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Drug Trafficking

May 23, 2013 | By Joseph Serna
A drug trafficker working for organized crime in New York kept millions of dollars and dozens of kilograms of cocaine in his homes in Beverly Hills, prosecutors said Thursday. Alessandro Taloni pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn, N.Y., federal court Thursday morning to trafficking cocaine for the Rizzuto crime family of the Italian mafia. Taloni has dual Canadian and Italian citizenship and two homes in Beverly Hills, federal prosecutors said. In a sweeping indictment returned in April, prosecutors accused Taloni and four other men of operating an elaborate cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy trafficking operation for the last 10 years involving the Rizutto and Bonanno crime families, the Hells Angels, the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico and Native Americans from the Akwesasne Mohawk reservation.
May 17, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
BOGOTA, Colombia - The Organization of American States said Friday that countries should consider decriminalizing drug use, a shift backed by several Latin American leaders but opposed by the United States. Decriminalization could be one of many “transitional methods” in a public health strategy that could include “drug courts, substantive reduction in sentences and rehabilitation,” according to a report released by the OAS on the possible liberalization of drug polices. The report, presented by OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza in Bogota, was commissioned during the April 2012 Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, in response to many leaders' complaints that U.S.-driven drug prohibition policies of recent decades had failed to stem the illicit drug business.
May 13, 2013 | By Hailey Branson-Potts
A West Hollywood doctor surrendered to federal authorities Monday after being indicted on charges that he illegally prescribed powerful painkillers to patients, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. James William Eisenberg, 72, is accused of writing more than 1,200 prescriptions for addictive painkillers after the Drug Enforcement Administration revoked his authority to prescribe controlled substances, authorities have alleged. Eisenberg was indicted Friday.
April 16, 2013 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
MEXICO CITY - Operation Cleanup was a showcase effort to stamp out corruption within Mexico's elite organized-crime bureau. Twenty-five top law-enforcement officials were arrested in the weeks after the operation was launched in 2008, most accused of acting as highly paid moles for a leading drug cartel, the very villains the officials were supposed to be chasing. Today, the cases against them are a shambles, yet another example of Mexico's systemic corruption and a weak judiciary unable to fix it. The operation is also the most high-profile prosecution among the many that fell apart under the government of President Felipe Calderon, which ended nearly five months ago. This week, a federal judge freed the highest-ranking of those ensnared by Operation Cleanup.
March 1, 2013 | By Barbara Demick
BEIJING -- It was reality television in the extreme. Chinese state television Friday broadcast nearly one hour of live images of the last moments of four foreign drug traffickers about to be executed for the 2011 killing of 13 Chinese fishermen on the Mekong River. Although the cameras pulled away before the final lethal injection, the unprecedented pre-execution coverage unleashed a storm of criticism and debate about the death penalty. Psychologists decried the live coverage as distressing  to children, while lawyers complained that it violated a clause in the criminal code against parading the condemned before execution.
February 10, 2013 | By Tom Kington, Los Angeles Times
ROME - "For our next play, it's either Xenophon, Aristophanes or 17th century French comedy - and I would like some opinions," said the director to his troupe. The actors sitting around a theater in Rome had just settled in to discuss future projects - and to mull over how the last production they participated in became a film that had narrowly missed out on being an Oscar nominee. Keeping an eye on proceedings was a guard, since every performer was a convicted mobster or drug trafficker and the theater was in Rome's high-security Rebibbia prison.
January 27, 2013
There are plenty of reasons right here at home to support President Obama's effort to reform the nation's gun laws. But if Congress requires additional arguments, it should consider that easy access to guns is also undermining the United States' avowed goal of combating drug trafficking and transnational gangs abroad. The U.S. has sent nearly $2 billion in aid to Mexico since 2007, much of that as part of the Merida Initiative, a counter-narcotics program designed to provide aid and equipment for that country's drug war. Yet that assistance has been undermined by lax U.S. gun laws, which allow members of the drug cartels and their associates to buy weapons here and smuggle them across the border.
January 3, 2013 | By Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times
Two embattled Los Angeles County sheriff's captains have retired, including one suspected of funneling secret information to an alleged drug trafficker and another who allegedly protected brutal and dishonest jailers. Suspicions were sparked about Bernice Abram, who ran the sheriff's Carson station, after she was overheard on a federal narcotics wiretap talking to an alleged Compton drug trafficker. Abram, who had more than 150 deputies under her command, was overheard alerting a member of the Original Front Hood Crips to planned sheriff's operations in his area.
November 8, 2012 | By Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
BOGOTA, Colombia - Colombian authorities launched an intensive manhunt for members of a drug-trafficking gang suspected in the massacre of 10 peasants in the northern state of Antioquia, apparently for not paying extortion money. The killings occurred Wednesday night at a farm in Santa Rosa de Osos township, about 175 miles north of the capital, Bogota. Antioquia Gov. Sergio Fajardo said on his website that the farmworkers, nine men and a woman, were killed by a grenade thrown by gang members who have been fighting over a nearby drug-trafficking corridor.
October 16, 2012 | By Richard Marosi and Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
SAN DIEGO - A woman claiming to be the daughter of the world's most wanted drug trafficker was arrested at the San Ysidro port of entry Friday afternoon after trying to enter the country with fraudulent documents, according to a criminal complaint and a high-ranking U.S. law enforcement official. Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman Salazar allegedly told U.S. customs officers that she was traveling to Los Angeles to give birth. After questioning, she admitted that she was the daughter of Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, the leader of Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, said the unidentified official who is not authorized to speak about the case.
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