Central America

Guatemala: Barrio 18 gang in deadly prison siege

Posted on March 21st, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

Central AmericaAt least three guards were killed when riot police were sent in to storm the Etapa 2 juvenile detention center outside Guatemala City, where members of the notorious Barrio 18 narco-gang had seized cell-blocks and taken hostages March 20. Riot troops were ordered to take the facility despite desperate pleas from guards being held hostage. Latin American Herald Tribune reports that before the bloody climax, hostages had shouted from windows, urging authorities to negotiate with their captors. "We are begging and the government doesn't want to do anything," one reportedly cried. "They give no attention to our lives."

Nicaragua nabs cocaine lord of Miskito Coast

Posted on February 28th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Central AmericaA Colombian cartel operative who established Central America's remote and lawless Miskito Coast as a major cocaine transfer point, building a mini-empire in the region of jungle, savanna and offshore cays, has since Feb. 7 been cooling his heels in Managua's notorious El Chipote prison, according to a Feb. 26 report in Nicaraguan daily La Prensa. Although his capture was confirmed by his attorney, Nicaraguan authorities failed to announce the arrest of the country's most-wanted crime lord, Amauri Carmona Morelos AKA Alberto Ruiz Cano.

Deported to Honduras for a joint?

Posted on February 23rd, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

border wallThat's what almost happened to Josue Romero, a 19-year-old art student in San Antonio who had received a work permit under Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—which is now threatened by Trump. Picked up on a minor pot bust Feb. 21, Romero was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), held for two days—and told by ICE agents that he would be deported to Honduras. Instead, he was released, without explanation. "I can't describe how I feel. I just want to break down and cry," Romero told the San Antonio Express-News after his release.  "I was kind of devastated. Because I’ve never known a life outside of San Antonio."

Central America: tri-national task force against gangs

Posted on November 16th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

Central AmericaA joint security force bringing together the three nations of Central America's Northern Triangle officially began operations to fight narco-gangs and organized crime on Nov. 15. The force is made up of military, police, intelligence and border officials from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—which all face growing internal violence from criminal networks. The force was officially inaugurated at a ceremony in the Honduran border town of Ocotepeque, near the point where the three countries meet. The presidents of all three nations were in attendance.

Honduras: son of ex-prez guilty on coke charge

Posted on May 16th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Central AmericaThe 2009 coup d'etat in Honduras has recently been in the news due to revelations that it was lubricated by then-Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Now comes the embarassing news that the son of Honduras' ex-president Porfirio Lobo has pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking charges in a federal court in Manhattan, and faces a mandatory 10-year prison term. Fabio Lobo, 44, admitted to scheming to import a “multi-ton load” of cocaine into the US. Federal prosecutors said the younger Lobo was snared by DEA informants who went undercover as traffickers and started collecting evidence against him in 2013. They popped him in Haiti a year ago, and put him on a plane to New York. Said US Attorney Preet Bharara: "Whether you are a street-level dealer, a member of a cartel, or the son of a former foreign president, drug dealing is drug dealing. It is a serious federal crime for which you will be prosecuted."

Militarized anti-narco raids in Honduras

Posted on May 4th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Central AmericaSecurity forces in Honduras on May 4 carried out raids on suspected narco-gang safe-houses at various locations, bringing out helicopters and heavy weaponry, and placing residential neighborhoods under siege. Code-named "Tornado," the operation coordinated troops from the National Police, Military Police, the elite Inter-institutional National Security Force (FUSINA), and the Technical Criminal Invesitgation Agency (ATIC). Locations were raided in the capital Tegucigalpa as well as the crime-stricken second city of San Pedro Sula, the Caribbean port of La Ceiba, and elsewhere. In Valle de Amarateca in the central department of Francisco Morazán, security forces seized at least two assualt rifles, fragmentation grenades, police unfiorms, and unspecified quanitities of cocaine, cannabis and cash. At least 12 people were arrested in the raids, including minors. The raids were officially called to apprehend gang members wanted for assassination and extortion. (La Prensa, May 4)

El Salvador deploys new military unit against gangs

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Central AmericaEl Salvador has deployed a new special unit to fight criminal gangs that are now said to be operating not only in the cities but in rural areas throughout the country. The 1000-strong Specialized Reaction Force is equipped with helicopters, armored cars and assault weapons. A mixed unit of 600 military troops and 400 National Police agents, it is charged with "pursuing and neutralizing" the gangs, which are said to have 70,000 members in the country. At an April 20 ceremony to unveil the new force, Vice President Oscar Ortiz said:"The moment has come to stop the scale of violence which has imposed itself in the last few years on our country and which has created so much blood and sacrifice... We are going to go after them in the countryside and in the city." He added that human rights will be respected. (BBC News, Reuters)

Empire strikes back against Belize?

Central America OK, we don't want to get too paranoid here. But last month, after years of studying the matter, the government of Belize took a big step toward cannabis decrim. On Feb. 19, the  cabinet formally handed recommendations made by the Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee, assigned to assess the matter, over to the office of the Attorney General for final review. This means introduction of a decrim bill is almost certainly imminent. Sources say the proposed legislation would allow for persons in possession of 10 grams or less to face a fine or community service. The fine is named as 15 Belizean dollars (US$7.50) per gram. The law would also be retroactive, expunging the records of those convicted in the past for possession within these limits. Former National Security Minister Doug Singh, who has pushed for a more lenient policy, said, "Too many young people have this following them, those who are seeking jobs."

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