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Tennessee couple transporting $3M in suspected cocaine killed in shootout with authorities in Texas

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A Tennessee couple found transporting millions of dollars’ worth of cocaine was killed in Texas on Thursday during a traffic stop shootout with law enforcement, authorities said.

Edward and Elizabeth Stevenson were first identified through undercover buys of illegal drugs, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

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The undercover work allowed investigators to get a search warrant for the Stevensons’ home, where detectives uncovered nearly a pound of suspected methamphetamine, suspected fentanyl, multiple firearms, body armor and ammunition on Thursday, the sheriff’s office said.

During the search, detectives learned that the Stevensons were driving a semi-truck through Texas with illegal drugs and were armed. 

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS STRUGGLE TO EFFECTIVELY UTILIZE OPIOID SETTLEMENTS TOTALING MORE THAN $50B

Edward and Elizabeth Stevenson were killed Thursday in a shootout with law enforcement in Texas. The couple were suspected of running illegal drugs for a Mexican cartel. (Putnam County Sheriffs Office)

“Both Edward and Elizabeth had made previous statements that they would die by ‘suicide by cop’ if law enforcement attempted to stop them,” the sheriff’s office said.

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firearms, body armor and ammunition

Authorities found multiple firearms, body armor and ammunition inside the couple’s home while executing a search warrant on Thursday. (Putnam County Sheriff’s Office)

Detectives immediately alerted the Donley County Sheriff’s Office in Texas and Texas Department of Public Safety about the couple.

When deputies in Donley County tried to pull over the semi-truck, the couple continued to drive for several miles before coming to a stop, officials said. 

Edward and Elizabeth then exited the vehicle and opened fire on deputies and troopers, the sheriff’s office said. The Stevensons were killed in the ensuing shootout.

POLICE BUST FINDS OVER 700 POUNDS OF DRUGS INSIDE TRANSFORMERS STATUES

Authorities searched the couple’s vehicle and found about 64 pounds of suspected cocaine valued at an estimated $3.4 million. The sheriff’s office said the drugs appeared to be en route to Tennessee.

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drugs

Authorities found drugs inside the couple’s residence and the semi-truck they were driving through Texas, the sheriff’s office said. (Putnam County Sheriff’s Office)

Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris blamed open border policies that are making it “much easier for Mexican cartel members and their associates” to traffic illegal drugs into smaller communities.

Farris said the cocaine seized from the Stevensons would likely have been mixed with fentanyl before being sold to individuals.

The sheriff thanked community members for calling in anonymous tips about the couple.

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“Anytime you see anything that you feel is suspicious, please call us and we will investigate it,” Farris said. “In this particular incident it most likely saved lives.”

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Southwest

Arizona man convicted in 6-year-old son's starvation death

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A northern Arizona man was convicted in a jury trial Thursday of first-degree murder and other crimes in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son.

FORMER ARIZONA GRAD STUDENT CONVICTED OF KILLING PROFESSOR

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Authorities say the boy was locked in a tiny bedroom closet for 16 hours a day over a month with his older brother as punishment for stealing his family’s food at night when their parents were asleep.

FILE – This undated booking photo provided by the Flagstaff Police Department shows Anthony Martinez. The northern Arizona man was convicted in a jury trial Thursday, May 23, 2024, of first-degree murder and other crimes in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son. (Flagstaff Police Department via AP, File)

A Coconino County Superior Court jury delivered its verdict against 28-year-old Anthony Martinez in the death of his son, Deshaun Martinez. In addition to the murder charge, it also found him guilty of two counts each of child abuse, kidnapping, and aggravated assault on law enforcement officers.

Prosecutors said an autopsy showed the boy weighed just 18 pounds and had died of severe starvation.

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The boys’ mother, Elizabeth Archibeque, was sentenced in July 2023 to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to first-degree murder and child abuse.

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Los Angeles, Ca

Bear spotted frolicking across driveway in Ventura County neighborhood 

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Bear spotted frolicking across driveway in Ventura County neighborhood 

Authorities are advising residents of one Ventura County neighborhood to be on the lookout for a bear that was spotted ambling through a driveway at the end of a cul-de-sac. 

The Santa Paula Police Department was first notified of the bear sighting early Thursday morning, a Facebook post from the department indicated. 

Where it was first spotted was not immediately released. 

Almost 24 hours later at 5 a.m. Friday, the bear was seen again, this time maneuvering between parked cars and a garage on Leavens Court, located off Richard Road in Santa Paula. 

The bear was seen maneuvering between parked cars and a garage on Leavens Court, located off Richard Road in Santa Paula, around 5 a.m. Friday. (Facebook/Santa Paula Police Department)

Video posted by the department shows the bear – which several commenters speculated to be a cub – frolicking across the driveway of a home.

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According to police, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was dispatched to confirm the bear’s location, but they could not find it. 

The bear was last seen heading south from Leavens Court, authorities said. 

Anyone who spots the bear is asked to call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 805-644-1766. Calls can also be directed to the Santa Paula Police Department’s non-emergency line at 805-525-4474. 

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Southwest

Remaining wrongful death lawsuit filed after deadly Astroworld concert has been settled, lawyer says

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The one remaining wrongful death lawsuit filed after 10 people were killed during a deadly crowd crush at the 2021 Astroworld music festival has been settled, an attorney said Thursday.

Jury selection in the lawsuit filed by the family of 9-year-old Ezra Blount, the youngest person killed during the concert by rapper Travis Scott, had been set to begin Sept. 10.

ASTROWORLD TRAGEDY: EVERYTHING TO KNOW

But S. Scott West, an attorney for Blount’s family, said a settlement was reached this week.

Blount’s family had sued Scott, Live Nation — the festival’s promoter and the world’s largest live entertainment company — and other companies and individuals connected to the event, including Apple Inc., which livestreamed the concert.

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Travis Scott performs at Day 1 of the Astroworld music festival at NRG Park, Nov. 5, 2021, in Houston. The one remaining wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of 9-year-old Ezra Blount, the youngest person killed during the concert, after 10 people were killed during the deadly crowd crush at the 2021 Astroworld music festival has been settled, an attorney said Thursday, May 23, 2024.  (Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

“The family will continue its journey to heal, but never forget the joy that Ezra brought to everyone around him,” West said in an email.

Treston Blount, Ezra’s father, had said that during the Nov. 5, 2021, concert, his son was sitting on his shoulders when they were crushed by the crowd. Treston Blount lost consciousness and when he came to, Ezra was missing. A frantic search ensued until Ezra was eventually found at a Houston hospital, severely injured. The boy, who was from Dallas, died several days later.

The lawsuit filed by Blount’s family was one of 10 wrongful death civil suits filed after the deadly concert.

Earlier this month, lawyers had announced that the other nine wrongful death lawsuits had been settled in connection with the concert.

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Terms of the settlements in all 10 lawsuits were confidential.

The settlement of the lawsuit filed by Blount’s family was first reported by the Houston Chronicle.

Attorneys for Live Nation, Scott and others have declined to comment in the case because of a gag order that limits what they can say outside court.

About 2,400 injury cases filed after the deadly concert remain pending. More than 4,000 plaintiffs filed hundreds of lawsuits after the Astroworld crowd crush.

During the crowd crush, attendees were packed so tightly that many could not breathe or move their arms. Those killed ranged in age from 9 to 27. They died from compression asphyxia, which an expert likened to being crushed by a car.

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Earlier this month, state District Judge Kristen Hawkins, who is presiding over the litigation, had scheduled the first trial related to the injury cases for Oct. 15. That trial was set to focus on seven injury cases. It was not clear on Thursday if that trial date would remain or be moved up with the settlement in the Blount lawsuit.

So far, no lawsuit has gone before a jury. One wrongful death lawsuit — filed by the family of 23-year-old Houston resident Madison Dubiski — was days away from going to trial earlier this month before it was delayed and then settled.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the lawsuits have alleged in court filings that the deaths and hundreds of injuries at the concert were caused by negligent planning and a lack of concern over capacity and safety at the event.

Scott, Live Nation and the others who’ve been sued have denied these claims, saying safety was their No. 1 concern. They said what happened could not have been foreseen.

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After a police investigation, a grand jury last year declined to indict Scott, along with five others connected to the festival.

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