Monday, December 29th, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 29, 2008

CONTACT: Tom Angell, LEAP — (202) 557-4979 or

Cartels Buy Info on President Calderon’s Travels and Murder Soldiers

WASHINGTON, DC — Today a group of law enforcement officials said that the only way to stop the continual corruption of the Mexican military by violent cartels is to legalize and regulate drugs. The call for an end to prohibition comes in response to news that an army officer in Mexican’s presidential guard received $100,000 a month from the cartels in exchange for information on the whereabouts of the country’s president, Felipe Calderon.

The arrest of the guard, Army Maj. Arturo Gonzalez, was announced barely a week after police discovered the headless bodies of eight Mexican soldiers near Acapulco and after a year in which more than 5,300 people died amidst President Calderon’s ramped up drug war as cartels have vied for control of the lucrative market.

“It’s as clear as can be that all this death and corruption happens only because drugs are illegal. If we ended prohibition, drug production and distribution would be regulated in a legitimate market instead of controlled by violent cartels and thugs who are willing to kill anyone standing in the way of their profits,” said Jack Cole, a retired New Jersey State Police undercover narcotics officer and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “We’ll never be able to beat the cartels as long as they have so much money to buy would-be public servants. They only way we can put them out of business is to regulate drugs and nothing can be regulated until it has been legalized.”

The arrest of Maj. Gonzalez in “Operation Clean-Up” comes after a wave of high-profile corruption. In November, Noe Ramirez, who led Mexico’s top anti-drug agency, was arrested for allegedly accepting a bribe of $450,000 to leak insider information to a cartel. In October, five people in the Mexican attorney general’s organized crime office were arrested for allegedly feeding secrets to traffickers. Mexican officials have also speculated that the American Embassy in Mexico City has been infiltrated by the cartels.

“This latest arrest only makes it all the more obvious that the traffickers will stop at nothing to protect their rich drug trade profits,” said Cole. “The act of prohibition itself creates the artificially inflated values for drugs, making worthless weeds such as marijuana worth more than gold and heroin worth more than plutonium. The only thing drug lords fear is legalized regulation, which will price drugs at their real values and remove the cartel’s profits overnight. Otherwise, the government is going to have to keep chasing traffickers and ‘cleaning up’ their messes for decades to come, just as we have for the past several decades.”

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is 10,000-member organization representing police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents and others from around the world who fought on the front lines of the “war on drugs” and who know firsthand that prohibition only serves to make drug addiction and drug market violence problems worse.

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