Tag Archives: crime

Arkansas Attorney Arrested on Methamphetamine Charges

An attorney from Berryville, Arkansas, was arrested Friday night on multiple drug charges after she allegedly sold methamphetamine to a confidential informant. Cindy Baker, 36, is facing several felony counts, including delivery of a controlled substance (meth) and possession of drugs and firearms, possession of a controlled substance, delivery of a controlled substance near certain facilities, possession of drug paraphernalia, and conspiracy.

A bond hearing was held Monday at the Carroll County jail with Judge Marianne McBeth setting Baker’s bond at $100,000. Baker is currently in Memphis, Tennessee, undergoing drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Baker made headlines in 2005 when the Berryville courthouse was evacuated after she introduced what was believed to be a bomb during the trial of Mike Koster of Green Forest. Baker stated that the device was a commercially-available firecracker, but Circuit Judge Alan Epley ordered it to be removed. In the meantime, law enforcement evacuated the building, resulting in a mistrial with Epley threatening to jail her for six months for contempt of court.

A different jury trial of Koster followed and Koster was convicted on some charges. Baker asked the state Supreme Court to throw out the case, claiming double jeopardy, but the court refused.

Baker landed in jail on Friday after authorities arrested her at her residence and office in Berryville. According to Carroll County Sheriff Bob Grudek, an arrest and search warrant were executed based on information gathered during an ongoing investigation.

Grudek said in a press release that on Oct. 28 a confidential informant made a controlled buy of one gram of a substance believed to be meth from Baker for $200 at her home and office.

Later that day, a “buy bust” was made by Mynor Jimmy Aleman-Gonzalez, 24, of Green Forest, who was suspected of being a meth supplier. Authorities seized $1,000 from him, which included bills that were paid to Baker for buying meth earlier in the day.

On Friday, the same confidential informant made a controlled buy of one-half gram of a substance believed to be meth for $50 from Baker, again at her home and office, with the informant giving Baker a $100 bill and receiving $50 in change.

Based on that information, Grudek said, the warrants were issued. At about 7 p.m. Baker was arrested, and confiscated from her person was the $100 bill used to purchase meth earlier in the day.

Confiscated from her home and office were additional substances believed to be meth, along with drug paraphernalia and weapons. The sheriff said additional charges are being considered. Arraignment on the charges is tentatively slated for Nov. 23.

Baker was a candidate for prosecuting attorney in 2006, losing the Democratic primary to current Prosecutor Tony Rogers by 53 votes. She has served on the boards of Carroll Regional Medical Center and Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, and was named Volunteer Attorney of the Year in 2005 by the Carroll County Bar Association. She also served on a committee to establish the 19th Judicial District Drug Court.

17 Killed in Shooting at Mexico Drug Rehab Center

Gunmen shot and killed 17 patients and wounded two others at a drug rehabilitation center in northern Mexico, the mayor of Ciudad Juarez announced. Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz said authorities believe a rival drug gang attacked the men at the El Aviane rehab facility.

“At the very least, it was one organized crime group thinking that another group was operating in that place,” Reyes told CNN.

Wednesday night’s shootings, he said, are similar to an attack at a drug facility in March that left 20 patients dead. A Mexican civic group said last week that Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, had the most slayings per capita in 2008 of any city in the world.

More than 1,420 people have been killed in Juarez this year, Reyes told CNN on Monday. About 1,600 people were killed in Juarez in 2008, he added.

Since President Felipe Calderon declared war on drug cartels shortly after coming into office in December 2006, violence in Mexico has greatly increased. More than 11,000 people have died, about 1,000 of them police.

In Juarez, much of the violence is being committed by the rival Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels, which are fighting for lucrative routes into the United States as well as local street sales, Reyes said.

According to a report released last week by the Mexican Citizens Council for Public Security watchdog group, Juarez had an estimated rate of 130 killings per 100,000 people. The city has a population of around 1.5 million.

In comparison, the homicide rate in New Orleans, Louisiana, the deadliest city in the United States in 2008, was 64 homicides per 100,000 residents, based on preliminary FBI figures.