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Drug busts

8/23/12 4:31pm

Prisoners Run Massive Drug Ring Via Cellphone

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Here's my number, so call me, maybe.
Photo via

A couple of inmates in Indianapolis made the most of their mobile phone plans when they managed to oversee a massive state-wide drug operation from inside their cells, via cellphone. From separate prisons, ringleader Oscar Perez and partner Justin Addler allegedly used mobile phones smuggled in by guards to arrange for the wholesale purchase of heroin from Chicago and meth from California and distribute the drugs all across Indiana. The sly duo were tele-present throughout the schemes, with Addler once reportedly conference calling in to a drug deal where 20 grams of heroin were sold for $2,500 at a truck stop. It took 300 FBI agents fanning out over the entire state to uncover the network of 40 conspirators, about 17 of whom faced trial yesterday. As far as the prison guards who permitted the cellphones to infiltrate the prisons in the first place—only one of whom has been formally charged—the Indiana Department of Correction has issued a statement apologizing for their behavior. "The actions of the small number of any IDOC correctional employees who may have facilitated these illegal activities brings dishonor to them and tarnishes the good name and professionalism of the vast majority of IDOC employees," the statement said.

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By Bryan Le

Courtney Love

8/23/12 3:59pm

Courtney Love's No-Show Sparks Lawyers' Spat

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Would Courtney Love's attorney really behave
like this? Photo via

As The Fix reported yesterday, Courtney Love's failure to show at a libel suit deposition in New York this morning could carry serious consequences—but it may be her latest new lawyer who faces them. Frederic Gordon—the attorney for Rhonda Holmes in her libel suit against Love, which cites the singer's persistent substance abuse—is now accusing Love's attorney, Kenneth Freundlich, of perjury. Gordon tells The Fix he intends to file for sanctions.

The two lawyers dispute the significance of Love's absence this morning. Freundlich says he objected to the deposition and informed Gordon of Love's unavailability in timely fashion. Gordon contends that Freundlich was required by law to send his objection to the deposition six days in advance, and that Freundlich "signed under penalty of perjury" that he mailed it on August 17. But Gordon says he has proof—in the form of an August 20 time-stamped envelope—that this was a falsehood.

"It's another significant example of Courtney thinking she's above the law,” says Gordon, who's in New York today for the deposition. "Despite the rules she says, 'I'm not going to show up.' To me, it's more of the same bullshit.” He plans to file sanctions against Freundlich for perjury next week.

The Fix also spoke with Freundlich this morning. He says he gave proper notice about Love’s unavailability, and attacks Gordon for speaking with us yesterday: “I don’t litigate cases in the press. [Gordon] is using the press, which is disgusting. How did you find out about this [deposition]?" he asks us. "It’s a private matter. Tell him to meet me in court. I’m new counsel and [Courtney Love] wasn’t available.” Freundlich seems set to be a busy man, given Love's stack of unresolved legal cases: “I am representing Courtney in every legal matter now both in California and New York. Rest assured she will be well defended against all accusations.” As the lawyers spar, Courtney Love has meanwhile been tweeting about being on "Shelter Island"—which may refer to her rumored current location with friends in the Hamptons.

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By Carmela Kelly

legalization of marijuana

8/23/12 3:01pm

NAACP Champions Pot Legalization in Colorado

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Harris Lytle says pot prohibition harms the
black community. Photo via

Colorado's Amendment 64—a ballot measure to legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol—has won new backing from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who have long claimed that pot laws unfairly target the black population. In 2010, African-Americans accounted for about 9% of marijuana possession arrests and 22% of arrests for marijuana sales and cultivation—despite only making up roughly 4% of Colorado's population, according to an NAACP statement. These numbers were particularly disproportionate in Denver, where African-Americans accounted for over 31.5% percent of arrests for marijuana possession, while constituting less than 11% of the city's population. "In ending the prohibition against adult use of marijuana we might affect mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on African-Americans and other people of color," says Rosemary Harris Lytle, president of the NAACP's Amendment 64 Conference. "Marijuana prohibition policy does more harm to our communities than good." Although not in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker is one politician who has echoed these claims about the devastating impact of drug policy on the black community, saying the war on drugs is ineffective and "represents big overgrown government at its worst." Coloradans will vote on Amendment 64 on November 6. They considered but rejected a similar recreational pot legalization initiative in 2006.

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By Bryan Le

reality tv

8/23/12 1:43pm

The Real World Cast Stages an Intervention

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The cast is worried about Robb. Photo via

MTV's The Real World, where people "stop being polite, and start getting real," has historically been a hotbed of substance abuse. And the current season, which is being filmed in St. Thomas, is the latest to feature a cast member whose downward spiral—perhaps abetted by cameras, drama and unlimited booze—steals the focus of the show. During last night's episode, the entire cast staged an intervention for cast member Robb over his excessive drinking and self-damaging behavior that's included drinking every day, stubbing cigs out on his arm and punching himself in the face. Fellow cast member Brandon pointed out that "drinking is a downer" for Robb and usually the start of his self-harm. But while the 21-year-old agreed to get help for his self-harm issues, he made no plans to stop drinking. "I don’t think, you know, I’m an alcoholic. I think I just drink too much. Appreciate you guys coming out here, though," he said during the intervention. This isn't the first time a Real World cast has intervened over a cast member's substance abuse. Ruthie Alcaide was confronted during Real World: Hawaii after being hospitalized due to alcohol poisoning and driving drunk, while Joey Kovar of Real World: Hollywood was also given an intervention over his drinking. Kovar, who left mid-season to attend rehab for alcohol abuse and later appeared on Celebrity Rehab, died last week due to a suspected overdose of Viagra, alcohol and cocaine.

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By McCarton Ackerman

Drugs in prison

8/23/12 12:45pm

The Drug-Testing Regime in US Prisons

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Hot or not? Photo via

Typically around 1500 prisoners reside on any prison compound in the country, and—as casualties of the War on Drugs—most of them are addicts and alcoholics, who will do whatever they can to get high inside. So drug testing and breathalyzers are frequently employed by prison authorities. "They select prisoners randomly for piss tests," a prisoner tells The Fix. "But you can also be on the hot list—and then it's a sure bet you're getting pissed every month, whenever they want." Officers can put you on the hot list if they have any reason to suspect you're using. Usually, compound officers will conduct the urinalysis and collect the samples. They do this at different times—often waking prisoners up early in the morning after the 5 am count, to get what they consider a good, undiluted urine sample. But they also conduct the tests throughout the day and after the 4 pm stand-up count.

"When you here your name called over the PA system with a bunch of others and you're all told to report to the Lieutenant's office, you know what's up," the prisoner says. "It's a piss test for sure." Prisoners have two hours from the time when their name is called to urinate in the cup. If not, they can be thrown in the hole for refusal to take the test. "They got those fancy cups too," the prisoner says. "The ones that register right away and tell what drugs you're dirty for. But there're a lot of false positives." The guards wear gloves and keep everything sealed until the prisoner is ready to urinate, but still, it's not a perfect system. "One of my homeboys got locked up on a false positive, but when they sent it out to the lab, he beat it," the prisoner says. "There're ways to beat them too, but that's another story."

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By Seth Ferranti

bad sports

8/23/12 11:52am

Baseball Bans Yet Another Player For Drugs

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Colon accepts full responsibility.
Photo via

In the second Major League Baseball drug-related suspension this week, Oakland Athletics team member Bartolo Colon has received a whopping 50-game suspension for testing positive for an excessive level of testosterone, following suspension of San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera earlier this week. Despite Major League Baseball instituting drug tests for steroids and other performance enhancing substitutes nearly a decade ago and recently instituting an even more stringent regimen of testing policies, Colon is the fifth player this year to be suspended over performance enhancing drugs. The New York Times reports that in April 2010, Colon underwent an unusual procedure in the Dominican Republic to help repair a torn rotator cuff and ligament damage by having fat and bone marrow stem cells extracted from his body and then injected into his elbow and shoulder. Baseball officials interviewed Dr. Joseph R. Purita, an orthopedic surgeon based out of Florida who oversaw the procedure, as well as a second doctor involved in the case, Leonel Liriano, but both maintain that Colon did not receive any performance enhancing drugs. “The last time I saw him was last year after the season, when he was on vacation in the Dominican Republic,” says Liriano. “He came to my office because he was having a stomach problem.”  Colon has publicly apologized since the suspension was announced and has accepted full responsibility.

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By McCarton Ackerman

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