- In Honduras, Washington Supports Corruption, Military Repression, and Fraudulent Elections
- Honduras’s defiant left asks for presidential election recount
- Castro to call mass protests over Honduras vote ‘theft’
- Hundreds of protesters confront cops after ‘stolen’ Honduran election
- Violent Intimidation and Alleged Fraud Mar Elections in Honduras
- Security, military police dominate Honduras vote
- Political Repression Intensifies Ahead of Honduran Presidential Election
- The US Govt’s Dangerous Dance with Honduras
Almost 80% of the Bitcoins received by Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR), the pseudonymous head of the Silk Road digital black market, may not have been seized by the FBI, according to new research by two Israeli computer scientists.
When the FBI seized the Bitcoin wealth of DPR, believed to be 29-year-old San Franciscan Ross Ulbricht, it published the address to which it moved the money. Now, Dorit Ron and Adi Shamir have examined the “blockchain”, the public record of every Bitcoin transaction ever made, and identified not only the accounts from which the FBI transferred the 144,000 Bitcoins (presently worth $115m) it seized from DPR, but also several other accounts which appeared to be under his control.
Around a third of the Bitcoins which entered the accounts the FBI seized were moved back out of those accounts prior to the seizure. Some will have been spent, on running Silk Road and paying DPR’s living expenses. But the researchers also believe that he had other accounts which the authorities have failed to access entirely.
For the months of May, June and September 2013, the DPR-run accounts received no income from the Silk Road itself. As the site operated on a commission model, taking around 7% of each sale, they conclude that the money for those months must be hidden elsewhere.
Mexican authorities warned Thursday that they would not allow vigilante “self-defense” groups to take over more towns in a western state where civilians are arming themselves to combat drug gangs.
Vigilantes are now providing security in six Michoacan state towns after self-defense forces seized the municipality of Tancitaro last weekend following clashes that left three people dead.
Self-defense leaders say they next plan to take over another town, Los Reyes, with about 40,000 residents, as part of their drive to chase the Knights Templar drug cartel out of the region.
But Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam insisted that the self-defense groups “will not spread. I assure you.”
“The Mexican state will guarantee this,” he told reporters in Mexico City.
- Vigilante ranchers, fruit growers kick out brutal drug cartel in western Mexican state
- Hunger for drugs brings torture and death to Mexico City
- Mexican Drug Lord Assassinated By Killer Clowns
- Mexican Drug Cartels Love Social Media
- Drug Tunnel From Tijuana to San Diego Held Tons of Drugs
- US fines Mexican police chief $10 billion for drugs
The US war on cannabis is over and there’s no turning back, says US cannabis author Doug Fine as he prepares to take the stage at South Bank University. Fine is in London for the one-night UK leg of his world tour, spreading news of the “green economic revolution” currently spreading through the US, which is seeing certain states decriminalising, taxing and profiting from the marijuana industry.
“My message is this,” he says, smiling confidently, “if it can happen in the US, then it can happen here in the UK. There’s no stopping this train now.”
That Fine is upbeat isn’t particularly surprising. His book, Too High To Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution, provided a blueprint for America’s nascent medicinal cannabis industry. He chronicled events in Mendocino County, California, where Sheriff Tom Allman was one of the first law enforcers in the US to sanction regulated, organic, eco-friendly cannabis cultivation, and – in doing so – temporarily saved his state from bankruptcy.
But Fine also effectively called the market. Publishing his book as the US went to the polls in 2012, he predicted that the medicinal cannabis industry would blaze a trail through the US. Two years later, Fine’s economic “green revolution” is taking hold; the medicinal cannabis industry straddles around 20 US states and is tipped to be worth $2.34 billion (£1.45 billion) a year in 2014, exceeding the $10 billion (£6.3 billion) mark by 2018 as legalisation spreads.
On stage, Fine tells his audience – comprised of academics, activists, students and journalists – about the potential of a “green rush” in the British Isles. “Look at what’s happened in Portugal,” he says, referring to the country relaxing its laws on the possession of any drug for personal consumption at the turn of the millennium.
Fine’s visit comes at a time when governments around the world are exploring new ways of approaching and exploiting cannabis. In early October, Uruguay’s government announced that it would be the first country in the world to effectively nationalise the cannabis industry in a bid to undermine organised crime. In Europe last month, Romania legalised the use of cannabis derivatives for medicinal purposes and became the tenth country in Europe to recognise the legitimate medicinal uses of the drug, while Switzerland sanctioned possession for personal use.
Meanwhile, in Britain, the surprise appointment of Lib Dem MP Norman Baker – a former advocate of cannabis reform – to the role of Home Office drugs tsar further buoyed hopes among UK cannabis campaigners that the green rush was lapping at Britain’s shores.
But could Fine’s model for a regulated, organic, sustainable cannabis industry really take root in Britain?
Over the past few years, local cannabis clubs have blossomed over Britain. There are now 49 around the UK, which are united by the UK Cannabis Social Club, an organisation founded in 2011 to represent cannabis users. Operating primarily through Facebook, (the LCC’s page has had 39,301 likesthe clubs bring cannabis users together from all over Britain to discuss topics ranging from fertiliser to self-medication and campaigning for the decriminalisation of the drug. They also organise meetings, from a recent 10,000 person smoke-out in Hyde Park to more intimate evenings such as tonight’s soiree, allowing pensioners, students, bricklayers and bankers to talk about one of their favourite hobbies.
In September, Rep. Trey Radel voted for Republican legislation that would allow states to make food stamp recipients pee in cups to prove they’re not on drugs. In October, police busted the Florida Republican on a charge of cocaine possession.
“It’s really interesting it came on the heels of Republicans voting on everyone who had access to food stamps get drug tested,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told BuzzFeed Tuesday. ”It’s like, what?”
The House over the summer approved an amendment by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) that would let states drug test people on food stamps. The amendment passed by voice vote, meaning members’ individual yeas and nays were not recorded. Radel later voted in favor of a broader food stamps bill that included Hudson’s measure.
In support of his drug testing legislation, Hudson cited the many state legislatures around the country that had considered similar requirements for other means-tested programs in recent years.
Afghan opium cultivation has reached a record level, with more than 200,000 hectares planted with the poppy for the first time, the United Nations says.
The UNODC report said the harvest was 36% up on last year, and if fully realised would outstrip global demand.
Most of the rise was in Helmand province, where British troops are preparing to withdraw.
One of the main reasons the UK sent troops to Helmand was to cut opium production.
A cadre of moderators and veterans from the now-shuttered Deep Web black market Silk Road have just launched Silk Road 2.0, a new online drug market made in the image of the trailblazing operation seized by the FBI on Oct. 2.
While Ross Ulbricht remains in custody, accused of starting a $1 billion black market under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts, there was never a question about whether a successor would fill the void. It was only a matter of time.
Consciousness is one of the great mysteries of science – perhaps the greatest mystery. We all know we have it, when we think, when we dream, when we savour tastes and aromas, when we hear a great symphony, when we fall in love, and it is surely the most intimate, the most sapient, the most personal part of ourselves. Yet no one can really claim to have understood and explained it completely. There’s no doubt it’s associated with the brain in some way but the nature of that association is far from clear. In particular how do these three pounds of material stuff inside our skulls allow us to have experiences?
Professor David Chalmers of the Australian National University has dubbed this the “hard problem” of consciousness; but many scientists, particularly those (still in the majority) who are philosophically inclined to believe that all phenomena can be reduced to material interactions, deny that any problem exists. To them it seems self-evident that physical processes within the stuff of the brain produce consciousness rather in the way that a generator produces electricity – i.e. consciousness is an “epiphenomenon” of brain activity. And they see it as equally obvious that there cannot be such things as conscious survival of death or out-of-body experiences since both consciousness and experience are confined to the brain and must die when the brain dies.
Yet other scientists with equally impressive credentials are not so sure and are increasingly willing to consider a very different analogy – namely that the relationship of consciousness to the brain may be less like the relationship of the generator to the electricity it produces and more like the relationship of the TV signal to the TV set. In that case when the TV set is destroyed – dead – the signal still continues. Nothing in the present state of knowledge of neuroscience rules this revolutionary possibility out. True, if you damage certain areas of the brain certain areas of consciousness are compromised, but this does not prove that those areas of the brain generate the relevant areas of consciousness. If you were to damage certain areas of your TV set the picture would deteriorate or vanish but the TV signal would remain intact.
We are, in other words, confronted by at least as much mystery as fact around the subject of consciousness and this being the case we should remember that what seems obvious and self-evident to one generation may not seem at all obvious or self-evident to the next. For hundreds of years it was obvious and self-evident to the greatest human minds that the sun moved around the earth – one need only look to the sky, they said, to see the truth of this proposition. Indeed those who maintained the revolutionary view that the earth moved around the sun faced the Inquisition and death by burning at the stake. Yet as it turned out the revolutionaries were right and orthodoxy was terribly, ridiculously wrong.
The same may well prove to be true with the mystery of consciousness. Yes, it does seem obvious and self-evident that the brain produces it (the generator analogy), but this is a deduction from incomplete data and categorically NOT yet an established and irrefutable fact. New discoveries may force materialist science to rescind this theory in favour of something more like the TV analogy in which the brain comes to be understood as a transceiver rather than as a generator of consciousness and in which consciousness is recognized as fundamentally “non-local” in nature – perhaps even as one of the basic driving forces of the universe. At the very least we should withhold judgment on this “hard problem” until more evidence is in and view with suspicion those who hold dogmatic and ideological views about the nature of consciousness.
It’s at this point that the whole seemingly academic issue becomes intensely political and current because modern technological society idealises and is monopolistically focused on only one state of consciousness – the alert, problem-solving state of consciousness that makes us efficient producers and consumers of material goods and services. At the same time our society seeks to police and control a wide range of other “altered” states of consciousness on the basis of the unproven proposition that consciousness is generated by the brain.
I refer here to the so-called “war on drugs” which is really better understood as a war on consciousness and which maintains, supposedly in the interests of society, that we as adults do not have the right or maturity to make sovereign decisions about our own consciousness and about the states of consciousness we wish to explore and embrace. This extraordinary imposition on adult cognitive liberty is justified by the idea that our brain activity, disturbed by drugs, will adversely impact our behaviour towards others. Yet anyone who pauses to think seriously for even a moment must realize that we already have adequate laws that govern adverse behaviour towards others and that the real purpose of the “war on drugs” must therefore be to bear down on consciousness itself.
Confirmation that this is so came from the last British Labour government. It declared that its drug policy would be based on scientific evidence yet in 2009 it sacked Professor David Nutt, Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, for stating the simple statistical fact that cannabis is less dangerous (in terms of measured “harms”) than tobacco and alcohol and that ecstasy is less dangerous than horse-riding. Clearly what was at play here were ideological issues of great importance to the powers that be. And this is an ideology that sticks stubbornly in place regardless of changes in the complexion of the government of the day. The present Conservative-Liberal coalition remains just as adamant in its enforcement of the so-called war on drugs as its Labour predecessor, and continues in the name of this “war” to pour public money – our money – into large, armed, drug-enforcement bureaucracies which are entitled to break down our doors at dead of night, invade our homes, ruin our reputations and put us behind bars.
All of this, we have been persuaded, is in our own interests. Yet if we as adults are not free to make sovereign decisions – right or wrong – about our own consciousness, that most intimate, that most sapient, that most personal part of ourselves, then in what useful sense can we be said to be free at all? And how are we to begin to take real and meaningful responsibility for all the other aspects of our lives when our governments seek to disenfranchise us from this most fundamental of all human rights and responsibilities?
In this connection it is interesting to note that our society has no objection to altering consciousness per se. On the contrary many consciousness-altering drugs, such as Prozac, Seroxat, Ritalin and alcohol, are either massively over-prescribed or freely available today, and make huge fortunes for their manufacturers, but remain entirely legal despite causing obvious harms. Could this be because such legal drugs do not alter consciousness in ways that threaten the monopolistic dominance of the alert problem-solving state of consciousness, while a good number of illegal drugs, such as cannabis, LSD, DMT and psilocybin, do?
There is a revolution in the making here, and what is at stake transcends the case for cognitive liberty as an essential and inalienable adult human right. If it turns out that the brain is not a generator but a transceiver of consciousness then we must consider some little-known scientific research that points to a seemingly outlandish possibility, namely that a particular category of illegal drugs, the hallucinogens such as LSD, DMT and psilocybin, may alter the receiver wavelength of the brain and allow us to gain contact with intelligent non-material entities, “light beings”, “spirits”, “machine elves” (as Terence McKenna called them) – perhaps even the inhabitants of other dimensions. This possibility is regarded as plain fact by shamans in hunter-gatherer societies who for thousands of years have made use of visionary plants and fungi to enter and interact with what they construe as the “spirit world”. Intriguingly it was also specifically envisaged by Dr Rick Strassman, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, following his ground-breaking research with human volunteers and DMT carried out in the 1990’s – a project that produced findings with shattering implications for our understanding of the nature of reality. For further information on Strassman’s revolutionary work see his book DMT: The Spirit Molecule.
Venezuela says two light aircraft have been shot down after entering the country’s airspace over the weekend.
These were the first mid-air attacks by fighter jets since a bill authorising such action against illegal planes was approved earlier this month, the Bolivarian Armed Forces said.
The aircraft were allegedly smuggling drugs from Central America and refused to follow the military pilots’ orders.
Another 11 unauthorised planes have been disabled on the ground this year.
Venezuelan security forces say more than 35 tonnes of drugs have been found this year.
Uruguay is planning to start selling marijuana legally next year, a top official said, though the Senate must still approve the proposed legislation.
The country is hoping to act as a potential test case for an idea slowly gaining steam across Latin America — that the legalization and regulation of some drugs could sap the cartel violence devastating much of the region.
“The illegal market is very risky and offers poor quality,” National Drug Board chief Jose Calzada was quoted as saying in Sunday’s El Pais newspaper.
The state “will provide a safe place to buy, a good quality product and, moreover, will sell at a standard price.”
The government proposes to sell marijuana for $1 a gram, slightly below the current market rate that runs about 30 pesos ($1.40) a gram.
By putting the government in charge of the marijuana industry, which is estimated to be worth $30 million to $40 million a year, the plan aims to curtail illegal trafficking and the violence that comes with it.
- Switzerland changes law to decriminalise marijuana possession (Independent)
- Have we lost the war on drugs? Heroin, cocaine and cannabis now cheaper and purer globally than ‘at any time in last 20 years’ (Independent)
- Israel becomes major hub in the international cocaine trade, abuse rising (Haaretz)
- Who Masterminded U.S. Pot Prohibition? (CounterPunch)
- FBI Study: Marijuana Arrests Near Record High (TYT)
- 27-Year-Old Man Gets “20 Years Hard Labor” for Half an Ounce of Pot (Alternet)
- How Sunrise Police Make Millions Selling Drugs (Sun Sentinel)
- Riverside Cop Tricks Autistic Teen into Buying Pot (Reason)
- The New Reefer Madness: Drug War Crusaders Blame Pot Growers for Dead Animals — But the Drug War’s to Blame (East Bay Express)
- The disappeared: At least 26,000 people have gone missing in Mexico’s drugs war (Independent)
- US intelligence assets in Mexico reportedly tied to murdered DEA agent (Fox)
- In Mexico, Dalai Lama backs medical marijuana (AFP)
Afghanistan risks becoming a “full-fledged narco-state” without international support to help create alternative jobs for its people, a senior United Nations official said on Wednesday.
Yury Fedotov, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), painted a bleak picture of Afghanistan’s narcotics problem before next year’s withdrawal of NATO-led combat forces.
He said the presence of those forces generates roughly one third of investment and jobs in Afghanistan, and that the gap when they are gone should be filled to prevent matters getting worse.
A regular UNODC survey due later this month will show cultivation as well as production of opium increasing compared with 2012, Fedotov told Reuters in an interview.
Afghanistan is the world’s top producer of opium, from which heroin is made and which helps fund the Taliban’s insurgency.
Internet users are sending tiny donations with critical messages to what they believe is the FBI’s Bitcoin wallet. The wallet, which is worth US$3.3 million, is thought to contain digital funds seized from users of the online black market Silk Road.
Following the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht (alias “Dread Pirate Roberts”) and the shutdown of underground online marketplace Silk Road, which Ulbricht is suspected to have run, Reddit users discovered what they say is an FBI-linked public wallet containing more than 27,000 BTC (one Bitcoin is equal to $122 at the time of writing).
While it could not be verified who owns the wallet, which was created on October 2, a massive amount of transactions came after the statement in the indictment against Ulbricht, which says that federal agents are authorized to “seize any and all Bitcoins contained in wallet files residing on Silk Road servers.”
It was not long before Bitcoin users came up with a way to attract the web’s attention to the alleged FBI haul, using the site Blockchain.info to send tiny donations with publicly streamed messages to the account. The wallet has since been dubbed “Silkroad Seized Coins” on the Blockchain.info page.
The donations could be as small as .000001 BTC, but each one enabled users to post their opinions of the FBI’s closure of Silk Road – which, for the most part, were far from approving.
What will get you in the end is sloppy opsec. Short for operations security, it encompasses a sprawling list of disciplines, including keeping PCs free of malware, encrypting e-mail and other communications, and placing an impenetrable firewall between public and personal identities.
The latest high-profile criminal defendant to get a first-hand lesson in the perils of poor opsec is Ross William Ulbricht. The 29-year-old Texan was arrested on Tuesday on allegations he was the kingpin behind Silk Road, an online drug bazaar prosecutors said arranged more than $1 billion in sales of heroin and other illicit substances to hundreds of thousands of buyers. A 39-page complaint alleges that he was known as “Dread Pirate Roberts” in Silk Road forums. A FBI agent went on to say Ulbricht controlled every aspect of the site, including crucial server infrastructure and programming code that used the Tor anonymity service and Bitcoin digital currency to conceal the identities of operators, sellers, and buyers.
U.S. law enforcement authorities raided an Internet site that served as a marketplace for illegal drugs, including heroin and cocaine, and arrested its owner, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Wednesday.
The FBI arrested Ross William Ulbricht, known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” in San Francisco on Tuesday, according to court filings. Federal prosecutors charged Ulbricht with one count each of narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, according to a court filing.
Farmers in California may finally begin growing industrial hemp under a new law signed Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Lawmakers have been discussing the proposal since 1999 to allow approved residents to grow hemp for industrial purposes by reclassifying the plant as a fiber or oilseed crop.
The law defines the crop as the nonpsychoactive types of the Cannabis saliva plant containing no more than 3/10 of 1 percent of THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana.
Supporters of the bill say hemp is a $500 million industry in California and is growing by 10 percent annually.
Drugs are dangerous and must remain illegal to “protect society” the Government has insisted, after one of England’s leading police officers called for Class A drugs to be decriminalised.
Mike Barton, chief constable of Durham police, said that drugs could be made available to addicts through the NHS, in a controlled supply system that would cut off the income streams of criminal gangs.
His intervention adds weight to growing calls for an overhaul of UK drug policy. Leading figures in health, including England’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies, have called for drug addiction to be viewed primarily as a medical, not a criminal, problem. The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the influential Home Affairs Select Committee have both backed calls for a Royal Commission to look at options for reform.
However, a Home Office spokesman emphasised the dangers of illicit drug use and said that the current approach had seen a decline in drug use.
One of England’s most senior police officers has called for class-A drugsto be decriminalised and for the policy of outright prohibition to be radically revised.
In a dramatic move that will reignite the debate over the so-called war on drugs, Mike Barton, Durham’s chief constable, has suggested that theNHS could supply drugs to addicts, breaking the monopoly and income stream of criminal gangs.
Comparing drugs prohibition to the ban on alcohol in 1920s America that gave rise to Al Capone and the mafia, Barton argues that criminalising the trade in drugs has put billions of pounds into the pockets of criminal gangs.
Drug policy reformers have praised Barton’s challenge to the status quo as sensible and courageous.
The late acid guru Dr Timothy Leary would doubtless have claimed to have known it all along, but after conducting an exhaustive study on tens of thousands of Americans, a team of Norwegian scientists has concluded that LSD may actually be good for you.
Researchers Pal-Orjan Johansen and Teri Krebs from Norway’s University of Science and Technology in Trondheim examined American drug-use surveys carried out between 2001 and 2004 on over 130,000 US citizens, of which 22,000 had used a psychedelic drug such as LSD at least once in their lives.
The results may not amount to an appeal to “turn on, tune in and drop out”, but they appear to overturn the opinion long-held in parts of the medical establishment that LSD and other “mind-enhancing” drugs automatically result in debilitating flashbacks, uncontrollable paranoia attacks and a desire to leap off buildings.
During January 2011, Anabel Hernández’s extended family held a party at a favourite cafe in the north of Mexico City. The gathering was to celebrate the birthday of Anabel’s niece. As one of the country’s leading journalists who rarely allows herself time off, she was especially happy because “the entire family was there. There are so many of us that it’s extremely difficult to get everybody together in one place. It hardly ever happens.”
Anabel Hernández had to leave early, as so often, “to finish an article”, and it was after she left that gunmen burst in. “Pointing rifles at my family, walking round the room – and taking wallets from people. But this was no robbery; no one tried to use any of the credit cards – it was pure intimidation, aimed at my family, and at me.” It was more than a year before the authorities began looking for the assailants. And during that time the threats had continued: one afternoon last June, Hernández opened her front door to find decapitated animals in a box on the doorstep.
Hernández’s offence was to write a book about the drug cartels that have wrought carnage across Mexico, taking some 80,000 lives, leaving a further 20,000 unaccounted for – and forging a new form of 21st-century warfare. But there have been other books about this bloodletting; what made Los Señores del Narcodifferent was its relentless narrative linking the syndicate that has driven much of the violence – the Sinaloa cartel, the biggest criminal organisation in the world – to the leadership of the Mexican state.
Her further sin against the establishment and cartels was that the book became, and remains, a bestseller: more than 100,000 copies sold in Mexico. The success is impossible to overstate, a staggering figure for a non-fiction book in a country with indices of income and literacy incomparable to the American-European book-buying market. The wildfire interest delivers a clear message, says Hernández: “So many Mexicans do not believe the official version of this war. They do not believe the government are good guys, fighting the cartels. They know the government is lying, they don’t carry their heads in the clouds.”
Hernández’s book will be published in English this month with the titleNarcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and their Godfathers, so that we in the English-speaking world that consumes so much of what the cartels deal, and which banks their proceeds, might learn the lie of “cops and robbers”, of “upright society versus the mafia” – the received wisdom that still contaminates coverage of drug wars and the “war on drugs”.
- US drug agency partners with AT&T for access to ‘vast database’ of call records (Guardian)
- Mexican drug cartel activity in U.S. said to be exaggerated in widely cited federal report (Washington Post)
- Mexico’s new gov’t follows old drug war strategy (AP)
- 10 Shocking Examples of Police Killing Innocent People in the “War on Drugs” (Alternet)
- End the Drug War; Make Next Drug Czar a Doctor (Newser)
- White House Says There Will Be No Changes To Current Marijuana Laws (CNN)
- Marijuana fans cheer Tuesday’s historic Senate hearing (WTSP)
- Federal Appeals Court: Police Can’t Paralyze You To Search Your Body For Drugs (Think Progress)
- Mexico Officials Find Mass Grave East of Capital (Time)
- Ohio man finds 300 pound load of marijuana stashed in gun safe he bought on the Internet (Reuters)
CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon, apologized on Wednesday for publicly opposing marijuana legalization, saying science was clearly on the side of the drug.
“I think we have been terribly and systematically misled in this country for some time, and I did part of that misleading,” he told CNN host Piers Morgan.
Though studies on marijuana in the United States tended to focus on the drug’s negative effects, Gupta explained, research from across the world had made marijuana’s positive effects clear. He said there was “no scientific basis” to claim marijuana had no medical benefits.
A Mexican family says that a van bought at a U.S. government auction came with an unwanted extra: an undiscovered package of cocaine beneath the dashboard.
Sergio Torres Duarte, 18, and his 19-year-old friend Julio Cesar Moreno were driving to a soccer match in November when they stopped at a routine police highway checkpoint near the Pacific Coast resort city of Mazatlan. They say they were stunned when officers discovered a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cocaine beneath the dashboard of their blue 2004 Toyota Sienna. Eight months later, they are still in jail fighting drug trafficking charges.
Torres Duarte’s father, also named Sergio Torres, says he bought the van for $3,900 through a friend at a Customs and Border Protection auction in February 2012 in McAllen, Texas.
After his son’s arrest, Torres said this week, he began investigating and found that the van had been confiscated after U.S. customs agents had found five bundles of cocaine while inspecting the car at the international bridge in Pharr, Texas, in October 2011. Every brick of the drug had the word “Good” written with a black marker â just like the one seized by Mexican police, the father said.
U.S. officials acknowledge they might have missed part of the drug.
- Costa Rica Will Stop Sending Cocaine to Miami (Costa Rica Star)
- CIA Torture Jet wrecks with 4 Tons of cocaine (Daily Kos)
- CIA-Contra-Crack Cocaine Controversy: Department of Justice Review (DoJ)
- The U.S. Government Is the Biggest Drug Dealer in the World (csn.edu)
- Gary Webb’s ‘Dark Alliance’ (Narco News)
- Top Mexican Drug Lord: I Trafficked Cocaine For The U.S. Government (Paul Joseph Watson)
- Mexican Drug Cartel, US Prison Gang Plotted Merger (Newser)
- Bolivia reduces coca crop for second year: UN report (CS Monitor)
- Heroin Makes a Comeback (WSJ)
The New Yorker’s Sarah Stillman has a heartbreaking story out on an appalling police tactic — civil forfeiture, which lets local police departments make tons of money from taking supposed criminals’ property.
Civil forfeiture is largely a product of the war on drugs. In 1984, Congress passed an omnibus crime bill that gave local police departments a cut of the assets seized during drug raids and other investigations.
Through civil forfeiture, cops can take property they believe was obtained illicitly before you’re convicted of any wrongdoing in a court of law. The people whose assets have been seized then have to go to court to try to get it back, which may cost more money than the property itself.
In many cases, civil forfeiture affects poor minorities who have little recourse.
Mexican cartels are looking to recruit U.S. soldiers to carry out contract killings.
In April a leaked FBI confidential bulletin revealed that the Los Zetas cartel, which was founded by former elite Mexican troops, has been vigorously expanding its U.S. connections for years by collaborating with U.S. gangs in drug dealing and enforcement activities on both sides of the border.
But the recruitment of U.S. soldiers for the sole purpose of knocking people off is a disturbing trend, especially given how much sense it makes.