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Florida Nurse Accused of Threatening to Kill Vice President Harris

Vice President Kamala Harris.

By Steve Neavling

A Florida nurse has been charged with threatening to kill Vice President Kamala Harris.

Niviane Petit Phelps was arrested last week after authorities said she recorded and sent a series of videos to her husband in jail, according to a Secret Service complaint, USA Today reports.

In the videos, Phelps allegedly said she planned to murder the vice president and was practicing at a gun range and applying for a concealed weapons permit. 

She also claimed Harris “isn’t actually Black,” the complaint states. 

The criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida states that Phelps “knowingly and willfully made threats to kill and inflict bodily harm upon the Vice President of the United States in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 871.”

Phelps faces up to five years in prison if convicted. 

Phelps, a 20-year employee of Jackson Health System, was suspended from her job. 


FBI Investigated Man Who Shot 8 People at Fed Ex Facility

Brandon Scott Hole

By Steve Neavling

The FBI interviewed the 19-year-old man who shot and killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis after his mother warned law enforcement in March 2020 that he might try to “commit suicide by cop,” the bureau said. 

Brandon Scott Hole, 19, of Indianapolis, opened fire at a Fed Ex facility late Thursday before turning the gun on himself. 

After authorities received the warning about Hole, a former Fed Ex employee, the Indianapolis Metro Police Department placed him “on an immediate detention mental health temporary hold,” Paul Keenan, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office, said in a statement. 

Keenan said the FBI joined the investigation after police found a shotgun in Hole’s bedroom. 

“Based on items observed in the suspect’s bedroom at that time, he was interviewed by the FBI in April 2020. No Racially Motivated Violent Extremism (RMVE) ideology was identified during the course of the assessment and no criminal violation was found,” Keenan said in the statement. “The shotgun was not returned to the suspect.”

Nevertheless, Hole legally purchased the two assault rifles he used in the attack several months after the FBI investigated him. 


Weekend Series on Crime History: The Mob in Las Vegas


More Than 410 Alleged Insurrectionists Arrested in Ongoing Probe of Jan. 6 Riot

Alex Gakos/Shutterstock.com

By Steve Neavling

The FBI has arrested more than 410 people accused of participating in the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. 

A CBS News review of 369 cases found that 163 suspects have been indicted by grand juries. 

According to the Justice Department, more than 100 alleged insurrectionists have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or employees.

More than 35 of the suspects have been charged with bringing a dangerous or deadly weapon into the Capitol. 

About 30 suspects are accused of conspiring to coordinate with others, and at least 56 have been connected to extremists groups such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters. 

Of those arrested, at least 38 are current or former military members. 

Investigators have executed more than 900 search warrants and are reviewing more than 15,000 hours of surveillance and body cam footage and have collected about 1,600 electronic devices. 

The alleged riots hail from at least 45 states. Of those, Texas had the most suspects (38), followed by Florida (31), Pennsylvania (30) and New York (26). 

Federal authorities previously said about 800 people stormed the Capitol, and the FBI has pledged to track down as many of the suspects as possible. 

In March, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau has received more than 270,000 digital media tips. 

“With their help, we’ve identified hundreds of suspects and opened hundreds of investigations in all but one of our 56 field offices,” Wray said. 


FBI Director Warns Lawmakers about Dangers from Far-Right Extremists

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before a previous House Homeland Security Committee.

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers on Thursday that right-wing militants and white supremacists are communicating with far-right activists overseas and have even traveled to Europe to meet with them. 

At a U.S. House Intelligence Committee hearing, Wray described the right-wing militants in the U.S. as domestic extremists who are reaching out to like-minded activists abroad and may even have trained with them, Reuters reports.

Wray said racially motivated extremists are the “actors with the most persistent and concerning transnational connections.”

Wray also told lawmakers that the bureau is on the lookout for new threats to the U.S. Capitol and state capitols following the deadly riot on Jan. 6 and that investigators are receiving “an avalanche of tips.”


Border Patrol Agent Laid to Rest in California After He Was Struck with Car

Funeral services for fallen Border Patrol Agent Alejandro. Flores-Bañuelos

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol agent killed while trying to help a motorist in Southern California on March 15 was laid to rest this week. 

Law enforcement officials said goodbye to Alejandro Flores-Bañuelos, of the El Centro Sector, at services held Tuesday at Riverside National Cemetery Amphitheater.  

Flores-Bañuelos, 35, was called to a report of a collision on state Route 86 near Salton City. When he arrived, he began helping a 75-year-old woman whose car had become disabled in the road during a dust storm. A car stuck both the agent and the woman’s car. 

Alejandro Flores-Bañuelos (courtesy of Border Patrol)

Flores-Bañuelos, who was assigned to the Indio Station, was pronounced dead at Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley. 

Flores-Bañuelos left behind a wife and three children. 

Before joining Border Patrol, Flores-Bañuelos served in the U.S. Marine Corps. 

“Yesterday was a difficult day for El Centro Sector as we laid our brother to rest,” the El Centro Sector posted on Facebook.

“With heavy hearts we heard our dispatch call his star number, India-203, for a safety check one more time.  A call he will no longer be able to answer. We watched his horse pass by without his rider, leaving behind indelible sadness, yet grateful for the opportunity to have worked alongside him.”


CBP Officer Charged with Excessive Force, Faces Up to 10 Years in Prison

CBP officer (Photo: CBP via Twitter)

By Steve Neavling

A Customs and Border Protection officer from the Calexico office has been charged with using unreasonable force on a person seeking admission into the U.S. from Mexico. 

Officer Marcos Valenzuela, 29, of El Centro, Calif., injured the unidentified person while on duty at the Calexico West Port of Entry in August 2019, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday. 

“The protection of the civil rights of all persons entering the United States remains a high priority of the Justice Department, and our office in particular,” Acting U.S. Attorney Grossman said in a news release. “All allegations of excessive force by law enforcement officers are investigated thoroughly and carefully reviewed to ensure public confidence in our commitment to redressing violations of Constitutional rights.” 

Details of the allegations weren’t immediately clear. 

“No one is above the law and this indictment should assure the public that the FBI is committed to rooting out any public servant who violates their oath – regardless of where they work,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner said. “Actions such as the ones alleged in this case violate an officer’s oath, the public’s trust, and damage law enforcement’s reputation. I want to thank Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility for their collaboration and partnership in bringing this case to fruition.”

Valenzuela, who faces up to 10 years in prison, is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court for a motion hearing on May 21. 

“All CBP employees are required and expected to abide by all laws they enforce,” CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) Special Agent in Charge Elizabeth Cervantes said. “CBP stresses professionalism, honor, and integrity in every aspect of its mission and CBP OPR is fully committed to investigating all allegations of misconduct while supporting the men and women who proudly uphold their duties to serve and protect.”


Convicted Scammer Bernie Madoff Dies at 82

By Allan Lengel

Convicted scammer Bernard Madoff, who defrauded scores of clients out of billions of dollars in all, died Wednesday in the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina. He was 82.

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons confirmed the death, CNBC reports. He died of natural causes, AP reported.

Madoff was destined to die in prison as intended. He pleaded guilty in a massive fraud scheme that victimized as many as 37,000 people in 136 countries as far back as the 1970s. Victims included Steven Spielberg and Kevin Bacon. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

Once exposed, his life became a nightmare. Ditto for people and organizations that invested with him.

His brother Peter Madoff, a senior managing director in the firm, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. His son Mark died by suicide by hanging himself. The other son Andrew died of lymphoma in 2014.