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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Court: NYC woman can serve husband with divorce papers via Facebook message

Courtesy of:http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/04/06/court-nyc-woman-can-serve-husband-with-divorce-papers-via-facebook-message/

A judge has given a New York City woman permission to file for divorce from her elusive husband via a Facebook message.

The woman’s lawyer says the ruling was made by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper.

The Daily News says Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku will be served with the divorce summons via a private Facebook message. It will be repeated once a week for three consecutive weeks or until “acknowledged” by Ellanora Baidoo’s hard-to-find husband.

Attorney Andrew Spinnell says the couple married in 2009 in a civil ceremony. He says the relationship began to unravel when the defendant reneged on his promise to a traditional Ghanaian wedding ceremony as well.

The ruling says Blood-Dzraku has only been in touch with his wife via phone and Facebook.

Police: Trespassing suspect left behind credit card with his name on it used to jimmy door

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/03/25/police-trespassing-suspect-left-behind-credit-card-with-his-name-on-it-used-to/?intcmp=HPBucket

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WEST SUNBURY, Pa. –  State police in Pennsylvania say a trespassing suspect used his own credit card to jimmy open a garage door, then left it behind when the homeowner suddenly appeared and startled him.

The important clue helped police arrest 41-year-old Brent Henry, of East Butler, on Saturday in Clay Township.

Police tell the Butler Eagle (http://bit.ly/19PtgTC) that Henry used the card to pick the lock at a friend’s mobile home.

Police say the homeowner heard a noise and caught Henry, who ran away but left the credit card behind.

Police say Henry told them he planned to take some gasoline for another friend’s car.

Online court records don’t list a defense attorney to comment on the charges.

Henry faces a preliminary hearing on criminal trespass and other charges April 7

Scuba diver arrested, accused of smuggling 8 pounds of pot across U.S.-Canada border

Courtesy of: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/-scuba-diver-tries-smuggling-8-pounds-of-pot-across-u-s–canada-border-020055721.html

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A man equipped with scuba gear was arrested after allegedly hauling 8 pounds of marijuana into the U.S., crossing the U.S.-Canada border underwater, according to border officials.

The Sun News reports that the man, whose name has not been released by authorities, made the swim in the dead of night.

“If there’s a freighter coming through there, there’s no way for a freighter to stop. That’s a very, very dangerous thing to do,” Greg Grogan, a public affairs officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told the newspaper.

After a tip from a local resident, surveillance cameras with the Operational Integration Center at Selfridge Air National Guard Base spotted the diver and noted that he appeared to be towing a heavy object behind him.

Border patrol guards located the man as he was crossing from Ontario in Canada into Marine City, Mich., at around 1 a.m.

“We picked up his image on our camera and could see he was carrying something,” Grogan said.

Despite the inherent risks involved in his journey, the man reportedly made it into Michigan unscathed. However, border agents quickly apprehended him and watertight containers containing the pot.

Grogan said this was the first incident he had ever heard of where someone tried to smuggle pot underwater.

Ironically, the Canadian man probably wouldn’t have had much trouble transporting marijuana through legal means.

Medical marijuana is legal in both Ontario and Michigan, one of 20 U.S. states that have passed a law legalizing medical marijuana. Patients who are registered and qualified to use medical marijuana in the state are allowed to grow their own medical pot or obtain it from a caregiver.

Feds: $20 million in Mexican meth seized, eight gang members arrested in raid

Courtesy Of: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/08/06/19900889-feds-20-million-in-mexican-meth-seized-eight-gang-members-arrested-in-raid?lite=

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In the largest single crackdown on organized crime in L.A. County history, a major drug raid Tuesday netted nearly $20 million in meth, and the arrest of eight accused gang members, busting up what federal authorities called an alliance of Mexican outlaws that threatened to wreak havoc on Southern California.

A multi-agency task force raided areas in Montebello as the final salvo in a 20-year federal investigation.

Agents from the DEA and ATF partnered with local law enforcement to nab the suspects, who were key to an alliance being forged between the Mexican Mafia, known as La Eme, and La Familia, a Mexican drug cartel that has made inroads into the illegal drug market in the U.S. in recent years.

The illicit pact, dubbed “The Project” by gang members, would have seen La Familia provide a steady supply of meth to La Eme each month to sell throughout Southern California, according to Sarah Pullen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

In exchange, La Familia was promised free reign on the streets and protection in prison, said Steven Bogdalek, special agent in charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In addition to the arrests, police seized an array of handguns and other firearms and about 600 pounds of meth which had been accumulated over a span of three years, estimated to have a street value of $19 million.

“Our joint efforts have helped disrupt the plot that could’ve flooded our neighborhoods with tons of methamphetamine and other narcotics,” said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. “We have put to an end an alignment of criminal organizations that would have been unprecedented.”

Before Tuesday’s bust, the DEA had indicted 13 people in connection with “The Project” and arrested five others. After Tuesday’s arrests, all but one are in custody, according to Pullen. The final gang member under indictment is believed to be hiding in Mexico.

“We believe that we have initiated a crippling effect to those members who are still loyal to the Mexican Mafia criminal organization,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca in a statement issued by the ATF.

In a separate indictment, the ATF named 31 street gang members charged with crimes ranging from possession of firearms, drug offenses, aiding and abetting, racketeering and conspiracy. They all face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The last large-scale crackdown on the Mexican Mafia in Southern California occurred in Orange County in 2007, when 100 members and associates were charged. Five were sentenced to life without parole in federal prison.

Husband shoots 2 bank robbery suspects who kidnapped him, his wife

Courtesy of: http://www.khou.com/news/editors-pick/Bank-employee-husband-escape-robbery-suspects-in-Columbus-218148611.html?google_editors_picks=true

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COLUMBUS, Texas — Two bank robbery suspects were shot in Colorado County Thursday night by a man who said they kidnapped him and his wife, a bank employee.

According to the Colorado County Sheriff’s Office, the couple had been held at gunpoint by the suspects inside their home just north of Columbus. They were then forced to drive to the First National Bank of Eagle Lake in Columbus.

The suspects then forced the woman to take out an undisclosed amount of funds, investigators said.

“We believe they had knowledge that she was an employee of the bank for them to be at the residence and to take her back,” Sgt. Andrew Weido with the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office said.

He said the suspects then forced the husband to drive them in his truck south down Highway 71, and that’s when the husband of the bank employee was able to gain access to a firearm inside the vehicle.

He fired at the suspects near County Road 101. Authorities then responded to a 911 call from the scene at 7:30 p.m. with the Columbus Police Department arriving first.

When they arrived, officers found the two suspects with gunshot wounds lying on the ground near a pickup that was parked in a ditch.

One of the wounded, 20-year-old Jordan Kutach, was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in critical condition. The other, 21-year-old Preston Kutach, was taken by EMS to the Columbus Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Both suspects lived in the community of Rock Island and neighbors said they were brothers.

The bank’s president, Sam Kana, tells KHOU 11 News he is thankful and blessed that the couple was not hurt.

Those who know them said the husband is a reserve officer with the sheriff’s department and that the community has their back.

“I’m sure that they’re both going to be upset for awhile,” resident Brenda Buehler said. “It’s a frightening thing to have happen, but I think everybody’s going to tell them good job.”

“It’s very positive to a community to hear that the good guy does win in the end,” resident Evan Mullins said.

“It could have turned out so much worse,” store owner Debbie Damon said.

Investigators said the couple did not know their attackers, and it is unclear how they became targets.

They are not releasing their names, or surveillance video, which they said captures some of the crime still in progress.

The Texas Rangers will be assisting with the sheriff’s investigation.

Man steals and drinks $100,000 worth of aged whiskey over the course of a year; now needs a new liver.

courtesy http://abcnews.go.com/US/man-drank-102000-worth-historic-whiskey/story?id=19712785

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The owner of an historic inn in Pittsburgh has brought charges against a former tenant she says was supposed safeguard 50 bottles of vintage whiskey valued at more than $100,000 but drank it all instead.

The owner of the South Broadway Manor Bed and Breakfast, Patricia Hill, found 104 bottles of Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey when she bought the historic mansion and converted it into a bed and breakfast. It had originally belonged to Pittsburgh businessman J.P. Brennan.

The whiskey had been distilled in 1912 and given to Brennan in 1918, she told ABC News affiliate WTAE.

“There were four cases, 52 bottles, manufactured by an old distillery here in the Township that went out of business many years ago,” Barry Pritts, chief of police in Scottdale, Pa., said today.

He said the bottles had been made and sold before Prohibition and then passed down.

TheOld Farm Pure Rye Whiskey was part of a collection of historical whiskey believed to have been consumed by Henry Frick and Andrew Carnegie in the early 1900s in Pittsburgh, Rick Bruckner, the chef at the South Broadway Manor, told WTAE.

“The family that owned the estate, somebody hid it under a flight of stairs and enclosed the staircase, and the estate went through several families. The lady that owns it now was doing a remodeling project and the people who were doing the work found them,” Pritts said.

Hill did not immediately return calls for comment. Pritts said that Hill put the whiskey bottles in the basement while the main floors were being renovated. John Saunders, 62, was a caretaker who lived in the basement and was expected to safeguard the booze.

“You know, to watch over them and keep them secure. I guess that was a mistake,” Pritts said.

Hill discovered that 52 of the bottles had been emptied in March 2012, and reported it to police. All four cases of whiskey had been emptied within about a year, Pitts said.

Saunders denied that he consumed the vintage alcohol, but police tested the empty bottles to see if they matched Saunders’ DNA. After seven months of testing, police confirmed that Saunders’ DNA was found on the bottles, and charged him with felony theft and receiving stolen property, Pritts said.

Saunders appeared for a preliminary hearing in court on Wednesday and will face trial.

His attorney, Patrice DiPietro, did not immediately return calls for comment from ABC News.

“The DNA doesn’t lie. I’m just disappointed a family friend of over 40 years has lied,” Hill said, according to WTAE. “It’s a shame it took historic whiskey to realize and come to this point, but if it saved his life, maybe that’s the best of it all.”

A whiskey appraiser told WTAE the value of the missing whiskey is around $102,400. Pritts requested restitution in the amount of the full retail value.

Attorneys agreed Wednesday that further expert testimony and evidence will have to be heard to determine the exact retail value of the whiskey.

During the hearing Wednesday, Saunders’ attorney noted to the court that Saunders is now awaiting a liver transplant, Pritts added.

Girlfriend’s investigation frees innocent NY man from jail

Courtesy of: http://news.msn.com/crime-justice/girlfriends-investigation-frees-innocent-ny-man-from-jail

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Vengeful former friends had set Joshua Robles up and landed him in prison, but his girlfriend’s sleuthing efforts eventually proved him innocent.

After eight months behind bars, an innocent Queens, N.Y., man was freed when his girlfriend proved to prosecutors that his former friends had set him up.

Joshua Robles, 40, was charged with sexual assault and armed robbery last August after he allegedly attacked a young woman, the New York Daily News reported.

Robles is mired in a feud with former family friend Hipolito Rodriguez, who’s currently on trial for attempted murder after he allegedly barged into a barbershop and shot at Robles with a shotgun.

To attempt to discredit Robles in court, Rodriguez and his son, Jordan, 19, dropped Jordan’s girlfriend off at a telephone booth and told her to call police and tell them she’d been attacked. They then instructed 21-year-old Alexis Hopes to tell officers that her assailant bore a tattooed cross on his face, which would finger Robles.

Robles was arrested and, unable to make bail, spent the next eight months at Rikers Island jail. He was sprung in late April after his own girlfriend tracked Hopes’ Facebook page and showed the Queens district attorney’s office evidence that she was dating Jordan Rodriguez. Hopes broke down in the DA’s office and Robles was released from prison the same day, according to the Daily News.

Both Hipolito and Jordan Rodriguez were indicted on multiple counts of perjury this week.

Breaking into a cop car earns losers speedy trip to jail

Courtesy of: http://now.msn.com/paul-gardener-and-chad-leakey-allegedly-broke-into-an-occupied-police-car

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A high IQ isn’t required for a career in petty crime, but two criminals were clearly short a few points when they reportedly attempted to break into an unmarked police car, with two uniformed cops inside. After opening the back door, it apparently dawned on geniuses Paul Gardener and Chad Leakey that they were climbing into a cage in a police car. The Tempe, Ariz., cops swiftly arrested them, allegedly confiscating a baggie of meth and some mail they seem to have been bright enough to steal too. The pair have been booked into the Maricopa County Jail, where they should be able to find some easy reading material.

4,900 drug cases may be overturned in Texas due to a lab tech who tainted evidence

courtesy http://www.texastribune.org/2013/04/05/commission-looks-misconduct-dps-worker/

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A report adopted on Friday by the Texas Forensic Science Commission concludes that the potential reversal of thousands of drug convictions by the Court of Criminal Appeals was due to the incompetence of a Department of Public Safety crime lab employee. Members of the commission said it’s unclear whether every conviction connected to the employee’s work has been scientifically compromised.

At a commission meeting on Friday, the members discussed whether their findings regarding a DPS crime lab worker who replaced the results of one test with another mean that all of the drug samples that passed through his hands are now compromised. They also found that interviews with colleagues supported the conclusion that the employee “struggled with corrections and an overall understanding of the chemistry, especially in difficult cases.”

The Court of Criminal Appeals has reversed more than 10 convictions due to the mistakes of the DPS Houston crime lab worker, Jonathan Salvador, who left the department last year. In the reversal of the conviction of Junius Sereal, from Galveston County, the judges wrote that all of the cases Salvador touched could be jeopardized.

“While there is evidence remaining that is available to retest in this case, that evidence was in the custody of the lab technician in question,” according to the judicial opinion. “This Court believes his actions are not reliable therefore custody was compromised, resulting in a due process violation.”

“This one analyst handled thousands of cases in the Houston area, and due to the breadth of the opinion, they may all be jeopardized,” the Texas District and County Attorneys Association wrote in a letter to its members.

But Sarah Kerrigan, a member of the commission and the chairwoman of the forensic science department at Sam Houston State University, said “there aren’t systematic issues we’re aware of with property control,” and that in some of the cases, there may be other drug evidence left that was uncorrupted by Salvador.

Jeff Blackburn, a lawyer with the Innocence Project of Texas, told the commission that the court is applying the same opinion to all of the cases involving Salvador simply as a practical matter. The Court of Criminal Appeals, he said, cannot possibly look at every single case connected to Salvador’s testing along with their normal work and so they are indicating that they will always rule in favor of the defendant in these cases. “I think it’s the numbers and judicial economy,” he said.

Part of the problem, Blackburn added, is that Texas has no centralized public defender system, so each county handles the problematic convictions differently. “We have to go piecemeal,” he said, “but we’re doing the best with what we’ve got.”

Salvador, who could not be reached for comment, was suspended from his duties as a forensic scientist with DPS in February 2012, when the department discovered the falsification of results in a controlled substance test. Salvador had worked on 4,900 drug cases in 30 counties since he took the job in 2006, DPS spokesman Tom Vinger said, adding that a Harris County grand jury chose not to indict Salvador.

After the discovery, Vinger said, “the department implemented more stringent quality control measures to help prevent similar issues in the future.”

In its report, the commission found that other workers in the lab described Salvador as quick to correct his mistakes when they were pointed out. His work, they found, was “’right on the edge of acceptability,” but his supervisors “made good faith efforts to help Salvador improve” because his “attitude was always so positive.”

“Salvador’s easygoing and collegial demeanor contributed to management’s reluctance to more aggressively discipline or dismiss him” before the incident where he replaced the results of one test with another, which the commission called “professional misconduct.”

Mom claimed her son had cancer to collect donations, police say

Courtesy of: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/04/26/mom-convinced-son-had-cancer-to-get-donations-police-say/?test=latestnews

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Police say a New Jersey mother falsely claimed her son had cancer in a months-long scheme to collect donations from her friends.

MyFoxPhilly.com reports that 35-year-old Susan Stillwaggon faces charges of theft by deception, forgery and child endangerment for her role in the alleged scheme.

Police tell the station Stillwaggon had convinced her son he was sick. More than $1,000 was collected as part of the alleged hoax, which began six months ago, the station reported.

The Courier Post reports that investigators began looking into the mother’s story after receiving an anonymous tip. Numerous fundraising events were held in the son’s name, according to the report.

Stillwaggon’s mother tells MyFoxPhilly.com her daughter is sick and is currently hospitalized.