Things That Matter

A Man Has Been Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison After Being Caught With 14 Meth Burritos

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There are days when the thought of stuffing your face with a burrito can bring so much happiness into our lives. However, when authorities found 14 foil-wrapped burrito-shaped packages in Ricardo Renteria’s SUV in 2018, they weren’t so pleased. They weren’t filled with beans or cheese. Instead, Los Angeles police found the “burritos” filled with one key ingredient: about a pound each of methamphetamine. Renteria, 48, of Colton, California was sentenced on Monday to 15 years in federal prison for carrying more than 13 pounds of methamphetamine in his car.

People are stunned how this bait and switch “burritos” was pulled off.

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Back on Feb. 3, 2018, Renteria was pulled over in the Angelino Heights neighborhood by Los Angeles Police officers after multiple witnesses reported a white Chevrolet Tahoe driving erratically. When police asked for his license, Renteria didn’t have it on him and was then allowed to search for his registration and insurance. While he couldn’t provide the correct paperwork, police determined the vehicle was registered to Renteria legally but found that his license was expired. That’s when Renteria let police search the vehicle. They would soon find a black garbage bag filled with 14 “foil-wrapped, burrito shaped” packages.

Authorities said that Renteria is a member of a neighborhood LA street gang and goes by the nickname “Flaco.” According to the Los Angeles Times, Renteria’s car was subsequently impounded after the arrest. During a later search of the vehicle, a fully loaded handgun was recovered from a secret compartment on the driver’s side door and more than $800 in cash.

“He has a very long criminal history,” Chief U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips said during the trial. “This was a large amount of methamphetamine — and the way it was packaged, it was clearly for sale.”

According to police, the street value of the methamphetamine ranged from $27,000 to $40,000.

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During his one-day trial in March, Renteria was found guilty of possessing meth with intent to distribute, possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and being a felon with a firearm, according to prosecutors.

During his sentencing hearing, Renteria asked Judge Phillips to “take into consideration (that) I have a family waiting for me — and I apologize for the situation I find myself in.”

Judge Phillips rejected the notion and said that a significant prison sentence was needed “to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant.” There was also a recommendation that Renteria undergoes a mental and physical health examination while serving time in prison.

“He wasn’t trying to sell a pound of meth disguised as burritos or trick anyone into thinking they’re real,” Ciaran McEvoy, a spokesman with the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Central District of California, told the News Observer. “But he was probably hoping to avoid detection this way.”

Police are familiar with this tactic and have previously seen creative ways that criminals try to disguise various drugs in the form of food.

“Narcotics dealers go to great lengths to conceal whatever narcotics it is they’re trying to move from one location to another,” Meghan Aguilar, a Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman told the Washington Post. “Soda cans, books cut out in the middle. Only the imagination limits how far drug dealers will go.”

This isn’t the first time we hear about someone trying to smuggle drugs in the form of a burrito.

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Just last week, a Colorado corrections officer tried to smuggle a drug-filled burrito into the Buena Vista Correctional Facility. Trevor Martineau filled the “burrito” with meth, heroin, marijuana, and painkillers and now faces a variety of felony charges. He’s also lost his job with the state. According to the Daily Mail, Martineau told investigators that he had drugs inside his lunchbox when he got to the correctional facility.

There is clearly a growing trend when it comes to hiding drugs in burrito shaped wrapping. This can only make us wonder what’s the next food item that people will be stashing away paraphernalia in. We just hope they leave tacos out of this.

READ: Not All Burritos Are The Same! Here Are 15 Varieties You Should Try ASAP

Judge In Mexico Grants Couple’s Request For Recreational Use Of Cocaine

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Judge In Mexico Grants Couple’s Request For Recreational Use Of Cocaine

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In a historic step toward ending the country’s deadly “war on drugs”, a judge in Mexico has approved the request of two people to legally possess, transport and use cocaine. Víctor Octavio Luna Escobedo, an administrative court judge in Mexico City, made the historic decisions saying “the consumption of cocaine doesn’t put one’s health in great risk, except in the case that it’s used chronically and excessively.”

Mexico United Against Crime (MUCD), a nongovernmental organization filed injunction requests on behalf of the two individuals. It pursued the case with goals to trying to change Mexico’s drug policy. At the core of the organization’s argument is that criminalizing consumers causes even more violence. If the ruling is ratified by a higher court, it would be the first time any cocaine use has been legal in Mexico.

According to Mexico Daily News, the Mexico City judge set a string of stipulations for the unidentified couple in order for them to use the cocaine. This includes regulating the amount they intake to 500 milligrams per day and not working, driving or operating heavy machinery while under the influence of the substance. This also includes not being able to consume cocaine in public, in the presence of children, or even encourage others to consume it.

So is cocaine really legal in Mexico? Here’s what you need to know. 

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The order by the judge to the country’s health authority has many wondering if one day Mexico could, at some point, legalize cocaine use, but only on a case-by-case basis. As of now, the judge’s ruling must be reviewed by a higher court panel of judges for the case to move forward. 

“We have been working for a safer, more just and peaceful Mexico for years, and with this case we insist on the need to stop criminalizing users of drugs other than marijuana and design better public policies that explore all available options, including the regulation,” Lisa Sanchez, director of MUAC, said in a statement.

The judge wrote in his ruling that the use of cocaine has certain benefits if consumed responsibly. “Ingestion can have various results, including alleviating tension, intensification of perceptions and the desire for new personal and spiritual experiences,” the judge said.

While two people have been allowed to take the drug, there is a bevy of injunctions and court orders that have followed. Which means the judge’s decisions could still be overturned.

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 Cofepris, Mexico’s national health regulator, is being ordered to authorize the two people to legally possess, transport and use cocaine. But Cofepris says that such authorization is outside its power and has now blocked the court order as a result. The rulings are set to be reviewed by three collegiate court judges that will then set forth the legal standing of judges ruling.

The next step in the decision will be an appeal to the circuit court. This essentially means that the case could land all the way up to Mexico’s Supreme Court. Even if the decision is then upheld, cocaine wouldn’t suddenly become legal in Mexico. While in the U.S., a Supreme Court ruling makes it the law of the land, In Mexico the Supreme Court must hand down similar rulings in at least four other cases.

“This case is about insisting on the need to stop criminalizing users of drugs… and design better public policies that explore all the available options, including regulation,” Sanchez said.

The ruling could be a landmark moment and opportunity for debate in Mexico, where a 15 year-long drug war has taken the lives of many. 

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Mexico has become a central battleground and transit point for cocaine being transported to the United States. Trafficking gangs have also grown immensely since 2006 when then-President Felipe Calderón sent in the country’s army to fight drug traffickers. More than 20,000 people have been killed and 40,000 disappeared since then. This year has already been a stark reminder of the deadly drug war as Mexico is on pace to have the most murders on record.

“This case represents another step in the fight to construct alternative drug policies that allow [Mexico] to redirect its security efforts and better address public health,” Sanchez said. “We have spent years working for a more secure, just and peaceful Mexico.” 

READ: This Shipment Of Jalapeños Turned Out To Be One Of The Year’s Biggest Marijuana Bust

Dolores Huerta Was Just Detained For Protesting For Workers’ Rights In Fresno County

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Dolores Huerta Was Just Detained For Protesting For Workers’ Rights In Fresno County

Dolores Huerta is one of the best-known and relentless labor organizers in the U.S. Her career fighting for workers’ rights spans decades and her work is nowhere near done. Today, the 89-year-old activist was detained while protesting the treatment of In-House Supportive System workers in Fresno County who have been negotiating a pay raise for years. Here’s what went down during the Board of Supervisors meeting at the Fresno County Hall of Records.

Dolores Huerta kept her chin up in defiance as she was escorted, in plastic handcuffs, from a Board of Supervisors meeting in Fresno County.

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According to the Fresno Bee, Huerta was one of several protesters demanding that the Fresno Board of Supervisors approve a respectable raise for In-Home Supportive System (IHSS) employees.

The IHSS program “helps elderly, blind and disabled people to safely remain in their own homes when they are not able to fully care for themselves or handle routine household tasks,” reads the website. “IHSS encourages independence and self-reliance, when possible, and is an alternative to out-of-home care in institutions or nursing facilities.”

IHSS employees offer clients services like housekeeping, meal prep, laundry, bathing, and accompanying patients to medical appointments, to name a few.

Huerta and other protesters filled the Fresno County Hall of Records to voice their demands to those making the decisions.

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According to the Fresno Bee, the IHSS workers currently make the minimum wage, which is set at $12 an hour. The labor union has been negotiating a pay raise for the workers for years and the Fresno Board of Supervisors was set to approve a 10-cent per hour raise. That is what sparked the protest demanding a proper wage increase.

According to the Fresno Bee, more than 17,000 people in Fresno County rely on caregivers and that number is expected to reach 106,000 by 2030.

People are absolutely celebrating the activist for her unapologetic stance for laborers.

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Huerta co-founded the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers, back in in 1962 and used her activist knowledge to fight for better working conditions for farmworkers in Delano, California. Since then, Huerta has been an example of activism and her fight for the most vulnerable in the employment community has continued.

Her reputation as a strong woman has become an irrefutable characteristic of the activist.

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Señora Chingona, indeed. Huerta has been arrested several times as part of her activism. She has even used her voice and name to fight for what she thinks is right in politics. Her activism was on full display during the 2016 elections as people mobilized to fight for the Latino community.

The protesters at the Fresno Board of Supervisors meeting today were optimistic about their ability to exact change.

Protesters joyfully chanted, “We believe we can win” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, poverty wages have got to go.” The protesters were effective in getting the attention of the board. The protest was disruptive enough that the meeting was recessed for 10 minutes just 30 seconds after they began chanting. The Fresno Bee called the protest ill-timed but the protesters knew they had the attention of those in charge.

“They are finalizing the budget in September. We want to make sure they put us in the budget for a wage increase,” organizer Ua Lugo told the Fresno Bee. “So today is very important.”

Despite numerous people being detained, the protesters continued in their fight.

“It should not come to this. It should not come to this,” protester Martha Valladarez told the Fresno Bee about caring for her daughter with Down Syndrome while officers placed plastic cuffs on her. “They have no idea the love that we have for our family members.”

Huerta was released shortly after being detained and she was greeted with a cheering crowd for her willingness to keep protesting.

What do you think about Dolores Huerta being detained for her protest in Fresno?

READ: Dolores Huerta The Latina Freedom Fighter Who Taught Us ‘Sí Se Puede’ Has Been Arrested Over 20 Times

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