Drug gangs and graft conspire to turn one Mexican state into a violent and dominant force in the drugs trade
A lethal combination of corruption and criminal gangs fighting for control of a booming heroin trade has turned one two-lane road in Mexico’s Guerrero state into what many call “the corridor of death.”
The road links Chilpancingo, the Pacific Coast state’s capital, to heroin-producing mountains nearby, where rival gangs are vying for a bigger share of the lucrative heroin market in the U.S. Nearly 1,200 people were killed in the state this year through June after 2,200 died last year. Officials say nearly all were linked to organized crime.
The bloodshed largely occurred in poor neighborhoods of the Acapulco and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo beach resorts and in communities like Chilapa, a town along the deadly corridor where small-plot farmers have long cultivated marijuana and opium poppies for export, alongside traditional crops of corn, beans and squash.
“Chilapa is bathed in blood,” said José Díaz Navarro, a 54-year-old former local schoolteacher who now runs a civic group that tallies the area’s slaughter. “We don’t know who is involved with whom, but the criminals kill anyone for whatever reason.”
Guerrero’s illicit trade has soared over the past 15 years as Mexican drug traffickers have produced more and stronger heroin and marketed it aggressively. Some 90% of the U.S. heroin supply now comes from Mexico, according to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration estimates. American users in recent years have been favoring heroin over more costly opiates like oxycontin.
The Mexican army has tried for decades to eradicate opium poppies—the raw material for heroin, morphine and other drugs—but struggles to keep up with new plantings. Mexico’s Defense Ministry says plantings have doubled over the past year, often tucked among the heavily wooded slopes and deep canyons of the mountains that run along the country’s Pacific coast, with Guerrero accounting for half the poppy acreage.
Both violence and the narcotics trade have a long history in Guerrero. The state played a key role in Mexico’s war of Independence from Spain two centuries ago, and was home to a number of armed uprisings in the 20th century.
Historians and political analysts have long dubbed the state “untamed Mexico” for its propensity for lawlessness. But now the fight to supply surging U.S. demand for heroin has poured jet fuel on long-smoldering political and social tensions. Complicit or cowed, local officials and police have proved unable to contain the violence and sometimes abet it, activists say.
Guerrero gained international notoriety three years ago with the disappearance of 43 teacher college freshmen, who officials say were detained by police in Iguala city and delivered to a drug gang. Federal officials arrested Iguala’s former mayor and other officials. These people have denied wrongdoing and haven’t yet been tried. The students were never found and are presumed dead.
The violence has gotten so out of hand that Guerrero Gov. Héctor Astudillo has called for the legalization of poppy production for medical use as a way of lessening the gangland rivalries. No action has yet been taken on his suggestion.
Chilapa has been especially hard hit, with about 150 residents killed there so far this year, activists say. In one particularly bloody week in March, police recovered the dismembered bodies of five people on a Chilapa street, and three days after that, three bodies were found stuffed into a car on the outskirts of town, said Mr. Diaz, the schoolteacher, citing police records and news reports.
Mr. Díaz became an activist in 2014 after two brothers, a cousin, and two friends of his were abducted and killed in Chilapa. His brothers’ dismembered bodies, minus their heads, were returned to his mother, who died of heartbreak soon afterward, he said. The crimes were never solved.
Few arrests have been made related to the Chilapa killings and still fewer convictions, as witnesses fear testifying for fear of retribution, activists say.
“In many places there are simply no police,” said Roberto Álvarez-Heredia, the public security spokesman for Guerrero state. “Well, the police exist, but they don’t act.”
Security officials and analysts largely blame the bloodshed of recent years in part to a breakdown in control of Guerrero’s underworld following the 2009 killing of reputed Sinaloa Cartel boss Arturo Beltrán Leyva by Mexican marines. They say the Beltrán Leyva organization had kept violence in check with a tight hold on the state’s narcotics markets. Former Beltrán Leyva lieutenants now lead many of the current gangs.
With local police largely untrustworthy, and state and federal security forces stretched thin, citizen militias armed with shotguns, pistols and assault rifles have sprung up to patrol rural roads and villages. Mr. Díaz and other critics say the many of the militias are themselves allied with criminal gangs.
“We’re here because the people demanded security,” said Nolberto González, a 40-year-old lawyer who commands one armed group in the village of Buenavista on a main highway leading to Acapulco.
What the militias don’t do is interfere with the local drug trade. “Almost everyone in the mountains is dedicated to growing poppies,” Mr. González said. “We don’t interfere. We think it’s a health problem that pertains to the federal government.”
A Conspiracy Theory that became a “Conspiracy Fact”: The CIA, Afghanistan’s Poppy Fields and America’s Growing Heroin Epidemic
First published by Global Research in July 2016
The heroin epidemic resembles the days when “Crack cocaine” became the major drug that destroyed communities across the United States and other parts of the world including the Caribbean that began in the early 1980’s. The Crack epidemic coincidently began around the same time when the Iran-Contra Scandal was being exposed. U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, Miami and New York City experienced a rise in crime and disease. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported back in 2015 that “heroin use in the United States increased 63% from 2002 through 2013.” Fast forward to 2016, heroin is sweeping across the United States at unprecedented levels.
According to an NBC affiliate reported that state officials were set to declare a “public health emergency” in New Haven, Connecticut over the rise of heroin use which has resulted in two deaths:
Officials in New Haven on Friday were set to address a public health emergency declaration brought on by a rash of heroin overdoses in the city beginning Thursday. New Haven police said emergency responders saw at least 15 overdoses since Thursday afternoon, and possibly up to 22. At least two people have died. The city is warning residents that there is a batch of tainted, life-threatening heroin on the streets
In the suburbs of Long Island, NY, heroin use is an increasing problem. According to www.suburbanheroin.com a website devoted to the heroin epidemic on Long Island states that in 2012 – 2013 more than 242 people died from heroin use. Long Island is home to some of the wealthiest communities in New York State which goes to show that heroin is affecting all neighborhoods rich and poor. The NBC news report said that the CDC admitted that heroin has become an epidemic since 2002
“The CDC reports that between 2002 and 2014 the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths more than quadrupled and more than 10,500 died nationwide in 2014.”
Now the question is why heroin use has dramatically increased since 2002? Maybe the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 after the September 11th attacks under the Bush regime had something to do with it? The main-stream media (MSM) establishment mouthpiece The Washington Post admitted in 2006 that heroin production in Afghanistan “broke all records” while under U.S. occupation:
Opium production in Afghanistan, which provides more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin, broke all records in 2006, reaching a historic high despite ongoing U.S.-sponsored eradication efforts, the Bush administration reported yesterday.
In addition to a 26 percent production increase over past year — for a total of 5,644 metric tons — the amount of land under cultivation in opium poppies grew by 61 percent. Cultivation in the two main production provinces, Helmand in the southwest and Oruzgan in central Afghanistan, was up by 132 percent
Washington claims that Mexico is the source of the heroin that is flooding U.S. streets “with 10,500 hectares under poppy cultivation in 2012” while Afghanistan had “224,000 hectares” according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in a 2014 report but the numbers tell a different story. Mexico’s heroin trade is small in comparison although it has been increasing its production capabilities.
However, not only heroin from Afghanistan is the major source for U.S. citizens, “BigPharma”, or the ‘corporate drug dealers’ who sell “legal drugs” also have a hand in the epidemic because they produce and sell ‘Opioids’ such asOxyContin and Percocet which is similar to heroin. Opioid medications are normally used as painkillers for broken bones, lacerations or post-surgery pain. However, abusing Opioids can also lead to heroin use.
The online news source The Huffington Post published an article titled ‘Ron Paul Had Accurate Conspiracy Theory: CIA Was Tied To Drug Traffickers’ highlights what the former Libertarian Presidential nominee Dr. Ron Paul said on the involvement of the CIA in the drug trade which was not a “Conspiracy Theory” but a fact when taking into consideration the Iran-Contra Scandal:
In 1988, while running for president on the Libertarian Party ticket, he highlighted yet another conspiracy theory, and this one doesn’t collapse under investigation: The CIA, Paul told a gathering of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, was involved in trafficking drugs as part of the Iran-Contra debacle.
Drug trafficking is “a gold mine for people who want to raise money in the underground government in order to finance projects that they can’t get legitimately. It is very clear that the CIA has been very much involved with drug dealings,” Paul said. “The CIA was very much involved in the Iran-Contra scandals. I’m not making up the stories; we saw it on television. They were hauling down weapons and drugs back. And the CIA and government officials were closing their eyes, fighting a war that was technically illegal”
The Taliban banned the production of opium in 2000. The War in Afghanistan was mainly about producing opium which did end up in the streets of Iran, Russia and China. According to a Pravda report in 2015 by William Edstrom titled ‘Heroin Dealer in Chief. Afghanistan, Source of 90% of The World’s Heroin’ stated the impact of Afghanistan’s opium production on neighboring countries:
Afghanistan, source of 90% of Earth’s heroin, ended 90% of Earth’s heroin problems when Taliban outlawed opium in 2000. The reason for War in Afghanistan was because Taliban outlawed opium growing which ended economic wars (opium wars) against Iran, Russia and China
The heroin epidemic is now affecting cities and towns across the U.S. Edstrom estimates that 165,000 American’s will die from the heroin epidemic in the next 10 years:
The War in Afghanistan began as an opium war against Iran, Russia and China, the tables are turning into an opium war against Americans on track to kill 165,000 Americans (2016-2026). Americans, 5% of Earth’s population, take 60% of painkillers on Earth
The death rate could go much higher considering the increasing level of poverty in the U.S. especially in the inner cities where the highest unemployment rates is among the 18-34 year olds. Many young adults will unfortunately turn to the drug trade whether they sell or use as hope fades for the lack of jobs or opportunities.
Fox News had a segment with Geraldo Rivera that shows how the U.S. government (in this case, the U.S. Marines) is involved in Afghanistan’s heroin production with Washington’s approval of course. Watch Video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgKmJESBFsw
Heroin is a valuable commodity as long as the War on Drugs remains in effect, that’s why Obama extended the Afghan mission until 2017, for the next U.S. elected president to occupy the White House. If it’s Hillary Clinton, U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan indefinitely. Trump might do the same, but that still remains to be seen. On July 7th, 2015 NBC reported on Afghanistan’s opium production and where they stand in terms of world supply
“According to the United Nations, the war-torn nation provides 90 percent of the world’s supply of opium poppy, the bright, flowery crop that transforms into one of the most addictive drugs in existence.”NBC also quoted John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction who did say that “Afghanistan has roughly 500,000 acres, or about 780 square miles, devoted to growing opium poppy. That’s equivalent to more than 400,000 U.S. football fields — including the end zones.”
That’s a large amount of land devoted to opium production which provides an opportunity for the CIA to cash in on the illegal drug trade for their secret covert operations (which avoids public scrutiny) and re-establish a drug trade route to target the populations of China, Iran and Russia.
The heroin crisis then and now is a direct consequence of the Military-Industrial Complex. During the 1970’s, around the same time during the Vietnam War, heroin made its way to the United States from the Golden Triangle which became an epidemic. It was estimated that more than 200,000 people in New York City alone were using heroin. At one point in time, you were able to find used syringes on public playgrounds. Now, heroin from Afghanistan has made its way back to the U.S. Heroin is profitable as much as it is strategic; it is also used as a weapon against Chinese, Iranian and Russian populations which has led to addiction, crime and helped spread diseases such as AIDS. Heroin is now affecting the United States, the CIA’s very own territory. Not that the CIA really cares who it effects when you closely examine their history of drug trafficking with the Iran-Contra Scandal or the Golden Triangle during the Vietnam War as author and activist William Blum noted in his book Rogue State,
“The CIA flew the drugs all over Southeast Asia, to sites where the opium was processed into heroin, and to trans-shipment points on the route to Western customers.”
As long as the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan continues under the guise of establishing a democratic government, the flow of heroin will continue unabated. One question we should ask is “who owns the planes and the ships that transport 90% percent of the world’s heroin from Afghanistan to the rest of the world in the first place? It sure isn’t the Taliban.