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Concern Grows Over Reliability of Field Drug Tests

It may be a sin to eat too much chocolate. But getting arrested for it? That apparently can happen with some of unreliable field drug tests on the market.

Can a false test lead to this?/istock photo


By Mimi Hall
USA TODAY
For Nadine Artemis and Ron Obadia, August began with plans for a family vacation in Minnesota. The vacation ended with the two Canadians being led through Toronto’s airport in handcuffs, locked up and separated from their baby.
“We were dumbfounded,” Artemis says. Police told them they could be facing years in prison for exporting narcotics, because 2.5 pounds of material found in their carry-on bag tested positive for hashish. “All we knew was that we didn’t have drugs.”
They were telling the truth. They didn’t have drugs. They had chocolate.
The couple were caught up in what civil libertarians, public defenders and some narcotics experts say is a growing problem: the use of unreliable field drug-test kits as the basis to arrest innocent people on charges of illegal drugs.
For Full Story

Man Impersonates Fed Agent and Makes Several Drug Arrests

Prosecutor Says ex-FBI Agent Knew He Was Setting Up Hit

The trial that has reminded the public about the previous digressions of the Boston FBI is coming to an end — and none too soon. It’s an era the FBI would rather forget.

Ex-FBI Agent Connolly/wbztv

Ex-FBI Agent Connolly/wbztv

By Curt Anderson
AP Legal Affairs Writer
MIAMI-Former FBI agent John Connolly knew he was setting up a hit when he tipped Boston mobsters that a gambling executive with gangland ties was likely to implicate them in other killings, a prosecutor said Monday in closing arguments of Connolly’s murder trial.
The 1982 slaying of former World Jai-Alai president John Callahan was a direct result of Connolly’s corrupt dealings with Winter Hill Gang leaders James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, prosecutor Fred Wyshak said. Both were secretly FBI informants handled by Connolly.

For Full Story

N.H. Woman Steals Thousands of Dollars of Stamps

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It may be worth noting that even in this era of emails and online bill payments it’s still worth stealing a good old fashion postage stamp.
Just ask Shelley Furtado of Manchester, N.H.
Furtado, 36, pleaded guilty last week in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire to conspiring with four other people to steal more than $5,000 in property from the Post Office — most of which was stamps, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The indictment charged that she and others visited the Post Offices and stole the stamps that were turned over to a “fence” in Boston.
As part of the conspiracy, one co-conspirator used a folded newspaper “rigged with two layers of tin foil” to sneak property out of the Post Office without setting off detectors, the indictment said.
Sentencing is set for Feb. 18

Read Indictment

Man Convicted of Acting as Unregistered Agent For Hugo Chavez

The case in Miami dubbed “Suitcase-gate” has caused a strain between the U.S. and its South American neighbors.

BY JAY WEAVER
The Miami Herald
MIAMI — Franklin Durán on Monday afternoon was found guilty of conspiracy and acting as an unregistered government agent for Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
The verdict came in Miami federal court on the seventh day of deliberations by a 12-member jury in the trial dubbed ”Suitcase-gate.” The case has drawn keen interest in Latin America.
Jurors agreed with federal prosecutors that Durán came to South Florida last year on behalf of the Venezuelan government to silence a business associate about a cash-filled suitcase intended for an Argentine politician.
For Full Story

More On The Story From The New York Times

Feds In Maryland Go After Online Gambling Figures

Is Bodog going to the dogs? Federal authorities are after two men involved in Bodog, the online gambling empire.

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper
BALTIMORE — Federal authorities in Maryland have filed money-laundering charges against two men, Edward Courdy and Michael Garone, who have figured in an ongoing investigation into the internet gambling empire Bodog.
Both men were described in two forfeiture proceedings earlier this year, which resulted in the seizure of a total of $24 million from numerous bank accounts, as processors of illegal gambling transactions in the United States on behalf of Bodog.
The charges against Courdy and Garone were filed on Sept. 29, though the filings were not publicized and were found yesterday by City Paper on the online federal courts web site, known as PACER.
For Full Story

Ooops: Juror In Sen. Stevens Case Caught In Big Lie

Well, under the category of “not very smart” comes Juror #4 Marian Hinnant.

The Sen. Stevens Case
The Sen. Stevens Case

By Jesse J. Holland
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON – A juror who vanished during Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens’ corruption trial told the judge Monday she lied about her father dying and flew to California to see horse races.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered Marian Hinnant, identified as juror No. 4, to return to court to explain why she disappeared during jury deliberations. Hinnant, 52, brought a stack of handwritten notes with her to the court Monday along with public defender A.J. Kramer, and told the judge that her father hadn’t died and she was at the Breeders’ Cup in Arcadia, Calif.
She apologized for lying, and then started a long rambling story about horses, which included references to horse breeding, the Breeders’ Cup, drugs, President Ford’s son Steven and her condo in Florida being bugged.
“I am thoroughly convinced you would not have been able to continue to deliberate,” Sullivan interrupted.
“Can I have a case of my own?” Hinnant asked. Sullivan referred her to Kramer and the federal public defender’s office, and excused her from his courtroom.
For Full Story

Read Judge’s Order For A Show Cause Hearing For Juror

Feds Probing Ex-Detroit Mayor’s Legal Fund

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick/city photo

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick/city photo

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who’s serving a sentence in the Wayne County Jail, may be in for more trouble –not that he hasn’t had his fair share already.

Paul Egan
The Detroit News
DETROIT — A federal grand jury has subpoenaed a large volume of records from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, two persons familiar with the investigation said Sunday.
Other non-profits associated with former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, including the Next Vision Foundation and the Detroit Justice Fund set up to help pay Kilpatrick’s legal fees in connection with his recent criminal case, also are under scrutiny, said one of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Lawyers for Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, received letters late last week from the U.S. Attorney’s Office asking for copies of records related to how they were paid for legal services connected with recent criminal proceedings against Kilpatrick and Beatty, the source said. The letter was not a subpoena, meaning the lawyers were not required to provide the requested information, the source said.
For Full Story

Other Stories Of Interest:

Nevada Governor Cleared In Public Corruption Probe (Las Vegas Review-Journal)