On the Postponement of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council Elections

Washington, DC (STL.News) The US Department of State released the following statement:

The United States condemns the Hong Kong government’s decision to postpone by one year upcoming Legislative Council elections originally scheduled for September 6.  There is no valid reason for such a lengthy delay.  It is likely, therefore, that Hong Kong will never again be able to vote – for anything or anyone.  This regrettable action confirms that Beijing has no intention of upholding the commitments it made to the Hong Kong people and the United Kingdom under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a UN-registered treaty, and the Basic Law.

For decades, the Hong Kong people have repeatedly demonstrated their desire and ability to hold free and fair elections.  We urge Hong Kong authorities to reconsider their decision.  The elections should be held as close to the September 6 date as possible and in a manner that reflects the will and aspirations of the Hong Kong people.  If they aren’t, then regrettably Hong Kong will continue its march toward becoming just another Communist-run city in China.

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Kansas City, MO: Operation LeGend Results in 97 Arrests to Date, Including Five Murder Suspects

KANSAS CITY, MO (STL.News) U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison declared Friday that 97 arrests are created by local and national law enforcement officers in under two months since the launching of Operation LeGend.  One of those detained from July 15 fresh charges are filed against 11 defendants.  Nine defendants were charged with illegally possessing guns, 1 suspect was charged with drug trafficking, and a single suspect was charged with carjacking.  49 were fugitives with state or national warrants.  The 39 arrests were referred for prosecution in court.  Other crimes included assault, drug trafficking possessing child molestation, robbery, firearms, and sexual assault.  “That is our very first comprehensive record to update the general public about the progress against brutal offense that’s been attained as a consequence of Operation LeGend,” Garrison added.  I have been communicating with local pastors, community leaders, victims of crime, and public officials, and also will continue to offer normal updates” Along with the arrests, officials and agents captured 35 firearms, a total of almost 3 kilograms of methamphetamine, countless tablets (like oxycontin and bliss), heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, and almost $40,000 in money.  “That is the effects of a targeted initiative to decrease violent crime, performed by federal and local law enforcement working together,” Garrison said.  “Many people who have been detained were carrying firearms or prohibited drugs.  By bringing them to justice, we decrease the degree of violence around the road and also the danger of crime in our neighborhoods.”


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How To Get Started On Your Real Estate Flipping Empire

(STL.News) Real estate is an investment that is very steady.  Sure, there are dips and housing bubbles burst, but the general trend over time is that real estate pays off.

The biggest problem with getting started as a real estate investor is cash flow.  Well, that is a common problem across a lot of businesses and industries, but when you want to buy houses and flip them, a lack of cash flow can really slow down your growth.

It pays to have some means to get money to be able to invest and grow properly so you can speed up the returns on your investments.

In this article, I will go over several ways you can get funding when you need it to be able to start your growth period of your investing career.

1 – Fundraise

No, I am not talking about hosting a bake sale to raise funds to be able to buy your first house to flip.  What I mean is that you can sort of crowdsource to get the initial cash to get started so you don’t have to wait until you’ve saved for a down payment.

Think of it like pooling your money with other investors and then using that money to buy the real estate.  Then the people that gave you funds will receive a portion of the profits.  Of course it is more complicated than that, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t easy for you to get started.  A popular one is called Fundrise that allows you to use an app to make it even easier to get started.

You’ll need to read the Fundrise review to see if it is going to be a good option for you.

2 – Traditional lending

If you already have a mortgage that you are paying for the house that you live in, it may prove difficult to get a loan for a house that you intend to fix up and flip.  Most people that go this route already have a portfolio of houses that they’re successfully flipped but even then many use the cash to buy rather than rely on a bank.

Of course, it is worth it to at least talk to your bank about it.  If you are dealing with a community bank that has a vested interest in somebody helping to fix a lagging real estate market in an area then they may be interested.

3 – Hard money loans

If you just need money to complete the renovations, then a hard money loan is a good option. It’s a loan a bank gives to developers and contractors who are fixing homes to sell.

They typically need to be repaid within a year so keep that in mind. They are good for short term projects that need to be finished up before you sell the house.  Try to not go for this type of loan if you are desperate, however, you may be tempted to sell the house for less than what you believe it’s worth just to move it quickly to repay the loan.

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Eleven More Defendants Indicted for $4.1 Million Meth Conspiracy

KANSAS CITY, MO (STL.News) Eleven residents in the Kansas City, Missouri, and St. Joseph, Missouri, areas have been added to a federal indictment that now charges a total of 25 defendants for their roles in a $4.1 million drug-trafficking conspiracy that distributed more than 520 kilograms of methamphetamine over three years.

Bobbie Lynn King, 51, and Patricia Gail Nelson, also known as “Mama Pat,” 60, both of Kansas City, Missouri; Michael Glen Zieger, also known as “Lee’s Summit Mike,” 43, of Lee’s Summit, Missouri; Amanda Leigh Watson, 33, of St. Joseph, Missouri; and Logan Tanner Laws, 28, of Shelbina, Missouri, were arrested on July 23, 2020, after being charged in a six-count superseding indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on July 21, 2020.  That indictment was unsealed and made public following their arrests.

Additionally, Rory Dale Bechtel, 37, of Kansas City, Mo.; Phillip Tra Joseph Hoyt, 43, of St. Joseph, Kenneth James McClure, 41, of Kingdom City, Missouri; Christapher Dean Parton, 31, of St. Joseph, and Marion Douglas McCrorey Jr., 40, of Rich Hill, Missouri, each of whom are already in custody on unrelated state and federal cases, were charged in the superseding indictment.  Christopher Brian Rogan, 44, no known address, was also charged in the superseding indictment and is a fugitive from justice.

The superseding indictment replaces an earlier indictment and includes additional defendants. Defendants originally charged in the indictment are Trevor Scott Sparks, 31, Gerald L. Ginnings, 40, Gloria May Jones, 30, Vicente Araujo, 23, Leslie Ladon Walker, 33, and Paul J. Kibodeaux, 37, all of Kansas City, Mo.; Markus Michael A. Patterson, 37, of Grandview, Mo.; David Robert Richards II, 32, of Louisburg, Kan.; Christian Douglas Hansen, 41, of St. Louis, Mo.; and Stephanie Thurmond, 29, Leeanna Michelle Schroeder, 27, and Adam Joseph Mainieri, 32, all of Winfield, Mo.

The federal indictment alleges that all of the defendants, with the exception of Sparks, participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from Jan. 1, 2017, to July 21, 2020.  According to the indictment, conspirators received $4,160,000 in exchange for the unlawful distribution of more than 520 kilograms of methamphetamine, based on an average street price of $8,000 per kilogram of methamphetamine.

Sparks is charged with one count of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise that involved the distribution of at least 10 kilograms of methamphetamine.  According to the indictment, Sparks was the principal leader of the criminal enterprise and obtained substantial income from the criminal enterprise.

All of the defendants are also charged with participating in a money-laundering conspiracy during that time to use drug sale proceeds to promote the drug-trafficking conspiracy and to conceal the proceeds of that drug-trafficking conspiracy.

Each of the defendants, with the exception of Kibodeaux, Rogan, and McClure, are charged together with possessing multiple firearms in furtherance of violent crimes and drug-trafficking crimes.

Ginnings, Sparks, Patterson, Jones, Hansen, Mainieri, Hoyt, King, Nelson, and Zieger also are charged together in one count of being felons in possession of multiple firearms and ammunition.

Araujo, Walker, Thurmond, Schroeder, Meyers, Hack, Bechtel, Laws, and Parton also are charged together in one count of being drug users in possession of multiple firearms and ammunition.

The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require the defendants to forfeit to the government any property obtained from the proceeds of the drug-trafficking conspiracy, including a money judgment of $4,160,000.

The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt.  Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Rhoades.  It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the FBI, and the Buchanan County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.


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Kansas City Felon, Gary Dorch Charged with Illegal Firearm

KANSAS CITY, MO (STL.News) A Kansas City, Missouri, man was charged in federal court today for illegally possessing a firearm that was found in his vehicle along with his infant son.

Gary Dorch, 26, was charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo.

Today’s complaint alleges that Dorch was in possession of a Glock .40-caliber pistol on Monday, July 27.

According to an affidavit filed in support of today’s criminal complaint, Dorch was wanted on a federal warrant for violating the terms of his supervised release.  Dorch was on federal supervised release following his incarceration for illegally possessing a firearm.  Dorch participated in an armed robbery of a Public Storage business in December 2013 and was the passenger in a vehicle that attempted to flee from police officers after the robbery, until it caused a collision with another vehicle.  Dorch was released from prison in October 2019 after serving a five-year sentence.

Federal agents saw Dorch and his girlfriend, in separate cars, drive into the Avis Car Rental parking lot at 3412 Main St., Kansas City, Mo., on Monday, July 27.  Dorch, who was driving a Nissan Altima, stayed in his vehicle while his girlfriend parked her car and went inside the business.

Deputies from the U.S. Marshals Service and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives approached the Nissan to arrest Dorch on the outstanding warrant.  During the arrest, they saw the loaded Glock pistol on the driver’s side floorboard.  Dorch was the only adult occupant of the vehicle; his 18-month-old son was in the back seat.

Agents also searched the Toyota Corolla that Dorch’s girlfriend was returning to Avis.  They found a high capacity drum magazine with 33 rounds of .40-caliber ammunition in the glove box of the Toyota.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition.  Dorch has a prior federal felony conviction for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

The charge contained in this complaint are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Marquez.  It was investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


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US Department of State News: Benin Independence Day

Washington, DC (STL.News) Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of the US Department of State released the following statement:

On behalf of the Government of the United States and the American people, I send congratulations to the Government of Benin and the Beninese people on the 60th anniversary of your independence.

As President Talon and I discussed during our meeting earlier this year, the partnership between the United States and Benin is based on shared democratic principles and a mutual desire for peace and prosperity. We stand with Benin in ensuring fundamental freedoms, confronting violent extremism, and fostering transparency and economic growth. The United States and Benin share a 60-year history of strong and collaborative friendship, and we are committed to working together to ensure continued progress as we combat the COVID-19 pandemic together.

We are proud to join the people of Benin in celebrating your Independence Day.

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