Today’s Headlines: Some pharmacies in Mexico selling pills laced with fentanyl, meth

A person walks under a "Pharmacy" sign on a sidewalk.
A street in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Hello, it’s Thursday, Feb. 2, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Some pharmacies in Mexico are selling pills laced with fentanyl, meth. A Los Angeles Times investigation has found that pharmacies in several northwestern Mexican cities are selling counterfeit prescription pills laced with stronger and deadlier drugs and passing them off as legitimate pharmaceuticals.

In total, the Times investigation found that 71% of the 17 pills tested came up positive for more powerful drugs.

A team led by UCLA researchers recorded similar results in a study last week, but this phenomenon has otherwise gone largely unnoticed.


Tom Girardi, disgraced lawyer, indicted on fraud charges. Tom Girardi, the once-vaunted Los Angeles trial attorney, has been indicted by federal grand juries in two states on fraud charges for allegedly swindling more than $18 million from clients who had endured severe injuries or tragic deaths of loved ones, prosecutors announced.

The prosecution is the latest development in the stunning downfall of a man who was once California’s ultimate insider. A Democratic political donor who cultivated close ties with mayors, governors, senators, judges and Supreme Court justices, he was revered — and feared — by fellow attorneys for the nine-figure settlements he brokered and the powerful officials he counted his friends.

California bucks a united front as the Southwest grapples with Colorado River water cuts. California has given the federal government its own proposal for making cuts in Colorado River water use, saying a plan offered by six other states would disproportionately burden farms and cities in Southern California.

The state put forward its proposal a day after Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming released their alternative. California hopes its senior water rights will trump the united front shown by the six other states.

This jet warns California of incoming atmospheric rivers. From the sky, scientists are dropping devices with parachutes to peer into powerful atmospheric river storms, giving California advance warning.


The Times joined extreme weather specialists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on a mission tracking the series of January storms that unleashed deadly flooding and widespread damage across the state.

Inside fast food’s push against a new California labor law. Assembly Bill 257, or the FAST Recovery Act, was set to go into effect Jan. 1 but is now on hold. State election officials said last week that a coalition of fast-food corporations and industry trade groups, which raised millions to oppose the law, secured enough valid signatures to block implementation of AB 257 until California voters decide next year whether to repeal the law.

Fourteen voters interviewed by The Times say petition circulators for the ballot measure lied to them about what they were signing. Others said the signature gatherers made vague and misleading claims or tried to hide legally required paperwork explaining the proposed referendum, sometimes becoming abusive when questioned.

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Villagers block a bridge during antigovernment protests in rural Peru.
Villagers block a bridge during antigovernment protests in rural Peru. Protest in Peru aimed at removing the president has become a rebellion of the Indigenous and poor, pushing for broad political, economic and social changes.
(Angela Ponce / For The Times )


An aspiring rapper and two mothers were among those killed in the Benedict Canyon shooting. Lifelong friends, they died seated alongside one another in a targeted attack, police said. With few details, friends and family are left asking why.

California’s snowpack is now the deepest it’s been in decades. The drought-weary state is entering February with a healthy boost in the water supply but also concerns about flooding and other potential hazards in the months ahead.

Before an L.A. driver’s alleged ‘reign of terror,’ he was accused of violence and threats of murder. Even before Nathaniel Radimak was charged in the recent road rage incidents, a woman he dated said he was prone to violent outbursts. He hit her several times and threatened to kill her and her family, according to a 15-page application for a restraining order.

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‘They don’t see us as humans.’ In Peru, protests over racism and neglect spill from the Andes. With South America’s fifth-largest economy paralyzed by highway roadblocks, the country finds itself at an agonizing political impasse as a mass rebellion clamors not just for a new government but broader political, economic and social change.


At Tyre Nichols’ funeral, Vice President Kamala Harris calls for national police reform. The vice president called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. As a senator, Harris co-sponsored the bill with New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. Negotiations between Democratic and Republican senators collapsed over a range of issues.

Two years after a coup in Myanmar, the military and citizens remain at odds. Experts say the prospects for peace in Myanmar, much less a return to democracy, seem dim as protests and violence remain a near-daily occurrence.

Half a million workers go on strike in Britain. Thousands of schools closed some or all of their classrooms and train services were paralyzed Wednesday as unions stepped up pressure on the government for better pay amid a cost-of-living crisis.


Review: ‘Knock at the Cabin,’ M. Night Shyamalan’s latest, can’t see the forest for the tease. The director tells a slim, scaled-down story that feels entirely (maybe even too much) in his B-movie wheelhouse, a story about the horror of the unknown, the power of suggestion and the importance of faith, writes film critic Justin Chang.

Death? Bill Nighy will worry about that later. The newly Oscar-nominated “Living” actor tells columnist Glenn Whipp that he’s taking his time enjoying a world that includes him in it.

Grammys 2023 predictions: Who will win, who should win and who’ll get robbed. The 65th Grammy Awards will return to normal on Sunday evening with a full house at the ceremony’s longtime home of Arena in downtown Los Angeles. Times critic Mikael Wood has a few idea about how it will go.



Federal Reserve lifts rate by quarter-point, signaling more hikes ahead. The central bank extended its fight against high inflation on Wednesday by raising its key interest rate by a quarter-point, its eighth hike since March.

Column: Barnes & Noble saved itself by putting books first. Imagine that. The apparent recovery of Barnes & Noble is getting attention because it hints at how bricks-and-mortar retailing can be sustained in a world of online commerce, writes Michael Hiltzik.


Op-Ed: The video of Tyre Nichols’ murder is unbearable. But it shows why we need stories of both Black pain — and joy. Black victims of brutality shouldn’t be known only for how they were killed. Cassandra Lane learned this while writing about her great-grandfather’s lynching.

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NFL great Tom Brady retires, insisting that this time it’s ‘for good.’ The seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback posted an emotional video on his social media accounts Wednesday morning to share the news, a year after he retired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two months.

Atonio Mafi NFL draft diary: Visualizing a moment that’s no longer a dream. The UCLA offensive lineman is penning a weekly diary leading up to the April 27 draft. This week, Mafi discusses his dream of hearing his name called in the draft. “I’ve thought about the moment a lot. It always unfolds the same way.”



a photo of a red mushroom with a white stem surrounded by colorful drawings of other mushrooms
(Photos by Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times; Alan Nakkash / For The Times; animated illustration by Danie Drankwalter / For The Times)

We’re in the middle of a ‘shroom boom.’ Here’s how to dig in. While renewed interest in magic mushrooms for both medicinal and recreational purposes has driven some of the popularity, nonpsychedelic fungi are also capturing our attention. More and more people in L.A. are looking to forage for mushrooms, grow them at home and cook varieties beyond the humble cremini.


Shakira, wearing a black dress and gloves, poses for a photo on a red carpet
Shakira attends the 2022 Cannes film festival in southern France.
(Daniel Cole / Associated Press)

Happy birthday, Shakira! The Colombian pop star was born 46 years ago.

According to family legend, her career began when she, as a child, jumped on a table at a Middle Eastern restaurant and belly-dancing (a vestige of her mixed Lebanese-European ancestry). She has since established herself as one of the most successful Latina and female artists going, with some 50 million albums sold in total. In 2020, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez performed together at the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show.

Recently, Shakira released a break-up jam in collaboration with Argentine DJ-producer Bizarrap that generated 50 million YouTube views in its first 24 hours of release. The dis track, “Bzrp Music Sessions #53,” brutally trashes her former partner, retired footballer Gerard Piqué.

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