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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

World News for June 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

No Bail for Bread Man
Ireland: Seamus Boyce, a 36 year old bread delivery driver from Co Donegal, was arrested last month, along with two others, in connection with cross-border crime gang importation ring. Boyce was found to be transporting fifteen bags, each containing 1kg of marijuana, with a street value of up to £300,000 ($549,915) in his bread truck. He has been charged with possessing a Class B drug with intent to supply. Boyce’s defense attorney has claimed that an unnamed man threatened him into putting the drugs in his van and that there is no evidence that his client “has trappings of wealth or leads a criminal lifestyle”. The prosecution, however, believes Boyce was in a trusted position of the crime ring and argued for a denial of bail claiming his incarceration has meant a substantial loss to his organized crime circle. The judge agreed with the prosecution and denied bail stating not only would it be difficult to properly monitor someone who lives outside the jurisdiction if bail was granted, but also that “this was obviously a well-planned operation and police believe the applicant was a member of a gang involved in the importation of drugs into Northern Ireland”.

Jail Drugs
Philippines: Four inmates at the Zambales Provincial Jail in Iba were found to be hiding drugs and guns inside their cells after search operation was carried out in cells 4, 5, and 7. The PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) found 589 pouches of dried marijuana leaves weighing 1.6lbs, a brick of dried marijuana weighing .88lbs, and 48 packets of shabu (methamphetamine). They also discovered several bladed weapons, a .45 caliber pistol, and various pieces of drug paraphernalia. Investigators are still trying to determine how the weapons and drugs were smuggled into the jail. The inmates accused of hiding the contraband will have extensions added onto their current sentences. 

Eleven Arrested in Gambia
Africa: Eleven Senegambian men were arrested this month with over 300kg (661lbs) of marijuana they were intending to sell throughout the country. The Drug Law Enforcement Agency of The Gambia (DLEAG) has been fighting to keep Gambia a drug-free nation and has stated that they will never relent in the fight against drug use. Ousman Saidybah, a public relations officer for DLEAG, held a press conference after the arrests saying, “The Agency has not stopped at only arresting and punishing suspects but also sensitizing people about the negative impacts attached to drug abuse. Everyone should join the fight against drug trafficking”. Saidybah called on the general public to take the responsibility of reporting anyone suspected of using, trafficking or selling the illegal plant to the DLEAG. He also took time to thank the President of The Gambia for support in keeping the nation completely drug-free. Those arrested will be detained without bail until they are sentenced for transporting an illegal substance with intent to sell.

Pot-Filled Abandoned Boat
Egypt: Five tons (10,000lbs) of marijuana, also known as banjo in the country, was seized from a boat near Al Tor last month. The Egyptian Military confiscated the illegal substance after finding the boat anchored and abandoned in open water near the town. No arrests could be made, but the case has been referred to prosecutors for investigation. This seizure comes one week after another two tons of the plants were found in the same area. According to Egypt’s National Council for Fighting and Treating Addiction, nearly six million people in the country are addicted to illicit drugs and while the control of cannabis is not considered a high priority, the penalties can be severe in situations where high amounts of the drug are found.

Staying Vigilant in England
Sussex: After hearing residents at a performance and accountability meeting express concern that Sussex Police are ‘turning a blind eye’ to cannabis use in the area, Katy Bourne, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, felt the need to assure residents that officers are doing their job to address the issue. Police Chief Constable Giles York claimed the officers in the area are going ‘over and above’ their duties to catch drug dealers. The department has four different tactics to use while handling a stop involving cannabis possession; these include a warning, where the officer confiscates the drug and the offender is given a verbal warning and made to sign a booklet which is kept on file for three years, a penalty notice, which includes having to pay a fine, a community resolution, and in some cases an arrest. Those under 18 caught with the drug are made to go to classes to educate them on the dangers of using marijuana and the possible consequences if they are caught again. The department feels that arrests should be a last-resort for a first time offense, but promises the public they are not putting marijuana crimes on the back burner.

Cannabis Cosmetics
New Zealand: MGC Pharmaceuticals, a medicinal cannabis and cosmetics firm, has been approved by the US regulator to sell cannabis-based anti-aging cosmetics in America. The approval from the FDA for 16 of its products means the cannabis makeup can be sold throughout the US, including states where medical marijuana is not yet legalized. Their first sale to the US was also made, with a distribution deal through California’s C&M CBD Holding. They were also approved to sell their new line throughout the European Union. MGC is still waiting on approval for the cosmetics in Australia and Canada.

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