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Tag: Drugs

Ex-soldiers Plotted to kill DEA Agent, Traffic Cocaine

By Selim Algar
New York Post

They’re real-life Rambos gone bad.

A squadron of former elite military personnel from the US and Germany plotted to assassinate a DEA agent and an informant — both undercover agents – who were interfering with a cocaine distribution ring, according to a Manhattan federal court indictment released Friday.

Led by former US Army Sgt. Joseph “Rambo” Hunter, the international crew of veteran snipers and ex-counter-intelligence officers formed a security detail and hit squad for a supposed crew of heavyweight Colombian drug smugglers, who were working with authorities, the feds said.

In meetings held from Asia to Africa, the fearsome unit was caught on surveillance casually discussing killing the DEA agent and informant and similar executions they had coldly committed in the past.

To read the full story click here.

ICE: Crackdown on Crime Makes Puerto Rico, U.S. Safer

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. and Puerto Rico are safer today because of an anti-crime initiative aimed at putting more federal agents in Puerto Rico, Reuters reports.

Dubbed “Operation Caribbean Resilience,” the effort started in July 2012 but increased markedly over the last three months, according to Reuters.

In the past year, the operation has netted 320 arrests and the seizure of 170 guns, drugs and ammunition.

“Through our joint efforts … we have not only made the streets of Puerto Rico much safer, but also improved security in the mainland United States,” said John Sandweg, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The operation has begun to target drug gangs and criminal enterprises, Reuters reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Agent Who Lectured Sports Teams about Drugs Dies at 67

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

James A. McIntosh was not just any lecturer.

The 6-foot-7 FBI agent was a basketball standout at Villanova University and considered a role model for many of the younger athletes he spoke to about the evils of drugs, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.

McIntosh died on June 29 after a battle with prostate cancer. He was 67.

McIntosh also held drug seminars for pro and college athletes, meeting with almost every team in the NFL and NBA.

McIntosh spent most of his career with the FBI working with the Philadelphia division, the Daily News reported.

Mexican Drug Cartel Activity in U.S. Said to be Exaggerated in Widely Cited Federal Report

By Scott Higham, Sari Horwitz and Steven Rich

WASHINGTON –– When Sen. John McCain spoke during an Armed Services Committee hearing last year on security issues in the Western Hemisphere, he relayed a stark warning about the spread of Mexican drug cartels in the United States.

“The cartels,” the Arizona Republican said, “now maintain a presence in over 1,000 cities.”

McCain based his remarks on a report by a now-defunct division of the Justice Department, the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), which had concluded in 2011 that Mexican criminal organizations, including seven major drug cartels, were operating in more than 1,000 U.S. cities.

But the number, widely reported by news organizations across the country, is misleading at best, according to U.S. law enforcement officials and drug policy analysts interviewed by The Washington Post. They said the number is inflated because it relied heavily on self-reporting by law enforcement agencies, not on documented criminal cases involving Mexican drug-trafficking organizations and cartels.

To read more click here.

Weekend Series on Crime: Taking Down Colombia’s Super Cartel

httpv://youtu.be/I_Ir1RuqdS4

Columnist: End of War on Drugs Couldn’t Be Sooner

Leonard Pitts Jr. 
Miami Herald

It’s been a war on justice, an assault on equal protection under the law.

And a war on families, removing millions of fathers from millions of homes.

And a war on money, spilling it like water.

And a war on people of color, targeting them with drone strike efficiency.

We never call it any of those things, though all of them fit. No, we call it the War on Drugs. It is a 42-year, trillion-dollar disaster that has done nothing — underscore that: absolutely nothing — to stem the inexhaustible supply of, and insatiable demand for, illegal narcotics. In the process, it has rendered this “land of the free” the biggest jailer on Earth.

To read more click here.

Ex-Figure in Boston’s Underworld to Testify in ‘Whitey’ Bulger Murder Trial

 
 

Whitey Bulger/fbi

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Patrick Nee literally wrote the book on mob life.

And despite serious allegations that he was involved in drugs, guns and even helping bury a body, Nee remains free of jail.

The Boston Globe reports that Nee is expected soon to testify in the murder and racketeering trial of reputed mobster James “Whitey” Bulger.

The one-time well-known figure in Boston’s underworld has indicated he will invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

But Bulger’s attorneys said they have no plans to ask self-incriminating questions, the Globe reported.

 

The Collision Between Drugs and Environmental Forces in Central America

By Ross Paker
ticklethewire.com

Two months ago this column discussed the effect that America’s insatiable appetite for drugs was having on two contrasting Central American nations—violent and impoverished Honduras and peaceful and idyllic Costa Rica.

Because of the success of DEA and the U.S. military at interdicting South American drug shipments by sea, the Colombian cartels and the Mexican Mafia now move virtually all drugs from South America by land, transporting it through those two countries. The under-resourced law enforcement systems of Honduras and Costa Rica have proven to be no match for the well-armed smugglers.

The latest evidence of this struggle for control in Costa Rica has been a violent incident resulting in the collision between the cartels and powerful environmental forces, a collision likely to accelerate the enhancement of law enforcement resources in that country in its fight against the smugglers.

During the night of May 30th, a popular young biology student, Jairo Mora Sandoval, along with four female volunteers (three Americans and one from Spain), were patrolling a beach on the Caribbean coast to protect the nests of Leatherhead turtles, whose eggs were constantly subject to poachers in the area. The Leatherhead is an endangered species whose eggs illegally sell for a dollar a piece to buyers who believe them to be an aphrodisiac. They are also a dining delicacy in restaurants and sidewalk cafes.

Mora had been an outspoken advocate for increased law enforcement in the area both against poachers and also drug trafficking in nearby Limon. As reported in the earlier column, Limon was the location where two policemen were recently murdered as part of the increased criminal atmosphere in that district. An atmosphere fueled by the invasion of drug smugglers into this peaceful country.

Costa Rica is one of the most eco-friendly places on the planet. The result is that a sizeable portion of the nation’s GDP comes from eco-tourism. A threat to its abundant natural resources is likely to mobilize thousands of environmentalists, as well as threaten an important source of revenue for this prosperous country. Cries for action from both of these sources shake and shape the government’s policies in all respects.

As the five volunteers traveled along the remote Caribbean beach, they were seized by five armed kidnappers. The women were able to escape from the abandoned house where they had been tied up, but Mora’s body was found the next day, tortured and bludgeoned to death. The murder is believed to be a threat by poachers and smugglers to frighten other environmentalists.

The connection between poaching and the drug smugglers has several facets. The cartels use the same beaches where the turtles lay their eggs, in order to bring their product in from boats off the coast for transport to Mexico and the United States. They employ locals for warehousing and overland shipment and frequently pay them with cocaine. This has created a drug user population that often resorts to smuggling the turtle eggs to feed their habit. The population also spawns the other social problems ancillary to drug activity.

The reaction worldwide by environmentalists to the murder has resulted in a crisis in Costa Rica and has prompted the government to pledge to implement a plan to combat poaching and drug trafficking more aggressively.

(For an excellent report on the policy and environmental intricacies of this incident, check out National Geographic’s story here. Thanks to Caleb in Kansas City for the heads up on this story.)

No one has yet pointed the finger at the wealthy northern neighbor, the U.S., whose lucrative market provides the financial incentive for the smuggling cartels. But it would be hard to deny that we share some responsibility for such violent incidents, as well as countless others that threaten the equanimity of this beautiful country.

Which makes it more than fair that we fully respond to requests for help from the beleaguered law enforcement communities in Costa Rica and Honduras, both with financial and advisory support.