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Honduras and the Narco Islands!

English: West End of Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras

English: West End of Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Islands off the coasts of Honduras and Belize, two of the poorest Central American nations, offer drug traffickers respite and a ready-made labour force to move their product.

The 31 bales were hidden among a stack of rickety wood. For three days, they had been harassed by the Honduran navy in La Mosquitia, in the Caribbean, which was looking for the 775 kilos of cocaine that had arrived in Caratasca. The clues pointed to the brothers Kork Anderson and Antonio Oscarealis Wrist Lucas, who come from Roatan, the main enclave of the Bay Islands.

They had hidden the 25-foot boat, which had two 200-horsepower motors, in Cayos Vivorillo, a naval zone with many small islands that drug traffickers use. They were carrying eight barrels of fuel; they also left their ID’s at home.

“It was an intense operation with good results,” Minister of Defense Marlon Pascua announced after the seizure.

Pascua added that the drugs were on their way from the Bay Islands to the north of Honduras and then, most likely, to the United States. But Pascua knew the brothers would likely be freed and not face charges.

“Normally these people are released because of bad [police] procedures,” he admitted.

Honduras: The Sieve

As in Panama, the Honduras’ islands of Cayos Vivorillo, with little police or military oversight, are a regular Caribbean drug transit point. The area has more than ten little islands and sandbanks, which form part of the province Gracias a Dios on the border with Nicaragua.

According to the United States government, up to 80 per cent of the cocaine that transits Mexico goes through Honduras first. Over the last few months, drug traffickers have changed their routes in order to bring drugs into Honduras and then to the United States. This is part of what the United States labels the drug triangle: from Colombia to Honduras to Mexico.

The coastal route has scattered maritime access, and within Honduras authorities do not rule out the existence of mini-cartels on Roatan (the biggest island), Utila and Guanaja, in the Caribbean Sea; and in the south bordering Nicaragua. Honduras has gone from being a narco-bridge to a drug reservoir.

Under the pretext of promoting tourism, the Bay Islands have been left without a gatekeeper. The police are mostly absent, and much of the drugs trafficked by sea flows to the islands without the type of government vigilance as you see in other areas.

According to local officials, 90 per cent of the Honduran fishing fleet is concentrated in these three islands. But the fishermen have learned to swap shellfish and lobster for the drugs that come from Colombia, particularly San Andres, and the Colombian islands off the coast of Nicaragua.

The fishermen return to the Bay Islands without the fish, but with a lot of drugs. These drugs are also used to pay for the services of the local traffickers, producing small but important flows of micro trafficking in the country, and fomenting tourist and local consumption.

The problem repeats itself throughout the region: a neglected area, a forgotten and poverty stricken population, and a tourist market combine to create a drug haven. According to CEINCO – the Honduran Armed Forces Information Centre — there are sectors in La Mosquitia that participate in and cover up this activity. But the authorities cannot criminalize poverty.

All around them there are signs of the narco-influx. Suspected drug traffickers are buying properties in the provinces of Gracias a Dios, Colon and all along the Honduran Atlantic coast. Few seem to check the provenance of the cash used to buy these properties, which are often promoted by US real estate agencies.

Belize: The Hinge

Belize is the hinge. With islands located between the borders of Mexico and Guatemala, it has become a nest for drugs and weapons shipments that cross part of the Rio Hondo. This river traverses numerous islands and cays in the southeast where Mexican groups such as the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) operates. The BLO seems to thrive in places like this: they also operate in Acapulco and Cancun in Mexico.

Drug operations are focused on the jungles of Peten and Los Cayos — a chain of 450 small coral islands — where criminal groups traffic narcotics, people, weapons, wood and exotic animals.

The tourist island of Cozumel, considered to be one of the 18 connecting points for the movement of drugs to other parts of the country, is a clear example. The network of Joaquin Guzman Loera, alias “El Chapo,” is allegedly in charge of this stretch.

Belize seems to have been swallowed by its neighbours’ problems. In 2012, there were 146 murders in a country that only has a population of 321,115 people — a murder rate of 44 per 100,000 people, double that of Mexico.

Written by:  Lourdes Ramirez

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Posted by on 10/06/2013 in Crime!

 

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Mexican cartels growing operation in Northern Triangle of Central America

The diversion of precursor chemicals used to produce drugs has gained a growing importance in the Northern Triangle of Central America, formed by El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras

marihuana_0The Mexican cartels exert a growing influence in Central America , a field of operation “very easy” for the diversion of precursor chemicals used in drug production, Costa Rican authorities warned today.

“The Mexican cartels are acting more active in the region,” said Emilia Ramirez, head of the Precursor Control Unit of the Costa Rican Drug Institute (ICD).

Ramirez said that even though Costa Rica “does not suffer the ravages of drug trafficking”, the process has gained a growing importance in the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America, formed by El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras .

“It took a lot of strength in what is called Northern Triangle,” the official said on Tuesday at the “Seminar on Prevention of diversion of precursors and chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of drugs” in the Nations’ capital.

This seminar will examine actions to shore up coordination to respond to the phenomenon.

Ramirez said the cartels “is very easy to divert them precursors of the Northern Triangle, the controls are very weak and its proximity to Mexico.”

He added that Costa Rica “is trying to act preventively and not expect the problem to get our country.”

The event also involved the drug commissioner of Costa Rica, Mauritius Boraschi, who said that the seminar is organized in order to “strengthen and coordinate the efforts of the participating entities to improve the national response to the problem.”

The “diversion of chemical precursors and precursors for illicit drug manufacture transcends borders and has been spreading to neighboring countries, neighboring or not, drug-producing countries, “he said.

“That’s why we involve judges, prosecutors, police and experts involved in the issue of precursors, washing and issues related to the phenomenon of drugs,” said Boraschi.

 
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Posted by on 03/20/2013 in Crime!

 

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Joint co-operation with Mexican and Guatemalan Armies fighting crime

The Mexican Army and Guatemala, began operating in the border of the two countries, in order to inhibit organized crime, which uses the “blind spots” for the blind after weapons, drugs, undocumented, merchandise, gasoline, among others, it was announced, Colonel Bayron Quinones, commander of Task Force West San Marcos Department of Guatemala.

Mexican and Guatemalan armies to fight crime on the Border

Mexican and Guatemalan armies to fight crime on the Border

In turn, the Attorney General of the state, Raciel Lopez Salazar, reported that according to the FBI, based in Guatemala and El Salvador, will be an exchange of information, including a database of fingerprints datasheets and gang members arrested and prosecuted in Chiapas.

This, in order to rule out that they have a court order in force in Central America. They also noted the priority of conducting track of firearms that have been insured with the institution to know its true origin and destination.

 
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Posted by on 02/15/2013 in Border, Crime!

 

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Belize the new drug haven for Mexican Drug Cartel

Belize, which borders Mexico and Guatemala, has become dominated by the cartels Los Zetas and Maras, warns a report by Inter-American Dialogue in Washington.

Belize the New Drug Haven

Belize the New Drug Haven

According to the policy analysis group and intelligence in the last 30 years has intensified the phenomenon of drug trafficking in the small Central American nation that has become important point for smuggling cocaine from South America to the United States.

Despite having a population 43 times smaller than Guatemala or 15 times less than the average Central American countries, Belize faces growing murder rate, gang, the problem of being important point for the drug and lack of resources.

Inter-American Dialogue that higher ranks cartel operations are performed in the jungles of Petén and the Keys, a chain of 450 small coral islands, to smuggle drugs, people, weapons, wood and exotic animals.

Drug trafficking tentacles extending from Belize

Inter-American Dialogue alert increasingly becomes a center for trafficking of drugs and contraband.

The safety analysis set eyes U.S. now in Belize.

Belize is a small country that borders Mexico and Guatemala on the Caribbean coast, south of Quintana Roo. For some it is almost heavenly: is rainforest and small luxury hotels located in the Keys Caribbean. And some little known is that increasingly becomes a center of drug trafficking and smuggling of weapons and people, as well as Guatemala, as well as Honduras or El Salvador, and as they are near the border with Mexico.

“(The) analysis of organized crime and insecurity in the northern triangle of Central America to ignore or minimize the role of Belize will leave out a key player,” said a recent report of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington.

Belize, he added, “has proven to have geographic and strategic importance for traffickers of illegal goods (weapons or drugs), smugglers and gangs.”

In fact, in 2012 a Lebanese linked to arms trafficking, including Arab extremist group linked to Hezbollah, was arrested in Cancun, Mexico: Raffiq Laboun Allaboun Mohammed, who had, among other things, false Belizean passports.

But in the last 30 years the main challenge for the country’s drug trade has been that it is a transfer point for cocaine from South America to reach the United States.

The problem now has increased. The arrival of gangs, corruption, the Mexican cartels, the political disputes with other countries in Central and fact which in turn is surrounded by nations in trouble will not help the situation in Belize.

The result in any case is not only insecure and penetration of offenders, particularly the Mexican cartels, in governing bodies. With a population of 321,115 people, recorded 146 murders in 2012. The figure seems small, but it represents 44 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.

According to UN data, the homicide rate in Mexico in 2012 was 22.7 per 100,000.

According to the report of the Inter-American Dialogue, despite having a population 43 times smaller than Guatemala or 15 times less on average relative to other Central American countries, Belize faces “a growing murder rate, gang, a role as a of transshipment of drugs, and a budget for public safety is not proportional to their needs. ”

But, despite the problems and the reality of the presence of groups like Los Zetas gangs or maras, the Belize situation seems largely ignored. After all it is a nation with a population of English-speaking, with a population mostly of African descent and Maya.

The origin of the Spanish names in Belize is equally simple: many are descendants of the Maya who came here fleeing the Caste War of Yucatan, in the mid to late nineteenth century.

The half of the population is below 20 years of age and with an unemployment rate reaching nearly 19.5% of the social problem issue is also not something to ignore.

Worse, the report said, “the territorial dispute between Guatemala and Belize imposes a serious obstacle to a stronger partnership between the two countries to combat organized crime.”

Guatemala and Belize not only have a historical dispute, since English settlers coastal territories occupied practically the Captaincy General of Guatemala to create their own state, but current differences, especially in the jungles of Peten, where an ill-defined border lends smuggling of all kinds, including timber and exotic animals, as well as drugs.

 
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Posted by on 02/12/2013 in Crime!, Mexican Drug Cartels

 

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U.S. Assistant Secretary, William Brownfield states that drug cartels in Mexico on verge of collapse!

U.S. Assistant Secretary, William Brownfield, said that the response of organized crime violence is a sign that is “close to collapse”

 

If he is to be believed! Assistant Secretary, William Brownfield

The Secretary of State for International Narcotics Matters United States, William Brownfield, said today that Mexico is seeing the beginning of the end of the drug industry.

In an interview with the online edition of the Colombian newspaperEl Tiempo“, the diplomat said that the answer of violence by organized crime in that country, is a sign that is “on the verge of collapse” because of pressure from the authorities.

“Four years ago we started a multinational effort in Mexico, dominated by the Mexican government, and what do we see today? In my opinion, we are seeing the beginning of the end with the beheading of cartels and reducing its operating capacity,” he said.

Brownfield said “is what we saw in Colombia in the 1980s and early 1990s, when the cartels felt pressure from the authorities and their response was violence.”

Brownfield, Colombia experienced a similar situation, but then it was not known that the violence was a “sign of an organization to collapse. My theory is that this is what we see in Mexico today.”

The U.S. official admitted that the success of Colombia’s efforts against the drug industry, led to the growth of the illegal activity in Mexico, before their travel to Central and North America.

He said the problem with Central America will move to the Caribbean and most likely will worsen in the coming months and years, because the drug is going to search for new routes to pressure from the authorities.

“They have two options: the Pacific, with sea lanes that are not very attractive, or return to the Caribbean, where they were in the ’80s,” Brownfield said.

He considered that “Dominican Republic is a victim of geography, if it was in the middle of the Pacific would have no problem. But they are in the middle of the Caribbean and the likelihood is that we will see more traffic through that area, no less. In my opinion, this crisis has not begun. “

 
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Posted by on 10/21/2012 in Crime!, Mexican Drug Cartels

 

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The criminal group Los Zetas, are main smugglers of cigarettes from Panama

The criminal group is listed as one of the main organizations involved in smuggling cigarettes to other countries

Criminal group los zetas main smugglers of cigarettes in Panama

The criminal group Los Zetas ranks as one of the main organizations involved in smuggling cigarettes from Panama to other countries in Central America, Mexico and Brazil, today unveiled a tobacco executive.

“The Zetas and the various mafias operating in Central America and the Caribbean are the main smugglers of cigarettes. Apart from their illegal actions they are in the smuggling because these products are easy to launder money, “said Alfonso Gordon, regional manager for trademark protection of British American Tobacco.

At a forum on the topic, Gordon said the Mexican criminal organization “is very influential in smuggling” in the region because their members have moved from Mexico to the south, specifically Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

He said that in discussions with various authorities in Central America in the course of investigations into smuggling from the Colon Free Zone (CFZ), the Caribbean, Panama, the band is mentioned Los Zetas.

He even cited that according to the investigations, 50 percent of the group’s business is related to drug trafficking and 50 percent to cigarette smuggling and human trafficking and weapons.

The way that the smugglers operate begins when one of its members visit cigarette factories in Paraguay, China and India to purchase product, which is then transferred to the FTA under a customs manifest “in transit” and then “re”.

“They’re going to Central and then to Mexico or Brazil. (Both countries) are the main target them for market size and the number of consumers, “said Gordon.

The executive said that organized gangs in the region raided the smuggling of goods as a means to legalize the money from drug trafficking or weapons.

“They get a lot of cash for drugs and somehow have to legalize it and one of them is by using products such as snuff tradition, which legalized in different countries and launder money,” he said.

A curious fact that Belize quoted destinations around the smuggling-record banking superior to all the countries of Central America “with connections to Panama,” without having a major industry, although three casinos on the border with Mexico.

One problem is that authorities cannot check the goods when it is stated that customs documents is in transit, although executives of British American tobacco, assessed the actions against the scourge of the Customs Authority of Panama.

Cordon said that for its geographical position, Panama is an important point in the logistics of the smugglers of cigarettes, illegal flow of 5.5 million units from the FTA, of which only one million remains in the country of the isthmus.

In Paraguay, the country with 35 cigarette factories which 90 percent were exports, India and China, should the snuff which triangulates the countries of the region from the Panamanian free zone, to impact the final consumer price.

On China, said a large factory in the country has an above-the three major tobacco companies in the world, including British American tobacco.

During the forum, the former prosecutor on intellectual property crimes and now a legal consultant, Ramiro Esquivel, warned of the economic, social and health from cigarette smuggling, counterfeiting and alteration.

As several countries in the region, Panama also tightened smoking with bans in public places and imposing tax rates of up to 100 percent, but as it impacted Cord increase consumption of illegal products.

 
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Posted by on 08/15/2012 in Crime!, Money Laundering, Smuggling

 

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Anti-Narco operation in Costa Rica; arrest 5 Gulf Cartel Members

united states currency eye- IMG_7364_web

A group of five Mexicans and four Costa Ricans was arrested in anti-narcotics intelligence operation which began two years ago with international participation, authorities reported today in Costa Rica.

Among those arrested was Juan Manuel El Guero Garcia, identified as head of the structure, an operational network not only in this country but in Central America, the sources said.

According to the Vice Presidency of the Security Affairs, Mauritius Boraschi, and Attorney General, Jorge Chavarria, the operation hit the Gulf Cartel and dismantled a support cell Rican.

The operation involved structures in Costa Rica, Mexico, Colombia, United States, Guatemala, Panama and other Latin American countries, officials at a press conference at the headquarters of the Attorney General’s Office (FGR).

Garcia Hernandez, aka Guero, is related to Jorge Eduardo Costilla, known as El Coss , one of the members of the Gulf Cartel and one of the most-wanted drug trafficking, he added.

The arrests and seizures made today were made possible “thanks to the harmonious working of the intelligence units” of countries that joined in the operation, said Chavarria.

Boraschi explained that the shipments were directed mainly to Guatemala and then Mexico to be introduced to the United States.

“This criminal organization has operations in all Central American countries (…) is dedicated to the shipment of cocaine, mainly land,” he added.

The officials said that in addition to the nine arrests, the operation consisting of a dozen raids in two locations in the West Coast and in the capital produced seizures of 45 kilos of cocaine, $ 24,000 and a gun.

 
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Posted by on 07/06/2012 in Crime Watch, Crime!

 

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