Mexico: About 134 tons of marijuana seized

By Dialogo
October 20, 2010



TIJUANA, Mexico – President Felipe Calderón scored a major
victory in his fight against narcotics this week when security forces confiscated
about 134 tons of marijuana, the nation’s largest confiscation of marijuana ever,
army officials said.
Soldiers and police confiscated the marijuana during early morning raids in
three neighborhoods in the city of Tijuana following a gunfight in which 11 gunmen
were arrested, Army Gen. Alfonso Duarte Mújica said at a media conference.
The marijuana, which officials said was en route to the United States, was
discovered wrapped in 10,000 packages and had a street value in Mexico of about $4.2
billion pesos (US$340 million).
The marijuana will be incinerated, Duarte said, according to The
Associated Press.
The operation started when gunmen in vehicles opened fire on a municipal
police patrol, but no one was killed, Duarte said, adding a police officer and a
suspect were wounded.
Police arrested 11 and called the army and state police for support, Duarte
said. The suspects gave officials the location of the marijuana, which was found in
tractor trailers and residences.
Before the bust, officials in Baja California state, where Tijuana is
located, had seized a total of 115 tons of marijuana this year, according to the
AP.

Airports in Brazil, West Africa work together in narcotics fight

DAKAR, Senegal – The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
has started an initiative to improve the communication between police and airports
in seven West African countries and Brazil in an effort to stop international
narcotics trafficking.
Narcotics traffickers have capitalized on communication gaps among the
countries’ law enforcement agencies to turn western Africa into a hub for
transporting narcotics from South America to Europe, officials said.

Cheikhou Cissé, a Senegalese senior interior ministry official, said the aim
of the initiative, nicknamed “Aircop,” is “to establish secure communication between
airports in West Africa and Latin America,” according to Agence
France-Presse.
Brazil, Cape Verde, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo are
participating in the project, and invitations have been extended to Guinea and
Morocco.
Between 200 and 300 tons of cocaine enters Europe annually by plane,
according to the United Nations. Aircop, which has an estimated cost of €2.3 million
(US$3.2 million dollars), is mostly funded by the European Union, according to
AFP.
“[The project will] bring together all agencies in charge of fighting
trafficking and organized crime at the national level into a unit that can work with
regional and trans-regional counterparts,” said Gilles Hervio, the head of the
European Union delegation in Dakar, according to AFP.

Mexico: Marines kill three suspected Los Zetas members

MONTERREY, Mexico – Marines engaged in gunfights with suspected
members of the Los Zetas cartel while the gang’s supporters put up at least a dozen
roadblocks throughout the northeastern city of Monterrey, officials said.
One marine and three suspected gunmen were killed during a fight in which
suspected Los Zetas members opened fire and tossed grenades at a patrol on a highway
in the western part of the city, according to a Navy statement.
During the gunfight, suspected gang members took control of buses and other
vehicles to block at least a dozen main streets in downtown, Alejandro Garza y
Garza, the attorney general of Nuevo León state, said, according to The
Associated Press.
Gangs frequently have used blockades to prevent authorities from getting
reinforcements during gunfights. The region has become one of the country’s most
violent since the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas started a bloody turf war to control the
region’s lucrative narcotics smuggling routes.
Three marines were injured, and two of the three suspects died as a result of
their vehicle catching fire during the gunfight. Marines confiscated three assault
rifles, two handguns and ammunition after the battle, according to a Navy statement.

“Many states, including ours, have been affected by the battles between
criminal groups and between those groups and the authorities,” Nuevo León state Gov.
Rodrigo Medina said, according to the AP. “This is a war that we
did not start, that we did not bring to Nuevo León but that we must face.”

Colombia: CTI dismantles Los Rastrojos narcotics trafficking cell

BOGOTÁ, Colombia – The Colombian Technical Investigation Office
(CTI) said it dismantled a cell of the narcotics trafficking organization Los
Rastrojos in an operation that included the apprehension of six navy members
suspected of assisting the group.
The suspects allegedly received monthly payments to allow the gang’s members
to conduct their illegal business in the municipalities of Tumaco and Mosquera in
the department of Nariño.
This cell of Los Rastrojos is accused of trafficking an average of three tons
of cocaine monthly, among their other criminal activities along the country’s
Pacific coast, CTI officials said, according to the Colombian website El Espectador.

Colombia: Navy seizes 343 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride

BOGOTÁ, Colombia – The navy has seized 343 kilograms (754
pounds) of cocaine hydrochloride hidden in a mangrove in the Bay of Cispatá near the
city of San Antero in the department of Córdoba.
The narcotic, which had been divided into nine sacks, had a street value of
about US$8.5 million, according to the Colombian website
Todelar.com.
No arrests were made during the seizure, officials said.

Colombia: Army destroys two labs, 8,400 kilograms of coca leaves

BOGOTÁ, Colombia – The army has destroyed two narcotics
laboratories collectively containing 8,400 kilograms (18,480 pounds) of coca leaves
and chemicals used to turn the plants into cocaine in the municipality of Cumaribo
in the department of Vichada.
The military said the laboratories belonged to the Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Colombia’s (FARC) José Antonio Páez León de Apure unit, according to the
Colombian website El Espectador.com.
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