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corrupt politicians

6/26/14 8:30am

Former Mayor Of Florida's 'Most Corrupt Town' Jailed For Drugs

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Moore prior to resigning. Photo via

The former mayor of what was described as the “most corrupt town in Florida” has been sentenced to jail on drug charges.

Barry Layne Moore was given five years in jail for drug possession and distribution. He served as mayor in the town of Hampton for just two months before being arrested last November for selling oxycodone to an undercover officer. Although he remained in jail after being unable to come up with the $45,000 bail, he ignored calls from local officials to step down from office. He did, however, finally resign last March.

A state audit that same month found such rampant corruption in Hampton that state officials wanted to dissolve the town of 500 residents completely. In addition to 31 violations of the city’s charter, it was discovered that $132,000 in city funds was spent at the BP convenience store next to City Hall and $27,000 had been charged to the city’s credit card for expenses that served “no public purpose.” Hampton police wrote tickets for a staggering $617,000 in fines between 2010-2012, while residents said that one officer regularly strapped on an AR-15 rifle before approaching vehicles over routine traffic violations.

This wasn’t the first time Moore found himself in trouble with the law. He was arrested and charged with battery in October 2012, then booked with a probation violation for the same crime just two months later. In 2005, he was arrested but not charged with battery, and in 2011 he had three moving traffic violations with fines totaling $1,000.

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By McCarton Ackerman

headlines

6/26/14 7:00am

Morning Roundup: June 26, 2014

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Diego Ulissi in 2013. Shutterstock

By Shawn Dwyer

drug bust

6/25/14 7:30pm

Correctional Officers Swept Up In Rikers Island Drug Raid

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Shutterstock

On Tuesday, two correctional officers and 20 inmates were arrested in what has been called an “unprecedented” crackdown on smuggling drugs into one of the world’s most infamous prisons, Rikers Island. Ten more correctional officers are expected to face charges.

“This massive operation was necessitated by information developed during DOI’s ongoing investigation of violence and other illegal conduct on Rikers Island,” said Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters and Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte in a joint statement. “Criminal conduct in the correctional facilities will not be tolerated."

The two departments conducted a months-long investigation into alleged drug smuggling at the prison, and turned up drugs, weapons, and tobacco stashed inside inmates’ cells. Two guards were also caught trying to bring eight ounces of cocaine and an unspecified amount of marijuana into the prison.

The DOI launched the investigation following a series of violent incidents at Rikers that led to stepped-up scrutiny of both guards and inmates.  According to the Correction Department, there were 1,844 uses of force by corrections officers in just the first five months of this year, while there were 274 drug seizures and 868 weapons confiscated within that same time frame.

With the two arrests and 10 others pending, Commissioner Ponte was quick to point out that most of his corrections officers were “hardworking professionals.”

“Their safety, like the safety of civilian staff, inmates and visitors, demands that we maintain the highest levels of staff integrity,” he said.

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By Shawn Dwyer

bad parenting

6/25/14 5:30pm

One In Four Parents Gives Kids Booze to Celebrate, Survey Says

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Shutterstock

According to a study conducted by Drinkaware, a UK-based organization that promotes alcohol awareness, nearly one in four parents gives their children alcohol to celebrate after taking exams.

Outside the exam period, however, 54% of parents admitted to giving their child an alcoholic drink, while 86% reported that they would let their child drink if asked. Children between the ages of 14-17 were given, on average, nine units of alcohol—the equivalent of four cans of beer, a full bottle of wine, or third of a bottle of vodka.

“The average amount some parents are providing is equivalent to a whole bottle of wine, and that is more than enough to get a 15-year-old drunk,” said Elaine Hindal, chief executive of Drinkaware. “No parent wants to think of their child out on their own being drunk and vulnerable, but effectively that is what we could be facilitating by giving alcohol as a reward.”

The Local Alcohol Profiles for England (LAPE), which is a part of Public Health England, found that between 2010 and 2013 more than 15,000 children under the age of 18 were admitted to the hospital for various alcohol-related conditions or injuries. And while parents were generally aware that the drinking age in England was 18, as many as 20% said they had no awareness of a drinking age and were equally unaware of the medical dangers of alcohol on a child’s health.

Hindal warned parents about the legal and medical issues of parents giving a child booze. “It is illegal for parents to purchase alcohol on behalf of someone under 18,” she said. “Worse still, it normalizes a culture of excessive drinking among young people.”

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By Shawn Dwyer

doctor's orders

6/25/14 3:30pm

UK Doctors Push Cigarette Ban For All Born After 2000

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Shutterstock

Doctors in the United Kingdom are pushing to permanently ban cigarette sales to everyone born after the year 2000. On Tuesday, the British Medical Association (BMA) passed the motion at their annual representatives' meeting and will subsequently put their entire weight behind lobbying for their ban.

Tim Crocker-Buque, the specialist registrar in public health medicine who proposed the ban, said that this could be a chance for the UK to be the first nation to completely eradicate cigarettes.

"Smoking is not a rational, informed choice of adulthood," he said. "Eighty percent of smokers start as teenagers as a result of intense peer pressure...Smokers who start smoking at age 15 are three times as likely to die of smoking-related cancer as someone who starts in their mid-20s."

Surprisingly, however, the move is not fully supported by all doctors. "Seeking a headline ban is a headline-grabbing initiative that may lead to ridicule of the profession," said Birmingham doctor, Yohanna Takwoingi, who added that if the Association followed such a line of reasoning they should ban alcohol as well.

"Tobacco is not the same as alcohol and prohibition will not work in the same way," said Crocker-Buque in response. "The vast majority of people who use alcohol do safely."

Others are concerned that the ban could create an cigarette black market that could harm even more people than legalized cigarettes do. Simon Clark, spokesman for smokers' group Forest, called the proposed ban "arbitrary, unenforceable and completely illiberal."

The BMA previously had success in lobbying bans for smoking in public places and smoking in cars carrying children.

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By Bryan Le

another one down

6/25/14 1:00pm

Tijuana Cartel Boss Fernando Sanchez Arellano Captured

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Photo via

In another blow to the once powerful Tijuana drug cartel, police captured Fernando Sanchez Arellano at his home in Tijuana while he watched Mexico’s soccer team beat Croatia to advance in the 2014 World Cup.

Sanchez was unable to celebrate Mexico’s 3-1 victory, however, as he was taken away from his home in Tijuana's La Mesa district before the match was over. The Mexican government had offered 30 million pesos, or $2.3 million U.S. dollars, for information leading to his capture, though currently it remains unclear whether or not anyone claimed the reward.

Dubbed "The Engineer," Sanchez rose to the top of the Tijuana Cartel, also known as the Arellano Félix Organization, after his uncle, Javier Arellano Felix, was arrested by the U.S. Coast Guard in 2006 and later sentenced to 40 years in federal prison. Two years later, Sanchez found himself in the middle of a brutal drug war against a former lieutenant, Teodoro Garcia Simental, that led to one of Tijuana’s most violent periods, where the border city was plagued by routine beheadings and mutilated bodies hanging from bridges.

Sanchez managed to fend off Garcia and later forged a truce with Sinaloa Cartel leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who himself was captured earlier this year. But by 2010, the Tijuana Cartel had lost considerable power, leading to Guzman’s cartel to move in and take over the lucrative drug trafficking route to San Diego.

Sanchez is currently being held in Tijuana, but is expected to be transferred to Mexico City.

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By Shawn Dwyer

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