October 2, 2022

ACN Center

Area Control Network

Third rapper pleads guilty in drug scheme

26 min read

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas –  A third individual has admitted his guilt in a large-scale narcotics distribution operation involving multiple properties throughout Corpus Christi, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Javon Hicks aka Drank Nitti Kasino, 40, Corpus Christi, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Drew B. Tipton to maintaining a premises to distribute illicit narcotics and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Co-conspirator Dwayne Thompson aka Muddy Kasino, 39, and Zackari Williams aka Arm and Hammer Zone, 29, both of Corpus Christi, pleaded guilty to the same charges March 9 and March 30, respectively. Hicks and Thompson forfeited personal items including cars, guns, jewelry and cash valued at more than $123,000 following their pleas.

The conspirators were part of a hip-hop group that produced music under the Kasino World label. They used various houses and apartments throughout Corpus Christi to record their songs and videos. However, the investigation revealed the group members also used the locations to distribute crack cocaine and meth with at least 100 sales per day.

U.S. District Judge David Morales set sentencing for Hicks and Thompson June 1 and June 30, respectively, while Williams will be sentenced June 22.

At their respective hearings, Hicks and Thompson face up to 25 years in prison, while Williams could receive up to a 20-year-term. All three also face a possible $500,000 maximum fine. Each man has been and will remain in custody pending their hearings. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Corpus Christi Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Roland Swanson and Dennis E. Robinson prosecuted the case.

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  • NASA Human Space Exploration: Significant Investments in Future Capabilities Require Strengthened Management Oversight
    In U.S GAO News
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) again delayed the planned launch date for Artemis I, the first uncrewed test flight involving three closely related human spaceflight programs—the Orion crew vehicle, Space Launch System (SLS), and Exploration Ground Systems (EGS). Together, these programs aim to continue human space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit. The most recent delay, to November 2021, resulted in part from manufacturing challenges and represents a 36-month slip since NASA established a schedule to measure performance in 2014. This new launch date does not account for the effects of COVID-19. According to NASA officials, COVID-19 delays and schedule risks will place pressure on NASA’s ability to achieve this launch date. Development cost estimates for key programs also increased. The cost of the SLS program increased by 42.5 percent and the EGS program by 32.3 percent since 2014, for a combined increase of over $3 billion, bringing the total to $11.5 billion. NASA does not plan to complete revised estimates for Orion, which are tied to the second, crewed test flight (Artemis II) before spring 2021. Key Parts of Space Launch System Ready for Testing at Stennis Space Center NASA awarded billions of dollars in development and production contracts to support flights beyond Artemis I, but the flight schedule has changed frequently due to a lack of clear requirements and time frames for planned capability upgrades. Limited NASA oversight also places efforts to plan and execute future flights at risk of adverse outcomes, such as increased costs or delays. For example, NASA is committed to establishing cost and schedule performance baselines for these efforts, but it plans to do so too late in the acquisition process to be useful as an oversight tool. In addition, senior leaders do not receive consistent and comprehensive information at quarterly briefings on future efforts, such as a program to begin developing a more powerful upper stage for SLS. This is because current updates provided to NASA management focus primarily on the more short-term Artemis I and II flights. This approach places billions of dollars at risk of insufficient NASA oversight. NASA is pursuing an aggressive goal to return American astronauts to the surface of the Moon by the end of 2024. The success of NASA’s plans hinges, in part, on two upcoming test flights. An uncrewed test flight and subsequent crewed test flight are intended to demonstrate the capability of a new launch vehicle, crew capsule, and ground systems. The House Committee on Appropriations included a provision in its 2017 report for GAO to continue to review NASA’s human space exploration programs. This is the latest in a series of GAO reports addressing this topic. This report assesses (1) the progress the programs are making towards the first test flight, known as Artemis I, with respect to schedule and cost, and (2) the extent to which NASA’s human space exploration programs are positioned to support the planned Artemis flight schedule beyond Artemis I. To do this work, GAO examined program cost and schedule reports, test plans, and contracts, and interviewed officials. GAO also assessed the extent to which the COVID-19 state of emergency has affected schedules for these programs. GAO is making two recommendations to NASA to establish baselines ahead of a key design review and improve internal reporting about capability upgrades for human space exploration programs beyond Artemis I. NASA concurred with the recommendations made in this report. For more information, contact William Russell at (202) 512-4841 or russellw@gao.gov.

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  • Justice Department Settles with the State of New Jersey’s Student Lending Authority for Alleged Violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice announced today that New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) has agreed to enter into a settlement and pay $50,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by obtaining unlawful court judgments against two military servicemembers who co-signed student loans.

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