Category Archives: Drugs and Cartels

November 12, 2017

For many Palm Springs homeless, heroin comes before food and water. The problem is getting worse

Far away from the worst of a national crisis, heroin is still taking hold of people living on the streets.

The day started off lucky for Blake Pricer. Overnight, he had locked himself in a laundry room at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and slept a few hours in relative safety. After waking up to the sound of pounding on the door from hotel staff wanting to reclaim the territory, Pricer was back on the street and back to his relentless quest.

The one thing Pricer needed was heroin, which meant the first thing he needed was cash. Good fortune came through when he began opening mailboxes and quickly found $13 and some checks he hoped to sell later.

With that small amount of money in his hand, Pricer, who is 26, thin and tattooed with shorts hanging past his knees, easily found someone to sell him the drug. He then rode a stolen bicycle downtown to a cooling center where homeless people like him could rest, eat and take a shower. He parked the bike and walked inside to a bathroom where he clandestinely injected heroin into his arm. It wasn’t quite 9 a.m.

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November 2, 2017

Graphic: Mexican Cartel Dismembers, Grills Innocent Civilians

One of the Mexican cartels fighting for control of this state escalated their terrorist activities by dismembering innocent victims and roasting their body-parts to leverage local support. Such tactics are becoming a part of everyday life in this state while officials continue to minimize regional safety concerns.

This week, members of the Nueva Familia Michoacana Cartel carried out a series of gory executions in the rural areas between Apatzingan and La Ruana. Operatives kidnapped 11 victims from which the remains of only three were recovered. The victims were not rival cartel members–only local residents who refused to support the Nueva Familia Michoacana. Cartel gunmen severed the heads from their bodies and then cut various body-parts off. The cartel placed some of the human remains on a grill and cooked them.

Cartel members took photographs of their atrocities and then disseminated them to local residents to instill terror. The message was that those who did not support the cartel would meet a similar fate.

Cartel members used knives to scrawl the letters “LNFM” in the torsos of their victims and dropped some body parts in the surrounding areas.

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October 31, 2017

International Red Cross Equates Mexico-Texas Border with War Zone

During a visit to this border city, members of the International Red Cross found empty schools and fear in the streets after months of regular, large-scale gun battles by cartel members featuring grenade launchers, machine guns, and armored vehicles.

During his visit to Mexico, Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross spent time in Reynosa, a battlefront between rival groups of the Gulf Cartel that continue to fight over the territory. The purpose of the visit by the Red Cross was to evaluate the effects of organized crime and illegal immigration in Tamaulipas. One of the concerns expressed by Maurer was the humanitarian crisis in the northern parts of Mexico where citizens cannot enjoy access to basic services like education or medical care without running the risk of becoming victims to organized crime.

During his trip, Maurer shared on social media various messages where he tries to offer a sense of depth to the problem. One of the messages reveals an empty school after classes were suspended due to the recent gun battles by the Gulf Cartel.

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October 28, 2017

Billionaire Pharmaceuticals Entrepreneur Indicted in Alleged Fentanyl Fraud Scheme

Federal authorities unveil superseding indictment against six former executives, managers.

Billionaire pharmaceuticals entrepreneur John N. Kapoor was arrested by federal agents at his Phoenix home and charged with leading a nationwide criminal conspiracy to illegally distribute an addictive prescription painkiller—the highest ranking former executive of Insys Therapeutics Inc. INSY -22.64% to be charged in a long-running investigation.

Dr. Kapoor, who co-founded Insys and served as its chief executive until earlier this year, was charged by federal prosecutors with participating in an alleged conspiracy to bribe doctors to prescribe large amounts of the drug, Subsys, a mouth-spray version of the potent opioid painkiller fentanyl that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat cancer-related pain. The conspiracy also allegedly involved defrauding health insurers by misleading them into paying for the drug.

Dr. Kapoor, 74 years old, resigned his operational duties at the company earlier this year but retains a seat on its board and owns two-thirds of its shares outstanding.

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October 21, 2017

Report: Sean Penn Desperately Trying To Force Netflix To Re-Edit ‘El Chapo’ Documentary

Fears he, his family, and his associates will have a target on their heads.

According to TMZ, actor Sean Penn has turned up the pressure on Netflix to “either block or re-edit” an upcoming Netflix documentary that the actor says falsely suggests he alerted the Department of Justice to the whereabouts of notorious drug lord El Chapo back in 2015.

The wild story begins with Penn, along with Kate del Castillo, meeting with the drug lord in Mexico on October 2, 2015, for an interview for Rolling Stone. Just 12 hours later, authorities raided the site of the interview. Though authorities did not detain El Chapo in the raid, he was arrested about three months later.

TMZ reports that “multiple sources” involved in the Netflix documentary say that some of those interviewed for the film suggested Penn told the DOJ about his interview in Mexico, effectively “ratting out” the drug lord. Penn’s team is now desperately trying to get Netflix not to release the film in its current state.

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October 15, 2017

The drug industry’s triumph over the DEA

Amid a targeted lobbying effort, Congress weakened the DEA’s ability to go after drug distributors, even as opioid-related deaths continue to rise, a Washington Post and ‘60 Minutes’ investigation finds.

In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets.

By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. Overdose deaths continue to rise. There is no end in sight.

A handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, undermining efforts to stanch the flow of pain pills, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes.” The DEA had opposed the effort for years.

The law was the crowning achievement of a multifaceted campaign by the drug industry to weaken aggressive DEA enforcement efforts against drug distribution companies that were supplying corrupt doctors and pharmacists who peddled narcotics to the black market. The industry worked behind the scenes with lobbyists and key members of Congress, pouring more than a million dollars into their election campaigns.

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October 9, 2017

As Overdose Deaths Pile Up, a Medical Examiner Quits the Morgue

“It’s almost as if the Visigoths are at the gates, and the gates are starting to crumble,” Dr. Andrew said. “I’m not an alarmist by nature, but this is not overhyped. It has completely overwhelmed us.”

In the state morgue here, in the industrial maze of a hospital basement, Dr. Thomas A. Andrew was slicing through the lung of a 36-year-old woman when white foam seeped out onto the autopsy table.

Foam in the lungs is a sign of acute intoxication caused by an opioid. So is a swollen brain, which she also had. But Dr. Andrew, the chief medical examiner of New Hampshire, would not be certain of the cause of death until he could rule out other causes, like a brain aneurysm or foul play, and until after the woman’s blood tests had come back.

With the nation snared in what the government says is the worst drug epidemic in its history, routine autopsies like this one, which take more than two hours, are overtaxing medical examiners everywhere.

“It’s almost as if the Visigoths are at the gates, and the gates are starting to crumble,” Dr. Andrew said. “I’m not an alarmist by nature, but this is not overhyped. It has completely overwhelmed us.”

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September 24, 2017

Sessions: ‘We Are Facing The Deadliest Drug Crisis In American History’

The Justice Department has focused on combating drug abuse by targeting health care fraud, taking down the largest online drug market, and launching an Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told law enforcement officials Friday that America is facing its “deadliest drug crisis” in history.

An early government estimate pegged the amount of drug overdoes deaths in 2016 at 64,000. That’s a sharp increase from the 52,000 Americans who lost their lives from drug overdoses in 2015. “That would be the highest drug death toll and the fastest increase in that death toll in American history. And every day this crisis grows,” Sessions said in Harrisburg.

President Trump and his administration has sought to address the drug overdose epidemic that’s buoyed by an increase of opioid usage.

“In my home state of Alabama, we have had more painkiller prescriptions than Alabamians for over a decade,” Sessions said during his Friday speech.

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September 21, 2017

Enough Fentanyl to Kill 32M People Seized in Single NYC Bust: Prosecutors (Video)

The drugs are worth a street value of $30 million, according to narcotics prosecutors.

Authorities confiscated nearly 195 pounds of fentanyl in a pair of busts that prosecutors said included one sting that netted 32 million lethal doses of the drug, an opioid 50 times stronger than heroin.

Four people were arrested after the busts in August and September that also netted 75 pounds of heroin and cocaine. Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s special narcotics prosecutor, said the busts come as overdose deaths hit an all-time high in New York’s five boroughs in 2016.

“The sheer volume of fentanyl pouring into the city is shocking,” she said. “It’s not only killing a record number of people in New York City, but the city is used as a hub of regional distribution for a lethal substance that is taking thousands of lives throughout the Northeast.”

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September 17, 2017

Netflix’s ‘Narcos’ Producer Murdered in Mexico

Organized crime members are believed to be responsible for the murder in Mexico of a producer for the Netflix series, Narcos. The producer traveled to Mexico to search for shooting locations for the upcoming season. The fourth season of the show is reported to provide an inside look at the rise of Mexican drug cartels.

Carlos Muñoz Portal traveled to that country to search for shooting locations in the state of Mexico which is located near the border with Hidalgo. Officials found his body was found inside his vehicle in the town of San Bartolo Actopan, Infobae reported. The film company issued a short statement acknowledging the filmmaker’s passing — claiming that the case was still under investigation.

The Narcos series provides a dramatized version of the historical events dealing with the drug cartels and criminal organizations responsible for most of the violence in Central and South America, and most recently in Mexico. The first two seasons of the show looked at the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, the leader of the Cartel de Medellin. The third and most recent season provided a look at the fall of Cartel de Cali and the corruption at the highest levels of the Colombian government including that nation’s president; the U.S. Department of State was allegedly aware of the complicity. The fourth season is expected to provide an inside look at Mexican drug cartels.

The murder comes as Mexico is undergoing one of its most violent years. As cartel-violence continues to spiral out of control, government officials continue to present a different image. The once quiet central states in Mexico have became new targets for drug cartels who have come to fight for control of those locations, Breitbart Texas reported. In the nearby state of Guanajuato, corrupt police officers became prime targets as they are caught in the middle between rival cartels.

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