GUATEMALA CITY – Law enforcement agents confiscated a small jet, 150 assault rifles and about US$63,000 in cash during a series of counter-narcotics operations in the northern department of Alta Verapaz on Dec. 21, Donald González, a police spokesman, said. Agents also apprehended 10 suspected members of the Los Zetas, a Mexico-based drug cartel, since President Álvaro Colom ordered a 30-day state of siege in Alta Verapaz on Dec. 18 in an attempt to stop Los Zetas from terrorizing the population. Police discovered $300,000 quetzales (US$37,735) in cash inside a small plane impounded at the airport in Cobán, and an additional $200,000 quetzales ($25,157) during a search at a residence, González said. Interior Minister Carlos Menocal said the government’s goal in declaring the siege is “to restore governability, attack and dismantle the organized crime structures established in Alta Verapaz,” according to EFE. Defense Minister Abraham Valenzuela said the army is considering establishing a counter-narcotics base in the department. Colom ordered the seizure after investigators concluded Los Zetas had hired hitmen to “take control” of Alta Verapaz more than a year ago, Ronaldo Robles, Colom’s spokesman, said on Dec. 19, according to EFE. The government’s move suspends some constitutional rights and enables law enforcement officials to arrest “anyone suspected of conspiring against the state” without a warrant, according to a statement. By Dialogo December 22, 2010 Colombia: Police seize 202 kilograms of cocaine Honduras: Authorities find 500 kilograms of cocaine in plane BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Three members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), including a squad leader, were killed in a gunfight with the army in the department of Arauca, a military spokesman said. The FARC member who died was second-in-command of the FARC’s Julio Mario Tavera squad based in Arauca, which is on the Venezuelan border, according to the Colombian daily El Espectador. A female FARC member was injured in the firefight and was transported to a regional hospital near the city of Arauquita, where she was treated for non-life-threatening wounds. The army confiscated guns, bullets, communications equipment and documents after the fighting ceased, according to EFE. The FARC commander who died in the firefight was one of the FARC’s highest-ranking leaders since its chief, Jorge Briceño, who went by the alias “Mono Jojoy,” was killed during a bombing of a FARC camp in the department of Meta on Sept. 22. TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Honduran Police and U.S. counter-narcotics agents raided a plane containing 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds) of cocaine in the jungle along the border with Nicaragua, Oscar Álvarez, Honduras’ minister of security said. The plane landed last week on a hidden airstrip on the outskirts of Awas Bila, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) northeast of the nation’s capital. “We discovered it when several unknown men unloaded the drugs from the plane, and when they saw us they fled,” Álvarez said to the Guatemalan website El Periódico. No arrests were made, but Álvarez said agents seized a truck, fragmentation grenades and a chainsaw, according to the Venezuelan website El Tiempo. Honduran officials said more than 1,000 tons of cocaine pass annually through the Central American nation from Colombia en route to the United States. Colombia: 3 FARC rebels die in firefight Colom said his country does not have enough police or military personnel to extend operations into neighboring departments but wants to increase the army’s size from 17,000 to 21,000 troops in 2011, according to EFE. BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Police seized 202 kilograms (445 pounds) of cocaine found in two stolen cars traveling from the department of Valle del Cauca to the nation’s capital, officials said. The narcotic, which was expected to be shipped to Mexico, is suspected of belonging to a syndicate allegedly headed by Diego Pérez Henao, according to the Criminal Investigation Department. Pérez Henao, who goes by the alias “Diego Rastrojo,” is suspected of operating several narcotics laboratories in the Andean nation, according to the department. “The vehicles carrying false plates were stolen on November 13 in Bogotá,” the department said in a statement.
The 7th grade St. Louis Lady Cardinals beat Mt. Carmel 31 to 28 Thursday January 22nd.All the girls played very well and contributed to the first win of the season.Courtesy of Cardinals Coach Laura Grote.The St. Louis 8th grade girls had their first game of the season. Although we weren’t able to pull off the win they played a great game against the Mt. Carmel Vikings.Offensively buckets fell from the following Harlee Masavage with 10, Sydney Schutte with 6, Grace Laudick with 4, and both Molly Wachsmann and GiGi Dreyer had 1 each. Defensively Molly Wachsmann was not only pulling down rebounds but able to execute the press with a steal several times. GiGi and Sydney were pulling down rebounds for both offense and defense. Mindy Eckstein and Harlee Masavage did a great job on defense. Good game ladies.Courtesy of Cardinals Coach Erin Trenkamp.
The Badgers have been pretty consistent over the last month, just not in a great way.For the fourth consecutive weekend, the UW volleyball team came away splitting two matches with one win and one loss. Wisconsin took down the Iowa Buckeyes easily, 30-20, 30-28, 30-23, on Friday night; however, the Minnesota Golden Gophers got revenge in beating the Badgers 21-30, 30-24, 30-19, 31-29 the next night.”We were pretty pleased with our match at Iowa,” UW head coach Pete Waite said. “I thought we played a solid game, we took their players out of their system better than we did when they played here, so we were pretty happy with that.”Against Minnesota, we played a great first game. We did everything we were trying to do offensively, we were … playing with a lot of confidence,” Waite continued. “After that, Minnesota came out and made some changes, and we weren’t able to adjust. It’s something we have got to be better at.”Wisconsin was tied with the Gophers at 20 in the second game, and at 29 in the fourth, but was unable to come up with enough points at the end to get the road victory.”There’s just a few things that we’re not quite capitalizing on in critical times, that we just have to do to get those wins,” Waite said.Doubled up: Wisconsin has kept a balanced attack all season, as five Badgers continue to average over 2.3 kills per game.However, redshirt freshman Audra Jeffers is beginning to look more and more like the centerpiece of the UW offense. Jeffers, following a 17-kill performance at Minnesota, has hit double-digit kills in her last 11 matches to reach a team-high 3.48 kills a game.”Audra’s doing a great job, our setters have been learning to get her the ball in better situations,” Waite said. “Physically, she’s capable of doing some great things against any team in the conference.”On the defensive side, sophomore libero Jocelyn Wack is just seven matches away from setting a record for consecutive double-digit dig matches. With 26 digs against Minnesota and 22 at Iowa, Wack has 56 straight matches with at least 10 digs. Griselle Lopez-Pereira of Virginia Commonwealth has the current record, with her streak ending at 63 on Sept. 2.So long, seniors: This weekend marks the last regular-season home matches for Wisconsin’s two seniors, Aubrey Meierotto and Sheila Shaw.”They’ve both been great,” Waite said. “The last two years, we’ve been a pretty young team, and they’ve been leaders all the time for us.”Meierotto is a fifth-year senior, who redshirted her freshman year to take care of knee problems. Fighting through illness this year, Meierotto has managed to put down just under three kills per game played.”She’s just put up some great numbers for us, and been tough as a leader,” Waite said. “It’s unfortunate she had pneumonia this year, it was a bit of a bump in the road for her, but she’s been fantastic.”Shaw was honored as a member of the 2004 All-Big Ten squad last year, and has contributed 2.77 kills and 1.53 blocks per game with a .303 hitting percentage in 2005.”Sheila, from the beginning, started in the middle as an undersized middle blocker in the Big Ten, and her physical abilities just had her standing out all the time,” Waite said.Stretch run: With just four matches left, Wisconsin (19-6, 11-5 Big Ten) remains very much in the hunt for second place in the conference, currently in a three-way tie for the spot with Minnesota and the Ohio State Buckeyes.”We’ve been lucky that with the conference standings, [teams] are beating up on each other,” Waite said. “Purdue just went to Ohio State and lost to them, and we beat Ohio State both times we played them.”The team that’s playing spoiler right now is Northwestern,” Waite added. “They’ve gone out and beaten a couple of the ranked teams and have really shaken up the standings. [Next week] we have to go to their place and play, and hopefully we’ll take care of business there.”Wisconsin has played a lot of volleyball against their upcoming contenders. The Badgers beat the Michigan State Spartans and lost to the Michigan Wolverines in mid-October. Both matches went the five-game distance.Waite knows if his team wants to go after home court matches in the playoffs, it will be imperative to get some wins over the final two weekends of the regular season.”You never know, sometimes the NCAA surprises you,” he said. “But if we do finish out 4-0, we should finish second in the Big Ten. With our attendance figures, everything should come together for us.”
Entering game one of the 2013 season, a lot of questions remained unanswered for the new-look Wisconsin football team. But even after a 45-point shellacking of a mediocre-at-best UMass team, questions still remain when it comes to the Wisconsin offense.First, what was answered: Joel Stave started at quarterback putting at least a temporary end to the constant wondering of who would lead the Wisconsin attack. The piece-meal offensive line held up wonderfully, giving Stave all the time in the world – granted it was against a team out of the Midwestern Athletic Conference that won all of one game last season. And finally, Wisconsin’s running game is still as potent as ever with the two-headed monster of Melvin Gordon and James white – and even the emergence of true-freshman Corey Clement.Now the questions I am still left asking after Saturday’s performance. Will Stave be the long-term solution under center after an inaccurate showing in the season opener? Who will step up next to Jared Abbrederis as Wisconsin’s second option at wide receiver?First, to look at Stave’s performance in his seventh career start. While the redshirt sophomore did light up the field with a couple of bombs to Abbrederis, I don’t think fans should be too comforted by his performance against the Minutemen.After an impressive first drive that ended in a Stave rushing touchdown the offense had a hard time moving up and down the field until the waning minutes of the first half. You know it is bad when the most exciting thing for a majority of the first 30 minutes is the slow motion wave started by the student section. Ultimately, Melvin Gordon woke up the Camp Randall crowd with his 70-yard rushing touchdown, proving the offense will continue to live and die by the running game.The Greenfield, Wisconsin native looked largely inaccurate under throwing his receivers and appearing hesitant in the pocket. The interception he threw early in the first quarter was nowhere near his intended target and the first touchdown he slung to Abbrederis to start the second half could have easily been knocked away or possibly intercepted if not for an untimely fall by UMass cornerback Trey Dudley-Giles. Even Stave’s second touchdown pass was underthrown to Abbrederis who was able to go up and get it and then break a tackle to daylight.But to put all of the blame on the quarterback would be unfair. Stave was getting virtually no help from his receiving core beyond Abbrederis which brings me to my biggest concern for the Wisconsin offense: will anyone be able to consistently produce a threat at the No. 2 wideout position?All offseason the coaches have been stressing the importance of somebody stepping up to help out Abbrederis downfield. And all offseason no single name of an emerging second receiver was ever produced.Saturday’s performance confirmed the lack of options Wisconsin has in its passing attack. The receivers struggled to get separation the entire game as not a single pass catcher was able to garner more than two receptions against the Minutemen.In typical UW fashion it was the tightends and fullbacks who led the way in the passing game – with the exception of Abbrederis of course – snagging half of the Badgers’ 10 pass completions. Even the normally rock steady Jacob Pedersen dropped a couple of balls but that is something the senior will undoubtedly have cleared up come time to lace up for Tennessee Tech.Wisconsin has shown in the past that it can succeed with tightends bearing a majority of the workload in the passing attack but it will be difficult to compete with the elite teams in the Big Ten without somebody else out wide that can present some sort of a threat.Perhaps JUCO transfer Tanner McEvoy – who has gone from potential starting quarterback in the summer to taking snaps at receiver this fall and had a couple snaps out wide in the fourth quarter – can make a monumental rise to the top of the depth chart and put all of these concerns to rest. But don’t hold your breath.I know it seems incredibly harsh to harp on the offense after such a huge victory in just the first game of the season but you have to be conscious of who the opponent was and know a lot of the plays that were made against UMass won’t be there against a majority of the Big Ten teams Wisconsin will face this season.There is no doubt the offense, specifically Stave and the receivers, looked worlds better in the second half, appearing much more comfortable as the game went on. There is a good chance that had to do with simply shaking the rust off from offseason and adjusting to Stave being the starter after flip-flopping between him and Phillips all of camp.The season opener gave plenty of material to give hope for Wisconsin’s 2013 campaign but more passing options need to present themselves as the season goes on, otherwise teams will begin to stack the box and make life difficult on the rushers and taking away the Badgers’ No. 1 plan of attack. Then there will be even bigger questions left to answer.