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2011-04-27

Argentina to take down planes that enter the country illegally

A law that will allow the Argentine Air Force to use force to shoot down planes that enter the country illegally or fail to identify themselves has been introduced in the House of Representatives. Lawmakers are hoping the law will strengthen the country’s fight against narcotics. (David Mercado/Reuters)

A law that will allow the Argentine Air Force to use force to shoot down planes that enter the country illegally or fail to identify themselves has been introduced in the House of Representatives. Lawmakers are hoping the law will strengthen the country’s fight against narcotics. (David Mercado/Reuters)

By Felipe Lagos and Olga Vélez for Infosurhoy.com—27/04/2011

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Fifteen lawmakers introduced a law in the Argentine House of Representatives that will allow the air force to shoot down planes that enter the country illegally.

The law, named “Ley de Derribo” (Take down law), establishes a protocol that enables the military to use force to take down planes, including those flown by narco-traffickers, if aircraft personnel refuse to identify themselves.

“The Argentine border acts like a sifter and this creates a huge problem for the country,” Rep. Juan Obiglio, the law’s author, said on April 25.

Local media reported the law will require the addition of specialized radar to cover the country’s northern border, a project that could take close to two years to complete if the law is ratified.

The goal is to find and identify small aircraft carrying illegal drugs.

The government also would need to purchase aircraft to take down planes in violation of the law.

Obiglio said that each day, between 100 and 150 flights enter the country illegally, according to a report by the country’s air force.

“Without any type of control, every day small planes enter and exit the country illegally, carrying products and even people on them,” Obiglio told Radio 10. “With a very simple measure, involving radar and an interception protocol, this problem will be solved.”

Obiglio said Uruguay, Chile, Peru and Brazil have similar laws.

But not all lawmakers want the law to pass in Argentina.

Juan Manuel Pedrini, a regional government minister in the northern province of Chaco province, said the law could have devastating consequences if not applied properly.

“What happens if there’s a glitch in the communications system?” he questioned.

Mexico: 162 kilograms of methamphetamine seized

TUXLA GUTIÉRREZ, Mexico – Law enforcement officials confiscated 162 kilograms (357 pounds) of methamphetamine and 15,000 liters (3,962 gallons) of chemicals used to manufacture synthetic narcotics in two operations in the state of Chiapas, which is along the country’s border with Guatemala, officials said.

Chiapas state police found the methamphetamine, which had a street value of $180 million pesos (US$15 million), in the false floor of a bus in the city of Tapachula during a traffic stop, according to the Chiapas State Attorney General’s Office.

Police, who arrested three suspects from the state of Michoacán in connection with the confiscation, said they seized enough methamphetamine to produce 1.6 million doses of the narcotic, according to Agence France-Presse.

The La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, regarded by authorities as the largest trafficker of synthetic drugs in Mexico, has a strong presence in Michoacán, but it’s unclear whether the seized narcotics belonged to the gang’s members.

Meantime, Federal Police seized 300 barrels filled with chemicals used to produce designer drugs (synthetic products that imitate illegal narcotics and are designed to evade the drug laws) from a house in Ciudad Hidalgo, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

Alleged mobster with ties to Colombian cartels arrested

ROME – Francesco Campana, the alleged leader of the Sacra Corona Unita, one of Italy’s four most powerful mafia outfits, has been arrested, according to the Ansa news agency on April 23.

Campana, 38, is suspected of playing a key role in the Sacra Corona Unita’s weapons and narcotics trafficking operations with Colombian, Russian, Albanian and Asian criminal organizations.

Campana was taken into custody at his home in Oria, near the southeastern city of Brindisi. His apprehension culminated a two-year investigation after he had been on the move to avoid a nine-year prison sentence for mafia association, investigators said, according to the DPA news agency.

Sacra Corona Unita, which operates in the southern region of Apulia, Italy, is one of the most powerful mafia organizations in the country, along with Sicily’s Cosa Nostra, the Campania region’s Camorra and the Calabria region’s N’drangheta.

Chile: Alleged narcotics smuggler caught at border crossing

CHILE CHICO, Chile – The Anti-narcotics unit of Chile’s Investigative Police apprehended a 39-year-old Argentine man allegedly trying to smuggle drugs into the Andean nation.

Raúl Javier López, 39, was caught trying to enter the country from Argentina. He was taken into custody at the Jeinimeni border crossing point in Chile Chico, 1,777 kilometers (1,105 miles) south of Santiago. He allegedly was found in possession of 16 marijuana cigarettes and 30 doses of cocaine.

The police, using a drug-sniffing dog, arrested López as he was trying to dispose of the narcotics in one of the border crossing’s bathrooms, according to the Chilean daily El Mercurio.

The seized narcotics, which were destroyed by the police, had a street value of about $300,000 Chilean pesos (US$650).

Chile: Two arrested with about seven kilograms of cocaine

SANTIAGO, Chile – Carmen Pizarro Ramírez and Julio Mamani Mamani have been arrested on narcotics trafficking charges by the country’s counter-narcotics unit OS-7 in the northern city of Arica.

Officers detained Pizarro Ramírez, a 69-year-old Chilean national, on the morning of April 21 after authorities saw her selling small doses of cocaine in Arica’s Población Chile neighborhood, UPI news agency reported.

After her house was raided, authorities were able to track her drug supply to a house in the Población Nueva Esperanza neighborhood in the same city.

Once there, they detained Julio Mamani Mamani, a 64-year-old Peruvian national.

At Mamani’s house, police officers confiscated about three kilograms (6.6 pounds) of cocaine chlorhydrate, about four kilograms (8.8 pounds) of cocaine paste, five kilograms (11 pounds) of baking soda, 10 liters of muriatic acid and four liters of hydrochloric acid. They also confiscated two cell phones and a small quantity of cash.

Waldemar Lorenzana, a suspected narcotics trafficker, arrested

GUATEMALA CITY – Waldemar Lorenzana, a suspected narcotics trafficker, was arrested by Guatemalan police on April 26 in the town of El Jícaro, 40 miles northeast of the nation’s capital, local prosecutors said.

Lorenzana, 71, is wanted in the United States for international drug trafficking, according to Reuters.

Lorenzana, a Guatemalan national, is suspected of heading a massive cocaine trafficking syndicate for the Mexico-based Sinaloa cartel. He allegedly smuggled narcotics from Colombia to the United States.

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