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Happy 4th of July from ticklethewire.com


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Weekend Series on Crime History: The Real Sopranos


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Journalists Beat FBI at Providing Accurate Info of Cop-Involved Shootings

Washington post murdersBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When it comes to compiling accurate, complete information about people killed by law enforcement, journalists are running circles around the FBI.

One of the leaders is The Washington Post, which began building a database of every person shot and killed by police or federal agents so far this year, the Marshall Project reports.

On June 26, escaped murderer Richard Matt became the 459th person this year to be fatally shot by law enforcement.

The catalog comes from local news reports, independent databases and readers. Included is a host of information such as age, race, gender and residence.

The Guardian started a similar project this year.

For years, the FBI’s tally of crimes has been criticized as inaccurate and l0w because it depends on self-reporting by police agencies.


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Border Patrol Recounts Dramatic Moments Before Shooting Escapee Richard Matt

Clinton Correctional Facility

Clinton Correctional Facility

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

During the manhunt for two escaped murderers, Border Patrol agents swooped into the woods of northern New York after hearing reports of gunshots.

The agents spotted one of the escapees behind a tree. When he pointed a shotgun at them, the agents fatally shot the killer.

It was the first detailed report of Richard Matt’s death, the Burlington Free Press reports.

“Our agents were obviously expecting the worst on every one of those calls,” Chief John Pfeifer said. “Very challenging terrain, challenging weather, lot of stress. You’re dealing with some very bad individuals. Can’t thank law enforcement enough for bringing these individuals back in.”

Matt and another inmate escaped the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dennemora and were on the run for three weeks.

Other Stories of Interest


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Parker: Fentanyl-Heroin Overdose Deaths Surge

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Three months ago the mother of an Ypsilanti Township man found her young son slumped over in his bed, dead, with a syringe still in his hand. He was one of the latest victims of the deadly combination of heroin laced with the prescription drug fentanyl.

Zachary Burdette is charged in U.S. District Court in Detroit with causing this death and two others resulting from a growing epidemic of combining heroin with this pharmaceutical drug.

Earlier this year Dennis Sica was convicted in New York with the same crime, again resulting in three deaths. He named the deadly heroin-fentanyl combination “Breaking Bad.”

Outside of law enforcement and medical circles, fentanyl is a little known synthetic opiate, the most potent one available for medical treatment. The rise in the use of heroin, especially by younger and more affluent buyers, has made fentanyl a particularly useful cutting agent to increase the potency of low quality heroin, and occasionally cocaine. Fentanyl is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. The deadly problem is that it achieves this purpose only too well, and the result has dramatically increased overdose deaths in the last two years.

Fentanyl is often sold on the street without identifying it, as for example a “fake Oxy” pill or “hybrid smack.” It also has a dozen analogues manufactured in clandestine labs often referred to as “China White.”

In March 2015 DEA issued a nationwide alert on this danger through the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC). The National Forensic Laboratory Information Service reports that the number of lab submissions containing fentanyl increased from 942 in 2013 to 3,344 in 2015. Those numbers are continuing to rise this year.

During the first five months of 2015 there were more than sixty deaths attributed to this combination in southeastern Michigan. California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania report similar numbers. Overdose deaths involving fentanyl in Canada have surged the last year. Deaths from using fentanyl are twice as prevalent in Ontario as heroin deaths and account for one-fourth of the overdose deaths in British Columbia, up from just five per cent in 2012.

The other aspect that makes the drug so desirable to dealers is its accessibility through prescription drug abuse. Fentanyl has been used by doctors since the 1960s as a particularly effective anesthetic and pain reliever. Its rapid onset character is an effective pain reliever for cancer patients. It is prescribed in several forms, including transdermal patches, oral tablets, nasal sprays and lozenges on a stick (referred to as “lollipops”).

A study in the journal Pain found that one-tenth of the users of prescription painkillers end up addicted to them, and one-fourth of the prescribed drugs end up being misused or diverted out of accepted medical use. Some law enforcement officers consider fentanyl to be the new Oxycontin. It’s cheaper, easier to get access to with the recent restrictions on Oxy, and it produces more of the high that becomes so addictive for opiate users.

Dealers can readily use these forms to combine with heroin either for injection, smoking, or snorting. But fentanyl itself cannot be so easily diluted because it has a very quick absorption rate. Even in small quantities of a single dose, it can have a variety of dangerous side effects, including hallucinations, aphasia, and respiratory depression. Under the watchful eye of a physician, the drug can be a life saver. Uncontrolled on the street, it can be a life taker.

The other danger message sent by DEA about fentanyl is that it poses a special risk for law enforcement officers because it absorbs so readily. Exposure to the drug, for example in the execution of a search warrant or undercover, either by inhaling it or by skin contact can be perilous if the officer has an allergy to opiates.

Deadly, accessible, and on the rise, fentanyl poses the latest crisis for law enforcement.

 


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FBI Clears Deputy Who Shot ,Killed Teen Who Had Replica AK-47

Andy Lopez

Andy Lopez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sonomo County Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus had a split second to decide whether to pull the trigger when a teenager pointed what appeared to be an automatic weapon at him.

The 24-year veteran of the department squeezed the trigger eight times, killing the 13-year-old boy who turned out to be holding a replica AK-47, the San Francisco Gate reports.

On Wednesday, the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office alerted Sheriff Steve Freitas that they’ve concluded that the deputy did not commit any federal civil rights violations in the shooting death of Andy Lopez.

The federal investigation follows a decision by Sonoma County prosecutors to clear Gelhaus of any criminal wrongdoing.

The shooting happened after deputies in a patrol car spotted Andy from behind and thought he had a real automatic weapon.

Deputies said Andy responded to them by raising his hand with the plastic weapon, prompting the shooting.


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Bill Would Help Justice Department Combat ‘Violent Extremism’

Rep. Michael McCaul

Rep. Michael McCaul

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is moving forward on its promise to combat “violent extremism.”

Reason.com reports that Rep. Michael McCaul has introduced a bill, Countering Violent Extremism Act, that would create a federal Office of Coordination for Countering Violent Extremism.

The office would be house at Homeland Security.

The bill covers a range of responsibilities, including “identifying risk factors that contribute to violent extremism in communities in the United States,” “assessing the methods used by violent extremists to disseminate propaganda and messaging to communities at risk for radicalization and recruitment,” and “establishing a counter-messaging program” to head off extremist ideas.

The bill calls for $10 million a year for the next five years and a new leader, assistant secretary for countering violent extremism.”


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FBI Warns U.S. Companies of Increasing Dangers of Chinese Hack Attacks

Data securityBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is alerting U.S. companies of the increasing dangers of Chinese hack attacks.

The Daily Beast reports that the bureau sent out warnings to companies Wednesday to be aware of a malicious computer program that has been tied to the bold hack of the Office of the Personnel Management.

The FBI also sent specifics such as the hash values for the malware, called Sakula, so that companies can search their systems to see if they are infected.

Although James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, has accused China of the government hack, he has yet to offer solid evidence, according to the Daily Beast.

The FLASH alert says the bureau has identified “cyber actors who have compromised and stolen sensitive business information and personally identifiable information.”


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