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San Antonio Blog

Corruption expert accused of money laundering

Texas residents may be aware that many Venezuelan officials have been accused of engaging in corruption, but Texans may be surprised to learn that a respected academic who wrote books about despotic South American regimes has been accused of helping them to launder money. Federal prosecutors say the 73-yewar-old University of Miami professor made hundreds of thousands of dollars for himself in 2017 and 2018 by helping Venezuelan officials launder millions in stolen money.

U.S. attorneys have charged the professor with money laundering and conspiring to commit money laundering. Each of the three counts he faces carries a possible sentence of 20 years in a federal prison. According to court documents, about $200,000 was transferred each month from banks in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates into accounts the professor had access to. The professor is accused of taking 10% of this money as a fee and distributing the rest to others. Prosecutors say that about $2.5 million was laundered in this way.

Texas man convicted on federal drug charges

A 31-year-old Texas man faces up to 20 years in a federal prison after being convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. A jury found the man guilty after a trial that lasted for only one day according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas. The man was indicted along with six alleged co-conspirators in July 2019. Five of his co-conspirators subsequently pleaded guilty to drug charges. The sixth is currently a fugitive.

Prosecutors say drug traffickers in Oregon used the U.S. Postal Service to send packages of marijuana to the man and his co-conspirators. The group is said to have distributed the drugs in cities including Wichita Falls, Iowa Park and Henrietta. The proceeds from the drug sales were then sent back to the Oregon suppliers according to prosecutors.

Can you refuse a breath test during a Texas DWI traffic stop?

So you've gotten pulled over by law enforcement officers or swept up in a sobriety checkpoint or roadblock. Now, the officer talking to you wants you to submit to a chemical breath test. However, you know from reading about it that those breath tests aren't always that accurate.

You may worry about the risk of the test coming back totally wrong or perhaps that one drink earlier could show up as more alcohol than it actually is. Whatever the circumstances, if you find yourself thinking about refusing the test, there are certain things that you should know. If you don't take the breath test, you could still find yourself facing some legal complications.

Report raises questions about breath test accuracy

A report in a major national newspaper has called the accuracy of breath tests into question. More than 30,000 breath test results have been thrown out of criminal cases in two states because of a lack of oversight or human error. Breath testing devices that have not been properly calibrated may give blood alcohol content readings as much as 40% higher than accurate. People in Texas who are facing criminal drunk driving charges might be able to challenge the admissibility of breath testing with the help of a criminal defense lawyer.

The report was published in the New York Times following an investigation about the problems with roadside DWI stops and breath tests. Reporters conducted interviews with more than 100 police officers, scientists, executives and lawyers as part of the investigation. They also reviewed tens of thousands of pages of court records, corporate papers, contracts, emails and other documents.

Baking cannabis cookies is a serious crime in Texas

Texas residents who are convicted on first-degree felony charges can be sent to prison for up to 99 years. Such sentences are generally reserved for individuals who commit violent crimes like murder, but they can also be handed down to defendants who committed what many people would consider relatively minor narcotics offenses. Under current Texas law, an individual who bakes a batch of cannabis brownies and then offers them to friends at a party could spend the rest of their life behind bars.

This is because lawmakers in the Lone Star State decided to take a firm stand in 2015 when faced with new drugs made using synthetic marijuana and THC concentrates. Any drugs made with these substances are now classified in the Texas Health and Safety Code alongside PCP and ecstasy in Penalty Group 2. However, the language of the 2015 law is vague, and its penalty classification covers any cannabis THC other than marijuana. This is why baking cannabis cookies in Texas is now such a serious crime.

Car accident leads to marijuana seizure

A three-vehicle accident in Texas on Oct. 19 led to the discovery of more than 100 pounds of marijuana. A 28-year-old man has been taken into custody in connection with the seized drugs. He has been charged with suspicion of marijuana possession and cited for speeding and operating an unregistered motor vehicle. He also has three outstanding warrants for failing to maintain financial responsibility for a motor vehicle according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

The chain-reaction accident took place in east El Paso County near the intersection of Peyton Road and Eastlake Boulevard. The car being driven by the man allegedly caused the accident by rear-ending another vehicle. Deputies say the man had fled the scene by the time they arrived. Deputies claim to have found about 145 pounds of marijuana in the abandoned car wrapped in several bundles.

Drugs found in car during traffic stop

Police in Texas have reported that a 54-year-old man and a 49-year-old woman were taken into custody on the evening of Oct. 10 after illegal drugs were found in their vehicle during a routine traffic stop. The man has been charged with drug possession, and his bond has been set at $6,000. The woman faces drug manufacturing and distribution charges and is being held on a $30,000 bond.

The couple's vehicle was pulled over by officers from the Wichita Falls Police Department at approximately 8:00 p.m. near the intersection of Holliday Road and 31st Street. Initial reports do not reveal the alleged reason for the traffic stop, but they do indicate that the man behind the wheel gave officers permission to search the vehicle.

Arrests increase despite drop in violent crimes

A trend is emerging across the United States that may interest residents of Texas. Though crime has been declining for several decades, studies show that arrest numbers have increased. A new study found that people across the United States are now much more likely to be arrested before the age of 26 than those in previous generations.

Though only 6.4% of Americans who were born before 1949 have been arrested, 23% of those born between 1979 and 1988 have been detained by law enforcement. Though some believe that these figures contribute to the decline in violent crime seen in the past few decades, most of the arrests were for non-violent crimes. Less than 20% of arrests were for alleged violent crimes. The majority of arrests were for misdemeanors, non-violent crimes and drug crimes.

When can prescription drugs lead to criminal charges?

Taking another person's prescription medication might seem like a good idea when you have something wrong and can't make it to the doctor right then. Deciding to do this can lead to criminal charges for you and the person who provides you with the medications. Unfortunately, this is a difficult situation to find yourself in.

State and federal laws dictate who is allowed to take prescription drugs. Pharmacies are only allowed to give out these medications to individuals who have a script from a doctor. The containers note that they can't be given to a person who isn't named on the label.

Authorities seize 22 pounds of meth during traffic stop

On Sept. 18, Texas authorities seized approximately 22 pounds of methamphetamine during a traffic stop. The incident took place in McKinney.

According to the Collin County Sheriff's Office, members of the North Texas Criminal Interdiction Unit, or NTXCIU, pulled over a vehicle on U.S. 75 and discovered the drugs. The bust was just one of several conducted by the unit, which targets drug and human traffickers traveling on Texas roadways, this year. Authorities hope these busts will cut down on illegal drug sales and human trafficking in the state.

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