24 people arrested at Port Canaveral on drug charges before EDM cruise

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. Jan 9 2018 - A cruise set sail from at Port Canaveral this weekend but with two dozen fewer people.

Two dozen people were arrested on drug possession charges during security checks before boarding the ship for the Holy Ship! 2018 event.

Holy Ship denied a comment but on its website states that there is a zero-tolerance policy:

“Holy Ship! has a strict zero tolerance policy. You will be embarking Holy Ship! in Port Canaveral and passing through security run by Customs and Border Protection, a division of Homeland Security. Your person and your luggage can and will be searched. Forget about your right to privacy, you are passing through a port where all local and federal laws apply and are strictly enforced.

Every person and each piece of luggage will be inspected by dogs trained to detect explosives and contraband. Anyone found to be violating the law and/or in possession of illegal substances or prohibited items (weapons, illegal controlled substances, etc) will be arrested and banned from all future events. For more information on what to expect at embarkation, visit TSA.”

Twenty-four people didn’t heed that statement Saturday, deputies said.

“It ranges from marijuana to cocaine, MDMA or ecstasy. A lot of the drugs are used in a rave scene. A lot of people with paraphernalia,” Brevard County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Tod Goodyear said.

Goodyear told News 6 the port added security this weekend knowing the cruise would set sail Saturday.

“I think that based on some of the things that occurred during previous events and some of the activities that were there, there was some concern that the people that would be traveling would be trying to conceal drugs and bring them on the ships,” Goodyear said.

Among those arrested was DJ Gina Turner.

She has hired a lawyer and said she couldn’t say much about the arrest but did issue a statement.

“I had a medical marijuana card for both of the charges that I’ve been charged with. Though the report says without a prescription, and I had NO cocaine on me at all, false positive result,” Turner said.

She said she plans to fight the charges.

Norwegian is the chosen cruise line for the event. When asked for a comment, officials referred News 6 to law enforcement officials.

Steve Linden, director of communications and public affairs for Port Canaveral, released a statement about the series of arrests.

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Two men charged in $1.3 million Houston armored truck robbery

Houston TX Jan 4 2018 Two men have been charged with aggravated robbery after taking part in the theft of more than $1.3 million from a courier carrying money to a Garda armored truck from a southwest Houston Frost Bank, according to court records.

The robbery occurred the day after Christmas in the 9300 block of Kirby Drive, when two masked men armed with guns took bags filled with cash from the courier. Denzel Miles, 25, a former Garda courier, and Davione Owens, 20 have been identified as two of the robbers and both face charges of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon charges, according to charging documents.

Owens is being held in the Harris County Jail with no bond. Miles is currently out on a $40,000 bond.

Miles has identified a Ronald Freeman as an accomplice in the robbery and the co-registered owner of the getaway car, a 2013 Lincoln MKZ, court records show.

Authorities have said the burned body of a man with the same name was found a day after the robbery in the woods near 5700 block of Wenda. But they have not said if that Freeman was connected to the robbery and it remains unclear to authorities how he ended up dead.

The case began when the Garda courier, who was conducting a drop off and pick up of the money, was exiting the Frost Bank with two plastic currency bags and returning to the armored truck. At that point, the two robbers approached him from a Lincoln MKZ, according to court records.

The robbers ordered the man to get on the ground, took the money and fled the Frost Bank parking lot.

According to court records, a Garda employee apparently told her manager on Dec. 24 that Miles was planning to rob an armored bank truck “he was formerly assigned” and said he knew the driver of the route would be an “easy target,” court documents stated.

The employee said that Miles drove a silver Lincoln MKZ vehicle and showed authorities a photo of the man standing in front of the car.

The Garda employee called Miles, but he denied knowing anything about the armored truck robbery and said he was out of town in Louisiana.

A Garda security manager told authorities that Miles had been terminated in October after “failing to cooperate with an internal theft investigation,” at the company, according to court records. The manager also said that Miles knew where the money was picked-up and dropped off at the Frost Bank “was not in a secure location,” according to court records.

Miles was found on Dec. 28–two days after the robbery– in the 3500 block of Woodchase Drive and arrested. A black Glock and a little over $14,000 was found inside the Blue Kia Soul Miles was driving before he was arrested.

After he was arrested, Miles told police that another person called “Poppa” participated in the robbery and his car was used as the getaway vehicle. He gave authorities “Poppa’s” phone number. Authorities identified the user of the phone as Ronald Freeman.

Miles said that he met up with Freeman and another person, before the three men conducted the robbery. The three men then drove to another location after the robbery where they split the money.

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Florida may require businesses to verify employees through

A panel of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission unanimously backed a proposal (P 29) that would require all employers in Florida to use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Employment Authorization Program, known as E-Verify, to determine the eligibility of new employees.

Commissioner Rich Newsome, an attorney from Orlando who sponsored the proposal, said the measure has widespread support from the public. However, he said the issue has failed to garner legislative support in past years because powerful special interests tied to agriculture and construction make it “impossible” to advance.

“Everybody knows why it can’t pass the Legislature despite the fact that if you polled the Republican base of the folks that are in power, it’s off the chart,” Newsome said.

Adam Blalock, representing the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, told the commission’s General Provisions Committee that if E-Verify is put in place, the agriculture industry would suffer a short-term labor shortage that would result in lost and unharvested crops.

“There must be a replacement labor for agriculture before E-Verify is established,” Blalock said.

“The federal government this year is working on legislation to better the H-2A guest worker program to try to remove some of the problems that agriculture faces to allow a more legal work force to be in the United States,” Blalock continued. “But domestic supply of agriculture workers, it’s not there to replace those who would inevitably be not able to work if E-Verify was put into place. There is just not that population of people that is willing to do the hard work to get the food on your table. And that’s not a popular opinion, but it is reality.”

Newsome said he offered a carve-out for agriculture interests that use guest-worker visas, but a number of mid-sized farmers are concerned about covering housing, transportation and health-care costs.

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Drone pilot arrested after multiple NFL stadium incidents

A California man was arrested Sunday for flying a drone over two NFL stadiums and attempting to drop anti-media pamphlets into the crowd.

Tracy Mapes, a 55-year-old Sacramento resident, was cited and released by Santa Clara police for flying the drone in violation of a local municipal code, department spokesperson Dan Moreno told USA TODAY Sports on Monday.

The drone appeared at Levi’s Stadium during the second quarter of the San Francisco 49ers’ 24-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and was later seen over Oakland Coliseum, where the Oakland Raiders were playing the Denver Broncos.

Moreno said the message on the leaflets was “anti-local news media, and TV news stations specifically.” The charge was a misdemeanor, he said.

There is also an ongoing federal investigation and Mapes may face additional charges, according to Moreno, because the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits the flying of drones within five miles of an airport. Both Levi’s Stadium and Oakland Coliseum are within that range.

The San Francisco Chronicle added that the drone was a relatively ineffective messenger because “most of the drone-dropped leaflets were carried away by the win.

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Albuquerque Fingerprint Backlog Increases to 6,000 Cases

“Three Albuquerque Police Department forensic scientists have a daunting task – closely examine and match thousands of collected fingerprints to suspects in order to help solve crimes.

At the Albuquerque Metropolitan Forensics Science Center, 6,000 latent fingerprint packets are waiting to be processed.

The backlog has increased 20-fold since 2014, according to APD data. In 2014, there were five forensic scientists and approximately 300 backlogged cases. Back then, prints took one to two months to process.

Now, latent fingerprints can wait anywhere from one week to 16 months to be processed depending on the Bernalillo County Case Management Order.

The CMO was created to clear up the Bernalillo County District Court case backlog and to prevent pretrial detainees from waiting in jail for months for their cases to be tried.

Instead, Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez has said that the CMO has unintentionally put an undue burden on the public because defendants – sometimes repeat offenders – are often released with no bond before their trial.

Though the Albuquerque City Council approved funding to train and employ civilians to be property crime scene specialists in order to help police, the rate at which the civilian specialists have been collecting prints and dropping them off at the metro lab is greatly outpacing its ability to process them.

“We’ve increased our staff to get reports done and collect the evidence, but we haven’t been as proactive in increasing the lab staff to do the backend work,” APD Commander Jeff McDonald said.

‘I GUESS THEY DON’T CATCH ANYBODY’

Criminals have targeted Aragon’s Lawn and Wood Center in northeast Albuquerque more than 30 times over the past decade, according to the owners. It’s gotten to the point where Owner Richard Aragon has slept at his business armed.

The marine veteran was a sniper in the Vietnam War.

“They’re all fully loaded,” Aragon said.

That isn’t the extent of the precautions he has taken. The lawnmower business is surrounded by motion detector lighting, surveillance cameras and concertina wire.

“We can catch them with the infrared (cameras) and we can get good images at night. Some of the pictures that we’ve taken with our surveillance show us the same guy,” he said.

Aragon and his wife, Kathy, are just two of the thousands of property crime victims in the city waiting for justice.

“Nothing that we know of, or at least they don’t tell us anything and I guess they don’t catch anybody,” Kathy Aragon said.

McDonald has a message for the Aragons and others in their situation.

“Be patient. We’re trying,” he said. “We’re trying to get everybody’s cases solved.”

McDonald said there are currently plans to hire two more forensic scientists. Two retired in 2015, but were never replaced.

Still, the hiring process could take anywhere from two to four months. If the applicant is a recent college graduate with limited experience, he or she will have to be trained for a year.

“I joined the police department to help people,” McDonald said. “(It’s) just not at the fastest rate I’d like.”

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Walmart security officers honored by St Paul Police

“It was a routine day for Walmart security officers Chao Vang and Dan Miller until a man in a winter coat slipped out the door with a pair of pants and some medical supplies.

Soon, along with St. Paul police officer Tom Reis, they were embroiled in a life-or-death struggle with the shoplifter. The man was sprawled across the ground flailing his limbs, a 6-inch knife in his right hand.

“I was on my knees holding [the man] down,” Reis recently recalled. “He would’ve been in the perfect position to get my neck … It is a possibility I wouldn’t even be here” were it not for Vang and Miller.

Both hands clamped down on the man’s right wrist, Reis yelled for Vang and Miller to help until other St. Paul officers could arrive. Vang and Miller recently received the police chief’s life saving award for their actions during the Dec. 22, 2016, incident. One other civilian and two officers also received the award for their actions in other cases.

“He asked for help, so I just jumped in,” Vang said.

Reis was working off-duty at the Midway store on University Avenue when he spotted the shoplifter and stopped him. Unbeknown to the officers at the time, the man had just allegedly violated a harassment restraining order, sliced another man several times with the knife and was apparently seeking a change of clothes and first aid at Walmart.

Reis walked the man into the back of the store with Vang and Miller in tow. When Reis gave him a pat down, he discovered the knife stashed in a coat pocket. “Don’t do anything stupid,” Reis told the man.

But the man pulled away, brandished the knife and refused to drop it, according to Reis and court documents. Reis and the man struggled to the ground, with the officer warning the man that he would use deadly force if necessary. That’s when Reis called for Vang and Miller.

Miller yelled for a store worker to call 911 and held down the man’s back and left arm. Vang grabbed onto his legs.

“The guy said, ‘I’m not going to give up my knife,’ ” Vang recalled. “And, ‘I’m going to stab you if I have to.’ ”
The man thrashed.

“I’m going to get you,” the man said, according to Reis.

“I had to put all my body into it,” Vang said.

The struggle continued despite the pile-on, and at some point, Reis sustained a small cut to his right hand that remains scarred today. He can’t be sure if it was the knife or something else that nicked him, but he knows he was uncomfortably close to an officer’s worst nightmare — being killed on the job or killing someone on the job to save his own life. Backup officers arrived before any more harm could be done.

“I’m grateful they stepped in and helped me,” Reis said of Vang and Miller. “In the big picture of things, no one got hurt, which I think is a small miracle.”

The 31-year-old man, a Minneapolis resident, was charged with three felonies in the incident at Walmart and the earlier assault on a man. Charges were later dropped when he was found mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Venancio Arellando-O’Campo was also recognized for stopping to help an elderly man with dementia who had wandered away from a field trip to Como Zoo on a cold February day.
Arellando-O’Campo was driving when he saw the man walking along Hwy. 36 dressed only in a sweatshirt, said Police Chief Todd Axtell. Concerned by the unusual sight, he pulled over, spoke to the man, who had limited communication skills, and took him to McDonald’s when he said he was hungry.

“This is really a classic definition of being a good Samaritan,” Axtell said.

The man had been missing for hours when Arellando-O’Campo found him.

“I feel glad to help somebody …,” Arellando-O’Campo said.

Officers Jeff Boyle and Santiago Rodriguez were honored for performing CPR on an unconscious man who had fallen to the ground at a gas station during a heroin overdose.

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Texas school police to use drones to keep campuses safe

“School district police officers here completed a months-long drone training program at Sanchez Elementary on Friday.

This spring, Drone Pilot Inc., a Central Texas training firm, taught four officers from the McAllen Independent School District Police Department on the usage of drones. The 100-hour training, which began in February, went through various real-life scenarios.

Friday, the officers had their final exam on completing would-be scenarios of search and rescue. Their drone skills were tested on finding a missing child/endangered adult and identifying an unknown object, a skill that could help diffuse a bomb scare. Another mission was going through hazardous materials like an ammonia leak from a car.
Gene Robinson, vice president, co-founder and flight team director of Drone Pilot, said the officers learned to problem solve and jointly worked together in their missions.

“They (officers) will use the skills that we taught them, go out and try to solve,” Robinson said.
The drones will be used for faster response times and be used for investigative purposes to hold aerial views of parking lots, reconstruct collisions, look for evidence/crime scenes, and assess structural damage to buildings after a natural disaster or arson and most commonly, locate intruders in and around campuses.

“This training will be good for the public to keep them safe,” McAllen ISD Police Sgt. Charles Eric Treviño said. “When you look at it at ground level, it doesn’t look the same when you take it at aerial photographs. It’s different.”

“It’ll take minutes versus possible hours bringing an agency to check it out,” Treviño added about response times.

The drone training was divided into three phases. The introductory section covered legal issues and copyright information. Section two, covered the proper usage of equipment and regulations with recording and documenting the missions on logbooks. The final section was team cooperation and following proper procedures before beginning a mission.
Government use of aerial drones became much easier when the Federal Aviation Administration flipped the switch on new regulations last year, prompting some law enforcement agencies to adopt the technology.

The San Marcos Police Department has purchased a drone that will be used for investigations into vehicle crashes involving serious injury or death.

Before the FAA created new regulations last summer, the Austin Fire Department had already been operating drones to monitor and respond to wildfires for more than a year under a rare exemption that made it one of the first public safety agencies in the country allowed to use drones.”

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Security and police make several arrests at Livingston Mall

“Police assisted security officers and made several arrests with various charges on May 13 and May 14 at the Livingston Mall.

The first call from the Livingston Mall was about person being held in the parking lot by security for potentially being in possession of stolen property, according to police.

Upon police arrival, it was revealed that the individual possessed multiple items stolen from six different stores at the Livingston Mall. Subsequent to investigation, Robert Braswell, 33, of East Orange was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property and was released on his own recognizance pending court action.

The next afternoon, police received a call from both Lord & Taylor security and Livingston Mall security, whom were attempting to take an individual into custody who may have previously passed bad checks. Upon arrival, the female was fighting with security officers, according to police.

Ultimately, Latesha Shavers, 35, of Perth Amboy, was charged with assault and resisting arrest. Police said she had also been under investigation by Lord & Taylor security the previous week for passing bad checks.

Shavers was subsequently charged by Livingston police for passing bad checks and theft by deception on an incident that occurred on May 7. Following these charges, she was remanded to the Essex County Jail.”

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Facebook says police can’t use its data for ‘surveillance’

Facebook is cutting police departments off from a vast trove of data that has been increasingly used to monitor protesters and activists.

The move, which the social network announced Monday, comes in the wake of concerns over law enforcement’s tracking of protesters’ social media accounts in places such as Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore. It also comes at a time when chief executive Mark Zuckerberg says he is expanding the company’s mission from merely “connecting the world” into friend networks to promoting safety and community.

Although the social network’s core business is advertising, Facebook, along with Twitter and Facebook-owned Instagram, also provides developers access to users’ public feeds. The developers use the data to monitor trends and public events. For example, advertisers have tracked how and which consumers are discussing their products, while the Red Cross has used social data to get real-time information during disasters such as Hurricane Sandy.

But the social networks have come under fire for working with third parties who market the data to law enforcement. Last year, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter cut off access to Geofeedia, a start-up that shared data with law enforcement, in response to an investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU published documents that made references to tracking activists at protests in Baltimore in 2015 after the death of a black man, Freddie Gray, while in police custody and also to protests in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014 after the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old.

On Monday, Facebook updated its instructions for developers to say that they cannot “use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance.”

The company also said, in an accompanying blog post, that it had kicked other developers off the platform since it had cut ties with Geofeedia.

Until now, Facebook hasn’t been explicit about who can use information that users post publicly. This can include a person’s friend list, location, birthday, profile picture, education history, relationship status and political affiliation — if they make their profile or certain posts public.

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Arlington Heights police warn about ‘grandkid scam’

Arlington Heights police are warning residents to be wary of calls seeking money to bail loved ones out of jail after an elderly woman was taken for $4,000 last week in a so-called “grandkid scam.”

A scammer phoned the woman on Thursday, claiming to be her grandson, with another person saying her grandson needed money to get out of jail, according to Crime Prevention Officer Brandi Romag.

The woman then followed the scammer’s instructions to go to a local Target store and buy gift cards totaling $4,000, Romag said.

“The sooner they get you moving, the sooner they’ve got you,” Romag said.

She said the scammers told the woman to call them back with details about the gift cards she purchased.

“They ask for the gift cards’ numbers and the PIN, and instantly, the money is gone,” Romag said.

The “grandkid scam” typically begins with a call in which an elderly person is told his or her grandchild needs money for bail, for a medical bill or to get out of some other kind of trouble, according to the Federal Trade Commission website www.ftc.gov. The victim is commonly told the matter is urgent and must be kept a secret, the site says.

“Scammers are good at pretending to be someone they’re not,” the website says. “They can be convincing, sometimes using information from social networking sites or hacking into your loved one’s email account to make it seem more real. And they’ll pressure you to send money before you have time to think.”

Officials advise that anyone receiving such a call should hang up immediately, then call his or her grandchild’s phone number or another family member to determine whether the problem is legitimate. But the scammers can be very persuasive, authorities say.

“Sometimes these callers are very adamant, and they tell the victim they’ll stay on the line with them or will call them back in 10 minutes,” Romag said.

She said often the phone scams involve an easily obtained gift card.

“These offenders prey on your emotions,” Romag said. “It doesn’t make any sense that you’d need to buy a gift card in these situations, but the elderly victims are being told that their grandchildren are in trouble and by the time they figure out something’s not right, it’s too late.”

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