Drug-Smuggling Tunnel, Found in San Diego, Is Longest Yet

4/21/2016 The New York Times

For all the talk about a wall between the United States and Mexico, the problem with border security continues to be as much below ground as above. On Wednesday, officials in San Diego announced the discovery of another cross-border tunnel built by drug smugglers — the longest one found yet, at about half a mile.

The tunnel had rails, lighting, ventilation and even a large elevator leading to a closet in a modest house in Tijuana, United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy said. On the San Diego side, where the tunnel emerged in an industrial park in the Otay Mesa neighborhood, the authorities arrested and charged six people last week and confiscated more than a ton of cocaine and seven tons of marijuana that they said had been smuggled through the passage — the largest drug seizure associated with a tunnel….

[…]“A package of cocaine or heroin is much easier to move and hide than a person, and the profit it represents is far greater,” said Christopher Wilson, deputy director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a policy research group. “Working with terrorists would bring a huge amount heat on the cartels, and that’s bad for business.”

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Fighting Mexico’s New Super Cartel

2/26/2016 The Daily Beast

federal police mexicoTIERRA CALIENTE, Mexico — This is what a cartel-besieged town looks like: shuttered storefronts, crumbling buildings, and streets that empty each day at dusk.

Welcome to Tepalcatepec, where the average local temperature is 95 degrees and the chief local export is crystal meth. According to the regional press, this ramshackle pueblo is the No. 1 drug distribution center for the entire state of Michoacán.

Like a growing number of other cities and towns across western Mexico, Tepalcatepec is in danger of succumbing to the nation’s newest mega-mafia: the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

The CJNG isn’t just super-sized. It’s also ruthless and hyper-violent, even by Mexican cartel standards. Back in 2011 the group slaughtered 35 members of a rival gang, including 12 women, and dumped the bodies on an interstate highway at rush hour. And that was just a warm-up act.

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Mexico arrests ‘money launderer’ for drug lord Guzman

3/28/2016 BBC News

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Mexican authorities say they have arrested the top money launderer for the Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, known as “El Chapo” or “Shorty”.

Juan Manuel Alvarez Inzunza, nicknamed “King Midas”, was detained while on holiday in the southern state of Oaxaca.

Guzman, a former leader of the Sinaloa cartel, is currently awaiting extradition to the United States.

He was recaptured in January after breaking out of a high-security prison.

Mr Inzunza is suspected of laundering $300m-$400m a year for the Sinaloa cartel through a network of companies and currency exchange centres.

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Headlines from Mexico

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  1. This Saturday marks the year and a half anniversary of the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa. The Undersecretary of Human Rights of the Ministry of the Interior, Roberto Campa Cifrián, concluded that many individuals who have been impacted by this case deserve assistance, protection, and reparation from the state for the damages this has caused, and a diagnosis of the care needed should be made by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI). The GIEI was created two months after the disappearance of the 43 students and has been investigating their case since November 2014.Read more: El Universal, Jornada, Animal Politico, Proceso, El Universal, Reforma, Milenio
  2. Kate del Castillo, a Mexican born actress living in the United States discusses her fears and concerns for herself after being investigated for her participation in the interview of Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán with Sean Penn. She states that she does not fear the cartels in her country, she fears the Mexican government and their control on society.Read more: El Universal, CNN Expansión, Jornada, El Universal, Milenio
  3. The Mexican military found 79 steel drums in Veracruz with cocaine, as the war against drugs continues. Each drum could contain 200 liters each, leading to around 15,800 liters allegedly being contaminated and testing positive for cocaine. This was accomplished through an operation of the Mexican Navy and the Servicio de Administración Tributaria (SAT).Read more: Jornada, El Universal, Proceso, Milenio
  4. Easter celebrations have begun in Mexico with Semana Santa. In Iztapalapa, the 173rd recreation of the Passion of the Christ has taken to the streets bringing in neighbors and tourists.
    Read more: Jornada, El Universal, Milenio

Five former presidents demand an end to the war on drugs

3/24/16 The Economist

drug_war_02AS THE drug war has rumbled on, with little to show for all the money and violence, its critics have become a more diverse bunch than the hippies and libertarians who first backed drug reform. The latest broadside against prohibition was fired on March 24th by a group of former heads of state and businesspeople, who put forward a sober case for rethinking the international approach to drug control.

“Ending the War on Drugs” is a collection of essays by former presidents of Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Nigeria and Switzerland, as well as a former deputy prime minister of Britain and assorted scientific folk. George Soros, a financier who has bankrolled many pro-legalisation pressure groups, provides a chapter; the book carries an introduction by Richard Branson, a business mogul whose company, Virgin, is its publisher. All condemn what they see as a political, economic and public-health failure.

The arguments are well-rehearsed but bear repeating, especially when made by such a diverse and level-headed group. In spite of its vast cost to taxpayers (estimated by the authors at $100 billion per year) the war against drugs has failed to stop people taking them, instead driving up the price of narcotics to the point where they generate upwards of $300 billion a year for their dealers and traffickers. More than 1.4m drug arrests are made each year in America alone, and they are unevenly distributed, with black Americans jailed for drug offences at ten times the rate of whites, the authors write.

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How people power is tackling corruption in Mexico

3/22/16 BBCLey_3_de_3

In 2015, Mexico’s Congress approved the creation of an anti-corruption system – to try and improve Mexico’s reputation for graft. But despite these efforts to clean up its act, Transparency International still rates Mexico as the most corrupt OECD nation.

And so a group of Mexicans has come up with a proposal that politicians should share much more information about their assets and personal connections and provide proof that they pay their taxes. So can they get Congress to debate and pass the law?

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El Chapo asks for speedier extradition to U.S. from Mexico

el chapo3/2/2016 CNN

Drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman not only wants to be extradited from Mexico to the United States — he wants to go sooner rather than later.

The defense team for the notorious criminal, and two-time prison escapee, has asked to speed up the process to get him out of Mexican custody and into the hands of U.S. authorities, a senior Mexican law enforcement official told CNN on Wednesday.

While it’s not clear where Guzman might end up in the United States (he faces a litany of charges in various cities, like Chicago and New York), the Mexican official predicted he’ll be there within the next two to three months.

The same source had said in January that the process would take between six months and a year.

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