drugs

Courts
8:55 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Zeta Drug Money Laundering Trial Starts Today in Austin

Prosecutors say Morales laundered drug money through horse racing businesses.
flickr.com/cefeida

Opening statements in a drug money laundering trial get underway in an Austin courtroom today. 

Among the men charged: Jose Trevino Morales. Federal prosecutors call Morales the brother of two top leaders of the Zeta drug cartel, and say he’s involved in a money-laundering scheme for the cartel: hiding millions of dollars in drug money in the horse racing business in Texas and other states.

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Borderlands
5:00 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Austin Author Explores History, Impact of Juarez Drug Violence

Gang members arrested in Juarez - part of the complicated web of drug cartels, gangs, and law enforcement that has left a bustling and dynamic city vulnerable and paranoid.
Raymundo Ruiz

Austin writer and UT professor Ricardo Ainslie extensively explored the Mexican city of Juarez to chronicle the impact of the drug war on the city and its people. KUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Ainslie about his new book "The Fight to Save Juarez: Life in the Heart of Mexico's Drug War."

Ricardo Ainslie says the Mexican border city of Juarez used to be kind of like the state of Texas - with a strong, independent spirit.

But he says the violence of the drug cartels and the government's war hit just about everyone who lives there, and left the city vulnerable and paranoid. Eleven thousand people were killed in Juarez between January of 2008 and December of 2012.

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Texas
1:45 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Report: Texas Gang Threat Rising

According to the assessment, Mexican cartels are using Texas gangs to help smugle people, drugs and weapons across the border.
flickr.com/vpickering

The Texas Department of Public Safety has released its 2012 Gang Threat Assessment, providing an overview of gang activity throughout the state.

The annual report says that current gang membership across Texas likely surpasses 100,000 individuals – and it's still increasing.

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Borderlands
3:23 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Narco Cinema Finds Growing Audience in Austin

Low-budget movies about narcos, or Mexican drug dealers, are displayed on a shelf in Video Mexico, a video rental store in Austin.
Tamir Kalifa, Texas Tribune

After the arrest in 2010 of Edgar Valdez Villarreal, who the authorities said was the head of a violent Mexican drug cartel, customers at Video Mexico in Austin told Eduardo Betancourt, the owner, something he should have known: The man’s life was already the subject of a low-budget movie.

Betancourt’s video-store customers are part of a legion of aficionados of Mexican narco cinema, hastily made films that are inspired by the cartels. The films usually skip theaters, going directly to home video.

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Criminal Justice
6:21 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Cartels a Concern for DPS, But Not the Only One

Pink wooden crosses are placed where the corpses of eight murdered women were found in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Alfredo Estrella / AFP/Getty Images

The Texas Department of Public Safety calls Mexican cartels the most significant organized crime threat in the state. In its 2013 report, the agency said six cartels are operating in Texas by moving drugs, people, cash and weapons across the border.

"It is a top DPS priority to severely obstruct the range and power of Mexican drug organizations to affect the public safety of Texas citizens," said DPS Director Steven McCraw at the Texas Emergency Management Conference in San Antonio this week.

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Borderlands
3:42 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Report: 3 Out Of 4 Border Patrol Drug Busts Are U.S. Citizens

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 1:47 pm

The Center for Investigative Reporting has a report today that shatters some preconceived notions: A review of records from the Border Patrol, shows that three out of four people the patrol found carrying drugs were United States citizens.

CIR reports this finding goes against the many press releases issued by the agency highlighting Mexican drug smugglers.

The organization reports:

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Drugs
10:05 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Neurologists Warn Against ADHD Drugs To Help Kids Study

Ten milligram tablets of the prescription drug Adderall. The drug is used to treat ADHD and is used by some students to boost their academic performance.
Jb Reed Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 8:48 am

Adderall and other ADHD medications are among the most prescribed drugs in America.

Quite a few of those pills don't end up being used to treat ADHD, though. They're used as "smart drugs" or "study drugs" by students who find the pills give them a mental edge.

The American Academy of Neurology now says: Stop that.

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
3:19 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Lost Your Job? Bill Would Drug Test Some Texans Looking to Receive Unemployment Benefits

A proposed drug testing rule would apply to unemployed workers seeking jobs in industries that already require tests.
flickr.com/23748404@N00

Texas lawmakers looked at a bill today that would require some people to undergo drug testing in order to receive unemployment benefits.

The bill, filed by Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands), would require drug tests for unemployment applicants who are looking for work in industries that usually require them for new employees.

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Health
11:22 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Parents, Just Say No To Sharing Tales Of Drug Use With Kids

Have a talk about avoiding drug use early and often. And don't overshare.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 6:55 am

It's a moment many parents dread — sitting down to talk with their kid about drugs. What should they say? Will the conversation have any effect? And should they mention their own youthful indiscretions?

Parents can get advice from the family doctor or pediatrician and places like the Partnership at Drugfree.org (formerly the Partnership for a Drug-Free America), though there's not been much evidence to back up the recommendations.

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Mexico
10:37 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Mexico's 'Crisis Of Disappearance': Families Seek Answers

A woman holds a sign that reads, "We demand justice after two years," during a Jan. 11 protest outside the government palace in Monterrey denouncing the disappearance of family members in the state of Nuevo Leon.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:47 pm

Maximina Hernandez says she begged her 23-year old son, Dionicio, to give up his job as a police officer in a suburb of Monterrey. Rival drug cartels have been battling in the northern Mexican city for years.

But he told her being a police officer was in his blood, a family tradition. He was detailed to guard the town's mayor.

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Health
11:49 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Overdose Deaths From Narcotics Keep Climbing

Hydrocodone pills, the generic version of Vicodin, shown at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 5:12 pm

For the 11th year running, deaths from drug overdoses rose in the U.S in 2010.

Pharmaceuticals were involved in more than half of the 38,329 overdose deaths that year.

Opioid painkillers, such as hydrocodone, or Vicodin, were the most common prescription drugs implicated. They were cited in 16,651 fatalities, or 44 percent of the total.

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Austin
10:43 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Report: Jovita's Propietor at Center of Heroin Bust Dies

Jovita's picture flickr.com/carlos

Amado “Mayo” Pardo, the 64-year old proprietor of Jovita’s swept up in a sprawling heroin bust last summer, has died, according to online reports.

Pardo’s attorney tells the Austin American-Statesman that Pardo died yesterday due to cancer and other health problems. He was due to stand trial in February.

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Politics
4:31 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Report: Drug Treatment Would Save State Money

Drug treatment costs a fraction of what prison costs, a report says.
courtesy Chris Goldberg at flickr.com/chrisgold/

The nonpartisan Texas Criminal Justice Coalition says the state should stop locking up so many drug offenders and invest more in substance abuse treatment.

A report the advocacy group released today says arrests for drug possession have skyrocketed and far outnumber arrests for drug delivery or distribution.

Executive Director Ana Yanez-Correa says the root of the problem is addiction, and she says addiction isn’t taken care of behind bars.

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Borderlands
11:29 am
Tue January 1, 2013

In Mexico, a New Plan to End Drug Violence

A Juárez municipal police officer keeps patrol while at a murder scene in the outskirts of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico on May 28, 2010.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre for Texas Tribune

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico – The tank that has stood at the entrance to this Mexican border city since 2008 was not here on Christmas Eve. Neither was the machine gun turret that pointed down this gritty town’s main street.

But the masked soldiers remained. Residents say it is a sign that little law enforcement appears to exist except for the military officers who patrol the streets.

That could change, however, under policies announced recently by Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s newly inaugurated president.

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Drugs
11:44 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Obama: 'We've Got Bigger Fish to Fry' Than Going After Pot Smokers

A woman, identified only as "Hurricane," lights up in Seattle. Washington state's law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana went into effect on Dec. 6.
Cliff Despeaux Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 8:57 am

It looks like the feds will not be worrying much about those folks who choose to smoke pot in Colorado and Washington state, where new laws decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

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Drugs
2:02 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Will U.S. Try To Snuff Out State Marijuana Laws?

A worker inspects a marijuana plant at a grow house in Denver on Nov. 8.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 3:54 pm

The Justice Department has a big decision to make.

Parts of new laws in Colorado and Washington that legalize small amounts of recreational marijuana will take effect early next month. The Obama administration needs to choose whether it will sue to stop the legislation or let those states go their own way — even though the drug remains illegal under federal law.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, says the message he got from voters is unambiguous.

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Drugs
12:26 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Austin Police More Likely To Bust African-Americans For Pot (Updated)

Despite comprising roughly eight percent of Austin's population, African-Americans made up 28 percent of APD's marijuana possession cases since 2009.
flickr.com/esqenzo

Update:  The Texas Civil Rights Project wrote this letter to APD yesterday, requesting an explanation of its disproportionate pot busts within ten business days. Citing the statistics in the story below, project director Jim Harrington writes, “These facts raise serious questions, at least, as to whether APD officers are doing racial profiling or consistently exercising their discretion in favor of whites and against African Americans.”

Original Post (Nov. 10, 1:39 p.m.): Despite Austin’s progressive reputation, smoking marijuana in this city can still get you in trouble with the law. And data from the Austin Police Department shows that is more likely to happen if you are African-American. 

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Drugs
4:15 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Reps. Ron Paul, Barney Frank Ask Obama To Respect Pot Legalization Laws

Fast Eddy Aki'a of Hawaii smokes a joint as thousands of supporters of legalized pot, lit up at 4:20 p.m. on April 20 in Denver, Colorado.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 6:31 am

Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) are asking the White House to respect the voters of Colorado and Washington, who decided that recreational marijuana use should be legal.

In a letter sent to President Obama, they wrote:

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
11:41 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Forget Welfare Recipients: Should State Officials Be Drug Tested Too?

Turnabout is fair play, says one Texas lawmaker proposing drug tests for those seeking political office.
Erik Reyna for KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry is holding another press conference this afternoon to discuss possible changes to welfare and unemployment insurance – including the possibility that so called "high-risk" recipients be required to take drug tests.

Today Perry will stand alongside State Sen. Tommy Williams in Conroe to once again talk about his support for a bill filed this week. It's an issue Perry has pounced on and appears to be making a priority for the 2013 Legislative Session. Just yesterday, Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst held a rare joint press conference yesterday to praise the bill filed by State Sen. Jane Nelson.

Now, a state representative from Beaumont is throwing the bill's supporters a challenge. State Rep. Joe Deshotel wants Perry, Dewhurst and Nelson to support adding a drug test requirement to the application to run for state office.

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The Lead
8:31 am
Wed November 14, 2012

The Lead: Austin Homeless Question Police Push Downtown

Good morning. After a chilly start, Austin should warm to highs in the mid-60s, according to the National Weather Service. Here’s some stories KUT News has been working on.

"Violent crime in Austin’s downtown area has risen by nearly 17 percent, according to the latest FBI statistics, although Austin police say the city remains one of the safest in the nation.  Police have ramped up their downtown presence. And that’s raising its own set of concerns among advocates for the city’s homeless."

"Texas Governor Rick Perry has given his support to a bill that would have recipients of unemployment benefits submit to drug tests. Those failing a test would be denied benefits for 12 months, or until they completed a drug treatment program."

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