Venezuela

Mega-bust points to Spain as Europe's emerging cocaine gateway

Posted on October 17th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

SpainSpain made unwanted international headlines Oct. 7 when nearly four metric tons of cocaine worth an estimated $260 million was seized by Spanish customs officers in the Atlantic, headed for the Iberian peninsula. The haul was found on a tugboat between Portugal's Madeira and Azores islands, with 165 packages of cocaine each weighing 23 kilograms—for a total of 3.7 tons—concealed beneath the vessel's cooking area. The operation was jointly conducted with UK's National Crime Agency under the co-ordination of the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre-Narcotics (MAOC-N) in Lisbon. The crew, from Turkey and Azerbaijan, were arrested.

Venezuela massacre latest sign of Latin America prison crisis

Posted on August 17th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

VenezuelaAt least 37 were killed as a prison in southern Venezuela exploded into rebellion, authorities said Aug. 16. The death toll at the facility in the jungle town of Puerto Ayacucho, Amazonas state, was first reported by the advocacy group Venezuelan Prison Observatory and later confirmed by the Interior Ministy. The violence began when inmates seized the facility and security forces were sent in to retake it.

Trump sanctions Venezuela veep as 'kingpin'

Posted on February 14th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

VenezuelaThe Trump administration has seriously turned up the heat on Venezuela, slapping sanctions on the country's vice president as a drug "kingpin." The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Feb. 13 officially named Tareck Zaidan El Aissami as a "Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker" under terms of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) of 1999. The order charges that El Aissami received pay-offs from a trafficking network linked to Mexico's Zetas narco-gang. Under the order, US nationals and corporations are barred from doing business with El Aissami, and all his assets within the country are frozen.

Venezuelan First Family scions convicted of trafficking

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

VenezuelaAfter a high-profile but very quick trial in a US federal court in Manhattan, two young scions of Venezuela's First Family were convicted on Nov. 19 of conspiring to traffick more than 800 kilograms of cocaine into the United States. The two men, Efraín Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas, are nephews of Cilia Flores—wife of Venezuela's embattled President Nicolás Maduro. The case came amid massive anti-government protests in Venezuela, and Cilia Flores charged that her nephews had been "kidnapped" by the DEA for political reasons. Popped just over a year ago in Haiti, they now face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

New York cocaine trial opens of Venezuelan political scions

Posted on November 8th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

VenezuelaWith Venezuela deep in political crisis, the trial opened in US district court in Manhattan this week of two scions of the country's First Family charged with cocaine trafficking. The two men, Efraín Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas, are nephews of Cilia Flores—wife of embattled President Nicolás Maduro. In opening statements, Assistant US Attorney Emil Bove said the pair were secretly recorded planning to ship 800 kilos of coke from Venezuela to Honduras for re-export to the United States.

Bolivia tilting back to prohibitionist stance?

Posted on September 19th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

AndesPresident Barack Obama once again singled out Washington's biggest political adversaries in Latin America for censure in this year's White House report on global anti-drug efforts. The annual memorandum to the State Department, "Major Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries," released Sept. 12, lists 17 Latin American countries out of a total of 22 around the world. As has now become routine, Bolivia, Venezuela and Burma are blacklisted as countries that have "failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to the obligations under international counternarcotic agreements." (InSight Crime, Sept. 13)

Anti-gang 'mega-raids' in crisis-hit Venezuela

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

VenezuelaAs Venezuela lurches deeper into political crisis, President Nicolas Maduro has announced a new phase in the government's controversial "Operation Liberate the People" security program, pledging to cleanse the country of gang-related crime. Thousands of elite military troops have been deployed across Caracas, with five new “permanent” bases and over 130 checkpoints established in the city. Perhaps not coincidentally, this comes as Maduro has declared a "state of emergency" throughout the country in response to a supposed US-backed conspiracy against him by the political opposition, earning rebukes from Amnesty International, which called the declaration "alarming."

Empire strikes back against Belize?

Posted on March 7th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

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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