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Guadalajara - Top Mexican drug lord killed in clash with army

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By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 19 mins ago

MEXICO CITY – One of the top three leaders of Mexico's most powerful drug cartel died in a gunfight with soldiers Thursday, ending the long run of a mysterious capo considered a founder of the country's massive methamphetamine trade.

The death of Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel near the city of Guadalajara is the biggest strike yet against the Sinaloa cartel led by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman — Mexico's top drug lord — since President Felipe Calderon launched a military offensive against drug traffickers in late 2006.

According to the FBI, which offered a $5 million reward for the 56-year-old Coronel, he was believed to be "the forerunner in producing massive amounts of methamphetamine in clandestine laboratories in Mexico, then smuggling it into the U.S."

Gen. Edgar Luis Villegas said an army raid was closing in one of Coronel's safehouses in an upscale suburb of the western city of Guadalajara, when the drug lord opened fire on soldiers.

"Nacho Coronel tried to escape, and fired on military personnel, killing one soldier and wounding another," Villegas said at a news conference in Mexico City. "Responding to the attack, this 'capo' died."

Villegas said the raid "significantly affects the operational capacity and drug distribution of the organization run by Guzman."

Coronel's downfall came amid persistent allegations that Calderon's administration appeared to be favoring the Sinaloa cartel, or not hitting it as hard as other drug gangs.

Those allegations have drawn angry denials from the president and his top law enforcement officials, who point to the 2009 arrest of Vicente "El Vicentillo" Zambada — the son of Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, Sinaloa's No. 2 leader — as proof they were going after the gang. Guzman, Zambada and Coronel formed a triumvirate that ran Mexico's largest drug trafficking cartel.

Coronel's death is the biggest blow against Mexico's drug gangs since drug lord Arturo Beltran Leyva and six of his bodyguards were killed in a Dec. 16 raid by Mexican marines in the central city of Cuernavaca.

An FBI statement on Coronel's drug trafficking organization said that "the scope of its influence and operations penetrate throughout the United States, Mexico, and several other European, Central American, and South American countries."

During Thursday's raid, helicopters circled over the Guadalajara suburb of Zapopan, as soldiers appeared to search at least two homes. Soldiers arrested Francisco Quinonez Gastelum, alleged to be Coronel's right-hand man and the only associate allowed to accompany him to his mansion.

"Coronel used two homes as safe houses ... and employed the tactic of being accompanied only by Quinonez Gastelum, to keep a low profile and not draw attention to himself," Villegas said.

Coronel is one of Mexico's most mysterious drug lords.

On its web page of most wanted drug traffickers, the Mexican federal attorney general's has three photographs of Coronel and gives his nickname, "Nacho." There are only blanks after "age," "place of origin," and "personal characteristics."

The Mexican government has described Colonel has running his own criminal cell out of Zapopan. In 2006 raids on four Zapopan homes, federal police arrested five of Colonel's lieutenants and seized more than $2 million in cash, along with expensive watches and jewelry, but failed to find Coronel himself.

Coronel was born in the northern state of Durango, the home state of many of Mexico's drug traffickers and was groomed to be a drug lord from an early age.

He rose up under Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the so-called "Lord of the Skies" and leader of the Juarez drug cartel who died in 1997. After Carrillo's death, Coronel joined the Sinaloa cartel and rose through the ranks to become the cartel's No. 3.

Villegas said Coronel controlled trafficking routes through the states of Jalisco, Colima and parts of Michoacan — known as the "Pacific route" for cocaine smuggling.

(This version corrects name of general)

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As long as there is big money to be made in this business,there will always be many candidates to step into the shoes of the fallen.

Killing the top guys will have zero impact whatsoever. Governments will continue to throw money at the problem,nothing will change.

Society lacks the political will to end the drug problem,so the mess will go on with no end in sight.

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A big morale boost to the police and a plus in having killed him versus the corrupt legal system. To have carried this off without him being forewarned deserves compliments to those doing so.

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As long as there is big money to be made in this business,there will always be many candidates to step into the shoes of the fallen.

Killing the top guys will have zero impact whatsoever. Governments will continue to throw money at the problem,nothing will change.

Society lacks the political will to end the drug problem,so the mess will go on with no end in sight.

Are you referring to Mexico or the US? Of course if only one country is willing to try then there will be no end in sight. Now should the US and Europe try fighting the drug lords and cutting down on the corruption maybe Mexico wont have to do as much killing.

What amazes me is that in England they can not blame the Mexicans so they blame the Jamacans . And who do they blame in Germany? Of course the US and Europe lack the political will to solve the problem. Do they want to uncover all the corruption that is going on there.

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As long as there is big money to be made in this business,there will always be many candidates to step into the shoes of the fallen.

Killing the top guys will have zero impact whatsoever. Governments will continue to throw money at the problem,nothing will change.

Society lacks the political will to end the drug problem,so the mess will go on with no end in sight.

As long as the demand for illegal drugs in the US and other countries exist the situation will never end. William

F. Buckley, Jr. used to be an advocate for legalization in the US. Maybe he was on to something, and maybe not.

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I continue to advocate legalization of all drugs. regulate them and tax them.....So much loss of life would be prevented. Use the revenues to provide education and try to persuade and teach the people why abuse is never good. That holds true for anything, illicit or illegal....

Valerie :unsure:

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A big morale boost to the police and a plus in having killed him versus the corrupt legal system. To have carried this off without him being forewarned deserves compliments to those doing so.

The downside is that now Guadalajara Police etc are bracing themselves for what comes next. There is now an organization vacancy to be filled and the Zetas might try to step in - plus probable payback. I did read that there will be retailation - that a number of (police etc) officials were paid to protect the guy - they failed - and now there will be payback. More blood will be spilled. The first meeting to step up to this challenge has already happened

http://www.milenio.com/node/499049

Guadalajara .- After the death of Ignacio Coronel Villarreal capo in Jalisco will be necessary to enhance security, said yesterday the Secretary General of Government , Fernando Guzmán Pérez Peláez: "Whenever that happens a disappearance or arrest of a kingpin or crime boss , is the struggle for power, and we must all work to strengthen state security . "

And while patrolling in one or two units in the colonies of Guadalajara and in general in the state of Jalisco, law enforcement and state and municipal units have stepped up , reaching up to six or seven per convoy , in addition to elements of corporations have received orders to maximize their reviews precautionary precautions in areas that guard against possible outbreaks of violence after the death of Nacho Coronel.

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As long as the demand for illegal drugs in the US and other countries exist the situation will never end. William

F. Buckley, Jr. used to be an advocate for legalization in the US. Maybe he was on to something, and maybe not.

Demand and supply go together. The blame doesn't go to one or the other. The solution is either total legalization or total elimination with very Draconian enforcement. But democracies are usually unable to go to any extreme. So the mess goes on.

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The root of the problem lies in the country consuming the drugs and supplying the cartels with tens of billions of dollars in cash every year. There is no practical way to beat a crime operation with so much money coming in every day. Read the real history of Prohibition, it'll remind you of what's going on today. When the drugs came through the caribbean the islands and Florida were dangerous and full of corruption from too much money, now it is Mexico, if they could stop it here it would just move to another smuggling path.

The only hope to end this disaster is legalizing all recreational drug consumption and treating them with taxes and regulation akin to alcohol. To be honest the addiction rate for most recreational drugs is lower than alcohol anyway and the current laws and enforcement doesn't seem to stop a single addict from getting their needs met... On that note Prohibition didn't lower the alcoholism rates any either and they didn't go up when Prohibition ended.

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I continue to advocate legalization of all drugs. regulate them and tax them.....So much loss of life would be prevented. Use the revenues to provide education and try to persuade and teach the people why abuse is never good. That holds true for anything, illicit or illegal....

Valerie :unsure:

Valerie, really agree with you on this, at least for marijuana. Not my cup of tea but don't see it being much worse than alcohol problems.

I've read stats stating that marijuana yields anywhere up from 40 - 60 percent of Mexican cartel profits. That surprised me. Maybe I was misinformed. I have read it more than once in reliable newspapers.

40 to 60 percent. That would put a dent in business.

However, recently I've come to understand that USA Federal legalization of marijuana is an "absolute non starter" in the Obama administration: even consideration of 5 ounce legalization.

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Cutting off the "cash cow" by legalizing MJ and other drugs would mean the demise of income for the cartels...........hummm.........what MX doesn't need is another few hundred thousand (or more!) without income to further escalate crime.

Doesn't seem to be an answer does there??

Lorka

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Cutting off the "cash cow" by legalizing MJ and other drugs would mean the demise of income for the cartels...........hummm.........what MX doesn't need is another few hundred thousand (or more!) without income to further escalate crime.

Doesn't seem to be an answer does there??

Lorka

All the guys who are now operating illegally can get jobs working for Merck or Johnson & Johnson, or Novartis, or whoever will be manufacturing and/or distributing the stuff. They might even become govenment bureaucrats to inspect and supervise the various facilities. Their income will be taxed,they'll be happy contented citizens.

And if you believe that will happen,I have a bridge in Brooklyn NY I can sell you.

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Never smoked anything but agree. MJ should be legalized. This would help the issue of illegal drugs and impact violence connected.

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Cutting off the "cash cow" by legalizing MJ and other drugs would mean the demise of income for the cartels...........hummm.........what MX doesn't need is another few hundred thousand (or more!) without income to further escalate crime.

Doesn't seem to be an answer does there??

Lorka

So you are saying that the cartels employees jobs are worth the lives of at least 25,000 people in the last few years? The cost to the economy here from the corruption of police, government and the Army by drug money is surely greater than the benefit from these criminals buying gold plated guns and setting up faux businesses to launder money. I personally can't see much benefit to Mexico from the breakdown of civil structure caused by the cartels.

Ending the war on drugs won't make Mexico a solid economy by itself but is the needed first step.

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Isn't it Amsterdam that has had an area where drug usage is pretty much ignored?

From what I've gathered, they seem to be rethinking their position, because what appeared to be a program to help rid them of drug usage, it's become a haven for problems.

I think it's a little too easy to say legalize them, without knowing all the ramifications.

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Legalization is once again on the ballot in California in November- you can already buy legal amounts with a doctors prescription, but this seeks to widen the availability

medical marijuana vendors already pay taxes in Calif. but the FEDS are continually trying to shut them down.

http:ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Califnroia_Proposition_19,_the_Marijuana_legalization_Initiative_

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Isn't it Amsterdam that has had an area where drug usage is pretty much ignored?

From what I've gathered, they seem to be rethinking their position, because what appeared to be a program to help rid them of drug usage, it's become a haven for problems.

I think it's a little too easy to say legalize them, without knowing all the ramifications.

If there were an easy or perfect answer to drugs the whole world would have adopted it. Sticking with a policy that has failed and created unintended side effects worse than the orginal problem is bad public policy, doubling down and saying 'it's not working so we need to do it harder' is just plain stupid.

Most folks recognize that the cost of Prohibition was higher than repealing it and yet we have over 20% of the country addicted to alcohol. Legal alcohol is not a perfect solution but beats the alternative. Sticking with a drug war that has cost a trillion dollars, lasted since the 70's and produced no decrease in addiction or drug use but has created a super class of wealthy and powerful criminals and made the US the country with the highest percent of it's population in prison seems ill advised. Most of Europe treats addiction as a medical problem, addicts get drugs or substitutes from their 'socialized' medical system without the drama and violence that the US gets.

The US is not the Netherlands and couldn't use the same system, but the Netherlands has been evolving their drug policy since the 70's and I can't find any indication that they are considering going back, in fact Belgium is more likely to join them. Their approach is to not continue with progams that don't work and try new things. When a progam works they stick with it. That approach would be a good start for the US.

I understand that 'drugs are bad therefore they should be illegal' is a simple mantra but that mantra has proven to be untrue. Drugs may still be bad for society but appear to be unavoidable, so regulation and taxation makes more sense than what we are doing now which is protecting illegal drug cartels market for them at tax payer expense and destroying multiple countries with the corruption the tens of billions of dollars in profits buys... not to mention locking up 1% of America as a by product.

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If there were an easy or perfect answer to drugs the whole world would have adopted it. Sticking with a policy that has failed and created unintended side effects worse than the orginal problem is bad public policy, doubling down and saying 'it's not working so we need to do it harder' is just plain stupid.

Most folks recognize that the cost of Prohibition was higher than repealing it and yet we have over 20% of the country addicted to alcohol. Legal alcohol is not a perfect solution but beats the alternative. Sticking with a drug war that has cost a trillion dollars, lasted since the 70's and produced no decrease in addiction or drug use but has created a super class of wealthy and powerful criminals and made the US the country with the highest percent of it's population in prison seems ill advised. Most of Europe treats addiction as a medical problem, addicts get drugs or substitutes from their 'socialized' medical system without the drama and violence that the US gets.

The US is not the Netherlands and couldn't use the same system, but the Netherlands has been evolving their drug policy since the 70's and I can't find any indication that they are considering going back, in fact Belgium is more likely to join them. Their approach is to not continue with progams that don't work and try new things. When a progam works they stick with it. That approach would be a good start for the US.

I understand that 'drugs are bad therefore they should be illegal' is a simple mantra but that mantra has proven to be untrue. Drugs may still be bad for society but appear to be unavoidable, so regulation and taxation makes more sense than what we are doing now which is protecting illegal drug cartels market for them at tax payer expense and destroying multiple countries with the corruption the tens of billions of dollars in profits... not to mention locking up 1% of America as a by product.

And think of what the tax on legal drugs would do for the national debt. I am surprised no one is talking about this but then no, I am not. The far right would have a hey day!!!!

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Legalization is once again on the ballot in California in November- you can already buy legal amounts with a doctors prescription, but this seeks to widen the availability

medical marijuana vendors already pay taxes in Calif. but the FEDS are continually trying to shut them down.

http:ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Califnroia_Proposition_19,_the_Marijuana_legalization_Initiative_

The Feds are no longer hassling them. The Obama administration is not pursuing Medical marijuana. That was a Bush administration vendetta.

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I continue to advocate legalization of all drugs. regulate them and tax them.....So much loss of life would be prevented. Use the revenues to provide education and try to persuade and teach the people why abuse is never good. That holds true for anything, illicit or illegal....

Valerie :unsure:

Valerie:

While I agree with you in part, legalization will NOT reduce any of the related costs of drug use. Alcohol and Nicotine are prime examples. Both of these drugs are legal, yet the ones who are footing the bill on associated HEALTH CARE costs are not the "providers of the drug" nor the users - really.

Click Here

This doesn't take into account the associated economic impact of ONE ALCOHOLIC and the effect on his/her self, employer, family, and society in general. I assume that it would be the same for drug users/abusers.

THAT - is what a government has to take into consideration when legalizing the stuff. Taxes don't come easy, and I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to be picking up medical/psychological/psychiatric costs for these people.

My couple of pennies on the thought

Zorro

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Valerie:

While I agree with you in part, legalization will NOT reduce any of the related costs of drug use. Alcohol and Nicotine are prime examples. Both of these drugs are legal, yet the ones who are footing the bill on associated HEALTH CARE costs are not the "providers of the drug" nor the users - really.

Click Here

This doesn't take into account the associated economic impact of ONE ALCOHOLIC and the effect on his/her self, employer, family, and society in general. I assume that it would be the same for drug users/abusers.

THAT - is what a government has to take into consideration when legalizing the stuff. Taxes don't come easy, and I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to be picking up medical/psychological/psychiatric costs for these people.

My couple of pennies on the thought

Zorro

Those costs exist whether legal or not, however, prison costs would decline.

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There's much more to the issue than people are discussing. Let's talk about what it takes to support a habit. As an ex-cop, I arrested people whose habits cost them $1,000 a day or more. If the drug is made legal, we're talking what? Maybe $500 a day?

How does someone earn that kind of money to support that habit? It ain't by busing dishes at the local restaurant, or even selling used car's at Honest John's. They end up thieves, and their needs will overshadow any regard for common sense.

To get... let's say $500 a day by boosting (shoplifting), they need to steal roughly 10 times that much value to get there. So we're saying it costs $5,000 in thefts to get that "legal" $500 worth of drugs.

Since 20% of what you pay in most chain stores is due to theft, how far do you want to go with it? More security? Catch more of them? Fine - They get a gun and start strong arm robberies. They don't "heal" because you made a law giving them easy access to drugs. You just make it easier for them to remain hooked.

Look at all ramifications, not just those you see outwardly from a personal perspective. Look at all sides of an issue.

So... back to Amsterdam... they say it's not working. I doubt "we" can do it better in the US. We're just as prone to failure as they are.

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The root of the problem lies in the country consuming the drugs and supplying the cartels with tens of billions of dollars in cash every year. There is no practical way to beat a crime operation with so much money coming in every day. Read the real history of Prohibition, it'll remind you of what's going on today. When the drugs came through the caribbean the islands and Florida were dangerous and full of corruption from too much money, now it is Mexico, if they could stop it here it would just move to another smuggling path.

The only hope to end this disaster is legalizing all recreational drug consumption and treating them with taxes and regulation akin to alcohol. To be honest the addiction rate for most recreational drugs is lower than alcohol anyway and the current laws and enforcement doesn't seem to stop a single addict from getting their needs met... On that note Prohibition didn't lower the alcoholism rates any either and they didn't go up when Prohibition ended.

My question is, if drugs are legalized and taxed, what will the cartels do-get jobs?? NO, they will find other unpleasant ways to make big bucks-you know, kidnapping, for example.

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My question is, if drugs are legalized and taxed, what will the cartels do-get jobs?? NO, they will find other unpleasant ways to make big bucks-you know, kidnapping, for example.

You might consider what the Mafia did after prohibition was lifted. Hint: It wasn't kidnapping.

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