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Asia the Next target for the Drug Cartels

Mexican soldiers unload bundles of seized marijuana before incinerating the drugs at a military base in Tijuana, Mexico.

David Maung | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mexican soldiers unload bundles of seized marijuana before incinerating the drugs at a military base in Tijuana, Mexico.

Latin American drug syndicates are sweeping into Asia, spurred by growing wealth, regional trade pacts that ease smuggling and some of the highest margins on offer.

Growth in the drugs trade, a significant part of an illicit economy worth more than $100 billion a year in east Asia alone, has led to a rapid rise in seizures: 254 million methamphetamine pills, for example, were intercepted in east and Southeast Asia in 2013 — a more than eight fold increase in just five years.

Officials warn that Asian law enforcement authorities are ill-equipped to cope with the rapid rise of drugs being smuggled across increasingly porous borders.

“Police and customs officials in Asia don’t often have connections in the Americas and have little knowledge of what may be coming their way,” said Jeremy Douglas, regional representative for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. “They don’t operate internationally. They’re about to have to.”

For those who are caught, the risks outweigh the rewards, with the death penalty operating for drugs offences in several Asian jurisdictions.

The Philippines, which has debated introducing the death sentence for drug offences, is the test bed for a pioneering case next month, when Mexican national Horatio Hernandez Herrera appears in court accused of being a high-ranking member of the notorious Sinaloa drugs cartel.

At a regional meeting in Bangkok last month, representatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations raised red flags, saying that despite the potential for economic growth and trade, the region’s rapidly increasing connectivity could leave borders vulnerable to transnational trafficking and smuggling.

“Strengthening skills, capacity and cross-border co-operation among border and port security agencies is therefore essential to counter rapidly evolving transnational crime challenges,” said Jakkrit Srivali, a top official with Thailand’s foreign affairs ministry.

 

Growing wealth in Asia has translated into heightened demand for cocaine, with emerging pockets of consumption, trafficking and trade, according to a report last year from the UN office.

Mexico’s infamous Sinaloa cartel, whose head Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán staged a sensational jailbreak last month, has been pinpointed as a key supplier by authorities across Asia-Pacific.

The Jalisco New Generation cartel, an aggressive newcomer to Mexico’s drug wars that achieved notoriety in recent months after shooting down a military helicopter, is also targeting markets in Hong Kong and Japan, according to Canacintra, a Mexican business chamber.

“The severe penalties, such as life imprisonment or even the death penalty, for traffickers caught in Asia are reflected in the exorbitant price of the drugs there,” organisation president Rodrigo Alpízar Vallejo told media in Mexico.

Asia-Pacific economies offer much higher profit margins than the cartel’s traditional markets. In Hong Kong, a kilogramme of cocaine can sell for up to three times the price it would in the US. In Australia, it can be as much as six times, according to police and experts.

Meanwhile, according to financial crime investigators, the cartels will be closely studying regional trade deals, such as the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership, for clues about the liberalisation of certain routes or the reduction of tariffs on certain goods, which could be used to hide contraband and assist in the trade-based repatriation of smuggling profits.

“Anything that is going to increase the volume of trade, the efficacy of trade, is also going to increase the opportunity and bandwidth of criminals to move their products and launder funds,” said Bill Majcher, who worked with American and Canadian federal police.

“Over the past few decades I have seen a dramatic increase in trade-based laundering closely correlated with the opening up of transnational trade zones and treaties,” said another investigator, who asked to remain anonymous due to ongoing operations.

Robert Evan Ellis, professor of Latin American Studies at the US Army War College and an expert on the region’s relations with China, said the deal would “expand opportunities for transpacific organised crime by increasing trade volume, and the number of banks and companies doing transpacific transactions”.

However, he noted that regional ties fostered by the deal would “indirectly help increase law enforcement and transpacific legal frameworks that will help combat the cartels”.

Credit; Bryan Harris Financial Times

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Posted by on 09/25/2015 in Crime!, Mexican Drug Cartels

 

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El Chapo Guzman’s prison escape update

A manhunt began immediately late Saturday for the head of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, which has an international reach and is believed to control most of the major crossing points for drugs at the U.S. border with Mexico.

Associated Press journalists near the Altiplano said the roads were being heavily patrolled by Federal Police with numerous checkpoints and a Blackhawk helicopter flying overhead. Flights were also suspended at Toluca airport near the penitentiary in the state of Mexico, and civil aviation hangars were being searched.

Guzman was last seen about 9 p.m. Saturday in the shower area of his cell, according to a statement from the National Security Commission issued early Sunday. After a time, he was lost by the prison’s security camera surveillance network. Upon checking his cell, authorities found it empty and a 20-by-20-inch (50-by-50 centimeter) hole near the shower.

Guzman’s escape is a major embarrassment to the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto, which had received plaudits for its aggressive approach to top drug lords. Since the government took office in late 2012, Mexican authorities have nabbed or killed six of them, including Guzman.

Guzman faces multiple federal drug trafficking indictments in the U.S. as well as Mexico, and was on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s most-wanted list.

After Guzman was arrested on Feb. 22, 2014, the U.S. had said it would file an extradition request, though it’s not clear if that happened.

The Mexican government at the time vehemently denied the need to extradite Guzman, even as many expressed fears he would escape as he did in 2001 while serving a 20-year sentence in another maximum-security prison, Puente Grande, in the western state of Jalisco.

Former Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam told The AP earlier this year that the U.S. would get Guzman in “about 300 or 400 years” after he served time for all his crimes in Mexico. Murillo Karam said sending Guzman to the United States would save Mexico a lot of money, but keeping him was a question of national sovereignty.

He dismissed concerns that Guzman could escape a second time. That risk “does not exist,” Murillo Karam said.

It Trafficking drugs mapwas difficult to believe that such an elaborate structure could have been built without the detection of authorities. According to Rubido, the tunnel terminated in a house under construction in a neighborhood near the prison. Guzman dropped by ladder into a hole 10 meters (yards) deep that connected with a tunnel about 1.7 meters (yards) high that was fully ventilated.

Guzman is known for the elaborate tunnels his cartel has built underneath the Mexico-U.S. border to transport cocaine, methamphetamines and marijuana, with ventilation, lighting and even railcars to easily move products.

He was first caught by authorities in Guatemala in 1993, extradited and sentenced to 20 years in prison on drug-trafficking related charges. The lore says he escaped in a laundry cart, although there have been several versions of how he got away. What is clear is that he had help from prison guards, who were prosecuted and convicted.

Guzman was finally re-captured in February 2014 after eluding authorities for days across his home state of Sinaloa, for which the cartel is named. He was listed as 56 years old last year, though there are discrepancies in his birth date.

During his first stint as a fugitive, Guzman transformed himself from a middling Mexican capo into arguably the most powerful drug trafficker in the world. His fortune grew to be estimated at more than $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine, which listed him among the “World’s Most Powerful People” and ranked him above the presidents of France and Venezuela.

Guzman has long been known for his ability to pay off local residents and even authorities, who would tip him off to security operations launched for his capture. He finally was tracked down to a modest beachside high-rise in the Pacific Coast resort city of Mazatlan on Feb. 22, 2014, where he had been hiding with his wife and twin daughters. He was taken in the early morning without a shot fired.

But before they reached him, security forces went on a several-day chase through Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state. They found houses where Guzman supposedly had been staying with steel-enforced doors and the same kind of lighted, ventilated tunnels that allowed him to escape from a bathroom to an outside drainage ditch.

Even with his 2014 capture, Guzman’s continues to stretch throughout North America and reaches as far away as Europe and Australia. The cartel has been heavily involved in the bloody drug war that has torn through parts of Mexico for the last decade, taking at least an estimated 100,000 lives.

Altiplano, which is considered the main and most secure of Mexico’s federal prisons, also houses Zetas drug cartel leader Miguel Angel Trevino, and Edgar Valdes Villarreal, known as “La Barbie,” of the Beltran Leyva cartel.

 
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Posted by on 07/12/2015 in Crime!, Mexican Drug Cartels

 

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Australia and New Zealand have the highest marijuana and amphetamine use in the world

English: Four ounces of low-grade marijuana, u...

They propose legalizing marijuana and ecstasy in Australia

A report says that the prohibition does not work and it takes other approaches, such as government control of consumption

SYDNEY, The latest survey conducted of illegal drugs across Australia was released today suggests that the Government of the nation to legalize marijuana and ecstasy to control its’ rising drug problem in the country.

Professor Bob Douglas, author of the 54 page report, said it has become clear that drug prohibition does not work and it requires other approaches, such as the legalization and government control of consumption, according to an ABC Radio expert. He added that “the report makes clear that the Australian police, despite performing a good job, has failed to have a serious impact “on traffic and drug use.

Statistics from the Police in operations against drug traffickers in the country during the fiscal year July 2011-June 2012 reveals that drug seizures increased by 164 percent and chemicals to produce narcotics rose 263 percent.

The statistics show an increase in drug trafficking in Australia and that cocaine and amphetamines have overtaken heroin and preferences cannabis.

One of the proposals of the report is that the government controls the sale of cannabis and ecstasy, which is offered only to citizens over 16 and accompanied by counseling and treatment programs.

Professor Douglas noted that similar projects have been adopted in Europe with good results, and said that Australia needs to have a serious debate on this issue.

 “People who have taken tough positions on drugs have gained political benefits, but there are many politicians in Australia who recognize that this position should change “said Douglas.

Around 200 thousand people out of a population of 22.3 million marijuana smokers in Australia.

Australia and New Zealand are the nations with the highest rate of marijuana and amphetamine use in the world, according to a study published in the journal medical Lancet .

 
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Posted by on 09/10/2012 in Crime!, Drugs

 

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Australian woman arrested for explosions in Tlalpan and Coyoacán

The explosion caused the breaking of the glass door access and there were no people injured (Cuartoscuro)
The explosion caused the breaking of the glass door access and there were no people injured (Cuartoscuro)

Felicity Ann Ryder, Mario Antonio Lopez accompanied the suspect during the blasts that occurred on Tuesday

MEXICO CITY, A woman identified as Australian, Felicity Ann Ryder was arrested after corroborating that she accompanied the suspect who was arrested early Thursday morning after he detonated a homemade explosive device in his hand in the capital city was captured by police in the Del Carmen, Coyoacan.

The woman, who arrived in Mexico on a tourist visa was captured by the statements of Mario Antonio Lopez Hernandez, who revealed that she met the suspect three months ago over the internet.

Ann Ryder is a native of Albury, Australia, and entered Mexico City on December 6, 2011.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General of the Federal District has determined that Mario Antonio Lopez Hernandez and Felicity Ann Ryder participated in the bombings last Tuesday in Tlalpan and Coyoacán delegation.

After his arrest Lopez Hernandez, 27 years old, was found a backpack with clothing similar to that used by the person who perpetrated the attack half hour before the Tlalpan delegation.

“This individual was carrying a backpack with clothes which is very similar to the ones he had on when he planted the bomb in Tlalpan, in images captured by surveillance cameras so we concluded that he participated in another event and then changed his clothes, “said an agent close to the investigation.

Mario Antonio Lopez Hernandez remains in the hospital Ruben Leñero recovering from wounds suffered when an explosive device detonated hurting him a hand and a leg.

He accepted that the artifacts produced with information from internet and bought the material in street markets and supermarkets in the City and State of Mexico.

Lopez Hernandez agreed to belong to an anarchist group and is expected to soon be flunked his home located in the municipality of Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico State.

Experts have reported the dependence of the bombs detonated at both events are the same type.

The device placed in the CFE installations in Tlalpan, only found metallic debris.

The bomb detonated by accident, and the other found in the backpack of Mario Antonio Lopez, were made with tubes known as “nipple” and had a digital clock dial.

On the premises of the CFE, located on the road Picacho Ajusco, at the height of the street Thistles, Miguel Hidalgo colony Extension Section IV, were alluding to the self pints Salvation Front Tenochtitlan.

The suspect told officers who arrested him, which would have placed the bomb in a regional office of the IFE and the PRD building.

The PGJDF exercise criminal action against Mario Antonio Lopez Hernandez and Felicity Ann Ryder on charges of attacks on public order in both cases and property damage in the first event, she petition the court for issuing the warrant.

 
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Posted by on 06/29/2012 in Crime!, Terroism

 

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Bali: Australian teenager 14 years old sentenced to two months in prison for drugs

 

Catur Muka

Image via Wikipedia

An Indonesian court sentenced an Australian teenager, aged 14 on Friday to two months in prison for dugs possession, who had been arrested on 4 October, on the Indonesian island of Bali, for the purchase of nearly seven grams of hashish.

Taking into account the time that the young person has spent in prison only a few days left until the December 4, behind bars.

“We condemn the defendant to two months in prison, and deduct the period which has already been in jail,” said Simanjuntak Amser judge after the court session of Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali.

The prosecution had asked for three months in prison against the boy, a punishment that was already low compared with the six years that was punishable as Indonesia severely punishes drug trafficking.

The teen’s arrest sparked outrage from the Australian media, prompting the government to intervene. The Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, said that “we will do everything to bring back the young man to his house.”

The youthfulness of the accused also provoked criticism of the severity of justice in Indonesia, which has no juvenile courts.

 
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Posted by on 11/25/2011 in Crime!

 

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14 years old Australian teen sentenced to prison for three months! Hashish offence!

Denpasar in Bali

Image via Wikipedia

The prosecutor of the court of Denpasar, the capital of Bali a province of Indonesia, called for three months in prison for 14 years old Australian teen who was arrested on October 4 on the island of Bali for buying about seven grams of hashish.

The teen could be sentenced to up to six years in Indonesia, where drug offences are harshly dealt with drug trafficking.

His arrest sparked media outrage in Australia, forcing the government to intervene. The Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, had assured that “it would do everything to bring back the young.”

The age for the youth defendant also drew criticism because of the severity for the offence in the field in Indonesia, where justice does not provide courts for minors.

“We requested a prison sentence of three months, which is lower than the usual sentence. We take into account their age and the fact that their behavior can change,” said the representative of the prosecution, Gusti Putu Gede Atmaja I after the audience.

The tribunal shall forward its decision on November 25.

 
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Posted by on 11/11/2011 in Drug Abuse

 

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An Education for Cocaine Users!

Just one more Drag!

Generally cocaine users consume a range of other psychoactive drugs as well. There appears to be very little “pure” cocaine use, and few people initially experiment with cocaine: most cocaine users have a prior history of drug use, and often an extensive history of polydrug use. Globally, cocaine users tend to smoke tobacco and drink alcohol, frequently smoke cannabis, and, to a lesser extent, take benzodiazepines and other illicit drugs. Countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Zimbabwe note the use of alcohol with cocaine either to moderate the effects of cocaine or to reduce negative after-effects. These and other countries report the use of cannabis to reduce negative cocaine reactions. Australia, Nigeria, and The Russian Federation report that alcohol and tobacco are used with cocaine to enhance the pleasurable effects of the drug.

Australia and The Republic of Korea note the use of amphetamine and cocaine together to enhance the effects of each drug, and The Netherlands reports the use of “speedballs”, a combination of heroin and cocaine injected together. In South American countries, coca paste is often smoked with tobacco or cannabis, with alcohol, and sometimes with hallucinogens. The majority of coca leaf chewers in Peru do not use it with any other substances, while about a third regularly mix it with alcohol and tobacco use.

Overall, fewer people in participating countries have used cocaine than have used alcohol, tobacco or cannabis. Also, in most countries, cocaine is not the drug associated with the greatest level of harm. Other illicit drugs viewed as more problematic than cocaine are amphetamines (Australia, Brazil, Republic of Korea, Sweden), inhalants (Bolivia, Brazil), benzodiazepines (Brazil), heroin (Egypt, the Maldives), “cheaper and more available drugs (The Russian Federation). The general public in most of the countries surveyed are reportedly poorly informed about cocaine-related harm or drug-related harm in general: specifically, there is little knowledge about the role played by drugs such as alcohol in causing problems usually associated with cocaine use.

Use of cocaine leads to feelings of enhanced energy and may lead to greater stamina, confidence and creativity, though users have mixed feelings about the effect of cocaine use on work. The most common acute problem related to cocaine use is overdose, though these overdoses are often a combination of cocaine with other substances such as alcohol and minor tranquillisers. Death due to cardiac arrest is cited but it is very rare.

Negative physical consequences most commonly reported from cocaine use include: appetite and weight loss, sinus problems, perforated nasal septum, scarring and collapsed veins with injection, and cardiovascular, pulmonary or nervous system damage. Cocaine use in pregnancy has been associated with birth defects, including anecdotal accounts of deformed children.

Cocaine use is associated with impulsive acts which can lead to accidents. However, cocaine users are not thought to be generally at higher risk of accidents, with the possible exception of road accidents among high-dosage regular users who drive trucks.

The USA country profile notes there are widespread myths but few scientific studies of the relationship between cocaine and sexual behaviour. Respondents in two-thirds of the sites agreed that low doses of cocaine intensify sexual pleasure and performance and prolong orgasm, particularly in males. Most sites also report that males regularly offer cocaine to seduce females or (less often) other males, as it is thought to reduce inhibitions.

Some Barcelona and New York informants believe claims that cocaine use enhances sex are a myth. Reports from around half the sites stress that prolonged and high doses of cocaine can produce diminished libido and impotence, though alcohol use may also play a role in this. Regular, high-dose male users reportedly encounter difficulty achieving erection and orgasm. A small number of centres such as Ibadan and Sao Paulo claim that cocaine regularly suppresses sexual behaviour. The sexual behaviour of users warrants fresh study to eliminate sexual and gender stereotypes.

Cocaine use is associated with increased rates of sexually transmitted diseases, and increased HIV transmission, both sexually and via needle sharing. Even occasional cocaine use can lead to impaired judgement, increased risk of unsafe sex, and chaotic sexual behaviour. Although rare, this behaviour can lead to the transmission of HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases. Also, the spread of HIV, Hepatitis B and C and other blood-borne infections is a particular concern among injecting cocaine users. Access to injecting equipment varies enormously across the participating countries, with the result that injectors in some areas consistently use new or cleaned needles and syringes while others face great difficulties in acquiring sterile equipment.

 
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Posted by on 09/14/2011 in Crime!, Drug Abuse

 

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