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Colombia’s top drug trafficker arrested; Extradition to USA + 5M$ reward?

 

Maximiliano Bonilla, alias 'Valenciano,

Maximiliano Bonilla, alias 'Valenciano,

Venezuela has captured one of Colombia‘s top drug traffickers, just as President Juan Manuel Santos visited his Venezuelan counterpart in Caracas, an arrest that may have profound implications for the Colombian underworld.

Maximiliano Bonilla, alias ‘Valenciano,’ was one of Colombia’s most powerful and prolific drug traffickers, running a criminal empire in the city of Medellin and along the Caribbean Coast. He headed a series of criminal organizations, including factions of the ‘Oficina de Envigado’ in Medellin and the ‘Paisas’ along the coast, from their operating base in the city of Barranquilla.

It was not a coincidence that he was arrested on the eve of the meeting in Venezuela between Presidents Juan Manuel Santos and Hugo Chavez. An intelligence source said that the Colombian police intelligence, DIPOL, had been following members of Bonilla’s family for two years, and had pin pointed his movements, feeding the information to the Venezuelan authorities to secure the arrest on Sunday night to highlight the increasing cooperation between the two nations. Despite having a security detail of 15 triggermen, all with Venezuelan IDs like himself, Bonilla came without a fight in the Venezuelan city of Maracay in Aragua state on the Caribbean Coast.

The Venezuelan Interior Minister, Tarek El Aissami, said that Bonilla, aged 39, would be sent to the U.S., where there is a five-million dollar reward for him, as well as an extradition warrant on drug trafficking charges.

“This is one of the most important captures we have made in recent years in Venezuela,” stated El Aissami.

Bonilla had tried to change his appearance from the heavyset, clean shaven look on his wanted poster, to a mustached, bespectacled and slighter version, thanks to a gastric bypass. He has also been constantly on the move, not just in Venezuela and Colombia, but passing through Panama and perhaps other Central American nations.

Bonilla’s criminal career began in Medellin, and it is here that his arrest is likely to have the greatest effect. Underworld legend has it that Bonilla’s father was killed when he was 13 years old and he was ‘adopted’ by Diego Murillo, alias ‘Don Berna,’ the successor of Pablo Escobar in Medellin. Bonilla became a favorite of Murillo’s and one of his most trusted assassins, consummating his first kill when he was just 15 and by 16 was running his own group of hit men.

When Murillo was extradited to the U.S. in 2008, and his successor, Carlos Mario Aguilar, alias ‘Rogelio,’ did a deal with U.S. authorities, a war broke out for supremacy in Medellin, principally between Bonilla and his arch rival Erick Vargas Cardenas, alias ‘Sebastian.’ While Bonilla was the most powerful of the two, in terms of resources, Vargas is believed to be in and around Medellin, leading his faction personally. Bonilla commanded the loyalty of around 1200 gang members in Medellin and has another 600 men along the Caribbean Coast. However with the arrest of Bonilla, the victory of Vargas in Medellin is still not assured, as another player has entered the city over the last two years: Led in Medellin by Henry de Jesus Lopez, alias ‘Mi Sangre,’ the Urabeños were born from the illegal right wing paramilitary army of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) and have many ex guerrilla and military fighters, able to carry out sophisticated operations with heavy firepower.

While the conflict in Medellin is certain to be affected by the capture of Bonilla, there may be a short-term consequence in Mexico, especially for his partners the Zetas. Bonilla is believed to have been one of the principal Colombian suppliers of cocaine to the Zetas as the latter wages its bloody war against the Sinaloa Cartel. An interruption to the supply of drugs may give the rival Sinaloans a temporary advantage they can exploit until the Zetas make up the shortfall. Shipments from Bonilla have been tracked by authorities not only in Mexico, but also Jamaica, Guatemala and Honduras.

Within Colombia there have been reports that Bonilla had links to the rebel group of the National Liberation Army (ELN), securing a steady supply of coca base for his cocaine laboratories from the guerrillas, who control much of the coca crops in parts of Antioquia, Arauca, Norte de Santander, Cauca and Nariño.

 
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Posted by on 11/29/2011 in Crime!

 

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Spanish judge said that drug legalization would reduce violence

 

Supreme Court of Spain

Image via Wikipedia

The judge of the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Spain, Joaquín García Giménez said in Bogota Efe that legalizing drugs would change the current scenario because, while not end with the drug trade, “there would be less violence.”

The judge made this statement during the training sessions for operators of the criminal justice system against money laundering, the main program of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), held this week in the capital Colombia.

Giménez García’s statements follow the attorney general of Colombia, Viviane Morales, who this week, following the comments of President Juan Manuel Santos in London about the need for a new global strategy, said it is necessary to “open a debate international legalization of drugs “since traffic of these” feeds “the country’s violence.

“It’s a legitimate debate,” said today the Spanish magistrate, who, however, warned that “the time to legalize, the decision must be global.”

“If you choose to legalize, first, what drugs are legalized, secondly, how and thirdly we all do,” said Giménez, to illustrate this: “Suppose you legalize in Colombia and not in surrounding countries, as we have here the pilgrimage to the drug. “

At that point coincided chief prosecutor of the Audiencia Nacional of Spain, Javier Zaragoza, who acknowledged to EFE, in the same forum, the difficulty of taking this step because they do not know “the health consequences that could result, and that itself is that all states need to accept that decision.”

The other side of drug trafficking is money laundering which is a comfortable refuge in tax havens, where the illegality of the money coming to them, goes unpunished.

And in that sense Zaragoza declared, “there is already an international law on tax havens but should go much more pressure on those states.”

“What you have to do, is try to design a policy of pressure to prevent the unlawful money to move and hide in those places against the action and the investigation of the authorities,” he said.

The aim of the conference is organized by UNODC, according to the Spanish tax “to cooperate with Colombian authorities” in investigating drug trafficking and crime derived from that offense, and to exchange experiences on the prosecution of such criminal behavior

 
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Posted by on 11/26/2011 in Crime!

 

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The United States should legalize drug use in its territory!

 

The Drug Table

The Drug Table

MEXICO CITY, November 20 .- The United States should legalize drug use in its territory, if you really want to financially strangle the Mexican cartels, according to one of the think tanks most influential of the American Union.

According to the Cato Institute, Washington, 40 years of the war on drugs, the results show that you cannot defy the laws of the market, giving a product banned-drugs-a premium of 90% or more.

The proposal, signed by the investigator Ted Galen Carpenter, believes that the current U.S. strategy “is fatally flawed, and the insistence to continue with it is causing serious problems of corruption and violence to a key source of drug supplies as Mexico “.

The drug makes a profit every year of around 320 billion dollars and, in our country has left about 42 000 dead so only so far in this administration.

The document suggests putting an end to the global war on drugs, states that Mexican cartels are now taking control in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

The legislation has been championed by several voices, in Mexico and elsewhere. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, just endorse the idea.

They see failure in fight against drugs

The only sustainable strategy to confront the dangerous Mexican drug cartels is punishing their income from criminal industry which each year generates 320 billion dollars and legalizing drug consumption in the U.S., the world’s largest market for illegal drugs.

That was the proposal unveiled by Ted Galen Carpenter, an expert in defense and foreign policy at the Cato Institute, a leading private research center based in Washington, through his analysis and the conference entitled “Putting an end to the global war on drugs (Ending the Global War on Drugs). “

The document highlights that at 40 years of the war on drugs the results show, again and again, you cannot defy the laws of the market that give a prohibited merchandise, such as drugs, a premium of 90 percent or even more.

“It’s a fatally flawed strategy, and Washington’s insistence to continue with it is causing serious problems of corruption and violence to a key source of drug supply and transit of drugs such as Mexico,” Carpenter wrote.

In fact, begins his analysis by saying that since President Felipe Calderon launched in December 2006, its military offensive against the powerful Mexican cartels, some 42 thousand people have lost their lives.

“The victims of the increasingly chaotic and violent drug war in Mexico, belong to all social strata,” he says.

And realize the increased consumption of cocaine recognized by United Nations ( Report of the International Narcotics Board for 2007 ) in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, former Soviet countries, and states that the Mexican cartels are now taking control of the trafficking routes and gaining access to potential markets in portions of sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

“The drug organizations have and exercise the supreme instrument of corruption: money. Because, the drug trade provides access to almost unimaginable amounts of resources. Moreover, there is so widely available input, so cheap to produce and as easily renewable as illegal drugs that offer dazzling profit margins and give criminal illegal income such that no historical precedent, “he adds.

Violence

A reality so brutal, he says, where the ban moves a product trade secret, creates an enormous potential for profits in the black market and attracts criminal elements prone to violence.

“The drug gangs have become bold enough to become the target of attacks on prominent political leaders as Rodolfo Torre Cantú,” which was the overwhelming favorite to win the PRI governor of Tamaulipas. Or to commit the kidnapping of Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, who defined it as a character in the importance of an Al Gore in the Mexican political scene.

On the danger and significance of the Mexican cartels, Carpenter put the emphasis on the power of their high income to corrupt American officials, trying to infiltrate the army of that country, committing killings, even within U.S. territory or to offer a million dollars for the head of the Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Carpenter also highlights the disillusionment of the war on drugs and came to Mexico’s political elite.

“The task facing the Calderon administration and its allies in Washington is not only defeat two cartels (Cali and Medellin) as with the challenge of Colombia, but many powerful organizations to defeat”, he says.

Colombia supported the legalization of cocaine

Legalize certain drugs, including cocaine, was the proposal that President Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia, recently made ​​the world public opinion through the British newspaper The Guardian .

The first call of a representative office, which also originates from the first producer of cocaine in the world, stressed the need to “eliminate profit violent drug trafficking … and if that means legalize it, and the world believes that’s the solution, I welcome you. I do not object, “Santos said Jamie Doward of the English newspaper.

“Or not so buried, because the Mexican gangs prefer littering the roads with their victims in the border towns with the United States, or hung from bridges to serve as a warning,” said Santos also the English Sunday The Observer .

Former presidents of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo, of Colombia, Cesar Gaviria, of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and this year the former Mexican President Vicente Fox have also recommended the legalization of some drugs.

But the article said that Santos Doward said that the initiative would work only if coordinated internationally, and then stressed “the vital role that Britain, the United States and European Union have to shape the debate.”

For the Colombian president highlighted the contradictions in U.S. markets such as where California already legalized marijuana for medicinal uses, while the state of Idaho continues to criminalize the use of cocaine.

 
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Posted by on 11/20/2011 in Crime!

 

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