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Sentencing And... Stereotyping ?

June 2011
Large meth ring operated out of Southwood trailer park
Two men are set to be sentenced today in federal court in Charlottesville for their role in a drug-trafficking pipeline that funneled Mexican methamphetamine into Southwood Mobile Home Park, according to officials.

From Southwood, the meth was parceled out for sale as far away as Lexington, according to Brian McGinn of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia.

Charlottesville itself wasn’t a major market for the drug, said city police Lt. Don Campbell, who heads the local narcotics task force. Rather, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Healey, the trailer park was used as a distribution hub...
Confidential witnesses have told police that at least as early as December 2009 dealers were making the trips to Georgia...

Excessive cutting of the drug was sometimes a source of conflict among the dealers, Campbell said...

The meth coming in from Mexico is cooked in labs there, and is quite pure to start with, according to Campbell.

“It’s not the cheap biker-type meth or the meth that people cook locally,” he said.

Even people relatively low in the now-dismantled organization were selling relatively large quantities of the drug, Campbell said.

Campbell described the local operation as being led by Salmeron-Duque, with a more loosely organized group below him.

“They said that they were the main source for meth [in Central Virginia] at that time,” Campbell said.

Two other articles, neither of which mention the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force’s role:

Two Men Involved in Meth Ring Face Jail Time and Deportation

Two Men Sentenced in Connection with Albemarle County Drug Ring

Speed And State Police Don’t Mix

(I was only going to post this on my VA State Police blog, but this one gets more worldwide readership and the other has mostly statewide viewers.)

State Trooper Dies In Weekend Crash In King George County

A 28-year-old Virginia State Police trooper died on Friday night when his patrol car was struck at an intersection while he was responding to a call for assistance.

Adam M. Bowen, a resident of Warsaw, Va., was pronounced dead at the scene on Route 3 (Kings Highway) near the intersection with Madison Drive.

According to the police report, Bowen's Ford Crown Victoria patrol car was passing through the intersection westbound when it collided with a Hyundai Elantra. The patrol car left the road and struck a traffic light pole with enough impact to split the car in half. The front end continued into a parking lot and hit three vehicles.

The driver and passenger in the Hyundai Elantra that Bowen hit were transported to Mary Washington Hospital and treated for minor injuries.


The pictures of the demolished cruiser actually make me physically ill to see:

It’s heartbreaking.


Keyword Activity

In no particular order, these recent terms brought site viewers:
jade task force details
albemarle county officer quillon
mike marshall uva police
da maneira que eu gosto
drug bust keswick 26 robert st
nick rudman charlottesville va
tony gattuso va
37 ford in side sun visor
albemarle co. va.statistics illegal drugs
craig sorokti
Dinwiddie county drug bust
drug raids in charlottesville va.
Ian Diner Meth
intellectual types
jade taskforce
mystatepoliceman.blogspot. com
tavis coffin police officer charlottesville va
triple homicide in greene county
Based on the amount of search hits I get daily on him, there are either an awful lot of Craig Soroktis running around or the Charlottesville guy is one popular fella.

Sometimes I think when it comes to name queries, it’s just the officers looking themselves up.

I’m a little disappointed to find out tony gattuso va ranks a sorry #48 on Google. But that’s probably because I have him on my site as Anthony Gattuso.
Tony Gattuso

Tony Gattuso

Tony Gattuso

Tony Gattuso

Tony Gattuso

Tony Gattuso

There. That oughta fix that, eh?

mystatepoliceman.blogspot. com [sic] is so very specific. I’m elated my newest blog about Richmond Petersburg Virginia State Police Special Agent Anthony (Tony) Gattuso is garnering such explicit attention.

Seeing “intellectual types,” “jade taskforce,” and “drug …” lookups together make me laugh.

I have no idea why I HeArTE JADE would appear as a result for a 37 Ford anything.

My favorite still rocks the search engine wars:


And So It Begins...

Just being Honest....

from D J
date Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 11:54 AM
subject Just being Honest....

What kind of car do you have?

Not being ugly or confrontational.... I just don't want my picture taken when I walk into one of the offices.

I just missed being in one of your pictures by not much once.

Just being honest.




Hmm... Can A Crack Pipe Be Categorized As A “Gadget”?

Barred from observing JADE-conducted operations, I’ve been occasionally studying, shall we say, the flip-side of their local drug world instead. It’s certainly been interesting socializing with dealers and users, although I admit it’s not quite as much fun as watching members of my favorite Task Force in action. For one thing, despite that some of them are undeniably crafty in the ways they run or do their illegal business, the drug scenists don’t exactly have… professional, if you will, training in their given field; for another, not every single one of these people is armed to the hilt.

Unlike I often do with Law Enforcement, I don’t dare record these contacts. After all, I figure -- I hope, anyway -- officers are kind of limited in how they can react upon finding I’m getting them on tape. I imagine dope-fiends and cocaine sellers aren’t gonna be as inhibited in their responses if any of them ever were to discover a wire on me.

I’ve got a few good stories probably worthy of posting on I HeArTE JADE, however, for obvious reasons, I’d have to be ultra careful not to provide the slightest identifying information about persons involved.

In the meanwhile, here is some random stuff I’ve learned:
  • For all their paranoia about “doing time,” dealers really. don’t. care. about. JADE. Sure a few will mention the boys, but taking serious precautionary measures to avoid being hooked-up? Yeah, not so much.

  • Adverse to the area’s public’s popular belief, there is more than a fair share of gangbangers present in the ‘hood, several of whom have ties to New York, one with what I’d deem an impressive Los Angeles connection.

  • Contrary to what I’ve repeatedly read about the hardcore substances crowd not being so share-y with their narcotics, they’re just as quick and friendly as the pro-marijuana masses to offer “wanna get high?” ‘Course that might merely be ‘cause I’m a girl; albeit I’ve had females extend the invitation as well. And none seem to take issue with a “no thanks,” always my response -- good gawd I’ve got enough going on in my head without adding mind-altering materials to the mix.

  • They’ll also happily give up their paraphernalia if someone tells them she needs it for “later”:

Hey, it’s not my fault the guy didn’t think to ask if I was planning to smoke crack with his pipe or just take a picture of it!


What Happened: The Trooper Long Report (Part 1)

(It’s been, like, forever, since I wrote wrote anything, but, yesterday, something pleasing happened to inspire me; so, lessee if I remember how to type out a semi-literate story.)

The scene screamed “potential perfect photograph.” Across the roadway from me sat a Virginia State Policeman’s car. The blue and gray patrol vehicle all by its lonesome in the lot, at rest by a special gasoline pump, was beautifully reflecting the afternoon sun. I trained my device on it and quickly netted a few stills. Know what would be even better? To capture it at another angle, closer. Crossing the four lanes that separated me from my objective, I, intending to catch the setting from the nearer side of the street, passed by the VSP’s small area office in Bedford County with nary a glance and spun a U-turn at the overlooking Super 8 Motel. In my cute Toyota, now rolling downhill at practically a snail’s pace, I cautiously raised my camera with my right hand and pressed its shutter.

“Stop! What are you doing? Stop right there!” Apparently the operator of the cruiser -- very much to my astonishment, I might add -- was actually present attending the fill-up of his government-issued auto. Oops!

Never one to disobey a member of Law Enforcement, I followed his instruction; I pressed the brake to the floor, bringing my wheels to an immediate halt in the road. 10mph to 0mph in less than one surprised breath. Standing approximately 120 feet away, his face contorted in rage, the Trooper furiously pointed and shouted at me “You can’t take my picture!”

Since that technically wasn’t an order, and armed with the knowledge I have the legal right to ignore his assertion, I depressed the snapshot button several times succinctly.

The apoplectic man took a few steps toward me. Sensing the uniformed dude and I were going to have words over the topic, in one move I plunked the camera on the seat next to mine and scooped up my audio recorder from the console and activated it.

“I can so take your picture” I slung back, just loud enough for him to hear me. I watched his nostrils burst out as his voice exploded “No you can’t!” Sheesh. Here we go.

He’d been steadily moving in my direction and I waited for him to span the final hurdle that divided us: a grass-covered knoll. Perhaps it was the heat of the day combined with the heat of his temper that prompted him to rethink the trek. Through gritted teeth, the balance of his body rigid on the concrete at the edge of the greenery, he magisterially declared “You are not allowed to take my picture.”

Is he one of those jerks that genuinely believe it’s against the law to take a picture of a policeman? Or is he bluffing, with the hope that I don’t know any better?

It’s tough to be defiant of an officer who is saying something so authoritatively and with such conviction. If I, considering the circumstances and his tone, were an uninformed citizen, I might’ve been convinced I was doing a deed prohibited by law; I may have even apologized for my actions and his upset. Fortunately I am savvy on statutes concerning this particular “crime.” I proceeded to give the uneducated badge-possessor what amounts to a verbal booty-kicking about a photographer’s rights. It didn’t take but about four sentences from my mouth for the man to realize he wasn’t messin’ with no twitty kitty.

His eyes flickered as he rapidly scanned our surroundings. Oh gee, I wonder what he’s checking for. Get. Real. Mister. On the barely used drive, there were of course no witnesses to his outburst -- which, I suspected, was what he wanted to avoid.

Clearly he had no desire to hash it out with me in our current placements; he gestured at the station house’s parking entrance and commanded me to pull in. Naturally I complied, albeit I saw it for exactly what it was: him attempting to control the situation and get the upper hand. Home field advantage and all that jazz.

Upon the repositioning of my sedan, the Trooper approached my rolled-down passenger window and again launched into his no-picture-taking claptrap. There wasn’t a chance in hell I was going to bow down on this one, and I let him hear so.

“I absolutely am ‘allowed’ to photograph you -- anyone” I insisted. “Not without my permission” he retorted.

I started the process of thinking I should’ve paid attention to his name pin -- before he’d bent over to yell at me -- when abruptly he directed me to park. I asked why. He then informed me he was going to write me a ticket!

“For taking your picture?!” By that time I’d already figured out he knew good and well I was not in the wrong about the legalities of public photography, so I was flabbergasted he would so bodaciously dare issue me a citation for it. He had to be aware a judge would toss that out of court in a minute -- and with two seconds to spare.

There was a strange, long, pause before he responded. I could seriously smell him reining himself in and finally regaining his composure. “No,” he says calmly, “for improper stopping on a highway.”

My eyes spread wide, my brows rose up. I was for realiously impressed! He mightn’t have been quick on the uptake when he was mad but that gray matter in his head had life in it when he wanted it to. I laughed out loud. “Oooohhh… yoooouuuu’rrrrre good.”

Highly excited to learn how this would play out, I drove my car appropriately to a nearby space. The red light from my recorder indicated it, too, was still listening...


Is It Wrong That I Find This Amusing?

Virginia State Police On the Look-Out for Missing Vehicle

From Virginia State Police:

State and local law enforcement are on the look out for a missing Ford Expedition belonging to the Virginia State Police. The black 2001 Ford Expedition was discovered missing from the parking lot of the state police Appomattox Division headquarters late Wednesday (June 8, 2011). The headquarters is located off of Route 460 in Appomattox.

The Ford Expedition is a spare vehicle equipped with a blue light attached to the passenger-side sun visor and one blue LED light in the rear window. Its Virginia license plate is XPX 2447.

Upon the vehicle's disappearance, state police immediately initiated an investigation into the vehicle's whereabouts. Law enforcement statewide and throughout the region have also been notified of the vehicle's disappearance.

Anyone who might recognize the vehicle or know anything about its disappearance is asked to please contact the Virginia State Police toll-free at 1-800-552-0962 or (434) 352-7128.


And Another Three Bite The Dust

3 Charlottesville Men Plead Guilty to Drug Charges
June 3, 2011

Three Charlottesville men pleaded guilty Friday morning to charges related to a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and ecstasy.

Michael Samuel Scott, 23, Kevin Thomas, 38 and Omar Perez Taylor, 23, were indicted in February 2011 on charges related to a conspiracy to distribute drugs in the Charlottesville area.

“Stopping the distribution of illegal drugs in our community will always be a substantial law enforcement priority. We will vigorously prosecute those who profit from the drug trade,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said.

Scott pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute ecstasy and one count of possession with the intent to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine. He faces a penalty of up to 20 years incarceration on the conspiracy count and up to 40 years incarceration on the crack cocaine count.

Thomas pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute ecstasy and one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more or [sic] powder cocaine. He faces a penalty of up to 20 years incarceration on the conspiracy count and up to 40 years incarceration on the powder cocaine count.

Taylor pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute ecstasy and two counts of possessing a firearm after previously being convicted of a felony. He faces a penalty of up to 20 years incarceration on the conspiracy count and 10 years for each firearm offense.

Sentencing hearings for all three have been scheduled for August 31.




Not Really News (To Me, Anyway)

Warrantless cell phone searches spread to more states
By Amy Gahran

(CNN) -- Think about all the data -- photos, videos, text messages, calendar items, apps, call log, voice mail, and e-mail -- on your cell phone right now. If you're arrested, could the police search your cell phone? And would they need a warrant?

That depends on which state you're in.

In California, it is legal for police to search an arrestee's cell phone without a warrant -- ever since a January decision by the California Supreme Court.

California civil rights advocates are pushing back. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is supporting California Assembly Bill SB 914, which would require police in that state to get a warrant before searching an arrestee's cell phone.

EFF also recently filed an amicus brief in the Oregon case of James Tyler Nix, a criminal suspect who was arrested and placed in a holding cell.

According to EFF, "Forty minutes after the arrest, without a warrant, an investigator fished through the suspect's cell phone looking for evidence related to his alleged crime. Law enforcement officials claim they didn't need a warrant because the search was 'incident to arrest' -- an exception to the warrant requirement intended to allow officers to perform a search for weapons or to prevent evidence from being destroyed in exigent circumstances."

EFF senior staff attorney Marcia Hofmann contended: "This is an empty excuse from the police -- the suspect was in custody and unable to destroy evidence on his cell phone."

Meanwhile, in Florida, an appellate court decision upheld warrantless cell phone searches, defining the phone as a kind of "container." This case may be considered by the Florida Supreme Court.

A similar Georgia appellate court decision upheld a warrantless search of a cell phone found in an arrestee's car (not on her person).

In contrast, the Ohio Supreme Court has barred warrantless cell phone searches.

The Michigan State Police (MSP) use data extraction devices to pull data off arrestee's smartphones. This is done only with a warrant, according to a state police press release.

But when the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain details about how these devices are being used, they encountered serious obstacles.

"MSP claimed that the cost of retrieving and assembling the documents that disclose how five of the devices are being used is $544,680. The ACLU was then asked to pay a $272,340 deposit before the organization could receive a single document," said a Michigan ACLU statement.

"In order to reduce the cost, the ACLU of Michigan narrowed the scope of its request. However, each time the ACLU submitted more narrow requests, MSP claimed that no documents exist for that time period and then it refused to reveal when the devices were used so a proper request could be made."

The pattern appears to be that around the U.S., some state and local police officers are taking the initiative to search arrestees' cell phones. In some cases this yields information relevant to the alleged crime, which has contributed to indictments and convictions.

Only then do some of these cases wind up in appellate or state supreme courts in a process that often takes years.

If you're concerned about police or anyone else getting into your cell phone, a basic precaution is to configure your phone's security settings to always require a passcode or pattern to access any of the phone's data or functions.

According to Catherine Crump of the American Civil Liberties Union, "The police can ask you to unlock the phone -- which many people will do -- but they almost certainly cannot compel you to unlock your phone without the involvement of a judge."

Data extraction devices used for cell phone forensics can bypass passcode security in some cases, but so far there appears to be little evidence that police are using these devices without warrants.