UPDATED Video Shows Montgomery County Constable's Deputies Lied in Affidavit and in Court to Justify Warrantless Drug Raid

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From the Texas Takedown video, U.S. District Court records
Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth "Rowdy" Hayden

See an update at the bottom of this post on who may have filmed the video that's now the basis of this lawsuit.


A few years back, Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth Hayden -- or "Rowdy," as he likes to be called -- opened his doors for a Montgomery County Police Reporter cameraman to shadow him and his deputies on the job. The result was Cops-style reality show, narrated by Dean Cain (yes, that Dean Cain), dubbed Texas Takedown: The Real Men in Black, which asked viewers to "stick around and ride with Rowdy as he continues to clean up east county."

Evidently cleaning up east county also meant lying in court documents and on the stand to justify a warrantless drug raid. According to documents filed in court and a Texas Takedown video showing one 2011 drug raid, Constable Hayden's deputies made up key details about the bust in an affidavit and in court testimony.

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District Attorney Candidate Kim Ogg on the "Human Toll" of Prosecuting Misdemeanor Pot Offenders

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Wiros
Last Friday, Kim Ogg, the Democratic candidate for Harris County District Attorney, was the guest of honor at a gathering of the Houston chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a pro-pot legalization group.

Just let that sink in for a moment. A major party candidate vying for the largest prosecutor's office in Texas, and one of the largest in the country, took her campaign to a pro-marijuana gathering. There, Ogg spoke not only of the money Harris County taxpayers could save if the county shifted how it prosecutes misdemeanor marijuana possession cases, but of the war on drugs' human toll.

Here's part of what she told the NORML crowd Friday at Cafe Adobe:


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Riverside General Hospital Heads Await Fraud Verdict

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Photo by Susan Du
The Reverend Robert Gilmore, a Third Ward resident who protested Riverside's loss of federal funds in August, says the hospital's troubles resulted in a drain of drug treatment services throughout the city.

Arguments in the trial of Riverside General Hospital administrators accused of pilfering millions in a federal healthcare scam concluded Monday as the jury left to decide whether Earnest Gibson III, his son and two other defendants bought and sold patients by the head to cash in on Medicare and Medicaid funds.

FBI agents arrested the Gibsons after they raided the historic Third Ward hospital's office in February 2012 as part of a nationwide Medicare fraud purge. The feds found that Riverside routinely paid local group homes to refer mentally ill and drug addicted patients to its programs, but the question remains whether the hospital's top administrators were in on the conspiracy.

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Former HPD Officer Admits to Being Private Security for Cocaine Smugglers

Categories: Crime

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HPD
Marcos E. Carrion
Former HPD officer Marcos E. Carrion pleaded guilty Thursday to providing security for drug runners, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office and court records.

Carrion, who left the department in February after serving as a patrol officer for five years, was indicted by federal prosecutors in April, accused of using his position as a cop to provide security for cocaine shipments. Carrion, who was an officer assigned to HPD's southwest patrol division, "admitted to providing security for a narcotics transaction which involved 10 kilograms of cocaine," the U.S. Attorney's Office announced in a statement Thursday.

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Jordy Tollett, Former "Mister Downtown," Is Again in Jail Because of Booze

Categories: Crime, Whatever

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Nassau Bay PD
Gerard "Jordy" Tollett, after his March 4, 2012 arrest
Once a political wheeler-dealer and head of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Gerard Jay "Jordy" Tollett is again in jail because of alcohol.

Records show Tollett, now Pasadena Convention Center general manager, was arrested for drunk driving in Nassau Bay on March 4, 2012. Tollett immediately appealed when months later a jury found him guilty of DWI-2nd and handed him a 180-day jail sentence and a $2,000 fine. As a condition of his bond to keep him out of jail while on appeal, a Harris County judge ordered the former "Mister Downtown" to stay away from booze, to pay the county's community supervision and corrections department a $60 per-month fee, and to submit to regular drug and alcohol testing.

Violation reports filed in court show Tollett didn't pay those fines. He also didn't stay away from booze; an ignition interlock device the judge ordered installed on Tollett's car continued to show alcohol on Tollett's breath.


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Harris County Was One of the Deadliest Places for Women in 2013

Categories: Crime

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In case you need another bit of horrible news, the folks over at Texas Council on Family Violence kicked off the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month by releasing a report on women murdered by domestic violence. The annual report, based on data gathered and confirmed through law enforcement, district attorneys, county attorneys, the Department of Transportation and media, found that (at least) 119 women were murdered in Texas by their intimate partners in 2013.


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San Jacinto Dioxin Case Kicks Off

Categories: Crime, Environment

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Photo by Susan Du
Highlands residents still fish in the San Jacinto River despite the EPA advisories against eating fish and crab.

The trifecta of lawsuits filed against companies for allegedly dumping toxic paper waste into the San Jacinto River finally came to trial on Monday. Waste Management, International Paper and McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corporation are accused of allowing dioxin, a "cancer-enhancer" chemical, to leak uninhibited into a river system where people have been swimming and fishing since the 1960s. They stand to pay damages worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Harris County and local residents if they are found liable.

In 2011, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan sued all three companies for $2 billion in penalties for failure to disclose and clean the waste. His move opened the floodgates for suits from dozens of Vietnamese fishermen who depend on contaminated San Jacinto River and Galveston Bay fisheries for their livelihood. Residents of Highlands filed a third lawsuit, claiming they never would have moved beside the river if they knew about the toxic waste dump underneath the surface.

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Lawsuit Claims Child-Predator Pastor First Met Victim During Outreach at a Public School

Categories: Courts, Crime

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Chad Foster, a former youth pastor, pleaded guilty to raping and sexually exploiting teenage girls.
The attorney suing two massive Houston-area churches for employing a youth pastor that sexually exploited young churchgoers claims the minister first found one of his targets during outreach at a local public school.

Last week attorney Cris Feldman filed a lawsuit against Second Baptist Church and Community of Faith Church on behalf of the parents of a teenage girl who fell victim to 35-year-old Chad Foster, a former youth minister with both churches who pleaded guilty to raping one teenager and soliciting another for sex via Facebook and Skype three years ago.

Feldman claims Foster met the girl while doing outreach for Second Baptist at a middle school in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, on the city's northwest side. The lawsuit, which does not name the district as a defendant, claims Second Baptist had a "simple yet effective marketing scheme" in which youth pastors would recruit young members by showing up during public school lunch hours and giving students free McDonald's and Pizza Hut lunches.


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'American Insurgent Movement' Leader Pleads Guilty to Plot to Overthrow Government, Rob Banks and Blow Up Mosques

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Screenshot from the Southern Poverty Law Center
Robert James Talbot Jr.
A Katy man who the FBI says tried to form an "American Insurgent Movement" to rob banks, blow up mosques and overthrow the government with "blood and bullets" has pleaded guilty in federal court.

Court records show Robert Talbot Jr., 38, admitted to plotting his revolution in a hearing before federal district court Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. on Friday. The charges, including attempted interference with commerce by robbery and solicitation to commit a crime of violence, could put him in prison for 20 years.

The FBI opened its investigation into Talbot in August 2013, apparently after finding Talbot's Facebook posts searching for "like-minded" recruits to join his cause. Unbeknownst to him, his three "like-minded" recruits ended up being undercover FBI agents.

What's truly remarkable about the case is the amount of crazy Talbot let spill out into the open, on his Facebook page, for everyone (including federal law enforcement) to see. Here are some of the more stunning posts, culled from court records:


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UPDATED Driver Arrested in Hit-and-Run Death of Northwest Side Bicyclist

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Photo from Houston Police Department
Eduardo Torres, 30, turned himself in to police days after bicyclist Jose Mendez-Manzano was killed in a traffic accident.

A 30-year-old Houston man was arrested in the hit-and-run accident that killed Jose Mendez-Manzano on Saturday. Eduardo Torres was charged with failure to stop and render aid, which as of September 2013 is considered a second-degree felony.

The victim, Mendez-Manzano, was a 63-year-old grandfather who sold fresh produce from a grocery cart tethered to the bicycle he used to get around town. He was struck near Link and Airline, along a two-way road without sidewalks. A white memorial bike marks the site of the accident, only a few blocks away from Mendez-Manzano's home.

Houston police say Torres turned himself in days after the accident.

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