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November 2010 Archives

DEA Moves to ban Synthetic Marijuana

K2 and other synthetic marijuana products that give a marijuana-type high will likely be banned within a month and federal drug charges related to these products will be possible. The synthetic marijuana products are typically made of plant materials that are coated with chemicals that mimic the effects of THC, the active component in marijuana. Often labeled as incense or potpourri, synthetic marijuana is marketed under brand names including Spice, K2, Blaze and Red X Dawn. The products can sell for as much as $35 per ounce.

U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Change for Certain Drug Crimes

This month, new federal sentencing guidelines went into effect that will change the way crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses are punished in the federal system. The changes are a response to the Fair Sentencing Act, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in August. The Fair Sentencing Act was intended to equalize sentences in cases involving crack cocaine with cases involving powder cocaine.

Authorities Prepare Charges in Massive Insider Trading Probe

A three-year investigation by federal prosecutors, the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission is beginning to make headlines across the nation. The investigation has been focused on possible insider trading by consultants, investment bankers, hedge fund managers, mutual fund managers, and analysts across the nation. The investigation is being characterized as one of the biggest insider-trading probes ever.

Pennsylvania Game Commission Officer Killed

Last Thursday, an investigation into a poaching incident turned deadly. Pennsylvania Game Commission Officer David Grove was investigating possible poaching activity when he observed a spotlight and a rifle coming out of a pickup truck, which resulted in a traffic stop. According to investigators, the suspect driver of the pickup exited the vehicle and a confrontation began. The suspect and the officer exchanged gun-fire, leaving the suspect wounded in the hip and Officer Grove mortally wounded. He died 45 minutes later.

Special Courts for Veterans Charged With Crimes

Last week, we celebrated Veterans Day in honor of those who have served our country. Yet, veterans returning from war can have difficulty adjusting to life back home. In our present wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we have nearly 1.6 million veterans. It is estimated that nearly 20 percent of returning veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD).

Old Age to Become Bigger Factor in White-Collar Sentences

This month, the U.S. sentencing guidelines changed in an important way that will affect many older Americans convicted of white-collar crimes. The guidelines changed in a way that gives sentencing judges more latitude in considering a defendant's age when assigning a sentence.

Pittsburgh Rapper Wiz Khalifa Arrested on Marijuana Charges

Pittsburgh's own Wiz Khalifa was arrested in North Carolina Monday evening after a concert at East Carolina University's campus. Police raided his tour bus during a concert and found about 57.5 grams (about two ounces) of marijuana on board. Court records state Khalifa is being charged with trafficking in marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.

Counterfeit Sports Jerseys Land Pennsylvania Man in Federal Court

How often have you been invited by a street vendor to buy designer perfume, clothes or other merchandise at deep discount prices? Chances are good that those bargain basement goods are counterfeit and you may be surprised to learn that they are also illegal. Almost everyone knows that counterfeiting money is a crime, but that is not the only type of counterfeiting that concerns federal agents. Federal law not only punishes counterfeiting money, the Lanham Act also punishes counterfeiting goods. A Pennsylvania retailer has found this out the hard way.

Two Pittsburgh Area men charged with Hacking Facebook Account

In internet crime news, Facebook high jinks have landed two Glassport men in court for hacking a Facebook account. They are being charged with unlawful use of a computer, computer trespass, identity theft and conspiracy.

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