Why Washington DC Police Are Cracking Down on Cannabis ‘Gifting’

Washington DC Feb 3 2018 For nearly seven hours on a muggy Saturday last August, hundreds of people paid $10 apiece to enter Uneeda Nichols’ Southeast D.C. home, where 10 vendors had set up inside with flowers, concentrates, ready-to-smoke bongs and more. Nichols says she wasn’t aware her address was circulating on social media, printed on a flyer advertising $5 “gas mask” and bong hits and “complimentary strain sampling”–but Metropolitan Police were.

Metro Police bought tickets, bought cannabis, then brought the hammer down.

“They stayed outside, they watched all the vendors bring their stuff in, they bought tickets at the side of the house, and they came,” Nichols said, referring to undercover officers who surveilled her home for six hours before entering with nearly $100 apiece to purchase marijuana.

Minutes after they left, police raided the house, confiscating $22,808 in cash, nearly eight pounds of marijuana and more than 34 pounds of edibles, along with Nichols’ grow of 43 plants, according to an arrest report. (Nichols says only 10 of them were harvest-ready, and all of them were for “educational” or personal use.) She was charged with marijuana cultivation, distribution and possession; seven others were hit with distribution and possession charges.

“They took everything,” Nichols, a medicinal patient in the District.

In the last few months, sources tell Leafly local authorities have raided a growing number of cannabis events at private homes and bars and restaurants around the city. On Jan. 20, cops arrested 22 people at XO Lounge downtown, seizing 17 pounds of flower, 10 pounds of edibles and two quarts of oils.

‘I chuckle when I think about people believing that the law can be so easily gotten around. Clearly it cannot.’

One week earlier, they busted an event at Vita Lounge in Shaw, arresting one person and seizing more than three pounds of cannabis, along with edibles, oils and $1,181 in cash, an arrest report confirmed. And on Dec. 22, 2017, police shut down an event at The Elroy on H Street, taking five containers with an unspecified amount of flower, the department confirmed.

In 2014, D.C. residents passed the Initiative 71 ballot measure, legalizing home grow of up to six plants, possession of up to two ounces and gifting of up to an ounce of marijuana. Congress blocked the city from spending any money to regulate sales of the plant, but allowed the ballot measure to become law. Days after it took effect, D.C. lawmakers enacted an amendment banning so-called cannabis clubs, prohibiting consumption at bars, restaurants and other public spaces.

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TSA confiscated nearly 11 guns a day at airports in 2017

Airport security screeners found nearly 4,000 guns in passengers’ carry-on bags last year, an average of nearly 11 guns a day.

The total marked a 16% increase from 2016, according the Transportation Security Administration’s Year in Review Report. The majority of those guns — 84% — were loaded at the time.

The amount of firearms discovered at airport checkpoints has consistently climbed in the last decade, the total more than quadrupling since 2007, according to the report.

Guns were discovered at 239 airports nationwide, with Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport taking the top spot for most firearms seized. A total of 245 guns were recovered at the Georgia airport, 222 of them loaded.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston round out the top three, with 211 and 142 guns seized at each location, respectively.

Federal law allows for passengers to transport unloaded guns in a locked, hard-sided container. It must be declared, and the gun cannot be packed in a carry-on.

In addition to firearms, the TSA in 2017 recovered “thousands upon thousands” of sharp items in carry-on bags as well as other hazardous items — including live grenades and large quantities of gun powder.

While properly packed ammunition is allowed in checked bags, gun powder is prohibited altogether.

Officers also recovered scores of “inert items,” including a replica suicide vest, a realistic looking land mine and dozens of fake grenades and explosive devices.

“When being viewed on the X-ray monitor, we don’t know if these are real or inert until TSA explosive experts are called to the scene,” the TSA said in a release. “Inert grenades can lead to closed terminals and checkpoints, which can often result in costly canceled or delayed flights.”

TSA agents urged travelers to double-check their belongings as many commuters claim they’ve only brought along the prohibited items by mistake.

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Radford University freshman ran ‘mini-syndicate’ prosecutor says

RADFORD — The brief drug-dealing career of a Radford University freshman brought him his own apartment with $25,000 in a safe beneath the kitchen sink and a 9mm pistol in a drawer — but it also brought threats to his family in Northern Virginia and the possibility of decades in prison for the one-time business major, attorneys and relatives said Friday.

“This isn’t some sandal-wearing hippie we caught here,” Radford Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Rehak said during a circuit court sentencing hearing for Gabriel Eduardo Yus-Baez, 18. “This is a major player in some kind of drug organization.”

Yus-Baez pleaded guilty in November to three counts of possessing drugs with the intent to distribute them — one each for cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana — and to possessing a gun while possessing drugs.

On Friday, Judge Joey Showalter sentenced Yus-Baez to 35 years in prison, then suspended the term after Yus-Baez serves five years and five months. The judge imposed a $4,000 fine, suspended Yus-Baez’s driver’s license for 18 months after his release, and ordered supervision by the probation office for five years.

Before the sentence was pronounced, Yus-Baez said that he knew he had earned punishment but after a year in jail, was more than ready to turn his life around.

“I still plan — even though this is going to get in the way for a moment — to move forward and start something better … Please find it in your heart to let me go out there and make a better life for myself,” Yus-Baez said.

He agreed with defense attorney Jimmy Turk of Radford that he had been “young, dumb and stupid,” but was enticed by the idea of fast money and a showy lifestyle.

Wanda Baez, Yus-Baez’s mother, took the witness stand to speak for the half-dozen or so relatives in the courtroom. “You have put us in the most difficult situation of our lives,” she said to her son.

To Showalter, Baez said that she hoped her son could emerge from whatever punishment was imposed and realize the potential he had shown in high school.

“I hope and pray he has the opportunity to prove he can do better,” she said.

Questioned by Turk, Baez said that the family has felt threatened by people apparently connected to Yus-Baez’s drug cases, which include the Radford charges and another case in Northern Virginia.

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Slidell Police arrest 4 following fight in Walmart

The Slidell Police Department has arrested four women following a large fight inside of a Walmart.

Police say the fight happened around 1 p.m. Saturday at the Walmart located at 39142 Natchez Drive.

According to police, they received several calls about the large fight in the produce section. Callers also told police that some of the people were using pepper spray.

The fight involved more than 10 people and two of the people involved in the fight were taken to a nearby hospital for minor injuries.

Police later arrested four women in connection with the fight. Police have charged 19-year-old Alexis Neal of Slidell, 38-year-old Majara Walker of Slidell, 17-year-old Seanice Warren of St. Louis, MO and 22-year-old Morgan Walker of Slidell with disturbing the peace by fighting.

Investigators say the fight began due to a previous conflict between two different families. By chance, the two groups encountered each other in Walmart.

Videos of the fight quickly went viral Saturday afternoon following the incident.

Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal released a statement saying, “This type of behavior is disgusting and unacceptable. This does not portray the character of the majority of our citizens here in Slidell. These women should be ashamed of themselves for doing this in the middle of one of the busiest retail stores in our city. Let this be a clear message that this will not be tolerated.”

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Security agents capture woman who stole clothing at Victoria secret’s store

Norridge IL Dec 24 2017 A 47-year-old Chicago woman was charged Dec. 13 with felony retail theft at the Harlem Irving Plaza Victoria’s Secret store, according to police.

Bond was set at $75,000 for Shavelle Robison, of the 4900 block of Quincy Street. Robison also had outstanding warrants.

She is to appear in court Jan. 11.

A Norridge police officer responded at 9 p.m., Dec. 13 to the second-floor parking garage, where Robison was detained by security officers.

Victoria Secret sales employees told police they saw her select clothing from store shelves, stuffing three bags full of merchandise.

After one employee approached her , she exited the store, they said. The employees told police they flagged down a mall security officer near the entrance of the store. The security officer attempted to approach Robison, who continued walking up an escalator to the second floor, police said.

The security officer continued to follow her to the second floor, where she walked outside, holding her three bags, to a vehicle, police said.

The security guard followed her to the vehicle, where Robison walked to the passenger side of the car, dropped the three bags on the ground, and continued walking away, police said.
Other mall officers arrived on the scene to assist. Robison was detained after getting on another escalator.

One of the police officers followed store employees back to Victoria’s Secret with the recovered merchandise. The merchandise, when laid out and counted, amounted to 67 pieces of clothing, police said.

The total value came to $1,063.25, police said.

Robison was arrested and taken to the Norridge Police Station.

While at the station, she underwent a fingerprint check, which revealed she has active warrants for criminal damage to property and retail theft, out of the village of Rosemont, police said.

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Four College Students Arrested In Alleged Shoplifting Ring

SCOTT COUNTY, Ky.- Four Georgetown College students face charges after they allegedly participated in a shoplifting ring that tried to steal more than $500 in merchandise from a store.

Police reports show officers responded to a call about 4:50 p.m. Monday from Kohl’s when a security officer allegedly saw four women choose merchandise and take the items into the same fitting room. The security officer said the women removed inventory-control tags from the items, and hid the items in a backpack that one of the women carried. Store employees found the tags in the fitting room but no clothing left there, the reports said.

The security guard stopped the women in the parking lot, searched the backpack and found several unpurchased items, the report said. The guard escorted the women back into the store.

The total value of the stolen items was $577, one report said.

Mariah Mackenzie Bolasina, Ariana J. Garner, London R. Polk and Shelby Briannon Webster, all 19 and all of Georgetown, were charged with theft by unlawful taking-shoplifting more than $500 but less than $10,000 and engaging in organized crime.

Georgetown College Associate Vice President for College Relations Jim Allison confirmed the four are students.

Officials say the women had been previously identified as suspects in shoplifting that occurred Nov. 30, but no charge had been filed regarding those allegations.

All four were lodged without bond in the detention center.

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Sam’s employee seen on camera swiping $60,000 deposit

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. – Just a few days after Black Friday, police said a woman employed at Sam’s Club in Colonial Heights snatched a bag of money from the safe.

Store accountants noticed the missing deposit money, and launched an investigation into the missing $60,000.

“As they began their investigation and they realized one of their deposit bags was missing, they began to go through some surveillance tape from inside the store,” said Capt. William Anspach, with Colonial Heights Police.

Store cameras revealed that an employee removed the money from the safe and took it to the family restroom before an armored vehicle picked up the deposit.

Police said 30-year-old Erika Sue Apodaca then met up inside the store with 36-year-old Brian Steven Lindenfeld Jr.

“Ms. Apodaca removed the bag from the safe, took it into one of the family restrooms inside the store and failed to return it back to the area where the Armored Car Delivery Service would pick up the bag,” Anspach said.

“There was an exchange between the two and the male party and female party later met outside, outside in the parking lot,” Anspach said.

Both Apodaca and Lindenfeld were arrested Monday, without incident.

Apodaca is charged with felony embezzlement and conspiracy. Lindenfeld is charged with two felony counts of grand larceny and felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

The money has not been recovered.

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Pair arrested for credit card fraud after alert security notices suspicious

Pleasant Grove CA Dec 5 2017  Pleasant Grove police arrested a man and a woman after they reportedly attempted to pick up six orders from essential oils company doTerra totaling more than $13,142 from Nov. 24 to Friday.

The orders were reportedly made using credit card information that was hacked from a Nashville company named Z Health, according to police reports.

On Friday, a doTerra security employee called Pleasant Grove police to report that two people were at the Pleasant Grove company to pick up product that was suspected of being purchased with a stolen credit card number. The order was placed online and the pair didn’t have the credit card in their possession.

The employee reported the pair was in a white Ford pickup with a California license plate. After the pickup left the doTerra property, officers executed a traffic stop on it near 1300 West and 100 South. The vehicle reportedly changed lanes without signaling and had a recently expired registration.

During the traffic stop, the man reportedly said his license was suspended and he couldn’t provide any form of identification. He reportedly provided a name of Jose Martinez and an age that didn’t match his stated date of birth. The man said three times he was 25 years old and born in 1986, reports state. He later said he was born in 1991.

The woman, identified as Jessica Contreras, 30, of Rifle, Colorado, said the man’s name was Martinez and he was her boyfriend of two years.

The man was later identified as Armando Mendoza, 31, of Downey, California, reports state.

The doTerra security employee told police that the man had repeatedly picked up packages from the company, beginning with a $160.13 order on Nov. 24. On subsequent days, the man returned to pick up four additional packages averaging $3,245, purportedly on behalf of purchasers in Colorado and North Carolina, reports state. Police contacted a credit card investigator, who reported that the cardholders had reported the fraudulent activity and canceled their cards.

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30 tickets issued daily through RPS bus camera system

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — 8News investigates to see how Richmond Public Schools bus camera system is keeping students safe.

RPS is the only district in Central Virginia that has installed a stop-arm camera system on their school buses. The second district in the state.

The camera system is designed to catch reckless drivers illegally passing school buses.

“We’re averaging 30 violations a day,” Interim Superintendent Tommy Kranz says, “So that indicates to me that yes, it is working.”

100 school buses are equipped with a total of 13 cameras, nine on the outside and four on the inside.

From the first day of Fall to October 24, 1,021 citations were issued to drivers who illegally pass a school bus when the stop-arm is out or red lights are flashing.

8News obtained video through Richmond Public Schools in which cameras caught drivers nearly hitting students when the school bus was stopped.

Michelle Kitts is a RPS parent and admits she even goes a different route in the mornings to avoid the bus stops.

“If they have kids they know how it feels to see somebody speed passed the buses when there are kids,” Kitts says, “even at the stop with no buses around so everyone should slow down and take it easy.”

Kevin Hunter, another RPS parent says he wasn’t surprised by the number of tickets that were issued in the first seven weeks this Fall. He says he believes drivers need to put down their cell phones and pay more attention to the road before a child is hurt.

“As a foster dad I don’t want to see any of my kids go you know shot across the street then you got some driver coming and don’t pay attention,” Hunter said.

In a press release sent to 8News this summer, Richmond Public Schools said they wanted to have all school buses equipped with the camera system by the start of the semester. However, the company that installs the camera paid to install cameras on the first 50 buses and have been working in phases to install the rest. This revenue is generated from the citations that are issued.

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Hanover Mall reaches security agreement with town for police detail

“The Hanover police officers that work at The Hanover Mall may be referred to as Unit B, but that doesn’t mean they are doing anything but A-1 work.

The mall has been contracting with the town for the services of the police officers since the 1970s when Zayre Department Store first opened. The town then contracts with the police department with their collective bargaining agreements.

“At that point you had a small town that was suddenly dealing with a large shopping center,” said Hanover Mall General Manager Ed Callahan. “The town didn’t have the resources police-wise to handle that, so the town worked out a deal with the original owner, which was Campenelli-Tedeschi, for them to hire a police presence at the mall. Over the years, it was a combination of
Hanover Police and private public safety.”

There have been deals made every two-to-three years and the current one will begin on Jan. 1, 2018. According to the agreement signed in October, the town will receive a payment of $9,532 each month.

The contract will be automatically extended for an additional 12 months unless one side provides a written statement two months before the year is up wishing to not extend for an additional year.

According to former town manager Troy Clarkson, in addition to the monetary value, having this contract in place ensures that calls for service at the mall do not take away from other important responses, as the officer on duty can handle most issues on site without requiring a cruiser to be taken away from patrol in other areas.

This program, Clarkson said, has received national recognition and is yet another example of the strong and enduring partnership between the town and our partners at PREP.

There is a cruiser specifically for the position and the officers aren’t set out on calls other than extreme emergencies.

“We meet with Chief Walter Sweeney and Lt. Greg Nihan sometimes once a month or every other month and we sit down the program and review any incidences that have happened,” said Callahan. “We review what we want the officers to be doing in terms of community policing. We encourage the officers to be visible, interact with store managers and personnel and get to know people. With the cruiser they are able to do that same function with the peripheral around Dick’s Sporting Goods, Office Max, Trader Joe’s and Buffalo Wild Wings.”

When both the public safety officers and the Hanover police officers are fully staffed, typically one patrols the outside of the mall and the other on the inside of the mall. The goal is for them to work “in harmony” with two-way radios.”

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