World briefs – August 19

Federal officials said Thursday they’ve busted a drug trafficking ring involving Mexico’s most powerful cartel and members of an Iraqi immigrant community in the U.S. who were caught selling illegal drugs, assault rifles, grenades and homemade explosives.

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U.S. busts Iraqi-Mexican drug, gun ring

SAN DIEGO — Federal officials said Thursday they’ve busted a drug trafficking ring involving Mexico’s most powerful cartel and members of an Iraqi immigrant community in the U.S. who were caught selling illegal drugs, assault rifles, grenades and homemade explosives.

About 60 people from the Iraqi community were arrested after a six-month investigation carried out by the Drug Enforcement Administration and police in the city of El Cajon, a working-class city east of San Diego.

Many of the suspects are Iraqi Chaldeans — Christians who fled their homeland amid threats from al-Qaida and other extremists. Police say at least some of those arrested are suspected of being affiliated with the Chaldean Organized Crime Syndicate, an Iraqi gang based in Detroit.

Authorities say the suspects were working out of an Iraqi social club in El Cajon and shipping drugs supplied by Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel to Detroit, home to the largest Chaldean population in the United States, according to the federal indictment unsealed Thursday. El Cajon has the second largest Chaldean population.

Officials were tipped off after neighbours and even some of the club members’ spouses complained for years about the establishment’s criminal activity, including attempted murder, sales of meth and marijuana, gambling and illegal firearms sales.

Authorities seized 18 pounds of methamphetamine, narcotics, cocaine and other drugs; more than 3,500 pounds of marijuana; $630,000 in cash; and more than 30 guns.


BP investigating new sheen in Gulf of Mexico

LONDON — Oil giant BP has been investigating a new sheen in the Gulf of Mexico with a remote-controlled mini-sub but says there is no immediate indication it was the result of a new oil spill.

A catastrophic April 2010 explosion at BP’s Macondo well in the Gulf killed 11 men and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, although BP’s description of the site of the new sheen and a statement from a U.S. official seemed to indicate that the discovery wasn’t near where the Macondo well blew up.

A sheen is a shiny coating that floats on the surface of the water, and could come from leaked or spilled oil. BP did not make clear what the source of the sheen was, but told The Associated Press it was not found near “any existing BP operations.”


U.K. police make 13th arrest in hacking scandal

LONDON — British police made their 13th arrest Thursday in the country’s tabloid phone hacking scandal, while an actress and her ex-soccer player husband announced they had agreed to a settlement in a hacking case against the now-shuttered News of The World tabloid.

Britain’s phone hacking scandal — where journalists broke into the voice mails of royals, movie stars, top athletes, politicians and even teenage murder victims — has shaken Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. media empire and forced the resignations of top people in Britain’s government, police and media. It also prompted Murdoch to shut down the 168-year-old tabloid.

Police in London confirmed a 38-year-old man, who they declined to name, was arrested at a London police station after he arrived voluntarily Thursday. He was later released on bail.