Archive for the ‘drug war’ Category

Recalling Ciudad Juarez and the dead in the US-Mexico border drug war

March 9, 2009

I could just imagine Ciudad Juarez, a border city of Mexico close to El Paso, Texas which had become a killing field of warring drug lords in the area. I was there when the warm dusty place South of the border was still peaceful, about two decades ago.

“Nearly 40 percent of the dead last year tested positive for cocaine or marijuana. About 20 percent were never claimed by their families, many out of fear. Cardboard boxes with bloodstained cowboy boots, cell phones and bulletproof vests are stacked to the ceiling in the crime lab…Ciudad Juarez, a city of 1.3 million across the border from El Paso, Texas, has a modern, estimated $15 million morgue and crime lab thanks to international support after another notorious spate of killings — the Women of Juarez. More than 400 women have been raped, strangled and dumped in the desert since 1993.”—-Yahoo News/ AP (03/08/09, Watson, J)

It’s appalling to know Ciudad Juarez which brings memories of cities in the Philippines has become a perilous place to be. The Mexicans living there whom I met were very friendly. As a group, they share many character traits of Filipinos. I feel sorry they are now in harms way as criminality surges in the area.

The rivalry for narcotics peddlers in the drug corridor had been fierce. Last year more than 6,290 died in drug-related killings which gripped both Mexicans and Americans living where gangs and their members operate.

Eight weeks after the start of 2009, a record number—-more than 1,000 people were mercilessly murdered, making the peace and order situation in the area worse. The morgues had been swamped with bodies of murdered victims, many with signs of foul play.

The Mexican army is being asked to help contain the spate of violence which makes even the morgue workers afraid. US students and tourists planning to travel in trouble-spots in Mexico are being warned of the dangerous situation.(Photo Credit: Hobby-Photographs) =0=

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US-Mexican drug bust yields 750 suspects, $59 million worth of drugs & weapons

February 26, 2009

Affirming the gravity of the drug wars in Mexico, federal agents from the United States have rounded up 750 suspected members of narcotics cartels from south of the border. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) picked up more than 50 drug gang members in separate overnight raids in California, Minnesota, Washington DC, and various US cities.

The arrests were mainly Sinaloa cartel members who were linked to the bloody drug wars over controls of narcotics smuggling routes in Mexico and USA. In a international law enforcement operation which spanned for about 2 years in Mexico, USA and Canada, had earlier snared 700 notorious law-breakers in the crime wave. $59 million worth of drugs and weapons, $12,000 kg. of cocaine, 1200 kg. of methampethamines, more than 1,300 ecstasy pills and 160 weapons were recovered.

“The department (US State) warns of the increased border violence and advises revelers to several destinations, including Matamoros and Nuevo Progresso, popular destinations for spring breakers on South Padre Island, Texas, to ‘exercise commonsense precautions such as visiting only the well-traveled business and tourism areas of border towns during daylight and early-evening hours.’“ —AOL News/ AP (02/25/09, Barrett, D)

Attorney General Eric Holder says the illegal narcotics trade, kidnappings, and murders have crossed over into the US territory. The problem can be minimized if the ban to sell assault weapons which are used in turf wars of drug kingpins is reinstituted.

About 6,000 people died in drug-related violence last year. American law enforcers laud Mexican president Felipe Calderon’s on-going campaign against narcotics cartels which exert influence over corrupt government officials.

Because of the dangers brought about by illegal drugs, money laundering, and narctics traffic, the US State Department has issued warnings of violence, kidnappings, and murders to prospective American travelers. This advisory is extended to an estimated 100,000 US students who’re planning to come to Mexico in the coming spring break. Private individuals have to take responsibility to counter the drug problems in their community. (Photo Credit: Aziritt) =0=

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Narcotics war in US-Mexican border worsens

February 12, 2009

After 6,000 people died in drug related murders in Mexico last year, the slayings have no signs of stopping. Mexican police discovered five bullet-riddled vehicles on February 11, 2009 in a wave of killings that brought new fatalities, a result of gang violence escalating South of the border. Drug lords have become bolder to instill fear and challenge the government of President Felipe Calderon in his effort to curb the narcotics trafficking, drug cartels, kidnappings, and vendetta murders.

About 80 miles south of the border from El Paso, Texas, in Villa Ahumada, a small village of 1,500 people, fresh violence erupted. Last year, the town was virtually overrun by savage drug gangs last year when two consecutive police chiefs and two officers were murdered. For fear for their lives, the remaining 20 members of the police force quit their jobs. The Mexican military had to take over.

On Tuesday, February 10, 2009, nine individuals were kidnapped and six of them were believed to have been executed. A shoot-out which rescued three people resulted to the bloody death of seven gunmen and one police officer. —–Yahoo.News.com / AP (02/11/09, Watson, J)

Many citizens have died senselessly in the crossfire of gang violence. The rise in criminality is a cause of concern for United States and Mexico whose shared Southern border has been a favorite conduit of narcotics trade and serves as entry point for illegal aliens in North America.

With the slump of the economy in the United States, many Mexicans have lost their jobs and turned into drug trade and abductions for ransom. The dollar remittance of expatriate Mexicans which shore up their country’s economy has slowed.

It is said that if the warring drug kingpins learn to get along, by joining forces, they have the strength to trash President Calderon’s administration. Drug lords and their minions have increasing influence in Mexican society; their nefarious activities have crossed over the USA. There is real danger of chaos which can distabilize and bring down the government. (Photo Credit: Guachito Caletano; MashGet x 2) =0=

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"Random Drug Testing" during school enrollment

February 5, 2009

To find a result that does not have a “deterministic pattern” is one reason why tests are done on a random basis. Randomness entails lack of order and predictability. If random drug testing in Manila will be done during the enrollment period as suggested by Manila Police District head Roberto Rosales, the result of the tests could be skewed. Accuracy and reliability might be compromised.

By knowing that the test will conducted on a specified time (i.e during enrollment,) high school and college students expecting the lab exam can change their drug behavior to coincide with the test and therefore lend bias to the result. Without the element of surprise, those who opt against being caught using illicit drugs can skip a few days or weeks of the drug so they can get a negative result.

If Police officer Rosales will propose enrollment drug testing to Mayor Alfredo Lim, both men must be told of this potential test bias. Otherwise, the effort and money to be spent in this activity may only go to waste. (Photo Credit: Reynolds/ Sweetwarrior)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “DOH’s plan to spend P90 million for random drug testing” Posted by mesiamd at 1/30/2009

DOH’s plan to spend P90 million for random drug testing

January 30, 2009


The Department of Health (DOH) plans to spend P90 million on random drug testing for high school and college students. Supposedly, the money is earmarked to develop manpower and laboratory resources for the test which is expected to give teeth to the fight against drugs in the country.

On the basis of trying to find out the prevalence of drug abuse the Commission of Higher Education (CHED,) DOH and its secretary Dr. Francisco Duque believe the testing is justified. They chorused it is needed in setting up strategies in controlling the problem as Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo steps up her campaign against illegal drugs.

According to Inquirer (01/29/09 Pazzibugan, D,) the test will be done in the next 7 to 9 months on 87,000 students from 8,750 high schools and 2,000 colleges nationwide. Based on past random drug testing, about 0.8% of 8,670 high school students and 0.5% of 7,499 college students tested positive for drugs. Notably, those who tested positive (majority use marijuana) aren’t a lot compared to many Filipinos who are sick and in need of urgent medical attention.

Does it mean that the government is willing to spend P1,034.48 for every student in order to track down about 696 students, the 0.8% who are expected to be positive in the test? If they find out who are positive, do the authorities have additional money to “treat & rehabilitate” them? Will the money for drug testing be better used for other serious health problems that involve a larger number of people who may need more medical attention—-i.e. tuberculosis, malaria, dengue? Or can funds be used to improve the facilities of schools?

Why is testing being planned for the teachers and not for other professionals? Why doesn’t the government directly run after the drug dealers? How come only the students and teachers are being singled out to undergo the test? Why can’t they not include the regular workers, unemployed, drivers, military personnel etc.? What are the safeguards that medical information culled from the testing will be handled confidentially and not be used or abused for other purpose? Isn’t privacy violated and civil liberties invaded when this testing is done?

The above questions may help in deciding if the controversial drug testing plan is worthwhile to pursue. At this time of economic crisis, wise spending can go a long way in helping the neediest. If a law on drug testing is to be applied fairly, it must cover the entire population and not single out a particular group. Organizations like the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) have valid reasons to oppose the rationale and legality of this plan. (Photo Credit: Mooosh; Suntoksabwan; Latin Snake) =0=

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Mexican narcotics gangland: 5,376 murders in 2008

December 9, 2008

If terrorism which alarms the Indians in Mumbai and Pakistanis in Islamabad, half around the world, the Mexicans are worried about the escalation of narcotics-related deaths. Organized slaying south of the border of the United States has doubled since the start of the year. Illegal drug dealers have been fighting for narcotics dominance in their location.

Mexican law enforcement has also been hit by the biggest corruption scandal in a decade in recent months, as more than a dozen high-ranking officials in police and prosecutors’ offices have been detained or charged for allegedly passing information to the cartels.”—AP (12/08/08, Castillo, Ed)

Compared to the 2,477 slayings of last year, the number of drug related deaths in 2008 rose to 117 percent, a total of 5,376 murders. The number is more than 1.5x than the casualty of the terror of 911. The brutal killings in Mexico were results of long-standing quarrels involving trade routes, street sales, and leadership in the narcotics cartel.

The wave of beheadings, mutilations, and shootings prompted the US government to release $197 million, part of the $400 million assistance to support Mexico’s police and soldiers in a cooperative campaign against narco-terrorism.

According to reports, the rise in murders coincides with the split of the Beltran-Leyva gang this year from the dominant cartel headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman igniting fightings between competing factions. Moreover, the weakening of the US economy has left many jobless Mexicans lured to the drug business.

A sharp decline in border crossings from Mexico is noted as few jobs for laborers, mainly in agriculture and service jobs, are available. Rising unemployment fuels the illegal drug trade and crime.(Photo Credit: 3.bp.blogspot.com)=0=

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