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Tag: New Mexico

Documents Show Border Patrol Slow, Reluctant to Take Action on Complaints of Abuse by Agents

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

New CBP documents raise more pressing questions about how the federal government is handling complaints of abuse by Border Patrol agents, the Arizona Republic reports.

The reports show that only 13 of 809 complains of abuse filed against agents from January 2009 to January 2012 resulted in CBP action.

Of those, one led to an agent’s suspension and two led to court action.

The documents also show that CBP is slow to take up the cases. About 40% of the complaints were still pending, the Arizona Republic wrote.

“Border Patrol agents who commit abuse simply get away with it,” said Vicki Gaubeca of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Regional Center for Border Rights in New Mexico.

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Border Patrol Cracks Down on Medical Marijuana in New Mexico Despite Leniency Elsewhere

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Medical marijuana cardholders in New Mexico are running into trouble in New Mexico courtesy of the Border Patrol.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that patients are afraid to travel in the state because of Border Patrol checkpoints and crackdowns of marijuana, which is still illegal nationally.

The crackdown comes as the Justice Department, under the recommendations of President Obama, grows more tolerant of state laws allowing medical pot.

CBP appears on be on an anti-marijuana mission, prompting calls from state and federal representatives to urge the agency to rethink its position on pot, the Journal reported.

“Their argument is that, at the federal level, marijuana is still illegal and that is correct,” state Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Las Cruces, wrote in a letter to CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske. “However, with states like Colorado and Washington legalizing marijuana, most of the agencies of the federal government have changed their policies to reflect the reality.”

Homeland Security Crackdown Nets 600+ Arrests of Suspected Gang Members

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security arrested more than 600 suspected gang members in what is being called the largest gang crackdown ever by the agency, the Associated Press reports.

The operation, dubbed “Project Southbound,” involved Ice agents and local authorities in 179 cities, leading the arrest of 638 suspected gang members between March and April.

Of those, more than 400 had violent criminal histories and seven were wanted on murder charges.

“These are bad people with bad motives from bad organizations,” said Thomas Winkowski, the principal deputy assistant secretary for ICE.

The arrests happened nationwide in places that include Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Maryland and New Mexico.

The crackdown was part of an initiative to target gangs with ties to other countries.

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Homeland Security Department Goes Way Beyond Its Original Mission to Protect U.S. from Terrorists

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security, which was created in November 2002 following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has gone far beyond its original purpose and is being used to investigate crimes unlearned to terrorism, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

The new law was simple: “The primary mission of the department is to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States; reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism; minimize the damage, and assist in the recovery from terrorist attacks that do occur within the United States.”

But more than 11 years later, the mission has included interrogating people suspected of pirating videos, seizing counterfeit NBA merchandise and going after pickpocket cases.

“They’ve kind of lost their way,” former Secretary Tom Ridge said. “I was proud to be associated with those men and women, but it just seems to me … the focus – the primary focus – has been substantially diminished.”

But Homeland Security wants to expand its operations even more, especially in New Mexico, the Journal reported.

“I really do want to expand the footprint as far as my side of Homeland Security,” said Kevin Abar, assistant special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New Mexico.

DEA Albuquerque Office Gets New Leadership Role As Assistant Special Agent in Charge

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Sean R. Waite, a longtime DEA agent, has been appointed as a new agent in charge of the agency’s Albuquerque, NM, office, the Republic reports.

Waite replaces Keith Brown, who left to become the agent in charge of the DEA’s New Orleans field office last year.

The office is part of the El Paso Field Division, which has been busy with synthetic drug trafficking.

Sharp Rise in Border Patrol Apprehensions along New Mexico Border

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol is experiencing a sharp increase in apprehensions at the New Mexico border, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

The Border Patrol took into custody nearly 8,000 people for illegally crossing the border in fiscal 2013 – compared to about 5,700 in fiscal 2012.

Although the New Mexico numbers were on the rise, Texas and Tucson saw declines, Albuquerque Journal wrote.

It may be the success in places like Tucson that are prompting immigrants to try the New Mexico border, said Joe Romero, acting special operations supervisor in the Border Patrol El Paso sector’s public affairs office..

“The success of neighboring sectors, such as Tucson Sector, may lead people away from that area in hopes of possibly finding a greater chance for success in our area,” Romero said in an emailed response to questions from the Albuquerque Journal.

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New Mexico Gov. Martinez’s Inner Circle Possible Target of FBI Investigation

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

FBI agents have become interested in the inner circle of New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the Santa Fe Reporter writes.

According to the Reporter, agents have been interviewing close political allies of the Republican over a lucrative, 25-year lease the state signed with the Downs at Albuquerque Racetrack & Casino.

The lease has been marred with problems from the onset and has cast a shadow of suspicion on Martinez.

Investigators have questioned people close to the governor about the bidding process and the state officials’ relationship with Downs, according to the Reporter.

U.S. Border Patrol Rescues Injured Boy in Mountains of New Mexico

istock photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The U.S. Border Patrol rescued a child who injured his leg on a hunting trip in the mountains of New Mexico, the Associated Press reports.

A Border Patrol crew from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Air and Marine in El Paso rushed to save the child in mountains near Deming.

The AP reported that the agency loaded the boy onto a helicopter.

He is recovering from non-life threatening injuries, the AP reported.