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Mayor Implicated in Drug Gangs Thought Responsible for 6 Dead, 43 Missing Students

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    MEXICO CITY -- Officials said Wednesday that a drug gang implicated in the disappearance of 43 students in a southern city essentially ran the town, paying the mayor hundreds of thousands of dollars a month out of its profits from making opium paste to fuel the U.S. heroin market.

    The statements painted the fullest picture yet of the control that is exercised by gangs over a broad swath of Mexico's hot lands in Guerrero state. The Guerreros Unidos cartel's deep connections with local officials in the city of Iguala came to a head Sept. 26 when the mayor ordered municipal police to detain protesting students, who were then turned over to the drug gang.

    Since then, Mexican authorities have been searching for the students, spurred on by increasingly violent demonstrations that included the burning of Iguala's city hall by protesters Wednesday. Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said on Wednesday that investigators had found a total of nine mass graves containing 30 sets of human remains during the hunt for the missing students. He said officials were waiting for a second round of DNA tests, after a first round determined they weren't the bodies of the students.

    While the students remain missing, Murillo Karam said the arrests of Iguala police officers and the leader of the Guerreros Unidos gang, Sidronio Casarrubias, had provided more evidence about the events leading up to their disappearance. Students, who attended a radical rural teachers college, had gained the enmity of Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca because of a previous demonstration in the city. He said Abarca ordered police to detain students who hijacked four buses because the mayor thought they were going to try to disrupt a speech by his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda.

    Abarca, his wife and the Iguala police chief are all fugitives. A total of 52 people, including police officers, Iguala officials and gang members, have been arrested in the case.

    Authorities had previously reported that the mayor's wife, Pineda, had family ties to Guerreros Unidos. But Murillo Karam said it was much more than that, reporting that Casarrubias, the arrested drug gang leader, said she was "the main operator of criminal activities" in Iguala. Casarrubias also said the mayor had gotten payments of 2 million to 3 million pesos ($150,000-$220,000) every few weeks, as a bribe and to pay off his corrupt police force.

    After Iguala police picked up the students, Murillo Karam said, the youths were taken to a police station and then to the nearby town of Cocula. At some point they were loaded aboard a dump truck and taken -- apparently still alive -- to an area on the outskirts of Iguala where the mass graves have been found, he said. At that point, Casarrubias told authorities, one of his lieutenants told him the students were members or sympathizers of a rival gang, the attorney general said.

    Guerreros Unidos had sufficient money to bribe the mayor and local police force because they have increasingly turned to the lucrative practice of growing opium poppies and sending opium paste to be refined for heroin destined for the U.S. market, another federal official said Wednesday.

    The official, who is familiar with the case but insisted on speaking anonymously because he is not authorized to be quoted by name, said Guerreros Unidos started turning more to opium after income from marijuana trafficking dropped, apparently because of legalization of the drug in some U.S. states. After paying local farmers to grow opium poppies in the rough mountains around Iguala, the gang warehoused and shipped the opium out to other regions to be refined, the official said.

    "They stockpiled the paste; they sell it to other criminal organizations," the official said.





    CTV News.com/Oct. 22, 2014
    http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/mayor-l...ead-43-missing- mexican-prosecutor-1.2066432
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    Beenthere2Hippie
    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.

Comments

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Re: Mayor Implicated in Drug Gangs Thought Responsible for 6 Dead, 43 Missing Student

    [IMGL=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=41231&stc=1&d=1414094151[/IMGL]MEXICO CITY - Officials say a Mexican mayor and his wife likely “masterminded” the disappearance of 43 student protesters. They added that a drug gang implicated in the crime essentially ran the southern city, paying the mayor hundreds of thousands of dollars a month out of its profits from making opium paste to fuel the U.S. heroin market.

    The statements painted the fullest picture yet of the control that is exercised by gangs over a broad swath of Mexico’s hot lands in Guerrero state. The Guerreros Unidos cartel’s deep connections with local officials in the city of Iguala came to a head Sept. 26 when the mayor ordered municipal police to detain protesting students, who were then turned over to the drug gang.

    Since then, Mexican authorities have mounted wide-ranging searches for the students, spurred by increasingly violent demonstrations that included the burning of Iguala’s city hall by protesters Wednesday. The case also has drawn international attention, and people in several Latin American nations staged vigils for the missing young people during the day.

    Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said on Wednesday that investigators had found a total of nine mass graves containing 30 sets of human remains during the hunt for the missing students. He said officials were waiting for a second round of DNA tests, after a first round determined they weren’t the bodies of the students.

    While the students remain missing, Murillo Karam said the arrests of Iguala police officers and the leader of the Guerreros Unidos gang, Sidronio Casarrubias, had provided more evidence about the events leading up to their disappearance.

    Murillo Karam said the students, who attended a radical rural teachers college, had gained the enmity of Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca because of a previous demonstration in the city. He said Abarca ordered police to detain students who hijacked four buses because the mayor thought they were going to try to disrupt a speech by his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda.

    “We have issued warrants for the arrest of Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca, his wife Ms. Pineda Villa and police chief Felipe Flores Velazquez, as probable masterminds of the events that occurred in Iguala on Sept. 26,” Murillo said at a press conference, according to Reuters.

    Abarca, his wife and the Iguala police chief are all fugitives. A total of 52 people, including police officers, Iguala officials and gang members, have been arrested in the case.

    Authorities had previously reported that the mayor’s wife, Pineda, had family ties to Guerreros Unidos. But Murillo Karam said it was much more than that, reporting that Casarrubias, the arrested drug gang leader, said she was “the main operator of criminal activities” in Iguala. Casarrubias also said the mayor had gotten payments of 2 million to 3 million pesos ($170,000-$250,000) every few weeks, as a bribe and to pay off his corrupt police force.

    After Iguala police picked up the students, Murillo Karam said, the youths were taken to a police station and then to the nearby town of Cocula. At some point they were loaded aboard a dump truck and taken – apparently still alive – to an area on the outskirts of Iguala where the mass graves have been found, he said.

    At that point, Casarrubias told authorities, one of his lieutenants told him the students were members or sympathizers of a rival gang, the attorney general said.

    Guerreros Unidos had sufficient money to bribe the mayor and local police force because they have increasingly turned to the lucrative practice of growing opium poppies and sending opium paste to be refined for heroin destined for the U.S. market, another federal official said Wednesday.

    The official, who is familiar with the case but insisted on speaking anonymously because he is not authorized to be quoted by name, said Guerreros Unidos started turning more to opium after income from marijuana trafficking dropped, apparently because of legalization of the drug in some U.S. states.

    After paying local farmers to grow opium poppies in the rough mountains around Iguala, the gang warehoused and shipped the opium out to other regions to be refined, the official said.

    “They stockpiled the paste; they sell it to other criminal organizations,” the official said.





    The AP and Aileen Donovan via The Ottawa Citizen/Oct. 23, 2014
    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/w...e+allegedly+masterminded/10318378/story.html?
    Newshawk Crew
  2. SmokeTwibz
    Re: Mayor Implicated in Drug Gangs Thought Responsible for 6 Dead, 43 Missing Student

    Mexico's 43 missing students are victims of America's war on drugs
    [imgr=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=41388&stc=1&d=1414678129[/imgr]
    The United States' war on drugs isn't just doing damage within the US: it's helping to drive appalling atrocities in Mexico and Central America. Torture, forced disappearances, violence used to silence and punish dissent — these are crimes most commonly associated with civil wars, brutal dictatorships, or terrorist insurgencies. But drug cartels and criminal gangs are using those same tactics throughout much of Central America today, as a direct result of American policies in the war on drugs.

    You may have heard, most recently, about the excavations of mass graves in Mexico, in search of 43 college students who ware missing, presumed murdered, for political reasons. Or about the child migrant crisis originating in Central America. On the surface, the two are not obviously connected. But both are directly linked to criminal drug violence. And that drug violence exists in no small part because the US war on drugs helped push it there.

    How the US war on drugs fuels violence internationally
    [imgl=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=41389&stc=1&d=1414678184[/imgl]
    Cartel violence is fueled by a number of factors — insecurity in the affected areas, government corruption, and of course the depravity of the cartels themselves — but also by the United States' war on drugs.

    Drugs are illegal, which leaves the markets for them to be dominated by criminals. Because the US drug market is so huge, access to it is worth killing for — which criminal organizations are willing to do.

    The most lucrative way for criminal groups to access that market is to control smuggling routes. But to do so, cartels have to defend them not just against invasion by other cartels, but also against interference from police and from citizens who oppose the cartels' activities. In order to maintain that control, cartels rule through fear, using torture, threats, and murder.

    As part of the war on drugs, the US operates a range of programs to encourage other nations to crack down on drug traffickers, including support for military operations, funding for police, and more direct operations such as extraditions of cartel leaders to the United States for trial and imprisonment.

    But those policies never actually end the drug trade or drug-related violence. Rather, they simply push that violence out of one area and into another, by forcing traffickers into weaker, more vulnerable countries that are even less equipped to combat them. The nature of the US war on drugs means that drug organizations are forced to find areas where they can operate with impunity, or to create those conditions locally by bribing or intimidating local government to the point of brokenness.

    Once there, they flourish like an infection in an open wound, doing tremendous damage at almost every level of society.

    When the US went after groups in Colombia, it ensured their rise in Mexico and the Northern Triangle

    The past few decades have seen that process play out over and over again. In the 1990s and 2000s, for example, Colombia upped efforts to crack down on its powerful trafficking organizations, with a great deal of US help. But because the US had neither ended American consumers' demand for narcotics nor fundamentally altered the policies of its war on drugs, the Colombian traffickers were simply replaced by new crews of ultra-violent criminals in Mexico, where they have wreaked almost indescribable havoc.

    Now that Mexico has been putting more pressure on its drug cartels, again with extensive help from the US, smuggling activity has shifted to the countries of the Central American "Northern Triangle": Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. These countries, still reeling from the civil wars of the 1980s and '90s, proved to be hospitable environments for the cartels, which have greatly compounded the problems there.

    This is a vicious cycle: state weakness allows the illicit drug trade to thrive. That illicit trade, in turn, increases corruption, as criminal organizations use bribery and threats to avoid police or government interference with their operations. That corruption further weakens state institutions, giving the criminal groups even more space to operate.

    That state weakness also encourages other armed groups to flourish, such as criminal gangs and vigilante "self-defense" organizations. Gangs like M-18 and Mara Salvatrucha have flourished in the Northern Triangle countries. In recent years, as drug-trade-fueled corruption has has further weakened state institutions, the maras have been able to operate with impunity, growing especially powerful. Gang violence, extortion, and forced recruitment became so rampant and so destructive in schools that thousands of children and teens fled the region entirely, fearing for their lives, and ended up as migrants on the US-Mexico border.

    The end result: mass graves and a faceless corpse in Mexico
    [imgr=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=41390&stc=1&d=1414678260[/imgr]
    Right now, officials in Iguala, Mexico, are exhuming mass graves filled with charred, dismembered corpses. They are searching for 43 student protestors who disappeared on September 26, and are believed to have been murdered by a drug cartel at the behest of corrupt local officials. Shortly after the attack, the body of one of the students was found with his eyes gouged out and the skin from his face removed. His companions remain missing.

    Although police have identified multiple pits filled with bodies in the area, the remains found thus far have turned out to belong to other nameless victims, not the missing students. (You know things are bad when an investigation has to begin with the question "which mass grave?")

    The disappearance of the 43 students has made international headlines, but they are only the latest appalling episode of violence in Mexico's drug war, which Human Rights Watch estimates claimed 60,000 lives between 2006 and 2012 alone. The killings are often flamboyantly violent, designed to terrify entire communities, not just eliminate cartels' immediate enemies. This month, for instance, cartel hit men live-tweeted the murder of Maria del Rosario Fuentes, a citizen journalist who had criticized them.

    Nor are such attacks limited to Mexico. In Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, violence committed by drug cartels and the gangs with which they collaborate has produced some of the highest murder rates in the world. The International Crisis Group has referred to the smuggling routes along the Guatemala-Honduras border as a "corridor of violence," where murder and other crimes cluster along the path of drugs heading towards the United States.

    The problem is so bad that it can no longer be contained by national borders: between late 2013 and the middle of this year, more than 68,000 unaccompanied children fled north to escape the violence that was targeting their homes and schools, causing a refugee crisis on the United States' own southern border. While the American policy response to this has mostly been to ask what we should do with the children who arrive, it's also worth asking how things got so bad in their home countries that they would attempt such a dangerous trip, what role the US has played in helping to create those crises.

    There has been and doubtless will continue to be much debate within the US over what the war on drugs does to Americans. And yet, these debates on the merits of the drug war too rarely consider its substantial death toll abroad. Even opponents of drug prohibition tend to focus on its costs here at home: communities crippled by mass incarceration, large-scale theft in the name of "asset forfeiture," police militarization, gang violence.

    Those domestic problems are serious, and they would, on their own, be grounds for changing US policies. But they are not on their own. The war on drugs is empowering monsters and endangering the innocent from Texas to Tegucigalpa. That needs to end.

    October 30, 2014
    Amanda Taub | VOX
    http://www.vox.com/2014/10/30/7090443/americas-war-on-drug-mass-graves-mexican-students
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