Police began investigating the unidentified 19-year-old man this week after officers were called to the rental car location in Arnold, Mo., about two people feeling dizzy and shaky for an unexplained reason, KMOV reported.
The workers were taken to urgent care before being transferred to the hospital.
Police officers then questioned the 19-year-old, who admitted he put the hallucinogenic drug in two co-workers’ water bottles and a third employee’s coffee that day because they had “negative energy.”
The employees were okay after the drug’s effects wore off. The 19-year-old could face charges of second-degree assault and possession of a controlled substance when lab tests are completed, according to police.
Source: Fox News National
The drug haul was found during an inspection of imported shipping containers at the city’s seaport, CBP said in a news release Thursday. It was a multi-agency effort, led by CBP and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
More than a dozen black duffel bags holding “a combined 450 bricks of a white powdery substance” – later confirmed to be cocaine – were located within one of the containers, the agency said. The drugs weighed roughly 1,185 pounds, they added.
“The shipping container commodity was natural rubber, which was laden in Guatemala,” the news release said.
Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in Baltimore, hailed the team who conducted the apprehension.
“Taking a half-ton of dangerous drugs out of circulation is a significant success for this collective team of federal, state and local law enforcement officers who work very hard every day to keep people safe,” Durst said. “Customs and Border Protection remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners and to disrupting narcotics smuggling attempts at the Area Port of Philadelphia.”
The cocaine confiscation is the largest for the CBP Area Port of Philadelphia since May 1998, the agency said.
Source: Fox News National
Atlanta police reportedly arrested 16 people as part of a large-scale marijuana bust that resulted from a five-month operation and netted 22 guns, six cars and $676,000 in cash.
Police said they raided five large “grow houses” in Clayton, Gwinnett and Henry counties. Each house had between 340 and 1,500 pot plants inside that were tended to with sophisticated equipment used to manufacture high-grade marijuana, according to authorities.
In all, 3,147 plants were seized in addition to THC candies, THC oil, cocaine and psychedelic mushrooms, officials said. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive component in the cannabis plant.
The 16 suspects rounded up in the sting belong to two large drug trafficking organizations that operate across the southeast, authorities said. The suspects range in age from 26 to 54 and were “embedded” in the community.
“To those passing by, no one would have suspected that these five marijuana grow houses were harboring criminal activity,” Gwinnett County Police said in a statement.
Last month, officials in Forsyth County said they intercepted more than $1 million worth of marijuana and THC oil.
It is against the law in Georgia to grow recreational or medical marijuana. It’s also illegal to buy it, sell it or bring it into the state.
Source: Fox News National
Cathleen Krause, 57, was arrested after a person told police the 57-year-old woman was handing out cookies with marijuana in them, FOX11 reported. Police then approached Krause, who was “visibly intoxicated” and reeked of “alcohol and marijuana on her breath,” the arrest affidavit stated.
Krause allegedly pulled out a gallon-sized bag with only cookie crumbs left when officers asked her about the treats. Police also found gummy candy on her.
Both sweets tested positive for marijuana, officials said.
Krause was arrested and charged with delivering THC, possession of THC and possession of a controlled substance. She appeared in court Monday where she was released on $1,000 bond and ordered to maintain sobriety.
She is expected back in court on April 1.
Source: Fox News National
A former officer with the New York Police Department and his wife have been arrested after police discovered a large stash of drugs and cash at their home, which is located across the street from an elementary school, police said.
Kenneth Riggio, 59, and his wife, Faith Riggio, 53, have been hit with multiple drug charges after police found 200 oxycodone pills, as well as a stash of cocaine, heroin, Xanax and over $146,000 in cash in their New Merrick, Long Island home, authorities said. Police also confiscated a cashier’s check for $85,000, a switchblade, envelopes and scales.
The Riggio home was reportedly the source of a number of community complaints, as residents claim cars were constantly coming and going from the house, across the street from a Bellmore-Merrick school.
"We went through the house recovering, as you just heard, $146,000 in cash that was lined up and in certain packages, obviously money that was received from the sale of narcotics,’ Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said at a news conference on Thursday, according to the Daily Mail. "The alarming part was that it was done across the street from a daycare center, the Bellmore-Merrick administrative building and an alternative learning school where kids attended daily."
Kenneth Riggio was an officer with the New York Police Department in the 1980s before being dismissed for "unknown reasons" in 1985. Since then, he has amassed a lengthy criminal record, having been arrested for driving under the influence, narcotics possession and assault.
Faith, however, was working as a special education aide at Camp Avenue Elementary School at the time of her arrest. She has since been placed on administrative leave.
‘Please know that prior to the hiring of all of our employees, a thorough background check is conducted by the district. However, due to the arrest, this employee was immediately placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the legal investigation,’ North Merrick superintendent Cynthia Seniuk said in a statement.
Kenneth has reportedly been charged with 11 counts of criminal substance possession, three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell and one count of criminal possession of a weapon.
His wife has been charged with one count of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. She is being held on a $50,000 bail, while her husband is under $500,000 bond.
The Riggio’s lawyer, Michael Degarabedian, said that Kenneth has a legal prescription for oxycodone and that the large amounts of cash were a result of a recent personal injury lawsuit settlement, Newsday reports. He added that he believes Faith will be "absolved" of the charge against her.
"The highest form of ignorance is forming an opinion without knowing both sides of the story," he said.
Source: Fox News National
A failure by the Obama administration to react to numerous warnings by state officials and its own drug investigators about the rising peril of illicit fentanyl allowed the problem to fester over the years and claim tens of thousands of lives, according to The Washington Post.
And while states were seeing a growing number of fentanyl-related overdoses, Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new policy to ease prosecutions of low-level nonviolent drug offenses, which he said would address overly harsh mandatory-minimum sentences for first-time offenders. The move, law enforcement officials told The Post, led to fewer arrests and affected investigators’ ability to reach criminals high up in the drug-trafficking chain through deals offered to lower-level offenders.
That, the newspaper said in its report on Wednesday, slowed law enforcement efforts to get to the sources and understand the networks behind the flourishing fentanyl trade.
From 2013 to 2017, nearly 70,000 people died of synthetic opioid-related overdoses, most tied to fentanyl, which is commonly obtained through the black market. In 2017, The Post noted, fentanyl became the leading causes of fatal overdoses.
“Everybody was slow to recognize the severity of the problem, even though a lot of the warning signs were there,” The Post quoted New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, as saying.
The appeals to the Obama administration were numerous and came from myriad sources.
A group of national public health experts sent a letter to senior Obama administration officials in 2016 begging for immediate action because, they stressed, thousands of people had been dying from fentanyl overdoses since at least 2013.
“The fentanyl crisis represents an extraordinary public health challenge —and requires an extraordinary public health response,” the group said in the letter, which was sent to officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to the drug czar.
The administration, it said, acknowledged the letter but took no action.
One significant move that the CDC took in response to increasing public attention on overdoses due to opioids – which included largely illicit opioids such as heroin and illicit fentanyl – was to issue guidelines for general practitioners on prescribing opioids to people with chronic pain.
But many pain specialists and public health experts say those guidelines, while well-intentioned, made sweeping dose recommendations that remain debatable among medical professionals and have since been used to deny pain patients the doses they need. The guidelines also unleashed a wave of policies and laws around the country restricting doses and in some cases discouraging the prescribing of opioids, even to patients who long have relied on them and use them responsibly.
Meanwhile, painkiller prescription rates have declined, and many doctors are either forcing patients to taper off – against the recommendation of the CDC guidelines – or abandoning those pain patients altogether.
A Fox News series in December reported that while many pain patients in the United States have been left undertreated, creating a new public health crisis, overdose deaths due to illicit fentanyl continued to climb.
Political leaders and police from areas hard hit by fentanyl overdoses told The Post that when the Obama administration did address the overdose crisis, it focused on prescription painkillers and heroin, not the greater threat of fentanyl.
“Fentanyl was killing people like we’d never seen before,” said Derek Maltz, the former agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Operations Division in Washington. “A red light was going off, ding, ding, ding. … We needed a serious sense of urgency.”
But with no loud alarm coming from President Barack Obama or his senior officials, Congress did not move to provide the funding needed, U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not have the manpower or the equipment to detect fentanyl shipments entering from Mexico and China, and the U.S. Postal Service did not use electronic tools that would allow for detecting packages containing fentanyl that had been ordered through the Internet, The Post said.
Manchester [New Hampshire] Fire Chief Dan Goonan said he got tired of going to the numerous roundtable discussions that first responders, politicians and policymakers were having about fentanyl because nothing ever got done.
In 2014, the DEA started to alert local law enforcement agencies around the country about fentanyl, but it got little to no attention at the national level, the Post said.
After actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a heroin overdose, attracting broad media attention to the problem, Holder appeared in a video calling heroin an “urgent and growing public health crisis.” But, just like others in the administration who saw the overdose crisis only in terms of heroin and prescription pills, Holder did not mention the bigger threat – fentanyl.
Holder’s former spokesman, Matthew Miller, defended him in an interview with The Post. “It says something that the people pointing fingers at the attorney general can’t point to a single action they recommended that he declined to take,” Miller said. “Eric Holder made fighting the opioid crisis a major focus, he strongly supported the DEA’s work in this area, and if the officials trying to now lay the blame at someone else’s feet had asked for more assistance, he would have given it.”
By the time Holder left his job, federal drug prosecutions had dropped, while fentanyl overdoses were spreading around the country.
Later, Congress asked for the creation of a National Heroin Task Force to look at the overdose epidemic. But again, the focus was heroin and prescription painkillers, which account for a minority of overdoses.
The Post noted that the task force produced a 23-page report on the OD crisis for Congress – within those pages, though, a mere five sentences mentioned fentanyl.
Michael Botticelli, the White House drug czar in the Obama administration, said, “In retrospect, it should have been a focus of the report.”
Tom Frieden, who was the CDC head during the Obama administration, said he tried to impress upon officials the dangers of fentanyl and how it was becoming a major killer in many communities.
“I felt like I was a bit of a voice in the wilderness,” Frieden said. “I didn’t have the sense that people got this as a really serious problem.”
In an interview with CNN after the new report was published, one of the Post reporters, Sari Horwitz, said: “The Trump administration has done some things. They’ve talked about it more than the Obama administration. They’ve ramped up prosecutions. The Justice Department is going after fentanyl and drug trafficking.”
“But," she added, "people are telling us you cannot arrest your way out of this problem. There needs to be a three-pronged approach that involves prevention which is, as I said, a public service campaign to let people know how incredibly dangerous fentanyl is.”
Source: Fox News National
A 28-year-old Tampa woman was charged with distributing heroin and fentanyl leading to a death, according to investigators — who said they nabbed her with the help of an undercover officer who posed as a dead man.
United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez said in a statement that Joamary Rosario allegedly “sold 10 plastic bags — each of which contained a substance composed of a mixture of heroin, fentanyl, and acetyl fentanyl” — to a man who died in early November.
The next night an undercover law enforcement officer posed as the dead man to nab Rosario, who “was arrested and found to be in possession of three more bags of the same substance,” the release said.
If convicted, Rosario faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 20 years, and up to life, in federal prison.
The case, investigators said, was part of the Middle District of Florida’s anti-opioid strategy to combat opioid trafficking and abuse.
Source: Fox News National
"Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli, 35, is being investigated by federal authorities for allegedly running his pharmaceutical business from behind bars.
Nicknamed "Pharma Bro" for his polarizing frat boy antics and behavior, this latest twist comes in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report suggesting Shkreli was using a contraband cellphone to secretly lead his company from within the thick walls of the Federal Correction Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey.
In 2018, Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud, after he scammed investors out of millions of dollars. The controversial figure also made headlines for raising the price of anti-parasite drug Daraphim by 5,000 percent from $13.50 to $750 a pill. The drug helps with infection in malaria, AIDS and some cancer patients.
WSJ said that Shkreli secretly remains "a shadow power" at his drug company, Pheonixus AG, even with his limitations while serving time.
The WSJ said Shkreli used the phone to post regularly on social media and even fired the company’s chief executive nearly a month ago.
"When there are allegations of misconduct, they are thoroughly investigated and appropriate action is taken if such allegations are proven true," said the Bureau of Prisons on Friday. "This allegation is currently under investigation."
The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) told AP that federal prisoners caught in possession of cellphones face up to an additional year behind bars if convicted. Shkreli also could face disciplinary action within the prison if he is found to have conducted business on their grounds.
"Like all correctional agencies, the BOP continues to tackle the problem of contraband being introduced into our facilities, including contraband cellphones," The BOP told AP. "The BOP continually evaluates and deploys as appropriate, contraband-detecting technologies, including walk-through metal detectors and whole-body imaging devices."
According to the WSJ report, a board member at his Pheonixus company said it’s well known that he uses a cellphone in prison.
The lawyer for Shkreli, Benjamin Brafman, declined to comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News National
Henry Marrero-Rodriguez, 47, was arrested and charged with risk of injury to a minor and possession of narcotics/controlled substance in the Nov. 22, 2017, incident at the Subway in East Haven, FOX61 reported. The manager of the store called police that day after a customer said her 7-year-old son found a bag containing seven smaller baggies filled with white powder.
The child picked up the bag he discovered in the chip display.
“Unaware of the potential dangers it could have posed, the child began handling the bag of narcotics briefly before turning it over to his mother,” police said in a news release.
Authorities discovered the powder was cocaine and Fentanyl.
Police reviewed surveillance video that showed a man, later identified as Marrero-Rodriguez, entering the sandwich restaurant about 30 minutes before the child discovered the drugs. Marrero-Rodriguez is seen on video rummaging through his pocket to grab his cellphone when the bag of drugs falls out and into the chip display.
Marrero-Rodriguez and a woman leave the Subway, unaware the bag of drugs dropped into the chip rack.
Marrero-Rodriguez was held on $50,000 bail and appeared in front of a judge Friday. It’s unclear why it took more than a year for police to make an arrest.
Source: Fox News National
The action figure boasts a bullet-proof vest, four hand grenades, and a rifle strapped to his back. The T-shirts bear his image.
Hats are emblazoned with his initials, JGL, and the number 701 – which everyone in town recognizes as his rank on a Forbes Magazine list of the world’s wealthiest people.
Anything associated with the convicted drug lord has become a must-have in the town and its environs since El Chapo, 61, was convicted last week in a federal court in New York of drug trafficking and running an industrial-scale smuggling operation. His three-month trial was packed with Hollywood-style tales of grisly killings, political payoffs, cocaine hidden in jalapeno cans, jewel-encrusted guns, and a naked escape with his mistress through a tunnel.
The stories from the trial seem to have only boosted interest in Chapo memorabilia. Which is perhaps no surprise in stores run by a chapel devoted to Jesus Malverde, a folkloric Robin Hood-type figure that became a patron saint of cartel leaders in Sinaloa state.
Efe, a Spanish wire service, described Malverde as a figure many poor residents in the area revere because of the legend about how he protected the indigent and powerless.
Local residents have been streaming to the chapel since El Chapo’s conviction to pray for him, or give thanks to the help he gave the poor in the region, according to Efe.
“Because of what’s happening to him, many people are now coming to ask (Malverde) to give (El Chapo) peace of mind," said Jesus Gonzalez, who runs the chapel, "to give him the strength to endure everything that’s happening. Many, many people have come. You see lots of candles with his name on pieces of paper. The people come and thank him for his favors and also pray for El Chapo."
Local folks know well all the crimes that have landed El Chapo in jail and in headlines worldwide.
But many here have told reporters over the years that they knew another side of the man who witnesses at trial said had himself engaged in killings. That was one side of the man who provided the extremely poor with help and opportunities that the government many describe as corrupt and indifferent did not.
“The drug dealers do more for the people than the government does,” a 2015 New York Times article quoted Eric Reyes, a systems engineer from Mexico City, as saying to explain the reverence for Guzman. “If you live in a dealer’s territory he treats you well. The government won’t do anything for you. It’s all bureaucracy and red tape.”
Adrián Cabrera, a blogger in Culiacán wearing a black T-shirt with a picture of El Chapo, told the Times:“Why do people admire him?” Because he’s a living legend. He’s like Al Capone. He’s like Lucky Luciano. Like Tony Soprano. Like Scarface. He’s like a character on a television show, except that he’s alive, he’s real.
The stores run by the chapel, which is a source of consternation for the country’s Catholic leadership, sell such things as “narco bingo,” where the cards have the images of some of the most notorious drug leaders.
Many residents say they feel more loyalty to El Chapo than to any religious figure, noting he built schools and provided assistance to the community, including to marijuana growers.
One of El Chapo’s attorneys, Mariel Colon Miro, told Fox News she is not surprised by the clamor in Mexico for El Chapo collectibles. She said that while representing him and getting to know his relatives, she learned about all that he did for the poor of his hometown.
“He’s a very humble and kind person,” Colon said. “He’s dedicated to the people of his town. People there don’t see him the same way the media paints him, as a monster.”
“He was a like a philanthropist, based on the conversations I had with his family,” she said.
Asked about the prosecution’s accusation Guzman had been involved in dozens of murders, Colon said the allegations were based on accounts by unsavory witnesses.
“I wasn’t there. You weren’t there,” Colon said. “We know this from witnesses who themselves had committed heinous crimes and admitted to them and had ample opportunities to lie for their own benefit.”
In the meantime, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been trying to reassure the people of Guzman’s old stomping ground that they can rely on the government to improve living conditions.
He visited Guzman’s birthplace last week, and spoke to residents about the importance of addressing the poverty in Mexico and announced a plan to lift Badiraguato, with such things as a new highway, new trees and a public university.
Source: Fox News World