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January 2011 Archives

'Bath salt' madness leads to proposed federal ban

In November, we wrote that the Drug Enforcement Administration used its emergency powers to ban five chemicals used in synthetic marijuana products labeled as incense. Now with possession of certain types of incense illegal, it appears that lawmakers and regulators are focusing on bath salts.

Department of Justice calls for Internet tracking legislation

Internet service providers (ISPs) are the companies that connect us to the Internet. ISPs are able to collect a significant amount of information on their customers, including their IP addresses and browsing history. Some ISPs maintain data on their customers for an extended period of time and others do not. For example, Comcast said in 2006 that is retains customer records for six months.

Federal Authorities Charge 127 in Mafia Investigation

Federal law enforcement authorities have made organized crime a priority over the years. One organization in particular, known as La Cosa Nostra or the mafia, has drawn the frequent and focused attention of the FBI. Amid much fanfare last week, Attorney General Holder announced that federal authorities had charged 127 individuals in 16 separate indictments who allegedly have connections with the mafia.

Former Congressman DeLay Sentenced to Three Years, Plans Appeal

Tom DeLay, the former majority leader and majority whip in the U.S. House of Representative, earned the nickname "The Hammer" for his hard driving and uncompromising style. However, some commentators believe that his uncompromising nature has led him to receive a longer sentence than he might have received had he been more apologetic during his prosecution for white collar crimes. Allegedly, DeLay used illegal means to funnel corporate contributions to Republican candidates during the 2002 election in Texas.

Western Pa. Woman Pleads to Charges in FBI Shooting Case

An early-morning FBI raid turned fatal on November 19, 2008. FBI agents were executing an arrest warrant at the home of Christina and Robert Korbe in Indiana Township, when Christina fired a single shot from the upstairs of the house, killing a 33-year-old FBI agent. Christina Korbe believed that someone was breaking into the house and fired the shot to protect herself and her family.

Charges Dropped in Cocaine Case After Judge Throws Out Evidence

A criminal defendant faced seemingly daunting criminal charges for possession and intent to distribute three kilos of cocaine, charges that could result in 20 years in prison. Two police officers testified that they had seen the defendant place a bag containing the drugs on an apartment building fire escape. But the prosecutors dropped the charges after the judge found that the evidence against the man was not credible.

Defendant Arrested by FBI on way into Pennsylvania Courtroom

A criminal defendant was arrested outside a Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas by the FBI. He was about to walk into the courtroom to face charges from state prosecutors. The state charges resulted from allegations that the defendant fraudulently obtained jackpots from The Meadows Racetrack and Casino worth nearly a half-million dollars. The federal allegations that prompted the pre-trial arrest involve the Meadows as a well as casinos in Las Vegas. According to an article in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, federal authorities say that this defendant may have stolen as much as $1.4 million in total.

FBI: Penn State Student bit Agents, Faces Weapons Charges

A man living in western Pennsylvania faces a detention hearing today amid charges of assaulting, resisting or impeding federal officers and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. The 21-year-old man was arrested Tuesday in New Bethlehem, about 50 miles to the northeast of Pittsburgh.

Butler County Establishes Drug Court to Focus on Rehabilitation

In 2009, the Butler County district attorney's office handled 2,525 criminal prosecutions. Of those prosecutions, 1,168 involved a defendant who had a drug or alcohol problem. According to a community health assessment undertaken by Butler Memorial Hospital, approximately 19 percent of Butler County residents report abusing drugs or alcohol.

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Butler, PA 16001
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Pittsburgh, PA 15219
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1415 West 38th Street
Erie, PA 16508-2323
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