Miami Beach police
said 75 people were arrested during a weekend prostitution sting --
including some people on a quarter-million-dollar luxury bus.Investigators
described the bus as a "brothel on wheels." Undercover detectives
spotted the bus cruising Miami Beach. When they boarded the bus, they
saw five women servicing customers, police said.
"There were lap dances, friction dances and sexual acts," an officer said in court.Police said the bus was owned by Christine Mortha, 29, who also stripped on it."There was a charge of $40 to enter the bus," an officer said in court.Police said money was all over the bus."It was on the floor, it was on their G-strings, you name it," a police officer said in court. "It was in the register. In 19 years, I've never seen this."The arrests on the bus were part of weekend-long prostitution sting. From Thursday through Saturday, 75 people were arrested. Seven of them were charged with felonies.During the effort, police said they also seized narcotics, a firearm and located a missing woman.
Drug traffickers in China's far west are smuggling heroin into the country woven into carpets imported from Afghanistan and Pakistan, state media said on Tuesday.
Customs officials in Xinjiang, which borders both countries, have seized more than 30 carpets containing some 50 kg (110 lb) of heroin in the last several months, the official China Daily said.
"The traffickers have become more sophisticated and are using new techniques," it paraphrased Wang Zhi, deputy director the General Administration of Customs' anti-smuggling bureau, as saying.
"Wang said traffickers first inject heroin into plastic tubes of 1-2 mm diameter and wrap them with colorful natural or synthetic fibers to make them look like yarn. They then weave them into the carpet along with normal yarn," the report said.
The new smuggling method was making detection harder as equipment normally used by customs' officers was not up to the task, the newspaper added.
While drug smuggling into China from the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia -- including Laos, Myanmar and Thailand -- had fallen, drug trafficking was on the rise from the Golden Crescent, which includes Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"The opposite used to be the case about two years ago," Wang said.
"Drugs smuggled into China are in turn sent to other destinations. Heroin and cocaine usually go to Australia and Europe, while new drugs such as Ecstasy are more likely to be smuggled into South Korea and Japan," the report added.
Authorities say an inmate trying to flee a Texas city jail crashed through the ceiling into a police chief's empty office.
Police say 17-year-old Jesus Albert Suarez Chavez and 22-year-old Roman Orozco Martinez tried to escape through air conditioning ducts of the Alton city jail around 3 a.m. Saturday, but had been spotted by a dispatcher monitoring security video.
One of the inmates fell through the ceiling into the office of Police Chief Baldemar Flores. The second inmate was trying to get into the vent.
Flores said he didn't know which inmate fell through the ceiling, only that the vents were very small.
Chavez and Martinez are charged with burglary of a vehicle, evading arrest, resisting arrest, assault on a public servant and making a terrorist threat. They are now being held in the Hidalgo County Jail.
A jail official says no attorneys are listed for the pair.
A reporter is accused of raping and murdering at least three elderly women and then writing about the cases for his newspaper.
Police began to suspect Vlado Taneski after his stories for the Morning Post included details of the crimes police had not yet released to the press.
The 56-year-old has worked as a journalist for 20 years.
'The victims [in 2005, 2006 and 2008] were found naked, strangled and wrapped with phone cables.
They were placed in nylon bags hidden in different locations,' a police spokesman said following Taneski's arrest in Kicevo, close to Macedonia's capital, Skopje.
Memo to jewelry store clerks: it is best to let a customer try on just one item at a time.
A Canadian sales attendant learned the lesson the hard way this week when a man strolled into an Edmonton, Alberta, jeweler and asked to see several rings and necklaces, one after another.
Once he had loaded himself up with thousands of dollars worth of trinkets, he made for the door.
Police said the man was last spotted by store and mall security staff grabbing a taxi.
Allowing customers to weigh themselves down with jewelry is "certainly not something that we would recommend as it didn't turn out so well for this store," Edmonton police spokesman Jeff Wuite said on Tuesday.
The suspect is described as 6 feet, 5 inches tall, weighing about 250 pounds (113 kg) with a Chinese symbol tattooed on his neck. The stolen goods are worth about C$10,000
A corrections officer who had been making frequent takeout food deliveries to the county jail was caught sneaking syringes inside tacos and marijuana under chili, authorities said.
Jordan Michael Waller, 25, tried to enter the Miller County jail with three pizzas at 3 a.m. Saturday, said Mike Liles, a county investigator. Twenty minutes later, Waller brought in what appeared to be a large bag containing chili and tacos, Liles said.
A jail sergeant became suspicious, searched the food and found marijuana that had been formed into three round patties under some chili and a couple of syringes inside tacos.
Waller was searched and found to also be carrying methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, Liles said.
Waller was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia and furnishing prohibited items into a correctional facility.
Waller, who had worked at the lockup for two months, was in custody Tuesday. His bond was set at $100,000.
The public defender's office said its attorneys had yet to talk to Waller, whose next court appearance is scheduled for June 17.
Singer's remains taken from Courtney Love's home
Sheriff's office spokeswoman Debbie Carter says the man told deputies he left the maid alone in the bedroom to clean.
When the man's wife came home from vacation, she discovered $40,000 in jewelry missing from their bedroom.
Police are investigating.
A California man has been indicted for an inventive scheme that allegedly siphoned $50,000 from online brokerage houses E-trade and Schwab.com in six months -- a few pennies at a time.
Michael Largent, of Plumas Lake, California, allegedly exploited a loophole in a common procedure both companies follow when a customer links his brokerage account to a bank account for the first time. To verify that the account number and routing information is correct, the brokerages automatically send small "micro-deposits" of between two cents to one dollar to the account, and ask the customer to verify that they've received it.
Largent allegedly used an automated script to open 58,000 online brokerage accounts, linking each of them to a handful of online bank accounts, and accumulating thousands of dollars in micro-deposits.
I know it's only May, but I think the competition for Threat Level's Caper of the Year award is over.
Largent's script allegedly used fake names, addresses and Social Security numbers for the brokerage accounts. Largent allegedly favored cartoon characters for the names, including Johnny Blaze, King of the Hill patriarch Hank Hill, and Rusty Shackelford. That last name is doubly-fake -- it's the alias commonly used by the paranoid exterminator Dale Gribble on King of the Hill.
The banks involved included Capital One, Metabank, Greendot and Skylight. Largent allegedly cashed out by channeling the money into pre-paid debit cards.
A May 7 Secret Service search warrant affidavit (.pdf) says Largent tried the same thing with Google's Checkout service, accumulating $8,225.29 in eight different bank accounts at Bancorp Bank.
When the bank asked Largent about the thousands of small transfers, he told them that he'd read Google's terms of service, and that it didn't prohibit multiple e-mail addresses and accounts. "He stated he needed the money to pay off debts and stated that this was one way to earn money, by setting up multiple accounts having Google submit the two small deposits."
The Google caper is not charged in the indictment. (.pdf)
According to the government, Largent was undone by the USA Patriot Act's requirement that financial firms verify the identity of their customers. Schwab.com was notified in January that more than 5,000 online accounts had been opened with bogus information. When the Secret Service investigated, they found some 11,385 Schwab accounts were opened under the name "Speed Apex" from the same five IP addresses, all of them tracing back to Largent's internet service from AT&T.
Largent is free on bail. He's charged in federal court in Sacramento with four counts each of computer fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud. He didn't return repeated phone calls Tuesday; Representatives of E-trade, Schwab.com and Google also didn't return phone calls.
A man has been acquitted of smuggling iguanas from Fiji in his hollowed-out prosthetic leg.
However, a jury on Thursday found Jereme James guilty of concealing and possessing Fiji Island banded iguanas. The neon green-striped iguanas are an endangered species, prosecutors said.
He faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison when sentenced July 14.
The jury rejected charges that James stole the iguanas while visiting the South Pacific island in September 2002.
An e-mail message to James' lawyer was not immediately returned.
During an undercover probe, James told investigators he had sold three iguanas for $32,000 (£16,200), prosecutors said. Four iguanas were seized when a search warrant was served at his house in April.
SHANGHAI - The general manager of a Shanghai chemical company was jailed for two years on Thursday for selling fake tablets of the male impotence drug Viagra on the Internet, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Yu Bohuai made a profit of over 60,000 yuan ($8,585) in 2006 and 2007 by selling 14,030 fake tablets to clients abroad and in Shanghai. He was arrested last July.
Viagra is marketed by Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it to treat impotence in 1998.
St. Paul, Minn. — Malt liquor beverages and their store-front advertisements are far more prevalent in poor African American communities than in other ethnic neighborhoods.
A new study by the University of Minnesota says easy access to the high alcohol beer could be contributing to higher homicide rates in black communities.
Principle investigator Rhonda Jones-Webb said her findings do not prove that higher malt liquor exposure causes higher homicide rates. But she said the data does raise concerns for these neighborhoods.
"The findings do suggest that these neighborhoods do have a high concentration of outlets and that malt liquor is highly available and promoted and we should be concerned about it because of the effects of these types of beverages," Jones-Webb said.
Jones-Webb said malt beverages are associated with heavier drinking and aggressive behavior. She says that could contribute to higher homicide rates in African American communities.
"Living in a low-income black neighborhood you're not only more likely to be a victim of homicide, but have greater exposure to ads promoting these high alcohol-content beverages as well as greater access to them," she said.
Jones-Webb said her team would need to do another study looking at alcohol consumption data before it could prove a link between malt beverages and higher homicide rates.
Ten U.S. Cities were included in the U of M study, including Minneapolis and St. Paul.
A Buffalo man is accused of picking what may be the worst possible place to stash some drugs while police were looking on. Two Buffalo police officers were checking out drug activity in a
neighborhood late Monday night when they spotted Bernard Fincher Jr.,
25, walk up to a doughnut box, pick up a white object and place it in
his pocket. Police told The Buffalo News that Fincher walked away, then went
back and placed a white object back in the box. The officers moved in
and checked out the carton, which was empty of doughnuts but contained
some crack cocaine. Fincher was arrested at the scene and later charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.
A Buffalo man is accused of picking what may be the worst possible place to stash some drugs while police were looking on.
Two Buffalo police officers were checking out drug activity in a neighborhood late Monday night when they spotted Bernard Fincher Jr., 25, walk up to a doughnut box, pick up a white object and place it in his pocket.
Police told The Buffalo News that Fincher walked away, then went back and placed a white object back in the box. The officers moved in and checked out the carton, which was empty of doughnuts but contained some crack cocaine.
Fincher was arrested at the scene and later charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Nothing can stop a good cop from catching his man – not even being stark naked, it seems.
An off-duty policeman in New Zealand leapt into action when a thief tried to steal his wife's car in the early hours of the morning. The fact that he was stark naked at the time, having only just woken up, didn't seem to deter him.
Instead, after hearing the starter motor of the car, he grabbed a torch and ran outside to confront the miscreant.
Faced with the sight of a naked, torch-wielding man running towards him, the offender made a run for it – only to be apprehended by the policeman's (clothed) wife, who grabbed him by the collar.
He managed to get away again briefly – perhaps spurred by the fact that a naked guy was ordering him to lie on the ground – but was quickly picked up by some properly dressed policemen shortly afterwards.
ROME - A court in Sicily has ruled that an accused Mafioso can be put under house arrest because he is too fat for any Italian jail.
Guards at the first two prisons said they constantly needed to help Ferranti, 36, get dressed and undressed, move about and go to the bathroom.
Guards at other prisons said there was no bed big enough for him, that he could not get through the bathroom door, and that they would be at a loss if he had to be taken to a hospital in an emergency.
Ferranti was accused of being a member of the Mafia clan once headed by Salvatore Lo Piccolo, the "boss of bosses" arrested last November.
Lawyer Raffaele Bonsignore filed a motion with a court in Palermo to release him under house arrest because he suffered from "grave obesity," calling it "a pathology incompatible with prison."
A former stuntman said today that he has decided to protect his business with a Roman catapult loaded with chicken droppings after he became the target of vandals.
Joe Weston-Webb, 70, is also using a cannon which once shot his wife Mary across the River Avon to fire a railway sleeper at intruders.
Mr Weston-Webb, now a businessman who supplies flooring to the hit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, fell victim to arsonists last month after they tried to set light to his offices in Kegworth, Nottinghamshire.
He said: 'There's no way anyone will get caught for what they have done so I thought I would set up my own defence.'I have put up a sign warning anyone who enters the property that they could get hit with a railway sleeper or chicken poo.
'I am sickened but nowadays these things are going on all the time and no-one gets any punishment.
'I have got all this old kit and I am going to put it to some use and stop it rather than letting it rot in a field.'
Mr Weston-Webb said the arsonists had caused £2,000 of damage to his offices. Fortunately a neighbour spotted the blaze on February 2 and put it out but not before phones lines had been burnt.
Four cars also had their tyres slashed at the home of his daughter Mary an hour before the arson attack.
Mr Weston-Webb, who runs Grumpy Joe's Flooring Sales, is installing 32 CCTV cameras.
His wife Mary, 54, said: 'We feel very vulnerable. It took an awful long time for the police to come round and although they were very sympathetic there's very little they can do to help us and we need to protect our property.'
A spokesman for Notts Police said: 'The incidents of arson were reported to us and I am aware that we have had officers look in to it.'
In Des Moines, Iowa, a clever robber managed to make off with $115 from a Git-N-Go convenience store, but forgot his hat and jacket. More importantly, he also left behind his W-2 form in the pocket of his jacket.
When police checked the name on the W-2, they found that the 25-year-old man has a suspended driver’s license and is currently on probation for theft charges. Small wonder.
ROME - Italians are used to buying bogus Gucci bags or Rolex watches to look stylish but police found a new height of craftsmanship and cunning when they broke up a ring selling fake Ferrari cars for a fraction of the real price.
Police accused 15 people of building the blood red sports cars and selling them to car fanatics on a budget, most of whom knew they were buying a counterfeit classic.
Car body workers who police called "very able" cobbled together mostly fake parts and a few original components. They used body parts from other makes of automobiles, such as chassis, roofs, hoods, trunks and doors.
The body parts were modified to look like Ferrari classics such as the 328 Gtb, which went out of production in the late 1980s.
Some of the cars sold for about 20,000 euros, about a tenth of the going price for some versions.
Police confiscated 21 cars, 14 of which had already been sold, and seven in production in Sicilian garages. (Reporting by Vladimir Pantaleone; Writing by Philip Pullella; Editing by Ibon Villelabeitia)