CWAG Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt of Nevada announced that defendant Mario Lamont Jones entered a guilty plea in connection with unlawful sex trafficking, a category "B" felony. The incidents occurred between March 22 and March 29, 2014. Jones pleaded guilty to enticing a victim to engage in prostitution on the Las Vegas Strip. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's Child Exploitation Task Force removed the victim from Jones' control, and subsequently uncovered his role in the prostitution. Immediately thereafter, the Attorney General's Office initiated its prosecution. "Under my leadership, this office will continue to protect society's most vulnerable, especially human trafficking survivors, by aggressively pursuing justice for them," said General Laxalt. "Human sex trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry that relies on deception, threats and manipulation in order to trap its victims, and will not be tolerated."
CWAG Attorney General Sean Reyes of Utah announced that a strike force aimed at cracking down on crimes involving undocumented immigrants raided nearly a dozen massage parlors and apartments across the Wasatch Front, targeting human trafficking and prostitution. The Utah Attorney General's SECURE (Statewide Enforcement of Crimes by Undocumented Residents) Strike Force raided 11 parlors, taking women into custody, citing customers for soliciting prostitutes and arresting the owner. "It is absolutely slavery," General Reyes said. "It is horrible. It's horrific and perhaps the most concerning thing about it is people don't realize it's going on in our state." General Reyes has made human trafficking a priority of his administration, cracking down on crimes targeting immigrants and vulnerable populations.
CWAG Associate Attorney General Doug Peterson of Nebraska announced that Stephen Patrick O'Meara will serve as the Human Trafficking Coordinator for his office. Stephen is the point person for the Attorney General in the development and implementation of a statewide strategic plan to combat human trafficking, including enforcement, victim services and public awareness. In addition, he will participate in the investigation and prosecution of state or federal human trafficking cases. Stephen will be responsible for developing and implementing a statewide victim-oriented plan to integrate enforcement, victim services, and awareness/education. He will work closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement, and with victim services organizations to establish a multi-disciplinary human trafficking enforcement network.
CWAG Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem of North Dakota announced the formation of the "Bakken Organized Crime Strike Force" with the acting US Attorney Chris Myers. The key component of the Strike Force is the focused and coordinated mission of identifying, targeting and dismantling all types of organized crime in the Bakken including human trafficking, drug and weapons trafficking, and white collar crimes. "In response to the serious increase in the level of organized criminal activity in western North Dakota, local, state and federal agencies have allocated resources for critical new law enforcement. All of this makes it possible to send a message that law enforcement is doubly dedicated to bringing lawbreakers to justice. This effort will assure citizens that we will always protect our residents, and tells criminals that they do not want to do business in North Dakota," said General Stenehjem. Acting U.S. Attorney Myers said, "The strike force will take a regional approach to a regional problem, coordinating with Montana law enforcement. We value the strong partnerships already developed with Montana Attorney General Tim Fox in this fight."
ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
CWAG Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona announced he has filed suit against the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing their statutory duty to develop an updated recovery plan to guide Mexican wolf recovery. The action was taken in an effort to spur development of an updated recovery plan for Mexican wolves that utilizes the best available science as legally required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). "The federal government has failed to do its part to provide an updated Mexican wolf recovery plan, one that provides real world guidelines for measuring success," said General Brnovich. "While long supporting a recovery for the Mexican wolf, we have a responsibility to insure Arizona has a seat at the negotiating table."
The most extensive government review of "fracking" practices has found no evidence of widespread damage to drinking-water supplies while also warning of the potential for contamination from the technique used to extract oil and gas from rocks deep underground. The draft study by the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed a number of specific incidents in which fracking techniques had an impact on local water supplies but said the problems until now do not appear to be pervasive. "We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States," said the report's executive summary. The number of confirmed contamination cases was "small compared to the number of hydraulically fractured wells," it said. At the same time, the EPA's researchers said numerous fracking-related activities "have the potential" to affect drinking water. The report specifically cited the possibility of spills of wastewater stored above ground and the leaking of pollutants from poorly constructed well heads and casings.
The Federal Trade Commission held a daylong workshop dedicated to examining Internet peer-to-peer platforms like Uber, Airbnb and Postmates, and their offerings of on-demand rides, beds and slices of cake. Regulators, academics and industry representatives got together to consider the government's place in overseeing those businesses. The conversations were not uncontroversial. Sitting next to the head of global public policy for Airbnb, Vanessa Sinders of the American Hotel and Lodging Association warned against "rogue commercial interests" like Airbnb that were going unregulated. In some places, she said, "they are simply illegal hotels." Others said it was too soon for the government to intervene in a bigger way. Liran Einav, an economics professor at Stanford University, said he did not think regulations should be extended to the sharing economy just yet. "We should let it play out for a few years to get an idea of how it will operate, and then customize a level playing field," he said.
CWAG Attorney General Lawrence Wasden of Idaho has resolved a consumer protection case that requires a former Coeur d'Alene coin dealer to pay more than $578,000 to customers. A state judge signed an order against Kevin E. Mitchell who once owned and operated CoiNuts Inc. Mitchell was accused of taking money from customers, but never making good on his promise to deliver the gold and silver coins. "This case represents an increasing problem in Idaho," General Wasden said. "Business owners accept consumers' payments, but fail to deliver their purchases, then shut down operations and ignore refund requests." In the lawsuit, General Wasden accused Mitchell of committing multiple violations of the Idaho Consumer Protection Act between 2008 and 2012. Consumers came to Mitchell's store to buy gold and silver coins, and they turned over thousands of dollars expecting that Mitchell could obtain and deliver the coins. Over time, it became apparent to consumers that Mitchell had misrepresented his ability to acquire the coins. He then ignored repeated requests from consumers for refunds.