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Archive for January 28th, 2010

Head of Detroit FBI Defends Use of Informants and Raid Where Imam Was Killed

FBI's Andy Arena/ticklethewire.com photo

FBI's Andy Arena/ticklethewire.com photo

The tension between the FBI and Muslim and Arab American citizens is something being played out around the country, particularly in places like the Detroit area. It can’t hurt to have meetings like these.

By NIRAJ WARIKOO
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

DEARBORN, Mi. — Saying that informants are an important tool, the special agent in charge of the Detroit FBI office told a Dearborn audience today that the case of a Muslim cleric who died in a shootout with federal agents ended tragically, but that his agents followed proper protocol.

“We did what we had to do,” said Andrew Arena, head of the FBI office in Detroit.

Over the past year, there has been growing concern among Muslims about the use of undercover sources in their mosques and communities. Informants were used in the case of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, a Muslim leader from Detroit who died Oct. 28 after a shootout in Dearborn with FBI agents seeking to arrest him and others on suspicion of dealing with stolen goods. The FBI has said Abdullah opened fire on agents.

“I’m a Catholic, born and raised Roman Catholic,” Arena told the largely Muslim crowd in Dearborn. “If a Catholic priest is standing on the pulpit, saying, give money to the Irish Republican Army to kill British soldiers and throw them out of Northern Ireland, we have a right, a duty, a responsibility” to investigate.

For Full Story

Mexican Citizen Accused of Killing U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agent is Extradited to U.S.

Mexico border mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A Mexican citizen charged in the death of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent in 2008 was extradited from Mexico to the U.S. on Thursday, authorities announced.

Jesus Navarro-Montes arrived in Houston and is expected to be transferred to San Diego to stand trial, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

A superseding indictment filed in San Diego charged Navarro-Montes with federal narcotics violations and second-degree murder in the death of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar on Jan. 19, 2008, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities say the defendant allegedly struck and killed the agent with a Hummer H2 vehicle in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in Imperial County, Calif.

Senate Judiciary Gives the Nod to U.S. Attorney Nominees for Calif, D.C., NY

D.C. nominee Ronald Machen

D.C. nominee Ronald Machen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a unanimous nod Thursday to three U.S. Attorney nominees.

The nominees include Andre Birotte, Jr. for the Central District of California; Richard Hartunian for the Northern District of New York and Ronald Machen for Washington D.C.

The three must now be confirmed by the full Senate.

Ex-Cong. Jefferson’s Brother Mose Jefferson Sentenced to 10 Years in New Orleans

Mose Jefferson/wdsu tv

Mose Jefferson/wdsu tv

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A sad reminder of the crumbling political dynasty of the Jefferson family in Louisiana surfaced  Thursday in federal court in New Orleans.

Mose Jefferson, the political operative for the dynasty and the brother of convicted ex-Rep. William Jefferson, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for bribing school board president Ellenese Brooks-Simms  and then trying to cover it all up.

U. S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon also ordered him to pay a $175,000 fine and $913,000 in restitution to Orleans Parish School Board, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

The paper reported that Jefferson can remain free until his next public corruption trial is completed. He is scheduled to go to trial in March with other relatives on charges of ripping off non-profits.

Ex-Congressman Jefferson was sentenced to 13 years in prison in Alexandria, Va., in November. However, the judge has allowed him to remain free pending the completion of  his appeal, which could easily take two years.

To read more click here.

TSA Reports Big Drop in Guns Seized at Airports: Could the Christmas Day Incident Have Helped?

tsa photo

tsa photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Could it be that the Christmas Day underwear bombing incident may have raised the consciousness of the everyday traveler — at least when it comes to bringing guns to the airport?

We may never know for sure.

What we do know is that normally on any given week the Transportation Security Administration finds 25 to 30 guns or more at airport passenger checkpoints in the U.S.

TSA figures  posted for the week of Jan. 11-17 show there were only 8 guns found, an unusually low number.

The TSA did not immediately return a phone call to see if it had any explanation.

NY Mayor Bloomberg Joins Chorus of People Who Want 9/11 Terror Trial to be Held Outside City

new york 2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has always tried to be a good host to the countless visitors who come to the Big Apple each year.

But he seems to be changing his tune about playing host to suspected mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and four others, who are supposed to go on trial in Manhattan sometime in the next two years or so.

“It would be great if the federal government could find a site that didn’t cost a billion dollars, which using downtown will,” he told reporters on Wednesday, according to the New York Times.

“It’s going to cost an awful lot of money and disturb an awful lot of people,” he said. “Can we provide security? Yes. Could you provide security elsewhere? Yeah, and I mean — the suggestion of a military base is probably a reasonably good one. Relatively easy to supply — to provide security. They tend to be outside of cities so that they don’t disrupt other people.”

The Times noted that it was an about face from the Bloomberg of two months ago, who said: ”It is fitting that 9/11 suspects face justice near the World Trade Center site where so many New Yorkers were murdered.”

No Shocker: Madoff’s Brother Peter Under Criminal Investigation

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It may come as little shock to most that ripoff king Bernie Madoff’s brother Peter Madoff is in trouble.

Bloomberg news service is reporting that Peter Madoff, the chief compliance officer at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, is the subject of a criminal investigation. The news came out in a civil suit.

The United States Attorney’s Office “has informed us that Peter Madoff is a subject of its criminal investigation,’’ attorney Charles Spada wrote to U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark, according to Bloomberg.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

N.Y. Fed Prosecutors Not Shy About Pursuing Foreign Cases

It’s good that the long arm of the U.S. can stretch far beyond its borders when pursuing crime in this global world of ours. On the downside, at least in some cases, the U.S. Attorney’s Office could probably put resources to better use and let the country of origin charge and prosecute the cases. For example,  U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of  New York just indicted the  ex-President of Guatemala Alfonso Portillo on embezzling money and laundering it through American and European banks. He’s also facing corruption charges in his own country.  The question is: Was it necessary to pour those resources into that case?  It’s certainly a point of debate.

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara/doj photo

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara/doj photo

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in New York are ratcheting up an aggressive strategy to pursue terrorists, drug traffickers and corrupt public officials who operate on foreign soil.

The expansion of traditional crime-fighting boundaries, which has its roots in an approach begun by the office in the 1990s, has been controversial among experts, with some questioning whether the effort is the best use of the U.S. government’s limited resources. But advocates say that using the long arm of American law to apprehend international figures whose crimes involve the United States might be the only way to attack an increasingly sophisticated global criminal threat.

Former Guatemalan president Alfonso Portillo became the latest target when he was arrested this week by police in Guatemala after money-laundering charges were unsealed in New York.

Read more »