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Archive for October, 2008

A Little Introduction

My name is Jim and I am a retired “Fed.” I spent 33 years on the job (following six years as an Army officer). My law enforcement career ran the spectrum from rookie agent to Presidential appointee. I worked in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. I’ve been gone from carrying a badge for four years, and yet I miss it every day.

I miss the saints and scoundrels, the unique challenges and the thrill of getting it right. And sure, I miss the adventure and fulfillment, the big cases and big arrests. But I miss more the deep friendships and inter-dependencies formed in that closed world of responsibility, the commitment to the law and the power of enforcing it. There is no parallel profession where trust and confidence in each other is such a requirement, that I know of, other than perhaps in the military services.

During my time, I witnessed the revolutionary transition of American law enforcement from a fairly straight forward profession requiring a few key physical and mental skills, to its state today as a multi-faceted and complex array of professions, technologies, and organizations. Providing for the public safety and good order of today’s society requires a myriad of skills, strategies and resources, that didn’t exist nor even contemplated in the early days of my career.

It is well that this metamorphosis of law enforcing has occurred because as we all understand there are new threats to our safety that emerge with the speed of the new technologies that facilitate them. The old paradigms of patrolling, detection, investigation and prosecution while still important are not enough. The most effective law enforcement today comes in prevention processes because of the daunting capabilities to commit crimes that are targeted on our 21st Century world of electronic transactions, communications and prodigious data records.

So there you have it, I am excited by this new world of law enforcement and I will use this space to weigh in from time to time on subjects or issues that might stimulate your interest or opinions. I know how the bureaucracies that govern these functions work and make decisions and I would enjoy sharing my observations with you.

(Jim Huse is the CEO of IntegriGuard, LLC, a program integrity, payment accuracy company in Omaha, NE. You can learn more about him and his company at www.integriguard.org).

Juror Has “Violent Outbursts” During Deliberations In Stevens Trial

From the outset, the trial seemed a little chaotic. Now that chaos has spilled over into jury deliberations. Will Stevens benefit from it all?

Sen. Ted Stevens/ official photo
Sen. Ted Stevens/ official photo

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The foreman of the jury in Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens’ corruption trial asked today that a juror be removed following “violent outbursts” with other jurors and her refusal to “follow the rules and laws” during deliberations.
In a note to the judge, the foreman said he represented the views of 10 other jurors in requesting that the juror, identified only as No. 9, be removed from the panel. He also described her as “rude, disrespectful and unreasonable.”
But U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan declined. He read the note in court and summoned the panel into the courtroom for what he called “a pep talk.” He told the jurors to act with civility and sent them back to deliberate in the first trial of a sitting U.S. senator in more than two decades.
For Full Story

UPDATE 6:20 p.m. – Jurors go home Thursday without reaching verdict.

UPDATE 10:40 A.M.  Friday-Oct. 24- The Associated Press reports that the judge in the Sen. Stevens public corruption trial has halted jury deliberations for a day or two to accommodate a juror whose father died. Read More

DEA And Colombians Link Hezbollah To Cocaine Ring

Hezbollah flag

Hezbollah flag

Every organizations needs money to flourish. No one knows that better than the DEA and Colombian investigators who dug deep to find a drug connection between Colombia and Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese-based militia.

By Chris Kraul and Sebastian Rotella
Los Angeles Times
(Reported from Bogota, Colombia and Madrid) — U.S. and Colombian investigators have dismantled an international cocaine smuggling and money laundering ring that allegedly used part of its profits to finance Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite militia, officials said Tuesday.
Culminating a two-year investigation, authorities arrested at least 36 suspects in recent days, including an accused Lebanese kingpin in Bogota, the Colombian capital. Chekry Harb, who used the alias “Taliban,” acted as the hub of an unusual and alarming alliance between South American cocaine traffickers and Middle Eastern militants, Colombian investigators allege.

For Full Story

South Carolina Councilman Busted For Computer Spying

Tony Trout/official photo

Tony Trout/official photo

Some people are computer illiterate. Not Councilman Tony Trout, unfortunately.

By Ben Szobody
The Greenville News
GREENVILLE, S.C. — County Councilman Tony Trout was charged in a five-count indictment Wednesday with unlawfully accessing computers used by the county administrator and Yahoo, destroying records and intercepting and disclosing electronic communication, charges that could bring a maximum of 36 years in prison and $1.1 million in fines if he is convicted.
Gov. Mark Sanford intends to suspend Trout from office Thursday and will explore appointing Joe Baldwin, the man who defeated Trout in the Republican primary, to the seat early, said spokesman Joel Sawyer.
U.S. Magistrate William Catoe appointed public defender Benjamin Stepp as a “standby counsel” Wednesday to advise Trout on legal and procedural issues. Stepp told The Greenville News that usually means a defendant wants to do all the talking in court.
Stepp declined to comment about the indictment because he said he technically isn’t Trout’s lawyer. Attempts to reach Trout were unsuccessful. Trout’s previous attorney, Ernest Hamilton, was terminated Wednesday, according to court documents.
For Full Story

Read FBI Affidavit For Search Warrant

Read Search Warrant Return

Passengers Will Have To Disclose More Info To Fly

These days the friendly skies are getting a little less friendly and little more intrusive. Will less privacy mean safer skies?

Sec. Michael Chertoff At Press Conference/dhs photo

Sec. Michael Chertoff At Press Conference/dhs photo

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Department of Homeland Security will take responsibility from airlines for checking passenger names against watch lists beginning in January and will require all commercial passengers for the first time to provide their full name, date of birth and gender as a condition of boarding a flight, U.S. officials said today.
The changes will be phased in next year for the 2 million passengers each day aboard domestic and international flights to, from or over the United States. It marks the Bush administration’s long-delayed fulfillment of a top aviation security priority identified after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, an effort that has long spurred privacy concerns.
Speaking at Reagan National Airport, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Transportation Security Administration chief Kip Hawley said that by gathering more personal information from passengers, the government will dramatically cut down on instances of mistaken identity that have wrongly delayed travelers or kept them off flights.
For Full Story

Read Department Of Homeland Security Press Release

Illinois Couple Killed After Agreeing To Cooperate With FBI

East St. Louis/city photo

East St. Louis/city photo

Coincidence or Not? A couple was shot to death after agreeing to cooperate in an FBI probe of a farmer.

By Jim Suhr
The Associated Press
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A couple who helped a farmer hide a tractor from his creditors were found shot to death at their rural home just two days after they had agreed to talk to FBI agents investigating his bankruptcy, federal prosecutors say.
No one has been charged in the April 2007 deaths of George and Linda Weedon, whose bodies were found by firefighters responding to a fire at their home near Keyesport, a lakeside resort village about 60 miles east of St. Louis.
George Weedon had told an FBI agent he would cooperate with their investigation of farmer Joseph Diekemper, but feared Diekemper would burn down his house if he found out, according to documents filed in the case Monday.
Diekemper and his wife were charged in June with bankruptcy fraud. Prosecutors allege they hid valuable farm equipment at various places, including a tractor found behind a fake wall of a barn on the Weedons’ property.
For Full Story

Men In Ft. Dix Terrorist Case Bought Assault Weapons

Defendants in the Ft. Dix terrorism case were caught buying weapons from an FBI informant. Were they terrorists or just wannabes?

wcbstv.com photo

wcbstv.com photo

By JASON NARK
Philadelphia Daily News
CAMDEN, N.J. –Moments before an FBI SWAT team kicked in his door, the government’s top informant in the Fort Dix terrorism case dropped a little irony on two men he had just set up.
“I don’t trust anybody,” Mahmoud Omar said to brothers Shain and Dritan Duka before the FBI arrested the Dukas last year.
According to a video played in U.S. District Court in Camden yesterday, the brothers were inside the apartment to purchase weapons – four M-16 and three AK-47 assault rifles – from Omar, an Egyptian national and paid government informant who received the neutered weapons from the FBI.
Yesterday, the seven assault rifles, along with four other weapons that the defendants owned, sat on a table inside the courtroom a few feet away from the jury.
The government alleges that the weapons were a key component in a terrorist plot to attack and kill U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix in New Jersey. They allege that the men were inspired by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to defend Islam and start a holy war in the United States.
For Full Story

See Daily Transcript Of The Trial and Videos

ATF Probe Leads To Mass Arrests Of Bikers In Six States

An undercover ATF investigation  may spell the demise of the Mongols, a Southern-California based biker gang accused of everything from hate crimes to murder. In many circles, it’s a resume only a mother could love. Agents began rounding up the indicted suspects Tuesday.

By Scott Glover
Los Angeles Times
More than 1,000 heavily armed federal agents and local police fanned out across Southern California and cities in five other states early this morning, arresting dozens of members of the notorious Mongols motorcycle gang on federal racketeering charges.
But the most lasting blow to the San Gabriel Valley-based bikers may be down the road: In an unusual maneuver, the feds are also seeking to seize control of the Mongols’ trademarked name, which is typically accompanied by its cherished insignia — a ponytailed Genghis Khan-like figure riding a chopper.
U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien said if his plan is successful, the government would take over ownership of the trademark, and anyone caught wearing a Mongols patch could have it seized by law enforcement on the spot.
“Not only are we going after the Mongols’ motorcycles, we’re going after their very identity,” O’Brien said in a telephone interview early this morning. “We are using all the tools at our disposal to crush this violent gang.”

For Full Story

Read Indictment