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Survey finds more users of illegal drugs

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the rate of illegal drug use increased last year to 9 percent – highest level in nearly a decade. Of all the illegal drugs, marijuana use increased sharply as well as a surge in ecstasy and methamphetamine abuse.

Some of the causes may be the eroding attitude about the perception of harm from illegal drugs as well as the growing number of states approving medicinal marijuana. With the attitude that marijuana can be used for medical purposes, young people seem to see it as an okay drug to use. However, marijuana is still an illegal drug. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s annual report shows that marijuana use rose by 8 percent and remained the most commonly used drug. The good news is that cocaine abuse continues to decline, with use of the drug down 32 percent from its peak in 2006.

About 21.8 million Americans, or 8.7 percent of the population age 12 and older, reported using illegal drugs in 2009. This shocking statistic that shows 12 year olds use of illegal drugs is the highest level since the survey began in 2002. The previous high was just over 20 million in 2006.

Other results show a 37 percent increase in ecstasy use and a 60 percent jump in the number of methamphetamine users. In the early 2000s, there was a widespread public safety campaign to warn young people about the dangers of ecstasy as a party drug, but that effort declined as use dropped off.

Even though meth use had been dropping after a passage of a 2006 federal law that put cold tablets containing pseudoephedrine behind pharmacy counters, law enforcement officials have seen a rise in “smurfing,” or traveling from store to store to purchase the medicines, which can be used to produce homemade meth in kitchen labs. In addition, more people are getting their meth from drug runners from Mexico.

Education is the key to stopping illegal drug use. In addition, more TV ads showing the effects of meth on teenagers need to be aired. Just “saying no” to drugs as well as showing the consequences of illegal use needs to be graphically shown to our young people today.

Stupid criminal appeals his “pants on the ground” conviction

Young men who enjoy wearing baggy pants make a certain fashion statement. However, Frank Irving Wiggins age 24 of Minneapolis may want to rethink his fashion statement in the future. When he was arrested his pants kept falling down. The kind police officer kept hiking up his sagging pants when she found a semi-automatic hand gun in his pants pocket.

He was being arrested on suspicion of a drug deal in St. Paul. However, with this new find, he faced charges of possession of a firearm by an ineligible person which is an automatic five year prison sentence. He waived his right to a jury trial and the judge found him guilty. He appealed by challenging the court’s denial of the suppression motion – in regard to the hand gun in his pocket. The Minnesota Court of Appeals up held the conviction.

The appeals court said the “unique wardrobe assist” by the officer was not a search subject to constitutional regulation. The officer hoisted his pants presumably to conceal rather than to reveal. The court further said that the officer was justified by concerns for her own safety and potential unnecessary embarrassment to Wiggins.

The court further stated, “Because judicial holdings are limited by their facts, we are confident that our opinion will not be misconstrued to suggest that an officer can freely meddle with a person’s clothes to the refrain, ‘Pants on the ground, pants on the ground,’ under the guise of providing public assistance.”

Craigslist killer only wanted car parts

Dao Xiong age 19 of Oakdale has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Youa Lor age 33 of St. Paul. Xiong contacted Lor when he saw an ad on Craigs list for a 2003 silver Nissan 350Z that Lor was selling. This low-life criminal took the car for a test drive and shot Lor in the stomach and left him to die on the side of the road.

Xiong told police he really didn’t want to buy the car. He only wanted the supercharger in Lor’s car for his 350z Nissan car. After he shot Lor with a .40 caliber handgun, he drove the car to his house in Oakdale and removed several parts and then abandoned the car in a Lake Elmo park.

The police were able to track down Xiong from cell phone calls he made to Lor’s house. The cell phone was purchased just several days before the murder. What a senseless crime this was. Bail has been set for Xiong as $1.5 million.

ID theft victims advocate

If you ever had your identity stolen, you know how draining it is to prove your identity. While there are companies that are willing to help clear your identity- for a price of course – Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Identity Theft Unit, a division of the state police, is now available free for identity theft victims. This division is funded by a $97,000 yearlong federal grant.

Recently, an innocent woman whose identity was stolen by a known felon was pulled over for a minor speeding violation. The State Trooper identified her as the felon and she was handcuffed and taken to jail. After hours of denying that she was the woman who stole her identity, the State Trooper noticed that she didn’t have the tattoos of the known felon. He immediately referred her to the Identity Theft Unit.

The state of Colorado has been proactive in identity theft because the state leads the way in the most identity theft cases nationally. Colorado ranks in the top 10 for the number of ID theft victims with the city of Greeley, Colorado leading the nation among all cities. While catching criminals who steal identity has been moving forward, there were no victim advocates to help the victims through their ordeal. The cases are very complex and extensive.

Now with the CBI Identity Theft Unit, victims have someone to help them through their ordeal.

Keeping track of sex offenders

Where do sex offenders go to hide from the law and not register as a sex offender? They may be going to Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. These are territories of the U.S. and you don’t need a passport to enter these countries. However, in these island countries sex offenders still have to register.

Each month, about half a dozen sex offenders come to the island from the U.S. mainland. Some do register with local authorities, according to Puerto Rico police Capt. Margarita George who oversees the island’s sex offender registry. Nobody knows how many others fail to report in.

As a result, Puerto Rico law enforcement is cracking down on unregistered sex offenders in their country. Federal agents have arrested at least five sex offenders over the last year for failure to register in Puerto Rico. These low-lives have been sent back to the U.S. to face prosecution on other charges. There may be 10 more cases of unregistered offenders on the island.

Sex offenders come to the islands because of the lack of laws barring them from living near parks or schools. Failing to register is a misdemeanor in Puerto Rico, not a felony as it is in most parts of the U.S.

In 2006, the U.S. Congress tried to close local loopholes on tracking them. The law required that all states and territories to impose the same tough monitoring of sex offenders. No matter where they are they need to update their registration information in person as frequently as every three months. So far, only Florida, Ohio, Delaware and some Native American jurisdictions meet the new federal standards.

Unfortunately about 100,000 of the 714,000 registered sex offenders in the United States are unaccounted for. Are some of these sex offenders in the Caribbean Islands?

Man arrested for protecting his property and family from gang members

Only in Long Island, NY would you find this type of crime. A Long Island man was arrested for defending his home and family. He was being harassed by gang members and went out and bought an AK-47 assault rifle.
Recently, he was confronted by five men in his yard. He thought they were Ms-13 gang members who were going to invade his home.

He told his wife to call the police and that’s when he got his AK-47 gun. He went to his front door and saw that a larger group of men, about twenty, showed up. The men started to threaten his family and his life. They said they were going to kill him and his babies. When these men started to rush around the corner of the house, he fired four warning shots into the grass.

Because he fired his gun, the police are charging him with a D felony reckless endangerment with a depraved indifference to human life that creates a risk that someone’s going to die. However, his attorney says that shooting into the grass doesn’t create a risk of anybody dying. In addition, the man has no prior criminal background.

Obviously, New York doesn’t have the “Make my Day” law that states that a person has a legal right to defend person and property against a perceived threat. There is no obligation to flee if possible. In New York the law says you can only use physical force to deter physical force. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been an incident when a victim pulled a gun to defend himself. The court will have to decide if the man firing the gun at the gang members constitutes a criminal charge against him.

Gang members cry foul!

This is an interesting story from Chicago, Illinois. Gang members from Chicago called a news conference to complain that police and city officials do not respect them and that the only way to curb violence is to provide jobs and improve their community. The gang members beef is with Superintendent Weis who has threatened to go after gangs with Federal Law.

Weis held a meeting with the leaders of several West Side gangs over the weekend. At the meeting, prosecutors warned that the gang members could be charged under the federal racketeering laws if killings were traced back to their gang. The Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, RICO, provides stiffer penalties for acts performed as part of a criminal organization such as the Mafia.

However, gang members have taken issue with the meeting. They said that they were tricked into coming to the meeting, and that it amounted to harassment. The gang leaders claim that this method is unconstitutional because they are considered guilty before innocent, premeditated arrest and indictment by Chicago Police hearsay and propaganda tactics. The gang members didn’t like being threaten by the use of the RICO statute at the “‘secret trick meeting’ the Chicago Police and others held with whom they deemed to be top gang leaders.

Officials countered by saying that anyone who thinks that they have a pass to commit crime in the city is wrong. The federal government goes after drugs, guns and gangs. If gang members aren’t involved in current violence, police will still prosecute them for doing drugs. Officials are not offering them any type of deal. The message they want to send is that if they are more violent, the more of a target they are.

Some of the gang members attending the meeting were from Tha Movement, Lords, Disciples, Kings, Stones, Hustlers, Souls and Cobras.

Another illegal marijuana growing operation found in National Park

Call it a true “Rocky Mountain High”. The Boulder County Sherriff’s office in Colorado has found several marijuana grow sites on U.S. Forest Service land.

The grow sites cover about 5 acres and was found by a hiker. These sites contain around 7,500 plants worth about $1 million. The original grow site had about 3,000 marijuana plants that included a well-organized and sophisticated irrigation system. The plants are between three and six feet tall. The sites are in close proximity and have the same irrigation system which leads the police to believe that the area is maintained by the same people.

When police arrived at the scene they saw a suspect fleeing the scene. He is described as Hispanic, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 150 pounds. Authorities do not know if the man is armed, but say he could be dangerous.

When the police searched the area they found camping equipment at the scene. The police think that there are more people involved in the growing operation. However, they didn’t find any evidence that would have indicated the people involved were armed.

Authorities say this discovery of about 7,500 plants is the largest on public lands since August 2009, when more than 14,000 plants were found in the Pike National Forest. A spokesperson for the DEA says Colorado is seeing less marijuana confiscated from public lands than other states because Colorado has legalized growing medical marijuana. However, in nearby Utah has confiscated more than 100,000 plants so far this year.

The Colorado National Guard will be providing two helicopters to airlift the marijuana to a loading area, where it will be taken by truck to a site to be destroyed.

Jessica’s law in Kansas working

A recent conviction Kansas shows that Jessica’s law is working. A Bonner resident was sentenced to life for rape and aggravated indecent liberties with a child who was a relative.

Gregory Lopez age 52 was sentenced in Wyandotte County District Court with a minimum of 25 years under Jessica’s Law for one count of rape and an additional 272 months to run consecutively to the first sentence for one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The two females he raped were Lopez’s relatives ages 17 and 6 years old.

These incidents occurred over a 10 year span between 2000 and 2010. Finally, one of the victims told a family member of the abuse and that’s when Lopez was caught and jailed.

It’s sad that it took these young girls that long to tell a family member, but that is what happens with young girls who are afraid and ashamed of what is happening. At least another dirt bag child rapist is in jail for the rest of his life. He won’t be hurting these girls or any other girls for the rest of his life.

Victim of robbery kills robber

In a bizarre twist, the victim of a robbery in Cleveland, Ohio grabbed the gun from the robber and shot him dead. The criminal, Terrance Manning age 20 died from shortly after the robbery.

He served two years on robbery and weapons charges and was recently, August 21st, released from prison. Obviously, he hadn’t learned his lesson because he and three of his criminal friends tried to rob again.

Witnesses to the robbery said that the victim was walking toward his apartment when he was approached by four men wearing hooded sweatshirts. Police said one of the men pulled a gun and said, “You [know] what this is, get on the ground.” The robbery victim complied. The robbers took his apartment keys and other items from the victim, and then forced him to take them to his apartment.

As one of the suspects attempted to unlock the apartment door, he switched the gun from one hand to the other. This is when the victim grabbed the gun, and a struggle ensued between the victim and two of the suspects. Two of the suspects ran and the other two and the robbery victim struggled over the gun. The gun fired several times, striking one of the suspects.

Homicide detectives are investigating the incident. No charges had been filed and unfortunately the other suspects had not been caught. Police did not have a detailed description of the remaining suspects.

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