Why Drugs Are Bad

This blog reports on any drug related news, whether it be accidents, crimes, punishments, etc

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A 61-year-old man was arrested today after he tried to smuggle 36 pounds of cocaine at the Bridge of the Americas.

Servando Mayor-Ramirez of Camargo, Chihuahua, Mexico, was attempting to cross at 1 p.m. in a 2007 Honda Civic when a scanner at the port of entry detected possible contraband. An inspection revealed 14 bundles weighing 36 pounds. The estimated value of the cocaine is $1,080,000.

In separate incidents today, Customs and Border Protection officials also seized 476 pounds of marijuana.

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Even small amounts of the drug ecstasy can harm the brains of first time users, a new study shows.

Researchers took brain scans and gave memory tests to 188 people who had never taken ecstasy (MDMA). The tests and scans were repeated 18 months later, and differences could be seen in the brains of 59 people who had tried small amounts of ecstasy in the intervening period. On average, those who had newly tried it had taken just six pills.

"We found a decrease in blood circulation in some areas of the brain in young adults who just started to use ecstasy," says Maartje de Win, who led the study at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. "We also found a relative decrease in verbal memory performance in ecstasy users compared to non-users.” There was no evidence of damage to neurons or alteration to mood, however.

Ecstasy is an illegal amphetamine, which is taken by clubbers for its euphoric effects. The drug increases the amount of a neurotransmitter, called serotonin, in the brain. Serotonin is involved in regulating several brain functions, including mood and memory.

Previous studies have shown that long-term or heavy use of ecstasy can damage neurons and cause depression, anxiety, confusion, difficulty sleeping and decrease in memory.

However, this is the first study to examine the effects of low doses of ecstasy on the brain, the researchers claim. The study did not look at the long-term effects of ecstasy's low-dose effect on the brain, and so they were not able to say whether the effects would be permanent.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, in Chicago.

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Police said they arrested an assistant principal of a Virginia elementary school on charges of growing marijuana.

Leonard Marsh works at Cub Run Elementary School in Centreville.

Police arrested him and his wife Tuesday night. Detectives said they found marijuana plants and packaged marijuana inside the couple's house.

The assistant principal was placed on administrative leave.

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Border Patrol agents in Fort Hancock, Texas made the El Paso Sector's largest marijuana seizure of the year after a motorist lost control of his vehicle and flipped his trailer on FM Road 192, spilling over 3,000 pounds of marijuana Tuesday, announced U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials today.

According to officials the incident occurred at about 1:40 p.m. when a Border Patrol agent observed the vehicle pulling a utility trailer traveling northbound from the levee just north of the U.S./Mexico boundary.

The vehicle was next seen traveling west on I-10 near McNary.

Agents became suspicious and began following the truck when it made a u-turn across the median and drove east on I-10, said the announcement.

The driver made an abrupt right turn onto FM 192 that caused the utility trailer to flip onto its side. Agents approached the vehicle and noticed several cellophane wrapped bundles.

The driver, an 18-year old U.S. Citizen, was unhurt in the accident and was placed under arrest pending further investigation, said officials.

A total of 3,006 pounds of contraband tested positive for marijuana. The value of the drug haul is estimated at $2.4 million.

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Visitors' day at the maximum-security federal prison at Donnacona near Quebec City turned into a heroin bust - involving a 6-week-old child.

The Sûreté du Québec seized 32 grams of heroin when a drug-sniffing dog reacted to something in a baby stroller Saturday.

A woman, accompanied by a 5-year-old child and the infant in the stroller, became agitated after she had arrived to visit an inmate, investigators said.

The 22-year-old woman, from Halifax, appeared in court yesterday to be charged with possession of heroin for the purposes of trafficking, SQ Constable Ann Mathieu said.

Authorities pegged the resale value of the drugs inside prison walls at $38,400. The two youngsters are in the hands of youth protection authorities, Mathieu said.

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A yearlong investigation resulted in 11 arrests and the seizure of approximately 100,000 Ecstasy tablets with an estimated street value of more than $2 million, officials said Monday.

Among those arrested was suspected ringleader Jian Dong Mai, 51, of Rosemead, said David Nehls, assistant special agent for the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"This had been going on for about a year," Nehls said. "We have a lot of sources. One helped us get started. It's really a lot like peeling an onion."

Nehls said ICE became involved in the investigation when agents learned Ecstasy was being smuggled through Los Angeles International Airport. Officials believe two gangs were involved in the distribution of the drugs.

"We started our investigation at the street level and moved up through the organization," Nehls said. "That's how we got to Mr. Mai."

Much of the distribution was done by college students at area colleges, Nehls said.

The most recent seizure occurred Friday when ICE agents joined agents from the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement in seizing three duffel bags hidden inside an 8-foot-by-10-foot self- storage unit, said Robert Schoch, special agent in charge of ICE's Los Angeles office.
About 35,000 Ecstasy tablets were seized in previous raids over the past three months.

Eleven people have been arrested, including the suspected ringleader, Nehls said.

Mai is a Chinese national being held without bond on federal charges of distributing a controlled substance.

None of the other suspects were identified. Seven, including Mai are in federal custody. Four are in county jail, Nehls said.

The seizure was part of an ICE-led investigation into several San Gabriel Valley-based criminal organizations involved in smuggling large quantities of Ecstasy.

Nehls could not identify the organizations.

"This is one of the largest Ecstasy seizures in the Los Angeles area in recent years," Schoch said. "The size of this seizure is a clear sign that this probe has succeeded in dismantling several significant local Ecstasy smuggling rings."

California Attorney General Jerry Brown called it "particularly troublesome that some of these drug dealers (were) college students, breaking the law in between classes."

The seized Ecstasy was taken to Drug Enforcement Administration labs for analysis.

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Four Tennessee residents are in federal custody after law enforcement officers intercepted a large load of marijuana meant for Southeastern Kentucky.

A combined investigation by Operation UNITE detectives and agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration led to an arranged undercover delivery of processed marijuana at the Wal-Mart store in Middlesboro about 10:45 p.m. Thursday, October 25.

Assisting with the sting were officers from the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office, Middlesboro Police Department and Kentucky State Police K-9 Unit.

“Law enforcement officers confiscated 96 pounds of marijuana in Middlesboro,” said Dan Smoot, law enforcement director for UNITE. “Further investigation led to the discovery of an additional 230 pounds in a storage unit in Lafollette, Tennessee, early Friday morning.”

“This marijuana was ultimately meant for delivery to Harlan County,” Smoot noted. “Now it will be sent to the KSP Crime Lab in London for analysis.”

Four people were arrested by the DEA and taken into custody by the U.S. Marshal Service. They were lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center.

Jason A. Alvezios, East Hemlock Street, Lafollette, Tennessee.

Brandi Nicole Layne, age 24, Melvin Lane, Lafollette, Tennessee.

Jordan R. Martin, Perkins Lane, Jacksboro, Tennessee.

Tildem J. Crase, Straight Branch Road, Speedwell, Tennessee. He also maintains a residence in Letcher County.

All four individuals were lodged without bond. They were scheduled for an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Robert Weir in U.S. District Court in London on Friday afternoon.

During an initial appearance the suspects learn the charges, are advised of their rights, and are appointed an attorney if needed, according to the U.S. District Court Clerk. Dates may also be set for a detention hearing or preliminary hearing on the charges.

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A traffic stop for a bum brake light turned into the arrest of a Delaware man for carrying samurai swords and a small amount of marijuana.

Peter Hansen, 22, of Newark, Del., was charged Monday with two counts of unlawful possession of weapons, possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, Lt. Don Smith said Tuesday.

Police were patrolling Route 10 Westbound just after 10 a.m. when an officer spotted a gray Dodge with a malfunctioning rear brake light and pulled the vehicle over near South Morris Street.

The officer walked up to the vehicle and saw two samurai swords laying on the rear floor board.

Police determined Hansen was the owner of the swords.

A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed an additional samurai sword, a dagger, a flare gun, and marijuana pipe and marijuana, police said.
Hansen was additionally charged with failure to maintain lamps, while a passenger, Mitchell D. Angle, 18, of Magnolia, Del., was charged with one count of hindering his own apprehension by giving police a fake name.

A third passenger, Heather Adank, 21, of Shawtown, Del., wasn’t charged.

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A 16-year-old drug mule was nabbed at Kennedy Airport with a mind-boggling 80 balloons of heroin in his stomach, authorities said Friday.

Anthony Cruz of the Dominican Republic was caught Tuesday by airport customs agents with almost a kilo of drugs worth $500,000 in his belly, prosecutors said.

"Not only was he endangering the citizens of New York City by bringing narcotics into their neighborhoods but he could have suffered fatal injuries if any of the balloons burst and the heroin entered his system," said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

The 5-foot-11, 210-pound teen was stopped by a Customs and Border Patrol inspector after American Airlines Flight 834 from the Dominican city of Santiago arrived at Kennedy Airport. He agreed to an X-ray of his body, which showed the dozens of sacks of drugs in his stomach, prosecutors said.

Cruz confessed to swallowing the balloons in exchange for $300, 500 Dominican pesos - which are worth about $15 - and a plane ticket to New York, all offered by someone who approached him in the Dominican, prosecutors said yesterday. Cruz was born in New York but had been living with his mother in La Vega, Dominican Republic, prosecutors said.

"The allegation looks like he was being used by others," Cruz's lawyer, Oona O'Flaherty, told Queens Criminal Court Justice Suzanne Melendez at her client's arraignment yesterday.

Cruz was ordered held without bail on felony charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance. He faces 20 years if convicted.

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The final autopsy report from the Volusia County Medical Examiner released Friday determined that former Florida cornerback Avery Atkins died July 5 from ecstasy intoxication and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Atkins, 20, was found dead inside his car, which was parked in the garage of his aunt's home in Port Orange.

"The investigation clearly indicates that the death of Avery Atkins was not caused by the actions of any other person or persons," Port Orange police said in a statement. "The findings of this investigation are clear that the death of Avery Atkins was the result of his ingestion of MDMA (ecstasy) in sufficient quantities which produced toxic levels, resulting in his death."

Atkins was the prize recruit in coach Urban Meyer's first signing class in 2005, and played that fall as a freshman.

He was a projected starter in 2006 but was granted a release from his scholarship before the season after an arrest on a charge of domestic battery.

He transferred to Bethune-Cookman but left the team after three games last fall. Atkins was arrested three times in the three months before his death on drug possession (marijuana and crack cocaine), aggravated assault and gun charges.

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California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says marijuana is not a drug, a British magazine reported Monday. But his spokesman said the governor was joking.

Schwarzenegger told the British edition of GQ magazine that he had not taken drugs, even though the former bodybuilder and Hollywood star has acknowledged using marijuana in the 1970s and was shown smoking a joint in the 1977 documentary "Pumping Iron."

"That is not a drug. It's a leaf," Schwarzenegger told GQ. "My drug was pumping iron, trust me."

Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger's press secretary, said the governor made the comments in a lighthearted context, noting his interviewer was Piers Morgan, one of the judges on "America's Got Talent." Morgan is a former British newspaper editor.

"The governor was doing an interview with the host of 'America's Got Talent,' the newest version of the gong show," McLear said. "I think it's important to keep that quote in the context of the environment where it was said."

"Of course the governor understands marijuana is a drug. It's like when he goes on Leno or the Daily Show, if you took something like that out of context, it might seem shocking but it was in a silly entertainment context," he added.

In the interview for the magazine's December issue, Schwarzenegger refused to condemn politicians who decline to answer questions about drug use.

"What would you rather have? A politician taking stuff and not saying, but making the best decisions and improving things? Or a politician who names all the drugs he or she has taken but makes lousy decisions for the country?" Schwarzenegger was quoted as saying.

"A politician's job is to do what's best for the people and to improve the country, the economy, the environment. Why should I care if a politician takes sleeping pills every night so long as he can do his job?" he added.

In the same interview, Schwarzenegger listed former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who left office in June, as one of the greatest leaders in history, alongside former South African President Nelson Mandela, Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Asked if he would include President Bush on the list, Schwarzenegger — a Republican — said: "I would say that I was ... very fond of his father. I worked for President Bush Sr., and he was a great man."

"I think his son does some great things and there are some other things I don't agree with."

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A Queensland researcher says ecstasy has become the second most popular illicit drug after cannabis over the past decade.

Greg Fowler from the Queensland Alcohol and Drug Research and Education Centre has outlined new research at a national conference on the Gold Coast in south-east Queensland.

Mr Fowler says more than 500,000 Australians use ecstasy each year.

"Ecstasy is popular partly because it can be consumed in a tablet form," he said. "It's perceived by consumers for that reason as perhaps having less risk than injecting drug use.

"The cocaine market in Australia is substantially smaller than the ecstasy market but there is indications that the cocaine market may be growing."

The research is aimed at providing extra intelligence for police to fight the problem, with Mr Fowler saying ecstasy is adding significant profits to the coffers of organised crime.

Mr Fowler says most ecstasy is imported and a tablet which costs around 25 cents to produce, can be sold for between $30 and $35 in Australia.

"Demand in Australia is supporting a price at that level and organised criminal groups are reaping substantial rewards and that creates an ongoing incentive," he said.

"So we need to look at some of the strategies policing can actually use to look at the various choke points on the supply chain."

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A 17-year-old striker for 13-time Ecuadorean champion Barcelona tested positive for cocaine, the Ecuadorean Football Association said Wednesday.

Romulo Aguilar, president of the federation's medical commission, said that Miller Bolanos' Oct. 3 test showed he had been consuming cocaine "for a long time."

He said the offence carries a two-year suspension.

"It's worrying not only for soccer, but for the (players) themselves," Aguilar told Radio Quito. "They're boys who have the ability to be good sportsmen, good soccer players, and they don't need this sort of aid."

Bolanos had trained with the national team under coach Luis Fernando Suarez, with the possibility of being selected for the next qualifying round for the 2010 World Cup.

In late August, Michael Arroyo of Emelec tested positive for marijuana, which also carries a two-year suspension.

Ecuador faces Paraguay in Asuncion and Peru at home in Quito in next month's qualifiers.

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Police have arrested a man for allegedly smuggling about 30,000 tablets of the synthetic narcotic agent MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, with an estimated street value of some 120 million yen, investigative sources said Tuesday.

He was identified as Osamu Nagasawa, 60, a company employee and a resident of the city of Shizuoka.

According to investigations by police and customs authorities, Nagasawa imported the drugs illegally from Belgium on Sept 22 using an international package delivery service. The drugs were hidden in a gardening pump. Customs officials at Kansai Internal Airport near Osaka detected the drugs using X-ray checks.

Nagasawa has told investigators that he was asked by a gangster to take delivery of the drugs at his home for 20,000 yen and accepted the request because he was in debt.

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Two men are behind bars after state troopers confiscated more than 38 pounds of marijuana hidden inside door panels of a car during a traffic stop.

Authorities say Carlos Rodriquez Serna Junior of Bryan, Texas, and Jose Romero-Ortiz, address unknown, were arrested Tuesday.

Trooper Mark Dennis says Dennis said officers stopped a car in the eastbound lane of Interstate 20 in Ouachita Parish for an equipment violation. As troopers questioned Serna, Dennis says the driver, he appeared to be very nervous.

After getting permission to search the car, state police found 29 packages of marijuana, weighing 38.3 pounds, hidden in all four door panels of the car.

The marijuana is valued at more than $40,000 and troopers believe the drugs were en route to Atlanta.

Serna was booked with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute marijuana and driving with a suspended license. Ortiz was booked on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. He also faces U.S. Immigration violations.

Both men were booked into Ouachita Correctional Center.

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Following an adventurous pursuit of an Albanian, the police located and confiscated 47 kilos of heroin in Pieria.
The driver of the car did not stop when the police ordered him to do so to unergo a check and as a result a pursuit followed, during which the culprit crashed into two parked cars. Despite the accident, the man managed to escape arrest. The amount of heroin confiscated is considered one of the biggest amounts ever confiscated.

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Serbia’s Customs said it confiscated 360 pounds of heroin found in a Turkish truck at the Serbian Gradina border crossing with Bulgaria.

The heroin seizure was one of the biggest in 10 years by Serbian Customs officers, Serbia’s RTS radio-television said Wednesday.

The drugs were uncovered in a routine search Tuesday at the Serbian Gradina border point near Pirot, 190 miles southeast of Belgrade.

Officials said the heroin was stashed in 161 packages and hidden in a specially made cache in the driver’s cockpit of the truck, whose freight was registered as household goods being reportedly transported to addresses of diplomats in Austria, France and the Netherlands.

Serbian customs’ statement said the purchasing price of the heroin was estimated at $2.8 million, while on the street market it could reach $7.1 million, RTS reported.

Serbia is a major transit country on the Balkan route used to smuggle drugs to Western Europe.

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In the latest effort in a decade-long legislative crusade, the Ohio Senate on Tuesday voted 32-0 to make penalties for possessing and trafficking in powder cocaine as tough as those for crack cocaine.

This would provide equal justice to high-rollers who transport and sell large volumes of powder cocaine and street dealers and addicts involved with crack cocaine who now are punished more harshly, said Sen. Ray Miller, D-Columbus, the bill's sponsor.

"We have a crisis in our streets but the real problem is in the suites," said Miller. The current system discriminates against minorities and the poor, who are more likely to be involved with crack, said Miller.

Despite the unanimous vote, Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, reminded senators that the change would come at a cost. Additional prison time served by offenders involved with powder cocaine would increase costs by more than $25 million a year, according to the Legislative Service Commission.

Under current law, someone charged with trafficking in from one to five grams of crack cocaine faces the same penalty as someone charged with trafficking in from five to 25 grams of powder cocaine.

Miller praised former state Rep. Sylvester Patton, D-Youngstown, who was in the audience, for unsuccessful efforts with similar legislation dating back to 1997. They hugged after the vote.

The bill now goes to the House.

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A Glasgow man caught with a portion of one of the biggest heroin hauls ever recovered by Scottish police has been jailed for eight years.

Robert Wright was caught with enough heroin to give a "tenner bag" to almost everyone in Aberdeen, Dundee and Perth.

But the £2.88m seizure was a fraction of £10.5m consignment later found at the Glasgow Fruit Market at Blochairn.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Wright, 45, from Drumchapel, admitted being involved in supplying the drug in 2006.

He was caught in June last year, just two weeks after being released from jail where he had served a four and a half year sentence for drug trafficking.

High purity

Paul Kearney, prosecuting, told how undercover detectives were watching a unit in the busy wholesale fruit and vegetable market when Wright arrived in his large 4x4.

He was seen looking into vegetable boxes in a lorry and various boxes were then moved from the vehicle into the unit.

Wright took two black holdalls into the unit before backing his car up to the entrance.

Three black holdalls which appeared to be "full and heavy" were then put into the 4x4.

Judge Lady Dorrian described the haul as an "enormous quantity"

Wright was shadowed en route from the Fruitmarket to Maryhill, where plain clothes detectives moved in to detain him as he emerged from the car with one of the holdalls.

The 92 wrapped packages of heroin they recovered weighed a total of 36 kilos, was 50% pure and had a street value of £2.88m.

When questioned by police he admitted that he had been paid £4,000 to deliver the holdall to Maryhill.

He claimed he had no idea what was inside the bags.

When police later searched the lorry at Blochairn, they found another £10.5m pounds worth of the Class A drug.

By that time, however, word had got out about the police investigation and no-one else came to pick up the rest of the consignment, which had totalled 170 kilos.

Paul McBride QC, defending, said Wright fully accepted his responsibility and was not looking for mercy from the court but a full discount on his sentence for an early plea of guilty.

Sentencing Wright to eight years, the judge, Lady Dorrian, described the haul as an "enormous quantity" and said if it had not been for his early guilty plea she would have jailed him for 11 years.

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The 14-year-old St. Paul girl who distributed crystal meth at her middle school cafeteria was sentenced Monday morning in Ramsey County Juvenile Court.

Since she is underage, the sentence is not public. But Janet Hafner, spokeswoman for the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, said the girl is no longer in juvenile detention. She had been there since her arrest Oct. 2.

The girl's father, Jerry Castillo, 35, has been charged with fifth-degree drug possession. According to a criminal complaint, he was using methamphetamine and kept it in a bedroom nightstand.

His daughter apparently found the drugs and handed them out to about a dozen of her fellow students at Hazel Park Middle School, five of whom went to the hospital briefly after feeling ill.

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A city man was the second individual arrested in connection with a scheme to ship 12 pounds of marijuana through UPS to a New Britain address in June, police said.

Dwight Furze, 30, of 137 Cornwall Road was arrested Saturday by warrant after police determined he was involved with his wife in shipping a 12 pounds of marijuana to 75 Clark St. in June, police said.

His wife, Earlayna Murray, 28, was arrested on June 8 minutes after she signed for the package, police said.

U.S. Customs officials discovered the box contained about 12 pounds of marijuana and arranged for the delivery of the box to determine who would sign for the package, police said at the time.

Murray did sign for the package and was arrested a short while later after police searched the address. Murray was at the address alone except for a 2-month-old baby, police said. Police also found a small amount of marijuana in the apartment at the time of the search.

After investigating, police were able to determine that Furze was also involved in the shipping scheme. He was charged Saturday with conspiracy to possess more than 1 kilo of marijuana with intent to sell and criminal attempt to possess over one kilo of marijuana with intent to sell.

Furze was released after posting $25,000 bond and was scheduled to appear in New Britain Superior Court on Nov. 2.

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The Calaveras County Sheriff's Department says a father and son who were out hunting dodged a bullet, and helped bust an illegal marijuana grow.

Recently, the unidentified hunter told the Department that he and his son were hunting near Sheep Ranch during the early morning hours. While hiking in the area, he turned on his flashlight, and was immediately fired upon from at least one firearm.

The father and son left the location immediately. Deputies later hiked around the area of Sheep Ranch Rd, and discovered remnants of marijuana left on a trail. After following the trail, a large garden was discovered which contained approximately 3,000 marijuana plants.

No suspects were located near the garden. The Department says that it appears that it was tended to by workers who lived within a primitive camp in the garden, and the marijuana was likely grown for a Mexican drug trafficking organization.

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Police arrested a man at the security checkpoint at the Discovery Cruise Line terminal after finding a kilo of cocaine in a cooler, Magistrate Susan Sylvester heard yesterday.

Sigmund Hall, 27, is on trial for cocaine possession with intent to supply and taking preparatory steps to export the drugs in July 2006.

He was a ticketed passenger for the ferry from Freeport, Grand Bahama to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Security officer Deon Dean testified that he spotted an unusual object on the X-ray machine when the cooler was examined.

Dean alerted a policeman. At first glance the cooler appeared empty, but the policeman dismantled the cooler and found the drugs in a concealed cavity. The cooler's insulation had been removed and a hole was cut in the bottom to hold the drugs before it was reassembled.

In response to a question from Hall's lawyer Richard Boodle, Dean admitted that he did not see who put the cooler on the conveyor belt. But he claimed that Dean had a checked luggage ticket for the cooler. He explained that passengers could not take luggage and coolers on board, but they were given tickets to claim their belongings at the end of the journey.

In a statement to police, Hall allegedly admitted that he had planned to sell the drugs when he got to Florida.

His lawyer stressed the fact that Hall's name was nowhere on the cooler.

The case continues on January 14. Inspector Anne Marie Neilly is the prosecutor.

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SAN DIEGO – When an undercover police officer asked Dr. Robert Sterner to prescribe marijuana for his dog, the doctor joked that only two-legged patients were covered by the state's medical marijuana law.

So the officer suggested Sterner appoint him caregiver for the dog, a designation that would allow him to obtain marijuana in the animal's name, according to a Medical Board of California accusation.

While a hidden camera rolled, Sterner said, “There you go. That's being creative,” according to the accusation.

The police officer walked out of the doctor's office with signed authorizations that allowed him to buy marijuana for his dog, as well as for himself.

Now the Medical Board wants to revoke Sterner's license, accusing the 50-year-old Middletown doctor of gross negligence in issuing medical marijuana recommendations to two undercover police officers. He is also accused of incompetence for his lack of knowledge about the safe use of marijuana and its therapeutic value.

Sterner was among a number of doctors targeted in a sting by the San Diego Police Department, including one doctor whose office consisted of a desk and three chairs but no medical equipment. The doctors were investigated because they seemed to be issuing a significant number of marijuana recommendations to young patients who didn't have serious medical conditions, according to the accusation filed in Administrative Law Court.

Sterner's attorney, Zenia Gilg, said the sting was illegal and nothing more than harassment.

“The purpose of the undercover investigation of the San Diego physicians, including Dr. Sterner, was clearly to intimidate and silence them,” Gilg said a letter to the Medical Board.

The police investigation follows years of debate over a 1997 California law – born out of voter-approved Proposition 215 – that allows marijuana use for medical reasons. California was the first of a dozen states that have legalized marijuana for medical use, although federal drug laws still make any use of the drug illegal.

Some say medical marijuana laws properly legitimize marijuana as a therapeutic drug. Others say they are just backdoor attempts to legalize marijuana.

Since the California law went on the books, the Medical Board has investigated 20 complaints filed against doctors who prescribe marijuana. Five doctors have been disciplined statewide.

In addition to Sterner, three other doctors with San Diego County connections have faced or are facing accusations from state medical authorities in connection with prescribing marijuana.

In an interview, Sterner defended his prescribing practices, saying he must rely on the symptoms described by his patients. He spoke contemptuously of the police, saying they were simply trying to “lampoon” his practice by going undercover with a hidden camera.

Sterner said he is a Harvard graduate and has a bloodline to one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, a document he pointed out was written on paper milled from cannabis hemp.

He spoke passionately about his belief in the marijuana's medicinal value.

“I want to see as many options as possible available to my patients,” Sterner said. “It causes no harm and provides great benefit.”

Sterner said he has been practicing medicine for 24 years and until he began prescribing marijuana the Medical Board had never taken issue with his conduct.

“The accusation is snatching at straws,” he said, adding that despite the police sting no criminal charges have been filed against him. “There were no laws broken.”


Detectives posed as patients

The San Diego Police Department sent two undercover narcotics detectives to Sterner's office last year posing as patients complaining of insomnia and migraines, ills far less serious than those contemplated by the framers of the marijuana law.
Before the officers met with Sterner, his receptionist spelled out the arrangement, according to the accusation: A six-month recommendation for marijuana use would cost $125 and a one-year recommendation $200.

Sterner gave the first detective, Kimber Hammond, a quick exam while the doctor's dog Junebug curled on a chair next to the examination table, according to the accusation. Sterner took her blood pressure and temperature, shined a penlight in her eyes, listened to her chest with a stethoscope and tapped her wrist with a small hammer to check her reflexes.

During the exam, Sterner told Hammond that hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine hurt a person's brain but cannabis “adds to your brain,” according to the accusation. He also prescribed a drug that state authorities say was meant to disguise a positive drug test for marijuana.

When the other undercover detective, Conrado DeCastro, visited Sterner, the doctor called the marijuana recommendation “insurance” against criminal charges for possession, according to the accusation. “It has credibility and legitimacy,” Sterner told the detective, according to the accusation.

When DeCastro asked Sterner to issue a marijuana recommendation for his arthritic, 9-year-old Labrador retriever, Sterner “replied he was not sure if Proposition 215 applies to dogs as well as people,” according to the accusation. Instead, he suggested that DeCastro share some of his marijuana with the dog, Storm, according to the accusation.

But after DeCastro proposed having Sterner appoint him Storm's caregiver, he got the doctor's signed authorization.

Gilg, Sterner's attorney, said the conversation makes for good television but nothing else.

A caregiver recommendation goes to the patient, who then designates someone to obtain marijuana for them, Gilg said. Not the other way around as the Medical Board and undercover officers say happened, she said.

“It's almost laughable what went on here,” Gilg said.

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Voters who passed Oregon's medical marijuana law in 1998 were told about 500 people a year would apply to use the drug for relief from debilitating medical conditions such as cancer.

But it has mushroomed far beyond that, and now has nearly 15,000 patients with 17-hundred more applying for new or renewed permits each month.

People allowed to grow the drug surpass 4,000, and police and prosecutors say things are getting out of hand.

Some gets onto the black market at high prices and Oregon State Police say that of the 46 illegal crop seizures they took part in last year, 15 involved medical marijuana growers. But patient advocates say the real problem is filling the need--that the demand for medical marijuana is about ten times the supply.

Supporters are looking for an expansion of the program. Opponents want it repealed. Voters could decide next year.

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PASCAGOULA -- The Narcotics Task Force of Jackson County arrested five people, seized around 25 grams of crack cocaine and a large sum of money, according to a news release from the task force.

On Wednesday, Robert Williams, 55, of 1007 Convent Ave., was arrested at his home, while searching the residence officers found and arrested Tommie Cody, 31, the news release said.

Both men were charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, within 1,500 feet of a church for 15 grams of crack cocaine found in the home, the news release said.

The home is near Asbury Chapel A.M.E. Zion, and the proximity enhanced the charges pressed against them. Williams and Cody are awaiting an initial appearance before Judge T. Larry Wilson at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center, and could face up to 44 years in prison and $1,000,000 in fines, the news release said.

On Oct. 10, the task force arrested Melvin Brown, 38, of 3121 Schovel Road, in his home. When agents searched the residence they found and arrested Nora Brown and Larry McCovery, who both live at the home, the news release said.

Agents found 10 grams of crack cocaine in the home, which is within 1,500 feet of Colmer Middle School, the news release said. Being near a school enhances the charges.

Melvin Brown is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute within 1,500 feet of a school.

Nora Brown was charged with Felony Possession of controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school, and McCovery was charged with possession of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school, the news release said.

The three were transported to the Jackson County Adult Detention Center, and their total bonds equaled $37,500.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found nearly 1,600 pounds of marijuana inside a tour bus Thursday morning at the main port of entry in Nogales.

Suspicions were raised during questioning of the driver and a review of bus paperwork as the vehicle crossed through the downtown Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry at 2 a.m. Thursday, said Brian Levin, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman.

During a subsequent inspection, a drug-sniffing dog alerted agents to something inside the bus. A vehicle X-ray system also showed abnormalities in the bus's structure.

Officers inspected the bus and found an access hatch to a compartment in the rear of the bus, Levin said. Inside, they found 179 bundles of marijuana weighing a total of 1,577 pounds, he said.

The marijuana had an estimated value of $906,775, according to figures from the National Drug Intelligence Center.

The bus was a Mexican charter carrying 13 people en route to Phoenix, Levin said. Five people — three men and two women, all Mexican citizens — were arrested and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he said. The other eight were allowed to continue onward, but the bus stayed at the port.

It has been many years since officers found a large load of marijuana in a charter bus, Levin said.

"It tells us that the drug-trafficking organizations are trying to use a variety of ways to do this," Levin said. "They are looking for the appearance of normalcy and legitimacy. They are trying not to stand out."

Officers also stopped two attempts to smuggle cocaine through the same port of entry this week. On Wednesday, officers found 25 pounds of cocaine inside a compartment built into a 1996 Ford Thunderbird driven by a 47-year-old man from Nogales, Sonora.

On Thursday, officers discovered 37 pounds of cocaine inside the panels of a vehicle driven by a 26-year-old woman from Nogales, Sonora, Levin said. Both people were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The 62 pounds of cocaine has an estimated value of $435,922, according to U.S. data.

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British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse was arrested in Norway for marijuana possession and held overnight, a police official said Friday.

Winehouse and her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, were released at around 7 a.m. Friday after paying $715 each in fines, prosecutor Lars Morten Lothe said. A third person, also released, was fined $492, he said.

The three were arrested shortly after 6 p.m. at a hotel in Bergen in southwestern Norway, where Winehouse is on a European tour, after a tip to police.

"They were found with seven grams of marijuana," Lothe said. "She's paid the fine, so this thing is over for us now."

Winehouse was to perform in Oslo Saturday, before heading to the Netherlands on Monday.

Winehouse made her U.S. debut this year with the acclaimed album "Back to Black," but her celebrity has been fuelled by her tabloid image as well as her talent. She's spoken openly about her battles with drugs and her penchant for alcohol and marijuana, and her hit single "Rehab" is an autobiographical tale of her resistance to being pushed to go to rehab: "They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said no, no, no."

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LEWISTON, N.Y. - The driver of a charter bus carrying 55 passengers into the United States was arrested after border agents discovered $1 million worth of marijuana in the luggage compartment.

The 59-year-old Canadian driver, whose name was not released because of the ongoing investigation, was arrested at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, north of Buffalo, Oct. 13, after a narcotics dog detected the drugs during an inspection, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said.

Officers found nine undeclared pieces of luggage, including duffel bags and suitcases, which contained 320 pounds of marijuana in vacuum-sealed bags. Dryer sheets in the bags were an apparent attempt to conceal the odor, authorities said.

The bus passengers, who were on route to a Pennsylvania shopping mall, were interviewed and allowed to continue their trip on another tour bus.

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The bus driver was charged with federal counts of importation and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He was turned over to agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)

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CASSELBERRY, Fla. -- Police were trying to make a drug bust in Casselberry, but they uncovered much more, a high-profit marijuana operation and pit bulls that may have been fighting.

Police said drugs and dogs were the valuable commodities at a Casselberry home near Winter Park Drive. They arrested a man and his girlfriend for a large amount of marijuana and dogs that may have been trained to fight.

From the air, the backyard revealed broken down dog houses. It's where police said they found two of three pit bulls chained up, not far from a homemade treadmill.

Inside the home, officers found 28-year-old Daniel Coleman, his girlfriend Amber Urbanik and the strong smell of marijuana, but neighbors didn't know how much trouble the couple was in.

"I thought it was just a pot party and police busted them," said neighbor Richard Mercier.

Police said they discovered more than ten pounds of high-grade marijuana stashed in the house. They said Coleman admitted the drugs were a main source of income.

Investigators said they believe Coleman was sending or receiving the drugs by FedEx. They even found index cards with prices, up to $25,000 for seven pounds of marijuana. Police also found prescription pain killers, anabolic steroids and a handgun.

At his first court appearance, Coleman wanted to know about his dogs that he's been banned from seeing. Investigators said they had evidence of bite marks and had been deprived of food and water, but Coleman never admitted to using them to fight.

On all the charges, Coleman's bail adds up to $35,000. According to the police report, Coleman told investigators he recently put $26,000 in the bank and Thursday in court he turned down a public defender and said he plans to hire his own attorney.

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PATERSON – Three men face drug trafficking charges after a motor vehicle stop Wednesday morning led to the seizure of $150,000 worth of heroin, authorities said.

Todd Anderson, 40, of East 39th Street, was arrested after authorities pulled over the 2001 Ford Escape he was driving southbound on Route 20 about 12:30 a.m. and found 220 bricks of heroin in the vehicle, said Capt. Robert Prause of the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office Narcotics Task Force.

After obtaining a search warrant, prosecutor's office investigators found an additional 30 bricks of heroin at 111 Grand St. in Garfield, Prause said.

Jarred Ferrer, 21, of East 33rd Street in Paterson, and Quay Yum Montgomery, 28, were arrested at the Garfield address, which was Montgomery's residence, Prause said.

The Prosecutor's Office Gang Suppression Unit and Narcotics Task Force had been investigating the three suspects for about a month, Prause said.

All three men are charged with possession and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. They are being held at the Passaic County Jail, each with bail set at $250,000 with no 10 percent cash option.

Montgomery also faces a charge of illegally possessing a 9 mm handgun, Prause said.

Investigators also seized Anderson's vehicle, a 1998 Mercedes Benz, a 1993 Ford Tempo and $3,297.

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MANHATTAN, New York (FBI) -- Baz Mohammad, 51, an Afghan heroin kingpin, and the first defendant ever extradited to the U.S. from Afghanistan, was sentenced this afternoon to 188 months imprisonment for managing an international narcotics-trafficking organization that imported millions of dollars of heroin into the U.S., announced Michael J. Garcia, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Karen P. Tandy, the Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

President George W. Bush previously designated Baz Mohammad as a foreign narcotics kingpin under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, which authorizes the President of the United States to make such designations when he determines that a foreign narcotics trafficker presents a threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the U.S. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, authorized the extradition of Baz Mohammad to the U.S. in October 2005. On July 11, 2006, Baz Mohammad pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court. According to the Indictment, other documents filed in the case, and statements made during Mohammad's guilty plea:

Between 1990 and 2005, Mohammad led an international heroin-trafficking organization responsible for manufacturing and distributing millions of dollars worth of heroin in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The organization then arranged for the heroin to be transported from Afghanistan and Pakistan into the U.S., including to New York City, hidden inside suitcases, clothing, and containers. Once the heroin arrived in the U.S., other members of the organization received and distributed the heroin. These co-conspirators then arranged for millions of dollars in heroin proceeds to be laundered back to Mohammad and other members of the organization, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The organization, closely aligned with the Taliban in Afghanistan, provided financial support to the Taliban during the course of the conspiracy. More specifically, between 1994 and 2000, the organization collected heroin proceeds in the U.S. for the Taliban. In exchange for its financial support, the Taliban provided the organization protection for its opium crops, heroin laboratories, drug-transportation routes, and members and associates.

In 1990, Mohammad discussed heroin trafficking with other members of the organization in his Karachi, Pakistan, residence. During the meeting, Mohammad told his co-conspirators that selling heroin in the U.S. was a “jihad” because they were taking the Americans’ money and the heroin was killing them.

This case was the result of the cooperative efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the DEA, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the New York City Police Department (NYPD), working together under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, as well as the Afghanistan Counter Narcotics Police and the Interior Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Mr. Garcia praised the investigative efforts of the DEA, the FBI, ICE, the NYPD, and the Afghan Counter Narcotics Police.

“Baz Mohammad is a narcotics kingpin whose drug organization, operating under the protection of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, made millions of dollars from the sale of heroin in the United States," said U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia. “Today's sentencing is a gratifying conclusion to an important prosecution that would not have been possible without unprecedented cooperation between law enforcement authorities in the United States and Afghanistan.”

“The sentencing of Haji Baz Mohammad -- the first person ever extradited from Afghanistan to the United States -- demonstrates both our nations' resolve to destroy the hold opium lords have on Afghanistan,” said DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy. “This drug kingpin bragged that he waged jihad against Americans by poisoning them with his heroin. His attack was unconventional, and his massive drug profits funded the Taliban and other extremist organizations dedicated to destroying freedom and justice. Today, as Mohammad loses his own freedom, he begins a long, hands-on lesson in the certainty of American justice.”

The prosecution of Baz Mohammad is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics Trafficking Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Boyd M. Johnson III, Amy Finzi, and Jocelyn Strauber are in charge of the prosecution.

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London, Oct.18 (ANI): Cocaine and heroin addicts on a government treatment programme in Britain are being given extra drugs as a reward for good behaviour.

According to the BBC, a survey of almost 200 clinics in England by the National Treatment Agency (NTA), which runs a 500 million-pound-a-year treatment scheme, found users were being offered extra heroin substitute methadone or anti-depressants for clean urine samples.

The NTA admitted the practice was unethical and said it wanted to see certain practices "squeezed out of the system".

The broadcaster reports a third of clinics in the survey said users who produced a drug-free urine sample might be offered increased doses of heroin substitute as a reward - known as "contingency management".

According to The Sun, a quarter admits that clients can choose the type of substitute drugs they want.

The survey also found clinicians offering anti-depressants, cash vouchers or access to detox as a reward.

The NTA said offering drugs for anything other than clinical need was wrong.

The agency's chief executive Paul Hayes told the BBC: "It isn't a practice we would advocate.

He said doses of drugs should be determined by an individual's needs and not by whether or not they were co-operating with the programme. (ANI)

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California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement is holding a news conference this afternoon to announce the results of an investigation into Arnoldo Herrera, who officials say is responsible for 12 massive marijuana gardens on public lands in the Central Valley.

During the investigation, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement agents seized more than 100,000 plants.

After serving eight federal search warrants, agents arrested 14 suspects and seized 297 pounds of processed marijuana, four rifles, six assault rifles, five handguns, one vehicle and $50,000 cash.

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An investigation by Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force detectives led to the discovery of more than $900,000 in marijuana in Lyon County Wednesday, Oct. 10.

Task Force Det. Robert Harris said the agency was tipped off to someone growing marijuana off Ky. 274 in Lyon County.

Detectives were able to obtain a search warrant for a residence at 2430 Ky. 274 South in Eddyville from evidence seen growing on the property, he said.

Units from the Task Force, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky State Police served the search warrant.

Detectives found 454 marijuana plants, with a street value of $908,000. They also found more than 5 ounces of processed marijuana, with a street value of more than $500, in the house, plus several items of drug paraphernalia and a .22-caliber rifle.

Nathan Dunn and Denise Wallace were charged with cultivating marijuana, more than five plants, trafficking in marijuana, more than 5 pounds, and possession of drug paraphernalia (second offense for Dunn).

Dunn was also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

Both suspects were lodged in the Caldwell County Jail.

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One man was arrested and more than 100 marijuana plants were seized from a grow house in Hollywood on Tuesday. The house was raided by the Broward Sheriff's Office, Hollywood police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

BSO received a tip about the grow house at 2822 Washington St. and gathered enough evidence to get a search warrant, spokesman Jim Leljedal said.

Tuesday afternoon, detectives searched the home and found 124 marijuana plants inside the three-bedroom house, he said. The collection was valued at half a million dollars, Leljedal said.

The marijuana was grown inside individual plant pots, he said. ''It was a pretty sophisticated hydroponic operation,'' Leljedal said. ``They had a lot of extra wiring in the house, extra circuits, extra a/c units. One bedroom had an a/c unit that would cool a normal-size house, and that was just for the bedroom.''

Four pit bulls who lived at the property were rounded up and given to family friends, BSO said.

Detectives arrested Ronald Arrington, 31, who rented the home, and charged him with cultivating marijuana. He was booked into Broward County's main jail.

The investigation continues and additional arrests are possible.

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Members of the Indiana State Police Marijuana Eradication Unit got more than they thought they would Sunday evening. A lot more.

According to ISP Public Information Officer Rich Myers, Morgan County Sheriff's deputies found 30 bags of cut marijuana in the garage of a county man along with equipment to grow the plants.

The bust came about as members of the state police unit were watching an area in Clay County for people responsible for the marijuana plants growing in a field. Around 10 p.m. the officers watched five men leave the field carrying plastic bags which they put in a van.

Myers said the officers stopped the van and found 8 plastic bags full of marijuana.

Thomas A. Madsen Jr., 34, was one of the five men in the van. ISP officers asked the Morgan County Sheriff's Department to do a check of Madsen's home at 9365 Arend Road.

Deputies arrived at the home around 2:30 Monday morning.

Myers said no one was at home but deputies detected the heavy smell of marijuana coming from the three car garage next to the home.

The deputies notified the ISP officers of the smell.

A search warrant for the property was obtained and the unit went in later Monday morning.

Myers said the officers found 30 bags of cut marijuana in the garage. One officer estimated the weight of the marijuana at more than 200 pounds. He said the marijuana was high quality and would bring a good price if it had been sold.

Myers said in addition to the marijuana, officers found a complete light and watering system for growing marijuana. There were two "parent" plants that was used to grow the seedlings. There were trays of small marijuana plants that have not begun to grow to adult size.

Officers spent most of Monday at the home working to gather the evidence and load it for transportation.

In addition, the growing operation, officers also seized a car, pickup truck, and a large motor home that was on the property.

Madsen will be facing charges in Morgan County at a later date. At this time, he is being held in the Clay County Jail on one count of dealing in marijuana as a Class D felony.

Also arrested with Madsen and facing the same charge are James V. Payton, 57, Camby, Christopher D. Williams, 23, Gosport, William B. Gunyon, 37, Indianapolis, and John R. Williams, 37, Spencer.

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An 11-year-old Lakeview Elementary School student was questioned by authorities last month after a bag of marijuana was found in his pocket at school.

According to Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office reports, deputy John Coker met with Lakeview principal Virginia Metts at the school. Metts reportedly told the deputy that the 11-year-old boy had been seen by a lunchroom worker earlier that morning putting an extra box of breakfast cereal in his jacket pocket.

A Lakeview teacher was told of this and reportedly took the jacket from the boy, placing it in the school office. The teacher reported that the student repeatedly asked to have the jacket back throughout the day.

At about 1 p.m. that day, Metts asked a teacher to return the jacket to the boy, but said to check it first to make sure he didn’t have anything else in it he shouldn’t have.

It was then that a clear plastic bag with marijuana - which at that time was described as a “green leafy substance” - was found in the right front pocket of the coat.

Coker questioned the boy, who said it was his jacket, but not his marijuana.

The boy said he stopped by a friend’s house on the way to school, adding that his friend’s brother had smoked marijuana while he was there.

However, the report said the 11-year-old did not know the name of the man he allegedly witnessed using the drugs. The report also said Metts told deputies the boy would be expelled from school for having marijuana.

The boy was then taken to the sheriff’s office, where he was questioned further. Deputies were then given information as to where the boy had been before school. The 11-year-old was then released into the custody of his mother.

The report notes the boy was not charged at that time and that the jacket had been left in a general area in the office where other people could have had access to it.

The marijuana was photographed and the photos were downloaded onto a sheriff’s office computer. The drugs were then reportedly taken to an evidence locker and were to be destroyed.

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Prosecutors said they expect guilty pleas Wednesday from two men accused of serving marijuana on hamburgers to police officers.

Justin Armijo and Robert Nuckols are due in court Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators said the two sprinkled the pot on top of hamburgers at a Los Lunas Burger King where they worked last fall. Then, the pair served those burgers to two Isleta Pueblo police officers, according to investigators.

Armijo and Nuckols face charges of aggravated battery on a peace officer and distribution of marijuana.

The two officers who ate the drugs are now suing Burger King.

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Traces of cocaine were found in the body of Jean Charles de Menezes, a court heard yesterday.

A pathologist told the Old Bailey that the Brazilian electrician must have taken the drug at some point before he was gunned down by anti-terror police at a London tube station in July 2005.

Dr Kenneth Shorrock said that traces of cocaine were found in Mr de Menezes's urine and a chemical associated with the breakdown of the drug benzoylecognine was found in his blood.

No other drugs or alcohol were found in the dead man's system, the court heard.

He accepted defence suggestions that cocaine can make users act in an aggressive, paranoid and inappropriate way.

But the pathologist said it was unclear if the drug was still active when the 27-year-old, who was mistaken for a suicide bomber, was killed at Stockwell in south London.

Dr Shorrock was giving evidence at the trial of the Metropolitan Police, which being charged under health and safety laws with a 'catastrophic' series of errors leading up to Mr de Menezes's death. The force denies the charge.

Ronald Thwaites QC, defending, suggested cocaine could cause 'distortion of thought processes' and when its effects wear off it can produce anxiety and paranoia.

Earlier, the leader of the firearms team which shot Mr de Menezes choked with emotion as he defended his officers in court.

He told the Old Bailey that despite what happened he was 'very proud' of them.

The officer, codenamed Ralph, said police had been prepared to risk their lives pursuing the man they believed was a suicide bomber. "I hope that's not forgotten," he added.

The trial continues.

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Louisiana state troopers have made what they say is the largest crystal meth seizure in U.S. history. Almost $23 million worth of crystal meth was found on an 18-wheeler on Interstate 12 past Holden. WAFB's Keitha Nelson was on the scene shortly after state police pulled over the truck Thursday evening.

Troopers found more than 500 pounds of crystal meth in the back of a tractor trailer. It happened during a routine truck inspection.

Troopers led the driver, 51-year-old Francisco Villa of Pharr, Texas, off the interstate and into the back of the Wal-Mart in Walker.

The truck appeared to be carrying frozen produce, but after checking behind those goods, troopers found 10 large bundles of crystal meth, weighing 505 pounds. The drugs carry a street value of an estimated $22.9 million. State troopers say Villa was coming from Texas and headed to South Carolina.

Trooper Johnnie Brown says, "Looking into the community, this could have possibly gone into 505 pounds of crystal meth. That's a lot of meth to go anywhere in the U.S., specifically if it had gone to one community.

This drug seizure had nothing to do with Wal-Mart. The driver was simply directed off the interstate into that lot.

Villa has been booked on distribution charges and is in the Livingston Parish prison. Authorities consider him to be such a threat that he is being held without bond.

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A Lisle man who admitted giving a neighbor enough of a homemade illegal drug "to kill a rhino" was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for causing her death.

Albert Oldenburg, 41, of the 2600 block of Beau Bien Boulevard, pleaded guilty Tuesday to the Aug. 27, 2006, drug-induced homicide of Crystal Coble, 29, who lived across the hall from Oldenburg.

DuPage County Assistant State's Atty. Paul Marchese told Judge George Bakalis that Oldenburg's apartment contained chemical equipment and detailed handwritten instructions on how to produce fentanyl from pain patches generally used by people suffering from critical diseases.

Witnesses who were with Oldenburg when he gave Coble the drug said he admitted giving her "enough to kill a rhino." A DuPage County coroner's report stated that Coble had a level of fentanyl far beyond the therapeutic range. She also had a non-lethal dose of cocaine in her system.

Lisle police reports state that when Coble was found unresponsive on her couch, she had her cell phone in her hand and had dialed Oldenburg's number. A police investigation failed to locate any of the drug in the apartment, leading authorities to believe Coble ingested all of it.

Witnesses stated that before Oldenburg gave Coble the drug, she told him she had a bad reaction to it the previous day.

During a secretly recorded conversation made during the investigation, Oldenburg admitted giving Coble the drug "because she was a pest," Marchese said.

Oldenburg also admitted on videotape before his November arrest that he made the drug and gave it to the victim.

"You obviously are a very smart person," Bakalis said. "You could have put it to much better use. You cost this woman her life."

Police also found chemicals that could have been used to manufacture methamphetamine, but Marchese said the apartment wasn't an active meth lab. Criminal charges relating to those chemicals were dropped Tuesday as part of a plea agreement.

There was no indication that the victim paid for the illegal drugs.

Oldenburg faced up to 30 years in prison. He has been in the DuPage County Jail on $1.5 million bail since his arrest.

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Investigators are searching for four people suspected of breaking into a rural Nevada County home in search of cultivated marijuana and beating eight people with crow bars and baseball bats.

The suspects, wearing ski masks, invaded the house early Sunday demanding money and marijuana, said Nevada County Sheriff Lt. Bill Evans.

"It's harvest season," Evans said Monday. "Marijuana is worth a lot."

Deputies arrested a fifth suspect, 20-year-old Larken Bauers, on suspicion of conspiracy and armed robbery later in the day. Evans said deputies are still looking for four other suspects who fled into the woods, as well as a resident of the home, James Becket.

Deputies were called to the house shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday and found eight people beaten and bound inside. A 27-year-old victim was taken to a Roseville hospital in critical condition.

Authorities also found a handgun and a rental vehicle loaded with newly cut marijuana. They believe the crop was cultivated on property surrounding the house.

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MADISON, Wis. - A 32-year-old Beloit man has been sentenced to life in prison for distributing crack cocaine from May 2006 to January 2007. A jury convicted Arthur Conner in July of distributing more than 270 ounces -- about 17 pounds -- of the drug.

U.S. District judge John Shabaz says he imposed such a strict sentence yesterday because Conner wasn't likely to change his ways. The judge noted that Conner had been in and out of jail for the past 18 years, and every time he was released he went back to selling crack cocaine.

Shabaz also pointed out that Conner had no other history of employment besides selling drugs. The judge called Conner's actions a way of life that has to be stamped out. He said he hoped the stiff sentence would be a deterrent to others.

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A SOLDIER who sold a total of 800 ecstasy tablets to undercover NSW police - sometimes while dressed in his army uniform - has been jailed for at least two years.

Defence force combat engineer, Sapper Blake Turner, 23, had pleaded guilty to supplying the drugs over a 30-day period in February and March this year at Moorebank.

In Sydney's District Court today, Acting Judge Graham Armitage noted Turner was of previous good character and had good prospects of rehabilitation.

In reports before the court, Turner had described his conduct as "stupid" and "ridiculous", and spoke of his desire to improve himself by establishing a career in business and finance.

As well as admitting the supply count, Turner had asked the judge to take into account a further 13 matters including unlawfully having $2160 in his possession.

On four separate occasions, Turner had supplied an undercover officer with ecstasy, the largest batch being 500 at $17 a tablet.

The judge noted evidence from Turner's school teacher father, who described his son as "a very talented boy" who had found school and sport easy.

His father referred to his son having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which he believed could have played a part in his offending, as he was impulsive.

Judge Armitage, who accepted Turner was genuinely remorseful, set a maximum term of four years.

He will be eligible for release on parole in February 2009, with his sentence backdated to March this year.

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BRADENTON --
Cocaine contaminated with dangerous levels of ammonia sickened a crime-scene technician and drew the Manatee County hazardous materials team to the police department Friday.

The chain of events started Thursday, when the cocaine was confiscated and the technician handled the drug as evidence.

Later that evening, the technician went to the hospital with respiratory problems and severe irritation on his arms and neck, according to Bradenton Police Maj. Bill Tokajer.

The Bradenton Police Department's evidence room was ventilated overnight. When firefighters encountered the cocaine the next day, some had burning throats, police said.

Firefighters called the county's hazardous materials team to the scene. They entered the evidence room shortly after noon in full protective suits.

The team re-emerged into the police department parking lot with a secure bag holding the cocaine. Waiting firefighters hosed the team down.

Bradenton Fire Department Deputy Chief David Ezell said the hazardous materials team secured the cocaine without injury or contamination.

Police took the cocaine to the sheriff's office for testing.

A high level of ammonia in the cocaine was found during tests and is believed to have caused the technician to get sick, Tokajer said.

Tokajer said the department's evidence room will remain closed to be ventilated over the weekend, and reopened Monday.

Manatee County Public Safety Capt. Larry Leinhauser said there is little fear that other areas of the city hall complex could be contaminated because the evidence room is secured.

Bradenton Narcotics Unit Lt. James Racky said cocaine is often cut with chemicals, but a high amount of ammonia is out of the ordinary.

"I think it was someone either selling bad stuff trying to get money or trying to hurt somebody," said Racky.

Racky said chemicals also are used at times to throw off drug dogs. "They try everything," he said. "Ammonia, fabric softener, coffee, oil."

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London, Oct 13 (ANI): Boujis, London's top hotspot, is known for its royal patrons Princes William and Harry, but the nightclub is also a magnet for cocaine abuse, a new investigation has revealed.

A reporter from UK paper 'The Daily Mail' went undercover to expose what goes on behind the closed doors of Britain's most exclusive clubs.

One of these was the nightclub Boujis, where William and Harry have often been photographed with their girlfriends and close set of acquaintances.

The undercover investigation revealed that the club was a retreat for young people looking for cocaine induced high.

In her investigation, the reporter, who posed as a fashion student living off her millionaire father's money, wiped the surfaces of toilet lids and toilet roll covers with a special cocaine identification kit on four occasions.

According to the reporter, Nark Cocaine ID Swipe, supplied by drug testing specialists Drug Aware, are used in America by forensic teams, and these "wet wipes" can test for even the tiniest traces of cocaine and crack cocaine.

After she wiped the wet wipes, they immediately identified cocaine as the substance present.

In one instance, the toilet roll holders were smothered in large white chunks, which also tested positive for cocaine.

However, Boujis manager Jake Parkinson-Smith, said, "We have a zero tolerance policy against any type of drug at Boujis. Anyone found with drugs is immediately ejected and the police informed."

Boujis was the place where Prince Harry once famously cavorted with a television presenter and was photographed with his hands over her breasts.

The club was also where the 23-year-old allegedly attacked awaiting paparazzi. illiam was photographed at the club last week with Kate Middleton, confirming rumours of their rekindled romance.

Other clubs which have been affected by cocaine use, and which are constantly infested with celebrities, have been forced to remodel their bathrooms.

At Mahiki, often frequented by Sienna Miller, Kate Middleton, Princess Beatrice and the children of Richard Branson, the owners have built toilet cisterns into the wall, eliminating a large flat surface to snort the drug off.

Attendants are also on hand to stop people going into the toilets in pairs.

But, like Boujis, drug users at Mahiki have made good use of a five-centimetre long, three-centimetre wide toilet roll cover, the report said. (ANI)

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Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings Quarterback Quincy Carter found himself in trouble with the law Friday.
Carter was arrested and charged with second offense possession of marijuana Friday morning, which is a felony. Carter was stopped around 1 am and the officer smelled alcohol on him. He then took him for a breathalyzer test.
Carter was found not to be driving drunk, but police say he did have about three grams of marijuana in his pants.

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GENEVA – A Crystal Lake man tested positive for marijuana shortly after he hit a tree in a crash that fatally injured four passengers near Hampshire last month, prosecutors said Thursday.

Fakir M. Jaffrie, 24, was being held in the Kane County Jail on Thursday on $2.5 million bond after a grand jury indicted him Tuesday on felony charges in connection with the crash.

Jaffrie surrendered to authorities Wednesday. He faces charges of aggravated driving under the influence, reckless homicide, and driving under the influence of marijuana. The most serious charge carries a maximum sentence of 28 years in prison.

He was scheduled to appear in Kane County court today, when his attorney was expected to ask a judge to lower Jaffrie’s bond. On Thursday, Jaffrie needed to post $250,000 to be released from jail.

“I think $2.5 million is excessive for most offenders who weren’t involved in the deliberate murder of an individual,” Jaffrie’s attorney, David Camic, said Thursday. “He’s employed and has strong family ties. He doesn’t have a history of criminality.”

Camic also said he didn’t believe that Jaffrie was high when he crashed. Marijuana is detectable for days after it is ingested.

“We plan a vigorous defense,” Camic said. “He is touched by the loss as anyone else. One of the gentlemen killed was like his brother.”

Prosecutors wouldn’t say Thursday whether they had evidence that indicated that Jaffrie had consumed the drug shortly before the crash.

“Those are all facts we cannot talk about,” said Clint Hull, first assistant of the Kane County state’s attorney’s office. “This is a pending investigation.”

The Sept. 8 crash killed two McHenry County brothers: Zohair Husain, 18, of Huntley and Kumail Husain, 20, of Algonquin. Also killed were Ayush Joshi, 20, of Hoffman Estates and Henry Onwualu, 19, of Huntley.

The group was traveling west in Jaffrie’s 2003 Infiniti G35 on Dietrich Road in northern Hampshire Township, when the car hit a tree about 3:30 a.m., police said. Jaffrie also was injured seriously in the crash.

On the day of the crash, police charged Jaffrie with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and driving too fast for conditions. Authorities awaited blood-test results before upgrading the charges.

Further details on the crash likely would surface during today’s scheduled court appearance, Hull said.

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Border officials seized more than 300 pounds of ecstasy pills Monday near the U.S.-Canada border in Ferry County, according to court documents.

A witness reported he saw three people run across the border and throw duffle bags into a waiting pickup about 4:30 p.m., documents state. They ran into the United States at rural McIrvin’s Ranch, known as “the dump” because it is a common drug-smuggling location, at 198 McIrvin Road in Laurier, Wash.

The smugglers drove off, and the witness called authorities who pulled over the truck on Highway 395. A drug-sniffing dog was called out, and authorities found ecstasy pills in five duffle bags, according to the documents.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration seized the pills and arrested Tristan A. Reynolds, 26, and Joshua A. Vause, 27. They were in Spokane County Jail late Wednesday.

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POLICE on the Gold Coast have seized 1500 ecstasy tablets in dawn raids timed to coincide with the lead-up to schoolies week and the Indy motor sports carnival.

The raids, targeted at people affiliated with outlaw motorcycle gangs, yielded tablets with a street value of $60,000, which were seized from a house in Currumbin.

Burleigh Heads CIB Detective Senior Sergeant Terry Goldsworthy said police were stepping up their campaign against the drug trade in the lead-up to annual Indy and schoolies events.

"Leading into schoolies, we're obviously getting more pro-active in targeting those individuals and networks that would undertake drug activity," Det Goldsworthy said.

"When you've got schoolies you've got a large amount of vulnerable people that these individuals may attempt to take advantage of.

"Certainly, this is a win for us today and a loss for them."

A replica gun and nine stolen iPods were among the items seized in raids on four properties – in Currumbin, Burleigh Heads, Reedy Creek and Lower Beechmont.

Three men with alleged links to bikie gangs have been charged with a range of drug and property offences.

The men – aged 27, 38 and 41 – will appear in Southport Magistrates Court at a later date.

Det Goldsworthy had a simple message for drug peddlers on the Gold Coast: "Don't do it".

"Our operations are pro-active. We're getting good information through Crime Stoppers," he said.

"If you undertake that type of activity then it's highly likely you will get caught."

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There's an image of marijuana growers as aging, docile hippies just looking to grow a little pot for their personal use. It is a false image.

Marijuana is a cash crop. Some of the people growing it are anything but mellow hippies. They can be hardened criminals who are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect their "investments."

That's why it's a relief to learn that Andover Police found and destroyed a marijuana growing operation on conservation land along the Merrimack River. Police found the 21 marijuana plants on the Deer Jump Reservation, which runs along the river from Interstate 93 into Tewksbury. The land is owned by the Andover Village Improvement Society, or AVIS, a nonprofit conservation group.

Police waited until they saw two men tending the plants. They arrested Paul Ogden, 45, 10 Kettle Way, and Jeffrey Derby, 45, of 126 Kenwood Road, both of Dracut, and charged them with possession of marijuana and cultivation of marijuana.

Police say a search of their homes revealed a large quantity of marijuana, some hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana growing equipment and drug packaging equipment. Ogden and Derby were charged with additional counts of possession with intent to distribute the marijuana and mushrooms.

All the marijuana seized had a street value of between $50,000 and $60,000, police estimated.

The members of AVIS work hard to preserve land for all of Andover's residents to enjoy. The growing of drugs for illegal personal profit on land set aside for public benefit is an affront to decency.

And it is a danger. What would have happened if ordinary citizens rather than police had found the marijuana plants? What if the growers had been there at the time?

Andover Detective Evan Robitaille was seriously injured when the ATV he was riding during a follow-up inspection of the Deer Jump Reservation rolled over on his leg. We wish him a speedy and full recovery.

And we offer kudos to the Andover Police for their work in getting these illegal plants out of the reservation and their pursuit of those charged with growing them.

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