Browsing: Corruption

8673156388_9d34806c0e_z-1Miranda Nelson/Flickr

The corporal who was fired for wrongfully destroying thousands of pounds of evidence sat at the same tiny desk that had been in the Harris County Precinct 4 property room for 20 years. The printer had been broken for months. An old prisoner cell that had been converted to a gun storage room was full of rifles and shotguns stacked haphazardly on top of each other, and live ammunition was tucked away in disorganized boxes shared with handguns. Boxes marked “drugs” were stacked eight feet high, blocking the passageway down the room’s back aisles.

For 14 years, this was the workspace of Corporal Chris Hess, who was fired this spring after Precinct 4 superiors discovered he had destroyed about 21,000 pieces of evidence since 2007 and an unknown amount more since 2002 without following protocol, putting thousands of cases in jeopardy. Constable Mark Herman previously told reporters this scandal dated back only nine years, but an Internal Affairs Division report obtained by the Houston Press this week suggests the improper evidence destruction began earlier and was wider in scope.






cryptsy“I’m Paul Vernon — Big Vern — of Cryptsy,” said the CEO, whose company was an online marketplace where users could trade their Bitcoins — a virtual form of money — for a growing number of digital imitators with names like Litecoin and Darkcoin.

Business was booming. In barely a year, Cryptsy had amassed 250,000 users trading millions of dollars, and Vernon was flying cross-country to speak at conferences from New York to San Francisco. His firm had outgrown its first office and moved its dozen or so employees into this Mediterranean-style building. Soon, Vernon himself would upgrade to a million-dollar Delray Beach mansion.

But there were hints that something wasn’t quite right at Cryptsy.


Breakfast reading from the Voice Media Empire: Imagine the horrific scenario. Members of a football team in a small community are involved in the alleged rape of a 16-year-old high school girl at an alcohol-drenched party. The intoxicated victim can’t remember anything, but her attack is captured on video by other students with cell phones. Phoenix New Times has the story.


Breakfast reading from the Voice Media Empire: Two Border Patrol agents received prison sentences for violating the civil rights of men they found trying to smuggle marijuana in southern Arizona five years ago. Agents Dario Castillo, 25, of Yuma, and Ramon Zuniga, age 31, of San Luis, were each sentenced to two years in prison, plus three years of supervision after they’re released. Phoenix New Times has the story.


Breakfast reading from the Voice Media Empire: A corrupt Border Patrol agent was sentenced to 15 years in prison for taking bribes in exchange for helping a drug-trafficking organization do its work. Former Agent Ivhan Daniel Herrera-Chiang actually got more prison time than his partner-in-crime Michael Lopez-Garcia, a former Arizona Department of Corrections employee who personally smuggled meth across the border, according to federal prosecutors. Phoenix New Times has the story.


Breakfast reading from the Voice Media Empire: The last time we heard about Cocopah Police Chief James Spurgeon, he’d left his gun at the Yuma home of an “acquaintance,” and that gun was found by a 6-year-old kid. This weekend, Spurgeon was visiting the same woman at the same Yuma apartment complex, when they were confronted by another man. That man wound up dead. Phoenix New Times has the story.

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