10 suspected cartel members, 4 police killed in shootout in northern Mexico

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

10 suspected cartel members, 4 police killed in shootout in northern Mexico

Coahuila state Gov. Miguel Riquelme Solis looks at a police vehicle hit during a gunbattle between Mexican security forces and suspected cartel gunmen in Villa Union on Saturday, November 30, 2019.

(CNN)Four police officers and ten suspected cartel members were killed in a gunfight in northeastern Mexico on Saturday, according to a news release from the state government of Coahuila.

The battle broke out between security forces and suspected members of the Cartel of the Northeast in the town of Villa Union, about 40 miles south of the US border town of Eagle Pass, Texas. It lasted about two hours, Mexican Gov. Miguel Angel Riquelme Solis said in a news conference Saturday. Authorities apprehended 14 vehicles with powerful weaponry, he said.
Images from the state government showed a local municipal building and police vehicle riddled with bullet holes.
Criminal groups have long sought to enter the state, Solis said Saturday. “Organized crime, specifically the Cartel del Noreste, tries to get into Coahuila every day at some point, in one of its areas,” he said, adding, “Today they got in by force and with a contingent that is not like anything we have seen in a long time.”
But, “we won’t allow organized crime to come to the area,” he said.
“Many years ago they came in with impunity,” Solis said. “They came into our cities and municipalities and nothing happened. Not nowadays. This was a forceful response.”
The shootout occurred just days after US President Donald Trump said he would designate Mexican cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, adding that the US had offered to “go in and clean it out,” but the Mexican government had “rejected the offer.”
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Wednesday that the Mexican government was in contact with the US regarding the possible designation, but Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has indicated that he doesn’t want the US to intervene.
Early last month, nine women and children from a Mormon community in Mexico were killed by suspected drug cartels.

India: 4 Manipur policemen arrested, suspended for involvement in drug racket

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

4 Manipur policemen arrested, suspended for involvement in drug racket

Police sources said the four personnel were arrested in connection with their alleged involvement in the seizure of 34 boxes containing Ketamine injection bottles.

INDIA Updated: Nov 17, 2019 12:23 IST

Sobhapati Samom
Sobhapati Samom

Hindustan Times, Imphal
Director general of police (DGP) LM Khaute, in his order dated November 14, said a disciplinary proceeding is being contemplated against the inspector for his “grave misconduct and dereliction of duty.”
Director general of police (DGP) LM Khaute, in his order dated November 14, said a disciplinary proceeding is being contemplated against the inspector for his “grave misconduct and dereliction of duty.”(Representative image)

Four personnel of a police station in Manipur, which was awarded the best police station last month, were arrested and suspended for their alleged involvement in connection with the seizure of contraband drugs, sources said on Sunday.

Director general of police (DGP) LM Khaute issued a suspension order against the inspector while Tengnoupal district’s superintendent of police Th Vikramjit issued similar orders against the three other police personnel, including an assistant sub-inspector.

Khaute, in his order dated November 14, said a disciplinary proceeding is being contemplated against the inspector for his “grave misconduct and dereliction of duty.”

Inspector Letkhohao Vaiphei, assistant sub-inspector T Paominlun Haokip, head constable Md Khalilup and constable (driver) Luckson Kom are from the Moreh police station, which was awarded the best police station during the 128th Manipur police raising day on October 19.

Police sources said the four personnel were arrested in connection with their alleged involvement in the seizure of 34 boxes containing Ketamine injection bottles from a house at Moreh, a commercial town bordering Myanmar on November 12.

Th Vikramjit said a case has been registered for investigation.

“It is early to comment anything as the case under investigation,” the SP said over the phone from Tengnoupal district.

Letkhohao was remanded into judicial custody till November 20 after being produced before the court of the special judge of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, Manipur on Saturday and the three others till November 18, according to sources.

Mormon massacre in Mexico: US victims were shot at point-blank range

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK POST)

 

Mormon massacre in Mexico: US victims were shot at point-blank range

Many of the nine women and children killed on a remote stretch of highway in northern Mexico Monday were shot at point-blank range — victims of a targeted assassination that Mexican authorities refuse to allow their American counterparts to investigate, according to high-ranking Mexican and US law enforcement sources.

“They were taken out of their cars and shot,” an American federal investigator told The Post. “It’s kind of disturbing that the FBI has had no access to the crime scene, which is probably a disaster already because the Mexicans have allowed families to remove the bodies. Any evidence that could have been gathered is probably destroyed.”

The Mexican federal official close to the investigation told The Post that the sicarios “shot some of the victims at point-blank range” and that local authorities were still gathering evidence at the scene in Sonora state, some 70 miles from the Arizona border, where the massacre occurred.

The revelations run completely counter to the official accounts the Mexican government put out, which blamed the deaths of three mothers and six young children — including 8-month old twins — on cartel gunmen who mistook the Mormons’ convoy of dark SUVs for a rival drug group’s.

Enlarge ImageAlleged drug trafficker Jose Rodolfo Escajeda
Alleged drug trafficker Jose Rodolfo Escajeda AP

Army chief of staff Hector Mendoza told a press conference that a faction of the Juarez Cartel, La Linea, thought their Los Salazar rivals — in the Sinaloa Cartel, once headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman — were encroaching. Mendoza said that the two criminal groups had clashed a day before the massacre in the same region. Mendoza said that the attackers even allowed some of the surviving children to go, indicating that “it was not a targeted attack.”

But both sources said Mexican officials were covering up the savage attack’s true targets.

“We’ve been saying all along that the Mexican government just doesn’t want to investigate anything related to drug trafficking,” said the American federal source, adding that officials in Sonora state sought FBI help for the massacre probe but were thwarted by Mexican federal officials.

“They will go to any extreme to cover everything up,” said the US source. “It’s completely corrupt, and it’s only going to get worse.”

Enlarge Image
Getty Images

On Saturday, an FBI spokesman offered only this comment when asked if it was being obstructed by Mexican authorities: “The FBI continues to engage with our US government and Mexican law enforcement partners. We have offered assistance and stand ready to assist in the wake of this tragedy.”

Some members of the victims’ families who were part of a tight-knit group of Mormon communities in the neighboring states of Sonora and Chihuahua said they don’t believe the government’s official version of events.

“They [the hitmen] had to know that these were women and children,” said Julian LeBaron in an interview with “El Universal” in Mexico. He told the newspaper that some of the eight children who survived the massacre said that one of the mothers left her truck with her hands up in the air when she was shot and killed.

Christina Marie Langford Johnson, 29, was fatally shot in the chest when she jumped out of her Chevy Suburban and waved at the shooters to try to get them to stop. Before leaving the vehicle, she placed her 7-month-old daughter Faith’s car seat on the SUV’s floor, likely saving the child’s life.

The brave mother was buried on Saturday, her plain pine casket surrounded by members of the Mormon communities and relatives of the extended Le Baron family. Her husband, Tyler Johnson, was seen holding a young boy during the service in LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Enlarge ImageA relative reacts during the burial of Rhonita Miller and her children Howard, Kristal, Titus, and Teana, who were killed by unknown assailants, in LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico
A relative reacts during the burial of Rhonita Miller and her children Howard, Kristal, Titus, and Teana, who were killed by unknown assailants, in LeBaron, Chihuahua, MexicoReuters

The victims, dual US-Mexican citizens, all had links to the prominent LeBaron and Langford families in several small Mormon farming communities that have a long history of violent clashes with local drug traffickers.

“This is a very high-risk zone for confrontations with cartels,” said the Mexican source, adding that both the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels use the remote roads to transport drugs to the Arizona border.

Mormons began settling in the region after 1890 when the US government began to put restrictions on polygamy. The community is fundamentalist but has no leader and is not affiliated with the Church of Latter Day Saints in Utah. Many in the community still practice polygamy.

Enlarge ImageAlthough it’s not yet clear what might have provoked last week’s massacre in which three SUVs traveling in a convoy between Sonora and Chihauhua states were attacked by a hail of bullets and engulfed in flames, the prosperous Mormon farmers and ranchers in the rugged, mountainous region have long been vocal opponents of drug traffickers, and have resisted attempts by the criminal groups to extort them in the past.

In 2009, Julian LeBaron’s older brother, Benjamin, a local farmer and activist founder of a crime-fighting group called SOS Chihuahua in Colonia LeBaron, was killed by traffickers after he led protests over the kidnapping of their 10-year-old brother, Eric, who was being held for $1 million in ransom by local drug traffickers. Colonia LeBaron was founded in 1924.

The family refused to pay the ransom and Eric was eventually released, but Benjamin and a neighbor — Luis Widmar — were killed when 20 heavily armed men invaded the LeBaron home and shot both men dead.

“These are not isolated incidents,” said Julian LeBaron, in a 2010 opinion piece in a Dallas newspaper. “Throughout our nation, countless people have lost their lives or their security in a similar manner, while politics of confusion and volumes of magic words appear to have more sway than reality.”

The massacre has come on the heels of other violent confrontations between traffickers in Mexico, which has already recorded more than 32,000 homicides since December. Last year’s total was 33,341 homicides, most of them related to drug violence, according to Mexico’s Ministry of the Interior.

Last month, an elite group of state police officers on a routine patrol in Culiacan, in northern Mexico, captured one of El Chapo’s sons. But when a fierce gun battle erupted around them, killing two people and injuring 21, security forces released Ovidio Guzman Lopez. Last week, the 30-year-old officer who detained Guzman Lopez, was ambushed and killed in a hail of more than 150 bullets in Culiacan.

Enlarge ImageA woman holds a picture of Mormon anti-crime activist Benjamin LeBaron, left, and his neighbor Luis Widmar, who were killed in 2009
A woman holds a picture of Mormon anti-crime activist Benjamin LeBaron, left, and his neighbor Luis Widmar, who were killed in 2009ASSOCIATED PRESS

Since coming to power last year, Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s security strategy has been to emphasize “hugs not bullets” to combat drug-related violence in the country.

“It was lamentable, painful because children died, but do we want to resolve the problem … by declaring war?” said Lopez Obrador last week in response to the Mormon massacre.

FILED UNDER       

3 products originally designed to do something else

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

3 products originally designed to do something else

Genius may strike in a moment of profound reflection, but the history books write of the divine spark that was lit by serendipity. It was out of frustration from his inability to rid his wine of bubbles that the Benedictine monk Dom Perignon took a sip to exclaim, “Come quickly! I am drinking the stars!”

Like the Champagne of the good monk, countless inventions prior and following arose out of research for a different application. Many have gone on to become cultural treasures.

The Slinky

Credit: Cem Ekiztas / Shutterstock.com

Many of humanity’s greatest inventions have come about through military research. This may come as no surprise in the case of inventions with clear wartime applications like nuclear fission or the internet. It is, however, a bit more surprising to realize that a number of children’s toys come from the same research environments.

Richard James was an engineer at a U.S. shipyard during WWII when he dropped a spring from his worktable. James fumbled for the coil as it fell to the floor when he noticed the way it “walked” of its own accord. Bemused and fascinated, James began experimenting with wires of different thickness, lengths, and tensions until he settled for 80 feet of coiled steel wire in a helical spring. In 1945, Gimbels department store allowed James to demonstrate his invention to shoppers. All 400 Slinkys were sold that day.

Silly Putty

Credit: redarmy030 / iStock

While Richard James toiled on the shipyard, many other researchers dedicated their time to key resources for the war effort. With applications in gas masks, life rafts, and airplanes, one of the most important of these resources was rubber. It was with this in mind that the Japanese targeted rubber plants across Asia in the early phases of the war and, in the same breath, that the U.S. government employed research for synthetic rubbers that could be produced without restricted ingredients.

In 1943, James Wright was conducting rubber research in New Haven, Connecticut, when he combined boric acid with silicone oil. Wright observed a number of odd characteristics of the substance. It stretched farther than rubber, it bounced when dropped, and it had a very high melting temperature. Upon sending samples to his superiors, Wright’s response from the U.S. government was that they wanted nothing to do with his “nutty putty.”

Seven years later, Wright brought the substance to a toy store with the help of advertiser Peter Hodgson. Sales initially stalled until a reporter from The New Yorker happened upon one of the colorful eggs and wrote a piece about Silly Putty. The article launched Silly Putty into the national spotlight, and sales skyrocketed.

LSD

Credit: Misha Kaminsky / iStock

In the early 1900s, the Swiss chemical company Sandoz was less concerned with tangerine trees and marmalade skies than they were with marketable products like saccharin and respiratory stimulants. However, in 1929, a scientist named Albert Hofmann would begin work on a substance that was destined to change the cultural landscape of the United States.

Hofmann was doing research on ergot, a toxic fungus that grew on grains and led to a condition described in the Middle Ages as St. Anthony’s fire—characterized by blisters and necrotic flesh. In addition to this horrific ailment, the fungus had also been deliberately used in controlled quantities to induce miscarriage in medieval Europe. Sandoz was interested in ergot as a vasoconstrictor and cardiorespiratory stimulant.

Hofmann developed a synthetic method to produce the active ingredient of ergot fungus, lysergic acid, and quickly went to work on producing various compounds with the substance. Hofmann never explained why he was so fascinated with the 25th sample of his experiments, but even after rejection from the Sandoz board, he went back to resynthesize the compound. The story goes that Hofmann accidentally touched LSD-25 before the entry in his journal explained the rest. On April 16, 1943, Hofmann wrote:

I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dream-like state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted steam of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.”

Albert Hofmann’s accidental ingestion of LSD became known as “bicycle day” after his choice of transport from the lab that day.

Coast Guard seizes $350 million worth of cocaine

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX6 NEWS)

 

Coast Guard seizes $350 million worth of cocaine after chase at sea with suspected smugglers

Drugs frantically thrown overboard in high-speed chase
CNN
The Coast Guard says it seized approximately 2,300 pounds of cocaine from a vessel it pursued in the Pacific Ocean.
Published at: 06:08 AM, Sat Jul 27 2019

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The Coast Guard seized 26,000 pounds of cocaine worth $350 million in several operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean, including one involving a high-speed chase at sea with suspected drug smugglers.

In one of the hauls, footage released by the Coast Guard showed suspected drug smugglers tossing out containers of cocaine overboard as their boat sped through the water on July 18.

“The crewmembers apprehended the suspected smugglers and seized approximately 2,300 pounds of cocaine from the vessel,” the Coast Guard said in a statement Friday.

Coast Guard seizes $350 million worth of cocaine after chase at sea with suspected smugglers

The total amount of contraband came from six suspected drug smuggling vessel operations along with the discovery of floating cocaine bales between late June and mid-July, the Coast Guard said. It unloaded all the seized cocaine Friday.

“This was 26,000 pounds of cocaine that will not make it to the main streets of the USA, and it also gives us the opportunity to make sure that we can continue to combat transnational criminal organizations that transport this cocaine deep in the Pacific every single day,” said Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, a Coast Guard district commander. “Because we know that with a supply chain of illegal narcotics, at every single step there’s violence, instability and despair.”

The Coast Guard has increased US presence in the eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are considered drug transit hotspots off of Central and South America.

Brazil: JP Morgan ship found with $ 1bn in cocaine

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)
(Shouldn’t this ship be confiscated by the Brazilian government and now be the property of the government?)(oped: oldpoet56) 

JP Morgan ship found with $ 1bn in cocaine

US authorities seized a ship from MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Co) this week which was found last week with a cargo worth $ 1 billion in cocaine (or 20 tonnes). The ship belongs to JP Morgan Asset Management, according to information from The Wall Street Journal

US authorities seized an MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Co) ship this week that found a cargo worth $ 1 billion in cocaine (or 20 tonnes) last week. The ship belongs to JP Morgan Asset Management, according to The Wall Street Journal.

With a capacity of 10,000 containers, the ship is worth approximately $ 90 million and was built in 2018. It is now docked on the Delaware River, near the port of Philadelphia, and according to newspaper sources, it must remain there for a while relevant.

Eight crew members, natives of Serbia and Samoa, were arrested. Others have been fined and are being prosecuted.

Industry executives, shipping lawyers and shipping agents told the WSJ that the case is unprecedented, given the scale and age of the ship.

What is JPMorgan involvement?

So far, the bank that owns the ship has not appeared on the case. Some experts have already discussed the reasons why the company does not seem to care about the crime. Among them, Bloomberg columnist Matt Levine.

First, the columnist’s wife, a defense lawyer, argues, justice must assume that the JP served as a “mule”: the boat belongs to the company, but not to drugs.

Another argument is that JP only financed the purchase of the vessel from MSC through a lease. In this way, none of this technically belongs to the bank.

In addition, considering that the contract is in the name of JP Morgan Asset Management, the asset manager of the bank, the true owners of the equity are the customers, not the company. Managers, by definition, only manage people’s assets.

Finally, the columnist assumes that JPMorgan probably has an agreement that puts the MSC in charge of what happens to that ship – since the operations (and their profit) are not connected to the activity of the bank or the manager. 

China: Emerging from the shadows, addicts shed their old identities on stage

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Emerging from the shadows, addicts shed their old identities on stage

Taking a deep breath, a 40-year-old drug addict surnamed Hu stepped onto a stage at the Gaojing Drug Rehabilitation Center to act in the debut performance of the facility’s drama club.

The patients performed a play entitled “Chaguan,” or “Teahouse,” adapted from a masterpiece written by renowned novelist and playwright Lao She.

The drama club is part of the rehab facility’s arts therapy program. It was initiated by Yin Jun, 33, a center officer who said he believes that drama can help recovering addicts rebuild their confidence. The group, nicknamed “Uncle Yin’s Drama Club,” is the first of its kind in a Shanghai drug rehabilitation center.

“Chaguan” takes place in a typical Beijing teahouse and mirrors the changes in China between 1898 and 1948, running from the late Qing Dynasty (1636-1911) to the end of the Republic of China. To give it a more local flavor, Yin said it was adapted to a Shanghai setting and is played in Shanghai dialect.

Its first act highlights the weakened state of China in 1898, with an impoverished populace, foreign aggression on the rise, and opium flooding into the market. For those in drug rehabilitation, the lesson that drugs are harmful isn’t lost.

Hu admitted he was nervous at the beginning but managed to conquer his stage fright as the play progressed.

“When I was informed that our Shanghainese version of ‘Chaguan’ would be performed in the debut, I was really excited but still worried about my acting ability,” he said. “But I have learned some performing skills, and our drama coach Yin Jun has given us encouragement, so that I feel more confident.”

Yin, who worked at an advertising agency before joining the center, told Shanghai Daily that drama can be “a good tool to enrich the spiritual life and cultural world” of addicts.

The idea has merit, but it can be hard to convince drug takers to open their minds and participate in the arts.

Yin recounted the example of a patient in his 50s who was a recidivist drug taker. At first, he refused to take part in any performance.

“He was asked to perform an episode from the famous Peking opera ‘Shajiabang,’ which is about Chinese war against Japanese invaders, at the center’s Spring Festival celebration this year,” Yin said.

Yin constantly kept at him, and the man finally agreed to take part. It opened a whole new world for him, Yin said.

“Drug addicts all have a dark side and tend to hide their true feelings,” he said. “What we are trying to do is pull them from the darkness and provide them a setting to show their real selves.”

Performing requires concentration that focuses their minds outside of their own lives.

“One of the performers who has the part of a bad guy used to be considered lazy,” Yin said. “But in this play, he has the most lines. He recited the line tirelessly and ran through them with some of his roommates.”

Yin said he saw the man change from a nervous participant to a relatively accomplished actor.

The club can be a bridge between the drug rehabilitation center and the society.

“After these people are released back to society, they will encounter many problems,” he said. “It can take long time to adapt.”

Besides stage dramas, the rehab center is planning to do some video of humorous mini-plays related to the theme of kicking the habit.

Sports also plays a big role in rehabilitation.

According to Wang Xuemei, an executive of the center, 60 drug addicts have been selected for a sports rehabilitation program that includes activities such as tai chi, basketball, dragon and lion dance and aerobics.

Among those in the program is 32-year-old Lin, a former baseball player, who is now the driving force behind the Chinese dragon and lion-dancing team.

“I was a professional athlete for eight or nine years,” Lin told Shanghai Daily. “However, after an injury, I was washed up and my career came to an end.”

He lost hope, fell into depression and began taking drugs.

Lin said he had only seen dragon dancing on television and knew nothing about it until he joined the group.

“Once I watched the efforts and spirit of team members, I wanted to be among them,” he said. “It has helped me out of the darkness. I’m much stronger now, just like I was years ago.”

Art therapy is also used in some local residential communities as part of the city’s community drug rehabilitation program.

At the Daning neighborhood in Jing’an District, former addicts displayed craftworks like Chinese traditional ink paintings, paper cuts and cloth-paste painting to foreign academics who arrived in Shanghai for the 2019 Alcohol and Drugs History Society conference.

Among them is Xie, 49, a former nurse who got hooked on heroin.

She told Shanghai Daily that she underwent a long cycle of rehab and recidivism.

“Every time I left the drug rehabilitation center, I had a sense of inferiority and isolation,” she said. “I felt I was different from others, which made me go back to drugs again.”

Her mother’s death was a catalyst to her quitting drugs. Now she is living with her elder sister and receiving community drug rehabilitation.

“The people here all have similar experiences as me, so I can be myself when facing them. We are like a family,” said Xie.

One of the foreign academics attending the Alcohol and Drugs History Society conference was Professor Nancy D Campbell, head of the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. She praised the rehab programs in Shanghai.

“These centers offer what we call ‘alternative reinforcers’ — activities that occupy people’s minds and bodies while they are benefiting from treatments such as methadone and buprenorphine,” she said. “Both should be delivered simultaneously in order to reduce the harms that drugs and alcohol can cause.”

Emerging from the shadows, addicts shed their old identities on stage

Ti Gong

Hu and his fellow drama club members are performing a Shanghainese version of “Teahouse” for their more than 100 audience, including the others receiving drug rehabilitation at the city’s Gaojing Drug Rehabilitation Center and some volunteers coming to provide them psychological counseling on the Open Day.

Emerging from the shadows, addicts shed their old identities on stage

Ti Gong

Hu and his fellow drama club members are performing a Shanghainese version of “Teahouse,” adapted from a masterpiece written by renowned novelist and playwright Lao She.

Emerging from the shadows, addicts shed their old identities on stage

Ti Gong

Lin and the other dragon and lion dance team members are giving a dance on the playground at the Gaojing Drug Rehabilitation Center.

Emerging from the shadows, addicts shed their old identities on stage

Ti Gong

Lin and the other dragon and lion dance team members are giving a dance on the playground at the Gaojing Drug Rehabilitation Center.

Japanese Professor May Face 10 Prison For Giving His Students Ecstasy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Breaking Bad: Japan professor may face 10 years jail for making students produce ecstasy

The professor told investigators he was aiming to further the “education” of his pharmaceutical sciences students, an official from the local health ministry told AFP.

WORLD Updated: Apr 17, 2019 10:51 IST

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Tokyo
Japan,professor,jail
A Japanese university professor could face up to 10 years in jail after allegedly getting his students to produce ecstasy, officials said Wednesday, in an echo of TV hit series “Breaking Bad”. (Representative Image)(AP)

A Japanese university professor could face up to 10 years in jail after allegedly getting his students to produce ecstasy, officials said Wednesday, in an echo of TV hit series “Breaking Bad”.

Authorities suspect the 61-year-old pharmacology professor from Matsuyama University in western Japan got his pupils to make MDMA — commonly known as ecstasy — in 2013 and another so-called “designer drug” 5F-QUPIC last year.

The professor told investigators he was aiming to further the “education” of his pharmaceutical sciences students, an official from the local health ministry told AFP.

The ecstasy allegedly produced has not been found and has “probably been discarded,” added this official, who asked to remain anonymous.

If charged and convicted, he could face 10 years behind bars.

Japanese law states that a researcher needs a licence issued by regional authorities to manufacture narcotics for academic purposes.

The synthetic drug MDMA acts as a stimulant and hallucinogen and is the main ingredient in party drug ecstasy, giving users a heightened sense of energy, empathy and pleasure.

It has recently been used in research trials exploring its effectiveness in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

5F-QUPIC, also known as 5F-PB-22, is a cannabis-like drug banned in Japan in 2014 after it was suspected of causing traffic accidents.

It is unclear if there were any other similarities between the case of the Matsuyama University professor and that of Walter White, the fictitious hero of “Breaking Bad”.

White, played by Bryan Cranston, was a former chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer who starts manufacturing crystal methamphetamine to pay for his treatment and provide for his family — sometimes with the help of a former pupil.

First Published: Apr 17, 2019 10:50 IST

El Chapo goes on trial

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

El Chapo goes on trial

Three different images of El ChapoImage copyright AFP/GETTY/REUTERS
Image caption The numerous faces of El Chapo

What’s happening?

Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán goes on trial in New York City on Tuesday. The trial could last up to four months.

Why does it matter?

There is a case to be made that El Chapo is the most powerful person to be prosecuted in modern times. He is certainly among the richest.

He headed up the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico, which became the world’s most powerful drug trafficking gang and dominated the heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine trade into the US.

The cartel made up to $3bn (£2.3bn) a year and had influence in at least 50 countries.

El Chapo escaped twice from prison and was finally caught in 2016, then extradited to the US. He’s also accused of being behind the killing of rivals and witnesses, so security in court will be extremely tight.

Illinois gov signs opioid alternative bill, improvements to medical cannabis program

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF MPP BLOG)

 

MPP Blog


Illinois governor signs opioid alternative bill, making huge improvements to medical cannabis program

Posted: 28 Aug 2018 12:28 PM PDT

Sweeping changes include medical cannabis access for opioid patients, streamlined process, and others

Illinois’s medical cannabis program took a major step forward today as Gov. Bruce Rauner signed bill SB 336, the Alternatives to Opioids Act, into law.

This historic change makes several key improvements:

• Opioid patients now qualify. Patients who are — or could be — prescribed opioid drugs will be able to register to obtain medical cannabis as an alternative.

• Shorter wait times. Patients will get provisional authorization to access medical cannabis as soon as their paperwork is submitted for registration — saving weeks of wait time.

• No more fingerprint requirement! Patients and caregivers will no longer be required to submit fingerprints to register for the program, and those with felony convictions in their past will no longer be denied access to the program.

Many thanks go to bill sponsors Sen. Don Harmon and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, and the many medical cannabis patients and supporters who worked to pass this major improvement to state law. The full text of the measure is here.

In other news, if you are in the neighborhood, the public is invited to tonight’s town hall on cannabis legalization for adults in La Grange, Illinois.

When: Tuesday, August 28 7:00 p.m.

Where: La Grange Village Hall Auditorium, 53 S. La Grange Road, La Grange, Illinois

Who: Bill sponsor Sen. Heather Steans, Rep. Jim Durkin, and several other panelists

Another big win for medical cannabis patients today — please spread the word! And if you can, come to tonight’s town hall and support a sensible legalization law in Illinois!

The post Illinois governor signs opioid alternative bill, making huge improvements to medical cannabis program appeared first on MPP Blog.