Police stand guard over seized cocaine that is displayed to the press at the Special Forces Police headquarters in Asuncion, Paraguay, July 28, 2021 (AP photo by Jorge Saenz).
The assassination of a top Paraguayan prosecutor while on vacation in Colombia last week has raised major concerns about the strength and influence of organized criminal groups in the country, one of the world’s top marijuana producers and a key transit point for Andean cocaine. Marcelo Pecci, an organized crime specialist, was shot dead on May 10 on the island of Baru, south of the Colombian city of Cartagena. Pecci was on honeymoon with his pregnant wife when two assailants arrived on jet skis and gunned him down. He died on the spot from three wounds to his face and torso. [...]
Employees prune plants at a greenhouse growing medical marijuana for export in Nueva Helvecia, Uruguay, Jan. 30, 2019 (AP photo by Matilde Campodonico).
Following nearly three years of debate, Costa Rica finally legalized medical cannabis on March 2. Upon signing it into law, outgoing President Carlos Alvarado said that the bill—which legalizes medical marijuana and the cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes, but still restricts its recreational use—would be a “great benefit for the country.” However, to what extent medical cannabis legalization, and potentially recreational legalization, will be a positive development for Costa Rica or serve as a model for the broader region remains to be seen. Costa Rica’s medical marijuana legislation has been years in the making. As early as 2014, a survey [...]
Dairo Antonio Usuga, alias “Otoniel,” leader of the violent Clan del Golfo cartel, is presented to the media at a military base in Necocli, Colombia, Oct. 23, 2021 (Colombian presidential press office photo via AP).
BOGOTA, Colombia—In the next five weeks, Dairo Antonio Usuga, Colombia’s most-wanted drug lord who was captured on Oct. 23, is expected to be extradited to the United States on drug trafficking charges filed in New York and Florida, according to Colombian authorities. As head of the notorious drug cartel Clan del Golfo, Usuga—more commonly known by the alias “Otoniel”—is accused of steering an international criminal enterprise, processing and shipping more than 160 tons of cocaine each year to the United States and Europe, and wielding control over large swaths of Colombian territory, where his men imposed their own laws using terror [...]
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