Dallas-Based Painkiller Distribution Scheme Built on Backs of Homeless, Feds Say

Categories: Crime, Drugs

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Patrick Ireland
30 milligram oxocodone pills
The process, as described in a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday in Dallas, was simple. Recruiters would pay homeless people -- including residents of The Bridge shelter in downtown Dallas -- a fee, often $30, to visit a doctor's office. The indigent recruits were given instructions on how to get a prescription for painkillers and money, usually between $125 and $500 to pay for the visit. When it was over, the prescription was given to the recruiter, feds say.

The recruiters were given $15 for each prescription mule they recruited by the ring's leaders, who proceeded to fill the prescriptions and distribute the drugs, often in Louisiana. Some recruits were paid extra to pick up their prescriptions themselves, before giving the pills to the ring leaders. Thirty milligram oxycodone pills were then sold by the ring for $22 each, while hydrocodones went for $5, according to a statement by a Houston-based member of the distribution ring obtained by federal investigators.

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Feds Bust Man Behind Dallas-Based Steroids Website

Categories: Crime, Drugs

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Flickr user MattysFlicks
If you were going to buy steroids online, Trusted Anabolic Solutions seems like a pretty good bet. According to online reviews, TAS offered a good product, discreet packaging, and fantastic customer service from someone going by "Big H."

Then, a few weeks ago, something went awry. On Muscle Gurus, jilted customers complained that they were being scammed. On Eroids, a moderator posted a cryptic warning to steer clear of TAS.

TAS' angry customers will no doubt be relieved to know that there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for why the website hasn't sent them their drugs. It's because the man behind the website was just busted by the feds.

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Southlake Cops Bust Couple for Growing Pot In Their Home

Categories: Drugs

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Tarrant County
Julia Thacker and Keith Fields
Hard to believe just looking at their mugshots, but Julia Thacker and Keith Fields were running a medium-scale marijuana farm out of their Southlake home, police say.

On January 12, cops received a call suggesting that they check on the safety of an infant who lived at 125 Sweet St. because marijuana was being smoked and sold at the house. Cops say their investigation led them to believe there was weed in the house. After getting a search warrant, they found 55 pot plants, multiple firearms and a bunch of ammunition.

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Texas Could Bring In $166 Million from Legalizing Marijuana, Man

Categories: Drugs

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Sroalf
A Texas pep rally, after $166 million in cannabis cash goes to the TEA.

Good news for E. Cannabis Unum supporters across the country: Texas, land of big businesses and economic prosperity, could stand to gain a ton of money from legalizing marijuana -- more than $166 million per year, by some estimates. That's a Texas Miracle if we've ever heard one.

Of course, it would also take a miracle.

A report out this week by financial analysts at NerdWallet points to the financial benefits of legalizing marijuana. "We put the study out there because with the upcoming election, citizens will cast ballots for recreational and medical marijuana," says Divya Raghavan, who authored the study. "People have to make this decision very quickly." Voters in Oregon, Alaska, Washington, D.C., Florida and California will consider various levels of marijuana decriminalization this November.

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Texas Adults Aren't Crazy About Pot, But We Sure Do Like Our Liquor

Categories: Drugs

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United States Fish and Wildlife Service
None for us, thanks. We're pretty much all just raging alcoholics.

A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) collects data from each state to determine the use of alcohol and drugs. Among the findings? We Texans like our booze, and we like a lot of it.

The report divides the findings by age group and type of substance abuse, such as general alcohol use, binge drinking, illicit drugs, and marijuana use. For Texas adults, numbers show that we aren't generally fond of pot. Only around 5 percent of adults smoked pot in the past month.

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Texas Researcher Might Have Some Treatments for Ebola, Needs Money

Categories: Drugs

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NIAID
The yellow part is the normal cell, and the blue lines are the Ebola virus.
Ever since a doctor from Fort Worth became one of two Americans recently infected with the Ebola virus on a mercy trip in Liberia, the Western public has developed a renewed interest in the rare disease, often described as incurable.

For researchers like University of Texas virologist Dr. Thomas Geisbert, this means they're more likely to finally get all that money they need to continue studying Ebola, which might just be a few human tests and millions of dollars away from a cure, after all. "We have developed treatments that can completely protect monkeys against Ebola if we give it different times after exposure," Geisbert says.

The next step for Geisbert would be to test those treatments on healthy humans. To do that, he just needs millions of dollars. Big pharmaceutical companies seem like obvious candidates to put up that money. It's "something that big pharmaceutical companies could do," Geisbert says, except that they won't. "I've talked to representatives of those companies, at different meetings and things, and pretty much was told it's just not a moneymaker."

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After Latest Bust, Dallas Should Probably Lay Off the (Fake) Pot

Categories: Drugs

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In a perfect example of why it's best -- if you're looking to run a successful drug empire -- to keep the manufacturing and distribution arms of your outfit separate, the Drug Enforcement Administration moved to seize 35 financial accounts, six cars, jewelery, almost $20,000 in cash, seven gold Canadian "Maple Leaf" coins and 18 properties from Lawrence Shahwan of Lewisville, Gas Pipe head shop owner Jerry Shults and others associated with the Texas and New Mexico-based chain.

According to court documents, the seizure comes after a months-long investigation consisting primarily of federal agents going to Gas Pipe shops and purchasing what the documents call "synthetic marijuana," but is more accurately described as a varying cocktail of hallucinogenic chemicals mixed with a plant base. The substance is packaged as potpourri or incense or something else that shouldn't be ingested. Before July 2012, synthetic marijuana was legal. That month, President Obama banned it. It's now just as illegal as actual marijuana.

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Tea Partying Steve Stockman Was the Only Texas Rep to Support an Important Pot-Law Amendment

Categories: Drugs

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U.S. Representative Steve Stockman is the Texas lawmaker who is probably least likely to whip out a joint at the party and share it with everyone. He likes families, straight people, guns and fertilized eggs that might one day become babies. He hates liberals.

Not as much as he hates the federal government, though, which is why he was the only Texas lawmaker to sign a new amendment that could make getting medical pot a little easier.

"This is a matter of following the Constitution," his spokesperson Donny Ferguson told Unfair Park in an email.

The House last week passed a historic amendment that would prevent the DEA from raiding medical marijuana dispensaries in states that allow them. The bipartisian amendment isn't law yet, but the 219-189 decision is an encouraging turn in places like California, which legalized medical weed in 1996 yet faced sweeping federal raids on dispensaries as recently as three years ago.

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Phenazepam, the Soviet-Made Designer Drug, Hits North Texas

Categories: Drugs

In case you missed the September 2012 issue of Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, here's a heads up: phenazepam, a powerful anti-anxiety drug sometimes sold as "Zannie" or "bonsai," is hitting the U.S. streets.

It's not exactly a new product -- it was developed in the 1970s by Soviet scientists to treat epilepsy, anxiety and sleep disorders -- but only recently has its recreational use spread, first to Western Europe and now to the United States.

See also: Denton County Police Discover That They Make Marijuana Candy and Soda Now

It's several times more potent than valium, another benzodiazepine, and has been cited as the cause of a growing number of hospitalizations and deaths. Now -- cue the Sweeps Week-style freakout -- it's arrived in North Texas.

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Dallas Police and the DEA Seized a Quarter-Ton Shipment of Xanax Over the Weekend

Categories: Crime, Drugs

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Drug Enforcement Agency
William Ian Brown did not have a prescription for the single alprazolam (Xanax) pill he was allegedly carrying in his pocket when he was arrested on Sunday. A crime, to be sure, but a minor one. If prosecutors decided to pursue the case -- given that it was a single pill, they might not bother -- the worst outcome would be a short stretch in Lew Sterrett, a modest fine and a misdemeanor conviction.

But that pill wasn't his problem. It was the 550 pounds of alprazolam he and his business partner, Brandon Lynell Gardner, had allegedly just taken possession of near Interstate 35 and Northwest Highway.

According to federal court documents, Brown and Gardner, are both officers of Dynasty Global Systems LLC, a local freight-hauling company. Gardner had arranged a shipment of two pallets from Denver to be delivered to a Northeast Dallas warehouse.

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