Clashes in western Mexico leave at least 5 men dead

Clashes in which self-described “self-defense” forces sought to oust the Knights Templar drug cartel from the western Mexico state of Michoacan left at least five men dead and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity.

The weekend confrontations followed a daring march by a self-defense force into the city of Apatzingan, the central stronghold of the pseudo-religious Knights Templar cartel that for years has dominated Michoacan.

State Interior Secretary Jaime Mares said soldiers and federal police had taken over security in Apatzingan following the clashes.


Man flying to Los Angeles held on explosives charges

A 71-year-old man who was booked on a flight to Los Angeles faces three charges after parts of a potential explosive device were found in his carry-on luggage at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport.

Antony Piazza, a Canadian of Iranian origin, was charged Monday with mischief, endangering the safety of an aircraft or airport and being in illegal possession of an explosive substance. The incident partly shut down Montreal’s main airport for several hours Sunday and caused a neighborhood to be shut down for a police search. 


Diabetes patient receives insulin-producing cells

A 63-year-old man with Type 1 diabetes received a transplant of insulin-producing cells with the aid of a device that eliminated use of immune-blocking drugs, a potential breakthrough that may lead to safer and more effective procedures to revive weakened organs.

The cells, which survived for 10 months, showed signs of insulin production, according to a study released by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The new approach may lead to diabetes therapies, as well as open the possibility of other types of tissue transplants where side effects of immune suppression may outweigh the benefits.


Former congressman gets three-year prison sentence

Former U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi was sentenced to three years in prison for convictions on public corruption, money laundering and other charges.

Renzi, a Republican, represented Arizona’s 1st District from 2003 until 2009. He chose not to run for re-election in 2008 while facing the federal indictment.

A federal jury in Tucson convicted him in June on 17 of 32 counts, including wire fraud, conspiracy, extortion, racketeering, money laundering and making false statements to insurance regulators. He was acquitted on the remaining counts.

U.S. District Judge David C. Bury sentenced Renzi and co-defendant James Sandlin on Monday in Tucson. Bury sentenced Sandlin to 18 months in prison.


West Texas attorney guilty in money laundering case

A West Texas lawyer and former Carnegie Mellon University trustee was found guilty Monday of conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars in drug money for a Mexican cartel.

Marco Antonio Delgado was accused of devising a scheme to launder up to $600 million for the now-disbanded Milenio cartel from 2007 to 2008.

Delgado took the stand Thursday and told jurors that federal agents lied and misrepresented facts or oversimplified matters in his case.


Man in prison for murder has conviction overturned

A New Jersey man imprisoned for nearly two decades for murder has had his conviction overturned after a successful challenge to bite-mark evidence.

Gerard Richardson was granted his release Monday on $5,000 bail, though he won’t be freed for a few days. He had appealed his conviction in the murder of 19-year-old Monica Reyes, whose body was found in a ditch in Bernards Township in north-central New Jersey in February 1994.

Richardson’s attorneys say DNA testing shows a bite mark left on the victim’s back is from another man. Prosecutors cited the DNA evidence in their decision to allow the conviction to be reversed. 

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