Ecuador fights drug trafficking Guatemala should be “more concerned” about possible violence in the wake of the capture of El Chapo because it shares a border with Mexico, which is home not only to the Sinaloa Cartel but also Los Zetas and other transnational criminal organizations, Rivera said. The Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas have moved 90 percent of their drug trafficking operations to Central America to smuggle cocaine into the United States, according to the UN. Both Mexican organized crime groups transport drugs from Central America to the United States through partnerships with Guatemalan gangs. Those gangs include Barrio 18, Los Mendoza, Los Lorenzana, Los Chamales, and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), which originated in El Salvador but also operates in Guatemala. Colombian drug trafficking groups may also try to take control of drug trafficking routes the Sinaloa Cartel has been using in Guatemala, according to Asturias. The Sinaloa Cartel, through the criminal gang Los Rastrojos, controls drug cultivation and methamphetamine labs on the border with Ecuador. They also control the guerrilla group’s drug crops and laboratories in Norte de Santander, one of the strategic areas where coca is transported to Venezuela. During the last two years, the Sinaloa Cartel has attained greater control of drug trafficking routes in Colombia, Rodríguez Luna said. El Chapo exerted control over smaller organized crime groups by providing money and weapons to them, which gave him leverage in negotiations, the security analyst said. With the capture of El Chapo, these organized crime groups “will seek to negotiate better conditions in terms of profits,” Rodríguez Luna. Security forces in Ecuador, Guatemala, and Colombia have made great strides in the fight against drug trafficking. The authorities of these countries and other partner nations in the Americas must remain vigilant in the fight against transnational criminal organizations, the three security analysts said. El Chapo is being held in the Altiplano maximum-security prison in the state of Mexico. El Chapo is a neighbor of the former leader of Los Zetas, Jaime González Durán, known as “El Hummer.” The Mexican Federal Police (PF) arrested González Durán in 2008. El Hummer is serving a 72-year prison sentence for kidnapping and organized crime. The greatest danger is if that fight spreads throughout the Central and South Americas which are sensitive regions regarding transnational security. CRACK DOWN ON DRUG TRAFFICKING It’s time the government capture those monsters that bring terror to our country with the damned drugs.7 I like this information That’s fine but what happens with those that use it; that’s another problem and it’s a very serious one worldwide. I liked the intelligence of the police because if I’m not mistaken, they had already captured him the first time. Very good, go on and thank you for keeping us informed. The World Health Organization should issue more publications on the damages that drugs cause to health. It is unbelievable that there are people interested in the decriminalization of drugs, unaware of how many people die from an overdose. Legalize drugs so that they pay taxes. Excellent articles… only Dialogo can have a specific vision of the current Latin American situation. The capture is a good thing, but as long as they don’t cut the octopus’s head, its tentacles will remain active. This is very good and informative. It’s not a matter of whether they like it or not. Personally, I think that decriminalizing or legalizing drugs with high taxes would be the biggest blow for drug trafficking, since: 1) it would end cartels, 2) it would prevent all the killing caused by the competition between them, 3) there would be more control over the usage, 4) the States (their governments) would eliminate a heavy expense from their budget, and they would receive an income that they are not receiving currently by having to deal with the health expenses caused by drug addiction. It was the same with alcohol. Its consumption was legalized and the killings ended. Just ask Chicago. The recent capture of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, could prompt changes in the organization’s criminal operations in Latin America, according to Armando Rodríguez Luna, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The Sinaloa Cartel operates in Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The organized crime group forms alliances with local gangs to transport drugs, usually cocaine, from South America north to Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The Sinaloa Cartel also transports cocaine from the Caribbean to Europe, Africa, and Australia. The Sinaloa Cartel has also forged partnerships with two Hong Kong mafias to acquire precursor chemicals used in the manufacture of highly addictive synthetic drugs. The organized crime group uses the chemicals to manufacture methamphetamines in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, officials have said. Sinaloa Cartel operatives, including members of local gangs, pick up the precursor chemicals from ports in Guatemala and Honduras, then drive the chemicals in SUVs to clandestine labs. With El Chapo incarcerated, the Sinaloa Cartel’s operations in Latin America could be altered, Rodríguez Luna said. The Sinaloa Cartel is the largest and most powerful transnational criminal organization in the world, but with El Chapo incarcerated, it could break up into smaller drug trafficking groups, Rodríguez Luna said. What is next for the Sinaloa Cartel? The fall of Pablo Escobar Mexican Marines capture ‘El Chapo’ By Dialogo March 09, 2014 Possible violence in Guatemala A similar fragmentation may occur now that El Chapo is incarcerated, the security analyst said. A breakup of the Sinaloa Cartel could unleash a wave of violence in Latin America and in Mexico, as El Chapo’s lieutenants fight for power, the security analyst said. “This would be typical of a realignment of roles, part of a realignment of power,” Rodríguez Luna said. “The small cartels – the ‘cartelitos’ – would try to fill the gaps, and El Chapo’s lieutenants may fight over the structure of the organization and profits.” Members of the Sinaloa Cartel in Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador and Ecuador are watching to see who will take El Chapo’s place as leader of the transnational criminal organization. El Chapo may be replaced by his top lieutenant, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, according to published reports. “There is a lot of money at stake, hitmen, high-powered weapons, and drugs,” Rodríguez Luna said. The Sinaloa Cartel traffics drugs to the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa and Asia — 50 countries in all, according to the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration. Mexican Marines and police agents captured El Chapo in the early morning hours on February 22, 2014 inside a condominium in Mazatlan, in his home state of Sinaloa. Security forces captured the fugitive drug kingpin without firing a single shot. The capture ended a 13-year search for the fugitive drug lord, who escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001. While the capture of El Chapo is a major blow against the Sinaloa Cartel, the transnational criminal organization will continue to operate, according to Rodríguez Luna and two other security analysts, Freddy Rivera of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), which is based in Ecuador, and Sandino Asturias of the Center for Guatemalan Studies (CEG). The transnational criminal organization has a stable structure, which will allow it to operate with El Chapo in custody, the security analysts said. The capture of El Chapo may not have an immediate impact in Ecuador, where the Sinaloa Cartel relies on alliances with local gangs to transport drugs, Rivera said. In the short term, Ecuador may experience an increase in violence, as Colombian and Peruvian criminal organizations and other Mexican cartels attempt to take advantage of El Chapo’s capture by trying to take control of key drug trafficking routes, the security analyst said. Drug trafficking adjustments in Colombia Security forces in Ecuador are gathering intelligence on the reaction of drug trafficking groups to the capture of El Chapo, Rivera said. Ecuador is prepared to cooperate with the security forces of other partner nations to combat drug trafficking, Rivera said. The Sinaloa Cartel works with Ecuadorian gangs to transport drugs throughout the country and north of the border. Ecuador is not a drug-producing country, but it is used as a storage place and transport route by the Sinaloa Cartel, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and organized crime groups from Russia, Nigeria, and China, according to the World Drug Report 2013, issued by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The Sinaloa Cartel, through the criminal gang Los Rastrojos, controls drug cultivation and methamphetamine labs on the border with Ecuador. It also controls the guerrilla group’s drug crops and laboratories in Norte de Santander, one of the strategic areas where coca is transported to Venezuela. Ecuador is one of the ten countries around the world that has had the most success in recent years in the fight against drug trafficking operations, according to the report. Drug traffickers move around 120,000 kilograms of cocaine from Colombia and Peru through Ecuador every year, according to the report “Situation Analysis of Drug Trafficking, A Police Perspective”, prepared by the American Police Community (AMERIPOL). That is what happened to international Colombian drug cartels which Latin American security forces broke up in the 1990s, Rodríguez Luna said. For example, in December 1992, Colombian security forces killed Pablo Escobar, the leader of the Medellin Cartel. The cartel had produced and transported cocaine to Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The cartel had its own airplanes, and flew huge amounts of cocaine to the U.S. After the death of Escobar, the Cali Cartel took over the international cocaine trade for about two years, until security forces captured its leaders. By the mid-1990s, smaller organized crime groups, like the Norte del Valle Cartel and the BACRIM were controlling the cocaine trafficking trade in Colombia and other parts of Latin America, according to Rodríguez Luna.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Every once in awhile, Congress will surprise you, like it did Wednesday when members of both the House and Senate struck down President Barack Obama’s veto of a bill that would permit family members of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia.The overwhelming bi-partisan support for still-grieving families served as a humiliating rebuke for both Obama and Saudi Arabia, America’s closest ally in the Middle East, which has recently come under increased scrutiny despite an entrenched alliance that deepened after 9/11.In an appearance at a CNN town hall event Wednesday evening, President Obama said the vote was a “mistake” and would set a “dangerous precedent” for people abroad to bring suits against the United States.The bill, officially titled the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA),” opens the door for victims’ families of the Sept. 11 attacks to effectively take Saudi Arabia to court and examine whether officials within the government provided financial or logistical support to the 9/11 hijackers.“It’s very gratifying,” Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), the sponsor of the House version of the bill, told the Press. “I really feel strongly for the 9/11 families; they fought hard on this.”The Senate voted overwhelmingly—97-1—to override the president’s veto on Wednesday. The House vote was 348-77. A two-thirds majority in Congress is required to overturn a presidential veto.The bipartisan vote was “one of the few times since 9/11 you saw real congressional unity today,” King added. Obama ReactsThe emotional appeal from 9/11 families underscored how sensitive the vote was—and Obama acknowledged as much during the CNN town hall.“It’s an example of why sometimes you have to do what’s hard, and frankly, I wish Congress here had done what’s hard,” Obama said. “I didn’t expect it, because if you’re perceived as voting against 9/11 families right before an election, not surprisingly, that’s a hard vote for people to take. But it would have been the right thing to do.”CIA Director John Brennan also reacted with disappointment, saying the law “will have grave implications for the national security.”“The most damaging consequence would be for those US Government officials who dutifully work overseas on behalf of our country,” Brennan said in a statement. “The principle of sovereign immunity protects US officials every day, and is rooted in reciprocity. If we fail to uphold this standard for other countries, we place our own nation’s officials in danger.”Obama has argued that the measure would make the US vulnerable to similar lawsuits brought by victims of American-led operations.America’s Long WarThe White House’s opposition to the measure comes as Obama has expanded the parameters in which the US fights alleged militants around the world.As commander-in-chief, Obama has bombed at least seven predominantly Muslim countries using ubiquitous predator drone strikes and manned aircraft, causing hundreds of civilian deaths. He’s also deployed US Special Forces into countries, such as Libya, that the United States is not in hostilities with. In almost all instances, the administration cites the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force resolution, enacted three days after 9/11, to justify its actions.Ironically, the United States has helped weaponize the Saudi-led coalition that has decimated and destabilized Yemen, killing upwards of 10,000 people—almost half of whom were civilians, according to human rights groups, as part of its offensive against Houthi rebels. Among the civilian causalities were patients at a Yemeni hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders and attendees at a couple of wedding parties.That the United States supports the Saudi government is of no surprise. Saudi Arabia is a long-time ally in the Middle East, serving as a counterweight to Iran, the kingdom’s chief rival in the region.But Rep. King says suggestions that Saudi Arabia will suddenly rethink its close relationship with the United States, or even sneer at Congress’ rebuke, are off-base.“I support America’s involvement with Saudi Arabia against terrorism,” the congressman said in a phone interview. “They have improved in many ways, and we are involved in a number of activities with them right now, which I support.”“The reason I’m not strongly concerned about a Saudi response—even though you have to take it into account—is, basically, the Saudis are survivors,” he added. “They don’t act based on hurt feelings. They realize it’s in their interest to maintain a close relationship with the US, at this time. It could always change in the future.”Scrutiny On SaudisThis is the second time in three months Washington has risked alienating the Saudis.In July, Congress released more than two dozen long-classified pages from the so-called “9/11 Commission Report”—a voluminous analysis by the bipartisan National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, which investigated the circumstances leading up to, including and following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. Known as the “28 Pages,” the recently released portion pertained to Saudi Arabia’s alleged involvement in the tragedy, since 15 of the 19 hijackers hailed from the kingdom.The report did not explicitly link the Saudi Arabian royal family to the attacks, but was ambiguous enough to welcome speculation.“While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi Government,” the commission wrote in the report.“There is information, primarily from FBI sources, that at least two of those individuals were alleged by some to be Saudi intelligence officers,” it continued. “The joint inquiry’s review confirmed that the Intelligence Community also has information, much of which has yet to be independently verified, indicating that individuals associated with the Saudi Government in the United States may have other ties to al [Qaeda] and other terrorist groups.”Saudi Arabia has maintained that its rulers played no role in the 9/11 attacks.Now that JASTA has passed Congress’ muster—and survived a presidential veto—American families have the opportunity to take the Saudi government to court.The legislation notes that “persons, entities, or countries that knowingly or recklessly contribute material support or resources, directly or indirectly, to persons or organizations that pose a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism…should reasonably anticipate being brought to court in the United States to answer for such activities.”Supporters of the veto override were ecstatic.“We are overwhelmingly grateful that Congress did not let us down. The victims of 9/11 have fought for 15 long years to make sure that those responsible for the senseless murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children, and injuries to thousands others, are held accountable,” Terry Strada, national chair of the 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism, said in a statement. “JASTA becoming law is a tremendous victory toward that effort. We rejoice in this triumph and look forward to our day in court and a time when we may finally get more answers regarding who was truly behind the attacks.”
Submitted to Sumner Newscow â€” The Slate Creek Valley Ringnecks Pheasants Forever chapter is holding its second annual fundraising banquet on February 22, 2014 at the Community Building in Caldwell. The doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner served at 6 p.m. The event is open to the public and those interested in conservation, hunting, and wildlife are encouraged to attend.Travis Cook, Slate Creek Valley Ringnecks chapter president, said the banquet is the single most important fundraising event during the year. Everyone concerned with local ring-necked pheasants and wildlife populations in general is encouraged to attend. There will be good food, good prizes, and fun for the whole family.â€œWhen it comes to conservation, there are a lot of people out there who would like to make a positive difference in the restoration and preservation of farmland wildlife, but just donâ€™t know how to go about doing it,â€ Cook said. â€œSince our national organizationâ€™s inception in 1982, PF chapter members have planted 30 million trees, purchased 127,000 acres of upland and wetland habitat open to public hunting, and completed habitat projects on more than 5 million acres.â€â€œAttending a Pheasants Forever banquet is an excellent way to contribute to a good cause because our county chapter retains all of the money (exclusive of membership fees) we raise and uses this money for habitat work with farmers and landowners in our immediate area,â€ Cook said.According to Cook, the Pheasants Forever committee members will be calling on conservation-minded individuals in the county to help support the banquet. For more information on tickets and the Pheasants Forever banquet contact Travis Cook at (620) 200-0652 or visit http://pheasantsforeverevents.org/event/657.