Giuliani’s Work for Firm Behind Heroin Explosion Sparks Controversy

11/18/16 InSight Crime

150218_rudy_giuliani_ap_1160.jpgIn addition to potentially scuttling his chances of securing a top job with the incoming administration of US President-elect Donald Trump, Rudolph Giuliani’s controversial prior work on behalf of an opioid pain medication manufacturer helped facilitate an explosion of drug violence in Mexico.

The New York Times reported on November 15 that Giuliani’s work for Purdue Pharma and several other organizations during the 2000s is complicating the former New York City mayor’s odds of being nominated for the job of Secretary of State under the incoming Trump administration…

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Conflict in Mexico’s Heroin Heartland as Self-Defense Groups Cry ‘Narco’

11/14/16 InSightCrime

download-7Two self-defense groups in Mexico‘s troubled state of Guerrero have accused each other of involvement in organized crime, illustrating the complexity of the criminal landscape in the country’s heroin epicenter.

 

The Union of Peoples and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (Union de Pueblos y Organizaciones del Estado de Guerrero – UPOEG) and the United Front for the Security and Development of the State of Guerrero (Frente Unido por la Seguridad y Desarrollo del Estado de Guerrero – FUSDEG) have long been rivals in the southern state, but their relationship is in its “tensest moments yet” according to the newspaper Milenio.

The two groups are allegedly fighting over control of part of the federal highway 95, also known as the Heroin Highway, which connects the violent seaside resort town of Acapulco with the state capital Chilpancingo, and eventually, Mexico City. Both groups maintain checkpoints along the part of the highway that runs between Petaquillas and Xaltianguis, Milenio reports.

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Data Shows Mexico Losing Battle with Organized Crime

09/27/16 InSight Crime

crime and drugsResults of Mexico‘s antinarcotics strategy in 2016 show that seizures of all types of drugs and of weapons reserved for military use are down while homicides and the production of synthetic drugs and heroin have increased dramatically.

That balance showing negative results on virtually all fronts is drawn from statistics reported by the Mexican government, the United Nations, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Mexican Army.

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DEA Says Mexico Cartels Battling to Corner US Heroin Market

09/26/16 InSight Crime

538263681_3e408aaf02_o.jpgTwo of Mexico‘s most powerful drug cartels are battling for control of the US heroin market, the DEA says, raising the possibility that heroin trafficking patterns may be evolving along similar lines as the cocaine trade.

In comments reported by EFE on September 25, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spokesperson Russell K. Baer told the news service that the Jalisco Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel have recently come into conflict over the heroin trade.

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Governor of Mexico’s Guerrero State Again Calls for Poppy Legalization

09/19/16 InSight Crime

Guerrero, MExicoThe governor of Mexico‘s Guerrero state is again calling for the legalization of opium poppy, the plant from which heroin is derived, as a remedy for extreme insecurity — a solution that ignores the underlying factors driving heightened violence levels.

Guerrero Gov. Héctor Astudillo has put forward legalization of poppy for medicinal purposes — echoing statements he made in March — as an alternative route for reducing the violence that is plaguing the state,reported Animal Politico.

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Testimony on Drug Trade Highlights System’s Complexity

5/27/16 InSight Crime

opium_poppy_field_-_mexicoIn testimony before Senate Foreign Relations Western Hemisphere subcommittee, InSight Crime Co-Director Steven Dudley discussed some common myths and the decidedly more complex reality of Mexico‘s drug trafficking groups and their role in fueling the US heroin epidemic.

Mexico’s Increased Market Share

US consumption of heroin has increased significantly in the last few years. The reasons for this are complex but have to do with the increase of prescription drugs in the United States, a rise in prices of these prescription drugs and their black market counterparts, and the subsequent safeguards on this prescription medicine market, specifically OxyContin.

The US portion of the world heroin market is small by comparison in terms of users, but outsized in terms of potential earnings. The Rand Corporation estimated in 2014, that US consumers spend as much as $27 billion on heroin each year, an increase from $20 billion per year in 2000.1 Only the marijuana market is worth more in the US.2

Mexican, Guatemalan and Colombian criminal organizations have reacted to these changes by producing more heroin. Only a small percentage of the world’s opium poppy is cultivated in this hemisphere, but after it is processed into heroin, almost all of it is sold in the United States where the number of consumers for the drug has more than doubled since the early 2000s.

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Here’s where America’s heroin comes from

3/4/16 Business Insider 

Opium_poppy_seed_and_flower_at_Budhha_lodge_of_Chaurikharka,NepalHeroin consumed in the US comes mainly from Afghanistan and Mexico, members of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), said in Mexico City on Wednesday, March 2.

INCB’s 2015 report also revealed that exporters of the vast amount of opium planted in Afghanistan have their eyes set on distribution in the US’s growing market,similar to heroin trafficked from Mexico.

“In different parts of the United States there has been a resurgence in the consumption of heroin, and Afghan heroin has an enormous production. They have more than 200,000 hectares dedicated to the production of heroin in Afghanistan,” Alejandro Mohar, a member of the INCB, told a news conference.

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MEXICO’S OPIUM BOOM: ‘The cartels have a pretty good handle on the appetite in the US’

8/29/15 Business Insider

heroin_powderCartels are well aware that America loves its opioids.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heroin use has increased for men and women of all age groups and across all income levels in the US.Between 2007 and 2013, the number of users of the drug in the US nearly doubled.

That surge in use has been accompanied by a boom in opium production in Mexico, where officials estimate cultivation of the crop increased by 50% in 2014.

Heightened American demand for the drug has been spurred on by a crackdown on painkiller abuse, which has pushed users to search for a new high. Impoverished farmers in Mexico, as well as opportunistic drug cartels working in both countries, have capitalized on the rise in demand for the lucrative drug.

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Young Hands in Mexico Feed Growing U.S. Demand for Heroin

8/29/15 The New York Times

opium_poppy_field_-_mexicoWith her nimble hands, tiny feet and low center of gravity, Angelica Guerrero Ortega makes an excellent opium harvester.

Deployed along the Sierra Madre del Sur, where a record poppy crop covers the mountainsides in strokes of green, pink and purple, she navigates the inclines with the deftness of a ballerina.

Though shy, she perks up when describing her craft: the delicate slits to the bulb, the patient scraping of the gum, earning in one day more than her parents do in a week.

That she is only 15 is not so important for the people of her tiny mountain hamlet. If she and her classmates miss school for the harvest, so be it. In a landscape of fallow opportunities, income outweighs education.

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Tracing the U.S. heroin surge back south of the border as Mexican cannabis output falls

marijuana leafThe Washington Post, 4/6/14

The surge of cheap heroin spreading in $4 hits across rural America can be traced back to the remote valleys of the northern Sierra Madre. With the wholesale price of marijuana falling — driven in part by decriminalization in sections of the United States — Mexican drug farmers are turning away from cannabis and filling their fields with opium poppies.

Mexican heroin is flooding north as U.S. authorities trying to contain an epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse have tightened controls on synthetic opiates such as hydrocodone and OxyContin. As the pills become more costly and difficult to obtain, Mexican trafficking organizations have found new markets for heroin in places such as Winchester, Va., and Brattleboro, Vt., where, until recently, needle use for narcotics was rare or unknown.

Farmers in the storied “Golden Triangle” region of Mexico’s Sinaloa state, which has produced the country’s most notorious gangsters and biggest marijuana harvests, say they are no longer planting the crop. Its wholesale price has collapsed in the past five years, from $100 per kilogram to less than $25.

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