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News Scan

70 Arrested after Arizona Drug Bust: Eric Johnson of Reuters reports authorities in Arizona seized thousands of pounds of narcotics and arrested 70 people believed to be tied to a drug cartel in Mexico. Over the past 17 months local, state and federal officers conducted three raids that led the to the arrests and seizing of drugs. Officials are calling this a "sophisticated network of international drug smuggling in one of the largest such operations conducted in the Southwestern United States."The cartel is believed to handle 65% of drugs illegally transported to the United States. Those arrested will be prosecuted at the state level. Further details will be released at a later press conference.

Prior Attacks Allowed by Michigan Judge: Ed White of the Associated Press reports a Michigan judge ruled in favor of the prosecution and is allowing evidence of other attacks in the murder trial of Elias Abuelazam. Abuelazam is standing trial for the murder of Arnold Minor, whose DNA was detected in Abuelazam's car and luggage. Abuelazam was arrested in August 2010 after trying to flee the country. He was charged with three murders and six attempted murders. The victims were viciously stabbed after Abuelazam had stopped them and asked for directions or help with his car. The assistant prosecutor said there was a pattern of "short, quick, swift" attacks and by allowing evidence of Abuelazam's previous attacks into court it will help rebut a possible insanity defense. The trial is currently set for February 7.

Convicted Killer Solves Cold Case: The Associated Press reports that, before he died in prison last Thursday, convicted killer Russell Smrekar confessed to killing two more people before he died. Smrekar was serving time for the murder of a grocery store clerk and his pregnant wife when he confessed to killing Michael Mansfield, who disappeared in 1975 and Ruth Martin, who disappeared in 1976. Both were supposed to testify against him and Martin's body was never found."Smrekar's confession and details of what happened has brought peace to the family." Lincoln Police said in a news release. Smrekar died of an undisclosed medical condition. 

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