacks, including a major one this week on an electricity pylon that cut power to Buenaventura, with more than a quarter of a million people the largest city on Colombia’s Pacific coast .

“It’s something demented … They are ... 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

Aruba faced potentially ‘severe’ economic pressure over Venezuelan general

| July 29th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

Venezuela threatened to extend a flight boycott and sink Aruba’s tourism industry as it fought for the release of a former general who is wanted in the U.S. on drug charges, a State Department official said.

BOGOTA – As tensions rose in Aruba over the fate of a Venezuelan general wanted in Miami on drug charges, the island nation was worried that Venezuela was prepared to cut off air traffic for an extended period and sink its tourism industry, a senior U.S. State Department official said.

Former Venezuelan Gen. Hugo Carvajal went home Sunday after being detained four days in Aruba at the request of U.S. authorities. While an Aruban judge ruled that he could be held pending a U.S. extradition request, the Kingdom of the Netherlands on Sunday said Carvajal had diplomatic immunity, declared him “persona non grata” and sent him back to ... 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

Unmasking the Venezuelan ‘narcostate’: The Case of Hugo Carvajal

| July 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
InterAmerican Security Watch

[Ed. Note: This week, retired Venezuelan Gen. Hugo Carvajal was detained in Aruba at the request of U.S. authorities.  Carvajal was the former head of Venezuelan military intelligence (DGIM) and a close confidante of the late Hugo Chávez. In 2008, he was designated by U.S Treasury as a “drug kingpin” for his ties to the Colombian narco-terrorist FARC.  That year also, the highly respected Colombian magazine Semana published an exposé of Carvajal that reported on his criminal associations with the FARC. The following article was translated by IASW.]

Hugo Carvajal: Hugo Chávez’s “Montesinos”

Semana Reveals the Scandalous Ties between Venezuelan General Hugo Carvajal, the FARC, and Drug Traffickers

Semana magazine (Bogotá)

February 2, 2008

There are very few people who have the luxury of having Hugo Chávez’s ear. Of that select group, one of the closest, most loyal, and who Chavez trusts the most is General Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios: the brains of Venezuelan intelligence.

The ... Read More

Retired Venezuelan General Hugo Carvajal Detained on U.S. Petition

| July 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

U.S. Alleges Carvajal Has Ties to Drug Trafficking, Colombian Marxist Rebels

By Kejal Vyas

CARACAS, Venezuela—A former chief of Venezuela’s military intelligence agency, accused by the U.S. of having ties to drug trafficking and Colombian Marxist rebels, was detained in Aruba on a petition from the American government, officials in the Caribbean island and the U.S. confirmed Thursday.

The detention of Hugo Carvajal, a retired military general who was awaiting confirmation as President Nicolás Maduro’s consul general to Aruba, is among the highest-profile arrests of a Venezuelan citizen in a cocaine trafficking case.

In 2008, the U.S. Treasury Department had put him on a blacklist, which prohibits any American entity from doing business with him, alleging that he had protected the drug shipments of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and also provided the rebel group with weapons and logistical help.

Mr. Carvajal, who was detained Wednesday night on a provisional arrest request ... Read More

Does a caged chavista sing the blues?

| July 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
InterAmerican Security Watch

By Juan Cristobal Nagel| Caracas Chronicles

A few months ago, Nicolás Maduro appointed former general Hugo Carvajal to be Consul General of Venezuela to the Dutch island of Aruba. Yesterday, as Carvajal laid low in the island waiting for the Dutch government to approve his position, he was detained. The US had asked the Netherlands to incarcerate and extradite him.

Carvajal was head of Venezuela’s military intelligence (DGIM) for years. A high-ranking chavista military if there ever was one, he was a close confidant of Hugo Chávez, and is suspected of aiding and abetting Colombia’s FARC guerrillas. Ironically, among other posts he also headed the National Office against Organized Crime.

This 2008 story on Carvajal by the Colombian magazine Semana (in Spanish) is well worth a read. The story includes everything: torture, drug smuggling, coordination with the guerrillas. Una joyita, puej. The money quote is a whopper:

Although all of the aforementioned events leave serious doubts as to General Carvajal’s actions, perhaps the most serious of them all ... Read More

Cómo Se Dice, “Lost in Translation”?

| July 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
Foreign Policy

On immigration, drugs, and virtually every other pressing policy issue, why can’t the United States and Mexico stop talking past each other?

BY CARLOS PUIG

By now, the number is well known: From October 2013 to June 15 of this year, 52,000 unaccompanied children and teenagers were caught at the American border with Mexico, twice the number for the same period in the previous year. Responding to the influx of young migrants and the public outcry they’ve provoked, President Barack Obama has asked Congress to provide nearly $4 billion to establish new detention facilities, increase aerial surveillance capacity, and hire more immigration judges to speed up the processing of the detained. The proposal has been met with skepticism, not only from Obama’s political opponents, but also from immigration activists who argue that it is yet another example of the U.S. effort to stem the flow of migrants withoutaddressing systemic problems in Central America — gang violence, weak rule ... Read More

Peru Looks to Restart Aerial Interdiction Program, Antidrug Chief Says

| July 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

By RYAN DUBE

LIMA, Peru—Peru’s antidrug chief says the government is working on restarting an aerial interdiction program that was abandoned over a decade ago when an air force fighter accidentally shot down a civilian aircraft, killing two American citizens.

The move comes as Peru, the world’s top exporter of cocaine, is ratcheting up its war on drug traffickers. Peru significantly decreased the area used to grow coca last year through the forced manual removal of crops by teams of government workers, but has struggled to stop drug-laden planes in its top cocaine-producing region.

Luis Alberto Otárola, the head of Peru’s antidrug agency, the National Commission for Development and Life Without Drugs, or Devida, says the government is in the process of acquiring radars to track small airplanes that currently enter Peru undetected from countries like Bolivia to smuggle cocaine to markets in Brazil, Argentina and Europe.

“There should be aerial interdiction, as an issue ... Read More

Citizens’ security is Latin America’s biggest problem

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

PEDRO RODRÍGUEZ, head of Nicaragua’s youth-affairs police, grabs the shoulder of 17-year-old Axel Matus and gives it a shake. “He was one of our worst cases,” he says. In most of Latin America, a youth with Axel’s background—gangs, drugs, knife-fights, joblessness—would cringe at such attention from a burly police commander. But Axel stands bolt upright and admits: “My life was utter chaos.”

Not any more. Axel now attends the Juvenile Affairs police headquarters in Managua, where he is given free meals and tuition every day. Besides subjects like maths and English, he is learning how to be a barber (his blade skills now applied with scissors). Hundreds of troubled kids voluntarily study with him, and the police chief knows most of them by name. They are neatly dressed and ooze self-esteem.

Nicaragua’s police force is in danger of giving socialism a good name. The country is one of the poorest in the ... Read More

Fleeing Gangs, Children Head to U.S. Border

| July 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By FRANCES ROBLES

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — Anthony O. Castellanos disappeared from his gang-ridden neighborhood on the eastern edge of Honduras’s most dangerous city, so his younger brother, Kenneth, hopped on his green bicycle to search for him, starting his hunt at a notorious gang hangout known as the “crazy house.”

They were found within days of each other, both dead. Anthony, 13, and a friend had been shot in the head; Kenneth, 7, had been tortured and beaten with sticks and rocks. They were among seven children murdered in the La Pradera neighborhood of San Pedro Sula in April alone, part of a surge in gang violence that is claiming younger and younger victims.

“The first thing we can think of is to send our children to the United States,” said a mother of two in La Pradera, who declined to give ... Read More

Mess in Venezuela calls for decisive U.S. action

| July 1st, 2014 | No Comments »

BY ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN AND MARIO DIAZ-BALART

Over the past several months, Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro’s use of the military andcolectivos, guided by the Castro regime’s instruction in thuggery and intimidation, has violently oppressed dissenters through mass detentions, systematic torture and deaths.

Human Rights Watch released a report on May 5, Punished for Protesting, that detailed egregious human-rights violations, including arbitrary detentions, the use of unlawful force, torture, abuses in detention facilities, targeting of journalists and dismantling of independent media and state collusion with pro-Maduro gangs.

The U.S. Congress overwhelmingly supports tough action against Maduro’s oppression. We are the authors of H.R. 4587, the Venezuelan Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, which would impose tough sanctions against those involved in human-rights abuses and supports strengthening democratic institutions in Venezuela.

Yet the Obama administration continues to wrangle with Congress over even the most noncontroversial sanctions, such as denying visas to Venezuelan human-rights abusers. President Obama’s response has been ... Read More

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