Drugs

Former judge says Mokbel has grounds for release, accuses police of criminal behaviour

A former judge now representing Tony Mokbel pro bono has accused Victoria Police of criminal behaviour and says the drug lord has grounds to be freed from prison. Tammy Mills The Age A cavalcade of defence lawyers representing the who’s who of Melbourne’s underworld appeared before the Lawyer X royal commission on Wednesday. The commission is investigating the conduct of the force and its prized informer, former gangland barrister turned supergrass Nicola Gobbo. Lawyers for Mokbel, drug traffickers Francesco… Former ... Read More »

Mexico’s Hydra-headed Crime War

It may seem that Mexico’s crime war, which has left over 100,000 dead in its wake, could not get any worse. Falko Ernst ICG But interviews with gunmen in deadly Tierra Caliente show that it can, as criminal organisations break into smaller and smaller parts, driving up the death toll. The body, dumped under a highway overpass, is charred beyond recognition. At the morgue, it takes four days to identify it. A day longer, and authorities would have laid the corpse ... Read More »

HEMP’s grassroots campaign hot on heels of Palmer’s $60 million ad barrage

Clive Palmer and his staggering $60 million spend on United Australia Party’s election campaignhas only managed to secure 20,000 more Senate votes nationally than a minor party forced to “scratch around” just to… Hamish Hastie WAtoday As of Sunday afternoon the Help End Marijuana Prohibition party had secured 141,500 first preference Senate votes or 1.9 per cent of the national vote, just behind UAP’s 161,000. It’s the party’s best result since being registered in 2010 and is a huge jump in ... Read More »

The Church of Living Dangerously: How One of America’s Biggest Pastors Became a Drug Runner for a Mexican Cartel

He looked like Sammy Hagar, preached like Billy Graham, and brought a 350-pound tiger to church. David Kushner Vanity Fair Then he shot heroin with his son and was busted at the border for running drugs for a Mexican cartel. A little after five A.M. on December 11, 2017, a gray Volkswagen Passat inched through the darkness of Tijuana toward the brightly lit Customs and Border Protection port of entry at San Ysidro, California. It was in the SENTRI lane, ... Read More »

Trump Threatens to Blow Up the U.S. Economy

The same dynamics that preceded Trump’s decision to cut off aid to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are now playing out with his threats to shut down the Mexican border. It all starts on Twitter. Nancy LeTourneau Washington Monthly According to CNN, some members of his administration are warning him that such a move would result in catastrophic consequences, while others are cheering him on. Stephen Miller—more than likely in the latter group—suggests that the president is not bluffing. In ... Read More »

Brazil gunmen shoot at convoy carrying nuclear fuel in Angra dos Reis

Gunmen have attacked a convoy of trucks carrying uranium fuel to a nuclear power plant near the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, police say. BBC The convoy came under attack as it drove past a community controlled by drug traffickers in Angra dos Reis, a tourist city 145km (90 miles) from Rio. Police escorting the convoy responded and a shootout followed. No-one was injured or detained. The convoy reached the Angra 2 plant safely 20 minutes after the attack. ... Read More »

The UK’s First Specialist Medical Cannabis Clinic Has Opened

Bosses at the clinic say it will provide a lifeline to those experiencing chronic pain. HuffPost Press Association The UK’s first specialist medical cannabis clinic has opened in Greater Manchester. It follows the Government announcement that specialist doctors could prescribe cannabis products to patients for medicinal use from November. The decisions by medics need to be made on a case-by-case basis and only when the patient has an unmet special clinical need that cannot be met by licensed products. The ... Read More »

Proud Boys and antifa: When a right-wing activist met a left-wing anti-fascist

Since the election of Donald Trump, extreme right-wing groups and left-wing activists have battled on American streets. Mike Wendling BBC It’s happened in New York, Berkeley, Charlottesville and elsewhere. But one liberal enclave might be the epicentre of the fighting: Portland, Oregon, a progressive city in the Pacific north-west. Two activists who have been on opposite sides in the Portland clashes agreed to meet and talk. But would they have any common ground? I didn’t think they would both be ... Read More »

Sixth wastewater report reveals Australians spend over $9.3 billion a year on drugs

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission today released the sixth report of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program providing longer-term insights into drug consumption as the… Using wastewater data between August 2017 to August 2018, it is estimated that more than 9.6 tonnes of methylamphetamine is consumed in Australia each year, as well as more than 4 tonnes of… The street price of this quantity of these four drugs is valued at around $9.3 billion, underlining the ... Read More »

Influential doctors aren’t disclosing their drug company ties

In September, the New York Times revealed that one of the world’s top cancer specialists had quietly received millions of dollars from drug and other companies. And what’s more, he’d failed to disclose the payments in many of his high-profile medical journal articles. Authors: The Conversation A few months before that, a study found that many experts who write medical textbooks received company payments, but again, their readers didn’t know about it. Today our Australian study of the doctors who ... Read More »

Guzmán trial: Drug lord tortured and murdered rivals, says witness

Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán personally tortured and murdered his rivals, his former bodyguard has said at a trial in New York. BBC In the most gruesome testimony to date, Isaias Valdez Rios described seeing “El Chapo” brutally beat at least three men before shooting them. Guzmán denies charges including trafficking and money laundering. If guilty, he could be jailed for life. The ex-boss of the Sinaloa cartel was held in 2016 after escaping from jail. He used ... Read More »

Three Charts on who uses illicit drugs in Australia

To demonstrate the failure of the war on drugs, NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann came out this week about her own drug use: Since my 20s, I’ve occasionally taken MDMA [ecstasy] at dance parties and music festivals. I know journalists, tradies, lawyers, public servants, doctors, police and yes, politicians (most well into their forties), who have done the same. Nicole Lee The Conversation When asked by journalists on Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he’d never taken illicit drugs, while ... Read More »

Life as a child in Ireland: ‘Here’s phones. Here’s alcohol. Here’s weed’

NO CHILD 2020 IS AN INITIATIVE BY THE IRISH TIMES, PROVIDING A SUSTAINED FOCUS ON CHILD WELFARE AND CHILDREN’S ISSUES OVER THE COMING YEAR. ITS GOAL IS TO EXPLORE THE PROBLEMS FACING CHILDREN IN IRELAND TODAY, AND OFFER SOLUTIONS THAT WOULD MAKE THIS A BETTER COUNTRY TO BE A CHILD. HERE, FIVE YOUNG IRISH PEOPLE DISCUSS THEIR EARLY LIVES IN…  – SHELTER – Patrick Freyne is a features writer with The Irish Times Michael: ‘I was never parented. I was like ... Read More »

How to navigate dinner conversations about pill testing

Here are some answers for you to put the arguments against pill testing in their scientific resting place David Caldicott, Matt Noffs and Gino Vumbaca The Guardian The support for pill testing continues to grow. Polling released this week shows pill testing is supported by a majority of Australians, including a majority of Liberal-National voters. Europeans have been successfully conducting pill testing at music festivals for over two decades. Despite this, a few pollies are adding some straw man arguments ... Read More »

Family of ‘beautiful’ teen plead for pill testing after suspected festival drug overdose

The family of the latest young person to die of a suspected overdose at a music festival has pleaded with NSW Premer Gladys Berejiklian to show ”strong leadership” and introduce pill testing. Sarah Keoghan & Lucy Cormack The Age Central Coast teenager Alex Ross-King, 19, died after taking a suspected dose of pills at the FOMO festival in Parramatta at the weekend. Family members of the teenager have pleaded with the government to introduce pill testing in “legacy” of her death, ... Read More »

Fire and Ice: Conflict and Drugs in Myanmar’s Shan State

Civil strife has turned Myanmar’s Shan State into a crystal methamphetamine hub. ICG The richer the traffickers get, the harder the underlying conflicts will be to resolve. Instead of targeting minor offenders, the military should root out corruption, including among top brass, and disarm complicit paramilitaries.  What’s new? Shan State has long been a centre of conflict and illicit drug production – initially heroin, then methamphetamine tablets. Good infrastructure, proximity to precursor supplies from China and safe haven provided by ... Read More »