Federal agents say a series of raids carried out across the metro area Wednesday were aimed a breaking up a major synthetic drug network.
Local law enforcement and at least five federal agencies teamed up to conduct simultaneous raids in St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Lincoln County and Jefferson County.
The DEA's acting agent in charge, James Shroba calls synthetic drugs a dangerous "new frontier" of drug use and abuse. "They hook kids with the idea that these are legal, synthetic drugs, when in fact, we know they're not," he said.
Shroba says yesterday's raids included sites that were being used to manufacture, package and distribute the drugs. "This is the tip of the iceberg," he said. "This is a significant, synthetic drug operation."
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A year after Illinois was sued and reached a settlement over inadequate conditions in its juvenile detention centers, two separate reports are detailing a number of conditions that the authors say must change.
The first report, submitted in federal court as part of the settlement, describes incarcerated teens mowing lawns during the school day, being improperly medicated and being routinely subjected to more solitary confinement than necessary.
Watchdog group the John Howard Association is releasing a separate review Thursday on conditions at a Kewanee facility specializing in treatment for juveniles with mental health issues.
Juvenile detention centers house more than 800 inmates between the ages of 13 and 20.
The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice says it is addressing the problems.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis-area woman has pleaded guilty to a scheme that cheated victims out of more than $80,000.
Sentencing is Jan. 9 for 46-year-old Theresa Moore, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to four felony fraud charges in U.S. District Court in St. Louis.
Federal prosecutors say Moore used aliases and claimed she worked in law enforcement or the legal profession as part of her scam. One victim was an elderly widower whom Moore convinced was the victim of identity theft. The man paid her more than $60,000 after Moore convinced him he would receive money as part of a legal settlement.
Authorities say an associate of Moore posed as a police detective to aid Moore in another scheme that cost the victim $20,000.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri businesses could face significantly higher costs for workers' compensation insurance next year.
An organization that projects workers' compensation insurance costs is forecasting that Missouri insurers will see an 11.6 percent increase in their claim costs in 2014. The projections by the National Council on Compensation Insurance often are used by insurance companies to set the premiums charged to businesses.
The increase is driven partly by a new Missouri law that seeks to shore up a financially troubled fund for disabled workers who suffer additional on-the-job injuries. The law shifts some types of claims out of the Second Injury Fund and into traditional workers' compensation insurance.
Businesses also could face a higher surcharge - on top of their regular workers' compensation premiums - to help replenish the Second Injury Fund.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Tina Meier has told the story of her 13-year-old daughter Megan's 2006 suicide to teachers, TV talk show hosts and parents across the country. Now she's helping to train local police officers on the unflinching, often brutal world of electronic harassment.
More than 70 officers from two dozen law enforcement agencies in Missouri and Illinois gathered Wednesday for a daylong cyberbullying workshop led by Maier. Her daughter killed herself after an Internet hoax led by an adult woman who lived four houses away from the Meier family in St. Charles County.
All but a handful of states now have laws covering either cyberbullying or electronic harassment. But Meier said prosecutors and judges remain reluctant to forcefully apply those statutes.
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. (AP) - A 60-year-old woman accused of abducting her baby grandson from Florida in 2000 moved around Missouri with the child for more than a decade, working at times in residential care facilities.
Sandy Hatte was arrested and charged this month with felony child abduction.
She appeared in Livingston County court Wednesday when a judge set a preliminary hearing for Oct. 23. Her lawyer, Melinda Troeger, declined comment.
The now-teenaged grandson has been reunited with his father and has returned to live with him in Alabama.
Investigators aren't saying how Hatte and the child got by or where they lived.
But an official with a Sedalia-based residential care company says Hatte worked for the company for a few years and was a "very good employee."
The United Mine Workers says 15 protesters were arrested in a non-violent demonstration outside the Peabody Energy Corporation building in downtown St. Louis Tuesday.
Patriot Coal was spun off from the energy company in 2007 and filed for bankruptcy last year. A federal appeals court ruled in August that Peabody Energy remains obligated to maintain health-care benefits for more than 3,100 retirees of Heritage Coal, another Peabody spinoff company.
There could be as many as 52 races at Fairmount Park next season, or as few as 10.
It all depends on whether or not Illinois lawmakers extend Internet-based wagering and supplemental funding. The Illinois Racing Board Tuesday announced four alternative 2014 schedules for all five Illinois horse tracks. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the number of races run depends on the revenue raised through Advanced deposit wagering, which provides funds to the racing board and venues. The measure has to be re-authorized periodically.
The current extension is set to expire at the end of January.
It is a controversial issue, combining the crime statistics for St. Louis city with St. Louis County, but it is one proposed to the FBI this week by city police chief Sam Dotson and the county's top cop Tim Fitch.
Meanwhile, St. Louis County prosecuting attorney, Bob McCulloch, spoke with KTRS's McGraw Milhaven earlier this morning. McCulloch says combining the crime stats would be a manipulation of numbers and in reality, wouldn't do much to improve St. Louis's position on the list of Most Dangerous Cities.
"It takes only from second place top eighth place and I don't know that there's a big difference" said McCulloch. "Are you going to argue, hey I don't live in the second most dangerous city in the country I live in the eighth most dangerous city in the country. It's just nonsense. What we ought to be working on is how we are going to govern this area."
McCulloch says one of the major flaws of combining the city and county's crime stats is that not all county municipalities are included, rather only those patrolled by St. Louis County Police. Jennings, Kirkwood, and University City, for instance, are among the municipalities that would not be counted.
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois officials have decided on a brand name for the new health insurance marketplace set to open Tuesday.
Gov. Pat Quinn's administration unveiled the name Wednesday: It's "Get Covered Illinois." The brand tagline is "The Official Health Marketplace."
Deputy Gov. Cristal Thomas says the administration wanted a name that was "very clear about what this product has to offer."
The brand and logo are part of a multimillion-dollar ad campaign beginning Tuesday and building through the fall and winter. Uninsured Illinoisans have until the end of March to buy health insurance through Get Covered Illinois.
State officials expect at least 300,000 people to sign up for coverage using new options available through President Barack Obama's health care law. The Affordable Care Act requires nearly all Americans to have health insurance.