Holder Trumpets Continuation of War on Drugs

Attorney General Eric Holder today announced the arrest of 52 people in a continuation of a Bush Administration drug investigation of the Mexican cartels. The operation began 21 months ago. The total number of arrests (a number of whom are low level traffickers) is 750.

The military may get involved in the effort:

The Homeland Security Department has developed a plan to send more agents and other resources, and possibly U.S. military support, to the U.S. side of the border if the drug violence continues to spill over and overwhelm the agents stationed there, a DHS official confirmed.

The Pentagon is looking into a larger role in bolstering counter-narcotics efforts. Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence, told Congress Wednesday that the corruptive influence and increasing violence of the cartels has undermined Mexico City's ability to govern parts of its own country.

Another Holder plan that should be no surprise: He wants to bring back the assault weapons ban.

Just last month, the former head of Mexico's special organized crime bureau was charged with selling information to the Sinaloa cartel.

As part of the new cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico, Miguel Caro Quintero was turned over to the U.S. for prosecution. The crimes he was indicted for occurred between 1985 and 1993. We're going to try someone for crimes committed 20 - 25 years ago? Why him? My guess:

He is the brother of Rafael Caro Quintero, a kingpin who was convicted and sentenced in Mexico for the 1985 killing of a U.S. drug agent, Enrique Camarena.

What's this costing the U.S.? Here's the 2008 Supplemental Funding Plan for Operation Meridia. (More here.)

Here's why Plan Mexico will crash and burn.

Plan Mexico, the US military and police aid package to the Mexican government, is based on a failed “war on drugs” model. This model prioritizes criminalizing the drug trade at the expense of focusing on the harmful effects of drug abuse and addiction as a public health problem. The result has been a blood-soaked disaster.

< Wednesday Night Open Thread | Obama to Reintroduce Assault Weapons Ban >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    The Mexican drug cartels are (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:25:07 PM EST
    viciously murdering scores of federal, state, and local police in Mexico.  Sometimes the cartels have people put into oil drums full of lye.  It appears the cartels are winning and they are moving far into the U.S. according to LAT and NYT.

    I favor banning assault weapons.  

    spoken like a true (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:29:19 PM EST
    former prosecutor!  I disagree with both our funding of Mexico's war on the cartels and with the assault weapons ban.

    Going to war against the source hasn't worked. Let's fund the prevention effort at home.

    Check out LEAP -- Law Enforcement Officers Against Prohibition.


    and particularly with involving our (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:29:42 PM EST
    miltary in the effort.

    the gangs... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Salo on Thu Feb 26, 2009 at 09:16:44 AM EST
    ...have crossed the line into evil.  They ought to be hunted down like the scum that they are.  

    However, as you point out, no drug bans no GANGS.

    Holder knows this. One appointment after another, one convention after another makes it clear that Obama is ordinary and not what we really needed.


    From DEAwatch (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:53:10 PM EST

    (a watercooler site for the Agency, run by retired DEA. No copyright)

    This case would have gone on another 10 months had it not for Leonhart getting in the newspapers last week about the $123,000 wasted on the Colombia flight. Those headlines also had a lot to do with her accelerating Xcellerator to announce this week... and the fact that Holder appeared with Leonhart on stage indicates it was he who suggested that she make some kind of "positive media splash" to head off Congress demanding she make an appearance to answer questions.

    Any time any appointee gets caught f**king up you can set your watch in predicting that person will quickly pull a stunt or rabbit out of their hat to get the heat off their back...

    "The biggest bust in DEA history":

    I disagree with the 1st Edition reporter's suggested title (""Operation I-Really-Want-To-Keep-My-Administrator-Job"). I think this op should have been titled "Operation Political Panic" because it was not drug case it was a political case timed specifically for the purpose of keeping Leonhart, a proven failure, in her job.

    What makes this operation conclusion more of a crime than the criminals arrested was the fact that many of the people could have been arrested months ago but Leonhart wanted to delay arrests until now when she was up for re-appointment. This means that for more months than necessary drug felons were allowed by Leonhart to remain on the street and continue selling drugs just so that Leonhart could make a big splash.
    Needless to say, Holder knows this but because he operates the same way as Leonhart he will forgive her.

    This is not the biggest arrest in DEA history... but it is the biggest PR campaign ever used by an Administrator at a time when replacement is being considered. OX is really every drug case we've been working on for the past two years that were held off to make at one time so that Michelle could claim it as a major operation and a cartel takedown... most of the suspects never even heard of "Sinaloa Cartel"... but that doesn't matter because only 3 to 5 of the four dozen people arrested will have conspiracy added to their indictments.

    Hey Ben, OT but I see (none / 0) (#9)
    by andgarden on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:55:52 PM EST
    that Corzine says he'll sign the medical MJ bill if it reaches his desk.

    The Answer (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:34:43 PM EST
    Is to legalize the drugs. All the gunplay and wasted money will disappear. Put a third of the $$ into rehab, education and social services and drug abuse will drop.

    Oh and the other two third? A big party.

    I am not sure (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Manuel on Thu Feb 26, 2009 at 01:19:53 AM EST
    If you legalize drugs and take the profit out of them, the cartels may turn to other money making activities (sex trade, kidnapping, fraud, racketeering, illegal weapons).  They already have moved on to some extent.  I favor legalization, but I wonder if fighting organized crime on the drug turf isn't an easier fight.

    The cartels (none / 0) (#16)
    by CST on Thu Feb 26, 2009 at 10:02:04 AM EST
    already do all of those things as well.

    Drugs make them more money and are easier to unload in a lot of ways.

    If you take away the drugs, you take away a lot of their money making capabilities - and power...

    Especially the drugs like crack/heroin/meth that are highly addictive and give you customers for life.  Not to mention, a lot of times the illegal weapons go to people who want to protect their drugs.

    It may be easier to catch them with drugs, but it is also easier for them to make money and destroy lives with drugs.


    Some pol in CA favors (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:37:48 PM EST
    legalizing mj and taxing the harvest.  

    Apparently The Measure (none / 0) (#6)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:41:00 PM EST
    Is more popular than Schwarzenegger,

    Holdler has lots on his plate. (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:43:48 PM EST
    Race relations, Mexican drug cartels, weapons/ammo legislation, and closing Guantanamo (which he says ain't easy).

    Caught some of the news conference... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 26, 2009 at 08:01:39 AM EST
    touting this "victory"....I kept waiting for Holder to announce the indictment of Uncle Sam for aiding and abetting the cartels...didn't happen.  So the beat goes on...while the people of the US, Mexico, Afghanistan, Colombia, Bolivia continue to suffer the side effect of prohibition...violence.

    Do those here who favor legalization include (none / 0) (#12)
    by DFLer on Thu Feb 26, 2009 at 08:40:17 AM EST
    legalizing beyond marijuana? According to the locaL news story, the MN branch of these raids targeted "violent" gangs, involved mainly in meth and crack cocaine distro....destroyers of life, imo, unlike MJ.

    The arrests and indictments are part of a 21-month national and international investigation dubbed Operation Xcellerator, which targeted violent drug distribution cells that are allegedly responsible for transporting cocaine and methamphetamine to the area from Mexico and Canada.
    Investigators allege that the drug distribution cells raked in an estimated $3.5 million per month selling crack cocaine and methamphetamine in the Twin Cities area. Officials also say drug dealers were sending large amounts of that cash back across the U.S./Mexican border.

    Help me understand why this is ALL bad. (Masel's point about the politics of this bust are well taken. But oculus' point resonates as well.)

    MJ is connected. (none / 0) (#14)
    by Salo on Thu Feb 26, 2009 at 09:19:22 AM EST
    It's a bulk crop. It needs organized gangs if it's seriously prohibited.

    Large amounts of Meth can be made by very small discrete groups of poeple under the radar.


    I favor legalizing everything... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 26, 2009 at 09:20:35 AM EST
    so the violent gangs are out of business permanently...or at least out of the lucrative drug business.  

    I see it as simply facing reality...crack, meth, heroin exist, people will choose to use, some or even most will become addicted and cause society some problems.  The question is how to best deal with those problems...prohibition, as any objective eyes can see, has failed to combat addiction in any meaningful way, and has nasty side effects, chief among them a violent black market drug trade and a shameful prison population.

    Gotta be a better way to combat the scourge of addiction...we should at least give a new approach a shot.