BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil – Five were arrested during the country’s biggest drug bust that netted 48 kilograms (105 pounds) of crack, six kilograms (13 pounds) of cocaine and 16 cell phones, police said. The suspects, who were the target of a year-long investigation, could be sentenced to 25 years in prison if convicted. The men were taken into custody after they had arrived in Belo Horizonte, where they were to divide the drugs they had smuggled from Bolivia so they could be trafficked across the city, police said. “The phones are being investigated to help tracking the members of the criminal group,” the police said in a statement, as reported by the Brazilian website G1.com. “The crack would be turned into around 100,000 stones of the drug.”
Nicaragua: Police apprehend three suspected Gulf cartel members
MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Police have arrested three suspected members of Mexico’s Gulf drug cartel and seized several vehicles during seven operations in the nation’s capital aimed at shutting down one of the region’s most notorious gangs. Armando Alberto González Peña, who is suspected of being in charge of the cartel’s cell in Nicaragua, and brothers Rony and Carlos Olivas Zavala were apprehended, said Glenda Zavala, chief of the police’s judicial directorate. The cell is suspected of working on behalf of Juan Cordobá, Manuel López and Danilo López, who live in Guatemala, where they work for a Honduran who has yet to be identified, Zavala said. The cell was trying to establish a nationwide smuggling network by customizing vehicles with hidden compartments to stash drugs, Zavala said. “This is the biggest blow that we have struck at drug transportation logistics and organized crime,” said National Police spokeswoman Vilma Reyes, as reported by EFE.
Colombia: 289 kilograms of cocaine seized at Tumaco port
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Naval officials seized 289 kilograms (635 pounds) of cocaine that was expected to be shipped across the globe from the port of Tumaco. The narcotic, which has a street value in excess of US$7 million, was discovered in a rural area in the department of Nariño, but it is unclear who owned the drugs, officials told the Colombian daily El País.
Guatemala: 75 kilograms of cocaine seized at airport
GUATEMALA CITY – Police have seized a shipment of 75 kilograms (165 pounds) of cocaine found inside two barrels at the La Aurora International Airport in the nation’s capital. “There were three barrels from Medellín, Colombia,” said Wilmer Quintanilla, the spokesman for the National Civil Police (PNC), as reported by the El Salvadoran daily La Prensa Gráfíca. “They were labeled as medicine but it was determined to be cocaine.” One barrel arrived on July 27 and another on Aug. 8, but no one arrived to pick up either barrel, Quintanilla said. The drugs have a street value of about US$750,000.
Mexico: At least 20 killed in drug-fueled violence in two states
MEXICO CITY – At least twenty were killed in unrelated incidents this past weekend in the states of Guerrero and Jalisco, police said. The bodies of seven men were discovered in Yahualica de González Gallo, a town in the western state of Jalisco. The men likely were killed in a gunfight on Aug. 14, said police, as reported by EFE. Officials have not released a motive for the slayings, but said the deaths could be linked to the Los Zetas cartel, which has a presence in the area. Three more corpses were found near an SUV in the neighborhood of Preparatoria, another body was discovered near a vehicle in the neighborhood of El Rastro and another body was left in downtown Yahualica de González Gallo, police said. Officials also discovered the bodies of two men handcuffed to each other in a burning SUV on a road that leads to the city of Mexticacán, and six others were found fatally shot in the Camino al Cielo section of Acapulco, a resort city in Guerrero, the Public Safety Secretariat said. Mexico has been home to more than 7,000 gang-related killings through July, said Arturo Chávez Chávez, Mexico’s attorney general. The country also has had more than 28,000 deaths because of drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderón started his war against cartels after beginning his term in December 2006, according to EFE.
Jamaica: 10 die in drug-related violence
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Gunmen killed eight, including an 11-year-old girl, before police in Spanish Town fatally shot two of the suspects who are alleged members of the Clansman gang. The gunfight has been attributed to a turf war between the Clansman gang and the One Order gang over control of the city’s narcotics and weapons trade. Minister of National Security Dwight Nelson said he is “aghast at the new level of brutality to which merciless gangsters have descended,” as reported by the Jamaican daily The Gleaner. The violence has sparked debate about the government declaring a State of Emergency, which the parliament refused to grant last month.
Brazil: Police seize about a half-ton of marijuana in Rio de Janeiro
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Two suspected drug traffickers were arrested after police discovered about a half-ton of marijuana in their truck earlier this week, officials said. Waldir Chaves da Rosa, 48, and Sandro Bastos Pereira, 34, are suspected of picking up marijuana in Paraguay and intending to deliver the drugs to Complexo do Alemão, a group of slums in the city, police said. The marijuana has a street value of R$1 million (US$570,000). “Traffickers in Complexo do Alemão stole and falsified cars to exchange for the marijuana coming from Paraguay,” said police officer Márcio Mendonça, who was in charge of the investigation, as reported by the Brazilian news website O Globo.com.