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Judge Sentences Woman Involved In Cocaine Smuggling To Go Back To Law School

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The ABA Jnl reports

Based on federal sentencing guidelines, people found guilty of trafficking large amounts of cocaine usually face lengthy sentences. However, a Texas defendant received what many say is an unusual punishment: five days in prison with credit for time served and direction from the judge to complete her JD.

Chelsea Nichole Madill was accused of trafficking 28.5 kilos of cocaine in a 2018 criminal complaint. She was charged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and in 2019, Madill pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute a Schedule II drug.

Federal sentencing experts say the average penalty for that crime is around five years. In addition to the law school piece and no prison time, Madill was sentenced to three years of supervised release. The 2023 sentencing judgment was written by Southern District of Texas Chief Judge Randy Crane.

Much of the record is sealed, and whether Madill attended or completed law school is not disclosed. There is someone with that name listed as a 2L Florida A&M University College of Law student bar association board member. A 2019 order authorized travel expenses for Madill, directing the U.S. marshal to obtain the cheapest means of noncustodial transportation possible between her Florida residence and the McAllen, Texas, courthouse.

“The court would suggest that the least expensive means would be via bus and not by airplane,” the judge wrote.

Madill did not respond to an ABA Journal interview request sent through LinkedIn, and her phone number listed in court records was disconnected. FAMU Law also did not respond to ABA Journal interview requests.

She could have had what is known as “the girlfriend problem,” says Douglas A. Berman, an Ohio State University Moritz College of Law professor. The term refers to long sentences for women who may not be actively involved in “serious drug dealing” but participate in trafficking to preserve a relationship with a boyfriend or husband, Berman says.

“Maybe the judge thought requiring pursuit of a law degree would reduce the likelihood she’d get involved with the wrong folks,” says Berman, who writes the Sentencing Law and Policy blog.

He adds that rehabilitation should be a goal in sentencing.

“The threat of serious confinement often gets people behaving well. She may have been extra motivated to be the best version of herself while this was pending,” Berman says.

Or it could have been the judge ensuring Madill would keep her word.

“Given the sparseness of the record, my first instinct was, the judge doesn’t want to be snookered by the argument of ‘I’m going to go to law school, so give me a break’ if she’s not going to see it through,” Berman says.

Jesse Salazar, the assistant U.S. attorney assigned to the case, referred an ABA Journal interview request to a public affairs officer. The PAO said the office did not object to the sentence. Richard Gould, a federal public defender, represented Madill. A receptionist at the Southern District of Texas Federal Public Defender’s Office told the ABA Journal Gould does not speak to reporters.

According to Madill’s criminal complaint, in 2018 she was observed directing a tractor trailer to a McAllen, Texas, warehouse. When the vehicle was stopped after leaving the site, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, with the assistance of a drug-detecting dog, discovered 28.5 kilos of cocaine, the complaint states.

It also references records that Madill rented the warehouse for her company, Monsters Inc Logistics, contracted GPS tracking services for the vehicle carrying the cocaine and purchased load covers for the truck.

Additionally, according to the complaint, there were records of Madill calling the telephone number of someone identified as the drug trafficking organization’s leader, who she met with in Mexico six days after the drugs were seized.

Also, law enforcements found a vacuum sealer often used to package narcotics at the Texas warehouse, and a cooperating defendant told the government they had worked for Madill as a money courier and cocaine purchaser.

Read full report

https://www.abajournal.com/web/article/order-directs-defendant-to-finish-law-school-could-that-be-a-good-bar-admission-defense

 



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Lebanese authorities seize 8kg of cocaine at Beirut airport

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Officials detain suspect who had previously served a six-year sentence for drug smuggling

Lebanese authorities said they had detained a man caught with about 8kg of cocaine at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport.

The man, a Brazilian national with Lebanese origins, had sought to conceal the drugs in a hidden compartment in his suitcase.

He had previously served a six-year sentence in a Lebanese prison on drug trafficking charges and was released in 2022.

Drug busts are relatively common at Lebanon’s only international airport, with authorities stepping up efforts to crack down on the trade in recent years amid pressure from countries in the Gulf.

In January, airport authorities stopped two Brazilian travellers who had ingested 2kg of cocaine in more than 150 capsules.

Read more

https://www.thenationalnews.com/mena/lebanon/2023/12/30/lebanese-authorities-seize-8kg-of-cocaine-at-beirut-airport/

 



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Malta: Racehorse tests positive for cocaine and other drugs after winning Marsa race

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A racehorse tested positive for cocaine and other drugs after it won a race last month.

Six-year-old mare Halina Jibay was found with cocaine in its body when it outperformed nine other horses on the Marsa racecourse on October 1, tests carried out in a French doping laboratory revealed.

In a decision issued by the Malta Racing Club this week, the mare’s owner was suspended from all races for two years and fined €350.

A doping test result issued by the Laboratoire des Courses Hippiques and seen by Times of Malta confirms a urine sample taken from the horse on the day of the race contained cocaine, stanozolol (a synthetic steroid), ketamine (a form of tranquilliser), and methamphetamine (a stimulating drug), among other similar substances.

At least two of the substances – including cocaine – constitute among the most serious rule breaks according to the Malta Racing Club’s regulations, and the rules state such cases must also be reported to the police since the possession of these substances is illegal.

The Malta Racing Club last night said the horse owner was given until today to contest the findings and present a counter-analysis.

Should the owner not contest the findings, then the case will be reported to the police.

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/racehorse-tests-positive-cocaine-drugs-winning-marsa-race.1066917



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East Boston man arrested after police find 240 grams of fentanyl in home

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An East Boston man is facing a slew of drug charges after police found a stockpile of fentanyl, cocaine, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms and thousands of dollars in his home, Suffolk DA Kevin Hayden announced Sunday.

“Fentanyl is a death drug, plain and simple,” Hayden said in a release. “The amount seized here — 240 grams of fentanyl, plus sizeable quantities of other drugs — represents a tremendous amount of potential human devastation.”

After months of investigating, police executed a search warrant for the apartment of Robert Ciampi, 63, on Orleans Street in East Boston on Nov. 1, according to the release.

Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.



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