Justice – prison – is headed his way!
Excerpts from the Article:
Police in Madrid on Thursday arrested a former Venezuelan spymaster wanted on U.S. narcoterrorism charges, capturing him in a hideout apartment nearly two years after he defied a Spanish extradition order and disappeared.
Gen. Hugo Carvajal, who for over a decade was late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez’s eyes and ears in the Venezuelan military, was arrested in the small apartment in which he had been holed up. “He lived totally enclosed, never going outside or getting close to the window, always protected by people he trusted,” Spain’s police said in a statement on social media in which they posted a short video the moment heavily-armed officers put handcuffs on Carvajal.
Spain’s leftist government last year approved Carvajal’s extradition to the U.S., where he faces federal charges for allegedly working with guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to “flood” the U.S. with cocaine.
It’s not clear when Carvajal could be sent to the U.S. But his extradition may be slowed down by an asylum request he previously submitted to Spanish authorities.
First indicted in 2011, he narrowly escaped extradition when he was arrested in Aruba in 2014 while serving as Venezuela’s consul general to the Dutch Caribbean island. President Nicolás Maduro’s government successfully applied pressure on Aruba, which sits just miles off Venezuela’s coast, to release Carvajal and when it did he received a hero’s welcome upon his return to Caracas.
But he was never a confidant of Maduro and in the complicated internal politics of Venezuela’s ruling socialist party was relegated to a minor role as a backbench parliamentarian.
While on the run, both from the DEA and Maduro, Carvajal traveled to the Spanish capital from the Dominican Republic under a disguised identity. He was greeted at Madrid’s airport by two Spanish intelligence officials, the AP has previously reported.
The case against Carvajal in New York centers on a DC-9 jet from Caracas that landed in southern Mexico in 2006 with 5.6 tons of cocaine packed into 128 suitcases. Carvajal said that judicial probes in Venezuela and Mexico never linked him to the incident and that the alleged plane owner backs his alibi.
But he faces incriminating evidence from phone records, drug ledgers and the testimony of at least 10 witnesses, according to an affidavit from a DEA special agent. Those witnesses include members and associates of the “Cartel of the Suns,” former high-ranking Venezuelan officials, according to the affidavit.
The U.S. indictment also repeats an accusation that Carvajal provided Colombian rebels with weapons and protection inside Venezuela.
This is a great idea and it works!
Excerpts from the Article:
Frustrated by out-of-control increases in drug overdose deaths, California’s leaders are trying something radical: They want the state to be the first to pay people to stay sober.
The federal government has been doing it for years with military veterans and research shows it is one of the most effective ways to get people to stop using drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, stimulants for which there are no pharmaceutical treatments available.
It works like this: People earn small incentives or payments for every negative drug test over a period of time. Most people who complete the treatment without any positive tests can earn a few hundred dollars. They usually get the money on a gift card.
It’s called “contingency management” and Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked the federal government for permission to use tax dollars to pay for it through Medicaid, the joint state and federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled that covers nearly 14 million people in California.
Meanwhile, a similar proposal is moving through California’s Democratic-controlled Legislature. It’s already passed the Senate with no opposition and is pending in the Assembly, where it has a Republican co-author.
“I think there is a lot in this strategy for everyone to like,” said state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco and author of the bill. “Most important of all, it works.”
How much it would cost depends on how many people participate. A program covering 1,000 people could cost as much as $286,000, a pittance in California’s total operating budget of more than $262 billion.
The San Francisco AIDS Foundation, a nonprofit agency, runs a small, privately-funded contingency management program. It’s where Tyrone Clifford, who was addicted to meth, enrolled because they promised to pay him for every negative test over 12 weeks. His first payment was $2. That increased slightly with each subsequent negative test for a total of about $330.
“I thought, I can do 12 weeks. I’ve done that before when my dealer was in jail,” he said. “When I’m done I’ll have 330 bucks to get high with.’”
Clifford did make it through the program without a positive test. But instead of using the money to buy more drugs, he bought a laptop computer so he could go back to school. He says he hasn’t used methamphetamine in 11 years and now works as a counselor at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, helping people who had the same addiction problems he did.
Clifford, 53, said earning the money didn’t matter much. Unlike some who struggle with drug addiction, Clifford always had a job and a house and was never much in danger of losing either. But he said watching his account grow with each negative test motivated him more than any other treatment program did.
“You watch those dollar values go up, there is proof right there that I am doing this,” he said. “By no means is anyone getting rich off this program.”
There is “clear and convincing evidence” that the treatment works to keep people sober from drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine, according to an analysis by the California Health Benefits Review Program. However, while research shows it is effective in keeping people sober during the program, the effect doesn’t last much beyond six months after treatment concludes.
California, like most of the country, has struggled with opioid abuse, including drugs like prescription painkillers and heroin. But overdose deaths from stimulants in California nearly quadrupled between 2010 and 2019, and the problem has gotten even worse since.
Preliminary data from the first nine months of 2020 — when much of the state was locked down because of the coronavirus— shows stimulant overdose deaths jumped 42% compared to 2019.
PRESS RELEASE – UNIVERSITY STUDY OF REENTRY
Citizens for Criminal Justice, based in Dover, DE, is pleased to announce that its founder and former Deputy Attorney General, Ken Abraham, is participating in a University of Delaware (sociology department) study of reentry and those who assist people in reentry.
One of their points of interest is “what motivates those who assist people in reentry?”. Having counseled thousands of people in reentry through his daily work, and with his vast and varied experience with the criminal justice system (former prosecutor, defense attorney, addict, prisoner, probationer, victim of prison abuse) Mr. Abraham is a wealth of reliable information for the study.
The first Zoom interview was a great success, and more will follow. With about 9,000 people on probation or parole in Delaware, and more than 3 million Americans on probation or parole nationwide, the issues are important to everyone.
“Mr. Greed” got hold of this doctor. With all of the pill mills which have been prosecuted, he was stupid to do it. He should get, and probably will get, prison time.
Excerpts from the Article:
A doctor who operated a pain clinic in Milford has been convicted of more than a dozen federal drug offenses tied to his practice’s dispensing of addictive and dangerous opioids.
A federal jury on Wednesday found Dr. Patrick Titus guilty of 13 crimes for knowingly dispensing narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose as well as one charge for maintaining Lighthouse Internal Medicine, the practice he operated in Milford from 2005 to 2014, primarily as an outlet for selling drugs.
At trial, prosecutors argued that Titus gave out dangerous prescriptions without rendering meaningful medical care while both ignoring warning signs of patient abuse and raking in cash from those patients.
His defense attorneys argued the Air Force veteran was acting in good faith to help people in pain. “We are going to continue to fight this case vigorously as we did in the courtroom and now on appeal,” said Edson Bostic, an attorney defending Titus.
After two weeks of trial, jurors convicted Titus of dispensing narcotics outside the realm of medicine to 13 separate patients, a small sample of many that often paid cash for his services.
Read more about those patients and why federal prosecutors felt his practice was a “drug dealing operation dressed up as a doctor’s office” in the story linked here.
The case against him is another chapter in the government’s efforts to seek accountability for those who created an opioid crisis that killed more than 400 Delawareans last year.
Also on Wednesday, the state announced it will receive some $100 million as part of a nationwide lawsuit settlement with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, as well as three major medical distributors – Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen.
Another grim reminder that we are foolishly maintaining policies which do not work … i. e. the War on Drugs!
Excerpts from the Article:
Deaths from drug overdoses soared to more than 93,000 last year, a staggering record that reflects the coronavirus pandemic’s toll on efforts to quell the crisis and the continued spread of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in the illegal narcotic supply, the government reported Wednesday.
The death toll jumped by more than 21,000, or nearly 30 percent, from 2019, according to provisional data released by the National Center for Health Statistics, eclipsing the record set that year.
The increase came as no surprise to addiction specialists, drug counselors and policy experts who have watched the steady rise in deaths throughout the pandemic. But that did not make the statistics any less horrifying.
“Every one of those people, somebody loved them,” said Keith Humphreys, a psychiatry professor at Stanford University and an expert on addiction and drug policy. “It’s terrifying. It’s the biggest increase in overdose deaths in the history of the United States, it’s the worst overdose crisis in the history of the United States, and we’re not making progress. It’s really overwhelming.”
The estimated number of overdose deaths reached 93,331 in 2020, according to the new data. Annual final numbers usually differ little from provisional figures like those released Wednesday. More than 900,000 people have died of overdoses since the U.S. drug epidemic began in about 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Center for Health Statistics is part of the CDC.
Opioids, primarily illegal fentanyl, continued to drive the death toll, as they have for years. Overdose deaths involving opioids reached 69,710 in 2020, up from 50,963 in 2019, according to the data. Deaths from methamphetamine and cocaine also rose.
Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in an interview that fentanyl has so thoroughly infiltrated the illegal drug supply that 70 percent of cocaine overdose deaths and 50 percent of methamphetamine overdose deaths also involved fentanyl.
In many cases, she said, users are unaware that their drugs are laced with the powerful painkiller, which can halt breathing even if a minute amount is ingested. In other cases, users knowingly take multiple drugs.
“Most of the deaths are from multiple drugs,” she said.
But unlike past years, 2020 brought the added complications of a worldwide viral pandemic. Health-care resources were stretched and redirected toward the emergency. Anti-addiction medication was more difficult to obtain. Stress increased dramatically. Users were more isolated, leading to additional overdoses because other people were not nearby to summon first responders or administer the opioid antidote naloxone, experts said.
“The pandemic has led to increased substance use across the board, as people have sought to manage stress, isolation, boredom, anxiety, depression, unemployment, relationship and child care issues, and housing instability,” Kimberly Sue, medical director of the National Harm Reduction Coalition, an advocacy group that tries to prevent overdose deaths, said in an email.
The most populous state, California, saw an increase in fatalities of 45.9 percent from December 2019 to December 2020, according to the new data. In Vermont, deaths rose by 57.6 percent, the largest increase in the country, followed closely by Kentucky at 53.7 percent.
The White House has insisted that battling the overdose epidemic is an “urgent priority,” laying out a first-year slate of goals that include boosting harm reduction efforts and strengthening recovery supports. Biden’s proposed budget also calls for investing $41 billion in national drug program agencies — about $670 million more than the enacted FY 2021 level — with increased funding for evidence-based treatment and prevention services.
Volkow said the country must continue to remove obstacles that make it difficult for users to gain access to addiction medications such as methadone, buprenorphine and monthly injections of naltrexone.
The area of this shooting has long been known as the place in Dover to buy illegal drugs. As I have said hundreds of times, until the demand is reduced, there always will be a supply, with rip offs, battles for turf, etc., and the tragic carnage will continue!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Dover Police Department has released the name of a man killed in a late Wednesday night shooting that also left several other people injured.
Officers identified the victim as 19-year-old Tysean Nelson, also of Dover, Del. He was located a short distance from the location of the shooting and was declared deceased at the scene.
Police said that shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday, officers were called to the 100 block of South New Street, where they found multiple people shot.
Based on shell casings, police say at least 47 shots were fired. Officers arrived on the scene within 40 seconds of the shooting. They began rendering aid to the victims immediately.
Police say Nelson’s body was found in a vacant lot nearby. Three additional victims were struck by gunfire and are currently undergoing treatment or have been released from Bayhealth Kent General Hospital. A 40-year-old woman from Dover transported herself to the hospital with a leg injury. A 39-year-old man and a 22-year-old man, both from Dover, were transported to Bayhealth Kent General Hospital by ambulance for treatment of their injuries.
According to police, a large crowd gathered around the shooting. Officers from Camden, Wyoming, Capitol, and Delaware State Police assisted in crime scene security and crowd management.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Dover Police Department at 302-736-7111. Callers may remain anonymous.
Good, but not enough. $40 million is a drop in the bucket for a company with 2020 revenue of $394 million. Why are some of it’s executives not criminally charged?!
Excerpts from the Article:
E-cigarette company Juul agreed to pay North Carolina $40 million to settle allegations that the company aggressively marketed its products to young people, leading to addiction to high-nicotine vapes, Attorney General Josh Stein announced Monday.
North Carolina is the first state to reach a settlement with Juul for allegedly targeting youth through social media advertisements and other outlets, and fueling a sharp rise in youth vaping. Another 13 states and D.C. also have sued the e-cigarette company.
“For years, JUUL targeted young people, including teens, with its highly addictive e-cigarette,” Stein said in a statement. “It lit the spark and fanned the flames of a vaping epidemic among our children — one that you can see in any high school in North Carolina.”
The consent order also imposes several marketing restrictions, including barring the company from engaging in most social media advertising, having outdoor advertising near schools, and sponsoring sporting events and concerts. Juul has been voluntarily adhering to many of those restrictions, but the consent order gives them the force of law in North Carolina.
The agreement took on a national perspective when Stein urged the FDA to prohibit all non-tobacco flavors, including menthol, in e-cigarettes and to limit the level of nicotine in e-cigarette products, and to impose marketing restrictions to prevent youth appeal.
Juul has been at the center of the e-cigarette controversy since youth vaping began to increase sharply beginning in 2017, drawing the ire of the Food and Drug Administration and anti-tobacco advocates. In fall 2019, the company stopped selling flavored vaping pods except tobacco and menthol.
Under the settlement with North Carolina, Juul agreed not to sell sweet and fruity flavored e-cigarettes unless it was authorized to do so by the FDA.
Stein said Juul will pay the $40 million over the next six years to the state, which will use the money to fund programs to help young people quit e-cigarettes and to underwrite research on e-cigarettes.
Stein’s investigation began in 2018. He sued the company in 2019 for allegedly targeting young people in designing, marketing and selling its e-cigarettes and for misrepresenting the potency and danger of nicotine in its products. His office said most documents from the case will be made public by July of next year and maintained by a North Carolina public university to help with research efforts.
Now, Juul and other e-cigarette companies are awaiting word from the Food and Drug Administration about whether their products can remain on the market. The FDA is supposed to decide by early September, but it isn’t clear whether it will make that deadline.
Matthew L. Myers, president and chief executive of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, praised the North Carolina settlement as a positive step but said it is “time for FDA to act.” Only the FDA, he said, “has the authority to prohibit the sale of the flavored and high-nicotine e-cigarettes that are fueling the youth e-cigarette epidemic.”
He said in a statement that allowing Juul to continue to sell flavored e-cigarettes would be an “abdication of the FDA’s responsibility.”
The FDA has said it will prioritize applications from companies with the biggest market shares, suggesting that Juul is at the top of the list.
I want to know why some J & J executives are not in prison! Of course, we do know why: they spend millions of dollars lobbying all manner of officials and contributing to their campaigns, 🙁 I call this “legal bribery”.
Excerpts from the Article:
Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $230 million to New York state to settle claims that the pharmaceutical giant helped fuel the opioid crisis, Attorney General Letitia James said on Saturday.
The drugmaker also agreed to permanently end the manufacturing and distribution of opioids across New York and the rest of the nation, James said in a statement announcing the settlement.
The company “helped fuel this fire, but today they’re committing to leaving the opioid business — not only in New York, but across the entire country,” she said.
The deal involving a lawsuit brought by James in 2019 removes Johnson & Johnson from a trial that is slated to begin next week on Long Island — part of a slew of litigation over an epidemic linked to nearly 500,000 deaths over the last two decades.
In its own statement on Saturday, Johnson & Johnson downplayed the attorney general’s announcement. It said the settlement involved two prescription painkillers — developed by a subsidiary and accounting for less than 1% of the market — that are already no longer sold in the U.S. The settlement was “not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the company,” Johnson & Johnson said. It added that its actions “relating to the marketing and promotion of important prescription pain medications were appropriate and responsible.”
The settlement was the latest development in the complicated universe of opioid-related lawsuits across the U.S. that has drawn comparisons to the multistate litigation against tobacco companies in the 1990s. It reflects a path being taken by some big drug companies that see settling as in their best interests, in part because that route would likely not cost as much as losing in court repeatedly.
Johnson & Johnson — along with distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson — made public last year that they were offering a total of $26 billion over 18 years to settle all the cases they face, with the money going to abate the crisis.
Opening the whole article will confirm why a picture is worth a thousand words. More press coverage of the most clearly cataclysmically failed policy in our history!
Excerpts from the Article:
June 17 marks 50 years since Richard M. Nixon declared drugs “America’s public enemy number one.” Perhaps no political decision has had a greater impact on Latin America’s recent past and present. Now journalists from the region are examining the failed policies of the war on drugs.
The power of language during moments of conflict can be a double-edged sword. Edward R. Murrow, for example, described how Winston Churchill “mobilized the English language and sent it into battle” during the darkest hours of World War II. There was no better general to stoke the fires of the heroism that led to the decisive victories against the Nazis.
A few days ago, my son-in-law told me that he was on a walk with my daughter and grandson in the center of São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, when a group of police officers approached them. My 2-year-old grandson didn’t understand why the officers were pointing a gun at his father. I am 40 years older than him, and I don’t understand it either, much less accept it, although I know that situations like this are frequent in Brazil. Unlike my son-in-law, I don’t usually go through this. But I’m White. He’s Black.
There’s an old saying: The definition of insanity is trying the same strategy repeatedly, while expecting different results. This is precisely what Colombia has been doing with its illicit coca crops: returning over and over, as we have during the 50-year-long war on drugs, to the aerial spraying of these crops, fruitlessly hoping they disappear.
Wherever you walk in Honduras, you are most likely in drug trafficking territory. For half a century, this country has been the Central American base for drug trafficking. Organized crime has infiltrated all institutions. If a Honduran comes across any authority — police, mayor, congressman — chances are that figure has commitments to organized crime. However, the Honduran drug trade has moved in step with the United States’ interests.
In January 2007, just a few weeks after beginning his mandate and declaring the war on drugs, Felipe Calderón, then president of Mexico, went to a military base in the state of Michoacán dressed as a soldier. There, he praised the military on the first operations of the strategy that would mark the narrative of a country that had replaced Colombia as the epicenter of drug cartel activity. From that display of premature triumphalism, the only thing that has remained in these 15 years has been the overlap between civilian and military power represented in the presidential uniform. The rest of Calderón’s discourse has been a self-fulfilling prophecy: The country that he made up, mired in a security emergency by the power of drug lords, is now suffering the most violent years in modern history.
So it goes in America: steal hundreds of thousands of dollars and you get a couple of years. Steal a loaf of bread, and if you’re Black, you get 50 years in prison. This actually happened to a man in CA under their “3 strike rule”!
Excerpts from the Article:
Former United Auto Workers president Gary Jones was sentenced to 28 months in prison for scheming to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars in union dues.
U.S. District Judge Paul Borman in Detroit sentenced the 64-year-old Jones on Thursday. Prosecutors sought 28 months in prison, lower than federal sentencing guidelines of 46 to 57 months. They cited Jones’ acceptance of responsibility and cooperation in a wide-ranging federal corruption probe of the union. But they also said the sentence should be enough to deter future corruption.
Jones’ lawyer also pointed to his cooperation and said most of the crimes happened before he was named president. Jones apologized to the court, the union and his family and said he failed them.