The Marijuana Policy Project surprised itself today, when the group found themselves in the unusual position of congratulating John Walters on drug policy initiative. The director of the National Drug Policy recently backed efforts in Mexico to pass legislation which removed criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
MPP executive director Rob Kampia said:
I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but John Walters is right. [...] We heartily second his support for eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana users in Mexico, and look forward to working with him to end such penalties in the U.S. as well.
Well I wouldn’t think the MPP is holding its collective breath on that last one. After all, hypocrisy is what our national drug policy is founded on, so Walters’ move should surprise no one.Perry
The violence of the cartel struggle may eventually wind up being its undoing. Mexican cartel leader Eduardo Arellano Felix was recently captured after the violence became too much and someone revealed Felix’s location to law enforcement.
Felix had a $5 million reward leading for information for his arrest, after nearly 150 people (many in Felix’s organization) were killed in the last month alone.
In all, at least 57 suspected organized crime members, a majority of them believed to be part of the Arellano Felix organization, were killed in the last week, including 12 dumped in front of an elementary school Sept. 29 and eight tossed in an industrial yard Thursday.
Experts argue over whether taking down Felix as the head will actually make a difference. “Old cartels don’t seem to go away; they just seem to morph into new variants over time,” said David Shirk, director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego. “There’s strong continuity for these organizations, dating back multiple generations of smugglers.”
[image via Sigloxxi]Alex
The Mexican government is at it again, except this time, they’re the ones kicking ass.
Arrested at a lavish mansion, which even contains a private zoo, this group of drug traffickers doesn’t look too happy. Police seized guns and drugs from over a dozen people, including Colombians, Uruguayans and even an American citizen.
The crazy part is, I thought shit like this only happens in Scarface and other movies. Check out the mansion and you’ll see hand-carved walls, a lavish backyard and even a white tiger.
I bet they threw some bad ass parties though. Just don’t be that guy. You know, the one who gets all coked out and try and pet the tiger.
Check out more photos after the jump…
[Photos via AP]
Citizens, cartel experts, and military personnel in Mexico have increased the demand for government to stop the crackdown of cartel activity. Staggering violence and statistics give an idea of how fierce the battle has become between President Felipe Calderon and his targets; local corruption, as well as regional and international drug cartels.
So far this year, roughly 3,500 murders have been directly attributed to the drug war including 500 politicians, judges and and other government employees. The violence and brutality was stepped up a notch recently, when Calderon sent 30,000 troops to the northern border where the corruption between local law enforcement is considered worst.
The most poignant part of the story comes towards the end in an interview with Terry Nelson, a 32-year military vet whose career included narco-traffic interdiction training and surveillance missions across Mexico, Central and South America.
During that time, he says, SSB East successfully seized of over 230,000 pounds of cocaine throughout Latin America. Nelson’s biggest, personal drug trafficking bust happened off the coast of Ecuador, resulting in the seizure of 30,000 pounds of cocaine.
Much to his dismay, even such a large-scale bust yielded absolutely nothing by way of a drop in street supply — or an increase in price. “If that big a bust doesn’t affect the street trade,” he muses, “what chances do you have doing it a gram or a kilo at a time?”
It really gives insight on just how ineffective those seizures we see on the news are.Perry
This guy probably can.
Antonio Morales Barrios, 41, received two and a half years for his role – presumably as a watchdog – supervising a house that hid a 120-mile border-crossing underground tunnel. This is just 1 of 60 authorities have found since the post-9/11 heightening of border patrols.
Oh, and more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana was found, so he probably wasn’t acting alone, but no one else was named in the charges. These sort of operations are high risk, high reward and generally don’t stay operational for more than three months. This particular tunnel lasted two months before the Calexico authorities discovered it.Perry
President Felipe Calderon has decided to follow the strategies of a European counterpart in guiding Mexico’s new approach to combatting narcotics.
Calderon called drugs the “slavery of the century,” in what has to be a cute, creative and misguided use of scare tactics – I don’t remember slaves ever getting a choice.
But I digress, Mexico’s addiction and violence rates are through the roof. Since the 1990s, the demand for narcotics (not just the friendly green kind) has been staggering. In just 6 years, the number of drug addicts has doubled to 307,000 since 2002. Not good.
This effort is in response to the recent growth of violence all over Mexico as the world’s biggest drug market. Traffickers battle with Calderon’s administration, which has attempted repeatedly to clean up the country’s drug trade and resulting corruption, and Calderon isn’t necessarily winning.
Let’s hope this new approach is able to get the truly dangerous substances off the streets while keeping marijuana users out of harms way.
Shortly after being elected, President Felipe Calderon executed a surprising crackdown on drug production and drug cartels in Mexico. First, he started with his home state, by bringing in 10,000 army troops, setting up checkpoints and taking weapons from corrupt policemen. Then, he started spreading the crackdown across all of Mexico.
This was great news, crystal meth and cocaine production dipped across the board, prices went up. Unfortunately, there was one group of people not so stoked about this – the Mexican drug cartels.
Their response? Increasingly gruesome violence aimed not only at adversaries but also at innocent people. Here are some stats:
- Drug related murders, by Sept. 3rd, hit 3,004 this year, compared with 2,673 in all of 2007
- A fraction of suspects are being convicted – only 12% of all federal investigations result in a conviction
- Drug addiction in Mexico has risen, as it’s harder to get drugs out of the country, and instead sell them to their own people
Now, the people are marching against the government for all the violence that these drug cartels are causing. Even worse, all the arresting and shuffling of those cartels is making them splinter into more pieces, with more fighting between them. It’s a lose-lose situation, with ruthless murderers right in the middle.Alex
A new strain of the plant bred specifically to resist chemicals that only injure the leaves and not the root. This leaves entire plantations of marijuana immune to aerial fumigation / burning.
[photos Mark Stevenson/AP]