So, the ATF was running guns *and* drugs? Ahem… WTF??

August 5, 2011

Are we sure they’re not the Mafia in disguise?

From the El Paso Times:

U.S. federal agents allegedly allowed the Sinaloa drug cartel to traffic several tons of cocaine into the United States in exchange for information about rival cartels, according to court documents filed in a U.S. federal court.

The allegations are part of the defense of Vicente Zambada-Niebla, who was extradited to the United States to face drug-trafficking charges in Chicago. He is also a top lieutenant of drug kingpin Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman and the son of Ismael “Mayo” Zambada-Garcia, believed to be the brains behind the Sinaloa cartel.

The case could prove to be a bombshell on par with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ “Operation Fast and Furious,” except that instead of U.S. guns being allowed to walk across the border, the Sinaloa cartel was allowed to bring drugs into the United States. Zambada-Niebla claims he was permitted to smuggle drugs from 2004 until his arrest in 2009.

In other words, an arm of the federal government allowed one gang to bring drugs into the US in return for information about other gangs. Drugs that would enrich the gang through proceeds from their sale. Drugs that would destroy lives through their use and through the violence association with the trade. Drugs that are a federal crime to move and sell. These aren’t minor offenses being overlooked here for the greater good.

Erick Erickson of Red State wonders why  Holder still has a job. While that’s a good question for many good reasons, look at the dates in the article: these operations date back through George W. Bush into Bill Clinton’s administration, indicating a tradition of “felony stupid;” they include contract killings done for the cartel while the assassin was under ICE “supervision.”

Granted, the source for this is himself a cartel member who has every incentive to save himself by claiming he was working for the US, but, if he has the proof to back this up or can get it turned over via discovery… “Bombshell” would be a very mild description. And, in the light of what we already know and are learning about the “Gunwalker” fiasco, it’s disturbingly plausible. At the very least, this is another avenue for Congressman Issa’s already-busy investigators to follow.

Meanwhile, I have to ask: What the Sam Hill is going on at ATF??

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Creative smuggling: We build a fence, they fly over it

April 29, 2011

Cartel smugglers may be walking pustules who profit by selling poison and wreak havoc on their own nation(1), but give hem credit for adaptability: Border-control advocates have been screaming for years about building a fence along the Mexican border? Fine The drug-smugglers will just find another way across — or over:

The visiting British pilots were training near a naval air station one night this month when their helicopter came within about 150 feet of an ultralight plane flying without lights. The ultralight darted away toward Mexico without a trace.

The near-disaster over the Southern California desert was an example of drug smugglers using low-flying aircraft that look like motorized hang gliders to circumvent new fences along the U.S. border with Mexico. The planes, which began appearing in Arizona three years ago, are now turning up in remote parts of California and New Mexico.

And in a new twist, the planes rarely touch the ground. Pilots simply pull levers that drop aluminum bins filled with about 200 pounds of marijuana for drivers who are waiting on the ground with blinking lights or glow-sticks. Within a few minutes, the pilots are back in Mexico.

“It’s like dropping a bomb from an aircraft,” said Jeffrey Calhoon, chief of the Border Patrol’s El Centro sector, which stretches through alfalfa farms, desert scrub and sand dunes in southeast California.

The Border Patrol has erected hundreds of miles of fences and vehicle barriers along the border and added thousands of new agents, so drug smugglers are going over, under and around.

I particularly like the “bombing run” aspect.

While the use of ultra-lights is perhaps the most unusual development in the chess match along the border, it’s not the only one: cartel smugglers also use tunnels under the border and boats on the Pacific coast to go around it.

In one sense, it’s an illustration of markets in action: with demand so high in the US, the cartels are going to do their darnedest to make sure they get their goods to the buyers.

Move and counter, thrust and parry.

AFTERTHOUGHT: If drugs are being passed over the border via ultralight, what —or who— else is making it across?

TANGENT:

(1) In fact, that’s just what they are.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Ooops! Drug kingpin to finger Chavez in cocaine smuggling?

November 10, 2010

We already know the Hugo likes to chew on coca leaves supplied by his socialist buddy, Bolivian narco-trafficker President Evo Morales, but now it looks like he may finally get revealed as a major drug lord, too:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez should be very troubled that a man whom President Obama has branded one of the world’s most significant drug kingpins, Walid Makled-Garcia, may soon be telling U.S. federal prosecutors everything he knows about senior Venezuelan officials who have abetted his cocaine smuggling operations. Makled-Garcia’s devastating testimony comes on the heels of fresh evidence of Chávez’s support for terrorist groups from Spain, Colombia, and the Middle East and his apparent illegal support for Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Slowly but surely, Chávez is being unmasked as a mastermind of a criminal regime.

According to a federal indictment unsealed in New York last Thursday, from 2006 through August 2010, Makled-Garcia conspired with Venezuelan officials to ship tons of cocaine from airstrips in that country to Central America, Mexico, and, ultimately, the United States. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called Makled-Garcia “a king among kingpins.” Indeed, the Justice Department has designated him a “priority target,” as one of the most dangerous and prolific narcotics traffickers.

Makled-Garcia was once known as one of Venezuela’s most wealthy entrepreneurs. He came on to the radar screen of U.S. antidrug authorities years ago, when he was suspected of using his family business operations in the Venezuelan port of Puerto Cabello and his close ties to the Venezuelan military and Colombian narcotraffickers to smuggle cocaine. With the active complicity of dozens of senior Venezuelan authorities, Makled-Garcia allegedly operated a drug smuggling network using airstrips in Venezuelan territory. The family also is suspected of being involved in more than a dozen murders, including those of a respected Venezuelan journalist and a Colombian narcotrafficker.

Based on the U.S. indictment, Colombian authorities arrested Makled-Garcia on August 18, and are currently considering a U.S. extradition request for the notorious suspect. In the meantime, in a jailhouse interview with Colombia’s RCN TV last week, Makled-Garcia said he has enough evidence of high-level drug corruption, including videos and bank records, “for the U.S. to intervene and invade Venezuela, as with [Manuel Antonio] Noriega in Panama.”

Read the whole thing. Makled-Garcia claims to have names and bank account numbers showing the involvement of Chavez’s inner circle and their relatives, and he’s making it very clear he will not play the fall-guy. As the article points out, it’s possible* that Chavez isn’t involved, himself, but then why was he desperately begging new Colombian President Santos to return Makled-Garcia back to Caracas for “investigation?”

No doubt because he has evidence implicating Chavez either directly or indirectly-but-uncomfortably-close, and, should he be sent back to Venezuela, Makled-Garcia would (regrettably, of course) be shot while trying to escape.

But Colombia isn’t playing along. They have several longstanding beefs with Hugo, plus they want to keep their American allies happy. It’s almost certain Makled-Garcia is heading for the United States, and, when he gets here, the tale he has to tell should be very interesting. Not that it would surprise anyone that Hugo Chavez was into drug smuggling, but having hard evidence on him would be sweet, indeed.

Via The Jawa Report.

*As in, it’s possible the sun could rise in the West, too.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)