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Top Ten Cities for arresting Americans


The top 10 cities where Americans were arrested and the number taken into custody:
1. Tijuana: 520
2. Guadalajara: 416
3. Nuevo Laredo: 359
4. London: 274
5. Mexico City: 208
6. Toronto: 183
7. Nassau, Bahamas: 108
8. Mérida, Mexico: 99
9. Nogales, Mexico: 96
10. Hong Kong: 90

Arrests WorldWide (Drug Enforcement)

Arrests WorldWide (Drug Enforcement)

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2,500 citizens are arrested abroad. One third of the arrests are on drug-related charges. Many of those arrested assumed as U.S. citizens that they could not be arrested. From Asia to Africa, Europe to South America, citizens are finding out the hard way that drug possession or trafficking equals jail in foreign countries.
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Drug Enforcement automatically monitors news articles and blog posts tracking breaking news of arrests and drug incidents as they happen worldwide .These inter-active News Reports are followed as they develop. Giving you the chance to comment on breaking stories as they happen. Drug Enforcement alerts you to topics that are frequently linked to and commented upon in the world press. Someone is arrested every 20 seconds for a drug related offense !Readers are solely responsible for the content of the comments they post here. Comments are subject to the Blogspots terms and conditions of use and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or approval of the Drug Enforcement site. Readers whose comments violate the terms of use may have their comments removed or all of their content blocked from viewing by other users without notification.

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Drug Enforcement automatically monitors news articles and blog posts tracking breaking news of arrests and drug incidents as they happen worldwide .These inter-active News Reports are followed as they develop. Giving you the chance to comment on breaking stories as they happen. Drug Enforcement alerts you to topics that are frequently linked to and commented upon in the world press. Someone is arrested every 20 seconds for a drug related offense !Readers are solely responsible for the content of the comments they post here. Comments are subject to the Blogspots terms and conditions of use and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or approval of the Drug Enforcement site. Readers whose comments violate the terms of use may have their comments removed or all of their content blocked from viewing by other users without notification.

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Thursday, October 27

Gang ringleaders: Mehmet Sirin Baybasin (left) and Paul Taylor (Pic: PA)

Mehmet Sirin Baybasin (left) and Paul Taylor (Pic: PA)

 

A GANG of drug dealers planned to flood Britain with £4 billion of cocaine - arranging the plot from a phone box.

The Liverpool and London-based gangsters were planning to smuggle 40 tonnes of cocaine from South America by sea, hidden inside tins of fish and wooden pallets.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the drug would be bought at a "wholesale price" and then sold to other dealers who would dilute it and sell it on.

If all the cocaine had made it to the streets of the UK and it was cut before being sold, the court heard it could have been worth around £4 billion.

The head of the Liverpool operation used a phone box in Old Hall Street, in Liverpool city centre, to arrange the deal with his London counterpart.

But the gang were being watched by undercover officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca).

Phone box on Old Hall Street Liverpool used by a drug dealer in one of the biggest ever cocaine rings

The phone box on Old Hall Street used by one of the drug dealers

The group was led by Mehmet Sirin Baybasin, 48, of Fairfield Crescent, Edgware, north-west London, who was jailed for 30 years at a hearing last week after he was found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine.

The court heard that Baybasin was one of a total of 24 defendants brought to justice as part of the Soca investigation and that he was "at the top of the pyramid".

Judge David Aubrey QC said the offences had "at their core the evil and pernicious trade of drug dealing" and were indicative of the gang's "desire for the good life".

He said he was satisfied that the amounts they were talking about were not "pie in the sky" and that the wholesale value of 1,102lb (500kg) of uncut cocaine alone was worth a potential £17 million




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Saturday, October 22

Rival gangsters pack Vancouver courts

 

Members of the Gang Task Force were used to boost security at the Vancouver Law Courts Thursday as four separate gang cases went ahead with rivals appearing on different floors. Eight members of the uniformed GTF arrived for a bail revocation hearing for accused drug trafficker Sukhveer Dhak. One floor below, a cocaine conspiracy trial continued for Dhak rival Jarrod Bacon. Supt. Doug Kiloh, of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, said the GTF officers were on hand because "there is clearly unresolved conflict between gangs." "Do we have concern when we bring them together? Yes, and clearly that poses a public safety risk," Kiloh said. "Even at the Bacon trial, there is going to be conflict internally there." Kiloh said that when any case like that of Bacon and coaccused Wayne Scott has wiretaps being played, things can be tense because of what one party says about the other. Earlier this week, a tape was played in court of Scott saying Bacon's parents were aware of his criminal enterprise, and profited from it. "There are a number of security precautions we are taking," Kiloh said of the Bacon-Scott case. Not only were Dhak and Bacon in separate courtrooms Thursday, but the Greeks gang murder case continued in high-security Courtroom 20 a few floors below. And another case, involving men linked to the United Nations gang, was in pre-trial hearings next door to Dhak. Kiloh said CFSEU has several other big cases and that more charges are expected to be laid in coming weeks. "We know we have been pushing Crown hard. We know they have their hands full," he said. "We hope to have more charges in the coming weeks and months in high-profile cases involving gangs and organized crime." And Kiloh said law enforcement will continue to move forward with major gang prosecutions because "it reduces the threat of public safety issues." Just last month, GTF head officer Supt. Tom McCluskie issued an extraordinary public warning that anyone associating with Dhak or those in the affiliated Duhre group could be at risk because of escalating gang tensions. The Dhaks, Duhres and some members of the UN gang are aligned against an opposing group consisting of some Hells Angels, Red Scorpions and the Independent Soldiers. On Sept. 16, Dhak associate Jujhar Singh Khun-Khun was shot several times in a targeted Surrey shooting that police say may have been in retaliation for the Aug. 14 attack in Kelowna that left Red Scorpion Jonathan Bacon dead and Hells Angel Larry Amero and Independent Soldier James Riach wounded. Dhak was originally charged in October 2008 with production of a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking and conspiracy to commit indictable offence. He is due to go to trial in that case next April. But he was arrested Sept. 18 for allegedly driving while prohibited related to an incident on July 30, 2011. He is also before the courts on another breach allegation related to a Kelowna incident in March 2011 and was charged in December 2010 with one count of counselling to commit the indictable offence of aggravated assault. Justice Brenda Brown reserved her decision on Dhak's bail until next Wednesday. Dhak, dressed in red prison garb, whispered through Plexiglas to his girlfriend at the morning break Thursday. Police sat in the front row, several seats away from Dhak's mother, sister and girlfriend. Details of submissions and arguments at the two-hour hearing are covered by a publication ban. Kiloh said top police officers from around the Lower Mainland met Thursday to discuss the level of gang tensions. He said the situation is very fluid, with unresolved conflicts between some, and others making new associations that police are trying to assess.

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Canada’s top organized crime groups are recruiting workers at Pearson and other major airports to help them smuggle drugs and contraband into the country,

aiportPolice and other agencies at Pearson are working to identify workers who are breaking the law.

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Canada’s top organized crime groups are recruiting workers at Pearson and other major airports to help them smuggle drugs and contraband into the country, says the former head of a national security committee.

Agents of notorious crime groups, including the Hells Angels and Vietnamese gangs, are flexing their muscles to get a bigger share of the lucrative drug-smuggling operation run by corrupt workers at Pearson, police and security officials said.

“Organized crime activity has gotten worst at Pearson,” said Sen. Colin Kenny, former head of a Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. “They are actively recruiting people to work for them.”

The RCMP in a 2008 study identified 60 gangs that have infiltrated airports in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Police said agents of the gangs work at “corrupting existing employees or by placing criminal associates or even spouses or relatives into the airport work force.”

A RCMP witness “said categorically that gangs such as Hells Angels have infiltrated Pearson,” the committee said in a report on Canadian airports.

“If the Hells Angels can get their people in place at airports, what’s to stop Al Fatah?,” Kenny asked. “Any holes that criminals open in security perimeters make them more vulnerable to all who wish to circumvent them.”

The committee toured Pearson following the 9/11 terrorist attacks to study safety procedures and found gaping holes in security.

“The security gaps may be wide open at Pearson,” Kenny said. “There is a lot of money to be made and crime groups are getting their own people hired to work there.”

RCMP Const. Michelle Paradis said police and other agencies at Pearson are working to identify workers who are breaking the law.

“We have been working diligently to identify smuggling groups and target them,” Paradis said on Thursday. “These investigations take a lot of manpower and resources.”

The Mounties have smashed several drug rings involving ramp handlers, airline groomers and catering staff who were removing drugs from aircraft and smuggling the bags out of the facility in their vehicles unchecked.

Five ramp handlers and a Jamaican police officer were among nine people arrested in Dec. 2010 by the RCMP after they squashed a ring allegedly smuggling kilos of cocaine and marijuana into Canada.

Police accuse the Jamaica Constabulary Force officer of planting drugs on aircraft that were allegedly removed here by handlers and smuggled from the airport.

Kenny said one way to curb the flow of illegal drugs is to examine all staff and their vehicles arriving and leaving the airport.

“They can check all travellers why can’t they check employees entering and leaving,” he said. “Their vehicles also have to be checked as well.”

Kenny said drugs are still flowing freely through the use of inter-Canada air courier service that promise 24-hour delivery to customers as reported in the Toronto Sun on Monday.

“Very little if anything is being done to examine domestic courier packages,” he said. “They are all virtually unchecked.”

Kenny said a third party, such as the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, which is responsible for passenger and baggage security, should screen packages.

There are about 90,000 people working at Canadian airports and police estimate about 1,000 of them are intent on “infiltrating the airports to facilitate criminal activity.”

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Monday, October 17

Mexico opposition may work with criminals

 

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has said politicians in the main opposition party may consider deals with criminals, opening an inflammatory new front in the nation's presidential election campaign. Calderon's blunt remarks about the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which is favored to win the July 1, 2012 election, are unusual in a country where the president is expected to stay largely aloof from party politics. Centering on the policy that has dominated his presidency -- an aggressive army-led crackdown on drug cartels -- his comments risk polarizing opinion on how to restore stability to Mexico, where the drug war has killed 44,000 in five years. Leading members of Calderon's conservative National Action Party (PAN), other PRI opponents and political analysts have accused the once-dominant party of making secret deals with drug cartels in the past to keep the peace in Mexico. In a weekend New York Times interview published a day after he said a state governed by the PRI had been left in the hands of a drug gang, Calderon was asked whether the opposition party might pursue a corrupt relationship with organized crime. "There are many in the PRI who think the deals of the past would work now. I don't see what deal could be done, but that is the mentality many of them have," said Calderon, whom the law prevents from seeking a second six-year term. Calderon's office later issued a statement saying the newspaper had expressly noted when posing the question that the PRI had a reputation for making deals with organized crime. His office underlined that the president recognized many in the PRI did not favor this approach and supported his policy. Analysts say Calderon is bitterly opposed to the PRI, which dominated Mexico for seven decades until PAN won the presidency in 2000 under its candidate Vicente Fox. The tide of drug war killings has eroded support for the PAN, and the PRI's main hopeful, the telegenic former governor of the State of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, has around twice the support of his nearest rival. NAMING NAMES The PRI has attacked Calderon for the spiraling death toll, and analysts said the president's remarks were tailored for the election, putting in jeopardy any hope of passing many pending reforms that have been stalled in Congress. "This is really serious," Javier Oliva, a political scientist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), said of Calderon's comments about the PRI. "The president has an obligation to prove this now. To name names." "The president is regressing into a negative stance of being president of the PAN, and not president of Mexico." The Times noted that Calderon "looked disgusted at the mere mention of the PRI" during the interview. The statement issued by his office said Calderon mentioned the ex-PRI governor of Nuevo Leon state, Socrates Rizzo, as someone who had pointed to the existence of such pacts. Rizzo's comments, which were reported early this year, were rejected by leading PRI figures at the time. The PRI's national chairman, Humberto Moreira, told El Universal's Sunday newspaper his party did not want to make deals with organized crime and that Calderon was trying to exploit the issue of public security for political ends.

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Mexico’s military says soldiers freed 61 men being held captive by the Zetas drug cartel for use as forced labor

 

Mexico’s military says soldiers freed 61 men being held captive by the Zetas drug cartel for use as forced labor. The army says the men were found guarded by three Zetas kidnappers in a safe house in the border city of Piedras Negras on Saturday. Soldiers made the discovery during a security sweep in the area that also turned up an abandoned truck filled with 6 tons of marijuana. Loading... Comments Weigh InCorrections? In a press conference Sunday, Gen. Luis Crescencio Sandoval Gonzalez said one of the captives was from Honduras and others were from various parts of Mexico. He said the three kidnappers were arrested. Piedras Negras sits across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, in the Mexican state of Coahuila, which has been the scene of ongoing battles between drug gangs.

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Four former members of the Colombian army's special forces are training members of Los Zetas

 

Four former members of the Colombian army's special forces are training members of Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent drug cartel, the Bogota daily El Tiempo reported Sunday. The retired soldiers - two captains and two sergeants - served time in Colombia for human rights violations. "The identities of the soldiers have not been released because charges have not been filed against them," El Tiempo said, adding that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Mexican police and Colombian police were tracking their movements.

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You shoot a police officer, you’re going to get shot back at

 

A little before dawn on a sticky summer night in June, one of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s Ranger Reconnaissance Teams was running a clandestine operation along the Rio Grande when its surveillance squad came across a Dodge Durango pickup truck loaded with bales of Mexican marijuana. Bad idea, messing with Texas. 37 Comments Weigh InCorrections? inShare Gallery  The Texas governor is seeking the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Gallery  Mexico's ongoing drug war continues to claim lives and disrupt order in the country. More On This Story Read more on PostPolitics.com Rick Perry a hawk on Texas border security Perry and Romney dominate GOP fundraising Cain defends ‘9-9-9’ tax overhaul plan View all Items in this Story The lawmen chased the truck along the river, with a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter swooping overhead and Texas game wardens roaring down the Rio Grande in boats, state authorities said. In minutes, the traffickers had ditched the truck in the muddy water and were rafting the dope back to Mexico. Then the shooting started. Alone among his Republican rivals running for president, the Texas governor has a small army at his disposal. Over the past three years, he has deployed it along his southern flank in a secretive, military-style campaign that his supporters deem absolutely necessary and successful and that his critics call an overzealous, expensive and mostly ineffective political stunt. A hawk when it comes to Mexican cartels, Perry said in New Hampshire this month that as president he would consider sending U.S. troops into Mexico to combat drug violence there and stop it from spilling into the United States. The June incident along the Rio Grande was typical of Perry’s border security campaign: a lot of swagger, with mixed results. The initial news release said the Texas Rangers team came “under heavy fire” by members of the Gulf cartel, though officials later said it was “four to six shots.” The Texas Rangers and their multi-agency task force, which included U.S. Border Patrol agents, returned fire — big time — lighting up the Mexican riverbank with 300 rounds. “You shoot a police officer, you’re going to get shot back at,” said Steven McCraw, Perry’s homeland security chief and director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

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Frightening 'Drug Threat Assessment' for the USA and Mexico

 

The National Drug Intelligence Center, a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, recently released a document entitled the "National Drug Threat Assessment 2011."  You can read the document online here.  The document paints a gloomy picture for both the U.S. and Mexico. The Assessment's Executive Summary begins: "The illicit trafficking and abuse of drugs present a challenging, dynamic threat to the United States.  Overall demand is rising, largely supplied by illicit drugs smuggled to U.S. markets by major transnational criminal organizations (TCOs).  Changing conditions continue to alter patterns in drug production, trafficking, and abuse. Traffickers are responding to government counterdrug efforts by modifying their interrelationships, altering drug production levels, and adjusting their trafficking routes and methods. Major Mexican-based TCOs continue to solidify their dominance over the wholesale illicit drug trade as they control the movement of most of the foreign-produced drug supply across the U.S. Southwest Border. "The estimated economic cost of illicit drug use to society for 2007 was more than $193 billion...." One of the contributing factors is the high demand for drugs in the United States. This high demand finances the drug cartels, allowing them to spend more and expand their operations.   According to the 2011 Assessment, that demand is growing. The document reports that "The abuse of several major illicit drugs, including heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine, appears to be increasing, especially among the young."  Elsewhere it says that "Overall drug availability is increasing."  One exception to this tendency is cocaine - its availability and use are down.   The document states that "The Southwest Border remains the primary gateway for moving illicit drugs into the United States.  Most illicit drugs available in the United States are smuggled overland across the Southwest Border...."  The Southwest Border is comprised of the southern borders of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas with Mexico. Then there is the tunneling: "Despite enhanced detection efforts and better countermeasures, Mexican drug traffickers will continue to build tunnels under the Southwest Border." In the U.S., Mexican cartels have cornered the market.  The 2011 Assessment states that "Mexican-based TCOs [transnational crime organizations] dominate the supply, trafficking, and wholesale distribution of most illicit drugs in the United States."  Elsewhere, it predicts that "Major Mexican-based TCOs and their associates are solidifying their dominance of the U.S. wholesale drug trade and will maintain their reign for the foreseeable future." The Mexican cartels are active in many urban areas.  The Assessment calculates that "Mexican-based TCOs were operating in more than a thousand U.S. cities during 2009 and 2010...." And, "Mexican-based trafficking organizations control access to the U.S.-Mexico border, the primary gateway for moving the bulk of illicit drugs into the United States.  The organizations control, simultaneously use, or are competing for control of various smuggling corridors that they use to regulate drug flow across the border. The value they attach to controlling border access is demonstrated by the ferocity with which several rival TCOs are fighting over control of key corridors, or ‘plazas.'" The document says that seven major Mexican drug cartels are supplying the United States, but that "... the Sinaloa Cartel is preeminent - its members traffic all major illicit drugs of abuse, and its extensive distribution network supplies drugs to all regions of the United States." U.S.-based gangs are involved in the distribution north of the border: "The threat posed by gang involvement in drug trafficking is increasing, particularly in the Southwest Region. With gangs already the dominant retail drug suppliers in major and midsized cities, some gang members are solidifying their ties to Mexican TCOs to bolster their involvement in wholesale smuggling, internal distribution, and control of the retail trade." The Assessment reports that "Criminal gangs - that is street, prison, and outlaw motorcycle gangs - remain in control of most of the retail distribution of drugs throughout much of the United States, particularly in major and midsize cities." The document predicts that "Collaboration between U.S. gangs and Mexican-based TCOs will continue to increase, facilitating wholesale drug trafficking into and within the United States.  Most collaboration occurs in cities along the U.S.-Mexico border, although some occurs in other regions of the country. Some U.S.-based gangs in the Southwest Border region also operate in Mexico, facilitating the smuggling of illicit drugs across the border." The 2011 Assessment paints a gloomy picture of the drug trafficking situation, drug cartels, and the safety and security of both the U.S. and Mexico.

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Friday, October 14

Manchester men held in Peru over drug smuggling

 

Two men from Greater Manchester have been arrested in Peru on suspicion of drug smuggling. Dexter Elliott and Kevin Fowler, from Middleton, were detained at Jorge Chavez Airport in Lima on 2 October. West Yorkshire Police said they were arrested by the Peruvian authorities as part of an ongoing investigation into the supply of controlled drugs. The men, who are both aged 24, remain in custody, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said. A spokeswoman added: "We are in touch with their families and are providing consular assistance."

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Tuesday, October 11

NJ Town First to Consider Medical Marijuana

 

Medical marijuana could get a little closer to sprouting in the Garden State, as one licensed dispensary heads to the zoning board in the town of Maple Shade, NJ. Authorities in March licensed six non-profit alternative treatment centers across the state, but they’ve largely been in a holding pattern ever since. On Wednesday, Compassionate Sciences Inc. will be the first center to seek local approval. The firm wants to convert an old furniture store into a 5,000 square foot center, with consulting rooms for patients to discuss the controlled substance, a lab to conduct research and, as spokesman Andrei Bogolubov describes it, a very secure vault for the marijuana. “There's a lot of controls, a lot of safeguards, and the state's going to do a site visit to make sure those systems are in place before they issue the permit and let us open the doors,” he said. Even if it gets a local go-ahead, Compassionate Sciences and the other approved dispensaries are still waiting for New Jersey to issue final regulations. Each center will grow and harvest its own crop of marijuana and Bogolubov estimates it will take about nine weeks to generate enough to supply customers. About 30,000 of them are expected state-wide. Governor Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor, has said he would not have signed the bill into law. He wants to make sure the drug only gets to people who need it for pain relief from illnesses such as cancer and multiple-sclerosis. He said he is determined to avoid “abuses” that he said have plagued medical marijuana programs in Colorado and California.

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The Netherlands is embarking on a crusade against its multi-billion-euro marijuana industry

 

The Netherlands is embarking on a crusade against its multi-billion-euro marijuana industry, with significant implications both for its economy and its famously liberal approach to life. Along with tighter control of legalized prostitution and a swing to the right in attitudes toward immigration and Islam in recent years, the clampdown is seen as further evidence of an erosion of tolerance in a country known for its liberal social policies. The push to clamp down on soft drugs has come mainly from the Christian Democrats, the junior partner in the minority government and one of the larger parties in a fragmented political landscape. "There's clearly a shift in the moral debate. It's all about the culture of control," said Dirk Korf, professor of criminology at the University of Amsterdam. Instantly recognizable from the sickly sweet, burned-leaf smell that wafts out onto the street, the Netherlands' world-renowned "coffee shops" are almost as common as supermarkets in big cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam and in certain border towns. Like trained sommeliers, the staff or "bud tenders" are experts on the flavors and after-effects of whatever is on the menu -- white widow, vanilla kush, or hazers like amnesia "known for its extreme, almost paranoid psychedelic high, with an unforgettable strong fruity taste and smell." Counter staff do a brisk trade in plastic sachets of loose grass, ready-rolled joints and chunks of hashish for those who want take-away. The Netherlands tolerates the sale of up to 5 grams per person per day of marijuana and hashish in the controlled environment of the coffee shops. It also tolerates the home cultivation of marijuana plants, within a limit of five plants per person, but any cultivation larger than that is illegal. Strong demand has spawned secret cannabis plantations that provide a so-called back-door supply to the coffee shops and are a headache for Dutch authorities who have to find and raid them. DRUGS TOURISTS On a typical Saturday evening, the coffee shops in central Amsterdam are packed with smokers. The clientele is middle class, the voices mostly foreign -- Italian, Spanish, French, German, English. Concerned about this influx of soft-drugs tourists, not to mention what it sees as the associated crime, nuisance and health risks, the Christian Democrat Party wants to see the country's 700 or so coffee shops shut down, but for the moment is settling for introducing restrictions on their activities. A measure expected to be passed in parliament by the end of this year will have coffee shops operate as members-only clubs, meaning that only local residents will be eligible to register for "weed passes," effectively barring foreigners from buying soft drugs. Already, some cities have introduced tighter restrictions, limiting the coffee shops' proximity to schools or relocating them to the outskirts. On October 1, coffee shops in the southeastern city of Maastricht banned all foreigners except for neighboring Germans and Belgians, as a first step toward introduction of weed passes. Crime expert Korf says there is little justification for the clampdown, with scant evidence that the Dutch public supports the change. "No serious polls have been conducted, we don't know if opinions about coffee shops have even changed," said Korf. "Before coffee shops we had street dealing, they were selling marijuana in the street and ripping off tourists. The whole drug problem is nothing compared to (what we had in) the 1980s, 1990s -- we don't have a heroin problem." The Trimbos Institute, which studies addiction and mental health, said 5 percent of Netherlands citizens smoked weed or hashish in the past year, against an EU average of 7 percent. GLOBAL CONFUSION Policymakers around the world are seeking fresh ideas on how to combat drug abuse, opening up a debate on policies on soft drugs. In June, a high-profile group of global leaders declared the "war on drugs" a failure and urged governments to consider decriminalizing drugs in order to cut consumption and weaken the power of organized crime. The Global Commission on Drug Policy -- which includes former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and British billionaire Richard Branson -- said a decades-long strategy of outlawing drugs and jailing users while battling drug cartels had not worked. It recommended that governments experiment with the legal regulation of drugs, especially cannabis, citing the successes in countries such as the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland, where drug consumption had been reduced. Portugal, for instance, has gone much further than the Netherlands by decriminalizing all drugs, replacing jail time with counseling and treatment. The Christian Democrats disagree and say the Dutch policy has had a negative effect on public health and crime. "In other countries there is no tolerance. The Dutch coffee shops attract a lot of foreign drug tourists, especially in the border region, causing much nuisance," according to a statement published on the Christian Democrat Party website. The centrist party has cast doubt on the rationale for allowing coffee shops, which was to separate the soft and hard drugs markets, and said that people who smoke cannabis often turned to other drugs. It also argues the active substance in cannabis is much stronger than twenty years ago, putting it on a par with harder drugs -- a reflection of years of cultivation of new varieties by growers. A Dutch commission earlier this year found that hashish and marijuana on sale in the Netherlands contain about 18 percent of THC, the main psychoactive substance, and said a level above 15 percent put the drugs on a par with heroin or cocaine. Maxime Verhagen, a Christian Democrat who is deputy prime minister, said on October 7 the government would ban the sale of cannabis whose concentration of THC exceeds 15 percent. The Christian Democrats also want tougher regulations on the so-called cannabis plantations. In addition to illegally supplying the coffee shops, "much of the illegally cultivated cannabis in the Netherlands is exported abroad. There is an extensive network illegally created in the grip of organized crime," the party said in its statement. Dutch authorities already devote considerable resources to tracking down these large-scale plantations. The police work with the local electricity company to detect unusual consumption patterns, for example round-the-clock usage in sheds and attics, and have used tiny sniffer-helicopters which can detect the smell of pot plants wafting from ventilation shafts and chimneys, according to media reports. Rotterdam city council recently distributed "scratch and sniff cards" to households, hoping that concerned citizens would tip off the police if they recognized the smell of illegal cannabis plantations in the neighborhood. PUSHBACK AT HOME There is plenty of opposition to the crackdown. Dutch smokers do not welcome the idea of having to register for weed passes. "Many of my customers are locals, artists, writers, doctors, lawyers, professionals. They don't want their name on a register -- they don't know who could see it or use it. So they may go to other sources on the street," said Paula Baten, manager of the Siberie coffee shop in central Amsterdam. "This government is more Christian, more right-wing. They don't want drugs but they forget about the effects of alcohol." Already, there's talk of how foreigners can circumvent the new rules, for example by asking Dutch citizens to buy soft drugs on their behalf to take away, and concern that dealing in soft drugs will go onto the street. Some politicians oppose the proposals. Eberhard van der Laan, the mayor of Amsterdam, says restricting the activities of coffee shops would lead to greater health risks, nuisance and drug dealing on the streets. As mayor, he could simply choose not to enforce the weed pass regulations. "At the moment the mayor is in conference with the minister to convince him that the measures regarding coffee shops will be counterproductive for Amsterdam," the mayor's office said in a statement to Reuters. Others cite the likely economic impact. The Netherlands, like other European countries, has had to introduce austerity measures and cut spending in the wake of the credit crisis, when it pumped 40 billion euros into rescuing financial institutions. Tax revenue from the coffee shops is estimated at about 400 million euros a year. Studies by the finance ministry and academics estimated that if the Netherlands legalized the "back-door" supply, bringing it "above board," it could collect as much as an additional 400-850 million euros a year, including savings on the cost of law enforcement. Then there's the tourist revenue. In Maastricht, which gets a lot of day tourists because it is so close to the German and Belgian borders, a study commissioned by an association of coffee shop owners calculated that visitors to the city's coffee shops spent about 119 million euros a year, mostly on shopping and eating out. A study by Professor Korf of the University of Amsterdam found that tourists who visited coffee shops in central Amsterdam had similar spending habits to other tourists, and were just as likely to spend 200 euros or more on a hotel room, or splash out at smart restaurants or nightclubs. The Bulldog and Barney's -- the big names in the industry -- run coffee shop chains, and many coffee shop owners also make money from lodgings and related businesses. Hundreds of tourists attend the annual cannabis cup award for the best new strains, and the local edition of Time Out runs monthly weed reviews. Jackie Woerlee, who runs customized cannabis tours, said that among her recent tour guests were members of one of the Middle East royal families who rented a luxury apartment for several weeks and spent several thousand euros shopping at luxury stores. "Customers might easily spend 100 euros in a coffee shop, but it's not just that, it's the hotels, the eating out, renting apartments," Woerlee said. "These people spend."

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Friday, October 7

arrested after argument over loud motorcycle noise

 

Rock Hill man was arrested and accused of threatening a couple by telling them he would have Hells Angels motorcycle gang burn down their home, police say. Gerald Anthony Rodgers, 52, has been charged with assault and battery. Rodgers had driven by the couple's Rock Hill home Monday night and revved his motorcycle, startling the couple's dog, according to a York County Sheriff's Office report. The man and Rodgers began arguing about the noise. Then, Rodgers told the man he had placed his family in danger and that he and the Hells Angels would burn down the home. Rodgers told deputies threats had been made both ways, the report states. He claimed the man had threatened him with a knife. Rodgers was then arrested and taken to York County Detention Center.

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Triple-murder case involving local Hells Angel goes to grand jury

 

The triple murder case involving a local Hells Angels member and two others is before a grand jury and a second case involving the same biker is heading there as well. According to a source close to the case, the grand jury is in session and interviewing witnesses in the Aug. 28 murder of three Pittsfield men. Adam Lee Hall, 34, of Peru; Caius Veiovis, 31, of Pittsfield; and David Chalue, 44, of North Adams and Springfield, allegedly kidnapped then murdered David Glasser in order to keep him from testifying against Hall, a member of the Berkshire County chapter of the Hells Angels, in an assault and kidnapping trial that had been set to begin Sept. 19. The two other victims, Edward Frampton -- Glasser's roommate -- and their friend, Robert Chadwell, were killed because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time, according to police. All three were allegedly abducted Aug. 28 from 254 Linden St., where Glasser and Frampton lived. A fourth defendant, David Casey, 62, of Canaan, N.Y., has been charged as an accessory to the murder for allegedly helping Hall bury the bodies with an excavator in Becket. It was unclear whether Casey was part of the current grand jury proceedings. All four defendants have pleaded not guilty. The grand jury is a secret proceeding made up of no more than 23 jurors who serve for up to three months. Unlike a criminal trial, the prosecutor questions witnesses, Advertisement while any attorney representing a witness is excluded from objecting, arguing or addressing the prosecutor or the jurors, according to the state's criminal procedure law. If at least 12 jurors find there is enough evidence, then the defendants can be indicted and the case can move on to the superior court level. Hall is also facing child pornography and extortion charges for allegedly forcing a 16-year-old to send him nude photographs of herself. He was arraigned Sept. 6 in Central Berkshire District Court on those charges. On Sept. 29, the Berkshire District Attorney's Office pulled the case from district court in order to bring it to the grand jury in hopes of prosecuting Hall on the charges in superior court. Meanwhile, the police investigation is continuing. The case is headed up by the Massachusetts State Police and the Pittsfield Police, with the assistance of the FBI and other agencies, under the direction of the district attorney. Investigators were back at Hall's compound located at 40 East Main St. in Peru on Monday and were seen digging on the property with an excavator. A large-scale police search had been conducted at the site last month. The warrants in the case were set to be unsealed this week, but at the request of authorities, they won't be revealed until the end of the month

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Sûreté du Québec moves in on alleged Hells Angels drug ring

 

Several marijuana grow-op sites were busted and at least one restricted firearm was seized as police conducted eight early-morning raids with a Hells Angels connection Thursday in the Montéregie region east of Montreal, Sgt. Valérie Bolduc of the Sûreté du Québec said. A total of nine suspects were formally charged on Thursday afternoon with the production and possession of illegal drugs as well as firearms charges while another suspect is to be charged on Friday. Three other suspects were released either on a promise to appear or to be summoned to court later while one suspect was released without being charged. “Several SWAT teams were involved,” Bolduc said, refusing to specify the number. About 100 SQ officers, with the assistance of local police, swept into residences in Acton Vale, St. Théodore d’Acton and Durham beginning “very early” Thursday, she said. Bolduc said it was part of an SQ effort launched last spring following a series of tips received from the public, to dismantle what she described as “a well-established, long-standing drug ring .... believed to involve the Hells Angels” biker gang. One of those detained is a man in his 50s, known to police and believed to be the ringleader. The ring is believed to have distributed and sold cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamines, Bolduc added. The array of criminal charges will probably include negligent storage of firearms, she added, in addition to production of cannabis and possession of various drugs for the purposes of trafficking. “It’s too early” to be able to disclose the full number and type of weapons seized, Bolduc said

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Thursday, October 6

RCMP Cpl. Annie Linteau says officers arrested the 33-year-old owner for allegedly using the Bell 206 helicopter to transport cocaine from Lumby, B.C., to the United States


RCMP Cpl. Annie Linteau says officers arrested the 33-year-old owner for allegedly using the Bell 206 helicopter to transport cocaine from Lumby, B.C., to the United States.

For the second time this year, RCMP in the southern Interior have seized a helicopter they say was used to smuggle drugs between the U.S. and Canada.

"The fact that a criminal organization would purchase such a valuable vehicle for $425,000 just to move illicit drugs across the border underscores the actual value of the illicit drug movement across our shared border," said Linteau.

Members of the Nelson RCMP Border Integrity Program monitored the helicopter's movements for two years before arresting the owner and seizing the chopper in May.

Lumby, B.C.

RCMP say they have cut off an airborne pipeline for drugs, but charges are unlikely.

"Criminal charges are not being pursued in this due to a lack of evidence. However the helicopter is being seized under the Civil Forfeiture Act," said Linteau.

Sources close to the investigation say they weren't able to catch the pilot taking drugs across the border.

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Indonesia arrests Greek man over $1.6m drug haul

 

Indonesian police have arrested a Greek man who allegedly tried to smuggle methamphetamine worth US$1.2 million (S$1.6 million) onto the resort island of Bali, a customs official said on Wednesday. Nikolaos Bouikidis, who could face the death penalty if convicted, was found to have 4.2kg of the drug hidden in the lining of his suitcase, said Made Wijaya, head of the Ngurah Rai customs office. The 36-year-old arrived in Bali's capital Denpasar on Monday on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha, via Singapore. 'At customs we detected suspicious objects in a grey suitcase belonging to the suspect. After an in-depth examination, we found two pieces of plastic objects in a crystal-shaped cavity in the wall of the suitcase,' Mr Wijaya said.

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Drug Sting Arrests Dozens at Boeing Plant

 

U.S. Justice Department said more than two dozen Boeing employees were arrested Thursday on drug-related charges in a multi-agency sting operation. Agents from the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration participated in the operation that led to 23 individuals indicted and 14 others charged with "attempted possession of the various drugs being sold by their co-workers," which are misdemeanor charges, the department said in a statement. All but one of those charges was arrested, officials said. The department alleges Boeing workers at the Ridley Park, Pa., plant, south of Philadelphia, were involved in selling prescription drugs, including fentanyl, known as Actiq, which is a pain killer prescribed to cancer patients; oxycodone, known as OxyContin, which is also a pain killer; and alprazolam or Xanax, primarily used as an anti-anxiety drug. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Zane David Memeger said, "This investigation and prosecution focused not only on the sellers but also on the users because of the critical role that these employees play in manufacturing military aircraft." "Prescription drug abuse has been on the rise in our community and this is just one example of how pervasive the problem is," he said. The plant, which manufactures military helicopters, is one of two operated by Boeing Rotorcraft Systems, part of Boeing Defense, Space and Security.

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Drug Sting Arrests Dozens at Boeing Plant

 

U.S. Justice Department said more than two dozen Boeing employees were arrested Thursday on drug-related charges in a multi-agency sting operation. Agents from the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration participated in the operation that led to 23 individuals indicted and 14 others charged with "attempted possession of the various drugs being sold by their co-workers," which are misdemeanor charges, the department said in a statement. All but one of those charges was arrested, officials said. The department alleges Boeing workers at the Ridley Park, Pa., plant, south of Philadelphia, were involved in selling prescription drugs, including fentanyl, known as Actiq, which is a pain killer prescribed to cancer patients; oxycodone, known as OxyContin, which is also a pain killer; and alprazolam or Xanax, primarily used as an anti-anxiety drug. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Zane David Memeger said, "This investigation and prosecution focused not only on the sellers but also on the users because of the critical role that these employees play in manufacturing military aircraft." "Prescription drug abuse has been on the rise in our community and this is just one example of how pervasive the problem is," he said. The plant, which manufactures military helicopters, is one of two operated by Boeing Rotorcraft Systems, part of Boeing Defense, Space and Security.

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Bali arrest boy our No. 1 priority

 

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd says the Australian government is working closely with Indonesian authorities to obtain the release of a 14-year-old Australian boy who was allegedly caught with drugs while on holiday in Bali. Mr Rudd said the boy from NSW was being held at police headquarters in Denpasar. "I have just spoken with our ambassador in Jakarta (Greg Moriarty) and I have indicated to him that his number one priority in the immediate period ahead is how we support this young boy and his family and do everything we can to obtain his early return to Australia," Mr Rudd told reporters in Sydney on Thursday. Advertisement: Story continues below He said the Consul and the Consul General were having "rolling" contact with the family and that his heart went out to the parents. "I think if you put yourself in the position of being a mum or a dad with a 14-year-old who's got themselves caught up in this situation, you're heart would go out to the parents." It is believed the boy was arrested on Tuesday in possession of a small amount of marijuana. He was allegedly caught with 6.9 grams gross of marijuana or 3.6 grams nett. Indonesian police sources have told AAP the boy is Lewis Alan Mason, from Morisset Park on the NSW Central Coast. Mason, who was on holidays with his parents and staying in the luxury resort area of Legian, was with a friend when he was arrested on Tuesday afternoon. It's alleged he bought the marijuana for the equivalent of $A25 after being approached by a dealer while on his way to get a massage in Kuta earlier in the afternoon. Police then detained him outside a supermarket after he left the place where he received the massage. If Mason is charged with possession, he would face a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison. However, his lawyer, Mohammad Rifan, told AAP he could be charged under provisions for juveniles, in which case the maximum penalty would only be six years. Mr Rudd said he would not go into the facts of the boy being held, but the government was working closely with the Indonesian authorities. Under Indonesian law, there is no juvenile court system, so if he is charged the boy is likely to be placed in an adult prison. He is the youngest Australian to be arrested in Indonesia. "Regrettably, we know the authorities in Denpasar too well through matters we have had to deal with over the years," Mr Rudd said. "I'm not going to be in the business of providing public lectures from abroad on the nature of anyone else's legal regime." His job was to try to get the boy home, he said. "We respect those laws and we will work very closely with our friends and colleagues in Jakarta and Denpasar." The arrest is the latest in a string of drug-related arrests of Australians in Bali in recent years. Graeme Michael Pollock, from Darwin, was arrested last month with a small amount of methamphetamine. He is also yet to be charged. A host of other Australians have been jailed for drug-related offences and are serving time in Bali's Kerobokan Prison, including the Bali Nine, the Gold Coast's Schapelle Corby and Sydney man Michael Sacatides. Two other Australians, Ricky Rawson from Victoria and Melbourne man Angus McCaskill, were released from jail earlier this year after serving time in Kerobokan.

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