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Archive for January 31st, 2014

Weekend Series on Crime: Inside the American Mob

Justice Department Searches for Crack Cocaine Convicts to Be Freed from Prison

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A disproportionate number of low-level drug criminals who are behind bars are African Americans sentenced under strict laws from the days of the crack epidemic.

Hoping to correct that disparity, the Justice Department is encouraging defense lawyers to help identify inmates for clemency, the New York Times reports.

Penalties for drug offenses involving crack were often more severe than those with powder cocaine.

So far, Obama has commuted the sentences of eight federal inmates sentenced to harsh sentences because of crack.

“There are more low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who remain in prison, and who would likely have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of precisely the same offenses today,” Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said. “This is not fair, and it harms our criminal justice system.”

Thieves Break Through Roof of Phoenix Pawn Shop, Steal 36 Handguns

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

This wasn’t your typical store robbery.

Two crooks stole 36 guns after breaking through the roof of a Phoenix pawn shop, Myfoxphoenix.com reports.

Concerned about where those guns are going, the ATF is offering a reward.

The thieves only swiped handguns.

“They have to acquire guns. Certainly the U.S. is no stranger, the south-west border in particular, for being a gun locker if your will being able to obtain guns here through the secondary market. Though illegally purchasing guns and also stealing guns.” said Tim Mangan with ATF.

Centuries-Old Asian Drug Becomes Popular in U.S. Despite Dangers to Users

Kratom leaf

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A euphoric drug that has been used for centuries in Asia is becoming popular in the U.S., CBSLA.com reports.

The DEA is warning about dangers associated with kratom, which officials say is addictive, dangerous and legal in most of the U.S.

“It can give you a happy, euphoric feeling,” one user told CBSLA.com. “I definitely felt more energetic.”

Users compare it the high to a painkiller.

Health officials said the drug is often readily available online and at smoke shops.

Hapless Traveler on Crutches or Drug Peddler? Man Blows Cover with Fake Cast That Contained Kilo of Cocaine

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

At first glance, Daniel Ramirez looked like a hapless taveller on crutches.

But when the 21-year-old was on a train traveling from California to Chicago, DEA task force officers said he looked nervous and suspicious, The Smoking Gun reports.

More alarming, his cast was “uneven in texture, size and shaping not consistent with that of a case applied by a medical professional.”

His cover crumbled – literally – when Ramirez tried to remove his sock, causing the cast to break up.

That’s when agents said they spotted a plastic bag, which contained about a kilo of cocaine.

Ramirez was charged Wednesday with a felony narcotics count.

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