Mexico: From Ecstasy to Agony in High-Profile Drug Bust

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Salina Cruz, Oaxaca

One ton of chemicals morphs into 15 tons.

Two or three containers become “at least 24” containers.

Industrial chemicals with a legitimate use become a Himalayan mountain range of “redneck cocaine.”

File under “journalistic jumping the gun” and “bumbling shows of efficiency”?

In any event, a further instance of the Rashomon effect — aka the “Fastow gambit” — in postmodern public beancounting.

Confiscan contenedores con pseudoefedrina en Oaxaca (Milenio, Mexico): A number of news sources reported yesterday that “pseudoephedrine has been seized from containers in Oaxaca.”

This was not, we now read, exactly the case. Far from it, really.

See also

The preliminary report:

Oaxaca, Oax.- Elementos de las Fuerzas federales y de la policía de Oaxaca aseguraron en el puerto petrolero de Salina Cruz que se ubica en la región del Istmo de Tehuantepec, al menos 24 contenedores que contienen seudoefredrina.

Military personnel and Oaxacan police seized at least 24 containers containing pseudoephedrine from the petroleum port of Salina Cruz in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

De acuerdo a las autoridades locales, el embarque provenía de China. Se reveló que en una primera muestra de mil 200 kilos se detectó el narcótico por lo que se realizó el aseguramiento.

According to local authorities, the ship came from China. It was revealed that in a first sample of 1,200 kilos the narcotic was detected, for which reason the seizure was effected.

La PGR dio a conocer que es el primer embarque ilícito que se registra en las costas oaxaqueñas.

The PGR announced this was the first illegal shipment recorded on the coast of Oaxaca.

These are the same local authorities who reported to the world press that Brad Will had been shot in the back at close range, not from the front from a distance of thirty meters. See

The anticlimax:

México, DF. Después de revisar los dos contenedores incautados este jueves en la Terminal Marítima de Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, la Procuraduría General de la República informó que no se trata de seudoefedrina la sustancia incautada.

After searching the two containers interdicted this Thursday at the Maritime Terminal in Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, the PGR reported that the substance seized was not pseudoephedrine.

 

Notice how Milenio‘s “at least 24” becomes “two.”

David Sasaki: “Fear and misinformation abound!”

En un comunicado, la PGR informó que con el apoyo de elementos del Ejército y Armada de México, revisaron los contenedores que habían marcado positivo a la inspección realizada por el binomio canino y determinaron que no se trataba de pseudoefedrina, un precursor químico para la metanfetamina.

In a press release, the PGR stated that with the supported of Army and Navy troops it had searched the containers that had tested positive during a search with a drug-detecting dog team and found that the chemical was not pseudoephedrine, a chemical precursor to methamphetamine.

Maybe they should have waited for the final test results before blasting the story all over the Televisa network.

Which has yet to correct the story, as far as I can see.

Las pruebas químicas realizadas por los peritos de la Procuraduría General de la República, más las efectuadas con scanners y pruebas de sitio por las demás instituciones, establecieron que se trataba de un producto utilizado en la industria textil.

The chemical tests conducted by PGR experts, as well as those conducted with scanners and onsite inspections by the other institutions, established that this was a product used in the textile industry.

Por la mañana, de acuerdo a información proporcionada por un funcionario de la Administración Portuaria Integral (API) del puerto de Salina Cruz, quien pidió manter su identidad en el anonimato, dijo “al parecer se habían revisado tres de los contenedores y se encontraron unas cinco toneladas de una sustancia química”.

In the morning, according to an employee of the Salina Cruz port authority, who asked not to be named, “It seems they searched three of the containers and found some five tons of a chemical substance.”

Otras versiones señalaban que en total se localizaron 1.2 toneladas y no 15 como trascendió por la mañana.

Other versions of the story had it that 1.2 tons had been found, not 15, as had been widely reported in the morning.

El supuesto aseguramiento de la droga fue realizado alrededor de las 11:00 horas.

The supposed “seizure” of drugs was carried out at around 11 am.

It seems that either the PGR contradicted itself or else Milenio was engaged in the same sort of leak-journalism fallacy whereby the Folha de S. Paulo leaked all over its own shoes here in Brazil last week: that the leaker (Edmilson “Bruno Surfistinha” Bruno, say) speaks for the institution.

And knows what the hell he or she is talking about.

See

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