300 Busted in Federal Drug Raids

Today the DEA and DOJ announced the arrests of 300 more people in 19 states in "Project Coronado", allegedly affiliated with the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel. From the DEA factsheet on La Familia Michocana:

This DTO has a strong religious background. It purportedly originated to protect locals from the violence of drug cartels. Now, La Familia Michoacana uses drug proceeds to fuel their agenda that encompasses a Robin Hood-type mentality – steal from the rich and give to the poor. They believe they are doing God’s work, and pass out bibles and money to the poor. La Familia Michoacana also gives money to schools and local officials.

More on the arrests and La Familia Michocana from the BBC. [More...]

77 were arrested in Dallas and 38 in Atlanta.

Also today, Mexican authorities arrested the alleged number two person in the Los Zetas cartel. The DEA says La Familia Michoacana used to be allied with Los Zetas but split off.

[Los Zetas was]formed by ex-Mexican army soldiers, consists mostly of former federal and local police.

More on Los Zetas here.

Attorney General Eric Holder today:

Attorney General Eric Holder pledged to keep hitting La Familia and the cartels responsible for a wave of bloodshed in Mexico. He said the U.S. would attack them at all levels, from the leadership to their supply chains reaching far into the United States.

"To the extent that they do grow back, we have to work with our Mexican counterparts to cut off the heads of these snakes, to get at the heads of the cartels, indict them, try them, if they're in Mexico, extradite them to the United States," Holder said at a news conference.

The DEA press release on the latest arrests is here.

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    I suppose any line (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by JamesTX on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 10:31:44 PM EST
    of reasoning, presented long enough and consistently enough, and with enough coercion and threat, can come to be regarded as common sense. But maintaining that U.S. drug policy is sensible is really expensive both in terms of human misery and dollars; not to mention, to quote George, "it's really hard work".

    We live in a society where a controlling proportion of the population thinks raw capitalism is the most sensible and just public policy, embracing caveat emptor and denying the moral legitimacy of the "nanny state", denying that health care is a right, but insisting it is something that one must either earn and pay for or be left to die. Nor, according to these people, does the population deserve or need any protection from high tech extortion, inescapable cycles and a culture of poverty, personal misfortune over which they have no control, or anything else. To provide such protection, they tell us, denies the laws of natural selection of the most efficient and productive citizens, and weakens us as a country. The underlying libertarian sentiment seems to just keep going and going. It seems to be unbeatable.

    BUT. These same people see no logical inconsistency between their extremist independence beliefs according to which protection makes us weak, and their unconditional assumption that we must be "protected" from drugs, and that we are entirely incapable of making decisions about the use of drugs (although we need not be protected from chemical poisons of other kinds, such as industrial pollution).

    Uncountable billions have been spent. The allocations continue to expand. We seem to be willing to pay any price to making this lie into truth. It gets more expensive every year. I am beginning to have serious doubts about a population which can't integrate its moral, political, and legal reasoning into grassroots action to put an end to nonsense on steroids. It just can't, under any circumstances, make any sense. Why can't we see it?

    Has our population lost its ability to reason, or simply lost its ability to control its government? I always pray for the latter, because our government is an ingenious design, and control could possibly be regained. I fear the latter, because once the ability to think and act rationally is lost, it often doesn't return.

    I obviously fear (none / 0) (#18)
    by JamesTX on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 10:34:34 PM EST
    the former...not the latter.

    Holder says "cut off the heads"? (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 01:32:17 PM EST
    That is exactly what the cartels do.

    Here is the BBC link headline:

    They decapitate, torture, and extort. Then they pray, and donate to charity.

    Decapitate, torture, and extort (none / 0) (#6)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:05:21 PM EST
    Then they pray and donate to charity.

    Add "for the purpose of regime change" after the decapitate, torture and extort and you'd have an adequate description of alot of the Repub base.


    I was thinking of Taliban. (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:19:03 PM EST
    Sure - carrot and stick. (none / 0) (#9)
    by Fabian on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:20:01 PM EST
    The Family is good to those who support it.  The Family deals harshly with any who oppose it.

    Any politician knows that game.  Some like Blagojevich, cross the line but it's an old, old game.


    In related news... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 01:38:49 PM EST
    absent prohibition repeal, 300 new positions just opened up in La Familia Corp....and in this economy they will be filled quickly...like by the tomorrow, or within the week at the latest.  

    Holder knows the head always grow back, we know the head always grow back...maybe its time to try a different tool than a machete?  Or we can remain the definition of insanity...you make the call.

    Problem is, Mexico's tourist industry (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 01:45:29 PM EST
    has tanked.  Morelia, where this cartel killed people by tossing a bomb into a crowd watching a parade, is a wonderful tourist destination.  

    Legal drugs... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 01:49:26 PM EST
    can really bring in the tourists...look at Amsterdam.  Imagine an Amsterdam with beaches and sunshine...talk about a goldmine!

    You live in an entirely different (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 01:52:32 PM EST
    universe than moi.  I don't see the violent cartels disappearing.

    Me either... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:10:53 PM EST
    really, but I could see us being very effective at limiting their vast revenue stream in this sector.  

    Force violent thugs to stick to robbery and extortion and the like...they will have less protection and sympathy from the general public.  As it is now a guy like a Pablo Escobar is a freakin' hero in the community...if a guy like that is forced to stick to murder, robbery, extortion to make ends meat...he ain't a hero no more, he's just a menace.


    This particular cartel started for (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:20:17 PM EST
    benefit of growers.  Protection for them and to do marketing of the product.  

    Ah - a company town. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Fabian on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:25:26 PM EST
    Makes sense.  Gather the growers under your protection and then don't let them go.  A regional monopoly if you do it right.  And like the Taliban, make sure you are the only buyer and that you set the prices.  

    What I'm seeing described here (none / 0) (#14)
    by Fabian on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 06:33:29 PM EST
    is a feudal system, where the serfs pledge fealty and give up rights in return for protection.  In any place beset by violence, it can be attractive proposition especially if the government doesn't provide any protection.

    Remember King Arthur?  He wasn't just any (mythical) king, he was the solution to the warlords who had divided up the country and wasted resources fighting each other.   Imagine Mexico with an ineffective, weak central government and a mess of cartels who are constantly fighting with each other.  Cartels are not in the business of governing, they are in the business of making money - cutting costs, maximizing profits - not building roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.  


    Busting the competition to boost CIA profits (none / 0) (#12)
    by Yes2Truth on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:47:16 PM EST

    If Mr. Holder could be honest, he would admit that

    this latest bust is merely a tactic in the strategy

    to reduce the competition for profits needed by

    intelligence services to carry out black operations.

    If the U.S. wanted to stop the bloodshed decried

    by Mr. Holder, it could do so almost immediately.

    Sadly, the War on Drug Users serves a large base

    of special interests...including a huge number of

    folks who are in the same line of work as many

    visitors to this web site could confirm.

    One In 600 Is A Drug Dealer (none / 0) (#13)
    by melpol on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 05:14:33 PM EST
    There is an estimated 500 thousand drug dealers in the states, each lives large. A massive police net can snare most of them. Recruiting 50 thousand new police informers and paying them in seized drugs can spread the net even further. But massive prisons would have to be built.  Libertarians want to let addicts shoot heroin into their veins and snort coke.  It would put most drug dealers out of business and end the high costs of sending them to prison.

    solve social security problem too (none / 0) (#16)
    by diogenes on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 08:19:25 PM EST
    Unemployment is ten percent, so it doesn't matter if people are wasted and unemployable, I guess; there are many more to work in their places.  And all these drug addicts will die young and never collect Social Security.  

    A Gift From Allah (none / 0) (#19)
    by melpol on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 02:06:51 PM EST
    Heroin is more precious than oil to the billions that want to find peace. And Afghanistan has the poppy fields that produces 90% of the worlds heroin. The poppy is a gift from Allah to Afghanistan, it is their duty to share it with the world.