Houdini was one of seven children: According to the censusthe family lived on Appleton Street.
Their mission, here in Guatemala's wild north: Blow up dozens of clandestine airstrips used by planes laden with Colombian cocaine. Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that 70 percent of the cocaine that ends up in the United States passes through Central America. Guatemala's sparsely inhabited Peten region is the last stop before the drugs cross into Mexico on their way north.
It is here that Guatemalan drug-trafficking organizations serve as a link between their Mexican and Colombian counterparts, unloading and splitting up tons of cocaine into smaller shipments that can be transported more easily by land.
It is an efficient operation, say army officials in Guatemala's Interinstitutional Northern Task Force: Soldiers based at Campo Xan, 18 miles south of the Mexican border, have discovered at least 45 abandoned airplanes scattered over 18 clandestine airstrips.
Mark Wilkins, the senior U. Moreover, Interior Minister Carlos Vielman acknowledges that most government institutions are infiltrated by organized crime. The drug-fighting police have been at the center of scandals ranging from the theft of a ton of cocaine from its warehouse in to the arrest five months ago of its chief on drug-trafficking charges.
But the onslaught against the airstrips appears to be working. But for the past three months, no flight has been spotted, the Guatemalan army said.
Runways cratered The Guatemalan government took the initiative to go back into the region, and now is "working closely with the United States," said Deputy Interior Minister Julio Godoy.
The army sends 40 to 80 Soldiers from Campo Xan to an airstrip that is to be seeded with explosives, making craters to impede landings.
But the military has to contend with antiquated equipment -- the tanks are Ms from the mids -- as well as farmers who seem in some cases to be allied with the drug traffickers. Thousands of farmers have established 37 squatter communities in a nature reserve near the Mexican border and have blazed a mile trail for drug shipments as well as illegal aliens, officials say.
Vielman said the traffickers have enlisted the land invaders "as a buffer to maintain the areas clear. Fearing repercussions, task-force officers use aliases. In the squatter village of El Sacrificio, The Sacrificecommunity members seem eager to talk about the many migrants who pass through the area, but they are mute on the subject of drug traffickers.
Vielman said the authorities worry that Guatemala will go from being a transit country for drugs to being another place where coca is grown. We have to prevent it. Before becoming a self-absorbed nostalgia-monger, Kibbey was a crewman on the problem-prone, eventually vindicated then sadly and wrongly retired M Sheridan light tank whose demise his weak ego depended on for self-importance.
After Vietnam, the Army went back to non-warfighting mode as it will after Iraq is done. The 3rd ID is going back to Iraq and we had to fight to get them their shields since the current Army leadership would rather waste billions on handfuls of Stryker trucks deathtraps than on war-winning TAFVs.
A demanding, driven platoon leader, he worked his troops hard and brooked no excuses. Smith was killed by enemy fire in Iraq nearly two years ago. His tenacity, passion and bravery have earned him the nation's highest award for courage in combat, the Medal of Honor.
Smith's family was informed of the decision Tuesday by an Army officer close to the process. The medal is to be presented to Smith's widow, Birgit, by President Bush at a ceremony in Washington.
No date has been set. Birgit Smith said she was asked by Pentagon officials late Tuesday not to discuss the award until it is announced formally.
That was expected to happen within days. Millions of Americans have served in combat since the Civil War, but the medal has been awarded just 3, times after being created inaccording to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.In late , Castro rescinds the use of the American dollar in Cuba for future transactions, citing increased restrictions made by the Bush administration to limit money sent to Cuban families from American relatives.
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