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Archive for July, 2013

FBI rescues over 100 child sex trafficking victims

Courtesy of: http://news.msn.com/crime-justice/fbi-rescues-over-100-child-sex-trafficking-victims


Weekend crackdown on child sex trafficking recovers 100 missing and exploited children and results in 150 arrests of pimps and madams.

WASHINGTON — The FBI declared that child prostitution is a “persistent threat” in the U.S. as the agency announced that authorities had rescued 105 young people and arrested 150 alleged pimps in a three-day sweep in 76 cities.

The agency said it had been monitoring Backpage.com and other websites as a prominent online marketplace for sex for sale. Backpage.com said that it was “very, very pleased” by the raids and that if the website were shut down to the advertisements, the ads would be pushed to sites that wouldn’t cooperate with law enforcement.

The young people in the roundup, almost all of them girls, ranged in age from 13 to 17.

The largest numbers of children rescued in the weekend initiative, Operation Cross Country, were in the San Francisco Bay and Detroit areas, along with Milwaukee, Denver and New Orleans. The operation was conducted under the FBI’s decadelong Innocence Lost initiative. The latest rescues and arrests were the largest such enforcement action to date.

“Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across the country,” Ron Hosko, assistant director of the bureau’s criminal investigative division, told a news conference. “We’re trying to put this spotlight on pimps and those who would exploit.”

In Operation Cross Country, federal, state and local authorities cooperated in an intelligence effort aimed at identifying pimps and their young victims.

The FBI said the campaign has resulted in rescuing 2,700 children since 2003. The investigations and convictions of 1,350 individuals have led to life imprisonment for 10 pimps.

In their efforts to identify child victims, investigators seek help wherever they can find it — in some cases from adult prostitutes, Hosko said. He said almost all the victims in sweeps like the one over the weekend are girls and that the profiles of the victims cut across racial lines.

Social media are a common denominator in many of the rescues.

Last year, five members of the Underground Gangster Crips contacted teens at school or through Facebook, DateHookUp.com or other online social networking sites, enticing the girls to use their looks to earn money through prostitution.

As for websites, Liz McDougall, the general counsel for Backpage.com, said that if that site were shut down to the advertisements in question, the information that can lead to the rescues would be lost to law enforcement because the ads would be pushed to “offshore uncooperative websites.”

“We feel very strongly that we’re doing the right thing, and we’re going to continue to do the right thing and we congratulate the FBI and everybody with the task forces involved in the program,” said McDougall.

Hosko said the plight of the young people often goes unreported to authorities because the children in many instances are alienated from their families and are no longer in touch.

Pimps operate wherever vulnerable potential victims can be found. Some are being recruited right out of foster care facilities, Hosko said.

For the past decade, the FBI has been attacking the problem in partnership with a private group, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

John Ryan, the head of the center, called the problem “an escalating threat against America’s children.”

The Justice Department has estimated that nearly 450,000 children run away from home each year and that one-third of teens living on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.

Congress has introduced legislation that would require state law enforcement, foster care and child welfare programs to identify children lured into sex trafficking as victims of abuse and neglect eligible for protections and services.

Ex-con pleads guilty to sneaking back into jail

Courtesy Of: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-buzz/ex-con-pleads-guilty-sneaking-back-jail-143938005.html

Rikers Impersonator

A convicted criminal in New York who hadn’t spent enough time in jail, apparently, pleaded guilty on Thursday to repeatedly sneaking into the Manhattan Detention Center.

The New York Post reported Matthew Matagrano, a 36-year-old with prior convictions of sexual abuse and sodomy, pleaded guilty to disguising himself as a correctional officer so he could re-enter jail.

While inside, he sexually assaulted an inmate, stole a walkie-talkie and gave out cigarettes, according to the New York Post.

Associated Press reported it was unclear why the convict wanted to return to jail, but that’s exactly what he’ll be doing now that he faces a 10 year sentence.

Someone needs to tell this man the idea is to get out of jail, not in.

Judge Orders $1 Million Returned to Exotic Dancer

Courtesy of: http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/judge-orders-1-million-returned-exotic-dancer-151044009.html


A federal judge has ruled that Nebraska cops must return over $1 million confiscated at a traffic stop from a woman who saved the money $1 at a time during her 15 year career as an exotic dancer.

The money belongs to Tara Mishra, 33, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., who began putting aside her earnings when she started dancing at age 18, according to an opinion U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon wrote last week. The money was meant to start her business and get out of the stripping business, the judge wrote.

State troopers confiscated the money in March 2012 when they pulled over Rajesh and Marina Dheri, of Montville, N.J., for speeding in Nebraska, according to court documents. The Dheris are friends of Mishra and had been given the cash so they could buy a nightclub in New Jersey. Mishra would own half of the business and the Dheris would own the other half.

Mishra had packaged the money in $10,000 bundles tied with hair bands and placed in plastic bags, and it was stashed in the trunk of the Dheri’s rented car, which the Dheris were driving to Chicago. When they were pulled over for speeding, a state trooper asked the Dheris if he could search their vehicle, which they allowed, Bataillon explained.

The state trooper found the money and after suspecting it was drug money took the Dheris into custody, according to the judge’s opinion. But police did not find any evidence of drug activity in the car and a K-9 analysis found only trace elements of illegal drugs on the cash, according to Bataillon.

Neither Mishra nor the Dheris could not be reached for comment.

“The government failed to show a substantial connection between drugs and the money,” Bataillon wrote in his opinion. “The dog sniff is inconsequential…The court finds the Mishras’ story is credible…Ms. Mishra did have control over the money and directed the Dheris to deliver the money to New Jersey for the purchase of the business.”

Bataillon ordered that Mishra receive cash or a check in the value of $1,074,000 with interest.

Tenn. burglar stole human ashes he mistook for cocaine

Courtesy of: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/burglar-mistakes-human-ashes-cocaine-cops-article-1.1405584


A suspected Tennessee burglar got one hell of shock after a stolen box he thought contained cocaine turned out to be full of human ashes.

William “Billy” Cantrell, 28, allegedly broke into neighbor Steven Medley’s home and made off with a carton he believed was packed with narcotics.

But when he was busted by cops, they discovered it was in fact the remains of his victim’s mother.

It’s not yet known whether he snorted the deadly powder.

“William thought it was drugs; he thought he’d done found him a box of cocaine is what he thought,” Cantrell’s grandma, Wanda Allen, told News Channel 5.

Cantrell, who also allegedly pinched an Xbox, has been charged with aggravated burglary.

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


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.

Chaos at Manhattan Criminal Court after bedbugs seen crawling up defendant’s neck

Courtesy of: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bedbugs-freak-out-manhattan-criminal-court-article-1.1401626


Everyone would have been better off had this man not been given a ticket.

Pandemonium erupted inside Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday after panicked spectators said they spotted bedbugs crawling up the neck of a man who was there to answer to a desk-appearance ticket.

The sickening sight sent court observers scrambling out of their seats, a witness told the Daily News.

“People started bolting,” added the witness, a 49-year-old Manhattan woman. “Even the court officers were freaked out. It was disgusting.”

Courts spokesman David Bookstaver confirmed the insect-fueled ruckus, but said “no evidence of the alleged bugs was uncovered.”

The icky incident happened about 11:30 a.m. A court officer assigned to one of the courtrooms designated for arraignments saw a commotion in the back and asked what was going on, the witness said.

A woman stood up and announced that a man sitting near her was covered with the creepy crawlies, sparking chaos in the benches.

Several observers raced out of the courtroom. The apparent offender also sprinted away from the scene, the witness said.

The court officers emptied the three final rows, and the proceedings continued, the witness said.

After about 20 minutes, an exterminator arrived and the courtroom was evacuated.

When the room was reopened, yellow police tape was cordoning off the three final rows.

“People were scratching themselves,” the witness said. “Everyone in the courtroom was uncomfortable.”

“I’m still scratching myself,” added the witness. “Just telling the story I get itchy.”

Bookstaver said the incident started after “spectators thought they saw bugs jumping from a defendant.”

“Court personnel were notified and immediately inspected the courtroom,” Bookstaver said, noting that there was no sign of the bugs.

But the court workers weren’t going to take any chances, Bookstaver said. “As a prophylactic measure, the courtroom was sprayed,” he said.

Police eat laced muffins

Courtesy of: http://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/news/police-eat-laced-muffins-1.1548111#.Uea4WW3ClGM


Nine police officers from the Montclair police station were taken to hospital after they unwittingly ate a batch of muffins allegedly laced with dagga given them by a colleague celebrating her birthday.

According to police sources at the station, two hours after consuming the “space muffins”, the officers who were all working the night shift on July 4 began hallucinating while others experienced symptoms of paranoia.

“They were all high as kites,” a source said. “One of the members just sat in a corner and was laughing for no reason. They didn’t know what was happening to them. A lot of them were confused and couldn’t explain what they were feeling.

“There were 10 of them on duty at the station and only one of them didn’t get high because she only ate the chicken.”

The officer who did not eat the muffins alerted the station’s management.

Paramedics were called and the officers were rushed to Entabeni and St Augustine’s hospitals where they were treated.

Officers from surrounding stations had to be called in to man station while crime prevention officers on duty in the area took over the van duties.

The incident occurred after a female constable brought a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and homemade muffins for her colleagues in the charge office in celebration of her birthday.

It is believed that none of the officers, including the shift commander – a captain – knew that the muffins were allegedly laced with dagga.

In a statement, the provincial police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, said: “At this stage, it is just suspected food poisoning. The police officers ate numerous items during the birthday celebration and it cannot be confirmed which item of food was contaminated. There is no truth to the rumour that it was dagga-laced muffins. The individual who supplied the food was also affected.”

When pressed for clarification on the telephone later, Naicker did concede that investigators had not ruled out the possibility that the officers might have eaten dagga-laced muffins.

“It is too early to speculate. We have sent the food for testing to a laboratory. This could be a simple case of food poisoning,” he said.

However, a police source said that it was an open secret that the officers had eaten dagga-laced muffins.

“How can they say it was food poisoning when the members were laughing their heads off for no reason? Everyone who works at Montclair knows what went on that night,” the officer said.

Naicker said the officers had all been discharged from hospital, but had not yet returned to work.

He could not provide a reason why they had not yet done.

The incident came in the same week that the Montclair Community Policing Forum launched a drug awareness campaign at the station.

Forum chairman, Gavin Hegter, said they were extremely concerned about the allegations.

“We know for a fact that the entire shift got ill and had to be taken to hospital. The reason for this we don’t know yet. There are various rumours doing the rounds,” he said.

“The muffins they had as well as the KFC was sent away for analysis and until the results come back it is pure speculation. From the CPF side we are extremely concerned and we will be following this up and hopefully get to the bottom of it.”

Hegter said the Montclair station commander had promised to keep him abreast of results of the lab test.

“If it is found that the muffins were laced with narcotics, appropriate action would have to be taken against those responsible.

“I also just want to say that if there were narcotics involved I believe that the officers who consumed them did not do it intentionally because some of them are our credible members,” he said.

“With our drug awareness campaign currently taking place this is not something we take lightly. I am determined to get to the bottom of it and for the responsible people to be dealt with.”

Oklahoma burglar accidentally dials 911 as dispatchers listen

Courtesy of: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-burglar-accidentally-dials-911-as-dispatchers-listen/article/3862769


MCALESTER — Deputies in Pittsburg County say an alleged burglar accidentally dialed 911 from his pocket while he and an accomplice were discussing what to steal from a home.

Officials said Monday that dispatchers listened in while the burglars talked about which pieces of jewelry to take from the house they’d broken into.

Pittsburg County Undersheriff Richard Bedford told a local newspaper the burglars had left when deputies got to the home. But Bedford says one of the men was caught trying to sell the jewelry at a local business.

The man is being held without bond pending formal charges. The other suspect is still being sought.

Naked Woman Distracts Neighbor While Her Husband Robs His House

Courtesy of: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20716388,00.html


The next time a married neighbor asks if she can swim naked in your backyard, think twice!

Stephen Amaral, a Tennessee man who allowed his neighbor’s wife to skinny dip in his pool – while he watched for 20 minutes – was stunned to discover that it was just a ploy to distract him.

The couple, who live nearby, approached Amaral with the wife asking if she could swim. When Amaral said she could, the woman sent her husband to get her cigarettes and then asked Amaral if he would be bothered if she swam in the nude.

Not a problem, Amaral said.

“I went and got her a towel, she dried off and all of a sudden she was soaking wet again,” he told CNN affiliate WKRN. “I escorted her outside and invited her to church, but she said she didn’t have time for that, she wasn’t ready for that.”

Police in Tennessee say that while Amaral was watching her swim in the buff, the husband was busy robbing the house.

Amaral told police he felt “violated” and that the gun that was stolen from his house had sentimental value, revealing it was a service weapon he used while he was a Mississippi deputy and he planned to pass it down to his grandchildren.

Two suspects have been identified, but no arrests have been made. The estimated cost of the stolen items, which reportedly also included stolen jewelry and medication, is $2,000.

Bank robber who wants to go to jail waits for police

Courtesy of: http://news.msn.com/crime-justice/bank-robber-who-wants-to-go-to-jail-waits-for-police


A man who feared losing his job stole $4,000 and then waited on a bench for police to arrive because he wanted to avoid homelessness by going to jail.

MOULTON, Ala. — Police in one Alabama city didn’t have to go far to find a man suspected of robbing a bank: He was sitting on a bench in the shade of the bank’s awning.

The man feared losing his job because of a severe leg injury and wanted to avoid homelessness by going to jail, authorities said.

“He was adamant his whole deal was he’d have a place to live and a place to eat,” Moulton Police Chief Lyndon McWhorter said Tuesday.

Police arrested 49-year-old Rickie Lawrence Gardner on charges of first-degree robbery and first-degree theft. He was in the county jail Tuesday and did not yet have an attorney.

The police chief said Gardner walked into Bank Independent on Monday morning and handed a teller a note saying, “I have a weapon. Give me your money.”

He told the teller to put the money in a bag, McWhorter said. Then he walked out of the bank with more than $4,000. He got in his car, put the bag on the passenger seat, got out and locked the car.

He strolled over to the bench, sat down and waited on police, the chief said.

Gardner told officers that his leg had been badly injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident and he was afraid he was going to lose his job, McWhorter said

The chief said Gardner mentioned the weapon in the note — even though he didn’t have one — because he thought it would get him a longer sentence.

McWhorter said a relative of Gardner told police that the man may have been off medication he had been taking since the accident, which could have affected his mental state.