15 Ton Marijuana Drug Bust in California

The second largest weed bust in the history of the U.S. was made last week at a U.S. border crossing.  In 2013, the first shipment crossed into Southern California from Mexico weighing about 35,265 pounds equivalent to 17.6 tons. According to CNN news the second drug bust was brought in by a truck labeled “Mattresses and Cushions”.  The truck crossed the border from Mexico to California at Otay Mesa in San Diego. When the United States Customs and Border Patrol police officer x-rayed the cargo bay and he saw objects that did not look right. When the officer opened the cargo doors what he saw left him shocked. There was weed wrapped into plastic packages from the floor to the ceiling. A total of 1,296 packages weighing 31,598 pounds, which has a street value of $18.96 million.

According to the DEA, Federal investigations and prosecutions usually involve hundreds of pounds of marijuana. The Southwest Border Initiative has been in operation since 1994. SWBI is a cooperative effort based law enforcement agency that combats substantial threat posed by Mexico-based trafficking groups that operate along the border.  The DEA’s belief is that the only way to successfully beat any organized crime would be to syndicate strong cases against leadership and their command and control functions. For example, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was the head of the Sinaloa Cartel until his arrest in 2014. El Chapo was the number one supplier of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines to the U.S.  Guzman was one of the richest and most powerful men in the world according to Forbes.

News Week published an article where an important figure in the Sinaloa cartel working indirectly for the boss El Chapo became an informant. Many do it to spare their lives because they all know that if they don’t end up in prison they will eventually end up dead. After many attempts to capture Guzman the help of an informant was what made it possible to capture the world’s most powerful drug dealer. But, even in jail Guzman still manages to run his empire. There are still many individuals in charge of trafficking drugs from country to country and from city to city.

Illegal Drug sales is classified as the act of selling or commercially distributing illegal drugs or controlled substances. Drug trafficking is defined as the selling, manufacturing, growing, delivering, or possessing more than a certain amount of a controlled substance. The amount of the substance that needs to be involved in order to label it a trafficking charge depends on the substance. Drug trafficking is considered to be the most severe and punishable offense with regard to the illegal sale of drugs.

In the United States, the suppliers for methamphetamines are traditionally independent groups or perhaps even motorcycle gangs. The smuggling of methamphetamine is mainly controlled by the same major organizations that dominate the production and distribution of illicit drugs form Mexico into the United States. These organizations have groups working for them in approximately every state. Therefore, every single person involved can also be charged with possession, distribution or manufacturing any controlled substances according to the amount in possession.

In the event that you are charged with a drug trafficking offense, we encourage you to consult with one of The Mace Firm federal defense lawyers. Our lawyers are experienced in representing clients in Federal and state court. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, call one of the experienced Myrtle Beach federal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm. Our criminal defense attorneys in Myrtle Beach are ready to speak with you about your case.

Stricter Drug Laws Reduce Violence?

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is making attempts to battle the year’s increase in crime.  O’Malley feels that the decline in levels of enforcement has lead to the increase in shootings and homicides in the Baltimore area.  Those in opposition of this feel that “over-enforcement has [an] opposite effect” and that the Baltimore area would be better served if the current drug policies were repealed.  In fact, according to The Sun, more than 47,000 people were arrested on drug charges in 2010.  That number is five times higher than the number of people arrested for violent crimes in the same year.  Even more surprising is the fact that the US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world with 2.2 million incarcerated, compared to less than 400,000 people incarcerated in in the US in 1970.  For criminal defense lawyers in the area, many clients come to them for help with their criminal records.

In some communities, the drug trade is the only way money is brought in as opposed to earning income from employment.  In fact, more than 95% of incarcerated juveniles are minorities in Baltimore City.  An increase of enforcement in these areas will condemn entire communities to live outside more formal economic channels where their criminal records are not barriers to their unemployment.

Since Baltimore seems to be focusing their resources on drug crimes and the war on drugs, there are less resources available for the strenuous work required to fight violent crimes.  The area’s “zero tolerance” policy has lead to an “emphasis on quantity of arrests over quality.”  The city is also dealing with some racial profiling issues and over-charging in law enforcement.  On any given day, prosecutors will have to drop entire cases because officers had made an arrest with no probable cause.  Further, judges are often forced to dismiss cases because their dockets are so large already.  Even jurors have lost some of their trust in the system and have been known to discredit evidence because they do not feel it was obtained as a result of good police work.

One retired police officer from Maryland wrote: “The only way to sensibly tackle crime in this city is to get real about our drug policies.  No society has ever fully rid itself of drugs, nor will we.  But, if we eliminate the prohibition on drugs we can abate much of the social and personal damage currently associated with its trade.  By taking drug issues out of the criminal justice system, we can free our police to do the real work necessary to make our streets safer.”

Our Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout the country. There are criminal lawyers all over the United States, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and several other areas of the country.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your area. One of the Myrtle Beach criminal lawyers at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call one of our federal criminal lawyers to schedule your free consultation.

 

 

FBI Allows Informants to Commit Numerous Crimes

Mostly all of us are aware that the FBI uses confidential informants, who are sometimes criminals themselves, to aid with their duties.  After obtaining a mostly redacted copy of the FBI’s 2011 report, USA Today is revealing that the FBI actually allowed its informants to break the law more than 5,600 times.  However, officials at the FBI feel that allowing their informants to break the law is “an indispensable” yet “distasteful, part of investigating a crime.  This information came about after the FBI admitted that their agents permitted Whitey Bulger, a Boston mobster, to “operate a brutal crime ring in exchange of information about the Mafia.”  Bulger’s federal criminal defense lawyer are insisting that their client was not an informant for the FBI.

According to the report, the agents were authorizing up to 15 crimes per day.  These crimes range from illegal drug dealings, robbery plots and bribes to government officials.  Thankfully, the agencies with informants are prohibited to allow them to commit any violent crimes and the crimes they actually do commit must be approved by the federal prosecutors.  In their defense, the FBI has stated that during the times in which the informants are breaking the law, it is “situational and tightly controlled.”  In addition to that, the FBI has stated that they almost always keep their informants’ work/crimes a secret.

Other agencies who employ confidential informants including the DEA and ATF have stated that they “cannot determine” the amount of times their informants are breaking the law.

One issue regarding the use of confidential informants is the fact that it is such a clandestine operation considering Congress does not have the information.  Some representatives of Congress have sponsored a bill which would require the agencies to inform lawmakers of the crimes their informants are committing.  The representative feel there should be complete disclosure to Congress.

Of course, the question on everyone’s mind is how much crime the government is allowing from informants?  How much more information are we unaware of?

Being a confidential informant gives the person immunity from prosecution for the crimes they commit.  For those who are not confidential informants and break the law, they are not immune and could face serious charges, prison time or probation.  This is when it will be wise to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about the facts of your case.

Having the support of a skilled federal criminal attorney is beneficial because it can provide security that you are dealing with someone who has the legal knowledge and experience necessary to ensure the best chance of having your case defended properly, especially at the trial level.  Call a federal criminal lawyerto schedule your free consultation at The Mace Firm.  Our criminal defense lawyers are well-versed in state and federal laws so you may feel confident that your case is being defended in the best way possible.

 

Mandatory Federal Drug Sentences

Attorney General Eric Holder feels that long, mandatory prison sentences for drug offenses have “flooded the nation’s prisons” and cost communites tons of dollars on fighting non-violent crimes.  “If Holder’s policies are implemented aggressively, they could mark one of the most significant changes in the way the federal criminal justice system handles drug cases since the government declared a war on drugs in the 1980s.”

For starters, Holder is instructing federal prosecutors to discontinue charging nonviolent drug defendants with offenses that hold mandatorny minimum sentences.  Holder will also work with a group in Congress to allow judges more discretion in sentencing.

At this time, federal prisons are operating at 40% above capacity; since 1980, prison populations have grown by close to 800%.  Along with that, close to half of those inmates are there for drug-related crimes.  “Holder said he also wants to divert people convicted of low-level offenses to drug treatment and community service programs and expand a prison program to allow for release of some elderly, non-violent offenders.”

This is all coming about due to the view that mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent defendants do not promote justice and do not serve public safety.  The view is also focused on allowing federal judges to have more flexibilty with sentencing these defendants.

Of course, there are some nay-sayers regarding Holder’s push.  House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte has stated that Holder “cannot unilaterally ignore the laws or the limits on his executive powers. While the attorney general has the ability to use prosecutorial discretion in individual cases, that authority does not extend to entire categories of people.”  In addition to this, others feel that the issue of the law being changed would be best decided by Congress and the president.

An implementation of Holder’s policies would benefit African-Americans and Hispanics the most.  This is because African-Americans make up about 30 percent of federal drug convictions annually and Hispanics account for 40 percent.

If the policies are put into effect, the changes will also impact prisoners on the state level.  According to the Department of Justice, 58% of state drug offenders have no history of violence.

Holder feels that spending less money on incarcerating nonviolent drug prisoners would benefit communities because it will allow them to spend those funds on more law enforcement agents, prosecutors and intervention/prevention programs.  During his speech to the American Bar Association, Holder said “we need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, deter and rehabilitate — not merely to convict, warehouse and forget.”

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your area. One of the Myrtle Beach criminal lawyers at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call one of the federal criminal lawyers to schedule your free consultation.

Our Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout the country. There are criminal lawyers all over the United States, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and several other areas of the country.

US Woman Accused of Drug Smuggling

Criminal defense lawyers discussion of wrongfully jailed woman in Mexico.  Yanira Maldonado and her family were visiting Mexico for her aunt’s funeral.  As they traveled on their bus back home to Arizona, it was stopped at a military checkpoint about 170 miles from the US-Mexico border.  At the checkpoint, the soldiers ordered all the people off the buss to be interrogated, however they did not question the Maldonado family.

Apparently, there had been 12 pounds of marijuana under a bus seat, attached with a bungee cord.  The soldiers began to target her husband, Gary.  Hours later, the Mexican authorities changed their story and said that the drugs were under Yanira’s seat.  Mrs. Maldonado, a mormon mother of seven, was then accused of trafficking and possession.  As Maldonado was taken to jail, a local attorney arrived and allegedly told Gary, “You know how it works in Mexico, right?” and explained money would secure his wife’s release.  “The attorney that Gary called was from a list of attorneys who were ranked on a list of how well they spoke English. He talked to the prosecuting attorney before he talked to Gary, and then he came to Gary and said, ‘If we give them money, they’ll release your wife.'”

Gary offered prosecutors $3,500 initially; however, the prosecuting attorney wanted $5,000.  Gary had the money wired from family and paid the prosecutor, only to find out that his wife had not been released, but moved to another jail.  Following this incident, the Mexican Consulate in Washington, D.C., said federal officials are in “close communication” with Mexico’s government to guarantee Mrs. Maldonado’s right to assistance of an attorney.

Regarding his sister’s innocence, Maldonado’s brother stated that “they have witnesses who saw that they were the last ones to get on the bus.  They saw them put their luggage underneath and get on the bus without anything with them. How they managed to hide big blocks of marijuana and bungee-cord them underneath is overwhelmingly ridiculous.”

Fortunately, Maldonado was released after nine days in Mexian jail.  Court officials obtained security footage which showed the couple boarding the bus with only their personal belongings.

Maldonado does not blame Mexico for what transpired; she stressed to reporters at a press conference in Arizona that the mistake was the fault of “a few people,” not the country. With a shrug, she said that she had just sat in the wrong seat.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area. One of the Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call one of the federal criminal lawyers to schedule your free consultation.

Our Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout the country. There are criminal defense lawyers all over the United States, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and several other areas of the country.

 

High School Security Guards, Drugs

Peel Region police confirmed Tuesday that Kristijan Rados, 20, and Michael Wiszniewski, 19, were each charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and breach of trust. Both men are from Mississauga. The two were allegedly selling marijuana to students on school property. The men worked as security guards and were hired to supervise students at a Mississauga high school as a result of work-to-rule action.

As part of work-to-rule action, Ontario secondary school teachers were to withdraw from all voluntary activities by December 10, arriving for classes no more than 15 minutes in advance and leaving after their final class, according to information posted by the OSSTF on their website.

David Hyde, a security consultant with Toronto-based David Hyde & Associates, said licensed security guards in Ontario are legally required to undergo a criminal background check and complete a basic 40-hour training course. “Once they’ve gone through those steps, the company is not legally bound to do any more screening at all,” Hyde said.

On December 4, authorities received a complaint from a parent of the school and the arrests were made shortly after. It is unclear whether or not the suspects have retained a criminal defense attorney.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area. One of the Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call one of the Myrtle Beach criminal lawyers to schedule your free consultation.

 

Our Myrtle Beach criminal defense attorney spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout the country. There are criminal lawyers all over the United States, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Detroit, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and several other areas of the country.

Bon Jovi’s Daughter Spared Criminal Charges

Thanks to a new good Samaritan drug law passed last year, Stephanie Bongiovi, Bon Jovi’s daughter, will be spared criminal charges after she overdosed on heroin in a dorm room at Hamilton College in New York. Ian Grant, 21, the male friend who called 911, also caught the same break. “People will say she got away with murder because of who she is, but this law was passed so people don’t watch somebody die because they’re afraid of jail,” Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara said.

Had Bongiovi possessed a minimum of 8 ounces of heroin, she would still be in hot water and would likely need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

The District Attorney has no choice but to dismiss this case because the new law prohibits him from prosecuting the pair.

Bongiovi was rushed to a hospital as investigators found heroin at the scene and recovered marijuana and glassine envelopes after obtaining a search warrant. She was charged with misdemeanor possession of heroin, misdemeanor marijuana possession, and criminally using drug paraphernalia. Grant was booked at the Kirkland police station on misdemeanor drug possession and was later released. Despite all this, the pair can toss their tickets in the trash and waive their appearance at their scheduled court hearing.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area. One of the Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call a Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer to schedule your free consultation.

 

Our Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout the country. There are criminal defense lawyers all over the United States, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Detroit, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and several other areas of the country.

West Coast Drug Bust

Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer discusses huge drug bust on West coast.  Over a ton of marijuana was seized and seven people arrested this week when U.S. border agents and a Blackhawk helicopter intercepted a sailboat and another small vessel in the ocean off California’s Santa Catalina Island, according to authorities. The LA times reports that four Mexican citizens on a panga boat carrying the drugs, were arrested along with three U.S. citizens on the sailboat. A loaded shotgun, a .40-caliber pistol and night vision equipment were also found.

“We are beginning to see this as a more common tactic: Smugglers attempting to move contraband from open hull panga boats to recreational vessels,” said the director of Marine Operations for CBP in San Diego. “The smugglers think that when the recreational vessel moves in to shore, it will blend in with legitimate boating traffic off of the Southern California coastline and make it much more difficult for us to detect illegal activity.”

According to the FBI, Mexico is the number one foreign supplier of marijuana in the United States. In fact, according to a 2008 report, marijuana is the top revenue generator for Mexican DTOs—a cash crop that finances corruption and the carnage of violence year after year. The profits derived from marijuana trafficking—an industry with minimal overhead costs, controlled entirely by the traffickers—are used not only to finance other drug enterprises by Mexico’s poly-drug cartels, but also to pay recurring “business” expenses, purchase weapons, and bribe corrupt officials.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area. One of the Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call one a  Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer to schedule your free consultation.

Our Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout the country. There are criminal lawyers all over the United States, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Detroit, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and several other areas of the country.