National Roundup

Man gets prison for smuggling immigrants in furniture

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — A Houston-area man must serve nearly two years in prison for trying to smuggle immigrants in furniture after three people were found in a plastic-wrapped dresser that was nailed shut.

Federal prosecutors say 23-year-old Yabar Ayan Portes-Arevalo of Katy was sentenced Monday in Corpus Christi to 21 months.

Portes-Arevalo in February was convicted of transporting illegal immigrants and endangering their lives. He could lose his status as a legal permanent U.S. resident.

Investigators say Portes-Arevalo in December was driving a pickup truck and hauling a plastic-wrapped couch and dresser. He stopped at the Border Patrol checkpoint near Sarita.

Authorities say the driver appeared nervous so the load was examined. Agents removed the plastic and found three people hidden inside the couch and three more inside the dresser.

ICE protester acquitted of assaulting man

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Multnomah County jury has acquitted a woman of charges that she assaulted a TV news camera operator during a protest outside the Southwest Portland offices of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports jurors found Danialle James not guilty of the charges of assault and harassment of KATU’s Carter Maynard.

Prosecutors contended that James slammed a wooden gate into Maynard’s head June 28 and that she appeared to be motivated by hostility toward the media.

But during a trial last week, James said she hadn’t swung the gate into Maynard. She also told jurors she doesn’t hate media even though she sabotaged the efforts of journalists by saying expletives when they did live broadcasts.

James and others had gathered in opposition to the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Judge censured for trying to get ticket tossed

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California’s Commission on Judicial Performance said Monday that it has imposed a severe public censure on a Santa Cruz County judge who ran a red light then tried to have the ticket dismissed.

The commission said in a statement that Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Ariadne J. Symons’ traffic violation came after a history of disciplinary issues that were aggravating factors in its decision.

After Symons was caught on camera driving through a red light in 2016, a ticket was sent to her husband because the car was registered to him. The judge helped her husband try to get the ticket dismissed, never identifying herself as the driver, the commission said.

Symons also “misused the prestige of her office” by getting information from court personnel in connection with her husband’s court filing, it said.

A public censure is the commission’s second-highest level of discipline. It comes before removal from office.

The commission cited past incidents in which it said Symons had improper communications with a jury, addressed a party in an “undignified and discourteous” way and made remarks to a litigant that reflected “poor demeanor and bias.”

Symons said in a statement that she accepts the commission’s findings and believes the process will make her a better judge.

High court rules marijuana dog checks require probable cause

DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that police require probable cause before deploying dogs trained to detect marijuana.

The Denver Post reports the court ruled 4-3 Monday that under the state constitution, a dog trained to alert officers to marijuana cannot be used before police obtain evidence that a crime was committed.

Previously officers operated under the lower standard of only suspecting a crime.

Officials say K9 officers are now subject to the same standards used for other property searches.

Colorado’s 2012 vote to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use has caused debate over dog searches because the animals can alert officers to legal amounts.

Officials say police have already begun phasing out marijuana-trained dogs in favor of animals that do not detect that drug.

Of more than 600 guns stolen 2 years ago, only 73 recovered

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A federal prosecutor says authorities have recovered only 73 of the 654 guns stolen in 2017 in Springfield, Missouri.

Prosecutors say six men from Texas stole the guns by maneuvering several trailers into a United Parcel Service lot. The handguns and 12-gauge shotguns were being shipped from Beretta USA in Maryland to Bass Pro Shops in Springfield.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that during a sentencing hearing Monday, U.S. Assistant Attorney James Kelleher said most of the guns are in public circulation.

Two defendants, 35-year-old Frank McChriston and Quinton Haywood, were sentenced Monday to 7½ years in prison. Derrick and Eric White were each sentenced to seven years and three months. 
They were also ordered to pay a total of $206,000 in restitution.

Two other men have pleaded guilty in the case.

Police checked suspect’s motel room hours before arrest

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Authorities say police visited the motel room of a Texas man suspected of kidnapping an 8-year-old girl but didn’t see the child, who was eventually found safe about two hours later.

Michael Webb is charged with aggravated kidnapping after authorities say he snatched the girl as she walked with her mother Saturday night in Fort Worth. The child was found early Sunday at the motel in nearby Forest Hill.

The Star-Telegram reports Forest Hill officers questioned the man after a motel clerk called police, but they left when they didn’t see the child.

Officers returned at about 2 a.m. Sunday after receiving another tip and found the girl inside the room. Forest Hill Police Chief Dan Dennis says the department is looking into the officers’ handling of the earlier call.