Drugs & Terror



The two are now inextricably linked, not just in Afganistan but elsewhere, as the major source of terrorist/insurgent funding.

The FARC in Columbia taxes drug cartels for using routes and airstrips under FARC control and is known to trade cocaine for arms. Shrimboats operating off the Honduran and Nicaraguan coast are thought to be transporting cocaine to rendezvous points with fast power boats which go inland and use the many navigable rivers through those two countries to tranship cocaine north...and weapons south...along the Corredor de Armas.

I am one who firmly believes drug interdiction/eradication efforts are a vital theater of operation in the GWOT, and before long we may need to escalate our clandestine involvement in a big way.
I'm with you guys... I worked with the DEA for a while after I got out of the Marines. It's not just the FARC or the Taliban that make hay from drug sales/violence in this country.

One of the cases I worked (no OPSEC issues here - it's been adjudicated) was a major meth ring where Arab (mostly Palestinian) guys would bring in pseudoephedrine from Canada and elsewhere, sell it to the Mexicans, who would then take it to Mexico to turn into meth. They were producing it here, but we took down several of their labs. If you want to check it out, look up "Operation Mountain Express" on the DEA site and Google. It was from 2001 to 2003 or so...

I've also worked with the Colombians and THANK GOD their President Uribe takes this stuff seriously. Their soldiers, intel guys, and anti-kidnap teams are super-professional and great to work with. It really brings it home to see things happen first-hand.

Finally, I sincerely hope President Bush pardons the two Border Patrol agents. Those guys might have fibbed on their shooting reports, but WTF - that drug dealer scum didn't stop what he was up to. We really need to have some low-vis teams with lethal authority on the borders. They can kill the traffickers and alert the BP to "innocent" border crossers.

Arizona, thanks for the link.

The Carib drug routes from Columbia and Venezuela via Haiti and the Dominican Republic are under closer surveillance, so a lot of the coke has been going north via the rivers and roads up Central America and into Mexico...The drug cartels know the Mexicans are adept at smuggling contraband across the US border, so a major portion of the coke is coming into the US that way. The gang MS 13 (which has an estimated 10,000 US members) controls the main railways through Mexico and protects the major drug conduits.

The cartels figure shipment losses into their budgets. They expect to lose a certain percentage...so they will occasionally put a sizeable shipment out for bait--a sacrificial diversion--so while the authorities are patting themselves on the back for bagging 10-million bucks worth of lower grade coke, 100-million dollars worth of top shelf Peruvian Marching Powder is making it's way north right behind their backs.

I think it's also important to note, as above, that weapons are going south along the same conduits, like a kind of underground super highway of contraband.

Assad, as you know from experience, there are a lot of courageous Columbians who have rejected corruption and bribery and who have been fighting and dying for years against this cancer that has been devouring their country. Unfortunately, the FARC and ELN still control most of the territory. With Venezuela and Nicaragua now solidly socialist and antagonistic to us, and many other Latin American countries teetering on the edge, we need to give all the help we can to our few remaining friends.

I would love to see combined US-Columbian anti-drug/anti-insurgency and civic action teams all over Columbia. Like you, I would also like to see our lethal perogatives cranked up a few notches...way up. But I don't think it'll ever happen.
We started pushing them out of the Caribe in the '90's and forcing them to use land routes through CA and MX. Juarez has subsequently grown as a major "drug capital" and distribution point in the last several years.

We chased those bastards from the "production zone" of southern Peru (Apurimac Valley), up through Brazil ("We don't have a narcotics problem in Brazil!"), Colombia and Venezuela (Maiquetia peninsula). Then tried interecepting them with aerostats in the Caribe. That forced them to move to the mainland -- for a while.

I moved on to other things in '99, but would love to get back into it - maybe in Central Asia.
You guys made it pretty uncomfortable for them.

I remember when every abandoned car in Dade County had a dead Latin guy in the trunk. God damn, it was bad. AWF at the mall. It wasn't crime, it was urban warfare.

The DEA was tracking big ether shipments back then using sat transmitters hidden in false bottoms of the 55 gal drums.