A popular Rhode Island state lawmaker is resigning from his leadership role and won’t run for re-election after the FBI raided his home and public office, the Associated Press reports.
Gordon Fox, a 52-year-old Democrat who has been House speaker since 2010, said he will step down from his leadership post but will serve out the remainder of his term.
“My personal focus going forward will be on my family and dealing with the investigation,” Fox said.
Fox became the nation’s first openly gay House speaker.
‘‘Because of the respect I have for all members of the House of Representatives, I am resigning as Speaker,’’ Fox said in a written statement emailed to reporters. ‘‘The process of governing must continue and the transition of leadership must be conducted in an orderly manner.’’
Anthony L. Dinunzio, the acting boss of the New England La Cosa Nostra, was sentenced Wednesday in Providence, R.I. federal court to 6 years and 6 months in prison for his role in extorting protection payments from adult entertainment businesses in Rhode Island.
Dinunzio, 53, of East Boston, Mass., pleaded guilty on Sept. 13 to one count of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise (RICO).
“Today, the admitted leader of the New England La Cosa Nostra was sentenced to prison for the years of significant harm he caused to the people of Rhode Island,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer in a statement. “Anthony Dinunzio and his NELCN subordinates used threats of violence to extort protection payments from business owners throughout the state, and his sentence sends a powerful message about the department’s determination to hold mafia leaders and associates to account.”
“Over the last several years, the FBI and its federal, state and local law enforcement partners have undeniably shattered Omerta, the New England LCN’s code of silence,” said FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers. “Through persistent, methodical and unyielding investigations, Mr. Dinunzio and others in the LCN know they no longer are able to rely on their sworn bonds for protection from the FBI and our partners.”
A new leader has been named to the nation’s largest uniformed federal law enforcement agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, reports the website AllGov.com.
David V. Aguilar has been named the head of the agency. The move came after after Senate Republicans refused to hold a hearing on President Barack Obama’s nomination, Alan Bersin.
Aguilar has worked on the border for 33 years, according to the news report. As of January 1, 2012, Aguilar now commands more than 20,000 border enforcement officials.
Aguilar joined the Border Patrol in June of 1978, in Laredo, Texas. He was a first line supervisor and then Assistant Patrol Agent in Charge and Patrol Agent in Charge in Laredo. From 1988 to 1996 Aguilar was a Patrol Agent in Charge for three Border Patrol Stations in Texas: Dallas, Rio Grande Valley and Brownsville. He continued moving upward in Texas and Arizona after that.
A California woman may have to answer to a higher authority — a federal judge, that is — after being charged with scamming a group of nuns out of $285,000 and using the money to pay for items such as lingerie and pet sitting.
The FBI Monday arrested Linda Rose Gagnon, 57, of Tustin, on three counts of wire fraud for allegedly swindling a group of nuns at the U.S. Province of the Religious of Jesus & Mary Inc. in Rhode Island in a real estate scam.
Authorities say Gagnon operated the California-based Rose Enterprise Inc., a company she claimed helped clients with delinquent mortgages and real estate transactions. She had no real estate license.
According to a federal indictment, Gagnon, a former student of a boarding school operated by the Sisters of Religious of Jesus & Mary, visited the convent in Rhode Island in November 2008 and learned the organization was attempting to purchase a property in San Diego as a residence for nuns. It has residences for nuns all around the country.
The unusual circumstances warranted this headline in the Providence Journal on Wednesday: “U.S. Prosecutors Left in the Cold on Drug Bust.”
The paper reported that when state police and DEA agents in Providence, R.I., last week announced the seizure of 145 pounds of cocaine, $1.2 million in cash and the arrest of three men allegedly linked to the Mexican drug cartels, “it came as news” to fed prosecutors.
“We were unaware of this investigation,” Jim Martin, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, told the paper. “These are the types of cases we certainly would want to prioritize.”
FBI's Janet Fedarcyk at Brooklyn press conference/fbi photo
By Allan LengelFor AOL News
Federal authorities Thursday announced what they called the largest mob roundup in FBI history: the indictment of 127 people, including key Mafia figures from the New York, New Jersey and New England crime families, on charges ranging from murder and racketeering to gambling, extortion and loan-sharking.
About 800 law enforcement members from the FBI, the Secret Service, the U.S. Labor Department, and state and local law enforcement Thursday arrested 121 people who were named in 16 indictments filed in different jurisdictions. Four others were already in custody, and one member of the Colombo family was arrested in Italy.
The indictments were aimed at all five New York crime families — the Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno and Luchese families — along with the New England Patriarca family and the New Jersey Decavalcante family.
“Today’s arrests mark an important and encouraging step forward in disrupting La Cosa Nostra operations,” Attorney General Eric Holder said at a press conference this morning in Brooklyn, N.Y. “But the reality is that our battle against organized-crime enterprises is far from over.”
Authorities said the indictments resulted from years of investigations, including the use of wiretaps and cooperating informants.
“These cases are the cumulative results of years of investigative work, including the development of key cooperating witnesses, a trend that has definitely been tilting in law enforcement’s favor,” said Janice Fedarcyk, head of the New York FBI. “The vow of silence that is part of the oath Omerta is more myth than reality today.”