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mexican drug war

9/14/12 2:17pm

Mexican Cartels: And Then There Were Two?

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El Coss on display Photo via

Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez—otherwise known simply as "El Coss"—was presented to the public yesterday, following his arrest by Mexican marines as the suspected leader of the Gulf drug cartel. The cartel reportedly controls some of the most valuable and violently-contested smuggling routes along the US border, and has smuggled and distributed tons of cocaine, meth, heroin and marijuana into the US. Charges against the 41-year-old in this country include drug trafficking and threatening US law enforcement officials, and $5 million was on offer for information leading to his arrest. "This is a very, very important arrest," says Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, chair of the Department of Government at the University of Texas, Brownsville. "It consolidates this new configuration of organized crime in Mexico. This disintegration of the Gulf Cartel will be impacting in a very serious way the levels of violence in Tamaulipas and probably in the whole country." Correa-Cabrera believes we'll now see an increase in violence between the Sinoloas and the paramilitary Zetas—the two dominant remaining cartels. Authorities say that despite controlling the Gulf cartel's daily trafficking activities, El Coss kept a low profile—only two photographs of him had ever been made public. Five of his guards were also arrested Wednesday morning in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, while another five fled when marines tried to arrest them in Tampico—ultimately leading the marines to Costilla's hideout. 

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By McCarton Ackerman

Sober stars

9/14/12 1:10pm

The Fix Gets Some Love on Fox

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Sober talk between Friel and Johnston

In a recent interview with Fox 11 entertainment reporter Courtney Friel, Emmy-award winning actress Kristen Johnston talked about her passion for recovery, her hilarious and disturbing memoir Guts, her mission to create New York City's first sober high school and her love for The Fix. "[The Fix is] young, it's interesting, it doesn't have one theory," Johnston told Friel—who described us as "a hip new sobriety website." Johnston said of her addiction, "I was the red wine mustache lady with the purple teeth. Everyone else would have their two or three glasses of wine and I would have my ten. I was jobless and fired by my agency and so broke I was selling shoes." The Third Rock star, who's been in recovery for almost six years, added that now that she's cleaned up, "My life is better in every single way I can imagine. I'm grateful, I'm happy. I don't need to escape all the time." When Friel asked Johnston why she came clean about her addiction after first managing to keep it a secret, she replied that she's not publicizing her book because she wants more money. "I'm publicizing it because I really want the people who need to read it to read it."

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By Anna David

Celebrity Busts

9/14/12 12:06pm

Sally Struthers Charged With DUI

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Struthers puts a brave face on it in her
mugshot. Photo via

Sometimes celebrity drunk-driving arrests take an unexpected turn—providing fresh evidence that substance abuse is no respecter of reputations. This time it's squeaky-clean '70s actress Sally Struthers, best known for her Emmy-winning role as Gloria Stivic on All in the Family—and more recently as Babette on Gilmore Girls and as a face of Save the Children. She was pulled over and arrested for OUI—operating under the influence—early yesterday morning in the coastal town of Ogunquit, Maine, where she's appearing in an annual run at the Ogunquit Playhouse, as Roz in the musical 9 to 5. The 65-year-old actress was released on $160 cash bail and is due back in court in December—she looks set to make a fight of it. "Sally is working and she is fine and she loves the Ogunquit Playhouse and her yearly time in Ogunquit," says a spokeswoman. "We deny these charges." The drama will wrap up soon: Struthers' stint in the show is scheduled to end tomorrow.

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By McCarton Ackerman

effects of smoking

9/14/12 11:03am

Nicotine Addicts Struggle to Sleep

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Scenes like this might be rarer than you think.
Photo via

As if all their other problems weren't enough, a new study indicates that beleaguered smokers tend to get less sleep and are at higher risk of serious insomnia. Researchers in Germany surveyed around 1,100 smokers and 1,200 non-smokers—all of whom were pronounced free of mental health conditions that might impair sleep—for a study published in the Addiction journal. They found that 17% of smokers slept for less than six hours a night, compared with just seven percent of non-smokers. And 28% of the smokers claimed to have “disturbed” sleep, against 19% of smoke-free sleepers. "If you smoke and you do suffer from sleep problems, it is another good reason to quit smoking," says lead researcher Dr. Stefan Cohrs, of Charite Berlin medical school. Grounds for optimism? Cors adds that past research shows that a smoker's sleep quality does improve after quitting. The study doesn't yet prove that smoking alone impairs sleep, but researchers believe the stimulating effects of nicotine play a part, as well as the possibility that smokers may be more likely to have other habits that affect sleep—such as getting little exercise or staying up late to watch TV. It seems smokers can't win: successfully losing consciousness reportedly puts them at risk of manifesting a violent sleep disorder, while inadequate sleep has been linked to problems like diabetes, heart disease and obesity. 

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By Valerie Tejeda

Headlines

9/14/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: September 14, 2012

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That's alcohol, not acid Photo via

By Bryan Le

Music and sobriety

9/13/12 5:21pm

Hip Hop Artist Spits Recovery Rap

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Santa Monica Sam hopes to guide listeners
"into the light."

In honor of National Recovery Month, independent singer-songwriter Santa Monica Sam has released a new song, “This Thing Called Addiction,” which can be found on his new album Universal Flow. The candid, uplifting song reflects Sam’s own experiences battling addiction, offering a message of hope based in his own recovery. “The song takes the listener on a journey from darkness to light,” Sam tells The Fix. The first verse discusses the dark nature of addiction, the second verse takes on the consequences and repercussions, and the third verse speaks of the hope and inspiration found in recovery. While there are many songs about addiction out there, Sam says “This Thing Called Addiction” is unique because it focuses on hope, rather than glamorizing or highlighting the negative aspects of being an addict. The video will be screened at the Reel Recovery Film Festival, and the song is available for download on most digital music stores. “This is just one means of carrying the message,” Sam says. “Hopefully it can reach an audience that will benefit from the content in the song.” Check out the song here:

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By Chrisanne Grise

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