Posts Tagged ‘drug dealing’

More Drug Killings in Bloody Mexico — Violence amid tourists

September 15, 2018

Gunmen with rifles and pistols killed three people on Friday and injured at least seven in a tourist plaza in downtown Mexico City, police said, adding that they were chasing three men dressed as mariachi musicians who fled on motorbikes.

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Evidence markers are seen at a crime scene where three men were gunned down by unknown assailants at an intersection on the edge of tourist Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City, Mexico September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Mexico City police said in a statement the victims were killed at an intersection on the edge of Plaza Garibaldi, a major tourist destination packed with mariachi bars.

Videos from the scene on social media and television showed a heavy police presence, with the site of the attack cordoned off, but dozens of people were still hanging out nearby.

Onlookers cast their shadows on a wall while watching a crime scene where three men were gunned down by unknown assailants at an intersection on the edge of tourist Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City, Mexico September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

After years of keeping a lid on the worst violent crime that has plagued Mexico, the capital has seen a surge in homicides since 2014 to record levels.

Police say much of the crime stems from retail drug dealing by violent gangs, although the government admits that at least one of these has links to a major national trafficking group, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

Image result for Plaza Garibaldi, killings, mexico, photos, drug killings

Plaza Garibaldi borders one of Mexico City’s most notorious neighborhoods, Tepito, home to La Union gang that police blame for rising drug dealing in the capital.

In August, police arrested the presumed leader of the gang, Roberto Moyado Esparza “El Betito”. Since then, the Tepito neighborhood has suffered a wave of violence, including several killings.


Reporting by Christine Murray; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel


Chinese convicts executed after stadium trial (Not thrown to lions as previously reported)

December 18, 2017


© AFP/File | Rights groups say China executes more people than any other country, but Beijing does not give figures on the death penalty

BEIJING (AFP) – Thousands of spectators filled a stadium in China to watch 10 suspects be sentenced to death for crimes ranging from drug-dealing to homicide before they were taken away to be executed at the weekend.An online video of the rare public trial, held in southern Guangdong province on Saturday, showed the handcuffed suspects paraded around a track by uniformed police officers as onlookers watched from the sidelines.

The convicts also stood on a podium as their sentences were read over loudspeakers, while officials sat on a stage flanked by military guards.

Rights groups say China executes more people than any other country, but Beijing does not give figures on the death penalty, regarding the statistics as state secrets.

A public announcement last week from Lufeng City People’s Court had invited citizens to sit in on the “open-air stadium trial”, as it was dubbed by the state-run Global Times.

Beijing News, which circulated the trial video along with several other Chinese media outlets, criticised the court for making a spectacle of the sentences.

Ten of 12 suspects were handed the death penalty and taken away for immediate execution while curious locals, including many young people in school uniform, looked on.

“Places may hold public trials in order to intimidate criminals and raise society’s sense of security, but they should not violate the basic humanity of the law,” a Beijing News commentary said Monday.

The column noted that “from a legal standpoint, the death penalty should not be enacted immediately after the final ruling… the local court deliberately put together this scene for dramatic effect.”

According to Global Times, an open-air trial for drug trafficking was also held in Lufeng in 2015, with 10,000 people in the audience.

The city is one of the country’s largest producers of methamphetamine.


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Orly airport attacker ‘had been drinking, taking drugs’, autopsy reveals — “He never prayed, and he drank.”

March 20, 2017


© THOMAS SAMSON / AFP | Police officers investigate at the house of the suspect of an attack at the Paris Orly’s airport, on March 18, 2017, in Garges-les-Gonesse.


Latest update : 2017-03-20

The man shot dead at Paris’s Orly airport after attacking a soldier was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time, a judicial source said Sunday.

Investigators are still trying to understand what motivated Saturday’s assault by 39-year-old Ziyed Ben Belgacem, which led to a major security scare and the temporary closure of the capital’s second-busiest airport.

“Toxicology tests carried out on Sunday showed an alcohol level of 0.93 grams per litre in his blood, and the presence of cannabis and cocaine,” the source said.

Ben Belgacem’s father had insisted earlier Sunday that his son was “not a terrorist” and that his actions were caused by drink and drugs.

Ben Belgacem, who was born in France to Tunisian parents, grabbed a soldier on patrol at Orly’s southern terminal on Saturday morning. He put a gun to her head and seized her rifle, saying he wanted to “die for Allah”.

The attacker, who had also fired at police in a northern Paris suburb earlier that morning, was shot dead by two other soldiers after a scuffle.

Ben Belgacem’s father insisted his son — who had spent time in prison for armed robbery and drug-dealing — was not a extremist.

“My son was not a terrorist. He never prayed, and he drank,” the father, who was in shock and whose first name was not given, told Europe 1 radio.

Investigators were examining his telephone.

The attack at Orly comes with France still on high alert following a wave of jihadist attacks that have claimed more than 230 lives in two years.

The violence has made security a key issue in France’s two-round presidential election on April 23 and May 7.

Not on terror watchlist

Ben Belgacem’s brother and cousin were released Sunday after they, like the attacker’s father, were held for questioning. All three had approached police themselves on Saturday after the attack.

After spending Friday night in a bar with his cousin, Ben Belgacem was pulled over by police for speeding in the gritty northern Paris suburb of Garges-les-Gonesse, where he lived, just before 7:00 am.

He drew a gun and fired, slightly injuring one officer. Shortly after, he contacted his relatives to tell them he had “done something stupid”, they told police.

Ben Belgacem later appeared at the bar where he had been the previous night, firing more shots and stealing another car before continuing on to the airport.

He had been investigated in 2015 over suspicions he had radicalised while serving jail time, but his name did not feature on the list of those thought to pose a high risk.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Ben Belgacem appeared to have become caught up in a “sort of headlong flight that became more and more destructive”.

Dozens of flights to and from Orly were cancelled during an hours-long shutdown after the incident, but by Sunday afternoon air traffic had returned to normal, a spokeswoman for the Paris airports authority said.

The shooting took place on the second day of a visit to Paris by Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate, which was unaffected.

‘I’ve screwed up’

Ben Belgacem’s father told Europe 1 his son had called him after the first police shooting “in a state of extreme agitation”.

“He said to me: ‘Daddy, please forgive me. I’ve screwed up with a police officer’.”

At the time of his death, Ben Belgacem was carrying a petrol can in his backpack, as well as 750 euros ($805) in cash, a copy of the Koran, a packet of cigarettes and a lighter.

A small amount of cocaine and a machete were found during a search of his home on Saturday.

Soldiers guarding key sites have been targeted in four attacks in the past two years but escaped with only minor injuries.

In mid-February, a machete-wielding Egyptian man attacked a soldier outside Paris’s Louvre museum, injuring him slightly, before being shot and wounded.

President Francois Hollande said Saturday his government was “determined to fight relentlessly against terrorism”.



Germany’s Angela Merkel is Sending Some Asylum Seekers Home

December 26, 2016

December 25 at 11:23 AM
Three men slumped on their cots in a clean but cramped dormitory room. They looked glum and shellshocked, as if they had suddenly found themselves in a forbidding foreign place.In many ways, they had.Javed Hakimi, Mohsen Amiri and Navid Mohammedi were among 45 unhappy passengers who arrived here under guard on a charter flight from Frankfurt this month. It was the first of many such flights that are expected to return thousands of Afghan asylum seekers from Germany under a European Union agreement with President Ashraf Ghani. Across Western Europe, as many as 80,000 Afghans eventually may be repatriated after their asylum applications are rejected, under the agreement signed by Ghani and E.U. officials in October.After the flight from Frankfurt landed, some of the passengers headed for buses home. But these three had no one waiting for them. They said that their immediate families live in Germany, and that once their 10-day stay at a government rest house ended, they would have nowhere to go.

“I am completely alone here,” said Amiri, 35, who added that he survived a capsizing off Greece in 2012 while trying to reach his mother and siblings in Germany. “I was a law-abiding person there, and I was training to be a house painter, but they rejected my asylum case and said I had to go home. This is not my home. I don’t even know where to start looking.”

To German officials, these were the easiest foreigners to legally remove amid a chaotic surge of refugees from Syria, Iraq and other countries that has overwhelmed many  nations and generated an angry backlash across Europe. All the Afghans had arrived illegally, some had committed crimes in Germany, and none were found to qualify for political asylum.

To Afghan officials, these men will become a burden that the poor, insurgent-plagued country cannot afford. Hundreds of thousands of longtime war refugees are pouring back from next-door Pakistan; large numbers of rural families have been displaced by the Taliban and are living in camps.

“This is a real crisis for us,” said Rohullah Hashimi, an official at the Afghan ministry responsible for refugees. “We pleaded with the Europeans to only send those who wanted to come voluntarily, but there was a lot of pressure for us to take back more.” Many Afghans sold everything before they left their country, and they have returned penniless. With no prospects, he said, they may try to reach Europe again or even join the insurgents.

Hakimi, 57, spent more than 20 years in Germany, where he married and raised two daughters, but his criminal record made him a high priority for the new return policy. He was once convicted of drug dealing there and was imprisoned for two years, then deported to Afghanistan.

Last year, he sneaked back, paying smugglers to guide him across a half dozen countries. He was working in his brother’s restaurant in Hamburg this month when he received a notice to report to the police. His lawyer said it was probably a routine matter. Instead he learned he was about to be put on a plane.

“Yes, they accused me of selling drugs, but I served my time in prison, and I wanted to be with my family again,” Hakimi said. He said one man slated for the same flight had killed someone but was allowed to stay at the last minute after a church said he had converted to Christianity and repented.

Mohammedi, 21, has even fewer ties to Afghanistan, having grown up in Iran, where his family had fled to escape civil war. He said they faced harassment there and encouraged him to go to Germany to live with an uncle. In 2011, at age 16, he made the hazardous journey across mountain forests and open water, winding up at a train station in Paris late at night.

“I bought a ticket to Frankfurt and was so exhausted I fell asleep on the train,” Mohammedi said. “A policeman woke me up and asked where I was from. I told him Afghanistan, and he said to me in Dari, ‘Don’t worry. You’re safe now. You’re in Germany.’ ”

As a minor, Mohammedi said, he was sent to school and given a multiyear visa. But several weeks ago, he said, he was suddenly informed that his asylum claim had been rejected and was asked whether he wanted to go home. “Three times I told them no, but they sent me anyway,” he said. His family is still in Iran.

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Until recently, Germany was sending back only Afghans who would leave voluntarily, but after being flooded with nearly 900,000 migrants in 2015, the government decided to speed asylum processing for those fleeing civil wars, such as Syrians, and step up the deportation of others less likely to win asylum cases, including many Afghans.

This year, Germany has deported a record 23,750 asylum seekers. More than 200,000 foreigners have pending deportation orders, including 12,500 Afghans.

Under the E.U. agreement with Kabul, German officials said they will focus on individuals with criminal records and recent illegal entries, and avoid returning those from unsafe regions of Afghanistan. But the policy has aroused anger among Afghan expatriates, who protested at the Frankfurt airport when the first plane departed.

Afghan officials said they had little to offer the new arrivals except food and shelter for a few days, subsidized by the nonprofit International Organization for Migration, which is also providing those without homes a one-time payment of about $600.

“It’s not much to start a new life,” said Hashimi, the government official. “We can offer them some guidance and positive morale, but anything else is beyond our capacity.”

Amiri, who was happily reunited with his family in Germany four years ago, seemed the most undone by his abrupt deportation. He recounted in vivid detail his harrowing journey from Afghanistan, when an overloaded smuggler’s boat from Turkey capsized near the shores of Greece.

“It was the middle of the night. The boat was too crowded and the water was very turbulent. We all started swimming, and I finally reached the banks, but five people drowned, including three children,” he said. “It was May 20, 2012. The date is engraved in my mind.”

The German government was welcoming at the time, Amiri said, but when he was being deported, it was a different story. “The police searched me many times and took all my money at the airport,” he said. “On the plane, there were more police than passengers, and they treated us like terrorists, even following us to the bathroom.

After this first flight, Afghan officials said, the deportations were halted for the Christmas season. The second group will arrive in January.


Philippines tells world: Don’t interfere in drug war

September 26, 2016
Philippines’ Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay addresses the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. told the United Nations on Saturday President Duterte had an “unprecedented” mandate and the world should not interfere in his crackdown on crime.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Yasay said Duterte was “determined to free the Philippines from corrupt and other stagnating practices,” including the manufacture, distribution and use of illicit drugs.

“Our actions, however, have grabbed both the national headlines and international attention for all the wrong reasons,” Yasay said, urging “everyone to allow us to deal with our domestic challenges in order to achieve our national goals without undue interference.”

Duterte won by a landslide in the May 9 elections after vowing to wipe out drugs and crime. Police said this week that in the past 11 weeks, nearly 3,000 people had been killed in Duterte’s war on drugs, a figure adjusted from the 3,800 they cited last week.

The killings have drawn widespread international criticism, including from the UN, triggering angry responses from Duterte.

On Thursday, Duterte hurled insults anew at UN Secretary-General Ban ki-moon and the European Union, then invited them to come to investigate his crackdown.

Yasay said Duterte had won “an unprecedented and resounding electoral mandate” and now enjoyed a 92 percent approval rating. As such, the President had to deliver on a “sacred” call for change.

“To him, this trust is sacrosanct,” Yasay said. “It cannot be breached, under no circumstance must it be compromised.”

Duterte’s defiance of high-profile organizations and his insults directed at anyone – from United States President Barack Obama to Pope Francis – have amused many Filipinos, but worried foreign governments – not the least the US, which sees Manila as a vital partner in Asia in the face of a rising China.

Some analysts predict Duterte will seek to diversify foreign relations beyond Washington, including seeking better ties with erstwhile maritime foe China.

Yasay said core values enshrined in the Constitution included the mandate “to pursue an independent foreign policy, to promote the national interest.”

He explained that the Philippine government’s campaign to rid the country of criminality, lawlessness and disorder, including the all-out war against illicit drugs, would also remain strictly in accordance with the Constitution, the international norms and human rights treaties and covenants the Philippines was a party to.

Two UN-appointed human rights experts expressed concern last month about measures instituted in the Philippines to crack down on drug offenders.

The UN also lambasted Duterte for a “striking lack of understanding of human rights” and the killing of thousands of Filipinos allegedly involved in drug dealing.

But Yasay said Duterte had declared that the rule of law and respect for due process should prevail at all times.

“We have not and will never empower our law enforcement agents to shoot to kill any individual suspected of drug crimes. And yet, under our established rules of engagement, our police have the right to defend themselves when their lives are threatened,” Yasay said.

“Extrajudicial killings have no place in our society and in our criminal justice system,” he added.

Due to corruption in high and low places, Yasay stated that the Philippines for far too long had not been able to fully address the worsening crime situation and the prevalence of illegal drugs.

“Our people recognize the peril these evils pose to our development and our democracy,” he said.

Corruption, he said, had become the breeding ground for the illegal drug trade, which seriously threatened the country’s peace and order and impeded sustainable development.

“It has torn apart many of our communities, destroyed our families and snuffed out the hopes and dreams of our people – young and old – for a bright future,” Yasay said.

Arbitral award

At the same time, Yasay said Manila would remain “a responsible partner of the international community,” committed to the rule of law – including an international court ruling this year in favor of the Philippines and against China over competing claims in the South China Sea.

In spite of Duterte’s criticisms of the world body, Yasay said the UN had demonstrated “continuing resilience and relevance” and added an apparent reference to the US alliance: “Our domestic concerns compel us to partner with like-minded countries in the areas of maritime security, counterterrorism, disaster response and transnational crime.”

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague handed down a decision in July upholding the primacy of international law as the cornerstone for a rules-based regional and international order.

“The arbitral award, which is final and binding on all parties, is a clearly established fact and is now part of international jurisprudence in the maritime domain,” Yasay said.

“We must not overlook the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities, maintaining freedom of navigation, the full and effective implementation of the Declaration (on) Conduct (of Parties in the South China Sea or DOC) and the adoption of an effective code of conduct (COC),” he said.

Climate justice

Turning to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Yasay said the Philippines continued to enhance the delivery and quality of basic social services to its people, based on a human approach to development and governance.

The Philippines is among 22 pioneer countries that volunteered at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) to share its initiatives in the first year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

As one of the most disaster-prone and vulnerable countries to the adverse effects of climate change, Yasay reiterated a call for climate justice and the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities in the implementation of obligations under the Paris Agreement.

Duterte said in July that his government would not honor commitments made under the Paris climate change deal, agreed upon by 195 countries, including the Philippines, last December, that aimed to limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius and strive to keep temperatures at 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Duterte believes the deal is blocking the progress of developing countries like the Philippines.

The President also claimed that industrialized countries were “dictating the destiny” of developing ones by requiring them to cut carbon emissions.

The Philippines accounts for less than one percent of the world’s emissions and has not ratified the deal.


Australian drug traffickers living overseas flooding Australia with drugs

December 21, 2015

By Dylan Welch

Updated 15 minutes ago

When Australian Wayne Rodney Schneider was beaten to death by his own bodyguard in the seedy Thai holiday town of Pattaya, it shone a light on the new world of Australian drug traffickers living overseas and flooding the country with drugs.

“He would have to sit towards the top when you look at those suppliers,” former NSW Police assistant commissioner Clive Small told 7.30.

“There are a number of other people around, some of whom I know of, that would purchase very large quantities of drugs, in the tonnes, and he would fit up towards that end at least.”

Mr Small has mapped the evolution of Australia’s drug criminals over the last decade.

“Previously we’ve had people in Australia buying drugs from people in Thailand, people in the Netherlands, Colombia, so on,” he said.

“What seems to have happened is that those relationships have become so familiar, with the buyers and the sellers, that some of our buyers in Australia, and some of our senior people like Schneider, have decided to actually move overseas and become a middleman based in a foreign country.”

Schneider began his career as a talented meth cook and later joined the Hells Angels in Sydney.

In 2006 he hit the NSW Police’s 10 most wanted list when he was accused of shooting a bouncer outside a Kings Cross nightclub.

As his wealth increased, so did police attention and in 2012 he relocated to Pattaya in Thailand.

Two years later, Schneider’s position at the top became clear.

Senior police officials believe that a $1.5 billion drug bust, netting two tonnes of MDMA (ecstasy) and nearly one tonne of ice, was linked to outlaw motorcycle clubs, the Hells Angels and the Comancheros, and that Schneider was one of the brains behind it.

“If you have a person who can have access or obtain that quantity for importation, presumably on one large importation, then you have someone who is a very influential connection between the buyers in Australia and the suppliers overseas,” Mr Small said.

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Head of the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), Chris Dawson said Schneider was part of the growing number of Australian drug traffickers who have set up around the world.

“I think Australians are becoming more international in their activities and with that, we have to ensure that our authorities are working closely with international law enforcement partners,” Mr Dawson told 7.30.

Hakan “Big Hux” Ayik was one of Australia’s biggest methamphetamine importers until a police sting forced him to flee the country.

Today he runs a global drug trafficking network from Istanbul with two mates from the Comanchero Motorcycle Club.

Albanian immigrant and former Kings Cross drug runner Vaso Ulic lives in Montenegro.

Since leaving Australia in 2005 he is alleged to have become the head of a globally significant drug cartel.

Australian criminals operating overseas ‘here to stay’: Dawson

The ACC believes that these senior drug criminals are responsible for the vast majority of drug importations to Australia.

“We estimate that they are responsible for at least 60 per cent of Australia’s illicit drug market,” Mr Dawson told 7.30.

“Many of them are offshore based or if they are Australian based, have very strong and regular offshore connections.”

Last week 7.30 spoke with a member of the Australian drugs underworld who lives overseas.

He agreed that Schneider’s move overseas is far from unique: “The main players are all living OS and pumping Oz with gear.”

Australian police believe Schneider’s death will have an impact on the flow of drugs into Australia.

The underworld figure disagrees and told 7.30 Schneider’s murder is “good news for all imports, cuts competition”.

Schneider’s bodyguard Tony Bagnato was arrested in Cambodia days after the murder.

While he awaits trial in Bangkok, there are dozens of other Australian ex-pats waiting to step into the void left by Schneider.

“They are not going anywhere,” Mr Dawson said.

“And I would see the international trend of Australian criminals living and operating in overseas countries is one that is here now and is here to stay.”

Baltimore prosecutor asked police to target area where Freddie Gray was arrested

June 10, 2015


State’s Attorney Mosby

Baltimore Sun

About three weeks before Freddie Gray was chased from a West Baltimore corner by three Baltimore police officers — the start of a fatal encounter — the office of prosecutor asked Marilyn Mosby asked police to target the intersection with “enhanced” drug enforcement efforts, court documents show.

“State’s Attorney Mosby asked me to look into community concerns regarding drug dealing in the area of North Ave and Mount St,” Joshua Rosenblatt, division chief of Mosby’s Crime Strategies Unit, wrote in a March 17 email to a Western District police commander.

The email was disclosed for the first time Tuesday in a motion filed in Baltimore Circuit Court by defense attorneys for the six officers being prosecuted in Gray’s arrest and death. The attorneys said Mosby’s involvement in the police initiative means that she should be removed from the case.

“Mrs. Mosby herself is now an integral part of the story and as such is a central witness,” the defense attorneys argued. “This is a case where the witness and the prosecutor are one and the same.”

Mosby, through spokeswoman Rochelle Ritchie, said, “Consistent with our prosecutorial obligations, we will litigate this case in the courtroom and not in the media.” Mosby’s office received the motion Tuesday afternoon, Ritchie said.

Mosby’s office has dismissed previous defense calls for her recusal, including those based on conflict-of-interest allegations stemming from her husband’s post as city councilman in the district where Gray was arrested.

In their motion Tuesday, defense attorneys said the email exchange shows that Mosby knew the area where Gray was chased was a high-crime location. They said that bolsters their argument that officers were within their rights to detain and handcuff Gray — even before finding a knife and officially arresting him.

“It must be understood that Mrs. Mosby was directing these officers to one of the highest crime intersections in Baltimore City and asking them to make arrests, conduct surveillance, and stop crime,” the defense attorneys wrote. “Now, the State is apparently making the unimaginable argument that the police officers are not allowed to use handcuffs to protect their safety and prevent flight in an investigatory detention where the suspect fled in a high crime area and actually had a weapon on him.”

In the March 17 email to Maj. Osborne Robinson, Rosenblatt wrote that Mosby’s office wanted to build on the success in reducing crime in the West Baltimore neighborhood through the Operation Ceasefire program by “targeting that intersection for enhanced prosecutorial (and hopefully police) attention.” In that program, prosecutors, police and community groups work together to persuade criminals to reform.

On March 20, Robinson forwarded Rosenblatt’s email to several Western District officers, including Lt. Brian W. Rice. He was one of the three officers who arrested Gray and one of the six later charged in Gray’s arrest and death.

Robinson told Rice and the other officers to begin a “daily narcotics initiative” focused on North Avenue and Mount Street, according to the email, and said he would be collecting “daily measurables” from them on their progress.

“This is effective immediately,” Robinson wrote, noting that the officers should use cameras, informants and other covert policing tactics to get the job done.

Lt. Kenneth Butler, president of the Vanguard Justice Society, a group for minority and female Baltimore police officers, said that when orders such as Robinson’s come down to target a specific corner, the response is consistent. “They want increased productivity, whether it be car stops, field interviews, arrests — that’s what they mean by measurables,” he said.

Butler, who said he has been a shift commander on and off for the past 15 years, added, “You have to use whatever tools you have — whether it be bike officers, cameras, foot officers, whatever you have — to abate that problem. So you’re going to have to be aggressive.”

Butler said that he has never seen such orders come from the state’s attorney’s office but that they come at the request of politicians and community leaders all the time.

“Once you’re given an order, you have to carry it out. It’s just that simple,” he said.

unity activist, defended Mosby’s crime-fighting efforts. He said she did not order police to “put Freddie Gray in a situation where he had his spine severed. … We cannot fault her for doing her job and being involved in the community.”

Gray, 25, was arrested April 12 a couple of blocks south of North Avenue and Mount Street after making eye contact with police and running away, according to police. Mosby’s office said Gray sustained a severe spinal cord injury while being transported in a police van.

His death a week later, April 19, touched off days of protests that culminated in looting, arson and rioting in a number of neighborhoods, forcing city officials to call in the National Guard and implement a curfew.

Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., the driver of the police van, was charged with second-degree depraved heart murder; Rice, Sgt. Alicia D. White and Officer William G. Porter have been charged with manslaughter.

Officers Edward M. Nero and Garrett E. Miller, the two others involved in Gray’s arrest, face lesser charges, including second-degree assault.
Under Operation Ceasefire, which tries to break the cycle of recidivism by offering repeat offenders social services to leave crime behind, police and prosecutors sometimes share ideas and coordinate to keep the worst offenders off city streets.

According to Rosenblatt’s email, Mosby had been contacted for help in addressing drug dealing at North and Mount by a “mentoring group” that described a “drug shop located directly outside of their facilities.” Rosenblatt, a former city detective, said Mosby had received photographs from a resident of drug dealing at the corner.

“I realize that resources are thin for a long-term investigation, but hopefully we can combine community involvement with [the state’s attorney’s office and Police Department] cooperation to make something happen,” Rosenblatt wrote.

Rosenblatt’s Crime Strategies Unit, according to the state’s attorney’s website, uses “technology, data analysis, and intelligence-gathering to identify trends in crime, focus in on the offenders driving that crime, and target those offenders for enforcement.”

Rosenblatt could not be reached for comment.
Defense attorneys for the six officers have argued previously that Mosby should not handle the case because of alleged conflicts of interest, including “the seizing of political and personal gain by” Mosby and her husband, City Councilman Nick Mosby, and close ties between her and attorney William H. “Billy” Murphy Jr., who represents Gray’s family.
Nick Mosby represents the district where the worst of the rioting occurred after Gray’s death. Murphy supported Marilyn Mosby’s election campaign, served on her transition committee and represented her in a matter before the Attorney Grievance Commission.

Murphy declined to comment Tuesday; Nick Mosby did not respond to a request for comment.

Mosby and her office have dismissed the alleged conflicts as baseless.

In a state filing, Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow called the suggestion that Nick Mosby’s position was a conflict that should prevent her from trying cases in an entire city district “truly a breathtaking non-sequitur.”

Schatzow also wrote that the “notion that Mrs. Mosby would bring baseless criminal charges with the entire nation watching just so that Mr. Murphy might have some advantage in the civil case is ludicrous.”

In the same filing, Schatzow said Gray’s arrest was illegal.

“Mr. Gray was arrested well before the arresting officers knew he possessed a knife,” Schatzow wrote. “Mr. Gray was handcuffed at his surrendering location, moved a few feet away, and placed in a prone position with his arms handcuffed behind his back, all before the arresting officers found the knife.”
Defense attorneys said in their filing Tuesday that Mosby’s office had come up with this “new theory” to support otherwise unfounded charges against the arresting officers. They wrote that the involuntary detention of a suspect using handcuffs prior to an arrest — known commonly as a “stop and frisk” — is legal according to decisions by the Supreme Court and Maryland appeals courts, as well as the Baltimore Police Department’s general orders.

Stop-and-frisk policies have long been controversial in Baltimore, where a decade of “zero-tolerance” policing, including under then-Mayor Martin O’Malley, sparked resentment from residents, especially in predominantly African-American neighborhoods where residents say young men are harassed by police.

In 2013, Baltimore police stopped using the term “stop-and-frisk” to describe their tactics, but continued stopping and searching individuals suspected of criminal activity.

Under a 2006 general order that was valid until April of this year, officers were told they could use handcuffs during “involuntary detentions” based on “reasonable suspicion” — a standard that “is more than mere suspicion, but less than probable cause.”

The States Attorney herself has said that the injury occurred some time after being placed in the van. Or is she going to back track on that as well? I realize Rice is charged with manslaughter, which really makes that charge even more baffling.

In April, a revised policy was issued, but it did not change the department’s basic stance on the use of handcuffs during such stops. According to the policy, “investigative stops” can involve the “delay or hindrance of an individual’s freedom of movement” when an officer has a “reasonable, articulable suspicion” to justify it.

Such a suspicion can be based on a variety of actions, the policy says, including “furtive behavior,” “evasive conduct or unprovoked flight” and “presence in a high crime area.”

Byron Warnken, a law professor at the University of Baltimore, said there is “an amorphous sliding scale between a stop and an arrest.” It is based on overall circumstances, including how long a person is detained, use of force and the factors that led the officers to become suspicious.

Warnken’s firm was hired by Mosby’s office before Gray’s arrest to train Baltimore officers on Fourth Amendment issues. He said he will be teaching nuances of the law to officers enrolled in his training courses in the coming weeks.

The defense attorneys said Gray was only detained long enough for officers to protect their safety with a weapons check and confirm their suspicions of criminal activity through the discovery of the knife.

Marianne Faithfull: I know who killed Jim Morrison

August 7, 2014

Sex, drugs and rock and roll: Marianne Faithfull, the singer, claims she knows who “killed” Jim Morrison

Marianne Faithfull, 1967

Marianne Faithfull, 1967 Photo: Rex

Marianne Faithfull, the singer and actress, has claimed her drug dealing ex-boyfriend “killed” Jim Morrison after accidentally supplying him heroin that was too strong.

Faithfull, who has a new album out in September, told a music magazine she was now the only person alive “connected” to Morrison’s death, after travelling to Paris in 1971.

Jim Morrison, 1970 (Rex)

Morrison, who died in that year aged just 27, is believed to have been killed by a heroin overdose, although no autopsy was ever performed.

Coroners believed no foul play was involved in the death, with official reports stating he had a heart attack in the bath, but mystery has surrounded it ever since.

His girlfriend at the time said he had woken up coughing in the night before going to relax in the bath, while a friend claimed he died in the bathroom of a nightclub after an overdose.

Faithfull, , the former girlfriend of Rolling Stone Sir Mick Jagger, has now told MOJO magazine she knows “who killed Jim Morrison”, pointing the finger at the late drug dealer Jean de Breiteuil.

She claimed she had decided to take the question of Morrison’s death “very seriously”, after being asked by a British journalist: “Why exactly did you kill Jim Morrison?”

Faithfull, who co-wrote Rolling Stones song Sister Morphine and struggled with drug issues herself, said she had travelled to Paris with heroin dealer Breiteuil in the summer of 1971.

She claims he told her he had to pay a visit to Morrison’s apartment, but chose to stay in her own hotel room taking ‘downers’.

“I could intuitively feel trouble,” she said. “I thought, I’ll take a few Tuinal and I won’t be there.

“And he went to see Jim Morrison and killed him.

“I mean I’m sure it was an accident. Poor b——. The smack was too strong? Yeah. And he died. And I didn’t know anything about this.

“Anyway, everybody connected to the death of this poor guy is dead now. Except me.”

Breiteuil died of an overdose not long afterwards, in 1971.

Marianne Faithfull at the Primavera Festival in Barcelona in 2012 (Rex)

Faithfull, who is promoting a 50th anniversary tour, also spoke of singer Amy Winehouse, who also died aged 27, saying she was “appalled” at the circumstances.

“Amy was very, very wary of me,” she told the magazine. “She knew that I knew and she didn’t want me to say anything.

Amy Winehouse predicted that she would join the ghostly ranks of the 27 Club

Amy Winehouse

“There’s a level of narcissism which is all mixed up with self-hatred. I know it well. It’s like a glass wall between you and the world, so that all the love that everybody pours onto you, you don’t feel it.”

Faithfull’s new album, Give My Love To London, is released on September 29, and features collaborations with Nick Cave, Roger Waters, Anna Calvi and Brian Eno.

She plays the Royal Festival Hall on November 29, as part of her 50th anniversary tour.

Faithfull’s new album, Give My Love to London, is released on 29 September. It features music written by Nick Cave, Roger Waters and Anna Calvi, among others.

The full interview is published in the 250th issue of MOJO magazine, out now.





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Talented ... Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait at Sundance Film Festival in January. Picture: AP.

Talented … Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait at Sundance Film Festival in January. Picture: AP. Source: AP