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San Antonio Criminal Defense Blog

Broadcom co-founder charged with drug trafficking

Texas readers know that selling illegal drugs can lead to drug trafficking charges. However, some people may not be aware that it is possible to face those charges for giving illicit substances to friends. Such is apparently the case with Broadcom co-founder and billionaire Henry T. Nicholas III.

On Aug. 7, Nicholas and a female companion, identified as the ex-wife of one of the Wells Fargo heirs, were arrested while staying at a Las Vegas casino-resort. According to media reports, security at the hotel discovered drugs in their suite and called the police. Officers arrived at the scene and searched the room, allegedly finding cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and methamphetamine. Both defendants were taken into custody and charged with drug trafficking. After being processed at a local detention center, they were released and ordered to appear at a court hearing in September.

Alleged Texas school shooter indicted by grand jury

The 17-year-old student accused of shooting classmates and faculty at Santa Fe High School was indicted by a Texas grand jury on Aug. 9. In the indictment, the teenager was charged with capital murder, a crime that carries an automatic life sentence under Texas law. The charges also included aggravated assault of a public servant which he received for allegedly shooting and wounding a police officer. The Santa Fe High School shooting in May was the deadliest mass murder in the U.S. since the Parkland shooting in Florida in February.

Investigators claim that the suspect has already admitted to the killing of eight students and two teachers at the Houston-area school. The teen allegedly burst into the art classroom armed with his father's shotgun and pistol. Witnesses say that shooting went on for at least 10 to 15 minutes, and officers report engaging in an extended gunfight with the suspect until he surrendered. Police state that the teen intended to kill himself but gave up instead.

Binge drinking, underage drivers and parents in the dark

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people between the ages of 12 and 20 are responsible for consuming roughly 10 percent of all the alcohol consumed in our country. The members of this age group are also partial to binge drinking, and their parents may know nothing about it—until law enforcement stops their teens on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

What binge drinking means

Study identifies trade fraud as growing problem

A global marketplace means that many products in Texas come from foreign countries. Unfortunately, trade fraud has become a widespread problem, according to a recent study. False records allow companies to avoid import duties, denying the government millions of dollars in revenue, and fake goods sometimes endanger consumers. From 2000 to 2016, federal cases against criminal importers rose by 900 percent.

The law professor and attorney who wrote the study, which recently appeared in the Oregon Review of International Law, said that tax evasion motivates the bulk of fraudulent importers. Illegal activities, however, sometimes bring fake or mislabeled products into the country that could cause health problems. In one case, fish sold as grouper or flounder was actually catfish from Vietnam containing harmful antibiotics.

Eyewitness errors a factor in many wrongful convictions

Since as far back as the 1930s at least, researchers have chronicled inaccuracy issues related to eyewitness identification. For people in Texas who are charged with crimes, a misidentification by an eyewitness can be difficult to overcome at trial. A theme among researchers is that memory is not the same as a tape recording. Memory can be influenced by events that occur later, even including things like the body language of police during lineups.

Eyewitnesses are more likely to make identification mistakes regarding a person of a race other than their own. Judges sometimes instruct juries on the problem, but that may not go very far toward eliminating prejudice. According to the Innocence Project, misidentification by eyewitnesses was a factor in 71 percent of the convictions that have later been overturned based on DNA evidence. There have been more than 350 such wrongful convictions overturned since 1989.

Texas man charged after traffic stop yields 138 pounds of drugs

The Austin Police Department reported stopping a vehicle that allegedly contained 50 pounds of methamphetamine, 82 pounds of cocaine and 6 pounds of heroin. They calculated the street value of the banned drugs at $4.8 million.

According to the police report, a 43-year-old man from Weslaco was driving the vehicle. Officers claim that they initiated a traffic stop because the man was speeding and the car did not have a front license plate. Officers chose to bring in a police dog to sniff for drugs, and the dog reportedly indicated the presence of narcotics.

East Texas traffic stop produces over 8 pounds of marijuana

A state trooper suspected the presence of drugs in a 2008 Chrysler sedan during a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 59 in Angelina County. The trooper based the suspicion on a conversation with the 28-year-old male driver. After requesting the support of a police drug dog, a search of the vehicle ensued.

Police reported finding 8.5 pounds of marijuana in the car's trunk. Officers also claim to have seized over 1 pound of pills that contained a controlled substance and over 50 grams of a controlled substance in liquid form.

Why you should never plead guilty to theft in San Antonio

If law enforcement charges you with the crime of theft, you will face a number of choices, including whether to enter a guilty plea and avoid trial. You may think that pleading guilty to theft is the quickest and easiest way to resolve your case, but it can actually open up severe consequences that can hinder you in your life for many years to come. There are several reasons why you should never plead to theft in San Antonio.

1. A criminal record will follow you everywhere

About hate crime investigations

Texas residents who have been victims of hate crimes should be aware that the Civil Rights Program of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is tasked with investigating such crimes. Every year, the agency investigates hundreds of hate crimes and makes efforts to identify and prevent additional incidents by using public outreach, associations with various community groups and law enforcement training.

The investigations of hate crimes that were conducted by the FBI used to be restricted to the crimes in which the alleged offender committed acts based on their bias against a person's national origin, race, religion or color. The investigations were also limited to cases in which the victims of the hate crime were taking part in federally protected activities. The agency began investigating hate crimes with no restrictions after the promulgation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, which also increased the agency's reach with regard to the investigation of hate crimes that took place against individuals based on the offender's biases of perceived or actual disabilities, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.

13 drug bust suspects to appear in Texas court

On June 22, 13 people appeared in a West Texas federal courthouse on charges of conspiring to distribute cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. The charges stem from raids conducted by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, Texas Department of Publish Safety and Brownfield police. Multiple locations in the cities of Lubbock, Terry County, Brownfield and Meadow were searched during the raids.

Prior to the raids, a federal grand jury indicted 21 individuals who were allegedly in connection with the drug trafficking conspiracy. One of these individuals was released, five of the individuals had been detained on charges earlier in the year and two were detained on a later date. At least one of the defendants gave consent to a search of a vehicle where drugs were allegedly found.