How The Cocaine Trade Affects Everyone’s Lives

8/13/15 National Geographic

cocaineThe annual trade in illegal drugs is worth $352 billion. At the heart of it is cocaine. In ZeroZeroZero (the title alludes to the finest grade of the drug) best-selling author Roberto Saviano, who lives under police protection, uncovers the global tentacles of the trade, from the jungles of South America to Mexico, New York, and Italy; lays bare the appalling violence that accompanies it; and describes the complex mechanisms by which drug cartels launder their profits.

Speaking via email, from a safe house in Italy, he explains why, even if you are not a user, cocaine is part of all our lives; why he believes legalization is the only way to solve the problem; and how writing this book was like entering an abyss that undermined his faith in humanity.

Read more…

US-Mexico border drug tunnel found near Tijuana

08/03/15 BBC NEWS

TijuanaSecurity forces in Mexico have discovered an underground tunnel aimed at crossing into the United States.

The unfinished tunnel, in the border city of Tijuana, is believed to have been built by the Sinaloa cartel with the aim of smuggling drugs into the US.

Last month Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, escaped from a maximum security jail through a 1.5km-long (1 mile) tunnel.

Guzman, one of the world’s most wanted drug dealers, is still on the run.

Officials from the federal prosecutor’s office said the tunnel was 123m (404ft) long, but came just short of crossing the border.

Read more…

Mexican Police Capture Leader of Juárez Cartel

4/19/2015 New York Times

handcuffsMexican officials said Sunday that they had captured a leader of the Juárez Cartel, Jesús Salas Aguayo, the man in charge of the gang’s operations in Ciudad Juárez during a convulsion of violence that made the city one of the world’s most murderous.

Mr. Salas, 38, was arrested Friday in the town of Villa Ahumada, about 80 miles south of the Texas border, Mexico’s national security commissioner told reporters Sunday. Mr. Salas took over the cartel’s leadership this year after the arrests of its boss, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, last October and his replacement, David Aaron Espinoza Haro, in January, the commissioner said.

Read more…

Mexico Arrests Alleged Sinaloa Cartel Cocaine Trafficker

ABC News, 4/12/2015

handcuffsMexican marines and police have arrested a man authorities describe as a leading cocaine trafficker for Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, authorities said Sunday.

Monte Alejandro Rubido, Mexico’s national security commissioner, said Cesar Gastelum Serrano was arrested Saturday in the resort city of Cancun.

Gastelum Serrano was carrying a pistol and 700 grams (24.7 ounces) of cocaine at the time of his arrest, authorities said.

Read more…

Mexico Nabs Suspected Zetas Cartel Figure Near Texas Border

Yahoo News, 3/23/2015

handcuffsMEXICO CITY (AP) — A suspected leader of the violent Zetas drug cartel who was on Mexico’s list of 122 priority targets for arrest was captured early Monday in a city on the Texas border, authorities said.

Ramiro Perez Moreno, 34, was arrested without any shots being fired in the city of Nuevo Laredo, across from Laredo, Texas, the Mexican navy said in a statement.

Read more…

City in Mexico Bans Narco Songs

By Arron Daugherty, InSight Crime, 3/16/2015

musical noteA ban on music inspired by drug trafficking and organized crime bosses underscores the illicit trade’s impact on modern Mexican culture.

The city council in the capital of Mexico’s northern Chihuahua state has implemented a ban on performing and distributing a genre of music known as “narcocorridos” within city limits,reported Excelsior.

Violators are subject to fines of around $20,000 dollars and up to 36 hours in jail. Chihuahua state’s legislature approved a statewide ban on narcocorridos in 2011, but it was never implemented by municipalities. The capital’s city council has decided to put the ban into action and stiffen the penalties as they believe narcocorridos promote crime and violence while apologizing for and glorifying organized crime figures, according to Excelsior.

Read more…

UPCOMING EVENT! U.S.-Mexico Relations, Security and Human Rights

mexico-usa-flag-montageWHEN: Tuesday, March 17, 4:30-6:00pm

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC

Click here to RSVP.

Mexico has experienced an intense security crisis, organized crime wave and an explosion in violent crime. In the past, scholars, analysts, and media commentators have overlooked the central role of U.S. policy towards Mexico, instead framing the discussion in terms of a battle over territory and political control between drug trafficking organizations and the state.

While drawing on contemporary debates, this event will go beyond these often limited discussions about the causes and factors which have culminated in Mexico’s most violent period since the Revolution. In particular, it will consider the role of U.S. policy, including the extent to which Mexico’s struggle against organized crime and bilateral policy have affected the security situation, and will explore potential solutions to the crisis in an attempt to foster a new debate about the role of the United States in Mexico.

Chair:
Duncan Wood, Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Keynote Speaker:
Mónica Serrano, Professor, International Relations, El Colegio de México

Discussants:
Andrew Selee, Executive Vice President and Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Benjamin T. Smith, Associate Professor, Latin American History, University of Warwick

Mariclaire Acosta, Director, Freedom House, Mexico

For more information, click here.