Infamous drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who daringly escaped prison on July 11, utilized a tunnel leading from the only “supermax” maximum-security prison in Mexico, where he’d been held. At least that’s the explanation Mexican authorities have given as to how the leader of the Sinaloa cartel escaped prison for the second time.
In the aftermath of the escape, VICE News went to Almoloya de Juarez to inspect the exit of the tunnel that “El Chapo” allegedly used, and spoke with an activist and former inmate of Altiplano prison who claims to have discovered flaws in the authorities’ version of events.
Promotional materials for a protest in support of Carlos Coy — also known as South Park Mexican — made the round this week.
A large group of people marched near downtown Houston Friday afternoon in support of a jailed hip-hop artist they say was wrongfully convicted of aggravated sexual assault in May 2002.
Carlos Coy was sentenced to 45 years in prison for the assault of a 9-year-old girl who was staying at his home during a children’s sleepover.
Coy is known as South Park Mexican in Houston’s Latin hip-hop scene. He was a popular act in the late ’90s and early ’00s until the conviction and incarceration. In the past decade supporters have remained united behind him.
According to the Houston Press, this week representatives from the rapper’s local label, Dope House Records, intended to march to the Harris County district attorney’s office for a peaceful protest of the 12-year-old conviction. They say that Coy was convicted based on hearsay,without physical evidence. They would like to see his case retried. After the protest the group planned to return to the label’s location on Center Street for a mixer.
According to the Houston Press, Coy may not get a chance for parole until he’s at least 52 years old. Coy turns 44 on Sunday.
A Houston Press feature in the summer of 2002 told the tale of Coy, once the pride of Houston’s burgeoning hip-hop turned convicted child molester. His story of small-time street thug turned inspiration to Hispanic youth touched many, making the child molestation conviction more shocking to his supporters.
His label has managed to release new music under his name since his 2002 conviction, including the recent “Son of Norma” LP released on Sept. 30.
Police: Rapper Too Short was carrying loaded gun at airport
Rapper Too Short performs during the 29th annual Adult Video News Awards Show at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Jan. 21, 2012, in Las Vegas. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Rapper Too Short has been cited at a Southern California airport a day after fleeing a security checkpoint when a screener found a loaded handgun in his carry-on luggage.
Burbank police Sgt. John Pfrommer says the rapper, born Todd Anthony Shaw, was passing through the checkpoint at Bob Hope Airport on Wednesday when a Transportation Security Administration employee noticed the handgun going through a baggage scanner.
The rapper fled the building via an exit door, leaving his belongings behind, the Burbank Leader reported.
Pfrommer says Too Short returned to the airport Thursday with his attorney and was cited on misdemeanor possession of a loaded handgun in a public place.
He was released and is due in court Nov. 3. Police didn’t know who the rapper’s attorney is.
Too Short rose to prominence in the late 1980s out of Oakland. His hits include “Life Is … Too Short” and “Blow the Whistle.”
Last year, he was arrested in Hollywood on suspicion of drunk driving and drug possession, according to the Los Angeles Times. In 2009, he was arrested twice on suspicion of driving under the influence and was charged with misdemeanor battery during a performance at an Idaho nightclub a year later.
Lonnie Lynn, known to hip-hop fans for his soulful spoken-word poems on rapper son Common’s albums, has died.
Lynn died at age 71 on Friday, Common said in an interview Monday in Los Angeles. He gave no further details.
Lynn was a star high school basketball player in Chicago and played in the 1969-1970 season in the American Basketball Association. He struggled with drug addiction and with being a father to six children, topics he addressed in poignant, sometimes regretful poems that concluded many of Common’s albums.
“He was truly a natural poet and master of words. His personality and soul shined through his work,” Common, whose real name is Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., said in the interview Monday.
“The way he said things made me look at life and the world in a new way, in a different way. They always sparked a thought in my head. His words would always make me strive to achieve higher, to write better, to be more truthful with my words.”
Common is also an actor, appearing in films including “Terminator: Salvation” and “LUV” and as a regular on the AMC series “Hell on Wheels.”
Lynn, known as “Pops” on Common’s albums, recorded his last poem for the rapper’s 2011 release, “The Dreamer/The Believer.”
“For those of us who come from less than enviable circumstances, dreams — good dreams, sweet dreams — dreams come true. Truthful dreams, truthful dreams become life,” he intoned in the song, called “Pops Belief.”
“Live the life you believe. The American dream, the black American dream, the universal dream. For the sake of the unwritten laws of humanity, I believe in God. I believe in my ancestors, I believe in my offsprings … I believe in the truth, truth. See you next lifetime.”
He was an acclaimed rapper from the streets of the Bronx who fired one of the opening shots in the East Coast/West Coast rapper feud of the 90’s.
But in 2011 Timothy Blair – the hip hop artist whose nom de mic was Tim Dog — was exposed as a sophisticated conman.
After he defrauded Mississippi single mom Esther Pilgrim, he was arrested, pleaded guilty to grand larceny and was handed five years’ probation. And he was ordered to pay Pilgrim back $19,000 of the money he stole.
Story over. Or so it seemed.
But on Valentine’s Day last year — eight months after Dateline aired “The Perfect Catch” – culture magazine The Source broke the news online that Tim Dog, aged just 46, had died from a seizure linked to diabetes. Even though the rapper was considered a has-been, whose biggest hit was the iconic 1991 diss track “F*** Compton”, news of Tim Dog’s death made international headlines.
A memorial service was planned in Harlem — a poster announcing donations could be made via a PayPal account that would benefit Blair’s daughter.
While it was strange perhaps that no media were allowed to cover the local celebrity send-off, it seemed Tim Blair had been laid to rest.
But months after the planned memorial, no public death record of Blair’s death could be found; and whispers began among those who had claimed to have been scammed by the rapper. The memorial service was canceled, they claimed — a sham. Who was that PayPal account benefiting? Why wasn’t there any public record of Blair’s death?
And it wasn’t long before another outrageous story about the larger-than-life rapper took hold online: that Tim Dog, a brilliant scam artist, had faked his own death to avoid paying the court-ordered restitution to Esther Pilgrim.
Pilgrim, who was no longer receiving monthly payments from Blair, was suddenly stoked — determined to find her scammer and make sure justice was served.
A Mississippi prosecutor in Pilgrim’s country issued an arrest warrant for Blair, further fueling the “rapper faked his death” story, while Blair’s wife Alexandra – who kept her distance from any media – apparently didn’t seek to silence the growing chorus. Even if she didn’t want to face media cameras, some wondered, why didn’t she release a statement – or produce her husband’s death certificate?
Pumping up the mystery to an even higher volume, rappers with whom Blair had collaborated scoffed at the notion Tim Dog was dead. In fact a few months after Blair’s memorial service, a track called “Falsified” appeared online featuring the vocals of the supposedly dead Tim Dog himself. To those who doubted he was dead, Tim Dog seemed to be thumbing his nose at his victim and authorities — reveling in his notoriety.
So where was he?
As Dateline set off to investigate what happened to Blair, residency records led our team to a home in Fairburn, GA. There, neighbors claimed they had seen Blair, Alexandra and their young daughter – but said they had kept to themselves for the seven months they lived there, and left suddenly around April this year. Was it possible that the urban former hip hop star from the streets of the Bronx was living a sedate, undercover life in the Atlanta ‘burbs?
Our search took us to another home in Decatur, GA, where traces of Tim Dog petered out. The house where we thought he could be living, was occupied by someone else.
But Pilgrim was still on the hunt and, with help from a man who claimed his boss had been ripped off by Tim Blair in a fake concert promotion deal in Australia, was able to sniff out a new trail of breadcrumbs that she revealed to Dateline.
The clues lit up a new path suggesting Blair had been treated at Atlanta Medical Center before being discharged to Hospice Atlanta. But since the hospice could not release any information about whether Blair had been treated there – we began calling funeral homes in same zip code as the hospice, and continued widening our search until at last one funeral home confirmed a record of the hip hop artist.
Timothy Blair died at Hospice Atlanta, Dekalb County, GA on 14 February, 2013. Dateline obtained his death certificate from the Dekalb County GA Board of Health. No paperwork was filed in the county where Blair was widely believed to be living – because death records are filed in the county of death; and no one except close family, friends and carers knew where the former rapper lived – and died.
There is a final twist in the story of Tim Dog’s death. It turns out his cremation was paid for by the county.
For Esther Pilgrim that is the ironic parting shot of a conman, but a fitting exit for the scam artist — who ended up with a pauper’s funeral.