A police officer from Detroit is facing a potential life sentence after being charged with being a member of a gang involved in the trafficking of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl.
Christopher Staton, 51, has been charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled drugs and one count of making a false statement to an FBI agent.
Prosecutors claim that Staton was part of a drug trafficking gang that sold cocaine, heroin and fentanyl between 2012 and last year, and that he provided his co-conspirators with sensitive law enforcement information that helped them stay one step ahead of investigators.
If convicted, Staton could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
On top of a life sentence, he also faces a fine of $10,000,000 for the drug conspiracy count, and $250,000 for the false statement count.
In a statement, United States Attorney Matthew Schneider said: “Detroit Police officers are outstanding public servants, and the corrupt actions of just this one defendant should not undermine the public’s overall trust in law enforcement.
“Given the magnitude of the opioid crisis, the allegations are especially troubling that this defendant was actively helping drug dealers evade police detection and distribute large quantities of poisonous drugs.”
News of Staton’s indictment came after US President Donald Trump signed a new bill intended to help addicts affected by America’s spiralling opioid crisis.
The new legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers, which has become a rarity for Congress since Trump entered office.
It is estimated that more than two million Americans will suffer addiction to either prescription or illicit opioids this year.
The country’s opioid epidemic last year killed more people than gun violence and car accidents combined.
Signing the new bill, Trump said: “Together we are going to end the scourge of drug addiction in America.
“We are going to end it or we are going to at least make an extremely big dent in this terrible, terrible problem.”
The new legislation includes plans to improve access to treatment for addicts and address the widespread over prescription of opioid painkillers by doctors, which is widely acknowledged to have fuelled the illicit trade in substances such as fentanyl.
The bill also includes measures to stem the flow of drugs flooding into the US from illicit narcotics factories in countries such as China and Mexico.
HP joins forces with Ugandan authorities to tackle counterfeit printer cartridges
US technology giant HP has teamed up with authorities in Uganda to crack down on the availability of fake HP-branded print cartridges in the country’s capital of Kampala.
The company assisted Ugandan law enforcement agencies in an operation that led to raids on premises owned by two large retailers that were selling counterfeit HP printer cartridges.
Investigators carried out searches of multiple retail outlets and a number of illicit manufacturing facilities where the two firms produced the bogus cartridges.
Commenting on the success of the operation, Glenn Jones, HP’s Global Anti-Counterfeiting Program Manager, said: “HP commends the cooperation and swift action of Ugandan officials and their determination to apprehend and prosecute counterfeiters who break the law.
“We are proud of our continued work to bring counterfeiters to justice, not only in Africa but throughout the world.
“Through our unwavering efforts and commitment to removing counterfeit products from the market, we continue to focus on the protection of our customers through our Anti-Counterfeiting and Fraud Programme.”
HP noted that consumers who buy fake printer cartridges could face performance and reliability issues, and may invalidate their device’s warranty if it breaks as a result of their use of counterfeit HP products.
Over the past five years, law enforcement authorities in countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa have seized some 12 million fake HP printer cartridges and other components, while HP itself has carried out more than 4,500 audits and inspections of partners’ stocks or suspicious deliveries for customers.
HP has established its own Anti-Counterfeiting and Fraud Programme, through which it seeks to educate customers and partners on how to spot fake printing supplies.
The company also works closely with law enforcement agencies and governments across the globe to identify and prosecute companies and individuals that make bogus HP printing products.
Back April, HP said it was cooperating closely with law enforcement officials in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to shut down two manufacturers and distributors of fake print supplies.
In an operation that took place between December last year and this February, UAE investigators carried out raids on numerous premises linked to the two firms, impounding 35,400 illicit print components, and 1,200 counterfeit ready-for-sale counterfeit toner cartridges.
Speaking after the operation, Jones said: “HP commends the cooperation and swift action of the Emirate of Dubai officials and their determination to apprehend and prosecute counterfeiters who break the law.”
Interpol leads global crackdown on criminal maritime pollution
A worldwide law enforcement effort designed to tackle criminal maritime pollution backed by Interpol and Europol has resulted in the discovery of hundreds of offences and exposed serious cases of contamination across the globe.
The month-long operation, which was dubbed 30 Days at Sea and took place throughout October, saw hundreds of law enforcement and environmental agencies from 58 countries uncover more than 500 violations.
In a statement, Interpol said these included numerous illegal discharges of oil and refuse from boats, shipbreaking, breaches of ship emissions regulations, and pollution on rivers and land-based runoff to sea water.
The operation – which involved a global network of 122 national coordinators directing environmental, maritime and border agencies, national police forces, customs, and port authorities – resulted in over 5,200 inspections.
These have led to the establishment of at least 185 investigations, with multiple arrests and prosecutions anticipated.
Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock said the operation was designed to disabuse organised criminal gangs of the mistaken belief that maritime pollution is low-risk and is essentially victimless.
“Marine pollution creates health hazards worldwide which undermine sustainable development and requires a multi-agency, multi-sector cooperative response within a solid global security architecture,” he added.
The operation resulted in the discovery of multiple cases of serious contamination, including the dumping of animal farm waste in coastal waters off the Philippines, a vessel that pumped 600 litres of palm oil into the sea near Germany, and the dumping of gallons of waste oil in large bottles at sea, which was uncovered by investigators in Ghana.
Elsewhere, environmental officials prevented a potential disaster in Albania by securing waters around a sinking vessel containing some 500 litres of oil, while a major pollution threat was averted after the collision of two vessels in French waters.
The 30 Days at Sea initiative was led by Interpol’s Pollution Crime Working Group, which heads up a number of projects designed to crack down on the transport, trade and disposal of wastes and hazardous substances in contravention of national and international laws.
Interpol said the effort was launched in response to a call to boost international law enforcement action against emerging environmental crime through action in the field.
The issue of illegal marine pollution is one that global communities may well be able to tackle successfully in the next decade, according to UN Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim, who urged law enforcement partners “to make sure that there is no impunity for the perpetrators of marine pollution crime”.
A two-year EU-funded study has concluded that criminalising the purchase of sex is the most effective way to tackle human trafficking and modern slavery for the purposes of prostitution.
Researchers working on the report examined legislative approaches to prostitution and trafficking in six EU member states, and recommended that the introduction of a criminal offence for buying a person for sexual acts is the only effective means by which governments can reduce demand for victims of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
The study – which was compiled by agencies in Cyprus, Finland, France, Ireland, Lithuania and Sweden – said the introduction of laws relating to prostitution and human trafficking need to be accompanied by a comprehensive range of measures that include enforcement policies, protection and support for all victims of sexual exploitation, monitoring and evaluation, and preventative initiatives.
Monica O’Connor, co-founder of the University College Dublin’s Sexual Exploitation Research Project, and author of the report, commented: “In Sweden, and now in France and Ireland, the laws flow from the understanding of prostitution as a form of violence against women.
“This means the demand to buy girls or women to supply sexual acts is not regarded as legitimate or acceptable within society.
“The purchase of sex is a criminal offence, while those being exploited are decriminalised.”
The Republic of Ireland made it an offence to buy sexual services back in February 2017 after passing a law designed to protect vulnerable women forced into prostitution against their will.
Ireland’s decision followed the introduction of similar legislation in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Northern Ireland, where men who are caught using sex workers are subject to punishment while those forced into prostitution are treated as victims.
The new EU report, which pools findings made by researchers in each participating country, recommends that the introduction of laws prohibiting the purchase of sexual services must be accompanied by measures designed to ensure there are no negative consequences for trafficked women.
According to the study, any new legalisation that outlaws the purchase of sexual services should include measures that would ensure victims forced to work as prostitutes would be offered protection, accommodation, early legal intervention, as well as legal advocacy and support.
Former sex worker Mia de Faoite, who now campaigns to prevent human trafficking, said: “This comparative report is most welcome, once again highlighting that targeting the demand through criminalising those who purchase human beings is the most effective way to reduce trafficking of women and girls into prostitution.”
- Does Apple really deserve an award for its efforts to crack down on slavery and trafficking?
- HP joins forces with Ugandan authorities to tackle counterfeit printer cartridges
- Interpol leads global crackdown on criminal maritime pollution
- Illegal migrants and people smuggling gangs taking advantage of weaknesses at UK ports, watchdog finds
9 February 2018
9 February 2018
8 February 2018
28 November 2017
28 November 2017
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