COLUMBIAN DRUGS Essay, Research Paper
Columbia is South America fourth largest country. It is about 440,831 square miles long and its capital is Bogota with the population of 27 million people. Columbia greatest agriculture crops are drugs and coffee. “Columbia is one of the world largest producers of the drugs cocaine, and heroin producing 50,900 hectares of coca that they sold 75% to the United States.” (CIA database) Drug dealers and drugs control Columbia and are the new Mafia and gangsters, who smuggle drugs in the United States, and make millions and millions of dollars a year.
.Smuggling had its greatest growth in the United States during the Prohibition Era. It became a full-fledged business for organized crime like the Mafia who ran Chicago in the 1920’s. The Mafia made millions of dollars breaking laws, bribing government officials and selling alcohol. When alcohol became legal, these smuggling organizations could no longer make money off liquor, so they started smuggling drugs. The drug dealers of Columbia are the modern day Mafia who used the power of drug money to control the government.
The most famous drug dealers were Pablo Escobar, Jorge Luis Ochoa Valquez and Carlos Lehder Rivas, who controlled the drug trades in Columbia and are the new Mafia. “By the year, 1984 the Medellin cartel had controlled 80 percent of the cocaine in the country.” (Alternatives.com)
Pablo Escobar was born in a small village of Rionegro seventeen miles outside Medellin. In 1976, police arrested him for possession of thirty-nine pounds of cocaine, but the officers where soon killed and 9 judges refused to hear the case due to death threats. The record disappeared and he was never tried. Soon he was worth over 2 million dollars that he used to buy himself a huge estate near the Magdalena river that included his own private zoo. Pablo Escobar built low cost housing and a hospital to get the people of Medellin on his side. In 1982, he was elected to the congress which gave him an immunity from arrest. On Nov. 18, 1986 charges where brought against Escobar, on bringing 16 tons of cocaine into the United States. The government of Columbia said they would not deport him because they feared for their lives. On, December 2, 1993, a group of military police shot the drug lord on a rooftop in Medellin, Columbia.
Jorge Luis Ochoa Vasguez was the son of Fabio Ocheoa Restrepo whose family was cattle breeders until they began trafficking drugs in the mid 1970. In 1981, guerrillas kidnapped Jorge Vasguez sister for ransom. Ocheoa joined with other drug lords including Escobar to form a vigilante group called Muerte a Secuestadores who kidnapped or killed members of the guerrillas until the girl were set free. This caused these three drug dealers to work together and Escobar and Vaguez made a new pact. Jorge Vasguez and the Ocheoa family provided hitmen, guards and death squads that included high ranked military officers. The Ocheoa family also would handle payoffs to police, judges and politicians. Jorge Luis Ochoa Vasquez was arrested by police on November 15,1984 and was going to be deported to the United States. When this news reached Bogota a car loaded with dynamite exploded in front of the US embassy in Bogota killing one and injuring four Colombians. On Aug. 13, 1986, Ochea Vasquez was released. He was arrested again on Nov. 21, 1987 but he was released again on December 30,1987.
Carlos Lehder Rivas was born in Michigan and was a car dealer until he deiced to use his money to start a drug smuggling operation bringing drugs out of Columbia. He found a remote landing strip in the Bahamas where he bribed Bahamian officials where drugs would be unloaded and depatched into the United States in many different types of transportation. Soon Carlos was working with the Medellian cartel and would unload 300 kilograms a day making over 300 million a year. He was worth over 2.5 billion dollars and owned over 15 cars, three helicopters, and property all over Columbia. Finally the United States government caught up with him, but he got away because he killed 11 Supreme Court Justices, two newspaper editors in Columbia and 26 other journalists. Finally in 1997 he was arrested and was brought to a cell at the U.S. Penitary in Marion, IL that had a telephone. From his cell he made contact with FBI, and CIA agents who used to work in the cartel. Leder was sentenced to life in prison plus 135 years but the FBI and CIA gave him a deal to help them convict Noriega and cut down 30 years on his prison term. A few years after he testified he mysteriously disappeared from prison.
These three individuals are only a few of the individuals who used the cartel to control all levels of the government including the president. President Ernesto Sampler accepted millions of dollars from the Mafia to finance his campaign. He said that the newspaper he wrote had over 10,900 subscribers instead of the 1,000 original subscribers his wife knew about. Also the government tried to destroy drug fields by eradicating coca and opium fields by spraying herbicide glyphosate. The problem is drug traffickers are paying guerrillas $200,000 for every plane that they shot down three times what they get for destroying the fields for the government.
The police and military forces in Columbia are too weak and easily bribed by the cartels. The police in Columbia are armed civilians who don’t have the right to vote and don’t have much power and only a policeman can arrest someone under a warrant in Columbia. But since most policemen don’t have much power they are afraid to arrest someone, so the military forces usefully have to get involved in order to arrest someone. The police in Columbia can’t get anything done without the help of the military and neither really knows what the other is supposed to do which causes nothing to get done.
The illegal drugs that are smuggled into the United States from Colombia come by many forms of transportation. Nova Scotia, Canada, has been a major drop-off point for illegal cargo since the early 1970s. Police say that to prepare for one drug smuggling operation, a group of criminals based in Nova Scotia bought a fishing vessel and used it just for fishing until long-time residents took it for granted. It would make runs in and out for two to three months just for fishing. “Then it went out on its fishing trip, and instead of bringing back fish, it had hashish and marijuana” (Abadinsky 39). Between 1974 and 1986, police recorded 12 major seizures, including boatloads of hashish and marijuana (Allen 1). Drug smuggling attempts by boat usually involve a “mother ship,” a cargo vessel lying up to 250 miles off the shore. This vessel will off load a variety of drugs onto smaller fishing vessels, which then transport the drugs to other couriers on shore.Cargo vessels, coming from other countries to the United States have become the newest method in drug smuggling. On June 19, 1992, the captain of the container ship Santa Marta radioed ahead to Jacksonville, Florida, that his ship was experiencing difficulties with its ballast ducts. An alert Customs officer suspected that it was a drug shipment unknown to the captain, and he was right. Forty kilograms of cocaine were discovered by divers in duffel bags secured in the recessed ballast duct by metal wire (Goode 10). The growth of hull attachments has sparked the interest of scientists to design an invention that will detect objects (such as drugs or divers) underwater. Drugs are not only smuggled into the country by boats, but are also driven across by cars and trucks. Drug lords sometimes hire one-time ” mules, ” or couriers, who pose as vacationers in the Big Bend National Park ( a park that connects Mexico to the United States ).They hide the drugs in secret compartments in the walls of trailers and motor homes as they camp through the park. Many times the drug dealers will hire or start their own trucking companies. In one incident, cocaine wrapped in grease-smeared plastic had been stuffed into about ten hollow forty-foot steel beams. They were trucked across the country from California to New York. Drugs have been known to be found in hubcaps, spare tires, glove compartments, and in the stuffing of car seats, and ceilings of cars. Also, they have been found packed in metal boxes and hooked by magnets to the underside of the truck without the driver knowing. One of the most recent techniques is through Postal Service Express. Drug dealers will send a certain amount of drugs through the Postal Service Express. They choose the Postal Service Express because it is delivered the next day, it eliminates the middle man, which means that it costs less, it is also very difficult to monitor and harder to stop. After the client receives the drugs, he/she will send money back through Postal Service Express. Although there are many other next day delivery services, Postal Service Express is connected to the United States Post offices. Which means that opening the mail would be a federal offense. Other express package companies do not face the same problem. These companies assume ownership of the parcel as soon as it is handed to them. This means they can open it if they suspect it contains illegal substances. The only way Postal Service Express can detect a drug smuggler is to watch the packages. If the packages are being sent to the same person constantly, and then packages are being sent back to the sender the next day, postal workers might become suspicious and request a warrant. They have to be almost one hundred percent sure that there are drugs inside of the packages to get a warrant. With a warrant they can legally open the package. If the package contains drugs they will deliver it to the person and then make an arrest. Many packages will have probably been sent back and forth carrying drugs and money long before someone suspects something.One of the most risky and dangerous ways drugs are smuggled is through people. Couriers will sometimes carry drugs in false-bottomed suitcases, in the hollowed-out soles of their shoes, taped to their bodies, or sewed into their clothes. Some have even swallowed them. Some people have even swallowed up to two hundred thumb-size latex pellets. These carriers are usually desperate people hoping to escape poverty. Others swallow little balls of heroin wrapped in condoms. Each person swallows approximately eighty to one hundred condoms. This method is very dangerous because if the pellet or condom should break open, in most cases it would cause instant death. For example, on May 12, 1993, a thirty year old man from Bolivia was found dead on the plane. When doctors did an autopsy, they discovered seventy eight packages of cocaine. Two of the packages had broken open totaling six hundred and fifty grams in his stomach ( John 78 ). Drug smuggling has become a true art. In 1993, the California Safe Company was making safes out of Coke cans and other kinds of cans. But people were using these metal safes for storing illegal drugs. People started calling them “stash cans.” Coca-Cola forced California Safe to take the Coke safes off the market, especially since they never gave them the right to use their cans. Too, many people were using them to smuggle marijuana, hashish, and cocaine. You can still get similar safes from different companies. Drugs have also been smuggled in electronic components, potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, peppers, coffee, and just about any product. Because of all these techniques, the government has set up the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) whose sole purpose is to dismantle the illegal drug business through many programs. The DEA works with all kinds of agencies on drug-abuse and prevention programs. They also support many efforts to stop or slow down smuggling.
Coastal Watch Programs have been organized around the coast of Nova Scotia. James Parker, head of the program, has been telling the citizens to keep their eyes and ears open for signs of smuggling. On Parker’s wall there is a map of Nova Scotia with clusters of pins showing the locations of two thousand informants involved. Each person has a local number to call in case of suspicion. In the case of passengers arriving by air from known drug places, there are customs agents waiting to ask them a few questions at the baggage claim area. Judging by the passenger’s behavior, the tone of their voice, and their actions, the agents decide whether or not they might be carrying drugs. Columbia sends computer passenger lists to Customs agents before aircrafts arrive in Miami. These lists have the names of possible suspects. The police have developed programs that teach officers to stop motorists for small traffic violations and then search legally their cars for drugs. Many innocent people are stopped before one offender is actually caught. Some indicators are an open map on the front seat, a fast-food bag on the floor, or an out-of-state license plate. Police use these as signs because couriers are in a hurry and usually do not know their way around. Dogs help police, too. In the airports they sniff luggage, cars, and people for drugs and large sums of money. They have helped the United States Customs Service haul in thousands of pounds of cocaine, heroine, marijuana, and hashish. In the Postal Service, dogs are used to sniff the packages, before they are sent out through the mail.
After all of the efforts to control the drug smuggling, the new North American Free Trade Agreement between Mexico, the United States, and Canada makes things worse. This agreement makes the United States more accessible and convenient for drug traffickers. It will gradually eliminate tariffs on goods traded among the three nations and allow Mexican truckers to drive their rigs anywhere in the United States and Canada with little inspection.
The United States and Columbia need to work together instead of blaming each other to stop drug trafficking and the Columbia Mafia. Columbia needs an stronger police force and to use the money the United States is giving them to make busts. Studies have shown that the money has been going to guerrilla forces helping the cortels instead of training the Colombian police. Second both countries have to recognize the supply and demand of the drugs problem. Both countries need to educate their people on the effects of drugs. If the United States lowered the demand on drugs then Columbia would not produce them. Third the Colombian government needs to be tougher on drug dealers and give them harsher sentences. Also Columbia needs new crops to grow and maybe the United States should teach the farms how to grow things other then coca. Coca is the major product in Columbia and many farmers do not know what else to plant.
In conclusion, drugs are Columbia’s biggest crop and the Colombian Cartels are making millions of dollars a year smuggling the illegal drug into the United States. They use their money to control the government and are much like the gangster of Chicago in the 1920’s
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