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Top Ten Cities for arresting Americans


The top 10 cities where Americans were arrested and the number taken into custody:
1. Tijuana: 520
2. Guadalajara: 416
3. Nuevo Laredo: 359
4. London: 274
5. Mexico City: 208
6. Toronto: 183
7. Nassau, Bahamas: 108
8. Mérida, Mexico: 99
9. Nogales, Mexico: 96
10. Hong Kong: 90

Arrests WorldWide (Drug Enforcement)

Arrests WorldWide (Drug Enforcement)

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2,500 citizens are arrested abroad. One third of the arrests are on drug-related charges. Many of those arrested assumed as U.S. citizens that they could not be arrested. From Asia to Africa, Europe to South America, citizens are finding out the hard way that drug possession or trafficking equals jail in foreign countries.
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Drug Enforcement automatically monitors news articles and blog posts tracking breaking news of arrests and drug incidents as they happen worldwide .These inter-active News Reports are followed as they develop. Giving you the chance to comment on breaking stories as they happen. Drug Enforcement alerts you to topics that are frequently linked to and commented upon in the world press. Someone is arrested every 20 seconds for a drug related offense !Readers are solely responsible for the content of the comments they post here. Comments are subject to the Blogspots terms and conditions of use and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or approval of the Drug Enforcement site. Readers whose comments violate the terms of use may have their comments removed or all of their content blocked from viewing by other users without notification.

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Sunday, September 25

42 people were arrested for drug offences at a Melbourne music festival yesterday.


42 drug arrests made at music festival

Melbourne police say they're alarmed music fans aren't heeding their warnings after 42 people were arrested for drug offences at a Melbourne music festival yesterday.
Trained police sniffer dogs uncovered ecstasy, amphetamines and cannabis during a blitz at the Parklife Music Festival at the Myer Music Bowl.
Forty of those arrested have been referred to a drug diversion program while two were questioned in relation to drug trafficking.
Acting Inspector Donald Brown says he's disappointed their message still isn't getting through but says they will be standing firm that illicit drug use won't be tolerated at upcoming summer music festivals.

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Thursday, September 22

Prescription Drug Arrest

 

Yancey County authorities are calling it one of their biggest prescription drug arrests this summer.  A man they suspect as one of the top dealers in the area was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon. Authorities arrested 24-year-old Christopher Elliott at his home on Satin Wood Drive in Burnsville.  Law enforcement believe Christopher and his older brother, James, traveled to South Carolina to get Oxycodone pills and then returned to the area to sell them.  They tell us the brothers have nearly a hundred clients. Christopher Elliot's arrest was part of "Operation Slinger."  The round up effort was launched back in June.  The Burnsville police department teamed up with the Yancey County Sheriff'f office to get prescription drugs of the streets. So far, 40 dealers have been arrested or charged in the operation.

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if arresting people for drugs was a sign of success in The War on Drugs, then I guess our government has won.

The United States arrests a lot of people on drug charges. The answer to the failure of The War on Drugs is always spend more money and arrest more people.

In fact, if arresting people for drugs was a sign of success in The War on Drugs, then I guess our government has won. Here is a press release from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition on a new report from the FBI on just how many people are arrested for drugs in this country.

New FBI Numbers Reveal Failure of “War on Drugs”

420times 000002362202XSmall 150x150 FBI: One Drug Arrest Every 19 Seconds In U.S.WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new FBI report released today shows that there is a drug arrest every 19 seconds in the U.S. A group of police and judges who have been campaigning to legalize and regulate drugs pointed to the figures showing more than 1.6 million drug arrests in 2010 as evidence that the “war on drugs” is a failure that can never be won.

“Since the declaration of the ‘war on drugs’ 40 years ago we’ve arrested tens of millions of people in an effort to reduce drug use. The fact that cops had to spend time arresting another 1.6 million of our fellow citizens last year shows that it simply hasn’t worked. In the current economy we simply cannot afford to keep arresting three people every minute in the failed ‘war on drugs,’” said Neill Franklin, a retired Baltimore narcotics cop who now heads the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). “If we legalized and taxed drugs, we could not only create new revenue in addition to the money we’d save from ending the cruel policy of arresting users, but we’d make society safer by bankrupting the cartels and gangs who control the currently illegal marketplace.”

Today’s FBI report, which can be found athttp://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010, shows that 81.9 percent of all drug arrests in 2010 were for possession only, and 45.8 percent of all drug arrests were for possession of marijuana.

A separate Department of Justice report released last month shows that Mexican drug cartels are currently operating in more than 1,000 U.S. cities, whereas two years ago they were in 230 U.S. cities. Meanwhile, a new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report released earlier this month shows that nearly one in 10 Americans admit to regularly using illegal drugs.

Sadly, arrests are not a sign of success but a sign of a cycle of waste and idiocy that has our country locked in a downward spiral of drug abuse and violence.

The unmitigated failure of The War on Drugs is on display every day in a multitude of ways. This report is yet another example of the government highlighting their massive failure.

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More Than Half Of All Drug Arrests In U.S. Are For Marijuana

 

We all know marijuana is the most used illegal drug in The United States. It stands to reason that marijuana is responsible for the most arrests out of all of the illegal drugs. But according to new statistics from the F.B.I., marijuana arrests account for more than half of all drugs arrested, meaning more people are arrested for marijuana than all other illicit drugs combined. Of the 854,000 arrests for marijuana, 88% were for possession. Opponents of marijuana legalization like to pretend that The War on Drugs is aimed at gang leaders and dealers, but the simple fact is the drug war budgets of law enforcement agencies are built on the backs of people whose only crime was having some weed on their person.

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Wednesday, September 21

Ecstasy crime ring smashed,

 

highly sophisticated drug ring has been smashed by federal authorities with the seizure of a record haul of a precursor drug capable of producing $70 million worth of ecstasy. Customs intercepted more than 2800 litres of safrole oil (an extract of the sassafras plant) in three shipments from China to Sydney's Port Botany between April and August. The oil was concealed in bottles labelled as shampoo and cleaning products. Advertisement: Story continues below In a joint statement, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said there was enough of the banned chemical to produce almost 235kg of MDMA or 2.3 million ecstasy tablets. Three Australian men were arrested during an operation involving more than 50 Australian Federal Police officers in Sydney on Wednesday morning. If found guilty, they face up to 25 years in jail and fines of up to $550,000. "We're not here to play. We're here to do as much damage to these people as we possibly can," AFP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Zuccato told reporters. "This is a significant blow, as far as I'm concerned, a lethal blow to this particular syndicate." Mr Zuccato said the haul was the largest in Australia and showed a highly organised crime ring was at work. "When you look at the sophistication of this syndicate ... there was no backyard lab," he said. "This was going to be a very sophisticated, super-lab as far as I'm concerned." Investigations into the syndicate were continuing and more arrests were possible, he added. Customs spokeswoman Michele Harper said the investigation demonstrated the effectiveness of Australian law enforcement in detecting even the most sophisticated drug concealment methods. "Customs and Border Protection continues to adapt its technology, and targeting and examination capabilities to counter the evolving methods used by drug importation syndicates," she said. A 27-year-old man from Lurnea and a 35-year-old man from North Parramatta were charged with importation of a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug. A 33-year-old man from Merrylands was charged with dealing in the proceeds of crime. All three are expected to appear in Sydney's Central Local Court on Thursday.

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Three women held for drug smuggling bid

 

Three women were arrested at Dubai International Airport attempting to smuggle narcotics into the country. Dubai Police's General Anti-Narcotics Department officers on duty at the airport were alerted by the suspicious behaviour of the three African women. Two of the suspects denied anything to do with narcotics despite checks to confirm the same but the third confessed she had swallowed capsules containing narcotics. A total of 2.044 kg of cocaine concealed in 184 capsules was recovered from the women.

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Venezuela deports 6 suspected drug traffickers

 

Venezuela deported six suspected drug traffickers wanted in Colombia and the United States on Monday, touting the action as proof the government is making strides in fighting smuggling. Those deported included two accused of belonging to Colombia's largest leftist rebel group. They also included a U.S. citizen, Lionel Scott Harris, who is suspected of smuggling drugs to the United States, Asia and Europe. Harris, 67, was captured in March on Margarita Island, a popular tourist destination. Venezuela is a major hub for gangs that smuggle Colombian cocaine, and U.S. officials have accused President Hugo Chavez's government of being lax in anti-drug efforts. Last week, President Barack Obama's administration classified Venezuela as a country that has "failed demonstrably" to effectively fight drug trafficking. Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami dismissed that accusation, saying the U.S. has been spreading "pure lies" about Venezuela's counter-drug efforts. "We're winning this battle and we're going to keep winning," El Aissami told reporters at a later event Monday. El Aissami oversaw the deportations at Simon Bolivar International Airport as the handcuffed men were led to a waiting vehicle. He said that in recent years Venezuela has captured and handed over to other countries 69 drug trafficking suspects, including about 15 who have been sent to the United States. The U.S. Embassy welcomed the deportation of Harris, saying he has been wanted in the United States since 1991 for various felony charges. "We desire and hope to resume a full and cooperative relationship on counter-narcotics, which represents a threat to the U.S. as well as Venezuela," the U.S. Embassy said in an emailed statement. U.S.-Venezuelan counter-drug cooperation has been sharply scaled back since 2005, when Chavez suspended cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and accused it of being a front for espionage. Besides Harris, Venezuela deported five Colombians wanted on drug-related charges: Jose Reyes Galarza, Jorge Santaella Ayala, Rubernei Vergara, Yesid Rios Suarez and Didier Rios Galindo, said El Aissami. He said Rios Suarez and Rios Galindo are guerrillas who belong to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Another Colombian wanted on murder and extortion charges but not drug charges, Raul Pena Buitriago, was also deported, he said.

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Sunday, September 18

Moroccan cops seize Scot caught with £500k of cannabis resin

 

holidaymaker is being held in a hell-hole Moroccan jail after being caught in a camper van with £500,000 of hashish. Daniel Healy, 66, was arrested last week as he tried to drive across the border from Morocco to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. The police discovered the 100kg stash of cannabis resin hidden in aluminium boxes stashed in a water tank. Since then, Healy – who is from Glasgow – has spent six nights in the violent and cramped Tetouan prison. Friend Graham Boszormenyi, 46, claimed that Healy was unaware of the hidden drugs. Ex-Royal Navy submariner Graham said: “Daniel is a good friend of mine and I know that he had no knowledge of what he was carrying. “I spoke to him a couple of days ago and he said he plans to plead guilty because he’s been told he’ll only get one year. “But I know the system in Morocco and I don’t believe it for a minute. “I’ve been through this before. Twice they’ve had me in Morocco and I think he could end up getting four to six years – and he’s too old for that. “He’s in the worst prison possible, where there are 60 people in a cell with one shared toilet. “He’s a harmless old man who is known by lots of people around the world. He’s a noisy drunk but he’s not any kind of criminal. “I know the people who are behind this and I think they will help by coming forward to the UK authorities and telling them that he knew nothing about it. “I have spoken to his family in Scotland and they are understandably very worried. “He has been sucker-punched. He had no idea that these people had just used him. It’s backfired on everyone, especially him. “He was travelling under a different name, John McLeish. I don’t know why. He’s due to be tried on Tuesday.” Healy was driving the Spanish- registered camper van when he was stopped on the border between Morocco and Ceuta. He had been expected to get a ferry from Ceuta across the Mediterranean to the Spanish city of Algeciras. Healy’s daughter Siobhan is a celebrated glass artist with a studio in Glasgow’s Dennistoun. The 34-year-old – whose clients include the Scottish government, the BBC and many councils – said: “I don’t know anything about this. “It doesn’t sound like the kind of thing my dad would be involved in.” Officials from the British embassy are expected to make the 215-mile trip from the Moroccan capital Rabat to offer Healy assistance. A US state department report on Moroccan jail conditions said: “They generally did not meet international standards. “Prisons were overcrowded, resulting in poor hygienic conditions and are prone to violence.” A Moroccan police spokesman said: “We arrested a Scottish man and he is now in prison. We can’t tell you anything else.” A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are aware of the arrest of a British national in Morocco."

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Saturday, September 17

Panama installs 19 radars to stem drug trafficking

 

Panama is installing a radar system along its coastline to alert it and three other countries, including the United States, of drug trafficking activity. Panama's Public Safety Ministry says the Central American country has purchased 19 radars and began installing them this month. Article Controls U.S. officials will train Panamanian police to operate the system which will generate a database that will be shared with Mexico, Colombia and the U.S, the ministry said Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. Vice Minister of Public Safety Alejandro Garuz said the radars will detect both aircraft and ships. Panama is on a cocaine smuggling corridor between South America and Mexico. The country purchased the radars and six helicopters from Italy for $250 million.

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$30m DRUG BUST

 

CUSTOMS and Excise Division officers late on Thursday discovered compressed marijuana valued at more than $30 million concealed in a refrigerated container at the Point Lisas port. Officers believe they have disrupted a major drug-smuggling operation at the port following the discovery, the biggest drug seizure in the country for the year. It's the third multi-million-dollar drug interdiction at the port for the year. In all of the cases, the containers with the narcotics passed through a port in Jamaica. On Thursday evening, it took officers several hours to carefully examine and tag each of the 38 crocus bags containing the illegal drug. A senior Custom source told the Express they were carrying out routine checks together with port security on 32 containers that arrived in the country when they made the discovery. The marijuana was found in the 31st container hidden among frozen chicken parts. The container had left the United States on board a cargo ship, but had stopped off in Jamaica. Customs sources believe the marijuana was stashed inside the container in Jamaica. Portions of the original cargo in the container were removed and replaced with the marijuana to ensure there was no change in the original weight of the cargo, sources said. The container, which had arrived two days before on the vessel Vega Saturn, belongs to a Central businessman, but Customs sources were unable to say if he had knowledge of the drug. "Based on intelligence, we search containers which we find suspicious but there are containers from different countries. We target mainly those from Jamaica and Guyana and then other countries," a Customs source said. Ian Atherly, chairman of port operator Plipdeco, who was at the scene of Thursday's bust, promised the port would do all in its power to stop the illegal flow of narcotics through its facility, admitting the fight is a very difficult one. "We can't stop anyone from sending drugs but once they arrive here the prerogative, onus, responsibility is on us to ensure it does not leave the port," Atherly said. Communications specialist at the Customs and Excise Division, Alicia Charles, in a press release yesterday, stated that Customs officers, in conjunction with Port security, discovered close to one tonne of compressed marijuana in an enclosed 40-foot container at the Port of Point Lisas. On opening the container, which was said to contain frozen chicken parts, Charles said officers found 38 crocus bags of compressed marijuana weighing over 921 kilogrammes. Charles said Customs officials have estimated the value of the drug at $7.4 million.

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Accused meth smuggler, caught at LAX, is charged

 

man bound for Japan has been charged with drug trafficking after Transportation Security Administration officials at LAX discovered nearly 5 pounds of methamphetamine concealed inside TGI Fridays Potato Skins snack bags in his backpack. Lemuel Giovani Espinosa, 21, of Compton appeared in federal court Thursday after agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested him Wednesday. TSA officers discovered the drugs in his carry-on bag during the X-ray screening process as he prepared to board a flight to Narita International Airport, outside Tokyo. U.S. customs officers seized the contraband and determined that it was, in fact, a controlled substance. Espinosa planned to deliver the contraband to a person in Japan in return for a $6,000 payment, according to an affidavit in the case. Federal agents estimate the methamphetamine would have sold on the street in Japan for more than $200,000. "Drug traffickers are always trying novel ways to conceal their contraband,” said Marlon V. Miller, an ICE deputy special agent in Los Angeles. Espinosa was charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He was ordered held without bond pending his arraignment, which is set for Oct. 3. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison

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Bali's tourism boom creates haven for global drug gangs

 

BALI has become a haven for international drug gangs lured by ever-growing throngs of tourists, island officials have warned. The holiday destination has had an increasing number of smuggling incidents, the most severe involving a 41-year-old Ugandan woman found dead in a Kuta hotel room in August with more than a kilo of plastic-wrapped crystal meth in her intestines. This month a South African woman was arrested at Ngurah Rai airport with a similar amount in her underwear.

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Irishman caught with 72 cocaine capsules in Brazil

 

These are the amazing scanner images of the abdomen of a young Irishman caught smuggling cocaine at an airport in Brazil. The man, identified only as P.B.B., was stopped as he tried to board a flight from Sao Paolo to Lisbon in Portugal and then connecting to Brussels in Belgium. He was carrying 72 bags containing almost a kilo of cocaine inside his intestines. The 20-year-old man, who was caught last Monday at Congonhas Airport, was taken to the Santa Misericordia Hospital where the capsules, containing 830g of cocaine, were removed from his body. Police said it was his nervous behaviour that tipped off the authorities. The drugs would be worth approximately €150,000, police sources said. He has now been charged with international drug trafficking which carries a sentence of up to 15 years. Last week a Colombian woman, who flew from Argentina, died in a New Zealand hospital after a bag of cocaine burst in her body. Sorlinda Vega (37) arrived from Buenos Aires carrying 26 packages weighing 1oz each. More than 70,000 people a day are estimated to pass through San Paolo international airport and approximately five a day are arrested for drug smuggling. The airport, which has connections to 53 countries, is known as the main exit point for drug mules bringing cocaine from South America to the rest of the world. Drug mules are paid anything from €1,000 to €6,000 per trip. The largest contingent of those arrested are from South Africa, where poverty makes the lure of easy money even more attractive, but San Paolo’s jails contain smugglers from all over the world. Brazil’s penal system is notoriously slow and it can take up to six months after arrest for the first court hearing or 12 months for a sentence to be passed. Prisoners are allowed parole after two-thirds of their sentences have been served, but have to stay in the country which can be particularly difficult for foreigners with no jobs or family support

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Suspected head of drug-smuggling ring arrested in Arizona probe

 

Jose Sarinana-Placencia, 28, and five suspected members of his organization are facing state and federal drug smuggling and weapons charges. The arrests were made after teams of law enforcement officers executed seven search warrants early Thursday at locations in three Arizona cities — Chandler, Mesa and Maricopa. In addition to the arrests, ICE agents and sheriff’s deputies seized 10 weapons, including a Mac-10 pistol and two ballistic vests. Sarinana’s smuggling organization is suspecting of moving multiple tons of marijuana every month. ICE and the sheriff's office opened an investigation into the organization in February. Before Thursday’s operation, the investigation had led to the seizure of approximately 3,000 pounds of marijuana, more than $300,000 in cash, nearly three pounds of cocaine and 22 weapons. “From every indication, this organization has been a major player in moving narcotics smuggled in from Mexico to the Phoenix area,” said ICE Special Agent in Charge Matt Allen. “By teaming up with PCSO on this complex investigation, we have been able to expose this network and shut it down.” Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said the drug cartels of Mexico are trying “harder and harder everyday to move their illegal drugs throughout the United States. “This investigation is a prime example of the cooperative efforts needed by federal, state, county, city, and tribal law enforcement agencies to combat their operations,” he said. “The Pinal County Sheriff's Office will continue to work with our fellow law enforcement partners during this ongoing war.” Maricopa, Az., located about 40 miles south of Phoenix, has become a favorite drug corridor for Mexican marijuana and cocaine, and has brought with it a rise in crime in the city of 43,000. Undercover police officers with the Arizona Department of Public Safety were assaulted in the city in March 2010 when they attempted to stop a stolen truck. One man charged in the case later was found to have weapons purchased illegally as part of the federal government’s controversial “Fast and Furious” undercover gun investigation. The Arizona officers reported that their cars were rammed and they were threatened with a Beretta pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle. Angel Hernandez-Daz, 48, a Mexican national, was arrested in the case. Last December, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed south of Tucson and two firearms from the Fast and Furious program were discovered at that site

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Manchester dad could be facing the death penalty after being arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling in Indonesia.

 

 Jack Walker, 53, is being held in jail after being stopped at the airport in the capital Jakarta. It is understood the father of two – who is well known for taking meat around pubs near his home in Wythenshawe – was arrested as he was about to board a flight back to the UK. Officials allegedly found a substantial amount of methylamphetamine – commonly known as crystal meth or ‘ice’. It is believed the drug was found in a concealed compartment of a suitcase. Mr Walker, who is a diabetic, collapsed after he was  stopped.  It is understood his family are anxious he may not be receiving the correct medication to control his condition while in custody. A friend of the family said: “He is well known in the area – he drops off meat at the pubs and clubs. “The family fear he could be facing the death penalty or 20 years in jail. They are desperately trying to get help but say no one is listening. “He has a wife and two children. Apparently someone should have gone with him when he went abroad but pulled out. “He needs medication for his diabetes. Everyone around here is shocked by this. “He is not the kind of guy that you would expect would get involved in anything like this.” Another friend and neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “We’re really shocked - it’s unbelievable. “My husband and I are devastated - we’ve known Jack for 19 years. He's never been in any trouble. I feel so sorry for him. It’s such a shame I just wish they could bring him back here.” A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are aware of the arrest of a British national at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Indonesia. Consular assistance is being offered.” He confirmed that the death penalty was used against convicted drug smugglers in Indonesia. The country has some of the toughest anti-drug laws in the world with capital punishment for trafficking and 10-15 years for drug use. Mr Walker was arrested at the end of August.

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Brazil catches Irish man with gut full of cocaine

 

Irish man has been arrested in Brazil with almost a kilo of cocaine hidden in his gut, police there say. The 20-year-old suspect was detained as he tried to board a flight from Sao Paulo to Brussels. Officers said they became suspicious because he looked nervous. When questioned, he admitted having swallowed sealed capsules of cocaine. He was rushed to hospital, where he expelled 72 capsules containing 830g (1.8lb) of the drug. The hospital released a scan showing the man's gut filled with the oval-shaped capsules. The suspect is being held on suspicion of international drug smuggling. If found guilty, he could face five to 15 years in prison. Risk Brazil is a major transit point for smugglers moving South American drugs into Europe's lucrative drugs market. Neighbouring Bolivia, Colombia and Peru produce almost all the world's cocaine. Every year hundreds of people - known as mules - are arrested trying to smuggle the drug on international flights. As well as the danger of being caught, smugglers who hide drugs inside their bodies risk having the capsules burst, with possibly fatal consequences.

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Friday, September 16

Exeter crack cocaine and heroin gang jailed

 

Exeter Crown Court was told the LYNC gang boasted of being able to supply drugs in Exeter "all day, every day". The gang used a park at Cowick Barton in the city as its centre of operations. Two men from Greater Manchester - Kevin Newton, 30, and Billy Downing, 22 - were jailed for nine and five-and-a-half years respectively. Three of the gang were from Dawlish in Devon. James Brooks, 32, and 27-year-old John Rowntree were both sentenced to five years, while 22-year-old John Bullock was jailed for 30 months. Cannabis jail supply Lloyd Simpson, 44, from Exeter, was sentenced to six years. James Prince, 22, from Huddersfield was sentenced to 30 months and 28-year-old Anthony McStein, from Liverpool, was jailed for four years. The gang were arrested after being monitored by police between October 2010 and March this year. The eight ringleaders were jailed for a total of nearly 40 years The force said information provided by local residents had been critical in bringing the "highly organised" gang to justice. The drug dealers brought the heroin and crack cocaine into Devon on a regular basis from Manchester. The court heard that not only did the gang boast about its ability to supply drugs, it also sent mobile phone text messages to addicts advertising when new supplies had arrived in the city. Police said the gang's "utter disregard" for local communities and the welfare of the addicts they supplied "beggared belief". Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote We don't want drugs in Exeter” Insp Jacqui Hawley Devon and Cornwall Police The force praised local residents who worked with officers to provide information on the crimes, in order to "reclaim" their local playing fields. "This is the core bedrock of local policing, working with the community, working with our partners in order to resolve an issue," Insp Jacqui Hawley said. "We don't want drugs in Exeter. We want it to be a safe place and in the main it is." A man and a woman were also sentenced at Exeter Crown Court for conspiring to supply cannabis to Brooks while he was on remand at HMP Exeter. His 30-year-old wife, Donna was jailed for six months, while Blair Murray, 29, from Tyne and Wear, was sentenced to 12 months.

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West Malling drugs gang sentenced

 

gang of four drug dealers have been jailed for conspiring to supply illegal drugs across Kent. Brothers Joseph and Samuel King, Craig Provan and Matthew Newin controlled dealing in towns across Kent from a travellers' site in West Malling. Joseph King, 48, was jailed for 18 years and Samuel King, 47, for seven-and-a-half years at Canterbury Crown Court. Provan, 41, was sentenced to six years, and Newin, 26, to eight years. Joseph King, of Lavender Road, West Malling, and Provan, of The Paddock, Highsted Valley, Rodmersham, were found guilty of conspiracy to supply drugs. King was also convicted of possessing firearms with intent and for possession of criminal property. His brother, of Elm Grove, Sittingbourne, and Newin, of Swanstree Avenue, Sittingbourne, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs. Undercover operation During the seven-week trial, the jury had to be given basic lessons in a 16th Century Romany dialect called Rokker, which was used by two of the gang. They were caught after the travellers' site next to Hoath Woods was infiltrated by undercover police officers. Thousands of pounds worth of heroin, cocaine and ecstasy were exchanged during more than a dozen transactions between June and September last year. The court heard the gang controlled street dealing in a number of towns across Kent and had a particular hold in the Canterbury and Sittingbourne areas.

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Thursday, September 15

Fury over 'link' of drug arrests to Jodie's death

 

SPANISH police investigating the circumstances surrounding Jodie Nieman's death made nine arrests last week. Although police are certain the Kenley beautician died from a heart attack, it is not clear whether her death was drug-related. ​ MISSED: Jodie Nieman An investigation has been launched into drugs supply in Ibiza and police announced last Thursday that they had arrested nine men after seizing cocaine, thousands of ecstasy pills, steroids and laboratory equipment. One of the men is from Croydon but it is not suggested Ms Nieman, who died just days before her 20th birthday on July 15, knew him. The former nail technician's mother Debbie, of Waterbourne Way, Kenley, said she was "disappointed and angry" Spanish police had linked the arrests with her daughter. She said: "We still don't know if Jodie took any pills. The doctor in Ibiza said they weren't told she had taken any tablets. "Until we have results saying she took any drugs, we just don't know and it is upsetting because we are still waiting on tests." Spanish police said most of the pills found are known as Pink Rock Star, similar to those thought to have caused the death of Ms Nieman and the poisoning of others in July, officers added. The UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency took part in the operation against a mostly-British gang which travelled to Ibiza to feed the demand from the summer influx of clubbers. Detectives arrested five British men, including a 39-year-old from Croydon, three from Ireland and one from Poland. They were being questioned by officers from the Guardia Civil on suspicion of various drugs offences. The former Riddlesdown student was just three days into her holiday when she had a heart attack on a night out at the Space club in the Playa d'en Bossa resort. The teenager's funeral took place at Croydon Crematorium on August 16. Mum Debbie said her 19-year-old daughter was a "stylish princess" who would defend her friends to the end. Ms Nieman added: "She had champagne on the plane over and it came in a plastic glass – Jodie just said: 'Who has champagne in a plastic glass?' "That was just Jodie. Every day another person tells me they knew Jodie and they went to the funeral. I didn't know she was so loved."

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Three New Brunswick Smoke Shops Raided in "Bath Salts" Bust, Six People Arrested

 

Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office has announced that three smoke shops in New Brunswick and a gas station in East Brunswick were raided and charged in the sale of illegal drugs. According to the Prosecutor's Office, the raids began on Aug. 2 after four months of investigative work and netted the following arrests: Jarnail Sandhu, 25, of Sayreville, owner of the Shell gas station located at 1010 Route 18 in East Brunswick, was arrested and charged with distribution of bath salts and synthetic marijuana; possession of bath salts and synthetic marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was jailed with bail set at $100,000, with no 10 percent option. Sandhu's mother, Charanjit K. Sandhu, 56, of Nanuet, N.Y., was also arrested and released on her own recognizance. She faces the same charges as her son. Ayman S. Al-Nsairat, 40, of East Brunswick, owner of the Amsterdam Smoke Shop, 29 Easton Ave. in New Brunswick. He was charged with possession of toxic chemicals and possession of drug paraphernalia, and was released on his own recognizance. Maria M. Almanzar, 20, of Union City at the Amsterdam Smoke Shop. She was charged with possession of toxic chemicals and possession of drug paraphernalia, and distribution of toxic chemicals, and was released on her own recognizance. Lukasz M. Poplawski, 21, of Staten Island, N.Y. at the Amsterdam Smoke Shop. He was charged with possession of toxic chemicals and possession of drug paraphernalia, and distribution of toxic chemicals, and was released on his own recognizance. Ranmanjeet K. Dhillon, 24, of Woodbridge, at the Jamaican Discount Smoke Shop at 38-A Easton Ave. in New Brunswick. Dhillon was charged with possession and distribution of toxic chemicals and possession of drug paraphernalia, and was released on her own recognizance. Additionally, the Jamaican Smoke Shop at 40 Easton Ave. in New Brunswick was also raided, and "Some illegal substances and drug paraphernalia were seized," according to the Prosecutor's office. No arrests were made at that location. Bath Salts are mix of chemicals that mimic the effects of cocaine and methamphetamines and were banned earlier this year. 6,547 bags, jars and vials containing synthetic marijuana and bath salts were also seized by police during the investigation, marked for sale for between $20 to $30 each, according to the Prosecutor's Office. Police also seized 2,914 pipes, bongs and hookahs, 193 digital scales, 357 canisters containing nitrous oxide, 13 imitation handguns used to fire blanks, and 46 containers designed to conceal illicit drugs, according to the Prosecutor's Office. Packaging material, grinders, cigars and rolling papers, "All identified as products used to prepare and help sell the illicit drugs," according to the Prosecutor's Office. $25,145 in cash from the sales of the illegal drugs was also seized. More than $163,000 in synthetic Marijuana and bath salts were seized. Members of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Gangs, Guns and Drugs Task Force are handling the investigation, assisted by police in New Brunswick, East Brunswick and Sayreville, according to the Prosecutor's Office

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Holloway lawyer smuggled drugs into Pentonville Prison in oversized shoes

 

Five people are facing years behind bars after smuggling drugs and mobile phones into Pentonville Prison – including a lawyer who stuffed illicit goods into his oversized shoes. Ritesh Brahmbhatt, 31, took phones, high-strength cannabis and the stimulant mephedrone into the prison in Caledonian Road, Holloway, in a pair of size-12 slip-ons bought from menswear store High and Mighty. The revelations come within a month of a scathing report by the prison’s independent monitoring board, which revealed a drug problem is stoking gang trouble and violence in the jail. It also emerged that a drugs counsellor from Canonbury is to stand trial next year accused of smuggling cannabis into the prison in an unrelated case. Dismissed Brahmbhatt, who was dismissed from law firm Mordi and Co in Holloway Road, Holloway, when caught, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle drugs, mobile phones and other prohibited items into Pentonville in July – but details have just emerged after his four accomplices were convicted on Friday after denying the charge. David Sterling, 28, of Mallory Close, Bromley-by-Bow, Desmond Brown, 27, of Montague Road, Leytonstone, Brown’s girlfriend Danielle Porter, 24, of Saltern Court, Barking, and Calvin Chance, 26, of Birch Grove, Leytonstone, were convicted at Blackfriars Crown Court following a trial. Rufuz D’Cruz, prosecuting, said: “Ritesh Brahmbhatt entered into a crude criminal conspiracy to smuggle prohibited items into prison with his clients, Sterling and Brown, who at that time were serving prisoners, and Chance and Porter.” Mr D’Cruz said he abused his position of trust and “chose to routinely undermine the rule of law”. The gang was snared after a prison officer spotted his suspiciously high number of legal visits – 15 between February and September in 2009. He was caught with a mobile phone, earphones, a pair of electronic scales and a small quantity of mephedrone, or “meow meow”, in his right shoe and 25g of high-strength “skunk” cannabis in his left, while a further 80g of cannabis was stuffed down his trousers. The lawyer intended to pass the contraband to inmate Sterling, who was wearing a full-length Muslim robe. Two more mobile phones – which can fetch up to £1,000 each inside – were discovered in his jail locker and an envelope with £300 of cash. Police found text messages and financial information linking the five, while several phone calls and visits were known to have taken place. Nearly £20,000 passed through bank accounts belonging to Brahmbhatt, Porter and two others. The five defendants have been remanded in custody awaiting sentencing. A Prison Service spokesman said: “We are working hard to keep contraband out of prison, using a range of security measures to reduce drug supply, including working closely with police forces and carrying out random mandatory drug tests.”

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Aussie Poker Pro David Saab Gaoled For Drug Smuggling

 

Professional poker player David Saab from Victoria in Australia faces a lengthy period away from the game after being convicted of smuggling 14.6kg of cocaine into the country.  The drugs, which had an estimated street value of AU$6.5 million (£4.22m) were hidden inside agricultural machinery imported from Canada.  Saab was convicted alongside fellow players Darren Francis Hughes and Robert Alan Remeeus; he faces 14 years in prison while his accomplices both received 8-year sentences. The highlight of Saab’s poker career was his victory in the Manila leg of the Asian Poker Tour in 2008, a win which netted him $280,000.  He has also appeared on tv screens in Britain, when he participated in a heat of the UK Open.  He came 46th in the Main Event at the 2008 World Series of Poker.  His total live tournament earnings amount to more than $550,000. Sentencing Saab, Judge Liz Gaynor said: “It is clear that you were the principal organiser in Australia of this importation and would derive the most benefit from it.”

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Briton arrested for drug smuggling

 

Customs and Excise officers at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport have foiled an attempt to smuggle 6.5 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine (shabu-shabu) worth Rp 13 billion and arrested a British national. The head of the Customs Office, Oza Olivia, said the suspect was identified as Gareth G.D, 32, who flew from Istanbul, Turkey and arrived at the airport with Turkish Airlines on Tuesday evening. “Members of our tactical unit conducted profile analyses of passengers at Terminal II-D and began to suspect him of carrying illegal items,” she told reporters on Wednesday. Oza said officers were suspicious and decided to search the suspect’s luggage. They found the drugs hidden inside the luggage. The suspect, a construction worker in his home country, later confessed that he received an order from a Turkish man, whom he identified as A, to transport the drug to Jakarta and was promised US$1,000 when the delivery was made. Oza claimed that by intercepting the drug delivery, her agency managed to prevent thousands of youths becoming drug addicts. She also said that in collaboration with the National Narcotics Agency, the Customs Office is still investigating the case. Drug smuggling attempts through the country’s main international gate continues to rise despite the threat of the death penalty. Drug smugglers can be charged under Article 113 of the 2009 Law on Narcotics, which carries a possible death sentence.

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Tuesday, September 13

Woman caught bringing heroin to her prison pal

 

WOMAN pal of a man jailed over a €440m drugs seizure has been caught smuggling €6,000 of heroin into his prison. The middle-aged woman was caught by prison officers last week when she arrived at the Midlands Prison for a visit to Joe Daly (44). He is serving a 25-year sentence after being convicted of possessing the biggest cocaine haul in the State's history -- a seizure of 1.5 tonnes of cocaine at Dunlough Bay in 2007. Prison staff contacted gardai, who then arrested the woman. She was brought to Portlaoise Garda Station where she was questioned by detectives before being released without charge. A file is now being prepared for the DPP. Captured Sources say if the heroin had got into the jail, it would have had a value of "well over four times" the estimated street value that gardai put on the drug. The woman was not allowed to visit English national Daly after being caught with the drugs. Daly and three other English criminals are serving lengthy jail terms for their role in the plot to smuggle €440m worth of cocaine into Ireland in July 2007. Martin Wanden (48), police- killer Perry Wharrie (51), Gerard Hagan (27) and Daly were captured after diesel, instead of petrol, was put into the fuel tanks of their boat, which was carrying the drugs off the coast of Co Cork. When the vessel capsized, 62 bales of cocaine weighing over 1.5 tonnes were thrown into stormy seas, scuppering a huge drugs operation that had been months in the planning. Liverpool criminal Hagan admitted his role in the enterprise and was jailed for 10 years. However the other three men contested the charges but were convicted after a marathon 10-week trial at Cork Circuit Criminal Court which heard from 200 witnesses. Two of the defendants claimed in direct evidence that they were entirely the victims of circumstances, coincidence and bad luck. Joe Daly said he had only gone to west Cork as a favour for his brother, who had wanted a RIB delivered. But it would later emerge that Joe Daly's brother was Michael Daly (50) -- a former Metropolitan Police detective who is now serving combined sentences totalling 29 years in a UK prison in relation to the Co Cork plot and another cocaine importation plot. Gardai believe that Joe Daly became involved in the drugs smuggling operation through his older brother, Michael. Daly presented a defence that depicted him as very much under the influence of the brother. Children Born in London to Irish parents from west Cork, Daly worked as a bricklayer with his own business, JD Bricklaying, is married with three children and lived in Bexley, Kent. It emerged that he had a number of previous convictions in the UK for offences including threatening and abusive behaviour, assaults on police officers and possessing a blade. During the trial, his uncle, Tom Lydon, told how Daly visited him on the day before the drugs seizure and watched the Munster football final between Cork and Kerry on TV. He described him as very obliging -- "the first man to come around" if anyone needed help.

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shut down drive-through drug operation near University Mall, expect more arrests

 

One by one, motorists arrived, rolling down windows and giving up cash, as they would at a fast-food restaurant. This drive-through opened at 11 a.m. some days, but lunch was never on the menu. Instead, customers could order cocaine, oxycodone, ecstasy and marijuana. Guns, too. At a news conference Wednesday, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office announced that it had broken up a drug trafficking ring that caught even investigators by surprise. About 11 months ago, deputies began building cases against two men reputed to be dealing drugs in a neighborhood near University Mall. Investigators thought Zavien Brand, 28, and Joseph Nurse, 35, might lead them to a few more people, maybe six or eight, said sheriff's Maj. J.R. Burton. But the small undercover probe soon turned into a larger investigation — dubbed Operation Pandora's Box — as deputies realized the area's loose-knit group of dealers included dozens of people. On Wednesday, sheriff's officials announced they had 54 warrants and, as of 4 p.m., 32 arrests, most on drug and gun possession charges. "We had no idea this was going on," Burton said. They focused on several addresses in the neighborhood near Nebraska and Fletcher avenues. The drive-through was at the Pines I Apartments at 11720 N 14th St., deputies said. Deputies took 29 guns off the street, including seven assault rifles and two weapons believed to be linked to shootings in the area. Also seized: about 1.3 pounds of crack cocaine, 0.64 ounces of powder cocaine, 0.25 ounces of oxycodone and some ecstasy — valued at about $75,000 total, Burton said. Burton hopes the operation sends a message to an area that has long struggled with crime, and he wants residents to know that deputies aren't done. Brand was charged with dealing crack cocaine and being a felon in possession of a gun. Nurse was charged with dealing crack cocaine, marijuana and stolen property. Deputies planned to continue executing search warrants until they arrest all 54 suspects.

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Vicente Zambada's lawyers claim he and other cartel leaders were granted immunity by U.S. agents

Vicente Zambada's lawyers claim he and other cartel leaders were granted immunity by U.S. agents — and carte blanche to smuggle cocaine over the border — in exchange for intelligence about rival cartels engaged in bloody turf wars in Mexico.

Controversial defence: Vicente Zambada's claim could throw new light on how U.S. authorities deal with Mexican drug cartels

Controversial defence: Vicente Zambada's claim could throw new light on how U.S. authorities deal with Mexican drug cartels

Experts scoff at the claim, which U.S. prosecutors are expected to answer in a filing Friday in federal court.

But records filed in support of his proposed defence have offered a peek at the sordid world of Mexico's largest drug syndicate, the Sinaloa cartel, which is run by his father, Ismael Zambada, and Mexico's most wanted man, Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman.

It's a world of brutality, greed and snitching, and federal agents would love to have the younger Zambada pass along more intelligence, especially if it could help bring down his family's operation or lead to the capture of Guzman, a billionaire who escaped from a Mexican prison in a laundry truck in 2001.

Main man: Vicente's father Ismael Zambada, godfather of the Sinaloa cartel, pictured at a party in 1993

Main man: Vicente's father Ismael Zambada, godfather of the Sinaloa cartel, pictured at a party in 1993

'It comes down to whether he would be willing to give up his dad or Guzman,' said David Shirk, who heads the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego.

'Would he be willing to give up his own dad? It seems unlikely.'

Zambada, 35, has rarely been seen since his 2009 arrest in Mexico City, after which Mexican authorities paraded him before TV cameras in a stylish black blazer and dark blue jeans.

His suave image was a sharp contrast to a photo of him with moustache and cowboy hat released by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2007.

He may have upgraded his look after he assumed control over cartel logistics in 2008 and, federal officials say, received authority to order assassinations. 

Mexico's most wanted man: Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, who escaped from prison in a laundry truck

Mexico's most wanted man: Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, who escaped from prison in a laundry truck

He was arrested and extradited to Chicago a year later to face trafficking conspiracy charges punishable by up to life in prison.

The Sinaloa cartel is one of Mexico's most powerful.

Named after the Pacific coast state of the same name, it controls trafficking on the border with California and is battling rival cartels in an effort to expand east along the 2,000-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border.

Accustomed to luxury in Mexico, Zambada has been held in a 10ft by 6ft cell in Chicago, is often served meals that have gone cold and hasn't been outside in 18 months, his attorneys say.

U.S. District Court Judge Ruben Castillo told the government on Thursday to file a response to those complaints.

'It comes down to whether he would be willing to give up his own dad. It seems unlikely'

Armed marshals led the shackled Zambada into Thursday's hearing.

He appeared at ease, even smiling and winking at a woman sitting on a spectators' bench.

Castillo will decide later whether Zambada's provocative immunity claim has any credibility, but many experts said they were skeptical.

'Personally, I think it is a bunch of malarkey,' said Scott Stewart, who analyzes Mexico's cartels for the Texas-based Stratfor global intelligence company.

'I mean, what the defence is saying is that a huge amount of cocaine was allowed to pass into the United States unimpeded.

'Why would you even have sought his extradition if there was this potential backlash?"

U.S. prosecutors briefly discounted Zambada's claim in one filing, but more details are expected in Friday's documents.

A spokesman for U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald would not comment on the allegation.

Neither would a Washington spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, whose agents Zambada claims to have dealt with in Mexico.

However, clandestine intelligence deals are not uncommon, and conspiracy theories abound in Mexico about the government going easy on one cartel to keep the others under control.



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Monday, September 12

Irish drug gangs change tactics as downturn ruins their fortunes

 

Drug traffickers and other organised gangsters have lost millions of euro as a result of the recession. A huge fall-off in demand for cocaine, allied to a series of dodgy investments in property and shares, have devastated the lucrative nest eggs they had built up during the boom times. Now the criminals are switching their focus in a bid to recover some of their losses and tap into new areas. Dozens of Irish gangsters have become heavily immersed in the European scene and are no longer confining their activities to sending drug shipments back to Ireland. They have developed their range of contacts in countries such as the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium and are using these to buy into shipments intended for destinations with much larger markets than here. Gardai confirmed last night that the Irish are among the big players on the European scene and regularly show up on the radars of local police forces on the Continent. Interact "The Irish criminals have learned to follow the market and interact with other OCGs (organised crime gangs) to purchase large shipments and then become involved in selling on the drugs in smaller quantities," an officer explained. "There is a lot of crossover among the gangs and there are no cell structures that might exist in a terrorist organisation. "The Irish are acceptable as partners to become involved in joint enterprises with international gangs moving drugs from South America and west Africa to Spain and the Netherlands." Detectives from the garda national Drugs unit work closely with their European counterparts to combat the gangs as they know that, despite the reduced demand, they will continue to send shipments here and these are likely to increase again when the market improves. "The Irish picture is a reflection of what is happening globally. What is going on in the real economy is mirrored in the drugs world," the officer added. "The spending power of the end user has diminished and the state of the economy dictates that some drug types become more popular." A lot of people who were cocaine users can no longer afford to buy it, resulting in a big drop in demand and supply. The new drug of choice for many is herbal cannabis and the Irish gangs have discovered that's where the growth in the market lies although it took them some time to realise that the Chinese and Vietnamese gangs were ring fencing the new craze for growhouses. It makes economic sense for the gangs to develop growhouses as they can eliminate transportation and logistical costs, increase profits by removing the European middlemen, reduce the risk of being caught by police and customs services here and in Europe and face lower penalties for cannabis rather than cocaine dealing. The homegrown gangs have also suffered heavy financial losses as a result of advice from crooked accountants who advised them to invest in properties overseas or gamble on the stock exchange. During the Celtic Tiger era, traffickers extended lines of credit to customers and drugs were given out "on tick". But now the credit has disappeared and a lot of the dealers have been left with huge debts. The growhouses represent one of their main hopes of recovering some of those losses

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Sunday, September 11

Stars’ drug cartel links

 

POP queen Lady Gaga and Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx have been linked to the alleged bosses of an American drug cartel. Warren Braithwaite, 38, and Kevin Mucthison, 47, could be jailed for 50 years after they were charged with drug trafficking. They were arrested along with 20 others accused of smuggling marijuana worth £5million and distributing it in the US. Both have pleaded not guilty. Braithwaite’s interior design firm has carried out work at 43-year-old Foxx’s LA mansion. And Mucthison was a partner with Gaga, 25, for the 2009 launch of her Heartbeats by Lady Gaga headphones

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Russian pilot gets 20 years in US jail

 

Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian citizen, has been found guilty of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the US earlier this year and has been sentenced to 20 years behind bars. Yaroshenko, a pilot, was arrested in Liberia in 2010 and transported to America on charges of drug smuggling. The case itself sets a major precedent as it is the first time that a Russian citizen has been sentenced to a prison term in the US for intent to participate in a crime in a case that was built by special agents posing as drug dealers. Yaroshenko was arrested in a third country. The reaction from the Russian Foreign Ministry followed shortly afterwards. “The verdict of a US judge, who sentenced the Russian pilot to 20 years in prison on the accusation of conspiring to smuggle drugs into the US, raises some very serious questions,” says the ministry’s official representative Aleksandr Lukashevich. The ministry will continue providing assistance to the Russian pilot and will be working towards his repatriation, Lukashevich added. The Russian pilot’s defense team has 30 days to file an appeal but US officials might take as long as two years to consider any appeal. Yaroshenko repeatedly pleaded not guilty in this case, and the defendant and his family, who arrived in the US and was present in the court room to support him burst into tears as the sentence was announced. Konstantin Yaroshenko is a family man with no criminal background whatsoever and he has never previously stood trial. Moreover, he has never even set foot on American soil until last year when he was snatched by US special agents to stand trial. Neither Yaroshenko’s family nor the Russian authorities were informed of his arrest and no information was given to the Russian side as to his whereabouts, so he was considered missing. Russian officials say it is a breach of diplomatic conduct and a breach of international law and place the blame for all of this on the US State Department.

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Friday, September 9

Annan man was part of £40M cocaine gang

 

THREE DUMFRIESSHIRE men were part of an international drug smuggling gang which brought up to £40 million of cocaine into the UK. Keith Blenkinsop of Annan was one of the ringleaders in the group which also included Robert Dalrymple of Gretna, David Harbison of Annan and three others. But their drugs network, which stretched from Columbia to Scotland via Spain, unravelled after Harbison turned supergrass. The drugs courier was caught with some counterfeit £20 notes and blurted out details of the drugs operation to police who quizzed him in Dumfries. A five-week trial at Glasgow High Court heard how the gang was importing massive amounts of cocaine into the country between 2007 to 2009 and distributing it in the Glasgow area with some also being sold in Dumfries and Galloway. Blenkinsop, with fellow ringleader Lindsay Harkins of Helensburgh, sewed the cocaine into suitcases in Barcelona and used couriers to bring it into Glasgow, Prestwick and Newcastle airports. Over a two-year period the gang flew out to Spain with suitcases full of Euros and came back with two kilos of cocaine at a time. At the conclusion of the trial on Wednesday, Blenkinsop, 43, of Winterhope Road, Annan; Harkins, 44, of Helensburgh, Andrew Burns, 56, of Helensburgh, Robert Dalrymple, 43, of Loanwath Road, Gretna, and James Elvin, 35, of Clydebank, were all convicted of being concerned in the supply of cocaine in Scotland, England, and Spain. Dalrymple and Elvin were only convicted of being involved in the drugs operation as couriers in 2009. The court heard that despite the massive size of their operation, the gang managed to remain completely under the radar of the UK’s drug enforcement agencies. The gang was snared because a teller in a Marks and Spencer’s bureau de change in Carlisle noticed counterfeit notes among a bundle of sterling that gang member David Harbinson was wanting to change into Euros. When Harbinson was arrested by police, he turned supergrass and gave evidence which put his former associates behind bars. He has now been placed on a witness protection programme. He told advocate depute Iain McSporran, prosecuting, that the gang had a direct connection to Columbian drug barons. Harbinson said that Blenkinsop and Harkins were the brains behind the operation and the other accused were merely couriers paid to take Euros to Spain and bring back drugs. In fact the gang exchanged so much sterling in Euros that Blenkinsop’s local post office won an award for the amount of Euros it sold. The jury was told they sourced their cocaine from the Columbians based in Barcelona and transferred them to Harkins’ house in Barcelona. Harbinson even told police that Harkins had an X-ray machine at the Barcelona house, like those used at airports, to make sure that the drugs would not be spotted – although he never said this in the witness box. When Blenkinsop’s house in Annan was searched 12 kilos of cannabis resin were found in a holdall in the attic. Dad-of-two Harbinson, 41, said that he would fly out to Barcelona with Euros in his suitcase and travel back to Newcastle with two kilos of cocaine. He told the court that he was offered £2,000 per kilo of cocaine to bring it into the UK and added: “I was told that Lindsay would fit up a suitcase and you would never know it was there.” Mr Harbinson said had changed a total of £250,000 sterling into Euros for Keith Blenkinsop in the Dumfries and Carlisle areas. All accused claimed that Harbinson was a liar and a self-confessed cocaine addict and said that no one would have used him as a drugs courier. Blenkinsop was also convicted at the High Court in Glasgow of being involved in the supply of cannabis resin and amphetamines between January 2007 and June 19, 2009. Harkins was found guilty of being involved in the supply of amphetamine. Blenkinsop was caught with three others off the Spanish coast in a yacht containing four tonnes of cannabis resin worth £12 million. Prosecutor Mr McSporran told the court that Blenkinsop had been sentence to four years imprisonment in Spain in 2004 for a drugs offence. All five will be sentenced next month. Judge Lord Doherty ordered background reports before sentencing them. Yesterday, Detective Inspector Gary Coupland who headed up a team of up to 30 officers who worked on the case for around nine months, told the Standard: “This was quite a complicated operation and we used Interpol to gather evidence in South America and Spain. It is a good example of how serious organised crime does not just affect the large city areas.”

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Thursday, September 8

Elderly fugitive sentenced on drug charges

 

A Manitoba fugitive who spent more than 30 years on the run before being arrested in Florida earlier this year has pleaded guilty to drug-smuggling charges. Ian MacDonald, 72, appeared in a Winnipeg courtroom Wednesday morning and offered a guilty plea to one count of conspiring to import narcotics. The Crown and defence lawyers submitted a joint recommendation of a conditional sentence of two years less one day to be served in community. MacDonald, who has been in custody at the Remand Centre since he was extradited from Florida and returned to Manitoba in March. He had been arrested in January after being tracked to his central Florida home but it took some time to arrange his extradition. As part of the conditions of his sentence, MacDonald is under 24-hour house arrest with the exception of medical appointments or emergencies. He can leave his home for four hours a week for personal business, if accompanied by a person approved by the court. MacDonald must also abstain from drugs alcohol and he cannot leave jurisdiction without permission from the court. In 1980, MacDonald — then known as "Big Mac" — was arrested in Florida on a warrant issued by Manitoba police, who suspected he had helped smuggle a large amount of marijuana into the province. While in custody in June of that year, he faked a heart attack and was taken to hospital, where he escaped by conning a guard into removing his leg shackles, Barry Golden, a senior inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service, told CBC News in January. He escaped and lived on the lam for many years, until an officer who had been assigned to the file in 2009 found information in it that led investigators to a home in Pennsylvania, where MacDonald and his wife had once lived under an assumed name. While speaking with people in the area, officers learned the couple had moved to a town in central Florida, where he was located and arrested.

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Police arrest 300 in cannabis crackdown

 

300 people have been arrested in a two-month crackdown on drug houses. Police carried out 301 search warrants as part of Operation Localise, a nationally coordinated operation focusing on "tinnie houses" - those where cannabis is sold. They made 311 arrests, seized 32.2kg of cannabis and 139g of methamphetamine. Cannabis was found growing at 44 locations, with 2657 plants and seedlings seized. Officers also seized $111,154 in cash, 19 firearms and ammunition. A wide range of charges have been laid, including conspiracy to supply class A, B and C drugs, manufacturing methamphetamine, participating in an organised criminal group, unlawful possession of a firearm and threat to kill. "This was a sustained programme of enforcement to combat drugs and disrupt organised crime groups" said Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess. "Tinnie houses are hubs for criminal offending. The people who run them are often not only dealing cannabis, but also methamphetamine. They invariably receive stolen property, take payments for drugs and are involved in organised crime groups. "Such houses cause misery in communities and we are sending a clear message that they won't be tolerated. "We will continue to protect our communities from the harm caused by drug dealers and stamp out the anti-social behaviour they create." Police are trying to seize assets from 47 of those arrested. They will have to prove they are not the proceeds of criminal activity. Mr Burgess said he was confident the operation had caused "significant disruption" to drug dealing and warned dealers they would continue to be the subject of close police attention.

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Saturday, September 3

Man sues over shampoo arrest

A man who was jailed for 14 days in Florida when shampoo he brought from Colombia falsely tested positive for cocaine is suing authorities for false arrest.

Donaldo Visbal, a Colombian government lawyer from the city of Barranquilla, said he brought the seven bottles of shampoo to Fort Lauderdale for a friend in November 2009 and he was in disbelief when federal agents at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport told him the contents of the bottles tested positive for cocaine, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Thursday.

"I kept telling them they were making a mistake," Visbal said.

He said his bail was set at $250,000 and he spent 14 days in jail before the Broward Sheriff's Office Crime Lab determined the shampoo did not contain any illegal drugs.

A false arrest lawsuit filed in October 2010 was dismissed in June by a judge who ruled there was probable cause for an arrest, but Richard Diaz, Visbal's attorney, filed a new lawsuit to clarify his client's position.

"Our lawsuit is only saying they had a right to detain him, but not to arrest him," Diaz said.

Diaz said the crime lab should have immediately tested his client's shampoo.

"They should not have waited," said Diaz, a former Miami-Dade Police Department detective. "They should have known it could have been a false positive reading."

 

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Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull gave Jance Wesley Varela, 29, a significant break as he sentenced him to a year and a day

Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull gave Jance Wesley Varela, 29, a significant break as he sentenced him to a year and a day, saying Varela was less culpable than others involved the trafficking ring.
Varela faced almost four years in prison under the guideline range. The sentence will allow Varela to qualify for a shorter term with good behavior.
“This intervention in my life has been a blessing,” Varela told the judge. He also turned and apologized to family members in the courtroom.
Cebull said Varela has legitimate medical problems and became addicted to pills as a result. To feed that addiction, Varela started distributing cocaine, he said. The judge also noted that Varela had taken steps to address his addiction.
Varela pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy, possession and distribution charges. There was no plea agreement.
Prosecutors said Varela was distributing cocaine to co-defendant Shawn Gerald Krum from March to September 2008. Varela also got cocaine from convicted dealer Chad Sanford, who, along with Travis Henry, a former Bronco player, and Henry’s co-defendant, James Mack, had obtained a large quantity of cocaine in Portland, Ore.
Varela took about a kilogram, which is a little more than 2 pounds, of cocaine to Montana but was supposedly robbed before he could distribute all of the drug, the prosecutors said.
Krum was sentenced earlier this year to three years of probation for his role, while Sanford, Henry and Mack were sentenced to about three years in prison.
Cebull allowed Varela to report to prison when he receives an assignment.

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Ignacio Leal Garcia, who was extradited from Colombia to the United States in July 2010, wil be sentenced on November 17

Ignacio Leal Garcia, who was extradited from Colombia to the United States in July 2010, wil be sentenced on November 17 and could get 10 years to life in prison, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. "In connection with its request for extradition, the United States has assured the Government of Colombia that it will not seek a life sentence for Leal Garcia," the release said.
Leal Garcia, 41, is one of five alleged FARC leaders extradited by the United States on the same federal indictment, and the other four defendants already have been convicted, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
In the indictment and other court papers, prosecutors describe the FARC as being "a hierarchical organization comprised of twelve to eighteen thousand members" and as being a military-style organization responsible for production and shipment of more than half of the world's supply of cocaine and nearly two-thirds of the cocaine imported into the United States.
Leal Garcia, who was captured in April 2009, was leader of a FARC section that controlled all cocaine production and trafficking in a 9,000-square-mile area near Colombia's border with Venezuela, prosecutors said.
"To exercise this control, Leal Garcia organized regular meetings in the various municipalities ... where he threatened death or exile for anyone who failed to cooperate with the FARC's control of coca farming, cocaine production and cocaine trafficking in the region," the release from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
Leal Garcia supervised production and distribution of "thousands of tons of cocaine" intended for the U.S. market, the statement said, with profits from drug sales going to fund the FARC.
"Recognizing that the FARC could not survive without its cocaine revenue, the indicted members of the FARC leadership directed its members to attack and disrupt coca eradication fumigation efforts," the news release added. "FARC leaders also ordered FARC members to kidnap and murder United States citizen in an effort to dissuade the United States from continuing to contribute to coca eradication."
The FARC has been at war with the Colombian government since the 1960s. While severely weakened in recent years, the leftist guerrilla group has continued to carry out kidnappings and attack security forces in the South American nation.
The United States and the European Union consider the FARC a terrorist organization.

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Cirilo Montes, 55, was arrested during the 3 p.m. search at his home in the 3900 block of Dwiggins Street in East Los Angeles

Cirilo Montes, 55, was arrested during the 3 p.m. search at his home in the 3900 block of Dwiggins Street in East Los Angeles, West Covina police Detective Adrian Del Haro said.

After learning that Montes was involved in narcotics activity, the West Covina Police Department's Special Enforcement Team, which handles narcotics investigations and other targeted enforcement operations, launched a monthlong investigation, the detective said.

"We've been following him throughout the month of August," Del Haro said.

Ultimately, officials removed 48 individually bundled kilograms of cocaine, six handguns, three rifles, two shotguns and an SKS assault rifle fitted with a bayonet from Montes' home.

Investigators estimated the street value of the drugs to be more than $1 million.

The bulk of the guns and drugs were found under Montes' bed, though one bundle was found in a laundry basket. Several of the guns were loaded, police said.

About $50,000 in cash, which was packaged by denomination, a money counting machine and equipment for vacuum sealing the cocaine bundles was also found, police said. A bullet-proof vest was also recovered.

Though he was not on parole, Montes is a convicted felon who is barred from possessing firearms, Del Haro said.

Montes' wife and mother were also present at the time of the search, but neither was arrested, officials said.
Montes was not suspected of crimes in West Covina, however, the Police Department's SET team develops leads and follows them wherever they go, officials explained. Many members of the team are also sworn Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, expanding their jurisdiction. Del Haro declined to comment on what led police to suspect Montes.

"They're very, very diligent," Lt. Ron Mitchell said. "Once they get into an investigation, they usually follow it through."

The lieutenant added he was pleased with the results of Wednesday's efforts.

"We have a multitude of guns that are not going to be used by anyone, for any illegal purpose anyway," he said.

Wednesday's arrest and seizure came after Del Haro spotted Montes walking from his home to his car Wednesday afternoon and approached him.

Montes, who moved to East Los Angeles from Diamond Bar earlier this year, agreed to allow police to search his home, and the drugs and guns were soon discovered.

Montes cooperated during the search and was arrested without a struggle, Del Haro said.

According to county booking records, Montes is being held in lieu of $2 million bail and is due for arraignment today in West Covina Superior Court.

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Two people have been detained after drugs with an estimated street value of £100,000 were seized at Aberdeen railway station.


British Transport Police and Grampian Police officers arrested a 24-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man at about 23:00 on Thursday.

Officers said the drug was believed to be cocaine.

It is expected that the woman and man will appear at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Monday.

A report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.

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German with kilo of coke caught at Vegas airport

The U.S. attorney in Nevada says a 43-year-old German traveler faces a federal drug charge after more than a kilogram of cocaine was found encased in more than 80 plastic pellets in his digestive system when he tried to board a flight from Las Vegas to London.
Christopher Adiegwu (add-EEG'-woo) was indicted Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on a possession of cocaine with intent to distribute charge. Arraignment is set for Sept. 9. He could face up to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine.

Adiegwu was arrested Aug. 17 after he was stopped by federal officers at McCarran International Airport, hospitalized and X-rayed.

Court records identify him as a German citizen and native of Nigeria who was traveling under a visa waiver.

 

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U.S. District Court Judge Danny C. Reeves sentenced Rashad Ross, 34, to 74 months in prison and Antwan Wills, 29, to 37 months,

U.S. District Court Judge Danny C. Reeves sentenced Rashad Ross, 34, to 74 months in prison and Antwan Wills, 29, to 37 months, according to the office of Kerry Harvey, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Ross and Wills were criminally charged after U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents found about 77 grams of heroin in a package from Mexico that was addressed to an Elsmere residence in September 2010.

Undercover agents delivered the package without the heroin. Curtis Widner, who lived at the Elsmere address, was arrested after accepting the package. Investigators learned that Wills and Ross arranged for Widner to accept the heroin, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Widner was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison in May for his part in the scheme.

Wills and Ross, both of Covington, will have to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences. and will be on supervised release for six years after that.

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Carl Langston of South Portland and Carol Vining of Cumberland, both 22, are being charged with aggravated trafficking of more than $2,000 dollars worth of crack and heroin

Carl Langston of South Portland and Carol Vining of Cumberland, both 22, are being charged with aggravated trafficking of more than $2,000 dollars worth of crack and heroin. Kevin Cashman, a supervisor with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said what set this drug bust apart from other is the loaded handgun found in the couple's car.
 
"That's the biggest red flag for us right there. That shows us the inherent danger," said Cashman. "Who's dealing with drug trafficking and, who's committing the burglaries? They all have the drug nexus."
 
Langston is prohibited from possessing a gun because he is a convicted felon and also currently out of bail on a domestic violence charge involving another woman.

Both are charged with aggravated trafficking of crack and heroin and will make their first appearance in Portland court on Friday. Langston's bail was set at $100,000 and Vining is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

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Dimitri Edmond of Somersworth was arrested Wednesday on a warrant of aggravated trafficking in heroin.

Dimitri Edmond of Somersworth was arrested Wednesday on a warrant of aggravated trafficking in heroin.

The 29-year-old Edmond is accused of selling heroin to an undercover officer in May 2011, before fleeing the area after he was allegedly involved in a July 17 shooting in Dover that left a 29-year-old victim injured.

A warrant for Edmond's arrest, charging him with reckless conduct and felon in possession of a firearm, was issued by New Hampshire police.

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