Newsbrief: Mexican Soldiers Bust Narcs 1/17/03

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Mexican soldiers arrested seven members of that country's equivalent of the DEA in Tijuana on January 10 after finding them with five tons of unreported marijuana in their building. In addition to the stash of contraband, the Mexican narcs were holding two civilians, presumably the owners of the marijuana, who had been seized three days earlier. According to a press release from the Mexican Attorney General's office, the agents never reported the drug seizure as required, raising speculation that they were in the pay of drug traffickers.

The agents were members of FEADS, the Special Prosecutor's Office for Attention to Crimes Against Health, an agency formed in 1997 after a predecessor agency was disbanded when its agents were found to be in the pay of Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Mexican trafficking organization, the so-called cartels, have historically bought protection from the various law enforcement agencies created to suppress them. The offer typically comes in the form of "plata o plomo," silver or lead, the bribe or the bullet. A Mexican law enforcement source told the San Diego Tribune that among the seven FEADS agents arrested in the 15-man Tijuana office was the post's commander, Miguel Angel Uribe.

There has been other evidence that FEADS has followed the corrupt path of the many agencies before it. American journalist Charles Bowden, in his new book, "Down By the River: Drugs, Money, Murder, and Family," quotes one DEA agent as complaining soon after FEADS' inception that DEA agents had to bribe FEADS agents to obtain information on drug trafficking investigations. And just days before the arrests in Tijuana, the Mexican Attorney General's Office had pointedly issued a memo reminding FEADS agents that they must report their activities to the attorney general's representatives in each state.

The FEADS agents are being investigated by two rival Mexican law enforcement agencies, the Federal Preventive Police, an intelligence-gathering agency, and the API, Federal Agency of Investigation, the rough equivalent of the US FBI. "I don't know why they keep on creating more groups rather than create one that has less corruption," Victor Clark, a Tijuana-based human-rights activist, told the Tribune. "They haven't been able to eradicate drug trafficking, and now the police are divided into many groups and that gives the drug traffickers more options to work with."

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Issue #272, 1/17/03 The Road to Mérida: Interviews with Participants in the "Out from the Shadows" Campaign | The Road to Mérida: Interview with Dr. Francisco Fernandez, Anthropologist and Former Rector of Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán | The Road to Mérida: Interview with Al Giordano, publisher of Narco News | Bolivian Government Represses Coca Protests, Four Dead... So Far | Ed Rosenthal Medical Marijuana Trial Underway -- Judge Blocks Mention of Prop. 215, Has Trouble Seating Jury | Canadian Prime Minister Promises Motion on Decriminalization as Courts Continue to Chip Away at Marijuana Laws | Latin American Anti-Prohibition Conference, Feb. 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | Cumbre Internacional Sobre Legalización, 15-Dec Febrero, Mérida, México | Newsbrief: Souder Pushes Partial HEA Reform, Frank to Reintroduce Drug Provision Repeal Bill | Newsbrief: Racine Caves Before the Ravers | Newsbrief: MPP "War on Drug Czar" Continues -- State Reacts to Allegations | Newsbrief: 12 Dead in Brazil as Drug Police Raid Shantytowns | Newsbrief: Mexican Soldiers Bust Narcs | Newsbrief: Colombian President Seeks Iraq-Like Mobilization Against Traffickers | Newsbrief: Some Colombian Terrorists May Be More Equal Than Others | Newsbrief: Alaska Lieutenant Governor Disqualifies Marijuana Legalization Petition Signatures, Proponents Vow Fight | Newsbrief: Return of the RAVE Act | Newsbrief: Ecstasy Rarely Kills, British Study Finds | Alan Shoemaker Ayahuasca Legal Defense Fund Needs Support | Media Scan: Washington on Forchion, Cockburn on Rosenthal, Forbes on Walters, Szasz on Drug Medicalization, Bruce McKinney, GAO on DARE | DC Job Opportunity at DRCNet -- Campus Coordinator | The Reformer's Calendar

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