National briefs: 12 face charges in cocaine ring

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ATLANTA -- Federal prosecutors have charged 12 people they say were part of a national cocaine trafficking organization, according to an indictment unsealed this week.

A federal grand jury in Atlanta handed down the indictment July 9, following an 18-month FBI investigation of a drug trafficking organization with ties to Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, Texas and Louisiana, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Friday. A federal judge ordered the indictment unsealed Thursday.

Federal, state and local law enforcement officers in Atlanta; Boston; Scranton, Pa.; Orlando, Fla.; and Tamarac, Fla., on Thursday were told to arrest the people charged in the indictment. Nine of the 12 defendants had been arrested by Friday afternoon.

Prosecutors say Edwin Rivera, who's also known as Neno and Nano, is a Boston-based drug dealer who oversaw the trafficking ring. The alleged traffickers used vehicles outfitted with hydraulic concealed compartment, or trap, to smuggle multiple kilograms and hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout the country.

Hector Ramon DeJesus, who operated an auto shop in Atlanta, installed the traps in the vehicles with the help of Juan Manuel Santana Baez, who's also known as Robin, prosecutors said.

Gaming disability system

WASHINGTON -- Social Security made $1.3 billion in potentially improper disability payments to people who had jobs when they were supposed to be unable to work, congressional investigators said in a report Friday.

The Government Accountability Office estimated that 36,000 workers got improper payments from December 2010 to January 2013.

The numbers represent less than 1 percent of beneficiaries and less than 1 percent of disability payments made during the time frame. But GAO said the overpayments reveal weaknesses in Social Security's procedures for policing the system.

The Social Security Administration said its accuracy rate for disability payments is more than 99 percent. But the agency noted that even small errors translate into big numbers.

More than 8.2 million disabled workers received disability payments in December 2010, a figure that has grown to nearly 9 million. Last year, the agency paid out $137 billion in disability payments.

Before people can receive disability benefits, there is a 5-month waiting period in which they can, in general, earn no more than about $1,000 a month. The waiting period is to ensure that beneficiaries have long-term disabilities.

Jury award for slide death

BOSTON -- The highest court in Massachusetts upheld a $20.6 million jury award Friday for the family of a woman who died after hitting her head on a concrete pool deck when an inflatable slide partially collapsed.

A jury awarded Robin Aleo's family a total of $20.6 million in 2011, finding that the slide sold by Toys R Us did not comply with federal safety standards.

The dogs are all right

NEW YORK -- The will of the first woman to become a member of the New York Stock Exchange has left $100,000 for the care of her dogs.

Documents made public Friday in Manhattan Surrogate Court show Muriel "Mickie" Siebert also requested that her pets not be left alone for long periods during the day. Siebert died last month at age 84. She was founder and president of a brokerage firm that bears her name.

-- Compiled from news services

ATLANTA -- Federal prosecutors have charged 12 people they say were part of a national cocaine trafficking organization, according to an indictment unsealed this week.

A federal grand jury in Atlanta handed down the indictment July 9, following an 18-month FBI investigation of a drug trafficking organization with ties to Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, Texas and Louisiana, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Friday. A federal judge ordered the indictment unsealed Thursday.

Federal, state and local law enforcement officers in Atlanta; Boston; Scranton, Pa.; Orlando, Fla.; and Tamarac, Fla., on Thursday were told to arrest the people charged in the indictment. Nine of the 12 defendants had been arrested by Friday afternoon.

Prosecutors say Edwin Rivera, who's also known as Neno and Nano, is a Boston-based drug dealer who oversaw the trafficking ring. The alleged traffickers used vehicles outfitted with hydraulic concealed compartment, or trap, to smuggle multiple kilograms and hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout the country.

Hector Ramon DeJesus, who operated an auto shop in Atlanta, installed the traps in the vehicles with the help of Juan Manuel Santana Baez, who's also known as Robin, prosecutors said.

Gaming disability system

WASHINGTON -- Social Security made $1.3 billion in potentially improper disability payments to people who had jobs when they were supposed to be unable to work, congressional investigators said in a report Friday.

The Government Accountability Office estimated that 36,000 workers got improper payments from December 2010 to January 2013.

The numbers represent less than 1 percent of beneficiaries and less than 1 percent of disability payments made during the time frame. But GAO said the overpayments reveal weaknesses in Social Security's procedures for policing the system.

The Social Security Administration said its accuracy rate for disability payments is more than 99 percent. But the agency noted that even small errors translate into big numbers.

More than 8.2 million disabled workers received disability payments in December 2010, a figure that has grown to nearly 9 million. Last year, the agency paid out $137 billion in disability payments.

Before people can receive disability benefits, there is a 5-month waiting period in which they can, in general, earn no more than about $1,000 a month. The waiting period is to ensure that beneficiaries have long-term disabilities.

Jury award for slide death

BOSTON -- The highest court in Massachusetts upheld a $20.6 million jury award Friday for the family of a woman who died after hitting her head on a concrete pool deck when an inflatable slide partially collapsed.

A jury awarded Robin Aleo's family a total of $20.6 million in 2011, finding that the slide sold by Toys R Us did not comply with federal safety standards.

The dogs are all right

NEW YORK -- The will of the first woman to become a member of the New York Stock Exchange has left $100,000 for the care of her dogs.

Documents made public Friday in Manhattan Surrogate Court show Muriel "Mickie" Siebert also requested that her pets not be left alone for long periods during the day. Siebert died last month at age 84. She was founder and president of a brokerage firm that bears her name.

-- Compiled from news services

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