drug trade

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In North Korea, You Want Meth With That?

The drug is everywhere, not frowned upon, and a budding cottage industry

(Newser) - North Korea's growing drug problems are fairly well documented, and the Los Angeles Times today takes a deeper dive into the reasons driving the rise, particularly that of crystal meth. In a harsh nation where the sins of an uncle can doom an entire branch of the family tree... More »

Bolivians Toss $1M From Low-Flying Plane

And anti-drug cops swoop in to grab it

(Newser) - Kind of a risky way to pay people, isn't it? Alleged drug dealers ran into trouble last weekend by throwing more than $1 million from a low-flying plane in Bolivia, the BBC reports. Police saw the whole thing, arrested three Bolivian nationals on the ground, and grabbed the bag... More »

Calderon: US Appetite Drives Drug Trade

Mexican prez again slams Arizona law before joint session

(Newser) - Mexican President Felipe Calderon took his opposition to Arizona's new immigration law to Congress today: "It is a law that not only ignores a reality that cannot be erased by decree but also introduced a terrible idea using racial profiling," he told a joint session. Speaking in English,... More »

Los Angeles Gangs Make Peace to Boost Profits

Blood red and Crip blue make green

(Newser) - After decades of violent conflict, Los Angeles gangs like the Bloods and Crips are joining together across racial divides and neighborhood turf lines—not to end their life of crime, but to make more money from it. Gang violence in Southern California has plummeted in recent years as longtime enemy... More »

Karzai's Brother on CIA Payroll: Insiders

Ahmed Wali Karzai has been linked to Afghanistan drug trade

(Newser) - The brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been on the CIA’s payroll for much of the past 8 years, a time during which he’s boosted his personal power in a large area of southern Afghanistan—and been linked to the opium trade. Ahmed Wali Karzai denies the... More »

Taliban Money Men Outwit US

Diverse revenue streams defy crackdown efforts

(Newser) - The Taliban is thriving financially, despite the US’ best efforts to clamp down on its cash flow, thanks to a sophisticated collection of revenue streams including foreign donations, criminal activities, and drug trade profits. “I don’t believe we can significantly alter their effectiveness by cutting off their money... More »

Colombia Gunmen Slaughter 12 on Indian Reservation

(Newser) - Hooded men killed 12 indigenous victims this morning in a Colombian region notorious for coca plantations and armed rebel activity, BBC reports. At least four children were among family members killed in a dawn raid on an Awa tribal reservation, where both Marxist and right-wing rebels are active. The gunmen... More »

Mexican Cops Busted in 12 Federal Agent Murders

(Newser) - Ten Mexican police officers have been arrested in the torture-murder of a dozen federal agents whose mangled corpses were found along a highway in the western state of Michoacan, reports the BBC. Local police are believed to regularly take payoffs from drug traffickers. Some 5,000 heavily armed troops have... More »

Let's Lock Up Casual Drug Users

Addicts need help, but casual users need jail: Monbiot

(Newser) - The head of the UN drug and crime office recommended last week that casual drug use be decriminalized and said users "need medical help, not criminal prosecution." We should certainly help addicts, but casual users of marijuana and cocaine belong in jail, George Monbiot of the Guardian writes.... More »

US-Built Bridge Supports Afghan Drug Trade

$37M project facilitates opium smuggling into Tajikistan

(Newser) - A US-built bridge linking Afghanistan and Tajikistan that cost taxpayers $37 million has greatly benefited exporters of Afghan opium, McClatchy reports. The bridge over the Panj river was supposed to facilitate commerce between the two nations, but the surging flow of opium across Afghanistan’s northern border threatens to turn... More »

US to Change Tactics in Afghan Drug War

(Newser) - The US is changing tactics in its war against the Afghan opium trade, the AP reports. Rather than targeting crops for eradication, the US will focus on interdiction and alternative crop programs. A top administration official called eradication “a waste of money” that failed to divert “a single... More »

Stanford Was a Drug Informant: Report

Fraudster was likely shielded from SEC in 2006 for his trouble

(Newser) - Allen Stanford may have received earlier protection from the SEC by working as a drug trade informant, a BBC investigation has found. The accused fraudster’s bank paid $3.1 million to the DEA a decade ago as a middleman for a Mexican drug lord, and in 2006 an SEC... More »

Myanmar Gov't, Rebels on Collision Course

(Newser) - The tense peace between Myanmar’s military rulers and various armed ethnic groups may fracture into war next year when the government implements a controversial new constitution, the New York Times reports. The constitution requires the rebels to disarm, without granting them the de facto autonomy they currently enjoy in... More »

Vastly Corrupt Afghan Cops Await US Trainers

Obama's plan to train cops faces tough challenge

(Newser) - The 4,000 troops President Obama is sending to train Afghanistan's police and army will run straight into a formidable wall of corruption that undermines national security at every turn, American soldiers tell the New York Times. Cops pilfer gas, judges take money, top officials profit from the drug trade,... More »

Clinton in Mexico: US Demand Fuels Drug Wars

Envoy frank on Mexico violence, promises more American help

(Newser) - America’s “insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade,” Hillary Clinton said in Mexico today, striking an unusually blunt tone in addressing the US role in that country’s disastrous drug-related violence. “Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to... More »

Taliban Stockpiles Surplus Opium

This year's crop was double global demand

(Newser) - The Taliban is stockpiling opium in Afghanistan, where high yields in recent years have led to a surplus, the UN drug office says. Poppy cultivation is less widespread than it once was, but the high yield offsets the contraction—and allowed the Taliban to make $300 million off opium last... More »

Drug Smugglers' Subs Could Open US to Terrorists

Semi-submersibles are difficult to detect

(Newser) - Semi-submersible boats used to smuggle drugs into the US could provide a path into the country for terrorists or their weapons, the Boston Globe reports. “If drug cartels can ship up to 10 tons of cocaine in a semi-submersible, they can clearly ship or rent space to a terrorist... More »

Wash. Vineyards Flush With Pot Crop

110K marijuana plants already confiscated this year

(Newser) - Washington state is cracking down on drug dealers' latest innovation: Using vineyards to secretly grow marijuana crops, the AP reports. Police have made 22 arrests this year and confiscated 110,000 pot plants from the Yakima Valley alone, worth more than $100 million. But tracking dealers isn't easy: Some are... More »

Colombian Rebels Confirm Leader's Death

Marulanda, 78, died of a heart attack 'in arms of his companion'

(Newser) - A top Colombian rebel confirmed the death of FARC chief Manuel Marulanda in a TV interview today. Marulanda died of a heart attack 2 months ago, at age 78, "in the arms of his companion," he said. With "Sureshot" gone, new rebel leader Alfonso Cano may struggle... More »

Afghan Deputy Governor, 5 Others Killed in Mosque Attack

Bombing comes amid 'failed state' warnings

(Newser) - A suicide bomber in Afghanistan killed six people, including the deputy governor of the dangerous Helmand province, in an attack inside a mosque today. At least 11 others were injured in the explosion in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, a focus of reconstruction programs led by the British army,... More »

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