Q & A with Andrew Kennis Part 2

How do you feel about the decriminalization of marijuana and how do you think this will affect Mexico?

Decriminalization of just marijuana, according to drug policy experts, peace activists, victims of drug war violence and even most recently the Global Commission on Drug Policy – which is filled by an array of ex heads of state, many of whom hailing from Latin America where drug war violence and victimization has been at its most intense in the world – is simply not sufficient reform. Portugal has quietly been the drug policy reform example over the course of last decade and running, as leading scholarly research has duly shown. Drug consumption has not risen, and in some ways has actually fallen, since the all-out decriminalization policy was instituted. That’s not insignificant news and something from which many countries, the U.S. and Mexico being the most among them, could and should learn a lot.

Nevertheless, the sweeping nature which characterizes rampant marijuana drug policy reform in the U.S. is definitely a step in the right direction and one that has marijuana reform advocates quite content, as I reported before the mid-term election. At that time, already 26 states had adopted some reform measure or another, decriminalizing, outright legalizing or providing medical provisions for the permitted consumption and cultivation of cannabis. By now, 5 more states can be added to the growing list for a total of 31, with Florida almost becoming the 32nd state to adopt a marijuana reform measure.

It is pretty clear that prohibitionist drug laws are as vulnerable as they have ever been before. At the same time, it is unclear when other drug laws going beyond marijuana will be reformed. Much depends upon the extent that the issue can continue to attract grassroots activism and successful voter referendum initiatives, which overwhelmingly has been the lone means with which marijuana drug reform advocates have been able to realize success. In the meantime, the drug war will most certainly continue, with the most pervasive victimization still falling squarely on the backs of the Mexican people.

In one of our previous interviews one author mentioned that the arrest of a drug kingpin (like El Chapo) really doesn’t change anything since there is always a replacement available to keep the drug trade going. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Just last month, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, the drug kingpin of the Juarez cartel was arrested. I was interviewed on a local El Paso newscast and wrote-up a report about the arrest. High-profile arrests like these have been going on for years with indeed, little to no impact being made on the drug trade.

In terms of replacements being available, that’s been a known practice for quite some time now.

Years ago, Mayo Zambada, the still at-large Sinloa cartel kingpin and Vicente’s father, gave a very well-known interview to Proceso’s founding editor, Julio Scherer. [Here is the original Spanish version.] Proceso is Mexico’s most investigative and hard-hitting magazine weekly. In the wake of El Chapo’s arrest, Proceso re-printed the Mayo Zambada interview earlier this year. It was clear as to why it did so: at the end of the interview, Mayo confidently proclaims that any and all cartels are always prepared to fill in any void left behind by their captured or killed kingpins and capos with ready-made replacements. The claim was a bit of an exaggeration, however, as it is well-known that capos being killed or detained sometimes results in power struggles and increased violence.

It is true though that most of the time a new capo steps in and business as usual continues to be conducted. After all, there is no larger drug consumer market in the world than that of the U.S., with 2010 having set all-time records for importation and consumption. Interestingly enough, 2010 was also the height of Calderon’s drug war offensive and also of the turf war for control over the most lucrative drug corridor in the world: that of the El Paso / Ciudad Juarez plaza.

Whether or not the high-profile arrests of drug kingpins as a security strategy has actually made a dent into the drug war on behalf of the officials purportedly fighting it is scarcely in doubt though. In fact, the policy was so criticized, that the Pena Nieto administration pledged to either get rid of it entirely or at the very least to move away from it. The only substantive change that has happened, however, was the decision not to parade around captured drug kingpins after they were arrested, as was the custom during the Calderon administration. It was said that such public displays and spectacles added to the allure and appeal of narco culture, providing a basis for many narco corridos and the like.

However, the high-profile arrest strategy is apparently here to stay. Its origins date back to Calderon having drawn inspiration from U.S. military occupation policies in regard to the Hussein regime. Some readers may remember the use of playing cards to identify Iraqi leaders to U.S. soldiers for capture or kill hunts. That’s where this policy first started. During Pena Nieto’s administration, he has arrested not only El Chapo but other prominent cartel leaders too, such as El Viceroy. Curious to many of us drug war journos, however, was the release of Rafael Caro Quintero in August 2013 because of some legal technicality. The legal decision was reversed within a week of his release after some intense DEA pressure, but the kingpin continues to be at-large and may be filling a power vacuum of sorts in the wake of Chapo’s arrest. At the same time, the Sinaloa cartel has long been run by two capos, not just one, and Mayo Zambada continues to also be at-large. Finally, an anti-Sinaloa cartel alliance is also being organized too. That may result in some increased violence and challenges to plazas or it may simply result in different territorial control without increased violence. When cartels can avoid violence, they do, as it is very costly and dents into their profits.

More than anything else though, extreme drug war violence is generated from the instability of government intervention into the illegal drug trade, as was displayed prominently during the start of the Calderon administration, initialized with a huge offensive into Michoacan. Continued impunity also strongly fuels drug war-related violence, as the Iguala massacre has shown us in harrowing ways.

It is probably hard to imagine to most U.S. citizens that a Mayor and his wife would be so embroiled into narco politics and crime, that they would routinely undertake massacres against their political opponents. But this was apparently the case, as mass graves are showing up all around the town in which the student massacre was recently undertaken, for which the Mayor has been accused of masterminding. But that’s the extent to which impunity reigns in Mexico, with strong fuel being drawn from supportive and provocative U.S. policies, including vital arms supplies and training of the same military officials which are often knee-deep involved with narco politics and crime.

As seen by the widespread solidarity actions and political resistance organized and held last week, however, in Mexico and beyond, and even here on the border (in a very rare display of cross-border organizing and simultaneous protests being held on the same issue), there is most definitely a growing opposition and awareness to the impunity and corruption which characterizes the drug war. In Mexico, the issue has been long known and understood, which is why such an explosive increase of activism and resistance happened so quickly and so decisively over the presumed massacre of 43 students in Ayotzinapa. Other places are starting to catch on too, including even here in the States; hence, the global actions in solidarity with the Mexican struggle against the drug war and narco-state repression.

What is a misconception that you find people tend to have regarding the drug war?

I’d say on a few matters. One is about the very deep and extensive involvement which U.S. policy plays in fueling drug war violence in Mexico. In terms of policy, there is a significant lack of familiarity with decriminalization drug reform, such as that of Portugal.

Perhaps there will be a growing awareness of this, however, in light of the sea change that has happened with marijuana reform policies that we just spoke about.

Then again, it could work either way: marijuana reform could be seen as sufficient and thus stultify further efforts to decriminalize other drugs. “This far, but no further,” could be the damaging logic that comes as a result of marijuana reform. The leading marijuana reform organization steers way clear of taking a position on decriminalizing more drugs, or not, for example. Or, if luck will win it, marijuana reform could lead to further decriminalization policies.

While polls are running strong in terms of citizen support for marijuana reform policies, most activists and policy experts I spoke to didn’t credit a shift in the public consciousness as the leading factor for the policy shift. They credited the ongoing recession as one of the strongest motives to decriminalize marijuana and give states a much needed opportunity to balance their budgets, which have long been struggling against decreased tax revenues as a result of the recession. Will additional reform policies also be fueled by a desire for states to gain more public tax revenues? It’s possible. Only time will tell.

What do you propose as a possible solution for the violence in Mexico?

There is a famous saying that pretty much everyone knows in Mexico: “so close to the United States, but so far away from God.” Mexico needs to distance itself from the U.S. in political, economic and diplomatic terms. It needs to stop fighting the U.S.’s “war.” It needs to stop selling its most prized natural asset to multinationals. It needs to scrap the NAFTA agreement, which has had devastating effects on its agriculture sector, resulting in tons of out-of-work campesinos taking on low-paying jobs in the U.S. or dying in attempts to cross the scorching Arizona desert.

Surprising as it may seem, most Mexicans now eat tortillas with corn grown in the U.S. by subsidized agri-business, often sold at less than the cost of production.

All of these policies are nothing short of tragic. So yes, Mexico needs to focus on its own domestic problems in order to carve out a more effective and independent route toward development. Mexico, in spite of half of its territory being taken by force by the U.S., is still a large and resource-plush country. If it began to use and develop its resources for the needs of its own people, it could go far in terms of poverty reduction and could become a leading force in Latin America and beyond. After all, only Brazil has a larger population and a larger territory than Mexico in Latin America. There’s no reason why Mexico can’t be sporting the kind of tremendous growth rates and poverty reduction seen in Brazil during the course of the last decade. Or even the poverty reduction that has been seen in Venezuela.

However, there is something to be said about understanding the significant political and economic pressure which Mexico is subjected to by the U.S. There are consequences to carving out an independent, Latin American route. Cuba knows this all too well. So does Venezuela. So does even Ecuador and Bolivia, to a certain extent. Even Argentina was recently punished by U.S. courts for litigating independent economic policies which protect its own interests.

Because of all of this, under more ideal circumstances, U.S.-based activists and solidarity movements, such as maybe a revitalized Occupy movement, may succeed in pushing for and realizing more Mexico-friendly policies. Decriminalizing all drugs in the U.S. would go far to help Mexico end the drug war once and for all. Drug addiction could finally be treated as a public health issue, as opposed to a militaristic one, which is ironically the very stance that ex-Mexican Presidents Vicente Fox and Ernesto Zedillo now support and favor. More than just that is needed, however, and in general, more independence from the U.S. would likely in turn serve to lessen the imperialistic pressures to which Mexico has long been and continues to be subjected.

In respect to the drug war, the price has been quite high for agreeing to fight the U.S.’s war: up to 120,000 Mexican civilians were estimated to have been killed during the Calderon administration alone. And with the recent student massacre, it is now clearer than ever that the Pena Nieto administration too is as embroiled as Mexico has ever been with narco-state politics and corruption. Sad, but true, is that even a century later the revolutionary saying “so close to the United States, but so far away from God” remains relevant to contemporary U.S.-Mexico politics.

Border Patrol Helped Smuggle Weapons To El Chapo…Caro Quintero Amparo Denied…El Universal

Today on the front page of El Universal, the declaration of a protected witness in the federal (PGR) case against El Chapo Guzman says that the US Border Patrol escorted trucks of weapons to the border, abandoned the vehicles and assisted members of the Sinaloa Cartel who then took the guns into Mexico. The declarations come from documents in the case as the witness, Javier Sandoval Interial, was assassinated in Mexico City in 2012. The details are pretty clear below in a google translation

Also, it is reported today in El Universal that a judge has denied the “amparo” against extradition for Caro Quintero. That story is also posted below.

Patrulla Fronteriza Apoyó A “El Chapo” (El Universal)

(Click here for Google translation)

Niegan Amparo Al Narcotraficante Caro Quintero (El Universal)

Commentary on The Hunt for El Chapo from The New Yorker

I finally read the article in the New Yorker.  It seems less reporting than just a rambling rehash of he mainstream English-language media on Chapo Guzman.  Bill Conroy sent me a comment that I’m posting part of (with permission):

“Guzmán’s decision to jettison his huge security force had allowed him to move around quickly and inconspicuously, but he was left essentially defenseless.
Or, as Hector Berellez (a former DEA agent quoted in a Narco News story ) said, was it pulled back by the government itself? Why would Guzman get rid of his security when he knew the US feds and Mexican military were hot on his tail? It doesn’t pass the smell test. And this is just a throw-off line in the story, with no explanation to speak of, as though the writer doesn’t even understand the significance of what he’s saying. All through the story, it’s clear the feds knew how to find Guzman at any given time, but chose not to move on him until now, and coincidentally Guzman cooperated by deciding to shed his security detail. Again it don’t make sense.
And apparently, someone else didn’t think so either, given the report shortly after Guzman’s arrest of his head of security being tortured and murdered. That sounds like payback for someone who betrayed Guzman. That does pass the smell test in that world.”
Here’s one snippet I noticed from the bio of Guzman in the New Yorker:
and in the seventies, in spite of his illiteracy, he became an apprentice to two drug chieftains: Amado Carrillo Fuentes, who owned a fleet of airplanes and was known as the Lord of the Skies; and Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, a police officer turned drug baron, who ran the Guadalajara cartel and was known as El Padrino—the Godfather.
Amado Carrillo was born in 1956, so he was a teenager for most of the 1970s. He did not become important in the Mexican drug trade until 1986 and after the death of Ojinaga kingpin Pablo Acosta–interestingly–also an operation of Mexican federal police aided by FBI and DEA and including a cross-border helicopter strike on his hideout in the Big Bend village near Santa Elena canyon.  Also, none of the Mexican traffickers used “fleets of planes” until the late 1980s when Amado Carrillo started flying Colombian cocaine through Mexico to the US. This is Mexican Drug History 101. 
I also noticed the repeat of this story that has all the qualities of an urban legend in Mexico. I heard it on NPR after the capture of Guzman… A version is told in every city in Mexico with any kind of high-end restaurant. I heard it from a friend in Juarez in 2008. The story is never told by a person who was actually IN the restaurant when it happens. It is always a friend or relative who was there… This is Urban Legend 101, apparently believed by DEA agents and reporters.
Guzmán had other weaknesses. “He loves the gourmet food,” a D.E.A. official told me. From time to time, he would be spotted at an elegant restaurant in Sinaloa or in a neighboring state. The choreography was always the same. Diners would be startled by a team of gunmen, who would politely but firmly demand their telephones, promising that they would be returned at the end of the evening. Chapo and his entourage would come in and feast on shrimp and steak, then thank the other diners for their forbearance, return the telephones, pick up the tab for everyone, and head off into the night. 

Even worse, this piece from the SLATE blog…

The blog post quotes from the New Yorker piece as to how the DEA agents assure the reporter that Chapo’s body guards were tortured by the Mexican Marines and that’s why they gave up Chapo. First, it is no surprise that Mexican feds and military torture nearly every one they arrest. A petty criminal picked up for robbing a store is just as likely to be beaten and tortured as a high-level drug suspect. This is Mexican policing 101. But worse than that, to somehow imply that torture would have been correct, even moral, in this situation, just as it is justified all the time on TV (24) by the “ticking time bomb” scenario is ridiculous. Did they think Chapo had wired the beach resort in Mazatlan with atomic bombs? Set to go off if the feds got too close? And just in case anyone wants to look into torture and the fact that the “ticking time bomb” scenario has always been a false and unsustainable defense for torture, read Alfred McCoy.
McCoy is interviewed here:
Alfred McCoy: “Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation”  TORTURE 101…
So it goes… The New Yorker enshrines the official versions of the US and Mexican governments on the capture of Guzman. And admirers of Jack Bauer swoon over those tough guys who use torture to protect us. The business goes on as normal. molly

The Hunt For El Chapo: How the world’s most notorious drug lord was captured…New Yorker

The Hunt For El Chapo: How the world’s most notorious drug lord was captured

By Patrick Radden Keefe

One afternoon last December, an assassin on board a K.L.M. flight from Mexico City arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. This was not a business trip: the killer, who was thirty-three, liked to travel, and often documented his journeys around Europe on Instagram. He wore designer clothes and a heavy silver ring in the shape of a grimacing skull.

Click here for the full article.

Mexico Forbids Drug Lord’s Extradition Even As Negotiations With US Continue

This is worth listening to.  One of the more honest looks at the arrest of Chapo in the US media.  Note the statement of the unnamed legal clerk in the audio of the story.

Fronteras Desk spoke with a judge’s clerk in Chihuahua. Fearing possible retribution, he asked that we not use him name. He says Guzmán’s testimony would expose long-alleged government involvement in organized crime. “If he told the truth, you’d find out he’s not even the biggest player,” the man said in Spanish. “You’d soon see connections with (Mexican) congressional representatives and senators.

Mexico Forbids Drug Lord’s Extradition Even As Negotiations With US Continue

By Lorne Matalon

CHIHUAHUA, Mexico — On Feb. 22 the world’s most wanted drug trafficker — Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, known as “El Chapo,” or “Shorty”— was captured in a joint U.S.-Mexico operation.

Click here to read the rest of the story and listen to the audio.

Trapping El Chapo: Chicago’s public enemy number one …Chicago Reader

Trapping El Chapo: Chicago’s public enemy number one

What the case against Vicente Zambada, son of Sinaloa cartel leader El Mayo, reveals about the federal government’s efforts to take down overseas drug suppliers—including the biggest of them all.

By: Jason McGahan

On February 22, the Mexican navy arrested Sinaloa cartel leader El Chapo Guzman, who surrendered without firing a shot.

For Latin American drug kingpins, there are few fates as terrible as extradition to the United States.

“They can’t bribe their way out, they can’t build their own jails, they can’t have their girlfriends come in,” says Jack Riley, chief of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Chicago. “And they’re 1,800 miles away from what they know as life.”

Read the rest of the story here.

He helped capture EU in ‘El Chapo’ ; now his family faces deportation…El Diario de El Paso

A doctor who treated members of the Sinaloa cartel injured in the state of Chihuahua crossed the border to provide crucial information to US federal authorities that led to the capture of “El Mayito” (Mario Núñez Meza) and also to the capture of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera. He was promised protection and reward money for himself and his family, but his wife is now in deportation proceedings and he is also in danger of being deported. If returned to Mexico, they would be in danger because of his work as an informant in the US. Article from El Diario de El Paso.  A google translation is also posted below

He helped capture EU in ‘El Chapo’ ; now his family faces deportation

Luis Chaparro

The Journal | 23:00

A man who was a key witness for the capture of Mario Nuñez Meza , alias “El Mayito ” or ” M-10 ” and Joaquin “El Chapo ” Guzman Loera, now faces deportation to his wife and says that no give more information to U.S. federal authorities , he will be the next to be expelled from the country , along with the other three members of his family, with the risk of being killed in Ciudad Juarez.

According to the evidence shown to The Journal by the informant and corroborated by members of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA ) in charge of his case, ” Alfonso ” – the name acquired as a protected witness the U.S. government – was the one who handed the cell phone using which could be located at “El Chapo ” Guzman in Mazatlan.

” Alfonso ” was until last August attending a doctor at a hospital in Ciudad Juarez to members of the Sinaloa Cartel injured in the state of Chihuahua.

However, he said he decided to do what he thought was right and provide information on the exact location of ” The Mayito ” Guzman Loera course lieutenant , arrested two days after the meeting the informant with U.S. officials .

Now says U.S. authorities have turned their backs and ” Alfonso ” awaiting deportation of his wife, retained in a processing center from Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE acronym ) for seven weeks . If deported , reports ” Alfonso ” , your entire family could be murdered in Ciudad Juárez.

” Alfonso ” maintained relations with several leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel and Juarez who operated in the state of Chihuahua, through their families involved with one of them for 13 years. This relationship gave him direct access to the cell phones, social networking sites and Mario Nuñez Meza and Emma Coronel, the current wife of Joaquin “El Chapo ” Guzman .

Until the end of last August ” Alfonso ” was called to treat the injured Sinaloa Cartel statewide , and even made ​​him the offer to work directly with Hermosillo Guzman writes.

” I began to treat the wounded in a hospital in Juarez and it never died and neither recognized me as a good doctor, why Emma Coronel wanted to take me Hermosillo ” he says.

However, a confession of Núñez Meza in 2013 lit the alerts ” Alfonso ” and he decided to surrender to U.S. authorities , there starting a collaboration with federal agencies in the United States.

” Last July I was asked to be the ‘ M- 10’ to bring a Chihuahua and Ciudad Juarez. On the way back he told me that he had come to assemble the ‘ chingazos ‘ again , that was going to be another strong violence because he wanted time to regain control of Ciudad Juárez. This I did not like , I do not want to replace Juarez violent and so I thought it was right to give it , before I started the riot , “says ” Alfonso ” from a location in El Paso, Texas.

It was then called the number of anonymous reporting of the DEA in El Paso to provide information leading to the capture Nuñez Meza . According to his version, supported by documentation in the hands of the Drug Enforcement Administration and stamped on his immigration permit , the first meeting between the agents and ” Alfonso ” occurred on August 18 at the premises of the bridge “Free” around 12 Noon .

” At that meeting people was Interpol , the FBI and the DEA. I told them ‘The Mayito ‘ was in a hotel in Juarez , I gave them the phone he had, because that’s how they find them , the plates of their trucks and everything, “says the protected witness .

Ten days later, on August 28 , Mario Nuñez Meza was arrested by agents of the State Single Police Chihuahua in this hotel located on the Panamericana, ” thanks to a citizen complaint and intelligence work ,” as described by the press release at that time.

That same day around 4 pm ” Alfonso ” along with four members of his family crossed the border under the immigration form I-94 SPBP , delivered to reviewers or ” snitches ” by U.S. authorities .

Delivery of ‘El Chapo ‘

“The officers asked me if I had more information and I said yes , I could give them information on how to find the Chapo ” says ” Alfonso ” .

The doctor says he met Colonel Angelica Ortiz , cousin Emma Coronel, a U.S. citizen married to Guzman Loera .

” She gave me the phone to Emma Coronel, a fixed and a mobile phone, I knew she could find by Chapo and indeed it was ,” says ” Alfonso ” .

The informant showed Diary messages sent to the agent Muñoz cell phone contact with the pair of “El Chapo” . After a phone call to the agent Daniel , case manager , after Muñoz retired a few weeks ago , the version of ” Alfonso ” regarding the information provided was confirmed .

The special agent said not to talk to the reporter , however , be confirmed by agent “Alphonse ” as a protected witness DEA .

According to phone messages and documents submitted in possession of the lawyer ” Alfonso ” , on January 15 the first information to capture “El Chapo” began. 22 of the same month, ” Alfonso ” met with the special agents in charge Saul , Daniel and DEA supervisor John W. Jewett on the premises of the Department of Justice , located on Calle Mesa Hills on the west side El Paso, Texas, to make an official report on the information provided.

Joaquin “El Chapo ” Guzman was captured on 22 February in an apartment complex in the city of Mazatlan , Sinaloa, then the authorities will track the cell phone of the couple who accompanied him up before he was arrested by the Mexican Army , according to U.S. officials who spoke to the Associated Press news agency .

the reward

” Alfonso ” says Special Agent of DEA intelligence “Joe” confirmed the existence of a million dollar reward for information leading to the capture of Guzman. However, note in return gave his wife ‘s arrest by agents of Immigration and that if the judgment did not provide more information about the drug lords ” have no more money, more protection , not more permission to be in the United States. “

” What they did was become a protected informant witness but without pay . The reward is a lie , I never got anything and all I ask is support to get a permit to work here and support my family , “says the man.

But a DEA agent , who asked not to be identified , said in an interview to have delivered more than $ 50,000 in about seven months, ” Alfonso ” by the information provided.

” Yes I have given money to eat , to rent an apartment , but instead of leaving my job in Juarez, risking my family and now we can deport all ; that is not worth $ 50,000 also are to survive five people in the United States , “says the protected witness .

According to the records of the Bureau of Immigration (ICE ) , the wife of ” Alfonso ” was arrested on 26 February and has since been awaiting resolution of his case.

Currently seeking political asylum after he was yesterday the credible fear interview , according to the same unit . ( Luis Chaparro / The Journal)


Guatemala can’t confirm fight, much less dead Chapo…

The Guatemalan minister of interior has retracted his statements from yesterday referring to a confrontation between police and narcos in El Peten and the possible death of Chapo Guzman…  He says now that he cannot even confirm that a confrontation occurred.
Meanwhile, The Atlantic Wire takes it all seriously. But of course Stratfor and Wikileaks revealed the presence of Chapo in El Peten long ago… This is just an example of the twitterizing of news (IMO)…  Even if there were a confrontation, and even if the actual person who is Chapo Guzman were killed, what difference would it make to the systematic problems of crime, violence and non-functioning justice system in Mexico? And/or in Guatemala…

Deadly Addiction–series in the Albuquerque Journal


This is the first installment of an Albuquerque Journal series on drug use in New Mexico… The thing that strikes me in my initial reading of this is how disconnected the problem is from the hysteria over Mexico and “fighting the drug war” there.  It makes the terrifying level of violence and death in Mexico all the more absurd when we realize that much of the drug abuse problem in New Mexico and in other areas of the US also, is a domestic issue–a family issue… Something that requires health care, education, job security, opportunities in society, etc.  Remembering the piece I posted this morning about a supposed US military plan to “kill or capture Chapo Guzman” — does anyone really think that such a thing would stop the abuse of drugs in the US or reduce the violence in Mexico? molly


“We are, from an enforcement and prosecution viewpoint, designed to deal with drug trafficking organizations,” U.S. Attorney Gonzales said. “Prescription drugs present a different dynamic.” Keith Brown, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement office in Albuquerque, put it this way: “There is no prescription drug cartel to target.”

• Undercover agents bought grams of heroin for $100 — the same price as in 1977.• The purity of the heroin agents purchased was three to four times the purity level of heroin sold just 10 years ago.• The heroin was cheaper than prescription opiate painkillers on the street, which average $1 per milligram. That’s $10 for a 10-milligram hydrocodone pill.




US military plan to capture or kill Chapo Guzman–estilo Osama bin Laden

Headline says it all…Navy Seals, Northern Command, the whole deal… Only problem is Mexico doesn’t like such a plan… Oh, another problem as pointed out by one of the concise comments to the Proceso story online:
Están locos?, acabar con el chapo? Y el negocio donde queda?.

El problema no es el chapo, si ellos son los burros del salón. El problema son los que están atrás del chapo, empresarios, políticos, gobiernos.
El problema es el sistema.

Are they crazy? Do away with Chapo? And the business? What about that?
The problem is not El Chapo…The problem are those behind Chapo–businessmen, politicians, the governments.
The problem is the system…
I posted the story from El Diario with a google translation
EU has plan to end the Chapocomo did with Osama
J. Carrasco / J. Esquivel
Process | 08.11.2012 | 23:38
Federal District-face how hard it was to catch Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the U.S. government has prepared a plan to capture the drug dealer, the best known leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, in an operation similar to that undertaken in Pakistan last year to find Osama bin Laden, leader of al-Qaida.
Military sources in Mexico and the U.S. confirm the existence of the plan, which was developed by the Pentagon several months ago and now is being held because it is designed to be executed only by Americans, an idea that is not viewed with pleasure by their Mexican counterparts.
The plan even as he was introduced to Felipe Calderon, who promoted it among the armed forces. And although there was a sharp rejection of the Army and Navy of Mexico, Washington has not thrown away and propose it to the next president.
The plan there is an order from the Department of Defense and Northern Command have it considered as a priority mission, said a senior Mexican Army which by agreement is kept anonymous. The Pentagon claims due to the constant “dry wells” of the Mexican government to detain Guzman Loera escaped from the prison’s maximum security Puente Grande, Jalisco, in January 2001 during the presidency of Vicente Fox
The information needed to capture the drug lord was provided by U.S. agencies, primarily responsible for the war on drugs, DEA, so each “failed attempt” by the Mexican government has angered Washington.
For Mexico, the eventual U.S. military intervention in Mexico to take over the detention of “El Chapo” is “a very risky,” because in addition to a clear violation of the Constitution would lead to all sorts of problems, said the military official .
The proposed operation is detailed in the Safety Plan to Support Mexico designed by military strategists of the special forces of the Department of Defense United States, the Pentagon.
The execution of the operation would be in charge of the main U.S. special forces, Navy SEALs (an acronym of the words is, air, land), consisting of navy commandos trained for covert actions in enemy territory by sea, air or earth.
The operation would be a copy of the Pentagon ran secret in Pakistan to “capture or kill” bin Laden, who was finally killed in his hideout in May 2011.
From that experience Pentagon controls Calderon explained the proposal to stop “El Chapo”, in what was defined as an operation “simple, quick and surgical”.
In the mountains of Sinaloa, where Guzman Loera in and out at will, capturing three teams require special SEAL with the support of three digital high-tech aircraft operated by remote control and armed with missiles, according to the plan. Special forces would move by Sinaloa and Durango in helicopter gunships. On reaching the target two of the teams on the ground and another act would remain in the air, backed by drones, to prevent any retaliatory criminal group.
In 10 or 15 minutes both teams would catch the target and assault, according to the proposed operation, if you eliminate resistance found in the act, like all his guard.
The operation against “El Chapo” would be noted and addressed “real time” from the headquarters of the Pentagon’s Northern Command, and even from the offices of the National Security Council of the White House.
The plan does not fit the Mexican military or Army or Navy. Mexican soldiers enter only to present the results.
According to the military command consulted Process is clear that the U.S. has the ability to capture “El Chapo” in Mexico, but Mexican participation to simulate the Americans would have to dress up in uniforms of any domestic corporation, as the Federal Police.
For the Northern Command, created in 2002 by the Pentagon after the attacks of Al Qaeda in order to perform “delicate” to “the security of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico,” the capture of “El Chapo” is considered a mission.
Washington equates to Mexican drug cartels and terrorists and therefore are considered a threat to national security. Consequently, the Northern Command takes as its obligation to act against drug traffickers, the military chief added.
According to information gathered in Washington, Calderon accepted the U.S. proposal, but when the Pentagon said the operation would be carried out exclusively by U.S. military forces, it was rejected by the secretariats of National Defense the Navy, although this, unlike the Army, has favored his relationship with his American counterpart.
The head of the executive tried to convince the Mexican military leaders, while representatives of the Pentagon told them it would be analyzed and “after” would give the answer.
In desperation he argued that it would be an undercover operation and fast “that could fix” to avoid exposing the Pentagon, with the immediate departure of the seals, but the rejection of the Army and Navy was overwhelming. His arguments were the constitutional prohibition and the defense of sovereignty in the presence of foreign troops.
After the meeting with the commanders of the Army and Navy, Calderón ended by giving the Pentagon’s refusal to participate within Mexican soldiers and sailors.
Under these conditions, the U.S. Defence Department made it clear that the operation was inconceivable. But the military consulted is certain that the U.S. government “will press the next president of Mexico.”
To avoid surprises Mexican armed forces began a campaign among civil authorities to warn of the risk in a covert operation to capture or kill foreign “El Chapo”.
Invasions Experts
Indeed Obama issued on 24 July last year an executive order to block U.S. properties transnational criminal organizations four: The Brotherhood of the Circle or The Family of Eleven, which operates in the former Soviet Union, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, La Camorra in Italy, the Japanese Yakuza and the Zetas.
After the execution of Bin Laden, “El Chapo” for the United States became the world’s most wanted man. Both the DEA and the FBI have as their main objective abroad.
The operation proposed by the Pentagon to stop “El Chapo” in Mexico has been accompanied by a series of arrests of its members, associates and family in Mexico, Colombia, United States, and last week in Belize.
United States also has on its list of drug kingpins worldwide two sons and first wife of “El Chapo”, so there is an order to freeze the assets are or have accounts there. This is Ivan Guzman Salazar Archivaldo, “The Chapito” Ovidio Lopez and Maria Guzman Salazar Hernandez or Alexandrina.
The DEA also seeks to Jose Alfredo Guzman Salazar, who gave Navy arrested last June but the PGR immediately denied that this was the son of the head of the Sinaloa Cartel.
In the ongoing trial against him in federal court in Chicago, the U.S. government seeks to seize at least a thousand dollars 374 million, he says, has obtained the criminal organization in the past seven years, after the leak of “The Chapo “of the Puente Grande prison. (J. Carrasco / Jesquivel / Agency Reform)