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Best in all legal news.

ACLU questions Rhode Island cops stopping NY cars

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island is questioning the constitutionality of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s directive allowing state police to stop vehicles with New York license plates.

The Democratic governor on Thursday called the measure extreme but pointed out New York City is the epicenter of the disease in the United States.

Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU of Rhode Island, says while Raimondo has the authority to suspend some state laws and regulations to address a medical emergency, she cannot suspend the Constitution.

He says under the Fourth Amendment, having a New York state license plate “simply does not, and cannot, constitute ‘probable cause’ to allow police to stop a car and interrogate the driver, no matter how laudable the goal of the stop may be.”

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U.S. probe into Mexican drug cartel yields 750 arrests — Diamond Bar, ATL, NYC

Agents also seized more than 20 kilograms of drugs and $20 million in cash from the cartel, the Justice Department said.

DEA agents move in on a residential house during an arrest of a suspected drug trafficker on Wednesday in Diamond Bar, California. Federal agents fanned out across the U.S. after a six-month investigation aimed at dismantling the upper echelon of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, known as CJNG.

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Wednesday announced more than 750 arrests after a six-month investigation targeting Mexico’s violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel, known as CJNG.

The Drug Enforcement Administration-led operation, called “Project Python,” is the largest to date in U.S. efforts to take down the notorious drug dealing organization now considered one of the most powerful cartels in Mexico and known for brutal kidnappings and murders in that country.

In addition to the nationwide arrests, agents seized more than 20 kilograms of drugs and $20 million in cash. Officials say the cartel has hubs in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Chicago and Atlanta and is a major presence on the Southwest border.

“CJNG has contributed to a catastrophic trail of human and physical destruction in Mexico,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczowski. “It is the most well-armed cartel in Mexico. Its members willingly confront rival cartels and even the security forces of the Mexican government. CJNG is responsible for grisly acts of violence and loss of life.”

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How Coronavirus is Affecting Mexican Drug Cartels

  • Hubei is a major source of fentanyl precursors.
  • China also supplies counterfeit pharmaceuticals.
  • The US restriction of travelers from Mexico has become a major hurdle for Mexican drug traffickers.

The coronavirus epidemic is affecting the global economy in the most serious of ways, and the Mexican government is scrambling to contain its spread. Even though the country has yet to implement a full lockdown, the coronavirus epidemic is taking its toll on the economy. Mexican drug trafficking syndicates have not been spared either. Just like legitimate businesses, they are beginning to feel the pinch.

Limited Supply of Drugs Precursor Ingredients from China

China is a prime manufacturing powerhouse. As the epicenter of the coronavirus scourge, it was the first country in the world to go into lockdown. Since the outbreak, the country’s industries have had to scale back production to allow the epidemic to blow itself out. The result is a decrease in supplies to overseas companies.

Mexican drug cartels typically get precursors for opiates, such as fentanyl and meth, from China. The novel virus has, however, held up the supply chain. According to a recent Vice report, the Sinaloa Cartel, the most dominant cartel in the region has increased narcotics prices as a result.

Methamphetamine prices have been hiked by over five times. According to the investigative report, Mexican drug lord Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada has ordered his dealers to increase the price of meth from $100 a pound to $600. Fentanyl prices have also soared from $35,000 a kilo to $42,000. The raw chemicals are a major export of Hubei province, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic. The zone was among the first in mainland China to have its factories shut down.

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Mafia primed to feast on Italy’s virus devastation

As Italy mourns thousands of coronavirus dead, and survivors brace for life in an economic wasteland, one rung of society looks to win big: organised crime.

“The Italian mafia can turn threats into opportunities,” top government anti-mafia investigator Giuseppe Governale told AFP.

Over 10,000 people have died in Italy of the flu-like disease, which has forced the country into a lockdown that is devastating the eurozone’s third largest economy.

From the historic Cosa Nostra in Sicily, to the immensely powerful ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria and trigger-happy Camorra in Naples, Italy’s mafias were “caught on the back foot (by the virus), but are now organising themselves,” Governale said.

The Economist Intelligence Unit said Thursday it expected Italy’s GDP to contract by a colossal seven percent for the year. Italian experts say some 65 percent of Italian small and medium businesses are at risk of bankruptcy.

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Boca Raton law firm sues Chinese government over handling of coronavirus

The Berman Law Group filed a class action federal lawsuit against the People’s Republic of China and several other Chinese government entities, alleging they mishandled the outbreak of COVID-19.

According to the law group, the lawsuit accuses the Chinese government of failing to contain the virus and allowing it to spread globally, causing it to become a costly global pandemic.

The law group is backed by big names such as Frank Biden, Joe Biden’s brother, and former Sen. Joseph Abruzzo.

The suit names five plaintiffs, none of whom have the virus, but who say they were adversely impacted by the outbreak. The Berman Group, a Boca Raton-based law firm representing the five plaintiffs, say they’ve received dozens of calls from others looking to be added to the complaint since filing.

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