Feds indict 16 in Miami-Dade marijuana growhouse operation, 5 charged with kidnapping death

For years, the Santiesteban family ran an elaborate marijuana growing operation — from planting seeds under hydroponic lights to harvesting the potent plants and hauling them to New York to sell — with at least 17 grow houses scattered across Miami-Dade, federal prosecutors said.

They set up surveillance cameras, hired caretakers to guard their crops, and when family members identified a robber who had ripped off 30 plants, they helped kidnap him, prosecutors said. The man was shot and beaten to death, his body dumped on a roadway, his van torched in the Everglades.

On Tuesday, law enforcement agents finally shut down the massive operation — charging six family members and 10 others with conspiracy to distribute drugs — ending one of the largest marijuana enterprises in Miami-Dade.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/06/2836510/feds-indict-16-in-miami-dade-marijuana.html#storylink=cpy
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Girlfriend: MacArthur causeway attacker was drugged — or cursed

On the Saturday morning before he would make headlines for chewing off a man’s face –– before he would come to be known tragically as the “Miami Zombie”–– Rudy Eugene held his Bible and kissed his girlfriend goodbye.

Eugene’s on-again, off-again girlfriend said he woke her up at 5:30 a.m. to say he was going to meet with a “homeboy.” She said she found it strange he was rummaging the closet so early in morning. He didn’t name the friend or say where he was going.

He planted a kiss on her lips and said, “I love you.”

Shortly after, he left the central Broward apartment he shared with her.

“I told him be safe and I love you too. When he walked out the door I closed it, locked it and went back to sleep,” said the girlfriend, who spoke to The Miami Herald on Wednesday but asked that her name not be disclosed. She said that she thought it unusual that he was leaving the house so early, but didn’t press him on it.

An hour after he left, Eugene called her cell phone. “He called me and told me his car broke down. He said, “I’ll be home, but I’m going to be a little late. Then he said, I’m going to call you right back.” That was the last time Eugene’s girlfriend heard from him.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/30/2824778/girlfriend-face-eating-man-was.html#storylink=cpy
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Jurors will deliberate Tuesday in NSU professor’s murder trial

Jurors will begin deliberations Tuesday in the first-degree murder trial of a Plantation man accused of the brutal home-invasion murder of his landlord two years ago.

Broward County prosecutors and defense attorneys delivered closing arguments Monday in the two-week-old trial of Randy W. Tundidor, 45, who is charged with stabbing to death Joseph Morrissey, a Nova Southeastern University professor and researcher who rented a townhouse to Tundidor and his family.

Tundidor faces the death penalty if jurors find him guilty. He also is charged with two counts of attempted murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and arson

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/07/2788571/jurors-will-deliberate-tuesday.html#storylink=cpy
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The Twit Who Tweeted

An Arkansas juror’s Tweets may have caused a mistrial in an otherwise open and shut first degree murder case.  Randy Franco, a juror on the murder trial of Erickson Dimas-Martinez, Tweeted such philosophical gems as “Choices to be made.  Hearts to be broken” and other classics on the horrible coffee in the courthouse.  These seemingly innocuous Tweets led the defendant to appeal his conviction on grounds of possible juror misconduct.  The State of Arkansas has countered that the evidence was overwhelming (there were multiple eye witnesses to the murder) and the jurors actions were not against any specific Court order.
The attached article indicates that the Arkansas Supreme Court, which heard the defendant’s appeal, is unlikely to reverse the lower courts’ rulings.  However, countless hours and tax payers’ dollars were spent on the defense of the underlying verdict, all because Juror Franco had an uncontrollable desire to tell the Twitter-verse how bad his coffee was.  Do incidents like this led to the conclusion that internet access should be banned in courtrooms?  Or should the court confiscate all forms of communication from the jurors during their service?  Or is this an example of the law falling seriously behind modern technology?  Should Tweeting or Facebook activity that doesn’t lead to gathering outside knowledge even qualify as possible juror misconduct?  The bottom line is that a juror’s insatiable need to inform the social media world of their daily activity may subject taxpayers to a drain of funds, defendants to a possible unfair trial and everyone reading the Tweets to hours of wasted time they’ll never get back.
Check out the article at: http://www.jdsupra.com/post/documentViewer.aspx?fid=7e3e1155-b121-4df3-8e91-eccc50c469f1

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