Texas Man Was Smuggling Rhino Parts in International Operation

Categories: Crime

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Photo by Mark Kent
Rhino horns and elephant ivory made it into Dallas art appraisers' hands.
A Texas man pleaded guilty Tuesday in a smuggling operation that dealt in nearly $1 million worth of rhino horns and elephant ivory. Asian art appraiser Ning Qiu, of Frisco, took part in the operation, which was busted up in "Operation Crash".

The nationwide sting was led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Justice Department to crack down on the black market for rhinoceros horns and other objects.

The smuggling operation, according to authorities, stretched from Texas to New Jersey to Hong Kong.

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"The Rooster" Is Back in Houston, This Time Against His Will

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Photo by Jim Bahn

A Mexican national notorious for trafficking women in the Houston area landed in the United States yesterday and will face charges from the U.S. Attorney's Office relating to his smuggling of women.

Gerardo Salazar, 47, of Mexico City, arrived in Houston yesterday after being arrested in Mexico. He will make his initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge Friday.


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DNA Crime Lab Tech May Have Tainted Nearly 200 Cases

Categories: Crime

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Photo by West Midlands Police
A similar crime lab linked to the HPD just got hit with another scandal.
It's possible dozens of DNA samples linked to criminal cases could be retested after a lab tech in the Houston police crime lab resigned.

In all, 185 criminal cases may have been affected. According to reports, that includes 53 murders or capital murders. The Harris County District Attorney's Office sent letters to attorneys in those cases.

Among those cases, according to court records, seven of the murder cases resulted in a murder conviction and one, a capital case, led to a life sentence.

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Man Arrested at Bush Airport Was on His Way to Jihad, Authorities Say

Categories: Crime

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Michael Wolfe was allegedly using cross-fit to get into jihad shape.
A man who reports say was born in Houston was arrested Tuesday by the Central Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force for providing material support to terrorists, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Michael Todd Wolfe, known as Faruq, 23, and living in Austin, was arrested at George W. Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport. Wolfe, according to authorities, planned to travel to the Middle East to join radical groups fighting in Syria.

Rahatul Ashikim Khan, 23, who had a long list of a.k.a's Rahat Khan, AuthenticTauheed19, and AT19, was also arrested Tuesday, at his home in Round Rock. He's being charged in a conspiracy plot that ran from early 2011 to January 2012, to recruit people to support terrorist activities, including jihad, outside the U.S. Both men's criminal complaints were unsealed before a magistrate judge in Austin today.



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Houston Girl Found Dead in Fridge, Say Reports

Categories: Crime

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Screenshot from Google Maps
The girl was found at Happy Home Apartments.

The body of a nine-year-old girl was kept in a refrigerator for six months, according to reports.

Residents of the Happy Home Apartments in the 10100 block of Club Creek Drive were concerned about not having seen the girl in months, according to a Houston Police Department press release. A neighbor entered the apartment the girl was believed to live in, where, according to the press release, he found Ayahna Comb wrapped in blankets in the kitchen, and called paramedics around 6 p.m. Monday, according to the press release.


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One Person Died in Smuggling Operation Involving Houston Woman

Categories: Crime

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Ndn.org
Court records show one person died in smuggling incident in Falfurrias.
A Houston woman who allegedly got into a car crash escaping the Border Patrol admitted this week to a federal judge that she was helping smuggle nine undocumented immigrants. One person died as a result of the crash.

Karin Aguilar-Melgor, 22, was the driver of a pickup that carried the group, court records show. In the small hours of February 25, around 3:30 a.m. Border Patrol agents, according to court records, saw a red Ford pickup being loaded with people on a Farm to Market Road near Falfurrias, which is around 78 miles from Corpus Christi.

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Fraud Scheme Doesn't End Well for National Guardsman from Houston

Categories: Crime

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Photo by Sgt. Melissa Bright/dvidshub.net
A plan to scheme the U.S. Army National Guard flopped.
A scheme to make away with sign-up incentives offered by the local National Guard Bureau probably seemed bulletproof at first. Christopher Renfro, a 26-year-old Houstonian, would get the names of people who wanted to be soldiers and add them to his referral list. He'd already set up the online account that would drop bonus money into his bank account.

It seemed to work out fine for a while; he was doing what was required to get $2,000 a pop in bonus pay under the G-Rap program, according to court documents. The Guard Recruiting Assistance Program had kicked off sometime in 2005, and between 2008 and 2011, Renfro had entered into the scheme, which included 25 other people from the Houston area and San Antonio.


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Katy Teacher/Coach Arrested, Allegedly Had Sex With Student

Categories: Crime

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Katy teacher lived the life of a college baller.
Teachers in some districts are getting paid pretty well these days (well, compared with your entry-level journalist --- we don't have to get into the whole "whose job is more important" issue here; we think we know the answer). So why lose a job for hitting on students?

That's the alleged case this week, since news has come out that a Morton Ranch High School teacher left his job in May following a letter about an alleged affair he carried on with a 17-year-old student.

The teacher in question, who was arrested Wednesday on a charge of improper relationship with a student, according to court documents is Daimon Lawrence Sweet, 44, of Katy.


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Two From Houston Plead Guilty in Scam That Focused on Chinese Restaurants

Categories: Crime

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Photo by David Bruce Jr.
Restaurants benefited from placement agencies, like the one's part of a case in Texas federal court.
If you ever wondered how restaurants get all that cheap labor, a court case involving an employment scam might give you an idea.

A Houston pair could face up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty in Beaumont on Wednesday as part of a scam that placed illegal immigrants into jobs. According to a report in the Associated Press, "Two businesses in Houston recruited immigrants mostly from Mexico and Central America."


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Austin Man Used His Stick in a Knife Fight

Categories: Crime

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Photo by mendhak
When there's a stick, there's a way.

Sometimes, it doesn't take much more than good intentions and determination. Just ask Alvin Wilson.

A man was allegedly stabbing his wife outside of an Austin elementary school Monday when Wilson came to the rescue. Wilson told KTBC he lives across the street from the school, and when he saw the attack, ran over with a stick in hand.

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