National Roundup


Buyer of minivan finds hidden $500K in cocaine

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- A California man was stunned to see what a previous owner of his minivan apparently left behind: $500,000 worth of cocaine jammed in the door panels.

San Jose psychologist Charles Preston says the cellophane-wrapped cocaine was found when he took the van to a mechanic. Police were immediately notified.

Preston says he noticed the driver's side window wouldn't go down all the way, but he figured he would live with it because the Town and Country van had a good air conditioning system.

The San Jose Mercury News says Preston paid $14,000 to Thrifty Car Sales in Santa Clara for the 2008 white van in May 2010.

Thrifty Car Sales owner Ron Battistella says he's willing to replace the van with a drug-free ride.


Lawyer: Tattoo parlor owner

was not a client

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A lawyer whose emails to Ohio State's former football coach triggered an ongoing scandal and NCAA investigation is denying he broke any legal misconduct rules.

Attorney Christopher Cicero testified Monday that he never represented or intended to represent a tattoo parlor owner who bought Ohio State memorabilia or traded them for tattoos.

Cicero says the only goal of his meeting with Edward Rife on April 15, 2010, was for Rife to confirm that Rife's partner, a former client of Cicero, wasn't involved with drug dealing or memorabilia sales.

Rife pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering this year.

The Ohio Supreme Court's Disciplinary Counsel has alleged that Cicero violated professional conduct rules by revealing information from interviews with Rife, a potential client.


Lawyers: Grand jury instructions faulty in case

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Attorneys for VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor say in court filings that he should not have been indicted because prosecutors failed to give the grand jury proper instructions about the charges against him.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that McGregor's lawyers argue in a recently filed motion they believe prosecutors did not instruct the grand jury properly. The lawyers say the jurors were not adequately informed about what has to be proven.

A federal judge has set Jan. 30 for the second trial of McGregor and six other defendants charged with their alleged role in a scheme in which casino owners and their lobbyists tried to bribe state lawmakers to support gambling legislation.


Judge extends ban on college's drug testing

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A drug-testing program for students at a central Missouri technical college will remain on hold until at least February.

Court records show U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey extended a temporary restraining order against Linn State Technical College last week. Laughrey also set a Feb. 3 hearing on whether to issue a permanent injunction.

The college adopted a program earlier this year to screen all first-year students and some returning students for cocaine, methamphetamines, oxycodone and eight other drugs. The judge initially imposed a restraining order against the policy in September in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Court records show Linn State has agreed not to collect or test urine specimens while the restraining order remains in effect.

Rhode Island

5th man arrested in cigarette smuggling ring

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- State police say a fifth man has been arrested in connection with a cigarette smuggling ring that cost Rhode Island an estimated $5.7 million.

The Providence Journal reports that Providence resident Mohamad Jamaleddin was arrested Thursday on charges of importing cigarettes with intent to evade tax and selling untaxed cigarettes.

State and federal authorities last week arrested four men on charges they participated in a plot to import cigarettes from southern states with low cigarette taxes into Rhode Island for sale at area stores.

Online state court records show the 48-year-old Jamaleddin pleaded no contest in 2005 to selling cigarettes to a minor. Records show a second case accusing him of selling unstamped cigarettes was dismissed.

Jamaleddin did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Monday.

North Dakota

Dismissal of Fighting Sioux lawsuit sought

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (STEN'-jum) says a lawsuit against the state over the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux nickname should be dismissed.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court last August by a group of American Indian students at UND. They say the nickname has created a hostile environment on campus for them and others.

Last week, the Legislature approved a bill that says UND no longer has to use the nickname. Stenehjem says there's no longer any point to the lawsuit, and he's filed a motion asking to throw it out.

Attorney Carla Fredericks is one of the lawyers representing the students. She says although the law's been repealed, the students still have legal claims against the state.


Woman charged in son's death intends to appeal

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) -- A woman charged with vehicular homicide after her 4-year-old son was killed crossing a busy street is asking an appeals court to review her case.

Raquel Nelson's attorney Steve Sadow has filed a notice of appeal asking the Georgia Court of Appeals to review the case, which drew national attention.

Prosecutors charged Nelson after her son A.J. was struck by a van as they jaywalked across a Cobb County street in April 2010.

She was convicted in July and sentenced to a year's probation, but Nelson accepted the judge's offer of a new trial instead.

Sadow then asked the Cobb County judge to dismiss all charges, but his request was refused.

The new trial was set to begin on Nov. 28, but it could be delayed pending the appeal.

Published: Tue, Nov 15, 2011