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drug trafficking

10/12/12 2:59pm

Iran Wants Respect (and Cash) for Its Drug-War Efforts

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Iran confiscates huge quantities of drugs.
Photo via

Iran's relationship with the US is "complicated" at best. But when it comes to fighting drug trafficking, the Middle-Eastern nation may be an ally, reports the New York Times. For decades, Iranian leaders have worked tirelessly to stop a flood of heroin and opium from Afghanistan to the Western world, their efforts fueled largely by a sense of Islamic duty to prevent drug abuse. Located on the world's most prolific drug hub, Iran seizes eight times more opium and three times more heroin than all other countries in the world combined, according to figures from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. And experts say Iranian leaders want credit where it's due, as well as financial support from the US. “These men are fighting their version of the Colombian war on drugs," says Antonino de Leo, the Italian representative for the UN drug office in Tehran. "But they are not funded with billions of US dollars and are battling against drugs coming from another country.” While Afghanistan receives $40 million a year in direct aid for its counter-narcotics efforts, Iran has received only $13 million over four years, says de Leo, who also argues that the 100,000 NATO troups in Afghanistan should do more to help stop the flow of drugs across Iran's borders, where a reported 3,900 policemen have been killed. “Imagine if we just let all those drugs flow freely through our country, toward the West," says General Ali Moayedi, who leads the Islamic Republic’s anti narcotics department. "Then the world would understand what we have been doing here for all these years."

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By May Wilkerson

Lindsay Lohan

10/12/12 1:57pm

LiLo's Insane Week: The Diary

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She definitely didn't phone it in this week.
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Perpetually troubled Lindsay Lohan can cause controversy at such a pace that it's hard to keep up. After all, even when Amanda Bynes' high driving was rated a perfect 10 out of 10 for danger by the LAPD, people were only worried that she might become the next Lindsay Lohan. But even by her own stellar standards, LiLo has just had one crazy few days:

At 4 am Wednesday morning she frantically calls her father, Michael Lohan, and unleashes an agitated stream of consciousness that may only make sense if you've closely followed the LiLo canon: she's apparently being kidnapped by her mother, Dina Lohan (who is seemingly threatening to throw her out of the limo), due to a fight over $40,000 that LiLo lent to her. “Dad, she's on cocaine, she's like touching her neck and shit,” she can be heard saying, adding that her mother is “like the devil right now.”

On Thursday morning she tells TMZ that she takes back all the things she said in that phone call, that her mom wasn't on cocaine and that her dad betrayed her trust in sharing the call with TMZ: "He doesn't know what it means to be a father. He doesn't want to be a dad." The fight with her mother? No biggie: "Daughters have fights with their moms. It happens a lot. It's normal,” she says. 

Then on Thursday night she of all things endorses Mitt Romney for president: “I think unemployment is very important for now, so as of now I think [my vote] is Mitt Romney.” Tantalizingly, her other reasons seem set to remain secret: "It's a long story, but you're going to have to wait for that." Maybe it's because her tweet at President Obama—requesting he "cut taxes for those who need it: middle-class families, small businesses" and "those that are listed on Forbes as 'millionaires'”—has yet to be obeyed. Or maybe she's just afraid of finding herself on the wrong end of another Republican's wrestling moves.

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By Bryan Le

street gangs

10/12/12 12:00pm

Street Gang MS-13 Joins the Big Leagues

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Will the feds' efforts curb MS-13's growth?
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Having terrorized the US for decades, Mala Salvatrucha (or MS-13) will now become the first street gang in the country to earn the official title of “transnational criminal organization." The US federal government has taken this unprecedented action in order to try to curb the gang's rapid growth. MS-13's new title gives the US Treasury Department the power to freeze any financial assets belonging to the gang or its members, and prohibits financial institutions from engaging in any transactions with members. It will also make it hard for MS-13 to use banks and wire transfers to funnel profits back to the group's leadership in El Salvador. “As the reach of gangs becomes more international, the seizing and freezing of assets becomes essential to addressing the violence that comes along with it,” says LA Police Chief Charlie Beck. Approximately 8,000 of MS-13's 30,000 members are believed to be operating across more than 40 US states. LA City Councilman Ed Reyes says that although the gang isn't as brutal today as it was 20 years ago, it still terrorizes businesses, residents and undocumented immigrants through its involvement in the drug trade, extortion and human trafficking. Other organizations that have received this "honor" are Japan's Yakuza organized crime syndicate and Mexico's Zetas—one of whose founders, Heriberto Lazcano, was killed by Mexican Marines last Sunday.

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By McCarton Ackerman

Sober stars

10/12/12 10:53am

Colin Farrell Was a "Drug-Addicted Drunk" of a Dad

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Farrell thought again. Photo via

Sometimes a new baby isn't enough to change an addict's ways. That was the case at one point with actor Colin Farrell. He became a dad for the first time in 2003 when model Kim Bordenave gave birth to their son, James, but Farrell, now over seven years sober, tells Details magazine that he chose to remain a "drug-addicted drunk" in the early stages of his son's life. "I made a decision not to change," he says. "I literally said, 'I'm not changing! I'm gonna be his friend!' Like a fucking 28-year-old drug-addicted drunk friend is exactly what my six-week-old son needs." Farrell eventually came around though, and credits James with saving his life by making him realize that he did, in fact, need to change. He became a father for the second time in October 2009, when actress Alicja Bachleda-Curu gave birth to Henry. Farrell says he's now motivated to live as long as possible, in order to be there for his boys: "I've got eight hours a day now that I didn't have before, when I was drinking every day for 18 years. It's honest, it's real. That's quite simply the coolest thing." Farrell isn't the first father to keep hitting the bottle in parenthood: a recent study found that 17% of new parents actually drink more alcohol than usual after their first baby is born.

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By McCarton Ackerman

headlines

10/12/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: October 12, 2012

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METHod acting? Photo via

By Bryan Le

Mexican drug war

10/11/12 5:18pm

Mexico "Allows Torture of Drug Suspects"

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All's fair in drugs and war? Photo via

Amnesty International claims that Mexican police and military, under relentless pressure to take down the country's drug cartels, have increasingly turned to torture and abuse in recent years—and that the government is turning a blind eye. The human rights organization's latest report states that Mexico's National Human Rights Commission received 1,661 complaints of torture and abuse by police and military last year, up from 564 complaints in 2008. Many more incidents are thought to have gone undocumented, with many victims too afraid to come forward. President Felipe Calderon's administration has given torturers "almost total impunity," the report claims, and continues to allow coerced confessions to be used as evidence in court. While Calderon acknowledges that abuses have occurred in the past, he claims his government has sought to prosecute torturers. Amnesty's proposal for Mexico calls for disallowing evidence obtained through torture in criminal proceedings; a ban on the military carrying out police functions; and an end to the practice known as "arraigo"—in which those suspected of serious crimes can be detained for up to 80 days without charge. But some citizens seem to welcome the abuse of alleged drug suspects. Victor Clark Alfaro, director of the Binational Center for Human Rights in Tijuana, claims that when people see suspects on TV with visible bruises from police beatings, their response is often, "How great that they beat them up. They deserved it."

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By McCarton Ackerman

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