ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — From alleged drug trafficking and a murder cover-up to weapons transfers to Islamic militants, a convicted crime ringleader has been dishing the dirt on members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party through a series of tell-all videos that have captivated the nation and turned him into an unlikely social media phenomenon.
Sedat Peker, a 49-year-old fugitive crime boss, who once openly supported Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, has been releasing nearly 90-minute long videos from his stated base in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, making scandalous but yet-unproven drip-by-drip allegations, in an apparent bid to settle scores with political figures.
The weekly YouTube videos have been viewed more than 75 million times, causing an uproar, heightening concerns over Turkish state corruption and putting officials on the defensive. They have also exposed alleged rifts between rival factions within the ruling party and added to Erdogan’s troubles as he battles an economic downturn and the coronavirus pandemic.
- A DEA report on drugs and drug trafficking details what the agency calls cartel influence in the US.
- Security experts and cartel operatives in Mexico dispute the DEA’s depiction.
- They say the links are more tenuous than how the DEA describes them.
CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico — The US Drug Enforcement Administration recently released its annual National Drug Threat Assessment, in which it maps out the states where Mexican drug cartels have gained “influence.”
When they were asked about that depiction of cartel presence in the US, security experts and cartel sources told Insider “it’s bulls—.”
The DEA’s report said Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) “maintain great influence” in most US states, with the Sinaloa cartel and the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación showing the “biggest signs of expansion.”
They’ve used complex schemes to disguise millions in drug proceeds, making them seem to be legitimate transactions, according to law enforcement sources and court files.
A Chinese money-launderer was about to pick up Mexican drug-cartel cash in Chicago, federal authorities say, when his plans suddenly changed.
They say the suspected launderer got a call from a man he thought was a Mexican money courier who told him they needed to change their meeting place because he’d spotted a cop.
“You Asian, I’m Mexican — not a good look,” the courier said in the 2017 phone call, court records show.
In Southern Italy, a herculean effort is underway to bring down a crime syndicate that’s less famous, but more powerful than the Cosa Nostra. Seth Doane reports for 60 Minutes+, now streaming on Paramount+.
It may not look like “The Godfather” or “Goodfellas,” but Southern Italy is in the grips of a crime syndicate much bigger than the Cosa Nostra, the inspiration for those movies. It’s called the ‘Ndrangheta and its members keep a much lower profile while controlling an estimated 50% to 80% of Europe’s cocaine trade.
That more modest lifestyle was on display when 60 Minutes+ went with law enforcement into the forest in Calabria, a region the ‘Ndrangheta has in a stranglehold. Members of an elite hybrid military-police force called the Cacciatori – which in Italian translates to, “the hunters”- showed Seth Doane a small hideout covered in earth that blended into the side of a mountain. An ‘Ndrangheta member on the run had been captured there while making his morning coffee.
Considering how many involve law enforcement corruption, true crime stories suggest that without accountability cops can’t be trusted to behave properly in obtaining confessions, charging individuals, or admitting to their mistakes regarding unjust convictions. The Night Caller is both a sprawling serial-killer mystery and a saga about legal exoneration. Yet by its conclusion, it primarily proves to be another infuriating non-fiction portrait of police malfeasance and—worse still—unwillingness to own up to, and correct, their own wrongdoing.
Writer/director Thomas Meadmore’s four-part Sundance Now docuseries (premiering Jan. 19) takes place in the Western Suburbs of Perth, Australia, an affluent enclave that, in the ‘50s and ‘60s, offered residents a comfortable, carefree and safe life in which they were free to leave their doors and windows unlocked and to sleep on their verandas during the hot summer months. Those good times came to a crashing halt, however, in 1959, with the brutal murder of single mother Pnina Berkman in her bedroom. When her boyfriend Fotis Fountas promptly fled the country for his native Greece, authorities assumed he was the culprit. Nine months later, though, another similar slaying took place in Perth: that of 22-year-old chocolate empire heiress Jillian Brewer, who was savagely slain in her bed with a tomahawk and a pair of scissors.