With Amanda covering of the horrific Tucson shootings and my own trip to Mexico City, it’s been an eventful break for us here at CrawfordOnDrugs.com, but the drug war never sleeps.
Police in Monterrey, Mexico found five mutilated bodies outside the wealthy city last Tuesday, part of a series of attacks that have killed 23 people. Reuters reports the bodies of the five men, their arms and legs chopped off, were dumped on a street in the town of Montemorelos just south of Monterrey. Part of the same string of killings, three brothers were killed in a drive-by-shooting while they were eating tacos, gunmen killed five men in a working class neighborhood, and a woman died of a heart attack after witnessing the multiple homicide. Nine others were killed within a span of 24 hours.
In a surprise move by President Alvaro Colom, hundreds of Guatemalan troops flooded the northern state of Alta Verapaz last month to combat Mexico’s feared Zetas drug gang in small towns near the border, Reuters reported. What the president has declared a “state of siege,” has been extended for another 30 days as the military struggles to block cartel destabilization and “recover governance in Alta Verapez.” Read more about the long reach of the drug war here and watch a video on Mexico’s increasing role in the production of our Meth here.
Mexican journalist Marcela Turati Munoz has compiled the stories of victims of the drug war in her new book, “Fuego Cruzado,” Spanish for ‘crossfire.’ CNN reports that Turati hopes the book, for which she interviewed the families of slain victims in 10 states across Mexico, will give voice to the innocent victims of drug war violence and encourage others to “reflect on what happened before and think about what type of society we are forming, with so much suffering, so much pain and so many losses.”
A journalist on the other side of the conflict, Emilio Gutierrez Soto arrived at a federal court Friday to plead his case for U.S. asylum, claiming he fled across the border with his 15-year-old son after receiving death threats for his critical coverage of the military in Mexico’s bloody drug war, the AP reports.
AFP reports that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will make a one-day visit to Guanajuato, Mexico on Monday to discuss tackling Mexico’s violent drug gangs and the financial crisis with Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa.
Mexico’s former president Vicente Fox, once known for being hard on crime and drugs in particular, told Time that his views have shifted dramatically in favor of complete legalization of the production, transit, and sale of prohibited drugs. “Prohibition didn’t work in the Garden of Eden. Adam ate the apple,” Fox says. While there have been countries in the past who have decriminalized the personal possession of many drugs, none has ever legalized them fully due to rigid U.N. treaties. Fox says the country cannot wait for the whole world but should instead plow on with reform.
To read about the results of Portugal’s 10-year experiment with the decriminalization of all drugs, listen to NPR‘s story here.
Arizona legislators are moving to pass a bill that would classify synthetic cannabis as a dangerous drug prohibited for sale, transfer, or use under Arizona’s Criminal Code. To read more about synthetic cannabis (a.k.a. “Spice”), check out my story on the DEA’s temporary nationwide ban here.
Sold under the same guise as synthetic cannabis, which is marketed as “incense,” a synthetic drug sold as “bath salt” is flying off the shelves of head-shops across the nation WMBB.com reports. A psychoactive stimulant in the form of a white powder that is snorted, the packaging of brands like “Blue Silk,” “White Lightning” and “Mojo Diamond” all say they are not for human consumption, making it available legally.
In Utah, police shot and killed a man within seconds of storming his parents’ home in a drug raid that resulted in a small amount of pot and an empty vial of what may have contained meth. Todd Blair, 45, raised a golf club when the narcotics strike force entered his house. Within seconds, without demanding he drop the club or raise his hands, Sgt. Troy Burnett fired three shots, killing Blair. To read the full story from the Salt Lake Tribune, click here. To see the video of the raid, go here.