Legend of escaped Mexican kingpin Guzman grows in drug heartland

July 21, 2015

7/17/15 Reuters

ElChapoIn the days since Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman turned a grubby corner of his prison cell into an escape hatch to freedom, the notorious drug lord’s legend has soared to new heights in the gang-infested landscape of his home turf.

Hailed by supporters in the northwestern state of Sinaloa as a man with more heft than the president, Guzman’s audacious breakout from a maximum security prison on Saturday night through a tunnel that surfaced in his shower has all but guaranteed his immortality in global crime-lore.

News that Sinaloa’s most famous son had cut short his prison stay before the government had even announced it spread on social media in Sinaloa’s state capital Culiacan, locals said.

“Everybody wanted him to be out of prison. He helped a lot of people,” said Jaime Carrillo, 39, drummer of BuKnas de Culiacan, a U.S.-Mexican band that plays narcocorridos, a style of music that venerates the gore and glamour of the drug lords.

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Mexican Drug Cartels Reportedly Expand Business to Australia

September 23, 2014

09/23/14 Breitbart

heroin_powderMembers of the Sinaloa Federation, one of the most powerful and dangerous cartels from Mexico, have reportedly set up shop in Australia. A lucrative drug market has been growing in Australia during recent years, and Sinaloa members have been taking advantage of it by selling large amounts of hard narcotics like cocaine and heroin.

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Sinaloa, one of Mexico’s most violent states, limits crime coverage

August 5, 2014

08/01/14 Los Angeles Times

censorshipIn one of Mexico’s most violent states, it is now illegal, essentially, for reporters to cover the violence.

New laws in Sinaloa, home to Mexico’s most powerful drug cartel and where kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman sheltered for years, bar journalists from fully reporting news about crime.

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

April 7, 2014

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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Chicago’s Heroin Problem: City’s Open-Air Drug Markets’ Surprising Connection To Mexican Drug Cartels (Video)

December 13, 2013

The Huffington Post, 12/12/2013

chicagoIn a Wednesday panel on HuffPost Live, Reader reporter Mick Dumke, Bloomberg reporter John Lippert and Chicago Recovery Alliance director Dan Bigg spoke on the Windy City’s heroin “open-air” heroin markets on the city’s West Side and its connection to the powerful Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel and its kingpin, “Public Enemy Number 1″ El Chapo Guzman.

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Mexico’s tomato-farm workers toil in ‘circle of poverty’

November 12, 2013

tomatoesThe Los Angeles Times, 11/11/2013

They sure do have tomatoes here in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. Elongated red ones. Round green ones. Cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, grape tomatoes.Vast fields of tomatoes, lining the roads out of the Sinaloa capital of Culiacan, miles and miles of mesh tenting shielding the plants from the sun.

Last year, Sinaloa exported 950,000 tons of vegetables, mostly tomatoes and mostly to California and other parts of the United States, worth nearly $1 billion. Half the tomatoes eaten in the United States this time of year are from Sinaloa. The tomato is the symbol on the Sinaloa license plate.

But while a short list of landowners make millions, the planting, weeding, pruning and picking of the vegetables fall to armies of workers from Mexico’s poorest states — Oaxaca, Guerrero, Chiapas — who have little opportunity for schooling or other forms of legal employment.

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Tropical Storm Sonia Hits Mexico; Minor Flooding

November 5, 2013

Photo by Flickr User Maitri

The New York Times, 11/04/2013

Former Tropical Storm Sonia dissipated over the Mexican Pacific coast state of Sinaloa, but not before causing some minor flooding in cities such as Mazatlan and Culiacan, forcing the evacuation of around 1,000 people, authorities said Monday.

The evacuations were largely preventative and people are expected to start returning to their homes, said Sinaloa state civil defense official Gabriel Olivera.

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