A new law in California will make it easier for residents with marijuana convictions to have their records expunged or to request a reduction of their sentences. Assembly Bill 1783 promises to streamline a process that has previously been difficult.
On Sept. 4, a 30-year-old California man was arrested on suspicion of drugged driving and possession of illegal substances in Redwood City. He has three prior DUI convictions.
Federal agents used multiple search warrants to conduct a sweep in August against alleged gang members believed to be trafficking drugs throughout Los Angeles County. Across Inglewood, Hawthorne and Los Angeles, agents searched locations such as a convenience store where authorities said that gang members refined cocaine into crack and distributed it throughout the area. The early morning searches resulted in the arrest of 10 people suspected of belonging to the 92 Osage Legend Crips gang that operates in California.
Multiple law enforcement agencies assisted the police in Salinas as the department raided six locations. Police arrested seven individuals, including a 24-year-old man dubbed the "Cocaine Cowboy" who had been arrested a month earlier at the California Rodeo Salinas. Law enforcement claim to have recognized him as a known gang member and reportedly found cocaine in his cowboy boot during that arrest.
California resident and victims' rights advocate Henry T. Nicholas III was taken into custody on Aug. 9 after police in Las Vegas allegedly discovered large amounts of illegal drugs in his hotel room. Reports indicate that the 59-year-old entrepreneur and his female companion are both facing drug trafficking charges. Nicholas earned his fortune in the technology sector before championing victims' rights legislation. The laws he advocated for are named after his late sister, a college student who was killed by a former boyfriend in 1983.
In a study that appears in The American Journal of Public Health, researchers argue that if more felony drug offenses were reclassified as misdemeanors, as was the case with California's Proposition 47, many racial disparities in the criminal justice system would be reduced. Furthermore, certain populations would have better health outcomes. Researchers identified a number of other factors that are affected by felony drug convictions as well, including immigration status and financial aid for college along with access to jobs, housing and health benefits.
Federal prosecutors have accused a 38-year-old California man of selling synthetic marijuana worth about $1 million on the internet. The Pacific Beach resident is facing three counts of conspiring to distribute illegal drugs. He faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted on all counts. A 39-year-old Florida man has also been taken into custody in connection with the scheme. A press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York does not reveal what may have brought the men to the attention of the authorities.
California fans of comedian Artie Lange might be interested to learn that he was sentenced on drug possession charges in New Jersey on June 2. The 50-year-old received four years probation and 50 hours of community service. In addition, he must complete an outpatient substance abuse program.
A board member for the Bay Area Rapid Transit System wants to change California law to stop rampant drug use inside transit stations and elevators. Under her proposal, individuals caught using hypodermic needles within the transit system could be charged with a felony and sentenced to up to 18 months in jail.
A 39-year-old California man entered a guilty plea in federal court on May 2 for engaging in a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of illegal drugs by offering them on the so-called "dark web". The man also admitted to laundering illicit drug money by purchasing cryptocurrencies. As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to forfeit millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies.