Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mexico: Cartels Use Frozen Sharks to Smuggle Cocaine in Yucatan

Via (UK) -

Military pressure is forcing drug gangs to go to greater lengths to conceal narcotics bound for the United States.

Navy officers cut open more than 20 shark carcasses filled with slabs of cocaine after checking a container ship in a port in the southern Mexico state of Yucatan.

X-ray machines and sniffer dogs had helped uncover the drugs.

"We are talking about more than a ton of cocaine that was inside the ship," Navy Commander Eduardo Villa told reporters.

"Those in charge of the shipment said it was a conserving agent but, after checks, we confirmed it was cocaine."

Gangs have been hiding drugs in sealed beer cans, religious statues and furniture, as Mexico's military cracks down on the cartels moving South American narcotics north.

President Felipe Calderon has sent 45,000 troops and federal police across Mexico to try to crush powerful smuggling organisations.

But traffickers armed with a huge arsenal of grenades and automatic weapons are far from defeated, worrying Washington as violence spills over into US states, such as Arizona.

Some 2,750 people have died in drug violence in Mexico this year, a pace similar to that of 2008, when 6,300 were killed.

Led by Mexico's most wanted man, Joaquin 'Shorty' Guzman, smugglers from the Pacific state of Sinaloa are fighting a turf war with rivals.

Guzman seeks to control Mexican and Central American smuggling routes into the US.

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