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August 10, 2014
News Americas, STERLING, VA, Mon. Aug. 11, 2014: Over one and a half pounds of cocaine in caramelized sugar cane sweets were recently found on a Honduran woman trying to enter the U.S. through Dulles International Airport.
The woman, who requested entry as a courier on business, arrived on a flight from El Salvador. As a courier, she was referred for a routine secondary examination to have her packages inspected.
Among other things she was carrying, Customs & Border Patrol officers discovered a brown cone shaped package wrapped in cellophane. The woman stated they were caramelized sugar cane sweets originating in Honduras.
A CBP officer probed one of the sweets with a knife and discovered a white, powdery substance on the blade that field-tested positive for cocaine. CBP officers inspected the rest of the sweets and were able to extract the cocaine from all eight pieces. The total weight of the cocaine was slightly less than 1 pound, 10 ounces and could have had a street value of more than $80,000.
During fiscal year 2013, which spans Oct. 1, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2013, CBP officers at Washington Dulles International Airport intercepted a little more than 12 pounds of cocaine in four seizures.
August 7, 2014
News Americas, DOVER, Delaware, Fri. Aug. 8, 2014: The cremated remains of several victims of the 1978 Jonestown Massacre in Guyana, South America have been found in a former funeral home in Dover, Delaware.
The ‘cremains” were found among 38 small containers of ashes found inside the former Minus Funeral Home at 222 North Queen Street in Dover, Delaware, according to Dover police.
Of the 38 containers, 33 were clearly marked and identified, police said. Nine of the 33 containers of unclaimed ashes were identified as victims of the 1978 Jonestown Massacre.
The marked containers of cremains spanned a period from approximately 1970 through the 1990s. The funeral home’s owner, Edward Minus, died in 2012 and the funeral home was foreclosed on in October 2013 after his son, Edward Jr., was unable to take the business over. The building is now bank-owned, according to property records.
“It was definitely a shock when we found out exactly what we had,” said Dover police spokesman Mark Hoffman. “Obviously, it’s an intriguing story and a tragic story, and to think this was found right here in our jurisdiction, about six blocks from the police department, makes it very compelling to us.”
Documentation found in the funeral home, including death certificates, helped forensic investigators tied the nine remains to the Jonestown Massacre, police said. State forensic investigators have taken possession of the remains and are continuing to identify them and make notifications to family members.
The Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security Division of Forensic Science (DFS) and the Dover Police Department conducted an exploratory excavation on the property.
On Nov. 18, 1978, gunmen from the Peoples Temple cult founded by Jim Jones, ambushed and killed U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan of California, three newsmen and a defector from the group at Port Kaituma airstrip in Guyana as they visited on a fact-finding mission to investigate reports of abuses of members.
A total of 913 body boxes – more than 900 victims of the shocking mass killing and a handful of others, including leaders of the Peoples Temple – were flown from Guyana to the Port Mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, where the bodies were identified and prepared for burial, according to articles published at the time in The News Journal.
Doretha Minus, who co-owned the former funeral home with her husband Edward Sr., who is now deceased, told the Dover Post that family members at the time would call and arrange to have their loved ones ashes flown home. Some couldn’t afford it, others never called, the paper quoted her as saying.
At least 29 of the Jonestown victims were cremated in New Jersey before the practice was temporarily halted because the six Delaware morticians who brought the bodies across the state line weren’t licensed to do so. Delaware initially barred the cremation or burial of the Jonestown dead in the state because death certificates weren’t immediately available.
Meanwhile, several bronze gravesite markers for deceased veterans who served in World War I through the Vietnam War were also located in the facility during the initial DFS check. These markers will be presented to family members if they can be located or returned to the Veterans Administration.
August 7, 2014
News Americas, PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Fri. Aug. 8, 2014: Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide has reportedly been banned from leaving Haiti following a probe into money laundering, corruption and drug trafficking.
Judge Lamarre Belizaire is reportedly in charge of the query, according to Port-au-Prince civil court judge Raymond Jean Michel.
Michel was quoted by AFP news agency as saying the prode dated back to 2006 and 2007 and a dozen people including several Aristide associates, as well as former dignitaries of his regime have been summoned for questioning.
“There are two cases concerning former president Aristide at the court related to money laundering, corruption and the illicit drug trafficking,” AFP quoted him as saying.
Aristide , Haiti’s first democratically elected leader, was voted president twice, in 1990 and in 2000. However, he was ousted by two coups during his tenure.
He returned to his homeland in March 2011.
August 7, 2014
News Americas, ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Fri. Aug. 8, 2014: A 39-year-old Mexican national who played a leadership role in a major heroin trafficking organization has been convicted in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A federal jury returned a guilty verdict against Miguel Bustamante-Conchas, 39, on heroin trafficking charges after a six-day trial.
Bustamante-Conchas was one of seven men arrested in June 2013 on federal narcotics trafficking charges as a result of a 15-month multi-agency investigation targeting heroin traffickers operating out of Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights, an area that has experienced a growing, wide-spread heroin abuse problem among teens and young adults in recent years.
More than 25 pounds of heroin were seized during the course of the investigation.
Two indictments were filed as a result of the investigation. Bustamante-Conchas and four other men were charged in one indictment while two others were charged in a second indictment. The other six defendants entered guilty pleas to heroin trafficking charges while Bustamante-Conchas elected to proceed to trial.
Trial against Bustamante-Conchas began on July 30, 2014, on a three-count superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute large quantities of heroin in Bernalillo County, N.M., from Oct. 2012 to June 2013; aiding and abetting the possession of heroin with intent to distribute; and aiding and abetting the use of a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
On Aug. 4, 2014, the court dismissed the firearms charge at the conclusion of the United States’ case and submitted the two heroin trafficking charges to the jury this week. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on both heroin trafficking charges.
The evidence at trial established that Bustamante-Conchas played a leadership role in a major heroin trafficking organization by managing the acquisition, storage and distribution of kilograms of heroin and overseeing the collection of cash proceeds from the sale of heroin. Evidence of Bustamante-Conchas role in the drug trafficking organization was secured from wiretaps on telephones used by his subordinates, evidence seized during a law enforcement operation on June 14, 2013, and evidence seized on June 19, 2013. Evidence obtained on June 14, 2013, included three pounds of heroin, drug ledgers, numerous cellphones and narcotics paraphernalia, which were seized at the residences maintained as stash houses by Bustamante-Conchas and his co-conspirators. An additional 22 pounds of heroin were seized on June 19, 2013 from another of the organization’s stash houses.
Bustamante-Conchas was remanded into federal custody after the jury delivered its verdict and will remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Bustamante-Conchas faces a prison term of not less than ten years and not more than life followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.
Three of Bustamante-Conchas’ four co-defendants have resolved the charges against them by pleading guilty to participating in a heroin trafficking conspiracy. Angel Miramontes-Cruz, 22, pleaded guilty on May 29, 2014, and is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 28, 2014. Under the terms of his plea agreement, he faces a prison sentence within the range of 27 to 33 months. Baltazar Granados, 37, pleaded guilty on June 17, 2014, and is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 18, 2014. Under the terms of his plea agreement, he faces a prison sentence within the range of 70 to 84 months. Ramon Cabrales-Guerra, 23, pleaded guilty on June 23, 2014, and is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 25, 2014. He faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Miramontes-Cruz, Granados and Cabrales-Guerra are Mexican nationals illegally present in the United States and will be deported after completing their prison sentences.
The fourth co-defendant, Ruben Garcia Miranda, 48, an Albuquerque resident, pleaded guilty on June 12, 2014, to using a communications device to facilitate a drug trafficking crime. He is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 11, 2014, and faces a statutory maximum penalty of four years in prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the Court.
Joel Nunez-Haros, 42, and Pablo Arturo Felix-Sicairos, 20, also were arrested in June 2013, and charged in a separate indictment with possession of heroin with intent to distribute. Both men pleaded guilty to the indictment in late June 2014 and are scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 25, 2014. Nunez-Haros faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and Felix-Sicairos faces a prison sentence within the range of 37 to 46 months.
Both men are Mexican nationals illegally present in the United States and will be deported after completing their prison sentences.
August 7, 2014
News Americas, MIAMI, FL, Fri. Aug. 8, 2014: A 43-year-old Colombian national will spend the next 30 years in prison for conspiring with others to manufacture and distribute cocaine in the United States.
U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz sentenced Diego Perez Henao, a/k/a “Diego Rastrojo,” to 360 months in prison and also ordered that he forfeit $1,000,000 to the United States.
Perez Henao had been indicted by a federal grand jury on February 8, 2011, and previously pleaded guilty on January 24, 2014, to a single count of conspiring with others to manufacture and distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine from 1993 until February 2011, knowing that the cocaine would be imported into the United States.
He also acknowledged that he was involved in the manufacture, investment or shipment of in excess of 81,100 kilograms of cocaine during the timeframe of his conspiracy.
Perez Henao further acknowledged that he controlled numerous armed workers in his organization and used both airplanes and semi-submersibles to ship the cocaine north from South America to points in Central America and Mexico – en route to its eventual destination of the United States.
Perez Henao was captured by Venezuelan authorities in Venezuela on June 3, 2012. The Venezuelan authorities sent Perez Henao to Colombia, which in turn extradited Perez Henao on August 28, 2013, to the United States to face the drug charges.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville stated, “Diego Perez Henao, one of the last leaders of the North Valley Cartel, was responsible for smuggling more than 80 tons of cocaine into the United States.”
He used violence and intimidation to line his greedy pockets at the expense of his own people and had no regard for those who would consume this addictive poison,” Trouville said. This “sentencing is a reminder that there is no place to hide, the DEA along with our domestic and international law enforcement partners will continue to pursue and prosecute those who engage in drug trafficking into our borders.”
August 7, 2014
News Americas, NEWARK, NJ, Fri. Aug. 8, 2014: The former chief executive officer and a former trader of a former broker-dealer registered in Bermuda has been indicted in federal court in the District of New Jersey.
Anthony Blumberg, 49, of ConvergEx Global Markets Limited (CGM Limited) has been charged for allegedly concealing additional fees, which they referred to as “trading profits,” fraudulently charged to clients in connection with orders to buy and sell securities.
Blumberg, of New Jersey, and Craig Marshall, 47, of Bermuda, were, respectively, the CEO and a senior vice president involved in trading at CGM Limited.
Blumberg was also an executive managing director of ConvergEx Group LLC, the parent company of CGM Limited.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging both Blumberg and Marshall with securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud.
In a separate action, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced civil charges against Blumberg.
According to the allegations in the indictment, certain ConvergEx Group broker-dealers regularly routed securities orders to CGM Limited in Bermuda so that it could take a mark-up (an additional amount paid for the purchase of a security) or mark-down (a reduction of the amount received for the sale of a security) when executing the orders.
Employees throughout ConvergEx Group and its subsidiaries referred to such mark-ups and mark-downs as “spread,” “trading profits” or “TP.” T o hide the fact that spread had been taken on trades, from 2007 to 2011, Blumberg, Marshall and others sent false transaction reports to clients with fabricated details regarding the transactions, or “fills,” executed during the course of a day to complete a client’s orders. These reports falsified details including the number of shares involved in a fill, the time at which the fill was executed and the price at which shares were either purchased or sold.
According to the indictment, Blumberg, Marshall and others agreed to violate a client’s instructions to provide real-time transactional data through an immediate data feed with details of trades that CGM Limited executed for the client.
On Dec. 18, 2013, Jonathan Daspin, the head trader at CGM Limited, Thomas Lekargeren, a sales trader at a different ConvergEx subsidiary, and CGM Limited each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in the District of New Jersey. On the same day, ConvergEx Group entered into a deferred prosecution agreement. Collectively, the two ConvergEx entities paid $43.8 million in criminal penalties and restitution.
August 6, 2014
News Americas Now, Thursday, August 7 2014: The sounds of the Caribbean complimented by a market place of Caribbean Fashions and Exotic Cuisine returns to the 28th Annual Caribbean Festival, set for Columbus Boulevard and Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, on Sunday, August 17, 2014 from noon to 8 p.m.
Now in its 28th year, this free festival of Caribbean culture, music, and food is one of celebration of the many festivals in the PECO Multicultural Series and part of the 2014 summer season at Penn’s Landing, presented by PECO.
The 2014 Caribbean Festival is proud to announce its musical entertainment line-up highlighting the international known Image Band from Washington, D.C. The event will also feature gospel, spoken word and dancing as well as a Marcus Garvey Salute in honor of the Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s 127th Birthday, which falls on August 17th.
Sistah Mafalda & the Kuumba Dancers will present a toe-tapping, hand-clapping and head-nodding drumming and dance performance; you will be on your feet with the FullJoy Band, and you will be dancing the Salsa by the De Tierra Caliente Latin Band. David Watkis will stir your soul with spoken words; Faith & Favor Band will certainly uplift you with some soul-searching Gospel; not to mention CBC Mime Ministry, a group of young children’s act.
Of course this line-up would not be complete if some positive Reggae Vibration by Ras Professor himself and Dancehall rockaway presented by Mr. Rob Diesel. J West Project will present cool Jazz for your listening pleasure. MC for this special day will be DJ Scripture who opens up with Devotional Remarks and Saxaphonist Kenny Sykes to follow with the National Anthem.
As always, the event will also feature the ever-popular steel drum band, Philly PanStars, along with a Caribbean Culture booth – Tings Caribbean – where one can feel, touch and sample “Tings” from the islands. A Caribbean Children’s Village – “Pickney Kannah” – will also be featured.
For more see www.phillycaribbeanfestival.com
August 5, 2014
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Aug. 6, 2014: News Americas Now salutes the nations of Jamaica and Bolivia which both celebrate their independence anniversaries today, August 6th by spotlighting on the Hollywood actors and actresses who have roots in these nations.
Jamaica became an independent nation in 1962 after earning its independence from Britain. Bolivia’s independence was definitively proclaimed from Spain on July 10, 1825 at a congress held in Chuquisaca.
U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, on Tuesday extended congrats to both nations on behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States.
To Jamaica, Kerry said: “The United States and Jamaica share an important and thriving partnership through our mutual commitment to strong democratic governance. Our collaboration in the areas of climate change, health, security, and trade continues to benefit both our nations and the Caribbean region.We applaud your recent efforts to pass the Disabilities Act, which ensures equal rights for people with physical, mental, and intellectual disabilities.Our mutual efforts through the Climate Adaptation Plan, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief have made a lasting mark on the region.As you mark this day across the island, the United States remains committed to strengthening our partnership and looks forward to an enduring friendship.”
To Bolivia, the U.S. Secretary of State said: “Bolivia is rich in natural beauty and ancient culture – from Illimani’s high peak, to the historic Ciudad Blanca of Sucre, to the pristine Lake Titicaca, and the extraordinary salt flats of Uyuni. The Bolivian people possess a special richness of culture and unlimited human capital. The United States and the people of Bolivia share a common interest in building tolerant, inclusive societies that reflect the diversity of our two nations. I wish Bolivians everywhere health and happiness on the anniversary of your independence.”
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August 5, 2014
News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY, Weds. Aug. 6, 2014: A Montserrat Diaspora organization will celebrate its 100th birthday next month with a year-long a series of events to mark the century of service.
The Montserrat Progressive Society (MPS), founded in September 1914, will kick off the year-long celebration with a Black Tie Awards Gala on September 20.Other events to mark the anniversary will run through September 26, 2015.
The MPS was founded a century ago by a group of enterprising Montserratians, led by John L. Francis. From its inception, the founding members recognized the need to ensure the longevity of the society and formed a source group for future members.
After the devastation of Hurricane Hugo (September 16-17, 1989) the Society raised and distributed funds to several organizations and persons on the island and, when Janet Reno, then United States Attorney General, granted Montserratians Temporary Protected Status (TPS), May 1997 (due to the ongoing volcanic activity) MPS was first to provide this information to the public and media.
Today, the Society remains a beneficial and resourceful organization via its website, mpsofny.org, a monthly newsletter and monthly meetings.
Collaborative efforts to benefit the people of Montserrat include the Adopt-A-Family Project, whose purpose is to alleviate the financial plight of families on and off the volcano-ridden island, and is a collaborative effort with the Montserrat Foundation for Charitable Giving, Inc. and the Caribbean Research Center at Medgar Evers College (CUNY). In September 2003, the Montserrat Development and Education Foundation (MonDEF) Inc.was established as a 501(C)(3) tax exempt affiliated corporation to provide scholarships and added financial relief. Educational scholarships are also given to students here in the USA.
Some of the immediate goals of the Society include: increasing membership and membership participation to realize the mission of the Society; providing support to eligible students and community-based organizations; maintaining communication and collaboration with other like-minded organizations; and being a visible and viable force in the Caribbean American community.
For further information, visit www.mpsofny.org, or contact 212-283-3346.
August 4, 2014
By NAN Staff Writers
A NAN First
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Aug. 5, 2014: Some two weeks after Apple’s CEO Tim Cook publicly committed to increasing the diversity of the iconic company’s work force, Apple has released its new television commercial that’s anything but diverse.
It may be Apple’s most popular commercial yet. It certainly seems to have been aired on every broadcast channel again and again. It is all about a touching view of the lives of young professionals whether in the U.S. or anywhere.It is titled “Living The Life of Dreams,” which is the song played to the video images of youthful women and men and their children and how they “struggle” to live a life of dreams amid lives little challenges for the well off. It is meant to portray the kind of life most of us would like to live, and can if we just buy iPhones and Apple apps.
Except if you are Black, Native American or Hispanic.
There is no place in this ‘life of dreams’ commercial for Black Native American, or Hispanic women and men or their children. It’s all White and Asian in this Apple World. Just like the bad old days but with iPhones!
This commercial focuses on how the iPhone is inspiring change in people’s daily lives. The “Dreams” spot in particular plays the song When I Grow Up by Jennifer O’Connor in the background while various situations with White and Asian parents are introduced where an iPhone is the primary device for different tasks.
For instance, there’s a woman checking a child’s pulse, a pilot consulting her iPhone for directions before hopping into a small plane, and even an artist using the iPhone with a projector to paint a large mural on the side of a building.
In this quick moving montage of images a few dozen women, men and children flash on the screen to the music but you don’t find one black child or parent anywhere.
Yet according to a Pew Research Center Study, 64 percent of blacks and 60 percent of Hispanics owned smart phones as of 2013, compared to 53 percent of Whites. Most are male and in the young demographic – 18-34.
Among individual manufacturers, Apple controlled 39.2 percent of the market (up 1.4 percent since January). Samsung was second with 22 percent (up 0.6 percent). Following Samsung in order were HTC (8.9 percent), Motorola (8.3 percent) and LG (6.7 percent).
So is this commercial very reflective of the kind of Apple the organization?
Apple could not be reached for comment on this ad at press time.
Meanwhile, if you visit the Apple Website and look at their executive and board of directors’ pages, all the senior executives and board members of are White.
Go to LinkedIn and search for Apple. There are 500 or more managers and executives who work for Apple listed on LinkedIn. Less than 3 percent are black by our count.
Cook said recently the iPhone maker will eventually quantify the diversity of its 80,000-member workforce in a public disclosure.
The iconic company is facing pressure from Rev. Jesse Jackson, whose Rainbow PUSH Coalition has launched a high-profile campaign to push for more racial diversity in Silicon Valley.
And facing criticism from two major shareholders, Apple added language to its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee Charter pledging to “actively” pursue women and members of underrepresented groups for its board of directors, according to a report on Bloomberg.com.
See the ad here: