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Saudis crack down on Yemeni hash pipeline

Middle EastBorder Guard patrols along Saudi Arabia's rugged mountain frontier with Yemen report mounting interceptions of hashish, weapons and other contraband. Over the past nine months, interceptions at the Najran border post alone netted four tons of hashish, as well as explosives, hand grenades, firearms and ammunition. Some 250 smugglers and 25,000 "infiltrators" were...

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DEA chief: Mexican cartels move into Colorado, Washington

Posted on April 5th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

leafDrug Enforcement Administration chief Michele Leonhart, in testimony before a House Appropriations subcommittee April 2, went on the offensive against the cannabis legalization initiatives in Washington state and Colorado. "What was explained to the voters was how much money that they'd be raising," Leonhart said. "What was explained to the voters was that this was good for law enforcement, because then police could go after the real crimes. What was told to the voters is that this would collapse the Mexican drug cartels." Instead, Leonhart asserted, Mexican drug cartels are "setting up shop" in Washington and Colorado in anticipation of a cannabis boom. "Whatever the price will be set in Washington and Colorado, criminal organizations are ready to come in and sell cheaper," she said. She also claimed, without offering evidence, that many cannabis shops get their supplies from grow operations controlled by cartels. 

Rio de Janeiro: military operation against favelas

Posted on April 4th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Southern ConeBrazilian Military Police backed by Marine troops occupied the massive Maré favela next to Rio de Janeiro's Galeao international airport on March 31, allegedly without firing a shot. The aim was to secure one of the city's most violent districts, long under control of drug gangs, ahead of the World Cup, to be held in Brazil in June. Shock troops of the elite Special Police Operations Battalion (BOPE) and Marines in armored vehicles and helicopters secured the Maré area, where 130,000 people live in poverty on the north side of Rio. Police said they seized guns and 450 kilos of marijuana, and arrested two suspected dealers. But residents said most gang leaders slipped out the favela ahead of the occupation. The operation had been expected; in preceding days Police Pacification Units (UPPs) had been installed in 174 of Rio's favelas— home to around 600,000 people. (InSerbia, April 1; MercoPress, March 31)

Middle East leads global execution spike

Posted on April 3rd, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

Middle EastAmnesty International's latest global report on the death penalty, "Death Sentences and Executions: 2013," finds that a number of nations in the Middle East have fueled a spike in global figures with a spree of executions. Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia alone accounted for almost 80% of all reported executions carried out worldwide in 2013—excluding China, where official figures are secret. The upsurge in executions in Iran and Iraq accounts for a global jump of nearly 15% from 2012. Across the Middle East and North Africa, at least 638 people were executed in 2013—mostly by beheadings, hangings or firing squad. In Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, capital punishment was imposed for drug offenses. In Saudi Arabia, one man was executed for "adultery." Vaguely worded offenses, such as moharebeh ("enmity against God"), were used in Iran to repress the political activities of ethnic minorities such as the Kurds.

Colombia: pressure grows to expand decrim

Posted on April 1st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

ColombiaAn official from the capital district government of Bogotá on March 28 called upon Colombia’s national government to open debate on broadening the policy of cannabis decriminalization.  "We really need leadership from the Congress and the government to regulate the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana," said the general secretary of the Bogotá mayor's office, Susana Muhamad. Despite efforts by the previous government of President Alvaro Uribe to roll back the policy, since 1994 cannabis has been decriminalized in small quantitites—recently established by the judiciary as up to 22 grams. However, sale and cultivation remain illegal in Colombia. Muhamad appealed to current President Manuel Santos to examine lifting these limitations.

Bolivia: cocaleros clash with eradication force

Posted on March 31st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

BoliviaCoca-growers in Bolivia's lowland jungle town of Yapacaní on March 27 clashed with police in a protest against the construction of a new base of the Mobile Rural Patrol Unit (UMOPAR), the hated coca-eradication force. Protesters set up roadblocks in an effort to prevent construction crews from breaking ground on the new base. When National Police troops used tear-gas to break up the blockades, protesters replied by hurling rocks. Regional police commander Johnny Requena blamed drug gangs for the opposition to the base, which is being financed by the European Union to the tune of $1.3 million.

Michoacán: 'community police' out of control —already?

Posted on March 23rd, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoJust weeks after the Mexican government signed an accord with the "community police" vigilante network in Michoacán, ostensibly bringing the anti-narco militias under control of the armed forces, it is looking more and more like they have been transformed into a lawless paramilitary force—even acting against Mexico''s federal authorities. On March 19, "community police" forces at La Placita, on Michoacán's Pacific coast, launched a blockade of the entrance of a Mexican naval outpost, apparently in protest of the disarming of 14 of their gunmen by Mexican marines stationed there. The blockade continues as we got to press, with hundreds of armed vigilantes from neighboring towns converging at the base. (El Sol de Leon, March 21)

Arizona court rules for cannabis extracts

Posted on March 23rd, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

cannabisArizona's Maricopa County Superior Court ruled March 21 in favor of five-year-old Zander Welton, finding that his parents and physicians may resume treating his seizure disorder with a cannabis extract. Judge Katherine Cooper said that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), approved by voters in 2010, allows patients to use extracts without fear of prosecution. In October, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arizona sued the county on behalf of Zander and his parents, Jennifer and Jacob Welton, after Maricopa Attorney Bill Montgomery and other Arizona law enforcement agents asserted that the AMMA does not permit the use of extracts, and threatened criminal charges.

Tajikistan eradicates opium —and cannabis?

Posted on March 20th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

TajikistanPolice in Tajikistan on March 13 burned more than 722.3 kilograms of seized drugs, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The destroyed substances included 43 kilos of heroin and 11.2 kilos of opium. Although the statement did not make it clear, the remainder (and big majority) of the burned hauls was presumably cannabis. The Interior Ministry did say that troops of the Drug Control Agency (AKN)  seized 100 kilograms of hashish at a car stop in Khusheri village. This was the latest and largest of several hashish and herion seizures by the AKN in recent weeks. In one case, police are searching for a suspect who injured an AKN officer with a knife before making his getaway.

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