Colombian Soccer Legend Faustino Asprilla and His Family Flee Death Threats from Los Rastrojos

first_imgOn December 7, Border Patrol agents seized more than 68 pounds of liquid methamphetamine with a street value of $4.8 million concealed in a pickup truck and arrested the driver of the truck, who is from Florida. Asprilla, who played professional soccer between 1988 and 2004, led the Colombian national team to an appearance at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, the 1994 and 1998 World Cup, and third-place finishes at the 1993 and 1995 Americas Cups. Los Rastrojos originated in Tuluá, a major industrial and commercial center in the department of Valle del Cauca. Colombian National Police and the Armed Forces have weakened the organized crime group in recent years by capturing or killing several of its leaders; meanwhile, Los Rastrojos is also engaged in a violent turf war with another drug trafficking group, the Úsuga Clan. USS Vandegrift decommissioned after seizing nearly 9,100 kilograms of cocaine Unidentified men came to Asprilla’s residence to tell him he needed to meet with a local crime lord known as “Porron” about making protection payments or face violent consequences. Police have offered a reward for information leading to Porron’s arrest. At the outset of the operation, police arrested five Bolivian nationals, including a woman who is the suspected leader of the drug trafficking group. Though Berni didn’t immediately disclose when and where the captures occurred, he told reporters those arrests led to “30 searches in different places in the metro area of the federal capital, resulting in the seizure of 235 kilos of cocaine of maximum purity.” “The Peruvians sold [the cocaine] wholesale, the Colombians sold it abroad and the Dominicans sold it at the retail level in Buenos Aires,” Berni said. Argentine police dismantle international narco-trafficking ring “Today is one of the saddest days in my life,” Asprilla said in a prepared statement. “I am forced to abandon my own homeland, Tuluá, for being a victim of extortion. I have given my whole life to soccer and to represent Tuluá and my Colombia. And today, I’m running from my own land.” Costa Rican Coast Guard seizes 500 kilograms of cocaine After a seven-month deployment in the Central American isthmus in support of Operaton MARTILLO, the USS Vandegrift will return to its home port in San Diego on December 12 for decommissioning. U.S. Border Patrol agents confiscate $7.4 million in narcotics, arrest 3 suspects The 30-year-old ship’s final deployment was highly successful, as its crew seized nearly 9,100 kilograms of cocaine off the Central American coast since May 9, according to the U.S. Navy. Border Patrol agents in Texas’ Laredo sector recently confiscated drugs collectively worth 7.4 million dollars in two separate busts, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). On December 7, Border Patrol agents seized more than 68 pounds of liquid methamphetamine with a street value of $4.8 million concealed in a pickup truck and arrested the driver of the truck, who is from Florida. U.S. military authorities did not immediately disclose whether they made any arrests during either interdiction. Six days earlier, the USS Vandegrift and a LEDET seized about 873 kilograms of cocaine from a small boat off the Central American coast. After the Vandegrift’s helicopters spotted the vessel in an area known to be frequented by narco-traffickers, LEDET agents swooped in, recovering the 22 bales of cargo that had been tossed overboard. The bales tested positive for cocaine. Launched in January 2012, Operation MARTILLO combines the forces of 10 countries in the Americas – Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Canada, and the United States – along with France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom, who work cooperatively to combat international drug trafficking, enhance regional security, and promote peace, stability and prosperity throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America. Colombian soccer legend Faustino Asprillaand his family have fled from their home in Tuluá after receiving death threats from Los Rastrojos, one of the country’s most feared narco-trafficking groups. After receiving information from Colombian authorities, the Costa Rican Coast Guard arrested three suspects and seized 500 kilograms of cocaine from a fishing boat on December 8. The Costa Rican Air Surveillance Service (SVA) provided the location of the suspicious vessel to the Coast Guard, which interdicted the boat 3 nautical miles from Punta Burica. “I feel completely indignant,” Asprilla tweeted on December 9. “How many more people must be going through the same thing, without being heard?” Coast Guard officers captured three suspects as they tried to swim away. “The Peruvians sold [the cocaine] wholesale, the Colombians sold it abroad and the Dominicans sold it at the retail level in Buenos Aires,” Berni said. Police in Argentina dismantled an international narco-trafficking ring by confiscating 235 kilograms of cocaine and capturing 27 suspects, including the alleged leader, Security Secretary Sergio Berni told reporters on December 9. Six days earlier, the USS Vandegrift and a LEDET seized about 873 kilograms of cocaine from a small boat off the Central American coast. After the Vandegrift’s helicopters spotted the vessel in an area known to be frequented by narco-traffickers, LEDET agents swooped in, recovering the 22 bales of cargo that had been tossed overboard. The bales tested positive for cocaine. Police started investigating the ring in 2013, after Argentinian police arrested a Spain-bound drug mule with a kilogram of cocaine in his body at Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires. The previous day, Border Patrol agents arrested two women after finding $2.6 million worth of cocaine in the car they were driving in Gatesville, Texas, about 515 kilometers from the U.S. border with Mexico. “This is another example of the enforcement mindset and dedication from our CBP officers,” Laredo-based Acting Port Director Joseph Misenhelter said. “I am very pleased with all of their efforts which resulted in the interception of these hard narcotics.” Unidentified men came to Asprilla’s residence to tell him he needed to meet with a local crime lord known as “Porron” about making protection payments or face violent consequences. Police have offered a reward for information leading to Porron’s arrest. Police in Argentina dismantled an international narco-trafficking ring by confiscating 235 kilograms of cocaine and capturing 27 suspects, including the alleged leader, Security Secretary Sergio Berni told reporters on December 9. Border Patrol agents in Texas’ Laredo sector recently confiscated drugs collectively worth 7.4 million dollars in two separate busts, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). “Today is one of the saddest days in my life,” Asprilla said in a prepared statement. “I am forced to abandon my own homeland, Tuluá, for being a victim of extortion. I have given my whole life to soccer and to represent Tuluá and my Colombia. And today, I’m running from my own land.” Costa Rican Coast Guard seizes 500 kilograms of cocaine The Costa Rican Air Surveillance Service (SVA) provided the location of the suspicious vessel to the Coast Guard, which interdicted the boat 3 nautical miles from Punta Burica. Berni didn’t release the names of the second group of suspects either, saying only they were from Peru, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. The previous day, Border Patrol agents arrested two women after finding $2.6 million worth of cocaine in the car they were driving in Gatesville, Texas, about 515 kilometers from the U.S. border with Mexico. “I feel completely indignant,” Asprilla tweeted on December 9. “How many more people must be going through the same thing, without being heard?” The Vandegrift is a frigate named in honor of General Alexander Vandegrift, a Medal-of-Honor recipient who led Marines in the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II and later served as the 18th commandant of the United States Marine Corps. However, frigates are being gradually replaced by faster and more maneuverable ships that can patrol in shallower waters. At-sea interdictions are highly coordinated, with the security forces of the participating countries partnering to identify, stop, and search suspicious vessels. “This is another example of the enforcement mindset and dedication from our CBP officers,” Laredo-based Acting Port Director Joseph Misenhelter said. “I am very pleased with all of their efforts which resulted in the interception of these hard narcotics.” To remind the authorities, extortion has been going on in Tulua for 15 years. The prosecutor’s office has the files of the accusations. Many families were left bankrupt because they had to flee and leave their businesses behind. No government has made the effort to help the displaced persons. Launched in January 2012, Operation MARTILLO combines the forces of 10 countries in the Americas – Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Canada, and the United States – along with France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom, who work cooperatively to combat international drug trafficking, enhance regional security, and promote peace, stability and prosperity throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America. By Dialogo December 12, 2014 The USS Vandegrift’s last reported interdiction occurred on November 20, when it teamed with a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) to seize 907 kilograms of cocaine from a small vessel off Central America’s Pacific Coast. Vandegrift crew members spotted the suspicious vessel and deployed a helicopter and a LEDET to stop and inspect the boat. Law enforcement officers found 14 bales that tested positive for cocaine. U.S. Border Patrol agents confiscate $7.4 million in narcotics, arrest 3 suspects Coast Guard officers captured three suspects as they tried to swim away. Berni didn’t release the names of the second group of suspects either, saying only they were from Peru, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. After receiving information from Colombian authorities, the Costa Rican Coast Guard arrested three suspects and seized 500 kilograms of cocaine from a fishing boat on December 8. Argentine police dismantle international narco-trafficking ring The Vandegrift is a frigate named in honor of General Alexander Vandegrift, a Medal-of-Honor recipient who led Marines in the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II and later served as the 18th commandant of the United States Marine Corps. However, frigates are being gradually replaced by faster and more maneuverable ships that can patrol in shallower waters. Asprilla, who played professional soccer between 1988 and 2004, led the Colombian national team to an appearance at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, the 1994 and 1998 World Cup, and third-place finishes at the 1993 and 1995 Americas Cups. U.S. military authorities did not immediately disclose whether they made any arrests during either interdiction. At-sea interdictions are highly coordinated, with the security forces of the participating countries partnering to identify, stop, and search suspicious vessels. At the outset of the operation, police arrested five Bolivian nationals, including a woman who is the suspected leader of the drug trafficking group. Though Berni didn’t immediately disclose when and where the captures occurred, he told reporters those arrests led to “30 searches in different places in the metro area of the federal capital, resulting in the seizure of 235 kilos of cocaine of maximum purity.” In addition to participating in Operation MARTILLO, a multinational mission to crack down on illicit drug trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus, the USS Vandegrift was also involved in community relations projects in Panama City, Panama. For example, 36 of its crew members helped construct a workshop for the visually impaired, helped fix the building for an outreach group and participated with the “Aid for AIDS” community, according to the Navy. The USS Vandegrift’s last reported interdiction occurred on November 20, when it teamed with a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) to seize 907 kilograms of cocaine from a small vessel off Central America’s Pacific Coast. Vandegrift crew members spotted the suspicious vessel and deployed a helicopter and a LEDET to stop and inspect the boat. Law enforcement officers found 14 bales that tested positive for cocaine. Police started investigating the ring in 2013, after Argentinian police arrested a Spain-bound drug mule with a kilogram of cocaine in his body at Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires. Colombian soccer legend Faustino Asprillaand his family have fled from their home in Tuluá after receiving death threats from Los Rastrojos, one of the country’s most feared narco-trafficking groups. The 30-year-old ship’s final deployment was highly successful, as its crew seized nearly 9,100 kilograms of cocaine off the Central American coast since May 9, according to the U.S. Navy. Los Rastrojos originated in Tuluá, a major industrial and commercial center in the department of Valle del Cauca. Colombian National Police and the Armed Forces have weakened the organized crime group in recent years by capturing or killing several of its leaders; meanwhile, Los Rastrojos is also engaged in a violent turf war with another drug trafficking group, the Úsuga Clan. USS Vandegrift decommissioned after seizing nearly 9,100 kilograms of cocaine After a seven-month deployment in the Central American isthmus in support of Operaton MARTILLO, the USS Vandegrift will return to its home port in San Diego on December 12 for decommissioning. In addition to participating in Operation MARTILLO, a multinational mission to crack down on illicit drug trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus, the USS Vandegrift was also involved in community relations projects in Panama City, Panama. For example, 36 of its crew members helped construct a workshop for the visually impaired, helped fix the building for an outreach group and participated with the “Aid for AIDS” community, according to the Navy. last_img read more

Snodgrass facing six-month lay-off

first_img Press Association Hull midfielder Robert Snodgrass has been ruled out for six months with a dislocated kneecap. Tigers manager Steve Bruce revealed the extent of the injury ahead of the club’s Europa League qualifier against Lokeren in Belgium on Thursday, a club spokesman confirmed. And it could get worse for Snodgrass who is due to undergo scans to investigate possible ligament damage. center_img Snodgrass was one of Bruce’s big summer signings, joining from Norwich for £7million. The 26-year-old pulled up with a suspected twisted knee in the first half of his side’s 1-0 Barclays Premier League win at QPR on Saturday. Snodgrass wrote on Twitter: “Gutted ….!!! But I will work as hard as I can to come back fitter and stronger.” last_img read more

No Pakistan player to be part of Asia XI in Bangladesh T20s: BCCI

first_imgNew Delhi: The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is set to celebrate the birth centenary of ‘Bongobondhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founder of Bangladesh, by hosting two T20 matches in March between the Asia XI and the World XI. While the ICC is said to have given the games official status, looking at the current situation between India and Pakistan, one would think that it will come to either India or Pakistan players when it comes to filling the XI names in the Asia XI team sheet.Speaking to IANS, BCCI Joint Secretary Jayesh George though has made it clear that such a scenario where both India and Pakistan players play in the Asia XI wouldn’t arise because the message is that there will be no Pakistan players invited.”What we are aware of is that there will be no Pakistan players in the Asia XI. That is what the message is, so, there is no question of both countries coming together or picking one over the other. Sourav Ganguly will decide the five players who will be a part of the Asia XI,” he said.Things have gone from bad to worse in recent times with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ehsan Mani looking to take a dig at the Indian government and saying that the security situation in India is worse than in Pakistan and teams should ideally be happy to play in Pakistan.”We have proved Pakistan is safe, if someone isn’t coming then they should prove that it’s unsafe. At this time, India is a far greater security risk than Pakistan.”No one should now doubt security arrangements in Pakistan after successful Sri Lanka Test series. This is a turning point for revival of Test cricket in Pakistan. Media and fans played an important role in portraying positive image of Pakistan worldwide,” Mani had said.In fact, former Pakistan skipper Rashid Latif took the battle further when he dismissed BCCI President Sourav Ganguly’s idea of a 4-nation series, calling it a “flop” plan.”By playing such a series, these four countries want to isolate the other member nations, which is not good news. But I think this will be a flop idea like the Big Three model, which was introduced a few years back,” Latif said in a YouTube video.Clearly these things will be kept in mind when Ganguly does sit with his team to decide on the plan of sending players for the BCB organised matches. IANSAlso Read: Selectors’ tenure over, says BCCI chief Sourav GangulyAlso Watch: Special NIA Court sent KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi to 14 days Judicial Custodylast_img read more

Golf playoff leaves fans wanting more

first_imgWhen I first heard about the idea for a playoff system for the PGA tour, I pulled a Jim Mora: “PLAYOFFS?!?!? PLAYOFFS!!””It’s not that I’m a traditionalist when it comes to sports. I welcome change when it is necessary, sensible, and adds to the overall enjoyment of the sport. Major League Baseball adding a wild card: love it for the excitement it brings to the end of the season. Overexpansion by pro sports leagues: hate it for the diminishing talent level and quality of games that comes from it. Golf “playoffs?” It just doesn’t make sense to me. I know the idea was partially born out of a desire to draw bigger television audiences for the fall tournaments, but seriously, how many people do you think will flip the channel past football on two channels to watch a golf tournament? People I know who like golf more than most won’t even make that switch.But I can deal with an enthusiastic effort by the PGA to try to grow its brand. What I can’t deal with is how misguided the system it chose to use for the playoff is.The system is so flawed that two of the world’s best golfers, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, have chosen not to play in events during the FedEx Cup, and both are in position to win the whole thing anyway because they entered the playoff run with a lot of “points” built up throughout the season. Worse yet, come Sunday, there is a very real possibility that someone will win the final tournament of the playoffs and not win the overall championship. How does that make any sense?It doesn’t, and in the interest of helping PGA commissioner Tim Finchem revamp the system, here’s one armchair caddy’s ideas to change for the better and really make the PGA playoffs work.Eliminate points for the playoffsI’m fine with having a points system during the regular season to help set the field for the playoffs. It makes sense that the players who accumulate the most points over the course of the season, whether by having moderate, sustained success in many events, or great success in fewer events (Tiger Woods), should be included in the championship chase.What I really don’t think works is having those points carry over into the playoffs. Once you are in the playoff field, should your championship prospects be directly tied to whether you finished 36th or 37th in a tournament in April? Golfers who enter the playoffs near the bottom of the pecking order need to place much better than golfers near the top of the list just to stick around. No other sport does this. Last year, the St. Louis Cardinals weren’t at an inherent, competitive disadvantage in the playoffs because they only had won 82 games in the regular season. They may have been slated to play tougher teams, but they didn’t have to sweep a series to advance. That is what low-tier FedEx Cup qualifiers are being asked to do.Instead, the PGA could wipe the point slate clean at the start of the playoffs and run a four-tournament, 16-round aggregate score postseason. This way, the best, most consistent golfers are in the field, and it becomes mandatory for all golfers to compete in all tournaments. The Tour could still pare down the field by cutting after two weeks and again after the third. This would build drama into each week while still keeping the structure similar to what it is now.Mega match playAnother option would be to take points earned during the first part of the season and rank players based on those totals. Take the top 144 players and set up a big match play tree. There are really no negatives to this. Match play is the most exciting golf to watch, with more strategy and hole-by-hole drama than regular stroke play. It would allow existing or budding one-on-one rivalries to emerge and more storylines to develop — both great things for the PGA. Add to thisthe fact that it would give the American sports fan another opportunity to engage in his favorite past-time, filling out the playoff bracket (for entertainment purposes only, of course). The PGA could brand it as the September Showdown, or something similar, and pump a lot of hype into it. Throw in some first round upsets that are destined to happen, and you have an event that could conceivably compete for a part of the NFL audience. Once you got down to the final few rounds, you could have the primetime match play matchups that the PGA tried to build up years ago with those made-for-TV events featuring Woods and some other marquee golfers. This time, though, it would actually matter.So there you have it. The PGA could have a winner-take-all tournament set up for this weekend that could draw part of the Sunday afternoon TV audience and get some attention during the week from the sports fan public. Instead, it has an event where a fifth-place finisher could coast through the finishing holes and end up cashing in on a $10 million FedEx Cup Championship prize. Kind of a letdown.Ben is a junior majoring in journalism and political science. Send him your thoughts on the FedEx Cup at [email protected]last_img read more