A drug bust that netted $205 million gave Mexican President Felipe Calderon bragging rights back in March, but has since turned into a PR nightmare. Zhenli Ye Gon, a Chinese immigrant and Mexican national, was accused of importing tons of methamphetamine ingredients, but turned the tables by claiming that the money was actually illegal campaign cash, and that Calderon’s operatives threatened to kill him if he didn’t hide it during last year’s election. Noticias de Oaxaca reports that his alleged ties to Calderon’s ruling National Action Party and the Mexican military have put all concerned on the defensive, and that the $205 million is now considered emblematic of government collusion with drug barons. While Mexico’s opposition parties have called for an investigation, Ye Gon is a free man in New York City, having fled the country after being tipped off, allegedly by complicit police officers, about an impending raid on his home. The DEA, meanwhile, won’t arrest or extradite him, saying they don’t have the proper “paperwork.”
President Felipe Calderon’s war on drugs will fail unless the United States cracks down on arms sales to drug smugglers, Mexican officials say. Not only do drug cartels get the majority of their weapons from U.S. dealers — they also net between $10 and $30 billion a year in sales to American drug users. That cash buys more arms used to attack Mexican police and politicians, the Associated Press reports. Calderon’s drug fight is also complicated by corrupt officials. Last week, an American jury convicted Ricardo Gonzalez Camacho, a Mexican police officer, of smuggling 55 pounds of cocaine into the United States.
By Martin Leatherman & Newsdesk.org staff
Terrorism, political instability and the drug trade have been forged into a single problem, as narcotics take a leading economic role in nations already suffering from violence and poverty. According to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board, Iraq is becoming a major transit country for drugs originating in Afghanistan and entering Jordan en route to Asia and Europe. The president of the U.N. board, Hamid Ghodse, said the situation in Iraq resembles other post-conflict nations, where the aftermath of war or other disasters leaves border security weakened. Similar cases include Colombia, Bolivia and Afghanistan. According to Agence France Presse, the political obstacles to Afghanistan’s war on drugs are huge.