Ariz. gov: Most illegal immigrants smuggling drugs/Man slain at Hollywood pot store -- 2nd killing of the day at marijuana dispensary

obama quote "there are problems on both sides of the border"

two words...... NOT HARDLY

3rd article: atf cartel robs one of it's distributors straight up gangsta style for sampling and black marketing that sweet leaf, tobacco: $8 million cash

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Friday most illegal immigrants entering Arizona are being used to transport drugs across the border, an assertion that critics painted as exaggerated and racist.

Brewer said the motivation of "a lot" of the illegal immigrants is to enter the United States to look for work, but that drug rings press them into duty as drug "mules."

"I believe today, under the circumstances that we're facing, that the majority of the illegal trespassers that are coming into the state of Arizona are under the direction and control of organized drug cartels and they are bringing drugs in," Brewer said.

"There's strong information to us that they come as illegal people wanting to come to work. Then they are accosted and they become subjects of the drug cartel," she said.

Sen. Jesus Ramon Valdes, a member of the Mexican senate northern border affairs commission, called Brewer's comments racist and irresponsible.

"Traditionally, migrants have always been needy, humble people who in good faith go looking for a way to better the lives of their families," Ramon Valdes said.

A Border Patrol spokesman said illegal immigrants do sometimes carry drugs across the border, but he said he couldn't provide numbers because the smugglers are turned over to prosecutors.

"I wouldn't say that every person that is apprehended is being used as a mule," spokesman Mario Escalante said from Tucson. "The smuggling organizations, in their attempts to be lucrative and to make more money, they'll try pretty much whatever they need."

A spokesman for a human rights group said Brewer's comments were "an oversimplification of reality."

"We have some stories of people being forced to carry drugs," said Jaime Farrant, policy director for Tucson-based Border Action Network. "We disagree with the assessment that people are crossing (to carry drugs). We have no evidence that's the truth. We think most people come in search of jobs or to reunite with their families."

Brewer spoke Friday when asked about comments she made in a recent election debate among Republican candidates for governor.

She said during the June 15 debate that she believed that most illegal immigrants were not entering the United States for work. She then associated illegal immigrants with drug smuggling, drop houses, extortion and other criminal activity.

Brewer on April 23 signed a controversial new state immigration enforcement law that will take effect July 29 unless blocked by a court. Five legal challenges are already pending in federal court already, and the U.S. Justice Department may file its own challenge.

The Arizona law requires police officers enforcing another law to question a person's immigration status if there's a reasonable suspicion that he or she is in the country illegally.

Francisco Loureiro, who has run a migrant shelter for more than 20 years in Nogales, across the border from the Arizona town of the same name, said Brewer's comments are aimed at turning the people of Arizona against migrants and strengthen support for the state's new immigration enforcement law.

"That governor is racist and she has to look for a way to harm the image of migrants before American society and mainly before the people of Arizona," Loureiro said.


Man slain at Hollywood pot store -- 2nd killing of the day at marijuana dispensary

An employee was slain Thursday night during a robbery attempt at a Hollywood medical marijuana dispensary -- the second killing of the day at a city marijuana store.

The shooting occurred about 9:15 p.m. at the Hollywood Holistic store in the 1600 block of North El Centro Avenue, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

Earlier in the day, a worker at a medical marijuana dispensary in Echo Park was killed and another was wounded in an apparent robbery, police said.

An unknown number of suspects stormed into the Higher Patch Holistic Care store at 1302 Sunset Blvd. shortly before 4:15 p.m. and shots were fired, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

The shootings come as Los Angeles officials have tried to regulate hundreds of marijuana stores that have popped up amid California's dispensary boom.

[Updated at 10:52 p.m.: The victim at the Hollywood store was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.]

-- Robert J. Lopez and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Police gather evidence at Echo Park shooting scene. Credit: John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times


Tobacco Farmers Plead Guilty, Forfeit $8 Million in Cash
OXFORD, Miss. — William C. Martin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Mississippi, and Phillip M. Durham, Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), announce that:

Robert Ammerman, 69, of Falmouth, Kentucky, and Mike Ammerman, 47, of Cynthiana, Kentucky, doing business as Farmers Tobacco in Cynthiana, Kentucky, entered guilty pleas today before United States District Judge Sharion Aycock in Oxford, Mississippi. Each waived indictment and pled guilty to a one-count Information charging him with making and causing to be made false monthly tobacco reports.

Acting United States Attorney William C. Martin stated: “The guilty pleas entered today by Robert and Mike Ammerman are the product of a continued collaborative law enforcement effort by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and the Tupelo Police Department. The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to continued cooperation with each of these agencies to curb this and other types of fraudulent activity.”

Each man faces a maximum possible penalty of not more than 3 years in prison; not more than a $250,000 fine; and not more than one year supervised release.

In connection with their guilty pleas, the Ammermans agreed to forfeit to the United States $8,000,000 in cash, representing the proceeds of their unlawful activity. This forfeiture is one of the single largest cash forfeitures in the history of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.

Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Mississippi stated: “The guilty pleas entered today reflect the continuing benefits achieved by the hardworking, dedicated officers and agents from local, state, and federal agencies who worked side by side on this investigation. Because of their efforts, this complex, multijurisdictional, multi-million dollar scheme to evade payment of taxes through the sale and distribution of contraband cigarettes has come to an end.”

Phillip M. Durham, ATF Special Agent in Charge said, “ATF is committed to working with our federal, state and local partners to stop criminal groups that profit from the transportation of contraband cigarettes. In these hard economic times, selling untaxed cigarettes puts our law-abiding merchants at a huge disadvantage. The legal tax revenue collected on tobacco products goes toward improving our schools, our highways and our quality of life. The selling of untaxed cigarettes must be closely watched and dealt with as soon as possible. With federal, state and local entities all working together, we are accomplishing just what we set out to do. This task force looks forward to continuing this investigation, seizing the proceeds of these enterprises and placing the culpable parties behind bars.”

Copies of the Information and Factual Basis for each defendant are attached.

The investigation of these cases is a joint effort by the FBI, ATF, Mississippi State Auditor’s Office, the Mississippi State Tax Commission, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and the Tupelo Police Department. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Chad Lamar, Clay Joyner and Clyde McGee. The forfeitures are being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Sam Wright.