jueves, 28 de junio de 2012

Ecuador finds drug submarine

Coast guards and marines found off Ecuador's coast on 25 June a half-made submarine intended to carry 10-15 tonnes of drugs by sea, agencies reported on 27 June. The 15-metre craft was being built amid thick vegetation on a small island in the Gulf of Guayaquil. A similar craft was found in July 2010 and thought capable of reaching Mexico. The find and recent drug confiscations led President Rafael Correa to say on 26 June that his country was "one of the most efficient" in the region in fighting drug trafficking, AFP reported. He said no drugs were grown in Ecuador, but that "it would be very difficult" to have no trafficking given Ecuador's location "between the two biggest drug producers" Colombia and Peru.

Guatemala to jail gangsters

A court in Guatemala City sentenced on 28 June 36 members of the drug cartel Zetas to prison terms of up to 158 years for crimes including kidnapping and murder, Europa Press reported, citing Prensa Libre. The maximum terms were given to two local leaders of the group, Hugo Álvarez Gomez Vázquez and Élder Estuardo Morales Madrid, both convicted of crimes including the kidnapping and murder of a family of three in May 2011. Three others were given 97-year sentences for their roles in the kidnapping and murder in May 2011 of deputy-state prosecutor Allan Stowlinsky Vidaurre. The Zetas are a Mexican cartel that has expanded its activities to Central America. The representative in Mexico of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Antonio Luigi Mazzitelli declared them in late May to be the most violent criminal gang in Latin America, seeking to dominate "licit and illicit" activities in Mexico.

Venezuelan lawmakers die in apparent crash

Two Venezuelan legislators were found dead in a crashed car in northern Venezuela on 26 June, two days after they were reported missing, EFE reported on 27 June. Authorities were investigating the incident but the two may have died late on 24 June when their car veered off a country road into a ravine near La Victoria, in the state of Aragua. They were Orlando Espinoza and substitute member Lisbeth Parra of Democratic Action (Acción Democrática, AD), a party opposed to the socialist government of President Hugo Chávez. They were returning from a television programme in Caracas, wherein they had spoken critically of the electricity grid. Interior Minister Tareq El Aissami dismissed suggestions of any foul play made on Internet social networks.

Colombian police detain kidnapper

Colombian troops arrested at an unspecified location on 27 June a female member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) suspected of taking part in kidnapping a French journalist in April, Europa Press reported on 28 June, citing reports by Colombia's Caracol Radio. The detained was identified by her pseudonyms "Nuri" or "La Peluda" and belonged to Block 15 of the FARC, which claimed to have kidnapped reporter Roméo Langlois in the southern Caquetá department on 28 April. He was freed a month later.