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April 2010


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for April, 2010

LA Feds Indict 2 Cops for Using Taser Guns on Handcuffed Victims

By Allan Lengel

Federal authorities in Los Angeles have indicted one current police officer and a former one with the Desert Hot Springs Police Department with civil rights violations for allegedly using  Taser guns to stun three victims, two of whom were in handcuffs.

Police Officer Anthony Sclafani, 40, and ex-officer David Raymond Henderson, 51, surrendered Tuesday morning at United States District Court in Los Angeles, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities charged that Sclafani allegedly used an X26 Taser gun to stun suspects in two incidents in February 2005, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. In one incident, the suspect was already handcuffed and in the second incident a female suspect was also sprayed with pepper spray.

Authorities charged Henderson with allegedly using an X26 Taser gun to stun a handcuffed suspect in August 2004, the U.S. Atttorney’s Office said.

Photo by


Trial Begins In El Paso for FBI Agent Charged With Illegal Gun Sales and Providing ATF With False Records

gun ruger
By Allan Lengel

Trial started Monday in EL PASO for an FBI agent charged with illegally selling about 50 guns for more than $118,000 without a license, the El Paso Times reported.

FBI Agent John Thomas Shipley, 40, faces six counts of selling firearms without a license from 2005 to 2008. The paper reported that he also faces charges of providing the ATF with false sales records.

The paper reported that lawyer, Robert Perez said on opening day that Shipley’s hobby was buying and selling guns. He has been suspended without pay.

To read more click here.

President Ford Approved Warrantless Wiretaps in 1974

President Ford/whitehouse photo

President Ford/whitehouse photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — President Gerald Fold authorized the FBI to use domestic warrantless wiretaps in 1974, according to the website WIRED.

The website, which cites a classified memo recently obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting, says Ford signed a Dec. 19, 1974 memo giving his approval  “just one month before the Senate established an 11-member panel, known as the Church Committee, to investigate government surveillance programs.”

It said he had reviewed the matter and found it was legal. The signing came at a time critics were up in arms over what they considered excessive government surveillance on the domestic front.

“The Church Committee would ultimately uncover other unconstitutional spying activities, such as that conducted by the National Security Agency under the rubric of Operation Shamrock,” WIRED wrote. “Two days after the memo was signed, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, writing in The New York Times, disclosed a covert government spying program that focused on monitoring political activists in the U.S.”

The website said Ford later supported the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which required permission from a special court so law enforcement  could conduct domestic surveillance.

The news of Ford’s memo comes after a federal judge in San Francisco ruled last week that the National Security Agency illegally wiretapped conversations of two lawyers and a Saudi charity during the Bush years.

To read more click here.

Read Ford Memo

Justice Dept. Prosecutor Eli Rosenbaum Still Hunting Nazis

Eli Rosenbaum/doj photo

Eli Rosenbaum/doj photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Many of them are dead and gone. Some are elderly and sickly.

But Justice Department prosecutor Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, continues to hunt down the elderly Nazis in the U.S.

“We’ve sent a loud, clear message that the U.S. is not willing to be the sanctuary for perpetrators of crimes against humanity,’ Rosenbaum, 54, told Parade magazine.

Some like tv commentator Pat Buchanan have criticized the unit, calling it a group of “hair chested Nazi hunters” who have devoted time hunting old guards, Parade reported.

John Demjanjuk/msnbc

John Demjanjuk/msnbc

But Rosenbaum tells Parade:”If you’re guilty, you can reasonably expect to be pursued for the rest of your life.” Rosenbaum joined the unit after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1980. He left in the mid-1980s and returned in 1988 and became director in 1994, parade reported.

Some of the suspected Nazis he’s gone after have included John Demjanjuk, Andrija Artukovic and Helmut Oberlander, Parade reported.

The magazine reports that the unit has won denaturalization or deportation against 107 accused Nazis in the U.S. It said later this year the unit will merge with another human rights enforcement unit at Justice.

To read the full article click here.

Ex-FBI Agent Claims Supervisor Sabotaged Efforts to Reclaim Stolen Art

stolen art bookBy Allan Lengel

Retired FBI agent Robert K. Wittman claims in his upcoming book that his efforts to reclaim stolen art from the biggest art heist in U.S. history was undermine by a supervisor, the Boston Globe reports.

The Globe reports that Wittman makes his claim in his yet to be released book: “Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures.”

Wittman writes that while working undercover French middlemen with criminal ties thought he was a rich collector and offered to sell the stolen paintings, which were taken from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990 in what was regarded as the biggest art heist in U.S. history, according to the Globe.  The art, which includes three stolen Rembrandts,  is still missing.

But Globe says Wittman wrote “that that his efforts were sabotaged by a superior, called Fred in the book, who micromanaged his work and tried to have him thrown off the case.”

The Globe reported that the F.B.I. was reviewing the manuscript to see if it reveals damaging information to the case. The book is scheduled for release in June.


Bomb Scare Shuts Down U.S. District Court in Kansas City For the Day


FBI Still Using FBI Agent Who Interviewed Saddam Hussein as Recruiting Tool

FBI Agent George Piro interviewed on 60 Minutes in 2008

FBI Agent George Piro interviewed on 60 Minutes in 2008

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The FBI continues to use  the agent who  interviewed and befriended the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to entice new agents.

“Imagine sitting across from Saddam Hussein every day for nearly seven straight months—slowly earning his trust, getting him to spill secrets on everything from whether he gave the order to gas the Kurds (he did) to whether he really did have weapons of mass destruction on the eve of war (he didn’t). All the while gathering information that would ultimately be used to prosecute the deposed dictator in an Iraqi court,” the FBI says on its career web page.

It said the agent who interviewed the the Iraqi leader was FBI Special Agent George Piro, who is now an assistant special agent in charge at the FBI’s Washington field office.

“Soon after U.S. special forces pulled Saddam out of a spider hole on December 13, 2003, the CIA—knowing the former dictator would ultimately have to answer for his crimes against the Iraqi people—asked the FBI to debrief Hussein because of our longstanding work in gathering statements for court,” the bureau wrote in a release dated Jan. 28, 2008 that remains on the homepage of the career website.

“That’s when we turned to Piro, an investigator on our terrorism fly team who was born in Beirut and speaks Arabic fluently. Piro was supported by a team of CIA analysts and FBI agents, intelligence analysts, language specialists, and a behavioral profiler,” the FBI wrote.

Read more »

FBI Says Ranking Mexican Gang Member No Easy Find

Eduardo Ravelo in 1998 photo/fbi photo

Eduardo Ravelo in 1998 photo/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel

The FBI knows  Mexican gang member Eduardo Ravelo — who may have had a hand in the recent murders of three people linked to the U.S. Consulate in Mexico — is no easy find.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Ravelo — on the FBI’s Top Ten Fugitives — probably had his fingerprints altered and plastic surgery on his face. He is listed as a captain in the Barrio Azteca, a gang that carries out contract murders for  the Juarez drug cartel, which is believed to be responsible for the spiraling murder rate in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

“Except for his dark eyes, federal officials doubt he looks anything like his 12-year-old FBI most wanted photo — round face, trim mustache and a scar along his cheek,” the Times wrote.

The Times reports that the FBI believes the 42-year-old lives in  Ciudad Juarez, which borders El Paso, and regularly crosses into Texas.

“He’s a butterfly, a moth,” Samantha Mikeska, an FBI special agent leading the hunt for Ravelo told the Los Angeles Times. “He takes care of his people and that keeps him under the radar.”

To read more click here.