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Latest news: 08-02-2010

Top drug lord's death to trigger more violence

Mexico - One of the world's most powerful drug cartels took a major hit when soldiers killed a top kingpin in a gunbattle, and his death will likely will mean more violence as factions fight for the cocaine and methamphetamine empire that he left behind. The death of Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel during an army operation also challenges a long-held notion that Mexican government officials at the highest levels have been helping the Sinaloa cartel win the drug war. Coronel was the No. 3 of the gang led by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, Mexico's most-wanted drug lord. The attack was an exclusively Mexican operation, unlike other recent raids targeting top drug lords that have relied on US intelligence, Mexican and US officials said on Friday. After a month of intelligence work, the Mexican army zeroed in on Coronel at his mansion on Thursday in a ritzy suburb of Guadalajara.

Full story, from Gulf News

Families fear ransom calls from Mexico’s Cartels

NY - T was lucky he heard his cell phone ring over the racket of his construction equipment as he worked outside in the suburbs last September. “We have your father,” said a man in a voice T recalled as eerily calm. “Try to get the money together as soon as you can so that your dad can be freed.” It was the call T — a naturalized citizen who emigrated here from Mexico 19 years ago — had hoped he would never receive. His father, a farmer in Michoacán had been kidnapped by La Familia Michoacana, a drug cartel. The cartel is known for its rapid rise to power in Mexico’s drug war and the bloody enforcement of its authority with beheadings and notes of terror attached to its victims.

Full story, from The New York Times

Meth arrests jumping in Chatham County, Ga.

GA - A new way to make methamphetamine has drastically amplified the presence of the highly addictive drug in Chatham County. As of Saturday night, the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team has made at least 20 meth-related arrests this year. That is: -- More than double the eight arrests made in all of 2007. -- One more arrest than the total in all of 2008. -- Eight more than in all of 2009. CNT Agent Gene Harley said the reason behind the sky-high spike in arrests is twofold. First, meth production is moving into Chatham County. Second, CNT agents are hunting those responsible for running the labs rather than acting on tips, Harley said.

Full story, The Savannah Morning News

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