14 Feb 2019

Bellingcat OSINT Investigation: An Analysis of Nicaragua’s “Volunteer Police” Paramilitary Arsenal

Open-Source Intelligence Forum Bellingcat has published a report on Nicaragua’s use of paramilitary organizations to quell the country’s protests in 2018, prompting renewed criticism against the uses by NGOs. These open-source data points support widespread reporting from sources formerly within the country’s law enforcement agencies that the paramilitary groups were

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14 Feb 2019

Phone scams remain lucrative, but risks exist: Ex-director of FBI, CIA takes on a phone scammer—and wins

Showcasing some of the common elements of basic phone scams and their surprising successes, a recent case saw a Jamaica-based phone scammer attempt to scam William H. Webster, ex-director of both the FBI and CIA and the only person to have headed both agencies. The case started in 2014 when

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13 Feb 2019

EU adds Saudi Arabia, Panama to dirty-money blacklist: 23 countries now included

The European Commission maintains a list of countries that do not meet minimum thresholds for oversight against terrorism financing and money laundering. This list and its accompanying policies require European Banks to carry out additional checks on transactions that involve countries from the list. Being a member of the list

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11 Feb 2019

U.S. cargo plane ensnared in weapons scheme to Venezuela

The Venezuelan government has accused the U.S. of financing arms deliveries to “terrorist” groups in the country, after showcasing a crate delivered by a U.S.-owned air freight company that allegedly contained 19 assault weapons, ammunition, military-grade radio antennas, and other items. “This material was destined for criminal groups and terrorist

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08 Feb 2019

Australia and US seize largest ever meth shipment

In a “historic seizure”, US authorities have confiscated a record amount of about 1.7 tons of methamphetamine in California last month. Smaller amounts of cocaine and heroin were also seized. The US cooperated with Australian police to stop the shipment of Australia-bound drugs, which was worth $911 million. As part of the

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06 Feb 2019

Coast Guard seizes 17 tons of cocaine in eastern Pacific over 3 months

The U.S. Coast Guard seized around 35,000 pounds of cocaine during operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean over a three month period. The drugs, confiscated from 21 different fishing and speed boats off the coasts of South America, Central America, and Mexico, originated mostly in Colombia and were destined for

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06 Feb 2019

Experts: Capturing Cartel Leaders Increases Violence, Does Not Reduce Flow of Drugs

Since the 1990s, U.S. strategy in the war on drugs has included massive sting operations focused on the top leaders of cartels. The unintended consequences of these takedowns, argues some working in the sector, is that cartels fragment into smaller groups who then war with each other, perpetuating and even

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05 Feb 2019

El Salvador: anti-corruption candidate Nayib Bukele wins presidential election

Running on the campaign slogan “there’s enough money when no one steals,” anti-corruption candidate Nayib Bukele, the former mayor of the capital, won the country’s presidential election by a landslide and ending 25 years of political dominance by two parties. An estimated 67,000 people in the country belong to gangs

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05 Feb 2019

Germany cracks down on clan crimes as estimated membership reaches as high as 500,000

After several decades of lax policing and investigations on large crime families across the country, German authorities have announced a change in policy and operations to reduce the massive operations of crime families across the country. One Islamic scholar and migration expert has estimated that 500,000 people in Germany belong

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05 Feb 2019

El Chapo trial highlights how Mexico graft impedes drug war

El Chapo’s high profile case, as well as several other lower profile cases, are highlighting the impact and extent of corruption in Mexican politics and drug smuggling, risks that pose severe difficulties to both Mexican and U.S. drug enforcement efforts in the area. Some senior-level officials in the judicial, law

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