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Westlake Legal Group > fnc/us (Page 287)

The ‘village’ of law enforcement agencies battling human trafficking

When people fall prey to sex traffickers, it can take a village of law enforcement agencies and advocacy organizations to pull them from the sex work they’re forced to endure. Detectives, officers and FBI agents often coordinate efforts to rescue those who are trapped and put their abusers behind bars.

The ease with which traffickers transport their victims makes the work of investigators and law enforcement agencies even more complicated. The women are often sold online — and raped in person. Much of the police work is done on the Internet, a task that can weigh on investigators enduring long hours and reviewing endless streams of disturbing content.

As part of an ongoing investigation into the practice of human trafficking, in which someone is sold into sexual exploitation or forced labor, Fox News interviewed law enforcement officials at state and federal levels to better understand efforts to stop the shocking practice.

Those corridors are so hot with human trafficking activity that, at times, we put together a task force just to attack those corridors.

— Pasco County Sheriff’s Corporal Alan Wilkett

“They’re hiding in plain sight,” said Cpl. Alan Wilkett, a veteran of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. “The trafficker is comfortable in that there’s such high transit [on the highways] that it becomes difficult to spot the activity.”

Wilkett, who spearheads a human trafficking task force for Pasco County, told Fox that highways are often used to transport trafficking victims from city to city, where they are forced to “work” by their captors.

“If a trafficker is getting his victim from one place to another, for instance, a high-end or high-populace activity that’s happening in Tampa … he’s going to use the I-4 corridor,” Wilkett said. “In fact, those corridors are so hot with human trafficking activity that, at times, we put together a task force just to attack those corridors,” he explained. 

Westlake Legal Group Wilkett The 'village' of law enforcement agencies battling human trafficking Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/news-events/fox-news-investigates fox news fnc/us fnc article Andrew Keiper 02e946b1-6874-519f-b715-3a93dd1726cc

Pasco County Sheriff’s Cpl. Alan Wilkett uses his laptop from his service vehicle.

Law enforcement task forces, often coordinated between different agencies, are a common tactic to combat a variety of crimes – including human trafficking. Often, the FBI will partner with a local police department to conduct sting operations on traffickers. Such is the case in Toledo, Ohio, where Det. Peter Swartz leads the department’s efforts in the fight.

Swartz, who focuses full time on human trafficking, pulls double duty as a detective for the Toledo Police Department and a field agent for the FBI. He said he sees victims from across the country who have been trafficked through Toledo.

“They were on their way to Florida, Atlanta, Georgia. You know, Orlando, Tampa,” he said. “We know some victims end up there and some of our traffickers end up there,” Swartz told Fox.

A lot of the cases that we work with, the predators, the pimps, the trafficker are getting substantial sentences for turning out our kids.

— Toledo Police Department Detective Peter Swartz

Swartz said he gets fulfillment from the work, even though he’s often dealing with minors who have been trafficked against their will. More importantly, he said the people coercing them into forced sex work are facing consequences.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIMS MOSTLY UNDERAGE CHILDREN FROM WITHIN THE US

“I think we’ve made a significant difference as far as sex trafficking,” Swartz said. “A lot of the cases that we work with, the predators, the pimps, the trafficker are getting substantial sentences for turning out our kids,” he added.

Having investigators focusing specifically on sex trafficking, like Swartz, has become increasingly important as sex trafficking continues to become more commonplace. In Ohio, the attorney general’s human trafficking commission reported that law enforcement agencies across the state investigated 242 instances of human trafficking in 2017. It made 80 arrests and secured 61 convictions.

Westlake Legal Group Swartz The 'village' of law enforcement agencies battling human trafficking Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/news-events/fox-news-investigates fox news fnc/us fnc article Andrew Keiper 02e946b1-6874-519f-b715-3a93dd1726cc

Toledo Police Department Det. Peter Swartz in an interview with Fox News.

Swartz said a large portion of his day consists of following up on tips he’s given by different organizations like Crime Stoppers, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the local Missing Persons Bureau.

“Basically, we use an undercover officer to call an ad that may be advertising for escorting, but we know it’s an ad for prostitution,” Swartz said. “Then we’ll try to recover them and find out what’s going on with them and what led [them] to this work,” he told Fox.

Most of the victims are folks that are in such vulnerable positions they are not able to make their own decisions.

— FBI Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney

The enforcement tactics use by Swartz and the Toledo police are much the same as those used by the FBI. William Sweeney, the assistant director in charge of the New York field office, said the agency has increased its focuses and resources to fight human trafficking.

“Most of the victims are folks that are in such vulnerable positions they are not able to make their own decisions,” Sweeney said, adding that “they are exploited by perpetrators all across the region.”

Westlake Legal Group pkg3cover2 The 'village' of law enforcement agencies battling human trafficking Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/news-events/fox-news-investigates fox news fnc/us fnc article Andrew Keiper 02e946b1-6874-519f-b715-3a93dd1726cc

Jon Scott talks with Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney and FBI Special Agent Brian Gander.

Sweeney and his agents participate in the FBI’s flagship human trafficking enforcement action, Operation Cross Country. In 2017, the agency conducted its 11th iteration of the sting operation. According to a report released by the bureau, the operation took place “in 55 FBI field offices and involved 78 state and local task forces, consisting of hundreds of law enforcement partners.”

Operation Cross Country XI recovered 84 minors and arrested 120 traffickers. The focus of the operation was specifically on underage victims. Some critics of the effort have complained that the operation needlessly sweeps up willing sex workers, charging them with felonies and further perpetuating a lifestyle of crime. Still, few argue with the necessity of pulling teens from a life of rape and abuse. 

“That renewed focus, I think, has also led to increased reporting and then increased prosecutions and increased attention,” Sweeney said. “So it really seems to feed upon itself – which is good in the fact that we’re helping victims, [and] obviously bad in the fact that you realize how pervasive it actually is.” 

If you are being trafficked or suspect that someone you know is being trafficked contact The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST or CYBERTIPLINE.ORG.

Westlake Legal Group pkg3cover2 The 'village' of law enforcement agencies battling human trafficking Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/news-events/fox-news-investigates fox news fnc/us fnc article Andrew Keiper 02e946b1-6874-519f-b715-3a93dd1726cc   Westlake Legal Group pkg3cover2 The 'village' of law enforcement agencies battling human trafficking Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/news-events/fox-news-investigates fox news fnc/us fnc article Andrew Keiper 02e946b1-6874-519f-b715-3a93dd1726cc

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‘Picture perfect neighbor’ among the slain in mass shooting

Joshua Hardy was a neighbor who would mow the lawn next door as a favor. One of his grieving neighbors returned that favor Saturday as a posthumous tribute after Hardy became one of the 12 people killed in a mass shooting at a city building in Virginia Beach.

“In the Josh fashion, I dropped my mower down a little extra lower because that’s what he would have done today,” said Clay Rosser, 44. “He cut his grass kinda like clockwork. He was a very meticulous guy.”

Rosser also fashioned a wooden cross and planted it in the front yard of Hardy’s home, where the 52-year-old city engineer lived alone. Neighbors described Hardy as a deeply religious man.

“He was the picture perfect neighbor,” said Damion Houston, 48. “God fearing man. Always trying to keep people’s heads in the right place and give you hope.”

Houston said Hardy’s brother stopped by the house Friday night, looking for him, when he got a call to go over to a school where people were learning the fate of loved ones. Neighbors’ worst fears were confirmed when the names were released Saturday morning.

During a Saturday news conference, city officials identified the 12 killed in the shooting Friday at a Virginia Beach municipal building, showing their photos, and giving details of their lives. Eleven of the twelve were city employees; one was a contractor.

The other victims are:

Laquita C. Brown of Chesapeake: A right of way agent with more than four years in public works.

Tara Welch Gallagher of Virginia Beach: An engineer with six years in public works.

Mary Louise Gayle of Virginia Beach: A right of way agent with 24 years in public works.

Alexander Mikhail Gusev of Virginia Beach: A right of way agent with nine years in public works.

Katherine A. Nixon of Virginia Beach: An engineer with 10 years in public utilities.

Richard H. Nettleton of Norfolk: An engineer with 28 years in public utilities.

Christopher Kelly Rapp of Powhatan: An engineer with 11 months in public works.

Ryan Keith Cox of Virginia Beach: An account clerk with more than 12 years in public utilities.

Michelle “Missy” Langer of Virginia Beach: An administrative assistant with 12 years in public utilities.

Robert “Bobby” Williams of Chesapeake: Special projects coordinator with 41 years in public utilities.

Herbert “Bert” Snelling of Virginia Beach: A contractor there to fill a permit.

___

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-079445ec696d40bd83a1f215b391533b 'Picture perfect neighbor' among the slain in mass shooting MICHAEL KUNZELMAN fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc b3c56374-6c8d-547e-a20e-4e9643a62e19 Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-079445ec696d40bd83a1f215b391533b 'Picture perfect neighbor' among the slain in mass shooting MICHAEL KUNZELMAN fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc b3c56374-6c8d-547e-a20e-4e9643a62e19 Associated Press article

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Illinois poised to legalize recreational marijuana

Illinois is poised to become the 11th state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana for recreational use, after lawmakers voted to legalize the drug on Friday afternoon.

The Illinois House passed HB 1438, 66-47, after it went through the Senate on Wednesday. The final hurdle will be sending the bill to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who campaigned on the issue and is expected to sign off on it.

According to Bloomberg, HB 1438 would allow Illinois residents 21 and older to carry up to 30 grams of marijuana, and those who use the drug for medical reasons would be able to grow it in the privacy of their home. Recreational users would still be forbidden to grow the drug; nonresidents could possess up to 15 grams without prosecution.

DON’T BE FOOLED – MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION IS NOT ABOUT ADVANCING SOCIAL JUSTICE

Westlake Legal Group illinois-marijuana-AP Illinois poised to legalize recreational marijuana fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/politics/state-and-local/legislation fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 5ad2d5ae-88b8-52b6-ad82-8e5434da14e1

Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, throws her fist in the air as she celebrates with Illinois state Senator Heather Steans, D-Chicago, left, and Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, as they watch the final votes come in for their bill to legalize recreational marijuana use in the Illinois House chambers Friday, May 31, 2019. The 66-47 vote sends the bill to Gov. J.B. Pritzker who indicated he will sign it. (Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register via AP) (illinois marijuana AP)

“It is time to hit the ‘reset’ button on the War on Drugs,” the proposal’s sponsor, Chicago Democratic Rep. Kelly Cassidy, said. “We have an opportunity today to set the gold standard for a regulated market that centers on equity and repair.”

The money from legalization will help the cash-strapped state, which according to Bloomberg is facing chronic budget shortfalls, $7 billion in unpaid bills and state pension funds that are short $134 billion.

Pritzker supported legalization during his campaign, suggesting the industry would produce up to $1 billion annually in state tax revenue. He also says the legislation would free police to enforce more serious crimes and give those convicted a second chance at life.

Opponents of the bill worry that legalizing marijuana would send the state in the wrong direction.

TSA UPDATES ‘MEDICAL MARIJUANA’ REGULATIONS TO REFLECT FDA-APPROVED DRUG CONTAINING CANNABIDIOL

“No matter how you package this, whether it’s revenue, or it’s criminal justice reform, or it’s just saying that people are smoking it anyway, so just give up, I can pretty much guarantee you where we’re going to be in 10 years .. and it’s not going to be good,” Democratic Rep. Anthony DeLuca of Chicago Heights told Bloomberg.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6033508755001_6025576909001-vs Illinois poised to legalize recreational marijuana fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/politics/state-and-local/legislation fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 5ad2d5ae-88b8-52b6-ad82-8e5434da14e1   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6033508755001_6025576909001-vs Illinois poised to legalize recreational marijuana fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/politics/state-and-local/legislation fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 5ad2d5ae-88b8-52b6-ad82-8e5434da14e1

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Arkansas city trying to save homes in effort to stem flow of massive flooding

Crews in a small city in Arkansas were making a last effort Saturday to save low-lying parts of the town from floodwaters pouring through a breached levee along the Arkansas River.

The river on Friday tore a 40-foot hole in the levee in Dardanelle, a city of 4,700 people 100 miles north of Little Rock.

Mayor Jimmy Witt said officials don’t believe a temporary levee being constructed will stop water from the Arkansas River from flooding the south side of town. The hope is to buy time for residents of up to 800 homes to prepare, he said.

“We have started a last-ditch effort to try and protect the southern borders of the city,” he said at a news conference.

OKLAHOMA BRACES FOR THE WORST: MORE RAIN, ERODING LEVEES AND LOOTERS

Westlake Legal Group AP19151546335045 Arkansas city trying to save homes in effort to stem flow of massive flooding Louis Casiano fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/disasters/floods fox news fnc/us fnc c3bf5581-8f5c-5ff2-a51d-70d31023e783 article

In this aerial image provided by Yell County Sheriff’s Department water rushes through the levee along the Arkansas River in Dardanelle, Ark., on Friday. Officials say the levee breached early Friday at Dardanelle, about 60 miles northwest of Little Rock. (Yell County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

Floodwaters have slowly breached the levee and some homes have already been flooded, officials said. In North Little Rock, just across the river from Little Rock, the state capital, officials were going to home in the Dixe Addition neighborhood to tell residents to consider leaving.

North Little Rock officials believe the river will back up storm drainage areas and cause roads to become impassable in and around the neighborhood.

HUNDREDS OF HOMES, FARMS FLOODED IN ARKANSAS AND OKLAHOMA

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Friday that officials were working to identify higher-risk spots in the Arkansas River’s levee system.

“Obviously the breach in Dardanelle is a sign that there could be more of these breaches that will happen as the pressure continues to mount in the coming days,” Hutchinson said.

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Westlake Legal Group AP19151546334720 Arkansas city trying to save homes in effort to stem flow of massive flooding Louis Casiano fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/disasters/floods fox news fnc/us fnc c3bf5581-8f5c-5ff2-a51d-70d31023e783 article

In this aerial image provided by Yell County Sheriff’s Department water rushes through the levee along Arkansas River in Dardanelle, Ark., on Friday. Officials say the levee breached early Friday at Dardanelle, about 60 miles northwest of Little Rock. (Yell County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

The region is being plagued by a number of floods. In Illinois, residents near rivers were told to prepare for potential evacuations. A mandatory evacuation order was issued to residents in Howard County, Missouri, along the Missouri River, on Friday. A topped levee along the Mississippi River in northeastern Missouri flooded several thousand acres of farmland Thursday.

The flooding has been worrisome for Midwestern farmers as shipping along the Mississippi River has been halted and they’re left with soggy fields and crops.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP19151546335045 Arkansas city trying to save homes in effort to stem flow of massive flooding Louis Casiano fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/disasters/floods fox news fnc/us fnc c3bf5581-8f5c-5ff2-a51d-70d31023e783 article   Westlake Legal Group AP19151546335045 Arkansas city trying to save homes in effort to stem flow of massive flooding Louis Casiano fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/disasters/floods fox news fnc/us fnc c3bf5581-8f5c-5ff2-a51d-70d31023e783 article

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Virginia Beach police zero in on shooter’s weapons cache and job background

Virginia Beach Police are turning their focus to the weapons cache and job history of the man whose Friday shooting spree at a municipal complex killed 12 people and injured several more.

The gunman, ID’d as DeWayne Craddock, was employed as an engineer with the city’s public utilities department for 15 years. Police killed Craddock after exchanging gunfire at the scene, but Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera has withheld identifying a potential motive.

VIRGINIA BEACH POLICE IDENTIFY ALL 12 VICTIMS OF SHOOTING AT MUNICIPAL COMPLEX

In a news conference on Saturday afternoon, Cervera said that contrary to media reports, Craddock was not fired from his city post.

As for weaponry, two .45-caliber pistols were said to have been used by the shooter, and two other guns were recovered at the shooter’s home, the chief said. At least three of the weapons were purchased legally, though the history of the fourth was not immediately known. The two weapons used at the municipal center were purchased in 2016 and 2018 by the shooter, officials said.

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Cervera said a more specific timeline of the deadly ramage would be released sometime on Sunday.

As more details about the shooter were emerging on Saturday, many in this stunned community continued to keep a focus on the victims, most of whom were municipal employees. Several vigils have been scheduled for the victims of the massacre, which has been dubbed the deadliest mass shooting in the United States this year.

Westlake Legal Group AP19152581614797 Virginia Beach police zero in on shooter's weapons cache and job background Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 39b3d5e5-464e-5a6e-b182-171c8c53c019

Frank Janes is comforted by his wife, Cathie Janes, during the prayer vigil at Strawbridge Marketplace in response to a shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Va., Saturday, June 1, 2019. A longtime city employee opened fire at the building Friday before police shot and killed him, authorities said. (Daniel Sangjib Min/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam attended a prayer vigil on Saturday morning at the Regal Cinemas in Strawbridge Marketplace. The solemn event was organized by Lifehouse Church.

Westlake Legal Group AP19152576024147 Virginia Beach police zero in on shooter's weapons cache and job background Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 39b3d5e5-464e-5a6e-b182-171c8c53c019

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, center, attends a vigil in response to a shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Va., Saturday morning. A longtime city employee opened fire at the building Friday, with lethal consequences, before police shot and killed him, authorities said. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Cervera encouraged members of the community to attend the additional vigils that are set to take place throughout next week, as a way to support not only the fallen, but the police and first responders.

President Trump ordered that flags be lowered to half-staff on Saturday, and he tweeted his condolences and support for “that great community” of Virginia Beach.

Westlake Legal Group AP19152486604977 Virginia Beach police zero in on shooter's weapons cache and job background Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 39b3d5e5-464e-5a6e-b182-171c8c53c019   Westlake Legal Group AP19152486604977 Virginia Beach police zero in on shooter's weapons cache and job background Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 39b3d5e5-464e-5a6e-b182-171c8c53c019

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Man who impersonated Saudi prince to steal gets 18 years

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Man who impersonated Saudi prince to steal gets 18 years miami fox-news/us/crime fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 2946735e-15bb-5a11-9286-b55d7b640503

A man who repeatedly impersonates Saudi royals to con investors and live a lavish lifestyle has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for a ruse that fell apart when a victim saw him eating pork, which is prohibited in Islam.

Anthony Gignac, 48, received the sentence Friday in Miami for stealing at least $8 million while pretending to be “Sultan Bin Kahlid Al-Saud.” He bought a Ferrari, Rolex watches and rented a condo on an exclusive South Florida island with his loot. He pleaded guilty in March to wire fraud, impersonating a diplomat and other crimes.

The Miami Herald reports that U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga called him a “mastermind.” Prosecutors said it was at least the 11th time Gignac, 48, had been arrested for impersonating a Saudi prince.

“He was the so-called Saudi prince. He enveloped himself in the trappings of Saudi royalty. He had everyone believing he was a Saudi prince,” Altonaga said.

Gignac was born in Colombia but was adopted by a Michigan family as a young child. He is an American citizen.

He told Altonaga on Friday that while he accepted responsibility, other people were involved and should have been charged.

“I am not a monster,” he said.

His public defender, Ayana Harris, told the judge that Gignac’s difficult childhood contributed to his problems. She read a letter from his younger brother, Daniel Gignac, who described how they were abandoned in Colombia. Their adoptive parents later divorced. Daniel Gignac said his brother was forced to care for him.

“This horrific history is the underlying reason for his criminal life,” Harris read from the brother’s statement.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Gignac stole more than $10,000 from a limo company and the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in 1991. He pleaded no contest. The New York Times reports that in 2006, Gignac pleaded guilty to charging $28,000 at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus to the account of a Saudi royal. He also tried to withdraw nearly $4 million from a Citibank account that didn’t exist.

In Gignac’s latest scam, he and a now-dead business partner, Carl Williamson, created a fraudulent investment company, Marden Williamson International, in 2015.

They told investors that Gignac was Saudi royalty and that he had access to exclusive deals. A Swiss victim invested $5 million.

In 2017, he convinced Jeffrey Soffer, the owner of Miami Beach’s Fountainebleau hotel, that he wanted to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into his famed resort. Soffer gave him $50,000 in gifts.

Soffer caught on when he saw Gignac wolfing down bacon and other pork products at meals. He alerted authorities.

___

Information from: The Miami Herald, http://www.herald.com

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Houston school bus driver charged with DWI blames it on bad donut

A Houston school bus driver who authorities say drove drunk with children on board has blamed her bad driving on an upset stomach caused by a donut.

Linda Sue Godejohn, 55, was charged with driving while intoxicated after police say she failed a field sobriety test “miserably” when they pulled her over in Spring, Texas on Thursday afternoon. Godejohn posted a $100 bond and was released from the Harris County Jail on Friday morning

“We ended up getting the bus driver out of the bus, giving her a field sobriety test, which she flunked miserably, and she was immediately placed into custody,” Constable Mark Herman told Click2Houston.

FORMER SCHOOL BUS DRIVER SENTENCED TO PROBATION AFTER ADMITTING TO RAPE OF TEEN GIRL:REPORT

Bystanders say they noticed her bus moving erratically and called 911. A witness says the bus swerved onto the left shoulder of a road, hitting a divider before veering back.

Westlake Legal Group Linda-Sue-Godejohn Houston school bus driver charged with DWI blames it on bad donut fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 3fd6bbac-2068-5627-b541-7c28fa64e739

Linda Sue Godejohn in a mugshot taken by the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office on May 31, 2019. (Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office)

“When she hit the wall, I was, like, ‘Woah, she’s about to flip,’ because it wasn’t just a little tap, she was on the wall, the tire started to crawl up on the wall,” a witness told Click2Houston.

Police say they pulled Godejohn over when they noticed the bus making a sharp turn, which nearly caused it to roll over.

Godejohn made a statement to reporters as she left the jail, saying she hasn’t had a drink in years and blamed her bad driving on a donut eaten earlier that day.

“My stomach was just hurting so bad that a wheel fell off the thing, the curb,” Godejohn said. “That’s all it was, and going 45 mph, it’s going to whip back.”

When asked about the field sobriety test she failed, Godejohn replied: “Because it’s hard, I mean I couldn’t even do it right now.”

Police say the bus driver was transporting around 30 students from YES Prep Public Schools’ North Forest campus when they pulled her over. Godejohn told reporters the parents of the students shouldn’t worry because their kids have been riding on her bus all year long and “nothing has changed.”

Harris County District Attorney’s Office says it plans to upgrade the charge against her to driving while intoxicated with a child passenger.

“We discovered that one of the children on the bus was under the age of 14, which triggers a higher charge a felony charge for DWI,” said Sean Teare of the district attorney’s office.

SCHOOL BUS DRIVER PLEADS NOT GUILTY IN FATAL I-80 COLLISION

First Student, the company that employees Godejohn, said she has immediately been removed from service pending the outcome of the investigation

Even with these charges, police won’t officially know if she was driving while intoxicated until the blood test results come back.

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“Until we get the blood back, were not gonna know what the actual cause of her impairment was,” said Teare. “Rest assured it was not a donut.”

Westlake Legal Group Linda-Sue-Godejohn Houston school bus driver charged with DWI blames it on bad donut fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 3fd6bbac-2068-5627-b541-7c28fa64e739   Westlake Legal Group Linda-Sue-Godejohn Houston school bus driver charged with DWI blames it on bad donut fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 3fd6bbac-2068-5627-b541-7c28fa64e739

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Illinois abortion bill establishing woman’s ‘fundamental right’ to procedure wins Senate approval

The Illinois Senate late Friday sent to the governor legislation that establishes a woman’s “fundamental right” to an abortion.

The 34-20 vote approving the Reproductive Health Act comes in response to new laws passed in other states narrowing abortion rights.

Senate approval sends the measure to Democrat Governor J.B. Pritzker who has campaigned to make Illinois the most progressive state in the country for reproductive rights, WGN-TV reported. The Illinois House passed it previously.

In addition to establishing abortion as a woman’s fundamental right, the bill states that “a fertilized egg, embryo or fetus does not have independent rights,” according to the station.

It also repeals the Illinois abortion law of 1975, eliminating spousal consent, waiting periods, criminal penalties for abortion providers and restrictions on abortion facilities, the station reported.

Westlake Legal Group Illinois-bill-AP Illinois abortion bill establishing woman’s ‘fundamental right’ to procedure wins Senate approval Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox-news/politics fox news fnc/us fnc article 5c84bd83-7a5d-5bb2-8522-623ec82e8854

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, left, and Sen. Melinda Bush, right, D-Grayslake, celebrate passage by Senate of the Reproductive Health Act Friday. The bill establishes a woman’s “fundamental right” to an abortion. (The State Journal-Register via AP)

ILLINOIS REPUBLICANS CONSIDER PUSH TO SEPARATE CHICAGO FROM STATE

Pritzker was seen on the Senate floor after the vote hugging and congratulating supporters of the bill. He has vowed to sign it into law.

State Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, bill, voted no, calling the bill the most radical pro-abortion rights bill in the nation, according to the Bellville News-Democrat.

ILLINOIS BILL WILL MAKE STATE THE ‘ABORTION CAPITAL OF AMERICA,’ PRO-LIFE GROUP WARNS

“It gets rid of a lot of the meaningful limits … my reading of it, it allows for gender selection of abortions, I think it will make Illinois of the states that has one of the most radical abortion laws,” Schimpf said, according to the paper.

The bill’s sponsor State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, said abortions after a baby is viable would only take place if a doctor judges the abortion is necessary to protect the health of the mother, the paper reported.

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“We’re trying to protect a woman’s fundamental rights,” she was quoted as saying. “I believe there is a war against women’s rights going on right now, this needs to be passed now to be sure we in Illinois continue to protect those rights.”

Westlake Legal Group Illinois-bill-AP Illinois abortion bill establishing woman’s ‘fundamental right’ to procedure wins Senate approval Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox-news/politics fox news fnc/us fnc article 5c84bd83-7a5d-5bb2-8522-623ec82e8854   Westlake Legal Group Illinois-bill-AP Illinois abortion bill establishing woman’s ‘fundamental right’ to procedure wins Senate approval Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox-news/politics fox news fnc/us fnc article 5c84bd83-7a5d-5bb2-8522-623ec82e8854

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Inside law enforcement’s efforts to end human trafficking

Westlake Legal Group pkg3-cover Inside law enforcement's efforts to end human trafficking Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/news-events/fox-news-investigates fox news fnc/us fnc ca49a5ce-da53-5947-a317-87da73b8d634 article Andrew Keiper

The horrors of human trafficking are often hidden in plain sight.

Most of the public sees this horrific crime as one that happens elsewhere—far away from their backyards, but the shocking reality is that human trafficking is pervasive across the United States and the next victim could be right next door.

As part of an ongoing investigation into human trafficking, Fox News interviewed law enforcement officials at the state and federal levels to better understand their efforts to stop the shocking forced sex trade.

UNDERTOW OF EXPLOITATION: HOW TEENS GET TRAPPED IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING

“They’re hiding in plain sight,” Corporal Alan Wilkett, a veteran of the Pasco County Sheriff in Florida, said. “The trafficker is comfortable in that there’s such high transit [on the highways] that it becomes difficult to spot the activity.”

“Those corridors are so hot with human trafficking activity that, at times, we put together a task force just to attack those corridors.”

— Corporal Alan Wilkett

Wilkett, who spearheads a human trafficking task force for Pasco County, says that highways are often used to transport victims from city to city, where their captors force them to work.

“If a trafficker is getting his victim from one place to another, for instance, a high end or high populace activity that’s happening in Tampa,” Wilkett said. “So he’s going to use the I-4 corridor. In fact, those corridors are so hot with human trafficking activity that, at times, we put together a task force just to attack those corridors.”

LAWSUITS UNVEIL ALLEGED CULTURE OF TEEN SEX ABUSE IN LOUISVILLE POLICE MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

Law enforcement task forces, often coordinated between different agencies, are a common tactic to combat a variety of crimes – including human trafficking. Often, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will partner with a local police department to conduct sting operations on traffickers. Such is the case in Toledo, Ohio, where Det. Peter Swartz leads the department’s efforts in the fight.

Swartz, who focuses full time on human trafficking, pulls double duty as a detective for the Toledo Police Department and a field agent for the FBI. He said he sees victims that have been trafficked through Toledo from across the country.

“They were on their way to Florida, Atlanta, Georgia. You know, Orlando, Tampa,” he said. “We know some victims end up there and some of our traffickers end up there.”

Swartz said he gets fulfillment from the work, even though he’s often dealing with minors who have been trafficked against their will. More importantly, he said the people coercing the teens into forced sex work are facing consequences.

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“I think we’ve made a significant difference as far as sex trafficking,” Swartz said. “A lot of the cases that we work with, the predators, the pimps, the traffickers are getting substantial sentences for turning out our kids.”

Westlake Legal Group pkg3-cover Inside law enforcement's efforts to end human trafficking Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/news-events/fox-news-investigates fox news fnc/us fnc ca49a5ce-da53-5947-a317-87da73b8d634 article Andrew Keiper   Westlake Legal Group pkg3-cover Inside law enforcement's efforts to end human trafficking Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/news-events/fox-news-investigates fox news fnc/us fnc ca49a5ce-da53-5947-a317-87da73b8d634 article Andrew Keiper

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Virginia Beach police identify all 12 victims of shooting at municipal complex

Westlake Legal Group Virginia-Beach-shooting Virginia Beach police identify all 12 victims of shooting at municipal complex Paulina Dedaj fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/us/crime/mass-murder fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc ec2116c6-d4af-5646-90d5-0a742bf49536 article

Virginia Beach officials have identified the 12 people killed Friday night when a lone gunman entered a municipal building and opened fired.

Dave Hanson City Manager of Virginia Beach said that all but one of the victims were employees, most of whom he knew personally.

“16 Hours ago the lives of 12 people were cut short by a senseless, incomprehensible act of violence,” he said at a press conference Saturday morning.

“All but one of the 12 victims were employees of the city of Virginia Beach. I have worked with most of them for many years. We want you to know who they were so in the days and weeks to come you will learn what they meant to all of us, to their families, to their friends and to their coworkers. They leave a void that we will never be able to fill.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Westlake Legal Group Virginia-Beach-shooting Virginia Beach police identify all 12 victims of shooting at municipal complex Paulina Dedaj fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/us/crime/mass-murder fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc ec2116c6-d4af-5646-90d5-0a742bf49536 article   Westlake Legal Group Virginia-Beach-shooting Virginia Beach police identify all 12 victims of shooting at municipal complex Paulina Dedaj fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/us/crime/mass-murder fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc ec2116c6-d4af-5646-90d5-0a742bf49536 article

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