Legal Briefs for February 2, 2009

POSTED: Monday, February 2, 2009 - 3:56pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:57pm

In Los Angeles, the founder of the “Girls Gone Wild” franchise is back in the lime light, only this time it’s for federal reasons. A judge issued an arrest warrant for 34-year-old Joe Francis when he didn’t show at a tax evasion hearing. Francis is accused of deducting more than $20 million in phony expenses, including a $3.8 million home in Mexico. His trial is set for March.

Agents seize a record number of drugs along the U.S./Mexico border in South Texas. They say it’s due to manpower along the border and better technology. In January, agents assigned to the Rio Grande Valley took more than 34,000 pounds of marijuana. That carries a street value of about $27 million. Border Patrol Spokesperson John Lopez says, “We utilize canines at our checkpoints as well as along the rivers, dogs are trained to detect people and narcotics.” Agents also credit the Mexican government’s crackdown on drugs.

In Laredo, Texas, a state trooper chalks up another pot bust, this time on a school bus. Officials say a trooper on Highway 59 noticed a school bus parked on the side of the road. When he investigated, he found more than 9,000 pounds of marijuana inside. Lt. Maria Guadelupe Garza says, “For the most part we are looking to find information if anyone’s seen anything to further the investigation.” No word on whether the bus was owned by the local school district.

The government isn’t stopping at social use. The DEA targeted a marijuana operation in Oakland run by a quadriplegic man who says he uses the drug for medicinal purposes. Ken Estes says, “Come and arrest me. I’m already sitting in a wheelchair just trying to take care of myself.” Estes says he is now in danger of losing his home and his children and was recently reduced to applying for disability. President Obama has expressed support for doctor=prescribed medical marijuana use, but the Justice Department is still in flux. Attorney General Holder was only confirmed tonight and there is still no new drug tzar.