National Roundup

North Carolina
Soap believed to be cocaine lands dealers, buyer behind bars

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Police say the only clean part of an intended drug deal at a North Carolina airport was the fact that the drugs in question were actually soap bars.

The News & Observer reports Raleigh-Durham International Airport officers arrested 43-year-old Tarvares Hargrave, 40-year-old Jason Anderson and 44-year-old Luz Ortega on drug-trafficking charges Oct. 5. But when the results of a laboratory test came back, police filed different felony charges Tuesday.

Police initially believed Anderson, of New York City, and Ortega, of New Jersey, sold 3 pounds (1.3 kilograms) of cocaine to Hargrave. Instead, according to an arrest warrant for Anderson, Hargrave received "10 bars of Ivory soap wrapped in thick plastic wrap." But it's a crime to take part in what someone believes is a drug deal.

It's unclear whether Anderson and Ortega knew the package was soap.

It's unclear whether the three have lawyers.

New Jersey
County to pay nearly $2M over jail strip searches

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey county will pay nearly $2 million to inmates who say they were unnecessarily strip-searched at the county jail.

The Asbury Park Press reports that Ocean County has agreed to settle the class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of inmates who were booked at the county jail in Toms River. The settlement applies to inmates who were booked between Nov. 28, 2005 and Dec. 28, 2007 and charged with non-indictable offenses.

The inmates argued they should have been excluded from the strip searches because they weren't dangerous and often were released shortly after being placed into custody.

The county says the searches were necessary to stop contraband from entering the jail.

The county denies any wrongdoing. But it has changed its policies to eliminate strip searches to non-indictable detainees.

West Virginia
Man gets jail time for hanging dog with chain

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A West Virginia man has been sentenced to jail for hanging a pit bull from a tree near a set of railroad tracks in Charleston.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that 23-year-old John D. Copening Jr. was sentenced Wednesday to one to five years in jail, with an additional six months. Prosecutors say Copening admitted to beating the female dog in April until it defecated on itself before hanging it with a logging chain. He then fled to Florida but surrendered to police that month.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster says violence to animals is often a precursor to violence against people.

Copening pleaded guilty last month to animal cruelty and was credited the roughly 200 days he already spent in jail.

DNA leads to arrest in 35-year-old rape case

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A man has been arrested in a rape case that sat unsolved for nearly four decades until the case's DNA evidence was tested last year.

The Orlando Sentinel reports 58-year-old Leslie Lovan Hammock was booked into the county jail Monday. Court records say DNA samples taken from the unnamed woman in the 1983 attack were found to match Hammock. He is accused of raping the woman at knife-point and fleeing.

Hammock was imprisoned on a conviction of a similar crime until 2016. He was sentenced to seven years for kidnapping a woman at gunpoint in 2010, raping her and beating her unconscious.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman Angela Starke says the agency didn't start testing DNA in its labs until 1989.

It's unclear if Hammock has a lawyer.

Cuban national guilty of ­smuggling women to U.S. to strip

MIAMI (AP) - A Cuban national living in Florida has been convicted of smuggling three women into the United States and forcing them to work at strip clubs to pay off the imposed debt.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami says Ivan Madrigal Zamora pleaded guilty Monday to encouraging and inducing an alien to reside in the United States and forced labor trafficking. There are conflicting reports as to whether Zamora is 46 or 47 years old. He's set to be sentenced in January.

Authorities say Zamora brought the women from Cuba, through Mexico, to the U.S. and eventually South Florida during 2016 and 2017. The first woman supposedly owed Zamora $10,000, and the other two each owed $26,000. Prosecutors say the third victim escaped Zamora shortly after arriving and called 911.

Mayor wants to detain sex ­offenders on ­Halloween

GROVETOWN, Ga. (AP) - A Georgia mayor says the roughly 30 sex offenders on probation in his city will be held at city hall on Halloween to ensure the safety of local children.

News outlets report Grovetown Mayor Gary E. Jones announced the idea Monday on Facebook saying he wants to detain the offenders for several hours. He says they'll be supervised by a local police officer and the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, which he says can require offenders report to a specific location.

Jones initially said all sex offenders would be held, but edited the post to refer to those on probation. Jones' effort has received a mixed community response.

He previously made headlines in 2014 when he was the city's police chief and required inmates wear hot pink uniforms.

Trial date in case over Obama ­center to be set in December

CHICAGO (AP) - A federal judge says he will announce in December a trial date in the lawsuit challenging construction of the Obama Presidential Center in a Chicago park.

The Chicago Tribune reports that at a hearing on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey told attorneys he won't let the case linger. But his comment that discovery in the case should continue during the next few months suggests that any trial is at the least several months away. He says he will announce a trial date on Dec. 5.

In its lawsuit, an environmental group called Protect Our Parks contends that the center shouldn't be built in Jackson Park on the South Side because the transfer of parkland to a private entity violates state law. The city says there is no such violation.

Published: Fri, Oct 26, 2018