Colombian cocaine kingpin Jaime Alberto Marin-Zamora will spend more than 16 years in federal prison for trafficking drugs in to the US, according to today's ruling in a Miami court. The 47-year-old former leader of Colombia's "Norte del Valle" drug cartel pleaded guilty to smuggling some 30 tons of cocaine into the US between 1999 and 2004. Arrested on an island off Venezuela in September 2010, Zamora originally faced life in prison, but his assistance in other cases got his sentence reduced to a relatively soft 16+ years. The US has arrested and convicted several top leaders of the "Norte del Valle" cartel–one of the most powerful organizations in the illegal drug trade.
Bobby Brown has a "New Edition" to add to his rap sheet: The 43-year-old singer and ex-husband of Whitney Houston was arrested and jailed in Los Angeles yesterday under suspicion of driving under the influence. Law enforcement officials say he was initially pulled over at 12:20pm for driving while talking on a cell phone in the suburb of Reseda. However, police suspected he had been drinking and he ultimately failed a sobriety test. "Officers, when contacting him, noted intoxication on him -- the smell of alcohol -- and they performed some field sobriety tests," confirmed officer Tiana Reed. Brown was booked at Van Nuys jail for approximately two hours before being bailed out by his team. Brown has had numerous arrests over the years for drug possession and battery, among other charges, but this is only his second DUI conviction; his last one came in Georgia in 1996, which he spent eight days in jail for. Brown's arrest comes just a week after autopsy results revealed that Houston had numerous drugs in her system, including cocaine and marijuana, at the time of her death.
- Trayvon Martin's School Suspension Linked to Pot [MSNBC]
- DJ Deadmau5 Calls Madonna "Idiot" for Glamorizing Drugs [AceShowBiz]
- Lionel Richie, Kenny Chesney Duet: "Love' at First Drunk Dial [The Boot]
- 10 Things Alcohol Is Excellent at (Besides Getting You Drunk) [io9]
- Increasing Alcohol Prices Will Only Make "Pre-Loading" More Appealing [The Independent]
- Smokers Could Be More Prone to Schizophrenia, Study Finds [MedicalXpress]
- China to Ban Public Purchases of "High-End" Alcohol, Cigarettes [Bloomberg]
Things just keep getting worse for Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino: Crack sleuthing by TMZ has revealed that wardrobe guidelines at Cirque Lodge, where The Sitch is currently checked into rehab for addiction to prescription meds/exhaustion, will prevent the Jersey Shore star from displaying his world-famous six-pack (of abs). Beyond a strict prohibition on skin exposure, the guidelines also seek to prevent wardrobe malfunctions by banning muscle shirts, sleeveless tops, ripped jeans, hats, sunglasses and all clothing with obscene language. Seeing as how that sounds like pretty much everything The Situation has ever worn, could a total makeover—both spiritual and sartorial—be in the cards for the muscle-bound MTV icon?
“Unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly.” So reads the brazen, bold-faced caption of a vodka ad depicting a man dragging a terrified-looking woman onto his lap. The implication of forced sex—especially in light of the historical (and statistical) association between drinking and rape—has prompted outrage on Twitter and Facebook after the ad was posted late Friday. It was removed shortly thereafter, but not before thousands of fans and followers bore witness to the offensive piece of marketing. “We apologize to any of our fans who were offended by our recent tweet. We continue to be an advocate of safe and responsible drinking," Belvedere tweeted in response. Belvedere Senior Vice President of Global Marketing Jason Lundy issued a more comprehensive follow-up apology, which read in part, "As an expression of our deep disappointment and regret, we are making a charitable donation to a women’s support cause." That better be one big donation.
Drugs may have played a role in Army staff sergeant Robert Bales' recent massacre of 16 Afghan civilians—but not alcohol or opiates or any of the other substances we might reasonably suspect. Whether the anti-malaria drug mefloquine (Larium) may have served as the trigger is the possibility pondered by a former high-ranking Army psychiatrist, writing in a blog on Time’s Battleland.
Mefloquine has a long history of triggering abrupt, gruesome and otherwise-inexplicable psychotic episodes, including an infamous case in the summer of 2002 when four Army officers at Fort Bragg murdered their wives after returning home from the war in Afghanistan. VA officials have also raised questions about the drug's potential implication in the escalating high rate of veterans' suicides. By 2004 the Pentagon had grown so alarmed by reports of the drug’s neuropsychiatric risks that it banned its use. Later that year, the VA alerted veterans' doctors to be on the lookout for signs of bizarre mental-health symptoms among vets—side effects that could occur even years after the anti-malaria prevention was last dosed.
Neither the VA nor the Pentagon has confirmed whether Sgt. Bales, who was charged on Friday with 17 counts of murder, received mefloquine. But the odds are very high that the 38-year-old husband and father of two did take the drug because it was routinely prescribed to tens of thousands of soldiers sent to do battle in Iraq where Bales was deployed from 2003 to 2010.
Last Monday, the Defense Department ordered an emergency review of all mefloquine prescribing, seeming to underline concerns about the drug's possible dangers, according to the Huffington Post. Yet if Bales did, as is likely, take mefloquine, the Army may have no record of the fact. A UPI investigation in 2004 found that many soldiers back from Iraq reported having taken the drug, even though their medical records omitted all mention of the treatment.
How this mefloquine angle will play out, if at all, in Sgt. Bales' legal defense remains, for now, a mystery. But it seems at least probable that we have not heard the last of mefloquine or the gap-ridden medical records.