A factory converted into a cocaine laboratory in Bolivia, that could produce up to 100kg (220 lbs) of cocaine per day, was raided by Drug Enforcement officers of the Bolivian government. According to senior Bolivian anti-narcotics officer, Oscar Nina, five Colombians were arrested.
The factory was the 4th largest raided since early 2009. Bolivian Interior Minister Alfredo Rada blames U.S. anti-narcotics officials for not locating the factory, that they estimate has been running for a year.
Previously in 2008, Bolivia booted the DEA from it’s borders and accused Washington with conspiring against the left wing government of President Evo Morales.
As a reward for doing and finding what the DEA could not, the U.S. announced last week that they were cutting trade benefits for Bolivia and reimposing duties on some imported Bolivian goods.Russ
DEA agents and New York City’s finest were shocked last weekend to find yet another segment of society corrupted by the War on Drugs — Teddy Bears. In a raid on a Bronx safehouse, police and federal agents uncovered over 44 lbs of heroin and $150,000 in cash trafficked by the customizable bedtime friends known as Build-A-Bears.
According to one onlooking neighbor at the raid site:
My daughter has one of those toys. I’m very surprised something like that was going on right here and I’m especially surprised it was a Build-A-Bear.
While the news certainly comes as a shock to the community that calls the bears home, one wonders whether we might have seen this coming earlier. After all, these bears are so diverse in the way they choose to live their lives. There are firefighter bears, surgeon bears, even subprime mortgage-lending bears. Is it any wonder that some of these bears turned to the high-risk, high-reward lifestyle of smack trafficking?
In this economy, trying to eek out a living as a high school musical bear or a bear on a military pension just isn’t possible the way that it was in the halcyon days of beardom. A bear has got to make ends meet, just like anyone else.
Some will argue that these bears, as couriers, were just bit players; pawns in a game played by weathered New York City drug traffickers. And every single Build-A-Bear caught up in this mess will have his day in court. But before they go out and summon their fancy lawyer bears and publicity bears, they’ll have to own up to the part they had to play in this operation. Yes, these bears were built for a purpose. They were designed and raised as heroin mule bears. But does your build determine your fate? Does not every bear ultimately choose his or her own destiny?
Perhaps the most famous bear of all, Winnie the Pooh, once said:
People who don’t Think probably don’t have Brains; rather, they have grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake.
Even bears with grey fluff upstairs should have known better on this one. Thanks, Pooh.Rick
Anyone that is a fan of the show Weeds, would appreciate a story coming out of Colorado about a drug ring network that was busted that eventually led to the arrest of Dan Tang, owner of the Heaven Dragon restaurant that catered to many politicians for many years.
Despite a possible leak at the time, the operation named Fortune Cookie, busted 25 houses that had more than 24,000 marijuana plants spread out between them. Around $3m in cash was also recovered, along with $1m worth of grow equipment.
Jeff Sweetin, special agent in charge of the Denver field division of the DEA, said:
It’s the largest, most organized indoor grow operation I have ever seen.
Tang himself has only been charged with money laundering in the case, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office plans on making him the last person to be put on trial for connection to the drug ring. Twenty people have already been charged with state and federal crimes ranging from growing pot to distributing it and even money laundering and fraud.
Recently, Houston news site Chron.com ran a weekend piece on a local DEA sting branded ‘Operation Three Star’. Through use of a converted informant, drug agents were able to work slowly through a branch of a Mexican cartel operating in Houston. Ultimately, agents seized a few thousand pounds of cocaine and a few million dollars in drug money.
The major arrest cited in the story was of an elderly grandmother name Elisa Castillo. She was given life in prison for what she claims was simply agreeing to have several vehicles registered in her name. As someone who had worked 20 years as an obtrician before retirement, she doesn’t exactly fit the profile of a hardened criminal and drug boss.
In fact, according to the story, the biggest ‘break’ in the case lead to information on a mid-level cartel operative known as Leal Gonzalez. After spending dozens of hours staking out his smuggling route and finally pinning him to a black Volkswagon, the DEA lost him. He remains at large.
According to the report:
Of the people arrested on federal drug-trafficking charges, some had full-time jobs as criminals, others kept day jobs… Others snared included a tractor-trailer driver, a printing shop employee, a tire shop owner, a bus baggage handler, a man who drove a taxi back in Mexico. Several told authorities they had made money buying and selling used cars.
All those drugs on the table and the DEA managed to avoid arresting a single major cartel officer. Instead, they focused their efforts on pawns, part-timers, and patsies. Yup, just another day squandered in the War on Drugs.Russ
Despite the promises of administration officials, county governments are still filling their drug prosecutorial coffers with federal money. According to the Wall Street Journal, the DEA provides hundreds of thousands of dollars to county governments through the Domestic Cannibis Eradication/Suppression Program.
According to the DEA’s website, the federal agency:
…is aggressively striving to halt the spread of cannabis cultivation in the United States.
Apparently it doesn’t matter whether this halting of cultivation violates state law, or contradicts the orders of President Barack Obama and US Attorney General, Eric Holder. Some of the grants given are as high as $275,000, and for the sole purpose of prosecuting a group of predominantly non-violent weed growers.
It seems clear that general directives and non-binding resolutions are not going to slow down law enforcement cowboys hell bent on filling arrest quotas and seizing harmless plants. Many of these police divisions know little other police work than the old smash and grab tactics that have perpetuated the failed “War on Drugs” for decades.
Weed arrests still represent almost half of all drug arrests. They are the bread and butter of police agencies looking to impress budget-committees and local government sugar daddies. Until the flow of funds is stopped, the pointless arrests will continue to persist.Russ
A movement is building behind a Texas libertarian candidate who pledges to end the war on drugs. Ron Paul, you say? No dice. It’s former DEA agent, turned counterculture warrior, Barry Cooper. Speaking to a crowd of students at the University of Texas, Monday, Cooper announced his intentions to run for Attorney General in the upcoming state election.
Rehabilitated from the depths of the straight and narrow, Cooper now flies his freak flag with abandon. He has already become widely internet-famous for the creation of a series of safety lectures for weed growers entitled, “Never Get Busted.”
The video series educates weed entrepreneurs on DEA and police enforcement and surveillance tactics that could be potentially used against them.
Middle Americans have not seen a self-proclaimed outlaw make a serious run for public office since drug-culture icon, Hunter S. Thompson nearly was elected sheriff of Aspen, Colorado in 1970. While Thompson’s platform included such things as mandatory LSD trips for local police and renaming Aspen, “Fat City,” Cooper seems to be a bit more reserved in his thoughts on governance.
Our goal from day one — and it has not changed — is to free our prisoners. We currently have 1 million people in jail for non-violent, drug-related crimes, and it makes no sense.
Unfortunately for Cooper, those million non-violent offenders are no longer afforded the right to vote. However, given the meteoric rise of Dr. Paul and other Lone Star oddballs, one thing seems clear: anything can happen in Texas.
Marc Emery, dubbed the “Prince of Pot” by the American media, says he is being run out of Vancouver by the City Hall and the police department. He already has a political campaign office (B.C. Marijuana Party), a magazine (Cannabis Culture) and a retail store based on West Hastings Street in downtown Vancouver, but when it comes to obtaining a license for another business (a convenience store across the street from his other businesses,) he can’t get passed the red tape.
For anyone who’s heard of Marc Emery this news isn’t so surprising. He’s apparently had a target on his back for a while — since the DEA began investigating another business of his — selling marijuana seeds on the Internet. Emery did this for a decade before he was even on the radar of the United States government. If it wasn’t for his marijuana activism, he may have even stayed under the radar.
The U.S. government claims that his seeds are responsible for over 1,000,000 pounds of pot being grown in the United States. Emery is currently fighting extradition to the United States, where he may face a long sentence in a U.S. Federal prison. The only thing with that is, the US can’t extradite a Canadian citizen for political reasons due to a clause within the extradition treaty. With Emery’s “Overgrow the Government” movement and marijuana activism it puts him in a grey area.
It’s curious to note that since zeroing in on Emery, the DEA has had offices opened in Canada, including Vancouver. They claim they have no jurisdiction and are just there in a laison capacity. Could Canada be reversing it’s stance on marijuana? If the DEA is in town, that lax attitude towards marijuana may be replaced with busting down doors and dragging people into jail. If that’s the case the tourism in the Vancouver may just come to a halt. It might become a ghost town if Emery closes his busninesses and marijuana is recriminalized under Canadian law.
In the past all the businesses were registered under the B.C. Marijuana Party, but Emery said all that has changed.
We’ve complied with every government order, renovation order, health order, safety order. We are completely compliant every time they have a request.
They can’t say we are a bad business, but they are just looking for every possible reason to deny us a licence to get rid of us in advance of the Olympics.
This [the Olympics] is why all this pressure is on. The police are trying to get rid of all their antagonists. This is all police-driven.
He was rejected because he has a criminal record for a marijuana-related offense. City Hall then demanded he get business licences for his other enterprises, but he was denied, Emery said. He is appealing those rulings.
We have millions of supporters. We draw thousands of tourists to this block. So in the days leading up to our licence application we are going to make sure the phones at City Hall are flooded days in advance.
Naturally, no one from Vancouver City Hall was available to comment on the case.Alex
Aaron Houston, the director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, has written a great article detailing his proposed steps for the implementation of President Obama’s policy on medical marijuana.
Aaron’s ideas are both sensible and relatively realistic to implement:
- Wash the DEA of Bush administration leftovers
- Accurately classify marijuana as have medicinal benefits
- Foster new & continue existing marijuana research projects
Seems doable right? I really hope so.
Aaron goes on to explain that, despite the “low key” language of the White House spokesman, this new administration is implementing a drastic ideological change not seen in almost 2 decades of policy.
First, Obama believes that science trumps all, even political agenda. Second, Obama believes that federal resources shouldn’t be used to undermine state-level laws.
It’s great to see the first rain drops of the impending change storm finally touch the ground. Now let’s see Michele Leonhart ousted from the DEA, then dispensary owners and patients alike won’t have to keep looking over their shoulders.