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Archive for December 18th, 2009

3 Charged with Narco-Terrorism to Support al Qaeda

ghana mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Three men arrested in Ghana this week arrived in New York on Friday to face charges of trafficking cocaine through Africa to support terrorist organizations including al Qaeda and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Drug Enforcement Administration said.

It was the first time al Qaeda associates had been charged with narco-terrorism, the DEA said, and it was a disturbing reminder of the growing link between drug traffickers and terrorist organizations.

“These narco-terrorists do not respect borders and do not care who they harm with their drug trafficking conspiracies,” DEA acting administrator Michele Leonhart said in a statement. “Working with our narcotics law enforcement partners in Ghana and across the globe, DEA is making unprecedented progress in dismantling illicit drug networks in western Africa and around the world.”

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara added in a statement that the “allegations reflect the emergence of a worrisome alliance between al Qaeda and transnational narcotics traffickers. As terrorist diversify into drugs, however, they provide us with more opportunities to incapacitate them and cut off the funding for future acts of terror.”

The narco-terrorist suspects included: Oumar Issa, Harouna Toure and Idriss Abelrahman. They were arrested in Ghana on Dec. 16 at the request of the U.S. government, the DEA said.

Read Criminal Complaint

Read DEA Press Release

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Muslims Complain that FBI Tactics Stir Resentment and Tension

The tensions between the FBI and the Muslim American community may never totally vanish. But both sides need one another and it would be beneficial to improve relations.

mosque

By PAUL VITELLO and KIRK SEMPLE
New York Times

The anxiety and anger have been building all year. In March, a national coalition of Islamic organizations warned that it would cease cooperating with the F.B.I. unless the agency stopped infiltrating mosques and using “agents provocateurs to trap unsuspecting Muslim youth.”

In September, a cleric in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, sued the government, claiming that the F.B.I. had threatened to scuttle his application for a green card unless he agreed to spy on relatives overseas — echoing similar claims made in recent court cases in California, Florida and Massachusetts.

And last month, after an imam in Queens was charged with aiding what the authorities called a bomb-making plot, a group of South Asian Muslims there began compiling a database of complaints about their brushes with counterterrorism investigators.

For Full Story

Read Story on Arrests in Pakistan and Muslim American-FBI Relations

Sen. Judiciary Committee Endorses 4 More U.S. Atty. Nominees

Detroit's Barbara McQuade/icle photo
Detroit’s Barbara McQuade/icle photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday endorsed four U.S. Attorney nominees, according to the website Main Justice.

The nominees include: Barbara McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan; Christopher Crofts of Wyoming; James Santelle of the Eastern District of Wisconsin; and Michael Cotter of Montana.

Main Justice reported that the Judiciary Committee has now approved 31 U.S. Attorney nominees, including the 24 U.S. Attorneys who have won Senate confirmation.

D.C. Fed Judge Says Gitmo Inmates No More Dangerous Than Some Violent Street Gangs

Judge Lamberth/court photo By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – U.S. District Judge Joyce Lamberth in Washington, not exactly a shy person, isn’t buying into the critics’ claims that the Guantanamo inmates are any more dangerous than some street gangs that have gone on trial in civilian courts.

“The gangs are more murderous, I think, than some of these people at Guantanamo,’’ Lamberth, the chief judge (in photo), told lawyers at an American Bar Association breakfast, according to the Associated Press. “They’ve certainly killed their share of witnesses here.’’

Lamberth has some experience dealing with gangs. In 2004, he presided over a trial  involving  “Murder Inc.” gang members who were accused of killing 31 people, including witnesses to crimes.

So far, five Gitmo inmates are slated for trial in New York. More are expected to eventually go on trial in federal courts in New York and elsewhere.

ATF, FBI and D.C. Cops Bust 44 in Undercover Sting Targeting Guns and Drugs

It’s been a while since we’ve heard of any law enforcement operations setting up a sting like this.

gun

By Clarence Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON – D.C. police and federal agents announced Thursday the arrest of more than 40 people on felony weapons and drug charges as the result of a seven-month undercover operation.

Investigators from the D.C. Police Narcotics and Special Investigations Division led the sting, in which undercover officers posed as drug and gun buyers inside a Northeast Washington auto body shop. Police said confidential informants brought dozens of men willing to sell illegal goods at EB Autobody, the phony business set up by police in June.

“This was the most successful operation like this that we have done in Washington, D.C., since the 1970s,” Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said at a news conference.

For Full Story

Death of Mexican “Boss of Bosses” Drug Cartel Kingpin Won’t Spell the End

DEA's Michele Leonhart/dea photo

DEA's Michele Leonhart/dea photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – The death on Wednesday of Mexican drug kingpin Arturo Beltran Leyva, who claimed to be the “boss of bosses”, may be a big victory for the Mexican and American governments, but it certainly won’t spell the end to the violent grip the cartels have on the country.

In fact, it could end up creating a power struggle that may only mean more violence.

“It’s an important step but, at the end of the day, you’re not going to reduce the market,” Alberto Islas, a Mexico City-based security analyst told the Los Angeles Times. “You take out one guy and somebody else will take his place. But this is violent.”

Mexican and American officials hailed the death of the kingpin, who was fatally shot during an intense gunfight with Mexican naval commandos.

“This action represents an important achievement for the people and government of Mexico and a heavy blow against one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in Mexico,” President Felipe Calderon said, according to the Times.

“His death has dealt a crippling blow to one of the most violent cartels in the world,” said Michele Leonhart, acting director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

To Read the full Los Angeles Times Story click here.

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