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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Tuesday, May 29

Bust nets $600,000 worth of meth

A bust by the city police street gang unit has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of methamphetamine off the streets. The bust happened after a traffic stop last Friday, leading police to about two kilograms of methamphetamine, with a street value of approximately $600,000. Police also seized a small amount of pharmaceutical drugs such as OxyContin. Two men were charged as a result of the bust -- which police said could have a trickle-down effect on the price of meth on the streets. "Meth is something that we are still seeing on the streets," said Det.-Sgt. Michelle Bacik, with the organized crime unit. "It's always about supply and demand. If it's coming here, someone is using it in the city of Winnipeg." Bacik said meth is sold in street-level doses that weigh about 1/10th of a gram and are known as a "point." The price of a "point" is currently about $30, but the price was about $50 a year ago due to lower supply. The bust can potentially have a direct spinoff on the street price of meth, said Bacik. "When you take something like this, I wouldn't be surprised if in a month or so that we hear that for a point, (it's) now gone up again to near $50," said Bacik. Officers executed two search warrants at two downtown properties they didn't identify. A 29-year-old man was charged with two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of drug substance and possessing proceeds of crime. A 33-year-old man was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.


man facing murder charges in heroin overdose death

A man has been charged with homicide in connection with the death of a Wauconda man by a heroin overdose this week, police said. Douglas E. Moses, 40, of the 600 block of Avenue, was arrested Friday and was charged with drug-induced homicide, delivery of a controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, according to a press release from Chief Wayne S. Hunter of the the Lake County Sheriff's Office. Moses' wife, Yvonne Pitts, 36, of Waukegan was arrested at the same time and was charged with delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, police said. Moses' bond was set at $750,000 this morning, Hunter said, and Pitts' bond was set at $100,000. The sheriff's police had initiated an investigation into the death of Robert Render, 26, about 4:15 a.m. Wednesday from a heroin overdose and were able to identify Moses as a possible suspect in the case, according to the release. Undercover detectives were able to set up a buy from Moses about 7 p.m. Friday in a Wauconda forest preserve and arrested him and Pitts at that time. The victim's last known address was a Wauconda halfway house, Hunter said.


Monday, May 28

Redcar housewife, 55, faces execution on Bali drugs charge

Lindsay Sandiford at a press conference in Bali

A HOUSEWIFE from Redcar has been arrested over the smuggling of cocaine worth £1.6 million on to the tropical island of Bali.


Lindsay Sandiford, 55, covered her face as she was taken out to face the media at a press conference in Kuta, a holiday town on the Indonesian island.

She was pictured sitting at a table surrounded by packages wrapped up in brown tape as a customs official cut them open with a knife.

Wearing an orange prison T-shirt, she was also photographed flanked by armed officers wearing black masks.

Sandiford was stopped with the 4.7kg haul in a suitcase as she arrived in at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok in Thailand on May 19, according to customs official Made Wijaya.

Three other Britons and an Indian national were believed to be the intended recipients and are being questioned.

Indonesia has extremely strict drug laws and convicted smugglers are executed. More than 140 people are on death row, a third of them foreigners.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are aware of the arrest in Bali, and we stand ready to provide consular assistance.”


Sunday, May 27

Laura Webb imprisoned in a South American jail for three years for drug smuggling

Mum Laura is getting to know her kids again Roland Leon All through her years in a filthy South American jail, Laura Webb dreamt of the day she would see her four young children again. It was that hope which kept her alive while she struggled through 36 brutal months for a crime she did not commit. But the reunion when it came was ­bittersweet. Laura was finally freed just a few weeks ago. And her two youngest children didn’t know who she was... as they were too young to remember her. All four children were torn from their mother’s arms at an airport in ­Venezuela after £1.2million of cocaine was found in the family’s suitcases. Laura had been duped by her ex-husband Paul Makin, who had ­selfishly used her and the children to ­smuggle drugs into Britain. The terrified children spent two weeks in an overcrowded ­orphanage before they were brought home by a relative. Laura, 34, would spend the next three years in fear for her life while trying to sleep on the concrete floors of one of the world’s most notorious jails. Her two youngest children would forget her face. But, slowly and gently, she is ­getting to know them again. Hell hole: San Antonio jail where Laura was incarcerated Collect Sunday Mirror   “Seeing them for the first time was such an emotional experience,” she says. “The babies had grown so much. I knelt down in front of them both and said: ‘hi, it’s mummy.’ They looked back at me a little blankly. “It was so hard, but I knew they had been too young to remember me so I had ­prepared myself for it. “I asked if I could have a hug and they both put their arms around my neck. I couldn’t stop the tears from coming. “I stood up and turned to the older two. They had huge smiles. They said: ‘Hi mum’, and threw their arms around me. We hung on to each other for what seemed like an eternity. “The little ones are getting to know me more and more. It’s ­heartbreaking. I hope and pray that one day things will be different. There were moments over the last three years when I didn’t think I would ever make it home to them. “They kept me going. I thought of them every minute of every day. They saved my life.” Speaking of her hellish ordeal for the first time this week, Laura recalled how she was persuaded by ­ex-husband Paul, 34, to go on a week’s holiday with him and the children in February 2009. He’s the father of the two youngest children. The older two are Laura’s from a earlier relationship. “The kids had never been on holiday, let alone abroad,” says Laura. “They were so excited, so I agreed.” A few nights before they were due to leave, bus driver Paul ­delivered three new matching suitcases to Laura’s house in ­Birkenhead, Wirral. “We didn’t have any of our own,” says Laura. “Paul said he’d take care of it.” The older two helped fill them with shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops for the beach. At the Laguna Mar hotel on the holiday island of Margarita, Laura and ex-soldier Paul had separate rooms and the children stayed with her. “They absolutely loved it,” she says. “The older two were in and out of the pool all day and I was with the babies in the shade. Paul did his own thing. “There were some days when I didn’t see him at all. He often left the hotel and didn’t come back for several hours. I didn’t know what he was doing and I didn’t really care.” Innocent victim: Laura with her cell mate   On the day they left, Paul loaded their four cases on to the coach which took them to the airport. “We joined lots of other families in the queue to check in,” says Laura. “I could see everyone’s cases being searched on a table by uniformed customs officials. “When it was finally our turn, I lifted my case up on to the table and smiled at the officer. He opened it, had a look inside, then closed it and handed it back. “Then Paul lifted the first of the other three cases on to the table. The guard opened it, looked inside, and then ­suddenly stopped. “He called two other officers over and began talking to them in Spanish. I looked at Paul but he wouldn’t look me in the eye. The officers ushered us away from the queue and into an office. “The suitcase was put on a table and Paul stood in front of it. The officer turned it upside down, emptied everything and flipped it over. Suddenly, he had a knife in his hand and just plunged it through the bottom of the case. “Instantly, a cloud of white powder, like a puff of thin smoke, blew upwards. It was like something out of a film. “I couldn’t believe it. I cried out, ‘What have you done?’ My mind seemed to connect everything together ­instinctively. Paul had been in trouble with the police over drugs before. “I knew it was cocaine. I knew Paul was behind it. I knew he’d used the kids and me to try to get away with it. It all swam into my mind at the same time.” Laura fainted and came round ­several minutes later in a different office. “The children looked terrified,” she says. “They started crying and clinging on to me. “Deep down, I knew I hadn’t done ­anything wrong so I presumed nothing was going to happen to us. I thought the children and I would just get on the flight without him.” Paul admitted the cocaine was his and that he had been trying to smuggle it into Britain. He told the officers Laura knew nothing of what he’d done and pleaded with them to let her and the children go. But several hours later, a British Consulate official arrived and explained they were both being held and the children were being placed in temporary care “I told them ‘no’ and drew the kids to me,” says Laura. “I squeezed them tight and tried not to cry. But it was too hard. Paul tried to put his arms around us all but I spat at him to get away. “The older two were either side of me and put both their arms tight around me. They were crying hysterically and their fingers had to be prised open. Seconds later, the door had opened and closed and they were gone. “Paul hadn’t said a word. If I’d had a knife I would have killed him.” Laura and Paul were locked up in Venezuela’s notorious San Antonio jail to await trial. “I was the only British woman in there,” says Laura. “The ­conditions were horrific. As I was led in, I could feel hundreds of eyes on me. “There was filth everywhere. I was led to a stinking, dark room and told that was where I would sleep. It was the size of a living room but 18 women slept inside. There were no beds. “Everyone slept on the floor. I ended up with a tiny patch up against a filthy sink unit. The only shower was an old rubber hosepipe which just trickled cold water. None of the other women I shared with spoke English. “That first night, I cried the entire time. I thought, ‘My God, I can’t do this. I’m going to die in here.’ I heard rats scuttling about and there was a constant noise of women shouting and ­arguing. I was so scared I didn’t sleep a second.” After two weeks, Laura was charged with drug trafficking and told her trial would take two years to reach court. “Paul was in the room with me and we were told at the same time,” says Laura. “I flipped. I attacked him and had to be pulled off by three people. “The news almost killed me. For weeks I felt lower than I ever thought possible. The first Christmas was horrendous. The children were back home in the UK by then, which I was so grateful for. But to not be with them on Christmas Day was heartbreaking. “A few inmates managed to get hold of mobiles and one let me call them. I spoke to the older two and lied that I was fine. I said I would see them soon and wished them a Merry Christmas. “They were really strong and didn’t cry, but inside I was in agony. I managed to call home now and again and speak to my mum and dad but I found it so distressing that I didn’t do it often. “I just told myself that the children and mum and dad were at home, they’re getting on with life and they’re fine. Worrying about them was too upsetting. But I missed the children so badly.” Somehow Laura settled into a routine, learning a little Spanish as she tried to talk to the other women. Food was mostly rice and beans and a little meat scavenged from kind guards. But jail was still a dangerous place. “I was in fear for my life most days,” says Laura. “I had to be so careful. The wrong look or the wrong word to the wrong person could be fatal. “I got into an argument with a ­Jamaican woman over a carton of fruit juice. She stabbed me in the arm with a pair of ­scissors. I had to fight back or I’m sure she would have killed me. “I made some friends but the language barrier was hard. Mercifully, all the guards were good to us. Mostly, I kept myself to myself and thought of home.” In July 2009, seven months after being arrested, Paul admitted trying to ­smuggle 23kg of cocaine and was given an eight-year sentence. Six months after that, Laura pleaded not guilty but was convicted of being his accomplice and sentenced to four years and six months. Due to time ­already served and for good behaviour she was released last month. “Mum and dad met me at Manchester airport and I fell into their arms,”says Laura. “We were all crying, but this time it was through relief and joy.” The following day came the long-awaited reunion with her precious children. “One day I’ll tell them how they got me through all this... and how I owe them my life,” said Laura.


Friday, May 25

£2m drugs haul seized from lorry

Two attempts to smuggle drugs, including nearly 80lb (36kg) of heroin, into the UK have been foiled by Border Force officials. A Czech-registered lorry intercepted by officers in Dover, Kent, last Thursday was found to contain heroin, 53lb (24kg) of amphetamine and 11lb (5kg) of cannabis, with a total estimated street value of £2 million, in the spare wheel, a UK Borders Agency spokeswoman said. The 41-year old Czech driver was charged with the importation of drugs and appeared at Dover Magistrates' Court on Saturday where he pleaded not guilty and was remanded in custody. Officers also found about 3lb (1.5kg) of heroin in a British-registered car last week. Both the driver, a 39-year-old man from Worcester, and the passenger, a 29-year-old man from London, were bailed pending further inquiries. The spokeswoman said investigations are continuing in both cases. Carole Upshall, from Border Force, said: "Border Force officers are on constant alert to keep illegal drugs and other banned substances out of the UK."


Thursday, May 24

Schapelle Leigh Corby is planning to request parole.

Sisterly love: Mercedes Corby speaks to journalists after visiting her younger sister Schapelle Leigh Corby in Kerobokan Penitentiary.  BD/Zul Trio Anggono  Sisterly love: Mercedes Corby speaks to journalists after visiting her younger sister Schapelle Leigh Corby in Kerobokan Penitentiary. BD/Zul Trio Anggono

After receiving a five-year sentence reduction, Schapelle Leigh Corby is planning to request parole.

Iskandar Nawing, Corby’s lawyer, said during a visit to Kerobokan Penitentiary that the procedure would be complex and time consuming.

“We should check remissions she has received during her incarceration,” the lawyer said.

“Indonesia has no law that allows a foreign citizen to request parole. But, as her lawyer, I will do my best to convince the legal authority to accept that,” the lawyer said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed the clemency papers on May 15.

Corby was sentenced to 20 years in prison on May 27, 2005, after the Denpasar District Court declared her guilty of attempting to smuggle 4.1 kilograms of marijuana in a body-board bag when traveling from Australia to Bali in October 2004. 

Later that year, the Bali High Court approved her appeal and reduced her sentence to 15 years, but a year later the Supreme Court overturned this and reinstated the 20-year prison term. Judges at the Supreme Court based their decision on the grounds that marijuana was categorized as a dangerous drug in Indonesia. 

Kerobokan warden I Gusti Ngurah Wiratna stated that it would be difficult for a foreign citizen to apply for parole under the current legal system. “It should be coordinated with so many institutions, including the immigration office,” said the warden.

Corby’s sister Mercedes could not hide her happiness and relief to hear the good news about her sister’s clemency.

“Our family would like to say thank you to the Indonesian President. We are now hoping to get more information about possible parole for Schapelle and we hope to get positive news on that,” said Mercedes.

Mercedes added that her sister was happy to receive the news.

In addition to Corby, the President also granted 50-year-old Peter Achim Grodman, a German national, a two-year reduction of his five-year prison sentence.

Amzer Simanjuntak, spokesperson of Denpasar District Court, said the letters of clemency for both Corby and Grodman arrived at the court on May 21.

Grodman was sentenced to five years in prison for illegally trafficking six plastic bags containing 4.9 grams of marijuana.

Officials at Ngurah Rai’s Customs and Excise Office arrested Grodman in March 2010. On Sept. 1, the Denpasar District Court sentenced him to 1.6 years in prison.

But, the Supreme Court increased his sentence to five years and an Rp 800 million (US$86,400) fine or six additional months in prison.

“Our family would like to say thank you to Indonesian President [Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono]. We are now hoping to get more information about possible parole for Schapelle and we hope to get positive news on that.”


Tuesday, May 22

Australian Schapelle Corby's drug sentence cut in Bali

Schapelle Corby, the young Australian woman whose long jail sentence for drug smuggling in Indonesia became a celebrated case in her home country, could be freed as early as August after a court agreed to cut her sentence. Corby, now 34, was arrested in Bali in 2004 after airport customs officials found 4.1kg of marijuana in her bag. The then-beauty therapies student insisted the drugs must have been planted as she had no knowledge of them. The following year she was jailed for 20 years, a verdict televised live in Australia. On Tuesday, officials in Bali said five years had been cut from the jail term. Amzer Simanjuntak, a spokesman for Denpasar district court, said Corby had been sent a letter at Kerobokan jail informing her of the reduction. This clemency appeal was lodged with Indonesia's president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in April 2010. The Indonesian judicial system allows prisoners to request sentence reductions, generally for good behaviour. Corby has previously been granted other cuts, and with further time off for good behaviour her sentence could end in mid-2015. Other reports, however, said Indonesia was considering releasing her as early as August. One factor that could lead to an early release could be Corby's mental health. She has been hospitalised more than once in recent years due to depression. Even if she is freed, reports suggested, Corby will have to remain in Bali on parole. This would be permitted, even though she is a foreign national, as her sister lives on the island with her husband and children. In 2006, there were moves to allow Corby and other Australian nationals serving drug-smuggling sentences in Indonesia to be repatriated to Australian jails. At the time, a family friend said Corby might prefer to stay within the relatively relaxed regime in Bali rather than a high-security prison in her home state of Queensland. Corby argued the drugs must have been planted in her hand luggage, not least because she made no attempt to hide them. Indonesian court officials insist there has never been any evidence to support her claims.


Sunday, May 20

Probe underway in remote area of Honduras after gunfight involving U.S. drug agents

Police and human rights activists headed to an isolated river town along the Honduran coast Thursday to investigate what happened last week during a gun battle that local officials say left four innocent people, including two pregnant women, dead in a drug bust orchestrated by U.S. agents. Relatives began to come forward, trying to convince investigators — and the U.S. government — that those shot were not drug smugglers, but locals who use the rivers as roads and were moving from place to place when attacked in a raid by Honduran police flying in U.S. helicopters and aided by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents. 11 Comments Weigh InCorrections? Personal Post Gallery Violence ravages Honduras: The wave has made the Central American nation among the most dangerous places on Earth, and San Pedro Sula is often cited as its most violent city. More World News Chen arrives in the U.S. Steven Mufson, Keith Richburg and William Wan 12:40 AM ET Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, who had been at the center of a diplomatic row between the U.S. and Chinese governments, arrived in the United States from Beijing Saturday evening on a United Airlines flight. Chinese communist leaders denounce U.S. values but send students abroad Andrew Higgins and Maureen Fan MAY 19 Questions about who pays for study in America are fueling perceptions that China’s ruling Community Party is corrupt. Iran sanctions bill blocked in U.S. Senate Joby Warrick MAY 18 Republicans, insisting on tougher measures and wording, refuse to let sanctions measure go forward. “The boat was just transporting people and some cargo. They were coming to town to spend Mother’s Day,” said Serene Trapp, a cousin of Candelaria Trapp, 45, a pregnant single mother of six who was allegedly killed in a burst of gunfire from a helicopter. “I know all the people on the boat,” Serene Trapp said in a phone interview. “None of them were smugglers.” News of the firefight, along with allegations of the four deaths, led local residents to torch several houses and demand that U.S. drug enforcement agents leave the area, according to the mayor. The gun battle took place Friday along the muddy Patuca River, near the northeastern town of Ahuas, as Honduran forces assisted by U.S. advisers in four U.S. helicopters sought to seize a load of cocaine being moved from an illicit jungle airstrip to a waiting boat. “First the narcos opened fire, and later the DEA helicopters were searching the area, and they fired with their guns at the boat with civilians, thinking maybe they were the narcos,” the mayor of Ahuas, Lucio Vaquedano, said in an interview. Vaquedano said that several bodies had been recovered and that the boat the civilians were allegedly aboard was pocked with large bullet holes, which he said police told him were from a .50-caliber gun, the kind used by a door gunner on one of the U.S.-supplied helicopters. “It was easy to get confused because there were two boats, and the narco boat didn’t have lights and the civilian boat was running with its lights on,” he said. Ahuas is a town of 1,500 people, many of them members of indigenous Miskito tribes, in the state of Gracias a Dios. U.S. officials said Thursday that at least “several” DEA agents had served as advisers during the raid but that the American officers, while armed for self-defense, did not fire their weapons. The U.S. officials, representing law enforcement agencies, and diplomats who have been briefed on the mission also cast doubt on the allegations that innocent people were killed during the 2 a.m. mission, though they said an investigation is ongoing. The U.S. officials said it was not unusual for local authorities to work with smugglers and also said they wondered why innocent civilians would be on the water in the middle of the night. With congressional approval and in coordination with the State Department’s Narcotics Affairs Section, the DEA has sent advisory support teams to train and coordinate anti-drug operations with units of the Honduran National Police. These military-style fast-response units, which use U.S. intelligence, radar tracking of illicit flights and U.S. helicopters, seized 22 metric tons of cocaine last year — a record amount — but they have also generated controversy, as human rights advocates criticize the further militarization of the drug wars.


DRUGS Mr Big may have flooded Ireland with up to €280million worth of cocaine

Former CIE bus driver Sunny Idah — jailed for 15 years yesterday — was nabbed when he tried to recruit TWO GARDAI to swallow a kilo of cocaine each and smuggle it from Brazil to Dublin.

He promised them €5,000 each if they gulped down 100 ten-gramme pellets of the compressed drug.

Cocaine from South America is usually 80 per cent pure and a kilo can be cut with mixing agents, quadrupling its €70,000 value to €280,000.

An informed source said: “Idah was operating in Ireland for ten years and recruiting up to two mules a week.


Drug flood ... Idah filled Irish streets with cocaine


“If he was bringing in two kilos a week over the last decade that equates to 1,000 kilos or 4,000 kilos when it’s cut with mixing agents.

“He potentially flooded Ireland with €280million worth of cocaine. No one will ever know exactly. He’s not going to tell.”

Idah, 36, with an address in Temple Bar, Dublin, was targeted by the Garda National Drugs Unit and secretly recorded offering the two cops money to smuggle drugs.

The officers — who were referred to in court as UC1 and UC2 to protect their identities — met him several times between September 14 and 19, 2010.

He gave them tickets to fly to Rio de Janeiro where they were to meet a contact and swallow the drugs.

Idah, who has Irish and Nigerian nationality, mainly recruited young Eastern European women to do his dirty work with the deadly drug.


Circuit Criminal Court
Sentence ... the Circuit Criminal Court


He was part of a worldwide Nigerian smuggling ring operating in 50 countries.

A source said: “He was in charge of the Irish end of it.

“This was a fantastic result for the GNDU. The message is loud and clear — if you choose to carry out this type of activity in Ireland you’ll be nabbed.”

In sentencing Idah at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, Judge Desmond Hogan said: “He is higher up the chain of command than a simple courier. He was set up in the business of canvassing drug couriers or mules.”

He said Idah’s crimes were “extremely serious” and that he had been “caught red-handed” by undercover cops.

He suspended the last two years of the sentence on the condition Idah keeps the peace and is on good behaviour for five years after his release.


Baltimore Heroin Distributor Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison

United States District Judge J Frederick Motz sentenced William Larry Diggs, Jr, a/k/a “Sweets,” age 44, of Baltimore to 14 years in prison, followed by eight years of supervised release, for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute heroin. Judge Motz also sentenced co-defendant Darrin William Scott, age 44, of Baltimore, Maryland, to 65 months in prison, followed by eight years of supervised release on the same charge. The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Maryland-Delaware Division; Assistant Director in Charge James W McJunkin of the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Washington Field Office; Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H Bealefeld, III; Major Michael Kundrat, Senior Commander of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police; Michael A Pristoop, Chief of the Annapolis Police Department; Anne Arundel County Police Chief James Teare, Sr; Colonel Marcus Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration-Washington Field Division; and Chief James W Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department. According to Diggs’ guilty plea, as part of a long-term investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) into a heroin drug trafficking organization, calls were intercepted over Christian Gettis’ phone which revealed that he distributed significant quantities of heroin to others in the Baltimore metropolitan area. The investigation revealed that William Larry Diggs, Jr was a Baltimore-based distributor of heroin he obtained from Gettis and Charles C Guy. Calls intercepted over Gettis’s phones revealed that Diggs purchased heroin from Gettis in order to resell that heroin to his own customers. For example, on April 13, 2010, officers assigned to a Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force arrested Towanda Capel in the O’Donnell Heights area of Baltimore with approximately 55 gel capsules of heroin. The officers had received information from a confidential informant that Capel was scheduled to meet Diggs to be re-supplied with heroin. The officers observed the transaction between the two and later arrested Capel after Diggs had driven away. The next day, on April 14, 2010, Gettis called Diggs and told him that Guy had called Gettis to complain that Diggs’ heroin sales were too low. Diggs was overheard explaining to Gettis that his competition had better product and went on explain that his best customer and reseller, Capel, was arrested in O’Donnell Heights immediately after being re-supplied by Diggs. Diggs told Gettis that Capel owed him $1,300. Toward the end of the call, Diggs talked about how small the profit was from selling heroin because he was paying a higher price due to his low volume, and as a result has to sell the drugs at a higher price than Gettis. According to Scott’s plea agreement, on September 28, 2010, after law enforcement intercepted telephone conversations between Scott and Gettis arranging for Gettis to provide Scott with heroin, law enforcement officers observed the exchange. A short time later, officers stopped the vehicle in which Scott was a passenger. Later that day, Scott was overheard complaining to Gettis that Gettis had not given him the full amount of the drugs Scott had paid for and Gettis agreed to provide the difference. Scott also told Gettis about being pulled over by police after meeting with Gettis. Scott told Gettis he had hidden the heroin he had just bought from Gettis in his rectum in order to avoid detection by law enforcement. The amount of heroin that was reasonably foreseeable to Diggs’s participation in the conspiracy was between 700 grams and one kilogram, and Scott was responsible for the distribution of between 100 and 400 grams of heroin during his participation in the conspiracy. The drug trafficking organization also used a location that was less than 1,000 feet from a charter school in Baltimore City to process and distribute heroin. The investigation revealed that the conspirators distributed heroin in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, and a housing project in Annapolis. Judge Motz previously sentenced Christian Devlon Gettis a/k/a “Cutty Rock,” “C,” and “Chris,” age 39, of Baltimore, the leader of a heroin distribution organization, to 16 years in prison and sentenced co-defendant and heroin supplier Charles C Guy, a/k/a “Captain,” “Beloved,” “B,” “Billy,” “Billy Guy,” “Gary Peterson,” and Damon Lamont Hackett,” age 43, of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, to 17 years in prison after both pleaded guilty. To date, 27 defendants, including Towanda Capel, age 42, of Baltimore, have pleaded guilty to their participation in the drug trafficking conspiracy. Capel is scheduled to be sentenced on June 29, 2012. United States Attorney Rod J Rosenstein praised the FBI and FBI agents in Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington, DC.; the Baltimore Police Department; MdTA Police; the Annapolis Police Department; the Anne Arundel County Police Department; the Maryland State Police; FBI agents in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; the DEA; and the Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the arrest of Diggss, the searches and the investigation. Mr Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Ayn B Ducao and Christopher J Romano, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.



In Malaysia, the High Court sentenced a Nigerian man to the gallows after finding him guilty of drug trafficking two years ago. Judicial Commissioner Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab meted out the sentence on a student at a private Higher Learning Institution in Kuala Lumpur, James Kamara, 23, who was charged with trafficking cannabis weighing 18,810 grammes at the Shahab Perdana bus terminal, here, at 9.05pm on Sept 13, 2010. The accused who was charged under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 was represented by Burhanudeen Abdul Wahid while prosecution was carried out by Deputy Public Prosecutor Nur Sarah Dina Baharudin.



One prisoner was hanged in Zanjan (west of Tehran) early in the morning. According to the state run news agency Fars, the prisoner who was not identified by name, was convicted of keeping and carrying 49,5 grams of Shisheh (a synthetic narcotic drug). The execution took place inside the central prison of Zanjan, said the report



A Malaysian court sentenced to death three Mexican brothers and two other people for drug trafficking, rejecting the defense argument that evidence was tampered with. The Mexicans are from Sinaloa state, the cradle of their country's drug trade, but have no criminal record at home. They were arrested at a secluded drug-making factory in 2008 and claimed they had been cleaning the place, not making drugs. Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Mohamad Zawawi Salleh convicted the five men, ruling that the prosecution had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt. The death sentence is the mandatory penalty for drug trafficking in Malaysia. The other defendants are a Singaporean and a Malaysian. "The court finds all five accused are aware and are involved in the activity of drug-making," Mohamad Zawawi said, adding that the verdict should be a warning to potential drug offenders. At the factory where the men were arrested, police found more than 29 kilograms (63 pounds) of methamphetamine worth 44 million ringgit ($15 million). The men are the first Mexicans arrested in Malaysia on drug trafficking charges.  The brothers — Jose Regino Gonzales, 33, Simon, 37, and Luis Alfonso, 44 — were on trial with Singaporean Lim Hung Wang and Malaysian Lee Boon Siah.


24 years' jail for £1million Teesside drugs ring trio

THREE “leading players” in a £1m drugs ring were beginning a total of more than 24 years behind bars today. The trio, including a mum-of-three, were jailed yesterday alongside two others involved in the distribution of drugs on Teesside. Teesside Crown Court heard that the five were arrested following a 17-month period of surveillance by Cleveland Police. Prosecutor Simon Myers said evidence gathered demonstrated that Angelique Huggett, her ex-husband Dominic Huggett, and another man, David Turnbull, were “a principal part” of a drugs network dealing in large quantities of heroin, cocaine and amphetamines across the North-east. Mr Myers said: “Seventeen months of surveillance does not reveal anybody above these three people in this operation.” Alongside them in the dock were John Muldoon, 24, and Gareth Devlin, 25, who were said to have taken smaller roles. Judge Gillian Matthews said police in the case, who had used large numbers of resources, man hours and expertise to “put a stop to a substantial chain of drug supply in the North-east”, should be highly commended. Sentencing the Huggetts and Turnbull, the judge told them: “I’m satisfied that you three were the leading players.” Angelique Huggett, 44, of Dishforth Close, Thornaby, was given a total of eight years and 10 months. David Turnbull, 42, of no fixed address, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs, received the same sentence. Dominic Huggett, 43, of Centenary Crescent, Norton, was handed a seven-year jail sentence after admitting conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Adrian Dent, defending Angelique Huggett, said she had no relevant previous convictions and had pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs. He said that not only was she a mum to three, she had also taken in another child after the death of the girl’s mum. He said: “I’d say she bitterly regrets her involvement. She realises that she has ruined her life for the near future. She is distraught that she will be estranged from her family for a long time.” Michael Bosomworth, for Dominic Huggett, and Christopher Knox, for David Turnbull, said neither had previous convictions for drugs offences. Antony Cornberg, defending Muldoon, said he accepted full responsibility for his actions. He was a semi-professional boxer with a partner and child. He had now ceased his own drug use. Brian Mark, defending Devlin, back in prison on licence for a motoring offence, said his client had been involved “for one day only” and was remorseful. Muldoon, of Bedlington, Northumberland, who had a previous drugs conviction from 2006, was given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years with supervision, a thinking skills programme requirement and 200 hours’ unpaid work for possessing a Class A drug with intent to supply. Devlin, of Willow Terrace, Middlesbrough, was jailed for 10 months for possessing a Class B drug with intent to supply. Detective Inspector John Ward, of the Regional Organised Crime Unit, said afterwards: “The sentences today are a tremendous result against an established organised crime group who would have been responsible for distributing over £1m worth of drugs, including cocaine and heroin, across the North-east.” He said criminal gangs would continue to be targeted and evidence presented before the courts. Comments (8)


Wednesday, May 16

heightened focus on drug smugglers has led to the confiscation of 1,333 pounds of marijuana, a handful of arrests and a number of illegal immigrants turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol.

In partnership with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, as well as other federal, tribal and state law enforcement agencies, the Maricopa Police Department cracked down on drug smuggling through the city in a week-long operation. Dubbed “Eagle Talon,” the MPD worked with these agencies over the course of a week during the beginning of May to “coordinate crime-fighting efforts at persons, vehicles and criminal activity involved in the transportation of illegal drugs through the city of Maricopa,” according to a statement from MPD spokesperson Ofc. Ricardo Alvarado. The operation had more than 60 traffic stops. In three of those instances, vehicle occupants fled on foot into the desert, but were later captured thanks to the multi-agency cooperation and support from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office air unit. On one particular stop, a black SUV and attached trailer containing 1,333 pounds of marijuana was discovered and seized. The marijuana had a street value of nearly $750,000, according to MPD. The occupants of the black SUV were Mexican nationals identified as Luis Vasques-Hernandez, Anselmo Oliva-Pacheco and Jose Acosta, who were booked into the Pinal County Detention Center on numerous felony drug charges.


U.S. slaps sanctions against Chhota Shakeel, Tiger Memon

The United States on Tuesday slapped sanctions against underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s two top aides — Chhota Shakeel and Tiger Memon — for their role in drug trafficking in the region. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Chhota Shakeel and Ibrahim ’Tiger’ Memon as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for their roles as part of a criminal organization run by Dawood Ibrahim known as ‘D Company’ Dawood was named as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in October 2003, and in June 2006, he was named as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker. Also in June 2006, the Dawood Organization was named as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker. “Treasury continues to target the nexus of crime and terrorism in South Asia with today’s action against one of the world’s most notorious criminal organizations,” said OFAC Director Adam Szubin. Chhota Shakeel, 57, is Dawood’s lieutenant who coordinates for D Company with other organized crime and terror groups. Memon, 52, is a trusted lieutenant who controls the group’s businesses across South Asia and is wanted by Indian authorities for his involvement in the 1993 Mumbai bombings. Interpol has issued provisional arrest warrants or “red notices” for Shakeel and Memon, both Indian nationals. As a result of today’s action, U.S. persons are prohibited from conducting financial or commercial transactions with Chhota Shakeel and ‘Tiger’ Memon, and any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen. The Treasury said Dawood and his organization have been involved in international narcotics trafficking activities since the late 1980s. Their smuggling routes include South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Drug trafficking activities of D Company include the smuggling of heroin and hashish from Afghanistan and Thailand to the United States, Western Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa.


Judge Tosses Out Woman's Life Term in Florida Drug Case

federal judge on Tuesday tossed out the life sentence imposed on a woman connected to a major drug trafficking ring during South Florida's hyper-violent "cocaine cowboys" years because the woman got bad advice from her previous lawyers. The decision by U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard means that Yuby Ramirez, 41, will be freed from prison after serving almost 12 years. She will, however, be detained for now by immigration authorities and may be deported to her native Colombia. The ruling came after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that Ramirez's lawyers during her 2001 trial never properly explained she could get a life sentence if she went to trial instead of taking a plea deal and 10-year sentence. Ramirez was convicted for her role in the killing of a government witness against now-imprisoned cocaine kingpins Willie Falcon and Sal Magluta. "Judge Lenard did the right thing today," said Ramirez lawyer David O. Markus, who along with Robin Kaplan has been representing her for free. "This was a very, very emotional case for everyone involved. Everyone agreed she was the least culpable person in this case." Ramirez said at an earlier hearing she would have pleaded guilty before her trial but was told by her attorneys that either way she would likely get only 10 years in prison. Although she maintained her innocence in the witness's 1993 slaying, she signed a document Tuesday confessing that she played a part in the killings of three people by drug ring hit men. Falcon and Magluta ran one of several Miami-based cocaine trafficking rings that moved many tons of drugs through South Florida during the 1980s and 1990s, before the smuggling trade relocated to the U.S.-Mexico border. By the early 1990s, the Drug Enforcement Administration was closing in and the two decided to bring in Colombian hit teams to eliminate witnesses against them. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Davis said Ramirez acknowledged allowing the hit team to stay at her home southwest of Miami and use it to store firearms. He said she also helped set up the slayings by pretending at different times to be interested in buying a car and boat one of the victims was selling, even faking romantic interest in one witness to draw him out. At another point, Davis said she told the hit team's leader she could kill one witness and the witness's brother herself if she was given a small weapon with a silencer. Ramirez also drove her truck to the scene of that double killing as a getaway car, although ultimately it wasn't used. "She was facilitating their plan to murder government witnesses," Davis said. The hit team leaders testified at Ramirez's trial they were paid $120,000 for their work. They received only six-year sentences, which Markus has repeatedly said underscored the unfairness of Ramirez's life term. Magluta, meanwhile, is serving a 195-year prison sentence. Falcon, who cut a deal with prosecutors, was sentenced to 20 years.


28 Arrested in Drug-Smuggling Ring, Brought Cocaine from Honduras

28 people have been arrested for their parts in smuggling cocaine from Honduras to the United States. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reportedly arrested 28 people allegedly involved in the cocaine-smuggling ring, which operated for six years. Members of the trafficking ring have allegedly wired more than $1 million from the United States back to cocaine suppliers in Honduras. “Through creativity and coordination, this tight network of Honduran immigrants allegedly distributed vast amounts of cocaine throughout Northern Virginia and across the mid-Atlantic,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Thanks to close partnerships among law enforcement, we were able to put together the case that led to today’s charges.” Smugglers are said to have brought cocaine into the U.S. from Honduras by using common items like shoes and wooden frames. Once in the U.S., the drugs were According to the affidavit, the trafficking ring was discovered in the autumn of 2011 by law enforcement after the investigation and arrest of Lindor Delis Martinez-Guevara, aka Lindo or Genero, 38, of Falls Church, Va., and Melcy Yalexsy Guevara-Barrera, aka Pedro or Primo, 35, of Vienna, Va., by the Fairfax County Police Department. The affidavit states that Lindor moved from Honduras to Virginia to deal cocaine and that he was the person who came up with the idea to hide cocaine in frames. Those named in the criminal complaint were charged with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, which carries a minimum mandatory of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. The full list of those arrested (and their aliases) is below. -Hector Mauricio Amaya, aka Conejo or Kaubil, 36, of Falls Church, Va. -Genis Jhesson Amaya-Pena, aka Jenis Yexon Amaya-Pena or Flaco or Juanchope, 25, of Vienna, Va. -Marvin Eduardo Escobar Barrios, aka Catracho or Garrobo, 37, of West Falls Church, Va. -Wilson Reniery Guevara, aka Wilsson R. Guevara, 34, of Manassas, Va. -Joel Lopez, 41, of Springfield, Va. -Annelo Argueta Reyes, aka Nelo, 35, of Falls Church, Va. -Mario Noel Medina-Aguilar, aka Noel, 28, of Falls Church, Va. -Julio Giovanni Nolasco, aka Puma, 18, of Falls Church Va. -Concepcion Benitez-Pineda, aka Conchi or Concha, 38, of Arlington, Va. -Mario Benitez-Pineda, aka Chaparro or Cuzuco, 42, of Falls Church, Va. -Santos Efrain Carbajal Benites, 24, of Arlington, Va. -Angel Zelaya Lizama, aka El Diablo, 29, of Falls Church, Va. -Jose Delores Vanegas, aka Chivito, 40, of Arlington, Va. -Isaias Abrego-Mancia, 28, of Herndon, Va. -Rudy Humberto Tabaro, aka Rudy Humberto Tabara or Colocho, 30, of Lutherville, Md. -Edwin Espana Morales, 38, of Riverdale, Md. -Jose Lorenzo Saravia, aka Jose Saravia-Lozano, 40, of Manassas, Va. -FNU LNU, aka Alex or Gordito, of Falls Church, Va. -Maria Florinda Benitez-Pineda, aka Flor or Loli, 26, of Baltimore, Md. -Jose Maria Benites-Pineda, 32, of Arlington, Va. -Jose Enrique Funez, aka Jose Enrique Funz-Garay or Jose Enrique Funes-Garay or Rick, 40, of Norfolk, Va. -Martin Juarez-Lopez, 19, of Falls Church, Va. -Gloria Elena Olivia Castro, 25, of Springfield, Va. -Joaquin Avila-Rodriguez, aka Pollo, 40, of Herndon, Va. Discuss This Article in Our Forums


Drug smuggling attempt foiled

Authorities have foiled an attempt to smuggle about half a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine into Singapore. The drug, commonly known as "Ice", is estimated to be worth more than S$100,000. It was found in a tissue box. In a joint operation early Wednesday morning, officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) and Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) pulled over a Malaysian registered vehicle as part of their checks at Woodlands Checkpoint. While searching the vehicle, a CNB officer noticed the tissue box in the passenger seat, which the officer thought to be "unusually heavy". Upon removing the cover, officers found a bundle wrapped in black masking tape. It was later found to contain four packets of "Ice". The 28-year-old Malaysian driver of the vehicle was arrested and is being investigated for drug importation. If convicted, he may face the death penalty.


Australian accused of drug smuggling faces Bali court

Prosecutors in Bali have detailed their case against an Australian man accused of attempting to smuggle hashish and methamphetamines into Indonesia. Prosecutors told a court in Denpasar that Edward Norman Myatt was caught at the international airport after he made a customs officer suspicious. He was detained and taken for an x-ray which revealed a large number of capsules in his stomach. Immigration officials allegedly recovered more than seventy capsules, containing over a kilogram of hashish and around four and a half grams of methamphetamine. The prosecutors allege Mr Myatt has already confessed to buying the drugs from a British man in India. The charge carries a maximum death penalty. The trial continues. Another Australian man, Michael Sacatides, was sentenced to 18 years in prison last year for importing 1.7 kilograms of methamphetamine.


Tuesday, May 15

There’s a reason why the markers, deodorant, buttons and nail polish in Tomas Sykora’s suitcase weighed so much - they were filled with cocaine

On May 08, 2012, CBP Officers inspected arriving passenger Tomas Sykora from Port Au Prince, Haiti.  While CBP Officers examined Mr. Sykora’s luggage they discovered a bag of magic markers.  They probed the markers and a white powder was produced, which tested positive for cocaine.  CBP Officers seized a total of 16 magic markers, 17 antiperspirant deodorants, 24 nail polish bottles and six bags of buttons (approximately 684 buttons) all containing cocaine.  The total approximate gross weight of the substance that tested positive for the presence of cocaine is 15.96 pounds (7,243.2 grams).

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found cocaine packed into these markers, deodorants, nail polish and bags of buttons when they checked the luggage of Tomas Sykora of the Netherlands at Kennedy Airport on May 8.

There’s a reason why the markers, deodorant, buttons and nail polish in Tomas Sykora’s suitcase weighed so much - they were filled with cocaine, federal authorities said Monday.

Sykora, 26, a resident of the Netherlands, was busted at Kennedy Airport last Tuesday and accused of importation of a controlled substance.

His black suitcase was pulled for inspection during a transfer from Haiti to Brussels.

The officer from U.S. Customs and Border Protection opened the suitcase and “immediately noticed a strong smell emanating from the bag,” according to court papers.

At the same time, said CBP spokesman Anthony Bucci, Sykora showed “some traits of nervousness.”

With good reason.

Inside the bag were 16 markers, 17 roll-on deodorants, 24 nail polish bottles and 684 buttons - all containing cocaine, the feds said.

All told, according to CBP, nearly 16 pounds of cocaine were recovered.

His court-appointed lawyer, Heidi Cesare, said Sykora is a native of the Czech Republic but she would not comment on the charges against him.

Sykora is being held without bail on a detention order at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Robert Perez, director of New York field operations for CBP, said the arrest shows the agency’s “steadfastness in stemming the flow of these dangerous drugs.”


Thursday, May 10

Drug accused had several international phone numbers

man accused of being an international cocaine trafficker had telephone numbers for people in more than 20 countries on his mobile phone, a trial has heard. Sunny Idah (36) is alleged to have arranged for two undercover gardaí posing as drug mules to travel to Brazil, swallow cocaine pellets and bring them back to Ireland. His trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard evidence today that gardaí found contact numbers for people from at least 20 countries on one of his mobile phones. They found telephone numbers with international dialing codes for Greece, Belgium, Spain, Guinea, Argentina, Morocco, Mali, Turkey, South Africa and Portugal, amongst others. Mr Idah denied to gardaí during interview that these numbers had anything to do with drug dealing. Mr Idah, with an address at Gerard House, Brown Street, London has pleaded not guilty to two charges of soliciting another person to unlawfully import cocaine between September 14 and 19, 2010. Detective Garda Ciaran O'Reilly told Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, that he believed Mr Idah had displayed a “selective memory” when he was questioned by gardaí. Det Gda O'Reilly said: “With regard to the selective memory of Sunny Idah, at certain points he did not remember his address, his telephone number, his laptop, the registration number of his car.” The detective told Mr Dwyer that gardaí did not translate recorded conversations between three Nigerian men in the presence of Mr Idah and the undercover officers. He said this was because he believed that these other men were “subservient” to Mr Idah and that they did not engage directly with the undercover operatives. He said Mr Idah was originally charged with conspiracy to import cocaine before these charges were changed to soliciting another person to import cocaine. Det Gda O'Reilly said he believed Mr Idah was conspiring with people in Brazil to import the drugs. Mr Dwyer put it to the witness that there is no evidence that anyone in Brazil knew anything about the events his client is charged with. The witness replied that he was satisfied that this was a large international network being operated by the accused. The trial continues before Judge Desmond Hogan and a jury of three woman and eight men.


Irish drugs 'mule' dies in Venezuela after condoms full of cocaine burst

AN IRISHMAN described as a "drugs mule" died in Venezuela when a stash of cocaine in condoms burst open in his stomach. Two other Irish nationals who were apparently travelling with him are being held in Caracas following the drugs death on Wednesday. The dead man was named as Martin "Butch" Beirne, who was linked to a Sligo-based crime family. It is understood the police in the Venezuelan capital found Beirne's body in a hotel in the city. He was in his early 30s and originally from the Athlone area. One source said he worked for a crime family in Sligo who are behind most of the cocaine trade in the north west. Gang Another source said he died when cocaine in condoms burst into his stomach. "This is a big step up for these boys," said one garda source. "We thought they were buying from others in Dublin and not importing drugs themselves." It's understood the Athlone man became linked to the Sligo gang when he was in prison. His two associates, in their 20s and from Galway, are expected to appear in court in Caracas today on drugs trafficking offenses. The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to the man's family. An official in Mexico has travelled to Venezuela. Arrests of drug mules are common in Latin America. They usually face up to six years in jail, but if there are no other aggravating factors, and they can be let out on parole in two years. Peru has been the world’s leading producer of coca leaf, the raw material of cocaine, since beating Colombia in 2009, according to U.N. figures. Analysts suspect that Peru might also have become the No. 1 producer of cocaine, though no figures are available to prove it.


Mekong murder suspect transferred to Chinese police

Drug lord suspected of masterminding the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River last year was transferred to Chinese police here on Thursday. Naw Kham, head of an armed drug gang, was arrested on April 25 at an undisclosed location, and has been sent to China on a chartered plane dispatched by Chinese authorities. Liu Yuejin, director of the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, said that China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand worked together to fight transnational crime and succeeded in the arrests of Naw Kham and the gang's core members, maintaining safety and stability along the Mekong River. The Naw Kham gang had more than 100 members armed with AK assault rifles, M16 rifles, bazookas and machine guns. They are thought to have been engaged in drug trafficking, kidnapping, murder, looting and other crimes along the Mekong River for many years. Liu said the joint police investigation in China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand found that Naw Kham, core members of the gang and a small number of Thai army men planned and conducted the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on two cargo ships on Oct. 5 last year. The Chinese government had ordered a thorough investigation into the murder and that the perpetrators be brought to justice. Senior cabinet members from China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand met in Beijing on Oct. 31 last year, and agreed to take joint action to crack down on cross-border crime and secure transportation along the Mekong River. Under the framework of the "Law Enforcement Cooperation along the Mekong River Mechanism," the four countries built sub-mechanisms for intelligence exchanges, patrolling and law enforcement, as well as for tackling major problems jeopardizing public order, combating transnational crimes and dealing with emergency events. After the meeting, Chinese police sent task forces to the other three countries to work together with their law-enforcement agencies. The cooperation of Chinese and Lao police led to the arrest of Naw Kham on April 25. Previously, a number of suspects had been arrested by the law enforcement agencies of the four countries.


Friday, May 4

Bulgarian weightlifter convicted of drug smuggling

Former Olympic weightlifting champion Galabin Boevski of Bulgaria was convicted of international drug trafficking and sentenced to nine years, four months in prison. The judge from a federal court in Sao Paulo announced the sentencing Thursday, nearly five months after Boevski was detained at the city's international airport and accused of trying to leave the country with 16 pounds of cocaine "worth nearly $500,000" in Europe. He was also fined nearly $10,000. Boevski won the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in the 152-pound category. He also won world titles in the category in 1999 and 2001. He was banned for eight years by the International Weightlifting Federation for doping in 2004. Brazilian police allegedly found the drug hidden in a fake bottom inside Boevski's luggage while he tried to board a flight on Oct. 25. His destination was Sofia, Bulgaria. Boevski's lawyer, Leandro Pereira, told Bulgaria's TV7 channel the sentence will be appealed. Boevski was facing a 15-year prison sentence for the international drug trafficking charges. Judge Maria Isabel do Prado ruled that Boevski tried to "take advantage of his status of a sports celebrity" to commit the crime. She also that he used his young daughter's participation at a tennis tournament in Brazil as a way to try to disguise his actions. The 37-year-old Boevski has denied wrongdoing. He had told authorities the cocaine was unknowingly hidden inside a suitcase he bought in Brazil after his original luggage was damaged. Authorities said they didn't believe him, saying a drug trafficker would not "abandon" 16 pounds of cocaine in a suitcase put up for sale. Prosecutors said that in Europe, 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cocaine is worth about $70,000. "By the defendant's version, `someone' would've abandoned a fortune of more than half a million dollars in suitcases randomly put up for sale without reasonable explanation," prosecutors said. Police initially said that 20 pounds of cocaine were found, but later tests showed that the amount allegedly being carried by Boevski was 16 pounds. "It would have been impossible for the defendant not to notice the suitcase's weight when he `purchased' it," the judge wrote. The court said that by allegedly having the drug with him and by trying to leave the country there was enough evidence to characterize the crime as international drug trafficking. "The amount of drug found and the location where the drug was found made it clear that it was not going to be used for personal use, but instead was being transported for commercial means," the judge said.


Wednesday, May 2

3.3 Tons of Cocaine Seized at Venezuelan Seaport

Security forces seized 3.3 tons of cocaine during an anti-drug operation at one of Venezuela's main seaports Thursday, a top security official said. Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said National Guard troops found the cocaine inside 1,680 boxes containing ceramic mix at La Guaira port. The cocaine was destined for Mexico, he said. El Aissami told state television that two Venezuelans and a Mexican were arrested. Venezuela has become one of South America's most important routes for smuggling drugs to the United States and Europe due to its proximity to Colombia, where most of the world's cocaine is produced and smuggled abroad by drug traffickers. "We will continue battling to prevent these criminal organizations from using our territory," El Aissami said. In a separate bust Thursday, National Guard troops arrested a U.S. citizen, Jose Alberto Reyes, after discovering 4 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside the man's luggage as he prepared to board a plane at La Chinita International Airport in the western city of Maracaibo, officials said. The flight was going to Madrid, Spain. Reyes' hometown in the U.S. was not released. U.S. officials accuse Venezuela of failing to effectively combat drug smuggling through its territory. El Aissami has said that U.S. officials should do more to stem the flow of drugs into the United States.


Former Air Canada baggage handler who smuggled $1.2 million in cocaine could get conditional sentence

A lawyer for a former Air Canada baggage handler convicted of trying to smuggle 50 kilograms of cocaine through the Vancouver Airport has argued his client could receive a conditional sentence. In November, a British Columbia Supreme Court jury found Steven Robert Von Holtum, 47, guilty of importing $1.2 million worth of cocaine in December 2007. Von Holtum, who was fired from his job following his arrest, was caught trying to remove four unclaimed suitcases that had arrived on an Air Canada charter from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Arguing this was a serious breach of trust, a prosecutor called for an 18-year jail term. But defence lawyer Ian Donaldson told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper that it was “legally open” to the court to impose a conditional sentence of two years less a day. “And though that submission borders on laughable, I make it with a straight face. And I make it with a straight face because of the nature of the evidence which we’ve heard and the family relationships that exist.” Donaldson was referring in part to the statements made in court by the accused’s brother and mother in support of Von Holtum. Her voice breaking, his 82-year-old mother told the judge that she relied upon her son to help her deal with her failing health. She, the brother and Von Holtum himself pleaded with the court for leniency. Von Holtum apologized for his crime and said the thought of going to prison terrified him. Prosecutor Charles Hough said there was nothing really exceptional about the family circumstances of the accused and added that the apology from Von Holtum, who denied the allegations at trial, was “a day late, a dollar short.” Judgment was reserved until June 22.


Former Air Canada baggage handler who smuggled $1.2 million in cocaine could get conditional sentence

A lawyer for a former Air Canada baggage handler convicted of trying to smuggle 50 kilograms of cocaine through the Vancouver Airport has argued his client could receive a conditional sentence. In November, a British Columbia Supreme Court jury found Steven Robert Von Holtum, 47, guilty of importing $1.2 million worth of cocaine in December 2007. Von Holtum, who was fired from his job following his arrest, was caught trying to remove four unclaimed suitcases that had arrived on an Air Canada charter from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Arguing this was a serious breach of trust, a prosecutor called for an 18-year jail term. But defence lawyer Ian Donaldson told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper that it was “legally open” to the court to impose a conditional sentence of two years less a day. “And though that submission borders on laughable, I make it with a straight face. And I make it with a straight face because of the nature of the evidence which we’ve heard and the family relationships that exist.” Donaldson was referring in part to the statements made in court by the accused’s brother and mother in support of Von Holtum. Her voice breaking, his 82-year-old mother told the judge that she relied upon her son to help her deal with her failing health. She, the brother and Von Holtum himself pleaded with the court for leniency. Von Holtum apologized for his crime and said the thought of going to prison terrified him. Prosecutor Charles Hough said there was nothing really exceptional about the family circumstances of the accused and added that the apology from Von Holtum, who denied the allegations at trial, was “a day late, a dollar short.” Judgment was reserved until June 22.


Drugs gang leader jailed for seven and a half years

The young leader of a drugs gang which flooded the university town of Aberystwyth with heroin has been jailed for seven and a half years. Haroon Amir, 20, who because of his age will serve the first few months of his sentence in youth custody, commanded a network of dealers, Robin Rouch told Swansea Crown Court. And Amir’s “chief lieutenant”, 21-year-old Adil Shah, was jailed for four years. The close friends, both from Wolverhampton, had denied charges of possessing heroin with intent to supply and money laundering but were convicted earlier this year by a jury. The court heard Amir hit on the idea of supplying heroin from Wolverhampton to Aberystwyth where there had previously been a “paucity of supply”. Mr Rouch said Amir kept a close watch on the drugs operation and on those who were involved in it. A major Dyfed Powys Police operation began after a number of people carrying heroin “street deals” were arrested in cars or on trains coming to Wales from Wolverhampton. They had all started their journeys in Wolverhampton and had been heading for Aberystwyth. Mr Rouch said: “It soon became clear that a new gang had moved into town.” The court heard that cash from street deals in Aberystwyth was deposited into accounts at the Lloyds TSB and Abbey National branches in the town. Then, after texts or telephone calls, “almost simultaneously” the same amounts would be withdrawn in bank branches in Wolverhampton. Other members of the gang are due to be sentenced later this week but Judge Huw Davies QC said yesterday he was satisfied it was Amir who played the leading role in the operation with Shah having an “operational management” role. He described Shah, who was arrested in the foyer of Aberystwyth’s Marine Hotel in February 2010, as Amir’s chief lieutenant. The judge said Shah stopped his involvement in drugs after the arrest but after his arrest at around the same time, Amir continued to lead the drugs supply operation. Judge Davies said Amir was “undeterred” by the arrest and he began “bringing in substitutes” for suppliers and other who were arrested. He said it was not until June 2010 that Amir’s activities in Aberystwyth were finally brought to an end. The judge said the supply of heroin had a “pernicious effect” on the community of Aberystwyth. He said: “Aberystwyth is a small town and there is an unusually large number of young people there because of its significance as a university town. “The damage done by heroin all too often is damage done to young people, marking their lives for a very long time.” He told Amir and Shah: “The availability of heroin in Aberystwyth was substantially increased because of your activities.” The court heard both defendants had previous histories of possession of cannabis. The judge said as part of the operation, a woman came to Aberystwyth from Wolverhampton by train and was arrested with 134, £20 street deals of heroin. And a man was arrested taking the same route by train with 181 street deals of heroin on him. The judge was told while in Aberystwyth, Shah used the false name “Adam” with a false surname and claimed to be from Coventry. Mr Rouch said Amir travelled to Aberystwyth when the police began making arrests of street dealers. The court heard since being given bail following his arrest, Shah’s character had changed and he was a hard working member of staff at his uncle’s takeaway restaurant business in Wolverhampton where he had risen to the role of manager.

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