police officers run cocaine-trafficking ring out of Mexico City’s international airport!

Federal Police Officers

Federal police officers "Cocaine Guards"Do you Know this Man?

Federal police officers are alleged to run a cocaine-trafficking ring through Mexico City’s international airport involving Aeromexico flight attendants and private security personnel, a newspaper report said Monday.

The operation has come to be informally known as the “galley cartel,” in reference to passenger jet kitchens.

The allegation suggests there is active smuggling at the airport with the help of corrupt security officials and airline employees. In August, an Aeromexico copilot was arrested in Madrid on suspicion of attempting to smuggle 92 pounds of cocaine in his luggage.

According to the news report, two former screeners working for a private security company at the airport told investigators that federal police officers paid them $1,000 each time they permitted luggage with cocaine or cash to pass through inspection at Terminal 2 of Benito Juarez International Airport. The allegation was reported by the daily Reforma, citing a federal investigation not yet made public (link in Spanish).

The two suspects were questioned in connection with a December incident in which three Aeromexico flight attendants were arrested at Madrid’s Barajas airport after arriving with about 300 pounds of cocaine in their luggage. The screeners, Jaime Cesar Valencia and Josafat Jonathan Guzman, said they let drugs flow through Terminal 2 in the service of “high-level officials, diplomats and celebrities,” Reforma reported, without elaborating.

Investigators have reportedly been referring to the cocaine smuggling operation at Terminal 2 as the “galley cartel” or the White Angels. Late Monday, no response to the report emerged from the federal police, the federal prosecutor’s office, Aeromexico or the airport (links in Spanish).

Reforma reported that no arrests have been made in connection to the allegations. Prosecutors produced a composite sketch of a federal police officer who may have paid for cocaine smuggling at the airport, but have no identification, the newspaper said.

Facts about Cocaine use in the United States

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Cocaine use in the United States has an extremely broad range of characteristics. Cocaine hydrochloride was historically used for medicinal purposes. However, in the early 20th century and again in the 1970s through the 1980s it regained broad popularity for recreational use.

 The Country Profile (CP) notes that current use is largely non-medicinal, mostly in the form of cocaine hydrochloride [powder] and smokable [crack] cocaine. Hydrochloride is generally inhaled or injected. Cocaine can be smoked as crack, or hydrochloride may be mixed with tobacco or marijuana. An estimated 90% of US users inhale hydrochloride and approximately one-third smoke it.

Surveys reviewed in the CP indicate that use rose drastically in the 1970s and peaked in the middle 1980s. Use has continued to decline. The number of “occasional cocaine users” for the raid to late 1980s totaled 5.9 million and [monthly users] numbered about 2.9 minion. Users in 1992 comprised approximately 3.4 million “occasional” and 1.1 million “monthly” users. However, the total number of “frequent users” remained stable at 650 000 between 1988 and 1992. Use predominates in impoverished inner city neighbor-hoods among people between the ages of 15 and 34. Similar patterns appear for all ethnic groups although male users outnumber female users. Use declined by 63% for adolescents.

The profile reports that cocaine availability has increased and prices have substantially decreased over the last two decades. Reports indicate that high quality cocaine is now available at a lower cost than during peak use in 1985.

Consequences of Cocaine Use

 The US CP reports several areas of impact on user health. Major negative effects among heavy and chronic users were higher suicide rates, heart and lung problems and difficulty with concentration and memory. Increased sexual stimulation and sexual dysfunction were identified but research in this area is limited. The CP points out complications, caused by cocaine use during pregnancy has been exaggerated by the media. Research generally fails to support cocaine as the source of prenatal problems relative to other social factors such as poverty or poor prenatal care.

One consequence of use cited was a dramatic increase in emergency room and private physician referrals for cocaine-related health problems. This was most notable in major metropolitan areas. Most emergency room admissions were for “detoxification, unexpected drug reactions and chronic negative health effects.” Of note, 44 times the number of cocaine-related deaths occurred in 1989 (2332 reported cases) in comparison to 1975 (53 reported cases).

A social consequence reported in the CP is the connection between crime and cocaine use. It notes that two-thirds of all females and one-half of all males arrested test positive for cocaine. Increased criminal activity was noted for males with heavy use of cocaine. Crack users may also experience more violent or psychotic events.

One of the most significant health consequences posed by cocaine use is its association with increased risk for transmission of HIV/AIDS. Of concern is needle sharing among cocaine and polydrug injectors and an enhanced potential for unsafe sex, fostered by the disinhibiting effects of cocaine and by cases where sex is offered in exchange for cocaine. Harm reduction strategies, particularly needle exchanges, condom distribution and prevention campaigns, are essential to stem HIV spread through all cocaine-using populations. Cocaine use in the United States has an extremely broad range of characteristics. Cocaine hydrochloride was historically used for medicinal purposes. However, in the early 20th century and again in the 1970s through the 1980s it regained broad popularity for recreational use.

The CP notes that current use is largely non-medicinal, mostly in the form of cocaine hydrochloride “powder” and smokable “crack” cocaine. Hydrochloride is generally inhaled intranasally or injected. Smokable cocaine can be smoked as crack, or hydrochloride may be mixed with tobacco or marijuana. An estimated 90% of US users inhale hydrochloride and approximately one-third smoke it.

Surveys reviewed in the CP indicate that use rose drastically in the 1970s and peaked in the middle 1980s. Use has continued to decline. The number of “occasional cocaine users” for the raid to late 1980s totalled 5.9 million and “monthly users” numbered about 2.9 minion. Users in 1992 comprised approximately 3.4 million “occasional” and 1.1 million “monthly” users. However, the total number of “frequent users” remained stable at 650 000 between 1988 and 1992. Use predominates in impoverished inner city neighbourhoods among people between the ages of 15 and 34. Similar patterns appear for all ethnic groups although male users outnumber female users. Use declined by 63% for adolescents.

The profile reports that cocaine availability has increased and prices have substantially decreased over the last two decades. Reports indicate that high quality cocaine is now available at a lower cost than during peak use in 1985.

Responses

The CP identifies more than two million “hard-core” cocaine users in the United States. This was described as problematic since there are no standard treatment programmes for cocaine dependence. It was emphasized that intranasal users had more favourable treatment outcomes than do crack smokers. Also, females were found to demonstrate a better response to treatment than do males. Multiple drug use was common. Alcohol is the major drug used with cocaine.

The primary media responses mentioned in the profile focus on the “war on drugs” that centred on crack. However, the media offers negative, exaggerated and often racialized images of crack users. This is especially apparent for women, who are frequently portrayed as prostitutes and unfit mothers. The CP contends that media prevention campaigns are founded on stereotype and myth.

The primary political response noted in the CP is the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 which financed several programmes including research on development of medications for treatment of cocaine dependence.

About Cocaine Use and Related Problems!

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Cocaine is often used to refer to all coca products, especially when used in the phrase “cocaine-related problems”. When used with the other terms below, cocaine refers to cocaine hydrochloride, the while powder form of cocaine prepared from coca leaves. It is water-soluble and burns at a very high temperature: this allows it to be snorted, swallowed or injected, but not smoked.

Coca paste is a paste prepared from coca leaves as part of the process of manufacturing cocaine hydrochloride. It is not soluble in water, though it is soluble with kerosene or petrol, and is usually smoked with tobacco or cannabis. It is almost exclusively found in South America.

Crack or cocaine freebase is a brown or beige crystal produced by heating cocaine hydrochloride with other chemicals. It is smoked and has become very popular in North America.

Generally cocaine users consume a range of other psychoactive drugs as well. There appears to be very little [pure] cocaine use, and few people initially experiment with cocaine: most cocaine users have a prior history of drug use. Globally, cocaine users tend to smoke tobacco and drink alcohol, frequently smoke cannabis, and, to a lesser extent, take benzodiazepines and other illicit drugs. Countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Zimbabwe note the use of alcohol with cocaine either to moderate the effects of cocaine or to reduce negative after-effects. These and other countries report the use of cannabis to reduce negative cocaine reactions. Australia, Nigeria, and The Russian Federation report that alcohol and tobacco are used with cocaine to enhance the pleasurable effects of the drug.

Australia and The Republic of Korea note the use of amphetamine and cocaine together to enhance the effects of each drug, and The Netherlands reports the use of “speedballs“, a combination of heroin and cocaine injected together. In South American countries, coca paste is often smoked with tobacco or cannabis, with alcohol, and sometimes with hallucinogens. The majority of coca leaf chewers in Peru do not use it with any other substances, while about a third regularly mix it with alcohol and tobacco use.

Overall, fewer people in participating countries have used cocaine than have used alcohol, tobacco or cannabis. Also, in most countries, cocaine is not the drug associated with the greatest level of harm. Other illicit drugs viewed as more problematic than cocaine are amphetamines (Australia, Brazil, Republic of Korea, Sweden), inhalants (Bolivia, Brazil), benzodiazepines (Brazil), heroin (Egypt, the Maldives), “cheaper and more available drugs (The Russian Federation). The general public, in most of the countries surveyed are reportedly poorly informed about cocaine-related harm or drug-related harm in general: specifically, there is little knowledge about the role played by drugs such as alcohol in causing problems usually associated with cocaine use.

Low doses of cocaine are tried one to several times on an intermittent basis, often among younger people such as adolescents and young adults. Other drugs, such as alcohol and cannabis, are often tried prior to cocaine being used.

This is the most typical pattern of cocaine use, in which the drug is used as an aid in social intercourse. Acute sensations such as euphoria, enhanced self-confidence and greater energy are experienced. Negative effects may include anxiety, irritation, panic attacks, as well as accidents and injuries which may occur due to the user’s excitement and poor judgement. A mild withdrawal syndrome follows even small acute doses, usually comprising fatigue, depression and agitation. However, there are generally few problems associated with this pattern of use.

Cocaine is used to obtain a particular effect in a specific situation e.g. to focus attention or increase energy in some occupations, or to augment sexual performance. While this use is occasional, few problems are likely. But tolerance develops to the drug’s effects if it is used often, requiring larger doses to maintain the desired effect and potentially leading to more frequent use. Snorting cocaine is most identified with these first three categories though cocaine injecting and using paste and crack are also found in these types of use.

This is where cocaine use becomes an integral part of the user’s lifestyle. It is similar to the next category, but the user is able to maintain a level of control, and social functioning is maintained. Intensive cocaine users and, to a lesser extent, occasional and situation-specific users, use rituals or rules to help them control their drug use. Intensive users are often reported to start taking cocaine because of peer pressure or as an escape from unfavorable circumstances. A majority of intensive users are reported to have a poor self-image and negative view of cocaine use. Injection, crack and coca paste use are also more identified with intensive cocaine users, though some snort cocaine.

An uncommon type of use is where some intensive users’ lives become totally focused on obtaining and using the drug. High doses and routes of administration such as smoking or injecting (which can deliver a large amount of drug to the brain very quickly) combine to produce rapid and maximal effect. The drug is administered repeatedly in an attempt to maintain the initial effects of exhilaration and enhanced self-confidence.

This sequence, known as a “run”, cannot be sustained and is followed by a period of physical and emotional exhaustion (the “crash”), a prolonged period of sleep, then fatigue and depression. The user often repeats the cycle to relieve the negative feelings from the crash.

Cocaine use disrupts families; and causes violence!

A Star Using Cocaine!

When the stars think they look Kool, then take another look at Lindsay Lohan!

The most frequently mentioned problem associated with cocaine use is a perceived increase in crime, particularly theft and violence. Cocaine use is said to disrupt families, contribute to unemployment or decreased productivity, promote juvenile delinquency, increase prostitution, and promote corruption (particularly within law enforcement agencies).

Crack and coca paste use are associated with violence, unemployment and social marginalization. What is not clear is whether the drug use causes unemployment and violence, or whether all of these social problems are caused by the often systemic or societal problems related to poverty and social marginalization.

The Key Studies show that the relationship between cocaine use and violence is very complex. Half of all centres profess no knowledge of a link between cocaine use and aggression, or state that informants hold very mixed opinions on this issue. Only Cairo, Flagstaff, Harare, Medellin, Quito and Seoul assert that cocaine use frequently promotes violence. More surprising is the disparity between what users and intermediaries say about violence and what is said by professionals. Users and intermediaries, who are generally stressing the positive aspects of cocaine use, are more likely to think cocaine use promotes violence. Professionals, who invariably stress the negative aspects of cocaine use, are least likely to associate use with violent behaviour. A majority of consultants in Barcelona, Cochabamba, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney and Vancouver conclude that cocaine consumption has no correlation with violent behaviour.

Legal problems are rated as more common and more severe for high-dose, long-term users but are uncommon among casual users. Chief concerns mentioned by informants are drug possession, trafficking or sale, or crimes (such as fraud, assault, robbery or sex work) committed to obtain funds to purchase cocaine. Consultants in Quito, Mexico City and Providence note that a user’s ability to manage legal problems often varies with the user’s socioeconomic status: arrest is common for poorer or minority users, while wealthier individuals and those with political influence are regarded as virtually immune from police action.

Obtaining cocaine and coca products in those countries where possession, use and supply are illegal poses many hazards including the potential for fraud, extortion or assault. The greatest threat to most users is the threat of police involvement. Coca products purchased on the “black market” are often adulterated or “cut” with a range of additives from sodium bicarbonate, aspirin, laxatives or amphetamines to sugar, flour, powdered milk and powdered brick.

Most respondents and centres report that cocaine use has a negative effect on the users financial status. Many also note that intensive and uncontrolled users face the strong possibility of dismissal from work and long-term unemployment, leaving such users destitute. However, half of all centres state that financial effects vary depending on the characteristics of users and consumption patterns. For example, respondents in Vancouver report that occasional users suffer little or no financial distress even after many years of use. A few respondents pointed out that cocaine comprises a profitable industry for producers and distributors, and some communities.

Many countries find that cocaine use leads to negative effects on social interaction, with regular cocaine users becoming increasingly isolated, distrustful and focused on finding and using more cocaine. However, people may become intensive users because of social isolation and family problems. Informants in Barcelona, Providence, Sydney and Vancouver find that cocaine use has an extremely positive influence on social interaction, leading to occasional users being talkative, engaging and popular.

Similarly, while most centres state that cocaine use leads to breakdowns in relationships with family and friends, many informants believe occasional or controlled cocaine use has no consequences for these relationships. Some respondents note that families may be ashamed of users and reject them, while others suggest that intensive users may act in a more suspicious, aggressive or violent manner so that partners and family members may begin to fear and isolate the user. Flagstaff and Sydney users predict that partnerships are more vulnerable if both partners are cocaine consumers, due to the potential for competition for access to cocaine to provoke conflict.