Ore. smokejumpers skydive into illegal pot garden

A team of smokejumpers parachuting into a fire in the mountains of Southern Oregon landed in an illegal marijuana garden being prepared for growing season. The six smokejumpers from a base in Redmond found the site Monday evening, when there was a rash of lightning strikes. Jackson County sheriff’s spokeswoman Andrea Carlson says the smokejumpers notified authorities, who hiked into the remote site in the Rogue River-Siskiyou (SIS’-kee-yoo) National Forest. They seized two guns and more than 1,000 little pot plants. Carlson says the site near the community of Applegate was being cultivated by growers for Mexican drug gangs, and it’s been used before. Continue Reading

Man arrested following Arias trial bomb threat

Arizona authorities have arrested an 18-year-old Phoenix man in connection with a bomb threat that was tweeted after the Jodi Arias verdict was announced. Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputy Joaquin Enriquez says Laquint Cherry was taken into custody early Thursday. He’s facing a felony charge for making threats. The investigation began Wednesday night after someone tweeted that an explosive device was going to be placed in the courtroom and was going to detonate Thursday afternoon. The sheriff’s office increased security and conducted additional bomb sweeps but found nothing. Continue Reading

Tunisian man denies NY terror cell plot claims

A defense lawyer says a Tunisian man arrested in New York and accused of trying to stay in the United States illegally to build a terrorism cell denies the accusations. Authorities say Ahmed Abassi came to the United States from Canada in mid-March and met regularly with an undercover FBI agent. They say he also met with another Tunisian citizen who later was arrested in Canada in a plot to derail a train. The federal indictment against Abassi was unsealed Thursday. Law enforcement authorities say he was arrested April 22. Continue Reading

Arias trial now turns to whether she lives or dies

Jodi Arias will spend the weekend on suicide watch and return to court next week when jurors are expected to consider whether the death penalty should be an option for the former waitress’ sentence. Minutes after her conviction for killing a former boyfriend, Arias told a TV station she would “prefer to die sooner than later,” complicating matters for defense lawyers who had hoped to spare her life during the penalty phase of the trial. The case was scheduled to resume Thursday, but court officials postponed it until Wednesday without any explanation. The surprising interview with Fox affiliate KSAZ only added to the circus-like environment surrounding the trial, which has become a cable TV sensation with its graphic tales of sex, lies and violence. Since her arrest, Arias has repeatedly sought the spotlight, including TV interviews, 18 days on the witness stand before a global audience, jailhouse tweets and now the post-conviction comments. Continue Reading

Rx Medication Spending Down in ’12; First Time in 50 Years

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Spending on prescription medicines in the U.S. fell for the first time in more than five decades last year.  

A new report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics states the total spent was down 3.5 percent to $325.8 billion last year. That’s partly because patients benefited from a surge of new, inexpensive generic versions of widely used drugs for chronic conditions, such as Lipitor for high cholesterol. But there’s a downside: Another reason for the decline was that cash-strapped consumers continued to cut back on or delay needed doctor visits, medicines and other treatments. Some waited to seek care until they were very sick, leading to a jump in patients admitted to hospitals after coming to the emergency department. Continue Reading

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Accused Cleveland Kidnapper Arraigned; Bail $2-Million on Each Case

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Cleveland man has been arraigned on charges of rape and kidnapping days after three women missing for about a decade were found alive at his home.  

Ariel Castro appeared in court this morning. He looked down at the ground while lawyers spoke to the judge. Bond was set at $2 million on each case. Police say they’ve talked with both Castro, who is a former school bus driver, and the three women at length in building their case. Continue Reading

Vermont man offers grave for deceased Boston bomber

A retired Vermont teacher has offered a spot in his family’s cemetery plot to the family of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect who died following a shootout with police. Paul Keane made the offer Monday on his blog. He says the only condition he would attach to allowing the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev to be interred in the plot in the Mount Carmel Burying Ground in Hamden, Conn., is that it be done in the memory of his mother. The Valley News of Lebanon, N.H., report’s Keane says his mother taught him to “love thine enemy.” The Massachusetts funeral director handling Tsarnaev’s remains has been unable to find a cemetery where he could be buried. Continue Reading

Pennsylvania police chief probing badge-licking photo

A northeastern Pennsylvania city official says a blog photo showing a woman poised to lick the badge of a moonlighting officer outside a bar probably isn’t a crime, but may violate department regulation. Wilkes-Barre spokesman Drew McLaughlin says the police chief is investigating that photo and two others showing a provocatively dressed woman posing on the hood and the trunk of a police car. The spokesman says no officers are pictured in the police cruiser photos, but that the photo of the woman poised to lick the officer’s badge could violate regulations if the officer were actively participating in having the photo made. Wilkes-Barre officers are allowed to moonlight to provide security at bars through a program run by the police union. Based on evidence in the photo, police believe the badge licking occurred more than a year ago. Continue Reading

Cleveland man charged with kidnapping, rape after 3 missing women found in home

A Cleveland man was charged with kidnapping and rape Wednesday after investigators say he held three young women captive for years, binding them with ropes and chains in his home and only allowing them out a few times in disguise. Ariel Castro, 52, is charged with four counts of kidnapping, covering the captives and the daughter born to one of them, and three counts of rape against all three women, prosecutor Victor Perez said. He will make his first public appearance in court Thursday. A city councilman briefed on the case said the women were subjected to prolonged sexual and psychological abuse and suffered miscarriages, never finding a chance to escape until this week. Councilman Brian Cummins said that many details remain unclear, including the number of pregnancies and the conditions under which the miscarriages occurred. Continue Reading