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Tag: asia

DEA Shows Major Culture Shift in How It Handles Drug Bans After Kratom Reversal

Kratom pill, via Wikipedia.

Kratom pill, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA appears to be undergoing a major shift in how it handles the war on drugs.

After mounting public pressure, the DEA backed down on its pledge to ban Kratom, a south-east Asian plant that proponents say is an effective treatment for addiction to opioids.

“This is an unprecedented action. It’s never happened before,” said agency spokesman Russ Bayer, the Guardian reports. “We’ve never withdrawn a notice to temporarily schedule any substance but we want to move through this process in a transparent manner.” 

Bayer said the DEA is changing its approach to drugs under acting director Chuck Rosenberg.

“We have had kind of a cultural, organizational transformation during the past year,” Bayer said. “Our core mission has remained the same. It will always be to go after the biggest, most sophisticated, most violent drug traffickers and organizations responsible for the supply of drugs. But Mr Rosenberg has brought in an added emphasis, an increased awareness of some of the other functions that DEA needs to be engaged with. First and foremost community outreach, educating the public in terms of drug abuse, talking about addiction as being a disease.”

Centuries-Old Asian Drug Becomes Popular in U.S. Despite Dangers to Users

Kratom leaf

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A euphoric drug that has been used for centuries in Asia is becoming popular in the U.S., CBSLA.com reports.

The DEA is warning about dangers associated with kratom, which officials say is addictive, dangerous and legal in most of the U.S.

“It can give you a happy, euphoric feeling,” one user told CBSLA.com. “I definitely felt more energetic.”

Users compare it the high to a painkiller.

Health officials said the drug is often readily available online and at smoke shops.

FBI Announces $1 Million Reward to Help Find Ex-FBI Agent Who Vanished in Iran in 2007

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

On the five-year anniversary of his disappearance– which happens to be this week — the FBI is offering a $1 million reward and is launching a publicity campaign in Asia to try to locate and bring home ex-FBI agent Robert A. Levinson, who vanished while on business in Iran.

The FBI said that on March 8, 2007, Levinson traveled to Kish Island, Iran as a private investigator “and has not been publicly seen or heard from since his disappearance on March 9, 2007.”

“On the fifth anniversary of Bob’s disappearance, the FBI continues to follow every lead into his abduction and captivity,” James W. McJunkin, head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office said in a statement.

“We are committed to bringing Bob home safely to his family. We hope that this reward will encourage anyone with information about Bob or his captors, no matter how insignificant it seems, to contact the FBI.”

Director Mueller, seen with Robert Levinson’s wife Christine and Deputy Director Sean Joyce, announces a $1 million reward in the Levinson case./fbi photo

Authorities said a year ago Sec. of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement saying the U.S. had info that Levinson was being held captive by a group in southwest Asia.

Authorities said they were launching a publicity campaign in southwest Asia to heighten awareness of Levinson’s abduction and $1 million reward  via billboards, radio messages, and flyers. A tip line will be provided to listeners and viewers.

 

ICE Busts 678 Gang Members and Associates in Massive Crackdown Involving 168 U.S. Cities


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced Tuesday the arrests of 678 suspected gang members and associates, many with alleged ties to drug organizations around the world from Mexico to South America and Asia.

Dubbed “Project Southern Tempest”, ICE and and Homeland Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) said investigators targeted 168 U.S. cities with gangs that had affiliations with drug trafficking organizations. More than 46 percent of those arrested were members or associates of gangs tied to the drug organizations, ICE said.

Authorities said the operation ran from December 2010 to February.

“Project Southern Tempest is the largest ever ICE-led gang enforcement operation targeting gangs with ties to drug trafficking organizations,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement.

“Through gang enforcement operations like Project Southern Tempest and Project Big Freeze last year, ICE will continue to disrupt and dismantle these transnational gangs and rid our streets not only of drug dealers, but the violence associated with the drug trade,” he said.

Authorities said there were 133 different gang affiliations and those arrested came from 24 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. ICE said the gangs were also involved in such crimes and robberies and murders.

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