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Posts Tagged ‘Marijuana’

Drug Bust Nets $1 Million In Pot

Posted by shadmia on June 6, 2011

Should never piss off your relatives. They know where the pot is.

When Los Angeles deputies responded to a burglary-in-progress call in El Monte, they had no idea they’d be stumbling across one of the biggest marijuana grow houses in the city’s history. On Saturday morning, four men and a teen boy were caught trying to break in to what seemed to be an abandoned warehouse on Continental Avenue. Instead of guns or other weapons, the thieves were armed with gloves and clippers.

One of the robbery suspects told the police that the abandoned warehouse was actually a grow house belonging to his family, who was cutting him out of the profits. He had wrangled four friends to help him claim his share.

After obtaining a search warrant, El Monte police entered the warehouse to carry out what is being touted as “the biggest drug bust in El Monte history.” What they found inside was over 3,000 marijuana plants valued at around $1 million.

Benjamin Kwok, 37, of San Gabriel, Xing Xi He, 24, of Baldwin Park, Louie Frank Fraijo, 28, also of Baldwin Park, Raymond Guan, 29, of Rosemead and a 17-year-old boy from San Gabriel were all arrested and booked for commercial burglary.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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2,700-Year-Old Marijuana Found in Grave

Posted by shadmia on February 11, 2009


Nearly two pounds of still-green marijuana has been found in the grave of a man who was buried 2,700 years ago. It is the oldest known stash of pot ever discovered. Found in the Yanghai Tombs near Turpan, Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region, China, a sample was subjected to a battery of tests conducted by an 18-member research team. The results are published in the Journal of Experimental Botany.

To get really technical (skip this part if you want):

A large cache of cannabis, superbly preserved by climatic and burial conditions was tested by a multidisciplinary international team who demonstrated through botanical examination, phytochemical investigation, and genetic deoxyribonucleic acid analysis by polymerase chain reaction that this material contained tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of cannabis, its oxidative degradation product, cannabinol, other metabolites, and its synthetic enzyme, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase, as well as a novel genetic variant with two single nucleotide polymorphisms. The cannabis was presumably employed by this culture as a medicinal or psychoactive agent, or an aid to divination. To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent, and contribute to the medical and archaeological record of this pre-Silk Road culture.

The plain English translation:

The extremely dry conditions and alkaline soil acted as preservatives, allowing a team of scientists to carefully analyze the stash, which still looked green though it had lost its distinctive odor. A barrage of tests proves the marijuana possessed potent psychoactive properties (a relatively high content of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis). However, no one could feel its effects today, due to decomposition over the millennia. The scientists are unsure if the marijuana was grown for spiritual or medical purposes.

“To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent,” says the newly published paper, whose lead author was American neurologist Dr. Ethan B. Russo.

The researchers couldn’t tell if the weed was meant to be smoked or eaten. No pipes or other clues were found in the tomb. The large cache was contained in a leather basket and in a wooden bowl, and was likely meant to be used in the afterlife.

The 789 grams of dried cannabis was buried alongside a light-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian man – who died around the age of 45 – likely a shaman of the Gushi culture, near Turpan in northwestern China. The tomb also contained other items confirming the man’s high social standing.

“This individual was buried with an unusual number of high value, rare items,” Russo said, mentioning that the objects included a make-up bag, bridles, pots, archery equipment and a kongou harp. The researchers believe the individual was a shaman from the Gushi people, who spoke a now-extinct language called Tocharian that was similar to Celtic.

The size of seeds mixed in with the leaves, along with their color and other characteristics, indicate the marijuana came from a cultivated strain. Before the burial, someone had carefully picked out all of the male plant parts, which are less psychoactive, leaving little doubt as to why the cannabis was grown. Scientists also tried to germinate 100 of the seeds found in the cache, without success.

The region of China where the tomb is located, Xinjiang, is considered an original source of many cannabis strains worldwide. The ancient marijuana stash is now housed at Turpan Museum in China.

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Giving Pot to Kids – Teen gets 8 Years

Posted by shadmia on July 28, 2008

Demetrius McCoy, 18 of Watauga, Texas was sentenced to 8 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to two charges of injury to a child causing bodily injury. He also pleaded guilty to two charges of burglary of a habitation. He received 8 years on each of the 4 counts all of which to be served concurrently. It was however the charges related to causing bodily injury to a child that were the most shocking.

McCoy and his cousin Vanswan Polty, were arrested in February 2007 after police found a video while executing a search warrant at the Watauga home of McCoy’s grandmother. Police were investigating burglaries that McCoy and Polty are suspected of committing. On the video McCoy was seen giving his two nephews 2 and 5-years-old marijuana to smoke. Below is the video found by the police.

McCoy who reportedly has a 3-month-old daughter, was seen giving his nephews pot, blowing smoke in their faces, calling them “potheads” and joking about them having the “munchies”. When asked about the incident in an interview from jail, McCoy apologized for causing such a firestorm but indicated that he didn’t consider what he did to be a serious crime.

“Some people give their kids alcohol, let them smoke ice, methamphetamines. Weed ain’t going to kill them,” he said.

Watauga Department of Public Safety Director Bruce Ure took the incident very seriously and said the teens encouraged the two young boys to smoke a marijuana cigar. Investigators were appalled as they watched the tape.

“You’re watching a crime in progress,” Mr. Ure said. “This is their uncle, and he’s encouraging them. They were so willing to go along, to please their uncle. Encouraging a 2-year-old who is clearly a baby – it’s a baby, and they think it’s funny watching him impaired.”

In an attempt to minimize his own actions, he said he doesn’t believe he is the first to expose the boys to the illegal drug and besides “They wasn’t even high,” Mr. McCoy said. “They didn’t even inhale it right.” He said that even if he hadn’t giving his nephews the pot to smoke “the youngsters would have eventually smoked the drug anyway.”

In exchange for the eight-year sentence, McCoy must also testify against his co-defendant, Vanswan Polty, officials said. If McCoy had been convicted at trial, he would have faced up to 10 years in prison. Vanswan Polty, 19, remains in the Tarrant County Jail awaiting trial. He faces two charges of injury to a child, three charges of burglary of a habitation and one charge of failing to identify himself to a peace officer.

“I think Mr. McCoy recognized that a Tarrant County jury was not going to stand for his behavior, and he did the proper thing by taking responsibility for his actions,” said prosecutor Darrell Davila, who handled the case with Leticia Martinez.

McCoy was represented by defense lawyer Ruben Gonzalez Jr.:

“My client accepted his responsibility,” Gonzalez said. “His family has suffered terribly, and it is something he will have to live with.”

Shatorria Russell, the children’s mother, has said she was asleep in another room in the home, which she shared with her children, grandmother and McCoy when the children smoked marijuana. Child Protective Services removed the children from the home shortly after McCoy’s arrest, and  Russell relinquished her parental rights to the state. The children are living with a foster family and are awaiting adoption, CPS spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales said.

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Marijuana Scent is not Enough

Posted by shadmia on July 22, 2008

In what is seen as a victory for the right-to-privacy, the Washington State Supreme Court decided that the scent of marijuana coming from a vehicle is not sufficient reason to arrest all the occupants of that vehicle. The decision was unanimous. They did however uphold the right of the police to stop and search a vehicle that smelled of marijuana but without further evidence they could not arrest nor search all the occupants.

…..we have concluded that where officers do not have anything to independently connect an individual to illegal activity, no probable cause exists and an arrest or search of that person is invalid….the arrest of one or more vehicle occupants does not, without more, provide “‘authority of law’ under article I, section 7 of our state constitution to search other, non-arrested vehicle passengers, including personal belongings.”

This ruling resulted from a case that had been brought up through the lower courts with split decisions. It involved two people, Jeremy Grande and Lacee Hurley, who were in a car which was stopped by the police in April 2006 in Skagit County. The car was driven by Lacee Hurley when they were pulled over by State Patrol Trooper Brent Hanger. Trooper Hanger said he stopped the car because the windows were too darkly tinted. He said he smelled pot in the car, so he arrested and handcuffed Grande and Hurley.

A search of Grande revealed a glass pipe with marijuana in his pocket. Hanger searched the car and found a joint in an ashtray, which Hurley said belonged to her. Both were charged with marijuana possession and Grande was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

The case initially came before the Skagit County District Court, which found there was no probable cause for Grande’s arrest. But the state appealed the ruling and the county’s Superior Court reversed the order. The case was then appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Summing up the state Supreme Court’s decision, Justice Charles W. Johnson wrote:

“Our state constitution protects our individual privacy, meaning that we are free from unnecessary police intrusion into our private affairs unless a police officer can clearly associate the crime with the individual.” In the case of the Skagit County traffic stop, the court found the mere presence of the odor of marijuana was not enough probable cause to warrant the arrest of Grande.

Attorney David Zuckerman, who brought the case before the state Supreme Court, said the problem is that arresting someone based solely on the odor of marijuana can affect innocents.

“The smell of marijuana smoke can linger for weeks,” Zuckerman said. “You could have a perfectly innocent citizen get into a car where somebody smoked marijuana at some point … and an officer can just pull you out of a car and book you based on that.”

The decision doesn’t mean an officer must walk away from a vehicle that smells of pot. Trooper Hanger did have probable cause to search the car, the state Supreme Court decision said, just not to arrest Grande. Law-enforcement officers say it won’t greatly affect the way they make arrests.

“What this means is officers are going to have to be a little more keen in their investigative skills,” said Don Pierce, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

“Normally, if you come across the odor of marijuana … there’s something else going on that helps you identify who the responsible person or persons is.”

Advocates for drug-law reform cheered the ruling as a long overdue step in the right direction.

“As a general statement, it’s a step back from the direction that our government has been going as we’re veering into a sort of surveillance society,” said Alison Holcomb of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington chapter. “It strikes me as refreshing that the court has reaffirmed the values that our constitution calls for.”

When it comes to passengers, though, the scent of pot alone doesn’t give probable cause to arrest everyone in the car. Officers need additional evidence that each individual broke the law.

“Our cases have strongly and rightfully protected our constitution’s protection of individual privacy,” Justice Charles Johnson wrote for the court. “The protections … do not fade away or disappear within the confines of an automobile.”

In a pretrial hearing for Grande, the district judge found there was not specific probable cause to justify his arrest, and suppressed the evidence. But the Skagit County Superior Court overturned that ruling, pointing to a 1979 appellate ruling that said the smell of pot coming from a car was probable cause to arrest the passengers and driver. The State Supreme Court said subsequent federal case law has wiped away the legal footing of that 1979 decision.

I guess it goes without saying but Attorney David Zuckerman said Jeremy Grande was delighted with the decision.

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Where’s the Weed?

Posted by shadmia on May 27, 2008

Japanese Customs officials at Tokyo-Narita airport made the embarrassing admission that they lost 142g (5 ounces) of the marijuana derivative hashish. In an unauthorized test involving drug-sniffing dogs, the hash was stored in a metal container stuffed into the pocket of a soft, black suitcase belonging to one of 283 passengers traveling on Cathay Pacific Flight 520 from Hong Kong to Narita, which arrived at 3:31 p.m. on Sunday. The 142g of hash had a reported street value of $10,000 (about 1 million yen)

The customs agent who hid the hash could not remember which suitcase he had put it in, and the drug-sniffing dogs were unable to locate the container. The agent had conducted the test on a passenger’s bag against regulations. Normally a training suitcase is used. Customs regulations require customs officials to prepare luggage for training exercises like the one carried out on Sunday and specifically ban travelers’ baggage from being used. Customs officials said four customs officials had two sniffer dogs working a luggage conveyor at Narita, but neither was able to find the drugs. Manpei Tanaka, head of Customs’ Narita branch, apologized for the incident.

“It’s extremely regrettable that we have invited this sort of situation on ourselves. We will investigate the facts behind the case, provide thorough training and deal strictly with those involved,” Tanaka said.

The 38-year-old officer responsible for the incident was quoted by the spokeswoman as saying:

“I knew that using passengers’ bags is prohibited, but I did it because I wanted to improve the sniffer dog’s ability,” the officer was quoted as saying. “The dogs have always been able to find it before… I became overconfident that it would work,” he said.

Police began to contact passengers who were on the flight and issued an appeal to the public:

“If by some chance passengers find it in their suitcase, we’re asking them to return it.”

Fortunately, a shocked passenger found the drugs. Japan Today reports that the passenger discovered a small metal box containing the hashish tucked in a side compartment of his suitcase when he got to his hotel. “The man called police who returned the cannabis to Narita airport“, Japan Today said.

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Epileptic Youth Tasered 12 Times

Posted by shadmia on May 22, 2008

Blake Dwyer, 17, of Shady Shores, had an epileptic seizure while at a friend’s house in Corinth, Texas last July 18. He doesn’t remember it. He doesn’t remember fighting to keep from being tied to a stretcher or hitting a paramedic. What he does remember is: Pain, the agonizing burn of electrical shock, shouting and fear.

“I thought a swarm of wasps was after me,” the 17-year-old Guyer High School athlete said. “I was trying to fight them off.”

What Blake Dwyer does remember is the result of being Tasered 12 times by the Corinth police and he has the burn marks to prove it.

His brother, Travis Baker, 17, remembers all of it. He remembers the epileptic seizure his brother suffered. He remembers paramedics trying to tie his brother to a stretcher. He remembers screaming at Corinth police to stop shocking Blake with a Taser. He remembers crying on the phone, telling his mother, Deana Dwyer, what was happening to his brother.

It all began the previous day when the two brothers spent the night over at a friend’s house. They were getting ready for football practice about 10:30 a.m. the next morning when Travis said he saw Blake bend over to tie his tennis shoes.

“He looked up, and his eyes rolled back in his head,” Travis said. “He fell over and started frothing at the mouth and jerking. I knew he was having a seizure. I was there when he had the others, and I knew what to do.”

Blake Dwyer had been experiencing grand mal epileptic seizures for about a year, possibly brought on, his mother said, by a concussion. Travis said he had learned to calm Blake, who comes out of the seizures with postictal psychosis, a condition that accompanies seizures in some patients to varying degrees. Blake becomes disoriented and frightened, he said. He panics and tries to fight, especially if someone tries to restrain him.

According to information from the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is a neurological condition that sometimes produces brief disturbances in the normal electrical functions of the brain with intermittent bursts of much more intense electrical energy. The resulting seizure may affect a person’s consciousness, movements or sensations for a short time. A person suffering a seizure will fall down, froth at the mouth and jerk uncontrollably.

While Travis was attempting to calm his brother down someone called an ambulance. When the paramedics arrived they took over and told Travis to step back while they attempted to tie Blake down on a stretcher. Travis tried to tell them that his brother was claustrophobic and he couldn’t stand to be strapped down. They ignored him.

According to the paramedic report, Blake was combative. He was making incoherent sounds and fighting against the restraints. He freed his arms and, still strapped to the gurney by the lower part of his body, he began flailing his arms. He struck a firefighter in the face.

A paramedic found a marijuana pipe in Blake’s pocket. This led them to believe that Blake may have been overdosing on narcotics. They called the police for assistance. According to the police report on the incident, Blake was Tasered twice to calm him down.

“[Reporting officer] issued a ‘drive stun’ with the Taser to Dwyer’s upper back to gain compliance so he would stop fighting with the fireman. … Once inside the ambulance Dwyer was once again issued a ‘drive stun’ to gain compliance,” the report states.

However, photographs taken the next day show 24 post burns, representing 12 separate instances of the posts of the Taser being applied to Blake Dwyer’s back and underarm.

Tasers can work in two different ways:

  • A Taser has a cartridge that sends two prongs out on wires. When the trigger is pulled, the probes burst out of the cartridge and can travel up to 21 feet to reach the target. Then electricity travels though the wires and arcs between the probes. That affects the sensory nerves, and the electricity overrides the central nervous system, which means the muscles can’t move. The person falls to the ground, briefly immobilized.
  • Or, the officer has the option of pulling off the cartridge and simply pressing the Taser against the skin. That causes electrical pain but does not immobilize and is called a “drive stun.” It is a way to control someone using pain. This was the method used on Blake.

The boys admit they smoked marijuana from a pipe provided by one of the other boys but insist they used no other illegal substances. Blake’s blood workup the next morning showed only traces of marijuana in his system. There were no traces of any other opiates or psychedelic drugs.

Deana Dwyer said she was mad at Blake for using marijuana “But smoking marijuana the night before had nothing to do with his seizure. He had them before, and he’s had three since.”

No lawsuit has been filed yet. Deana Dwyer sought the advice of Denton lawyer Rocky Haire, who said he has been trying to work with Corinth police for an out-of-court resolution with no luck so far.

“Deana just wants them to acknowledge they did it wrong,” Haire said. “She tried to tell them their officers needed some training on what to do with epileptic seizures and postictal psychosis, but they just blew her off.”

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Thieves Caught by Stolen Laptop

Posted by shadmia on May 21, 2008

The budding criminal careers of Edmon Shahikian, 23, of 13 Cobbling Rock Road, Katonah, and Ian Frias, 20, of 1609 E. 174th St., the Bronx, were cut short by a program on one of the laptop computers they stole. Shahikian and Frias are charged with second-degree burglary and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, both felonies. In a separate incident, the pair were also arrested last year on felony charges of criminal possession of marijuana.

When Kait Duplaga returned home with her two roommates on April 27 at about 10pm, they discovered that their Ridgeview Avenue apartment had been burglarized. Among the items stolen were: Two laptop computers, two flat-screen televisions, two iPods, gaming consoles, DVDs, computer games, a box of liquor and a set of car rims. One of the stolen laptops was a Macintosh belonging to Kait, who works at the Apple store in the Westchester mall. One of the programs installed on her computer was “Back to My Mac”, which allows users to access their laptops from remote locations.

Shortly after the burglary one of Kait’s friends contacted her and congratulated her on the recovery of her stolen computer. Kait told her: ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ and her friend said, ‘Well, you popped up as being online.’

After hearing this Kait Duplaga immediately signed on to another Macintosh computer and, using the “Back to My Mac” feature was able to gain access to her missing laptop remotely. She could see that the person who had her computer was doing some online shopping. Then it occurred to her that she could activate a camera on her laptop and watch the thief live. At first all she saw was an empty room but eventually a man came and sat down. Using the same program Kait was able to get the computer to take a picture.

“When you take a picture with that computer, it shows a countdown, and when it does, this guy figures out what’s going on. It all clicks for him, and he puts his hand up to cover the lens, but it was too late. The picture had already been taken.”

When Kait showed the picture of the thief to one of her roommates, the roommate replied: “Oh, I know exactly who that is — it’s Ian,” referring to Ian Frias. Ian Frias and Edmon Shahikian had been among the guests at a party at the apartment weeks before, and were friends of friends of the victims. Kait was able to find a picture of Shahikian on the computer. She took the pictures to the police who were able to arrest the two men. Virtually all of the property stolen from the apartment, valued at more than $5,000, was recovered at the two men’s homes.

Edmon Shahikian was released on $3,500 bail, while Ian Frias was freed on $7,500 bail. At their arraignments both men were warned by City Judge Barbara Leak, who signed an order of protection, not to contact the victims. After making bail, Frias called Kait Duplaga who reported the incident to the police. He was again arrested and charged with criminal contempt, a misdemeanor, police said.

In court Judge Leak sent Frias back to jail on $3,500 bail on the new charge, telling his lawyer, Judith Berger, “I told your client no phone calling, e-mailing or text-messaging. Within seven days, a call was made. That’s not acceptable.”

Frias and Shahikian also are due in Yonkers City Court on June 9 in a marijuana case. They were arrested last year after 3 pounds of pot was found in the Jeep they were in, Yonkers police said. Both were charged with a felony count of marijuana possession. Frias accepted a plea bargain and is to be sentenced on a misdemeanor possession charge; the felony charge against Shahikian is still pending.

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