Over two million people are currently locked up in the US, and many of them are right now scheming ways to smuggle drugs into prison, ensuring they remain widely-available inside. And the most tried-and-tested method of getting drugs in is through the visiting room. "When I get that VI [visitation] and I'm out on that dance floor, I'm trying to cop," one prisoner tells The Fix. "All the homies are." Although the formats vary, all prisons allow some kind of contact visits, and prisoners take advantage to obtain drugs from marijuana to meth—and just about anything else you can think of. Prior to a visit, a prisoner's girl will put several grams of pot or heroin into a balloon or condom. Before her man arrives in the visiting room, she'll put the balloons in her mouth—and then transfer them from her mouth to the prisoner's mouth when they kiss. The prisoner swallows the balloons, only to throw them up or retrieve them after defecation later.
"When my girl comes to visit, I always try to get her to bring some balloons," another prisoner says. "Not too many, just a couple she can slide in my mouth when we kiss. I like to smoke me some weed—but if I get some heroin, I'm selling that." Due to the widespread use of this technique, many prisons have rules in place to limit kissing, hugging and touching. Authorities also employ measures including strip searches, dry cell detention, surveillance cameras, patrolling guards and random pat searches with drug detection devices. But despite these efforts, the drug flow hasn't stopped, and there's always another approach to try. "If I don't swallow the balloons when she kisses me, she can put them in the hot dog she buys me from the vending machine," the second prisoner says. "Or she can hand me the balloon and I can stash it in my boot or underwear." Prisoners are also known to hide duct-taped or plastic-wrapped ounces of marijuana or heroin in their anal cavity—any extremes to get the drugs they want.
A debate over whether to permit alcohol sales in Marshall County, Kentucky, has turned vicious and is "starting to tear at the fabric of the community," say local newscasters. Locals will vote July 17 on whether or not to lift a county-wide drinking ban—and supporters of both sides of the argument have taken to destroying and stealing each others' "Vote Yes" and "Vote No" signs. Even a local Baptist church has been pelted with eggs for displaying anti-drinking signs—which were also stolen. "It's been ugly," says Sissy Womack of the "Vote Yes" side (in favor of lifting the ban): "I been told to leave town, pack my bags, keep my mouth shut." Mylon Smith, of the "Vote No" side, is angry about his stolen signs, but believes the divine prosecutor will intervene: "God will take care of them. Vengeance is his. That ain't for us to handle."
The men of the wildly-popular dance music group Swedish House Mafia always show up to the party sober—just don’t expect the same from their fans. Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Axel Christofer Hedfors (AKA Axwell) say that performing sober is how they maintain their edge. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, SHM stress the importance of remaining stimulant-free amid a highly-stimulated 20,000-strong crowd. “The crowd should be out there drinking and having a blast, but imagine if you go to a police officer and he’s wasted," says Angello. "We have to be sober. We’re the police.” Despite the Swedish trio's stance, they understand that their music appeals to those that like to have a good time in more ways than one. Just last December they transformed Madison Square Garden into a massive club venue: “The person who booked it must’ve been drunk!” Axwell joked. But for the SHM, a rock-star life filled with LCD lights, house music and parties is worth enjoying substance-free: “The second [we] got onstage it was like [we had] superpowers.”
Jay-Z has had enough of Rihanna's partying ways. The rap icon reportedly lost it last month when the singer got so drunk that she missed a flight out of the UK to meet a work obligation—and then bragged about her wild night on Twitter. Jay-Z told RiRi that she'd be dropped from his label if she didn't go to rehab. “U know life is great when u wake up at 9 am DRUNK!!!!! #London,” she tweeted, the day of the missed flight. “You know it was a good night when u wake up n run to your BFF's room like... How did I get in my bed? Did I walk? Stumble? Get carried?" Rihanna also tweeted that Jay-Z had given her the day off to recover—but some sources are saying she needs about 30 of them. And for the sake of her career, it looks like Rihanna will begrudgingly enter treatment. "She's not happy, but she now feels she has no choice," says one source. "She's reached breaking point. Ri says she's physically and mentally exhausted and feeling lost. I think she desperately needs help and some time off—not just from work but from all the other stresses in her life too." In recent months Rihanna has used Twitter to chronicle the good, bad and downright raunchy sides of her life. She's tweeted photos of herself at strip clubs, and even hooked up to an IV during a hospital visit caused by "exhaustion" after NYC's Met Gala in May.
It seems sperm don't pay for the sins of their fathers. New research published in the Human Reproduction journal finds that men who binge-drink and smoke still have healthy sperm. Over 2,200 men visiting 14 fertility clinics across the UK were asked to complete a detailed lifestyle questionnaire. The researchers then compared the men's answers to their sperm samples. Cigarettes and booze didn't impact sperm count, they found, while some other factors—such as testicular surgery, race and even job choice—did. "Despite lifestyle choices being important for other aspects of our health, our results suggest that many lifestyle choices probably have little influence on how many swimming sperm [men] ejaculate," says Dr. Andrew Povey, from the University of Manchester's School of Community Based Medicine. US medical experts are reacting cautiously, concerned that the research may send the wrong message. Dr. Avner Hershlag, chief of the Center for Human Reproduction at North Shore University Hospital, NY, believes the study does allay some concerns about bad habits and sperm counts. But he notes, "The study did not find that cigarette smoking was a culprit, yet did not examine the effect of passive smoking on the female partner's fertility." He also stresses, "While it is reassuring to know that sperm is resilient, I still recommend a healthy lifestyle to improve your chances to conceive."
Mexico's "Las Zetas" drug cartel is one of the most brutal crime syndicates in the world—known for beheading enemies before publicly disposing of their hacked-apart bodies. But that's not all they're capable of; they've reportedly been running a highly-successful horse breeding operation in the US for years, and using it to launder millions in drug money. The reigns were taken from them yesterday when the Justice Department closed down the operation, arresting Jose Trevino, a high-ranking cartel member, and several of his minions. The Zetas' excursion into horses started in 2006 when cartel boss Miguel Angel Trevino met Ramio Villarreal, a man with a knack for finding under-appreciated quarter-horses. Soon the racing operation had a name, "Tremor", and some of the best horses in the country. But as the money and the wins rolled in, suspicion grew. Other horse operations became wary of Tremor, and the company's largess drew the attention of the law. In late 2010, the DEA picked up Villarreal and convinced him to work as an informant to help bring down Miguel Ángel Treviño. He couldn't do it. In March of 2011 Villarreal's incinerated car was found, with him inside.
As recently as last week, Tremor horses were wowing spectators at tracks in the Southwest, but that might change after Jose Trevino's arrest. At the very least, the cartel's habit of funneling $1 million a month through the company looks set to end. As far as their ability to get one by the general public for so long, it's “so far out there it’s hard to believe,” says former prosecutor Morris Panner. “Maybe they were using some kind of perverse logic that told them they could hide in plain sight, precisely because people wouldn’t believe it or question it.”