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Archive for October 6th, 2010

NY Terror Case Ruling Likely to Stir Debate Over Use of Civilian Courts

terrorismBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

A last-minute ruling Wednesday  by a federal judge blocking the government from using a key witness in a major terrorism case is expected to heat up the already contentious debate over whether to use civilian courts in such cases, legal experts say.

“It will certainly fuel the debate,” said former New York federal prosecutor Anthony Barkow, executive director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at the New York University School of Law. “The question is whether a military commission would have reached the same conclusion.”

The debate is likely to center around whether prosecutors are more limited in what they can introduce into evidence in civilian courts as opposed to a military venue, and whether the governments should take such risks.

The three-page written ruling by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan came on the day trial was to begin in New York for Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who is accused of conspiring in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people, including a dozen Americans.

To read more click here.

FBI Sting in Puerto Rico Nets 89 Law Enforcement Officers

FBI San Juan Command Post was active Wednesday/fbi photo

FBI San Juan Command Post was active Wednesday/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An FBI drug sting resulted in the indictment of 133 people in Puerto Rico including 89 law enforcement officers in the biggest crack down on police corruption in FBI history, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

The Justice Department said those indicted included 61 Puerto Rico Police Department Officers, 16 Municipal Officers, 12 Corrections Officers, one administrative examiner, one Social Security Administration employee, three Puerto Rico National Guard soldiers, two U.S. Army Officers, seven former law enforcement officers, and 30 civilians.

Authorities said the defendants provided security during undercover drug deals in exchange for payments ranging from $500 to $4,500 per transaction – more than half a million dollars in all.

The multiple indictments were the result of 125 undercover drug transactions FBI agents conducted in Puerto Rico from July 2008 until September 2010.

About 750 FBI agents and personnel were flown in to Puerto Rico from across the country to assist in the arrests Wednesday, and in all, about 1,000 FBI employees participated in the arrests, authorities said.

The multiple indictments included charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a drug trafficking offense.

DEA Collected More than 242,000 Pounds of Prescription Drugs

DEA personnel help dispose of drugs in Kennedale, Tex./dea photo

DEA personnel help dispose of drugs in Kennedale, Tex./dea photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The DEA collected more than 242,000 pounds of unwanted prescription drugs from the public  at more than 4,000 sites in 50 states as part of its “Take-Back” campaign held on Sept. 25.

“The Take-Back Campaign was a stunning nationwide success that cleaned out more than 121 tons of pills from America’s medicine cabinets, a crucial step toward reducing the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is plaguing this nation,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.

“Thanks to our state and local law enforcement and community partners—and the public—we not only removed these dangerous drugs from our homes, but also educated countless thousands of concerned citizens about the dangers of drug abuse.”

The DEA said some of the folks showing up included a Troy, Mo. a man who brought his kitchen drawer full of medication to empty at a collection site. The agency said a woman in Jacksonville, Ill., brought in nearly 50 years’ worth of medicines to a site.