Williamsburg police arrest 10 people

Ten people — including eight College of William & Mary students and a professor — were arrested this week on narcotics distribution charges following a monthslong investigation, Williamsburg police said.

Police said the operation, a joint investigation by Williamsburg authorities and the Tri-Rivers Drug Task Force, seized LSD, cocaine, psilocybin (mushrooms), opioids, amphetamines, steroids, hashish and marijuana. Roughly $14,000 in cash was also recovered, authorities said.

Williamsburg police Maj. Greg Riley said the drugs were being sold on or around the William & Mary campus.

“We have no indication that these individuals were working together,” Riley said.

The criminal investigation began after authorities were told that there were unreported sexual assaults occurring because of increased drug activity on or around the William & Mary campus, Williamsburg police said.

“We were told the assaults were occurring because of increased drug use,” Riley said.

Police looked into the drug activity, which led to this week’s arrests, he said.

Police identified the professor arrested as Gi Sang Yoon, 40, who is facing two felony marijuana distribution charges and one count of possessing hashish. The other nonstudent charged was Timothy Tyrone Pryor, 27 — an employee at William & Mary who is facing a felony marijuana distribution charge.

Yoon is a visiting biology professor and Pryor works in dining services, said Suzanne Seurattan, a William & Mary spokeswoman.

In addition to facing drug distribution charges, the eight students are facing charges of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.

Police identified the students charged as Alexander Patrick Foley, 20; Biloliddin Tulamirza, 18; Daniel Jacob McBride, 20; Devin Moore, 20; Jacob Selmonosky, 18; Keegan Paugh, 22; Nicolas George Manuel, 22; and Shannon Cannaday, 20.

Riley could not provide where the students lived before attending the college. Seurattan said William & Mary has the following mailing addresses on file for the students: Foley, Bel Air, Md.; Tulamirza, Falls Church; McBride, Williamsburg; Moore, Springfield; Selmonosky, Falls Church; Paugh, Rapid City, S.D.; Manuel, Arlington; and Cannaday, Leesburg.

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Brockton men ran organized retail crime ring

BROCKTON MA March 8 2018 – They double-dipped, switched tags and stuffed boxes, police say, on their way to hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of stolen merchandise from dozens of stores over the last year.

Police say two Brockton men operated an organized retail crime enterprise in which they stole items from home improvements stores on more than 80 occasions to re-sell the merchandise at reduced prices online.

An investigation that began with the Bellingham and Weymouth police departments last fall resulted in the arrests of 46-year-old Shawn Monteiro and 49-year-old Paul Licciardi in Brockton on Tuesday.

Brockton police detectives assisted Bellingham police in executing search warrants at two homes — 78 Orchard Ave. and 712 North Quincy St. — and on three vehicles just after 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

Bellingham police Officer Amy Kirby and Weymouth police Officer Stephen Demorat previously began separate larceny investigations that led to the same “organized retail theft ring,” said Bellingham police Detective Stephen Daigle.

The investigation, which also included police in Blackstone, Hopedale and Medway, resulted in police identifying Licciardi and two others “as being responsible for committing regular thefts from home improvement retailers,” Daigle said.

The men, including two whose identities weren’t immediately released, were supplying the merchandise to Monteiro for resale, he said.

“Monteiro then arranged for the sales of the stolen goods through secondhand sale applications and websites,” Daigle, who applied for the arrest and search warrants, said.

The men are accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of items, including expensive power tools, generators, portable vacuums, and various Dewalt products, from The Home Depot and Lowe’s Home Improvement locations throughout the state, including locally in Avon, Bridgewater, Brockton, Plymouth, Quincy, Rockland, Taunton and Wareham.

Police say Licciardi, who was the one sent to stores to steal items, used three different methods – double dipping, tag switching and box stuffing, according to a report filed in Milford District Court.

Licciardi would often purchase an expensive item, but set up two more carts with the same item near exits, the report states. After purchasing one of the items, he would re-enter the store with his receipt to make it look like he was picking up an item he had already paid for.

“In every instance where Mr. Licciardi made an apparent legitimate purchase with his card, he followed up the transaction by stealing at least one, but often two or more, of the same item that he had just purchased,” Daigle wrote in the arrest report. “Mr. Licciardi would immediately come back into the store and return the single item that he had paid for.”

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Child Sexual Exploitation Ring Collaborative

In late 2015 through early 2016, vulnerable girls as young as 14 and 16 were being exploited as part of a sex trafficking ring run by a group of conspirators in Ohio and Indiana.

But thanks to a joint law enforcement effort conducted by the FBI-led Toledo Child Exploitation Task Force, the ringleader of the conspiracy as well as the other six participants were eventually brought to justice and sentenced to lengthy federal prison terms.

The case started in December 2015, when the Lima (Ohio) Police Department began investigating allegations of human trafficking and forced prostitution involving a juvenile victim. One of the Lima officers who originally interviewed the victim was also a member of the Child Exploitation Task Force. That officer—based on his previous task force experiences—understood that the interstate aspects of the case made it a good candidate for federal jurisdiction, which often results in enhanced investigative resources and stronger criminal justice penalties.

So the case was referred to the task force—specifically to Special Agent Devon Lossick, the task force coordinator who works out of the FBI Cleveland Division’s Toledo Resident Agency.

According to Lossick, Lima resident Lorenzo Young was the leader of the group and was assisted, in varying degrees, by his longtime friend Aundre Davis, as well as by his girlfriend, mother, and three acquaintances.

“Members of the conspiracy would go after vulnerable and trusting young girls—usually runaways and others estranged from their families—by promising them money and then coaxing them into posing for sexually explicit photos,” Lossick explained. The photos would be posted to the adult entertainment sections of a classified ads website; when interested customers reached out, the girls would be transported to apartments in Lima or to motel rooms in nearby Fort Wayne across the Indiana state line.

“And the financial proceeds of the transactions would go straight into the pockets of Young and his co-conspirators,” said Lossick.

Once the task force was on the case, investigators began to question some of the victims, gathered motel records and receipts, reviewed video surveillance, and conducted physical surveillance and court-authorized electronic surveillance on the suspects.

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Pennsylvania men ran pet supply business by stealing inventory

Richmond VA March 3 2018 The first heist happened in Colonial Heights, near Petersburg, according to court documents.

From there, the seven-person crew struck stores in North Chesterfield, Midlothian, Richmond and Mechanicsville before heading east toward Hampton Roads.

By the end of the day, they’d hit at least nine businesses.

Their target: pet supplies.

Joseph Heim Jr., 42, of Harrisburg, Pa., and Timothy B. Erb Jr., 24, of Wormleysburg, Pa., were indicted last week in connection with a shoplifting ring that targeted PetSmart locations across Virginia and North Carolina. They were arrested May 6, 2016, in Suffolk.

In all, the conspiracy netted at least $38,000 worth of pet supplies and possibly more than $100,000, according to court documents.

“This is very, very profitable,” said Robert Moraca, a vice president with the National Retail Federation. He referred to it as “organized retail crime,” and said it, along with shoplifting in general, is a growing problem. He said the industry now views it as more serious to their profits than internal theft, administrative errors and vendor fraud.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Stoker declined to comment on the indictment, which charges the men with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen property.

Federal court records do not list attorneys for Heim and Erb, who have been incarcerated for almost two years on state charges.

Heim entered into a plea agreement with state prosecutors and was sentenced last year to three years in state prison. Suffolk prosecutors on Wednesday dropped charges against Erb in light of the federal case.

According to the indictment, Heim and Erb were running a pet supply business that got its inventory by stealing from PetSmarts.

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Murder charge filed after nurses caught laughing at WWII vet

Two Georgia nurses and an aide have been indicted in the death of an elderly World War II veteran after they were caught on camera laughing as the man gasped for air and pleaded for help.

Authorities launched a criminal investigation in November after details and video were obtained by WXIA. The information was originally included as part of a lawsuit filed by the family of James Dempsey against Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation Center.

The video, which was taken February 27, 2014, showed Dempsey gasping for air and calling for help more than six times before losing consciousness.

After finding Dempsey unresponsive at 5:28 a.m., nurses waited nearly an hour to call 911 at 6:25 a.m.

During that hour, video shows nurses failing to help administer aid to Dempsey and laughing as they struggled to get his oxygen machine to work, the outlet reports.

Nursing supervisor Wanda Nuckles testified at a deposition that when she discovered Dempsey was not breathing she rushed to his room, took over CPR and kept going until the paramedics arrived.

Nuckles was then confronted with the hidden camera video that shows she did nothing when she first arrived at Dempsey’s room.

“Sir, that was an honest mistake,” Nuckles said in the deposition obtained by WXIA, “I was just basing everything on what I normally do.”

When asked why she was laughing about the oxygen machine not working, she told the family’s attorney she did not remember that.

The nursing home tried to stop WXIA from getting and releasing the videos but a DeKalb County judge refused to seal the footage

After WXIA went public, Brookhaven Police launched an investigation, which led to a grand jury handing down indictments Wednesday against two nurses and an aide, the outlet reports.

Loyce Pickquet Agyeman is charged with felony murder and neglect to an elder person.

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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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