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SundayFebruary 3, 2013

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Experts Say Widespread Corruption Amongst Mexican Police is Tolerated

Experts Say Widespread Corruption Amongst Mexican Police is Tolerated

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Police officers renting their patrol cars and uniforms to criminals, and paying supervisors for a particular beat are some of the common corrupt practices that occur in Mexico, where there is widespread social acceptance of corruption, experts said.

“In Mexico, corruption, understood as the use of public resources for private gain, has wide social acceptance and the police are also a product of this society,” Institute for Safety and Democracy director Ernesto Lopez Portillo told Efe.

“You cannot understand police corruption if you do not understand that corruption is part of life and of the cultural codes accepted by Mexican society,” Lopez Portillo said.

A report prepared by the non-governmental Transparencia Mexicana organization estimated that more than 200 million acts of corruption occured each year in Mexico, with a value of more than 30 billion pesos (about $2.35 billion).

Two police officers were arrested recently in Naucalpan, a city in the central state of Mexico, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, for allegedly renting their patrol cars, uniforms and firearms to civilians who staged robberies in the area.

Another police officer was arrested last week for allegedly demanding money from a subordinate so he could stay on the force and patrol a specific beat.

Mexico’s municipal police departments have the weakest institutional structures and are the most prone to corruption, Transparencia Mexicana director Eduardo Bohorquez told Efe.

Members of law enforcement agencies engaged in fighting Mexico’s drug cartels are also more likely to become involved in corrupt practices, Bohorquez said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Socialists Demand Rajoy’s Resignation Following PP Scandal

Socialists Demand Rajoy’s Resignation Following PP Scandal

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Spanish Socialist Workers Party, or PSOE, secretary-general and opposition leader Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba on Sunday called on Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to resign due to the corruption case involving the governing Popular Party regarding alleged clandestine payments to its leaders.

Rajoy is “a burden” and “cannot lead our country at a moment as delicate at this,” Rubalcaba said.

The prime minister, “far from being a solution” for Spain’s problems “has become one more problem,” and therefore “we ask him to leave the post of prime minister,” the opposition leader said in a press conference at party headquarters.

What Spain needs now to emerge from its economic recession is a “reliable, strong and trustworthy” government, something that the conservative PP no longer offers, Rubalcaba said.

Rajoy on Saturday denied allegations that he received secret cash payments from the PP and said he will release his income statements next week to clear up any doubts.

“I’ve never received nor distributed ‘black money,’ in this party or anywhere else,” the premier said during an extraordinary PP meeting held in the wake of media reports about an alleged secret ledger showing two decades of off-the-books cash payments to party leaders, including Rajoy.

The prime minister added that those who think he can be “harassed” out of office are “mistaken.”

The remarks were Rajoy’s first public comments on the allegations since Spanish daily El Pais on Thursday published images of extracts from a purported secret ledger attributed to former PP treasurers Alvaro Lapuerta and Luis Barcenas and covering the period 1990-2009.

The premier acknowledged that the media reports have created a “giant scandal” but pledged that the party would act with the “utmost transparency” to get to the bottom of the matter.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Study Looks at Benefits of Being a Vegetarian

Study Looks at Benefits of Being a Vegetarian

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A new study reveals that there are more benefits to being a vegetarian.

According to zeenews.com a new study from the University of Oxford states that being hospitalized or even death is 32 percent lower in vegetarians.

It doesn’t stop here.

Lower cholesterol, a significantly lower heart disease risk, lower blood pressure, less likely to become diabetic, and a slimmer physique are all on a vegetarian resume revealed BeWellPhilly.

“Most of the difference in risk is probably caused by effects on cholesterol and blood pressure, and shows the important role of diet in the prevention of heart disease,” explains Dr. Francesca Crowe.

Unbeknownst to many, heart disease is the leading cause of death for most in the majority of countries around the world. The results of this research emphasize the importance of a healthy diet, and now draw focus to the impact of a vegetarian diet.

This the largest study of its kind comparing meat munchers to garden gobblers. There were almost 45,000 volunteers from England and Scotland.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

3-Million-Year-Old Fossils Go on Display in Venezuela

3-Million-Year-Old Fossils Go on Display in Venezuela

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Three million years after being trapped in a tar pit, the fossils of 34 species of animals have been recovered and analyzed - including saber-toothed tigers and a new species of caiman - and will be able to be enjoyed by the public at an exhibit in Caracas.

The tar pit was more than 18,000 square meters (more than 190,000 square feet) in size and located in El Breal de Orocual, an area in the eastern Venezuelan state of Monagas, and it became a trap during the Pleistocene era where a large number of animals met their ends. Recently, their remains have been providing new information about the presence of certain species far from where they had been thought to reside.

Scientists infer from the remains, for instance, that an early mammal - perhaps a type of horse - was attacked by a tiger at the site but both beasts became stuck in the viscous tar bed, which at the time was covered by a very shallow lake.

Over the years, more and more animals became trapped in the deadly tar, including carrion-eating birds and insects, and thus since 2006 - when the first fossil find was made there - scientists have been able to analyze an entire ecosystem and six years later the tar pit was still providing revelations such as the discovery in late 2012 of a new species of alligator-like reptile dubbed the Caiman venezuelensis.

The fossils were found when state-owned oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, was building a pipeline, but the pipeline work was suddenly halted when workers found bones at the site.

Most of the skeletons of ancient animals recovered from the tar pit are now being exhibited for the public at the La Estancia Art Center belonging to PDVSA in the Venezuelan capital.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ben Affleck Wins Best Director From DGA for “Argo”

Ben Affleck Wins Best Director From DGA for “Argo”

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Ben Affleck received the prize for best director for “Argo” early Sunday at the annual Directors Guild of America, or DGA, awards after having won in the same category at the Golden Globes in January.

At the gala held in Los Angeles, Affleck beat out Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”), Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”), Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Tom Hooper (“Les Miserables”).

The DGA awards are considered to be a good barometer for who will take home the Oscar for best director.

Since the Directors Guild began passing out these trophies in 1948, on only six occasions has their pick for best director failed to coincide with the Oscar winner in that category.

But, in any case, this year Affleck cannot win the Oscar for best director because he has not been nominated in that category.

On Feb. 24, Michael Haneke (“Amour”), Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”), Lee (“Life of Pi”), Spielberg (“Lincoln”) and David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”) will go up against one another for the Oscar for best director.

“Argo” will compete in seven other categories at the Oscars, however, including best picture.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Venezuela to Sue Spanish Paper for False Chavez Photo

Venezuela to Sue Spanish Paper for False Chavez Photo

Photo: Man identified as Hugo Chavez (El Pais)

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The Venezuelan government plans to take legal action against the Spanish daily El Pais for publishing a photograph purportedly showing President Hugo Chavez intubated, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said.

“What the El Pais newspaper did is going to cost it big time, because we are going to sue El Pais and we are going to take the case all the way, using whatever laws can be used, be it over there in Spain or wherever,” Maduro said in a televised address.

El Pais, Spain’s highest-circulation daily, posted a photograph on its Web site of a man with breathing tubes wrongly identified as the ailing Chavez.

The photograph was obtained from a news agency that claimed the man in the hospital bed was Chavez, El Pais said.

“El Pais will have to pay in the courts for this offense to the people of Venezuela at such a special time in our history,” Maduro said in an address marking the 14th anniversary of Chavez’s taking power.

El Pais said it removed the image from its Web site and the front page of its Thursday, Jan. 24, print edition after wrongly identifying the intubated man as Chavez.

The 58-year-old Chavez has been hospitalized in Cuba since Dec. 11 after undergoing his fourth cancer surgery since June 2011.

Early morning print editions of El Pais contained a grainy photo said to have been taken “a few days ago” and showing a bald man identified as Chavez lying in the foreground with breathing tubes in his mouth.

As soon as officials in Caracas became aware of the purported photo of Chavez, Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said the man was not the president.

Chavez, a leftist who took office in 1999, was re-elected on Oct. 7 by a comfortable margin and is to serve until 2019.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Paraguayan Presidential Candidate Killed in Helicopter Crash

Paraguayan Presidential Candidate Killed in Helicopter Crash

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Paraguayan presidential candidate Lino Oviedo died in a helicopter crash in Chaco province, officials said Sunday.

A search team found the wreckage of the helicopter, which went down Saturday night, at a ranch in the city of Presidente Hayes, media reports said.

Searchers found three burned bodies in the wreckage, a reporter for the ABC Color newspaper said from the crash site.

The retired army general was traveling with his bodyguard and a pilot in the helicopter, which changed its route due to bad weather.

President Federico Franco expressed his condolences to “the family of the general, the members of his party and all of the Paraguayan people over the loss of one of the military heroes” of the “heroic deed of liberty of Feb. 2 and 3, 1989.”

The president was referring to the coup that ended the dictatorhip of Gen. Alfredo Stroessner 24 years ago.

Oviedo, leader of the UNACE party, was returning to Asuncion after taking part in a campaign rally in the city of Concepcion.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the helicopter as it was heading to the capital.

Oviedo, who led an attempted coup in 1996, was accused of being involved in the March 23, 1999, assassination of Vice President Luis Maria Argaña.

The retired general denied he was behind the vice president’s assassination.

President Raul Cubas, a friend and political ally of Oviedo, resigned in the wake of the deaths of Argaña and seven young people killed in street violence sparked by the assassination.

After the killings, Oviedo fled to Argentina and later Brazil.

Oviedo returned to the country on June 29, 2004 - after five years as a fugitive - and was taken directly from the Asuncion airport to the Viñas Cue military prison. EFE

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombia Prepares to Launch $2.25 Billion Road-concession Process

Colombia Prepares to Launch $2.25 Billion Road-concession Process

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Colombia’s National Infrastructure Agency, or ANI, said it will launch a road-concession process next week aimed at awarding an estimated 4 trillion pesos ($2.25 billion) worth of contracts for the construction of 550 kilometers (340 miles) of roads.

ANI director Luis Fernando Andrade said in a press conference Friday that the process is part of the larger “4th Generation (4G) of Road Concessions in Colombia” project, which is the largest in the nation’s history and aimed at auctioning off 30 road concessions worth an estimated 40 trillion pesos ($22.5 billion).

On Monday, the government will launch the concession process for the first four road projects, which will involve investment of approximately 1 trillion pesos ($563 million) each.

They are to be built in strategic areas with a view to linking the country’s main commercial and industrial centers.

The first will link the coastal cities of Barranquilla and Cartagena with a 152-kilometer (95-mile) highway and also include a bypass road.

The second will be a 205-kilometer (127-mile) road linking the central municipalities of Girardot and Puerto Salgar and will serve as an extension of the so-called Sun Road that connects the center of the country with Ecuador.

The third will be a 90-kilometer (55-mile) road between Mulalo and Loboguerrero in southwestern Colombia, while the last project will link the central towns of Caqueza, La Calera and Sopo.

Andrade said the “pre-qualification” stage will run for two months beginning on Feb. 6.

The qualified companies then will be able to submit their bids over the following six months.

With this project, the government is aiming to increase the total distance of dual-carriageway roads from 844.67 kilometers (525 miles) in 2012 to 1,347.37 kilometers (837 miles) in 2014.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Before We Bicker on Immigration, Let’s Agree on Definitions

Before We Bicker on Immigration, Let’s Agree on Definitions

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By Victor Landa, NewsTaco

If we’re going to get anywhere in this looming immigration debate, we’ve got to start in the same room, using words we all understand. I don’t mean this in a figurative sense, I mean it literally.

There is enough political pressure from both political parties to do immigration reform this year; maybe even have it done and sitting on the President’s desk by the Summer.

Say what you will about the Republican Party’s motivation for seeing this thing through (self preservation is the mother of all motives), we haven’t been this close to sorting through the nuance-thicket since, well, ever. So there is reason for optimism, albeit with a pinch of reservation that the extremes of political ideology can somehow hijack the process and derail the reform momentum.Image

But in order for this thing to work to the satisfaction of all sides, and in order for the process to work smoothly and efficiently, several things must be agreed to beforehand. Definitions are stubborn things. Everyone involved in the debate – from people on Capitol Hill, to people in the media and the folks sitting round your kitchen table or work break room –  should use the same words and ideas to mean the same things.

I’m not talking about a glossary of terms, I’m talking about political hot points, expressed in phrases, that set us off and keep us apart.

Take for instance “border security.” It’s a sticking point for conservatives and a prerequisite for any discussion from the right. It sounds easy enough, but when two intelligent people from opposite sides of the political dial clash on the issue they find they have distinct pictures in their heads about the meaning of the word.

Who gets to decide when the border is secure, so we can all move along with our conversation? We need to agree about what border security looks like before we move on.

And what about the famous “line” that the undocumented are supposed to get at the end of?  If we’re going to talk about the line and where people should be in it (no cut’s allowed),  we should then also talk about how that line is not working. The line is broken. So lets fix the line that we want people to stand in.

If we let people with $1 million cut to the front of the line, we shouldn’t criticize, vilify or criminalize those who rather than complain, ignore the line.

The “learn English” thing? Here’s my take: give it as a political freebee, a goodwill token in the pot. I don’t know of any immigrant, documented or not, who doesn’t want to learn English. It’s a given. Churches and non-profits that offer English classes have long waiting lists; Inglés Sin Barreras is a virtual gold mine on Spanish TV. This is one of those places where the left can cede the ground because there really isn’t much to cede.

If the right wants to make English a sticking point, go for it, immigrants will learn English anyway. We’ll define it as a win-win. As the law now stands, you have to be 55 years of age or older to get an English competency waiver. So there’s really no change. This is one of those things where you agree to avoid the necios.

And then there’s the bucket. That big bucket that holds everything and everyone tagged as Latino, Hispanic, illegal alien, undocumented worker, immigrant, uneducated, and welfare dependent. It’s part of the great American immigration gauntlet for the largest and newest wave of immigrants to be vilified by others. And that’s what’s been happening to Latinos for several generations.

But, look here: if the GOP is coming to the immigration reform table, it’s because of the people in the bucket. There’s power in the bucket. The ironic thing is that Latinos didn’t put themselves in it. It’s just another generalized, stereotyped definition. So if the GOP wants Latinos to play on their side, they’re going to have to unpack their definitions, shake them out, and throw away the bucket.

Believe me, this is going to be a difficult process. But, if we just agree to these four things before we begin the bickering, we can get it done quickly and everyone will be happier than not. Then again, define happy.

This article was first published in NewsTaco.

NewsTaco provides you with innovative and insightful news, critique, analysis and opinion from a Latino perspective in a 24-hour world.

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73 Victims of Brazil Nightclub Fire Remain in ICU 1 Week Later

73 Victims of Brazil Nightclub Fire Remain in ICU 1 Week Later

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Almost a week after the fire that left 236 people dead last weekend at a Brazilian discotheque, 109 of the injured remain hospitalized, 73 of them in intensive care units, officials said Saturday.

Of the 73 patients in serious condition, 41 of them are on artificial respiration because of the delicate state of their health, while the other 32 are breathing normally, according to a communique from the Health Secretariat of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Ten of the injured have been released in the last few hours while some patients could be disconnected from their respirators thanks to improvements in their condition, the note said.

The blaze, which occurred in the wee hours last Sunday at the Kiss discotheque in the city of Santa Maria, caused 234 deaths at the scene of the disaster, with another two dying later at different hospitals of the region.

Most of those hospitalized were poisoned by inhaling cyanide, which, police said, was caused by flames burning the soundproofing foam in the discotheque ceiling.

To treat these patients, the United States government donated 140 doses of an intravenous medicine called Cyanokit, which acts as an antidote to cyanide.

The medicine was flown in Saturday to Santa Maria and the regional capital Porto Alegre, cities where most of the injured are hospitalized, and will be administered to patients in the coming hours.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz Celebrate 50 Years of Making Music Together

Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz Celebrate 50 Years of Making Music Together

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Puerto Rican salsa legends Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz celebrated Saturday their 50th year of making music together by recalling their greatest hits and giving thanks they’re still alive after their bouts with drugs and alcohol.

Ray, a virtuoso pianist who studied music in New York, and Cruz, who grew up tending goats in the western Puerto Rican district of Hormigueros, told Efe in an interview of their satisfaction at making so many thousands of people happy who have danced to their music.

Richard Maldonado Morales, the real name of Richie Ray, called it “a privilege” to complete half a century of an artistic career with Cruz, a kid he met 55 years ago at school.

Both began composing tunes inspired by Puerto Rican singer Ramito and influenced by such Latin American song styles as the guaguanco, the cha cha cha, the boogaloo and the mambo, and even by classical music at times.

Discs like “Jala Jala y Boogaloo” in 1967 and “Los Durisimos” (The Toughies) were big hits of Ray and Cruz’s first period, but fame began taking its toll in the form of addictions and scandals.

Ray said their problems kept getting worse until they felt in 1974 that they would be better off following the path of Christianity.

The duo, known as “Los Durisimos,” put their music on hold for a period that lasted 20 years, during which time they devoted themselves heart and soul to religious life.

The first church they founded was in Miami, followed by another in Ireland and a third in Mexico City.

Ray is set to open church No. 73 in Florida.

Following their concert on Saturday at the Jose M. Agrelot Coliseum in Puerto Rico, Ray and Cruz will continue their tour celebrating their 50 years making music together with shows in Colombia and the United States.

Read more by HS News Staff →

FARC Says Willing to Free 3 Colombian Security Force Members

FARC Says Willing to Free 3 Colombian Security Force Members

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Colombia’s FARC guerrilla group said Saturday they are willing to free two police captured on Jan. 25 and a soldier grabbed this week in the Andean nation’s southwest.

The group’s secretariat, or high command, made the announcement on its Web site, making mention of the soldier for the first time but not identifying him.

The guerrillas for the first time claimed responsibility for the capture of policemen Cristian Camilo Yate and Victor Alfonso Gonzalez, saying they were taken prisoner while “conducting intelligence work aimed at striking at guerrilla units.”

“We also captured a private (during combat with army units Tuesday in the southwestern province of Nariño) whom we’re also willing to hand over simultaneously, along with the aforementioned police,” the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said.

“We can report to their families that they are in good condition and receiving respectful and dignified treatment. We will proceed to make arrangements to release them through the mediation of (the NGO) Colombians for Peace and the International Committee of the Red Cross,” the FARC added.

The rebels did not refer to a date when the three security force members might be freed.

News of the capture of Yate and Gonzalez and this week’s kidnapping and subsequent release of three petroleum engineers, as well as an uptick in clashes between the guerrillas and the army, has overshadowed the current round of peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government in Havana.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rescue Workers Continue to Search for Victims Among Pemex Blast Debris

Rescue Workers Continue to Search for Victims Among Pemex Blast Debris

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Some 2,500 rescue workers - aided by specially trained dogs - continued to pore through rubble Saturday at the Mexico City headquarters of state-owned oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, where an explosion two days ago left 33 dead and more than 100 injured.

“The rescue efforts are continuing throughout the affected area. Personnel with the Government Secretariat, the emergency management office, the army, the navy, Cenapred (the federal disaster prevention agency), and of course Pemex, are there,” a spokesperson for the oil company told reporters.

Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya visited the office complex Saturday to supervise the work of the rescue teams and later attended several wakes to offer his condolences to family members of workers who died in the explosion.

Pemex on Saturday published the names of 32 of the 33 fatalities on its Web site, the company spokesperson said, adding that one woman who died in the blast has not yet been identified.

The explosion occurred in the basement of one of the complex’s buildings. The cause has not yet been determined and, according to official reports, investigators have not found indications of a fire, smoke nor an odor of flammable substances.

The main tower of the office complex, a 56-story structure, was not damaged in the blast.

President Enrique Peña Nieto declared three days of national mourning in the wake of the tragedy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

7 Killed in Shootout with Troops in Northern Mexico

Seven armed individuals were killed in a shootout with a convoy of soldiers in northeastern Mexico, military officials said.

The shootout occurred Friday on a rural road near installations of state-owned oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos on the outskirts of Ciudad Victoria, capital of Tamaulipas state.

The clash erupted when the convoy came upon a group of people wielding rifles and riding in two vehicles, the officials said.

Five men and two women were killed in the exchange of gunfire, after which the soldiers seized rifles and the two vehicles.

That area of Mexico has been wracked in recent years by deadly turf battles pitting rival drug cartels.

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Paraguayan Police Seize 745 Lbs of Cocaine Stashed in Tomato Cans

Paraguayan Police Seize 745 Lbs of Cocaine Stashed in Tomato Cans

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A Paraguayan exporter was arrested in a police operation that found 338 kilos (745 pounds) of cocaine hidden in a shipment of 1,400 cans of a tomato product being sent to Spain, officials said Saturday.

Paraguayan Interior Minister Carmelo Caballero told a press conference that Friday’s operation was a “direct blow against drug trafficking” and estimated that the drug would have a value of $20 million on the European market.

“An exporter is detained in the case, certain to be indicted and, apart from that, (Friday night) two raids were carried out - one in the storeroom where the shipment was being prepared and where several more pieces of evidence were collected, and the other at the exporter’s address,” police commander Aldo Pastore said.

In a communique, National Police said Saturday that agents found 300 packets of cocaine weighing 338 kilos (745 pounds) in 1,400 cans labeled as a tomato product, which weighed a total of 11,760 kilos (13 tons).

The exporter in custody has been identified as Carlos Alberto Echague Martinez of the Avati SA company, and the shipment was headed for the Spanish company C.B. Tropical in the southern city of Malaga.

Besides the man under arrest, police are investigating three foreign citizens from Argentina and Chile, suspected members of a drug-trafficking organization, though the commander refused to identify them while investigations are still in progress.

He added that only after analyses have been completed will it be possible to say if the cocaine came from Bolivia or Colombia.

Pastore said that this is the first seizure in Paraguay of drugs hidden in liquids such as the tomato puree - up to now they have been detected in shipments of lumber, handicrafts and grains.

“Drug traffickers are very inventive and are always changing their ways of trafficking,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SundayFebruary 3, 2013