Tagged: heroin

Mexican cartel shootout leaves 26 dead or wounded in latest violent clash

(THE GUARDIAN) — By David Agren in Mexico City

A battle between rival drug cartel factions in Mexico’s northern Chihuahua state left at least 26 dead and injured, officials have confirmed, in the latest series of violent incidents that have sent the country’s murder rate soaring.

Chihuahua state officials say the shootout occurred in the hamlet of Las Vargas, deep in the rugged Sierra Madre mountains, where the illegal drugs business has deep roots in the local community and economy.

Details were scant, but experts say that the security situation in Chihuahua has deteriorated in recent months as criminal groups squabble over the remains of the empire once controlled by Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

The shootout was just the latest atrocity in a wave of violence extending the length of Mexico, which has sent the country’s homicide rate soaring to levels not seen in two decades. It came after a weekend attack in neighboring Sinaloa, where a confrontation between accused cartel members and state security forces left 19 suspects dead and five police injured.

Mexico recorded 11,155 homicides over the first five months of 2017, according to federal crime statistics. May, meanwhile, was Mexico’s most murderous month since 1997, when the country started accumulating such statistics, with 2,186 homicides committed.

Analysts attribute the rising violence to a confluence of factors, including changing dynamics in the illegal drugs business. Mexican cartels are shifting focus in their smuggling operations to the US from marijuana to heroin, unleashing a wave of violence in the opium poppy-producing state of Guerrero that has left entire villages have emptied.

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What the DEA had to say about Pablo Acosta

The following are highlights from a DEA report entitled The Pablo Acosta Organization, a report based primarily on investigations carried out by U.S. Customs Service agents in the Presidio, Texas, area:

There has been a continuous increase in the trafficking of Mexican heroin, cocaine, and marijuana into the United States from Mexico over the last few years. Many fields of opium poppies were found and destroyed in Coahuila and Chihuahua in 1984. However, the production of opium is expected to rise in 1985. Mexican opium is converted directly into heroin in Mexico and is usually smuggled across the southern border.

There has also been a noticeable increase in the smuggling of cocaine through Mexico, with significant quantities of cocaine produced in South America crossing the southwest border, and although the largest worldwide marijuana seizure to date occurred in the state of Chihuahua in November 1984, it is believed that there are major quantities still available. The amount of marijuana seized along the U.S.-Mexico border has more than tripled in the last year. Recent seizures of very high-grade marijuana tops suggests the existence of very large stockpiles still in Mexico. Read more »