The prosecutor's offices for two Washington counties - including the one that contains Seattle - announced today they will dismiss 175 misdemeanor marijuana possession charges, days after the state's voters legalized the drug.
The dropped cases all involve arrests of individuals age 21 and older for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana.
Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu - a Heisman Trophy finalist last year at Louisiana State University, only to be suspended from the football team months later - was arrested Thursday on a drug charge, Baton Rouge police said.
More than $1 billion worth of marijuana has been uprooted from federal lands during a two-month operation targeting illegal pot farms, federal authorities announced Tuesday.
Operation Mountain Sweep has resulted in the destruction of 578,000 marijuana plants, Benjamin B. Wagner, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, said in a press release.
The operation, involving agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as local agencies, targeted growing sites on public lands in seven Western states – Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
Wagner said 14 individuals in California have been indicted on charges resulting from Operation Mountain Sweep. Authorities have shut down 96 pot farms on public lands in California since the operation began July 1, the federal authorities said. Among those pot farms were sites in national forests and parks, including Death Valley National Park.
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan gives his first one-on-one interview since becoming the nominee.
Police say Chavis Carter shot himself in the head when he was handcuffed in the back of a police car. They demonstrate how it may have happened.
Olympian and U.S. soccer champ Hope Solo talks to Piers Morgan about her reputation in the media.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this report included a photo that showed two football players. Player number 59 was not among those accused of drug dealing by police. We regret the error.
[Updated at 11:08 a.m. ET Thursday] Fifteen Texas Christian University students, including four members of its Top 25 football team, were arrested Wednesday morning on suspicion of selling drugs, the school and police said.
The football players include two defensive starters for last season's squad, which was No. 14 in the final Associated Press poll, plus a junior linebacker who sat out most of 2011 with an injury but was the team's leading tackler in 2010.
The 15 illegally sold marijuana or other drugs, including cocaine, Ecstasy, acid and prescription medicine, to undercover officers during a six-month investigation launched after authorities received complaints about drug activity, TCU Police Chief Steve McGee told reporters Wednesday.
"There is no doubt that all of those arrested today are drug dealers," said McGee, who added that the selling happened on and off the Fort Worth campus. "These individuals engaged in hand-to-hand delivery for money with undercover agents."
[Updated at 8:03 p.m. ET] Sam Hurd was released on a $100,000 cash bond late Friday afternoon.
His case will now be handled by the federal court for the Northern District of Texas. Hurd waived his probable cause hearing so his case will move to a grand jury, which will decide whether to indict him, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Sean Jensen, an NFL Columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, told CNN that the Chicago Bears organization was blindsided by the arrest of one of the most "cordial, friendly and accountable" players in the clubhouse.
"Everybody throughout this building is shocked by this revelation the other day. The team didn't know anything of it until Thursday morning when Sam Hurd wasn't in the usual receiver meeting. That's when they started asking around and figuring out what happened," Jensen said.
[Posted at 3:49 p.m. ET] A judge granted Sam Hurd a $100,000 bail in a federal drug case that alleges the ex-Chicago Bears receiver conspired to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars worth or mairjuana and cocaine for distribution in the Chicago area, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Judge Young B. Kim set the bail amount Friday afternoon hearing in federal court, where Hurd appeared in an orange prison jumpsuit with his feet chained together, the paper reported.
Hurd looked to the gallery, where his father and wife, Stacee, sat, as he entered the courtroom, the paper said. He spoke only to say “Yes, sir” to Kim’s questions.
[Posted at 3:23 p.m. ET] Bears GM Jerry Angelo announces the team has cut player Sam Hurd.
A package containing 2.5 pounds of marijuana was delivered to the Kentucky home of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson earlier this week, drug enforcement officials in California said Thursday.
Authorities tracked the package from a mail distribution center in Sacramento to Simpson's home in the Cincinnati suburb of Crestview Hills, Kentucky, said Michelle Gregory of the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. The package originated in Eureka in northern California, she said, and was one of 40 packages authorities were tracking.
The California authorities notified those in Kentucky, who monitored the delivery. Aleen Smith, identified as Simpson's girlfriend, signed for the package, Gregory said.
A search of the home, to which Simpson consented, revealed six more pounds of marijuana along with scales, boxes and packaging materials consistent with a distribution operation, Gregory said.
Two Border Patrol agents in Arizona are accused of forcing suspected drug smugglers to eat marijuana and strip down to their underwear before being told to flee into the desert.
A federal grand jury in Tucson indicted Dario Castillo, 23, and Ramon Zuniga, 29, with five counts of civil rights violations. Castillo faces an additional charge of tampering with a witness.
The indictment alleges that on November 12 of 2008, the two border agents forced four suspected drug smugglers from Mexico - who were in the country illegally and carrying marijuana - to eat the drug and remove their all their clothes except their underwear, the Arizona U.S. Attorney's office said.
Instead of arresting them, the agents burned their personal belongings and ordered them to flee into the desert in 40-degree weather, the office said.FULL STORY
Nearly 80 people have been arrested in the largest marijuana-eradication law enforcement operation in California history, several local reports say. About 292,000 plants have been discovered, Justice Department spokeswoman Michelle Gregory told the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.
Raids involving local, state and federal authorities have been going on for days in the Mendocino National Forest in remote, mountainous areas in Glenn, Colusa, Tehama, Mendocino, Lake and Trinity counties, according to the Tehama County Daily News.
Officials are beginning the massive cleanup of the sites, which have suffered environmental damage, the Daily News and Press-Democrat report.
The idea for the operation reportedly came after a public meeting in Covelo in north Mendocino County in 2010. Residents said that armed people had confronted them in and around the forest. Hikers and ranchers also said they had been shot at when they mistakenly walked into areas where marijuana was being grown, the Press-Democrat reports.
It's unclear who the growers might be.
Pot farms on national forests have been a problem in California and across the country for years.
U.S. lawmakers are now calling for tougher firearms regulations after a report showed that more than 70% of Mexico's drug cartel weapons come from the United States. Violence associated with drug cartels has been a growing problem in Mexico, resulting in thousands of deaths. One of the more prominent ones was that of Mexican police chief, Martin Castro. His head was delivered to his colleagues in an ice box with a message from a powerful drug cartel in the region. In today's Gotta Watch, we feature some of our more compelling stories highlighting the continued violence stemming from drug cartels in Mexico.
Mexico's 'bravest woman' - When 20-year-old Marisol Valles Garcia became police chief in one the deadliest parts of the world, she was dubbed the “bravest woman in all of Mexico.” Her predecessor had been beheaded, and it was a job no one was willing to take. Now, she’s left the only place she knows – a place where beheadings, shootings and gangland killings have become commonplace.
Lakewood, Colorado (CNN) – When the earthquake hit Japan, Shaun Gindi knew he wanted to help.
"I couldn't believe the devastation. I watched everything get wiped away. Their whole lives were gone," he said. "There was a moment where I started looking at ways to fly over there, ways to somehow get there to help out."
Gindi knows nothing about search and rescue, so he soon abandoned that plan. But he is an expert in one area: medical marijuana.
He runs two dispensaries in the Denver area called Compassionate Pain Management. They legally sell marijuana to patients who have received a recommendation from a doctor.
He floated the idea of raising money for Japan on his dispensary’s Facebook page and got a dozen "likes" right away. He knew immediately that he could use his dispensary to raise money. Thus was born "Joints for Japan."
"What we're going to do is take all the revenue from the hand-rolled medicine, 100% of it, from this weekend and potentially for the next few weeks … and we're going to donate it to the Red Cross," Gindi said.
"Hand-rolled medicine" is medical marijuana-speak for a joint, or a marijuana cigarette. They contain half of a gram of marijuana and are the most popular item in the store. At $5 each, Gindi says, they sell thousands a month.
"We get a lot of people who just come in for these," Gindi said.
The most difficult part of the endeavor has been coming up with the fundraiser's name. Gindi’s business is legal under Colorado law. He pays taxes and has 18 full-time employees. But the industry still struggles for respectability.
With that in mind, Gindi rejected contenders such as "Bake for the Quake" and "Joint Relief."
Gindi hopes his fundraising efforts help bring a bit more respectability to the medical marijuana industry. But ultimately, it is the people of Japan he truly hopes to help.
"In Japan every day, the number of lives lost jumps up. Whatever we can do to help out, we’d like to do."
The ol' cut and run - An Oklahoma man is accused of stuffing a chainsaw down his pants and running. Well, waddling is likely a better word. The best part about this absurd story is the repeated use of the term "britches" and the infamous local news standby – the old camera man re-enactment routine.
What will drug smugglers think of next?
In an industry that thrives on innovation, some enterprising Mexican marijuana runners went medieval on the border fence, using a catapult to hurl bricks of weed into Arizona, authorities say.
Grainy video from the Department of Homeland Security shows three men priming the throwing arm of the mechanism. Two of the men step away, and when the remaining man lets go, the catapult chucks its wares over the fence.
Various media reports claim the device was capable of launching about 4 pounds of pot (or, presumably, any substance).
Country singer Willie Nelson was arrested Friday on charges of marijuana possession by the U.S. Border Patrol in Sierra Blanca, Texas, CNN has confirmed.
No further details were available, and a message left for Nelson's publicist has not been returned.
U.S. authorities say they have discovered another extensive drug tunnel that stretches from a home in Tijuana, Mexico, to San Diego, California.
The half-mile tunnel, discovered Thursday morning in a warehouse in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego, is close to a similar one federal agents found earlier this month, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said.
In that case, authorities seized about 30 tons of marijuana in what federal agents say is one of the largest marijuana seizures in U.S. history.
Agents have made several arrests in connection with Thursday's tunnel discovery, said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for the customs agency.
Federal agents with the San Diego Tunnel Task Force also seized an undetermined amount of marijuana from a tractor-trailer in the area and have found more of the drug in the tunnel, Kice said.
Authorities said they will release more details about the incident at a news conference Friday afternoon.
The DEA has taken emergency action to outlaw chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana, meaning it will be illegal to possess or sell them in the U.S. for at least one year, until further action is taken.
The chemicals used to make "fake pot" products, also known as K2, will be studied by the Department of Health and Human Services to determine whether the chemicals and the products should be permanently controlled, the DEA said.
"Over the past year, smokable herbal blends marketed as being 'legal' and providing a marijuana-like high, have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults," the DEA said in a statement."These products consist of plant material that has been coated with research chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet. These chemicals, however, have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption, and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process."
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in their unincorporated areas. Meanwhile, the Orange County Board of Supervisors was scheduled to vote on an identical measure also on Tuesday.
The proposals in the first and third largest counties in California would mark another setback for advocates seeking to advance marijuana into mainstream society. Earlier this month, California voters rejected a proposal to legalize the drug, though medical marijuana is legal throughout the state.
Iran hiker released – Sarah Shourd, one of three American hikers detained for more than a year in Iran, has been released from prison, state-run Press TV reported Tuesday. Attorney Massoud Shafii, who is representing the hikers, had said everything was in place for Shourd's release once bail of $500,000 was submitted to the Iranian judiciary.
Shourd, 32; Shane Bauer, 28; and Josh Fattal, 28, were detained July 31, 2009, after they allegedly strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Tehran has accused the three hikers of spying.
California marijuana fight – As Californians consider a November ballot initiative to tax and regulate marijuana for recreational use, there are unlikely characters peppering the political landscape.
Health care – President Obama plans to sign an executive order at 2:30 p.m. ET Wednesday that the White House says will reaffirm an existing ban on the use of federal money for abortions. The order is part of a deal Obama struck to woo anti-abortion House Democrats. That deal assured passage of the sweeping health care reform bill.
The Senate also will debate possible changes to the health care law. The House has passed a series of changes that the Senate passed a few months ago. Now the Senate will consider those changes, many of which Republicans plan to fight. We'll also answer your questions about health care and its impact on you.
Medical marijuana and your job -- Fourteen states have laws allowing the use of medical marijuana, which shield legal users from criminalization but don't protect them from penalties enforced by their employers. We take a look at a man who was fired from his job at Wal-Mart because of a drug test and the implications the growing medical marijuana field might have on employment.
The latest trend at teen parties isn't warm beer or prescription medicines pilfered from parents' medicine cabinets. Instead, increasing numbers of youths are turning to an herb-based product to get high, and unlike marijuana, it's perfectly legal.