U.S. arrests 755 in Mexican drug cartel raids - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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U.S. arrests 755 in Mexican drug cartel raids

Atta boy!

US arrests Mexico cartel suspects
Thousands were killed last year as Mexican drug cartels fought turf wars [EPA]

Dozens of suspected members of a major Mexican drug cartel have been arrested by US authorities.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested 52 alleged members of the Sinaloa cartel on Tuesday and Wednesday in the US states of California, Maryland and Minnesota as part of what it calls "Operation XCellerator".

The arrests were part of a two-year campaign that has seen 755 people detained.

"They are a national-security threat," Eric Holder, the US attorney-general said of the cartels.

"They are lucrative. They are violent. And they are operated with stunning planning and precision."

Cartels 'hit hard'

The Sinaloa drug cartel, along with the Gulf cartel, control most of the flow of illegal drugs into the US and turf wars in Mexico have seen more than 6,000 people killed there in the last year.

Al Jazeera's Franc Contreras, reporting from Mexico City, said this week's arrests were directed at distribution networks inside the US and that this was a blow to Sinaloa's businesses.

The DEA says the arrests will not stop the cartel's operations in the US, but it will take the traffickers some time to get back on their feet.

Last September, more than 650 members of the Gulf cartel were arrested.

"We've been hitting the cartels pretty hard," a DEA official told Al Jazeera.

The result, the agency says, has been a 104 per cent rise in the street value of cocaine in the US as supply levels drop.

The operation targeted suspects in 26 US states said Michele Leonhart, the acting DEA administrator.

More than 12,000kg of cocaine have been seized in total during the operation, along with 7,300kg of marijuana, 550kg of methamphetamine and 1.3 million Ecstasy pills.

The violence in Mexico has continued despite Felipe Calderon, the Mexican president, sending thousands of troops to crush the gangs.

Washington has also pledged $1.6bn in military equipment and training assistance to Mexico over the next three years.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 08:57 PM
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The result, the agency says, has been a 104 per cent rise in the street value of cocaine in the US as supply levels drop.
This continues my argument that LEO just pulls numbers out of their ass when trying to justify drug programs. Last year I posted three articles that each referenced the same drug bust in SoCal, but each with a different LEO Source. The "street value" of the pot seized went from $35,000 to 75,000 depending on if it was the local, CHP or Fed official doing the interview.

I talked with a reporter at the LATimes, emailed the three stories to him and there was, somewhere a follow up story on "embellishment". It appears this story might have the same issue.

On the other hand, it is VERY GOOD that they remove coke distribution networks from the surface of the earth.

What Is the DEA Smoking?

The reality is that street prices for illegal drugs act like the famous observation about prices in the stock market: they will vary. Over the past fifteen years, the retail price of cocaine has moved in a range between roughly $90 and $200 per gram. The latest spike is nothing abnormal, just as the plunge in prices from November 2005 to January 2007 was not unusual. Indeed, if one examines price trends over a longer period, any cause for optimism evaporates. During the early 1980s cocaine sometimes sold for more than $500 per gram. Obviously, that did not herald a lasting victory in the drug war.


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 08:57 PM
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Mexico is descending into chaos with drug corruption pervading the entire government.....
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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PHOENIX — The Mexican agents who moved in on a safe house full of drug dealers last May were not prepared for the fire power that greeted them.

When the shooting was over, eight agents were dead. Among the guns the police recovered was an assault rifle traced back across the border to a dingy gun store here called X-Caliber Guns.

Now, the owner, George Iknadosian, will go on trial on charges he sold hundreds of weapons, mostly AK-47 rifles, to smugglers, knowing they would send them to a drug cartel in the western state of Sinaloa. The guns helped fuel the gang warfare in which more than 6,000 Mexicans died last year.

Mexican authorities have long complained that American gun dealers are arming the cartels. This case is the most prominent prosecution of an American gun dealer since the United States promised Mexico two years ago it would clamp down on the smuggling of weapons across the border. It also offers a rare glimpse of how weapons delivered to American gun dealers are being moved into Mexico and wielded in horrific crimes.

“We had a direct pipeline from Iknadosian to the Sinaloa cartel,” said Thomas G. Mangan, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix.

Drug gangs seek out guns in the United States because the gun-control laws are far tougher in Mexico. Mexican civilians must get approval from the military to buy guns and they cannot own large-caliber rifles or high-powered pistols, which are considered military weapons.

The ease with which Mr. Iknadosian and two other men transported weapons to Mexico over a two-year period illustrates just how difficult it is to stop the illicit trade, law enforcement officials here say.

The gun laws in the United States allow the sale of multiple military-style rifles to American citizens without reporting the sales to the government, and the Mexicans search relatively few cars and trucks going south across their border.

What is more, the sheer volume of licensed dealers — more than 6,600 along the border alone, many of them operating out of their houses — makes policing them a tall order. Currently the A.T.F. has about 200 agents assigned to the task.

Smugglers routinely enlist Americans with clean criminal records to buy two or three rifles at a time, often from different shops, then transport them across the border in cars and trucks, often secreting them in door panels or under the hood, law enforcement officials here say. Some of the smuggled weapons are also bought from private individuals at gun shows, and the law requires no notification of the authorities in those cases.

“We can move against the most outrageous purveyors of arms to Mexico, but the characteristic of the arms trade is it’s a ‘parade of ants’ — it’s not any one big dealer, it’s lots of individuals,” said Arizona’s attorney general, Terry Goddard, who is prosecuting Mr. Iknadosian. “That makes it very hard to detect because it’s often below the radar.”

The Mexican government began to clamp down on drug cartels in late 2006, unleashing a war that daily deposits dozens of bodies — often gruesomely tortured — on Mexico’s streets. President Felipe Calderón has characterized the stream of smuggled weapons as one of the most significant threats to security in his country. The Mexican authorities say they seized 20,000 weapons from drug gangs in 2008, the majority bought in the United States.

The authorities in the United States say they do not know how many firearms are transported across the border each year, in part because the federal government does not track gun sales and traces only weapons used in crimes. But A.T.F. officials estimate 90 percent of the weapons recovered in Mexico come from dealers north of the border.

In 2007, the firearms agency traced 2,400 weapons seized in Mexico back to dealers in the United States, and 1,800 of those came from dealers operating in the four states along the border, with Texas first, followed by California, Arizona and New Mexico.

Mr. Iknadosian is accused of being one of those dealers. So brazen was his operation that the smugglers paid him in advance for the guns and the straw buyers merely filled out the required paperwork and carried the weapons off, according to A.T.F. investigative reports. The agency said Mr. Iknadosian also sold several guns to undercover agents who had explicitly informed him that they intended to resell them in Mexico.

Mr. Iknadosian, 47, will face trial on March 3 on charges including fraud, conspiracy and assisting a criminal syndicate. His lawyer, Thomas M. Baker, declined to comment on the charges, but said Mr. Iknadosian maintained his innocence. No one answered the telephone at Mr. Iknadosian’s home in Glendale, Ariz.

A native of Egypt who spent much of his life in California, Mr. Iknadosian moved his gun-selling operation to Arizona in 2004, because the gun laws were more lenient, prosecutors said.


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 09:58 PM
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My crazy idea....

About time, you know I'll most likely get my stones busted for this, but just think about it for a moment.
With all of the economic problems in the county and the question on what to do with all of the illegal aliens and the rising unemployment rate, I think what we need is a huge public works project something to the tune of the Hover Dam. This would create jobs not just for the building, but continual jobs for the foreseeable future. As for the illegal aliens a modified work program, if they spend four year working on this project, not only do they get paid (1/2 wages of those who are citizens), their immediate families (spouse, children if not natural born) would all earn citizenship.
We build a wall, 2.5 miles in from the US/Mexico and the same for the Canadian side. Now just think one long wall running the length in the entire border, the entire wall built not just as a defensive measure, but also as one big renewable power station (wind, solar, and hydro). The big thing is that choke points are created at the crossings. Each day commerce, travelers, business people pass through the borders, by separating the traffic into passenger , commercial, and commercial trucking - this it would make it easier for CBP to more thoroughly check who or what’s coming in or out. You’d end up doing the same with the rail traffic.
I mean think of the revenue, charging to leave and come back, charging for the power produced. On top of that it would be able to create so many much need job, not just during the construction, but the maintenance, guarding, system engineers, so on…..
I don’t know, just an idea I had…..


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 12:18 AM
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Beside guys held for non payment of spousal support, there are too many people in jail for possession of small amounts of an illegal drug, or just paraphernalia.
The cost of incarcerating prisoners even in completely overcrowded jails is off the charts.
It would be a lot cheaper to house non violent offenders in a luxury hotel like New York's Waldorf Astoria, no kidding.
Why not follow the example of other Countries. By decriminalizing the majority of drugs, you reduce organized crimes role / involvement.
Decriminalize paraphernalia, weed & hash etc., and even hard drugs up to 10 gram or even 1/2 oz (Holland).
While they are at it, decriminalize prostitution as well.

Otherwise, put your former stock market money into private contract prison companies, a sure growth business.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 04:56 AM Thread Starter
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I say we do just the opposite, make longer jail sentences and put the dopers to work,
hard ass suck work and make them pay for their room and board!

How about we make our prisons, prisons! Take away their radios, tv's , workout facilities.

Now if they want to learn/education or job skill, that's OK, they would have a long long time to do so.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 05:41 AM
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this is just another stupid waste of money we don't have.. if you noticed the price of coke went up 104%... do you seriously think that the dea cut the supply in half? so, who is winning this war on another noun?

the wall idea is... well, an idea, i guess.. lol

in political asylum
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