Seattle Police Officer Charged in Large Coast-to-Coast Pot-Smuggling Operation

From left, Seattle Police Officers Alex Chapackdee, Jojo Cambronero, James Manning and Craig McRae do the Cupid Shuffle with the crowd at the Othello Park International Music and Arts Festival at Othello playground in South Seattle Sunday, August 19, 2012.

 reports: Veteran Seattle police Officer Alex Chapackdee is accused of helping his brother-in-law and others smuggle at least 100 kilograms of marijuana to the East Coast. In return, Chapackdee was paid $10,000 a month, charges allege.

Federal prosecutors will ask that a suspended Seattle police officer charged with being part of a large-scale East Coast marijuana smuggling ring be held in jail pending trial.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida set a detention hearing Friday for Alex Chapackdee, who faces a mandatory-minimum five-year federal prison sentence — and perhaps up to 40 years — for his role in allegedly transporting hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Washington to Baltimore then driving back with boxes of cash. The court also could impose a fine of up to $5 million if he’s found guilty.

Chapackdee, a veteran Seattle police officer, appeared briefly in U.S. District Court in Seattle Monday afternoon along with three co-defendants named in a 15-page complaint unsealed Monday. He was arrested last Friday and suspended from duty without pay.

[Read the feds’ complaint against Le, Chapackdee, others (PDF)]

More than two dozens shocked friends and family members crowded Tsuchida’s courtroom during the brief hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Vince Lombardi said the serious allegations and significant penalty prompted him to seek detention for all four defendants. Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. Court Approves Condé Nast $5.85 Million Intern Pay Settlement

conde-nast

(Reuters) – Condé Nast on Monday won a federal judge’s preliminary approval to pay $5.85 million to settle a class-action lawsuit by thousands of former interns who claimed the magazine publisher underpaid them.

The settlement, made public on Nov. 13, applies to roughly 7,500 interns who had worked at magazines including Vanity Fair, Vogue and the New Yorker.

Former interns who worked at Condé Nast from June 2007 to the present are expected to receive payments from $700 to $1,900.

In granting preliminary approval, U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman in Manhattan said the payout appeared reasonable, citing an estimate by the interns’ lawyers that it exceeded 60 percent of estimated unpaid wages.

“Given defendant’s size and stature in the publishing world, I assume it could withstand greater judgment,” Pitman wrote. “This fact, by itself, however, does not render the proposed settlement unfair.”

The law firm Outten & Golden, which represents the interns, plans to seek legal fees of $650,000, or 11.1 percent of the settlement fund. Read the rest of this entry »