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Saudi Arabia Seizes Shipment of 1/2 Ton Cocaine from S.A.

The penalty for drug trafficking in Saudi Arabia is death, which it carries out regularly through public beheadings. Either the death penalty is not much of a deterrent, or some people are pretty confident they won't get caught.

The Saudi Government announced today it seized 1/2 ton of cocaine (526 kilograms)at the port of Jeddah on June 7. The drugs were in a shipment of refills of photocopy paper that came from an unspecified country in South America.

Where did the drugs ship from? Ecuador is a possibility. Last week, the foreign minister of Ecuador announced on Twitter that 4 tons of drugs had been seized at the port of Guayaquil, bound for Saudi Arabia. (The police later corrected him and said it was 400 kilos.) In January, 227 kilos were seized en route to Saudi Arabia from Ecuador hidden in pineapples. In April, 600 kilograms were seized en route from Ecuador to Saudi Arabia. hidden in bananas.[More...]

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George Jung ("Blow") Released After 20 Years

Legendary cocaine trafficker George Jung (played by Johnny Depp in the movie "Blow") has been released from prison to a halfway house after serving almost 20 years behind bars.

Jung says on his website:

Jung was a part of the Medellin Cartel which was responsible for up to 85 percent of the cocaine smuggled into the United States. He specialized in the smuggling of cocaine from Colombia on a large scale.

Jung was first sent to the federal prison in Danbury on a marijuana case. While there, he made friends with Carlos Lehder, who along with Pablo Escobar, the Ochoa brothers and Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha (alias El Mexicano) headed up the Medellin cartel. In the movie, Jung says:

Danbury wasn't a prison, it was a crime school. I went in with a Bachelor of marijuana, came out with a Doctorate of cocaine.

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President of Colombia: War on Drugs a Failure

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says the War on Drugs has failed and we need a new approach to drug trafficking.

In an interview on Monday with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Santos noted a softening of hard-line antidrug policies both in the U.S. and in Latin America. He said the world had to develop more "realistic and pragmatic" ways to fight drug trafficking.

"How do I explain to a peasant in Colombia that I have to put him in prison for growing marijuana when in Colorado or in Washington state, it's legal to buy the same marijuana?" he said. "The world needs a more effective, fresher, more creative focus to win this war, because until now we haven't won, and the cost has been enormous."

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Coca Production Shifts From Colombia to Peru

The U.S. spent more than $5 billion to fight coca production in Colombia over the past decade. The result: Growers have ramped up production in Peru.

When antinarcotics forces succeed in one place — as they recently have in Colombia, which has received more than $5 billion in American aid this decade — cultivation shifts to other corners of the Andes.

Eradication efforts in Peru and Bolivia in the 90's resulted in a shift by growers to Colombia. Now that efforts in Colombia have had success, growers have just moved back to Peru. That's the problem with a supply-oriented policy.

“Washington’s policy of supply-oriented intervention inevitably improves the efficiencies and entrepreneurial skills of traffickers,” said Paul Gootenberg, who wrote the book “Andean Cocaine.”

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Study: 90% of Currency in U.S. Has Traces of Cocaine

It's time to resurrect those motions to suppress based on cocaine traces found on currency. A new study presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society found:

In what researchers describe as the largest, most comprehensive analysis to date of cocaine contamination in banknotes, scientists are reporting that cocaine is present in up to 90 percent of paper money in the United States, particularly in large cities such as Baltimore, Boston, and Detroit. The scientists found traces of cocaine in 95 percent of the banknotes analyzed from Washington, D.C., alone.

The study was conducted by Yuegang Zuo, Ph.D., a a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry & the School of Marine Science and Technology at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth in North Dartmouth, Mass.

Time Magazine reports on the study here. Time says in 2007, only 67% of U.S. currency had cocaine residue.( It doesn't mention that studies from the 90's showed a much higher percentage.) [More...]

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Coca is Not Cocaine; Let the Farmers Be

From the award winning Canadian magazine Walrus: An audio photo essay about the coca farmers in Bolivia and their fight, assisted by the country's President Evo Morales, to keep cultivating the leaf for legal purposes.

Besides being a symbol of Bolivia's indigenous culture, the coca leaf is considered a cure for many ailments and an important source of work for farmers in this poor South American country.

Coca is not cocaine. However, the leaf is the main ingredient for the drug, and the United States and the United Nations would like to see the plant completely eradicated.

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Should Cocaine Be Available at Your Corner Drug Store?

A British writer makes the case for legalizing cocaine.

Anyone disagree? The war on drugs has been an abysmal failure.

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Fox Reporter Alleges Bush Admitted Using Cocaine

Whoops. During a lively discussion on Fox News about Barack Obama's teen use of cocaine, a Fox reporter inaccurately said President Bush admitted using cocaine in the past.

Via Raw Story which has more details.

Here's the scoop on Bush's alleged cocaine use.

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Is Bush's Alleged Cocaine Use an Issue?

President Bush's alleged cocaine use was an issue in the 2000 election. It fizzled. He refused to either admit or deny using the drug. Now, bloggers are writing about it because of Kitty Kelly's new book, The Bush Family. Kelly is a tabloid-type biographer who previously has targeted the Reagans, Princess Diana and others. In her book, Kelly claims Bush used cocaine at Camp David when his father was President and in the mid- 60's. Her source is Bush former sister-in-law Sharon Bush.

Personally, I could care less what drugs Bush did in college. College is a time of experimentation, of youthful indiscretions. I mostly share the views of Drug War Rant on the issue.

There is another issue though, and that is, did Bush use cocaine later in life? What does Kelly say about Bush's 40th birthday party at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs? Was he coke-fueled then, dancing on the bar as rumors at the time suggested? It was after this party that he gave up alcohol for good--even though, he says, he wasn't an alcoholic. Did he also give up cocaine then....at the age of 40?

Why is this an issue?

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