Archive for February, 2010

Dispatches From the Badlands
February 24, 2010

Today a United Nations group had some strong words for countries thinking about following Mexico’s lead by decriminalizing drug possession in small amounts. Last year Mexico passed a law that no longer made it illegal to possess small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, meth, LSD and other drugs. Today the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board wrote the decriminalization movement “poses a threat” and sends “the wrong message to the general public.” If you would like to read the INCB’s report go to http://www.incb.org/. You’ll find it’s stance on the decriminalization movement under Chapter III. “Analysis of the World Situation.” Look for item #453.

Just before this report was released Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar (Laredo) is requesting that Predator drones be sent to the southwest border as soon as possible to help battle drug traffickers. Congress has already passed legislation to allow the Department of Homeland Security to begin tests on using the drones for border security. A predator drone was being used along Arizona’s border with Mexico until it crashed in 2006. I’ll keep you posted when a decision is made on the use of drones.

Probably the biggest development is the US government is going to embed intelligence agents within Mexican law enforcement units to help battle the drug cartels. This is a huge shift. Before now US agents were always reluctant to share information with their Mexican counterparts because of corruption and incompetence in equal parts. This move is an indication that the US is confident in Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s efforts to root out the cartels and stem the violence and murders happening a stone’s throw from US cities. This idea of using binational intelligence units was also talked about in Houston last month at the Puentes Consortium meeting. Here’s a link to the groups’ report. http://www.bakerinstitute.org/PuentesConsortium

I’m also including a slide show from a raid at a drug lord’s house. These pictures have been on the net for a while but I thought the pictures fitting to remind everyone of the wealth and opulence these men can achieve.

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Another Facet Of The Abortion Debate
February 22, 2010

I came across a request submitted to the Texas Attorney General’s Office regarding abortion clinics and a drug called, Mifeprex. The request was submitted by State Representative Frank Corte, Jr. (San Antonio). State Representative Corte’s request is two-fold, yet stems from the same basic question. First, Corte is asking the Texas AG to decide whether abortion clinics must have a license to perform abortions. Texas law already requires abortions be performed by licensed physician. This request for an opinion goes further and asks whether facilities as a whole must be licensed. This question arises from the use of Mifeprex, also called RU-486. For those of you who haven’t heard of this drug it is ingested and induces an abortion. In his letter to the AG, Corte states he has information that some clinics are giving this drug to women outside the presence of the physician who originally prescribed it. Herein lies the question. If a woman is prescribed RU-486, given the drug at a clinic and takes the drug at home or elsewhere, does that violate the law requiring that abortions only be performed by a licensed physician? This question was recently posed to the Texas Department of State Health Services. DSHS’s deputy general counsel responded with comments contained in Corte’s letter to the AG, “If a pregnant woman is given RU-486 at a facility and she ingests it at the facility  and subsequently aborts the fetus at the facility, an abortion facility license is required. If, however, she is prescribed RU-486 or the pill is handed to her, and she leaves the facility, ingests the pill elsewhere, and aborts the fetus elsewhere, no abortion has occurred at the facility and no license is required.” If I may be permitted to read between the lines on this one I think I know what Corte is asking. If a clinic dispenses RU-486, which will induce an abortion, than the clinic is in effect performing abortions, whether abortions (or the drug is ingested) on or off the property. This is why Corte wants a ruling from the AG. Secondly, Corte also wants to know if a woman ingesting RU-486 and subsequently having an abortion at home or elsewhere runs afoul of state law requiring abortions only be performed or supervised by a licensed physician. Click here to read Corte’s full letters to the AG. I’ll keep you posted.

12 Steps To A Better Cartel
February 15, 2010

The story that ran at 10 o’clock tonight (2/15/10) explained Mexico’s new drug possession law. As stated, if a person is caught with “personal use” amounts of drugs they’ll be encouraged to go to a drug rehab clinic. Anyone caught a third time will be required to go through rehabilitation. I have been talking with two trusted sources in Juarez who say the drug cartels are now running their own rehab clinics as farm leagues for future cartel workers. Essentially turning junkies into hitmen or drug mules for the organizations. This came from a bloody incident roughly two years ago. The way my sources explained it to me was a couple members of the Azteca gang (very ruthless gang in Juarez that works for the cartels) killed a dentist and his patients while “high” and looking to score drugs or anything they could sell to buy more drugs. The murder of a dentist and his patients triggered a huge public outcry in Juarez and a crackdown by police. When that happened the Aztecas decided its members would no longer be allowed to use drugs. The Aztecas took over a clinic to rehab its members. The deal is you get three chances to clean up, if you don’t we’ll kill you. In fact, my sources tell me some of the recent slaughters at rehab clinics were Aztecas who couldn’t clean up their act. From here more cartels started using rehab clinics to turn junkies into workers.

As an aside to this story, Mexico’s new drug possession law indicates a very different shift in thinking. Mexico’s Congress passed an almost identical law in 2006, but it was immediately criticized by then President Bush and Mexico’s President at the time, Vicente Fox, refused to sign it into law. As I reported in my story, current President Felipe Calderon felt the law was necessary to allow police to focus efforts on drug dealers and cartels instead of the junkies. President Calderon also stated he felt the new law would cut down on corruption. Even before this law was passed if a person claimed they were a junkie they wouldn’t face jail time. However, the Mexican government conceded that many local police officers would shakedown a junkie for money by threatening the person with exorbitant prison time. So far I have not seen any direct statement from the current White House administration regarding Mexico’s new drug possession law. In case you were wondering, the bill was signed into law in August of last year while the swine flu epidemic was front and center in many people’s minds.

Twilight Rapist
February 1, 2010

In my story about the ‘Twilight Rapist’ you heard police talk about how this man takes trophies from his victims. Normally police are tight-lipped when it comes to releasing details of what was taken for fear of tainting the investigation. However, the clock you see at the top of this post is unique. At first blush this clock may seem like others, but there are fewer than 300 of these time pieces in the United States. These clocks were only made in Japan and were brought back to the United States by Vietnam Veterans returning from war. If you come across a clock like this, call the Texas Department of Public Safety’s hotline at 1-866-786-5972.