AP: Border corruption on the rise
The Associated Press says law-enforcement corruption on the US side is increasing. Said Mexican President Felipe Calderon:
"To get drugs into the United States the one you need to corrupt is the American authority, the American customs, the American police — not the Mexican. And that's a subject, by the way, which hasn't been addressed with sincerity," the Mexican president said. "I'm waging my battle against corruption among Mexican authorities and we're risking everything to clean our house, but I think there also needs to be a good cleaning on the other side of the border."MexiData on Juarez enforcers
Sylvia Longmire at MexiData has an informative piece on Los Linces, the secretive enforcement group associated with the Juarez Cartel that's dominated by ex-Mexican military. Los Linces play a role for the Juarez Cartel similar to that played by the better-known Los Zetas for the Gulf Cartel, and the article provides a good overview of the other main enforcement groups and their relationship to the cartels. Not much information is publicly available about Los Linces, says Longmire, but IMO if US authorities know more than she does they should be making that information public to protect journalists and put pressure on their employers at the Juarez Cartel.
Border security contributes to state trooper shortage
Brandi Grissom at the El Paso Times has an extended preview of a high-level border security conferece in El Paso today and tomorrow which will include the new US drug czar and Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano, fresh off a weekend visit to Mexico with President Obama. Her story includes this juicy tidbit:
The [Texas] Department of Public Safety has also faced heat for its use of border-security money. A state audit last spring showed the department had allocated millions in resources, including a helicopter and about 100 cars, that were meant for the border to other areas of the state.
Another audit, released last week, said that demands to put more state troopers in the border region were exacerbating a critical personnel shortage in the department.
The case for legalization
Finally, via Drug War Rant (congrats, Pete, on your new site), in the London Financial Times, the author of a new book on cocaine trafficking recently made a strong case for outright drug legalization, arguing that:
Proper reform means legitimising production and supply, precisely so it can be controlled. Would it unleash a drug epidemic worse than the one we now have? Well, it would be an unusual child of the 1960s who did not mark the moment with a celebratory joint. But the novelty would soon wear off. And from then on, the places where it is easiest to obtain drugs would no longer be the inside of jails and inner-city school playgrounds. ...
We should abandon the fantasy of a drug-free world and start taking responsibility for regulation. If you really want to control who grows coca, who produces cocaine, who sells it and for how much, who can take it, and how much they pay for it, create a framework that is logical, accountable and adjustable.
Still not convinced? Consider the declining popularity of tobacco smoking. High taxation, credible education programmes and effective treatment programmes work – a legal ban on smoking would not. Why should cocaine be treated any differently?