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How not to smuggle cocaine out of Peru

Catching up with the news, your humble scribe comes across this story in The Graun (or if you prefer, the same story as reported by Peru national media in Spanish here) of one Michaella McCollum Connolly, a 20 year old nightclub hostess who was the centre of one of those internet search parties after going missing from Ibiza for 12 days, only to turn up arrested at Lima International Airport trying to smuggle 11kg of finest marching powder out of the country (oh wait, I'm supposed to put the word "allegedly" in there somewhere, but screw that) along with her 19 year old pal.

Ok, that's the backdrop and you can now bet that the two girls are going to spend a tedious few years locked up in the women's prison system in Peru, basically for being really freakin' stupid. Which brings me to the point of the post: IF YOU ARE REALLY SET ON SMUGGLING COCAINE OUT OF PERU, DON'T FLY OUT THE COUNTRY FROM ONE OF ITS AIRPORTS. First up, you know that "oh it's third world backward there they don't have a clue" thing you hear about Peru? Well, when it comes to its customs police force at airports, forget it. The sniffer dogs are highly trained and plentiful and it's unlikely you even get to immigration or the x-ray machines before you're stopped, searched, arrested and thrown in the can if you're carrying cocaine, because they'll get you in the queue at the check-in counter way before that happens. Second, they really like arresting cocaine mules at Lima airport because it makes for a great show and gives them the "look, we're doing something about this" argument. It's easy fodder for the police and they're good at it. They're no good at stopping coca leaf cultivation, crap at controlling the areas in which cocaine is produced and pathetic at stopping tonnes of the white stuff from leaving overland (esp thru the Brazil or Bolivia corridors), but a few kilos stopped from leaving the country via the easy way out? All good.

Therefore, if you're daft enough to be considering the risk/reward balance on this subject and read this post, stop right now. Do not try to smuggle cocaine out of Peru, period. Go do some honest work for low pay for a while and that way you'll get to stay the fuck out of some rather unpleasant jail cell on the outskirts of Lima. The way it's done properly requires large-scale bribery to the right hands and party political alliances, not some solo player chancing it. You are extremely unlikely to qualify on those counts.

A message for the incredibly open and transparent Tahoe Resources (TAHO) ( people that drop by this blog

This from Tahoe Resources (TAHO) confcall yesterday:

"We will comment on material news and events, but we will not and cannot address news headlines that are dead wrong and blogs that are nontransparent as to sources and are quite slanted, to put it as nicely as possible."
This from THO's NR dated May 1st
Tahoe's Guatemala security manager was detained by authorities on Tuesday due to the highly charged atmosphere and inaccurate press reports about Saturday's events. He has not been charged with any crimes, and the Company expects him to be released when the government investigation is complete.
And then there's this, also May 1st:
As for its security chief, Ira Gostin, Tahoe manager of investor relations, said in an interview Wednesday that Rotondo was detained by police at the airport, not arrested, and that he voluntarily turned himself into police.“He was not fleeing,” Gostin said. “He was leaving the country on leave and once he found out that he was wanted for questioning he immediately turned himself in.”Still, that Rotonda was looking to leave Guatemala a few days after a violent incident under his watch at Escobal was sure to raise questions about whether there was a link between the weekend violence and Rotondo trying to leave the country.Gostin said there was no such connection.“No - it is a coincidence,” he said.Gostin added, as context to the detainment, that “the reality is that Mr. Rotondo does not carry a weapon. He is not armed. He's the head of the (security) department. He is not a security guard per se.”
So far so good. Now this dated July 10th
The security management contractor, who is no longer engaged with the Company, was later charged with causing injuries and obstruction of justice. The Company continues to cooperate with Guatemala authorities and will comment further when appropriate.

And now compare the way in which Tahoe Resources likes to drip-feed the world its bullshit and the way in which it was reported at IKN, for example herehere and here. By way of an example...
"According to recorded audio evidence offered to the court trying his case on Monday, he ordered the guards under his control to "Kill those sons of bitches" (exact Spanish phrase used "Maten esos hijos de la gran puta") seconds before same guards shot the protesters outside. After the incident he also ordered his people to clean up any evidence of the shootings at the scene and is also accused of altering a police report on the incident."

Basic fact: If a company like this has to contradict itself in its own puff-pieces, you can be 100% sure there's a whole bunch of extra shit it's not revealing to the sheep-like investment community who still, after all these years and after being raped by two-faced scumball junior mining companies left right and centre sans cesse, tend to believe people when they're wearing suits and speaking in serious voices. Yes indeed, these are the people who look down their noses and give it the "ewwww, it's a bleerg" at places such as this tiny corner of cyberspace on any snippet of uncontrolled information they don't care to read.

White man speak with forked tongue.



Now that Gold Resource Corp (GORO) has posted its quarter...

...the main part of The IKN Weekly IKN223 will be an updated analysis on the stock and a decision on whether to cover our short position, let it ride further on a new downside price target, or even add some more to the short. 

All will be revealed Sunday. In the meantime, go check out the "interesting" numbers GORO posted for 2q13 right here and don't miss the company confcall tomorrow morning, it promises to be a hoot. Your humble scribe is sadly travelling when it's on, but is sure to catch up with the recording later.


Michael Jordan's top 50 plays

And to while away the hours and days until IKN cranks up again, watch this compilation.

LeBron should too, he'd then understand why he's never, ever going to be the best in history.


More on Lowell Copper's (JDL.v) Ricardo project (from IKN222)

This was out in the subscription Weekly last Sunday.

More Lowell Copper (JDL.v)
"Cowards die many times before their deaths,
The valiant never taste of death but once."
Julius Caesar, Act 2, Sc II, ll 32-37

On Thursday we again got a Q&A from David Lowell on his new Lowell Copper (JDL.v) vehicle and the thoughts behind the Ricardo property that the company has picked up, this time at Mineweb (13). This whole issue was treated in some detail in IKN219 last month (with some follow-up in IKN220) but apart from noting that it’s once again interesting to see the interview-shy Lowell doing the promo thing with media, it wasn’t a story that I had planned to cover any further for the time being. Until a mail was received on Friday. The mail came from somebody who remains anonymous, but it’s fair to say that he knows the property very well and due to that, he could give a lot more background as to how the Ricardo concession came to be.

In the early 1990s the theory behind the hunt for the “lost part of Chuqui” (see IKN219 and other places, including that Thursday Q&A) was already almost certainly well known to Lowell, because his partner on many of his academic papers, John Guilbert (including that famous 1970 paper that defined porphyry deposits forever, mainly thanks to a neat little sketch), was in close contact with people working the area including one Richard Baker (who had been posted as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Arizona at Guilbert’s behest). To lapse a little into geol-speak, Baker had mapped the West Fissure (the key structure to the Chuquicamata deposit.) for Anaconda in the 1960s and claimed to have recognized that Chuqui was faulted, with the other half lying south of Calama by virtue of the now (infamous) supposed “left-lateral slip”. The upshot to this theory is the idea that Ricardo hosts the “the other half” of Chuqui. And in fact, the name of the concession “Ricardo” comes from the name of the self-proclaimed theory generator behind it, Richard Baker.

It also turns out that Baker was not only a bit of a snake-in-the-grass, but a desperate one too who had recently shunned the bottle. Although supposedly contracted by the University of Arizona and in charge of Guilbert’s Chilean field program, he spent most of his time in Chile that year doing virtually no work related to the university project, living large, getting the Ricardo claim staked under his name, and then pitching the project to anyone that was interested, all on university money, including big-name companies such as Rio Tinto. In the end Rio Tinto didn’t bite, but it did give Baker a consulting contract and royally pissed off John Guilbert since Baker had done precious little work for the university while on its payroll, then quit. What happened then is that the VP Exploration for Codelco took out an option on Ricardo, but the story goes that Codelco was just as keen to stop other people exploring Ricardo and finding something in their own back yard. From that point, we already know from the list in IKN219 about the exploration and drilling programs that have gone on at Ricardo and have yielded very little by way of results. We need to note as well that although not disproven, there has never been general agreement about the “left-lateral slip” theory among those structural geologists that have studied the problem and that drilling up to now hasn’t done much to help its cause. As for Richard Baker, namesake behind the Ricardo project and the founder of a theory that has managed to entice enough large companies and smart geological teams into looking at the property without finding anything of worth, he was found dead in his room at the Park Hotel in Calama sometime later in the 1990’s. He left his recently married wife with a hefty credit-card debt to clear up, too.

Meanwhile, since trading started in JDL.v the stock has been pushed up to 90c and the low volumes traded make it clear that it’s tough to get any sort of position, with small players wanting a piece having to pay up. The result is that JDL.v now runs a market cap of $62.16m and that’s a lot considering our previous calculation on the value here, now updated:

  • Market Cap: $62.16m (69.57m S/O)
  • Working Cap: ~$11m
  • Goodwill (i.e. hope, or "Lowell's Brain" to be generous with the wording): $51m.

So yes, if the quasi-legendary “other bit” of Chuqui is found there’s an awful lot of percentage upside to today’s share price. But if it’s not, there’s a helluva lot of percentage downside in play, too. However, you’re less likely to hear about that from the Vancouver promo crew.


The IKN Weekly, out now

more about this here

IKN222 has just been sent to subscribers.

This blog will be quiet until Friday, as your humble scribe is travelling.

George Carlin

Don't worry about the subtitles, just watch and listen:

It's Carlin at the height of his considerable comic powers. Louis CK has commented in awe on this performance, noting that other lesser comedians would build up and place as a centrepoint gag the type of joke that Carlin uses at the very front of the show ("why...why...why..."). The first half hour of this HBO Special is just so strong, so good.