Archive for Drugs

Sensational Headline Watch

I get it that the rest of you don’t share my fascination with the scandalous events down Mexico way. I didn’t care either until Obama tried to describe that dangerously lawless land as some sort of sun-soaked Swiss canton, and dismissed media reports of cartel killings and corruption as “sensational headlines”.

I said dangerous and I mean dangerous. Not just Mexico, but Obama too.

Can you believe this [bleep]?

What do the September disappearance of 43 university students from the custody of local police in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, and new allegations of federal corruption in the awarding of public infrastructure contracts have in common? Answer: They both show that Mexico still has a huge problem enforcing the rule of law.

Until now the president has been able to ignore Mexico’s legendary lawlessness. He has been riding an international wave of excitement around the opening of the energy sector, with few questions asked. But unless he wants to make common cause with the hard left—which thinks it has him on the ropes because of the missing students—he needs to admit his mistakes, purge his cabinet and make the rule of law job No. 1.

The rule of law? In Mexico? It would be easier to wrap my head around string theory than to comprehend such a reality.

To show that Mexico is committed to ending impunity and to improving public security, the president should use his influence to push for the full implementation of the new criminal code mandating that all federal and state judicial systems move, by 2016, to the oral accusatorial system, away from Mexico’s traditional written, inquisitional system.

Monterrey lawyer Ernesto Canales founded the civic group Renace (Spanish for “rebirth”) in 1994 to work for this reform in his home state of Nuevo León. In an interview in New York in the spring he told me that the change will “mean an increase in substance over formality in public trials and an increase in transparency. It will also raise the odds that judges actually know what’s going on in their courtrooms.”

Sounds important. Yet congressional approval of the federal regulations necessary to complete the reform is moving at a glacial pace, and the judiciary is in no hurry to comply. Many of the 32 states have yet to make the transition.

Everyone knows why: The oral system will challenge the traditional use of the criminal-justice system as a profit center for the state. In that tradition the accused can either pay or do time. Culpability is beside the point, and there is no need for competitive police salaries, forensics or transparent protocols to ensure accountability and communication among municipal, state and federal authorities.

Simply put, everything in Mexican justice (again with the incomprehensible concepts!) is available for purchase, from a speeding ticket to charges of multi-billion dollar international drug smuggling.

And all Obama saw fit to mention was Frida Kahlo and Octavio Paz.

Mexico may be dangerous, but is anything more dangerous than a “raging narcissist” (HT Pat Caddell) who believes anything he says, simply because he’s the one saying it?

Understand me: it’s not about Mexico; it’s about Obama. And it’s bad news.

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Where’s Their Hashtag?

#bringbackourburnedanddecomposedstudents

The 43 Mexican students who disappeared in southern Mexico in September were abducted by police on order of a local mayor, and are believed to have been turned over to a gang that killed them and burned their bodies before throwing some remains in a river, the nation’s attorney general said Friday.

That’s quite a mouthful right there.

This is the conclusion that investigators have reached, Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said, though he cautioned that it cannot be known with certainty until DNA tests confirm the identities.

This will be a challenge, he said, as the badly burned fragments make it difficult to extract DNA.

“I have to identify, to do everything in my power, to identify, to know if these were the students,” Murillo said.

You may wonder why there would be any doubt. Is Mexico so riddled with dead bodies that they can’t tell their atrocities apart?

Yes. It is:

The initial shock of the police rampage that day had barely set in when the attorney general for the state of Guerrero, Iñaky Blanco Cabrera, announced that over the weekend investigators had exhumed the contents of six mass graves discovered on a densely wooded parcel of land outside of Iguala. The assumption was that the abducted students might be among the cadavers. The initial body count was estimated at 28, but subsequent reports raised the estimate to 34.

Now the Mexican Federal Government has taken note. A cordon of about 200 Mexican Army soldiers, Marines and Federal Police stood guard as the bodies were exhumed from a hilly stretch of nearly inaccessible woodland known as Pueblo Viejo. The bodies had been piled onto dry branches and logs, doused in gasoline, and set afire. DNA testing is underway to identity the cadavers, which at the time of discovery were burned beyond recognition. But four members of a drug cartel known as Guerreros Unidos that operates in Iguala, who are currently in police custody, told investigators that they knew of 17 student activists transported to the killing ground of Pueblo Viejo.

This may have been the fate of some of the students. The rest sleep with the fishes:

The suspects told police they don’t remember exactly how many people they killed, but they were told by their leaders that there were more than 40, Murillo said.

The abducted men were then burned at the dump in a fire that was kept alive for at least 14 hours by adding diesel fuel, tires and debris, the attorney general said.

The next day, the gang members were ordered to further break up the remains and place them in black garbage bags that were tossed into the San Juan River, Murillo said.

Scuba divers searched the river and found pieces of the bags and remains. One bag was found intact, with human remains inside, the attorney general said.

Really, BTL, is this necessary? Must we know the gruesome and ghastly details of a drug cartel mass murder?

Well, I think you do. Otherwise, you’d believe this:

It is wonderful to be back in México — lindo y querido. (Applause.)

And it’s an honor to be back in Mexico City — one of the world’s great cities. Es un placer estar entre amigos. (Applause.)

In modern times, Mexico’s blend of cultures and traditions found its expression in the murals of Rivera and the paintings of Frida, and the poetry of Sor Juana and the essays of Octavio Paz. [And the charred cadavers of students? ed]

Some Americans only see the Mexico that is depicted in sensational headlines of violence and border crossings.

Thus was born my lengthy series of posts under the title Sensation Headline Watch. Some of you may remember them.

My point then and now wasn’t to wallow in the lurid, blood-spattered, fly-swarmed mess that is Mexico in “modern times”. Anyone can see that. My point was—and is—to warn that Obama is so dishonest, so deceiving (not least self deceiving), that he would try to portray the corpse flower that is today’s Mexico as a rose in June. He might even believe it, as he might even believe anything he says (“without a Negro dialect unless he wants to have one” ©Harry Reid).

Mexico may be fighting back against the drug cartels that so brutally rule so much of its territory. It may be punishing the corruption that runs through every level of its government. It may mean well.

But it is still, well, mean. Millions of Mexicans may long for peace and prosperity, may yearn to have the time (and literacy) to read the essays of Octavio Paz. But as long as the government and organized crime are two sides of the same peso, Mexico is a hot zone—one to be avoided and quarantined as Sierra Leone, which it so closely resembles.

PS: That Mexico is not quarantined is made obvious by the reports of cartel activity across the United States.

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Glad He’s Okay!

Boy, haven’t we all been there!

Councilman Marion Barry, the former mayor of D.C., was spotted driving the wrong way down Pennsylvania Avenue before colliding with another car, MyFoxDC reported.

According to a spokesperson, Barry had a hypoglycemic attack as a result of his diabetes, and was taken to a local hospital. The spokesperson said he did not black out before the accident.

Just after 11:30 p.m., Barry tweeted, “Just want to let everyone know that I’m fine. I had a hypoglycemic attack (low sugar) & had a minor fender bender. Everyone is ok. :).” A short time later, he tweeted, “Thank you everyone for the calls and well-wishes. I thank God for his grace, @HowardU, @dcfireems, family and friends. Much love, MB.”

Barry struggled with addiction while serving as mayor and served six months in prison after he was videotaped smoking crack cocaine.

What are you insinuating? Can’t a man have an innocent attack of low blood sugar without people jumping to conclusions? Let he who has never driven the wrong way down a major thoroughfare and then crashed into another car cast the first stone.

And if you think that’s inappropriate:

The accident was the second recent driving mishap for the Barry family.

Marion Barry’s only son was arrested last week after he was caught driving on a revoked license.

Christopher Barry, 34, has had several recent brushes with the law, including an arrest in May near the White House for driving under the influence of drugs. His license had already been revoked, and he was ordered not to drive until further notice.

Court documents show he was caught driving again on Wednesday and arrested. The documents show he was also in possession of synthetic marijuana.

On Thursday, D.C. Superior Court Judge Karen Howze ordered Christopher Barry jailed until a hearing on Aug. 7.

So? What does that have to do with “hypoglycemia”?

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Something Happened

And somebody did it. Beyond that, who knows?

On Thursday morning between midnight and 6 a.m. at least one Mexican military helicopter crossed eight miles into the United States and shot at Border Patrol agents with lethal force before returning to Mexican territory. The incident occurred in an area notorious for violent drug cartel activity just west of the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation during a Border Patrol drug interdiction operation. The timing and location of the incident has prompted agents to believe the use of the helicopter by the Mexican military may have been on behalf of drug cartels operating in the area.

“Mexican military are oftentimes working hand in glove with the cartels. The Mexican military has routinely crossed the border in areas that Border Patrol agents are actively tracking or seizing drug loads. Inevitably the Mexican military claim they got lost, that the border was not clearly marked, or in extreme cases fire on agents to cover their retreat,” National Border Patrol Council Spokesman Shawn Moran exclusively tells Townhall. “Ajo, AZ Border Patrol agents have had several incidents like this over the years where they have taken shots from the Mexican military. The cartels’ resources are nearly limitless and it would not surprise me if they “rented” the cover by the Mexican military helicopter in this incident.”

A Border Patrol agent stationed in Arizona, who asked to remain anonymous, backed up Moran’s statements saying the Mexican military regularly works with cartels on the border and has been doing so for years.

That’s one way of telling it. Here’s another:

Tomas Zeron, director of the Mexican attorney general’s investigative office, offered a different story Friday.

While acknowledging Mexican authorities were conducting an operation “on the border,” Zeron said, “I do not think we crossed the border because we brought our navigation. But it was just 100 meters from the border.”

He said helicopters from the attorney general’s office and defense ministry “were shot at by criminals,” several of whom were later apprehended by Mexican authorities.

“The only ones doing the shooting were those that we have now detained,” Zeron said.

The first U.S. source said that Mexican authorities have called U.S. authorities and acknowledged a mistake, saying shots were fired from the helicopter after it accidentally crossed the border.

But Zeron gave no indication that any mistake was made or apology was necessary, suggesting that Mexican authorities did nothing wrong.

Hmm. So, who is this National Border Patrol Council? A bunch of white supremacists, militia wackos, and wannabe Klansmen?

Not as such:

The NBPC is a professional labor union representing more than 17,000 Border Patrol Agents and support staff. The NBPC was founded in 1967, and is recognized as one of the most effective labor organizations in the Federal sector. The NBPC’s parent organization is the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO.

No, if you want to label a government union as thugs and vigilantes, you mean the SEIU. These guys sound all right.

Who knows?

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A Federacy of Dunces

It is the nature of organizations and bureaucracies that when they don’t get some things done right, they don’t get anything done right. If they can’t keep the copier full of toner or the phone bills paid, they can’t keep the wheels falling off the cars, or the drug smugglers from the border:

U.S. officials have neglected the rise of drug trafficking and transnational criminal groups in Latin America for so long that the problem has now reached America’s southern border, creating a humanitarian crisis and raising the costs of any U.S. response, a leading U.S lawmaker and experts said on Tuesday.

Rep. Matt Salmon (R., Ariz.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) that the United States “has been AWOL in the hemisphere all together, not just in the war on drugs.” The most recent indication is the surge in young immigrant children crossing the U.S. border, where between 60,000 and 80,000 children are expected to seek safe haven this year.

“I Iay this at [President Barack Obama’s] doorstep,” Salmon said, pointing to administration policies such as deferred action that offer deportation relief for some undocumented immigrants who arrive as children. “It is because of his failed policies that this is happening.”

Transnational criminal groups have now begun to infiltrate corrupt governments and police forces in Central America and partner with gangs to traffic drugs, such as Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) in El Salvador. Honduras and El Salvador have some of the world’s highest murder rates—largely due to organized crime and gang-related violence.

However, U.S. military resources in the region have declined in recent years due to budget cuts known as sequestration. Marine Gen. John Kelly, head of U.S. Southern Command, told lawmakers at committee hearings earlier this year that he lacks the assets to interdict about three-fourths of “suspected maritime drug smuggling” into America.

“This shows us the lack of priority and focus that our government has given the scourge of drug trafficking right here in our own hemisphere,” Salmon said. “Violence near our shores poses a direct threat to our national security and destabilizes our region.”

I realize that many of the eff-ups of this administration are with problems not originally of their own making: Iraq, the VA system, Guantanamo and the war on terror, drug cartels, etc. all pre-existed Obama’s ascension to the seat of power. But after five and-a-half years in office, you own the nation and the world you have made.

This regime has been all about politics, nothing about power. If you have power and choose not to use it, others will: Al Qaeda, ISIS, China, Russia, MS-13. While we’ve been dic*ing around with ObamaCare, global warming, and equal treatment for shemales confused by their gender identity, those with a less nuanced view of the ways of the world (a 19th century view, as John Kerry once observed) just get on with it. If they want Iraq, Ukraine, some rocky islands in the western Pacific, or even Arizona, USA, they just take it. Who’s going to stop them, Obama? Putin’s still laughing. Assad’s sides still ache.

And as Arizona goes, so goes Ohio:

Sheriff’s detectives in rural northeast Ohio have made the county’s biggest drug seizure ever as part of an investigation that could have ties to Mexican drug cartels.

Investigators in Geauga County, east of Cleveland, raided a home in a secluded neighborhood in Newbury Township last week and seized 6 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, 2.2 pounds of black tar heroin, 100 pounds of marijuana and $128,000 in cash.

A sheriff’s department official says deputies arrested four people and that a number of loaded firearms were found during the raid. The official says it’s possible the ring had ties to Mexican drug cartels.

As columnist James Taranto likes to quote: “everything seemingly is spinning out of control”. Because it is. Obama’s chickens have come home to roost.

PS: What’s deliciously ironic about this story is that Obama has been telling us for months what an awesome country Mexico is behind those nasty “sensational headlines” of decapitated bodies and mass graves. Today, Nogales; tomorrow, Nebraska.

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It’s a Miracle!

Jesus turned water into wine.

But I’d like to see the righteous dude try this!

The Palestinian Authority continues to disseminate a modern form of blood libel against Israel – by claiming that Israel deliberately distributes drugs to harm Palestinian Arab society.

Adnan Al-Damiri, the official spokesman of the PA Security Forces, reiterated this libel in February, stating that Israel “has spit up and vomited a shocking amount of drugs onto our land,” according to Palestinian Media Watch.

He explained that the PA had even seized a lab “turning marijuana into heroin.”

Imagine your young Arab ne’er-do-well sparking up a blunt to get his mellow on, only to find himself passed out in his own vomit because it was smack, not weed. I hate when that happens!

I would say that the Arab propagandist needs to stop his racial incitement, but what he really needs to do is read up on botany. The big dummy.

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Hearts and Minds

I always thought that was an expression. Not a menu.

Ever eager to lear how President Obama thinks, I follow up on his claims and assertions to see how they stand up to… what is the word?

Reality.

The shooting deaths of seven men near the Mexico-Arizona border dramatize what appears to be an escalating use of the once-calm stretch of border as a drug trafficking corridor.

The seven men apparently were ambushed by rival drug traffickers in a rural area near Sonoyta, Mexico, close to the U.S. border crossing at Lukeville, Arizona, and their bodies were found inside a pickup truck Wednesday night, a day after the killings.

Authorities said Thursday that an eighth man was found wounded on a hill, and he told state police the victims had just dropped off marijuana when gunmen opened fire with automatic rifles on their pickup truck.

Well, that’ll happen sometimes.

This is a little unusual (I hope):

New members of a Mexican drug cartel were reportedly forced to eat children’s hearts as part of their initiation, according to authorities.

Details of the rituals were discovered by officials investigating an organ trafficking ring allegedly run by the infamous Knights Templar cartel.

The group’s leader Nazario Moreno, who was shot dead by police in March, allegedly ordered that recruits prove their loyalty through an act of cannibalism, the International Business Times reported.

“At [an] initiation ceremony they used the organs, in this case the heart, and forced people going through this initiatory process to eat it,” Alfredo Castillo, the federal government’s envoy to Michoacan, told a local radio station.

The majority of the hearts came from local children who had been kidnapped for organ trafficking purposes, authorities believe.

Waste not, want not!

I guess smuggling works up an appetite:

California has become the nation’s top entry for methamphetamine coming into the country, with over 70 percent of the U.S. supply of the drug being brought across the border into the Golden State by Mexican drug cartels, a new report states.

“The harm done by transnational criminal organizations to communities all across California is hard to overstate,” the report states. “Not only do these organizations threaten public health by driving the supply and distribution of harmful narcotics, but their alliances with violent prison and street gangs have sparked a rash of violence in a period of otherwise declining criminal activity.”

You know another word for “criminal activity”?

Crime:

The Sinaloa Cartel, headquartered on Mexico’s northern Pacific Coast, is constantly exploring new ways to launder its gargantuan profits. The State Department reports that Mexican trafficking organizations earn between $19 and $29 billion every year from selling marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines on the streets of American cities.

“It’s very important for them to get that money into the banking system and do so with as little scrutiny as possible,” says Jim Hayes, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations for the New York office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. He was lead agent in the 2012 case that revealed how Sinaloa money men used HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, as their private vault.

The bank ignored basic anti-money laundering controls, as the investigation found. In 2007 and 2008, the bank’s personnel in Mexico wired $7 billion dollars to corresponding U.S. dollar accounts in New York. These were more dollars than even larger Mexican banks wired to U.S. accounts. ICE says some of it was drug proceeds.

A U.S. Border Shelter That Attracts Asylum Seekers Far And Wide
Yet no red flags were raised because of what a bank official later described as, a “lack of a compliance culture” in the Mexico affiliate, according to the Senate report.

We’ll comply mañana.

But President Obama said Mexico was getting better! That it was practically Swiss in its devotion to the rule of law.

President Obama say a lot of [bleep]:

Little has improved in Mexico’s security since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in 2012, even with the arrest of the nation’s biggest drug kingpin and a government committed to improving the rule-of-law, some Mexican executives say.

Rogelio Velez, chief operating officer at railroad operator Ferrocarril Mexicano SA, said his company has spent 2.2 percent of its income in 2012 and 2013 to protect the company. Samantha Ricciardi, Mexico’s country head at BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, agreed that violence has remained at elevated levels and investors in the automotive hub of Queretaro state are concerned about safety.

Pena Nieto in his 2012 inaugural address vowed to reduce crime in Latin America’s second-biggest economy and shift Mexico’s focus away from the drug violence that has left more than 92,000 people dead or missing since 2006. While he captured drug cartel leaders including Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the world’s most-wanted criminal, kidnappings and extortions have increased under his watch.

“Basically we’re in the same place as before,” Ferromex’s Velez said today at the Bloomberg Mexico Economic Summit in Mexico City. “We haven’t been able to see in our numbers a security improvement.”

Them’s some pretty “sensational headlines”, don’t you think?

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Higados y Riñones

Regular readers know my interest in (more like obsession with) Mexican affairs since our president visited there last May. He described Mexico as a stable, cultured land of peaceful and literate happy people. Obama dismissed stories of drug cartel violence and political corruption as mere “sensational headlines”. That spawned my series of posts under the standing headline “Sensational Headline Watch”, detailing story after story of depravity, savagery, inhumanity—on our southern border.

Then Obama went back last month and pretty much repeated himself:

If you think about North America, to have three borders this long in which we share a common set of values, a common set of principles, a commitment to democracy, a commitment to free markets, a commitment to trade where we are allies and interact peacefully, that is a precious gift. And it’s one that I think all three of us are committed to building and nurturing for future generations.

How stupid does he think we are? This stupid:

Police in Mexico’s western state of Michoacan detained an alleged member of the Knights Templar cartel who is suspected of kidnapping children to harvest their organs, an official said on Monday.

Michoacan state Public Safety Secretary Carlos Castellanos Becerra alleged that Manuel Plancarte Gaspar was part of the cartel’s organ-trafficking ring.

The ring would kidnap children and take them to rented homes with medical equipment where their organs were removed, Castellanos Becerra charged.

A leader of one of the local vigilante groups that sprang up last year in Michoacan to challenge the cartel’s control told a radio station after hearing about the tweet that people in the area knew the Knights Templar gang was involved in organ trafficking because several children had been rescued in his town while being transported in a refrigerated container inside a van.

‘They were inside a refrigerated box, tightly wrapped in blankets,’ Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles, leader of the civilian ‘self-defense’ group in Tepalcatepec, said in a morning interview with MVS radio.

Mexican authorities have said drug trafficking is no longer the top source of income for the Knights Templar, which was once a top producer of crystal meth.

The officials say the cartel’s main sources of income are illegal mining, illegal logging and extortion.

What would Diego Rivera say, Mr. President?

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This is Your Toluca Day!

President Obama was down Mexico way again yesterday, and you know what that meant.

Comedy gold:

I want to congratulate President Peña Nieto on the outstanding efforts that he’s made during the course of this year on a whole range of reforms that promise to make Mexico more competitive and increase opportunity for the people of Mexico. And I’m also very interested in hearing President Peña Nieto’s strategies as he embarks on dealing with some of the reforms in the criminal justice system and around security issues, which I know are very pressing on his mind and where we have some excellent cooperation between the United States and Mexico.

Oh yes, Mr. President. Congratulate away:

The latest gruesome photos from Mexico’s cartel war show headless bodies bagged and wrapped in plastic tape on the side of a road outside Mexico City.

It was believed the men were the latest victims of the bloody turf war that has been waging between Mexico’s sadistic drug cartels.

Last week the severed heads of four people were found near the front door of a church in the neighboring state of Michoacan, while butchered arms and legs were found elsewhere in the small town of Zacan.

Two days before that, two other severed heads were left in front of a bank in Paracuaro, about three hours north of Mexico City.

Heckuva job, Peña Nieto!

Didn’t Obama say he liked watching Breaking Bad?

Make no mistake. The drug War in rural Texas is all about Mexican methamphetamine, a potent stimulant known on the street as Ice. It’s made in Mexico, smuggled across the border as a liquid and reprocessed into shards that resemble ice.

This press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas is typical of what is happening every day. Drug gangs based in the Mexican state of Guerrero send entire families to rural Texas as if they were pharmaceutical company sales reps.

One aspect of the case is particularly troubling. The indictment alleges that Abelardo bribed a local police officer to protect his drug operation. It says he paid the officer a total of $5,000 in $1,000 increments over several months. But the indictment provides no details and does not name the police officer.

The public corruption allegation raises the specter that Mexican drug gangs are importing more than drugs to Texas. Bribing police officers in Mexico has been a way of life for generations. And federal agents report that they are finding more Texas law officers taking money from drug dealers.

Next time Obama takes questions from reporters (or will it be the first time?), I have a tip for the gaggle: Google News. It’s amazing the [bleep] you learn there.

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Sensational Headline Watch

You know the drill by now, right? President Obama went to Mexico City and described a wonderful, pluralistic society rich in culture and history.

And then there’s Mexico:

The daughters of a reporter slain in the Mexican state of Veracruz told authorities that a woman angered by one of his stories had threatened to have a drug cartel kill him.

The statements by Gregorio Jiménez’s daughters contradicted the official version that the reporter was killed in a personal vendetta related to his son and the family of the woman he dated.

The daughters, Cindy and Flor, told authorities Friday that their father had a heated argument last year with Teresa de Jesus Hernández, who was angry about a story he wrote of a man getting stabbed outside her bar in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

They said the dispute came to blows and that Hernández told their father she knew members of the Zetas drug cartel and would hire them to kill him.

“Mrs. Teresa shouted at him ‘remember the story you wrote. I’m holding on to that. I know the Zetas and I will have you killed,” Cindy Jiménez said, according to her statement to authorities read by a court employee.

Gunmen kidnapped Gregorio Jiménez, 42, from his home in Coatzacoalcos last week. Police found his body Tuesday buried in the backyard of a home in the nearby town of Las Choapas along with a taxi driver and a union leader who was kidnapped in January.

Jiménez had also written about the union leader’s kidnapping.

Sooo Mexico.

But this is even better:

Federal agents believe drug cartels have moved into Colorado and are using the recent legalization of marijuana within the state as a front to make money illegally.

Drug cartels – both from Columbia and Mexico – have suffered major revenue losses following the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado on January 1.

The Feds believe the gangs will now turn to the legal businesses in the state to find ways of making up for the shortfall in their profits.

Didn’t see that coming!

Boy, I hope we get real about the dangers coming from Mexico before someone gets hurt. Someone American, I mean.

Someone else, then.

A Mexican man was sentenced Monday to 30 years’ imprisonment in a border agent’s 2010 shooting death linked to the federal government’s “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking operation, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. District Court in Tucson.

“We are not celebrating,” Terry’s family said in a statement. “Today we recognized justice has been served and we believe the 30 year sentence imposed on this particular defendant is an appropriate sentence… We remain hopeful that all suspects in this murder will be brought to justice.”

PS: Just one more:

A lucrative partnership between Colombian and Mexican drug cartels is at the heart of Long Island’s heroin scourge, with traffickers and dealers increasingly viewing Nassau and Suffolk as potential growth markets amid a crackdown on opioid pain pills, officials said.

The favorable economic conditions driving the heroin trade on Long Island and in the Northeast have contributed to a surge in fatal overdoses, authorities said, including more than 220 heroin deaths on Long Island over the past two years — the most ever recorded.

Affluent New Yorkers and those living in the suburbs and rural areas are also using heroin at higher rates, a trend exemplified by the apparent overdose death this month of Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in his Greenwich Village apartment, authorities said.

“Heroin traffickers here [Long Island and New York City] have recognized that there’s a whole group of new potential customers who have emerged,” said James Hunt, acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York office. “They realize that there’s a whole generation that got hooked on prescription pills, as well as more affluent users, and see this as a way to bring new customers into their grasp.”

As President Obama said:

And in the United States, we recognize our responsibilities. We understand that much of the root cause of violence that’s been happening here in Mexico, for which many so Mexicans have suffered, is the demand for illegal drugs in the United States.

Yeah, Hoffman! Get your act together! Don’t you see the “suffering” you’re causing the Mexicans? God, addicts are so selfish!

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Put This in Your Pipe and Smoke It

Aggie posted a story about free crack pipes a couple of weeks ago.

The fad is catching on:

In an effort to curb the spread of disease among drug users, Vancouver has become home to Canada’s very first crackpipe vending machines.

Installed on the city’s Downtown Eastside, the machines offer Pyrex crackpipes for only 25 cents.

‘For us this was about increasing access to safer inhalation supplies in Downtown Eastside,’ said Kailin See, the director of the DURC.

Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney said he disagrees with InSite’s mission only supporting treatments that end drug use entirely and ‘limiting access to drug paraphernalia.’

‘Drug use damages the health of individuals and the safety of our communities,’ he said. ‘We believe law enforcement should enforce the law.’

InSite argues that studies have shown harm reduction strategies lead to overall decreases in the infectious disease rates and make addicts more likely to get treatment by introducing them to health professionals.

‘This is one piece of a larger puzzle,’ See said. ‘You have to have treatment, you have to have detox, you have to have safe spaces to use your drug of choice, and you have to have safe and clean supplies.’

See argued that as every new HIV or hepatitis case could cost taxpayers up to $250,000 in medical treatment a mere 25 cents for a new pipe was a bargain.

This is an extension of the argument for free needles to addicts of intravenous drugs—and I don’t have an answer for either one. I take the side against the distribution of drug paraphernalia on the grounds that society shouldn’t encourage such destructive (self and otherwise) behavior. But I can’t dispute the other side. Giving addicts clean tools to poison themselves slowly (and cheaply) rather than slowly (and expensively) makes sense (and cents). My moral indignation feels powerful to me, but looks awfully puny next to a full-blown case of AIDS. Or even to the possibility of getting clean. What is my self-righteous condemnation compared to human potential to heal?

People make bad choices, to be sure, and sometimes those choices are beyond our fixing. Sometimes, people will die of their bad choices, and we can only watch (see Philip Seymour Hoffman). But what if we can buy them another day? I would guess that most addicts already know without our moralizing that what they are doing is wrong. But our moralizing ignores medical science if it does not acknowledge the chemistry behind addiction. Breaking the speed limit is wrong (not just against the law, but unsafe), but I do so routinely on the freeway. When I see a Statie, however, I can peg 55 mph for miles on end like an old lady from Poughkeepsie. No one seriously believes an addict jonesing for a fix (also unlawful, also unsafe) can make the same choice. Condemning such a person to die of a preventable disease (not before spreading it to others) seems a petty sort of moralism.

I seem to have made a persuasive argument against the position I hold. Maybe because I’m not sure; maybe there’s a compromise.

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Maybe there’s room for moralizing and free (or cheap) crack pipes. A vending machine may protect addicts’ immune systems, but it gives up on their souls. Where’s the humanity in that? What if, instead, we sell ‘em cheap crack pipes and needles, but they have to ask for them from another human being? The answer will always be yes, but they have to present themselves and ask. We acknowledge their powerlessness over their addiction; they acknowledge their responsibility in their own health and safety. Might not that be the first step toward a cure? Isn’t that more hopeful than crack pipes next to Skittles, needles next to Diet Coke?

If we are to be truly human, there must be room for both moralizing and understanding. People will still die of bad choices, but the right choice should be available until the end. “Choose Life” is never a bad motto.

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Sensational Headline Watch

“Some Americans only see the Mexico depicted in sensational headlines.”
Barack Obama, May 30, 2013, Mexico City

Before we proceed to the latest installment, a reminder:

THE PRESIDENT: Hola! (Applause.) Buenos dias!

Patronizing dillweed.

And it’s an honor to be back in Mexico City — one of the world’s great cities. Es un placer estar entre amigos. (Applause.)

Blech.

In modern times, Mexico’s blend of cultures and traditions found its expression in the murals of Rivera and the paintings of Frida, and the poetry of Sor Juana and the essays of Octavio Paz.

Anyone he left out? Fernando Valenzuela? Selena Gomez?

Despite all the bonds and the values that we share, despite all the people who claim heritage on both sides, our attitudes sometimes are trapped in old stereotypes. Some Americans only see the Mexico that is depicted in sensational headlines of violence and border crossings. And let’s admit it, some Mexicans think that America disrespects Mexico, or thinks that America is trying to impose itself on Mexican sovereignty, or just wants to wall ourselves off.

That’s the background to this:

Four human heads were reportedly discovered Thursday in Michoacan state, one of several recent incidents that suggest the Knights Templar drug cartel may be lashing out as the federal government and vigilante groups attempt to retake territory under cartel control.

The heads were found in the indigenous community of Zacan, about 200 miles west of Mexico City, according to numerous news reports. The newspaper El Universal reported that a “message with threats from organized crime” was found along with the body parts. Two other human heads were discovered Monday in Antunez, south of Zacan.

So sensational have the headlines been that Mexicans have taken to vigilantism to protect themselves in these lawless regions.

And now for the truly sensational part:

Though the motives behind this week’s beheadings were unclear, they may represent efforts by the Knights Templar to lash out against the forces allied against them.

Meanwhile, the states around Michoacan have been stepping up security in anticipation of the “cucaracha effect” — that is, increased violence as Michoacan-based cartel members scurry away from the increased federal presence there.

Even the rest of Mexico want to “wall itself off”, Mr. President. From the “cucaracha effect”.

I, and people like me, don’t fear illegal immigration and criminal aliens because they are “brown” (as the Left always describes them), but because they are illegal and criminal. In fact, I’d like to nationalize and deputize the Mexican vigilantes and put them to work patrolling the border. To keep the (their word, not mine) “cucarachas” at bay.

Not only can our president not be trusted to execute the laws as they were written, he doesn’t even live in the same world as the rest of us.

But what’s also clear is that a new Mexico is emerging.

[Y]ou go forward knowing the truth that Benito Juarez once spoke — “democracy is the destiny of humanity.” And we are seeing that here in Mexico. (Applause.) We’re seeing that here in Mexico.

It’s like he opened up Wikiquote and just started copying.

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