According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division’ Drug Abuse Trends report, addiction treatment programs and emergency rooms in the Twin Cities increased in non-medical use of prescription narcotics and heroin. In 2008, 1,187 patients reported using opiates other than heroin. Mostly prescription narcotic analgesics or painkillers that are taken orally were the primary substance abuse treatment in addiction treatment programs.
This is almost a three-fold increase since 2002. As a result, hospital emergency rooms visits increased 67.8 percent from 2005 to 2007. Unfortunately, Minneapolis has the highest purity level of Mexican heroin with the lowest price per milligram of any city reporting which makes heroin use very dangerous. In 2008 there were 115 opiate-related deaths compared with 31 for cocaine and 14 for methamphetamines.
In addition, marijuana continues to account for more admissions to addiction treatment programs with 3,199 admissions or 16.6 percent of total admissions in 2008. MDMA, or “ecstasy” abuse grew from 204 in 2004 to 433 in 2008.
Abuse of prescription drugs, heroin and other strong narcotics taken for non-medical reasons even in a pill form has shown to be a growing trend. This type of addiction can be fatal.
Recently, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents (ICE) and local police arrested and identified nine gang members in Greeley, Colorado. The gang members are with the Sureno 13 street gang. The history of their crimes are long and include convictions for assault, burglary, larceny, possessing illegal drugs, illegally possessing firearms, engaging in a riot with a weapon, harassment, violating a protection order, criminal mischief and felony menacing.
Three of the gang members are “green card” holders and with their past criminal convictions, they will probably loose their status and face deportation. A federal immigration judge will make the final determination in each case.
Operation Community Shield was conducted in this case to help steam the threat of street gangs. Street gangs pose a growing threat to public safety nationally and to communities throughout the U.S. This joint operation is part of an ongoing national initiative of the National Gang Unit at ICE. ICE partners with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to target transnational street gangs based on the significant public safety threat they pose.
Since February 2005 when ICE began Operation Community Shield, more than 13,000 gang members belonging to more than 900 different gangs have been arrested nationwide. ICE is encouraging you to report suspicious activity by calling their toll-free hot line at 1-866-347-2423. This hot line is staffed around the clock.
July 2009 is the deadline for states to enact the Adam Walsh Act. This Act is a federal uniform sex offender law that each state needs to abide by. However, no state thus far has enacted this law due to major obstacles that states face in the cost of implementing the program, the retroactive nature of the Act, problems with posting juvenile offenders and the language that over-generalizes sex offenses.
The Adam Walsh Act was signed into law in 2006 by President Bush and gave states three years for compliance. However, no universal guidelines were developed until 2008. The Act creates a national standard in classification and reporting requirements for those convicted of a sexual offense. Named after the son of John Walsh, from America’s Most Wanted show, creates a national standard in classification and reporting requirements for those convicted of sexual offense. If the states enact this law it will allow for proper control of sex offenders who move across state lines and help reduce the confusion in reclassifying offenders because of various state laws.
Since the Act was signed, states have asked for extensions because of problems implementing the law. For example, the cost to update databases, the retroactive nature of the law, mandatory posting of juvenile offenders and over-generalization of sex offenses are some of the problems that the states are encountering.
Even though states may have problems enacting the Adam Walsh Act, it is important that these lawmakers work hard to get it enacted to help keep our kids and our communities save from sex offenders.
A powerful hallucinogen salvia divinorum or also known as “magic mint” has been finding its way into illegal drug markets in the U.S. This plant has a rough, tongue shaped leaf and is found in Mexico’s Indian villages of Sierra Mazateca about 170 miles southeast of Mexico City along a mountain path. The drug has become an important cash crop for poor farmers.
Several U.S. states have restricted salvia sales and other states are trying to do the same. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is conducting a study to decide whether this drug should be banned nationwide and if it should be listed as a controlled substance. Ten other countries around the world have banned this substance.
The effect of this drug when smoked even one or two puffs produce an intense trip that lasts for 4-5 minutes. Long-term effects of this drug still needs to be researched but preliminary reports say that the drug does not appear to be addictive. However, in 2006 1.8 million Americans above the age of 12 reported that they tried “magic mint”. The drug is not considered a party drug, and it’s not a substitute for marijuana. It seems that most people try it once, put it in a drawer and never touch it again.
Because of Jessica’s Law in the state of Kansas, a child molester received the maximum sentence with no chance at parole. Vernie Burns age 42 was convicted in November 2008 on two counts of criminal sodomy and two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. He committed these crimes against three victims at their home in Kansas City, Kansas. In addition, he had a prior record of child molesting in Missouri. Missouri has a tougher Jessica’s Law and the court in Kansas agreed to the “hard 40” sentence.
Jessica’s Law is named after Jessica Lunsford a young Florida girl who was raped and murdered in February 2005 by John Couey. He was previously convicted as a sex offender but was out of jail at the time. Due to public outrage over this case, Florida officials introduced legislation that provides for mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and lifetime electronic monitoring of adults convicted of lewd or lascivious acts against a victim less than 12 years old. In Florida, sexual battery or rape of a child less than twelve years old is punishable only by life imprisonment with no chance of parole.
At least the state of Kansas is looking out for their kids. However, in Oklahoma, Judge Thomas Bartheld, the attorney general and the DA agreed to let a known convicted felon David Earls pled to no contest to raping a 5 year old girl. The plea deal gave this child molester only one year in prison. Earls is scheduled to be released in a couple of months. Even though Oklahoma passed Jessica’s Law last year, the legal system somehow went around the law for this convicted felon.
Here is another bizarre case reported by the Associated Press involving Craigslist. A man with ties to Minnesota is being charged with rape. The woman’s husband allegedly arranged the attack on Craigslist.
Rodney Liverman Sr. age 39 lived near Lindstrom, a town northeast of the Twin Cities for about twelve years and owned a computer business. He moved to North Carolina and there he answered an ad on Craigslist from a man who advertised to have his wife raped. When Liverman showed up, the husband of the woman watched as Liverman raped his wife at knifepoint. Liverman was known as an abusive husband so this crime was not out of the ordinary for him. Both men are in jail with bonds over $200,000.
Recently, Craigslist has been in the news regarding scams, prostitution and even murders. Owners of Craigslist are allegedly working on cleaning up their site to make sure that it stops illegal activity. However, in this Internet age, it seems that criminals and criminal activity is still easy to find.
The Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement recently announced the creation of a temporary, multi-jurisdictional law enforcement unit specifically to combat gang violence in the Twin Cities this summer. This new unit temporarily replaces the suspended operations of the Metro Gang Strike Force until a review panel and the FBI complete investigations.
The Metro Gant Strike Force’s daily operations were suspended on May 27th following the Legislative Auditor’s report. The report concluded that the strike force’s internal controls were not adequate to safeguard seized and forfeited property. In addition, some officers from the strike force allegedly shredded documents prior to the review.
Gang activities during the summer months usually escalate in the Twin Cities, as a result a temporary gang unit needed to be implemented. This temporary gang unit will meet the needs of local law enforcement, comply with all the Legislative Auditor’s recommendations and implement the correct evidence handling procedures. The unit will be made up of eight to ten investigators at the minimum from local law enforcement agencies across the metro area. The unit will have a strict governance and supervisory structure.
Until a reorganization of the Metro Gang Strike Force is completed, the temporary unit will continue to work within the community to combat gang violence.
Here is another stupid criminal story worth shaking your head in disbelief. In Pennsylvania, the police pulled over a speeder who was switching lanes without using his turn signal. When the police stopped the speeder, they saw a glass bowl used for smoking marijuana on the front seat.
The driver was obviously upset and said that he was chasing a thief who just stole his Apple iPhone and three bags of marijuana. The police also found 15 individually packaged baggies of marijuana and 13 ecstasy pills.
Needles to say, the speeder was charged with possession with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. And yes, he also was charged with careless driving and failure to wear a seatbelt.
Do you think that this criminal in the future will take better care of his possessions and not break any laws? Doubt it, just another stupid criminal caught in the act.
The Meth Project, a nonprofit organization started in the state of Montana, is using radio, TV, billboards, the Internet and grass roots community outreach to deliver the message to teens not to use Meth – “Not Even Once.” These ads deliver hard-core messages.
Targeted to teens, the ads are flashbacks of a young and vibrant teen thinking about using Meth but saying only one time. As the ad progresses, the teen turns into a sorry looking teen with sores and bruises all over their face and arms, smoking, snorting or shooting meth, stealing and selling their bodies. These ads are very impressive. In Montana where the Meth Project was originally launched, statistics show after two years of showing these ads, Meth use has declined by 72% as well as Meth-related crime has decreased by 62%.
Recently, Colorado has begun showing these ads. A recent survey showed that a third of Colorado young adults and 20% of teenagers say they have access to methamphetamine. 91% of teens disapprove taking the drug, but 30% say that they wouldn’t try to convince their friends not to take the drug. Perhaps seeing these ads will change their minds.
The Colorado campaign has gone through significant focus group testing. As a result, the ads are targeted to cut through all the clutter in young adult and teenagers’ lives and grab their attention immediately. The ads are compelling but accurate and are shown at least three times a week in order to reach 70 to 80 percent of teens.
Because of the close proximity to Mexico where “super labs” manufacture huge quantities of meth, Colorado is running these ads because of the disproportionate number of meth users in the intermountain area. Colorado ranks eighth in the country for per-capita meth use and the cost to the state is roughly $1.4 billion a year.
Meth is highly addictive amphetamine and is produced by using ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which is found in over-the-counter medicines. Other common household products are added to the manufacturing process including fertilizer, nail-polish remover, lye, drain cleaner and brake fluid. The drug unnaturally raises dopamine levels to more than 10 times the amount caused by life’s normal pleasures.
Now most bank robberies are done with precision timing with the criminals planning all the details of robbing the bank and the get away. At least that is what we see in the movies and TV shows. However, these two wanna be bank robbers obviously didn’t take notes on how to successfully rob a bank.
Two suspected bank robbers in Daytona Beach, Florida were arrested because their getaway car ran out of gas. Randall Walker, 38, and Jason Dietrich, 34, allegedly robbed the Riverside Bank in Daytona Beach. They told the teller that they had a gun and the teller gave them money. But when they took off in the getaway car, a Jeep Cherokee, it ran out of gas not far from the crime scene.
Here’s where the police had an easy time capturing the bank robbers. Apparently, one of the bank robbers, Dietrich, really wanted the car, so he came back to retrieve the vehicle. That’s when he was arrested. His accomplice, Walker, was also caught and arrested because he paid a passerby $50 to take him to his home.
Once again, these two prove the theory that criminals are basically stupid.