tagged w/ Drug Trafficking
Internet crime, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling issues which has become very rampant in West Africa, especially Ghana, is likely to be increasingly. The so-called African Criminal Networks (ACN) which affects the daily life and significantly undermines public institutions is due to the incapacity of the state to create effective mechanisms that prevent the rise of those networks.
Crime in the West African countries which is often “home state” seems to be increasingly problematic through the criminal gangs who take things easy with their mechanism in the West African countries.
The need for cooperation between public authorities at national, regional and international levels, particularly at national borders is obvious. Since they are able to pave their ways through bribe the criminal gangs in Ghana for instance take it easy to develop transnational networks in the whole West African sub-region.Internet crime, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling issues which has become very... more
One of Britain’s most notorious gangsters was arrested by armed police yesterday at his £8million villa on Spain’s Costa del Sol. Christopher ‘Christy’ Kinahan, 53, who is said to have a personal fortune of more than £100million, was held on suspicion of running a drugs and gun supply network across Europe from his base in southern Spain.
The crime godfather was one of 32 people - including his sons Christy junior and Daniel - detained in an international operation involving 750 officers in Spain, Britain and his native Ireland.
Kinahan’s gang is suspected of exporting tens of millions of pounds of cocaine to the UK each year. He is also alleged to have supplied guns to inner city gangs here.One of Britain’s most notorious gangsters was arrested by armed police yesterday... more
Angie Sanclemente Valencia, 31, is accused of persuading young women to smuggle cocaine from Argentina to Europe via Mexico.
Argentine police had been looking for her for more than five months before they found her in a youth hostel in Buenos Aires.
She has denied the charges. Her lawyer said she feared violence in jail.
Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/latin_america/10169257.stmAngie Sanclemente Valencia, 31, is accused of persuading young women to smuggle... more
2 years ago
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding has denounced unrest in the capital city Kingston as a “calculated assault on the authority of the state”.
He vowed that criminals would not triumph, after supporters of an alleged druglord took to the streets to stop him from being arrested. One police station was set on fire and two others shot at by suspected supporters of Christopher “Dudus” Coke.
The authorities have declared a state of emergency in parts of Kingston. The trouble began late last week when the authorities announced they would arrest and extradite Mr Coke to the US.
His supporters set up barricades and said they would fight to protect him. The BBC’s Nick Davis in Montego Bay says the capital now represents a city under siege. Troops and police have come under fire, and smoke is rising from the burning police station.Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding has denounced unrest in the capital city... more
Iranian border guard units have seized several tons of illicit drugs at the country’s eastern borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan during the last one month, a senior Iranian police commander announced on Sunday.
“In line with decisive confrontation with any kind of border trespassing, goods smuggling and drug trafficking along the borders of (Iran’s southeastern) Sistan and Balouchestan province, border guards of this command center’s combat brigades and units succeeded in discovering and seizing large amount of narcotics and smuggled goods in border patrol operations during the last one month,” Commander of Sistan and Balouchestan’s Border Guard Unit General Gholamnabi Kohkan said.
The commander said that his units conducted a series of intelligence operations after receiving tips from the local people and identified the targets.
Following these operations, the police seized 3,093 kg of different types of narcotics, including opium, heroin, Crystal, etc, he added.Iranian border guard units have seized several tons of illicit drugs at the... more
MORE than twice as many seizures of cocaine are being made in Ireland per head of population than the EU average. Figures show there were 59 cocaine hauls per 100,000 people here in 2007, compared to the EU average of 24. The data shows we have the second highest seizure rate out of the six highest consumers of cocaine in the EU.
Spain – the main entry point for cocaine into Europe – had by far the highest number of seizures per capita (149). But Ireland was higher than Belgium (52) and Britain (51). Figures for the Netherlands and Portugal, other big importers and consumers, were not available.
This seizure rate, calculated in terms of the population, has not been published before. It suggests either a high interception rate by gardaí and customs or high levels of trafficking into Ireland, or both.
The figure refers to the number of seizures made, rather than the quantity seized, and is seen internationally as a better indicator of the scale of trafficking and the activity of law enforcement agencies.MORE than twice as many seizures of cocaine are being made in Ireland per head of... more
The Mexican navy seized 2.4 tons of cocaine stashed in a fishing boat intercepted in Pacific waters. The navy acted on a tip from U.S. intelligence that drugs might be aboard the Mexican-flagged vessel.
The fishing boat had apparently taken on the cocaine cargo in Colombia; the drug was found hidden in fuel tanks inside sealed compartments.
Five people were arrested in the operation carried out on April 27. The cocaine cargo was presented by the navy at Salina Cruz, a port in the southern state of Oaxaca.
The Pacific coast abounds in seizures of drugs and money belonging to organized crime, thanks to the trade between Mexican and Colombian cartels.The Mexican navy seized 2.4 tons of cocaine stashed in a fishing boat intercepted in... more
German police said Tuesday they had seized a record haul of 1.3 tonnes of cocaine with an estimated street value of €40 million and made seven arrests.
“This is the biggest amount of cocaine ever seized in Germany,” police said in a statement. Customs officers discovered the drugs on Monday when searching pallets of wood briquettes in Hamburg, Germany’s biggest port.
Thirty-one of the 32 pallets searched also contained packets of cocaine “very professionally hidden” among the briquettes, the police said.
Officials seized a total of 1,244 packets of “very high purity” cocaine imported from Paraguay. The seven suspects, aged between 27 and 35, were arrested in connection with the bust. Six of them were already behind bars on Tuesday, a police spokesman said.German police said Tuesday they had seized a record haul of 1.3 tonnes of cocaine with... more
A bloody gang war between bikers and youths of immigrant origin has shattered Copenhagen’s customary calm, prompting officials into threatening draconian legislation.
The latest street violence was sparked in August 2008 when a young Turkish man was killed, supposedly by a member of the Hells Angels group.A bloody gang war between bikers and youths of immigrant origin has shattered... more
The latest raid of Bulgaria’s police against organized crime groups, code-named “The Untouchable”, has targeted high-level corruption and organized crime, the interior minister said.
“The operation aimed to stabilize the financial situation in the country and stem the leaks, which have triggered the corruption practices that we have witnessed over the last twenty years,” Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told the morning broadcast of the national BNT TV channel.The latest raid of Bulgaria’s police against organized crime groups, code-named... more
Belgrade - A Balkan crime group suspected of cocaine trade has laundered more than 1 billion euros (1.34 billion dollars) in Serbia alone, the Belgrade daily Blic reported Saturday, quoting police sources.
The organization of Darko Saric, now a fugitive from Serbian justice, has funnelled 1.3 billion euros to Serbia, but may have amassed up to 5 billion, a source close to the massive investigation said.Belgrade - A Balkan crime group suspected of cocaine trade has laundered more than 1... more
A Bulgarian court has ruled that the trial against renowned German publicist Jurgen Roth is held behind closed doors due to the high-profile witnesses.
Former head of Unit for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP) Vanyo Tanov took the witness stand on Friday, shortly before the court classified the case. Serbian drug lord Budimir Kujovic is also expected to appear in the court room as a witness.A Bulgarian court has ruled that the trial against renowned German publicist Jurgen... more
The US Navy's unmanned "Fire Scout" helicopter was out minding its own business on a trial run, when its home base warship detected a suspicious speedboat on radar. That's when Robocopter kicked into high pursuit—filming the whole way.
The subsequent three-hour chase finally ended when the speedboat rendezvoused with a fishing boat, at which time a U.S. Coastguard Law Enforcement Detachment unit from the USS McInerney swarmed. What they found: 60 kilos of cocaine, with another 200 kilos of narcotics presumed jettisoned. Oh, and all sorts of bad guy drug traffickers.
http://gizmodo.com/5516041/pilotless-navy-helicopter-busts-cocaine-deal-during-trial-runThe US Navy's unmanned "Fire Scout" helicopter was out minding its own... more
Authorities have announced that they will crack down on cannabis growers and traffickers –but should they really tell them in advance?
Most people outside of Albania have probably never heard of the village of Lazarat, set on a mountain slope just outside the historic town of Gjirokastra, close to the Greek border.
However, if you have smoked pot in Greece, Italy or elsewhere in Europe in the past ten years, there is a good chance that the drugs were grown in this mountain village. Lazarat has often been described as the country’s drug capital, and for the better part of the past decade it has been off limits for the police.Authorities have announced that they will crack down on cannabis growers and... more
As we head into the season of indulging on favorite foods surrounded by family and friends, I’ve begun reflecting on meals I’ve shared with our team in Vanguard. As I’ve gotten to know my colleagues over the years, I’ve fondly begun to associate certain flavors and foods with certain people. I know correspondent Laura Ling digs spicy food and packs beef jerky for every shoot. Producer Lauren Cerre fantasizes about the ultimate savory granola bar. Correspondent Mariana Van Zeller makes a mean omelet and Editor Yasu Tsuji comes to every meeting well armed with Pocky.
Of course, no blog posting about food would be complete without mentioning correspondent Adam Yamaguchi, famous for his intrepid appetite. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Adam on several stories including the infamous Penis Restaurant pod. Adam’s poise under pressure is made even more remarkable if you know the backstory. He wasn’t actually supposed to be the only diner at the table sampling the house specialty. Our field producer had arranged for other men to join Adam so they could discuss the supposed Viagra-esque properties as they sampled the meal. But, at the last minute, those eating companions failed to materialize. As they say, the show must go on and, boy, did it. Adam bravely feasted alone and ended up giving a culinary critique that would have given Anthony Bourdain a run for his money.
There usually isn’t a lot of time to for proper meals when we’re out in the field. Lunch is often a handful of gorp and a sad, melted Cliff Bar. Dinner is whatever bland offerings you scrounge up back at the hotel when you roll in exhausted after a long day of shooting. But, a wonderful exception to the typical shoot fare happened this summer when I went to Italy to produce the upcoming “Cocaine Mafia” with Christof Putzel. I hate to stereotype but it’s absolutely true that Italians take their food very seriously. I remember being in the car when a heated discussion broke out between members of our Italian production crew. Christof and I looked at each other, wondering if something had gone wrong. Did an interview fall through? Were we being threatened? No, it was a matter far more urgent. There was a big controversy over where to get the best pizza in town.
It was a real treat working with Christof, not least of all because he’s a gourmand who loves to share his discoveries of all things good to eat. The afternoon before we left Italy, we tracked down some fresh burrata, a mozzarella cheese with cream inside. I never had it before but I took his recommendation and decided this was one souvenir I’d take back with me. The shopowner warned us, “It must be eaten within 24 hours or else.” Or else, what? I wasn’t quite sure but I took his words seriously. I secured the cheese in a cold-insulated bag and asked stewardesses to stow it in the fridge. Delays upon reaching Dulles made me nervous—it was like traveling with a time-sensitive organ waiting to be transplanted. A close call: a beagle at customs came towards me but then found something more interesting to investigate. I made it to San Francisco but truthfully it took a little bit more than 24 hours. My husband and I decided to risk it and devoured the round of cheese with a nice bottle of red at 2AM. It was an absolutely wonderful way to cap off a successful summer of Vanguard production.As we head into the season of indulging on favorite foods surrounded by family and... more
This was a busy summer for me. I produced two stories, “Forest of Ecstasy” airing October 28 and "Cocaine Mafia" airing December 9. I traveled to Cambodia with Adam Yamaguchi where we traipsed around a leech infested forest in search of secret factories where rare trees are harvested to make “ecstasy oil”.
Here's a sneak peek from the show:
Sneak Peek Vanguard Season 3: Leeches
I barely had time to unpack and repack when I was off to Italy where I met up with Christof Putzel to investigate one of Europe’s largest hubs for cocaine trafficking, a town just outside of Naples, Italy, called Castel Volturno. I spend most of my time on shoots looking through the viewfinder and filming. I love making images and hate being the center of attention so this is the perfect gig for me. But recently, I looked for some photos of myself in professional action—perhaps a shot of me hacking my way through the rainforest with some armed Cambodian forest rangers and realized I never got them. I’m usually so busy trying to make sure I capture the story unfolding in front of me, that I rarely stop to ask someone to take a keepsake photo of me. So going through my digital camera, I didn’t have much luck in finding the quintessential “badass” producer shot. Instead what I found was this classic snapshot of me, hanging out in a sun-drenched piazza with some old Italian gents. It was one of our last days of filming in Italy and we were trying to get some visuals that encapsulate the picture perfect Italian small town life. Except we knew the town was a mafia stronghold and journalists were probably not super-welcome. I felt like a lot of suspicious eyes were on us outsiders. So I played up, pretending to be a tourist and even asked someone to take my picture with some of the locals. And there you have it, visual proof of me on the job, as a Vanguard producer.
Also from the Vanguard blog:
- Mitch Koss on Vanguard’s Documentary Origins
- Laura Ling on Vanguard’s Mission
- Vanguard goes to Dr. Phil by Darren Foster
This was a busy summer for me. I produced two stories, “Forest of Ecstasy”... more
A few members of our Vanguard team (Adam Yamaguchi, Mariana van Zeller, and Christof Putzel) joined producer Joanne Shen in Current SF today to give us a sneak peek of the upcoming third season of Vanguard.
Don't forget, the new season for Vanguard premieres on Current TV on October 14th 10/9c. Based on what the team has been passing around, you definitely won't want to miss this season.
I snagged some video during the presentation, and thought you guys might like to get a look at some of this stuff. While it was really nice of Current to feed us during the presentation, it did make it a little tough to eat while watching Adam and Joanne get attacked by leeches in the Cambodian jungles.
Fair warning, these videos were shot from the front row on an iPhone, so they're a little shaky.
Adam Yamaguchi introduces the Vanguard team
Adam Yamaguchi introduces a clip from Forest of Ecstasy, an upcoming Vanguard episode
Christof introduces a clip from Cocaine Mafia, an upcoming Vanguard episode
Mariana introduces clips from The Oxycontin Express, an upcoming Vanguard episode
A couple of interesting stories stuck with me from the presentation.
The first is this, the Vanguard team is 100% unflinchingly committed to spending copious amounts of time researching and telling the stories that no one else is touching. It's one thing to say this, but it's an entirely different thing to actually live it. They do.
The team opened the floor up to Q&A, and when asked how they get people to share their stories, Christof had this to say:
"That's the biggest challenge we face. When you're telling the stories that no one else is telling, a lot of times those stories are not being told because people don't want them to be told. so the struggle is, how do you get people to talk to you"
Mariana insightfully compared her recent experience on the set of Dr. Phil, during which he attempts to engage guests on a deeply personal level in front of large audiences with huge cameras and lights, to Vanguard's own approach -- small teams, small number of cameras, and extremely personal and private scenarios. They go out into the field and engage people one-to-one, which is a completely different environment altogether.
Amusingly, someone asked Adam what was next in the "eating bizarre things" repertoire. Christof joked that they'd had an intervention with Adam, who then responded that he'd had to curb the trend because when you intentionally start seeking out gross things to eat, you have to up the ante with each new accomplishment. He confessed, "I'm afraid of what might be next."
So there you go, I know the teams in the Current SF offices were pretty floored with what we saw, and I personally cannot wait to see the new season. Oh, and just in case you haven't had a chance to see them, here's a list of episode titles from the upcoming season:
The Oxycontin Express : 10/14/09
Cuba: Waiting for a Revolution : 10/21/09
Forest of Ecstasy : 10/28/09
Sri Lanka: Notes from a War on Terror : 11/04/09
Porn 2.0 : 11/11/09
Prison Contraband : 11/16/09
Remote Control War : 12/02/09
Cocaine Mafia : 12/09/09
You can find promos, episodes, show schedule, correspondent bios, and the official Vanguard blog on our Vanguard page on Current.com.A few members of our Vanguard team (Adam Yamaguchi, Mariana van Zeller, and Christof... more
That's according to US authorities. Actually, the language they used is "unholy alliance". Catchy.
Three West African men accused of ties to al Qaeda were extradited to New York in December on drug trafficking and terrorism charges.
It was the first time U.S. authorities established a link suggesting al Qaeda is funding itself in part by providing security for drug smugglers in West Africa.
"As suggested by the recent arrest of three alleged al Qaeda operatives, the expansion of cocaine trafficking through West Africa has provided the venue for an unholy alliance between South American narco-terrorists and Islamic extremists," Bergman said in an interview over the weekend.
In a week when it's all Al Qaeda all the time (this is what, the third time I've written about them already and it's only Tuesday?) the DEA doesn't want to be left out. We've seen before that Africa is the new transit line for cocaine to Europe (as Christof Putzel reported in Vanguard: Cocaine Mafia) and we've seen a few more connections this week between Africa and Al Qaeda. But if the US government is right on this - could it be a potentially dangerous alignment of militant groups? Joshua Keating at FP Passport is skeptical:
...[A]s I noted last month, the three men arrested (whose self-proclaimed links to al Qaeda have yet to be proven) last month, were not caught making a deal with FARC, they were making a deal with an undercover DEA agent that they thought was representing FARC. The ringleader of the group, Harouna Toure, did boast to the agent about smuggling "two tons of hashish to Tunisia" and the "human smuggling of Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian subjects into Spain," but these wouldn't involve South American naro-terrorists. Is there any other evidence that FARC and al Qaeda are actually taking advantage of the "venue" they've been provided?
Keating also pointed out that Matthew Cordell of UN Dispatch gave an awesome name to the whole affair: FARQaeda. Now, that's catchy.
Watch Vanguard: Cocaine Mafia (Video)
Recently on the Current News Blog:
- Who was the double agent and suicide bomber who attacked the CIA in Afghanistan?
- Are counterterrorism officials not paying attention to Africa?
- The Burj Dubai opens - Photos
- 2010: Same sh*t, different year? - Real Recovery
- Get to know Yemen: The new hot front in the war on terrorThat's according to US authorities. Actually, the language they used is... more
Tonight is the premiere of the final episode of the Vanguard season: Cocaine Mafia. Christof Putzel travels to Europe to see how they're feeding their growing appetite for the drug.
This Week on Vanguard: Cocaine Mafia (Video)
This season of Vanguard has been a really great one - so we'll be featuring a lot of the previous shows today and the rest of the week on the Current News page. You can watch them all online, you know - so if you missed one - get caught up! Watch Adam Yamaguchi tromping through the Cambodian rainforest in Forest of Ecstasy or Mariana van Zeller following the pain pill pipeline in The Oxycontin Express.
Recently on the Current News Blog:
- Who will pay for climate change? - Copenhagen
- Obama lays out plan for jobs; Meeting lawmakers tomorrow
- Photography in conflict: Jeff Antebi covers the Afghanistan election
- Iran students' day of protest
- Copenhagen backgrounder - A roundup of pre-conference readingTonight is the premiere of the final episode of the Vanguard season: Cocaine Mafia.... more
An exciting couple of days in Afghan election news. After a nail-biting few weeks of recounts, this weekend the challenger Abdullah Abdullah dropped out of the race. Meaning that President Karzai would keep his job for another term.
So, good news right? Now Afghanistan has an uncontested President? Well unfortunately the whole point of the recount was to ensure validity for whomever ended up the victor. And with Abdullah dropping out because “transparent election is not possible” it doesn't seem to lend a lot of credibility to Karzai's win. But don't tell the US, which was already very quick to congratulate Karzai on his win.
The challenges facing stabilizing efforts in Afghanistan unfortunately seem to keep growing with time. I finally had the chance to watch "Obama's War" from Frontline this weekend, and I highly recommend it. It gives you a real sense of the challenges on the ground in Afghanistan's provinces and in Kabul working with Karzai's government. All of the warlords and possible drug smugglers he's surrounded himself with still seem to be around - will the US need to boost legitimacy in spite of Afghanistan's elected President?
Recently on the Current News Blog:
- Obama's stimulus numbers look promising
- Iran on nukes: No deal
- Honduras deal reached - Zelaya to return to power?
- The economy grows again - Champagne time yet?
- The Tamil Tigers and innovations in IEDsAn exciting couple of days in Afghan election news. After a nail-biting few weeks of... more