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Weird National Briefs (07/03/2019)

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Shell smell

ATLANTA - Two dogs, part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s “beagle brigade,” sniffed out two Giant African Snails in the luggage of a passenger arriving at Atlanta’s airport from Nigeria.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the beagles, named Candie and Chipper, were alerted to the passenger’s checked bags at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Friday. A Customs agriculture specialist found the snails in a suitcase, along with prohibited fruits and vegetables.

The snails were turned over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, while the food was destroyed. The USDA’s website says such snails are illegally imported for classroom exhibits as pets or for food. They’re also described as “one of the most damaging” in the world because they consume at least 500 types of plants, reproduce quickly, and can cause meningitis.

TME – So … explicitly illicit escargot cargo.

Nutty by nature?

KILLEN, Ala. - An Alabama man who denied feeding methamphetamine to a so-called “attack squirrel” he considered a pet has been arrested on new charges.

The Limestone County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that 35-year-old Mickey Paulk was caught Thursday night following a chase in which he rammed an investigator’s vehicle. Authorities had been seeking Paulk on multiple felony warrants unrelated to the squirrel he named “Deeznutz,” which was made infamous after police said they were warned about a meth-fueled squirrel that had been trained to attack.

Paulk told The Associated Press last week that he was working on a plan for turning himself in to authorities.

The sheriff’s office said narcotics investigators caught up with him while surveilling a motel in Killen. They spotted Paulk leaving on a stolen motorcycle and chased him down.

Paulk has been booked into the Lauderdale County Jail on charges of attempting to elude, criminal mischief, receiving stolen property and felon in possession of a pistol after it was discovered he had a .45-caliber handgun in his waistband.

It’s unclear whether he has a lawyer.

As for Deeznutz, authorities say he couldn’t be tested for meth and has been released.

TME – That squirrel is consolidating the cute woodland creature drug trade as we speak.

Better late than never

HONOLULU - The U.S. Postal Service says it has found mail stolen in Hawaii more than a decade ago.

KHON-TV reported Monday that the family of a now-deceased postal worker discovered the stolen mail inside a storage unit and turned them over to officials.

The postal service says the stolen mail is being sent back in the next couple of days. The mail dates back about 13 to 15 years ago.

The stolen mail was mostly First-Class and Priority Mail and newspapers and magazines.

Officials haven’t identified the postal worker or his or her route. Most of the mail belonged to people living in the downtown Honolulu area.

The postal service says stolen mail that’s returned will have a label explaining the item’s delay and a number to call.

TME – So. Many. AOL. CDs.

Wrong-in

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Sorry Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny and other fictional characters and celebrities who have received write-in votes in a Rhode Island election.

Some state lawmakers don’t want those ballots to count.

The Providence Journal reports that the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation Monday requiring people who want to be write-in candidates to file a notice of their intent no later than the Friday before an election.

Write-ins are a way for voters to express their displeasure with the official candidates. Mickey Mouse got 309 write-in votes in state elections in 2018.

But Miguel Nunes, deputy director of state Board of Elections, told lawmakers tallying write-ins is a “monumental responsibility.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island opposes the measure, saying if passed it “would literally mean that every vote does not count.”

TME – Who are they to say Bugs Bunny wouldn’t be a great comptroller?

Ill communication

DETROIT - A graffiti artist commissioned by the city of Detroit to paint a mural on a viaduct was arrested by police who believed he was committing vandalism.

The Detroit Free Press reports that 29-year-old Sheefy McFly, whose real name is Tashif Turner, was arrested Wednesday. Detroit commissioned him as part of a multi-year effort to fight illegal graffiti with city-approved artwork.

McFly says he didn’t have his city-issued permit with him. He says multiple police cars arrived on site even as a city official showed up to vouch for him.

Police spokeswoman Nicole Kirkwood says officers found McFly uncooperative. She says the disagreement led to McFly being arrested on suspicion of resisting and obstructing and on a warrant for an old parking ticket.

McFly says he was treated like a felon and felt threatened.

TME – Pretty sure this is entrapment.

Money for nothing

RALEIGH, N.C. - Turns out that zero can be a lucky number.

North Carolina’s state lottery Saturday said it set a record payout after the winning numbers in a Pick 4 game came back “0-0-0-0.”

The lottery said about 1,000 tickets at $1 were sold and will pay out at $5,000. Another 1,000 tickets were sold for 50 cents, and they will pay out at $2,500. Lottery officials said winners should expect “extended waiting times” when picking up their prizes.

The state said the total payout is $7.8 million. The previous record was $7.5 million in 2012, when the winning Pick 4 numbers were “1-1-1-1.”

TME – What kind of monster picks four zeroes for their lottery numbers?

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