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YOUNG THUG: What you say or "rap" can come back to haunt you! In this case, it has.


While defense attorneys argued that lyrics are forms of protected free speech, therefore should be excluded from the upcoming trial, Atlanta, GA prosecutors told the judge they were admissions of gang activity.



EECI Divers David Bland and Keith Lesley  demonstrate a rescue.jpeg
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Entrepreneur Educational Center divers demonstrate rescue techniques, a critical part of scuba training.

Scuba for urban LA

New classes begin in February 

By DANIELLA MASTERSON, Contributing Writer

SOUTH LOS ANGELES—Shannon Brailey knows she’s swimming in new territory. The African American woman recently completed Entrepreneur Educational Center, Inc.’s (EECI) vocational training program that certified her as a scuba diver.

Now, she can pursue a career as a professional career in the "blue economy."

"My mother is living vicariously through me," joked Brailey, whose mother founded the program.


"You need tough skin because it is a male-dominated field. You don’t hear about a lot of Black women divers or Black women swimming. I’m doing the training for the culture. I’m doing it for the women who think they can’t push through fear.

"When I’m down there in the ocean, I’m at complete serenity and peace and become one with
nature,” Brailey added.


EECI provides its students with equipment and transportation to ocean sites. The program attracted a diverse group of men and women who were already at home with SoCal’s unique sand and surf but hadn’t realized they could turn their passion into a career.

"I’ve been in the EECI program for a few months," said Kalisto Hercules. "My passion for the ocean started in high school. I was on the swim team. I swam in relays. It was great. And then I started surfing. But [being] underneath the ocean is really great. I’m glad I got to be a part of this program."

According to, approximately 85 percent of all scuba divers are men. White scuba
divers make up 62 percent of the trade. Comparatively, 18.1 percent of scuba divers are Latino,
and 9.7 percent are African American.

EECI is a nonprofit that promotes education and empowerment, leveling the playing field in various vocations. By offering a free vocational training program—including equipment—to women, Latinos, and African American professionals in South Los Angeles County’s second and fourth districts, EECI is creating a pipeline of qualified minorities to fill jobs in the blue economy—rescue, underwater welding, and commercial diving at the Port of Los Angeles and for green companies such as AltaSea (

"The EECI Vocational Scuba Diving Training will enhance diversity in the maritime industries where minorities are underrepresented," said Barbara Stanton, founder and executive director of EECI. "We have been providing vocational training to minorities for over 30 years with an eye on untraditional industries for minority employment," adding, the program is such a success, it will resume in 2024.

Dive Master Specialist Gerald Durant facilitated the training. Durant is a member of the LA City Fire Department and president of the Los Angeles Stentorians, the Association of African Americans in the fire service.

"The Los Angeles City Stentorians collaboration with EECI has given me the opportunity to complete my social contract with my community," said Durant.

Those who recently completed training in open water diving and are now certified divers include: David Bland, Corbin Dane Pitts, Shannon Brailey, Keith Lesley, Rachel Rhee, Janice Hyllengren and Kalisto Hercules. The scuba divers dedicated 100 hours of instruction and training, including diving into the sea off the coast of Catalina.

The pilot program is scheduled to accept applications in January 2024. All training and

equipment is provided at no cost to students accepted into the program.


For more information, visit


Key drug cartel trafficker slain

in Willowbrook 

'El Mago' one of 2 dead; third wounded 

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Eduardo Escobedo aka "El Mago." Instagram

LOS ANGELES (CNS)—An investigation is continuing into a shooting in the Willowbrook area that killed two men—one of whom reportedly was a convicted drug trafficker known as "El Mago," who had ties to the son of jailed drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

Both men were pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting, which occurred around 8:20 a.m. Nov. 23 in the 14200 block of Towne Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Eduardo Escobedo, 39, and Guillermo De Los Angeles Jr., 47, died at the scene, according to the LA County Department of Medical Examiner and published reports.

A third man suffered unspecified injuries and was  taken to a hospital for treatment, the sheriff's department reported.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Escobedo, whose nickname "El Mago" translates to "The Magician," served nearly five years in the federal pen for conspiring to distribute more than 10,000 kilos of marijuana and laundering drug proceeds. He was released in 2018.

Raised in East Los Angeles, Escobedo rose to become the primary distributor of marijuana in Los Angeles for Guzman's oldest son, The Times reported.

Escobedo was also alleged to have ordered the death of a rival trafficker who was gunned down in his Bentley on the 101 Freeway in 2008. Although Escobedo was never charged in the killing, his brother and another man were convicted and are serving life sentences, said to the Times.

After eluding capture for more than a dozen years, Guzman was arrested in 2014 in Mazatlan. Five years later, he was convicted of being a principal leader of a continuing criminal enterprise through his leadership of the Mexican organized crime syndicate, the Sinaloa Cartel.


George Floyd killer stabbed

in prison multiple times 

Assaulted by inmate at FCI Tucson 

TUCSON, AZ — Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapo- lis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, was stabbed by another inmate and critically wounded Friday, Nov. 24 at a federal prison in Arizona, according to The Associated Press.

The Bureau of Prisons confirmed that an incarcer- ated person was assaulted at FCI Tucson around 12:30 local time Friday.


In a statement, the agency said responding employees contained the incident and took "life-saving measures" before the inmate, whose name was not mentioned, was taken to a hospital for further treatment and evaluation.


No employees were injured and the FBI was notified.


FCI Tucson is a correctional facility where the security is rated average as it has been plagued by security lapses and staff shortages. Chauvin's stabbing is the second "high-profile" attack on a federal prisoner in the past five months.


In July, former sports doctor Larry Nassar was stabbed by a fellow inmate at a federal penitentiary in Florida.

It is also the second major incident at the Tucson fed- eral prison in just over a year.


Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, captured here on May 25, 2020, leaning on George Floyd's neck/carotid artery for nearly 10 minutes causing death from asphyxiation.

In November 2022, an inmate at the facility's low-security prison camp pulled out a gun and attempted to shoot a visitor in the head.

Chauvin was sent to FCI Tucson from a maximum-security state prison in Minnesota in August 2022 to serve concurrently a 22-and-a-half-year federal sentence for second-degree murder and another more than 20 years for violating Floyd's civil rights by pressing his knee against his neck for more than nine minutes, choking him to death.

Suicide rocks Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

4 in 24-hour period; 8 total in 2023

LOS ANGELES (MNS)—A bizarre set of circumstances have led to four suicides within the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in a single 24-hour period, the Compton Herald has been informed. 


Deputy Nicole Nishida, spokesperson for the LASD information bureau, said the department is investigating the deaths of one former and three current employees that occurred the week beginning Nov. 6, all believed to be deaths by suicide.

Homicide detectives responded to the first death around 10:30 a.m. Monday in Valencia, the department said in a statement.


Detectives were then called to a second death in Lancaster, just before 1 p.m. and a third in Stevenson Ranch at 5:40 p.m., the statement said. Detectives responded to the fourth death at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday in Pomona.

KNBC and the Santa Clarita Signal newspaper reported the dead as a commander who served as chief department spokesperson during a 25-year career. Another retired as a sergeant, and a third worked at a jail as a custody assistant.

The LASD's Nishida told the Los Angeles Times that the LASD has suffered a total of eight department suicides in 2023.



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