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    A long-brewing conflict between one of the world's largest and most recognizable companies and the FBI leapt into public view on Tuesday after a federal judge ordered Apple to help government investigators find a way into an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino, California, massacre last December.

    So … what's the deal? Is Apple really locking itself out of its own phones? Does everyone in the government agree on this issue, against Apple and other major tech companies? And what do cybersecurity experts and cryptographers think?

    Both Apple and the FBI want to do their job, as they see it, NBC News reports. The FBI wants to fight bad guys and keep people safe. Apple wants to build cool new technology and keep its shareholders happy.

    This new court order presents some wrinkles for the ongoing conversation. But there's been a lot of chatter about the broader encryption issue in the tech community over the past year.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote a letter to customers discussing his company's reasons for challenging a court order to build a Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote a letter to customers discussing his company's reasons for challenging a court order to build a "backdoor" to defeat encrypted iPhones into future versions of iOS.

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    The Senate's second-ranking Republican left open the possibility of a confirmation hearing for President Barack Obama's nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme court.

    In a radio interview on Wednesday, Texas Sen. John Cornyn did not rule out Judiciary Committee hearings while also saying he agreed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that the selection of a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia should rest with the next president.

    "It's entirely up to the chairman of the Judiciary Committee whether even to schedule a hearing on the president's nomination," Cornyn said on "The Mark Davis Show," a talk show on Dallas-area radio station KSKY. "And were the nomination to get out of the Judiciary Committee, it's entirely within the control and discretion of the Senate majority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell, whether to schedule it for a vote. Which does demonstrate that majorities do matter."

    Later in the day, Nevada Sen. Dean Heller became the first Republican senator to break with his party's leader and say the president should nominate a replacement for Scalia.

    Obama has challenged Republicans to live up to their avowed adherence to the Constitution and agree to vote on his nominee.

    Despite widespread GOP insistence that he leave the decision to the next president, Obama said Tuesday he had no intention of abdicating his responsibilities before leaving office early next year. He chidingly told the Senate he expects "them to do their job as well."

    "The Constitution is pretty clear about what's supposed to happen now," Obama said before returning to Washington from California.

    McConnell has said he doesn't think Obama should put a candidate forward. The Kentucky senator joined several Republicans up for re-election in declaring that Obama should let voters in November weigh in on the direction of the court through their vote for president.

    Obama rejected that notion, insisting he will put forward a replacement and believes the Senate will have "plenty of time" to give the nominee a fair hearing and a vote. Democrats say Obama has every right and a constitutional duty to fill vacancies on the court until he leaves office next January.

    The pace of judicial confirmations always slows in presidential election years, thanks to reluctance by the party out of power in the White House to give lifetime tenure to their opponents' picks. In the past, lawmakers have sometimes informally agreed to halt hearings on lower court nominations during campaign season. But Obama argued that "the Supreme Court's different."

    McConnell has shown no signs of shifting his opposition, and several lawmakers facing heated elections have backed him up. But the party may still be searching for a strategy.

    Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said he would wait "until the nominee is made before I would make any decision" about holding hearings.

    Cornyn said the presidential election should be a referendum "on who makes that appointment because I think many people simply feel like they don't recognize their country anymore."

    He added, "It's entirely up to the Senate whether to confirm that nomination, and I think we should not, and we should defer that to the next president."

    If Republicans indicate they may hold hearings, Obama would have greater reason to name a "consensus candidate," a moderate nominee that Republicans would be hard-pressed to reject. If there's virtually no chance of Republicans bending, Obama might pick a nominee who galvanizes Democratic support and fires up interest groups in the election year.

    Obama would not tip his hand — much. He said he'd pick someone that would pass muster for honor and integrity even among ideological opponents.

    He would not comment on whether he would consider appointing a candidate during a congressional recess, a last-ditch maneuver that would inflame partisanship in Congress.

    If Senate Republicans hold fast to their vow not to confirm anyone Obama nominates, the Supreme Court will operate with eight justices — not just for the rest of this court term, but for most of the next one as well. High court terms begin in October, and the 80 or so cases argued in the course of a term usually are decided by early summer.

    The court would be unable to issue rulings on any issue in which the justices split 4-4.
     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) speaks to the media while flanked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R), and Sen. John Thune (R-SD) (L), on February 2, 2016 in Washington, DC.Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) speaks to the media while flanked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R), and Sen. John Thune (R-SD) (L), on February 2, 2016 in Washington, DC.

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    The road to warmer weather is paved with deteriorated asphalt as we make the transition from winter to spring.

    While many people are looking forward to warmer weather, mechanics are looking ahead to, "pothole season".

    Stephen St. Germain, the Service Manager at Mikes Auto Body explains, "When it starts to get warm during the day and unfreeze and water starts to ice starts to get back to liquid then it drops at night and turns into ice and starts to crack the road and just ruin the asphalt"

    AAA says members are already paying a steep price because of these poor road conditions, and that unless action is taken to repair roads, the costs are expected to rise even higher.

    "We're a country road and we have a lot of potholes but it's been going on for years" says Beverly Jones, a Berlin Resident.

    Your best best bet as a driver: 

    "Try and avoid them is your best defense to not have it damage your vehicle" says St. Germain.

    But if it is inevitable, experts say to try to hit it straight on and don't veer away.

    And if you do run into a pothole, don't ignore it.

    "You want to take a notice anything different about your car," says St. Germain. "It will start veering to the right or the left automatically the steering wheel will be crooked it will start shaking."

    Every year AAA receives over 4 million calls for flat tire assistance, many of which are caused by potholes. But a popped tire isn't the only damage they can do.

    According to St. Germain, "You can damage suspension component, you can ruin shocks and struts and springs and all of that stuff"

    At that point, you're looking at potentially 15 to 18 hundred dollars worth of damage. But you can be proactive by making sure you make sure you have good tires that have plenty of tread on them that they're inflated properly.

    If your car is damaged by a pothole, contact the town where it happened, some cities and towns do allow you to make a claim and help pay for repairs.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A New London doctor's license will be suspended until an investigation into sexual assault charges in Wisconsin gets resolved, according to Connecticut Department of Health documents.

    Dr. Wilton Calderon, 45, of Old Lyme faces 10 sexual assault charges: four felonies and six misdemeanors, according to Wisconsin court documents

    "The Department has received information regarding respondent's suspension of his Wisconsin medical license alleging unprofessional conduct," the Department of Health documents read. "To practice as a physician/surgeon shall be suspended until such time as this petition is resolved."

    Calderon was first issued his license in Mar. 2009 and began to practice in Plover, Wisconsin, until Jan. 2015 when the doctor relocated to Lawrence & Memorial Medical Group in New London. The doctor's license was officially suspended in Connecticut on Jan. 21, 2016. 

    The sexual assault charges stem from patients in Wisconsin. Calderon is not currently facing charges in Connecticut. 



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/OJO Images RF

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    American voters are divided on whether the U.S. Senate should vote this year on President Obama's eventual nominee to succeed Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, according to results from a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

    Overall, 43 percent say the Senate should vote this year on a replacement, versus 42 percent who prefer to leave the position vacant and wait for a nomination by the new president; 15 percent have no opinion. 



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    Justice Antonin Scalia, whose death has prompted a battle over choosing his replacement, appears in a Supreme Court photo on October 8, 2010, in Washington, DC.Justice Antonin Scalia, whose death has prompted a battle over choosing his replacement, appears in a Supreme Court photo on October 8, 2010, in Washington, DC.

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    In December, 91-year-old Rosario Lombardo joined other veterans of World War II at the National Iwo Jima Memorial in New Britain to receive medals.

    Lombardo said he didn't know he'd been awarded the Bronze Star and other decorations til recently.

    Pinning on the bronze star was his congresswoman, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who wanted him to tell his gathered friends and relatives what he'd done, back in 1945 in Europe.
     
    "I was gonna come down the hill," he said, "and I raised my rifle and somebody's bullet hit the rifle so that I couldn't use it, so I had no rifle. So then it so happens one of my good friends got hit so I helped them carry him off the hill."

     He downplayed what amounted to running through gunfire unarmed to save a friend.

    "It's an appreciation that I never expected," he said.

    "It's really a reminder of these extraordinary people who live right here, our next door neighbors, who have led these incredible lives," said Rep. Esty, "So it's a real honor to recognize him today."
     



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    The newest reintegration center in the Connecticut correctional system is housed at York Correctional Institution in Niantic.

    It’s the first such facility for female inmates after the state opened a pair of facilities at Cybulski Correctional Institution for males and inmates who are veterans.

    The centers are a key part of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s Second Chance Society initatives aimed at providing better resources and opportunities for nonviolent offenders.

    Tymesha Byrd is serving her third sentence for larceny. She was convicted of stealing credit card and using it.

    "I own what I did” Byrd said. “I'm responsible for what I did but I also know that my yesterday's mistakes is not today's."

    Byrd says the two-week old program has already opened to her eyes to skills like better listening as a parent, job training, and personal budgeting that she knows she will need once she’s released from prison. Byrd is up for parole in April.

    "It gives me an opportunity to come out much more successful than coming in here."

    Gov. Malloy told a group of inmates during his visit that the reintegration center is meant to change outcomes for all inmates, ensuring that they don’t return to prison.

    "I think part of what we're trying to do is make reintegration centers is to make your success much more likely and through that program make it easier for employment opportunities to present themselves and also help families recover. That ultimately needs to be part of our mission."

    The governor has proposed eliminating bail or misdemeanors and raising the age of a juvenile in the criminal justice system from 17 to 20 as the next phases of his Second Chance Society proposals.

    Changes to prisons, and reducing the numbers of facilities and inmates are also paramount.
    The governor said Wednesday the conversation is shifting about how these issues should be addressed.

    "For the longest time we had it wrong. ‘We're going to lock everybody up forever. We're going to forget that they're there. No job, no housing, can't even apply for a student loan’” Malloy quipped.

    “We've got to change that."
     



    Photo Credit: AP

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  • 02/17/16--15:51: Loaded Gun Found in School

  • A loaded gun was found at an elementary school in Dallas, officials say.

    Dallas ISD police recovered the weapon at William B. Miller Elementary School Tuesday morning.

    Preliminary reports reveal a group of 9-year-olds went into a restroom and one of them had a gun.

    Students later told a teacher about the gun. That's when another student reportedly opened a school window and threw the firearm outside, according to Andre Riley with the Dallas ISD.

    Dallas ISD police say they were not able to charge anyone with a crime because no one was in possession of the gun when they arrived at the scene.

    The incident is under investigation.

    School officials sent the following letter home with students Tuesday afternoon.


     



    Photo Credit: Google
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    A New London organization received a special surprise today.

    The Pedestrian Advisory Committee was given a free snow blower from a local business, Yankee Peddler and Pawn.

    The organization has seven volunteers that shovel snow off dozens of sidewalks that belong to the elderly and disabled. They have about 40 homes they work on for each snow storm.

    The cost? Not a single penny.

    Co-owner of Yankee Peddler and Pawn Chad LePlant shook hands with Carl Lee, a member of PAC.

    “Chad I can’t thank you enough. When I say that, I mean that. It’s unbelievable what you’ve done here,” said Lee.

    The gift was emotional for Lee.

    “This is the first time I’ve ever had anyone do anything for me like this. That’s why I say when it’s unbelievable, it’s unbelievable.”

    Sometimes the organization had to borrow snow blowers, but it never had one of its own.

    Lee said having their own is going to make things a little bit easier.

    “Go down one sidewalk: One sweep. And just take care of everything. Whereas we probably need 3 or 4 guys to do a good size sidewalk, which will probably take you 20 or 30 minutes. This here will take about 10,” said Lee referring to the snow blower.

    Le Plant said he couldn’t help, but give back. The snow blower would have cost $899.

    “We just heard about his story and just wanted to be a part of it,” said LePlant.

    Lee said the organization is in need of volunteers. If you’d like to help call 860-333-8750.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    New Haven Police Officer Martin Feliciano shares a special bond with his K-9 partner, Ax.

    “He’s pretty much like my son,” Officer Feliciano said, “It’s incomparable. He comes home with me, comes to work. He’s by my side 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

    Like their handlers, the department’s patrol K-9s often find themselves in harm’s way.

    “Why wouldn’t they be vested with bullet proof and stab proof vests as we are?” Feliciano said.

    Thanks to multiple generous donations, Ax and three other New Haven Police K-9s will soon receive potentially lifesaving vests. They are manufactured in Michigan and provided by a non-profit in Massachusetts called Vested Interest in K9s.

    “We appreciate every cent that’s donated,” Feliciano said, “everybody that contributed to the cause.”

    After learning about a GoFundMe page set up by police dispatcher Cathy Sargent, MacKenzie Machine Inc. in New Haven decided to donate to the cause.

    “Dana and I are dog people and we’ve always had dogs,” Vice President Ken MacKenzie told NBC Connecticut. “As the New Haven police protect us, so the least we can do is do what we can do to support them and the K-9s.”

    MacKenzie Machine is sponsoring the vest for Officer David Stratton’s four-legged partner, Atos.

    “I can’t thank the Mackenzie company and the family enough for what they’ve done ,” he said, “that I can be more comforted by him going into a building now or a situation that’s more dangerous and know that he has that much more protection.”

    Of the eight dogs in the New Haven Police Department, five are trained in patrol duties and drug detection. Only one of those dogs already has a protective vest previously donated by Vested Interest in K-9s.

    The four K-9s receiving new protective vests have been fitted and they should arrive in the next few months.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    State police are investigating the deaths of an adult father and son in Southbury and said the son is suspected of causing his father's death.

    State police responded to Jacob Road in Southbury around 10 p.m. on Tuesday to investigate what was reported as a medical emergency and found Dennis Fitzsimmons, 74, unresponsive on the floor.

    Police and EMS performed first aid, but Dennis Fitzsimmons was pronounced dead.

    When officers checked the house for other victims, they did not find any, but did find Dennis Fitzsimmons’ 43-year-old son, Timothy Fitzsimmons, another resident of the house.

    As the son spoke with officers, suddenly became ill and passed out, police said.

    Timothy Fitzsimmons was transported to Waterbury Hospital and hospital staff called detectives around 11:30 p.m. and said the man was dead.

    According to state police, detectives working on the case determined that Timothy Fitzsimmons was a suspect in his father’s homicide.

    The office of the chief medical examiner will determine the cause and manner of death for both the two men.
     



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A pigeon enthusiast plead guilty to capturing and killing federally protected hawks in Stamford.

    "Red-tailed and Cooper’s hawks are protected species under federal law," said U.S. Attorney Daly.

    "With our law enforcement partners, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals who violate the law and harm such protected migratory birds."

    Thomas Kapusta, of Westbury, New York, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to four counts of taking, capturing and killing red-tailed hawks and Cooper's hawks and one count of conspiracy to take and kill the hawks. 

    Red-tailed hawks and Cooper's hawks are birds of prey that consume pigeons. 

    Kapusta admitted he constructed and maintained a pigeon coop in order to race the birds on Weed Avenue in Stamford. The man said he would let the pigeons out of the coop for exercise and viewed the hawks on his property as a threat, according to court documents.

    The 63-year-old said he and his associate set up a trap designed to capture birds of prey and then shot them before disposing of their bodies on four occasions between early September and late October. 

    Kapusta is scheduled to be sentenced on May 13, 2016. He faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 months and a fine of up to $75,000.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF

    Red-tailed HawkRed-tailed Hawk

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    Testosterone gel can help some men get back a little of their loving feelings, and helps them feel better in general, according to a new study published Wednesday.

    The effects are modest, and men didn't objectively get any more vitality, although they felt like they did, the government-funded study found, NBC News reported.

    It's the first study in years to show any benefit from testosterone therapy. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

    "This was the first time that a trial demonstrated that testosterone treatment of men over 65 who have low testosterone would benefit them in any way," said Dr. Peter Snyder of the University of Pennsylvania, who helped lead the study team.



    Photo Credit: Retrofile/Getty Images

    File photoFile photo

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    A former physical education teacher at Bristol Eastern High School has been arrested and charged with risk of injury to a minor in a case that involves a 14-year-old high school student, according to Bristol police.

    Michael Archangelo turned himself in at the Bristol Police Department on Wednesday.

    He has been charged with risk of injury to a minor and second-degree harassment.

    Police said they obtained an arrest warrant after investigating an incident involving Archangelo and a Bristol Eastern High School student, but the warrant is sealed.

    It's not clear what he's accused of.

    "Mr. Archangelo resigned from his teaching position in the Bristol Public Schools on December 17, 2015. Due to the sensitive nature of this issue, no further comment will be issued from the school district," a statement from the Bristol school superintendent says.

    Archangelo, who resigned from the school in December, posted a $10,000 surety bond and is due in Bristol Superior Court on Feb. 29.

    "We are saddened today to learn of the arrest of former Bristol teacher Mr. Michael Archangelo," Superintendent Dr. Ellen Solek told NBC Connecticut.

    Solek said Archangelo began teaching at Bristol Public Schools in 2004 and served as the head football coach until 2014. Archangelo resigned in Dec. 2015, Solek said. 



    Photo Credit: Bristol Police

    Michael Archangelo, a former physical education teacher at Bristol Eastern High School has been arrested.Michael Archangelo, a former physical education teacher at Bristol Eastern High School has been arrested.

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    President Barack Obama is expected to visit Cuba next month as the two countries continue their efforts to normalize relations after a half-century of Cold War opposition.

    The White House is planning to make the announcement as early as Thursday.

    Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced in late 2014 that they would begin normalizing ties.

    The Obama administration is eager to make rapid progress on building trade and diplomatic ties with Cuba before Obama leaves office. The two nations signed a deal Tuesday restoring commercial air traffic for the first time in five decades.

    ABC News first reported Wednesday that the White House planned to announce the trip Thursday.



    Photo Credit: AP

    File photoFile photo

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    Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has fallen behind Ted Cruz in the national GOP horserace, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

    In the poll, Cruz is the first choice of 28 percent of Republican primary voters, while Trump gets 26 percent.  

    The results from the poll are a significant reversal from last month, when Trump held a 13-point lead over Cruz, 33 percent to 20 percent. 



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speak during a commercial break in the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate on January 14, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina.Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speak during a commercial break in the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate on January 14, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina.

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    After 56 years, a favorite banquet facility in Wallingford will be shutting down. The family behind the venue's success for generations is opting to sell the property.

    It was 1960 when George Mesite, an immigrant from Italy, first set up shop on Route 5 in Wallingford. He opened a banquet and function facility that he named Villa Capri. His family said that owning and operating the business was Mesite's American dream come true.

    “We owe everything to my dad, well actually, to my mom too," said Gina Mesite Mueller, one of the current owners of Villa Capri.

    George Mesite passed away nine years ago, but his children have continued the tradition of making memories here.

    “People just kept coming back, coming back," said Gina.

    After two generations of success, the Mesite family is opting to end Villa Capri's run, to focus to other business ventures. They said they have had hundreds of other offers to sell over the years.

    “We have an ever growing family with grandkids and our own kids so that's why it's just time to move on," said co-owner Robert Mesite.

    “We started as little kids and grew up in the business and it is going to be tough," said Ralph Mesite, another of the current owners of Villa Capri.

    The Mesite family is said to be in talks with Cumberland Farms, which is aiming to build a gas station and convenience store on the property. The last day of operation for Villa Capri will be July 31, 2016. Bookings are still being taken for events up to that date.

    “We tried to do the best we can and I think we did good," said Gina.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Vernon Police are investigating the "untimely" death of  two bodies found in an apartment on Wednesday morning.

    A maintenance worker discovered two bodies when he was responding to a service call for a water problem, police told NBC Connecticut. The building employee called police shortly after 10:00 a.m. reporting a death inside an apartment on Linden Place, Lt. William Meier said.

    Upon arriving, police found the body of the man and a woman. Police believe it could be a murder-suicide based on initial findings. It was unclear if weapons were found at the scene. 

    The identities of the victims have not been released. The final cause of death will be determined by the Medical Examiner and autopsies are scheduled for Thursday. 

    There is no danger to the public, police said.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A Yale College student who recently hospitalized has tested positive for bacterial meningitis and there have been no additional cases, according to a statement on the Yale Health web site.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Yale that the student has tested positive for a form of meningitis known as serogroup B meningococcal disease.

    State law requires that students in residential settings be vaccinated against meningococcal disease, but the vaccine most of students receive does not protect against serogroup B meningococcal disease, according to Yale Health. However, a newer form of vaccine that does cover serogroup B.

    Yale Health said most cases of serogroup B meningococcal disease occur sporadically, and a single case does not meet the CDC definition of an outbreak. 

    "With a single case on campus, federal, state, and local health officials do not recommend mass vaccinations, but we are prepared to offer the new vaccine to anyone in the Yale community who wishes to be vaccinated," the statement says.

    The student who became ill was admitted to Yale-New Haven Hospital and is getting better, according to Yale, and the university has provided antibiotics to anyone who might have had close contact with the student.

    There have been no reports of additional cases. 

    Yale Health will also provide the vaccine to anyone in the Yale community between the ages of 18 and 25 who requests it.

    Call Preventive Health at 203-432-0093 to schedule an appointment.

    Parents of pediatric patients and anyone over 25 years of age, should contact their primary care provider. 

    Students who are concerned or have particular questions about meningitis can call Student Health at 203-432-0312.

    People outside of the Yale Community should call a primary care physician. 



    Photo Credit: File -- Bloomberg via Getty Images

    File photoFile photo

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    A couple aboard a flight from Seoul, South Korea tried to smuggle nearly $5 million in counterfeit cash into the U.S., officials said, NBC News reported.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection found 93 bundles of counterfeit U.S. $100 bills and 32 bundles of counterfeit Vietnamese dong in the pair's luggage upon their arrival at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Friday.

    The $4.65 million in so-called "Hell Money," currency printed on joss paper and burned as an offering to the dead in some Asian cultures, was recovered and seized by Homeland Secuirty Investigations and the U.S. Secret Service.



    Photo Credit: Customs and Border Protection

    Customs and Border Protection officers seized $4.65 million in counterfeit Customs and Border Protection officers seized $4.65 million in counterfeit "Hell money" in Detroit.

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