Thursday, April 28, 2011

CA Trucker Busted for Cross Border Marijuana Smuggling

A truck driver was sentenced Monday to nearly 22 years in prison for hauling about 10 tons of marijuana that was smuggled through a sophisticated cross-border tunnel, one of the largest marijuana busts in U.S. history.

Carlos Cunningham, 28, acknowledged carrying 19,400 pounds of marijuana in his trailer when he was arrested Nov. 2 at a weigh station in Temecula, southeast of Los Angeles.

"That is an extraordinary, remarkable amount," said U.S. District Judge Larry Burns. "It's enough to fill a house."

U.S. authorities later seized 16 tons in a San Diego warehouse where the tunnel ended, and Mexican authorities reported seizing nearly five tons on the Mexican side of the tunnel, bringing the total haul to more than 30 tons.

Later in November, U.S. authorities found another cross-border tunnel inside a warehouse of the same San Diego industrial district, leading to seizures of nearly 21 tons of marijuana on both sides of the border. Cunningham was not charged in connection with that passage.

U.S. investigators suspect that both tunnels were overseen by Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, whose leader, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, is that country's most-wanted drug lord. They were lined with rail tracks, ventilation and lighting.

Burns sentenced Cunningham to 21 years, eight months in prison for conspiring to distribute marijuana, more than two years longer than what prosecutors recommended. He said he would consider reducing the punishment if Cunningham continued to cooperate with investigators.

"It is not a secret that Mr. Cunningham is cooperating with investigators," the judge said.

Prosecutors alleged in a court filing this month that Daniel Navarro was "the transportation manager and distributor" for both passages and they identify him as Cunningham's boss. Navarro has pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with the second tunnel.

Cunningham, of Oceanside, told authorities that he was being paid $10,000 to drive the trailer from the San Diego area to Los Angeles, according to court records. When he pleaded guilty in January, he admitted hauling large loads of marijuana on "multiple occasions" in July, August and November.

"I'm sorry, your honor, for what I've done and I really regret my decision," Cunningham told the judge.

His attorney, Gretchen VonHelms, said Cunningham's role was limited to driving the limited distance in Southern California.

"He was essentially a chauffeur," she said.

Cunningham pleaded guilty to drug charges in 2002 and 2006. In 2002, he was accused of smuggling 110 pounds of cocaine. In 2006, he acknowledged driving with 38 pounds of marijuana in a secret vehicle compartment in California's Imperial Valley.

Another driver, Jose Guadalupe Hernandez, pleaded guilty earlier this month for conspiring to distribute nearly 14 tons of marijuana in connection with the second tunnel discovered in November. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011

The height of hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it.

The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.

As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. "It was a gamble," Gaylord recalled, "but it worked."

Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.

Fun Facts:

  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to watch a TV for three hours - it's equivalent to half a gallon of gasoline.
  • Earth Day is a relatively new holiday and was first celebrated on April 22 in 1970. More than 20 million Americans participated in this first Earth Day celebration
  • Earth Day was founded by a senator of Wisconsin and the day is credited for creating the environmentalism movement.
  • April 22 is the first official day of Spring in the Northern hemisphere and of Fall in the Southern hemisphere and was chosen to be Earth Day for this reason.
  • Never underestimate the importance of recycling: if every newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year. Unfortunately only 27% of all American newspapers are recycled.
  • More than 20,000,000 Hershey's Kisses are wrapped each day, using 133 square miles of tinfoil. All that foil is recyclable, but not many people realize it.
  • Only 11% of the earth's surface is used to grow food.
  • The world's first national park was started in 1872 at Yellowstone National Park in the US.
  • The first major international conference on environmental issues was held in Sweden in 1972 and was sponsored by the United Nations.
  • The first wildlife refuge was formed on Pelican Island Florida in 1903.
  • The patron Saint of ecologists is St. Francis and the first proclamation of Earth Day was made by the mayor of San Francisco in 1970.
  • A highlight of the annual Earth Day ceremony at the United Nations is the ringing of the Peace Bell that was given to the UN by Japan. It is made from coins given by school children to further peace on our planet.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Jet Semi Racing

Ever hear about big rig racing? Well how about jet engine big rig racing? Its just as crazy as it sounds, check out these videos we came across.

First, the Only Jet Semi Truck Drag Race in history! Bob Motz Jet Kenworth vs. Kent Shockley driving Les Shockley's ShockWave Jet Peterbuilt. Bob Motz takes the win on the 1/8 mile with a small margin of victory. This is the only time these trucks will ever race, and they were never allowed to race before due to insurance reasons, and concerns over their large parachutes becoming tangled. Filmed at the former Norwalk Raceway park 8-24-02.

Second, Three jet turbine engines power this truck to 200mph!!

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