drug trafficking

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Guy Won $3M in the Lottery, Allegedly Sank It Into Meth Ring

Ronnie Music could now face life in prison

(Newser) - When Ronnie Music Jr. won $3 million in a Georgia Lottery scratch game last year, he decided to invest—in methamphetamine, say police. Music, of Waycross, Ga., pleaded guilty to federal drug trafficking and firearm charges last week after prosecutors accused the 45-year-old of supplying drug dealers with at least... More »

8 Tons of Coke Seized in Colombia's Biggest Bust Ever

'A hit against criminals,' country's president triumphantly tweets

(Newser) - Colombia's Defense Ministry has announced what it says is the country's biggest cocaine bust ever, with 17,500 pounds of coke seized from the nation's most notorious trafficking gang, CNN reports. The multiday operation targeted Clan Usuga, which has been described by the US Justice Department as... More »

DEA Busts Relatives of Venezuelan President

First lady's nephews were flown to US

(Newser) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro regularly accuses the US of plotting against him, and the arrest of two family members by American authorities is unlikely to soften his stance. The two men were arrested in Haiti on Tuesday and flown to New York the same day to answer charges of plotting... More »

Indonesia Plans Island Prison Guarded by Crocodiles

'You can't bribe crocodiles'

(Newser) - The Guardian reports the head of Indonesia's anti-drug agency has proposed an innovative new prison for drug convicts on death row: an island surrounded by blood-thirsty crocodiles. According to the Washington Post , the inmates would have food delivered to them on the island but would otherwise be left to... More »

Major Detroit Drug Dealer Getting New Sentence, 3 Decades Later

He was once described by a judge as "worse than a mass murderer"

(Newser) - A major Detroit-area drug trafficker known as "White Boy Rick" who has spent nearly 30 years in prison could soon be released after a judge ordered a resentencing today. Richard Wershe Jr., 46, deserves a new sentence because he was sentenced at the age of 18 under old law... More »

US Tracked Billions of Calls Long Before 9/11

USA Today: DEA, Justice Department collected data for 20 years

(Newser) - Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA and its surveillance tactics may have riled people up, but the agency apparently took its cue from two other government departments: the DEA and the DoJ. For almost 10 years before 9/11 took place, the agencies secretly kept records of billions of international... More »

Pope Sparks Anger in Mexico With Drug Comment

Francis noted concerns over 'Mexicanization' of Argentina drug trafficking

(Newser) - The Vatican sought today to defuse a diplomatic tiff with Mexico after Pope Francis referred to the possible "Mexicanization" of his native Argentina from drug trafficking, the latest instance of Francis' casual speaking style getting him into trouble. The Vatican said it had sent an official diplomatic note to... More »

Amid Record Meth Seizures at Border, a 'Clear Trend'

Would-be smugglers are strapping it to their bodies, says official

(Newser) - Stashed in gas tanks, fire extinguishers, even wheels of cheese—those were some of the ways drug runners tried and failed in fiscal 2014 to smuggle methamphetamine through ports at the California-Mexico border, where meth seizures reached record levels, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. According to US Customs and Border... More »

French Connection Smuggler Nabbed Once Again

73-year-old faces sentencing for another drug plot

(Newser) - Alfred Catino's criminal record is a colorful history of drug dealing and prison sentences dating back to the 1960s, when federal authorities say he was part of the French Connection heroin-smuggling ring that spawned an Oscar-winning movie of the same name. The 73-year-old's illicit career took him from... More »

How Feds Grab Bank Accounts, No Crime Needed

IRS confiscates big bucks with 'civil forfeiture' law

(Newser) - Carole Hinders was successfully running a Mexican restaurant in Iowa when IRS agents gave her the bad news: They were seizing her $33,000 checking account. She had committed no crime, but raised suspicions by repeatedly depositing amounts lower than $10,000 in her bank. And Hinders isn't alone,... More »

Cops Nab 'the Rat'—Leader of Ruthless Drug Cartel

Hernan Alonso Villa arrested by Spanish police

(Newser) - Spanish police have arrested one of Colombia's most-wanted criminals, a 40-year-old man nicknamed the Rat—one of the leaders of a ruthless drug cartel linked to 400 murders and the shipment of the largest amounts of cocaine to the US and Europe. Hernan Alonso Villa was arrested Friday while... More »

Italy to Shrink Deficit Using Hookers, Cocaine

Illegal activities to be added to GDP

(Newser) - Surprisingly enough, this idea didn't come from Silvio Berlusconi: Italy plans to include things like illegal drug sales, prostitution, and cigarette smuggling in its GDP figures for the first time, immediately giving the size of the economy a big boost, Bloomberg reports. Prime Minister Mario Renzi has pledged to... More »

'Preppy Drug Ring' Busted in Affluent Philly Suburbs

11 members allegedly wanted to keep elite high schools stocked

(Newser) - After a four-month investigation, authorities yesterday busted 11 alleged members of a drug ring—a drug ring notable because some of its members were students and alums of pricey prep schools living in the leafy, affluent "Main Line" suburbs outside Philadelphia. Their goal, police say, was to keep five... More »

With Kingpin Gone, Cartel Turf War Looms

But in Sinaloa, Guzman is remembered for generosity

(Newser) - The world's most powerful drug lord is now being held in an underground cell, but few expect Joaquin Guzman's arrest to stop either the flow of drugs or the flow of blood in Mexico's cartel wars. In Sinaloa, the state that gave its name to Guzman's... More »

In Mass Trial, 30 Sentenced to Death for Drug Smuggling

Vietnam also hands out dozens of prison sentences; 89 defendants were tried

(Newser) - Thirty people were today sentenced to death in Vietnam in a single trial, the AP reports. The 21 men and nine women were convicted of heroin trafficking during a 20-day trial, said to be the largest such trial the country has ever held. The defendants were found to belong to... More »

Price of Drug Baron's Freedom: $300M

UK prisoner faces 10 more years if he doesn't pay up

(Newser) - Authorities in Britain have given one of the country's most notorious drug smugglers a choice: cough up $300 million in ill-gotten gains or spend another decade in prison. Prosecutors believe Curtis Warren amassed a huge fortune from years of trafficking and spent the cash buying houses, ski resorts, vineyards,... More »

89-Year-Old Drug Mule Pleads Guilty

Indiana man caught with 200 pounds in Michigan

(Newser) - Leo Sharp was your typical 80-something retiree, splitting time between his place in Indiana and a property in Florida where he grew his beloved lilies. And then, of course, there was the occasional cross-country drive with hundreds of pounds of cocaine for a powerful Mexican cartel. The 89-year-old pleaded guilty... More »

Guy Crushed to Death by His Own Marijuana

Drug smuggler had half a ton in his backseat, crashed car

(Newser) - Very important lesson for drug traffickers: Do not store your half-ton of weed in the backseat of your car. A Brazilian drug smuggler did just that, police say, and the man was killed when he crashed into a tree while being chased by police ... because the 1,100 pounds of... More »

Bolivians Toss $1M From Low-Flying Plane

And anti-drug cops swoop in to grab it

(Newser) - Kind of a risky way to pay people, isn't it? Alleged drug dealers ran into trouble last weekend by throwing more than $1 million from a low-flying plane in Bolivia, the BBC reports. Police saw the whole thing, arrested three Bolivian nationals on the ground, and grabbed the bag... More »

Why the World's Murder Capital Is So Messed Up

Drug trafficking, geography make Honduras the most dangerous country on Earth

(Newser) - Honduras has officially taken the crown as the world's most violence-riddled country, with an average of 20 people killed a day in a country the size of Tennessee, reports NPR , which took a trip there to get a look at what's causing all this killing. As in many... More »

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