Posts Tagged ‘Narco-trafficking’

Obama administration would back sanctions against Venezuela: official

| November 20th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration would like to work with the U.S. Congress to impose sanctions on Venezuela in response to a crackdown on anti-government protests, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Tony Blinken, who is Obama’s choice to be deputy secretary of state, said Washington had refrained from pushing for sanctions in the past few months to allow diplomatic efforts by some Latin American countries to secure the release of opposition leaders from jail and nudge Caracas toward electoral reform.

But those efforts have failed, Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at his nomination hearing. “We would not oppose moving forward with additional sanctions,” he said.

In July, Washington barred a group of Venezuelan officials, including government ministers and presidential advisers, from the United States after accusing them of abuses in the crackdown on protests against President Nicolas Maduro this spring.

But the State Department did not ... Read More

Mexico: Violent Protests Hit Acapulco’s Tourism

| November 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

By ALBERTO ARCE

Mexico’s president has tried to keep the issue of violence issue separate from his focus on the economy, but the two are converging as violent protests over 43 disappeared students squelch tourism in Acapulco just before a major holiday weekend.

As Mexico prepares to commemorate its 1910 revolution Monday, hotels in the Pacific resort city have seen a wave of cancellations after demonstrators temporarily shut down the airport, blocked highways and attacked government and political offices in the southern state of Guerrero.

Acapulco hotel occupancy rates are currently at 20 percent, well short of the 85 percent expected for this long weekend when Mexicans typically flock to the beaches, Joaquin Badillo, president of the Employers’ Association for Guerrero state, said Wednesday.

More cancellations have been registered for Christmas week, the busiest time of the year for Acapulco tourism, and Badillo said one company that operates 10 hotels has cut about 200 ... Read More

If Colombia’s guerrillas sign a peace deal, will the guns go silent?

| November 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY JIM WYSS

Several weeks ago on the outskirts of the northwestern town of Montelíbano, a police caravan was ambushed. By the time the firefight was over, seven police officers were dead and another seven were wounded, making it the second most lethal attack on the armed forces this year.

However, what worried the authorities was who they claim was behind the attack: a joint assault by the 58th front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas and their sworn enemies, the Urabeños — the country’s largest criminal gang, also known as the Úsuga.

Government negotiators and the FARC have spent the last two years in Havana trying to hammer out a peace deal that would allow the 50-year-old guerrilla force to lay down its arms and re-enter society. The negotiations are taking place without a cease-fire, and attacks are frequent.

But the Sept. 16 ambush fueled skeptics’ worst fears: What if ... Read More

In Mexico, Still No Justice

| November 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By JAMES A. GOLDSTON

On Friday, Mexican officials announced that three members of a drug cartel had confessed to burning the bodies of 43 students who were abducted in Iguala, a town in the southern state of Guerrero, on Sept. 26 and then killed. The mayor of Iguala and his wife are in custody, accused of ordering the seizure of the students by local police, who then handed them over to the drug gangs. The discovery, during the search for the students, of other mass graves in the area has reinforced the picture of a catastrophic local breakdown of law and order.

But this is much more than the story of a small town, or even a country, in thrall to drug gangs. The response to the Guerrero abductions over the past six weeks underscores the central problem that President Enrique Peña Nieto now needs to ... Read More

Who’s to blame for El Salvador’s gang violence?

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
PBS News Hour

During El Salvador’s brutal civil war 30 years ago, hundreds of thousands of people fled to the United States, where some joined dangerous Latino gangs for protection and a livelihood. Soon after, many of these gang members were deported back to El Salvador, establishing a new and threatening presence in their home country. NewsHour Special Correspondent John Carlos Frey reports from El Salvador.

TRANSCRIPT

JOHN CARLOS FREY: Miguel Angel Gomez, a 30-year-old taxi driver here in El Salvador spends a lot of time looking in his rear-view mirror, worried that he’ll be the next victim of a notoriously violent street gang that already murdered Miguel’s brother.

A local news report showed the scene of the crime.

MIGUEL ANGEL GOMEZ: First they shot him and then they beheaded him. Here if they don’t like you or for any little thing, they have you killed.

JOHN ... Read More

Drug Cartels Find Argentina Attractive Transit Way

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Guatemalan authorities have captured Efraín Cifuentes González, also known as “El Negro Sosa,” considered one of the most important members of the Sinaloa cartel operating in Guatemala.

Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla told The Associated Press that the alleged drug trafficker was arrested on Thursday evening in the village of Las Cruces, in the northern department of Petén.

“A formal operation was launched Thursday night to move into position and start the raid. [He] was hiding in a house surrounded by a swamp; he tried to flee, there was crossfire, no injuries, and he was finally captured,” López Bonilla said.

According to information from intelligence officials, who asked not to be identified by name because they were not authorized to speak on record, Cifuentes is linked to the Sinaloa cartel and controls the movement of drugs through Guatemala into Mexico.

After being trained ... Read More

Mexico’s missing students generate unwanted attention on security

| November 4th, 2014 | No Comments »
AEI

BY ROGER F. NORIEGA AND FELIPE TRIGOS

Mexican authorities are scrambling to quell the furor caused by the disappearance of 43 college students in late September from Iguala, a municipality in the southern state of Guerrero. Once again, President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration has been caught off-guard by a scandal that shows that Mexico has not out-grown its history of insecurity and corruption.

Many suspect that the students are the victims of drug-related violence that continues unabated in various parts of the country. According to local published reports, the mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca, suspected that some of the missing students had ties to the narco-trafficking organization, Los Rojos, and ordered that they be detained and turned over to members of Guerreros Unidos, a rival drug gang allegedly managed by Abarca’s wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda.

The state of Guerrero has seen high levels of criminality ... 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

Mexico students: Guerreros Unidos gang leader ‘arrested’

| October 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
BBC

Mexican authorities say they have captured the suspected leader of a criminal gang allegedly involved in the disappearance of 43 students.Sidronio Casarrubias Salgado is said to be the main leader of the Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) gang.

The students, from a teaching college near Iguala in western Guerrero state, were last seen being bundled into police vehicles three weeks ago.

It came during clashes with police during a demonstration.

There have been demonstrations in support of the students across Mexico.

Mexico’s attorney general Jesus Murillo Karam said the arrest would open up new lines of investigation into what had happened to the students.

He added that 36 police officers and 27 members of Guerreros Unidos had already been arrested.

The mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca, is also being sought by police on organised crime charges along with his police chief.

The congress in the state of Guerrero has impeached the mayor.

On Friday, thousands of protesters marched ... Read More

Rising Dragon? The Chinese Mafia Threat in Latin America

| October 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
From In Sight

By David Gagne

Chinese mafia operations in Latin America are little understood, but a recent report on these groups in Argentina illustrates how they make their presence felt via extortion, human smuggling rings, and the occasional murder. As China deepens its economic relationship with Latin America, it’s possible these mafias may become ever more prominent.

Authorities in Argentina have attributed 31 murders over the last five years, and four in 2014 alone, to seven Chinese mafias operating in the country, reported La Nacion. These mafias reportedly earn revenue by extorting businesses within the Chinese community, and resort to violence when owners do not comply with their demands.

In at least three of the 2014 cases, the victim did not appear to have been robbed, leading authorities to believe they were killed after running afoul of criminal groups in the Chinese community. According to La Nacion, the Chinese mafias (also known ... Read More

In Mexico, parents hold vigil for 43 disappeared

| October 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

By MARK STEVENSON

TIXTLA, Mexico (AP) — Two weeks after 43 students disappeared in a clash with police in rural southern Mexico, dozens of anxious parents have gathered at a teachers’ college that was supposed to be their sons’ escape from life as subsistence farmers.

Wearing donated clothing, they wait for any word on the fate of their children, eating simple meals of rice, beans and tortillas and holding prayer sessions in a makeshift shelter on the school’s covered courtyard.

“They took him away alive, and that’s the way I want him back,” said Macedonia Torres Romero, whose son Jose Luis is among the disappeared.

But it seems ever more unlikely as time passes.

Prosecutors attribute the Sept. 26 disappearances to police, who also killed six and wounded at least 25 in separate attacks. The case has outraged Mexicans even in a country where ... Read More

Anatomy of a Mexican Student Massacre

| October 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Daily Beast

BY JASON MCGAHAN

For almost a century a teacher’s college in rural Mexico has been training educators and activists. Last month, dozens were abducted and slaughtered—by the police.

MEXICO CITY — Twelve days ago, police and unidentified gunmen believed to be members of a drug cartel ambushed a caravan of college student activists in the state of Guerrero, about half way from Mexico City to Acapulco.

Near the central plaza in the town of Iguala, a total of six persons were shot to death. Three were student activists from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa. Three additional shooting victims were a semiprofessional soccer player riding in one of the three buses, a taxi driver, and his female passenger. But most likely they were unintended victims caught in the line of fire. There’s no question the students were the target.

One who survived the first fusillade, ... Read More

Mexico: Alleged Drug Boss Beltran Leyva Captured

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

By E. Eduardo Castillo

Military special forces grabbed alleged cartel leader Hector Beltran Leyva during a lightning raid at a restaurant Wednesday, the latest in a string of high-profile drug arrests in the country.

Officials said the purported head of the Beltran Leyva drug gang was captured inside a seafood eatery in the city of San Miguel de Allende, a popular enclave for foreigners and artists in the central state of Guanajuato.

No shots were fired in the brief operation, which culminated an 11-month investigation, federal criminal investigations chief Tomas Zeron said at an evening news conference.

The arrest comes just months after the capture of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the elusive boss of the Sinaloa cartel, which is considered the most powerful drug gang in Mexico. He was caught in February after more than a decade on the run following his escape from prison.

Mexican authorities say Hector Beltran Leyva, 49, assumed leadership of ... Read More

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

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