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Tag: Drugs

L.A. Toy Company Indicted for Laundering Drug Money

ice video photo

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

 It’s all fun and games til your toy purchases may be supporting international drug cartels.

An 18-month investigation of L.A.company, Woody’s Toys Inc., by Homeland Security’s ICE and the DEA’s Southern California Drug Task Force yielded video of employees receiving bricks of cash in fast food chain parking lots, among other incriminating evidence.

Homeland Security’s press release states the co-owners and three employees of Woody’s Toys have been indicted  on charges of  orchestrating an elaborate financial scheme to launder millions of dollars for drug trafficking organizations in Mexico and Colombia.

Two Mexico-based toy dealers are charged as well.

“Let’s not kid ourselves, legitimate teddy bear buyers don’t close the sale with stacks of cash in restaurant parking lots,” said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles in a statement. “The reality is, unscrupulous companies that conspire to help the cartels cover their financial tracks are contributing in no small way to the devastation wrought by the international drug trade.”

To read more click here.

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Federal Indictments for Massive Online Drug Ring are First of a Kind

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

In a brave new high-tech world, the federal indictment of eight online drug traffickers is the first of its kind.

The BBC reports that the feds busted up a $1million-plus illegal drug operation online on a marketplace called “The Farmer’s Market” using the TOR network, which allows emails and websites to hide IP addresses and protect users from detection.

The operation served about 3,0000 customers in every U.S. state and  34 countries , selling LSD, ecstasy, marijuana and other illegal drugs. The Justice Department contends the ring provided order forms, customer service and accepted payments through PayPal, Western Union and other means.

“Operation Adam Bomb,” a 2 year investigation led by the DEA’s L.A. Field Division, resulted in arrests in the  the U.S., Colombia, and the Netherlands, according to a Justice Department press release. The L.A. DEA collaborated with the Hague office, international agencies and the U.S. Post Office.

“The drug trafficking organization targeted in Operation Adam Bomb was distributing dangerous and addictive drugs to every corner of the world, and trying to hide their activities through the use of advanced anonymizing on-line technology,” said Briane M. Grey, DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge.

To read more click here.

 

Meth Lab Seizures Up; Experts Point to “Shake-and-Bake”

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

According to an AP survey of the nation’s leading states in meth production, lab seizures by law enforcement agencies rose nationally, the AP reports.

In 2011 Missouri was the leading producer, with 2,096 seizures. Missouri was followed by Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky and then Oklahoma.

Across the nation the rise in meth lab seizures rose by about 8.3 percent from 2010 to 2011. The addictiveness of the drug and an increasingly popular and very quick method of producing it both contributed to the rise, experts say, according to AP. That method, know as “shake-and-bake,” quickly produces the drug using a soda bottle which, experts say, has created smaller labs but much more of them.

To read more click here.

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Is Mexico’s War on Drugs Working?

By Mariano Castillo
CNN

Mexico has landed some hard punches against the drug cartels that have stirred violence in parts of the country — at least on paper.

In 2011, against just the notorious Zetas cartel, Mexico ended the reign of 16 leaders who ran cartel operations at the state or national level. Thugs with nicknames like “El Piolin,” “El Lucky” and “El Amarillo.”

But the violence attributed to the Zetas has not decreased even after these busts, and critics wonder if names are meaningless if they are so quickly replaced.

To read the full story click here.

Physician Handed Four Life Sentences for Fatal Prescriptions

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A Chicago Physician was handed a steep sentence on Tuesday for his role in the deaths of four individuals, the FBI said.

Paul H. Volkman was sentenced to four consecutive terms of life imprisonment, the FBI said.  He was convicted of “illegally prescribing and dispensing pain pills outside the scope of a legitimate medical practice,” the FBI said, resulting in the death of four people between 2003 and 2005.

The 64-year-old was convicted in May of 2011 of 18 crimes, receiving a life sentence on each count as well as being ordered to forfeit $1.2 million. Among the 70 witnesses presented at trial were pharmacists that refused to fill Volkman’s prescriptions, law enforcement officials who investigated the deaths and  Volkman’s employees.

“Volkman was the physician at the center of a criminal scheme to distribute millions of controlled substances to hundreds of individuals in exchange for cash—a scheme that brought addiction, diversion, and death to southeastern Ohio and beyond,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tim Oakley and Adam Wright wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court. “During the course of this conspiracy, Volkman was the top physician purchaser of oxycodone in the country.”

Two Chicago Cops Busted in FBI Sting

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two Chicago cops find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

The feds in Chicago on Monday announced that they had charged Sgt. Ronald Watts and officer Kallatt Mohammed with stealing $5,200 from someone they thought was transporting money for drug dealers, but who was actually an informant working for the FBI.

Both cops were assigned to a 2nd District tactical team.

Watts, 48, is an 18-year police veteran and Mohammed, 47, who joined the department 14 years ago.

Authorities said that last Nov. 21, a cooperating witness for the FBI told the cops about transporting the drug money.

Agents on surveillance video-recorded the alleged theft, which occurred when Mohammed, driving his personal auto, approached the informant in the 2700 block of South Vernon and took a bag containing $5,200 from the informant, authorities said.

Later, authorities alleged, the officers paid the informant $400 for allowing them to steal the drug proceeds.

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31 Charged in Texas DEA Bust

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A three-month-long DEA operation ended with federal drug and firearm charges filed against 31 people, CBS reports. The charges were made in the Texas towns of Midland and Odessa by the DEA’s Mobile Enforcement Team.

Most defendants were arrested Thursday morning or were already in custody, according to CBS. The charges include conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, distribution of a controlled substance and possession of firearms by prohibited persons. The controlled substances involved in the charges include crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, BZP and hydrocodone.

To read more click here.

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Oops! FBI in Mass. Busts into Wrong Apartment During Raid and Points Guns

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ooops!

Make that two Ooops!

The Associated Press reported that the FBI last week used a chain saw to cut open an apartment door during a drug raid in Fitchburg, Mass., in Worcester County. Only thing is, it was the wrong apartment.

Agents also pointed guns at the people inside, AP reported.

The news service reported resident Judy Sanchez said she was terrified when she stepped into her kitchen and saw chainsaw blade cut through her door.

AP reported that she was held face down on the floor at gunpoint for at least 30 minutes while her 3-year-old daughter cried in another room.

AP reported that the FBI apologized and is paying for the damage.