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Excess of $1 Million in Cocaine Seized in N.M.
Criminal Law Updates | 2006/11/01 18:56

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol agents working in New Mexico made significant narcotics seizures this week by seizing more than 400 pounds of marijuana and 43 pounds of cocaine through a combination of traffic checkpoint operations and routine patrol efforts. The total value of the contraband was valued at over $1.7 million.

The largest seizure of marijuana was made Wednesday by Border Patrol agents at the I-25 traffic checkpoint. After the occupants of a late model GMC truck granted agents consent to search the truck they discovered a total of 291 pounds of marijuana in numerous hidden compartments. Members of the "Raven Unit" of the NMNG were called up to dismantle the after-market compartments located in the gas tank, rear cab wall, and metal tire rims. The total value of the marijuana is $233,000.

In a separate incident, another seizure was made by Border Patrol agents who were on patrol near Hatch, N.M. Agents spotted a minivan attempting to circumvent the Border Patrol traffic checkpoint on I-25. When agents caught up to and performed a vehicle stop, they were granted permission to search the vehicle. Utilizing the assistance of a CBP canine, they discovered 19 bundles of cocaine wrapped in cellophane and brown packaging tape that was hidden in another after-market compartment behind the dashboard of the van. The cocaine weighed 43.16 pounds, and is valued at more than $1.3 million.

The narcotics, vehicles and four occupants were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration in Las Cruces. The New Mexico National Guards' Raven Unit has provided support for the U.S. Border Patrol since 1995. This unit has specialized tools, training, and equipment to safely and efficiently dismantle compartments where narcotics are hidden.



Angelina Jolie May Sue Ex-Partner Over Funds
Business Law Info | 2006/11/01 18:49

A lawsuit may be filed on behalf of Angelina Jolie, the Hollywood actress, against the head of a Cambodian aid group she alleges misappropriated her donations.

Trevor Neilson, who is the philanthropic and political advisor for Jolie and partner Brad Pitt, told The Associated Press in New York Monday, "We are considering filing a lawsuit to recover the hundreds of thousands of dollars that is missing and which he was responsible for,"

Neilson was referring to Mounh Sarath, director of Cambodian Vision in Development, to whom Jolie once gave funds for conservation and community development work in Cambodia.

Neilson denied the actress had broken any agreement with Mounh Sarath, in response to Mounh Sarath's allegations that Joile had reneged on an agreement by stopping funds for his group, "We have specific evidence (of) him having taken the money, and we are considering whether to file a lawsuit or press charges against him in Cambodia," Neilson said.

Jolie has set up an independent Cambodian organization to administer a conservation project for remote northwestern areas of Cambodia, the director of the new group said Monday.

Jolie terminated the contract with Cambodian Vision in Development and the U.S. conservation group WildAid, which had co-managed the project, in December, said Stephan Bognar, executive director of the Maddox Jolie Project. The new group is named for Jolie's 5-year-old son Maddox, who was adopted from Cambodia in 2002.

The 31-year-old actress has promised up to US$1.3 million over five years for the forest conservation program, which was approved by the Cambodia government in 2003. On Tuesday, Mounh Sarath denied the allegations and said "I will fight any lawsuit to find out the truth and to see if they have any documented proof of the money stolen."

Jolie filmed scenes from the 2001 movie, "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," at Cambodia's famed Angkor Wat temple.

Breaking Legal News.com
Sheryl M. Jones
Staff Writer



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