Ex-Bear Sam Hurd freed on $100,000 bond as drug case heads to Texas
Sam Hurd, seen here making a play earlier this season, was arrested in Rosemont, Illinois, on drug charges this week.
December 16th, 2011
08:03 PM ET

Ex-Bear Sam Hurd freed on $100,000 bond as drug case heads to Texas

[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.

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Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Football • Illinois • Marijuana • Pro football • Sports • Texas • U.S.
November 2nd, 2011
01:16 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Right to reduce time for crack-related crime?

Comment of the morning:

“When you have the most prisoners of any other country in the world and the majority of them are nonviolent drug offenders, it's time to make changes.” - whoaaadude

Crack sentences reduced

The large disparity between crack and cocaine sentences was largely reduced (from 100-1 to 18-1) last year by the Fair Sentencing Act, which means that thousands of prison inmates convicted of crack cocaine charges will be getting out early. Critics of the sentencing disparity say the old system unfairly penalized African-Americans.

CNN.com readers were divided about the reduction: Some said crack-related crime did not fit the time, while others said the drug often leads to other more dangerous behavior and believe the reduction sends the wrong message.

turbosub said, “The bottom line is: People are going to use drugs whether it's legal or not. Addicts don't need jail time. They need help beating their addictions. The crimes and violence that come along with drug prohibition would go away if the government allowed and taxed it. Read the news. In Portugal, they decriminalized drugs, and there's 50% less drug use than there was before. Let's use this money for helping addicts, not throwing them to rot.”

America314 said, “Hey, if they don't hurt anyone what's the point of jailing people for something they do to their own body? Prisons are overcrowded as it is.” FULL POST

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Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Justice • Overheard on CNN.com • Prisons
Narco sub stopped with 7 tons of cocaine
The narco sub intercepted by the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk is similar to this one, searched by the U.S. Coast Guard in 2009.
October 28th, 2011
10:02 PM ET

Narco sub stopped with 7 tons of cocaine

The United States Coast Guard said it recovered seven tons of cocaine from a narco sub, a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel that is used to transport illegal drugs. The drugs were brought to shore Monday in St. Petersburg, Florida, and will be handed over to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida where the case is being handled.

This is the third semi-submersible to be stopped by the Coast Guard in the Caribbean Sea and the second interdiction by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk.

Narco subs may become trend in Caribbean

“We’ve got two within about two weeks of each other,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. Mark J. Fedor, the Mohawk's commanding officer. “It really makes you wonder how many of these things might be coming through.”

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Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Florida • U.S. Coast Guard
October 13th, 2011
01:21 PM ET

Agents conduct sweep for Puerto Rican gang

More than 600 officers from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and local police departments conducted a raid on the largest public housing complex in Puerto Rico Thursday in an operation against its biggest drug gang.

Arrest warrants were issued for 82 members of the Calle Cuatro, or Fourth Street, gang, who are blamed for 25 murders on the island.

According to officials, 43 alleged gang members had been arrested by Thursday afternoon.

A federal indictment says the 82 suspects are wanted on drug charges, weapon charges, or both.

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Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Puerto Rico
Narco subs may become trend in Caribbean, Coast Guard says
A member of the U.S. Coast Guard carries a bale of cocaine seized from a narco sub in the Caribbean Sea on September 17.
September 28th, 2011
07:29 PM ET

Narco subs may become trend in Caribbean, Coast Guard says

The U.S. Coast Guard says it believes narco subs, semi-submersible vessels used to transport illegal drugs, may become a trend in the Caribbean Sea after it intercepted a second such vessel there.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk stopped a cocaine-smuggling, self-propelled sub and detained the sub's crew in the western Caribbean Sea on September 17, the service said.

The other instance of the Coast Guard stopping a drug-smuggling sub in the Caribbean happened July 13. Until this summer, all the semi-submersibles that had been seized recently were stopped off Central America's Pacific coast.

"It seems maybe the drug trafficking organizations are changing their tactics a little bit and trying to move massive amounts of narcotics not just through the eastern Pacific, but also through the Caribbean using these (self-propelled semi-submersibles),” said the Mohawk's commanding officer, Coast Guard Cmdr. Mark J. Fedor.

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Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Military • U.S. Coast Guard
Studies cite link between booze sales, inner-city violence
Sociology professor Robert Parker says two University of California, Riverside studies link alcohol sales and violent crime.
September 28th, 2011
01:47 PM ET

Studies cite link between booze sales, inner-city violence

Two studies published this month suggest the availability of booze - and in one city, single servings of alcohol - is linked to violent crime rates.

University of California, Riverside researchers used federal crime data for offenders between the ages of 13 and 24, and then used census and economic data to determine the density of beer, wine and liquor stores in 91 major cities.

"Taking into account other factors known to contribute to youth homicide rates – such as poverty, drugs, availability of guns and gangs – the researchers found that higher densities of liquor stores, providing easy access to alcoholic beverages, contributed significantly to higher youth homicide rates," said a news release from the university.

The second study isn't so broad and doesn't deal solely with young people. It looked at San Bernardino, California, and "generally found higher rates of violent crime in neighborhoods around alcohol outlets that allot more than 10% of cooler space for single-serve containers."

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Filed under: California • Crime • Drugs • Illinois • Maryland • U.S.
Two new narco subs found in Colombia
This narco sub, which authorities said could carry up to 10 tons of cocaine, was found Friday.
September 27th, 2011
07:05 AM ET

Two new narco subs found in Colombia

Authorities in Colombia have confiscated two narco subs, submersibles designed to smuggle cocaine, since Friday, according to news reports.

A vessel found on the country's Pacific coast on Friday could carry up to 10 tons of cocaine and was outfitted with a GPS navigation system, according to a report from Insightcrime.org.

On Monday, authorities said they found a smaller but more sophisticated submarine hidden in a wooden shack in dense coastal jungle north of where the first sub was found Friday, according to a report from the BBC.

The second sub, named The Black Pearl, was made of steel and fiberglass and could carry four tons of cocaine, the BBC report said. It could stay submerged for 10 days with a crew of five and had radar, navigation and communication systems that made it worth $2 million, the report said.

Both vessels were built under the orders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group, which finances its operations with cocaine sales, according to the reports.

In February, Colombian authorities captures a 100-foot-long narco sub capable of traveling to Mexico at depths of up to 30 feet.

Read more about Colombia's narco subs.

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Filed under: Colombia • Crime • Drugs
Authorities: 2.5 pounds of pot sent to home of Bengals player
The Bengals wide receiver is tackled after making a catch against the Denver Broncos last weekend.
September 22nd, 2011
01:29 PM ET

Authorities: 2.5 pounds of pot sent to home of Bengals player

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.

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Filed under: California • Crime • Kentucky • Marijuana • Pro football • Sports
Police: Arkansas meteorologist found asleep in tub next to dead man
KARK meteorologist Brett Cummins was allegedly found asleep in a hot tub next to a dead man.
September 7th, 2011
10:12 PM ET

Police: Arkansas meteorologist found asleep in tub next to dead man

Police are investigating the death of an Arkansas man whose naked body was allegedly found next to a sleeping TV weatherman in a hot tub after a night of drinking and drugs.

The owner of the home awoke Monday morning to find the body of 24-year-old Dexter Williams at the bottom of an empty tub, his face blue and purple and a chain resembling a dog collar around his neck, according to a Maumelle Police report.

Asleep next to him was KARK meteorologist Brett Cummins, 33, who had arrived at Christopher Barbour's home outside Little Rock accompanied by Williams around 8 p.m. on Sunday, Barbour told police.

The three drank and snorted drugs, though Barbour told police he did not know what kind, Officer Gregory Roussie said in a report. The three continued drinking in the hot tub until Barbour retired for the night around 11 p.m., falling asleep on his couch.

Barbour awoke to the sound of Cummins snoring and discovered the two in the hot tub, which had been drained of water, he told police. After he awoke Cummins, the two realized that Williams' face was discolored and his skin cold to the touch, prompting Cummins to scream and run to the living room, where he vomited, Barbour said.

Maumelle Police and fire rescue arrived at the home around 8:10 a.m. and found Williams' body in the tub with blood pooling around his head, Sergeant David Collins said in a report. In the master bedroom he found a pill bottle next to a pair of khaki cargo shorts on a storage ottoman at the foot of the bed.

No arrests had been made as of Wednesday, Lieutenant Jim Hansard said.

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August 5th, 2011
08:56 AM ET

Border agents accused of making drug smugglers eat marijuana

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.

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Pot farms in California forest raided, dozens arrested
About 292,000 marijuana plants were found in the raid.
July 26th, 2011
11:49 AM ET

Pot farms in California forest raided, dozens arrested

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.

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Filed under: California • Marijuana
On the Radar: Kabul hotel attack, wildfire near nuclear lab, teens and drugs
Flames shoot from the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul early Wednesday.
June 29th, 2011
07:43 AM ET

On the Radar: Kabul hotel attack, wildfire near nuclear lab, teens and drugs

Kabul hotel attack - Eight suicide attackers and 10 others were killed in an attack at a Kabul hotel popular with Westerners, journalists and politicians. President Hamid Karzai said Thursday that the attack at the Inter-Continental won't interrupt the power handover from international troops to Afghan forces. Police say the number of dead may go up as they continue to search the hotel. One guest, a student, began to write his will inside his room while he heard shooting and explosions outside his room, because people he contacted outside the hotel told him it was safer if he stayed put. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the carnage. Stay with CNN.com for developments in this story, and check out CNN.com's Afghanistan Crossroads blog which focuses on life in Afghanistan.

Wildfire near nuclear lab - The wildfire near Santa Fe, New Mexico, is within miles of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, so the facility will remain closed at least through Thursday. Officials say the nuclear and hazardous materials at the lab are safe.

First presser since March at White House - President Barack Obama will hold his first news conference since March on Wednesday. He's expected to field questions about Afghanistan, American involvement in Libya, and the United States economy. He's also expected to address the debt ceiling crisis and present his position that the federal government should be allowed to borrow more money.

Teen drug use big problem - A new study from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse finds 90% of people who become addicted started smoking, drinking or using other drugs before the age of 18. Columbia University, which published the study, is calling it America's top health problem.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Drugs • Environment • Fire • Nature • New Mexico • On CNN.com today • On the Radar • Politics • Taliban • Terrorism
Gotta Watch: Inside the mob
Authorities arrested James “Whitey” Bulger and his long-time girlfriend, 60-year-old Catherine Elizabeth Greig, after 16 years on the run.
June 24th, 2011
10:17 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Inside the mob

It's omnipresent. With tentacles in nearly every part of the world, the mob may be one of the globe's pervasive organizations. James "Whitey" Bulger's arrest after 16 years is just the latest high-profile incident for organized crime, which has gone mainstream thanks to a popular reality show, various tell-alls and one of the biggest busts in recent memory.  You Gotta Watch to learn how it all works.
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Filed under: Boston • Crime • Drugs • Gotta Watch • Justice • Massachusetts
Eight more U.S. counties named to White House drug-trafficking list
The White House says High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas help coordinate police efforts to combat drug use and production.
June 20th, 2011
12:50 PM ET

Eight more U.S. counties named to White House drug-trafficking list

New York's, Washington's and Atlanta's federally designated drug-trafficking zones just got a little bigger.

They're called High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, to be exact, and they're designed to regionally coordinate law enforcement efforts to tackle issues such as drug production, distribution, chronic use and money laundering. Local, state and federal agencies operating in HIDTAs receive extra equipment, technology and other resources to combat drug trafficking.

Approximately 16% of the nation's counties - encompassing a whopping 60% of the population - fall within one of the 28 HIDTAs, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

You can now add the following to the list: Orange County, New York; Mendocino County, California; Porter County, Indiana; Harford County, Maryland; Lexington and Richland counties, South Carolina; and Putnam and Mercer counties, West Virginia.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • California • Crime • Drug violence • Drugs • Indiana • Maryland • New York • Politics • South Carolina • U.S. • West Virginia
Report: Drug traffickers staging gladiatorlike fights with captives
Mexican authorities exhume bodies from a mass grave in Acapulco last week.
June 15th, 2011
10:41 AM ET

Report: Drug traffickers staging gladiatorlike fights with captives

Drug traffickers in Mexico have been abducting bus passengers and forcing them to fight each other like gladiators with the winners being ordered to become assassins, a drug trafficker tells the Houston Chronicle.

The fights, initiated by members of the Zetas cartel, are called "Who's going to be the next hitman?" said the trafficker, who agreed to talk to the Chronicle on condition of anonymity.

The gladiators use machetes, hammers and sticks. "They cut guys to pieces," the paper quotes the trafficker as saying.

The winners are sent by the Zetas on suicide missions to shoot up the territory of rivals, the trafficker told the Chronicle. The losers end up in mass graves.

The trafficker said he was not a witness to the fights but gang emembers told him about them.

Federal law enforcement officials told the Chronicle they did not know of any gladiator fights, but they said the trafficker's story was plausible given the escalating violence in Mexico.

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Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Mexico
Gotta Watch: Mexico's drug war
Mexican police investigate a violent incident in Juarez, Mexico.
June 14th, 2011
11:22 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Mexico's drug war

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.

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Filed under: Crime • Drug violence • Drugs • Gotta Watch • Juarez • Marijuana • Mexico • Security • TV-Anderson Cooper 360 • World
Police find Mexican traffickers' 'narcotank'
Police in Guadalajara, Mexico, guard a "narcotank" seized from drug traffickers.
May 24th, 2011
11:33 AM ET

Police find Mexican traffickers' 'narcotank'

For the second time this month, officials in Mexico have seized a "narcotank" - a regular production vehicle that a drug cartel has turned in to a battle vehicle.

The latest "narcotank" was found Friday, after a clash between police and gangs of rival gunmen in the western Mexico town of Mezquitic, according to a report in the Latin American Herald Tribune.

Reports said the guts of the "narcotank" are a Ford F-series Super Duty truck. It had been customized with steel plating with ports for guns or other weapons, a rotating turret and a fold-up battering ram. No weapons were in the vehicle when it was found, according to the Herald Tribune report.

Earlier this month, the Mexican army captured another armored vehicle, according to a report on BusinessInsider.com. That tank, dubbed El Monstruo 2011, was capable of going 68 mph and could carry 12 people behind its armor, the report said. It was seized in Ciudad Meir, where the Los Zetas gang has been battling over drug business with the Gulf Cartel, their former bosses, BusinessInsider said.

The website InSightcrime.org reported in April that traffickers are increasingly turning to armored vehicles.

Besides armoring vehicles, traffickers have also made their own submarines. Check out what VBS.TV found at a Colombian naval base last year.


Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Mexico
Gotta Watch: Sheen's winning ways
April 4th, 2011
11:14 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Sheen's winning ways

He became a Twitter phenom overnight and added the phrases "tiger blood" and "winning" to the cultural lexicon. But the recent obsession with all-things Charlie Sheen couldn't save him from terrible reviews for his stage tour debut. Today's Gotta Watch focuses on how this A-list actor has reinvented himself into an internet sensation thanks to his rants and odd behavior. Watch the recent evolution of Charlie Sheen.

Sheen's losing debut – File this under #notwinning. Detroit fans booed and heckled Charlie Sheen during the opening of his "Violent Torpedo of Truth" tour. Even his "tiger blood" couldn't save Sheen from the critical audience. Was it the crack jokes about the Motor City or the circus-like atmosphere that got fans upset? Now you can judge for yourself.

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/showbiz/2011/04/04/bts.charlie.sheen.show.detroit.cnn"%5D

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Filed under: Celebrity • Charlie Sheen • Drugs • Gotta Watch • Michigan • Showbiz • TV • TV-Piers Morgan
Colorado dispensary selling 'Joints for Japan'
Compassionate Pain Management is donating its proceeds from marijuana joint sales to Red Cross relief efforts in Japan.
March 25th, 2011
05:38 PM ET

Colorado dispensary selling 'Joints for Japan'

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."

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Japan • Medical Marijuana
Feds seize Georgia's supply of lethal-injection drug
States that use lethal injection are in short supply of thiopental, one of the key drugs in the process.
March 16th, 2011
09:03 AM ET

Feds seize Georgia's supply of lethal-injection drug

Federal officials have seized Georgia's supply of a drug used in executions while they investigate whether it was imported legally, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.

Spokespeople for the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Georgia Department of Corrections told the newspaper the state's supply of thiopental had been seized.

Thiopental is available only from international sources, since the drug's sole U.S. manufacturer, Hospira, stopped making the sedative in 2009. But the countries where the drug is made do not allow its export if it is going to be used for capital punishment, the Journal-Constitution reported.

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Filed under: Drugs • Georgia • Justice
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