Tag Archives | Mexico

American Banks Laundering Hundreds Of Billions Dollars For Mexican Drug Cartels

mexican drug cartelWho are the Mexican drug cartels’ biggest allies north of the border? Major banks such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America, who blatantly break U.S. anti-money-laundering laws by laundering hundreds of billions of dollars for the cartels, Bloomberg reports. That’s a pretty huge “stimulus package” our banks are getting from Mexican drug traffickers:

Wachovia admitted it didn’t do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. That’s the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history — a sum equal to one-third of Mexico’s current gross domestic product.

“Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations,” says Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor who handled the case.

“It’s the banks laundering money for the cartels that finances the tragedy,” says Martin Woods, director of Wachovia’s anti-money-laundering unit in London from 2006 to 2009.

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U.S., Mexico Swap Accusations Over Border Shooting

United_States_Border_Patrol_MexicoFrom CBS World News:

A U.S. Border Patrol agent fatally shot a 15-year-old Mexican boy after a group trying to illegally enter Texas threw rocks at officers near downtown El Paso, U.S. authorities said Tuesday.

The shooting, which happened Monday evening beneath a railroad bridge linking the two nations, drew sharp criticism from Mexico, where the government said Tuesday that “the use of firearms to repel attacks with stones represents disproportionate use of force, particularly coming from authorities who have received specialized training.”

It was the second death of a Mexican at the hands of Border Patrol officers in less than two weeks, and the case threatened to swell into a full-blown international incident when U.S. and Mexican officials traded suggestions of misconduct.

Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the Chihuahua Attorney General’s office, said a spent 40-mm shell was found near the body – raising the question of whether the fatal shot was fired inside Mexico, although he did not explicitly make that suggestion.

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U.S. Drug Czar Admits Drug War Has Failed

The unusual thing about this story is that it’s being carried by a news heavyweight, the Associated Press, and it covers a surprising amount of ground in covering the issues:

After 40 years, the United States’ war on drugs has cost $1 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives, and for what? Drug use is rampant and violence even more brutal and widespread.

Even U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske concedes the strategy hasn’t worked.

“In the grand scheme, it has not been successful,” Kerlikowske told The Associated Press. “Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified.”

This week President Obama promised to “reduce drug use and the great damage it causes” with a new national policy that he said treats drug use more as a public health issue and focuses on prevention and treatment.

Nevertheless, his administration has increased spending on interdiction and law enforcement to record levels both in dollars and in percentage terms; this year, they account for $10 billion of his $15.5 billion drug-control budget.

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Gringo Masks for Mexican Arizonans

A little humor goes a long way to make a good point. Via animalnewyork: gringo_masks_animal

Fight the pale-skin power. In response to Arizona’s new draconian SB 1070 immigration law, Zubi, an independent Hispanic advertising firm with offices in L.A., Dallas, Miami, and Detroit, has launched a microsite, Gringo Mask, to offer “support and dignity to the Hispanic community in the United States.”
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Mexico May Cut Millions of Cellphones to “Fight Crime”

From Reuters:
Tens of millions of Mexicans could find their cellphones disconnected this weekend if the government goes ahead with a new law meant to fight crime by forcing people to register their identities. Advertisements on government radio and television have been urging Mexicans for weeks to register their cellphones by sending their personal details as a text message, but on Thursday 30 million lines remained unregistered as the Saturday deadline neared. Analysts said that any related losses for Mexico's largest wireless operator, America Movil, would be tiny relative to the company's overall sales. Still, America Movil, controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, is urging senators to extend the deadline for implementing the law, passed a year ago to try to stop criminals from using cellphones for extortion and to negotiate ransoms in kidnappings.
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How Many Mexican Drug War Deaths Can We Attribute to U.S. Pot Laws?

OK, with the progress made (debatable of course) with Obama's campaign promise of health care reform, I think Paul Armentano of NORML raises a good point here. Given the political capital expended on health care "reform" this is feeling like a "second term" issue for the Prez, if that happens ... One of the first things President Roosevelt did upon assuming office, when the economy was way worse in the dumps than now, was to keep a campaign promise and push to repeal Prohibition. Just sayin' ... Paul Armentano writes on Alternet: Mexico Pot Cultivation
It's time to remove the production and distribution of marijuana out of the hands of violent criminal enterprises and into the hands of licensed businesses.It was less than one year ago when acting U.S. DEA administrator Michelle Leonhart publicly declared that the escalating violence on the U.S./Mexico border should be viewed as a sign of the “success” of America’s drug war strategies. “Our view is that the violence we have been seeing is a signpost of the success our very courageous Mexican counterparts are having,” said Michele Leonhart, who was recently nominated by President Obama to be the agency’s full time director. “The cartels are acting out like caged animals, because they are caged animals.”
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Schwarzenegger Asks: Why Not Build Prisons in Mexico?

SchwarzeneggerKevin Yamamura writes on the Sacramento Bee:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday offered yet another way California can save on incarcerating illegal immigrants: pay to build prisons in Mexico. Schwarzenegger said in a Sacramento Press Club speech that rather than raise taxes, the state could find money by cutting pension costs, allowing offshore oil drilling and lowering prison expenditures. His budget calls for an $880 million infusion from the federal government to pay for housing illegal immigrant prisoners who have committed crimes in California. The governor also wants to rely more on private prison companies.
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From Spas to Banks, Mexico Economy Rides on Drugs

From Reuters:

At a modern factory in a city whose main claim to fame is an image of the Virgin Mary revered for granting miracles, Mexican pharmaceuticals firm Grupo Collins churns out antibiotics and other medicines.

But the United States contends that the company in Zapopan is not what it seems. The U.S. Treasury put Grupo Collins on a black list in 2008, saying the firm supplies a small drug cartel in western Mexico with chemicals needed to make methamphetamines.

Grupo Collins, which has denied any connection to organized crime, is one of dozens under suspicion of laundering money for the nation’s booming drug business, whose growing economic impact now pervades just about every level of Mexican life.

Mexican cartels, which control most of the cocaine and methamphetamine smuggled into the United States, bring an estimated $25 billion to $40 billion into Mexico from their global operations every year.

To put that in perspective: Mexico probably made more money in 2009 moving drugs than it did exporting oil, its single biggest legitimate foreign currency earner.

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Mexican Journalist Killed in Apparent Drug Hit

From Reuters:

Mexican police said on Saturday they found the body of a crime reporter abducted last month by apparent drug traffickers, the third murder of a journalist in recent weeks.

The remains of radio journalist Jose Luis Romero were discovered wrapped in plastic near the city of Los Mochis in the western state of Sinaloa, a hotspot in Mexico’s drug war.

The latest victim in an upsurge of attacks on the media, Romero was kidnapped on December 30 at a seafood restaurant. His hands and a leg were broken before he was shot to death, police said.

Across Mexico, a war between rival cartels for control of the multibillion dollar drug trade has killed 17,000 people since President Felipe Calderon launched his anti-drug campaign at the end of 2006.

Attacks on the media have mounted as drug gangs seek to silence journalists who report on the drug killings.

[Read more at Reuters]

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