Which prison will house 'El Chapo'? Probably this Colorado 'supermax'

Good luck escaping from this one.

9.5 tons of cocaine and 11 Russian sailors seized by cops in Cape Verde

Quite a bust. And not a great look for Russia. Nearly ten tons of cocaine hauled by 11 Russian nationals on a vessel registered in Panama. The sailors and their 9.5-ton coke stash were arrested in Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), an island nation off the north-western edge of Africa. Read the rest

Inside El Chapo's secret tunnels

Remember when drug kingpin Joaquín Guzmán Loera, aka El Chapo, escaped from prison through a tunnel below his cell that was outfitted with lighting, rails, and a motorcycle? In fact, El Chapo built his crime career on top of his tunnels, secret doors, and underground escape routes.

Read the rest

Dark markets have evolved to use encrypted messengers and dead-drops

Cryptocurrencies and Tor hidden services ushered in a new golden age for markets in illegal goods, especially banned or circumscribed drugs: Bitcoin was widely (and incorrectly) viewed as intrinsically anonymous, while the marketplaces themselves were significantly safer and more reliable than traditional criminal markets, and as sellers realized real savings in losses due to law enforcement and related risks, the prices of their merchandise plummeted, while their profits soared. Read the rest

Mobile app for detecting opioid overdose

Second Chance is a smartphone app developed by University of Washington engineers to detect an opioid overdose. The researchers tested the app at a public supervised injection facility in Vancouver, Canada with encouraging results. From Science News:

Second Chance, described online January 9 in Science Translational Medicine, converts a smartphone’s speaker and microphone into a sonar system that works within about a meter of a user’s body. When the app is running, the phone continuously emits sound waves at frequencies too high to hear, which bounce off a user’s chest. Tracking when these echoes reach the phone allows the app to detect two possible signs of an impending overdose: slow breathing or no breathing at all...

For real-world use, the researchers envision the app notifying a user if it detects breathing problems and sending for help only if the user doesn’t respond to that notification, says study coauthor and computer scientist Shyam Gollakota. The scientists still need to ensure that this setup could reliably alert emergency contacts or medical personnel in time to resuscitate a person.

Read the rest

Drug-sniffing doggo OD'd at EDM cruise ship checkpoint, given Narcan, will be OK

Jake the police dog was screening passengers boarding the Norwegian Epic cruise ship for the Holy Ship! EDM festival on the ocean. Jake alerted his police officer companion that he smelled something suspicious and then became visibly sick.

"(The dog) started having some problems with balance and had some type of seizure incident of some sort, was showing effects of having inhaled some substance," Tod Goodyear, a Sheriff's Office spokesman, told WFTV. "They administered the Narcan and got (the dog) to the vet as quick as they could."

They gave him Narcan as a precaution as they didn't know what caused the illness.

Meanwhile, police searched the passenger and found "a sedative and other prescription drugs, as well as an amphetamine and Ecstasy," according to WFLA.

It isn't clear what Jake ingested, when, or how. Most importantly though, Jake is expected to make a full recovery. Read the rest

El Chapo went down because his sysadmin sold him out

Here's something to remember come the next Sysadmin Appreciation Day: Mexican drug lord El Chapo was only caught because his systems administrator flipped and started working for the feds, backdooring El Chapo's comms infrastructure and providing the cops with the decryption keys needed to eavesdrop on El Chapo's operations. Read the rest

THE BUREAU: Part Nine, "Your Sandwich Speaks!" — with SBaGen-based Digital Drugs for New Year's Eve

Welcome back to The Bureau. It's the ninth installment and it looks like that sandwich you found in your pocket contains a bossy talking slice of Brain. And man, it's feeding you some gab!

Stench from marijuana farms outrages some California residents

Some communities across California are suing to ban cannabis operations in their vicinity because they claim the smell from the crops is nauseating. I mean, they don't call it skunk for nothing. From the New York Times:

As a result of the stench, residents in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, are suing to ban cannabis operations from their neighborhoods. Mendocino County, farther north, recently created zones banning cannabis cultivation — the sheriff’s deputy there says the stink is the No. 1 complaint...

“It’s as if a skunk, or multiple skunks in a family, were living under our house,” said Grace Guthrie, whose home sits on the site of a former apple orchard outside the town of Sebastopol. Her neighbors grow pot commercially. “It doesn’t dissipate,” Ms. Guthrie said. “It’s beyond anything you would imagine.”

When cannabis odors are at their peak, she and her husband, Robert, sometimes wear respirators, the kind one might put on to handle dangerous chemicals. During Labor Day weekend, relatives came to stay at the house, but cut short their visit because they couldn’t stand the smell...

“Just because you like bacon doesn’t mean you want to live next to a pig farm,” said Lynda Hopkins, a member of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, whose office has been inundated with complaints about the smell...

image: Wikipedia/Cannabis Training University Read the rest

Ecstasy pill found in child's Sonic burger meal

In Taylor, Texas an 11-year-old girl helpfully unwrapped her four-year-old brother's Sonic fast food burger and found what she thought was a piece of candy inside. Fortunately, she asked her parents before popping into her mouth. They took the "candy" to the police who determined it was actually an Ecstasy pill. Insert your own "happy meal" joke here. From KXAN:

Officers took the restaurant's manager, Tanisha Dancer, into custody for a felony theft warrant from Guadalupe County. When she got to the Williamson County Jail, police said a female correctional officer searched Dancer and found three ecstasy pills hidden in her clothing...

Taylor police said they notified the Texas Department of Health, the restaurant's local owner and corporate Sonic. Police said the Sonic director of operations told them that they have now fired Dancer.

Two other employees were also arrested -- one for marijuana possession and the other for outstanding warrants.

Read the rest

Code recreates Pfizer's 1956 effort to procedurally generate drug names

Procedural generation isn't just for video game landscapes and galaxies. The technique for creating vast amounts of realistic but uncannily superficial content goes back a long way. Pfizer used it to generate drug names in 1956, feeding code to an IBM mainframe and getting potential products in return.

James Ryan (@xfoml) posted excerpts from news article from the time (above), and it's fascinating to read how it's described for a mid-1950s lay audience to whom computers and their ways were utterly alien.

Based on the newspaper's description, Hugo (@hugovk) reimplemented the 60-year-old generator, and now you too can generate thousands of realistic but uncannily superficial drug names.

Some picks:

NEW DRUG NAMES

scudyl whirringom reenef entreeic suffuseeta duplexune nickelan raunchyata handbillal gammonasa pluckerel slawax

... IMPROPER FOR A FAMILY MEDICINE CHEST

loraliva crumpledol moralura burnishite smuttyevo sucklingify hagfishat cockpited moralux ballcockose shittyule cocklesex

From the full output list I like "coughedore" -- like a stevedore, but for unloading mucus.

I wonder how long it took Pfizer to realize that procgen is useless. Read the rest

Fancy apothecary-style jars to hold your peyote, hash, LSD, and shrooms

These porcelain druggist jars by Jonathan Adler are certainly conversation starters but do you really want to label your drug stash so obviously?

Expand your horizons with our Druggist Canisters. Dreamy third-eye mindscapes rendered in Delft-inspired blues and accented with real sparkly gold. High-fired porcelain elevates the experience. Stash your secrets in a single trippy vista, or cluster all four to create your own surreal apothecary.

Prices range from $228 to $298 per jar. Read the rest

Study: first drug more likely to be cannabis than nicotine or alcohol

When I was 12 years old, a kid that I thought was my friend but turned out to only be into me for my Nintendo, tempted me to try a little something that he snuck out of his mother's liquor cabinet. We ingested it! We were so drunk! We were full of shit: we'd been eating powdered pina colada mix, trying to convince each other that we were, indeed, hammered. Anyway, booze isn't the problem for young folks that it once was. More times than not, of late, the first experience that young folks'll have with mind altering substances outside of spending too long inside drawing with a Sharpie will likely be with marijuana.

From The Verge:

This trend is not because teens are smoking cannabis more than ever. Rather, the change is because teens are smoking cigarettes and drinking less while the numbers for marijuana have held steady, according to Katherine M. Keyes, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University and co-author of the new study, published this week in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

The authors found this by analyzing 40 years of surveys from American high school seniors. For example, in 1995, three-fourths of seniors who used both marijuana and cigarettes had tried cigarettes first. By 2016, only 40 percent had tried cigarettes first. Today, less than half of teens try alcohol and cigarettes before trying cannabis. (The researchers didn’t look specifically at whether alcohol or tobacco came next.) Other studies have found that, in general, teens are doing fewer drugs than ever, except for marijuana.

Read the rest

Teenagers getting high from sanitary pads

Police in Indonesian cities report that teens have been attempting to get high by boiling sanitary pads (used or new) and drinking the water. According to Adj. Sr. Comr. Suprinarto, head of the National Narcotics Agency's Central Java chapter, the chlorine in the pads is an intoxicant. Of course, ingesting chlorine is an absolutely terrible idea.

“I don’t know who started it all, but I knew it started around two years ago. There is no law against it so far. There is no law against these kids using a mixture of mosquito repellent and [cold syrup] to get drunk,” Jimy (Ginting, an "an advocate for safe drinking," told The Jakarta Post. Read the rest

Public watched opioid addict detox on big screens in Greenwich Village

The film above documents "Treatment Box," a one-day installation in New York City's Greenwich Village over the summer where passers-by could watch 26-year-old Rebekkah suffer through the horrors of painkiller and heroin withdrawal. Anti-addiction organization The Truth orchestrated the recording and public showing of Rebekkah's five-day experience that was edited into a single long-form video. After the detox, Rebekkah entered a treatment facility for treatment at no cost to her. From Ad Age:

The scenes of her shaky limbs, nausea, vomiting and insomnia played out on a three-dimensional installation at Astor Place in New York City in June. Passersby stopped to watch a life-size Rebekkah in her room, often huddled in bed, wracked with pain. Interspersed are short interviews where she explains that she was prescribed opioids when she was 14, after injuring her ankle during cheerleading practice. Addiction quickly followed, and two months later, she tried heroin. “I feel like I’m coming back from the dead,” she says on Day 3 of detox...

Before beginning the campaign, the organizations met with a medical ethicist to determine whether the project should move forward, and the treatment protocols were reviewed by Phoenix House, a national addiction treatment program.

Read the rest

Meth smuggled as Aztec souvenir calendars and statues

Federal agents busted eight people for attempting to smuggle 26 pounds of methamphetamine disguised as Aztec souvenir decorative calendars and souvenir statues. The suspects apparently tried to mail the goods from Garden Grove, California to Hawaii.

(UPI via Daily Grail)

Read the rest

Weed legal in Canada

Weed is legal now in Canada. Here's what it'll cost ya. Some places are banning smoking it in public and there are other bumps expected, but the business windfalls are expected to define an emerging market by attracting global brands previously leery of associating with drugs. With nearly 40m inhabitants, Canada became overnight the largest market for legal weed, with few of the peculiar regulatory compromises found in large U.S. states.

Previously: The New York Times has the dope on cannabis use in Canada Read the rest

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