A sure sign of trouble for anyone awaiting the delivery of 323 pounds of marijuana to their home is a call from a shipping company saying the package is too big to deliver. But Arianne Rodriguez, 28, of Tampa doesn't appear to have been bothered by the call in December 2011, court records show. He left his Casey Road home with a second man, drove out to the private shipping company, picked up the package and took it home. Court records do not reflect whether either man noticed the electronic devices that sent out signals when the crate was opened, but they certainly noticed when officers burst in on them. This week, a federal jury in Tampa found Rodriguez guilty of conspiracy to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute. He faces up to 45 years in prison.
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Stolen dwarf goats are back at school
Two goats taken from a land laboratory at Alonso High School are back in their pens. Named Winston and Mia, the Nigerian dwarf goats were stolen from the school between June 16 and June 17. Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies recovered them after someone called in a tip. Authorities say the theft apparently was a prank.
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RNC videos tout Tampa Bay, cities
The people and places of the Tampa Bay area sparkle on a quartet of promotional videos released this week by the Republican National Convention's host committee. A main video highlights the bay area as a whole, from the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks to the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. Three more focus individually on Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. The promotions use a variety of well-known local figures, including Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, fight doctor and painter Ferdie Pacheco and current and former members of the Rays, Buccaneers and Lightning. The videos can be found on the host committee's web site, 2012tampa.com.
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Ex-surgery tech pleads guilty
A former operating room technician at Oak Hill Hospital in Brooksville pleaded guilty on Thursday to stealing medication by diluting vials intended for patients, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. From 2003 to 2008, Justin Brian Horan, 26, of Citra diluted 17 vials of morphine and five vials of the sedative midazolam, prosecutors say. Most of the vials were diluted to 10 percent of their original strength, prosecutors said. Horan diluted the vials with a saline solution and reglued caps to avoid detection, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Horan initially came to the attention of law enforcement for using forged prescriptions to get painkillers from a pharmacy. That investigation led to the case in which he was charged with two counts of tampering with a consumer product. Horan also pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison when he is sentenced later this year.