Trump Administration Unveils New Sanctions To Curb North Korea's Weapons Program

Ten Chinese and Russian companies as well as six individuals are targeted by a new round of U.S. sanctions aimed at curbing Pyongyang’s weapons program. This follows a round of U.N. sanctions.

Ahn Young-joon/AP

hide caption

toggle caption

Ahn Young-joon/AP

The Trump administration has unveiled new sanctions against China and Russia as part of an escalation to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Treasury Department said the goal of this latest round of sanctions is to stem the flow of money going towards Pyongyang’s weapons program by tightening the sanctions.

“Treasury will continue to increase pressure on North Korea by targeting those who support the advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and isolating them from the American financial system,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in the announcement.

Ten Chinese and Russian companies as well as six individuals were named, some of whom are trading coal, oil and mineral resources with North Korea. The Treasury Department says North Korea generates about a billion dollars a year from coal exports and singled out three Chinese companies, which it says imported almost half-a-billion dollars in North Korean coal between 2013 and 2016.

Kent Boydston, a research analyst with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said the sanctions send a signal.

“It’s a message to firms throughout the world that the U.S. is going to target these entities and you cannot hide behind the cover of being in China or Russia,” Boydston told NPR in an interview.

The sanctions also hit those who help individuals previously penalized for involvement in North Korea’s weapons program and assist the country in sending workers abroad. Other targets include those helping North Korean entities gain access to U.S. and international financial systems.

“Its really forcing firms to decide are you going to deal with these shady North Korea financial institutions or firms or do you care more about having access to the U.S. market,” said Boydston.

The move comes amid increased tension between Washington and Pyongyang, which has defied United Nations’ resolutions and conducted numerous missile and nuclear tests.

The Treasury Department says the new round of sanctions complements those passed by the United Nations Security Council earlier this month. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin also noted the U.S. is “taking actions consistent with U.N. sanctions to show that there are consequences for defying sanctions and providing support to North Korea, and to deter this activity in the future.”

Anthony Ruggiero, a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, thinks the sanctions are a significant step forward — and part of a strategy by the Trump Administration to clamp down on those who continue to work with North Korea.

Ruggiero adds the move won’t be lost on China’s leadership.

“No Chinese banks were targeted, but that’s the next level. And if the Trump administration is continuing this robust sanctions campaign, then the next level is going to be some kind of action against a Chinese bank which I think the leadership in Beijing wants to avoid,” Ruggiero told NPR.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Los Angeles Sues Justice Department, Joining Other 'Sanctuary Cities'

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the Department of Justice on Aug. 4. The Justice Department is being sued by multiple cities, including now Los Angeles, over its stance on “sanctuary cities.”

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles sued the Justice Department on Tuesday over the Trump administration’s threat to cut millions in federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities that limit their cooperation with federal authorities on immigration enforcement.

The lawsuit seeks to join similar legal challenges that the state of California and the city of San Francisco lodged earlier this month against the department over new conditions it has imposed on federal grants for local law enforcement. The city of Chicago is also suing the department over the matter in a separate suit.

The legal claims all accuse the Trump administration of threatening to withhold funding to try to force local jurisdictions to enforce federal immigration laws.

“We’re suing to block the Trump Administration from unconstitutionally imposing its will on our city,” Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement. “The administration would put L.A. to the untenable choice of risking a key public safety grant or making LAPD an arm of federal civil immigration policy.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says sanctuary policies fuel crime and make communities less safe. His push against such communities is part of the Trump administration’s broader effort to crack down on immigration, both legal and illegal.

“Since 2014, violent crime has risen in Los Angeles. That’s why it is so baffling that the city would challenge policies designed to keep residents of L.A. safer, especially from the scourge of transnational gang activity from MS-13, 18th Street Gang and others,” Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said Tuesday in response to the city’s lawsuit. “Reversing sanctuary city policies is about more than just enforcing federal immigration law by detaining criminals here illegally — it’s about reestablishing a culture of law and order, where crimes are punished and people are deterred from committing them.”

The sticking point over the local law enforcement grants centers on two new conditions the Justice Department has placed on the program: It wants jurisdictions to give federal immigration authorities access to their jails and to provide at least 48-hours notice before releasing an undocumented immigrant in custody.

Some localities refuse to do so. They say they have policies in place that prohibit them from handing over immigrants to federal immigration officials without a warrant from a judge. They also say the DOJ’s new conditions would make members of immigrant communities less willing to come forward and cooperate with local law enforcement for fear of being deported.

Local officials use the grants for a range of things, from hiring more police officers to buying new police cars, computers and even bullet-proof vests. Some communities use the money to fund public safety programs to help, for example, at-risk youth or to combat drug use.

In its lawsuit, Chicago says the grant money has provided “critical (and, at times, lifesaving) equipment” to the city’s police and critical services to residents.

This is the second time that cities and states have used the courts to challenge a Trump administration threat to yank funding for sanctuary cities. In April, a federal judge temporarily blocked an earlier attempt by the administration to withhold funding for sanctuary cities.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Pollution Buildup At Conowingo Dam May Harm Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

This month, The state of Maryland announced a $4 million pilot program to dredge behind the Conowingo Dam. The dam has been holding back pollution for nearly a century, but recent research shows it has filled up with sediment faster than expected.

Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program/Flickr
hide caption

toggle caption

Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program/Flickr

A decades-long effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s largest estuary, is showing signs of success. But scientists now say progress could be hindered by a hydroelectric dam, located on the Susquehanna River in northern Maryland.

The Conowingo Dam has been holding back pollution for nearly a century, but recent research shows it has filled up with sediment faster than expected.

“It’s now at a point where it’s essentially, effectively full,” says Bill Ball, director of the Chesapeake Research Consortium. “The capacity’s been reached.”

In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency imposed strict new pollution limits on state and local governments in the bay watershed to sharply curb nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment by 2025. It was believed the Conowingo Dam would continue trapping sediment until then.

But as the science around the sediment buildup has become clearer, Maryland responded this month by announcing a $4 million pilot program to dredge behind the dam.

“If you don’t deal with the sediment problem, you’re going to have a really hard time meeting the more aggressive cleanup goals,” says Ben Grumbles, secretary for Maryland’s Department of the Environment.

Sediment is not the only problem, he says. Controlling pollution before water even reaches the dam is critical. But Grumbles says dredging is so important, the state might veto the pending application by dam owner Exelon to relicense the dam, if the company doesn’t do enough to find a solution.

“Our state has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make sure, that as Exelon seeks a 46-year renewal of its license, that the state use its ability to negotiate with them,” says Gumble.

Colleen Hicks, a licensing and regulatory manager for Exelon says the company supports efforts to find long-lasting solutions to deal with the sediment issue.

“Exelon is a member of the Chesapeake Bay community,” she says “We continue to work with Maryland and other stakeholders.”

If the state calls for a larger-scale dredging operation, it’s unclear how much of the tab the company would have to pick up.

Andy Miller, a professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, says this problem goes back centuries.

“We can’t simply assume we’ve got a spigot that we can turn off, or not turn off, by virtue of dredging,” says Miller.

In fact, research shows at one point, farming and deforestation caused so much sediment to wash downstream, it added nearly 800 acres to Maryland. Miller says a major dredging operation now would be an expensive and temporary solution.

“You’ve bought yourself a short period of time, after which you’ll be back in the same boat,” says Miller. “That to me, is not necessarily money well spent.”

Besides the federal government, there are six states, and the District of Columbia all working together to curb pollution from the 64,000 acre watershed.

While the Conowingo Dam is important, Ball says it’s only one piece of a very big puzzle.

“It’s important to separate the issues of who pays, where it’s done, and what is done,” he says.

“Where it’s done and what is done are science questions. Who pays is a political question.”

With sediment now washing over the dam regularly, that political question has become a pressing matter.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Dakota Access Pipeline Owner Sues Greenpeace For 'Criminal Activity'

Greenpeace activists hang a banner from the rafters at a bank shareholders’ meeting earlier this year in Zurich, calling for it to “STOP DIRTY PIPELINE DEALS!” Also on the banner are hashtags supporting Dakota Access Pipeline protesters.

Michael Buholzer/AFP/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Michael Buholzer/AFP/Getty Images

The developer behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, which for months drew thousands of protesters, has sued Greenpeace and several other environmental groups for their role in delaying the pipeline’s construction. In the racketeering lawsuit it filed in federal court Tuesday, Energy Transfer Partners alleges these groups inflicted “billions of dollars in damage” with their “criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation” against the pipeline.

Greenpeace led a “network of putative not-for-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups” — including Earth First! and BankTrack, who are also defendants — which disseminated false claims about the pipeline’s impact on the environment and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s sacred sites, alleges the lawsuit.

Energy Transfer says the environmental groups, which together it refers to as “the Enterprise,” engaged in racketeering and defamation that ended up increasing the cost of construction by at least $300 million. But the developer — represented by a law firm whose managing partner is Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal attorney — notes the “full extent of damage” must be determined at trial with a jury.

“This is the second consecutive year Donald Trump’s go-to attorneys at the Kasowitz law firm have filed a meritless lawsuit against Greenpeace,” Greenpeace USA General Counsel Tom Wetterer responded in a statement, referring to a similar 2016 lawsuit filed against Greenpeace by Resolute Forest Products.

“It is yet another classic ‘Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation’ (SLAPP), not designed to seek justice, but to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation,” Wetterer added. “This has now become a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies, with Trump’s attorneys leading the way.”

Crude oil began flowing through the $3.8 billion pipeline earlier this summer, roughly half a year after the project was originally intended to be finished. While the pipeline stretches more than 1,000 miles, most of the controversy over its construction focused on its path across the Missouri River in North Dakota, near the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s reservation.

As NPR’s Camila Domonoske noted, the tribe “argued the route would threaten the tribe’s water sources and sacred sites,” even winning a halt to construction — but only briefly. The decision to deny a permit for the proposed route, which was handed down in the closing months of the Obama administration, was quickly reversed after President Trump entered office.

Energy Partners argues that throughout this fight, the environmental groups it’s suing sought to undermine a legal project with their “calculated and thoroughly irresponsible attacks.”

“They caused enormous harm to our company and to people and property along the pipeline’s route, wreaking havoc in those states,” Energy Transfer spokesperson Vicki Granado said Tuesday. “We have an obligation to our shareholders, partners, stakeholders and all those negatively impacted by the violence and destruction intentionally incited by the defendants to draw a line.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

After Spain Attacks, Four Suspects Appear In Court

Four alleged members of a terror cell accused of killing 15 people in attacks in Barcelona leaves a Civil Guard base on the outskirts of Madrid prior to their court appearance on Tuesday.


hide caption

toggle caption


The four suspected members of a terror cell – the only members believed to be alive – appeared in a Madrid court Tuesday in connection with two attacks in Spain last week that killed 15 people.

Today’s hearing took place behind closed doors. But numerous Spanish and international news outlets say multiple suspects testified that a former imam was the mastermind of a failed plot to use explosives in a large-scale attack.

Suspect Mohamed Houli Chemlal testified that the targets included monuments in Barcelona, including the famed Sagrada Familia cathedral, the BBC reported, citing judicial sources.

Authorities say the imam, Abdelbaki Es Satty, was killed in an explosion in the city of Alcanar the day before the vehicle attacks in Barcelona and the resort town of Cambrils. As The Two-Way has reported, “authorities believe the explosion was the result of a failed attempt to make a bomb and that the deadly vehicle attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils were a fallback plot.”

The Spanish newspaper El Pais reports that Es Satty had planned to immolate himself.

Es Satty was an imam in Ripoll, a small town in northeast Spain, and is believed to have recruited most of the suspects in what’s believed to be a 12-person cell.

NPR’s Frank Langfitt spoke to Ali Yassine, the president of a local mosque that hired Es Satty. “Everything he did was ordinary. He never said anything strange,” Yassine said. “He didn’t have a radical message. Everything was normal.”

But El Pais quoted a cousin of two of the suspects as saying that Es Satty “had been meeting with some [of the suspected terrorists] outside the mosque for at least a year.”

The cousin told the newspaper that the imam would meet them for hours at a time inside a parked van. “If someone walked past, they stopped talking and started looking at their mobiles,” the cousin said.

The prosecutor’s office requested that the four suspects be remanded into custody without bail. But according to The Associated Press, National Court Judge Fernando Andreu “ordered two of the four surviving suspects in last week’s extremist attacks in Spain held without bail, another detained for 72 more hours and one freed.”

Another suspect who testified today, Dris Oukabir, told the court that he rented the van used to run over people in Barcelona. But he said he was under the impression that it would be used for a move, judicial sources tell El Pais.

Oukabir had previously said that his brother stole his documents in order to rent the vehicle.

The attacks last Thursday started on Barcelona’s Las Ramblas promenade, where authorities say a van killed 13 people. Authorities say they believe the driver is named Younes Abouyaaqoub. As The Two-Way reported:

“Hours after that attack, another person was killed in a separate car-ramming in the seaside resort of Cambrils, where several members of the alleged terror cell were also wearing what turned out to be fake explosives belts.

“On Monday, authorities said that while fleeing the scene of his initial attack, Abouyaaqoub hijacked a car and stabbed to death its occupant. That brings the total number of people killed as a result of last Thursday’s attacks to 15.”

The BBC reports that “eight members of the cell are dead — two were killed in the Alcanar explosion, and six were later shot by police, including five after the Cambrils attack.”

The last of that group was shot dead on Monday, when police killed Abouyaaqoub. Authorities said he had been wearing an explosive belt that turned out to be fake.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Governors Preparing Bipartisan Health Care Plan For Congress To Consider

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, right, joined by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, about Republican legislation overhauling the Obama health care law. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Carolyn Kaster/AP

hide caption

toggle caption

Carolyn Kaster/AP

In the wake of congressional Republicans’ failure to pass a health care bill, two governors from different parties are going to bring their own ideas to Washington.

Staff for Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, are working on a joint health care plan. Kasich told Colorado Public Radio’s Colorado Matters that they expect to release it ahead of September hearings in the U.S. Senate. They also intend to get other governors from both parties to sign onto the plan, to show support at the state level.

“We’re getting very close. I just talked to my guys today, men and women who are working on this with [Hickenlooper’s] people, and we think we’ll have some specifics here, I actually think we could have it within a week,” Kasich said in a joint interview with Hickenlooper that aired on Tuesday.

The plan will flesh out a set of principles the two men wrote about in an op-ed in The Washington Post, where they said another one-party health care plan is “doomed to fail,” just like the Republican plans considered this year.

Bipartisan health care hearings, including the one the governors will appear at, are set to begin just after Labor Day when Congress returns from its August recess. Lawmakers will be consumed with a number of deadlines involving government funding, though, sending health care to the back burner.

“I’m not going to get into specifics with you until we have it all ironed out, but it’s not going to be some pie-in-the-sky, way up there kind of stuff. There will be things that we will address that will have specific solutions. And one of the things we’re finding out is the states do have some power to do some things unique to them, as long as these insurance markets are going to be stabilized,” Kasich said.

One specific they agree on and would discuss: Their desire to change the Affordable Care Act mandate that employers with 50 or more employees provide insurance coverage. The governors say that number is too low, which deters hiring at small companies.

They also agree that the possibility of national single-payer coverage is not on the table in their discussions.

In recent months Hickenlooper and Kasich have appeared on national television shows to advocate for bipartisan health care reform that includes keeping the Medicaid expansion intact, with both took advantage of in their states. The two governors have even entertained running for the White House on a split ticket.

Interview Highlights With Govs. Hickenlooper And Kasich

The governors on whether they think health care should be a “right”:

Hickenlooper: “I come from the school that I think it is a right. I’m not sure how much health care is included in that right, but some basic coverage.”

Kasich: “I don’t think that’s that important in this. I mean we want everybody to have health insurance. I mean that’s how I feel. Is it a right or is it a privilege or whatever? I don’t know why that declaration is important… The question is how do you do it, and that’s what we’re working on… Primary care is important. Catastrophic coverage is important. We don’t want anybody to get bankrupted because they get sick.”

Hickenlooper on what he mosts wants to change about Obamacare:

“There are several important things but the probably top one on our list would be this notion of having some sort of reinsurance [using public money to help insure the sickest people], to make sure the high-cost pool is not causing higher rates for all the people seeking insurance on the private markets… You use reinsurance in almost every type of insurance program to cut off those ‘hill tops’ as we say.”

Hickenlooper on why he believes his effort with Kasich may gain traction:

“[The Senate’s health committee] is now holding hearings [starting Sept. 5] and hopefully in those hearings we’ll get a chance to present, hopefully, what by that point a number of both Republican and Democratic governors think look like good ideas.”

The Colorado Matters website has the full transcript.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Does 'Sustainability' Help The Environment Or Just Agriculture's Public Image?

Wade Dooley, in Albion, Iowa, uses less fertilizer than most farmers because he grows rye and alfalfa, along with corn and soybeans. “This field [of rye] has not been fertilized at all,” he says.

Dan Charles/NPR

hide caption

toggle caption

Dan Charles/NPR

Brent Deppe is taking me on a tour of the farm supply business, called Key Cooperative, that he helps to manage in Grinnell, Iowa. We step though the back door of one warehouse, and our view of the sky is blocked by a gigantic round storage tank, painted white.

“This is the liquid nitrogen tank,” Deppe explains. “It’s a million-and-a-half gallon tank.”

Nitrogen is the essential ingredient for growing corn and most other crops. Farmers around here spread it on their fields by the truckload.

“How much nitrogen goes out of here in a year?” I ask.

Deppe pauses, reluctant to share trade secrets. “Not enough,” he eventually says with a smile. “Because I’m in sales.”

For the environment, though, the answer is: Way too much.

The problems with nitrogen fertilizer start at its creation, which involves burning lots of fossil fuels. Then, when farmers spread it on their fields, it tends not to stay where it belongs. Rainfall washes some of it into streams and lakes, and bacteria in the soil feed on what’s left, releasing a powerful greenhouse gas called nitrous oxide.

There have been lots of attempts to control renegade nitrogen. Most have focused on threats to water and wildlife. Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, for instance, have spent billions of dollars keeping nitrogen (and other forms of fertilizer runoff) out of the Chesapeake Bay.

Reducing nitrogen’s contribution to global warming, though, is even more difficult. Philip Robertson, a researcher at Michigan State University who’s studied those greenhouse emissions, says that “ultimately, the best predictor of the amount of nitrous oxide emitted to the atmosphere is the rate at which we apply nitrogen.” Essentially, the only proven way to cut heat-trapping emissions from nitrogen fertilizer is to use less of it. Most farmers haven’t been willing to do this, because it could cut into their profits.

Enter the SUSTAIN program, which some food companies, including Walmart, are touting as a step toward the breaking this stalemate, allowing farmers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions without reducing their profits. Land O’Lakes, one of the largest agricultural businesses in the country, runs SUSTAIN. It has made a pledge to Walmart to enrolls 20 million acres of farmland in the program, as part of Walmart’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Land O’Lakes is a company that goes from farmer to consumer,” says Matt Carstens, the executive in charge of it. “We have an obligation and an opportunity to do what’s right.”

I came to Key Cooperative to see what SUSTAIN looks like in practice.

I met Ben Lauden, a farmer who enrolled his acres of corn and soybeans in the program. Since signing up, Lauden has been doing a few things differently. He’s applying nitrogen fertilizer several times during the growing season, instead of all at once. That’s so the fertilizer arrives when the growing corn plants need it, and less is wasted. He buys “stabilizers” — chemicals that are mixed with nitrogen and keep it from washing away so quickly. Also, data on his fertilizer use goes into a computer program that monitors the weather and predicts how much nitrogen will remain in the soil.

It’s all intended to let him use nitrogen more efficiently. But is he actually using less of it? Lauden pauses. “I think you would use less, but I don’t — I can’t quantify it, I guess,” he says.

That’s more or less what Michigan State researcher Philip Robertson has observed. The technologies that Key Cooperative is selling to Lauden, “if used properly, should allow the farmer to use less nitrogen fertilizer,” Robertson says. But he adds, “whether that actually happens is the $64,000 question, because there are lots of cases where farmers have been sold stabilizers without necessarily recommending a reduction in the rate of fertilizer application.”

Even Matt Carstens, who created SUSTAIN and promoted it to food companies and environmental groups, isn’t promising that it will reduce the amount of nitrogen released into the environment. He does believe that it will help farmers use it more efficiently, allowing them to grow more corn without using more fertilizer. “There’s definitely a trend in the direction of using [nitrogen] more wisely,” he says. “But to say that every year we can count on a reduction, that’s just not possible.”

In fact, there’s even some confusion about what SUSTAIN is supposed to accomplish. Brent Deppe, the manager at Key Cooperative, says that the program was introduced to him and to farmers as a way to tell consumers about the steps farmers are taking to protect the environment. “The message wasn’t being told,” Deppe says. “We’re doing a lot of the right things. We just aren’t advertising it.”

SUSTAIN does not advise farmers to do anything as dramatic as growing different crops. And according to some environmentalists, that’s exactly the problem. Careful management of fertilizer “is a good thing to do, but it’s not enough,” says Matt Liebman, a professor at Iowa State University.

Sarah Carlson, who works for an environmentally minded group called Practical Farmers of Iowa, has confronted Walmart executives about SUSTAIN and its limited goals. “I was like, ‘Why are you only focused on nitrogen fertilizer management?” Carlson says. “That makes such little impact on water quality, and such little impact on greenhouse gas reduction.”

Carlson has a counter-proposal. It sounds simple: Companies could give farmers a financial incentive to move away from simply growing corn and soybeans, instead adding “small grains” like oats (or rye) to their mix of crops.

That simple move could cut greenhouse gas emissions by a third, much more than anything SUSTAIN is doing, she says. Oats, unlike corn or soybeans, can easily be grown together with a “cover crop” of clover. That clover has an important benefit: It adds nitrogen to the soil the organic way, replacing the need for synthetic nitrogen that’s manufactured in energy-intensive factories. (Nitrogen from clover still gets converted into nitrous oxide by soil bacteria, however.) In addition, cover crops add carbon to the soil, which also helps fight climate change.

Many farmers would be happy to do this, Carlson says. They understand the environmental benefits. But right now, those farmers don’t have a market for those oats.

“You know, Walmart, you should suggest to your commodity buyers that they buy more small grains [like oats] for feed rations” for animals like pigs,” Carlson says. “We have all these pigs in the state; 5 percent of their diet could be oats. We can just sprinkle it in there. It wouldn’t be that hard.”

There is, however, one crucial obstacle: Relying on oats for your bacon would cost a little more money, and somebody would have to pick up that tab. It could be Walmart — which might pass that extra costs along to American consumers.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Redefining 'Drug Bust': German Police Seize 5,000 Pills In Shape Of Trump's Head

German police stopped a vehicle Saturday night, only to find the father and son inside allegedly hauling a heap of ecstasy. The roughly 5,000 pills packed in a handful of bags had a street value of nearly $46,000, according to authorities in Osnabrück.

A big catch, to be sure — but that’s not the weird part. When they took a closer look, they saw a familiar face staring back.

This photograph provided by Osnabrück police shows one of the ecstasy pills they seized over Saturday evening. In all, the heap of pills shaped like Donald Trump’s head had an estimated street value of nearly $46,000.


hide caption

toggle caption


With mouth open wide, impressive eyebrows holding back a swept tuft of mane, each of the thousands of orange pills bore the likeness of President Trump.

The police also confiscated a “large sum” of cash but did not specify how much. The 51-year-old father and his 17-year-old son were taken into custody Saturday and brought before a judge Sunday.

But naturally, German authorities were sure to photograph and announce their unusual find along the way.

The haul seized by police in Osnabrück, Germany, together with the cash they found in the car Saturday night.

Osnabrueck Police

hide caption

toggle caption

Osnabrueck Police

As long as we’re at it, we probably also better note this wasn’t the only odd catch in the wide, weird world of drug-smuggling lately: A man was charged Tuesday with attempting to hide 5.7 million amphetamine pills in sheep intestines to smuggle them into the United Arab Emirates, according to The Associated Press, which cited local state-owned media.

The intestines, apparently, were tucked into drums to disguise them as they entered a massive port in Dubai, only to be ferreted out by customs authorities.

Sadly, though, there’s still no word yet on that giant trove of chocolate and nutella that went missing in Germany a week and a half ago.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)