Sunday, December 31, 2017

Brazil captures Mexican Cartel Boss Jose Gonzalez Valencia

Brazilian police have arrested Jose Gonzalez Valencia, 42, a Mexican drug boss in a blow to one of the most powerful organizations in Mexico's criminal underworld. Valenchia is a leader of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). Once little-known, the CJNG has grown in recent years to challenge the Sinaloa Cartel's dominance.
Gonzalez Valencia was arrested at a beach resort near the coastal city of Fortaleza. Gonzalez Valencia is the brother of Abigael Gonzalez Valencia, a CJNG leader captured in February 2015.

Gonzalez Valencia was due to be extradited straight to the US from Brazil.

9 kg Cocaine found in airplane lavatory at Pearson Airport

The RCMP is hunting a GTA drug trafficker after 9 kg of cocaine was found in an airplane bathroom after the flight landed at Pearson International Airport. The incident occurred on Dec. 20, when border services officers searched a flight arriving from the Dominican Republic.

CBSA officers at Pearson made 131 seizures of cocaine last year, weighing in at nearly 900 kilograms.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Fentanyl is the new Heroin

Fentanyl's deadliness frightens some drug users, while it entices others with the ability to get high after they've built up a tolerance for heroin. But increasingly, fentanyl is the drug that users demand and are becoming addicted to; they seek it not for euphoria, but just to avoid getting sick from withdrawal.

If fentanyls enter the drug supply in one area, deaths accumulate rapidly. Fentanyl-laced cocaine is playing a growing role. Health experts say the problem is growing with progress against it slow.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Mobster Vincent Asaro sentenced to 8 years for road rage arson

For nearly 50 years wise guy Vincent Asaro has escaped conviction on an array of criminal charges, having been accused — and then acquitted — of, among other things, strangling a man with a dog chain and taking part in the infamous Lufthansa heist in 1978. Now age 82, Asaro was sentenced to eight years in prison for what may be the pettiest allegation he has ever faced: ordering his underlings to set fire to the car of a motorist who cut him off in traffic in Queens.

Vincent Asaro, center, with John Gotti.
Asaro held various positions in the Bonanno crime family, and he is alleged to have engaged not just in murder, but also bookmaking, loan-sharking, extortion and robbing delivery trucks. He has largely managed to avoid being punished. Asaro was acquitted at the Lufthansa trial two years ago. Judge Ross herself presided at the trial and noted that, despite the jury’s verdict, she was “firmly convinced” that the government had proved its case.
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Conman ran $10M fraud from his prison cell

Conman Jimmy Sabatino can’t keep himself from committing crimes — even when he’s locked up. Sabatino pleaded guilty to running a $10.4 million fraud from inside his cell at the Federal Detention Center in Miami earlier this year.

Sabatino will serve his time in the notorious “Supermax” federal prison in Colorado and be banned from having any contact with anyone except his stepmother and his two attorneys.

The judge sentenced him to the maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.
Sabatino, who is associated with the Gambinos, is prohibited from communicating with any member or associate of the Mafia. “I don’t apologize to nobody,” Sabatino said before sentencing.
Sabatino persuaded two federal corrections officers at the detention center to provide him with a total of five cellphones. The officers lost their jobs but have not been criminally charged. He pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy that involved using the smuggled cellphones to dupe luxury retailers into sending expensive jewelry, watches and other items to his associates.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio

Colavecchio’s enterprise has been described by the Secret Service as the largest coin counterfeiting case in the department’s history.
Louis 'The Coin' Colavecchio earned his nickname for the immense amount of counterfeit coins he created over the years. He was one of the first men to successfully produce counterfeit coins that could deceive the software inside slot machines into thinking they were real.

He was able to win hundreds of thousands of dollars from casinos across Atlantic City and surrounding areas without ever having to wager any money of his own.
During the counterfeiting process, Colavecchio was very meticulous about every detail that went on the coin. He was nervous the first time he went to Caesar’s Palace with the fake coin, but it worked flawlessly.

Colavecchio was able to play the slots for hours. He made thousands of dollars a night doing this, all of which he used to maintain his prestigious lifestyle.
Caesar’s took their annual coin inventory and noticed they had a surplus of $10 slot machine coins. They investigated, and that’s when they discovered that the extra coins were actually premium counterfeits. They sent word to all casinos in the area; Bally’s Park Place and Showboat Casinos checked for fake tokens and immediately found them.

The security of Caesar’s Palace and all casinos in Atlantic City were on the lookout. When Colavecchio arrived the following weekend his behavior caught the attention of the guards. They watched him closely for hours, making a point to identify which machines he was using. Police opened up the machines, only to find an array of counterfeit coins.
Soon after he was taken into custody. The police found 750 pounds of counterfeit coins stashed away in his car. Casinos filed charges against Colavecchio, who agreed to tell them how he had made the tokens in exchange for a lighter sentence. He was sentenced to a total of seven years in prison. The Providence Journal reported that after he spent more than two years in federal prison, he was paid $18,000 by the feds as a consultant to explain why his manufacturing dies outlast those of the U.S. Mint.

Nowadays, most casinos don’t even use coins for their slot machines. Most machines are electronic and work off of a reloadable card or paper vouchers that can later be transferred to currency. We can thank Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio.

Germany seizes record amounts of cocaine in 2017

German police have seized more than 7 metric tons of cocaine this year. Germany had been inundated by a "flood of cocaine" from South America. German law enforcement managed to seize more than 7 metric tons (7.7 US tons) of cocaine in part due to increased output.

Cocaine seizures worldwide are set to surpass last year's 582 metric tons (641.5 US tons). Drug traffickers from South America had inundated markets across Germany.
"Dealers are following the motto: 'Supply creates demand'. The supply in South America has increased resulting in a flood of cocaine. Criminal organizations based in Italy and the Balkans dominate Europe's drugs markets, representing a major challenge to counter-narcotics operations. The criminal organizations' trafficking networks have proven difficult to break up due to their cell-like structure.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Australia seizes 1.2 tonnes of Meth

Authorities in Western Australia have seized a record 1.2 metric tonne shipment of methamphetamine. The meth haul, worth 1.04 billion Australian dollars ($800 million), is the largest in Australian history.
The meth is believed to have originated in China.
After being transferred from a ship off the coast, the drugs were offloaded from a vessel, the Valkoista, in the early hours and were being packed into a white van in the Port of Geraldton, 400 km (around 250 miles) north of Perth. Agents swarmed the van and the ship simultaneously, arresting six Australians. Police seized 59 bags of meth, also referred to as ice in Australia, each weighing 20 kg (44 lb) from the van, as well as one additional 20 kg bag from the Valkoista.

The total haul of 1.2 tonnes of the drug outweighed Australia's previous biggest methamphetamine seizure in Melbourne -- 903 kg -- at the beginning of the year

Monday, December 25, 2017

Life expectancy in the United States drops - Opioids to Blame

Driven by the continued surge in drug deaths, life expectancy in the United States dropped for the second year in a row last year.

It is the first consecutive decline in national life expectancy since 1963. Drug overdoses have now surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 55.
The epidemic of drug overdoses made inroads among black Americans last year — particularly in urban counties. The drug death rate is rising most steeply among blacks. Drug deaths among blacks in urban counties rose by 41 percent in 2016, far outpacing any other ethnic group. In those same counties, the drug death rate among whites rose 19 percent. Drug deaths are up sharply in cities like St. Louis, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Jacksonville, Florida.
As overdose deaths keep climbing, life expectancy likely declined again this year. If so, it would be the first three-year period of consecutive life expectancy declines since World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918.

High-end robbery ring dismantled in Montreal

Mario Stephano Guillerno Astudillo Olivares, 26, Hans Leonardo Llanquinao Gonzalez, 37, Carlos Mendez, 40, Enrique Felipe Mendez, 24, Luis Tito Parades Pinedo, 51, Simon Perez, 50, and Hugo David Ruiz Santibanez, 41.
Montreal police say they have dismantled a ring of thieves that have been breaking into luxury homes and businesses.

They say an organized group of South American suspects is behind the 130 break-ins since June 2016. Heads of the network frequently used people with precarious status in Canada, such as foreign visitors, to commit robberies. In the past month, police have carried out nine raids and made 12 arrests in Montreal, Boucherville and Laval, linking the suspects to the rash of break-ins.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Fentanyl has ‘growing market in Europe’

Europe has a growing market for the opioid painkillers that have caused a deadly drug epidemic in Canada and the US.

Fentanyl is driving an increase in the number of deaths from drug overdoses on the continent, crime agency Europol says. Europol says 8,441 died from a drug overdose in 2015 - the latest year for which figures are available - up by more than a thousand two years earlier. There have been 24 different fentanyl analogues found on Europe’s drug market over the last five years, with 14 of them discovered since January 2016. Latest figures show US drug overdose deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids hit 20,145 in 2016, double the number from a year earlier.
The DEA has published a brief calling fentanyl a ‘global threat’ and said the number of forensic tests for the drug leapt from just 934 in 2013 to 13,002 two years later. Overdose deaths from all opioids, not just fentanyl, hit 2,304 in the UK, the highest number in Europe. Drug overdose deaths could be much higher because of systematic under-reporting.

In Australia the Drug Law Reform Foundation has warned that Fentanyl is making major inroads into the illicit drug market. This was confirmed by the overdose deaths of 13 drug users in Sydney in June 2017 from tainted heroin.

Masked men rob a Houston hotel for fifth time in a week

A group of masked thieves has lifted ATMs from five Houston hotels in a week, including a heist during which one robber showed a machete to Marriott Hotel employees.
Houston Police said the group has so far targeted ATMs that are not secured to floors or walls, allowing them to finish their heists in under three minutes. Witnesses have said the group has ranged between four and eight men. The series of thefts began December 9 at a hotel near Bush Intercontinental Airport on the city's far north side. Two nights later a hotel miles away on the southwest side was hit. The latest robbery came around 1 a.m. Thursday when police said a group of men stormed the Marriott Hotel on JFK Boulevard. Around midnight Wednesday, about five to eight masked men raided a Courtyard by Marriott in west Houston, on Westheimer in the West Chase area.
Early Tuesday morning, a group of seven to ten men hit up a Galleria-area Marriott and sped away with the unbolted ATM in two Dodge Magnums and a Chevy Impala. A Double Tree Hotel on the Southwest Freeway was also robbed late last week.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Frank "Bobo" Marrapese dies in Prison

Mafia capo Frank "Bobo" Marrapese Jr., long known as one of the most vicious enforcers for New England crime boss Raymond L.S. Patriarca, died early Friday morning at Rhode Island Hospital. The notorious mobster was serving time for murder, racketeering and extortion.

Raymond L.S. Patriarca
He operated the Acorn Social Club in the heart of Federal Hill, where he shot mob associate Richard "Dickie" Callei to death on March 15, 1975 and had the corpse buried near a golf course.

It took nearly a decade to catch Marrapese for that murder. He continued to commit other crimes, such as a hijacking case involving La-Z-Boy recliners in the early 1980s. Marrapese was convicted of Callei's murder in 1987 and served 25 years. He was released on parole in 2008, but was among two dozen people arrested in a gambling ring in May 2011 and was sentenced in 2013 to nine years for racketeering and extortion.
While Marrapese has spent most of his life in prison, not all of the charges stuck. He was acquitted in the murder of Anthony "The Moron" Mirabella at Fidas Restaurant in May 1982, as well as the August 1982 murder of Ronald McElroy, who was beaten to death with a baseball bat.

Baltimore Police Good and Corrupt

Antonio Shropshire
An investigation links Baltimore Detective Sean Suiter to the drug kingpin whose case brought down a team of Baltimore police officers. Antonio Shropshire stood trial in October with four others. A jury found all five guilty on federal drug charges. The Shropshire drug ring eventually exposed police misconduct. In March seven Baltimore City police officers were indicted for a racketeering conspiracy. The accused officers were robbing victims, filing false affidavits, and made fraudulent overtime claims while they vacationed and gambled at casinos.
Detective Sean Suiter was killed in November with his own gun, which was found at the scene.
Cops identified were Momodu Bondeva Kenton Gondo, Wayne Earl Jenkins, Evodio Calles Hendrix, Maurice Kilpatrick Ward, Jemell Lamar Rayam, Daniel Thomas Hersl and Marcus Roosevelt Taylor. All were suspended without pay and are in custody of the FBI.

Hersl “readily admits” to “bad conduct” in taking money from arrestees. But his lawyer plans to argue to a jury that he had the legal authority to stop people and seize drugs, guns and money. Any money then “converted for personal use” is theft, not robbery or extortion. Hersl was featured in a 2014 story which examined police lawsuit settlements. He had amassed 29 complaints. From 2007 to 2010, the city paid $200k to settle three lawsuits against Hersl. He broke a man’s jaw and nose, broke a woman’s arm, and arrested a woman who was selling church raffle tickets.