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Tag: DEA

DEA Agent Sentenced to 2 Years for Using Fraudulently Issued Government Credit Cards

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A DEA agent was sentenced to two years in prison Monday after using fraudulently issued government credit cards to steal more than $113,000 from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Keenya Meshell Banks, 41, of Maryland, was earlier convicted of wire fraud.

Banks was a program manager for the DEA and was responsible for approving and issuing government credit cards to DEA employees, the North Dallas Gazette reports.

Banks admitted submitting fake credit card applications using fictitious DEA employees and then using those cards for her person benefit.

In all, Banks said she obtained at least 32 fraudulent credit cards.

Albuquerque Journal: DEA’s Cash Seizure Needs Outside Investigation

By Editorial Board
Albuquerque Journal

A friendly “meet and greet” with a DEA agent in Albuquerque could result in what looks a lot like highway robbery – if the agent doesn’t like what you have to say or how you say it. If you refuse to consent to a search of your luggage, well, there’s consequences for that, too. Your luggage could be confiscated pending agents getting a search warrant from a judge.

And if you’re African-American – perhaps the only African-American male on an Amtrak car – with some cash on you, tag you’re it.

That’s roughly what happened to 22-year-old Joseph Rivers riding the train to Los Angeles in April, in his words, to pursue his dream of making a music video. DEA agents picked him out among passengers in a car to have a chat. Then they decided the $16,000 he was carrying – money he says he saved up to make the video – was somehow linked to drug trafficking.

Whatever probable cause or “hunch” they had, it wasn’t enough to arrest or to charge Rivers with a crime. But it was enough to confiscate his cash.

Rivers’ story, as told in a May 6 Journal UpFront column by Joline Gutierrez Krueger, went viral and got the attention of members of the U.S. House Judicial Committee, including Democratic New Mexico Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Committee members want to know a lot more about why the money was seized and whether the agents were racial profiling when they targeted Rivers.

This is far from the first time this has happened in Albuquerque and elsewhere, and it’s time such questions are being asked.

Former DEA Agent Indicted For Fraud in a Case In Which He Posed as an FBI Agent

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former DEA agent has been charged with fraud in a scheme in which he allegedly posed as an active FBI agent and helped a person who posed as a former federal prosecutor defraud a man who enlisted their help to recover money in a fraud scheme.

David Garcia Herrera, 70, of Torrance,Calif. was arrested last week at Los Angeles International Airport by the FBI last week.

Herrera is one of two defendants. The second defendant, —Jerome Arthur Whittington, 65, of La Quinta, Calif. who who allegedly posed as a successful attorney and told at least one victim that he was a former federal prosecutor.

A press release issued last week stated:

In the indictment filed last week, Whittington and Herrera allegedly joined forces to defraud two victims, one of whom lost money in fraudulent investments, and another who was trying to obtain immigration benefits for his wife.

In the first scheme, Whittington posed as an attorney and Herrera pretended to be an FBI special agent as they falsely promised the victim they could help him recover losses in fraudulent schemes related to two companies, Pacific Property Assets and Medical Capital Corporation. Whittington and Herrera told the victim that they were able to seize assets from the two fraudulent companies, but the victim needed to provide money that would be used to “post bonds” that were required prior to seizing the assets. After Whittington claimed that he had obtained a $4 million judgment, Whittington told the victim that representatives from the companies and other victims were very angry and that he should leave the country to avoid confrontations and harassment.

Read more »

Weekend Series on Crime: Going Undercover as a Mexican Drug Lord

DEA Agent Dies a Month After Motorcycle Crash in Indiana

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Scott Sieben, a DEA agent assigned to the Evansville, Ind., post, died this week from injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash a month earlier, the Evansville Courier & Press reports.

Scott Sieben, 54, died Tuesday in an Indianapolis hospital where he had been since the May 3 crash.

Sieben previously worked overseas for the DEA but came to Evansville to be closer to his family.

“He was just really cool — an intellectual but a super nice guy,” said Karen Vaughn-Kajmowicz, an Evansville Police Department sergeant who is a member of the city-county drug task force that works with the FBI. “He just fit in well with this unit.”

Vaughn-Kajmowicz said Sieben was driven and dedicated to his family and job.

“Scott was the perfect balance of family, faith and work. All of us can learn from that — that you can be good at all of those things, Vaughn-Kajmowicz said. “You don’t have to put all of your eggs in one basket. You can be a good father, husband and a servant of God, along with being really good at what you do.”

Lawmakers Try to Protect Medical Marijuana Users from Zealous DEA

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA’s defiant crusade against marijuana users may cost the agency a lot of money.

Federal lawmakers are considering several proposals that would severally limit the DEA’s ability to arrest marijuana users, the LA Weekly reports. 

One bill would protect hemp growers and sellers, and another would extend a law  designed last year to protect marijuana users in states where medical marijuana is legal.

Other proposals include trimming millions of dollars from the DEA’s hemp eradication program.

Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, saod “there’s unprecedented support on both sides of the aisle for ending the federal war on marijuana.”

DEA More Than Triples Use of Wiretaps, Other Surveillance Over Past Decade

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA’s use of wiretaps and other electronic surveillance more than tripled in the past decade, often bypassing courts and federal prosecutors, according to newly obtained records, the USA Today reports.

The DEA used electronic surveillance 11,681 times in the last fiscal year, compared to just 3,394 a decade ago.

The increase comes as the DEA has begun taking more of its cases to local prosecutors and judges, as opposed to federal ones, because they are finding an easier time getting approval.

State and federal laws are vastly different when it comes to wiretaps. On the federal level, a senior Justice Department official must approve. But state courts don’t have the same rules.

“That law exists to make sure that wiretap authority is not abused, that it’s only used when totally appropriate,” said Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “That’s a burden. And if there’s a way to get around that burden, the agents are going to try to get around it.”

Other Stories of Interest


A Ranking Agent and A Telecommunication Specialist for DEA Charged in Connection With Strip Club That Hired Illegal Aliens and Had Prostitution

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
A high-ranking DEA agent, who retired last month, and a telecommunications specialist for the agency were arrested on charges they flouted their duties by running a lucrative strip club in New Jersey where prostitution was captured on security video, the Associated Press reported.

AP reports that court papers in New York state that DEA agent David Polos and Glen Glover, the telecommunication specialist,  are part owners of Twins Plus Go-Go Lounge in South Hackensack, N.J. They both work in New York.

A criminal complaint stated the the club offers scantily clad and sometimes topless dancers, many of whom are from foreign lands and are in the country illegally.

Polos was a assistant special agent-in-charge in the Manhattan office until he retired last month.