News Roundup

President Donald Trump announced yesterday that he was directing the Department of Health and Human Services to declare the national opioid crisis a public health emergency.  According to a White House press release, the declaration of a public health emergency allows for expanded access to prescriptions for medicines used for substance abuse and mental health treatment and allows the Department of Health and Human Services to quickly make temporary appointments of specialists who can respond to the emergency.  Keep reading for more news.

Opioids in New England.  The Washington Post has a story this week about the evolution of the types of opioids that are available to drug users and the manner in which they are illicitly manufactured and distributed.  The story discusses how fentanyl manufactured in Mexico using materials obtained from China is smuggled into the United States and discusses how techniques for mixing the drug with fillers results in uneven concentrations of the deadly drug in doses sold on the street.

Sheriff Indicted.  The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Ashe County Sheriff Terry Buchanan has been indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and willful failure to discharge duties arising from alleged efforts to prevent his phone records from being disclosed to a Charlotte television station pursuant to a public-records request.  Buchanan has been temporarily suspended from office pending a Superior Court hearing scheduled for November 13.

Former DA Indicted.  The Greensboro News & Record reports that former Person-Caswell County District Attorney Wallace Bradsher was indicted this week on various felony charges related to the wife-hiring scheme Bradsher allegedly was involved in with former Rockingham County District Attorney Craig Blitzer.  Bradsher already was facing a misdemeanor charge related to the scheme.

Guice Retiring.  The North Carolina Department of Public Safety announced this week that W. David Guice is retiring from his position as the Chief Deputy Secretary for Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice at the end of this month.  Guice has served in that position since 2013, and previously served as the director of Community Corrections.  The press release announcing Guice’s retirement lists various actions the Department has taken to make North Carolina prisons safer following the attack and escape attempt at Pasquotank Correctional Institution earlier this month.

Charlotte Teen Among FBI Most Wanted.  The Charlotte Observer reports that 18-year-old Alejandro “Alex” Castillo has been added to the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list.  Castillo is charged with murdering a restaurant co-worker, Truc Quan “Sandy” Ly Le, in a robbery near Charlotte in 2016, and is believed to be hiding in Mexico.

Seized Vehicles.  A few weeks ago, the News Roundup noted a story about vehicles that had been seized from people charged with driving while impaired and that were allegedly unaccounted for during a state audit.  That story continues to develop, with a report from WRAL saying that the contractors involved continue to dispute the audit as “erroneous” and “false and defamatory.”

Inmates Donate to Hurricane Relief.  Prison inmates in Texas donated nearly $54,000 from their commissary accounts to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey relief according to this report from the New York Times.  Inmates previously had donated to relief efforts following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and prisoners who remembered those efforts asked that prison officials restart the donation program in the wake of Harvey.

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