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open season

4/08/14 1:00pm

Drug Abusers Raiding Medicine Cabinets During Open Houses

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According to press reports, prescription drug abusers are preying on open houses and raiding medicine cabinets to feed their addictions all across Southern California.

In San Diego, law enforcement officials, local realtor associations, and drug rehabilitation experts have teamed up to launch a series of public service ads on local TV and radio stations. The campaign is designed to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse and the ways addicts obtain their drugs.

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore voiced strong support for the coalition. “The reports of people removing prescription medications from open houses made it apparent that real estate professionals can be the first line of defense in preventing thefts of these medications,” said Sheriff Gore.

San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said prescription drug cases have risen nearly 85 percent over the past five years in San Diego County. Although the city is taking its first steps to combat the growing problem, drug thefts during open houses are occurring all across Southern California from Beverly Hills to Orange County.

A focus of the campaign is how prescription drug abusers search out open houses in order to rifle through the medicine cabinets of unsuspecting sellers. The Greater San Diego Association of Realtors plans to provide its 12,000 members plastic bags to collect the prescription drugs at homes in a pro-active attempt to prevent future thefts. But they face a daunting task, since there is no way to keep people out of open houses and addicts will always find ways to infiltrate such locations.

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By John Lavitt

the drug war

4/08/14 10:30am

Drug Tunnels With Railways Found At U.S.- Mexico Border

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A U.S. customs agent enters one of the two tunnels
discovered in San Diego. Photo via

Two elaborate drug tunnels complete with railway systems for moving contraband have been discovered near the U.S.-Mexico border. The so-called San Diego Tunnel Task Force had been conducting a five month-long investigation before discovering the two tunnels in San Diego-area warehouses. A 73-year-old woman was arrested and has been accused of running one of the warehouses connected to a drug smuggling operations.

The two tunnels displayed a stark contrast in quality and functionality. The first tunnel, which connected a warehouse in Tijuana, Mexico, with one in an industrial park in the border community of Otay Mesa, was furnished with basic lighting, a crude rail system, and wooden trusses. The second tunnel had a multi-tiered electric rail system and a variety of ventilation equipment. Both tunnels were several hundred yards long and included a pulley system on the U.S. side that was apparently used to lift drug contraband into the warehouse.

"Here we are again, foiling cartel plans to sneak millions of dollars of illegal drugs through secret passageways that cost millions of dollars to build," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy in a statement. "Going underground is not a good business plan. We have promised to locate these super tunnels and keep powerful drug cartels from taking their business underground and out of sight, and once again, we have delivered on that promise.”

Although these are the first tunnels with elaborate railway systems to be discovered, using underground tunnels as a means of smuggling drugs across the border is hardly a new concept. Since 2006, federal authorities have found more than 80 cross-border smuggling tunnels and seized over 100 tons worth of narcotics. Seven of those tunnels have been discovered in the San Diego area since 2010. The 400-yard drug portal found by authorities in November 2011 that linked San Diego with Tijuana also featured the image of Captain America on the plastic wrapping of most bricks of the 17 tons of marijuana seized.

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By McCarton Ackerman

celebrity relapse

4/08/14 8:30am

Lindsay Lohan Relapses, Life Coach Quits In Frustration

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During last Sunday’s episode of her Oprah Winfrey-produced reality show Lindsay, Lindsay Lohan tearfully admitted to an alcohol relapse after prodding from her life coach AJ Johnson. The troubled actress was initially furious when Johnson confronted her with claims of having found wine. Lohan also said that her mother, Dina, reported that she had been drinking during a recent dinner.

Lohan objected to the unscripted questioning and ignored Johnson for a week while traveling to Los Angeles, where she was photographed by paparazzi lunging towards a bottle of wine while on the trip. Lohan claimed she was simply “reaching for her bag,” but a month later the photos surfaced and the troubled actress finally admitted to the brief relapse.

“I rushed into a relationship…and I jumped right into a relationship where we weren’t on the same page. I wasn’t considering the fact that this person I was seeing does drink and yeah…I had some wine,” she said. “Yeah, fuck it, I screwed up and that’s OK. [I’ll] try and stop it happening again. That’s a part of life.”

But even after admitting a relapse, Lohan continued to ignore Johnson and felt the life coach “disrespected me by asking things on camera that were a bit personal.” After being stood up when she expected Lohan to stay with her, the two got into an emotional argument which resulted in Johnson quitting her job.

“Sometimes it’s better to leave before it gets ugly. I’m calling Lindsay a friend right now, but I feel like there is no consideration,” Johnson said. “It’s like a few months ago when I almost quit because she wouldn’t fucking talk to me. I told her, ‘I have to talk to you to do my job.’ [I cannot help] Lindsay unless she is open to receiving.”

Lohan’s out of control behavior has lead to Oprah Winfrey stepping in and issuing an ultimatum. A trailer for Lindsay released last month showed Winfrey flying out to Long Island to meet personally with the actress and ordering her to clean up her act under threat of canceling the show. “My truth is that I want to see you win. I really do,” said Winfrey. “[But] you really need to cut the bullshit.”

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By McCarton Ackerman

headlines

4/08/14 7:00am

Morning Roundup: April 8, 2014

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Some coke with your goat meat? Photo via

By Shawn Dwyer

high-end pot

4/07/14 7:30pm

Pot Businesses Flourish in the San Fernando Valley

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In the San Fernando Valley, medical marijuana dispensaries are on practically every corner like 7-Elevens. Though some residents and business owners bristle at the idea of pot shops in their neighborhoods, no one can doubt that legal marijuana is an exploding business.

Ventura Boulevard magazine uncovered an interesting look at this modern phenomenon. The story examined marijuana shops as a growth industry with the Perennial Holistic Wellness Center in Studio City as its focal point. Apparently pot shops in Studio City have been flourishing because it is a fairly affluent community, and with rent going through the roof smaller businesses have been pushed out. But shops like Perennial are able to keep up because they offer customers high-end services like a juice bar and valet parking.

Proposition D went into effect last December, which regulates marijuana stores, but Sam Humeid, owner of Perennial, was undisturbed by the new regulations designed to weed out Los Angeles’ illegal pot dispensaries.  “We have nothing to hide,” Humeid told Ventura Boulevard.

Despite the upscale appeal of pot shops like Perennial, there have been complaints from Studio City businesses about their proliferation. A vegan restaurant lodged a complaint about smoke emanating from next door, while both CrossFit and Vendome liquors claimed they can smell pot and that it’s allegedly hurting their businesses.

But while the smell may be an annoyance, studies have shown that there has been no increase in crime in relation to pot shops. Even a senior police officer maintains that Studio City is still one of the safest areas in Los Angeles.

In speaking with Linda Grasso, editor of Ventura Boulevard, the idea that some pot dispensaries are catering to an elite crowd came as something of an eye opener. “Some of these places feel like high end beach spas,” she said. “They’re marketing them to the progressive California crowd. They’re not dark places, they’re very brightly lit, and they appeal to upscale clientele.”

“All kinds of people like to smoke pot to relax and unwind, like having a glass of wine,” Grasso continued. “There’s been a lot of change in this part of the Valley because of the rent going higher, and look who comes in.”

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By David Konow

moral hypocrisy

4/07/14 5:30pm

Popular Megachurch Pastor Resigns Over Porn Addiction

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That one may smile, and smile... Photo via

Pastor Bob Coy, 58, the popular founder and leader of the Cavalry Chapel in Fort Lauderdale, FL, abruptly resigned over what has been allegedly called a “problem with pornography."

Over 7,500 parishioners were informed in a special meeting on Sunday, where church elders said that Coy had resigned on Thursday “after confessing to a moral failing in his life which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role.”

“Pastor Bob will be focusing his full attention on his personal relationship with God and with his family,” church elders said in a prepared statement. “The governing board of the church is providing counselors and ministers who will help guide him through the process of full repentance, cleansing and restoration.”

While attendees of the special meeting were not informed about the specifics of Coy’s sudden departure, word leaked out about his alleged addiction to pornography, as well as his confession to having two affairs in the past year.

"Most people were shocked," said parishioner Robert Milne, who attended Sunday’s informative meeting. "A lot of people were hurt, a lot of people are disappointed."

Coy has yet to speak publicly about the matter and has not indicated whether or not he will seek outside treatment for his problem.

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By Shawn Dwyer

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