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Archive for December, 2009

Extradited Mexican Drug Cartel Leader Sentenced in NY to 27 Years

dea_color_logo
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The leader of the violent Mexican drug cartel, accused of importing more than 200 tons of cocaine into the U.S., got hit with a 27-year sentence on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Gilberto Salinas Doria, leader of the Juarez Cartel, pleaded guilty in 2008 to narcotics conspiracy charges for importing massive amounts of cocaine into the U.S. between 1994 to 1999, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Salinas was first arrested in Mexico in 1998, but escaped, authorities said. He was later captured in Venezuela and returned to Mexico. He was prosecuted there before being extradited to the U.S. in 2007.

“Gilberto Salinas Doria is a tgrue drug kingpin who, in the course of just five years, shipped more than 200 tons of cocaine from Mexico to the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a prepared statement. “The harm caused by the poison Salinas Doria poured into the United State is inestimable, and the stiff sentence imopsed by the judge today is a just punishment for a life of crime.

Homeland Chief Napolitano Says al Qaeda Followers in U.S. and Want to Attack

This isn’t exactly new, but maybe it’s important to say publicly from time to  time to remind the American people that they can’t become complacent about the potential threats of terrorism.

Janet Napolitano/bill maher show

Janet Napolitano/bill maher show

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Al-Qaeda followers are inside the United States and would like to attack targets here and in other countries, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday night.

The secretary’s comments were her bluntest assessment yet of terror threats within the country, and they came one day after President Obama, in announcing his decision to send 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, warned that extremists have been “sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit more acts of terror.”

Addressing the American Israel Friendship League in New York, Napolitano said a string of recent domestic arrests should “remove any remaining comfort that some might have had from the notion that if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won’t have to fight them here,” rebutting an argument advanced on several occasions by former president George W. Bush.

For Full Story

John Gotti Jr. Tells Story as a Kid Why he Later Joined the Mob

Father John J. Gotti

Father John J. Gotti

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

John Gotti Jr. had a little different childhood than most.

On Wednesday, the man who just escaped conviction for the fourth time when a judge declared a mistrial in his racketeering case, explained why he joined the mob.

Newsday’s Sophia Chang reports in an interview with Gotti, 45, that he recalled at age 7 visiting his father John J. Gotti in the Lewisburg, Pa. federal prison where had been serving out his three year sentence for fencing stolen goods. He was popped in an FBI sting at Kennedy Airport.

“My father was released in March of ’72. That [previous] Halloween, ’71, I go to visit my dad, and we were visiting him in Lewisburg,” Gotti said, according to Newsday. “And he’s playing around with me and we’re talking, and he says, ‘Hey John.’ He says, ‘Halloween’s coming up. What’s your plans for Halloween?’

Read more »

Wife of Retired FBI Agent Missing in Iran Pleads for Help 1,000 Days Later

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The wife of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson marked the 1,000th day of her husband’s disappearance in Iran Thursday by talking about the anguish and pleading for help from the Iranian government to find out about his whereabouts.

“Today, Thursday, December 3rd, marks the 1,000th day since my husband, Robert “Bob” Levinson, went missing in Iran,” wife Christine Levinson wrote on the website set up to gather information on his whereabouts.

“To put 1,000 days in perspective – Bob disappeared less than a month after now-President Barack Obama first declared his candidacy, three and a half months before the iPhone was released and two weeks before 15 members of the British Navy were detained in Iran and subsequently freed. On a more personal level, 1,000 days ago our youngest son was 13; today he turns 16 years of age. It is not a happy birthday.‬‪” ‬

“Bob went missing on the Iranian island of Kish on March 9th, 2007. Kish Island is not even part of the Iranian mainland – it is a free trade zone that does not require a visa for entry. My husband expected to be on the island for just 24 hours – one day. But it has now been 1,000 days.”

“My family and I have spent almost three years seeking answers from the Iranian government, which I believe has the power to help us. We continue to ask for their assistance. We have no reason to believe Bob ever left Iran, and his passport has not shown up in any other country.”

The FBI issued a press release saying that it was continuing to seek information about Levinson’s whereabouts, and noting that he has seven children and two grand children.

“Although the FBI has note received any information from Iranian authorities to date about Mr. Levinsion, we are willing to cooperate fully with Iranian investigators in the our effort to find Mr. Levinson and bring him home safely.”

To read the wife’s entire statement click  on “Read More”.

Read more »

DEA’s Michele Leonhart Still Appears on Track to Get Agency’s Top Post

Michele Leonhart/dea photo

Michele Leonhart/dea photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Despite all the speculation and rumor as to who will be the next chief of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, word has it that the acting chief Michele Leonhart is still on track to get the nod from the White House for the top post.

Leonhart, whose title is acting administrator, was one of four people being considered for the job as the permanent administrator. Several months back, the FBI’s deputy director John Pistole, by all accounts,  seemed to be the front runner.

But for some reason,  sources said Leonhart had stepped to the front of the line. Still, because nothing has happened, speculation as to who will be the chief continues to circulate inside and outside the agency.

But a source says that Leonhart is  on track to get the job, but it’s still not a done deal. DEA spokesman Rusty Payne declined to comment Wednesday on the matter.

Read more »

Reputed Chicago Gang Member Charged With Killing ATF Informant

ChicagoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A reputed Chicago gang member was charged Tuesday with killing an ATF informant in 2006, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Spencer Martin, 32, a member of the Vice Lords, is accused of fatally shooting Earl Willis, 26. Willis’ body was found in a van on the city’s South side.

The paper reports that Martin and Willis allegedly robbed a North Side gas station and Martin shot someone.  Tests indicate the same gun was used to shoot Willis.

To read more click here.

Jurors in Gotti Case Said Evidence Was Weak and Govt. Should Not Go For 5th Trial

John Gotti Jr./youtube

John Gotti Jr./youtube

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

One juror in the John “Junior” Gotti racketeering trial put it succinctly on Tuesday after the jury was hopelessly deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial.

“The evidence was just not there to prosecute the guy,” said one of the jurors, who remained anonymous, according to the New York Times.

A group of jurors also said the government should not try to prosecute Gotti again.

The government said Tuesday that it had not yet decided whether to go for a fifth trial. This was Gotti’s fourth. The other three, just like this one, ended in mistrials after jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision.

Four jurors met with reporters Tuesday after the mistrial was declared and talked about the flaws in the government’s case.

The four jurors said they seemed to buy  Gotti’s defense that he had withdrawn from the mob long ago, according to the New York Times.

“The jurors said that of the 12 people on the panel, 6 did not believe that Mr. Gotti quit the mob, 5 did believe him and one remained undecided,” the Times reported.

The group also said they did believe John Alite, the government’s key witness, who is a “confessed hit man and a former member of Mr. Gotti’s crew,” the Times reported.

The jurors  said the government should quit trying to put Gotti behind bars.

“They should stop this now — it’s ridiculous,” said one of the jurors, a middle-aged man, according to the Times. Another juror, a woman, said of the prosecution: “It’s abusive. It’s almost become a mockery.”

To read more click here.

FBI Busts D.C. Guards on Charges of Smuggling Cellphones and Ipods to Inmates for Cash

dc. dept of correctionsBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — An undercover FBI employee posing as an inmate’s brother, helped bust two D.C. corrections officers and a Maryland woman on federal bribery charges for allegedly smuggling cellphones and iPods to prisoners in exchange for cash payments, the Washington Post reported.

Authorities on Tuesday arrested corrections officers Thomas Ford, 35, and Quincy Hayes, 32, who were placed on administrative leave, the Post’s Del Quentin Wilber reported. Both work at the D.C. Correction Treatment Facility, which is run by the Corrections Corporation of America.

Authorities also charged Renee Braxton, 44, a security guard at a museum, the Post reported.

The paper reported that an inmate tipped off the FBI to the contraband smuggling. Subsequently, an undercover FBI employee, posing as an inmate’s brother, “met with Braxton and Ford in 2008 and early this year and gave them several hundred dollars to smuggle a phone, an iPod and a charger to inmates at the CTF,” the Post reported.