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Jeh Johnson’s Newest appointee at Homeland Security Was Key Figure in Pennsylvania Corruption Case

Christian Morrone

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s newest appointee has a checkered past, the Washington Times reports.

According to court records, Johnson’s chief of staff, Christian Marrone, oversaw the private renovations of a mansion owned by state Sen. Vince Fumo.

At the time, Marrone was one of Fumo’s legislative aides.

According to the report Marrone spent about 80% of his time working on the private job for Fumo.

 

Heroin Use Increases Despite Deadly Consequences; Prescription Pills May Be to Blame

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Despite the dangers of heroin, people are increasingly turning to the drug, CNN reports.

But why?

It’s relatively inexpensive, readily available and becomes the next step for pain pill addicts.

A government study found that heroin use more than doubled in the past decade to 355,000.

“Heroin is pummeling the northeast, leaving addiction, overdoses and fear in its wake,” James Hunt of the DEA’s New York Office, said.

People die from heroin all the time. But on Sunday, we learned of the death of a high-profile figure, Philip Seymour Hoffman.

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Fed Prosecutors Break Into “Revolt” Over Atty. Gen. Eric Holder’s Drug Views

Atty. Gen. Holder /doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Apparently not all the federal prosecutors are on board with Attorney Gen. Eric Holder’s views on drug laws.

Retired attorney Paul Mirengoff writes on the website POWERLINE  that hundreds of career Justice Department lawyers ” have broken into open revolt against Attorney General Holder over his support of legislation that would drastically cut back on mandatory minimum sentences for drug pushers.” The legislation Holder supports is known as the Durbin-Lee bill.

The website writes:

This was too much for hundreds of federal prosecutors. Today, Chuck Grassley, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, read aloud from a letter the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys sent Holder three days ago. The portion Sen. Grassley read states:

We believe the merits of mandatory minimums are abundantly clear. They reach to only the most serious of crimes. They target the most serious criminals. They provide us leverage to secure cooperation from defendants. They help to establish uniform and consistency in sentencing. And foremost, they protect law-abiding citizens and help to hold crime in check.

To read more click here.

 

Weekend Series on Crime: Inside the American Mob

httpv://youtu.be/5Z52FEp8bKk

Justice Department Searches for Crack Cocaine Convicts to Be Freed from Prison

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A disproportionate number of low-level drug criminals who are behind bars are African Americans sentenced under strict laws from the days of the crack epidemic.

Hoping to correct that disparity, the Justice Department is encouraging defense lawyers to help identify inmates for clemency, the New York Times reports.

Penalties for drug offenses involving crack were often more severe than those with powder cocaine.

So far, Obama has commuted the sentences of eight federal inmates sentenced to harsh sentences because of crack.

“There are more low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who remain in prison, and who would likely have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of precisely the same offenses today,” Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said. “This is not fair, and it harms our criminal justice system.”

Thieves Break Through Roof of Phoenix Pawn Shop, Steal 36 Handguns

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

This wasn’t your typical store robbery.

Two crooks stole 36 guns after breaking through the roof of a Phoenix pawn shop, Myfoxphoenix.com reports.

Concerned about where those guns are going, the ATF is offering a reward.

The thieves only swiped handguns.

“They have to acquire guns. Certainly the U.S. is no stranger, the south-west border in particular, for being a gun locker if your will being able to obtain guns here through the secondary market. Though illegally purchasing guns and also stealing guns.” said Tim Mangan with ATF.

Centuries-Old Asian Drug Becomes Popular in U.S. Despite Dangers to Users

Kratom leaf

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A euphoric drug that has been used for centuries in Asia is becoming popular in the U.S., CBSLA.com reports.

The DEA is warning about dangers associated with kratom, which officials say is addictive, dangerous and legal in most of the U.S.

“It can give you a happy, euphoric feeling,” one user told CBSLA.com. “I definitely felt more energetic.”

Users compare it the high to a painkiller.

Health officials said the drug is often readily available online and at smoke shops.

Hapless Traveler on Crutches or Drug Peddler? Man Blows Cover with Fake Cast That Contained Kilo of Cocaine

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

At first glance, Daniel Ramirez looked like a hapless taveller on crutches.

But when the 21-year-old was on a train traveling from California to Chicago, DEA task force officers said he looked nervous and suspicious, The Smoking Gun reports.

More alarming, his cast was “uneven in texture, size and shaping not consistent with that of a case applied by a medical professional.”

His cover crumbled – literally – when Ramirez tried to remove his sock, causing the cast to break up.

That’s when agents said they spotted a plastic bag, which contained about a kilo of cocaine.

Ramirez was charged Wednesday with a felony narcotics count.

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