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Smoking, drinking and cancer

9/19/12 10:58am

Drinking, Smoking Linked to Pancreatic Cancer


Yet another reason to cut back. Photo via

Drinking and smoking seem to be linked to earlier development of pancreatic cancer, indicates a new study. Pancreatic cancer is reportedly causing a growing number of deaths, partly because of the difficulty of early detection, and claimed the lives of Steve Jobs and Patrick Swayze among many others. Doctors still aren't certain what causes it, but there's now evidence, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, that smoking and heavy drinking raises the risk of developing it sooner. “If you do have these habits, and you're going to develop pancreatic cancer, the age of presentation may be younger,” says lead researcher Dr. Michelle A. Anderson of the University of Michigan Health System. The researchers studied 811 patients in a pancreatic cancer registry. According to the American Cancer Society, the risk for developing pancreatic cancer is about one in 71 and occurs at an average age of 72. But the heavy drinkers and smokers in the study were diagnosed around a decade earlier. While the findings don't prove that smoking and drinking causes earlier cancer, the researchers did discover a “dose” effect—meaning that those who smoked over a pack a day were diagnosed younger age than those who smoked less. And those who'd refrained from heavy drinking and smoking for over 10 years had a reduced risk. Researchers hope the study will give people yet another reason to make healthier choices. As Anderson says, “That's potentially an extra decade of life.”  

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By Valerie Tejeda


9/19/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: September 19, 2012


Trying to play through can be risky.
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By The Fix staff

Drug Trafficking

9/18/12 5:03pm

Hells Angels Coke Case Simmers in Canada


Money and weapons collected during last
month's raid Photo via

One of a group of eight Hells Angels and their associates recently charged with trafficking and importing cocaine in British Columbia has been granted bail by the province's Supreme Court—but millions in cash and property thought to be the proceeds of organized crime is set to be forfeited. The charges stem from a sting operation that on August 25 swooped on the alleged participants in a deal to buy 200 kilos of cocaine—and also netted the cops $4 million in alleged drug money. James Howard—one of those arrested—must follow stringent conditions to secure his release on bail: he'll have to put up a $300,000 bond, give up his passport, live at his parents’ home and report weekly to a bail supervisor. He may not possess a cell phone, leave home between 8 pm and 6 am, or contact any of the other accused men, except in the presence of a lawyer. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had been investigating allegations that British Columbia-grown pot was being trafficked elsewhere to pay to import cocaine. The 21-month undercover probe stretched from Canada to the US, Mexico and Panama. The apparent involvement of two full-patch Hells Angels and their associates is no surprise—the gang is reputed to play a major role in smuggling drugs on either side of the Canadian border. “This represents the blueprint for a majority of Canadian-based organized crime in search of profits," says RCMP Superintendent Brian Cantera of the trafficking operation.

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By Chrisanne Grise

Drug War

9/18/12 3:51pm

Vice's Mexican Mormon War Doc Debuts Online


Vice founder Shane Smith handling one of
countless confiscated US-made weapons.
Photo via

Part one of Vice magazine’s new seven-part documentary series, The Mexican Mormon War, dropped yesterday online. The documentary, hosted by Vice founder and CEO Shane Smith, is all about the intersection of the US government’s War on Drugs, the ultra-violent cartels and an under-the-radar third party: Mormons in Mexico, some of whom are related to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Part one of the series depicts the Vice crew traveling across the border from El Paso, Texas, to Juarez, Mexico—one of the most violent places on Earth—and giving the viewer a quick primer on the incredible firepower amassed by the cartels, mostly in the form of American-made, military-grade weapons, as well as the staggering amount of drugs that get shipped north. “The market for the drugs is America, the market for the weapons is here in Mexico, and they [cross over],” explains Smith. At the close of the series’ first part, Smith travels 200 miles south of Juarez, toward a Mormon settlement that has become the target of kidnappings and narco-violence—and has begun to fight back.

Here’s the full part one (viewers be warned—the video shows graphic footage of dead bodies, both cartel victims and rival gang members):

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By Hunter R. Slaton

Drug dealing

9/18/12 2:29pm

Chemistry Teacher Mimics Breaking Bad


The real life Walter White? Photo via

Sometimes life imitates...Breaking Bad. The AMC show follows the exploits of Walter White, a mild-mannered chemistry teacher who becomes a ruthless meth dealer to support his family after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. But yesterday, real-life chemistry teacher William Duncan was arrested in the rural town of Linden, Texas, after selling homemade meth to undercover officers in the parking lot of the junior high school at which he taught, moments before the school bell rang to start the day. The arrest came after a five-month investigation into crystal meth sales in the area. Although police don't believe Duncan ever sold meth to students, they think he used the school's parking lot as his primary location to distribute the drug. "We were surprised. I've known him for a long time and I'd have never thought it," says Linden Police Chief Alton McWaters. "He's real upset about what he's done. But as I told him, I've got to do my job—and you've got to go to jail." Police also found a stash of meth in Duncan's van—the teacher told them he used the drug to help with physical pain. This isn't the first eerie resemblance to Breaking Bad to emerge: An Alabama man named Walter White was arrested last month for cooking meth. He's now in an outpatient treatment facility.

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By McCarton Ackerman

Mexican drug war

9/18/12 1:16pm

132 Mexican Prisoners Escape Through Tunnel


The hunt is on for 132 escaped prisoners.
Photo via

Over 130 inmates burrowed out of a Mexican prison yesterday, in one of the country’s biggest jailbreaks in recent years. The prisoners—who were held in the city of Piedras Negras, just across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas—escaped through a tunnel that was 21 feet long and four feet across, before cutting through a chain-link barrier to a neighboring property. The tunnel “was not made today," explains Homero Ramos Gloria, the Coahuila Attorney General, helpfully. "It had been there for months. The prison was not overcrowded; none of our prisons are. We have 132 inmates escaping through a tunnel, and it doesn’t make sense.” Some are speculating that prison officials may have aided the inmates, and the director and two other employees of the prison have been detained for investigation. The prison holds about 730 people—meaning that this escape involved almost one fifth of its population. Of the 132 escapees, 86 were serving sentences or awaiting trial for federal crimes such as drug trafficking. Members of Mexico’s drug gangs frequently attempt to bust out their incarcerated members, and guards are often accused of working with the cartels—in December 2010, 153 inmates escaped from a prison in Nuevo Laredo, and 41 guards were charged with helping them. And of course, Mexican cartel members tend to be well-equipped with tunneling skills.

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By Chrisanne Grise


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