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FridayMarch 2, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Arpaio’s Press Conference Falls Short

Arpaio’s Press Conference Falls Short

Photo: Arpaio Thinks Obama's Birth Certificate is a Fake

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Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio held a much touted press conference on Thursday to announce the results of his “cold case posse” looking into the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate. Ultimately though, they hype didn’t match the results.

Rumors about Obama’s birthplace began circulating when the president was campaigning in 2008. In an effort to prove that he is a natural born citizen, Obama released his long form birth certificate last April. 

However, Arpaio felt that there was significant proof that the birth certificate was forged.  Mike Zullo, the lead investigator in Arpaio’s investigation, claimed that they had identified one person of interest as well as evidence that the birth certificate that was posted online in April had been digitally created. 

Arpaio said, “Mr. President, please come up with some information about where you were born, and everyone will go away, and I will say I’m sorry.”

Some believe that this is simply a ploy by Arpaio to gain favor with conservatives during a tough election season but he says this is not true.

“I want truth, I don’t care where it falls,” he said. 

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the president, poked fun at Arpaio, tweeting a link to what he said was a live feed of the press conference but what was actually a video of the opening credits of “The X-Files”, a popular 90’s television show which focused on conspiracy theories. 

Cuba Facing Pork Shortage in State Markets

Cuba Facing Pork Shortage in State Markets

Photo: Cuba Facing Pork Shortage in State Markets

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Pork, the main attraction among all Cuban dishes, has been in short supply at state markets since January following a drop of almost 70 percent in availability due to production problems and a lack of “coordination” between the Agriculture Ministry and the Food Industry.

“The processing of smoked meat in the capital is practically at a standstill and deliveries to retail outlets are dwindling. The amount of pork produced in the west is not enough to meet the demand, nor are deliveries from the central part of the country,” official media said Friday.

Some of the Cuban press critized over the past few days the rise in prices and the insufficient supply of pork on the market since the beginning of 2012, immediately after the large sales volumes of the December holidays.

Pork is the main dish of Cuban cuisine and is traditionally served roasted for the Christmas and New Year’s festivities, accompanied by other favorites like cassava with mojo sauce made with garlic, olive oil and citrus juice, as well as by rice with black beans.

Granma, official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, noted Friday that Havana’s state markets are now supplied with a tenth of the volume available to them at the end of 2011, and some haven’t sold pork since Dec. 31.

Cubans interviewed Friday by Efe in Havana said the product is getting scarcer in state markets but that it can be found in unregulated farmers’ markets - at prices as much as twice the maximum established by the government.

“There’s more than enough meat, what people don’t have is the money to buy it,” one seller said.

Some believe that the current increase in demand is also related to the proliferation of private businesses selling food products, following the opening of the private sector promoted by the government in September 2010.

During the economic crisis brought on by the fall of the Soviet bloc in the 1990s, some families would improvise urban corrals to raise pigs on balconies, in bathrooms or small patios in order to make up for food scarcities.

“The pig, our National Mammal. It deserves a monument,” says a verse made popular in 2011 by the well-known musical duo Buena Fe.

Granma stressed Friday that the current problem isn’t caused by distribution of the meat but by “the meager volumes, the unequal deliveries and the lack of an opportune coordination” between companies of the Agriculture Ministry and the Food Industry.

The director of the Pork Marketing Group, Norberto Espinosa, told the daily that “there’s always a gap in production” in the first quarter of the year, but that the current crisis is made worse by the fact that private breeders “more and more prefer to sell to private parties and not to the state, because the former offer more tempting prices.”

Nonetheless, Granma wondered how the Pork Marketing Group could deliver more than 14,000 tons of pork meat to the Food Industry in December, while in January it could come up with only 4,545 tons, a drop of almost 70 percent.

The government of President Raul Castro considers reactivating agriculture to increase production a matter of “national security” because the country spends more than $1.5 billion a year importing 80 percent of the food it consumes.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jenni Rivera in “Diva Sessions” for Billboard Latin Music Conference

Jenni Rivera in “Diva Sessions” for Billboard Latin Music Conference

Photo: Jenni Rivera to star in "Diva Sessions".

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Mexican-American star Jenni Rivera will be “The Diva We Want to Know” at the April 23-26 Billboard Latin Music Conference & Awards in Miami.

The one-woman entertainment powerhouse will sit down for a Q&A session with Billboard’s executive director of Latin Content and Programming, Leila Cobo.

Rivera “is the only Latin artist who stars in her own very successful television show. She’s a top-seller. She’s a top-touring act. And she represents Latina women in the United States like probably no other female act today does,” Cobo said Thursday in a statement.

The “Diva of Banda,” a Mexican regional genre, has sold more than 15 million records and is repeat winner at the Latin Grammys and Billboard Latin Music Awards.

Rivera, with her clothing line, chain of boutiques and weekly radio talk-show, has been dubbed the “Latina Oprah.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Search Continues for Brazilian Tourist Lost in Villarrica Volcano

Search Continues for Brazilian Tourist Lost in Villarrica Volcano

Photo: The search still continues for a Brazilian tourist lost in Villarrica volcano.

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Approximately 50 troops of “Socorro Andino, the “GOPE de Carbineros”, guides from “Conaf”, and private companies have all continued the search for Felipe Santos, a 21 year old Brazilian tourist lost in the volcano “Villarricca” in Chile.

The variety of experts has also not been able to find the body of Mexican Rodolfo Sarovich, also a 21 year old, who was traveling along with Santos.

After slipping into a ravine while hiking near the volcano this past Thursday, Santos disappeared immediately while his friend Sarvich was killed upon the impact.

Although these experts and rescue groups have begun to scout the area, the weather has restricted them from preforming any another type of search besides those by land.

News sources also determined that another traveler, Guillermo Elias Obeso, was seriously injured and brought to the German Clinic in the city of Toronto

Read more by HS News Staff →

Undocumented Immigrant Forced to Work for $.85 an Hour at New York Mansion

Undocumented Immigrant Forced to Work for $.85 an Hour at New York Mansion

Photo: V.M. worked for $.85 a day at the Llenroc mansion in New York

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After the original owner of a Rexford, New York mansion known as Llenroc lost his house Annie George, 39, and her husband moved in, but what no one knew was that for more than 5 years, an undocumented immigrant was being employed under near forced labor conditions.

The immigrant, who was only identified in court documents as an Indian immigrant named “V.M.”, was offered employment as housekeeper with a monthly income of about $1000.

Instead, V.M. was paid just 85 cents an hour and worked 17 hours a day for 67 months. While there she cooked, cleaned the 34-room, 30,000-square-foot mansion, and raised the couple’s five children. Mrs. George wanted V.M. near the children at all times and forced her to sleep in the walk-in closet of the family’s three daughters.

The Smoking Gun writes:

According to a criminal complaint filed Monday against Annie George, 39, the servant entered the U.S. on a non immigrant visa in 1998 to work for the family of a United Nations employee. She began working for the Georges in late-2005 after being offered about $1000 per month, a substantial pay increase.

In reality, “V.M” received sporadic minimal payments from the Georges. A U.S. District Court complaint estimates that the servant received about $29,000 over the five-and-a-half years she worked for the family. A U.S. Department of Labor investigation determined that the woman was “lawfully entitled” to a minimum of “approximately $206,000 for the entire approximate six years of V.M.’s work.”

Annie George was named in the 7-page complaint, as her husband died in a plane crash in 2009.

On top of the low pay and long work days, V.M. told the authorities that she was not given health or dental benefits and never left the home until she was removed last year.

After her removal George reportedly spoke to V.M.’s son who was still in India, telling him to tell his mother to tell authorities that she was a member of the George family because saying anything about working would prove “a big crime” had occurred.

The son is said to have recorded the conversations.

Read more at The Smoking Gun →

Agents Arrest Drug Smugglers Near Temecula, Retrieve 51 lbs of Cocaine, 2 lbs of Heroin

Agents Arrest Drug Smugglers Near Temecula, Retrieve 51 lbs of Cocaine, 2 lbs of Heroin

Photo: Nissan Contained 51lbs of Cocaine

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol agents working jointly with Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies, Murrieta Police officers, and California Highway Patrol officers arrested a suspected heroin smuggler who illegally fled from the Interstate 15 Border Patrol checkpoint on February 28.

At approximately 10:30 a.m., agents and Murrieta Police officers on patrol attempted to stop a red 2005 Dodge Neon just south of the I-15 checkpoint. The driver of the vehicle, a 28-year-old male United States citizen, failed to yield and threw two bundles of heroin out of his driver’s side window. Next, the suspected smuggler drove onto the center median and sped through the checkpoint. Agents alerted local law enforcement in the area who quickly responded to assist. Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies dispatched air assets to help in the search for the suspect, who exited the I-15 north onto Temecula Parkway. Sheriff’s deputies in the air observed the suspect hiding in some brush near the off ramp, and directed ground law enforcement officers to his location.

Deputies, agents, and officers responded to the area and took the suspect into custody. The suspect and heroin were subsequently turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation. The suspected smuggler faces federal charges for narcotics smuggling and high speed flight from a checkpoint. The two heroin bundles weighed a total of nearly two pounds and had an estimated street value of $25,740. The vehicle involved in the incident was seized by CBP Border Patrol.

In addition, Border Patrol agents assigned to the I-5 and I-8 checkpoints seized $534,420 worth of cocaine and methamphetamine over the last three days. On February 28, agents assigned to the I-5 checkpoint near San Clemente arrested a 41-year-old male Mexican national after he attempted to smuggle more than 1 pound of methamphetamine in a silver 2002 Dodge Durango. A Border Patrol canine team alerted to a briefcase located on the rear seat of the vehicle. Agents subsequently searched the vehicle and discovered a softball-sized bundle of methamphetamine inside of the briefcase worth $20,720.

At approximately 4:15 p.m. on February 26, agents assigned to the I-8 checkpoint near Pine Valley arrested a 22-year-old female United States citizen for attempting to smuggle 20 bundles of cocaine worth an estimated $513,700. A Border Patrol canine team alerted to her gray 2008 Nissan Sentra and agents subsequently discovered 51.37 pounds of cocaine hidden inside of the vehicle’s gas tank.

The suspected smugglers and illicit narcotics involved in the smuggling events at the I-5 and I-8 checkpoints were taken into custody and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The two vehicles involved in the smuggling events were seized by CBP Border Patrol.

Read more by HS News Staff →

California Youth Counselor Sentenced to 29 Years in Prison for Producing Child Pornography

California Youth Counselor Sentenced to 29 Years in Prison for Producing Child Pornography

Photo: Thomas Perez Jewell Sentenced to 29 Years in Prison for Producing Child Pornography

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Defendant Also Ordered to Pay $234,000 in Restitution to Victim

Thomas Perez Jewell was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Oakland, Calif., to 29 years in prison and was ordered to pay $234,000 in restitution for producing child pornography, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California and Special Agent in Charge Stephanie Douglas of the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office.                               

According to court documents, Jewell first came to the attention of law enforcement authorities when he was suspected of distributing and possessing child pornography.  A search of Jewell’s Pleasant Hill, Calif., apartment pursuant to a search warrant revealed evidence that Jewell had sexually molested two minor victims and photographed and videotaped his abuse.  A hard drive hidden under the mattress in Jewell’s bedroom contained thousands of images of the minor victims.  Prior to his arrest and conviction, Jewell was employed as a youth counselor and therapist in Contra Costa County, Calif.

Jewell, 54, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 9, 2010.  He was charged with production of child pornography, transportation of child pornography and possession of child pornography. He pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography on Nov. 23, 2011.                                                         

Jewell was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton.  Judge Hamilton also sentenced the defendant to a lifetime of supervised release .  Jewell has been in custody since his arrest on Nov. 18, 2010.                                                                     

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Hill of the Northern District of California and Trial Attorney Mi Yung Park of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  This case was investigated by the FBI, the Pleasant Hill Police Department, the Martinez, Calif., Police Department and the Walnut Creek, Calif., Police Department.             

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Another Teacher in Southern California Arrested for Sexual Relationship With Student

Another Teacher in Southern California Arrested for Sexual Relationship With Student

Photo: Hemet High teacher Janel Ramirez accused of having sex with student

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Yet another teacher in Southern California has been arrested for allegedly having inappropriate sexual contact with a student.

In a school just little more than an hour southeast of Los Angeles, a teacher at Hemet High School has been accused of having a sexual relationship with one of her students.

Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has arrested 31-year-old Janel Ramirez on suspicion of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, continued sexual abuse of a minor, and two counts of oral copulation after the school notified police that she may have had sex with a student.

The ninth grade English teacher is also a graduate of the school and has been teaching there since 2007. The Press Enterprise has reported that the Ramirez works with incoming freshmen to help them acclimate to high school life.

Thursday afternoon, the school sent messages to the parents of its students. It is believed the sex occurred in December with the male student.

Ramirez was released from the Southwest Detention Center Thursday night on $100,000 bail.

The name of the student was not release as he is a minor and the alleged crimes are sexual in nature.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Selena Gomez Shows a Little Skin

Selena Gomez Shows a Little Skin

Photo: Gomez's Bra Decides to Say Hello

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Selena Gomez accidentally showed off a little too Thursday while getting her morning coffee.

She stopped at Starbucks yesterday morning before heading to the set to film her new movie Spring Breakers when her loose fitting top slipped, making Gomez’s bra visible. Maybe it was a not-so-subtle birthday present to her boyfriend, Justin Bieber?

Read more by HS News Staff →

Former Puerto Rico Senator and Businessman Each Sentenced to 48 Months for Bribery Scheme

Former Puerto Rico Senator and Businessman Each Sentenced to 48 Months for Bribery Scheme

Photo: Former Puerto Rico Senator and Businessman Each Sentenced to 48 Months for Bribery Scheme

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Hector Martinez Maldonado, a former Puerto Rico senator, and Juan Bravo Fernandez, the former president of the largest private security firm in Puerto Rico, were each sentenced today to 48 months in prison for their roles in a bribery scheme involving the passage of legislation beneficial to Bravo Fernandez’s business, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

The defendants were sentenced by Judge Francisco A. Besosa. Judge Besosa also ordered Bravo Fernandez to pay a $175,000 fine and Martinez Maldonado to pay a $17,500 fine.

On March 7, 2011, a jury convicted former Senator Martinez Maldonado, 43, and Bravo Fernandez, 56, of a bribery scheme in which Bravo Fernandez conspired to secure the passage of two bills favorable to his business interests by bribing Martinez Maldonado and Jorge De Castro Font, a former Puerto Rico senator, with a first-class, all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas and ringside seats to see a championship boxing match. Specifically, the jury found Martinez Maldonado and Bravo Fernandez guilty of one count of bribery related to federal funds and found Bravo Fernandez guilty of conspiracy related to this criminal scheme.

“Today’s prison sentences reflect that corruption has serious consequences,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Former Senator Martinez and Mr. Fernandez engaged in a scheme to exchange cash and services for legislation favorable to Mr. Fernandez’s business interests. The Justice Department’s Criminal Division is determined to put a stop to such brazenly corrupt conduct wherever we find it.”

“Corruption continues to be a primary threat to the well-being of the people of Puerto Rico. Therefore, the FBI will continue to investigate those elected, and/or appointed public officials, and private citizens engaged in these corrupt schemes that deprive the working citizens of Puerto Rico of an honest, representative government,” said Joseph Campbell, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s San Juan Field Office. “In Puerto Rico, corruption and democracy cannot co-exist.”

According to evidence presented at trial, Martinez Maldonado was elected to the Puerto Rico Senate in 2004 and began serving a four-year term in January 2005. He was re-elected in 2008. Bravo Fernandez was the president and chief executive officer of Ranger American, the largest private security firm in Puerto Rico. De Castro Font served in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives from 1989 to 2004, and served in the Puerto Rico Senate from 2005 to 2008. Beginning in 2005, De Castro Font served as chair of the Committee on Rules and Calendars, exercising significant control over which bills, confirmations, and other matters were brought to a vote on the floor of the Senate and when they were brought to a vote. Beginning in 2005, Martinez Maldonado served as chair of the Public Safety Committee, exercising significant control over legislation related to community safety and the private security industry.

As chair of the Public Safety Committee and chair of the Committee on Rules and Calendars, Martinez Maldonado and De Castro Font, respectively, exercised significant control over the fate of the legislation benefitting Bravo Fernandez’s business interests. Specifically, Martinez Maldonado’s committee had jurisdiction over Bravo Fernandez’s two bills and was required to approve the legislation before De Castro Font could schedule them for a vote before the entire Senate.

In order to secure passage of the two bills, Bravo Fernandez, Martinez Maldonado, and De Castro Font agreed that Martinez Maldonado and De Castro Font would take official acts supporting the legislation benefitting Bravo Fernandez’s business interests in exchange for things of value provided by Bravo Fernandez. Evidence at trial established that Bravo Fernandez agreed to provide Martinez Maldonado and De Castro Font with a trip to Las Vegas to watch the May 14, 2005 championship boxing match between Winky Wright and Felix “Tito” Trinidad, a popular Puerto Rican boxer. As part of this agreement, Bravo Fernandez provided, among other things, first-class airfare, hotel rooms at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, tickets to the Trinidad vs. Wright boxing match worth $1,000, hotel rooms in Miami for the return trip, as well as meals and drinks. In addition, from 2004 to 2008, Bravo Fernandez provided numerous cash payments to De Castro Font that were concealed in an envelope and provided through personal assistants.

Evidence at trial established that on March 2, 2005, the day Bravo Fernandez paid for the boxing tickets, Martinez Maldonado submitted one of the bills for consideration by the Puerto Rico Senate. Also, on April 21, 2005, Bravo Fernandez used his personal credit card to reserve a hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The deposit for this hotel room was credited to Martinez Maldonado’s hotel room. The reservation was made the day after Martinez Maldonado presided over a Public Safety Committee hearing for one of the two bills at which Bravo Fernandez was the only representative from the private security industry to testify. Immediately after the hearing, Martinez Maldonado authorized a committee report in support of Bravo Fernandez’s bill.

On May 17, 2005, the day after the three men returned from their trip to Las Vegas, Martinez Maldonado and De Castro Font both cast their vote in support of one of Bravo Fernandez’s bills in front of the full Puerto Rico Senate. On May 18, 2005, the other bill was approved out of the Public Safety Committee, chaired by Martinez Maldonado. That bill was passed by the Puerto Rico Senate on May 23, 2005.

De Castro Font pleaded guilty on January 21, 2009 to 20 counts of honest services wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion. He was sentenced on May 17, 2011 to 60 months in prison.

This case is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Peter Koski of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. The case is being investigated by the FBI.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Suspect in Redondo Beach Double Murder Captured in Mexico

LATINO BLOTTER: Suspect in Redondo Beach Double Murder Captured in Mexico

Photo: Jonathan Scott Chacon, 23, accused of killing Vickie and Courtney Bergman

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The main suspect in the Redondo Beach, CA killing of a woman and her daughter has been caught after he fled to Mexico.

Tuesday, the bodies of Vickie Bergman, 49, and her daughter, Courtney Bergman, 19, were found at their apartment by one of the mother’s coworkers.

Shortly after the police were called, Jonathan Scott Chacon, 23, believed to be Courtney’s boyfriend, became a person of interest and the search for him began with authorities asking anyone with information to come forward. Within hours, police were giving his description to Mexican authorities, who began the search for Chacon, who was believed to have fled across the border.

Just after midnight Wednesday morning, Mexican authorities found Chacon a hotel in Rosarito Beach in Baja California, roughly 20 miles south of the border. The U.S. citizen was handed over to authorities and he now faces two counts of first-degree murder. He is eligible for the death penalty.

If convicted, murder is just the latest crimes to be added to Chacon’s record, as he has already been arrested a number of times. In 2008, he was arrested for unlawful sex with a minor and resisting arrest. In the same year he was arrested for battery though the charge was later dismissed.

Two people told LA Daily News, that they new Chacon to be a heavy drug user, taking LSD, psychedelic mushrooms, and cocaine.

Though it is unclear how he met Courtney Bergman, he is said to have fathered a child with one of her friends.

It is believed that the mother and daughter were killed somewhere between midnight and 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Agents Find Another Drug Smuggling Tunnel at Arizona-Mexico Border, 550lbs of Marijuana Inside

Agents Find Another Drug Smuggling Tunnel at Arizona-Mexico Border, 550lbs of Marijuana Inside

Photo: Agents Find Another Drug Smuggling Tunnel at Arizona.-Mexico Border, 550lbs of Marijuana Inside

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Another smuggling tunnel has been found long this U.S.-Mexico border, this time in Arizona.

The Department of Homeland Security says federal agents discovered the tunnel Thursday, which ran underneath Nogales, AZ. No one was found in the tunnel 110-foot tunnel, though agents did recover about 550 pounds of marijuana.

Agents said the tunnel is about 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide and had only been in use for about a week. Wooden support was placed along the underground tunnel, but it had no ventilation or electricity.

The initial search of the tunnel had Mexican authorities entering from one end, while DHS agents entered from the Arizona side.

In Mexico, the opening to the tunnel was in the yard of a property in Nogales and the other end opened up in Nogales, AZ, where the entrance was hidden by rocks and plants.

“The discovery of this tunnel is yet another example of the power of collaboration between HSI, Border Patrol and the SSP,” said Kevin Kelly, assistant special agent in charge of HSI Nogales. “Through vigilance and close cooperation, we were able to shut down this passageway before it was used to bring significant amounts of narcotics into the United States.”

“Through partnerships, intelligence sharing and coordination we will continue to realize success in our collective efforts to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations operating in our area,” said Chief Patrol Agent Rick Barlow with the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector. “In doing so, we will make our communities safer.”

In the last three years, federal authorities have discovered and shut down 22 completed cross-border smuggling tunnels in the Nogales area.

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH Charlie Sheen in Unaired Super Bowl Commercial for Fiat “House Arrest” (VIDEO)

WATCH Charlie Sheen in Unaired Super Bowl Commercial for Fiat “House Arrest” (VIDEO)

Photo: Charlie Sheen in Super Bowl Commercial for Fiat "House Arrest"

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There are always a number of ads made for the Super Bowl that never actually air and a Fiat spot with Charlie Sheen was apparently one of them.

Instead of running the “House Arrest” ad, which stars Sheen racing around a house in a Fiat, the car company decided to go with the sexy “Seduction” ad with Catrinel Menghia.

Check out the ad below.


Related Videos

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Retired General Denied Amnesty in Guatemala

A Guatemalan court ruled Thursday that a 1986 amnesty law does not bar prosecution of retired Gen. Efrain Rios Montt for crimes against humanity during his 1982-1983 rule of the Central American country.

Rios Montt’s request for amnesty is out of order, Judge Miguel Angel Galvez said, as Guatemala’s 1996 Law of National Reconciliation specifically excludes impunity for crimes such as mass murder, torture and forced disappearance.

The magistrate also cited Guatemala’s 1950 ratification of the U.N. convention against genocide, which holds that crimes against humanity are not subject to the statute of limitations.

Galvez ordered prosecutors to pursue the investigation to its conclusion, at which point the judge will decide whether the 85-year-old Rios Montt should stand trial.

Rios Montt, who has been under house arrest since Jan. 26, ruled Guatemala during the bloodiest phase of a 36-year-long civil war that claimed more than 200,000 lives. Most of the dead were Indian peasants slaughtered by the army and its paramilitary allies.

The erstwhile dictator has been linked to 11 massacres of indigenous people.

Read more by HS News Staff →



FridayMarch 2, 2012