Francisco Rafael Arellano Félix , the eldest of seven brothers of the Tijuana cartel.
Francisco Rafael Arellano Félix, the eldest brother in Mexico's once-dominant Tijuana drug cartel, was shot to death by gunmen disguised as clowns at a children's party on Friday.
The 63-year-old drug lord was also known by the nicknames "El Pelón" (the baldie) or Menso, ("stupid/crazy"). He was assassinated by a man in a clown suit during a family gathering at an upscale resort in Cabo San Lucas, a popular tourist destination on the Baja California peninsula, state special investigations prosecutor Isai Arias told Associated Press on Saturday:
An official of the Baja California Sur state prosecutor's office told the AP that the costumes included a wig and a round red nose.
Read the rest
On the always-fascinating Expanding Mind podcast, Erik Davis and Maja D'Aoust interviewed Earth and Fire, the founders and directors of Erowid. If you don't know Erowid, it's the Internet's best resource for information about psychoactive substances. Founded in 1995, Erowid contains tens of thousands of documents ranging from scientific papers and FAQs to carefully-curated "experience reports" and legal info. The non-profit Erowid Center also co-sponsors and operates EcstasyData.org, a lab testing program that analyzes samples of street Ecstasy. All of this publicly-accessible, good data is especially important as a counter to the insanely misinformed media hype around "Molly." Expanding Mind: Erowid.org Today
From Adrian Chen's Gawker long-read
about that recent bust
of the web's biggest online illegal drug marketplace:
The lesson of the Silk Road takedown isn't that Ulbricht was sloppy about security. It's that the idea of a world famous, anonymous illegal market is fatally contradictory. Ullbricht made some technical mistakes, but his biggest one was conceptual: buying his own hype that high-tech tricks would let him implement a radical free market fundamentalism that could never work politically.
Read the whole piece
. Related: Chen's profile of Ross William Ulbricht
As more states pass medical marijuana laws, or legalize it outright, the TSA is heading for a don't-ask/don't-tell police on weed at airports. The official policy is to refer drug possession to local law, but where the law doesn't care, that's rather pointless.
Read the rest
What users who attempt to connect to the Silk Road marketplace see now (HT: Adrian Chen)
Looks like the government shutdown didn't stop federal agents from shutting down the most popular "deep web" illegal drug market. In San Francisco, federal prosecutors have indicted Ross William Ulbricht, who is said to be the founder of Silk Road. The internet marketplace allowed users around the world to buy and sell drugs like heroin, cocaine, and meth.
The government announced that it seized about 26,000 Bitcoins worth roughly USD$3.6 million, making this the largest Bitcoin bust in history. There were nearly 13,000 listings for controlled substances on the Silk Road site as of Sept. 23, 2013, according to the FBI, and the marketplace did roughly USD$1.2 billion in sales, yielding some $80 million in commissions.
According to the complaint, the service was also used to negotiate murder-for-hire: "not long ago, I had a clean hit done for $80k," the site's founder is alleged to have messaged an associate.
Ulbricht, 29, is also known as "Dread Pirate Roberts."
Read the rest
Sandro Lisi is a fixer for Toronto Mayor Rob "Laughable Bumblefuck" Ford -- the crack-smoking, racist, homophobic, distracted-driving, publicly drunken, ass-grabbing embarrassment who rules Toronto with a sloppy fist. On Tuesday, Toronto cops arrested Lisi for "marijuana trafficking, possession of the proceeds of crime, possession of marijuana and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence"; he was arrested with Jamshid Bahrami, charged with "possession of cocaine, three counts of trafficking in marijuana and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence."
Lisi reportedly boasted of selling drugs to the mayor, and he drives a black Range Rover acquired from an ex-drug-addict whom he reportedly supplied. Lisi, who has a history of arrests for violence against women, worked as a part-time driver and security guard for the mayor, and had been tasked by the mayor with seeking out the notorious video that showed the mayor smoking crack and uttering racial slurs about the kids on the football team he coached.
Read the rest
Today on a very special Diesel Sweeties webcomic installment, an important dialog for coffee-drinkers to practice with their faithless peers.
NO EXIT : diesel sweeties robot webcomic & geeky t-shirts
Lisa Rein sez "A first-ever Persian translation of any of Timothy Leary's writings is now
available. The text, a 'Declaration of
Evolution,' is a manifesto Leary wrote for the psychedelic generation,
modeled on the 1776 American 'Declaration of Independence." It is
presented in a bilingual (Persian and English) format.
"It was first published in Leary's The Politics of Ecstasy and reprinted in
the underground press, before being published separately in 1970 as a
pamphlet by the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, who later the same year
engineered Leary's prison escape by the Weather Underground. It has been
out-of-print since then."
Read the rest
Timothy Leary in 1961. (NYPL Manuscripts and Archives Division)
At Wired, Greg Miller writes about Timothy Leary's journey from scientist to "psychedelic celebrity", revealed in new detail by the release of his archives.
Leary may be best known for his role in the psychedelic movement of the ’60s, but in his later years, at the dawn of the internet age he became fascinated by the potential of technology to transform human communication (see the related gallery on video games and other software from Leary’s archives). He also became interested in life extension and space migration, which he discussed in an exchange of letters with astronomer Carl Sagan.
Leary’s main message – and another one of his famous slogans – was to get people to think for themselves and question authority, said Denis Berry, a trustee of his estate. It’s a message that’s still relevant today, Berry said. “Let’s get out of the rut we’re unconsciously following, and start thinking for ourselves and living the life we want to live.”
Pity the British establishment. Like their American counterparts, they keep insisting -- against all evidence -- that they're winning the war on drugs, that drugs are an unimaginable scourge and far worse than tobacco or booze, and that the real problem is that we're not jailing enough addicts for long enough. Despite this, well-informed, respected people continue to publicly state that the war on drugs is a public health, economic, and legal disaster. Last time, it was UK Drugs Czar David Nutt, who called banning marijuana and psychedelics "the worst case of scientific censorship since the Catholic Church banned the works of Copernicus and Galileo" and wrote an amazing book about the awful state of drug policy.
Now, Mike Barton, Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary, one of the UK's most senior police officers, has published an editorial in the Observer comparing the war on drugs to the American alcohol prohibition of the 1920s and 1930s. He calls for drugs to be legalised, so that their sale will no longer fund criminal gangs, and for the NHS to distribute drugs -- including Schedule A drugs (cocaine, morphine, mescaline, LSD, oxycodone, psilocybe mushrooms, and many others).
Read the rest
Perhaps you've heard tell of Krokodil, an injectable street-drug popular in Russia that causes your skin to go green and scaly and eventually to rot off all the way to the bone at injection sites, and gives its habitual users permanent slurred speech and jerky motions, earning it the nickname of the "zombie drug?" Phoenix poison-control centers now report that they're treating krokodil users, suggesting that the practice of using the drug recreationally is has begun to spread to American shores. A Google Image search for "krokodil" will supply you with ample nightmare fuel for years to come.
Read the rest
ProPublica has an in-depth story about the hidden dangers of over-the-counter drugs
, especially Tylenol. One of the key problems with Tylenol is that it doesn't take all that many extra pills to start experiencing harmful side effects. For instance, the maximum recommended daily dose is eight extra-strength tablets. Just two additional tablets a day, taken over a long period, can cause liver damage. All told, this isn't a massive risk — about 150 people die from Tylenol poisoning a year — but it does illustrate why you can't assume there are no risks, just because it's easy to buy something. — Maggie
If you enjoyed Monday's post about Bruce Alexander's addiction-research experiment "Rat Park" (where heroin addicted rats were given luxurious accomodation, social stimulus, and lots of diverting entertainment), you'll probably enjoy Stuart McMillen's 40-page comic about the experiment.
Rat Park drug experiment cartoon – Stuart McMillen comics
“It was springtime in Seattle, and I was a newcomer. One afternoon I found myself at the Seattle Center, taking in the sights. I was standing at the base of the Space Needle, when I spotted a familiar face. It was Tim Gazaway, a casual acquaintance from my hometown of Boise, Idaho.” — From Real Stuff #3 (Fantagraphics, May 1991).
Read the rest
This article from Garry Tan reminded me of the tremendous work of Bruce K Alexander, a psychology professor who retired from teaching at Simon Fraser University in 2005. I read Alexander's first book, Peaceful Measures: Canada's Way Out of the 'War on Drugs' when it was published in 1990, and it had a profound effect on my outlook and critical thinking about drugs and the way that drug addiction is reported and discussed.
Alexander is well known for his Rat Park experiment, which hypothesized that heroin-addicted lab rats were being driven to drugs by the emisseration of life in a tiny cage, tethered to a heroin-dispensing injection machine. Other experimenters had caged rats with heroin-injecting apparatus and concluded that the rats' compulsive use of the drug proved that their brains had been rewired by addiction ("A rat addicted to heroin is not rebelling against society, is not a victim of socioeconomic circumstances, is not a product of a dysfunctional family, and is not a criminal. The rat's behavior is simply controlled by the action of heroin (actually morphine, to which heroin is converted in the body) on its brain.").
Alexander's Rat Park was a rat's paradise -- spacious, with plenty of intellectual stimulus and other rats to play with. He moved heroin-addicted rats into the park and found that the compulsive behavior abated to the point of disappearance -- in other words, whatever "rewiring" had taken place could be unwired by the improvement of their living conditions.
Alexander's work appears in Drugs Without the Hot Air, one of the best books on drug policy I've ever read, written by former UK drugs czar David Nutt. Both men are scientists who make the case that the our drug policy is more the product of political grandstanding than scientific evidence.
Read the rest