Category Archives: Drugs trade

'The training stays with you': the elite Mexican soldiers recruited by cartels

Last year, Mexico’s murder rate reached the highest level on record – and years of military defections are fueling the violence

Delfino was handpicked twice. At 18, he was chosen by the Mexican army to join its elite unit, the airborne special forces group known by its Spanish acronym, Gafe, where he specialized as a sniper.

Ten years later, he was recruited again – this time by the very people he’d been trained to kill.

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Source: gad

Trafficked, beaten, enslaved: the life of a Vietnamese cannabis farmer

At 10, ‘Stephen’ was taken from Hanoi to London and then spent four years tending plants for a brutal drug gang. Now awaiting news of an appeal against deportation, he recalls his horrific experience – and his lucky escape

Anyone who thinks the business of cannabis cultivation in the UK is a friendly, hippyish occupation, imbued with wholesome organic principles, needs to reflect on the experience of Stephen, a vulnerable Vietnamese orphan who was 10 when he was trafficked to the UK to work as an enslaved cannabis farmer.

Stephen arrived in Britain in the back of a freezer lorry, after a long journey on foot and in trucks from Hanoi, where he had been destitute and homeless. In Britain, he was locked up alone in a series of terraced houses that had been converted into cannabis farms, and forced over the course of four years to work as a cannabis gardener by the Vietnamese gang that had smuggled him here.

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Source: gad

Drug violence blamed for Mexico's record 29,168 murders in 2017

Homicide rate surpasses that from peak year of country’s drug war in 2011, official figures show

Mexico recorded more than 29,000 murders in 2017, the highest annual tally in decades, government figures have shown.

The country has struggled with years of violence as the state has battled drug cartels that have increasingly splintered into smaller, more bloodthirsty gangs.

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Source: gad

How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan

After 16 years and $1tn spent, there is no end to the fighting – but western intervention has resulted in Afghanistan becoming the world’s first true narco-state. By Alfred W McCoy

After fighting the longest war in its history, the US stands at the brink of defeat in Afghanistan. How could this be possible? How could the world’s sole superpower have battled continuously for more than 16 years – deploying more than 100,000 troops at the conflict’s peak, sacrificing the lives of nearly 2,300 soldiers, spending more than $1tn (£740bn) on its military operations, lavishing a record $100bn more on “nation-building”, helping fund and train an army of 350,000 Afghan allies – and still not be able to pacify one of the world’s most impoverished nations? So dismal is the prospect of stability in Afghanistan that, in 2016, the Obama White House cancelled a planned withdrawal of its forces, ordering more than 8,000 troops to remain in the country indefinitely.

In the American failure lies a paradox: Washington’s massive military juggernaut has been stopped in its steel tracks by a small pink flower – the opium poppy. Throughout its three decades in Afghanistan, Washington’s military operations have succeeded only when they fit reasonably comfortably into central Asia’s illicit traffic in opium – and suffered when they failed to complement it.

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Source: gad

California’s marijuana muddle – video explainer

On 1 January, California became the latest state to permit the sale of recreational marijuana in licensed stores. But three days later, the attorney general issued new guidance calling on states to enforce federal drug laws prohibiting the substance. Despite the confusion, the new shops have been doing brisk business

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Source: gad