Tag Archives: Heroin

Breaking News: 85 Sinaloa cartel members arrested in U.S.-Mexico border raid

A cross-border raid by U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials resulted in the arrest of 85 Sinaloa cartel members, authorities said.

The sting occurred Friday around the Arizona border with Mexico, local media reported.

It also netted “assault-type weapons” and hundreds of pounds of narcotics, said spokeswoman Gillian M. Christensen of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Continue reading Breaking News: 85 Sinaloa cartel members arrested in U.S.-Mexico border raid



The staggering death toll in Mexico’s drug war has outpaced the number of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

A new documentary by Spanish journalist David Beriain discloses what and who is behind the brutality that has turned Mexico into one of the most violent places in the world.

Beriain spent several weeks in northwest Mexico filming the inner workings of the Sinaloa Cartel, whose leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s arrest and recent extradition to the United States has thrown the group—and Mexico—into an even more chaotic spiral of violence.


Intelligence results in €3m drug seizure from Kinahan gang

Assault rifle also found in Sallins raid which is third blow to cartel in little over a week

Garda believe a large seizure of cocaine and heroin, along with at least one assault rifle, found at a rented property over the weekend is linked to the Kinahan drugs gang.

If so, the weekend operation in Co Kildare would be the third major strike against the cartel in just over a week.

Continue reading Intelligence results in €3m drug seizure from Kinahan gang

Heroin-dealing ex-NYPD cop gets four-year sentence

A heroin-dealing ex-cop — who was arrested three times in a year — was sentenced Friday to four years behind bars.

A Staten Island judge handed the stiff sentence to Stacey Staniland, 30, after she was kicked out of a court-ordered rehab center for selling drugs to other patients, officials said.

Staniland was assigned to the 122nd Precinct last year when cops busted her repeatedly for heroin possession — and once for a wild motorcycle crash.

She resigned from the force in July.

What’s next for Mexico’s drug cartels after El Chapo

As Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman awaitsextradition to the United States, he leaves behind what appears to be a new landscape for Mexico’s drug cartels.

Last week, his son, Jesus Alfredo Guzman, was kidnapped by men authorities believe were members of a rival cartel. Sources tell CNN he was released Saturday, but his abduction signals that the game of thrones for Mexico’s next top drug cartel has already begun.

Continue reading What’s next for Mexico’s drug cartels after El Chapo

Mexico drug cartels adapting to legalization of marijuana in U.S.

A farmer stands in his poppy field in the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains of Guerrero state, Mexico. The number of opium poppy fields has surged by 300 percent in the last five years in Guerrero, and nearly half of the heroin found in the United States now is produced in Mexico, according to the DEA’s 2014 National Drug Threat Assessment

The growing legalization of cannabis in the United States is forcing Mexico’s drug cartels to rethink their illicit business model, turning to opium poppy plantations and domestic pot consumption, experts say.

Americans have been legally allowed to light up joints in the U.S. capital since late last month, joining Washington state and Alaska, while Oregon will follow suit in July.

A total of 23 U.S. states have legalized the drug for medical use, and opinion polls show that a slim majority of Americans favor legalization.

The changes in the world’s biggest drug market appear to have prompted the criminal organizations producing narcotics in Mexico to switch strategies.

“As (U.S.) domestic production increases, this will affect production in Mexico,” Javier Oliva, a security expert at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said.

Drug cartels “will seek to increase their exports to Europe and the opportunities for consumption within the country,” Oliva said this week at a presentation of a report by the International Narcotics Control Board, a United Nations agency.

With Americans now able to grow their own cannabis in many places, one market the cartels appear to be tapping is the growing consumption of heroin in the United States.

Oliva said the number of opium poppy fields has surged by 300 percent in the last five years in Mexico’s southwestern state of Guerrero, one of the country’s most violent regions, where 43 students were allegedly slaughtered by a police-backed gang in September.

The scarlet blossoms are also popping up in the north, including in the state of Durango, which forms a “Golden Triangle” of drug plantations with the neighboring regions of Chihuahua and Sinaloa.

Poppy fields outnumber marijuana plantations by three to one, said Adolfo Dominguez, a military commander in Durango.

“The criminals have obviously seen an improvement in this type of cultivation and they also pay attention to the demand factor,” Dominguez said.

Heroin consumption in the United States has surged due to tighter controls of prescription opioid drugs, said Alejandro Mohar, a member of the International Narcotics Control Board.

“Opiate-dependent drug users are increasingly turning to heroin, which is typically easier to source and cheaper than prescription opioids,” the board’s report says.

“Law enforcement authorities in the region have also identified significant increases in heroin purity,” it says.

The U.S. heroin market was worth an estimated $27 billion in 2010. But marijuana is a more lucrative business, worth $41 billion that same year, according to U.S. government figures.

America has a huge appetite for marijuana.

More than 1,000 tons of marijuana are seized along the U.S.-Mexico border every year, the report says, citing U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration figures.

And the cannabis confiscated by U.S. Customs authorities represented 94 percent of worldwide seizures in 2013.

With Americans now able to grow their own, higher-quality marijuana in some places, Mexican drug cartels will look to sell their weed to local consumers, experts say.

Cannabis now ranks third after alcohol and tobacco in a government ranking of “drugs of impact” that require some kind of medical treatment, said Raul Martin del Campo, representative of the National Commission Against Addictions.

Movements to legalize marijuana have also emerged in Mexico, including in the capital, with the backing of former President Vicente Fox.

These maps show the hard drug trade in remarkable detail


Despite drastic punishments for drug dealing, up to and including death in many countries, the worldwide illegal drug trade continues to flourish. While governments invest vast sums of taxpayers’ money in fighting a so-called “war” on drugs, one glance at the size and scope of the drug business suggests it may always be unwinnable.

The drug trade accounts for almost 1% of the world’s financial revenue, with the cocaine trade alone boasting an annual turnover of around $85 billion — all tax free.

Republished with permission from Around the World: An Atlas for Today, this graph charts the path from production to consumer of cocaine, heroin, and Amphetamine-type stimulants — though it excludes the biggest of all: the cannabis business, whose dimensions would require a global graphic all to itself.

The following text is reprinted from the infographic:


Hard drugs are especially popular in the USA, Europe, and Asia. Crossing all borders, consumers are supplied with these illegal products by truck, ship, or small plane.

Opium originates primarily in Afghanistan or Myanmar, while cocaine comes mostly from Colombia, Peru, or Bolivia.

North America

map fixed

  • Consumption: Worldwide largest cocaine consumption, Amphetamine-type stimulants use increasing.
  • Trade: Mexican mafias are increasingly involved in smuggling drugs across the US border or via the Pacific.
  • Production: Amphetamine-type stimulants are produced for the home market.

Central America/Mexico/Caribbean


  • Consumption: Tendency on the rise.
  • Trade: One of the axes of the South American cocaine trade supplying Europe; small planes, couriers, and cargo ships transport the products.
  • Production: Opium for North America.

South America

  • Consumption: Increasing amounts of cocaine and Amphetamine-type stimulants.
  • Trade: In almost all the countries in the region; Venezuela and Brazil are stopovers before delivery on to Africa or Europe.
  • Production: Almost all of the world’s cocaine comes from Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia.

Western and Central Europe

europe fixed

  • Consumption: Cocaine consumption remains at a high level, consumption of opiates and Amphetamine-type stimulants on the rise.
  • Trade: Destination for thousand of tonnes of drugs; extensive inner-European smuggling; significant points of control in Amsterdam, Madrid, and along the German borders.
  • Production: Large market for amphetamines, methamphetamines are mostly produced in small laboratories in the Czech Republic and less frequently in Slovakia and Germany.

Eastern and South-Eastern Europe

  • Consumption: Greater consumption of opiates due to proximity to the trade routes.
  • Trade: Delivery of opiates to Western Europe: cocaine is smuggled in from Africa to Central Europe via this region.
  • Production: Amphetamine-type stimulants are produced in most countries.

Near and Middle East

  • Consumption: High consumption of opiates due to proximity to source, consumption of Amphetamine-type stimulants on the rise.
  • Trade: Main trade route for opium and heroin, cartels from almost 20 countries are involved.
  • Production: Opium production primarily in Afghanistan; heroin is manufactured in almost all countries to meet European demand.

Asiamiddle east

  • Consumption: Largest worldwide consumption of Amphetamine-type stimulants and opium.
  • Trade: Large internal Amphetamine-type stimulants market; some opiates from Myanmar and Laos are shipped over the Pacific.
  • Production: Amphetamine-type stimulants are produced almost everywhere, Myanmar is the world’s second-largest producer of opiates.


  • Consumption: Increasing consumption of Amphetamine-type stimulants.
  • Trade: Insignificant.
  • Production: Amphetamine-type stimulants for the internal market.


  • Consumption: Increasing consumption of Amphetamine-type stimulants.
  • Trade: Transport route to Europe, becoming however less relevant due to strengthened controls; powerful cartels in Nigeria regulate sale in the region and further trade to Europe.
  • Production: Insignificant.


Farmers and chemists form the basis of the drug business as producers. They operate in the underground. The dealers work hand in hand with pilots, accountants, legal advisors, and financial experts.


Opium and Heroin

opiumPaula Bronstein/GettyLocal poppy farmers harvest the opium sap from the bulb of the plant during a ten-day harvesting period May 31, 2011 in Fayzabad, Badakhshan, Afghanistan.

When the latex of the opium poppy dries, raw opium is produced. Further extensive chemical processing then yields opium, which can be smoked.

This is then partially further processed into the very powerful substance diamorphine (heroin), which can be smoked, sniffed, or injected.

Cocaine and Crack

cocaineREUTERS/Mariana BazoAn anti-narcotics worker carries a bag containing cocaine during a drug incineration in Lima September 12, 2013.

The leaves of the lightly narcotic coca plant are processed into a white powder in illegal laboratories.

This cocaine hydrochloride can be sniffed in either pure or diluted form. When mixed with sodium bicarbonate and water and then heated, crack is produced, the vapors of which can be inhaled.

Amphetamine-type stimulants

crystal methHannelore Foerster/GettyMembers of the Bundeskriminalamt German law enforcement agency (BKA), the Federal Criminal Office, display portions of 2.9 tonnes of recently-confiscated chlorephedrin, one of the main ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamine, also called crystal meth, at a press conference on November 13, 2014 in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Synthetic stimulants such as amphetamines like “speed,” methamphetamines “crystal,” and MDMA like “ecstasy” are produced globally, often in kitchen laboratories.

Production is simple, the profits huge. Amphetamines and methamphetamines are colorless oils, which are processed into pastes or salts, often diluted and mixed. They appear in the market in the form of powders, pill, or liquids.

Around the World Gestalten Book

Infographic republished with permission from Around the World: An Atlas for Today published by Gestalten.

Alongside classic facts about nature, history, population, culture, and politics, Around the World’s compelling information graphics thoroughly explain complex processes that impact our lives such as global trade and changing demographics. 

The book gives added insight into our modern world through its visual exploration of subjects such as eating habits, overfishing, and internet providers, as well as events that have left indelible marks on our collective conscience including September 11, the Olympic Games, Japan’s Fukushima disaster, and the sinking of the Titanic.

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